The Darker Side of a Human Experience

I find many have questions about my personal issues. They want to know why I call myself a hermit. Some what to know how I became a hermit. Others ask why I feel a need to limit my contact with people, even as I profess to loving all of humanity and the wonders of uniqueness within all people. So, I will attempt to share the truth and whys of this aspect of my life.

There is a time in my past where I lost all faith in the decency of my fellow humans. It took some time for these feelings of fading faith and trust, to degrade to a point, where a single action pushed these issues straight over the edge, for yours truly.

I know I’ve seen more of the darker side of humanity, than most. I think that’s a good thing though. I think, most often, those on the darker side haven’t made an overt or conscious choice to get where they are. With circumstances often beyond youths control, youth as it ages in difficulty and stress, moves towards this, that I call the darker side of a human experience.

My first upset back then, was the effect of poverty. Even in a western culture, under our standards, poverty is a sad state of affairs. It wasn’t the struggle of the adults in poverty that was difficult. It was the suffering of the young whose parents were struggling. It was knowing that there was enough not to end the struggle of the parents but the suffering of the children.

Seeing how youth has changed, and not for the better, when something truly their own, was missing from their life. When others have had good summer vacations with family, but yours was trying to save some change for clean laundry. Knowing other families have leftovers from meals, when your experience is white bread and mayonnaise sandwiches, after scraping together enough change, at the month’s end, for a loaf of bread, isn’t the best place for youth to consider their future.

So I’ve watched what actions become more common and seemingly acceptable as these age groups progress in years. Knowing at the same time, because of various other experiences, that such a life for children doesn’t have to exist . That doesn’t stop the negative advancement. Knowing there’s an answer and having the powers that be take the decision that gives the answer motion are completely different.

My first hit to faith was the no action for the sake of children. My second hit to faith was the young themselves, and the ease at which their ethical actions push aside. But here, I don’t actually see any behaviors that other poor populace’s don’t espouse when impoverished themselves. Maybe I was wrong to hope for better.

These are small issues. The true move over the edge is seeing those youth who’ve become adults in this environment, who now have a real choice in life, as to their direction, choosing to advance their loss of moral and ethical values under the free will of adulthood.

These observations of a communities dynamic came from direct observation, while working at a crappy Convenience-Store. Granted, you do see the best and the worst of humanity in such a place. Honestly though, those best parts of humanity are very few and farther between, than one would hope.

The worst of humanity is what caused my personal change. My lack of trust and loss of faith in my fellow-man, is complete with this, the worst part. That part being those youths who’ve grown to adulthood and not changed their path but escalated their crimes.

I had a friend stop in my work after his work to grab his nightly 16 ounce beer and chat. I had a bunch of customers rushing to buy alcohol, and in queue. My friend said hello to a female customer, and all hell broke loose. My friend was then attacked, by the girls boyfriend, who was also a neighborhood gang member. While this happened others held me back, and seeing an opportunity the customers looted the store. Meanwhile while being held back, the gang members attempted the murder of my friend while I could only struggle and watch.

When it finished, after the looting beating ambulance and police, I cleaned up the puddles of blood my friend had left, and pulled blood spattered products off the shelves, and tried to clean the dried droplets from the windows, and finished my shift. I’ve never to return to the neighborhood let alone the store.

Several months later I testified against the three gang member, at trial. They were, convicted. I lost a friend too. I think that was destiny. I know I suffered guilt for so long, not being able to save a friend from such a fate. I’ve also even though I love humanity, I have no faith or trust in those whom I don’t know. This is why I choose the life of a hermit. These circumstances are why I stay close to home. You see it’s not for me I stay home, it’s for you. Protection is the concern. Protecting you from me. My lack of trust and faith in you, brings me to a full defensive state. A state of mind where the unknowns are a danger and those dangers might cause on my part the inappropriate actions, of which I complain. A loss of morals and ethics, as my body slips into survival mood.

I am kind loving stable and happy when holding down the hermit home front. I am a spring ready to snap, ready to give up my life for those I love, without question, on a seconds notice of perceived danger. I am a hermit, and see myself as an unaccounted for variable when spending time in public. As a hermit I care and I love, in public I’m a time bomb that searches for injustice and crime. I have what I’m told is a special look. Which has now and then served me well. The unknown for other is when that look comes, how close I am to dispensing my brand of vigilantly justice, with a special emphasis on adults who are lucky enough to have children, but choose to abuse them in public. Because the children are innocence, till the world of selfish uncaring inattentive abusive adults, destroys the children from within.

