Category Archives: James Rollins

FROM GANGSTA TO MAN (PART 9)

The verdict, a jury of 11 white people and one black woman who are supposed to be my peers, but was truly of people who couldn’t
understand where I came from, just like their life was foreign to me.
These people held judgement over me, eventhough most were ignorant as I was to the meaning of the law.

Guilty was the verdict 456 months was my sentence. Though I did it, I maintained my innocents for alot of years.
41 years, how will I ever be able to do all that time. My minds spinning, till that day I didn’t let anybody see me cry, I’m only 20 years old, I’ll be almost dead when I get out. This was all I could think about.

My daughter was still in her mothers stomach, and I made a vow to myself that I would marry her mother who I was very deeply in love with, and I wouldn’t let my daughter be raised without her father and that I would be the best father in the world to her. I failed at all the above.

I thought I wouldn’t be like my father, to know and love him, but not be raised by him. I wanted to be a father to my daughter. I’m glad she has a wonderful mother who did a fantastic job at raising our daughter. I really, really thank her.

My daughter came up a few months ago, I wanted to see her so bad, but I was also scared. I knew I didn’t know what to do, how to be a father. I had not seen her since she was 4 years old, now she’s 18, what can I possibly say. I didn’t want her to reject me and pull away, I would be devistated.

My daughters visit reinforced my drive to regain my freedom, to do everything I need to do to get back out there and be the man I’ve grown to be.

My journey to manhood started in 1997.
I was 20 when I came to prison, I thought I was a grown ass man.
Grown I was, a man, I wasn’t. I learned the hard way that it takes more than age to be a man.

I had to learn about respect, trust, honesty, love, loyalty, resposibility, dreams, goals, family, dedication, sacrifice, mental hunger, emotions, wants, needs, I had to learn about self, who I was right then verses who I wanted to be, I had to learn about freedom, and freedom of self.

“”””””””””””STAY CONNECTED AND STAY TUNED””””””””””””””

James Rollins
DOC #732975

FROM GANGSTA TO MAN (PART 8)

Green Hill School was the begining of my transformation, I just didn’t know it.

This place was gangbang central, the only thing that was mis the guns. There were Crips, Bloods, Black Gangsta Deciples, Vice Lords, Northsiders, and Southsiders, and a few Aryans/Skinheads.

This place was the last stop before the penitentiary, and you had to fight to survive. In the midst of the chaos, the availability for an education and to learn a trade was there for whoever wanted it.

I just wanted to read and read, which I did. When I wasn’t working or gangbanging I was reading.

Glenda Tanner, the founder of PAAYS (Proud African American Youth Society), came and turned the minds of alot of the gangmembers towards knowledge of self, history, and change.

As she continued to grace us with her presence month after month and year after year she brought with her, her son and her brother, after that they brought prominent people from society, teachers, business owners, entertainers, entrepreneurs to give us something we never had, a chance.

A few started lives outside the gangs and became successful, while the rest of us went right back to the gangs. This kept the cycle going, while some made it out, most of us didn’t. We respected what Ms. Tanner was doing but the lure of living the only life we ever known was to strong. The money, women, luxurious living, being hood rich, was to much to resist.

So those of us that didn’t capitalize on the opportunity that was being provided by Ms. Tanner and friends ended up dead or in prison.

I was sent from Green Hill School to prison at 18 years old to do 13 months. When I was released December 31,1995 I knew I would be back. The prison they sent me to the first time was like a college campus, so I learned nothing and wasn’t scared to go back.

March 8, 1996 two months and eight days out of prison they got my house surrounded. So many police, so many guns pointed at me I couldn’t believe it. They weren’t coming in and they wanted me to come out with my hands up. I wasn’t with it. They would have to come in and get me. So I thought.

At this time I was feeling real good, I just had sex with my woman, so I didn’t feel like being bothered with this stuff. I thought they wanted to raid my house because I live in the hood and every homeboy and homegirl be at my place. So I sat back and rolled a blunt (pot rolled in cigar paper), as I sat there smoked and thought about the situation, realization slapped me in the face. I knew right then I was going back to prison.

