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By Robert Lilly | August 1, 2007

Gentlemen it has recently come to my awareness that a new day has arrived in Abilene. Our community has taken all it is willing to take and has agreed to sacrifice the few for the whole.We the former or accused drug dealers {{more}} and users are that animal that is on the altar being sacrificed.The question before us, now, is what will we decide to do?Will we remain hard-hearted and continue in our cursed ways, ways that have only served to separate us from those whom we profess to love, and alienate us from the responsible members of our community.I propose that we surrender to God, repent, and seek, at this very moment the sincerity needed to bring about real change in our hearts.At this time we are faced with a dilemma of sorts. Do we deceive ourselves into thinking there is some way around getting caught for the crimes we commit? Or do we admit our errors in thinking and plea with the community to jot give up hope on our redeeming ourselves? This second option is our best choice.I personally believe that the community in general can be benefited from the direct action taken by the police in the Stevenson and Carver communities. But they must add to that the awareness that not all of us are hopeless cases.Some of those who have been imprisoned will continue to lie to themselves. However, there are many others, who can be redeemed, bought back; they are not hardened criminals with no hope for reform. It has rather been the lack of information, faulty thinking and self-doubt that has caused them to fail.The group can be rehabilitated. They need tough love, and with an adequate guide they can re redirected to select a more healthy lifestyle.Moreover, to do this the community must be made to see that police action alone is insufficient. I can see both sides of the problem. I’ve been on both sides of the fence, literally. And jailing persons wholesale is a poor response to address the root causes of our community’s social problem.That aside, we the offenders and ex-offenders, must start by acknowledging that our lives are out of sync with the pace and direction with our God-fearing brothers and sisters. The answer is really in our power to implement.Firstly, those of us who are on lock must get our act together. We need to unify and support each other in making the responsible and necessary changes.Secondly, we’ve got to reach out to the community and show them that we are remorseful and that there is hope for us with their support.Thirdly, we must express to the community what our real needs are and then through our informed suggestions they can be led to organize programs and functions that will aid us to make it through prison time and facilitate our re-entry back into holes we abandoned.Lastly, we all need to realize that our problems are not the result of history alone but more so they persist because we have not yet come to see ourselves as a large extended family or better yet one body, when one part of the body is injured the whole body racks with fear.I relapsed on drugs 12 months ago and because of my misconduct I was sent the Taylor County jail. While in residency there I was forced to reexamine my character and the attitude of many other men just like me who had found themselves in prison for the same misdeeds time and again.As a consequence of this effort I began to write my thoughts down and express them, only after great stress and worry to the men with whom I shared a jail cell.These words are the culmination of my thoughts. They were written to heal and not to hinder.