2011/11/20 Su – Stetson Hallam

[2015/12/21: Comments will no longer be accepted here, the post being too old… though I do not know how to turn off the comment submission tool.  If any want to remark on this, do so on the new post: https://agkcrbs.wordpress.com/2015/12/21/20151221-m-stetson-hallam-2/ ]

It’s always harder to assume people’s good intentions once those intentions fall against you.  Strangely, the Deseret News just rejected an on-line comment of mine for having transgressed none of their rules, which annoys me enough to finally bring me back to write something here.  I may be wrong, or they may be suffering the same addiction to power common to on-line moderators.  In an instant, the criticisms of that paper’s narrow administrative views that I once rejected have become more valid to me.

My comment was about my former friend, Stetson Hallam, who became the subject of unjust derision and social cruelty in this state (and even abroad) because of a certain universal mental flaw that affected him a bit worsely than it has affected most of us.  The article was several months old: the parole officer, Kent Jones, a gruff-looking man whose brother has raced dogs in Alaska, and who almost seems delighted as he otherwise objectively prolongs the prison terms of violent criminals, had denied Stetson’s early release, refusing to consider him as anything more than a brief series of bad feelings and choices that led him askance of the law — not exactly in violence, but in contemplated violence; in an “attempt” of violence so momentary that its startled victim immediately excused it before later reconsidering its potential gravity (apparently on the advice of her more alarmed acquaintances) and lodging the police report that would radically alter Stetson’s life.

Other comments had focused on his inadequacy for study at BYU — an excellent school, generally well managed and covered with a happy veneer, but still, in its muted fashion, a breeding ground for radicalism in diverging ways.  Some commenters had tried to sympathise with Stetson.  My remarks were:

Obviously, some here have more insight into the human condition than others.  Stetson’s sincerity and good deeds will not be forgotten by his friends over a single disturbed weekend that knocked his troubled but courageous life off track, and that got him thrown into a pit to decay, with both judge and parole officer, having winked at much more deranged people whose crimes left much worse marks, expressing confusion and dismay as to “what was going on inside the brain” of young Stetson, who practically turned himself in after recognising his own stupidity and need for support.

If this intervention was a necessary wake-up call, so be it.  But he doesn’t need to rot for the 15 maximum years of his sentence, nor even 5 years.  May he rather be back with his aching family next summer — and may this penal experience not have further ruined him, or made him into a real criminal, as it has done for so many thousands of other basically good people, ensnared for a tragic moment by our common enemy.

He didn’t stay, but I remain convinced of one thing: he was easily good enough to get to BYU.

As I said, it was inexplicably denied by the site.

I don’t remember what prompted my search for news on Stetson yesterday…  Maybe it was my job application process that I’ll mention later.  On Google, I turned up Stetson’s old Vittana account, which I had badgered him to create two springs ago when I first joined (though his chips fell awry before we could get him paid in).  I scrolled past a high-school profile; he doubtless had no imaginations of a future in prison at that time.  I remember seeing a record of his wedding registry before, a girl he’d once been engaged to marry.  They broke it off; I forget exactly how that story went…

He was unable to serve a mission, for reasons disclosed in that article; but his desire to serve persisted, and he became a part-time missionary with a department of the school.  I don’t quite remember what he was studying at BYU.  Stage design, or something.  He was in drama classes, though I never really thought he had the temperament to act — he was far too normal and gentle, not self-absorbed enough.

Was he really gentle?  Well, his female victim no more than chomped on his restraining finger, and he instantaneously returned to reality and saw his degraded situation, confessing to the girl who once had been, and who for the moment still was, a friend; then withdrawing from the scene in shame; to run away, to confide in his apartment-mates, to return to face his mistake, to begin to make amends.  His frightened alibi of it being a “prank” was more than that: it mirrored the duplicity of his own mind.  It showed how that his plan, since its sudden hatching in the gloom of his depression, had always had two outcomes: its purported, harmful, even gruesome outward lash to call attention to his own aloneness and sense of unimportance; and its deeper impossibility, its abortiveness, its “prankishness”, since somewhere beneath his sadness, he could not accept his own capability of such a result as kidnapping, abuse, and self-destruction.

Yes, he was gentle.  And so, while another well-publicised Provo victim had her virtue insulted and her face bashed in with a brick, Stetson’s victim walked away with a broken trust and a bruised arm.  That was not the doing of a violent or deranged man.

I haven’t seen his victim at school lately; maybe she has graduated and gone on with her life, as he is unable to do.

I don’t know what prison is making of him…  I know he can rise above it, if he chooses, but I also wonder if any plant can fully avoid the contaminants of its soil.  If the world’s many mockers are content to scorn Stetson (and to call down their own scorn at their own judgment), I wish to heaven that his holy Friend will stand beside him in all hazards.  I’m sure any honest person, looking at their own life, or those of their friends, can see how tragic it is for an intelligent young man, suffering moral instability, beginning to make his way in life, to have all his plans and hopes shattered because the depression catches up with him one day.

I was depressed too, once.  I have felt rejected and alone before, and I have been frustrated by it.  I have imagined ill deeds before, in my times of extremity.  Occasional psychopathy, indeed, is the shared lot of most of humanity — and grace alone carries some of us through our storms, and away from our cliffs… while others are left to stumble, and stand again.

Did Stetson fall, or remain standing?

Again, both he and his victim walked away from his crime, when it could have been otherwise.  I will say that he was saved from his fall, as I and most of us were.  But his mercy comes with a very heavy hand…

His next parole hearing was set for four years later; but five years is too long.  He doesn’t need to reach his full adulthood in prison.  That’s no way to help society.

