In this episode of Between The Before And After Podcast, Jonathan McLernon interviews Bill Pardue and Joe Pardue, a father-son duo who share their remarkable experiences detailed in the book, "Wolf Creek." They discuss their time in the wilderness with young criminals, and how the experience has led to transformative personal growth.
Welcome to another exciting episode of Between The Before and After! I'm your host, Jonathan McLernon, and today we have a very special show for you. Joining us are Bill Pardue and his son Joe Pardue, the dynamic duo behind the inspiring book "Wolf Creek."
In this captivating episode, we dive into a firsthand account of Bill's coming-of-age experience as a wilderness camp counselor for juvenile offenders. From animal studies to empowering young adults, we'll explore Bill's incredible journey and how it molded him into the man he is today.
We'll also hear from Joe, who helped his dad edit and publish the book, about his eye-opening perspective on the entire process, from the first draft to seeing it come to life in print.
Throughout our chat, we'll be discussing the importance of trauma for growth and development and how Bill's unique approach to counseling has transformed the lives of countless young men. From reflecting on the moments that helped these boys find direction in life - to discussing the significance of being a dependable rock when life gets tough.
So don't go anywhere, and tune in as we hear from Bill and Joe Pardue about their unforgettable adventure in the wilderness with juvenile offenders, and how they turned it into a must-read book.
Welcome back to between the before and after a podcast about the stories that shape us. I'm your host, Coach John mclean. Each episode, I bring you an inspiring guest with a moving story that shines a light on the power of the human spirit. I'm excited to share this story with you. So let's dive in. So what would it be like to be sent out into the wilderness with hardened and sometimes violent young criminals but with no internet, no cellphone and maybe not necessarily a way to get out of there and knowing you're going to be there for not just a couple of days, but maybe even a couple of weeks or a couple of months.
This is the story of Wolf Creek and uh Bill Pardue and his experience doing that along with uh his son Joe, helping him to publish and develop the story to share and really share some insights into how it's affected our perception of the cultural landscape that we are experiencing to this day. So, gentlemen, welcome to the show. It's a pleasure to have you here. Thank you for having us. Yeah, you bet. So just before we dive into, into your story and into the, the, the story behind Wolf Creek.
I wanted to give you a chance to give, uh, give our folks a little bit of an idea of what you're up to presently. Maybe Bill will start with you. Yes, I have been an attorney for 30 years and I actually just retired in February.
And, uh, so I'm navigating what retirement looks like. I also have several other books out there that I'm promoting and, and trying to get going. So, so what I'm doing is like, yeah, yeah. So is, is authorship kind of how you're enjoying your, uh your retirement then? No, you know, I, I, I'm a electric skateboard guy, so I have like five electric skateboards. So I got myself a new one and I got, and I'm also an old surfer and so I get out there and I play street basketball. You know, I, I stay busy. That's awesome. That's great to hear. And Joe, uh I know you're, you're still of a working age. So you probably keep yourself busy doing a few other things, uh trying to figure out what you're right as well for myself.
Um, on the side. So, yeah, keep him busy. And yes, so you had the opportunity to uh help, help your dad uh produce and edit the story of Wolf Creek, which kind of gave you a unique insight into, into his experiences. And so, Jo, I wanted to ask you first, uh as you were kind of reading through your, your father's story about going through this experience being out in the wilderness and thinking about it in light of, you know, without all the modern conveniences that we've just come to take for granted. Uh What, what sort of lessons, uh did you, did you take from that experience?
The biggest thing that I took from, it was just his story of growing up, um and maturing as a young man, as an individual and to see the differences also as well, like you said, back then, from back then till now, in terms of how the culture has shifted in the sense that I don't think that there's a lot of camps like that, that he was in at this point now and I don't think that would really be uh approved, you know, just having kids out in the wilderness, you know, and could have been no supervision. So I think things have changed in that regard in the culture now. Yeah. And just my biggest thing was seeing him mature as an individual. Um What, what do you think it is that uh nowadays, we couldn't necessarily send a group of, you know, potentially violent young offenders into the wilderness if we could do it 40 or 50 years ago.
