James Rollins

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

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