Intestinal Fortitude Required

U. S. Federal Prison Leavenworth, KS


“You can’t try to do things; you simply must do them.”

– Ray Bradbury


Dear Jack ~ I sat in a Leavenworth County courthouse several years ago (yes, THE Leavenworth County, where the Federal Penitentiary is, the one where Michael Vick, Machine Gun Kelly and countless other hardened criminals have served time) in utter shock. Summoned for jury duty I figured I was being questioned for a trial involving a burglary at the Tyson Chicken plant (subject for another post and, yes, a true story involving me) but that wasn’t the case.  In front of me sat a 17 yr. old youngster on trial for breaking into an elderly woman’s home, hitting her over the head with a frying pan, and raping her. Yes, that happened. While the crime was clearly disturbing what was even more so, was I was staring at a child. 17 years old. What off ramp did he take that I didn’t?  How did HE end up here?

And so began my quest to understand the human psyche and how we make the choices we make.  Turns out this young man’s defense was he didn’t intend to do what he did.  True or false?  Guess what? Doesn’t matter.  He did it and his life will never be the same.

We are constantly trying to either avoid pain or gain pleasure.  That’s it.  At it’s simplest form all decisions are made based on those two premises; both short term and long term.  And often our desire to avoid pain will go above and beyond the pursuit of pleasure.  Or at least it should.

When we understand the wiring of our brain it can help us to make informed, deliberate decisions and we are not subject to the barage of media and society.  Learn from others and their actions.  Make your choices intentional and with fervor.  Carry them out swiftly, with enthusiasm, and the world is your oyster.

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