To be honest, I think people like to play things safe a little, a lot more now, which is good. I think we've learned a lot about being more cautious about certain things like that. But I think also there's something lost where, uh, you can be too cautious and too many roles around, um, those kinds of, you know, events like that. The fact that he didn't have any supervision, I think it was good but, and then him to, you know, fully interact with the kids and develop his relationship with them. So, yeah, absolutely. So, Bill, I, I'm, I'm curious, how did, how did you find yourself in this situation where, where indeed you are heading out into the wilderness to, and, and did you have an awareness of the types of young men that you were, you were being sent out into the wilderness with?
Well, I mean, I was kind of a wild young man myself. I just gotten out of, um, school and, uh, look, I was looking for something to do. I got a degree in zoology and, uh, there was an announcement for a wilderness camp counselor and, um, I, but it was canoeing, backpacking mountain climbing all bit, you know, I mean, and I, and I'm saying to myself, they're gonna pay me to do this. Right. Right. And, and in the interview, did they tell you the kind of young men that you're gonna be working with? No. And you, and you could not know number one, you couldn't put it in words, you had to be there in front of them to know who they were right if you had no, uh no contact with those kind of, uh, young men. So you really had to see it even if they had told me.
I mean, they did tell us for instance and, and I'm not sure it was when he was hiring me, but when I got out on site the day before they were coming out, he says, look, we've got a couple of, of young guys here that are dangerous. Uh, and one of them is a, has the classic profile of a young serial killer because he had mutilated animals that he had taken a dog, cut off all its legs, put it under his bed, put a flame up a horse's nose. And, uh, so they said you really have to be careful about this guy. And he was one of the sweetest looking guys out there kids. You know, the first night he was at camp, if you know what a bow saw is, it's a big metal saw and then it's got a big cutter. He, he was putting it in the campfire because that's all we had out there. He took it out and he went over and put it on the back of one of the other campers to, to burn them just because he didn't want a big old scar on his back. Yeah. Oh, so, I, I mean, I wonder like what, what runs through your head. So you're, you're out at this site. So you get one day to sort of familiarize yourself with this wilderness site and then the guy says, oh, by the way, one of the people coming out, one of the young men coming out here fits the profile of a serial killer.
What, what runs through your mind when you hear some, a statement like that. Well, what do you do? I mean, I, you know, I hitchhiked out there about 400 miles to get to this place. So I had no way out. So you're stuck, you know, you either do it or you or you hitchhike back out and you forget about it. But uh you know, I, I have lived my, this so this was my, um this was my adventure into manhood.
This was me growing up and when Joe says he read the book and he, what he read in that was me growing up, you know, I thought about that and I, and I've always said in these interviews, these boys gave me more than I gave them. And what they gave me was manhood. I was forced to grow up out in those woods and take responsibility for everything that was happening and be a um a kind of a classic. This is what you should be kind of a person right to them. So what's fascinating about this? Uh because I feel like there's some aspects of masculinity that are kind of lost in our culture. So I I, I've had the privilege of traveling to a number of countries around the world and experiencing different cultures and living in multiple different countries where they do create a clear delineation between masculinity and femininity and manhood and womanhood and so on. And they even have cultural rituals that guide people into the, the transition into manhood and into womanhood. And we don't really have a rite of passage like that uh that exists in, in our society especially today. And so Joe, I was wondering again, as you, as you were kind of going through and, and looking at the story, maybe looking through the lens of your experience in this modern world. Do you feel like we, we've lost something or, or maybe how do you feel about the thought of having some kind of ritual or transition into manhood? And, and would it be a positive thing to have as a part of our cultural fabric? I definitely think. So, going back to what I had mentioned before about us being more cautious uh culturally now, as opposed to, let's say, the seventies, um I think that's a bad thing in the sense that I think that young men need to experience some sort of danger to grow um to go through, to risk things.
