*Warning! This contains foul language and sexual situations*
(by Randy E. Halprin)
I’ve written about a few things in my journal about the summer of 1996. (Not to be con-
I left Kentucky to hopefully start over. I thought, Hey, I’d show up on my parents front porch and sincerely ask them for help. I’d get a job; pay them rent if I had to, I just truly wanted to get better. Mentally, I could feel myself on the edge of some great abyss. Barely in reality, I had become a pathological liar, I was a thief and an addict. I was no longer the cute, clean cut Randy-
When my parents rejected my plea I landed in the Arlington Night Shelter. I made another conscious effort to try to better myself. "Fine," I thought. "If I’ve got to do this on my own I will. I will prove to my family; my father that I can do this-
I began to search for a job and I had stopped drugs cold turkey-
Because I was only 18, I was the "kid" at the shelter. I bonded with everyone awesome-
One black lady who was staying at the shelter would call me her "son". She worked at Six Flags over Texas, an amusement park in Arlington, and would bring me back all sorts of stuff from there. All sorts of foods; giant pretzels, a little bit of everything.
I had trouble finding a job, because no one wanted to hire a homeless person (nice socie-
One afternoon, the black lady who called me "Son" told me she could get me into Six Flags for free. She thought I could use a break so I said, "Sure I’d love to go." A few days later she got me in and I spent the day walking around riding rides, etc. She told me to be at some snack place around five in the afternoon and she’d hook me up with a meal. I showed up and boy did she! I can still remember this gigantic plate of bean and cheese nachos covered in guacamole, diced tomatoes and onions. I was so full!
When I finished we agreed to meet back up right when the park was closing so I could go back to the shelter with her. I returned to walking around the park, walking off some of the food. There is an area in Six Flags in between rides full of little booths and games and as I was walking by a photo booth I noticed a blond girl looking quite bored, head resting on her hands at the counter. I stopped, thinking, "man she looks familiar." I turned around to walk by the booth again, "Mindi?" I asked. "Randy!" she said. "Holy shit!" I replied. "What are you doing here?" she asked.
I’ve known Mindi my whole life, practically. I met her when my parentsfirst adopted me. Her family and my father were founding members of our Synagogue in Arlingtons small Jewish congregation. I grew up with her, went to Hebrew school and Sunday school. Dated her and kissed her in the seventh grade. Had a few of the same classes as her in our first year of junior high. However, once I went to school in Kentucky we drifted apart. I was lucky to see her once a year. It’d been about a year and a half since I last talked to her.
"Oh…I’m here with a friend who works here. She got me in for free." I said.
"Are you back at home? Where are you staying, I heard about some troubles."
"Uhhh…I’m kind of in the Arlington Nighter Shelter." I said ashamed.
"It’s a long story."
"Well, you can’t go there tonight. Come back home with me-
"Spend the night?" I asked.
We made plans to meet up at the amusement parks closing and I took off to tell the black lady (forgive me for constantly calling her that-
That night I did spend the night with her. We caught up on everything (well, most every-
Over the next few days I hung out with Mindi. I met up with her parents. God bless them, truly some of the kindest (us Jews use the term ‘mensch’) I’ve ever known. They were truly concerned about me-
Things were good and looking up for me. I’d somehow managed to suppress this thing that was eating me from within. Until one night back at the shelter I decided to contact my parents talk to them, seek their help one more time. The conversation started off well enough. I gave my parents an update and talked to my mom.
"Well, that’s good Randy…your father and I want to make you aware of something though" she said. I thought, okay she’s going to give me a lecture etc. But never ex-
"Yeah?" I replied.
"We’ve decided to remove you from our will."
"Huh?" What did she say?
"We’ve taken you from the will. You’ve lied to us, stolen from us-
"But Mom, I’m trying to do better! I’m asking for help!" I cried.
Now let me explain something here. I could care less about being on the receiving end of their will. As an 18 year old that was and had been the furthest thing from my mind. Who in their right mind thinks about what they’re going to get from a family members death? At eighteen you still believe your parents are going to live forever.
Those words were like a knife in the very depths of my soul. A hot searing blade cutting my heart into two. It meant that they were so finished with me that they had removed me from their own will. I might as well have not even existed. I stood with the phone pressed against my ear, hands beginning to tremble, tears pouring from my eyes… "But Mom…" I said holding back a shaking voice.
"Get better Randy"
"I’m trying. I can’t do it on my own"
"You’ve got no choice" she said.
I hung up the phone, walked into the restroom and into a bathroom stall, closed the door, sat on a toilet and cried. At that moment, my resolve to get off of drugs, better myself had been shattered. I became a broken man at that point.
I blew my nose, walked out of the stall to the sinks, splashed myself with cold water and stared at myself in the mirror. I felt so lost.
I began drugs again.
