If there are two sides to any story then might I add to one of them? First I thank you all for allowing me to be a part of what I hope is a solution to the public outcry over building a Community Corrections Facility in Montrose, Colorado. As I see it the problem seems to be that many residents of Montrose are fearful that a hitherto unknown element of “evil” is about to encroach upon the peaceful setting of the Uncompahgre Valley. They are afraid that we will be overrun by criminals seeking to destroy our peaceful little valley. There are many who have and continue to pre-judge individuals, insitutions, and the very system of laws which keep us conscious of our culpability. I find it interesting that those so prejudiced will deny any involvement with the problem but refuse to accept responsibilty for that denial. I have no need or even desire to change anyone’s mind. I have no power besides a persuasive attempt to tell the truth. If I had just been released from The Department of Corrections I would certainly think twice about living in a community where even a small percentage of the population has made up their mind that I am a bad person and that I am not welcomed here. There is no denying the fact that many of us are not willing to change no matter what is said. Which comes to the point of this whole problem. This has nothing to do with what others think. It has to do with how we behave. I don’t like having the responsibilties I have until I accept the facts. Once I accept that change is necessary and that the only thing I need to change or even can change is my attitude, then I can move from my selfish ideas about (what else?) self and direct my efforts toward someone else who really wants help.
For much of my life I thought that others knew what I had in mind and that we all shared the same interests and goals. My actions (as my dear wife reminds me) speak much louder than my thoughts. Wading through trials and tribulations has taken nothing from me and I would hope that others who read this might agree that real character is not determined by circumstances but through reaction to events and the acceptance of the outcome. After reading the thoughts of others about keeping this so-called criminal element out of Montrose I am a little more than amused. But I would not expect anything different than how it is with us when we face our fears. I fear there is something greater than me – and there IS!
For the past four years I have been housing men who have sincerely desired to change their lives for the better. Some of them have come through here from Comcor. Some have come through the County Courts. Some are members of organizations and fellowships which demand a type of honesty which some of us are not capable of. Once they have experienced the kind of upheaval necessary to seek a solution, they usually take one of two paths: They accept their lot in life, ask for help, share their experience with others and obtain a peace beyond understanding or; They disregard the obvious and continue on the same path which leads to institutions, prisons and finally death. For those unfamiliar with the insanity of living by one’s own rules and total lack of any conciousness of reality, just ask yourself this simple question. Why is the front page of a newspaper all about the insanity of expecting anything but “bad news”? And the best some of us can do is condemn those who are giving their best effort be part of the solution.
Whether we like the idea of a Community Corrections Center here, or not, it is going to come in one form or another. I willingly offer my home and all that I have to help those who really are in need and have the desire to be part of the solution. Neither I nor anyone involved in this attempt to help restore some sanity to these men’s lives is asking for the community to support or even accept the facts about the need for some form of moral obligation from those of us who have been there. I can only pray that we might take the opportunity to be of service to our fellows by respecting those who make the sacrifices of time and talents to help. That being said I wish to end this by saying simply that it is required of me treat all men equally and I think I do. There are some whom I have more to give than others.