Dear Inner Circle,

A young man could see that I was trying to leave last night even though there were plenty of people who were determined to have a few minutes with me before I took off. The fellow made a loud announcement about how I was being called away to something urgent (he had no idea where I was going) and put his arm around me to assist my exit onto Hughes Street. He decided to walk with me to the corner, to fill me in on some news he was keen to share. We turned the corner and began the walk up towards the fountain and he kept walking with me. I said, “I thought you were just coming to the corner”. “Yeah,” he said, “Didn’t you see those coppers?” There were two policemen walking on the other side of the road. My mate said to me, “If you change direction in the sight of cops, they just think something is wrong and they follow you wherever you go.” You can have this tip for free - don’t change direction when in the sight of cops.

Twenty years ago, I helped a woman find a spot in a refuge. She was fleeing from a history of domestic violence. I remember this so well because the woman, who was softly spoken and seemed to exude kindness, only spoke Polish. She had a four-year-old son who spoke fluent English and Polish. All our communication happened through this little boy. Speaking to the distraught mother through the skill of her little boy caused me to be in awe of the child before me. At just four years old, you could see the goodness in this little kid. I’ve lost touch with the family but have heard indirectly that the mother had settled well, that she was a good manager of money and had found a comfortable house and made friends with many neighbours. I had heard that the boy had grown into a fine man who continued to show the same care for his mum. This was a fine young man, who had developed an addiction. It meant he never had money, even though he was always in work. He never stole from anyone and endlessly supported friends who “borrowed” from him. Yesterday I conducted his funeral with his broken-hearted Mum at my side. Mum’s English is fine now although no language could convey her grief. If as a society, we put the same effort into helping people with addictions that we invest into catching and punishing them, this story might have had a happier ending.

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