“My mugger sent me an apology” by Philippa P.B. Hughes

Philippa Hughes is the founder of the Pink Line Project and one of DC’s most influential local arts supporters. I happened to see the following note on her Facebook page, and with her permission, would like to repost it here. She writes:

Someone tried to mug me last October. It happened in the middle of the day just a few blocks from my home. It was really traumatic, though I joked about it at the time. Afterward, I constantly looked over my shoulder when walking around my own neighborhood and was spooked if anyone came up behind me suddenly. Lucky for me, the guy got caught and spent time in jail, but it still took some time for me to shake the feeling of vulnerability. Receiving this apology letter from the mugger has helped me feel hopeful again. Here’s the letter:

“I am writing this letter to let you know that I apologize for what I did. I am truly sorry, I can imagine the pain and trauma I have caused in your life. You have every reason to have negative feelings towards me and to want to see me incarcerated. I am not the type of person that does stuff like that; I am a very likable and unique person with a good heart. I was at a down point in my life when I made the mistake of mugging you but that is still no excuse. I have made myself look like something I’m not. I am very disappointed in myself and embarrassed. While I was incarcerated I thought about what I did every day and that is something I have to live with for the rest of my life. I have suffered a lot while I was in jail and I changed a lot. I know you don’t want to even hear from me but I hope you can take me into consideration and hopefully one day you can find it in your heart to forgive me. And I thank you for taking time out of your day to read this letter. God bless you.”

51 Comment

  • Good for him. Hope he finds his own blessings so that he no longer needs to turn to such negative life pursuits again. Spread the good vibes and vote for good times!

  • Wow, intense! What a nice gesture. Will Ms. Hughes’ reply to the mugger?

  • I hope its real and not just a cynical ploy aimed at the parole board to obtain early release.

    • Yeah, the only time folks like this apologize is when they are looking for a reduced punishment.

      The apology comes from getting caught, not being remorseful.

      • Folks like what?

        • Folks like this guy who try to mug someone, get caught and then spend time in jail. Probably nothing more than a condition of parole.

          Are you really that oblivious or are you tryin’ extra hard today?

          • Do you honestly believe criminals are never remorseful, and never change their ways? Neither you nor I knows the first thing about this guy, but you’re awful quick to judge anyway.

          • we know he’s a mugger. that says a lot. *almost* everything I need to know about him.

        • folks that committed acts of violence on random strangers.

    • My first thought also, but then I figured… why not give him the benefit of the doubt?

      • because he mugged someone maybe? You forfeit your benefit of the doubt when you violently attack a stranger.

      • There’s a huge difference between reckoning an apology to be legit and blithely swinging open society’s door. I’m not saying he should work in a bank, but I don’t have a problem with giving him the benefit of the doubt. I don’t even have a problem with you being less optimistic about it. Chill there, friend. 🙂

        • What does benefit of the doubt mean? Do you welcome him to live next door to you? (With a felony conviction for violence?) Do you invite him to backyard bar-b-ques?

          • It means that I can understand if the victim found the letter truthful, and forgives him. It’s quite a jump between accepting that his remorse is real and wanting him as a neighbor.

    • “While I was incarcerated I thought about” is past tense. The author is necessarily behind bars anymore.

  • That’s some pretty decent penmanship

  • Sadly the enough the prison system brands those who commit felonies making it impossible to get real jobs and turn their lives around. That really needs to change.

    • The only thing a statement like this does is gratify the speaker about the moral righteousness of their own liberal sentiments. You’ll note they offer nothing concrete or thoughtful to the discussion.

    • Oh yes, impossible. Like time traveling through space on the wings of a unicorn or having an army of little orange men make me candy everyday.

  • Wow. That was very powerful. Looks like someone is at the “making amends” point in their program. Hope it works for them and that they find peace.

  • How did he get her address?

  • Likely a requirement for probation or something, or to look good for some program, etc.

    He’s sorry he was caught; not that he mugged you.

  • NO, no, no! – A man who is at a “down point in life” does NOT “Make the mistake of mugging someone.”

    He might smash up a car, throw rocks through some windows, go to a bar and pick a fight if he needs some physical violence. He might – equally horrible but in a different way – beat up his girlfriend.