I just don’t want him to start feeling at home there.  The parole code seems to allow for reconsideration of its decisions at any time.  I’m wondering if I can make a request for it…

-Steve  [‘agkcrbs’]

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35 Responses to 2011/11/20 Su – Stetson Hallam

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for this post, it was very interesting. I knew Stetson in high school and in fact we had dated for a while. I was very upset when I heard about what happened years ago. It didn’t seem like him at all. It was nice to see a post rise above all the negative about him.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you very much for this post. I knew Stetson in high school, and in fact dated him for a while. He was always sweet and caring. When I found out what had happened I was very upset. It is nice to see at least a little bit of positive within the sea of negative.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Oops, I may have posted twice. Sorry.

  4. German says:

    Your defense of this guy is ridiculous. I can’t believe how you downplayed what he did or tried to do that day (“Stetson’s victim walked away with a broken trust and a bruised arm”). I wonder if you would have these sweet feelings for the guy if you were the victim of this deranged person. I’m glad he’s going to rot in prison, where he belongs.

    • agkcrbs says:

      What a strange and misinformed comment…

      I used to be like you, ‘German’: knowing nothing about people and their problems, but still feeling perfectly free to make myself a judge, gather up the slivers of evidence I had, and anonymously condemn the people. I even used to say stupid stuff like I was “happy” that other people would suffer, when in fact, I was suffering myself inside my own angry, narrow mind. In some ways, I’m not so far removed from your sad state — here I am judging you as a naturally cruel person to those you ignorantly decide are unworthy, who lacks human sympathy, possibly from a terrorised childhood, who is already rotting in his own prison of arrogant prejudice, and whom I would never want to spend any time with; but you may actually have some inner value that you haven’t shown me yet.

      Still, I obviously have pity to my friend you’ve just insulted, who did me so much kindness, and whose story I actually knew, unlike you — and I’ll try to have a bit of pity to you too. Maybe someday, with a bit of luck and religion, you’ll grow out of this obnoxious self-righteousness.

      • German says:

        You are missing the point. During interrogation, he said: “I guess I was going to rape her and kill her, and I imagined myself driving off a cliff with her”. Good luck finding any good left in a person like this.

      • agkcrbs says:

        True. I don’t need luck to find “good” in Stetson; I already found it abundantly in the time I knew him. But, as you suggest, anybody is perfectly free to take him, or any other person, at their own word, and judges apparently love to do so. My argument is that it’s a clear mistake; people ought not be taken at only their words, or only our assumptions of their intentions expressed by words — they must also be judged by their real deeds, as well as by any other relevant information we can get about their lives and characters. It was nobody else who “prevented” Stetson from driving off a cliff. He simply didn’t want to do it; it was beyond him. His “thoughts” turned out to be just thoughts; they broke down almost as soon as they entered reality, demonstrating that he had no real idea of their seriousness — yet he’s still blamed as if he’s some kind of monster, when the truth is, virtually every person on this earth has had “monstrous” thoughts before. If Stetson is a monster, then you are a monster, ‘German’; I am a monster; and his judge and parole officer are monsters. And all these thoughtless people who sneer at and curse him from an on-line article are a bunch of little monsters too. We all ought to lock ourselves up; there’s nobody to do it for us who doesn’t deserve the same treatment… if Stetson is a monster.

        If you’re still reading, imagine that a small young girl screams at a friend, “I’m going to kill you!” — and she even targets the friend for attack, maybe in actual anger. Most little girls guilty of such an outburst would later deny in embarrassment that they wanted to injure the friend, even if they really had; but suppose this little girl confesses that she actually wanted and tried to kill that friend, and even had a history of being prone to such hyperactivity. We’d still need to take her words into context. She likely had no idea of the potential gravity of her own statement. Her situation and her identity would make it plain whether this small girl should really be charged with attempted murder and tossed into a cell for five years or longer, to grow up beside her fellow violent lunatics, or whether she only deserved a spanking or a stern reproval.

        Now, my very consistently good and kind young friend, Stetson, was obviously not a little girl having a brief tantrum that left little damage. He was a somewhat older young man who had a brief bout with depression that also left little damage. Because he’s old enough to know he needs help with his internal negativity, he first, in embarrassment, denies attempting any injury, but then admits his feelings of having planned to hurt both his friend and himself. Yes, obviously he “might have” done serious harm, to be appropriately punished for. But he didn’t, in any major way. Not unlike the little girl trying to grapple with her friend, Stetson and his friend dusted themselves off and walked away. But, no — it’s five years in the hole for him, because the woman judge doesn’t know anything else about him, and frequently sees criminals who actually have no self-control, so she chooses to view everybody who comes before her as the same type of person, thus retreating into automatic pessimism and fear to a young man who had nothing of “fear” about him, only the burden of memories of a troubled family life and an unhealthy self-image. No; to the judge, and to the many non-observers on-line, young Stetson was no struggling college-aged kid — he was a vicious attacker bent on ruining others, and must be incarcerated until he’s too old to ever injure anybody! Or, if that’s too extreme, he must be incarcerated for only 5-15 years until he’s old enough to no longer have a chance at a normal life, or have any social training but a prison sentence, and then is turned loose again to do as he wishes.

        It’s just a really stupid response for that judge to make to her own ignorance of Stetson’s character, I think, and it’s a stupid conclusion for the equally ignorant public to make toward prisoners in general, both the good and the bad, their fellow human beings, that they feel so holy in condemning, when most people have no more self-control than the ones they deride, but may just enjoy a slightly stronger support system.

        Personally, I detest criminality. I have few quarrels with the justice system, at least until I see it make such a blunder as this. But think, ‘German’, about the worst thing you’ve ever done, or a few of the worst things. Think about the worst thoughts you’ve ever had toward others, if you’re really honest about judging people’s character and value over a quotation. Or, if you’re happy just playing God, thinking you know people’s hearts and their deserved futures from the few interesting lines a news writer decides to include in a story, then I guess that’s your choice of behaviour for your life. But I can assure you that condemning others won’t save yourself, in the end.

