As I have written several times, my wife and I adopted Wil from Guatemala when he was seven. We were living in California at the time. I was a counselor, and Kim was a physical education and health instructor. He went to two different elementary schools, and he did well. When Wil was in fifth grade, he went to a large middle school, grades five through eight. Not sure why they configured it that way, but that’s what the grades were in the school. He was given the MVP of the track team as a fifth grader. The coaches thought that highly of him. Truly, he could fly.
One day, Wil came home and told us that kids were asking him what gang he was in. Hmmm. Yes, he was a dark-skinned Latino kiddo. But that question alarmed us. We lived in a nice area and the school was in a nice area. In the time we lived in California, Kim had lost an uncle and I had lost two sisters, and we decided that our kids were growing up not knowing their aunts and uncles, cousins and grandparents. So, we moved back “home” to Wisconsin to be closer to family.
We lived in a small resort town where I was a high school principal. When Wil was in sixth or seventh grade, he told us a story that alarmed us. He was walking home at night from the County Fair, only a few short blocks away. As he did, he heard a couple of high school kids yell something about “mud people.” Wil was street-smart enough to realize they were talking about him. The vehicle they were in moved slowly behind him in the same direction he walked. He began to run and made it home without incident. He was shaking when he got home. Like I said, that alarmed us. It made both of us angry. Kim and I were on alert from then on. Not just for Wil, but for Hannah and Emily, who were both quite a bit younger.
Then came Wil’s death. Walking on the street from getting lunch and shopping for a few things for his and his wife’s new apartment. Caught between two rival gangs, one intent on killing the other. Wil was struck in the back and died on the sidewalk that Saturday afternoon.
George Floyd. Others.
That video we saw and the narrative surrounding that video was sickening. It astounds and astonishes me. Kim and I can barely watch it.
Our youngest, Emily, and her boyfriend, Quaevon, celebrated their collegiate graduation yesterday. All of us went to Richmond to Hannah’s and her fiancé’s apartment to watch it. We took pictures, had a celebratory lunch. It was an enjoyable occasion, a happy day that we got to spend together.
George Floyd. Others.
Emily has written and posted on Facebook her experience as Kim and I, Wil, Hannah and Emily would go out to dinner, to the beach, shopping, wherever. The stares. The whispers. She has told us that she and Q, as we call him- as everyone calls him- get stares from people as they walk down the street, as they sit in a restaurant, as they drive around town. Stares. Two young adults enjoying themselves as many adults, young and old, do. Noticing stares. Noticing whispers.
George Floyd. Others.
I’m sure that as a parent, any parent, you are sometimes frightened for your kids, no matter how old they are, no matter where they are. Even as a non-parent, I have to believe there is empathy towards what I and others feel about our kids. We only want the best for them. To succeed better, reach farther, achieve more. As parents or caring adults, we try to help them as best we can. We don’t want to see them hurt. We don’t want to see them in pain. Their hurt, their pain doubles if you are the parent or caring adult.
Yesterday as we drove to see the house that Hannah and Alex bought, Kim and I talked with Q and Emily about George Floyd. I mentioned that when I saw that video, I immediately thought of Q. A gentle, thoughtful, kind young man who wouldn’t hurt anyone intentionally. The first in his immediate family to graduate from college. A young black man dating my daughter. I worry. Yes, I fear for his and for Emily’s safety. I asked him to be careful. To stay safe. He told us he would. I believe he’ll do his best, not only for his, but also for Emily’s sake. Having gotten to know him as we do, he is now a part of our family and we love him as if he were our own. We want . . . need . . . him safe. To be safe.
George Floyd. Others.
Something to think about . . .
Live Your Life, and Make A Difference! (Please?)
To My Readers:
My new book, Betrayed, will debut Nov. 12, 2020! It is a contemporary psychological thriller using some of the same characters from my previous work. It takes place on the Navajo Nation Reservation in northeast Arizona.
Below is the book blurb. Pretty excited about it.
Integrity is protecting someone who betrayed you. Courage is keeping a promise even though it might mean death.
A late-night phone call turns what was to be a fun hunting trip into a deadly showdown. Fifteen-year-old brothers George Tokay, Brian Evans and Brett McGovern face death on top of a mesa on the Navajo Nation Reservation in Arizona. They have no idea why men are intent on killing them.
Betrayed is a contemporary psychological thriller and an exploration of the heart and of a blended family of adopted kids, their relationships to each other and their parents woven into a tight thriller/mystery.
Tina O’Hailey, author of When Darkness Begins wrote: “Adopted and bonding as a family, with histories of death, destruction and for some...abuse, these boys band together—ready to lay down their life for their new family—in order to find a missing friend before dangerous gunmen find them.
A whirlwind of adventure, relationships, protecting family, hair-raising situations, and cold betrayal.”
Connect with me on Social Media:
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor
Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Lewis.Author
Spiral Into Darkness:
Named a Recommended Read in the Author Shout Reader Awards!
He blends in. He is successful, intelligent and methodical. He has a list and has murdered eight on it so far. There is no discernible pattern. There are no clues. There are no leads. The only thing the FBI and local police have to go on is the method of death: two bullets to the face- gruesome and meant to send a message. But it’s difficult to understand any message coming from a dark and damaged mind. Two adopted boys, struggling in their own world, have no idea they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement. https://amzn.to/2RBWvTm
Caught in a Web:
A PenCraft Literary Award Winner!
The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay, who had killed his cousin the previous summer.
Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else, especially George or members of his family. The three detectives discover the ring has its roots in a high school among the students and staff. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKF7696
Caught in a Web is now available in Audio format. You can find it at https://www.beaconaudiobooks.com/audiobookreleases/high-school-drug-rings-gangs-and-revenge-are-all-encompassing-in-caught-in-a-web-by-joseph-lewis
Book One of the Lives Trilogy, Stolen Lives:
Two thirteen-year-old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved. http://tinyurl.com/Stolen-Lives-J-Lewis
Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
Six men escaped and are out for revenge. The boys, recently freed from captivity, are in danger and so are their families, but they don’t know it. The FBI has no clues, no leads, and nothing to go on and because of that, cannot protect them. http://tinyurl.com/Shattered-Lives-J-Lewis
Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
A 14-year-old boy knows the end is coming. What he doesn’t know is when, where or by whom. Without that knowledge, neither he nor the FBI can protect him or his family. http://tinyurl.com/Splintered-Lives-J-Lewis
The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Kelliher, 11-year-old Brett McGovern, and 11-year-old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out. http://tinyurl.com/Taking-Lives-J-Lewis