The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > In My Humble Opinion (IMHO)

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 08-15-2010, 10:07 AM
Mr. Accident Mr. Accident is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Ask the reformed criminal.

I have a checkered past that while I'm not proud of, I'm not ashamed to talk about. I've done things ranging from petty theft by taking to arson. Some of the things I've done has led to court, while others the statute of limitations have expired on.

Feel free to ask anything you like. I figure folks around here might be interested. (If this violates the rules, I apologize. I looked through them, but didn't see one.)
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 08-15-2010, 10:20 AM
FoieGrasIsEvil FoieGrasIsEvil is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: The Nasty Nati
Posts: 14,883
What was your primary motivation for committing crimes? Drugs? Boredom? Money?
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 08-15-2010, 10:28 AM
Mr. Accident Mr. Accident is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Depends on the crime.

I stole whenever there was something I couldn't afford but wanted. I rationalized that this was ok as I had rules I followed. Never steal from family, the elderly, single mothers, or the poor.

Arson was for the fun of burning something. I've always found fire fascinating, and the bigger the flame, the better. I convinced myself that I wasn't hurting anyone since I only burning stuff that seemed to be abandoned.

Simple battery was due to a very short temper.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 08-15-2010, 10:35 AM
Novalyne Novalyne is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2005
1. What were you caught for and what was the punishment?
2. How old were you during all this?
3. Do you think there was a reason that you "turned out" this way, like psychologists always talk about? Crappy childhood, crushing poverty, etc.? Or were you a normal kid with normal parents who just started doing criminal stuff?
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 08-15-2010, 10:44 AM
neuroman neuroman is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2000
Why did you start this thread, and why do you consider yourself reformed?
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 08-15-2010, 10:52 AM
Mr. Accident Mr. Accident is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Novalyne View Post
1. What were you caught for and what was the punishment?
2. How old were you during all this?
3. Do you think there was a reason that you "turned out" this way, like psychologists always talk about? Crappy childhood, crushing poverty, etc.? Or were you a normal kid with normal parents who just started doing criminal stuff?
1 & 2. Different things. The first was shoplifting baseball cards from a Big Star back in the mid 80s. I was maybe 6 years old. The cops made me go back inside, return the cards, and apologize to the manager. He then banned me from the store, instead of pressing charges. Not long after that I made prank calls to 911, which resulted in spending a day at the local police department in a holding cell by myself. There was a simple battery case where I slapped my 14 year old sister across the face; I was 23 at the time. That one resulted in being held over night until I got bailed out. The case was dropped when my sister refused to testify against me. Around 12 I set a dumpster on fire, which resulted in having to serve 30 days of community service and 6 months of seeing a shrink. Set off minor explosives in school on two different occasions after Zero Tolerance went into effect. I got suspended for two weeks both times, and had to see the school shrink the rest of the year. Those are the ones that resulted in any legal action.

3. I've thought about that a lot. In all likely hood it was from watching members of my family, few of which has ever had any respect for the law. Their attitude is it's only a crime if you get caught. My mom tried to teach me otherwise. I think if it weren't for her, I would've turned out a lot worse than what I did. Plus I have a huge problem with anyone having authority over me if I didn't agree to it before hand.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 08-15-2010, 10:59 AM
Mr. Accident Mr. Accident is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by neuroman View Post
Why did you start this thread, and why do you consider yourself reformed?
Curiosity mostly. I wanted to see what kind of questions people would come up with.

My youngest sister is the reason I consider myself reformed. The last time I was arrested, she witnessed the crime, and my subsequent arrest. She's been more of a daughter to me than a sister, and seeing the hurt and confusion on her face made me realize just how badly I had been screwing up. I decided then and there to change my ways.

