When I’ve fallen under the spell, when I’m convinced that God doesn’t exist, that love is an illusion, how do I remind myself I’m profoundly mistaken — not just a little wrong, but as wrong as I can be? As wrong as Rush Limbaugh. As wrong as the Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.
The Resurrection Of An Ex-Gang Member — An Interview With Luis Rodríguez
Someone once pointed out to me that the word respect comes from the latin respectus, which means “to see again.” It’s a beautiful concept. We have to see each other again. We have to see the gang member again, and the poor farmer, too. As we see them again, we find they’re not that different from us, that a thread connects us all: the Indian on the reservation and the immigrant just arriving on these shores; the middle-class kid in the suburbs and the gang member in the inner city. The more we look, the thicker that thread becomes. Sometimes it may be invisible, but it’s there. We’ve got to make it more visible. There is no such thing as a separate reality. What we do here affects people over there.
Before I became a schoolteacher, I hardly thought about television at all, but a short time after I started teaching, I discovered that the kids in class who drove me crazy were always big TV-watchers. TV-addicted kids, I found, were irresponsible and childish, malicious to each other and chronically bored. They whined a lot, ratted constantly on other students, and seemed unusually dishonest.
Bull City looks like Fidel Castro: green fatigues, engineer’s cap, and mule-tail, anarchist beard. He’s from Missoula, Montana, but he took his fall — a life sentence — right up the road in Wilkes County, North Carolina. He carries a Bible, a dictionary, a prison-issue loose-leaf, and two sharpened pencils. He wants to be a writer.
When I was able to open my eyes, I saw lying next to me a young man, nineteen, maybe twenty at the oldest. He was in shock, twitching and shivering uncontrollably from being tear-gassed and pepper-sprayed at close range. His burned eyes were tightly closed, and he was panting irregularly. Then he passed out. The sidewalk was wet from the water that a medic had poured over him to flush his eyes.
The psychiatrist wants to know if I have allergies, if I take any medication. I tell him I have hay fever. He rubs his bald head; I rub mine. His window is covered with wire mesh. Outside, it’s starting to rain. He pages absently through his manual with a large thumb, not really looking for anything. I can feel the rain in my bones. Since I ran away a year ago, I’ve spent a lot of cold, wet nights huddled under boxes, hiding in boiler rooms. Running, running.