I let my girl and the girl that was staying with us go out first. I didn’t want them to get caught up in my bullshit. Plus I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I had so many scenarios running through my head, I really didn’t know what I would do.

My living room had a big glass window that lead to the front of the house so I figured if I used the element of surprise and jump through the window, land on my feet, I could make a run for it. I was really, really fast.

I also thought I could shoot it out with the police cause as I looked out my windows I only seen a few in the front and a few in the back by my cars.

I came real close to jumping through that widow because I figured that I only had to make it two blocks, jump in my homies car and get out of there, plus I would still have my gun if shit didn’t go right.

I realized I wasn’t ready to die. So I lit another blunt and started getting dressed. Blue Fila shoes, Blue 501 jeans, Blue sweater, and a Blue bandana hangin from the left side.

I opened the door and told them I was coming out, they said open the screen door slowly and step out, thats when I seen the first wave of police crouching and laying in the yard next door their guns pointed directly at me. They said take two steps forward I hesitated, I knew anything would set these guns blazing right at me. I turned my head to the back and the front and seen more police with guns trained on me, than I had ever imagined.

I was shook, I’ve never seen so many guns pointed at me and it wasn’t like the hood had the best repore with the police. I still had one hand holding the screen door open, and I wanted to dive back in the house, but I seen the whole neighborhood watching so I knew the police could not shoot me in cold blood so I let go of the screen door.

Thats when I heard the police repeatedly saying take your sweater off over your head, grab it with one hand from the top, lifted it off and drop it on the ground, turn around slowly in a complete circle, now get on your knees, lay flat with your arms out. I was cuffed and taken in.

James Rollins
DOC #732975

FROM GANGSTA TO MAN (PART 7)

Whats up cuz, fuck slob (disrespectful to bloods), fuck you crab
(disrespectful to crips) ass nigga. Bam,bam,bam, the fight breaks out. They in our hood up to no good, pop, pop, pop, the bullets ring out ahh cuz I’m hit, I’m hit. Everybody scatters as I lay, blood run body. My brother comes and picks me up, throwing my arm over his shou me down the street.

My eldest brother has never been involved with the life, so for him to lose it would take something drastic. That night, it was me being shot, he just happened to be with me that night. When he flagged the first police car he seen, they tried to make me assume the position.

My big brother lost it, he starts yelling at the police, he’s the one whos been shot, he’s been shot.
Even with the police car holding me up I couldn’t stand anymore, so I lay on the curb, half my body in the street half on the curb. It was raining and that felt like the best thing in the world right then. I didn’t know where I had been shot nor how many times, there was just so much blood.

I remember trying to tell my brother not to fight the police and my cousin Big Y.B. came from no where and grabbed my brother. Next thing I know I woke in a hospital room with tubes and stuff all over my body.

I think my mom was there when I woke up the second time, the first time I woke I don’t remember. Though I was messed up and ended up wearing a colostimy bag for a while, I thought I would have it for the rest of my life but it got removed. I was blessed.

I was having a ball in the hospital. I was getting visitors from all over and my hospital phone stayed ringing. I had alot of homies come through and crips from other hoods to check on me. Mostly I had alot of females come visit and call, ones I knew and ones I didn’t know but who wanted to know me. Then one day my grandmother came through and said thats enough of this and got my visits restricted to five at a time.

Though my visits were restricted it didn’t stop people from waiting there turn down stairs in the lobby, which was a bad idea because the homegirls was fighting all the females that wasn’t from the hood.

In all of this there is one person that it seems like never left the hospital, I don’t know if she even went to school the whole time I was in there. My baby sister Celia (NiNi), the nurses couldn’t even get her to leave untill she was ready. My mom lived like four blocks from the hospital, my room in St. Joseph hospital was way up there so I could see the house from my window. My sister would stay so late when I was able to get out of bed and stand on my own I would have to be on the phone with my mom and watch as my sister walked home as I gave my mom my sisters progress half a block at a time.
It always puts a smile on my face as I watched her, because it made me know how much she cared and loved her big brother.