It's been 6 years since then. I haven't stolen, struck out in anger, set anything on fire, or any other crime. I don't download music, movies, etc. I don't even jaywalk anymore. I spend the part of each week visiting the local juvie, talking to the kids there, trying to get them to straighten up. I've even pointed out security flaws to local merchants that I once would've taken advantage of. If that's not reformed, I don't know what is.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 08-15-2010, 11:07 AM
Crowbar of Irony +3 Crowbar of Irony +3 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: The Tropics, not in US
Posts: 3,614
How much of it was due to peer pressure? Did you face resistances from others while you were attempting to change? Or any encouragement?
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 08-15-2010, 11:16 AM
KinkiNipponTourist KinkiNipponTourist is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Accident View Post
The first was shoplifting baseball cards from a Big Star back in the mid 80s. I was maybe 6 years old. The cops made me go back inside, return the cards, and apologize to the manager. He then banned me from the store, instead of pressing charges.
How did you feel when this happened? Were you contrite? When the manager declined to press charges, did you feel you'd gotten away with something, or were you grateful? How did your parents (especially your mom) react when this happened?

I hope my questions aren't too prying. Thank you for letting us ask.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 08-15-2010, 11:23 AM
Mr. Accident Mr. Accident is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crowbar of Irony +3 View Post
How much of it was due to peer pressure? Did you face resistances from others while you were attempting to change? Or any encouragement?
No peer pressure. For the most part my friends had no clue what I was up to, until after an authority figure got involved. The only time peer pressure was involved was setting off the minor explosions*. A friend of mine dared me, and I did it. A year later, another friend heard the story, didn't believe I would do it, so I did it again.

There was no resistance to my changing. In school and afterwards I hung out with people who generally did the right thing, and they were happy to see me change.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 08-15-2010, 11:29 AM
Mr. Accident Mr. Accident is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by KinkiNipponTourist View Post
How did you feel when this happened? Were you contrite? When the manager declined to press charges, did you feel you'd gotten away with something, or were you grateful? How did your parents (especially your mom) react when this happened?

I hope my questions aren't too prying. Thank you for letting us ask.
I was irritated with myself for getting caught. I figured shoving packs of cards down my sweat pants was a good idea, as no one could see through them, right? A large square shaped bulge was the give away. I was relieved he didn't press charges, as I had heard what happened in prisons (again, the family element). My mom was quite disappointed in me. She cried for days afterwords, and grounded me for months.

By this point my father hadn't been in my life much, and I didn't respect him at all. The one time he was around and tried to punish me for spilling his beer on his car, I broke his nose. My reasoning at the time being if he could pop me for spilling his beer, I could hit him in the nose for popping me. That was the one and only time any physical punishment has been used on me.

Edit* The questions aren't to prying. If I weren't prepared to answer them, I wouldn't have started the thread.

Last edited by Mr. Accident; 08-15-2010 at 11:30 AM.. Reason: Needed to add something.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 08-15-2010, 11:50 AM
wipetheclock wipetheclock is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Do you still have issues with authority? If so, what form does it take?

Have you had difficulties getting jobs or making friends due to your prior arrests?

Do you ever experience a desire to commit criminal acts? I'm not saying you would, just if pops into your head and you have to squash the idea.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 08-15-2010, 12:05 PM
Mr. Accident Mr. Accident is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by wipetheclock View Post
Do you still have issues with authority? If so, what form does it take?

Have you had difficulties getting jobs or making friends due to your prior arrests?

Do you ever experience a desire to commit criminal acts? I'm not saying you would, just if pops into your head and you have to squash the idea.
Most definitely. If a person hasn't done something to prove they have the right to tell me what to do, or not do, I will rarely listen to them. Taking an example from when I last worked retail, we had a new person come in to train as a manager for another store. This was a common occurrence, as the manager of the store's job was to train managers. He assumed that just because he's going to be a manager, that he can boss me around. I let him know in no uncertain terms what he could do with his orders, and that if he didn't shut up and do some real work I'd walk out and leave him without a cashier for the night. Since he hadn't even learned the register at this point, it would've left him in a major bind. Luckily my boss supported me on this, and said not to do it again. Since she had earned my respect, I listened to her.

I have had some trouble finding work with my background, which has led me to doing small jobs wherever I can find them. Yard work, computer repair, minor electrical and plumbing work, that sort of thing. Before the recession hit full swing, I was doing ok at it, averaging $20k/year. It was enough to support myself and help my mom out. Since 2009 most of my customers have moved away, leaving me without work again.

