“Silence always encourages the tormentor….
never the tormented.”
– Elie Wiesel
I committed my first serious fellony in September of 1999. Armed with an empty b.b. gun I robbed the Midlands Garden Grocery store, a mini-mart, on 4th avenue in Everett. At the time of the robbery I was homeless and had been for the previous 4 years. My grand scheme for the robbery culliminated out of desperation and was carried out with all the deft sophistication one would expect from a shit faced drunk. The desperation I was feeling came from an endless cycle of inebriation and homelessness. I was 26 years old.
The back story leading up to my chronic homelessness is that once I turned 17 I entered the Job Corps Seamanship program at Tongue Point, in Astoria, OR. I met a girl there who would become the love of my life. We had 2 beautiful girls and lived together for 4 years. It was the most stability I had known since before going to the group home. I now had a family of my own and a home and I never imagined I could lose either. Unfortunately I had become a very young alcoholic and this destroyed the relationship. I lost both home and family…. I was crest fallen and broken hearted.
When I came to the Washington State Penitentiary the era of “Concrete Mama” and “Blood Alley” had died, but the ghosts of that volitile and violent past still lingered and WSP was still a place to be feared. It was categorically the most dangerous place I have ever lived. For some odd reason though, I was able to comfortably navigate those muddy social waters and survive without being scathed by the toxicity enshrined in the unholiest of places.
Prison has its own language. Its the universal language of violence. Even if you don’t speak it you understand it. I have heard the cries of men echoing off of impassive stones, men who were having unearned and unsanctioned tattos removed with toenail clippers, men being raped, getting punked for their store. I’ve seen the line between offender and gaurd get blurred. Not all fights were between inmates. Back then certain guards if called out would go into a cell and run a fade one on one with no repercussions regardless of who “won”. There was still a level of respect that was a 2 way street. Despite the violence there was a brotherhood, especially within the Native Circle.
My first bid I did 28 months on a 31 month sentence. I was out for 3 years before comming back. I did alright at first. Had a good job doing shipyard welding in Seattle, hooked up with a cool chick that I thought had her shit together. This girl dident like my drinking but she liked to party. She introduced me to crystal and I had a good run with it for about 2 years. The relationship was boo boo though. I still pined for my kids and their mom even though I had no contact with them. By 2004 I was living on the streets again. I felt trapped and wanted to have a redux like a reset button. I consciously made the decision to commit a robbery to go back to prison. But the best layed plans of mice and men always go a wry.
The gratitude I showed one of my previous employers was to steal a truck from a ship yard in Seattle and committed a second degree robbery on J’s mini mart in Edmonds. I decided to buy some meth, got hooked up with people I dident know and got myself in a Jack pot. Being drunk I don’t make the best decisions and when my would be dope dealer stuck a shotgun in my face and demanded the money I had just stolen I grabbed the barrel placed it to my chest and dared him to shoot me. I then proceeded to try and take the shotgun by jerking on it while it was still pointed at me. His homie came through a door, put a .38 snub nose to my right temple and fired. The bullet blazed a 4 inch long furrow accross my scull and played me open badly. I was knocked unconscious. When I came to I was soaked in my own blood, my were pulled pockets out and I was seriously concussed with a blown eardrum and with the belief that the 4 inch gash in the side of my head were my brains hanging out. I made it to the sidewalk outside the apartments on Casino in Everett before passing out. I was transported by ambulance to St. something in Everett. The next day I was arrested for the robbery I had committed. I never said a word about being robbed.
After a month or so in jail and despite my sentencing range only being 1 year and a day to 14 months I plead guilty and received 1 year+ 1 day for 2nd. robbery. I now had 2 points and 2 strikes.