Out the hospital back on the block cane in hand, strap (gun) in my pocket, and mad as hell. Somebody has to pay for what happened to me. Some of my homeboys wasn’t having any of my bullshit, like
Big Good, he came through seen me out there and said oh no get yo ass in the car we goin to kick-it today, you aint goin be in the hood, not on that cane. Lil Strezy did the same when he seen me in the hood.
I look back on that now and just smile.

The street life was hectic filled with death, gangbanging, dope slanging, and getting locked up.

“”””””””””””””””””””””””””””CHANGE IS COMING””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

James Rollins
DOC #732975

FROM GANGSTA TO MAN (PART 6)

The 1980’s, the war was on, love, money, death. The gangs were like a second family to those of us who’s older adults were pimps, dealers, prostitutes, alcoholics, or drug addics.
The generation before mine were in possie’s & crew’s that most graduated to the life.

I have 4 brothers 3 of which are gang members, alot of cousins who are gang members. So what did society expect of us when thats all we seen from a very tender age.
The ages where the inprint of impression is still working its magic on the minds and hearts of the young ones.

The 1980’s with this new drug epidemic and the gang life hitting the streets of Tacoma around the same time the murder rate went sky high. Everyone was competing for money and power.
The life was fascinating, a fantasy for some, for the rest of us, it was our real life. There was a war in the black communities, that was truly unfounded and disgraceful.

The Hill Top Crips was founded. When it started those who were a part of it were either family that felt abandoned by the older generation that was most likely on drugs or involved with that life, or close friends that was like family. It was as if we became our own family.

We protected, respected, loved one another. We taught each other how to defend ourselves, the older ones looked out for the younger ones we never turned away one of our own if he needed a place to lay his head or if he needed some food in his stomach it was provided. The life was filled with money, woman, flashy cars with loud systems, gangsta clothes and flashy clothes, and houses that any of us could go to to chill at any time.

DEATH, one of ours shot down 23rd ‘N Sheridan, everything changed. It was never the same!

Drive by shootings became an all day reality, my mom found out I was selling the same type of drugs she was using, then she found out I was one of those crips everybody was talking about. She came out her drug induced haze for a moment and tryed to save me.

My mom sent me to a foster home in the country of Buckely,
Washington, to the house/farm of George & Helen Dupri who I grew to love. This was the first time I had really been around white people. I was around my grandmother but that was about it.
Buckley was all white.

I was the only black boy in White River Elementary, I didn’t care, it didn’t make no difference to me, until I experianced racism first had. All because I had the most beautiful girlfriend in the school, I can still picture Laura I., now, it was the few kisses in between classes that got only the lil black boy suspended. You all know how it was in the 5th & 6th grade we all did it. It was just forbidden for Laura and I.

I was sent back to Tacoma the day after I got suspended and placed back in the gang infested schools. I realized that the schools I went to in Tacoma like Jason Lee, Stewart, Region 5, I was a C&D student, and in Buckley I was a A&B student.

My mom was trying to be my mom, and fight her drug addiction.
Bless her heart, she really tryed. But it didn’t take me long to jump back into the gang life.

The money came easy, the woman even easier, the gangbanging was just part of it, that I took real serious. I didn’t believe in letting nobody, even other crip hoods come into my hood and cause any trouble or try to take over the dope trade. The only two things I didn’t believe in was drive by shootings and smoking sherm.

As the gangs grew the family part started to disapate. It wasn’t about nothing, but the money and gangbanging.
I started getting locked up here and there in juvenile but it wasn’t until I went to Green Hill School ( juvenile institution) that I started to meet people who cared.

James Rollins
DOC #732975

FROM GANGSTA TO MAN (PART 5)

They have so called gang experts/specialist that think they know about gangs and the gang life. They really only know a small percentage of the gang life. If you haven’t lived through something how can you truly know it intimitly.

It seems like I was born into it. While it’s true that gangs are very violent, thats the only side the media shows you, thats the side that society has been conditioned to equate with gangs.
THE TRUTH IS!