There have been times I've wanted to set stuff on fire again. I've mostly broken this habit by carrying a zippo on me and just letting it burn for awhile. Or amusing kids with small acts of "magic" using a bic lighter. Stuff like holding fire in my hand, or breathing fire, or engulfing my hand in flame. I always show them my burn scars afterwords and warn them how dangerous trying it can be.

I've also been tempted a time or two to walk off with a laptop or iphone when I've found them at the local park. Instead I check them for info that could lead me to the owner, or take them to the police department, which is just a few minute walk down the road.

Last edited by Mr. Accident; 08-15-2010 at 12:06 PM.. Reason: Crazy cat walked arcoss the keyboard and messed up my post.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 08-15-2010, 12:42 PM
needscoffee needscoffee is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Accident View Post
There have been times I've wanted to set stuff on fire again. I've mostly broken this habit by carrying a zippo on me and just letting it burn for awhile. Or amusing kids with small acts of "magic" using a bic lighter. Stuff like holding fire in my hand, or breathing fire, or engulfing my hand in flame. I always show them my burn scars afterwords and warn them how dangerous trying it can be.
This is the quickest way to entice kids to play with fires exactly the same way you are. You're fooling yourself if you think that showing them how cool it is, then warning them that it's risky, is going to persuade them not to do it. Find another way to amuse yourself. Showing off "magic" fire feats in front of kids is the height of ignorant stupidity.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 08-15-2010, 01:18 PM
Gukumatz Gukumatz is offline
Winter is Coming
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Oslo, Norway
Posts: 2,719
What's your opinion of the police?
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 08-15-2010, 01:44 PM
Mr. Accident Mr. Accident is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by needscoffee View Post
]This is the quickest way to entice kids to play with fires exactly the same way you are. You're fooling yourself if you think that showing them how cool it is, then warning them that it's risky, is going to persuade them not to do it. Find another way to amuse yourself. Showing off "magic" fire feats in front of kids is the height of ignorant stupidity.
I don't do it with just any child. Only kids I'm around on a daily basis, so that when they know I say something is dangerous, they know I'm being quite serious. I've been doing this for three years, and none of them have tried anything I've done yet, and I don't see them doing it in the future. Watching me doing it is no different than watching fire jugglers or fire breathers at school carnivals, which happen quite often here.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 08-15-2010, 01:48 PM
Mr. Accident Mr. Accident is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gukumatz View Post
What's your opinion of the police?
Some are good guys and gals, who do their job and try to keep the streets safe. I respect those cops, and go out of my way to help them, even the ones who have arrested me. These are the ones I've had the most experience with.

Some are assholes who abuse their power. They need watching, and I'm wary to be alone with them.

Some are corrupt, and deserve to be in jail for the massive abuses they've made of their power. In my experience these are the rarest, but they give the rest a bad name.

Unfortunately you can't usually tell which kind you're dealing with until you're already in cuffs.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 08-15-2010, 02:17 PM
as_u_wish as_u_wish is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Have you ever made an effort to repay anyone from whom you stole or whose property you destroyed? Why or why not?
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 08-15-2010, 02:30 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Western New York
Posts: 59,074
Have you ever been the victim of the type of crime you've committed?
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 08-15-2010, 02:39 PM
Mr. Accident Mr. Accident is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by as_u_wish View Post
Have you ever made an effort to repay anyone from whom you stole or whose property you destroyed? Why or why not?
Yup. The one person that stands out the most in my mind is my 5th grade teacher. She was the person that got me into reading, though at the time I hated her for it. She loved to read, and had a huge collection of books that she brought in for her students to check out. I took her favorite one without telling her, and never returned it.