I met up with Mindi a few more times. We went out to see a movie and I remember going out to a restaurant one late night with a bunch of her friends. But she was prepar-
During this time I met three people at the shelter one was a couple; Todd and Ramie and the other was a 20 year old single mom named Charity, with her child Jarred. We all met
up through the plasma center-
I didn’t much care for Charity, but I was in love with her child. Charity took advantage of this and she’d always dump him off on me to go out and drink or disappear to only God knows where. I’m a person who at heart does like to help people out; it’s a trait embed-
At first I didn’t mind at all. It made me feel good, redeemable. I’ve always loved children. I have an uncanny ability with them-
I look back in hindsight and notice some of the first signs I was beginning to "lose it". I tend to bottle up my anger, frustrations, pains, etc. until it reaches a blowing point; and when I blow-
When you don’t have a job during your stay at the shelter, during the day they have a place set up you can hang out at. A lot of times businesses will drive by looking for someone interested in doing temporary labor. If it was something I felt I could do, I’d go out and do it. I helped set up a Burlington Coat Factory; painting, putting together cloth-
One morning one of the case workers from the shelter showed up. A pretty brown haired lady. I’d never seen her before, as my case worker was a male.
"I need 3 people who can drive to help out with the municipal services of Arlington and drive some garden trucks around. You’ll basically be towing around lawn mowers etc." She said explaining the job detail.
Two men immediately jumped up ready for work. The lady looked at me and said, "What’s your name?"
"Randy Halprin" she looked at her clip board and found my name.
"How about you-
"I can’t. I don’t have my license"
"So you don’t want to work?" she asked making a note on her board.
"I can’t." I replied.
The day was long and boring and at evening I went back into the shelter. At about 7 p.m. my case worker called me into his office. "How you doing Randy?" he asked looking at my face. "I’m cool" I said.
"Hmmm…still having a hard time finding a job?"
"Yeah. Nobody wants to hire a homeless dude"
"Well, you had a chance to work today. How come you didn’t?"
"I don’t have a drivers license"
"Ms. So and so says you refused."
"Well, according to these notes she asked if you wanted to work and you said ‘no, I’m going to stay here and that you used an aggressive tone towards her."
"That’s bullshit. I specifically told her I couldn’t do the job ‘cause I don’t have a license. She’s fucking lying."
"Calm down, calm down" he said.
"No. Fuck that shit. Here look-
"Okay, Randy chill out. Maybe she just misunderstood." I was so mad I felt like punching a wall. I got up and walked out of the office.
The next day wasn’t much better. I was in a sour mood. At the end of each day, if you don’t go out to work, you have to clean up, do some chores, and so I cleaned the re-
"Huh? Why?" I asked confused.
"You didn’t clean up."
"Yes I did", I protested.
"Well, what did you clean?" he asked.
"Well I did see you"
"That’s bullshit. I cleaned it. I know what I did."
"Listen, you young punk" he said more aggressively. "I don’t give a rats ass what you say you did. I didn’t see you and I run things around here."
My heart was pounding, the anger rushing through my veins.
"Fuck you! Suck my mother fucking dick!" I yelled.
"You’re banned from this place and I’ll make sure this goes in your file, too."
"You think I give a fuck about my goddamn file? Fuck you and this whole goddamn shel-
"I’m calling the police. You better leave now."
"How you gonna call the police? I’m on public fucking property."
My fists were balled and another second, I might’ve punched him. I felt something grab my arms from behind and pull me away. I tried to break lose, but the hold was too tight. "Calm down Randy. Chill the hell out or the cops will come". Slowly, I began to gain some composure by the time I had my senses back we were across the street in a church parking lot.
"Chill, dawg. Chill" This cool black guy had said.
"I’m cool. I’m cool. Let go of me, man"
I shrugged his hands off. "Damn Randy, you looked like one possessed white boy."
"I ain’t no boy."
"Okay, okay. Chill brother. You cool? All cool?"
"Yeah. He just…he tried to lie on me. It’s bullshit."
"Say, dawg, he’ll let you back in tomorrow. You’ll just have to apologize. He ain’t that bad really. It’s just a misunderstanding. C’mon, lets go smoke a joint."
I’d never erupted like that before. I tried to figure out where it came from. That was def-
It’s ironic looking back, because I am once again in touch with my friend Ramie from the shelter. She told me that somehow during this time I had kept her from losing her mind. I wrote back and replied, "It’s odd ‘cause I felt like I was losing my mind during that time" and I was.
Shortly after that incident Todd’s, who was a gulf war veteran, VA check came through and they were finally able to move out of the shelter and into an apartment in Ft. Worth. Todd and Ramie invited me to stay with them. I jumped on the first chance to move in with them and to get the hell out of the shelter.
I tried repeatedly to get a hold of Mindi to let her know I was leaving the shelter, but never got a hold of her. I wouldn’t speak to her or her family again until 2002.
Now in Ft. Worth I was having a blast. Todd and Ramie had two kids, one six and one three. Their youngest, Kyle was my little partner-
One night we received a phone call from Charity saying the shelter asked her to leave with Jarred because he had the chicken pox. She had nowhere to go. Feeling bad for Jarred more than Charity, Ramie invited her to stay with us until he was cleared up.
