Here is a guy with an inspiring story– Shon Hopwood turned a brief career as a bank robber into success as a jailhouse lawyer, praise for his skills from top lawyers and the New York Times, an outpouring of sympathy from his hometown including a pretty girl who married him, and a full scholarship to go to law school from the Gates Foundation.
But the most important aspect of this story is that Shon Hopwood has found Jesus. And if Jesus forgives you for your sins, well, who is anyone else to hold them against you? After having been criticized for not apologizing to his victims, he made some pro forma attempt to contact them. He never mentions what he said or would have said. But who cares? He was a popular local boy, an athlete, and most of the town rallied behind him. Beyond the people in whose faces he stuck guns, the people he persuaded to get involved in crime with him have been terribly harmed, but he expresses no remorse for that at all.
Bad people use Jesus as a get-out-of-jail-free card. The forgiveness unconditionally offered in the Bible erases any kind of responsibility or culpability for how their behavior affects other people. Hopwood seems to feel that he, and the people he was in prison with, have been treated terribly unfairly and suffered unfairly. He is determined to use his legal skills to help other convicts avoid punishment for their crimes. There is a serious lack of reflection on the part of Hopwood and the religious people associated with him. For Hopwood it’s all about him– his life, his mistakes, his suffering, his struggle with God, his salvation through Jesus.
I could take Hopwood’s story a little more seriously if he was working in some humble job suited for a college dropout with a felony record- maybe being a janitor, dishwasher or maybe a cook. But like Chico Escuela and baseball, bank robbery has bin berry, berry good to Shon Hopwood. He has fame, a book, a pretty wife and two kids, and a full scholarship- given it’s from the Gates Foundation it probably covers living expenses as well as educational expenses. All because he robbed five banks and got away with $200,000.
Hopwood is now a well-respected member of his local church.