A couple of years ago I found a new copy of the book at a bookstore, and it reminded me of what I had done. I bought it, the rest of the collection the book belonged to, and mailed them all to her, with a note explaining what I had done and why I was sending her such a large package. She never did respond, so I guess she was too angry at me. It's also one of the things I regret the most, as I didn't realize until later how wonderful of a person she really was, and I'd like to be friends with her now.
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 08-15-2010, 02:43 PM
Mr. Accident Mr. Accident is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo View Post
Have you ever been the victim of the type of crime you've committed?
Yup. A couple of years ago a girl I knew had been kicked out of her home by her parents. She stayed with me for the night, and left before I got up the next morning. She had taken an expensive book bag, a playstation 2, all of the games for it, and a dvd player. It wasn't a nice feeling at all, and it's a good reminder whenever I get tempted to go back to my old ways. I didn't confront her about it, as I figured if she needed money badly enough to steal from a friend that I'd let it go. I later learned she sold it all for bus tickets to Alabama.

I've never had anything of mine burned though. I imagine I wouldn't like it one bit.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 08-15-2010, 03:10 PM
needscoffee needscoffee is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Accident View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by needscoffee View Post
]This is the quickest way to entice kids to play with fires exactly the same way you are. You're fooling yourself if you think that showing them how cool it is, then warning them that it's risky, is going to persuade them not to do it. Find another way to amuse yourself. Showing off "magic" fire feats in front of kids is the height of ignorant stupidity.
I don't do it with just any child. Only kids I'm around on a daily basis, so that when they know I say something is dangerous, they know I'm being quite serious. I've been doing this for three years, and none of them have tried anything I've done yet, and I don't see them doing it in the future. Watching me doing it is no different than watching fire jugglers or fire breathers at school carnivals, which happen quite often here.
Actually, watching it done up close by a person you know is very different from watching it done on a stage. I'm saying this because I have much personal experience with younger teens doing this and posting it on Youtube, using the photos as their cell phone wallpaper, etc. It's a very popular fad, and you must see that having an older mentor show you the act up close can have bad results. You're doing it to fulfill your own needs, so any judgment you make on its benefits is going to be clouded by your desires. Why take a chance playing with fire with kids when you don't need to, except for fulfilling your own pyromaniacal compulsions?
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 08-15-2010, 03:37 PM
Lanzy Lanzy is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Orlando
Posts: 3,694
Unless I missed it...What is your education level?

BTW, I was raised by petty criminals and most of my family thinks very little of violating most of the laws on the books. I literally ran away at 18 and went to college by working as a janitor. Then joined the Army, I am the black sheep of my family.
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 08-15-2010, 05:04 PM
Mr. Accident Mr. Accident is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by needscoffee View Post
Actually, watching it done up close by a person you know is very different from watching it done on a stage. I'm saying this because I have much personal experience with younger teens doing this and posting it on Youtube,
You bring up a fair point. I wasn't thinking of what kind of stuff they might do as teens. I'll have to reconsider what I'm showing my nieces.

Last edited by Mr. Accident; 08-15-2010 at 05:04 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 08-15-2010, 05:13 PM
Mr. Accident Mr. Accident is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lanzy View Post
Unless I missed it...What is your education level?

BTW, I was raised by petty criminals and most of my family thinks very little of violating most of the laws on the books. I literally ran away at 18 and went to college by working as a janitor. Then joined the Army, I am the black sheep of my family.
I dropped out of school in 11th grade when I couldn't take the boredom anymore. I had been in one school at the beginning of 9th grade, in advanced placement classes. They challenged me, or in some cases were at least tough enough to keep my interest.

At the end of the first semester I transferred to a school that didn't offer advanced placement classes, so I took the next best thing, which were college prep classes. During my 10th grade year I was home schooled due to medical issues. At the beginning of 11th grade, they stuck me in tech prep classes, since I planned on going to technical school when I graduated. I quickly realized that in this school, tech prep basically meant stick all the dumb students together. I tried attending these classes, despite the most advanced thing I was given to do in any was coloring a picture of aquatic life, in environmental sciences.

I went to my guidance councilor and she wouldn't get my classes changed. Neither would the assistant principle, the principle, the BoE, or the superintendent. I couldn't take the boredom anymore, so I dropped out. That was the second biggest mistake of my life. Unfortunately I didn't realize it until it was to late to go back.

