Pulling for Phillip

Near-death brush with the law spurs man to turn his life around

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Phillip Pope broke into a business Jan. 16 and was yanking stereos out of cars when police found him. He charged officers, wielding a crowbar, when an officer shot him twice in self-defense and wounded him. He was sentenced Wednesday to four years in prison.

We’re so glad the officers weren’t hurt. We’re relieved his one-man crime spree was stopped in its tracks. We think the four years behind bars is well-deserved.

And now we’re just pulling for Mr. Pope.

We must say, burglary sticks in our craw about as much as any nonviolent crime out there. There are many more heinous crimes but, at least among nonviolent types, few as patently offensive as violating someone’s home, business or auto and taking what they’ve worked for.

Every day people get up early or stay up late. Some work from dusk to dawn, some of them at multiple jobs. They work in factories and stores and drive trucks and haul our everyday goods to us so we can be comfortable and well-fed and even smell nice. Many juggle kids and their schedules along the way. These are the workers and their products that make the world go ’round.

Other people wake up when they like, watch daytime television, maybe hang out with friends and sling back a few beers or snorts and play some pool. Then, when the sun goes down, they figure it’s safe. Under what they hope is nighttime’s cloak of invisibility, they break into homes and cars and businesses and freight trucks and simply take what the workers have produced and the drivers have transported and what the more honorable among us have, or would’ve paid good money for.

These are the low-life criminals hiding in our midst.

And frankly, we’re fed up to the gills with them.

But we’re pulling for Mr. Pope now – because he shows serious signs of turning his life around but good.

The 27-year-old Augustan, who still carries one of the bullets in his body as a painful reminder, remarkably credits his shooting for turning on the light. The near-death experience, he says, inspired him to leave a drug habit behind and try to turn his life around.

“I really am sorry for it,” he told the judge. “I want to make this right.”

We sincerely hope he does make it right – and not just with society. The young man has a long life ahead of him, and it can still be a great one if he plays his cards right. He’ll have to battle through prison and all the perils that entails. Then he’ll have to prove the skeptics wrong – and after so many jailhouse “conversions,” the public will be skeptical. All the while, he’ll have to overcome temptations and doubts and detours.

The good news is that he won’t be making that journey alone. Judging from the support of family and friends demonstrated in court, he’s got a head start on a new life. And, of course, none of us is ever truly alone.

This is the season of new life, of being saved, of forgiveness.

Season’s greetings, to Phillip Pope and to the Richmond County deputies who may have inadvertently put him on the path to a new life. May they all be in our prayers.

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Riverman1 12/05/11 - 07:13 am
Every society recognizes the

Every society recognizes the very real psychology of someone hitting the bottom and turning himself around. The awakening is usually after monumental self-inflicted pain. It's called different things in various cultures, but since time began, people have woken up hurting and said enough.

Carleton Duvall
Carleton Duvall 12/05/11 - 09:13 am
I wish Phillip well. He has a

I wish Phillip well. He has a long hard road ahead of him.

augusta citizen
augusta citizen 12/05/11 - 09:29 am
I hope he has really had an

I hope he has really had an awakening. If he does his time and has repented, he can turn his life around. Things happen for a reason, he may have a great life ahead of him and do many good things. I hope he does.

Chillen 12/05/11 - 10:47 am
Sometimes a single event can

Sometimes a single event can change the course of your entire life. Time will tell.

TParty 12/05/11 - 11:06 am
A guy in prison says he's

A guy in prison says he's sorry? Color me shocked. I wonder how difficult it will be to get a job when he gets out. Asked why he hasn't worked for a while, he can tell the story of how he tried stealing things, was caught by police red handed, so he charged them with a crowbar, maybe to scare them off and he can flee? Instead he got to rounds in his flesh, and now he is sorry.

Rather 12/05/11 - 11:57 am
It happened in January 2011?

It happened in January 2011? Now he is sorry and thumping a bible and shuffling his shoes and looking hang-dog? If you believe this, I have some river front land for sale in Arkansas. Give him a couple of years of hard labor.

FalseHopeLooseChange 12/05/11 - 01:08 pm
This guy needs a good lawyer

This guy needs a good lawyer who can sue EVERYONE to include the city, the gun manufacturer and the business owner (who should have had better a security system in place) for complicity in using excessive force. A good lawyer who can get this (obvious) victim of police brutality millions of tax payer dollars in disability from the gun shot wound and resulting post traumatic stress disorder suffered as a result of being shot.

In reality, the police officer, in only wounding this 'citizen', should be fired for missing an opportunity to save the taxpayers the cost of all this mess.....

Pope'll be back in the news in a couple years.

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