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Pages in  Will's World for you to visit:

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William's Life and Photo Gallery

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William's Interests,  Links, and Artwork


William's Memorials

Information on Some of the Other Memorials Dedicated To William's Memory
(Come See the Daylily)

News Reports

Text of the News Stories Surrounding William's Murder and the Trials.

Bereavement and Grief

An Extensive List of Links and Information
on Sites Useful to Grieving Teens and Adults

Victim Rights
Grief and Family Support
Organizations Related To Gun Violence
Bulletin Boards and Chats

Memorial Scholarship Information

Information on the Memorial Scholarship Funds

Other Memorial Sites

Links to Other Memorial Sites on the Web.  You May Submit Your Own Memorial Site To Your Loved One Here, As Well

Bill's Scribblings

Published and Unpublished Articles Written by Me   Regarding My Own Grief and Sense of Loss. 

Talks and Writings
Selected Newsgroup Posts
Journal Entries

Two Short Fictions

A "Letter of Demonic Advice" in the style of C. S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters
regarding the loss of a child and a short story I'd like to believe could come true.

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Information on our book.

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Online Bibliography

More Resources and Materials for Bereaved Families

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- Following is the text of some of my writings/journal notes/newsgroup posts dealing with my sense of grief and loss. I hope that in some small way, they may be of help or interest to others.


Bill Jenkins


- Editorials
- Talks and Writings
- Selected Newsgroup Posts
- Journal Entries
- Letters (mostly dealing with faith and loss)

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Published as an editorial entitled "Coming Together" in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, September 20, 1997

On August 12, 1997, my life, and the lives of many others in the Richmond community, changed forever. On that night, my 16-year-old son, William Jenkins, was murdered while leaving his place of employment on West Broad Street. For the past several weeks, I have tried to make sense of this tragedy, and in attempting to deal with this personal loss I have come to realize that this could have happened to anyone's child. If, then, this is an assault on our community as a whole, we as people of conscience living in an ordered and civilized society must construct a response to the question, "What is it that is killing our children?" And its follow-up, requiring action on our part, is, "What can we do to stop it?"

For years, I have listened to commentary regarding society's apparent death spiral. Indeed, according to certain cultural and commercial interests, social degradation is to be
expected, even desired, and of course is constitutionally protected. Litanies of accusations against our elected representatives have been recited. The populace is fragmented and polarized in order to protect group interests. The rich get richer, and the poor ever more destitute and hopeless.

Violence, injury, and death haunt our homes, schools, streets, and playgrounds. The media spin news stories out of control to satisfy an insatiable curiosity about things that aren't anyone's business. And my son's casket has been lowered into the earth, his life unnaturally shortened just as he was reaching the age of manhood.

WHAT IS the common thread to these social ills? Nothing other than that we have allowed some of the most influential sectors of our society to become self-centered, greedy, insensitive, and answerable to no one. Our society's accountability weighs heavily on me.

During William's funeral I was quoted as saying, "There is nothing wrong with Richmond that compassion, mercy, love for one another, and forgiveness won't heal." That is my analysis of the situation, and I believe it to be true.

The landscape of our culture is strewn with social issues, causes, and legal wrangling, effectively deadlocking social progress in a mire of political inaction. This superficiality obscures the root of the problem. Passing new laws and restrictions on personal freedom will only bandage a festering sore. Instead, we must once again learn how to be men and women worthy of the trust and responsibility that having this freedom demands. We must know in our hearts what is good, honorable, and sensible, and inject those virtues into society to effect a cure.

By what standard shall we allow our society to be run? Either we respond with greed and selfishness to the issues at hand, doing what we want, when we want, and with no regard for the long-term consequences. Or, we can respond with intelligence, common sense, and compassion, approaching the issues with forethought and wisdom — putting our own wants aside so we can meet others' needs. I believe in so doing we will find that we may live peaceably with one another.

I regret to report that we cannot build walls around ourselves high enough to keep the bad things in life out. Our only hope is to take responsibility to do what is right, and daily motivate those around us to do likewise.

Each of us can make a profound difference simply by working within our own sphere of influence. Ironically, the mechanisms are in place to effect change, but we have demanded that others do all the work without the support or input of those they serve. I admit that I have been as guilty as anyone else in that regard. There are many distractions that will pull us off the path of social responsibility, and there are many opportunists who exist only to take advantage of these lapses in our attention.

I have decided that, inasmuch as I have the resources, only good things will come out of this tragedy. Please join me in lending your energy to institutions that will benefit us all and bind us together in hope and unity.