I guess you put it that way. Um Even to go through some sort of trauma um and difficult situations in order to grow, I think we're kind of maybe afraid of certain difficult situations now or, you know, um we kind of pull back from that because we think, oh, this is kind of scary or this is not appropriate, but I think young men should go through some sort of trauma or some sort of difficulty in order to grow. Right. And, and that's a really fascinating uh I, I think perception or, or perspective story uh to your point, I went through a seriously traumatic experience where I was nearly murdered.
Not to make this about my own story, but just to, to put that in light of what you shared there going through, the experience is not something I would ask to go through, not something I would wish to go through and maybe not something I would want others to go through. However, that became one of the most foundational experiences in my life where I was forced to grow and to mature and it wasn't an overnight process. It was a multi-year process of trying to deal with and rust with and grab not only what had happened to me, but who I had become as a result of what had happened to me. And so, you know, I wonder if, you know, hearing something like that being expressed, you know, I, I wonder how that that might be received in today's culture where maybe there is a perception that we're, you know, kind of like helicoptering and bubble wrapping things a little bit too much because there's aspects of masculinity that are, that are wired for experiencing danger.
And, and I, you know, I have a young son, he's, he's two years old and we, we play fight and I, I toss him around, you know, I let him win sometimes because, but the, the point being I, I'm giving him a chance to sort of experience, you know, masculinity and learn how to, to, to deal with that. Uh uh Joel direct this to you first. Why do you again, do you feel it is that maybe masculinity is being, I wanna say torn down, it seems a little bit too dramatic but really being opposed. Uh in today's modern society, there's been a loss of uh concern for men and right to the point of where even nowadays there certain things that uh men go through, um you'll be kind of met with, you know, what challenges do men really face because men are privileged, right? And have that privilege. And so what problems do you really have? You know, I think it's typical now, right? And I think one of the, one of the interesting things that we observe, like, like that we lose sight of is that, you know, men are significantly more likely to die in a work related accident.
Men are more significantly likely to commit suicide. Men are more significantly likely to be injured or maimed in workplace accidents as well. Uh Historically, men have been in in massively disports, numbers been the casualties of war and conflict and so on. And so I think masculinity isn't nearly as privileged as people would like to make it to be where we seem to be shining a spotlight in some of the specifics, like very selectively while ignoring some of the more important aspects. And so Bill to bring it back to you and, and to your story out there, I think about these, you know, now, now the bus pulls up and these young men arrive and it's yourself who, who's with you when, when this busload of young men pulls up and, and how many of them are there? And kind of what runs through your mind as you watch them get off the bus.
Well, who was with me was a young retired army parachutist from Vietnam and he had worked with these boys at the ranch. So he was a tough guy. Nobody was gonna, you know, he was just on the face, a tough guy and, and it was me, I was the other one. So the 10 boys come off the bus and uh you know, a couple of them are thrown off the bus, but the first ones that come off the bus is the leader and then his enforcer comes behind him and then other kids tumble off the buses, they tumble off. But uh what I didn't realize this was gonna be my second interview. The real interview. If I couldn't pass this interview.
I might as well get my backpack and my thumb and head back, you know, where I came from. So, um, you know, one of the leader gets, they get around the bench, the park table and a leader sits across from me. The rest of the bench is all they're trying to force me off the end and he's, he rolls ready roll because that's what they did. And he lit it up and he blew smoke right in my face.
I said, look, dude, I'm gonna give you one free pass on that. Just don't do it again. So there he comes, that's it.
I was across the top of that table, you know, just in life generally, you can't really hurt people, you can subdue them. But if you want to build a relationship going forward, you can't kill them, you can't pound them, you can't. So the, so I realized at that point that if I'm gonna live with these kids, I can't really hurt them when I'm doing this. So I subdued him, came back up. He said in front of everybody. Look, I'm gonna get an A, I'm gonna kill you tonight, blah, blah, blah. Then his uh enforcer comes over, starts punching one of the little boys in the group. And I said the same thing to him.
