Wednesday, May 02, 2007

gutter institutions

“Some say now suffer all the children
And walk away a savior
Or a mad man and polluted from gutter institutions
Don’t you breathe for me.
Undeserving of your sympathy
'Cause there ain’t no way that I’m sorry for what I did.”

-My Chemical Romance

I remember working with this kid. He was a Gangster Disciple and quite a comical character, just fun to be around. He had a "lit book" (gang rules and liturgy book) memorized. And this was no small feat in that such books are often detailed and extensive. Not knowing a rule in the book could be met with serious punishment by fellow "brothers". He knew these rules better than most of us know our own history.

Yet he couldn’t spell some of the simplest words.

This kid was somewhat low functioning too, which made him an easy target for the gang mentality. He had so much potential despite some of his problems with learning. He could have studied and with effort made some positive impact in our society. Maybe been an inspiration to the kids back in his neighborhood. Maybe he would never have been a doctor, but obviously he could have learned a great deal if he could learn a catalog book of gangsterism.

He could have but he choose to go back home and with his brother shoot someone. He can't undo that. Nor can you. There is no calling the bullet back into the barrel. There is no pushing the blood and guts back into a corpse. What you do is what you have learned from others. And when you use your rage rather than your brain, you become a teacher yourself. You will teach those other little kids in your community, not how to make something more of themselves, but how to die.

And in the playground notebooks lie stained with the blood of those who could have been heroes. No ivy league. No honor role. No graduation ceremony.

Only future victims, the graduates of the gutter institutions.