From Street Teen to Narcotics Officer by Todd Rutherford

Jim Gilliam’s Point Deception centers on a protagonist, Tim Kelly, who runs away from home to face the tough streets of New Orleans at a tender age. While Kelly finds a way to triumph and survive, he faces many trials, tribulations, and dangerous elements before lying about his age and enlisting in the Coast Guard at the age of 14.

As the son of a single mother in the 1950s, he faces the stigmatization of being the son of a “hot divorcee” and lacks male role models; he finds a “leading male role model” in Rodolfo Guzman, the kingpin of the Campeche Cartel. Kelly is a loner, who often lives in his imagination and the adventures of books where young boys are the hero, leading to a captivation with joining the military. After several thwarted efforts to run away from home, Kelly finally succeeds, facing dwindling savings, lack of a stable job, and insufficient funds to procure a union card. His combined friendship with Guzman, who becomes his protector, and tough nature, refusing to be sexually abused by another man at work who assumes that his age makes him vulnerable, gives him the grit and means necessary to survive, although not without many difficulties and situations which no young boy should face.

It is this tough nature that later serves him in the Coast Guard and as an undercover narcotics officer; although Kelly has the grit necessary to survive on the streets, it is not without a great deal of drama and danger. Many children are not as lucky and do not survive, engulfed by the dark elements of the streets that eventually destroy their lives. Between 1 and 1.5 million children run away from home each year, with between 20 and 40 percent-varying by location-becoming involved in drug use, prostitution, or pornography. Although Tim Kelly was able to “make it” on the streets, he is one of the rare cases; much more often, the negative influence that came into Kelly’s life consumes young runaways who face the triple oppression of youth, vulnerability, and insufficient financial means.

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