Little Shepherds

The pursuit of knowledge about crime has involved an epic journey through the centuries: from an earlier age, when all crime was sun, to more enlightened eras, when societies developed laws to define and control criminal behavior and scientists found ways to detect and decode it. A more nuanced, humane understanding evolved, in which circumstance and state of mind became important. Yet the deepest and most troubling questions about human nature stubbornly remain rooted in the spiritual and moral worlds. Perhaps it is part of the human condition that we cannot analyze it explain that which most frightens us. We will never understand why people (like Vacher) arise to bring chaos and violence into a world that we struggle to keep orderly and safe. We cannot account for the source of that impulse. We can only study it and try to keep it at bay.


Walk in My Shoes

It all comes back to personal confidence and individual security. We must be happy with who we are. And when we find someone who isn’t secure, we must nurture, include and help create opportunities for them- or we may all pay the price down the road. Andy believes that if you aren’t comfortable with your own skin, then you’ll fall prey to whatever sickness that still silently (and, at times, not so silently) pervades our society. To see everyone as a potential teacher is an instructive way to get past our prejudices.

What’s that old phrase? “Minds are like parachutes. They work best when they are open.”



Once you’ve played for Eddie Rake, you carry him with you forever. You hear his voice, you see his face, you long for his smile of approval, you remember his tongue lashings and lectures. With each success in life, you want Rake to know about it. You want to say, Hey Coach, look at what I’ve done. And you want to thank him for teaching you that success is not an accident. And with each failure, you want to apologize because he did not teach us to fail. He refused to accept failure. You want his advice on how to overcome it.

At times you get tired of carrying Coach Rake around. You want to be able to screw up and not hear him bark. You want to slide and maybe cut a corner without hearing his whistle. Then the voice will tell you to pick yourself up, to set a goal, work harder than everybody else, stick to the basics, execute perfectly, be confident, be brave, and never, never quit. The voice is never far away.


To Lolo, For Your Smiling Eyes

In his memoir entitled “Colors of the Mountain,” author Da Chen wrote a short dedication to his grandfather which says: “To Grandpa, for your smiling eyes.”

These words ring true, with the joy that shines through when Lolo looks at you and that hint of smile when he closes his eyes. To Lolo, for your smiling eyes.

Many of us would probably have our own special memory of Lolo that we want to reminisce and share. One longer than the other. Some in black and white, and others encompassing the colors of the rainbow. But all are equally special because they came from a man who reads more than he speaks.

Though Lolo was a man of few words, the depth of his knowledge would probably surpass the stories of many generations. At a glorious old age of eighty-eight, Lolo has lived through several chapters of a book. And his is a life worth reading about, remembering and celebrating. He was born in a time where the circumstances of life would seem so foreign for most of us now. After the war, before he finished high-school, Lolo embarked on a journey of self-discovery. Although, it probably produced more questions to the answers he was looking for. The grey skies that loomed over the seas and cut his journey short did not weaken his resolve to better himself despite of the circumstances. A few years later, after the Americans granted us our independence, Lolo had the opportunity to cross the sea and experience life in Guam. Despite not having a college diploma, Lolo was recruited and employed by the Marianas Stevedoring and Development Company (Masdelco) as a machinist for the Guam Naval Supply Depot. What he knew, in order to work as a machinist, he learned through rigorous reading. Thus, giving truth to what a learned man is and should be. He later became a teacher with TESDA, passing on the wisdom he learned through years of hard work.

As young kids, we marveled at stories of him and his love of books. As adults, we listened intently and asked repeatedly for his stories of days gone by, teased him until he smiled and learned from him things only a man of his age would know. We will always be grateful for the many Sunday’s we spent at their house by the beach. Influenced by the events of his time, Lolo was a very simple man, not very fuzzy. He found joy in the little things: a bowl of his favorite oatmeal, a pack of prunes, a bottle of jam, a bar of chocolate, a good book to read while surrounded by the rhythm of the trees.

Dearest Lolo, we will always remember with great fondness those days when you lived with us. I could still see you during siesta time, sitting, contently reading, while being surrounded by the silence of the afternoon and the music of the birds singing. I guess you’ll have more time to read now. By God’s grace, we are blessed to have grown up listening to your stories, learning from you, hearing you laugh, and seeing you smile. Because there’s nothing more we (as grandchildren) can ask for, than to have had you as our Lolo. Every book we will read will always remind us of the wisdom you have passed on to us. Every growing tree will always remind us of the love you have for creating new things and giving new life to old ones. As the waves gently splashes on the shore, we will remember you silently chuckle on the sides and urging us on to live, laugh and be with joy.

In your journey home, Lolo, we wish you joy when you finally see your father again. You’ll always have our love, and we’ll always have your smile tucked inside our hearts. We love you Lolo!

Lolo- Grandfather

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El Camino de Santiago: The Things We Carried

Originally posted on The Greenery:

If you plan to haul an object on your back for 900 kilometers, carefully consider its importance.

And its weight.

Here are the objects I deemed worthy:

*Osprey Sirrus 36 “Full Day Adventure” pack (2 lbs, 14 oz; 1.31 kg)

*REI “Travel Down” 45-degree sleeping bag

**Salomon Gore-Tex hiking boots (I HAD NO BLISTERS. Take a moment to absorb that.)

*Leki Makalu “Ultralite” titanium hiking poles (alt. use: Intimidating oncoming livestock.)

**REI Rain jacket and pants (alt. uses: Snow suit. Wind suit. Freezing cold suit. Nakedness prevention suit on wash day.)

**2 pr Smartwool socks (I would marry these.)

******2 pr Ex Officio quick-dry underwear(The importance of good panties cannot be overstated.)

2 long-sleeved quick-dry shirts (1 hoodie, 1 button-down)

1 short-sleeved quick-dry shirt

2 yoga tops with built-in bras(alt. use: PJs)

1 pr fancy hiking pants

1 fairly tasteful black…

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The Law Is Human and Flawed

Originally posted on Longreads Blog:

What is lawful is not always identical to what is right. Sometimes it falls to a judge to align the two. Ward’s judgment runs to more than eighty closely typed pages. It is beautifully written, delicate and humane, philosophically astute, ethically sensitive, and scholarly, with a wide range of historical and legal references.

The best of judgments, as I was to discover, are similarly endowed. They form a neglected sub-genre of our literature, read in their entirety by almost no one except law studentsand fellow judges. And in the Family Division particularly, they present a hoard of personal drama and moral complexity. They are on fiction’s terrain, even though they are bound, unlike the fortunate novelist, to a world of real people and must deliver a verdict.

But as we all know, verdicts, indeed the whole system, can also be asininetough, even tragic, for its innocent…

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