ENCOURAGE the efforts of our places of worship as they enable people to put their faith into practice. Support our police and justice systems as they enforce the laws that we the people have enacted for our own safety, holding people accountable for their actions and behavior. Assist our schools, as they help our children grow into men and women who will lead intelligent, honorable, and productive lives.

Get involved with the charities, recreation, music and arts programs, and centers that give adults and children positive, creative activities, and that do wonders to improve one's self-image. And above all, let us be kind and compassionate to one another, and hold our children accountable to do the same, for therein lies the hope for the future.

Make no mistake, bringing peace to our community will require an investment of time, energy, money, and, above all, cooperation and trust. But let us not focus on the things that divide us.

Let us diligently teach love, mercy, and compassion to all who will hear. Let us stop the bickering and pettiness that create misunderstanding, and spend more of our time doing for others before we do for ourselves, practicing that selflessness that builds community identity. And let us resolve each day to treat each other with the respect and kindness we would like others to show toward us. For if we do not, then I am afraid we deserve what is coming to us.

I wish you Peace.

The following appeared as an editorial entitled "Building a Foundation" in Style Weekly Magazine on October 7, 1997.

Recently, I asked my college freshman orientation class the question: "What is it that drives our society forward from day to day?" After a little thought, these young people started to come up with a short list: greed, selfishness, power and money, with the latter two being the sure way to command respect from others.

I had expected something like this, and I continued with more questions: "How many want to live a long, active and productive life? How many want to meet presidents and kings? How many want thousands of people working for them worldwide? How many want their reputations to live long after they are gone, with schools and hospitals named after them? How many want the respect and admiration of millions around the world?"

All of these questions received generally positive responses. Surely, this is living the ultimate American Dream. Surely, this is the epitome of success in human endeavor. Then came the final question: "It has been recently proven that all of this can be achieved if you simply give away all you own, begin to live and work daily with the poor, caring for the welfare of others more than you care for your own. Now, is it still worth it?"

I did not require them to answer.

Of course, we are not talking about athletic stars, musicians, politicians, or corporate executives here. We are looking at the example of one tiny woman with an enormous heart and spirit serving Calcutta’s poorest people. At the beginning of her ministry, she certainly did not set out to achieve these symbols of cultural power, but through her faithfulness and humility, all these were added to her account. In her simple life of service, she has shown our world that perhaps greed, selfishness, power and money are not so important after all. Her example to us has been that of compassion, respect, mercy, love and kindness — gentle virtues with overwhelming power in and of themselves to change the hearts of people everywhere

Recently, I have come to the sobering realization that our community also could use a new infusion of these gentle virtues. As the father of 16-year-old William Jenkins, who was murdered during the course of a robbery at the business where he was on the second day of work, I have had to realize that this tragedy is a result of a culture where decisions are made according to greed, selfishness and hatred. I ,like many others, have read accounts of murders throughout the city and counties, and have always felt secure in my belief that bad things would not reach out to affect me personally.

I was wrong. You can’t build walls high enough to keep bad things out of your life. Instead of building walls, you need to start at ground level. You need to build a foundation — a foundation of personal faith and belief that will stand firm in the raging winds and waves of adversity. A foundation that reaches out to support family and friends, buttressing their lives, as they, in turn, buttress you. A foundation which extends even to the far reaches of the community, supporting the collective efforts of our society to protect itself, caring for and giving hope to those who lack even basic needs, and giving freely that kindness, respect and compassion to which we are all entitled by virtue of our shared humanity. Indeed, our community needs to heed the example of Mother Teresa.

My son’s life was cut short by an unkind act. It was a tragedy, but one that I hope will motivate us to action. I have decided that, inasmuch as I have the resources, only good things will come out of this. I will do whatever I can to help our society change the standard by which it is run from greed and selfishness to compassion and kindness.

I will try to touch the lives of those around me with patience, kindness and forgiveness. I will ask my students to re-evaluate their concept of what makes the world go ‘round and I will try to be an example to them, as others have been examples to me. I will work within my sphere of influence and encourage others to work within theirs, until our ever-widening ripples begin to overlap, and we begin to see the violence begin to evaporate, simply because there is no human heart in which it can live.

Is this too much to hope for? Is the result unattainable? Perhaps. But the journey itself is far more important than reaching the end. As with Mother Teresa, it is in the trying that we prove what kind of people we are. And good will come of it.

Please join me. Teach love, mercy and compassion to all who will hear. Let us begin to satisfy others’ need before we gratify our own wants. Let us build unity and communication across all social barriers in order that we may live in peace with one another. let us resolve every day to treat each other with the respect and kindness which we would like others to show toward us. And above all, let us teach our children to do likewise, for therein lies the hope for our future.

I wish you peace.

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