Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Murdered Friend

Yesterday I got an email with a bunch of old photos from a childhood friend's birthday party like 20 years ago. In the photos me and my old friends are running rampant, fighting, wrestling, mouths open yelling, arms flung out wildly. The friend who originally posted the pictures did so because one of the kids in that group, who appears in the far left of the picture above, was murdered on March 16. Apparently he'd become a member of the SD chapter of one of the big 1%er biker gangs. He died of multiple stab wounds to the head, neck, and chest.

I've been in a funny state of mind since seeing those pictures, and learning about the murder. I drifted away from that group back in our early teens (when a lot of them started playing at being gangsters) and I hadn't heard anything about the murder victim since high school. Now that I've learned of his death, my mind is flooding with thoughts of those childhood times. I've been musing over the different paths we take, and how far from each other those paths take us.

It's stunning to think of the importance childhood choices have on our eventual fates. It's even more stunning when you think about how wild and ill-prepared for serious decisions we are as children. In the picture above you can see some of the kids flashing gang signs. We probably didn't even have any body hair yet, and already some of us were showing fascination with gangs. For my recently deceased friend, that fascination led to a lifestyle that resulted in his early death.

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