Since then I've been reading anything I get my hands on, from Plato to Hawkins. When I can get steady work again, I'm going to get my GED and enroll in college.
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 08-15-2010, 08:39 PM
supergoose supergoose is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
What was your biggest mistake, if you don't mind saying?

Very interesting thread, by the way. Thank you for sharing!
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 08-15-2010, 08:47 PM
Boyo Jim Boyo Jim is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 30,886
What was the most serious crime you committed that you got away with?
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 08-15-2010, 08:54 PM
Mr. Accident Mr. Accident is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by supergoose View Post
What was your biggest mistake, if you don't mind saying?

Very interesting thread, by the way. Thank you for sharing!
Leaving the love of my life in New Jersery to return to Ga. Had I known it would've led to us splitting up later down the road, I would've stayed. All the crimes I've committed comes in at #3.

Last edited by Mr. Accident; 08-15-2010 at 08:55 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 08-16-2010, 02:28 PM
Skammer Skammer is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Music City USA
Posts: 12,746
You mention in another thread that you work (or have worked) at Dollar General. Assuming they do criminal background checks, how did you get that job?
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 08-16-2010, 04:17 PM
Tom Tildrum Tom Tildrum is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Falls Church, Va.
Posts: 10,018
Do you know if they put the baseball cards that went down your pants back on the shelf?
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 08-16-2010, 04:43 PM
Mr. Accident Mr. Accident is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skammer View Post
You mention in another thread that you work (or have worked) at Dollar General. Assuming they do criminal background checks, how did you get that job?
Back then, they only cared if I had been convicted of anything. Since I've never been convicted due to charges either being dropped or settling things out of court, I was cleared to work there.

I don't know if they're still that loose with their policy now or not.
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 08-16-2010, 04:47 PM
Ravenman Ravenman is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 14,587
1. What's your biggest success in life so far?

2. Surely you recognize that there are a lot of successful, happy people out there who do not have the same approach to the law and work that you do. (Just one example, I think most people I know would have handled the issue with the manager in training much differently, without either making confrontational remarks or being angry about taking someone's orders.) Do you see those people as being different than you? Better or worse? Why do you suppose there are such differences?

3. What's your dream job?
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 08-16-2010, 04:48 PM
Omar Little Omar Little is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Is prison really that bad?
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 08-16-2010, 04:49 PM
Mr. Accident Mr. Accident is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Tildrum View Post
Do you know if they put the baseball cards that went down your pants back on the shelf?
They didn't. I opened them before putting them down my pants, since I thought store alarms were set off by the bar-codes. I hadn't heard of rfid tags back then.
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 08-16-2010, 05:31 PM
Mr. Accident Mr. Accident is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravenman View Post
1. What's your biggest success in life so far?

2. Surely you recognize that there are a lot of successful, happy people out there who do not have the same approach to the law and work that you do. (Just one example, I think most people I know would have handled the issue with the manager in training much differently, without either making confrontational remarks or being angry about taking someone's orders.) Do you see those people as being different than you? Better or worse? Why do you suppose there are such differences?

3. What's your dream job?
1. I'd probably have to say teaching myself enough about computers to get contractor work from the local repair store. I'm good enough that I can charge rates similar to what geek squad charges.

2. This is the hardest of your questions. I suppose it has to do with how I approach life. I've always questioned authority, as far back as I can remember. Whether that authority came from god, my teachers, my parents, or the law. Sometimes this leads me to conclusions others don't reach, such as it being alright to take from others, or burning abandoned property. The reasoning behind the former being that if someone is wealthy enough to afford something I want, they can afford to replace it, which makes it alright; for the latter, the property obviously isn't worth anything to anyone, or it wouldn't be abandoned, so no one will mind me burning it. I've since realized how faulty such logic is. The way I handled that manager in training was a combination of my questioning of authority again,, combined with anger issues. I have an incredibly short fuse, and it's real easy to set me off. Even needscoffee saying that something I was doing was idiotic was enough to set me off.

