Ok, here is my rough draft...it is very very unorganized. I find it hard to find time. I work full time and school full time. But here is what I have so far....please feel free to pick this apart and help me get it better. I'ts 1:30 am and i'm tired. This is due on wednesday morning at the latest. I hope to have it done by tuesday night.

For those who didn't read my last post. this is going to be a letter to the judge when they do the sentencing for the guy that stabbed my bro.

My name is Mark Gingrass. I am the victim’s brother. I can’t tell you everything about what it’s like to be a paraplegic but I can give you some insight. Forgive me for not organizing this letter in a better manner as my thoughts run wild when I think about this subject.

First, let me start with a little history. My brother and I have spent our entire childhood together. We used to climb trees, build zip lines, ride bikes and wrestle. We were the most active kids in our neighborhood. We loved the outdoors. As we grew older, we started to skateboard together. We spent hours and hours practicing to get better. Nobody was as dedicated as we were. We skated 8 hours a day on the weekends and even skated in the rain, snow and wind. Then my brother had an interest in wrestling so he joined the wrestling team. He quickly worked his way up the ranks. He went jogging every day and trained non stop to become the best. It all paid off when he became state champion for the Haverhill High School.

Everyone knows the kind of things you do as a kid. Everyone knows that you run and jump and play games. Just think back to when you were a kid.

When do you stop being a kid? My brother had no choice but to stop at the age of 24 when he can no longer do ANY of the things I mentioned. Not one!

Now, let me explain the SMALL things about being a paraplegic. Note I said SMALL.

Most people think that a paraplegic can’t use his legs, big deal. Well it is a lot more that that. He can not move his legs. He can not control his stomach. He can not tell when he needs to go to the bathroom. He can not go to the bathroom without a digital stimulus from a suppository or by placing a plastic tube into his penis to drain his bladder. Urinary tract infections from the plastic tubes cause spasms. He can no longer have a normal sex life which I’ll get into later. He can not run, jump, or climb trees. He can’t even plug his radio in the electrical outlet because it’s too low to reach. He is qualified to get 30 hours of care per week because he is so incapable now.

To some people, having a wife and kids is the ultimate goal in life. My brother’s choices are much more limited now. He has to find a girl that will accept his condition and take care of him. He needs to take Viagra to get an erection. He can not feel his sexual functions. He can only try to mentally enjoy what he is doing. Mind you, I have not talked to David about these things; I have only read other people’s comments that are paraplegics as well. Paraplegics can not ejaculate. Almost all paraplegics need expensive medical help to be able to have a child.

All the previous things I’ve talked about are easy to deal with compared to what comes next.

Imagine not being able to walk on the beach with your son. No kite flying. No dirt bike riding, no skiing or snowboarding. He can not visit his own relatives because they do not have the facilities to get him in and out. He needs special bathroom supplies and wheelchair accessible entry ways. When he’s lonely, he can not just go to someone house because he can not even get in.

All of David’s equipment is expensive. He bought a $4,000 dollar machine to make him stand up. He put in a $3,000 wheel chair ramp so he can get into the house. We bought hundreds of dollars worth of equipment just to get him to use the bathroom. Drug prescriptions, catheters, urine bags, and suppositories add up quickly as he needs these things on a daily basis. His wheelchair cost $3500 and has already broken twice. Hand controls for driving a car cost $300. The list goes on.

When I want to save a few dollars here and their, I’ll change my own oil, cut my own grass, shovel my own driveway and rake my own leaves. David will have to pay someone or find a good neighbor to do all those things for him.

Now let me move onto some of the more serious things that my brother has to go through.

A common cause of death for a paraplegic is from a pressure sore. These are sores that you get from sitting in the same spot for a prolonged period of time. It’s like a burn except it extends deep, deep into the tissue of the skin and can take months of special care to heal. EVERY paraplegic fears pressure sores. Christopher Reeves died of complications due to a pressure sore and he had access to the BEST medial facilities in the world.

Bladder infections are frequent due to the insertion of catheters daily. When you get a bladder infection you need to get anti bodies from the hospital to cure. The problem with antibodies is that they only work for so long, and then he needs a variation of that antibody. Once he goes through every variation, he will no longer be able to fight the infections which will lead to death.

All of the pills my brother takes on a daily basis puts strain on his liver. Liver problems are very common in paraplegics.

In the late 1950’s, the average lifespan of a paraplegic was 2 to 4 years. Granted the medical advances over the past 56 years have enhanced the lifespan of a paraplegic, it has still not been enough to give my brother an equal lifespan of that of an able bodied person. In 2000, the average life span for paraplegic is 65 years of age and the general public is 78 years. Therefore, my brother has been denied about 13 years of his life. According to statistics, he would never see retirement.

My brother, as well as my family has to deal with depression. I live two thousand miles away serving in the United States Air Force and feel the pain my brother must go through from here. Every day when I do small things like run across a field or press on my gas peddle in my car, I can’t help it but think that my brother will never do those things.

My brother has not laughed in months. He has changed his personality and views on life dramatically. Suicide has entered his mind on occasion. My family is scared that he will act on his thoughts. When this first happened, I believe he wished that he just died. That way he would not have to go through the years of pain ahead.

Their really is nothing one can do but to deal with what has come to us. The question in this court room today is what will we call justice for this barbaric crime? Every day when I put on my battle dress uniform and spend long ours at work for the Unite States Air Force, I believe that I’m serving a country that is just and fair. People should take responsibility for their actions. Accidents do happen, but this was no accident.

Three guys armed with killing knives attacked my brother that night. My brother had his back turned away from them as if running away. He was stabbed twice and fell to the ground. He was already on the ground when they stabbed him a third time directly in the upper spinal cord. Yelling for help, he just found himself in a puddle of blood and the same three guys kicking him still.

My brother looses 13 years of his life. He looses the ability to move or feel two thirds of his body. He will never do hundreds of thousands of things that able bodies people can do. This letter only covers about 50 of them.

So what will give our family justice?....not done yet