We had the same fight and rolling down the hill again, had to subdue him. And the, the benefit of that interview was because because I can, I became the alpha male before that this young man that was first went off the bus was the alpha male. Now we all know from a wolf pack in the wilds when the alpha male is um deposed, he's no longer in the group. So that young man was never in that group again. He was never a portion of it because he had no place. The enforcers still had a place because he worked for me now. Right? And what, what ages were these uh were these young boys? They were 15 to 18? Yeah. So you're, you're 21. Uh The these fellows are between 15 and 18 years old and like you said, they're, they're, they're big enough to, to cause damage. And so it wasn't, it wasn't a walk in the park to subdue them and to assert that you in fact, are the alpha and it's, it's interesting to think about that.
This is what was necessary. And I imagine if we were to walk into a prison environment, even today, this, this sort of environment still exists as much as we would like to pretend that it doesn't that, that it does. So you, you had to assert your dominance.
You had to take on the in the, the leader of the pack, you had to take on the enforcer and you got the respect of, of, of these young men, whether they wanted it or not. And now, now it's time to, to get to work, so to speak. Now it's time to do what you were sort of out there to do.
What was the purpose of bringing these young men out here, you know, 400 odd miles or however far it was into the wilderness like this, you know, let's take these boys that cannot live in a normal, normal parameters of society. By the end of that, they were more self disciplined because they had to be because I forced them to, to not act out, not take a hot boa and put it on somebody's back, not to, um, you know, come after somebody with an ax in the middle of the night, not to punch somebody in the face because you didn't like them not to set. We had a counselor, they, one of, one of the problems there, the, uh, was that if you weren't physically capable of handling these boys, they were going to keep you alive.
They had, we had one counselor that came out and I was just gone for five minutes. I don't, I don't know where I'd been just walking in the woods or something. I came back, they came yelling, they had him up a tree and they had set him on fire. They'd gotten some, um, um, the gas starter and it lit his pants on fire and they, they punched him before they were out fighting. And that was the only way he could get away from them. Yeah. I mean, there was a situation there where the counselors weren't safe if they weren't capable of handling themselves. Right. They just weren't safe alone. Boy. So, at any given time, um, how, how many counselors would have, have been out there? Two and 10 boys. Ok. There was, there was another site with 10 boys and, and, and the difference between, there's such a dichotomy between the two groups.
We are very disciplined, very organized. They were over there smoking dope in the woods. This was, and, you know, stealing guns out of, out of stores and shooting at us with it. I mean, it was just the other, the other group was crazy. We just, you know, their, their members would come over to eat at our camp to have some place to sleep that was warm and out of the rain because they were just wild over there and I just, we just kind of stayed away from them. Right. Right. Because you mentioned that, uh, coming off the, the time when they were coming off the bus that it was yourself. And this other sort of ex paratrooper who had been in the Vietnam war. Did, did he, uh, switch out with somebody else? Is that what took place? Yeah. He, we would try to switch out like every, I mean, I, I think I only had two weeks off in a year and 15 months. Right. Right? Because you, you were kind of out there like, like an enforcer as well.
You, you'd establish yourself as a leader of this group. And so it was necessary, uh, how many of these camps were there at this time that were doing this sort of thing where you send these, these young men into the wilderness to try to help them change. I, I think this was the first one ever. Ok. And then some, sometime during that time another camp was established not so far from where you were. Is that right? Well, we, we established those two camps that this, our started first and then they had theirs over there but in terms of other agencies or other, you know, organizations doing that, uh, this was, this was the first attempt at, with wilderness camping and, uh, rehabilitation. Mhm. I wanted to see how it worked. So, Joe, I'm, I'm kind of curious as, as you hear about some of these experiences that, uh, your, your dad had gone through and some of the others had gone through if you were offered an opportunity to, to go and, and do something like this, what, what would run through your mind?
Um, I think I would, I would do it. I was gonna say what, what, uh, what prompts that, what you would say, hey, I think I, I might put up my hand for something like this as difficult as it sounds because again, it's, it's the difficulty that would, um, entice me to do it as well as, again, the danger and the challenge of it, which again provides an opportunity for growth as a, as a person in general and as a man too. So. Right. Right. Yeah. And, and so I'm curious, uh, you know, thinking that maybe these sorts of opportunities don't necessarily present themselves to you. But you, you, you mentioned, you know, opportunities for growth, putting ourselves in dangerous or challenging situations. Uh How, how do you do that for yourself?