3. This is the easiest of your questions for me to answer. My dream job would be a gourmet chef in my own restaurant. Realistically, either a general contractor or retail manager. I've got decades of experience in the former, as I grew up on construction sites and remodeling jobs. The latter I just have a knack for, as I learned when I worked at Dollar General. I wouldn't mind being an author of novels either, but I know how hard that is to get into, much less be successful at. Especially with writing skills as poor as mine, which is why I want to go to college when I get steady work again.
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 08-16-2010, 05:42 PM
Nzinga, Seated Nzinga, Seated is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by needscoffee View Post
Showing off "magic" fire feats in front of kids is the height of ignorant stupidity.
Ouch. My daughter and I play with fire sometimes (burn her hair from the comb and brush after combing, create fire balls, etc). I have taken a lot of time to teach her to have a healthy respect for fire, and I trust her not to exploit the fact that I give her permission to use fire. We started playing with it when she was about 9. She's 11 now.

I agree that it's not a good idea to be Bozo the Fire Juggler around random kids, but I hope you'll agree that it's ok to 'show off fire feats' to one's own child.
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 08-16-2010, 05:50 PM
Mr. Accident Mr. Accident is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilbo523 View Post
Is prison really that bad?
I wouldn't know, I've never been to prison. I have been to jail a couple of times though. The longest stretch I did was a month while waiting a court hearing. During that time, there weren't any fights, hardly any arguments, and no one tried to force me into anything. I was propositioned a time or two, but nothing happened when I refused.

The worst thing had to be the boredom. The dorm I was in had 1 tv, with horrid reception. We could get a local channel from 8am to 11am, and that was it. The rest of the time was occupied by reading, talking, playing cards, and chores, with an hour of outside time. During that hour we could walk, play football, or basketball. Our day began at 530, when we were served breakfast, which was usually pancakes or oatmeal. We were given 2 hours of that, then chores were assigned. Those could last anywhere from 15 minutes to 8 hours, depending on what you were assigned. After chores were done, we were pretty much left on our own until lunch at 12, supper at 6, then lights out at 1130. The only variation from the daily schedule were visitation days, and church days, which I opted out of. We could sleep whenever we liked during the day, and a lot of us did that.

During that stretch, I was housed in D Dorm, which is where the violent criminals were held. People who had committed assault, rapists, murderers, arsonists, etc. Some were there for the first time, some were repeat criminals, some hadn't had their day in court yet, and some had already been convicted, but were waiting to be transferred to a prison. I fully expected there to be some kind of trouble, from all the horror stories I heard, but it was nothing like that. Ignoring the fact that we had very little freedom, it was a lot like a waiting room in a doctors office.

The biggest thing I had to get used to was using the bathroom in front of others. Urinating wasn't so bad, it was defecating that was the problem. We all gave each other as much privacy as we could, but during the day the doors to the cells were kept open, which put all the toilets in plain view. We had a system for this though. The cells were on two levels, so the last cell on the left, top row was designated the "shitter" during the day. That cell was left empty, and that's where we all did our business. At night was different, as we were 3 to a cell, with the new guy having a mattress on the floor straight across from the toilet. We all tried our best to hold it until the shitter was open, but that wasn't always an option. Especially the time we all got served bad tacos.

Oh, and stainless steel toilets should be considered cruel and unusual punishment when the ambient temperature of the room is 54 F.
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 08-16-2010, 08:25 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
How much trouble do you have finding regular employment with your record? Do you think this will get better after you have a college degree and your background is further in the past?

I've never been convicted of anything, but to me I think I fear the inability (or at least huge difficulty) of finding steady, decent paying employment far more than I'd fear probation or jail time. Then again, I can't find that anyway.
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 08-17-2010, 02:46 AM
Declan Declan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Accident View Post
I have a checkered past that while I'm not proud of, I'm not ashamed to talk about. I've done things ranging from petty theft by taking to arson. Some of the things I've done has led to court, while others the statute of limitations have expired on.

Feel free to ask anything you like. I figure folks around here might be interested. (If this violates the rules, I apologize. I looked through them, but didn't see one.)
Not so much asking questions as commenting, but you dont really appear to be a proper villain from your ansewers to other peoples questions. It does'nt appear to be that you did crime for any personal gain, no bank robbing, no cat burglaring etc.