  5. Calvin says:

    I’m with German on this one…lock that psycho up and keep him there. I went to BYU and am ashamed of this guy. “I guess I was going to rape her and kill her, and I imagined myself driving off a cliff with her”. Scary stuff that is. What happens when he gets out and has another one of these “depressing” moments??

    • agkcrbs says:

      Hm. Blast from the past… First of all, your comment does have some validity. The only real question of the whole thing is whether he moves toward emotional stability as he grows up, like most people, or whether he’ll repeat himself. I’m confident in my answer, but I don’t know everything.

      You mentioned your “credentials”. Fortunately for every BYU student, other students’ opinions of them have no importance beyond what we give them. It’s fortunate for you, too. I picture you as bloodthirsty in your lust for just retribution against criminals that you have only read about from a distance with intentionally abbreviated and decontexted quotations, and whose bleak crimes entirely fizzled at the touch of awakened conscience. To me, you seem to have no desire to understand things or people, and in a way, I’m ashamed of you — but then, my opinion need carry no weight for you. Don’t worry about it.

      Still, if you represent yourself truly, that you have never had disturbed feelings or thoughts at any moment that you controlled by an act of will, then I must deeply admire you for it. If, however, you are human, then please consider your hypocrisy. Think twice before calling for people to be locked up for going a little bit further with mistakes you have also made. I admit, it’s to your credit that you’ve apparently never actually tried to apprehend some girl. Then again, you probably have no history of victimhood yourself. And you’ve probably done lots of things I don’t want to know about. The day will come when retribution falls against you, and you’ll wish for mercy from any observers. Prepare for it by being merciful today. I’ve given you a solid character reference for Stetson; he’s not some random slasher that you can have no reason to pity.

      My basic argument is just, 15 years is too long for this. He had gotten out-of-sorts, he had several vectors of life pressures, he was a young and immature man with a difficult background, and so he got into his head some delusions of dramatic aggression and attacked some girl in a way that frightened her but ultimately didn’t hurt her. If he hasn’t realised his error and radically altered his determinations after even two years in prison, then another 13 is going to do no good for him or anybody else. Another 5 or 3 won’t cure him, if he’s not cured now. Let him go. The punishment is enough. If he’s really lost his mind, well, then transfer him out to an institution. But I’m pretty sure he hasn’t.

  6. Thomnus says:

    Regardless of what anybody says about him, he has a large number of friends and family that love him no matter what, and will continue to do so. You people can point your fingers and say whatever pretty words you want to say to put him down and judge him, but as long as he finds peace with God, I and a lot of other people look forward to greeting him in Heaven.

  7. Mike says:

    I am sure even Adolf Hitler had a lot of friends who defended him like this, saying he was a fun and cool guy, and that he was a good boyfriend and that he was deeply loved by all of his murdering SS personnel. I have a rule: no matter how much I disagree with a statement, I will ignore it unless I am personally being attacked. You personally attacked me by saying, “And all these thoughtless people who sneer at and curse him from an on-line article are a bunch of little monsters too.” You ought to be ashamed of yourself. You are the monster. As far as I can tell, German and Calvin are not. The reason he did not rape and drive her off of a cliff is because she bit his hand and got away from him. It is called self-defense; it is used to prevent an assailant from carrying out his unjustified attack. He most certainly would have if he was given the opportunity. You should especially be ashamed if you are LDS and are saying these things. Here are some Scriptures for you: John 7:24, Matthew 7:1 JST, Moroni 7:14-19, and D&C 76:50-113. The first three tell us that we have the right to judge. We judge what is of God to be of God, and what is of Satan to be of Satan. We judge not on the appearance, hypocritically, or pass final judgement, but we judge others based on their actions and the intents of their heart; and we do know Stetson’s because he confessed them of his own free will, and we all know what he did. Do you know where the idea that “it is wrong to judge others based on their actions” comes from? If you guessed Genesis 19, you are correct. The sodomites said to Lot and his men after Lot and his men rebuked them for their demands that they have homo sex with them, “This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them,” (verse 9). That whole idea came from the Sodomites. You are like unto them, for your despicable behavior, and I call upon you to repent, so you may be saved. The fourth verse I mentioned is in reply to Thomnus’ statement. Repentant murders and sex offenders inherit the Telestial Kingdom. Their repentance saves them from an eternity in Hell. Quite frankly I do not care how well you knew him. I am a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, have two masters degrees, two bachelor’s degrees, and an MD. I went to BYU a while back, and am disturbed to see that someone who held the Priesthood would do such a thing. You do not strike me as an educated man at all, but from what you know you say Stetson is repentant. I am glad to hear that. I truly hope me comes unto Christ and repents and is saved at last. Part of his penance is enduring the justified punishment for his crime, and accepting it. It fits his crime well enough, because he only attempted grievous acts, plus committed assault. If he was my friend, I would be saying the same thing. I have had friends who did VERY bad things, and I STILL say the same thing. Knowing a lot about psychology, I can tell you that the fact that you are online condemning people for speaking the truth about Stetson, that you understand his plight and would most likely commit the same act yourself. I know that you obviously suffer these feelings that he felt too. Remember the commandment given in Mosiah 4:30, “But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must parish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not.” I am grateful to say that I obey this commandment to the letter. Anytime I allow some unrighteous thought to enter my mind, I rebuke it, repent, and move on thinking of righteous thoughts. I repent every single day. As far as God is concerned, as long as these commenters did not do the same as Stetson or worse, and are not passing final judgement (which means, acting like they can enforce his fate in the afterlife) they have all the right under Heaven to judge. I am not thoughtless, and neither is anyone else who is making these comments; YOU are the thoughtless one. Would you dare insult that girl or her family by saying these things to their face or to them? What if they are online reading your crap? They would be devastated. Your socially liberal kind brings shame on humanity, and great shame on the Church. I truly hope and pray that you turn away from your wicked ideas, and come unto the true doctrine of Christ. Yes, 15 years is too long. 5 years is enough. What would be best is some Singapore treatment: cane him like 10 times, and then let him go. None of his life would be wasted in prison at all, and he would not dare attempt anything like that again. As you may know, Singapore has NEVER had a repeat offense, because caning sets those kind of people straight. It is a scientific fact. The notion that “playing God is bad” is entirely false and unscriptural. God wants us to be like He is. God wants us to do what He would do if He were here Himself. I am admire anyone who wants to play God, and who actually does. You say the public is ignorant for speaking the things they speak on this matter. YOU are the ignorant one: you are so stupid and uneducated that you are using his background and circumstances as justification for his misdeeds. I have known plenty of individuals who have been truly raised in the devil’s quarters, who have had all manner of trials befall them (some even, mental illnesses), and who also are some of the most holy and righteous people I know, and who would agree 100% with my lecture I am giving you. Trials, illnesses, and a poor upbringing is NEVER an excuse to break the commandments. Those individuals who use that as their crutch refuse to have faith in Christ and in the Atonement, or even at the very least, refuse to have the charity to change. That is really all it takes. Finally, we understand the facts, because that is all that matters. There is no need that anyone should understand someone committing a sin. People like you who seek understand someone committing a sin, have no understanding of justice or the feelings of innocent people. The other commenters obviously do. It is not a bloodthirsty thing to want justice. One cannot lust for justice. It is bloodthirsty to speak out against justice, as you have, and it is lustful to commit adultery, as Stetson did. Know, “that whomsoever looketh on a woman, to lust after her, hath committed adultery already in his heart,” (3 Nephi 12:28, Matthew 5:28). I keep those thought 100 yards away from me at all times. The way you are sticking up for him, I can see that you are probably an adulterer yourself. I would hate to know the things YOU have done. You truly have no right to say such things to the other commenters, and judge them unrighteously as you have. I bid that you speedily repent, or I promise you, that one day when you stand before God to be judged of your intents and actions, that it will NOT be a good hearing for you. Again, as far as I can tell, the other commenters have no need to worry. Maybe they do; I make no judgement because I have not all the facts. Have yourself a nice day, and remember, that I am not trying to cut you down without the intent of seeing you rise up a better man.

