At some point during Thursday morning's show, after reading a script about a 30-year-old who lawmen say started dealing drugs 15 years ago, it hit me: he was 15 when he allegedly started dealing. Granted, we're talking about a simple math equation here. But thinking about a 15-year-old, selling drugs, crack cocaine no less, definitely gave me pause.
Nathan Kinta Wilkins is a man from Greenville who has been sentenced to spend the next eleven years of his life in prison. He pled guilty to serious crimes involving serious drugs. To picture him at age 15, doing the same thing, is wildly unsettling. However, it may not be that uncommon.
People who make a career in crime have to start at some age, so why is it so unsettling when that age is 15, or younger? Perhaps because it begs the question of whether someone who chooses to deal drugs while they are that young really ever had a chance.
I don't know the story of Nathan Wilkins' life or what happened between the time he was born until the time he sold drugs for the first time. It seems clear, however, that something was missing from that teenager's life. People don't just start selling drugs because they're bored. Our community could go a long way if we understood what is missing from young people's lives before they turn to crime and find a way to fill in the gap. In the meantime, what will be missing from Nathan Wilkins' life now is the next eleven years.