(Part 2 of 3)
The title of this piece provokes several questions: What sinâ€”a word with obvious theological implicationsâ€”has society committed? Why would prisoners seek revenge for societal sin? Why has Southern California been singled out as possibly going to hell? Before I answer these questions, youâ€™re probably wondering why my childhood schoolmate Ronald Hubbard (now Tshaka Ali as stated last week in Part 1) murdered his ex-wife and attempted to murder her boyfriend.
Was it some hot steamy love triangle turned deadly? Not according to Ali. There was a combination of several factors that led to the demise of his ex-wife. The mishandling of finances was a factor raging at the center of a brewing tempest; and what was for him the unbearable provocation involving his ex-wife, their son, and his ex-wifeâ€™s boyfriend. Hereâ€™s a summary of his version of the regrettable circumstances that got him 44 years to life in prison:
Since he was a bodyguard by profession, he travelled extensively. His wife was a real estate agent, and their three children had a live-in nanny. Heâ€™d regularly send money home to care for the mortgage and all other expenses. When he returned from Brazil in February 1995 he received a certified letter informing him that his home was $36,000 in arrears and was about to be foreclosed on.
Being a real estate agent, his wife befriended the person assigned to handle their mortgage and was able to delayâ€”by cunning manipulationâ€”the foreclosing process for as long as she could. She acquired a post office box to intercept any notifications that would alert him as to what was really going on. Eventually, the mortgage person she duped was terminated. However, prior to her termination she showed Ali letters from his wife stating that she was having problems with being pregnant with twins, and that Ali was unemployed. These were fabrications.
They divorced, and Ali was awarded primary custody of their three children. Giving them his top priority, he dramatically curtailed his travels and obtained a client whose own needs would better compliment his schedule. He purchased another home and arranged for his mother to be with the children during the week. Angered over the fact that events had not turn out in her favor, his ex-wife, who had a boyfriend by now, attempted to incite Ali by having her boyfriend stake out his house.
Ali didnâ€™t bite. He did, however, tell his ex that he knew what she was up to. But, staking out the house was a prelude to something far worse. The situation escalated when the boyfriend â€œbegan hitting my 5-year-old son during visits with his motherâ€ writes Ali. After speaking with his ex-wife and her boyfriend he attempted to acquire a retraining order on the boyfriend through United Fathers of America in Torrance. Apparently that didnâ€™t work. So, on June 8, 1997, it all went down. Bang, sheâ€™s dead. Bang, boyfriendâ€™s injured.
To be sure, itâ€™s a very sad story for all parties involved. No one won. Everyone lost. But now, what about societal sin and prisoner revenge as these relate to Southern California? Well, there are new releases coming up and an ex-con may be coming to a neighborhood near you. â€œIâ€™m sure youâ€™re aware,â€ Tshaka wrote, â€œthat the greater percentage of inmates housed in California state prisonsâ€¦will return to Southern California. Institutional racism, immoral obligation, unethical bonding and blatant disregard [for] human rights breed hatred; and if weâ€™ve learned nothing else in prisonâ€”weâ€™ve learned that love, caring, and concern is â€˜active.â€™ If society dismisses the well-being of those whoâ€™re incarcerated, the incarceratedâ€”once freedâ€”will dismiss the well-being of society.â€ He then added these sobering words: â€œBrother, I see it. I hear it.â€ Tshaka Ali may be guilty of several things, but, as I recall, lying about something like this isnâ€™t one of them. This is especially the case since heâ€™s found religion.
Indeed, â€œAs for anyone stopping up his ear from the complaining cry of the lowly one, he himself also will call and not be answered.â€ (Prov. 21:13; New World Translation) So what kind of prisoner has Tshaka been? Evidently, a model one. He worked as the Lieutenantâ€™s clerk, and then moved on to the Executive Body Secretary of the Inmateâ€™s Advisory Committee. But, things changed, and he was soon perceived as a threat to the status quo. Why? What could have possibly happened? Well, Iâ€™ll let him tell you:
â€œI arrived at Salinas Valley Prison on June 9, 2006. Since my arrival, Iâ€™ve reported/documented circumstances where sworn personnel have executed their authority in a villainous manner. As a result of said reports/documentations, I assisted Internal Affairs, North, The Office of the Inspector General, and the Internal Affairs within this institution. Some were terminated while others received disciplinary action in accordance [with] the State Employeeâ€™s Disciplinary Matrix. From that point, I was deemed a threat.â€
For the past three months Tshaka has been on lockdown. Though heâ€™s trying to keep his spirits up, being in the hole has taken its toll. Heâ€™s not a threat to society, but other prisoners looking on and hearing of his plight and who may well be victims themselves and who are due to be released may certainly be a threat to society!
Theyâ€™re convinced that a religious society that primarily claims Christianity is guilty of the sin of inconsistencyâ€”and that on a regular basis. They pay while guards get away. As a result, there are some very bitter former inmates out for revenge. My advice to them? â€œIf possible, as far as it depends upon you, be peaceable with all men. Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but yield place to the wrath; for it is written: â€˜Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says Jehovah.â€™â€¦Do not let yourself be conquered by the evil, but keep conquering the evil with the good.â€ (Rom. 12:18-21) Stay tuned for Part 3, â€œAvoiding the Fate of Inmate Hate.â€Â