    • agkcrbs says:

      Mike, thank you for commenting, and motivating me to return to this topic.

      1. Stetson as Adolf Hitler

      Mr. Hitler orchestrated mass warfare and genocide. Mr. Hallam lost his wits, stunned a girl and tried to subdue her, was resisted, and woke back up to reality and left in confused shame. The analogy is not impressive.

      2. you were personally attacked by me

      I have no idea who you are, so I don’t see how I can have attacked you personally. What has happened here is, I have frowned on a certain behaviour — thinking that we know enough from news articles about wrongdoers that we’re justified in uttering blanket condemnations. You appear, decide that this applies to you, and then claim to have been personally attacked. What I’m really seeing is your own guilty conscience trying to excuse itself. As for me, be assured that I have no personal anger toward you.

      3. I ought to be ashamed of myself; I am the monster

      Well, the point was that our rash condemnations come back against us. Flame me at your own risk. I can handle it. But, no, I’m not ashamed of myself for defending whom I consider a good person from angry attacks. If I had been there, I’m sure I would have defended his potential victim, too. But in this case, he is the one who has been victimised from a distance, and I defend him.

      4. he “most certainly would have” abused her and killed himself and her

      Maybe you meant to say “almost certainly”. Your confident assertion is noted, though you have no way of proving it. Your guess could be right. When a crime doesn’t happen, all we can deal with are assumptions and predictions, not certainties.

      5. John 7:24

      This scripture actually says, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” What is a righteous judgment? Is it not based on the love of God and the godlike potential of his children? On the other hand, what is a judgment according to appearance? Is it not to read news stories about a crime, and feel self-righteous enough to condemn the criminal, when one actually has no direct knowledge of the truth of the matter, and at the very least, should admit that he could be mistaken? It seems this scripture comes more against you than me.

      6. Matthew 7:1+ (JST)

      This piece of scripture actually says, “Judge not unrighteously, that ye be not judged: but judge righteous judgment. (2) For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. (3) And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”

      You might object to your sin being compared to a “beam” while Stetson’s was a “mote”; but this can be further amplified by D&C 64:9: “…He that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.”

      Now, what you have taken away from Matthew 7 is not its true meaning of realising our own dependence on mercy, but that you think you can judge people as long as you call your judgment “righteous”, which in your mind seems to mean summarily, mercilessly casting your own brothers into torment because they deserve it. As I’ve said before, beware giving people what they deserve; God will also give you what you deserve.

      Now, I’m not saying that crime should not be punished, but that Stetson’s punishment was based partly on a crime he committed, and partly on a crime he didn’t commit. In such a case, mercy is appropriate for balance.

      7. Moroni 7:14-19

      These scriptures are longer than I want to quote, but the relevant points are:

      “(16) …I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ…”

      Can you deny the mercy of Christ and demand wrathful justice, and still think your persuasion is to believe in Christ? Christ is our Judge, but he came not into the world to condemn the world. His motive is not to punish or destroy. Neither should yours be.

      “(18) …Seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged.”

      Right; we’ve heard this thought before. It’s up to you to search your own heart in this regard; I can’t really do it for you.

      “(19) …I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ.”

      Well, I think we’re agreed that it’s evil to attack a girl. What we may not agree on is whether it’s also evil to slander and destroy a young man because of his depression. Stetson was good to me, and apparently to many others. It’s this goodness that you’re calling evil. This scripture too, I think, comes against you.