How do you, what do, what do you look for in terms of opportunities to maybe put yourself in a situation where you can maybe be in some, some sort of relative danger to experience growth. I mean, well, one of the things I did a couple of years ago was I went up to um the protests that were happening in the US with the um after George Floyd had been killed at the port for those protests. And part of the reason was I wanted to be there to support, you know, the cause and stuff like that. But also I wanted to be there for that experience of being in the middle of all that action and, and all that excitement. And I think the danger of being in that environment entice me to be in it. And um I think having experienced that you're able to um yeah, being on the edge um helps you be less afraid in other situations in your life because now you've been through that and now, you know, ok, well, I can be, go through something else.
You're not afraid anymore. Anything else that might happen to you. So you mentioned, you mentioned going in and being present at these protests.
Do you feel like there's a tipping point with these protests because perhaps they are a necessary protest to communicate, uh, a necessary change in the cultural landscape. But is there a tipping point where the protests go from being, you know, voices being heard in a very strong way to now, they're just want on destruction and they're no longer a productive protest and that there are people who are taking advantage of the situation just to simply cause destruction and mayhem. Oh, yeah, I saw that when I was there.
I mean, so maybe I would say 98, 99, 98 of the people who were, there were peaceful peacefully protesting and then two people, only two people that were there. Um, well, I was, there actually started trouble two people out of a crowd of maybe, I don't know, 500 people. Um, everybody else was just peaceful. So it was the majority who were, you know, doing the right thing and it's just the outliers who were causing the chaos.
I, I don't recall, I don't really watch the news and so I can't say that I, I know much about it, I, I, it's more like I heard things sort of via word of mouth. So I guess, uh, being up in Canada, I mean, it sort of got on our, our radar, I guess, but it wasn't quite as, probably prominent as it would have been, um, south of the border. But, uh, you know, it does seem like there was, you know, like looting and, and buildings being set on fire and vehicles being set on fire and so on and so forth. And, uh, so I don't know if you, you happen to witness any of this sort of, of behavior during the time you were at the protest or was this happening in other areas? No, I witnessed it.
Well, I didn't, I didn't witness being buildings being set on fire, but I was there in August of 2020 for a weekend. Um, and so the first night I was out there, we marched to a police station in, I think it was West Portland and there was, like I said, a huge crowd of people there, maybe 500 and there was one individual, there are two individuals who were causing trouble. There was one who spray painted something on the side of a, um, building and the other one who, you know, the police precinct building and the other one who started a fire in a trash can in front of the building. Um, but nobody actually set, tried to set the building on fire. And that was again two people out of a crowd, massive crowd. So it was couple troublemakers. Right. Yeah. And so it, it seems like you, you were able to experience what might be genuinely, um, productive, uh, protest versus just sort of want, want on, um, want on des destruction. So, uh, Bill going back to you in the story of Wolf Creek here where, you know, you said you spent about 15 months out there and I was all 15 months with the same group or were there different groups that cycled in and out? And if so, what was sort of the interval? No, same boys. There was one boy that came in a little bit later. Uh And he was, he was a terror and everybody hated him.
You know, we heard all the stories about him before he came in. But yeah, no, it was the same group of boys. And so I imagine that when you spend that much time together in an environment where you're in a sense, forced to rely on each other for survival and functioning that they both you and those boys would experience tremendous maturation and, and growth. And so I wonder you mentioned earlier on that you felt like they gave more to you than you gave to them. And, but what sort of growth did you witness in them? And do you know, were they able to become productive members of society and, and you know, had you stayed in touch with any of them, uh, following that sort of life changing experience.
Well, first, just quickly to address what they did for me, they, they made me into a man. They forced me to be a man. And, uh, what I did for them was I forced them to take stock of themselves and be disciplined because these were emotionally disturbed, delinquent teenagers, emotionally disturbed means they could not control their emotions. You know, they, they very few of them had even been to school because you couldn't keep them in a classroom.