It more sounds like you were at the actual fork between the dodgy side and the reformed.

Declan
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 08-17-2010, 04:48 AM
madmonk28 madmonk28 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Did your arson have a sexual component? I ask because I went to school with a guy who is now a fire marshal, he told me once that a lot of arsonists find sexual gratification in watching the fire and also the firefighters.
Reply With Quote
  #41  
Old 08-17-2010, 05:13 AM
Mr. Accident Mr. Accident is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wesley Clark View Post
How much trouble do you have finding regular employment with your record? Do you think this will get better after you have a college degree and your background is further in the past?

I've never been convicted of anything, but to me I think I fear the inability (or at least huge difficulty) of finding steady, decent paying employment far more than I'd fear probation or jail time. Then again, I can't find that anyway.
I've never been told outright that I wasn't being hired due to my record, though there's been a few times I've gotten the feeling they were just covering their ass by saying something else. Until the recession it wasn't really a problem since I'm skilled enough at manual labor that I could be a day laborer, doing anything from framing a house to wiring one up. Most of the construction work in my area has dried up though, so that's put a crimp on things.

Not having a diploma and my license has been a bigger hindrance. Most companies in my area want you to have both, and the temp services require a GED at minimum before they'll try and find you work. I know for a fact that they'll find jobs for anyone, as my uncle who is a registered child molester, been convicted of several violent crimes, and grand theft got work through them.

Back in my younger days I didn't much care if I could find steady work, as at heart I'm a simple man. As long as I have food to eat, water to drink, and a dry place to sleep I'm happy, with everything else being a bonus. Now that I want to settle down and start a family, it's become a lot more important.
Reply With Quote
  #42  
Old 08-17-2010, 05:19 AM
Mr. Accident Mr. Accident is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Declan View Post

Not so much asking questions as commenting, but you dont really appear to be a proper villain from your ansewers to other peoples questions. It does'nt appear to be that you did crime for any personal gain, no bank robbing, no cat burglaring etc.

It more sounds like you were at the actual fork between the dodgy side and the reformed.

Declan
Why thank you. I believe that's the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me concerning the bad part of my past.
Reply With Quote
  #43  
Old 08-17-2010, 05:23 AM
Mr. Accident Mr. Accident is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by madmonk28 View Post
Did your arson have a sexual component? I ask because I went to school with a guy who is now a fire marshal, he told me once that a lot of arsonists find sexual gratification in watching the fire and also the firefighters.
No, though I've heard that too. There's nothing sexy about fire at all, to me. I'm not entirely sure why I find fire so fascinating, but there's definitely nothing sexual about it.
Reply With Quote
  #44  
Old 08-17-2010, 05:30 AM
Mr. Accident Mr. Accident is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyo Jim View Post
What was the most serious crime you committed that you got away with?
I don't know how I missed this one. Grand theft auto, on several occasions. Back when I was 14 my best friend's dad had a bunch of cars. He was always buying one, repairing it enough to get it running decent, and sell it for a tidy profit. I had a key to their place, and knew where he kept the keys for the cars he hadn't sold yet. If I went over and no one was home, I'd use one to go to another friend's house. At the time I didn't view it as stealing, since I always returned them, but looking back on it, it's got to be the stupidest thing I've ever done, on many levels.
Reply With Quote
  #45  
Old 08-17-2010, 06:28 AM
GSV Consolation of Dreams GSV Consolation of Dreams is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
You mentioned upthread somewhere that you were made to undergo some kind of therapy. What was that like, and did it have any short/long term effects, positive or negative?

Have you ever taken an IQ test and what was your score? (just ignore that one if it's too personal)
Reply With Quote
  #46  
Old 08-17-2010, 07:54 AM
Mr. Accident Mr. Accident is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by GSV Consolation of Dreams View Post
You mentioned upthread somewhere that you were made to undergo some kind of therapy. What was that like, and did it have any short/long term effects, positive or negative?