      8. D&C 76:50-113

      A very lengthy reference describing the three great kingdoms of glory. I guess the significance here is that God knows our hearts, and will judge, freeing us from our wrongful judgments of others.

      9. confessing an intent is the same as performing the intent

      This could really be argued either way. Our scriptures do ascribe gravity to both thoughts and words, and our law also gives weight to intent in many cases — but I think it’s an extremely basic idea that actions are still worth more than thoughts or words. This is proven in Matthew 21:28-31, and I can prove it afresh to you right now:

      Suppose I say, “I want to punch you in the face.”

      Reading this statement from me, would you seriously contend that the statement is the same as me having actually punched you in the face? No, you shouldn’t, because I never struck you. Or, what if I said, “I imagined punching you in the face.” Is that the same as my assaulting you?

      No, it’s obviously not. What’s worse, I may not even be serious. In fact, I can tell you right now that I have no such imagination or interest of striking you. But you have no way of guessing how serious I am from my earlier words — especially if somebody selectively quoted some of what I said, and you had no chance to clarify my intent; maybe I wasn’t even sure of my intent. Maybe I would describe my plans and desires, but then fail to perform them for some reason, when the time came. I think you can see what I mean: you can judge words and actions, but unaided by divine means, you can’t judge hearts, and judging the heart is necessary to an entirely righteous judgment. Be a little more careful with your soul.

      10. I am like a Sodomite

      Again, a very, very strained comparison. I have argued in favour of a young man who made a disturbed conspiracy and briefly attacked a girl, but left no serious injury, then abandoned his plan and sought help. On the other hand, those Sodomites in Genesis 19 formed a mob, ganged up on a man, and laid seige to his house with threats of malice against his family and guests, and were only stopped by miraculous intervention. Those men, and the rest of their city, were apparently later destroyed in divine judgment. The next time God destroyed entire cities, it was for things like baby-killing and other moral horrors (Lev. 18:21, 24-28), so who knows what else those Sodomites had also done. But even if it were only this mob action, it’s really not rational for you to equate my defense of Stetson with their actions.

      11. you call on me to repent

      Well, this is a valid enjoinder to anybody, and I accept it unreservedly — but for my actual sins, not for your littleness of spirit whereby you lift yourself so high above other people. Whosever sin your internal rage and conflict is, it’s not mine.

      12. repentant murderers and sex offenders inherit the Telestial kingdom, according to your fourth scripture citation

      Sorry to say, the scripture doesn’t express what you think it does. I think you’re referring to verse 103, but that doesn’t mention repentance of those crimes. Corianton’s story rather teaches a different doctrine, particularly in Alma 42:29-31, where he was called anew to the ministry, contingent on his repentance. Your tenor here makes me all the more worried that the greater crime is in your heart — you seem almost to rejoice in your belief that other people will be cursed in the eternities; or if not joyful, at least you show no hint of any sorrow for the souls of those you imagine are damned. This arrogance is far from the right path, and I think you know it.

      13. you don’t care how well I knew him

      In fact, I didn’t know him extremely well, but I knew him well enough and daily enough to see his sincerity and aspirations. What you’re saying is, you prefer to believe a quotation from a newspaper instead of an eyewitness opinion, because the first allows you to condemn a person, while the second asks you to not condemn. Think about it.

      14. you’re a convert, BYU, et cetera

      I’m happy you’ve done so well. What did you study?

      15. I do not strike you as educated

      That’s kind of funny, and a bizarre thing to say. Try to avoid these arrogant statements. I’ve probably made lots of them myself. I forgive you.

      16. a long section of giving Stetson some credit and walking back your earlier fire-breathing

      This is the best part of your comment, and I applaud it.

      17. I obviously share Stetson’s earlier unhinged motives, and would most likely duplicate his actions

      …Uh… well, this will be a really big “I told you so” moment for you, when you hear of me in prison someday. Or, if you never do, I expect your profuse apology in this world or the next; and I will accept it. I already forgive you, yet again. Of course, I already shared earlier that, yes, I have known what it’s like to be depressed, and to want to lash out. Thank you for your attention to detail in my comment; it makes me feel special.

      18. Mosiah 4:30, which you keep “to the letter”

      Yes, I agree, and have already alleged here, that we are all walking on the edge of grievous acts of one kind or another. Good for you, if you’ve avoided sociopathy in your trials. As near as we all come to Jesus, we’ll surely be blessed. At this point, I’ll admit that the tone of your comment has improved significantly.

      19. people cannot enforce heavenly justice, but people have every right to judge

      With the first part, I entirely concur, and am glad you have let up off the D&C 76 inferences.

      The second… well, in a sense, no, they don’t; as we’ve established, our wrong judgments, even those we think may be “righteous”, will still come against us for either good or ill. But in another sense, yes, people do have the right to judge. Obviously they have the ability, and the freedom. God gave us our knowledge. Clearly, we have a necessity to make the best judgments available to us. “Judging” itself is no error; like a gun, it can save life, or destroy it.

      I only ask you to value Stetson’s life, and judge accordingly.

      20. whether I would say this to the girl’s face

      On the multiple occasions I saw that girl over the months and years after the incident, no, I can’t remember saying anything at all to her. I think I forced myself to smile if we passed. She was a nice enough girl, after all, and we had been neighbours.

      Inwardly, though, the weird tragedy of the story, with her being so perfectly free of any visible effects of any crime, and yet the perpetrator being scorned and railed against as ruthlessly as if the girl had been chopped to pieces, was a little distressing. My comments here of pointing out the hypocrisy and ignorance of the scorners are a reflection of that sense of lopsided negativity. My words here were, in some abstract way, an attempt to lighten his burden.

