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Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! I am on my mobile version of the door-to-door, going town-to-town holding readings/gatherings/discussions of my book "But What Can I Do?" This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels since 9/11 as I engage in dialogue and actions. It is froth with my opinions, insights, analyses toward that end of holding all life sacred, dismantling the empire and eliminating violence while creating the society we want all to thrive in

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Danny beginning...

Danny wants me to skip the beginnings of his life and start the interview with this year since he’s been in México, this year since he’s been out of prison.

He is here without his family, he tells me mournfully. He hurries to correct himself – his mother, his father, his sisters, his brother.

Danny slipped down his rebellious, treacherous path at that vulnerable old age of 12. He ran away from home, on the streets smack within reach of a waiting gang’s arms, did the terrible things he had to do to pry open those welcoming arms, and he was in!

In to drugs that is, staying in the streets, being bad and thinking he’s hot shit, getting picked up by the police and put in juvenile hall and the only way to get out was to have his parents come get him. The next day, he’d return to the streets.

Soon he was hooked on every drug except heroine. He’s done them all, he says as he lists crack, cocaine, pills, weed, meth – I lose track, but all of them.

And he did what he needed to do to pay for them. And to keep his gang status. But he’s told all this to another writer when he was facing his 3rd strike and a mandatory 25 years to life in prison at the age of 21. So the judge would show leniency. And she did.

At 21 years of age, he was in jail for the 3rd time since 18 and was sentenced to 7 years without parole. He’s been in every prison in California he says – San Quentin,

He tells me he wishes his parents could have seen what he needed at 12, he wishes they could have sat down and talked about it. I ask him if he’s figured out what he needed at 12 years old and he says no.

He only says his parents were too strict and he decided the streets were a better place than the home his parents provided for him. Several times during his youth crisis, he was sent back here, Playa Azul, to live with his grandmother.

He regrets that he was sent away – to him, this was avoiding his problems, postponing dealing with them, not facing them. The minute he returned to the states, there were the drugs and the gangs – and his problems – waiting for him.

Danny is the oldest of 4 children and the only one born in México. He tells me this last stint in jail made him really examine his life. He had to ask himself if he wanted to spend the rest of his life in jail?

Danny says he decided to quit using drugs while he was in prison. He claims he could get any drug he wanted in prison but he really had to gather all his will power, which he feels is weak.

First he quit drugs, then he had to quit hanging around inmates that were users. Danny sips a bottle of beer as we speak. I ask him if he was able to get alcohol in jail too and he says, hell yea, prison alcohol – the guys made it.

We are sitting outside in plastic coke chairs under a palapa next to the restaurant that Danny owns. There are two other people in the restaurant, also drinking. Business is very bad, people are afraid to come to Michoacán.

Danny wants to buy me breakfast in his restaurant tomorrow while I interview him about his life since he was released from prison. I agree and promise to bring tamales. He grabs another beer while I tell him and the workers good nite.


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