Speaker ponders what-if scenario


Shelby Swanson

Author Wes Moore spoke Sept. 13 about his choices and how they have shaped his life. His book, “The Other Wes Moore,” compares his life to that of another man with the same name, who is serving life in prison for homicide and armed robbery. Both men were published in the same issue of The Baltimore Sun.

Author Wes Moore acknowledged that he very well could have been the Wes Moore that ended up in prison, but the decisions and paths he chose led him to where he is now.
Moore is a New York Times bestselling author, U.S. Army veteran and host of the television show “Beyond Belief” that airs on the Oprah Winfrey Network. He is also the first speaker in the United We Stand lecture series at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
The series was created through the Wilgus Hall lecture fund and the related campaign encourages students and faculty members alike to stand up against defamatory language and discrimination.
Moore spoke about his experiences as a child growing up in Baltimore and the time he spent in military school. He talked about his book, “The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates,” which is based on Moore’s life and how it compares to that of a man who shares the same name.
The idea for his book was sparked when The Baltimore Sun published in one issue two significantly different articles containing the name Moore, according to theotherwesmoore.com. In one article, Moore the lecturer was praised for receiving a scholarship. The other article concerned a Wes Moore who was accused of killing a police officer during an armed robbery. The other Wes Moore of the book’s title is serving a life sentence in prison for armed robbery and homicide.
Moore was shocked by the similarities he shared with the other Wes Moore, such as age and hometown. He started thinking about the decisions that people make that alter their lives forever.
Moore said people in the United States tend to hold children to certain expectations based on socio-economic backgrounds. Held to these ideas, children end up living up to them, solidifying the idea that the United States is not as equal as we tend to believe.
“Potential in this country is universal, opportunity is not,” Moore said.
Jenna Laposki, a sophomore psychology major, said that she attended the lecture to get extra credit for her psychology class. She had not read Moore’s book or seen his television show.
“I have not read his book, but after hearing him speak, I would be intrigued to read it,” Katherine Peck, resident director of Morrow Hall, said.
“I think the biggest [lesson] is potentially paying it forward and maybe not being afraid to reach out to people who may have not made the best decisions in the past,” Peck said.
The Department of Residence Life and Campus Programming and Relations brought Moore to campus Sept 13.