I liken Shirley Lawrence to the persistent widow in Jesus' parable, as told in Luke 18.
The widow kept coming to a judge with the plea, “Grant me justice against my adversary.”
As Jesus tells it, “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming.'”
That's exactly what Shirley did to Dan Heyns, Director of the Michigan Department of Corrections, and more specifically Tom Combs, Chairman of the Michigan Parole Board.
Shirley's husband Jim was dying of cancer, and to hear Shirley tell it, he wasn't getting proper care. An effort was made to get a compassionate release based on the seriousness of his condition, but last year the Parole Board gave Jim a flop...told him they would see him again in 2 years.
I thought I was being pushy when I sent an email to Combs saying, “Seriously, this man is given less than a year to live, and you inform him that his name will come up again in 2 years?”
But that was mild.
Shirley bombarded both of these men, but especially Combs, with email messages and telephone calls. Jim would call her with his latest condition and latest report of treatment or lack thereof...and she would be off and running again. And it didn't let up.
Finally, early this year, Combs conceded that perhaps Jim's situation should be re-examined.
Jim was granted a compassionate release in February, 2014. And even then, she constantly pressured him to make the release happen, and happen now!
Jim died today.
“Thank God he was home with you,” I said, upon hearing the news and extending my sympathy. And she agreed, but adds: “They killed my husband.”
She's going to court.
Some judge has no idea what's coming to him! Just ask Tom Combs.