They'd pick up a desk, throw it at the teacher. So they were just, just wild guys. And, um, I, I taught them discipline if nothing else, I taught them discipline and that's what they really needed in their lives because it was their unchecked emotions that got them into trouble that had them hurting people, hurting, hurting other people and they didn't know how to do that. They'd never had that opportunity to do it. And now in the woods. So this is the setting, uh, because you couldn't keep them around.
A, a, I mean, any time we were in a campsite, there were other people. There were problems. This one young man we were talking about before had broken into a campsite, cut through the back of the tent, found the dolls and the woman's underwear in there. He put peanut butter all over that, put a knife up between the legs of the doll and then he was hiding out in the woods.
We had to go find him. The cops came to us wanted to know what happened. We really didn't know. But those things, I mean, they just came up and you just, uh, from my perspective, I just had to, I had to show them what discipline looked like and I had to red discipline myself to, to grow up to be more responsible because all of a sudden I was in charge of these kids and they needed me, they needed me to keep them safe from each other and on the path to some sort of, uh, personal development, you know, and, and they did that when you have a young man who does something like you described who, uh, finds his way through the woods to some other people who are trying to camp out in this wilderness who have nothing to do with sort of these juvenile offenders and whatnot and they do something that's probably very off putting.
You can just imagine like, uh, you know, a knife being left in a doll and things like that. The sort of the acts that you described there. What kind of conversation do you have with that young man? And I, I wonder what's the, what's the capacity for rehabilitation in someone who conducts himself in this way?
Well, again, the rehabilitation was being out there and having them have to deal with me and my rules because they are my rules. There are nobody else. Uh, you know that we established, me and the counselor I worked with, we established the rules.
If they broke them, they were punished. And there was a point where we got them organized enough where we could take them into town to the skating rink or to a movie. So these were, and if, and they knew that if they broke any of the rules, they were gonna be out of that picture, there was gonna be no more movies for them for at least a week. You know, they were lost.
They were, they seriously were lost and you had to deal with them individually with conversations with just sitting on them for hours to keep, to keep their anger confined to, you know, and the important thing about that was after a couple of hours of sitting on these boys, they would get up like, uh, like nothing had happened, they'd be calm, there wouldn't be one bit of anger left, left in there for that particular time. So it's almost like giving them medication, but it was a, uh, physical intervention rather than medication. And that's, that's a really interesting point just with regards to the, the me uh, medication aspect of it.
I'm kind of curious of those 10 boys that you were, you were largely with for this period of 15 months. Was there one particular transformation story that that kind of stood out to you and where, where you saw a dramatic shift from maybe someone who was, you know, extremely, seemingly, maybe out, out of control to really developing into a man themselves. And what, what sort of transformation stayed with, story kind of stayed with you most from this experience. Well, it, it would be number one, probably the enforcer.
He and I got to be really close and I relied on him heavily to help me, uh deal with the boys. And um, he, I could see him grow, I could see him grow right before my eyes. You know, he, any kind of a dangerous situation that we got into. I could always rely on Roy to be there at my side and to help me because he was a strong guy when we, we got into a flash flood in Arkansas at the end of my stay and we, we had four canoes. Uh, we lost two of them pretty early. Uh They had tipped over.
There had been a flash flood during the night. It had taken the canoes away. If, if you're familiar with the flash flood, it, you know, it can, it can rise five or six ft in 20 minutes. Right. Yeah. And so we lost those canoes.
We actually lost a boy for three days. We thought he had drowned when the canoe went over. Uh There were four of them that were caught in trees in the middle of this river that we had to get out with whatever. And I was the only one there to do it. Everybody else was either capsized upriver, capsized down river or in the middle of a tree in the middle of the river that I had to get him out. So Roy would always be there.
I needed somebody to be able to strong person who could. Um And, and so he learned responsibility and uh even though he's a very quiet guy, I could tell the difference in him and he took me leaving the hardest of anybody because he felt like I had um betrayed him by leaving that. That's a fascinating observation.
