It happened last week in Charleston, West Virginia. A man stood up at a blackjack table in a local casino, drove to rob a bank, and then returned to the casino to continue gambling. Kerry Johnson, age 52, was then arrested.
Investigators say Mr. Johnson had been at the Mardi Gras Casino in Nitro for several hours when he put down a $25 chip to hold his spot at the table. That’s when police say Johnson drove 13 miles to a Charleston bank, gave tellers a note saying he had a bomb, and robbed the bank.
Police say Johnson then returned to the blackjack table and kept gambling. He could face 10 to 20 years in prison if convicted. As of this writing, it is not known if he has secured an attorney. It would seem he might need one.
Two lessons emerge from this crazy story.
1. Addictions escalate.
According to the American Psychological Association, there are at least 133 verifiable addictions. And most people have at least two of them. The problem with addictions is that they start small and lead us to places we would never imagine going. So it was with Mr. Johnson. He didn’t have a history of robbing banks; he did it just once – when his gambling addiction got the best of him. He just had to keep gambling, no matter the cost. Addictions escalate. If you are battling an addiction, you need to beat it before it beats you.
2. We all need an Advocate.
Mr. Johnson is toast until he gets an attorney to represent him. The Bible says, “If anybody sins [we do], we have an advocate with the Father – his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 2:1). Because we all have what Celebrate Recovery calls “hurts, habits, and hangups,” we need the Great Advocate to go before the throne of grace on our behalf. In Christ we have such an Advocate.