Thursday, August 13, 2015

To the Youth of the Nation

I am nobody special, just a concerned person.

I read the newspaper and watch the daily news. And it troubles me to see today's youth turn to drugs and violence to solve or try to solve their problems.

I'd like to tell you a story. Its a true story with no embellishments needed. It's a story I've told countless times to a number of at risk troubled youths in order to try to get them to turn their lives around. It's the story of my own youth. I say my own youth because as I write this I am now 41 years old. Some of you might think what does this old guy think he know  about today's youth?  It is true there is allot about this day and age that I do not now but as I mentioned earlier, I too thought when I was young that I could solve my problems with drugs and violence.

As a teenager I was like allot of other teens, didn't think I fit in with the ?In? crowd, so I turned to alcohol. A few beers here and there then before to long I turned to the harder stuff, mainly whiskey. Soon after that it was party time every weekend. Of course that also progressed in whenever I had money I'd drink.  That because my life for a few years. I didn't have any ambitions, no future. I blinded myself and couldn't see anything beyond what was directly in front of me. In those few years allot of b ad things happened. I'd fight, Id get beat up, I even got robbed while in a drunken stupor. After a while I'd drink just to drink. I wasn't even having fun anymore. Realizing this I should have stopped but like any addict I turned to drugs to try to block out the world I created.  With drugs and alcohol in my system most of the time. I had become someone I never knew. I was a mean violent uncontrollable person with little regard for anyone around me.  This path that I had chosen, the drugs, alcohol and violence would all come to a head on a cold October night in 1993.

In a drunken drug induced rampage I did the unforgivable. I would take a young mans life.  At first I didn't even remember doing such an act. As the days passed, as I Sobered up sitting in a jail cell, like still frames of a movie I started to piece together that nights events. It was terrible, and terrifying what I had done.

After months of sitting in jail. It was now time to stand before a judge and har my fate. He had decided that since I took a life then mine shall be taken as well. In a blink of a eye, what life I had and what life I couldn've had was gone. I was 19 years old. I was given a life sentence without the possibility of parole. That was 21 years ago. So here I've  sat, no future, no present only a past that will haunt me for the rest of my days. At first I thought it was all just a really bad dream and I'd wake up and everything would be alright. Little did I know my nightmare was just about to begin.

Life here in prison is terrible. I would not wish this on my worst enemy. If anyone says different then they have either never been here or is lying. Trust me there is nothing, I mean nothing cool about being in prison. For those who read this especially todays youth. I implore you don't turn to drugs or alcohol they only weaken you.  Violence only breed more violence. Use the people and the resources around you to find a better non violent way to address your problems. Never be afraid to ask for help. Its not a sign of weakness. Its a sign of maturity to want to find a better way.

I've shared my story with you, not so you would feel sorry for me or to glorify my actions. I share my story and experiences a a warning beacon to the youth of today.

Trust me when I say every second of every day I am sorry and ashamed and deeply regret my actions on that October night.  I have not only brought shame on myself but my family as well.  Don't live with that regret. Don't follow my footsteps. For those of you that have taken steps do3wn this road. It's not to late for you to turn your life around. You can do it, you have that power within you.

Before I sign off I want to say one more thing.  I know even now after all I have shared, there are some who are saying to themselves "that won't ever happen to me." I said those exact words myself when I was young. Take heed spending the rest of your life in prison is just one possible stop on this road.

Thank you for your time. My prayers are with you.
Mark Milk #17409


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