      Do I mind if she or her close ones read this? Not in the slightest. I don’t think I’ve maligned her in any way, though I admittedly haven’t showered her with pathos, or feministically exulted the heroism of her victimhood. You may be suggesting that unless I lament the heinousness of her surely anguished plight, I’ll be depriving her of the pity she deserves for having been thought ill of, shocked in the arm, and momentarily grappled with. She has had an abundance of pity. People from across the world have pitied her, who have no real concern for her. People have pitied her even while mocking her school, ridiculing her faith, insulting her values and way of life, and advising her to descend to their hellish atheism. That’s quite enough pity; she doesn’t need mine.

      But, in all honesty, her outcome was a lot better than it could’ve been. Had she been endangered or hurt, I would sorrow; but as it was, I have no regret about her aborted trauma, only gratitude that she thought on her feet and responded well, and was spared a worse fate. And I would welcome anybody connected to her to come here and see that her good fortune was not shared by everybody involved in that ridiculous event. I’m optimistic that she and they would be touched by sympathy for Stetson in a way these critics here have not been.

      21. I’m socially liberal, I shame humanity, I shame the Church

      …How’s that Mosiah 4:30 working out for you?

      But seriously, yes, I’ve become sadly aware over the years that liberals have more thoroughly adopted the stance of “compassion for prisoners” that rightly belongs to the Bible, and to the faithful… and which has belonged to me, ever since my father was incarcerated. It’s strange to confess that there are a very few ways in which the “socially liberal” seem to align with the gospel more than their opponents do. Not enough to vote for them, but enough to learn from them.

      22. Singapore has never had a repeat offense; it’s a scientific fact

      Sorry. I have trouble swallowing this one. I’m open to a source, if you have one.

      23. “the notion that ‘playing God is bad’ is entirely false and unscriptural”

      No, not entirely false. Partly false. It depends on what role of God we’re trying to usurp. If it’s his glory, like Lucifer, it’s bad. If it’s his vengeance, like the apostate ex-Muslims, it’s bad. If it’s his compassion and knowledge and so on, I agree that it’s perfectly good to “play God”.

      24. a section of insults

      God bless you. …But, sorry, it is still ignorant (by definition) to rush to condemn people from a distance with fragmentary, indirect evidence. “Ignorance” means a “lack of knowledge”.

      25. a troubled background is no excuse to break commandments

      …Then quit breaking them, friend. Drop the veneer of holiness. I’m afraid if God ever gave you any dominion, you’d rule as a pitiless tyrant. Well, that’s an exaggeration, but I assume you have more trials left ahead of you, to bleed out your self-complacency and learn how to weep for the travails of your fellow beings. I’m sure I have much more to learn myself. May God save us both.

      26. we shouldn’t feel for sinners

      Tell it to Jesus.

      27. Stetson is an adulterer and I am probably also an adulterer

      For your own benefit, please don’t whip out this line at parties. But I don’t deny the truth of that scripture; it says what it says.

      28. I had no right to resist the critics

      I thought you just said people did have that right? But I don’t?

      29. your dire warning of my judgment

      Noted. I agree; my judgment is ever before me. But it doesn’t make me want to throw a good kid to the dogs, just because he went mental for a few days, and managed to not seriously hurt a girl.

      30. you actually like me

      Thank you. Let’s be friends. Add me on Facebook.

      I see now that some of my more religious talk of heavenly “judgment” in earlier comments probably incited some or all of your lengthy, judgment-centered response, so, I don’t blame you for it. Preach on; but preach wisely.

  8. Mike says:

    By the way, that comment was directed at “agkcrbs”

  9. James says:

    Steve, I always appreciated your good humor and intelligence. Your attempt to empathize with Stetson is refreshing. It seems that your life experiences have made you more capable of that kind of empathy. I remember trying to figure him out immediately after the crime, but couldn’t come to any other conclusion than that his motives were sinister, and that I should distance myself from him. It took many months for my anger to run its course, during which you unfriended me on facebook (don’t worry I’m not offended), likely because I remained critical of him. I have since become rather agnostic/atheist, and feel that I value human life more because of it. I want to help Stetson find some healing and ability to move forward in life, but I wonder whether a letter from me would accomplish anything. Have you been in contact with him? I don’t think prison is a good solution either, but based on his comments in the hearing, it doesn’t seem that he’s ready for release. It’s quite the catch-22.

    • agkcrbs says:

      Hey! How are you doing? It’s great to hear from you and I hope you’re well. We all have our paths to follow, and they tend to wind. I think there’s a light to lead all of us. A Facebook minimalist, I’ve cut ties over much less, so please don’t feel that it reflected negatively on you. A blessing of advancing into middle age is that only the dear memories remain clearly; I remember you as an example of diligence and character, humble though socially adept, and a veteran at StarCraft. I’m glad to have known you.

      I seem to recall your discomfort after that weird event; I took it as loyalty to your friends, whom I was never as close with. Though I’ve tried to explore another side to his comments given their contrast with what I knew of him, I do understand and share your concern with them. After two (nearly three) years, my perspective lacks currency, I having regrettably refrained from directly contacting him due to hesitations about stirring up any resentment or embarrassment for anybody, and questioning my own judgment with it all and feeling that I let him down before and after, so I could only speculate about his response. If it were I, I think I would welcome and value your letter… but then, I’ve given wrong advice before.

  10. A friend. says:

    I’m a friend of Stetson’s too. We had a group of friends that hung out in our singles ward before he moved to Provo. We were all shocked when it happened, but we all agree that locking him away for 15 years isn’t helping him at all. Thank you for your kind words!

  11. Jan says:

    I can’t tell you how happy I am to have stumbled onto your journal. My son was very good friends with Stetson in High School. In fact they were like brother’s. They even look alike. I totally agree with everything you have said. It is so nice to know that there are actually intelligent people still out there. Stetson is a great man. It is a shame that our judicial system is so corrupt. I personally know the couple that was accused unjustly of killing his father, a retired BYU professor. The police, attorneys, and family all lied to the Grand jury. Those lies put them in Jail for almost a year! And they have no recourse against any of them. They were released just before Christmas last year all thanks to the “real” killer’s ex wife turning them in.

