Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Half-Freedom Road

I got a cold mind to go tripping 'cross that thin line,
I ain't making straight time.
- Bruce Springsteen

Steven Pratt was fifteen years old in 1984 when - following an argument with his neighbor Michael Anderson - Pratt shot and killed Anderson.  Pratt was tried as an adult.  He was convicted in 1986 and sentenced a term of thirty years at Bayside State Prison in Leesburg, New Jersey. 

On Friday, October 10, Steven Pratt was paroled from Bayside State Prison.  He returned home to Atlantic City. He came home to the home of his mother, Gwendolyn.  She was so happy to have her son home - having watched him be taken away to prison when he was still a teenager that she threw a huge welcome-home party for him.  

On Sunday, October 12, Steven Pratt was arrested again.  Less than forty-eight hours after having been paroled from a prison where he had spent twenty-eight of the first forty-five years of his life, Pratt was arrested and charged with murder.  Atlantic City Police responded to Gwendolyn Pratt's home in the pre-dawn hours on Sunday to find her murdered - dead from blunt force trauma to the head.  Murdered in her own home by her own son.   She was just sixty-four years old. 

One might wonder, "What type of piece of human dreck murders his own mother and does so less than forty-eight hours after having been paroled after serving close to thirty years in State prison for another murder?"  Sadly, that question is not merely a hypothetical.  Even sadder still is that its answer is not merely knowable but known.  

It turns out that an apple can fall very, very far from the tree after all.  

Eight years in, it feels like you're gonna die
But you get used to anything
Sooner or later it becomes your life.
-Bruce Springsteen


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