Gangster Turned Guru Presents: Chapter Excerpt: “Esco”

respect

I have no problem admitting that my gangster mentality stemmed from a false self-perception and lack of self-love to all the various gang members I’ve had as cellmates.  When I discuss how I’ve refused to entertain those negative thought patterns to Bloods, Crips, Gangster Disciples and Vice Lords that I’ve bunked with, most couldn’t imagine changing their lives being apart from their gang.

This was especially true for a 24-year-old Crip, from Long Island named Esco.  Short, stocky, half black and half Puerto Rican with an innocent looking baby face that has fooled plenty of people when put to the test.  He claimed to love the gang life.  He swore he knew it all, talking me to death with his gang mentality from which he perceived the world.

Every day at 3:30 p.m. as soon as the cell door locked for the count, Esco would sit up from the top bunk, where he’d spend most of the day and start to talk.

“Eddie, these guys always come to you for advice. What they can’t think on their own?”

“Actually, for a lot of us, thinking on our own is what we’re learning to do.”

“You’re learning to think on your own? Who don’t know how to do that?”

“You’d be surprised, Esco. When you don’t know who you really are, you live according to the authority of others.” I laughed thinking about my own past identify crisis. “You of all people should know that.”

“Why should I know?”

“Because you’re a Crip and have to follow whatever your OG says,” I answered.

He climbed down the latter at the end of the bed, ready to debate. “Everybody falls under the authority of somebody.  You follow the authority of these CO’s when they tell you to stand for the count,” he fired back.

“They don’t have to tell me to stand for count.”

“That’s because you’re already standing.”

“Exactly, under my own authority,” I said laying back on my bed with my hands behind my head, cradled by my pillow.

“Aren’t your followers under your authority?”

“My followers?”

“Yeah, Twin, Paradise, O, Tone, Javi and all those guys in and out of here all day asking you what to do, how to do it, and they listen because you think you’re smart from reading all those books.”

“It’s not that I think I’m smart, they trust me to give them positive advice.”

“Why don’t they ask me?” he wondered pulling his chair up along the side of my bed.

“Probably because we view things from a different perspective.”

“How’s that?”

“Esco, you’re still relatively young, trying to prove yourself in an attempt to figure out who you are.”

“Prove myself! I know how I give it up!! Ask about me! My name rings bells out in the streets!”

“I never heard of you!” I said shaking my head flashing a grin.

“That’s because you been locked up for so long! Call out on the streets and you’ll see. I bang! It’s what I do!”

“But what does it get you?”

“Respect!”

Squinting my eyebrows together I asked, “Banging gets you respect?  What are you banging for?” sitting up from my laid back position, giving him my full attention.

“For my set, my block! It’s what I do! I wasn’t a pretty boy, getting money type like you Eddie.  They call it gang banging because I bang!” he emphasized all hyped up, pounding his fist in his chest like a silverback gorilla.

“And all that banging is causing you those problems out in the streets.”

“What problems?  I’m good in my hood.”

“Esco, you sit here every night and day telling me your war stories against the Latin Kings and the Bloods.”

“Cause I give it up on those mother fuckers!”

“And they give it up on you!  The Bloods ran up on your girlfriend’s car and shot you in the leg.  The Latin Kings, shot up your baby mother’s house, thinking you were there.  Your son could have got hit.”

“That’s because they’re scared of me and know I’m a threat!”  He defended, raising up out of his chair, walking over to the cell door to stare at himself in the six magnetic mirrors I have on the door.

“Who’s scared of you?”

“They’re all scared of me!” he said, looking back over his shoulder, nodding his head.

“They’re not scared of you, simply because they’re banging on you and although you’ve gotten away, they killed your cousin Russ on his 21st birthday.”

“That wasn’t my fault!”

“I’m not saying it’s your fault, Esco. It’s a consequence of the lifestyle you’re choosing to live.”

“But he wasn’t banging, he was just with me all the time.”

“And somebody banged on him, for what?? Your set? The block?  Does it mean that much?”  I asked, leaving him silent for a few seconds, which is a difficult thing to do.

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Excerpt, Evolution of a Gangster Turned Guru: Chapel

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“Worry stems from a degree of fear, which is difficult to overcome because it’s how most of us are conditioned to think.”

