Bonnie had five children, now two of them are dead. They passed away while Bonnie serves four concurrent life sentences. She has been incarcerated Since 1996. There is evidence in her case that would prove she is innocent of the crimes she’s being punished for, yet, besides her loved ones, who knows Bonnie’s story or even cares? I tell you these things about Bonnie, because of her remaining three children. I am serving time with her son, who has a twenty-year sentence. Bonnie’s choices of a lifestyle and the man she loved cost her, her freedom. Most importantly, it cost her family. To save himself from the death penalty, Clyde’s friend accused Bonnie of masterminding the crimes.
How much pain do we suffer from living criminal life styles? How much pain do we cause with our choices? Bonnie didn’t intend to lose her children, her freedom nor her identity. She just wanted to love somebody who loved her fully, but he exploited that love by giving her “jobs” to do. So she mules the drugs, lies to family, towing her children behind Clyde, thinking that he loved her enough to live this life for.
This isn’t Amber and K.J.’s story but it could’ve easily been. What happens when your daughter, sister or mother becomes Bonnie? Over twenty-two years behind bars, with over seventeen years confined, I can empathize with Bonnie. Yet, I couldn’t imagine losing my child, or living with one incarcerated. I know she loves her children, I know she feels ashamed, betrayed and at times lost. One thing that we haven’t lost is hope and this true story is written in hopes that others become aware of her plight. Bonnie, real crimes were her choices, because she choose to remain with Clyde in that lifestyle.
If we cannot change our perspectives of life, then we, as men will continue to ruin the lives of others. We all wish we had a ride or die female, but the question is are we man enough to give them lives worth living? Are we so scared of loneliness that we will not leave them alone while we suffer our consequence?
I know you’re wondering like, “ Enoch, why do you always beat up on the brothers?” I’m a black man who asks us to take responsibility for our own actions. But I speak realities, when I look at Mike, Bonnie’s son, and hear the love and hope that he has for a mother that he mostly knows through the penal system. I don’t see a white man looking at Mike, I see a man that loves and misses his mother. I see a hurt person that fell victim to this “street” culture. Pain isn’t racial, poverty isn’t about color, loss and hurts aren’t cultural. The penal system cares for numbers not the souls of those incarcerated. Bonnie is guilty of loving a man who didn’t love her enough to stand up and tell the truth on her behalf. She and her children have suffered because of the culture Bonnie choose to embrace while loving Clyde. Do not let Bonnies’ story be for nothing. We must choose to do and be better; we must learn to love her enough to tell the truth, to live true and to cherish our Bonnie enough so that these crimes of the heart aren’t repeated. Bonnie seeks freedom and justice; she wants someone to hear her story and the truth in it. She has passed a polygraph test; she seeks to be a part of her family again.
Me, I can only give you this true tragedy and pray that one of these prayers are answered; that Bonnie finds justice, that our women are more cautious with their love and that we are more responsible with our demands on their love. And finally I pray, that we find a place and time where this culture doesn’t decimate family dynamics. Ask Mike how he feels about this life as a white man in prison with his mother serving four life sentences in another prison. I can tell you what I see…pain, where there is supposed to be love. Bonnie’s crime is a true crime of passion. We are praying for you, Ms. Tamara, L. (Bonnie)