A Tale of Two Lives
Josh had dreams of being a police officer. Instead, he enlisted in the Marines in June 2004. He met Caryn the following March.
Caryn said she loved who Josh was — a loving husband and father, a playful but loyal friend and a proud Marine willing to sacrifice it all to defend freedom.
"He was so excited about our baby," she said. "I remember thinking, ‘I met the man of my dreams and I get to spend the rest of my life with him.'"
Before she accepted his proposal, Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Hines was clear about the risks of marrying a Marine reservist likely to be put in harm's way in Iraq.
The second man, 21, is homeless, a drug abuser, a criminal, and unemployable. His grandfather, Jere Roblings, painfully details the grandson’s failed life and “Spiral toward despair.”
This is a true story that begins with a seventh-grader in middle school who is introduced to marijuana — you know, that harmless drug that some want legalized. Subsequently, his interest in school and sports trails off. As this young man ages (I can't say matures), he creates problems at home by stealing money and/or items to sell.
At 18, he now joins the ranks of the homeless.
Still indulging in illegal drugs, he is arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance.
To put this young man on his feet financially would require a substantial investment and the trust that he would not spend any gift of money on drugs. It would require loaning him a car with the necessary insurance and, again, trust that he would not drive under the influence of drugs. It would require paying all outstanding court costs and fines to preclude further warrants for his arrest. It would take an advance for rent of a room, never mind an apartment. It requires an employer willing to take a chance on him.
As he spends his days walking across the city of Thousand Oaks, going from winter shelter to shelter, he has little for which to give thanks or hope of the future. It will now be up to society, the taxpayers, to continue paying for his incarceration, public defender, food stamps, public healthcare, etc.
How is it that one young man grows into responsible manhood and sacrifices for his family and country, and a second develops into a parasite sucking the life blood from society? One reader commented on Robling’s article:
Jere's story brought me to tears. My heart goes out to Jere, and all families that are in pain because of a loved one that has gone off track. We live under a pretty unforgiving system these days, where our young people can easily ruin their futures before they are old enough to know what they've done.Is it the system’s fault as the commenter alleges or is it a personal fault that led to the spiral of despair? We don’t know from the article about the home life in which this young man lived, but we do know that he used marijuana at a young age. Marijuana is labeled a gateway drug for good reason. Certainly many people use marijuana and manage to have productive lives, while others don’t.
The biggest question of all is, who’s responsibility is it, if anyone’s, to support and care for the societal parasite? Parents bring children into the world without consulting with or getting the approval from society. Why is it then that a parent can walk away from legal responsibility for their problem child after 18 years? For whatever the reasons, the parents, sometimes at no discernable fault of their own, have visited upon the world what became a defective product for which we all must pay the consequences.
Certainly at some point it is reasonable to expect that an individual be responsible for his own behavior. Eighteen years of age is the magic number. Therefore, what is the least expensive mechanism that society can use to immunize itself from the effects of the dregs of life?