Texas Zero Tolerance
Texas Zero Tolerance
© 2007 Texas Zero Tolerance and the author
“Hurry up you’re going to be late.”

“Yes Mom, I’ll be there in just a minute.”

As I walked into the kitchen, Mom said, “Alright dear, your coat is right here and you’re going to wear it.” “But Mom, I don’t want to.” “Too bad, you’re going to wear it whether you like it or not. It’s cold out, you don’t want to get sick do you?” I went out the door and moments later got on the bus. Everything was going well that day, until…..Oh No! I felt something in the interior coat pocket after I got to school, much to my surprise, it was a knife! But how did it get there? I didn’t put it there before I left for school. Then I remembered, a month before, I had gone on a camping trip and kept my camping knife in that pocket while camping. I had forgotten to take it out when I got home. The lunch bell rang, and it was time for lunch. What was I going to do?

I thought about telling a teacher but I knew I would be in just as much trouble as if I had intentionally brought the knife to school. I had always been a good student and never gotten in trouble for anything!

I never intended to take the knife to school or any other type of weapon; I never even thought of a knife as a weapon before, because I just used it for whittling and cutting brush and rope on camp outs. I guess after camping for all of those years in the scouts, I just became numb to the fact that my knife could also be used as a weapon.

There I was, sitting at the lunch table in shock. Then one of my best friends, that I ate lunch with every day, said, “Our class had to go through metal detectors today. It was neat, one kid even got busted.” “They did?” I asked. It was as if my heart was beating out of my body and was stuck in my throat. Then, out of shock, I told my friend about the knife. We had been friends for a long time and had become close over the years or so I thought. I was hoping my friend could give me some idea of what to do about the situation. “I would go and put it in your locker, if I were you”; the friend said. “That’s what I’ll do.” So after lunch was over, I ran up-stairs, and safely put it in my locker…Or so I thought. Finally, advisory had come and gone, and it was already fourth period, which was the last period of the day. I was almost safe. It was the end of the day, which meant it was just about time to go home. Only if I could make it. “I’ve made it this long; only if I can last one more period; I would be home free”; I thought to myself. The teacher called my name? “Yes”? “Could you go see if you can go and find this paper up in your locker for me? It’s been missing for a week”. My teacher said.

“Sure”. I replied.

I headed upstairs and got to my locker. Then someone besides me asked “What are you doing?” “I am getting a paper for science.” I said to the unseen voice. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you. Come with me we need to talk. There was a police officer standing there. At that moment I knew I was in for it. I then realized that it must have been my friend that betrayed me. What a friend he turned out to be. It wasn’t like I was going to hurt anyone with the knife. It was a complete accident. The friend must have told someone because he was the only one that knew I had mistakenly brought the knife to school. I was completely honest with the police and told them the whole story yet I was arrested. Later that night I was picked up by my parents at the juvenile detention center. I told my mother “It was a complete accident Mom, and that my friend was the one that told on me.” “This could have happened to anyone.” Mom said “I know sweetie, unfortunately, the real crime that you committed was being forgetful. You’ve always been forgetful.”
A week later I was sent to boot camp for something extremely dumb. There was no way out of it. That’s what I hated the most. There was this zero tolerance policy. This wasn’t right but there was no way around it. The way the law read they had to do it, they had to arrest me and send me to boot camp just because of the kind of knife it was even though you can buy this same type of pocketknife at Wal Mart. This was crazy and just plain dumb.

I experienced some tough times while serving my sentence at boot camp. I was forced to do exercises in a sandpit with a concrete bottom, which caused me to become severely bruised on my back and left knee. Several times in January I was forced to exercise outside for 2 hours at a time in below freezing temperatures in only a T-shirt when the temperature was 28° F and the wind chill was 19° F. After my first week in boot camp I asked my parents if I could quit taking my medication I took to concentrate with because the drill instructor would place the pill on my tongue and then would wait until the pill would start to melt before he would allow me to have any water to swallow the pill with. My parents immediately requested to have my medication stopped. After my 45 calendar day sentence was up at the boot camp, I was a changed person. At least I got something out of the whole experience:


No Way Out
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