So, Why am I a hermit? I am a hermit for you, so I can keep love in my heart for everyone.

Comments from the Projects – Now You Know Me

When I was young, I spent a goodly amount of time working in the projects. I have seen things no one should have to see. I have even turned my head to wrong. There are times, even now, when guilt from my lack of strength then, can haunt my nights sleep.

I got along with the street gangs. When you are the only employee working a grave yard shift, in a C-store in the projects, there is really no other choice. Using my nickname, made things easier as I settled in to the job. We, meaning some of my regular customers and myself, had made an agreement, that worked until the very last day of my employment.

C-stores worker seem to be close to the top of the list, of the most dangerous jobs in America. I can say that’s probably close to true. You see, I’ve been shot at, and held at gun point, more than once. I’ve been robbed. I’ve taken a gun from hands of an angry man, who was about to commit an act of violence from which there is no return. I have also provided first aid to victims of drive by shootings. Showing I can be strong. But, I have looked the other way while rock cocaine was sold, and at times while violence was committed on others. All this, at the time, to save my own worthless hide. Even though it compromised my own moral and ethics.

There are many memories from this time, I would give much to not think of anymore. The scenes in my mind’s eye, are too much even now. Watching someone punch through a car window, to drag the driver out through the shattered glass, for reasons unknown to me. This I won’t forget. Running down a thieves and fighting in the streets, were never actions I thought I’d be participating in. The job I had though, placed me in stores that were troubled, or where in a previous shift the clerk had been beaten stabbed or shot. That was the job I did for Southland corp.

I was working one evening with some undercover officers. They had taken a position with a line of sight into my store. I had a walkie-talkie, so we could communicate. That night there was a fight in my parking lot. I stepped out of my store, and walked right into the SH*T. By the time the officers arrived, I had been in a fight with a man who I didn’t get the better of. I found out later from the officers, he was a “gang-banger” from Chicago. The bad part of it all, was when I went to court. They had a man there to stand for the charges, but not the right man. I’ve had this feeling since then, in regards to that precinct, that any black man they could put up to stand for the charges, was good enough for them.

Another late night work experience I’ve had, was on weekday. It was at the 2am mark. In this state, at 2am, alcohol sales stop for 4 hours. Resuming sales at 6am. There were two men on my beer aisle this day. They had an altercation, but I’ve never been certain as to what. Both, making no purchases, headed out of the store. One of the men was walking briskly up the street. The other had gone to his car. When he got to his car, he pulled out a gun and turned to aim it at the back of the man walking up the street. My gut turned and I hit the double doors. I was out in the lot now, with the angered gunman. I yelled to get his attention as he had already pointed the gun. With balls I didn’t know I had, I walked up on him and took the gun from his hand. I dropped the clip, cleared the chambered bullet, and striped it down into pieces, before I handed his gun back to him.

I’ve only put down a few experiences so far, but now I want to tell about the last day I worked the job.

It was a Friday night, and my friend was in the store after his shift. Standing in line to buy his usual. I single 16 oz. can of beer. He always stopped on his way home. Many times we had time to talk, but that was only when my business was slow. He was the head waiter at a restaurant called “The Blue Max”. This night though, my store was packed with a mix of folks. Even a few gang members who were known to me, were in the store too. My friend was standing in line and said hello, that’s all just a simple hello, to a female customer who was also in line, waiting to make a purchase. I didn’t know the female shopper was one of the SSL members girlfriend. On the hello, all hell broke loose, and the riot and looting began.

My friend was attacked and beaten by the gang, while other members held me back. They poured the boiling chilli and cheese on him. They tossed him into a display of Budweiser 12 packs.

Held back, I watched my store clear of people and goods. The only people left in the store were my self, my friend, and 2 gang members. They corralled him, working up and down the isles. He made it to the last aisle. He was almost free and through the door. Then the real violence started. One of the gang members had taken a glass jar of Taster Choice decaf off the shelf. With one person left between my friend and the door, the coffee holder ran up behind and broke the glass jar over his head. My friends head was split right open, in a long and wide gash.

