Blogger Katie Granju lost her son for good last May. She started losing him years before that as he became more involved in the quest for self-medication.
Since the beginning of March, Granju has posted a series of blog entries detailing the circumstances surrounding Henry’s last days and the investigation into the circumstances which culminated in her 18 year old son’s death.
It is perhaps too late for Henry to benefit from any sort of Justice that the authorities on this earth can mete out. But if the circumstances Granju alleges in her last entry are even remotely correct it is not at all too late for justice to come to those who may have been involved in, or indeed orchestrating, the sad exchange of sexual favours for drugs in and around the city of Knoxville.
For years the stories coming from Knoxville have painted a picture of a group of law enforcement officers who are, at best, apathetic. At their worst the stories make those officers sound cruelly dismissive.
Yet part of me wonders what it must be like to be one of those officers. We are horror-struck as we read Katie Granju’s account of her son’s descent into a hell of drug addiction, drug dealing, prostitution and assault. That’s one story of one son. What must it be like for the officers who see hundreds of sons and daughters each month, living out the same story Henry Granju did? Sons and daughters who don’t have writer mothers. Sons and daughters who long ago lost anyone to care about them. If it were my job to navigate that hopeless sea I can imagine that I, too, might seem apathetic or disinterested–if only to protect myself from falling apart at the wretchedness of it all.
However, no matter how hard it is too look at the fact remains that there must be an accounting. Not for Henry. Not for Katie. For Knoxville. For Tennessee. We are a state with a government because we’ve said that we stand for being part of a society and that as a society we protect the least among us. For too long we’ve disguised that protection in a futile, wasteful war on drugs. The drugs, like guns, are just the tools which in the hands of wicked men and women destroy souls. It’s time we have a war on the wicked among us. And it seems to me that Katie Granju’s digging has provided a lead on where some of those wicked can be found.