September 30, 2014

The Scarlet Letter “F”

Perhaps you have read Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter or viewed the film based upon the novel that starred Demi Moore. Briefly, it is a story set in puritanical New England in the mid 1600’s. Moore’s character becomes pregnant after an affair with a Minister who is not her Husband. After being exposed, she is required to wear a large  Scarlet letter “A” on her chest to insure that everyone knows She is an adulteress.  To add insult to injury, the town retains a drummer to follow her around so everyone knows the Adulteress is present.

Fast forward three hundred and sixty years to today. Different scarlet letters are handed out everyday to people prosecuted by The federal Justice System. The permanent letter “F” for felon is pinned on their chests and it announces to the world that a felon is in the house. This repeats the cycle of ridicule and shame for the felon, long after the felon has repaid his debt to society. To make matters worse, the little drummer boy announcing the arrival of the Felon is replaced by the Internet and social media so everyone on the Planet Earth knows about the Felon’s misdeeds.

Before the Internet, before press releases from the FBI, before press releases from the U.S. Attorney’s office, there was a time when someone could make a mistake, be convicted of a crime, serve his punishment, redeem himself and start a new life without the Letter “F” being boldly displayed on his Chest . Those days are over!

Faced with this inevitable truth, A Federal Felon must figure out a strategy to succeed in the real world after He pays his debt to society with the letter “F” stamped on his chest.

I have not figured out my strategy to deal with “F” yet.  I am working on that strategy every day, however, and am slowly inching closer to a solution.

I do know that you cannot cover up or hide from “F”. You have to incorporate the letter “F” into your life and use it to advance your goals. I also know that you need to be completely transparent about the “F” on your chest. You need to be able to explain “F” and how He got there. You also need to be able to explain how “F” has changed your life . You have to be able to recount the amends you have made and the lessons you have learned as a result of “F”.  You have to explain that you are a better and changed person after “F” arrived in your life.

At present, I cannot tell you how I am going to accomplish all of this. I do know that blogging here to express my feelings and to assist others in similar situations is a start. I also hope that someone who is engaging in Activities that could lead to acquiring an “F” may read my blog and reverse their course before it is to late.

In the real world, just like in college, the letter “F” is not a good thing.

Ken Flaska

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