Patrick Eugene Sinclair.

He lied about his age to join the U.S. Marines in 1967. He wanted to go to Vietnam to serve his country.

He was part of L Company, 3rd Battalion 7th Marines.

On September 6, 1968, he was on patrol near Dai Loc, a rural district in Quang Nam Province in the South Central Coast Region of Vietnam.

It was raining on September 6.

Pat’s patrol was crossing a swollen river. A fellow Marine lost his grip on a life line and was swept away. Pat went after him. Both young men were swept away and drown. Their bodies were recovered five days later down river.

Pat was one of the youngest of the more than 58,000 soldiers to die in Vietnam.

Bessie Jewel, our mother, found out that Pat had lied about his age to get into the Marines. He begged her over and over not to report him. She did not.

“They brought my baby home and I could not even open the casket to say goodbye,” she cried each time she thought about it. “I don’t even know if that was my baby’s body in that casket.”

Grief crippled mother’s heart for the rest of her living days. She always felt responsible for Pat’s untimely death.

As I sat next to my mother’s death bed in a Baton Rouge hospital in 1992 she would call out Pat’s name or speak to him as though he was a child standing before her. It was the delirium of impending death.

“Where is Pat, Billy” she asked in moments of lucidity.

“He’ll be back in a minute, Momma – he just went out to get a Coke … he’s coming back, I promise.”

Tears welled up in my eyes. The pain of a lost family engulfed me.

Prison rules allowed me to stay for two hours. Pat never came back, and neither did Bessie Jewell. She passed shortly after I was escorted from the room where the handcuffs were returned to my wrists.

In one moment delirium, mother said to me: “I see heaven, Billy Wayne – right over there … see it.”

When I think of Pat, I inevitably think of mother – and in these dark moments, I pray there was a heaven just over the stream where Pat was waiting to embrace her, saying: “It’s okay now, Momma – you are home at last.”

Memories of a wonderful Veteran.


Three hots and a cot.

Some people check into jail on purpose. Take for example, 86-year-old Gilbert Paul Ware who was recently arrested for robbing a bank in Greenville, South Carolina. Odds are old Gilbert was not “in it to win it.” Rather than bank money, Gilbert wanted the “three hots and a cot” offered in a federal jail/prison facility. An old man retiring in a geriatric federal penal facility is not a bad retirement plan.

Individuals across the country are increasingly committing “high crimes and misdemeanors” to get a “go to jail” free card. They come from the ranks of the aged, homeless and the opioid addicted classes in need of food, shelter, and medical (mental and physical) treatment not available to them in the free world.  

Shuttered jails across the country are now being regularly used by city officials to provide shelter to the homeless in winter months when temperatures fall below freezing. These facilities have commercial kitchens, showers, bathrooms, laundry facilities, beds, and, more often than not, are “pet friendly.” They are perfect stay warm, hands-on care facilities.

Americans are continuously fed the real “fake news” that the “economy is great,” that workers are doing “great,” and that history will record this as the “greatest” economic period, ever and ever.

Horse puckey!

The Brookings Institution found that almost half of American workers aged 16 to 64 (roughly 53 million people) are employed in “low wage” jobs, making an average of $10.22, or $17,950 annually. What this amounts to is that low wage workers make less than two-thirds of the median wage for full time workers.

The “two car garage” people say, “well, get a different job” to these 53 million people.

Again, the “real” news—information based on facts, not information driven by cultural and racial preferences—informs us that 52 percent of the people making between $10 to $15 an hour would not transition into a new job paying more money while 46 percent of those people making between $19 to $24 an hour would actually transition into a lower paying job, if they sought a different job.

This is precisely why 80 percent of American workers feel stress on the job—primarily because they are paid less while being required to perform more.

The average American has less than $4,000 in savings while 57 percent of them do not have a $1,000 to their name. Nearly 10 percent of Americans have absolutely no health insurance while roughly 13 percent are driving vehicles without insurance.

In the middle of all this “great economy,” half a million Americans are homeless and two million are opioid addicts with 90 of them dying each day from an overdose. Another 50 million are living with some form of mental illness.

Little wonder that some 2.3 million Americans are housed in the nation’s roughly 6,000 jails and prisons. The Prison Policy Initiative reports that 600,000 people enter prison every year and another 10 million are processed through jails. More than a half million people who have not been convicted of a crime are locked up.

Back to old Gilbert, he will go to bed warm and well-fed tonight as the temperature in Greenville dips into the 20s and 30s over the next ten days. And if his blood pressure ticks up, the jail’s medical staff will give him proper medication; and if he feels depressed a bit, he can always go to the T.V. room and watch Ray Donovan to see what “normal” life is like in the free world. All this senior citizen has to do is steer clear of those people whose cases would make fodder on the 24-hour cycle of the Investigation Discovery channel.

Not bad for an 86-year-old bank robber.

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