aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

Awkward conversations

At Wordstock on Sunday I talked about Shock Point and the overseas bootcamps that inspired it. I also talked about some US bootcamps, like the one in Pennsylvania where two judges have admitted they got kickbacks for sentencing kids for doing things as minor as putting up a spoof Myspace site for their school's principal.

I also talked about Aaron Bacon, whose dad testified to Congress after his son's death. "His son had spent 14 of 20 days "without any food whatsoever" while having to hike 8-12 miles a day. When he was given food, it consisted of "undercooked lentils, lizards, scorpions, trail mix and a celebrated canned peach on the 13th day".

Aaron died from an untreated perforated ulcer. He had been beaten "from the top of his head to the tip of his toes" during his month at the camp, according to his father. "His mother and I will never escape our decision to send our gifted 16-year-old son to his death."

After my talk, a young woman came up to me, visibly trembling. She had worked in a wilderness bootcamp, and was sure they had saved many lives. To add insult to injury, she had not gotten much money for this work - and now I was dissing it.

I'm sure there are some good programs. I thanked her for reminding me of that, and told her I would mention that when I gave future talks.

Still, the things I talked about are true,and the book I wrote is based on truth. Where do you draw the line?
My other awkward conversation was today at a luncheon honoring law enforcement personnel. The women ahead of me in line said she was there because her husband was getting an award.

I said "Congratulations." But it turned out it was posthumous. He and a bomb tech died when they tried to disable a bomb this stupid father-son team left at a bank. The other person near the bomb lost his leg. He was there at the meeting, too, walking on crutches on his artificial leg. There was a standing ovation for both men, but it's certainly not enough for the sacrifices they made all because some idiots decided that building a bomb was a great way to make money.

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