Have you ever taken an IQ test and what was your score? (just ignore that one if it's too personal)
When I saw the school councilor, it was interesting. She treated me like adult, not a kid. She didn't try to dumb anything down, nor did she try to make me talk about anything I didn't want to. We mostly played monopoly, and talked while we played. She's the one that helped me realize I didn't hate my father for not being there for me, that I was just pissed and hurt because he wasn't.

Now the state shrink I had to see was a complete ass. He kept trying to get me to say I was being sexually abused at home. Everything I said he'd try to tie into that, which was completely untrue. He was of no help at all, and I consider that time wasted.

With the first school councilor the results were pretty positive, and they've stuck with me a long while. It got me interested in psychology, which I read up on now and again for the fun of it, so that's a plus.

With the second shrink, all it accomplished was showing me that there are assholes in all fields of work.

The one time I took an IQ test I scored a 136. I don't know how that falls on the scale intelligence wise. In middle school and high school I was always in the advanced and gifted classes, when they were available, for what it's worth.
Reply With Quote
  #47  
Old 08-17-2010, 10:39 AM
needscoffee needscoffee is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nzinga, Seated View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by needscoffee View Post
Showing off "magic" fire feats in front of kids is the height of ignorant stupidity.
Ouch. My daughter and I play with fire sometimes (burn her hair from the comb and brush after combing, create fire balls, etc). I have taken a lot of time to teach her to have a healthy respect for fire, and I trust her not to exploit the fact that I give her permission to use fire. We started playing with it when she was about 9. She's 11 now.

I agree that it's not a good idea to be Bozo the Fire Juggler around random kids, but I hope you'll agree that it's ok to 'show off fire feats' to one's own child.
I see no difference between the two; why is showing off fire feats to your own child less influencing to a kid than being shown it by Bozo? Look up "Axe and fire" on YouTube. Fire is so fascinating that kids find it even more irresistible than we do. Chances are good your daughter will someday be sharing these fire feats with her friends. I know I would. As have friends of my daughters tried to with them. Any version of fire that my own daughters have experienced with us (dinner candles, Hannukah candles, etc.) they have tried doing on their own when we weren't present. I have no doubt that if they saw me making a fireball, they'd be trying to make a bigger one when I wasn't around.
Reply With Quote
  #48  
Old 08-17-2010, 07:24 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Marmite Free Sector
Posts: 17,660
Were you reformed by participating in a basketball team? I ask because the cliche in many old B&W movies was that the hero begins the process of reforming the "Bad Dudes" by getting them to shoot hoops.

OK, sorry for the joke, and I don't have any questions for you right now. But good on you for having the guts to start this interesting thread.
Reply With Quote
  #49  
Old 08-17-2010, 07:39 PM
Nzinga, Seated Nzinga, Seated is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by needscoffee View Post
I have no doubt that if they saw me making a fireball, they'd be trying to make a bigger one when I wasn't around.
I hope you are wrong about that. She has shown me really good reasons to trust her word. I know kids will rebel, though. I hope I laid down a very healthy respect for the flame, so that if she does choose to rebel in that area, she does so safely. But I do think she respects the fire enough to know not to rebel in that area. I hope.


I have never really been confident that my style of parenting is perfect or even correct, but I have given it a lot of thought. I have done a lot of work with her, and though my parenting style may be a bit untraditional, I never do anything or make any decisions without giving it much thought and practice and...just hoping I'm doing things right. I may be wrong about allowing her to play with fire with me, though.

I've also done dangerous* scientific experiments with her.

And allowed her to work with knives and such.

Please don't call CPS on me.


*dangerous if done without me
Reply With Quote
  #50  
Old 08-17-2010, 07:49 PM
Mr. Accident Mr. Accident is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectre of Pithecanthropus View Post
Were you reformed by participating in a basketball team? I ask because the cliche in many old B&W movies was that the hero begins the process of reforming the "Bad Dudes" by getting them to shoot hoops.

OK, sorry for the joke, and I don't have any questions for you right now. But good on you for having the guts to start this interesting thread.
Nope, but I love movies like that! And thank you.
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:41 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.