There was only myself and my friend left in the store. I gave what first aid I could. He was transported to trauma center for care. I was to later find out it had taken 56 stitches to seal the wound. After the police and medics left I cleaned the store. Mopping began by smearing the red blood all over the floor. I pulled the damaged, bloody products, from the shelf.

I never went back to that store or the company after that night. I testified on tape, and 3 went to jail. One for attempted murder, I was told back then. The truth after all is said and done is, I’ve not been the same man, since that day.

I am jaded and effected each day. Small things, a word, a smell, a look, and I am back in the hood. Seeing all the things no one should see, even those who live in the hood. The anger and hurt are with me, it never leaves. I judge myself. I am guilty of not doing all I could to change these outcomes. But know, you all bear some responsiblity too.

Remember we live in this world together, and have made life as it is over time. We’ve gone about doing this by exactly method I judge myself for. We turn away, closing our eyes not wanting to see the truth. We say it’s someone elses concern, when it’s not. It’s all of our concern. As we live our comfy lives, in our nice homes. Seemingly, in safe neighborhoods. Blinded to the real world.

Know this. It isn’t better than it was, it’s worse. Gangs and violence haven’t gone away. It morphs and grows. It’s coming for us, because we choose to turn our heads. It’s coming for us, because we believe it’s someone elses problem.

I don’t want you to end up like me. Heed my advice, acknowledge this issue. Don’t stick your head in the sand. I want you to do what I no longer can, I want you to be able to sleep at night. Be well. Do what you can to change yourself, change the situation, and change your world.

Life’s Gun Battles

Guns are fine, it’s the people who have them that are the issue. I have three friends who have been shot down in the street, and one that blew his head off with a 79 dollar Kmart shotgun. I don’t deny you your Second Amendment right. I want you to have it. But, suspicion and threat isn’t a reason to kill. Nor is depression.

When you’ve been shot at personally, come talk to me. When you’ve been held at gun point, (more than once) come talk to me. When you’ve provided aid to gunshot victims, come talk to me. When you’ve cleaned up the blood from repeated eruptions of violence,  come talk to me. When you’ve taken the gun from the hand of a man about to commit a murder, then come talk to me. When your friend sits in wheel chair, forever changed from being shot in the streets, then come talk to me. When one of your friends needs 9 surgeries,to save his life, from gun shot wounds to the belly, then come talk to me. When you testify in attempted murder trail, because your friend has been beat down by those who commit violence, while you’re held back so you can watch the beating, then come talk to me about what you really know about guns, and what they really do.

Come walk a mile in my shoes, with something besides what you read on board, and how you interpret it. Only then we will be on fair ground. Till them count yourselves lucky when you go to bed at night, that none of this has happened to you. Know you’re better off just seeing it on TV, as then you won’t get hurt. But when it’s you, and you have some reality besides what you read and see on the tube, then you can fairly tell me your opinions. Till then be happy. And know I pray, honestly pray, we never meet having these shared experiences as common ground.

I’ve scratched the surface of my experience here. How have you formed your opinions on guns and gun control?  I don’t think or believe it to be a bad thing for most. As most are and can be trustworthy and responsible.  But I have experience, that overshadows anything you can see on TV, or read on the web or in a paper.  It can even overwhelm my own good sense, when confronted with my own experience,  as to who should and shouldn’t have firearms. It’s tough to see your fellow-man shot down in the streets.

“Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.” A quote from Isaac Asimov, a Vice President of Mensa International, in his day. A quote I believe to be true. But in using his words, and professing my agreement, the fully uneducated person I am, must not have thought it through. I must not have considered fully, as he did, the meaning of the words. I must not have tried to put the meaning of the words into practice in my own life. I must not have been able like he, to consider the morals and ethics, in the taking of  life.

I’ve seen enough. I don’t need to see any more, to judge myself and my fellow-man. It’s been shown to me. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. You see violence, it’s been the last refuge of the incompetent for a while now. Please though, continue to Judge me for my life experiences, as I’ve seen you Judge others in ignorance. I have an opinion forged  in the fires violence, tempered by real word experience. I don’t want to take anything from my fellows. What I wish for is reason and logic, in our decision-making processes. Not total denial of our rights.

What experiences do you have with Guns and/or Gun Violence,  helping to form your opinions and changing your life?

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