So I get a call at 12:15 a.m. Tuesday that we've got a crime scene in Bryan and an alleged, unidentified criminal dead. A few hours later, our production manager and live van guru, Trey, and I are heading to the scene for a live shot. On the phone with one of Bryan PD's finest, I learn the identity of this man. Trey overhears and asks (paraphrased), "You said it was Curtis Hall? Everyone knows about that guy."
"Everyone" in this case is local authorities. Since we bid farewell to the 1900s, Curtis Hall made 40 trips to Brazos County's jail according to records. I spent a good 15 minutes with my calculator tallying the number of days he spent there, and came up with 850-plus. Out of eight-and-a-half years, he spent more than two in jail for various crimes. Not prison...the county jail.
How many resources did this man take up that could have gone to fighting and solving other crimes? How much money did he cost us all? I think a valid human emotion in this case is one of anger that one's tax dollars were put to his repeated arrests. I would say it's an emotion I share with others.
What I don't share with some others -- many of whom have commented at this story here at .com -- is that it's good news that he's dead. I can't say that I agree with those who are seemingly thrilled at the death of a father and son, regardless of whether he could complete his fatherly duties because he was behind bars, regardless of whether he could set a good example for his kid or kids.
I got an e-mail from someone claiming to be a family member, berating me for not discussing the good things Curtis Hall did in his life, and the fact that he was someone's father and someone's son. Unfortunately, at 5:30 a.m., just hours after a case of trespassing that ends in death, there's not much in the way of good news to learn. Authorities don't keep detailed records of doers of good. They focus on stopping the bad. I also wonder how much good Curtis Hall could have done in two-plus years rather than spend it in jail. I pray for his loved ones nonetheless.
Where does fault lie here, folks? Is Hall solely to blame for his alleged criminal acts, or do segments of society hold blame for not helping a person, a father, a son who could have contributed so much more than watercooler talk about lengthy rap sheets and societal value?