“Conditioned to think?”  Carlos said, standing up walking over to the C.D. player and lowering the volume. “I don’t know how you were taught to think,” he said walking back over to his chair, “but I’m not conditioned or trained to think any type of way.”  Shaking his head, sitting back down.

“How did we go from praying and the spirits to how we think?” Jose asked.

“Because thinking is praying,” Paradise answered.

“Exactly!” I said, “You’re expressing your thoughts, activating the laws to attract the effect.”

“So you’re saying God has nothing to do with it?” Jose asked.

“God has everything to do with it,” I said, “because, it’s God’s law, but you’re not praying to God, you’re using the laws already established.   This is why it’s as if some people’s prayers are answered and others aren’t.  Some people know how to direct the energy using the law, depending on God’s law to bring about the result, some do it very consciously and have a strong faith and some do it unconsciously without understanding the process.”

“So what do you believe? In these laws or God and the spirits?” Jose asked, pulling his chair closer.

All eyes fell on me.

I paused again for a moment, “I understand that there is an all-wise, intelligent, all-knowing powerful Creator,” I began, “Call it God, spirits, the Universe or call it our higher power, it’s all part of us and we are part of it.”

“Now you’re part of God?” Paradise asked.

“Yes,” I said looking him dead in the face, “and so are you.  Many of the mainstream religions teach that we’re separated from God or the source of all life but that’s not true.”

“How do you know?” Carlos challenged.

“Because it doesn’t make sense.”

“Why not?”

“Because a God of love wouldn’t want to be separated from her greatest creation.”

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EXCERPT: The Evolution of a Gangster Turned Guru

beginning

Chapter One:  The Beginning

Eddie K. Wright

“I experienced the difference living in the black world and the white one. I was sheltered in the safe white world in the suburbs of Long Island, living on a dead end block with close-knit neighbors. Prejudice incidents still occurred with kids once in a while.  Being called a nigger was the one word I knew justified any physical beat down I dished out in childhood fights.  But I had a good healthy adventurous upbringing, riding BMX bikes, playing hide and seek, joining the boy scouts and playing soccer.

As I grew into my adolescent years, my white friends were into groups like AC/DC, Metallica, and Guns and Roses. I was into Africa Bambada, Sugar Hill gang and break dancing.

I was always encouraged to be whatever I wanted to be in life.

Get your education and the sky’s the limit.

But it wasn’t something that I believed. It sounded good when my mother would tell me but growing into a young black teenager, I held different views of life with a sense that my opportunities would be limited.

During my confused, angry, teenage years, I began getting into fights so I started selling weed, I had zero respect for authority and ended up attending five different high schools. Somehow I graduated from Central Islip High School on time in 1991.

At 18 years old, I had a newborn son named Andrew, who I was denying from my ex-girlfriend. I obtained numerous arrest and from what the principal said at the graduation ceremony, this was just the beginning of my journey in life.

I continued acting out on a path of self-destructive behaviors, thinking fighting and shootouts at clubs were cool, just to be known. When I began selling serious drugs, the way money came cemented the idea in my mind of what I wanted to do.

I heard that lifestyle would only land you in prison or the graveyard.

“It wouldn’t happen to me,” I thought.

But even when it did, after doing my time, six months in county jail, then four years in Virginia state prison, I felt so caught up in the life that I thought being a gangster was what God put me in this world to be. I was following my destiny, right off a cliff.

By 32, I was well known in the criminal underworld, connected to street gangs, drug cartels, and major mafia families. I had a house with no mortgage. My new wife was a beautiful young pregnant Columbian knock out. I was managing Erick Sermon, the legendary rap artist, and music producer, traveling the globe and making plenty of money. From the outside looking in, I was on top of the world. But my inner voice would ask “Where am I heading? When is all of this going to come crumbling down?”

Change is a powerful word. It can inflict a strong sense of fear, in those that need it the most.

When our lives have hit rock bottom, the suggestion to change is the one thing that can appear to make things even worse. As long as we live with self-destructive thought patterns and belief systems, difficult results will continue to show up in our life experiences.

I found myself asking life questions, answering them with the gangster thought system that clearly didn’t have the right answers to bring about change.

“What’s the meaning of life?”  “To get rich or die trying.”

“What brings happiness?” “Money and the things I can by with it.”

Those were the rules I lived by.”

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