Good Kids Bad City
Kyle Swenson
Contributed by Greta Venegas

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Chapter 11
Summary

In this chapter Swenson tells the tale of Ed Vernon’s struggles with stress, due to his guilty conscience, before he eventually came clean and confessed about the false testimony he had given in court. The author narrates how Ed would sometimes break down and cry loudly while at the Emmanuel Christian Church, which caught the attention of Pastor Anthony Singleton. Swenson explains how bad luck continued to follow Ed wherever he went. He lost his job at the City Mission, and he was then sacked from his next job at a mental health center. Losing both jobs, and compounded with a turbulent lifestyle, forced him into increasingly serious debts.

Ed would later suffer a stroke, which doctors said had been triggered by high blood pressure. As much as doctors tried to stabilize his blood pressure, Ed’s condition constantly deteriorated with the former witness claiming that he even wished for death. Swenson explains how Pastor Singleton pressured Ed to come clean about what was obviously disturbing him. One day, while weeping uncontrollably in Singleton’s arms, Ed confessed by stating that he had falsely testified in the trials of Rickey Jackson, Wiley Bridgeman, and Ronnie Bridgeman. 

Analysis

Ed is portrayed as an extremely disturbed individual. The guilty conscience of having been the key witness in helping condemn three innocent men to prison had obviously taken its toll on him. This constant feeling of guilt turned into stress, which developed into hypertension, and eventually led to a stroke. As well as his physical and health issues, he keeps losing his job and finds himself deep in debt. Swenson attributes Ed’s troubles directly to his false testimony. 

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