Friday, June 8

Dear Jim,

It’s been a great week. My trip to the peninsula for our nephew’s graduation was a good one. He looked great. About twenty-five people went to the party. Over the weekend I had great cheese pizza our brother-in-law made. Then I had meat two days in a row. I should eat more meat.

At the party I sat at a table with the fellers while the woman sat at their table. It amazed me how accepting the men were of our police state. They were talking about what a tough job cops have. Then they talked about the good cops they know or have met.

I said ”Cops love to intimidate people.” They agreed. Then I said, ”There’s a book- Arrest Proof Yourself. A retired cop wrote it. Cops have twenty minutes to spend with you. If they haven’t arrested you in twenty minutes, they have to let you go.”

Nobody said anything.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the country. Last night I read an article in the New Yorker about victim impact statements.

They are statements the friends and family of a murdered or raped person make in court, claiming how great their loved one was. The intention of the statements are to help get the accused convicted and then sentenced with either the death penalty or a more than life sentence. The article scared the shit out of me.

Mom and dad would not have made a victim impact statement against your killer. I wouldn’t have either. I didn’t consider myself a victim of your murder and I don’t think mom and dad did. They asked God to have mercy on the bastard.

It’s bad enough that our country is unforgiving. It’s even worse that so many people consider themselves victims: unwed mothers, illegal aliens, the homeless, gays, jail birds, families of murdered people. What these family members and friends are saying is that the beauty of the murdered guy or raped woman should count as evidence against the accused.

I wrote a letter to the New Yorker. I asked if people who made victim impact statements would apologize if twenty years later the guy in prison was found not guilty. Probably not.

People look at me like I’m a criminal all the time. It is terrifying to think that I could be arrested for a murder I didn’t commit, then have to listen to all these people tell me how great their loved one was and then have to see all the baby pictures, graduation pictures, and wedding pictures.

We’re a vengeful society. I’m more concerned that the accused get a fair trial. Others aren’t. They don’t understand that in our police state you or your family member might be arrested for something you didn’t do.

One of the points the article made was that making these statements is a great catharsis for the family and friends of the murdered guy. That may be. But do you want to cheapen our criminal justice system by saying your pain should count as evidence? Now I understand what scholars mean when they say America has lost its’ ability to reason.

So, Jim, things have been sinking in. We aren’t much of a country. We are a nation of little men – all the rectal intercourse, all the gang guys, all the jail birds, all the homeless.

We are a nation of even smaller woman – the lust for a right to an abortion, the demand that the government pay for the baby of unwed mothers, the right to claim that any encounter with a man that the woman doesn’t like is a rape.

Really we are nothin’.

People complain about the president, but he is a typical selfish boomer. Just like the hippies, he is doing what he damn well pleases even though it will damage the country in the long run.

On the trip to the party The City looked good. I sat on the Embarcadero and watched a freight liner sail in. There wasn’t one person on deck.

Remember the Hills Brothers Coffee building? There’s no smell of coffee anymore. The building is a place for high tech businesses.

It’s the only building south of Market that I like. The building north of Market that I like is the one way up on I think Sacramento Street. The one with the radio tower at least half as tall as the building. You probably walked by it a lot.

That’s it for now.

It’s a beautiful morning.



Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko

Friday, December 22

Dear Jim,

The days are getting longer.

I am trying to get in the Christmas spirit. On Wednesday I finally took out the battery-operated Christmas tree that mom gave me. I love it. She received it from two swingers at church who bought it at Gumps.

I remember you bought somebody a present at Gumps, but I can´t remember what it was. The old lady across the street from us when I graduated from high school had a friend twenty years younger than her who had a great position there. I still know his name but never met him.

It´s a struggle this year. I took out the tree, but left the Silent Night chimes in the closet. I definitely do not feel the peace of Christmas.

On Sunday I´m going to Sis II´s. I don´t think there will be a lot of people. I want to relax, so I hope not. I really want and need to talk with Sis II. Dad´s mind is shot, so she is all I have in the family.

Speaking of family, I was reading the New York Times the other day and thought of you. Two years ago a 25 year old New York City cop was murdered on duty. The other day after the trial but before the verdict:

¨the officer´s mother addressed the courtroom in an emotional plea for the maximum
sentence for her son´s killer, whom she refused to look at. She spoke of Mr. ____´s
lovable personality and living with the knowledge that she would never dance with
him at his wedding or see him become a father. ´This is my life sentence, without
parole,´ she said.¨

A totally different perspective than what mom and dad had toward your murderer. Mom and dad forgave him and prayed for him. If you had read the article you would have said the family of the murderer suffered too.

When the guy who killed you hung himself in jail, I wonder if his kids were happy for us because either he evened the score, or because we were spared the trial and all the questions people would have asked us, ¨Do you hope he gets the death penalty man?¨ I wonder if they were relieved for themselves for not having to go through the stress of the trial or having to visit their father in San Quentin.

I was glad he hung himself. I didn´t give the slightest shit about his kids.

One time when dad was driving you, mom, and I somewhere, you were talking about something that happened in the Bay Area in the 1950´s. A guy was sent to prison for arson. He claimed that he did not do it. He told the prosecutor something like, ¨You´ll pay for this.¨ When the guy got out of prison, he looked up the prosecutor then killed him.

My reaction was ¨Good!¨ ¨What balls!¨ ¨Serves the career-building attorney right!¨ Your comment was that the guy in jail could have tried to make peace with himself in jail, to learn forgiveness, to not waste all those years cultivating vengeance.

I wonder what the two families thought. Did the prosecutor´s family say, ¨Yes. Well even though that was 15 years ago, our dad/brother did ruin someone´s life. We don´t like what happened, but we cannot complain.¨? Did the family of the murderer say, ¨If he had broken out of jail the first week and killed him, that would have been OK, but now we lose our father/brother a second time. We wanted him back.¨?

Well Jim, Merry Christmas.

Thanks for praying for me.



Copyright © 2021 by David Vaszko


Parking lots under freeway great places for boxing match,
Tapping the violence waiting to erupt,
Bringing it into the open –
The homeless seeing fighters do to each other
what they would love to do to an ex-boss,
ex-wife, the cops,
Shouting, drinking, smoking, having somewhere to pee.
Finally feeling freed.