    But he does not randomly physically attack an unknown woman on the street.

    “I am not the type of person who does stuff like that” is unacceptable. He did in fact do stuff like that, so he is in fact, that type of person.

    Yes, he may be repentant and yes, he can in fact change, but this letter does not demonstrate that at all.

    • Well aren’t you just a negative Nancy today?!

      • No Idiot. Go to GDON or Rental of the day, or a restaurant review if you so desperately need to make a smarmy comment to make yourself feel smart. Are you suggesting Negative Nancy should actually enjoy a blow to the head?

    • i agree 100%. mugging and a physical altercation with a woman on the street that left her bruised and shaken is not a fucking “mistake”. it is an act of violence that leaves a person scarred beyond any minor injuries.

      i believe that a person may change their ways and be remorseful, but you need a hell of a lot more than that to get violence out of your heart. feeling bad and embarrassed aint there yet.

      what happens the next time he’s down?

  • I think it’s up to the victim to decide whether or not to accept the letter at face value and whether or not to forgive the attacker.

    The rest of you . . . *shaking head*

    • Absolutely right, but she did post it on Facebook and give permission for it to be posted here. I think that makes it legit for folks to weigh in with their opinions.

  • Actually – it’s not. Random street violence affects all of us. We have no idea who the initial victim is – and it doesn’t actually matter what she thinks or feels – as regards to the whole community. She can – and hopefully will- find her own peace in whatever way works for her.

    But the rest of us need to go about daily life without fear of assult.

  • i suspect all the posts are from people who have jobs (even some who don’t, but are fortunate enough to get support from govt – unemployment, etc.) who are you to judge whether this person is sincere or not. I think it is helpful to put yourself in someone elses shoes before you judge so quickly. as the person who was mugged said herself, “Receiving this apology letter from the mugger has helped me feel hopeful again.” so let it go at that you [email protected] cynics. And, yes, I have been mugged myself in DC. with the economy in the shape it is today, this is not likely to end anytimne soon. Have any of you people heard of Mandela’s Truth and Reconcialition Commission — look it up and educate yourselves.
    flame away

    • No one mugs anyone because of the economy or lack of a job. If you need money – grow some balls and rob a bank. Mugging is always a cowardly action.

  • Wait a minute– The mugging happened 3 months ago, almost exactly, and he’s already out of jail and has already “changed a lot?” This city is incredible. And not in a good way.

    Also, from the original article, “The officers told Hughes that this suspect was wanted in other snatching cases.”

    I’m really glad that that’s not what the mugger is really like, and that he’s really embarrassed…

    • where does it say he is out of jail? did i miss that part?

      • “While I was incarcerated I thought about what I did every day and that is something I have to live with for the rest of my life. I have suffered a lot while I was in jail and I changed a lot.”

        This quote from his letter made it pretty clear, I thought…

  • No job – unemployment, etc. whatever – so on – we can judge because we are not SMASHING people upside the head.

    Bad economy? Starving? (actually impossible) Go rob a bnak or a store – or eat at one of the many shelters/food banks. Just don’t attack people on the street.

  • Sincere or insincere.. this guy served his time for the crime he did. He deserves a fresh start.

    Whats the point of putting people behind bars if you do not expect them to improve or even change a bit.

    If an ex-con is always treated like a criminal, a death sentence would have been better.

    The criminal justice system needs to be improved.

  • *Deserves* a fresh start? He needs to earn it.

    I always thought the point of putting people behind bars was to remove them from society and prevent them from victimizing it even more.

    And christ on the cross, the death sentence comment is so drama queen that I laughed when I read it.

    • there are two reasons to put people behind bars. one is the get them away from the rest of us. the other is for them to serve penitence. thus penitentiary.

      but yes, “deserves” a fresh start doesnt fly with me either.
      you commit violence against a women, it will take years and years to rebuild any respect i have for that.

  • She should look up the case at dccourts.gov/pa
    Check the docket for the sentencing. If it says that an apology letter was a condition of probation, then this perp was ordered to write the letter. It may or may not be sincere — and it may or may not make her feel better — but that’s where you go to find out if it was voluntary or required.

Comments are closed.