Do the right thing
by Robert A. Waters
Frederick G. Gadson has a few more years to contemplate a decision he made back in 2007. He was sentenced to twelve years in prison for participating in a robbery that killed a man. He’s currently serving his time at Florida State Prison in Raiford. He gets out in 2018 and maybe, just maybe, he’ll make some changes in his life.
In 2007, John Lovell, a 71-year-old ex-Marine, was sitting alone eating a Subway sandwich when Gadson and Donicio Arrindell rushed into the Plantation, Florida restaurant. They each pulled handguns and robbed the cashiers. Then they turned to Lovell.
When the thugs demanded money, he pulled out a wad of cash and dropped it to the floor. “Pick it up,” Gadson demanded. Lovell refused. The robbers, threatening him with their guns, attempted to force him into the rest room.
As they struggled, Lovell, who had a concealed carry permit, reached into a holster behind his back and drew out a handgun. Three loud pops later Arrindell dropped to the floor with two head shots. Stone dead. Gadson staggered through the door. Police found him in some bushes bleeding out from a stomach wound. Quick work by paramedics and doctors saved his life.
In Florida, if somebody dies during the commission of a crime, all the perps can be charged with murder. Gadson was lucky to get second degree and 12 instead of first degree and life.
Okay, Gadson, here are a few suggestions for when you get out.
First, get a job. The money’s steadier and you usually don’t get shot.
Second, stay off drugs. Sure, I know there’s a big push to legalize the crap, but there are too many guys like you who just have to have that high, even if it means busting a Subway for a few bills.
Third, choose your friends carefully. If they do drugs, run. If they don’t work or go to school, run. If they’re ex-cons, run even faster.
Fourth, maybe try something spiritual, like church. Sure, I know there’s a big push to get rid of the Bible-thumpers, but maybe you’ll learn a few things. Like thou shalt not steal; or thou shalt not kill; or thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house. Or, you live by the sword, you die by the sword. Oh yeah, refer back to number three--you might also meet some good, clean-living dudes to hang with.
Fifth, don’t pick a fight with a 71-year-old ex-Marine.
One more thing. Don’t listen to your relatives. Rosa Jones, your grandma, told reporters: "[Lovell] should not have taken the law in his hands." Well, what would you do with two robbers holding guns to your head and pushing you into a rest room?
When you get out, just do the right thing. Treat people the way you'd like to be treated. Walk the straight and narrow.
Life can be good if you live right.