For too long I’ve seen friends come and go, watched as brothers fought inglorious and bloody battles, I’ve seen good men go bad and bad men become gentle. I have watched men slowly die inside and give up as everything they knew and loved in this world went away, I’ve seen men stronger than me slowly deteriorate and slip into madness. My eyes have seen all these things and so much more. My soul has been drenched in justice and they say I have not been here long enough.
I am a 3 striker. All my crimes were robberies. I knocked off convienent stores, gas stations, grocery stores, coffee stands and the occasional dope man when the opportunity presented itself. I never meant to be the cause for remorse, I don’t belong to a gang, and I certainly was not committing so called “hood crimes” to get rich. I was a homeless drug addict who had all but given up on life. The man I was in 2006 was fully deserving of incarceration and my victims deserved justice. The only measure of justice I could give them was to plead guilty and spare them the inconvenience of having to show up at court for my trial.
-THE WORST OF THE WORST-
The above lable inevitably allow our minds to conjures all sorts of horrific violent acts being carried out against society by heartless Machiavellian thugs. Clearly and admittedly I am no Angle. But after all these years I want to tell my story – my journey. You may be able to draw parallels in that I may not be all that different than you or someone you know. I do not advocate for anyone doing time. I am telling my story in part as a cautionary tale and in part so you the reader can understand how a person can find themselves at the end of their rope.
1. THE BEGINING
“My friend, I am going to tell you the story of my life, as you wish; and if it were only the story of my life I think I would not tell it; for what is one man that he should make much of his winters, even when they bend him like a heavy snow? So many other men have lived and will live that story, to be grass upon the hills.” – Black Elk,
Oglala Sioux, 1863-1950
I was born in 1973 at Waldo hospital, the predecessor of General hospital at North Gate in north Seattle. My mother is Irish and a member of the Lumbee Nation in south Carolina. She was also a drug addict. My father is Klamath and an enrolled member of the Summit Lake Paiute tribe. He was also a Vietnam Veteran and an alcoholic.
I was born addicted to heroin . My first experience in life was withdrawal. Back in those days it was easy for babies to fall through the cracks. Despite my mom’s addiction and my being born with heroin in my system I was allowed to go home with with my parents.
The creator made babies tough and resilient. Maybe doubly so in my case. The first seven months of my life were spent in solitude. Bottle feedings and diaper changes were infrequent at best. These times were the only human contact I had. Both my parents were too preoccupied with their heroin addictions to be nurturing. By the time the state got involved I was described as having “Failure To Thrive”syndrome. Basically I had checked out and lost any will to live. This occurrs in severe cases of neglect.
Rather than allow the state to take my sister and myself away, she turned us over to the care of her family doctor until she could get clean. Getting clean took my mom 15 years. In the mean time my sister and I were raised in an upper middle class white christian household. Eventually My sister, half brother who came along later, and myself were adopted by the doctor and his wife. I had 7 new sisters who fawned over me and a new mother who poured love and attention into a fragile, malnourished unresponsive “blob” as she put it. Eventually I came around and grew to be an inquisitive, energetic, affectionate and imaginative little boy.
In school I was constantly frustrated by my learning disbilities , one of which is dyslexia. As I approached adolescents the difficulties my parents had raising me prompted them to seek the advice of a child psychologist. I was not a bad kid but there were some lingering effects from the earlier neglect, malnourishment, and exposure to narcotics. It was determined that I needed to be placed temporarily in a group home. The decision would have far reaching consequences.