Mark Brandon Read also known has Chopper once predicted that he would die young, and at 58 it looks like that grim prediction may come true shortly as he has been diagnosed with liver Cancer, with Dr's suggesting he may have as little as a few weeks left to live.
Now I know a lot of people would be sitting back thinking, about bloody time! How is he not dead already? The bloke is said to have killed up to 19 people, he attempted to kidnap a County Court Judge, he had a fellow inmate chop his ears off to prove a point and he spent only 13 months of his life on the "outside" between the ages of 20 and 38. So what! The bloke is a madman! What makes Chopper so special?
But Chopper Read is in my mind a very special man.
Several newspapers have referred to Choppers life as a "waste". With headlines such as "Mark Chopper Read has regretted a wasted life!". But has it all really been such a waste? I don't believe it has.
Now I am not for one minute condoning any of the criminal behaviors of Chopper. We all know the things he did were wrong and he knows it too, however this man has given society through his autobiographical crime novels an invaluable insight in to the life of a career criminal.
I have read every single one of his books, and as a law student I can say that Chopper has taught me things that the Bachelor of Laws degree could never teach. Reading his novels has given me a new perspective, a deeper understanding of what a "crime" even is. We are taught that a crime is a breach of the law and we must remedy such a breach. Yet Chopper teaches that a crime is not black and white. It has many colours, many sides to a story and many reasons why it occurred. If every inmate wrote a novel of their life experiences, I think it's safe to say, society and our views would be very different to what they are currently. We would have an understanding of where we went wrong.
So to Chopper, I say thank you! Mate your life is NOT and has NOT been a waste at all!