The truth is that as I was growing up as a kid my town was beautiful, the people were beautiful. You could be outside playing and once the street lights came on the whole neighborhood watched out for all the young ones and made sure they made it back home.

The elders could walk down the block without fear, or sit on their porch sipping tea with a little something extra in it 🙂 while watching us play stickball or kickball in the street.
Ms. Fay from down the street can call any of us over and give us a quarter to go to the store for her and yes, we would stop what we were doing go to the store get our penny candy and whatever Ms. Fay wanted.
Then the gangs, and the crack epicdemic hit Tacoma.

I just lost my step mom on July 1, 2015. I never considered her to be my step mom. I always thought of her as my other mom, she’s been there since before I was born. So I say that I was blessed with two crazy moms.
Her name is JUDY MOMMA DOG BROCK and despite her faults she was my mom and momma dog to the whole hood. REST IN PEACE MOM AND KICK IT WITH LITTLE BRO. TELL HIM WE LOVE HIM. MOMMA I’LL NEVER FORGET YOU AND I LOVE YOU FOREVER.

James Rollins
DOC #732975

FROM GANGSTA TO MAN (PART 4)

Jason Lee middle school, this is where it seemed all gangmembers went before being pushed off to high school or if you were to much trouble you were sent to region 5 alternative school.

Yes I got sent there.
After that I went to Stewart middle school, where I was extremely out numbered by the rival gang the bloods. It was inevitable that I get suspended from there.

I’m 5’6 now so back then I was only a tiny little guy with a big complex about it and I didn’t take no shit. So I was suspended twice. The first time was a one on one fight. The second time I was jumped by about 6 or 7 bloods. Both times I was always the one to get suspended. I told myself that was the last time I would get jumped at that school.

This is real ironic because when I was told that I was going to go there I said I would stay out of trouble I didn’t even dress like a gang member. I was to known and all my family was in the life, so me trying to lay low was useless.

So like I said, I would never get jumped at this school again. I started driving my M.C. (monte carlo) to school, and dressed like the banger I was, in a way that impressed the girls. I wore my blue dickies or my 501 blue jeans heavely starched creased down the middle blue nikes or blue chuck taylors blue sweater, blue flannel shirt, or just a white tee shirt, with a blue bandanna hanging out my left back pocket. I was locced out to the fullest and dared anybody to say something.

If you could see the looks I got the first day back from being suspended that second time. It was like, OH SHIT! Insane’s ( my street name ) back and he aint playing. All the wannabe crips flocked to me, the crips that was from other hoods like C.C. Rider, & ABC came around more and started wearing there colors.

My girlfriend Cocoa (Xaviera W.) who I loved deeply, the only girl I ever went back to after breaking up like 7 different times tryed to get me to leave school the back way one day when the bloods was really deep, all for me. I told her no way I don’t run. She looked so sad because she knew they would be waiting for me after school and she knew I was going out there. Win or lose I was going out there.

I said I would never get jumped at that school again. So I called my brother Lil A Dog, who called Big Budda, EPA, & Baby Fly all of whom was from my hood I told him what was supposed to happen after school. He said he would be there, I did’t know who he had called till they showed up. Anyway, when that bell rang for school to be out only one crip met me in the hall and walked out those doors with me (Lathin) Cocoa’s brother.

When I oppened those doors to the outside I was met with a sea of red. I couldn’t believe how many bloods was out there. They were talking so much shit and they were so deep I was talking shit back and though my brother wasn’t there I was trying to get a one on one fight. They were not going for none of that so I said “F” that and started down the stairs I was going to hit as many of them as I could before they got me. Then I heard the unmistakable music. Everybody was looking around trying to figure out where it was coming from. I didn’t know what direction they were coming from but I knew my brother was there. His music was so loud you could hear it a block away.

Anyway, I seen him hit the block off Picific Ave. with a couple cars behind him, I hear music from the other side of the block and see Big Budda, EPA, and Baby Fly cars hit the block. The homies came about 6-7 cars deep (thats 4-5 people in each car) they filled the whole street and when they all jumped out the bloods started running in all directions, there was some fights, but most of them got away. The school called my mom and told her don’t worry about me coming back I was expelled.
No school, so now I’m in the streets all the time. THE STREET LIFE!!!

