A LOST BOY, A BROKEN SYSTEM
AND THE SMALL LIGHT OF HOPE
By all accounts, Nathan Frank started out as a terrific kid with the brightest of futures ahead of him. With the advent of adolescence, however, Nathan’s world and his relationships begin to unravel. No matter which way he turns, he seems to find conflict. Eventually, with his powerful personality, he becomes his own generator of conflict as he steadily enters a world of drugs, defiance and ultimately a criminal street gang. Finally, he runs off the rails at full throttle, coming to a hard stop at seventeen years old when he is arrested for his participation in a botched robbery. With his arrest, Nathan is swept into a justice system of condemnation and ruination for those who enter its control. There, the fact that he is a troubled teen means nothing – maybe less than nothing. Nathan is tried as an adult and sentenced to multiple life terms for his crimes. So at seventeen, he enters a world where exploitation, violence and abject hopelessness reign. Forgiveness, rehabilitation, redemption are hardly even notions within our justice and corrections systems. Logically, Nathan should be crushed by his fate. He very nearly is. But, the man Nathan becomes, a man who finds his strength in fundamentally good qualities that he suppressed for so many years, will not be crushed. Somehow, in one of the worst places on earth, he rediscovers the best parts of himself. Destructive Justice follows Nathan from the great promise of his earliest years, to the great tragedy of his adolescence, to the small light of hope for an even greater redemption.
If there is one perdominantly striking quality that characerized his early years, it was his love of experience, just to be out there in the world, “rockin’ it” with his siblings and friends.
First, I want to stress that, while labeled ‘fiction’, this book does not read like a novel. Destructive Justice is very much a memoir, fictionalized only with the intent of protecting people’s identities and privacy.
The author’s story is a powerful one. Society tends to blame parents when children are troubled. Believing that parent did something wrong is easier than admitting these things could happen to any of us, to any of our children. By sharing their story, the author and his son are shining a bright light on our broken (in)justice system. Now it’s up to us to take the information offered and join in to fix the problems. Nathan could be anyone’s son, and this should not happen to our children.
Revenge alone and punishment for the sake of punishment can never be the final answers to dealing with those who commit offenses.
Thanks for reading. 🙂