• 52°

We reap what we sow, especially in crime

By William S. Walker

Special to the Salisbury Post

My voice goes out to those who for reasons of poverty, racism, drug abuse or the thrill of the criminal lifestyle have crossed the line from aspiring to be a productive member of society to simply trying to get by one day at a time in an anything-goes mentality.

Your life has consequences. When the money, fast friends and drugs run out, and prison bars clang, you are forced to reflect on the one who has hurt you the most — yourself.

In prison, you’re forced to think about what you could have been, what you could have done and all those you hurt and left behind. The quick buck promised by selling drugs or robbing people ends up a very slow, regretful thought, day after day, year after year, for decades as you watch yourself age and loved ones pass away.

Drugs and crime have polluted our dreams. When you wake up from it, you’re left with the awful realization of what you’ve done to others and to yourself.

No matter where you’re at or what condition you’re in, there is a better way. Call it a better life, the American dream or whatever you like, but it is within your grasp. Religious groups, service groups and community volunteers can and will help you if you will only reach out and try.

Many like myself are serving life terms and watch as men come in and out of prison as if it’s no big deal. This has to stop. The system can’t handle it, the community can’t handle it and your family can’t handle it. We reap what we sow, and your life has consequences. Put the drugs down, put the guns down and lift up your dreams to be someone  you can admire and respect when you see your own reflection.

Family, friends and society need you now more than ever.

I committed my crime at 17 years old, and 20 years later I’m still suffering from my actions, and so are my victims. Don’t think you’re not going to get caught. We all get caught. There are roughly 40,000 inmates in North Carolina who all thought they would get away. They didn’t, and nor will you.

Change is possible. Lives change and miracles happen. Live your success story. Be who your heart tells you are. A life of guilt, shame and regret is what crime and violence finally pays. At least try and give yourself a chance. Give your family and community a chance. Take a stand!

William S. Walker is an inmate at Piedmont Correctional Institution in Salisbury, serving a life sentence for murder.

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