by Darrell McGreggor
My name is Darrell McGreggor. I am forty-eight years old and I am an ex-gang member. When I was fourteen years old, I moved into my father’s home and I became troublesome— most of which was internal. I was headstrong and did whatever I wanted to do.
I started hanging with the wrong crowd of people. I became mischievous and looking for love in the wrong places.
At age sixteen, I joined a gang for acceptance and to be known. I wanted people to fear me. At the same time, I wanted my former peers to respect me. I was attracted to the gang lifestyle because in school the girls gave them lots of attention. They fought for one another and showed each other respect.
The gang gave me a platform and there wasn’t anything I wouldn’t do for their camaraderie and love. I wanted to be just like them, if not better. I began to smoke marijuana and drink alcohol because I wanted to fit in and feel like them and I liked it!
My behavior got worse and I started breaking into houses, stealing cars and shooting at other gang members. Eventually I got kicked out of school and arrested for possession of a controlled substance (cocaine), grand theft auto, and assault on a peace officer. At the same time, I was causing my mother and father a lot of hurt and pain.
In 1985, my father died as a result of congestive heart failure and my life really spiraled out of control. I developed feelings of deep sadness and resentment. Getting high every day kept me from not feeling the pain that I felt inside. I became entrenched in the gang and making stupid decisions based on my ego and false pride.
February 8, 1988 was another day I made a terrible decision that I would regret for the rest of my life. I shot at a rival gang member in a drive-by shooting and a bullet hit and killed a 67 year old woman as she sat in her wheelchair inside of her home. She did not have anything to do with what I had going on.
I felt really bad for what happened that day. I took a mother, grandmother, aunt, sister and friend away from her family, friends and community. She did not deserve it. I caused her loved ones so much pain and suffering and on top of that— the scars from their loss probably still haven’t healed.
If I could go back and take the bullet myself, I would, because I was a low life individual. When I was arrested and found guilty, I was sentenced to twenty-seven years to life in prison. One would think that would have woken me up, but it didn’t. I stayed caught up in the same pattern of destructiveness for twenty-four years because I did not care and was still looking for acceptance/respect from my former homies/peers.
However, in 2012, I finally made the decision to stop everything! I got sick and tired of being sick and tired. I was mentally and emotionally worn out from making the same mistakes that weren’t getting me anywhere but in a deeper hole and my C-file filled with many rule violation reports.
Take it from me, being in a gang is going to get you a one-way trip to either the morgue or to prison. I know so many people that died from gang banging or got sentenced to life in prison, it’s not funny.
Prison is not what you think it is. In here, I have seen people commit suicide, get beat up, raped, extorted for money, robbed, stabbed, killed, family members passed away, and dying from diseases. Do not let anyone tell you that it is fun in here because it is not!