this is probably one of my favourite songs, but i was trying to rationalize why i like it. it advocates violence, drug use/abuse/sale, among other things. it makes me sad to think that this is what young native guys are writing songs about, but at the same time why would we write songs about something that wasn’t true? i know too many people who have been involved with the cops seriously, too many who blur the line too often between drugs for pleasure and addiction, too many who are involved in violence.

i think if some people (most likely those from outside the community) listen to this song, they probably wouldn’t get it. i’ve noticed especially since recently i have been living in a house which is majority native male ex-cons. i’ve been around people like that for a long time, just because if you end up in a compromised situation, a lot of times you have to share space with people who could be considered that. a lot of them have been in foster care, absent parents, etc. so it’s no surprise i ended up there either. if history serves to repeat itself, which is really hope it doesn’t, i think it would just be too easy for me to be like them. i don’t want to pass this on to my kids, if i should ever have them, but what am i supposed to teach them about this? how are you supposed to explain to a little two year old that your childhood was abusive, and that you eventually ended up in a psych ward, and eventually a sort of halfway house where you were surrounded by criminal behaviour, and had to harden yourself up in order to keep yourself safe? how do you explain to that kid that the reason their dad can’t show them how much he loves them is that it’s something he had to do to survive, and even though it’s just too easy for them to be like him, that they don’t deserve to have that pain, but need to find a way to express their love and not be afraid? i don’t know, i just hope i can figure that out before if i ever have kids.

yesterday i was watching some of the guys at the house, and seeing how everyone interacts with each other. i saw the kid who, though he’s been in foster care and isn’t native, being really naive to what we were talking about, wasn’t knowing what the words meant that we were using. i don’t know why i feel proud about knowing the slang for hard drugs, or things that happen in prison, but i do know that it’s probably to my advantage. i think that if someone naive came into my situation to replace me, and hadn’t already had some exposure, family connection or some sort of knowledge of what the heck we are on about then they not only would be very confused about what was going on, but it could put them at a risk. it’s just too easy to get someone to do something bad if they don’t know how to tell you are manipulating them. it’s so easy to snow someone if they don’t have any personal experience. i don’t think i’ve ever had someone do that to me, because i’ll see them before they even get close too it, since 90% of what people do when they’re trying to get you is going to be the same each time. my mum did that a lot to me as a kid, and i had to learn how to get out of her way, and at the same lie so that she wouldn’t get upset, and would just leave me alone instead of hurting me. my dad never did anything because even though he was always with us, i can’t describe him at all because i don’t know him, he has never been there for me in most ways, and i don’t honestly know much of anything about him. he’s pretty absent. it seems like a pretty common thread among us guys that we don’t have proper father figures. i had my uncle for a few years when i was younger, but ever since then there has been nobody. i don’t know why our success or failure seems to hinge on this quite a bit, but i think someone needs to pay a heck of a lot more attention when they break a boy’s contact with his father, or who he considers to be his dad. it seems too obvious that we would join gangs which are primarly a male father figure-like relationship with someone. maybe violence prevention is the only way to solve this, i’m not sure. most everyone i know who has been a criminal has continued on. i know only one guy who hasn’t, but i think he had more support than the rest of us in some ways, and despite his native status he wasn’t involved in a native community in the same way. i don’t wanna stereotype about the native community, but there is just so much pain that we need to take care of, just so much criminal behaviour because a lot of us have been compromised. maybe that’s why i really love this song, because it is so real and identifying. there’s so much that the people who make decisions about criminals and those of us in the system don’t seem to know. they don’t understand that probably having someone talk to a counsellor would be far more valuable a sentence than putting someone in a holding cell for a night, or on a year probation. i have never seen anyone have to attend mandatory counselling as part of their sentence, which i think would change a lot of things. many of us have been taught to destroy feelings that others would view as inadequete, or freakish, or things that could come and haunt us or hurt us. those are the things which cause us the most pain though, and force us until we can’t bear the load anymore and start acting in ways that we really shouldn’t. it doesn’t make sense the way the prison/welfare system works here. the sentences for prison don’t take into account age/life/mental health or possible chances to reoffend, and never seem to teach the offender what it’s like to be the victim in the legal sense, since most offenders were usual targets not too long before they couldn’t take it anymore and became the abusers. nobody seems to get that, not even the people who work with them, even social workers who are in charge of kids who have them snowed to the fact that they are crack dealers on the side etc. i’m not trying to say that i’m some kinda good-two-shoes either, because that’s just not it. it’s just what i’ve seen and experienced.

the welfare system here is just as fucked, if you’ll pardon my french there. once you go on welfare, it is 99% physically impossible to get off of it. good on you if you find a way to get off it without having to do something illegal on the side to make a little extra cash to cover the rent when you go off it, or to make sure that you have enough to eat during the long stretches between certain check times. welfare isn’t designed to help people get back up their feet – it might’ve worked once but that all went out the window probably as soon as it came into existence. i’ve heard too many people make the erroneous comment that people sitting on welfare can just go out, get a job and get back up on their feet, pay rent again etc.

well, why don’t you try it then?

prove it to me that it’s possible, that you can live as a human being and either not starve or not end up on the street, or both, or not get your kids taken away, or how about all of that. why don’t you show me, i bet you’ll never get your hands on that food, or those kids. the ministry will get them so fast you won’t know what happened and i doubt that you’ll ever have another chance, better just to wave goodbye and hope that if they’re male they won’t end up in jail. go ahead and chastise me, accuse me of exaggeration, of embellisment and some sort of lying, drag out your conservative stats, tell me that i’m outright wrong, but i think i know what’s real out here on the street. at least i have the opportunity to live, ’cause i know if i let you loose you might not make it through the night, and as sad as that fact is, i can’t lie to you.

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