And, you know, I think what you're describing is maybe somebody who is hungry for a sense of responsibility and meaning and purpose. And when we think about masculinity, maybe we think about 11 of the things that men are really drawn to is exactly that having a sense of purpose, a drive to feel as though we are a part of something that's, that's meaningful in our lives. And, and this just gentleman Roy that you, you described, it seems like that was what he was, he was beginning to experience and, and that was allowing to, to, to grow and to thrive from, from these uh young men that you worked with. Are there any of them that you ever kept in touch with over the years? Or, or did you follow their stories over the years to sort of see what had happened to them.
Well, you have to understand when they gave them to us. They told us nothing. They didn't want us to be jaded before they even got there. And I just popped in. They didn't know me.
I dropped in from, you know, nowhere and they dropped in from nowhere. And, uh, but I did have a couple of, uh, couple of boys who contacted me, uh, after I left and one of them was Vince. And, uh, he was a, he was another guy, smart guy. I mean, these, these boys are not dumb. Some of them are not real bright. Right. Right there. They, he, he was definitely, he called me because he'd gotten a girlfriend in L A and I was down there at the time.
He wanted me to meet with him and his girlfriend and just let me know that he was all right and that he had survived that experience and anything he had to do after that. So I saw him as a really strong individual and I had a really interesting experience with him. I brought all these boys to my mother's house and I bought all 10 boys there for Christmas dinner. And, uh, I still have a picture of him sitting in my father's lap, Vince and he was as big as my father was. And, and I thought to myself, you know, my dad never let me sit in his lap like that. Yeah. So they got to maybe experience something that they hadn't, maybe was missing from their life and that was family even. Exactly. I'm, I'm, what I want to connect here potentially is the link between socioeconomic conditions and being juvenile offenders. And I know you spent a number of years as a lawyer as well. And so, and, and, uh, maybe after Bill Ways and Joe, I'd like to hear your thoughts on this as well. But it, what is the connection between, like, socioeconomic conditions and maybe finding themselves in a situation like this? And, and do you suppose if had they been raised in different situations or circumstances that they may have turned out differently? Yeah. Well, that's interesting because I, as soon as I got out, the reason I left the boys was the camp counselor wanted me to go get a master's in social work because he wanted me to continue to work in that field. And my thesis there was on exactly that I took Dallas and I looked at all the, um, neighborhoods of Dallas.
I looked at what the economic status was, what the criminal crime rate was. There was a direct, direct, um, uh, connection between the lower economic status and crime. And so these boys were, I mean, most of them didn't have a family, they didn't know what a family looked like.
We had to make our own family out there. And whatever family we made out there was the best family they had ever had. So, um, that was important and it was very important to the boy's growth because they, a lot of them didn't know what love was.
You know, they didn't know. And to them when they saw me protecting them, which I had to do several times from people they knew that was love and we got into a gang fight, right one time they got me into a gang fight, I should say, and they knew that after that they loved me. You know, they, it said I was one of them. Yeah, absolutely. So, and, and is that, is that gang fight story uh documented in the book Wolf Creek? It is for me, it was a high point. And just to like very quickly the boys, we gone up to Dallas to the state fairgrounds, we'd let the boys out.
These are not boys, you hold hands and you walk through the park, they just take off. We know they're gonna come back because they know where their new meal was coming from. We had parked our old bus in a back alley next to a railroad station and two of the boys came flying around the corner running as fast as they could say. We got you out of here.
You need to get and right behind them at the end of the alley, the only exit from the alley there were probably 30 young men, they started picking up pipes and rocks and whatever else they could throw and throwing them at us. And I was standing between the boys and the bus. I was in the middle and then the other group was on the other side by myself.
And, uh, just because I was kind of a crazy guy at that time and, uh, somebody almost hit me with a rock and I just kind of, I, you know, you just, and, and sometimes you just kind of elevate above what's happening and you just do what's right in front of you. So I picked up a couple of rocks. I form right at the middle of that group as hard as I could. And I ran full speed.