    I am amazed at how easy people judge others without even knowing them or the situation. Only
    what the media wants to say about them.
    My son has gone to see Stetson in Prison. He is not doing well. He is really depressed. He needs to be released to get the help that he needs. Thank you again for all that you have said. Some day I would like to meet you.

  12. cherry says:

    BEAVER — A former BYU student convicted of assaulting a woman with a stun gun will spend at least four more years in prison, the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole decided this week.

    [… sf]

    “I obviously wasn’t in the right mind,” he said. “I have a lot of regret about it. I have a lot of self-hate.”

    Hallam said he was charged as a minor for molesting three boys between the ages of 5 and 11. He also claims he was sexually abused by his biological father and two cousins as a child.

    [… sf]

  13. cherry says:

    This information is public knowledge. He has demons obviuosly and molesting three boys young boys does not qualify as a good person

    • agkcrbs says:

      Thank you for your perspective. I’ve left off your first comment so as not to repeat what is groundless, since I’m unable to immediately verify what you say is ‘public knowledge’. I edited your second because I found the quotation unnecessarily long. About his having ‘molested’ others as a minor, that has already been established to everybody who has read the article linked above. It’s difficult to say here what that involved, beyond that it was not deemed convictable at the time. I don’t mean to keep hitting this string in these comments, but let’s be realistic: if everybody who, in coping with the utter moral confusion of the modern world, ever did anything prosecutable were actually imprisoned for it, I expect that both I and you would see our societies decimated, and that both of us would see that some of those we consider ‘good people’ have unfortunately not always done good things throughout life.

      In response, I encourage any readers here to inform themselves on the dangers of sexual addiction and consider giving of their means to organisations (e.g., porhnharms.com by Morality in Media) aligned against the saturation of our culture with immorality and other influences that diminish, and frequently entirely overthrow, the self-control of otherwise productive individuals. It’s clear that Stetson was not entirely well. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to admit that he, and all other people of moral capacity, ‘have demons’ afflicting them in this world. You are free to disqualify him in your own mind as a ‘good person’ because of his errors, but I disagree with you, because I saw him being a good person.

      Finally, I may as well take opportunity to shed light on one or two legal matters that ought to have impacted this case, but apparently did not. Although Stetson was called unco-operative by one account for refusing to reveal evidence, the secondary charge of obstruction of justice here is at least partially (and at most, totally) invalidated due to the fact that he disposed of the evidence not simply to cover himself, but against his own first instincts of confession, on the urging of a concerned roommate who, unaware of the future criminal charges, felt the instruments potentially dangerous and destabilising. Having done so, it would have been difficult or impossible for Stetson to produce the evidence anyway. Whether he was being unco-operative to avoid incriminating himself to determined investigators is another question, but roommates can also attest that, indeed, the police did burst into his apartment late one night after the report and arrest, and turned it upside-down whilst making disparaging comments about him. That was certainly within the pursuit of their duty, but one can also understand how such a zealous, forceful, accusatory attitude by the enforcers might engender non-co-operation.

      So, whatever his sentence should have been, whatever his past psychological issues may have been, whatever danger he may or may not be today, whatever hypocrisy his case does or does not uncover in those who are totally blind to the moral horrors of the world around them and inside of themselves, I still know that this one aspect of his judgment was likely not correctly decided. I really don’t want the remaining burden of judgment on my shoulders; let the judge and parole people bear it. But the condemnatory among us may take heart with this case; the side of leniency has not prevailed here. May God finally be lenient to us all, because of his Son.

  14. JusticeServed says:

    Stetson is where he belongs. Many people don’t know that Stetson tried to sexually assault a 12 year old boy when he was 14. Not in the records because he was a minor. Only God is in a position to forgive, and he may be able to be forgiven. Not my place to make that judgement. However, this much I do know. He is where he belongs, not only for justice for this poor girl, but because he is still a danger to society. Anyone who thinks otherwise is uninformed or very naive.

    • agkcrbs says:

      Till when? Forever? Do you have any additional reasoning to address the question of duration? That’s fine, for you to believe that change is impossible for some people, and to ‘know’ Stetson is one of them, because of your superior understanding. But if you think he has some permanent issue, you’re pretty much asking for a life sentence, aren’t you? How is the problem going to just go away because of long confinement (and isn’t a better approach a therapeutic one anyway, rather than just punitive)? All because of the bruised arm and shaking-up of ‘this poor girl’, who has undoubtedly moved past the scary experience with a full life. Nobody feels good about taking future risks in such cases, but we take them anyway, because we can’t simply lock everybody up forever to prevent all crime. That’s a far worse world to live in, to go around omnisciently punishing uncommitted crimes. In consideration of that scenario, I refer you to the Tom Cruise movie, Minority Report.

      • JusticeServed says:

        I didn’t say lock him up “forever”, but let’s keep it real here. He did a heck of a lot more than bruise a girl’s arm. He attempted to tase her with the intent to handcuff and kidnap her (and possibly even do something much more sinister). No rationale person would ever tase, handcuff, and try to force another person in a box as an April fool’s joke. That’s a BS story, especially knowing his history. So yes I believe that he deserves at a minimum 5 years of his original sentence. As far as him being reformed? In my opinion, unlikely given his history and the nature of his past crimes. All one has to do is look at the statics. However, if he can be reformed, the correctional facility has schooling and counseling programs available to him to try and do so. Let him reform there while he thinks long and hard about the consequences of trying to kidnap someone. I’m not trying to be cold and callus. I happen to know from good sources that he had some tough things in his childhood, but that doesn’t excuse criminal behavior. Life’s choices have natural consequences. They could have easily given him 30 years for this. He should feel lucky if he is out after 5 years. I feel sorry for him and hope that he gets the help he needs, but still completely agree that he should not have been paroled after one year.