Once again, Charity would drop Jarred off on me to do her mothering job and once again I couldn’t say no. As much as I liked Jarred, he was becoming unbearable with his crying. Nothing; no amount of tender love and care would work. It was chipping away at any sanity I had remaining. I was down to threads-
One night, I decided to get shit faced drunk. I think at that time, it had been the most drunk I’d ever been. Todd and Ramie had gone to sleep and Charity was still watching T.V. on the couch. I stumbled from the kitchen to the bathroom, then back into the living
room and onto the couch. I lifted my feet up and plopped them right onto Charity, my toes slightly resting on her breasts.
I don’t know-
I woke up the next morning, my boxer shorts were on and I could vaguely remember something happening. I went to the bathroom and splashed water on my face-
Ramie was in the kitchen cooking some breakfast and so I went into Todds room. "Dude…" I said. He noticed the hickey on my neck and said, "Damn, she left her mark didn’t she?"
"Did I really? My god not her dude, she’s freaking fugly."
"Oh yeah! You sure as hell did! I was getting up to get some water when I saw the two of you. She was fucking the dog shit out of you"
"Oh God…" I moaned. I instantly got mad. I don’t know why, but I felt violated. I don’t want to say raped ‘cause I was drunk, so in fairness-
I ignored Charity for the next few days. When she’d try to talk to me I’d be a total ass "is someone saying something to me? I don’t hear ugly people. I’m sorry" I completely de-
I never liked to baby-
They left and I was along with two chilled out kids watching t.v. and a crying child, sick with chicken pox-
I can’t fully understand what happened or what I did. I don’t know if my consciousness has purposely blocked that out or what, but I know I did hurt Jarred. The one thing I swore to myself growing up: to never hurt a child, having been an abused child myself, and I did. My world imploded around me.
The next few days things seemed fine, but then Jarred started to limp. I was horrified. I realized I’d caused harm. I hoped upon hopes it had all been in my head. Some sick ad-
He was taken to the hospital and I eventually became arrested and sentenced to thirty years in prison.
To this day I don’t know why I couldn’t control myself to prevent that. I don’t know why I did what I did. Became a monster in that moment. In my whole entire life I’ve always been a non-
I believe it was September 5, 1996 when I was arrested and placed in jail. I tried calling my family time and time again, but my calls were not accepted. Finally, during the Thanksgiving holiday, my father accepted the call. The last time I would ever talk to my parents again. "The only reason I’m accepting this call is to tell you never to call again." My father said. "But dad." I stated. He cut me off. "You embarrassed this family’s name. You’re a disgrace. No Halprin has ever done something as horrible as you." He said. I was completely shocked-
I briefly talked to my mom, and she seemed a little softer. Maybe conflicted. I honestly believe to this day, this was intimately my dads decision and no my moms.
Dad got back on. I had one more thing to say. "I love you, dad. Whether you choose to believe that or not, I truly do." "Goodbye, Randy" was all he said in return. I went back to my cell and cried.
The next few years I tried to reach out to them numerous times. Was I angry? Sure. I felt abandoned. Heck, I was abandoned. I sent letters asking for forgiveness, holiday cards, anything. I finally gave up around 2000. Despair soon grabbed a hold of me and I escaped.
All of those years, I couldn’t figure out why I received such a harsh reaction. Though dur-
I tried to get my attorneys to bring up the fact that none of these embellishments, these straight up falsifications were ever in my original indictment, but they didn’t Fair enough, they did their best to show through previous x-
I want to back track and jump back into 1996. The irony in all of this is I could’ve and should’ve been on probation. I was eighteen years old and it was my first felony. My court appointed attorney was a very unethical man. He had been a vice cop for the Ft. Worth police, but under sketchy circumstances left and became a defense lawyer.
He was appointed by the courts to be my attorney and we went through everything "Oh yeah," he said. "I could easily get you probation" he learned that I came from a well to do family and you could literally see the dollar signs in his eyes. He contacted my family but the refused to offer any help. (On a side note here; I really didn’t care about legal support, but instead I wanted moral support-
Let me be very clear here-
Sure, the root of the blame is my fault, but society and justice system is seriously troubled and flawed.
These days it breaks my heart to see all of the 17/18 year old kids who are locked up without ever given a chance or the means to be a successful member of society. We don’t look at social back grounds, psychological or genetics. It’s not as simple as knowing right from wrong. It never has been-
I was recently reading an article on California prisons. Did you know that they changed their corrections department name and now include the word rehabilitation in it’s title? I commend them on that, because I think true justice allows for the chance for one to be rehabilitated. Not just locked up and held. Our system is a system based upon vengeance and punishment. Justice is not vengeance. There is a distinction between the two.
If there’s a moral to me, telling of this it’s most surely about the importance of a suppor-