A young man next door to me, was one day no longer my neighbor. The police came and arrested him, and now he is facing time for home invasion, assault and battery to an elder person, concealing stolen property and conspiracy to hinder an investigation. This is the result of him going one night to help a friend recover a debt. They had a row with the grandfather of the indebted, where they busted in, beat the man and took a motorbike as payment of the debt. This neighbor of mine was a raw youngster, a big young man, but he was always polite and friendly to me. He had a wife and children, and a good job. I never saw him as a threat, though; I guess it should have come as no surprise.
I worked with a man who had a step son who struggled with school and ended up dropping out. Many divorced children have trouble. It’s understandable, but at the age of twenty this young man had begun to heal his life. He had gone back and received his GED. He was working full time as a cook and considering the armed forces as a way to improve his future. He had his name on the lease of a house he rented, and to help pay the bills, he had a couple of his friends living with him. These friends had another associate, whom they believed was stealing from them. They enticed him over to the home on false pretenses, to confront him. The situation got heated and out of hand. The young man was beaten to death with a baseball bat. Then they spirited the body off to the wilderness to dispose of it. When the son of my workmate came home and found out about it, he didn’t help himself by reporting it, but instead helped them by sanitizing the home and getting rid of the murder weapon. Of course, some other of the boys leaked and now this young man is serving time for aiding and abetting and all the other crimes of concealment that go along with it.
You might say these things happened because these men were young and had little support. True enough, a man’s brain is not fully developed until he’s twenty five, and these young men could have used some guidance, but it is just not a problem of age or support.
President Nixon was a mature man of above average intelligence. He had a whole sphere of people to advise him. He had not ordered his staff to break into the Watergate, but he opted to use the power of his office to defend them. It was a poor decision, and an otherwise great president went down to shame and has this as his everlasting legacy.
The trouble is fallible logic. It is too often believed among men, that friends are friends, and what kind of friend am I if I can’t stand with my brothers in their time of need? It is an irrational belief, and one that might be overcome, given time to reason, but when these incidents occur, time is often the last thing we have. It makes it all the more important for us to choose with care the people we allow in our lives. Because if our friends are knuckleheads, what does that make us?