I had no idea where the boys were behind me and I had no idea what I was gonna do when I ran in the middle of this group. Luckily, within five seconds they all disappeared. They just took off like the devil himself was after him. And those boys could not believe it. Right. They were all the way back in the bus.
Oh, they were having a big party and those kind of things brought us together. Right. And there we had multiple occasions, we have things like that happen. Mm. Well, I mean, it sounds like, uh, Wolf Creek is probably filled with many, many sort of fascinating and touching and heartwarming, even, even challenging and difficult.
Stories to, to read as well. And just as we come to the, to the close this interview, and I'm, I, I'm certain that there will be many, many people hearing this who would be interested in learning more about the learning more about the stories that are, that are in there. And so we want to save some things for the book. Um But uh for those who might be listening to this conversation and they, they hear about your experience doing something like this, they, they hear about, you know, maybe you saw the humanity in these young men where others would just see like maybe a wild subhuman creature, you know, and I'll, I'll get Joe and Bill.
I'll give you both an opportunity to share here and they will start with Joe for those who would listen to this conversation today. If you could have them take something away from this conversation, what, what would you hope that they would, they would gain from listening to this? Well, by reading the story, I say, I would hope they would gain um an understanding of what young men experience and universally across any time period, not just now, but back then past present or future.
I think that's the value that can be gained by anybody from reading that book to get a better understanding of the uh male experience, you know, particularly young men. Mhm mhm And, and Bill, what do you hope that people would take away from, from hearing about these stories and this conversation we've had today. Well, you, you just have to respect everybody right and respect their right to have a good life. Um, these boys, you know, 90% of the population never had or would, could imagine the kind of lives they had. And, uh, you, you just have to have mutual respect. You know, I see people going around do all the time doing this now, right?
Most people don't know what that means. What it means is that I recognize the divine spirit within you. And that's what I like for people to take away. We all have that in us no matter who we are, what place we've had different, you know, experiences that either hurt us or helped us. Um But everybody has that spirit of divinity and everybody has potential, everybody. But if you don't allow them to have it, if you throw them in jail their whole lives, or if you, you know, you're beating on them, their whole lives that gets them nowhere.
They need to, they need to have a safe passage. Everybody has a right to a safe passage. Hm, I love that, you know, gentlemen, thank you again so much for, for being on today and, and sharing these, these wonderful stories. And uh I do look forward to learning more about them as I, as I read the book Wolf Creek as well. So thank you. Thank you. So much for tuning in to between the before and after. If you've enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and leave a review because that helps this podcast to reach and inspire more people. I love exploring the stories that take place between the before and after the powerful experiences that shape who we become and I love human potential. I love the possibilities that lie within us. So whatever you may be up against, I hope these stories inspire you. Because if you're still here, your story is not done yet. So keep moving forward.
Hi, we are William and Patrick Pardue, a father and son duo with cross-generational perspectives on life’s major issues. We have also written a book called “Wolf Creek”, which is based on real life events. Wolf Creek is a story of maturation, the strength of the human spirit, the cruelty of humanity, and the power of love and friendship to mend even the most broken hearts.
I am William Pardue, and I am a lawyer, and advocate for social justice for “all’ people, carpenter, Social Worker, Reformer, Spiritualist, and Mystic. I have also written 4 more books. Before that, I spent 10 years as a Social worker assisting disaster victims around the world and have started and operated a construction business for ten years while attending Law School at night.
My son Patrick is also a writer, explorer, and thinker. He provides a unique perspective of an individual who has grown up during the post millennium period of increasing social and political turmoil in the United States.
We hope to be on your show and talk about these important topics like societal issues that were raised in our current setting — racism, violence, hatred, love, family. We are going to give our cross generational perspective from baby boomer to millennial on those issues. And of course, those issues will include what obligation does our society have to take care of these throw-away people, or the most vulnerable people in our society. Why are we so broken in fractures? And an inter-generational perspective of what have we done right, what have we done wrong, and many more.
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