“”””””””””””””””STAY TUNED-THE STREETS ARE COMING””””””””””””””””””””

James Rollins
DOC #732975

FROM GANGSTA TO MAN (PART 3)

Forget school, I had to run the streets with my new family, sale drugs to take care of my brothers and sisters. I had to learn quick, what it takes to survive in the heart of Tacomas Hill Top area.

The 14th street Baby Loc’s died out as we all became Hill Top Crips (HTC), thats where the love was at. You mess with one you ha with all. We had our little groups within, who hung out with each other all the time.

We were so close we slept at eachothers house, ate at the same tables, slept in the same bed, wore eachothers close, and shared the same parents when they was around.

Around this time my mom figured out what I was really doing in the streets. Bless her heart, she checked herself into rehab, and tryed to get clean. Right after that she had the police pick me up and take me to a foster home way out in Buckley, Washington. This was a good and bad idea.

BUCKLEY, WASHINGTON! This place was so forein to me. I was placed in foster care on a farm where I didn’t know anybody. To tell the truth I was scared to death, I had never been on a farm, everything around me was farms and ranches, and all the people in Buckely were WHITE!!!

This was the first time I had been around so many white people, bare in mind that I am Black, White, & Native but I only knew my Grandmother Edith Ann Nash (AKA) (Edna Harriet Eaman), one aunt whos name I don’t remember, and 2 cousins Sam & Chris (Christine).
My grandmother was shunned by her family for being wed to a Black Man.

So being in Buckley was a whole different world to me. I went to White
River Elementry and was the only Black boy in the school. I was about to learn some valueable lessons.

I didn’t really talk for the first three months, but there was this scrony little boy that just would not stop messing with me. Finally I said F that I have to show this fool who he was messing with. One day in the lunch room he did something to me and I chased that boy all around the lunch room trying to get at him. He ran down one row and as I gave chase his buddy who was supposed to be the school bully and the most popular boy in the school stood up along with his buddies and blocked my way. He told me to stop messing with his buddy and I told him that his buddy better stop messing with me.

I procceded to pass by and go back to my table and he blocked my way and told me to go back the way I came. That pissed me off so I put my little fifth grade foot on his stool and said fool I’m a crip and aint nobody going go make me do shit. He took a second and then let me by.
That got me some respect and made the girls like me even more.

This school was like no other I had ever exprienced, in this school I excelled. If I had a question the teacher would come to my desk and help me, this never happened in Tacoma. I became the little boy I should have been and I enjoyed it, I also had my first real girlfriend, Kristy Q.

Being the only Black boy in a all white school was a challenge not for me, I adapted. It was the adults that had a problem, they didn’t know how to deal with this ghetto child. Two teachers stand out for me, I don’t remember their names but one was a white man and the other was a woman from Cairo, they were the best teachers I’ve ever met in my life. This school was alot of firsts for me.

I was in an all white school, I was doing excellent in school, it was my first time getting A’s & B’s, it was the first time in a long time I was enjoying life. Me and Christy broke up right before I had another first. I went to a camp called camp Symore (probably spelled wrong) it was there on the archery range that a love I will never forget began.
Laura Inks, the love that was forbidden. I was black and she was the popular white girl. The first time I got called to the principles office is right when we returned from camp. I was told that she can’t be my girlfriend, I don’t remember what I said but I walked out that office so mad I was in tears. I never told anyone about that until now.

As soon as that bell rung we met at the lockers like everyone else and I gave her the biggest most passionate kiss I’ve ever given and have never duplicated. I got suspended.
As you probably figured out, I wasn’t giving up my beautiful, loving girlfriend.

Thats exactly what I told my foster parents George & Helen Dupue who I loved deeply. They then told me I had to go back to Tacoma.
I was packed and on my way back within an hour. Laura and I stayed in contact for a while. I even did good in school for a while but them same streets my mom tryed to save me from was calling. I ANSWERED!!!

James Rollins
DOC #732975