      • agkcrbs says:

        I think we have some understanding of each other, but it still seems arbitrary for you to choose ‘five years’ as a minimum punishment, if he really is deranged and attack-prone in any lasting way. The ‘thirty’ they -could- have given him seems equally arbitrary — it reflects a penal system that doesn’t care about reform (since reform, if possible, would surely not take an entire adulthood, at least for this crime of malicious theoretical intent but utter, merciful failure of perpetration), and that doesn’t yet care about absolute justice (or else we’d have fewer and emptier prisons, and more cemeteries), but just keeps dangerous people locked up until getting bored with them or forgetting the newsworthiness of their actions, then fecklessly boots them back out into society.

        But those thoughts are not really materially relevant here. If such a low number as five years for a crime you think easily merits thirty is a manifestation of your pity for the boy, well, that was my same motive in hoping for one-point-whatever years till parole, since, as I know, he was practically on his way to turn himself in in the hours after his crime, recognizing his tremendous error and wanting corrective help. But whether it should have been one or two years is now moot, here at the beginning of the fourth year. I’d happily update my earlier hope to three years, or, soon, four… but the parole board, apparently more comfortable calculating in big, round numbers, decided if one year of the fifteen wouldn’t do the job, five might.

        Anyway, I’m tired and have little left to say about it, except that I feel to respond to comments here on my own page. I may be naturally as condemnatory as any visitors here; I just can’t be in this case, since it was my fortune to briefly get to know something better in Stetson than the ugly face he showed that day, and something much better than the deformed, hideous version of him I’ve seen in comments and news reports — the inevitable result of an amnesiac mankind that has forgotten its inter-relatedness, and so prefers cynicism as the default setting toward strangers. Stetson, in point of fact, is our brother… they’re all our brothers in those prisons, the more-guilty and the less-guilty. That girl he thought to abuse, starting this mess, Amy by name, is our sister. She had more than her share of fans; I can’t say I was one; truth be frankly told, I was a little annoyed by her manner; but she surely meant well, and didn’t deserve any such encroachment, and was rightly protected from it. It’s just sad and ridiculous to think about how we’re our own worst enemies in this life, individually and collectively. Excuse the digression. Thank you for visiting. Feel free to comment again.

  15. craig says:

    Would you trust Stetson alone with your sister or female cousin? Would you welcome him dating or marrying her. Trusting him with children?

    • agkcrbs says:

      My sister, yes. This topic is getting a little old, by the way.

      • kT says:

        Way to perpetuate rape culture dude. The fact that she didn’t report it immediately means nothing about the severity of the attack, women get gangraped and don’t report it b/c of the fear of people like you victim-blaming. There’s no argument you can make that doesn’t make you sound like a rape apologist.

      • agkcrbs says:

        So, you think that if a rape doesn’t happen, and if somebody “like me” is honest enough to admit that it didn’t happen, and hopes that the offender isn’t treated as if it had really happened, that’s equivalent to blaming actual rape victims, and is perpetuating a ‘rape culture’ and discouraging the reporting of horrible attacks. Unfortunately for you, but thankfully for everybody involved here, no such thing has taken place; no rape occurred, no victim of rape was blamed for it, and nobody has expressed any hope for rape to go unreported. Your strained conclusions bear so little resemblance to the facts of this case that they may as well be marked as spam. Such nonsensical comments seem to betray a fanatical breed of feminism, interested only in demonizing and lashing out. I can’t imagine what has led you into such social extremity. Please make an effort to exempt yourself from civil discourse, at least as far as this journal entry is concerned, until you learn how to think beyond your adolescent biases.

  16. Ben says:

    Stetson is currently preaching in prison in full belief he is Michael The Arch Angel. He is stating God told him to do the things he did so he can be a full time Missionary in jail. Hopefully his mental illness can be helped, the pain he has caused others, and himself is sad indeed.

    • agkcrbs says:

      …Hm. Well, there are worse things to preach.

      • agkcrbs says:

        What I actually wanted to add here, and will now, was, let us look at what such a belief may signify, not simply sneer like hostile baboons at its weirdness (I’m not insisting that you were doing this, but some might).

        “[…] He is Michael the Arch-angel. […] God told him to do the things he did so he can be a full-time missionary in jail.”

        To me, this may easily reflect one or more of the following opinions or hopes:

        -He has a divine identity, a divine purpose generally.
        ^- a majority of all religious or philosophical people probably believe the same, particularly adherents of the many systems claiming divine heredity

        -He can and should share the gospel, and wants to help people.
        ^- good for him if he can; we who profess faith should all be so serious in it; the gospel, if preached, is certainly a benefit to those with such tangible chains of sin as jail inmates

        -There was some specific value to be derived from his unfortunate crime and society’s penalty for it; it was somehow the will of God.
        ^- again, multitudes of thoughtful people look for fate or God's will in both their unearned and earned suffering; this divine will arguably does exist in different ways; but even if we suffered contrary to, or in the absence of, fate or divine will, thinking God directed our steps would be a wonderfully effective mechanism for enduring grief with a healthy life perspective intact

        Or maybe I’m just incurably naive with abnormal psychology, and the statement rather shows self-aggrandizement and a minimalization of guilt, or some shadow of future proclivity to sow and reap a similar result. But this conclusion is by no means demanded by the semantic value of the comment.

        Thank you for the report.

    • James says:

      I’m curious where you got this information, Ben.

  17. Ben says:

    Info comes from LT Keith Draper

  18. Aron Brower says:

    Any updates on this individual?

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