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Posted on November 18 at 1:08 p.m.
outside11: Thank you. I believe you got the point across that I was trying to present. I let my emotions get into it. I don't deny that Ben "absolutely messed up and selfish what he did, and how he affected his victims lives, and what he became". He did.
My issue is, I do not believe he is that same messup up selfish person today. I know the time he has spent in prison has given him time to reflect on his mistakes and how they affected other people. I am not saying to release him as I don't feel he would be able to adjust to society very well. I do know for a fact that he spoke about how horrible he felt about making people fear for their lives. And yes, he hurt his family as well. In fact, I am hurt as his friend that he took things so far. But I do not believe for a second that Ben would ever have pulled the trigger. I know a that a gun was not used in at least some of the robberies. I will have to look into that myself. Wether you are starring at a bag that you think has a gun in it or a gun itself is irrelevant.
As you said "unconditional love". I believe every human being deserves it from somebody. Wether anybody on here wishes to forgive Ben. It's not my issue. To err is human to forgive divine. I forgive and feel empathy for those who had their lives negatively changed by Ben's actions. Nobody can change their past. They can only try to be a better person in the future. In this article, the feeling I got was that Ben was trying to be a better person even though he is locked up for life.
Ben became a monster and you can be in denial about the role addiction played. It was very much a factor. Those who knew him can attest to that. I still know from my own experience that he does have a big heart and his actions while selfish, were not meant to hurt people.
On Surfer, Robber, Writer, Lifer
Posted on November 17 at 10:18 p.m.
junkfoodjunky: And it had everything to do with addiction. Addiction doesn't mean drugs and alcohol...
Posted on November 17 at 10:16 p.m.
junkfoodjunky: You are clueless... I am sorry that you are so blind to the world. It's really sad. He never stole a penny from me, my family, friends or anybody I know. If somebody is stealing at 8. It isn't on them. They need help... I stole stuff at 5. Yet I am a good person today. We aren't alone in this world. It's an illusion. All Ben needed was help. Hope somebody is there to help you if you need it. Everybody needs help sometime in their life.
Posted on November 17 at 9:43 p.m.
junkfoodjunky: Once again. You have it all wrong. Ben never hurt anybody. Frightened, yes. Hurt no. He didn't have a gun and would have never shot anybody. It's still not the point... The point is addiction. If you have never experienced it, you won't understand it. And that is OK. Just hope people can have more opened minds. If I saw Ben today. I would not be frightened at all. I would bring my 8 year old daughter. I would give him a big hug and introduce him to my little girl. Ben is harmless and just made bad choices. The prison system is inadequate at best to help people like Ben. Not to mention, completely overcrowded because there is no treatment for addicts. They throw them in with murders, rapists, etc... So what are the going to learn? hmmm... Enough said.
Posted on November 17 at 9:35 p.m.
italiansurg: No... My post seems far from idiotic. I have known the man "Ben Greenspon" for most of my life. You ask any close friend of his and you will get the same response. Ben has a huge heart. Just misguided as many young people are today.
It's actually funny that you put this all on Ben. Our society is responsible for the so called bad kids. Divorce, MIA dads, parents that use drugs, not enough counseling for kids, and teens have nobody that they trust.
It makes my posts all the more relevant. Ben is one of many people, kids, teens that grew up too fast without anybody to trust. Got addicted to the freedom and power of drugs, money and feeling like a somebody. It happens every day to lots of people. Ben just seems to be the scapegoat at this point. If it makes you all think about it more, great. The article has done it's purpose. If not, you live in the dark.
I enjoy the different perspectives and I thank you for making me think but if you don't know Ben. Sorry... It just doesn't say much. Just another 1 of the 7,000,000,000 people on the planet trying to survive and be happy. Seems like he failed but he is still trying to make his life worth something while locked up for life. That says more to me than I can say for most people who think that their status, money, possessions, etc... in life somehow make them better. Ben has nothing and he has found a way to be positive...
Posted on November 17 at 9:18 p.m.
Ben never hurt anybody. He had a paper bag. Not a gun. He is remorseful for putting people in a fearful situation at the banks and the officer that shot him. You are all out of your minds making judgement on a human being that you did not know. Any human being for that matter. This is what is wrong with the world these days. Instead of helping each other, we criticize. Look around at the world. Our government is broken. Our once great country is losing ground fast and it's all because we are selfish. It's not just Ben's actions. It's everybody! Help each other. Ben F!@#$ed up and is paying the price. Everybody else needs to take a good look at themselves like Ben is forced to in prison. Myself included. He can't change the past. Neither can you or I. Move forward, forgive, forget and help your fellow human beings. Otherwise, you are part of the problem.
And addiction... Don't get me started. Most crimes are because of addiction. Wether it is drug addiction, addiction to adrenaline, addiction to money, etc... It's what drives the criminals. They NEED help. Period! Addiction is the most overlooked, least understood disease on the planet. Most people don't even realize it is a disease. It's like cancer for the mind. And I have seen it all.
So please... Try not to judge, try to forgive, try to be united. Bad things happen. People do bad things. As a whole, I believe all human beings are good.
A human being is a part of the whole, called by us "Universe", a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. The striving to free oneself from this delusion in the one issue of true religion. Not to nourish the delusion but try to overcome it is the way to reach the attainable measure of peace of mind.
Posted on November 17 at 5:17 p.m.
BeachFan: He never used a gun! He is doing his time. And who are you to judge him without seeing life through his eyes or feeling his emotions. That is just ignorant. Wake up people and realize that everybody needs to be forgiven. He made mistakes. Many mistakes and he is paying the price. It doesn't mean that the person inside is bad.
italiansurg: Your comment doesn't even really deserve acknowledgment. You may be the one that needs to grow up and realize addiction is a disease. If it is not treated, you end up dead or in prison.
Posted on November 17 at 2:36 p.m.
For all those who are judging Ben as a bad person. Please read this. I knew Ben very well. He was my older brother's best friend and a good friend of mine.
While there is no disputing that Ben made the wrong choices from a very young age. He is not a bad or violent person. He did not want to or try to hurt the officer that shot him. He asked her repeatedly to shoot him. He wanted to die because he knew he had been caught and was facing life. Something that he had talked to other inmates about when he was locked up previously. Death by cop. This is a fact and Ben felt terrible that he had frightened the female officer.
Ben is a good guy and I blame the system as much as I blame his choices. Drug addicts need help. He was in and out of juvenile detention since 16 years old. It was all he knew. When he got out at 28. He had no idea of how to hold a job or how to live a normal life. Does this excuse him from robbing banks or any of the other charges? No, but if Ben would have more help at a young age (specifically with addiction) and not just locked up every time. Things may have been different. Maybe not but I see the young kids today and many of them need help and guidance.
The bottom line is that Ben is not a bad guy. Thankfully I did not go down the same road as he did. My older brother (Ben's best friend) also chose the wrong path and ended up losing his battle with addiction in 2005. I am happy that I had Ben as a friend. More like another older brother and still feel that way about him today.
I am not sure what is worse. Ending up in prison for life or losing your life to drug addiction. Either way, both those boys needed help and ultimately addiction ways the motivation.
I will miss them both forever. At least I can still go visit Ben. I just wish we could be hanging at the beach instead of sitting in a prison visting room.
Thank you Elizabeth for the wonderful article.