I am a peaceful man, a voluntarist.

I wholeheartedly believe that human beings should live their lives in accordance with the principle of non-aggression.  The realities of self-ownership and private property rights seem so obvious to me, and I often wonder how it is that us humans ever come to any other conclusions.  It seems to me self evident that every individual should have complete ownership over themselves, therefore, it seems equally self evident that no individual has any legitimate right to claim (un-agreed upon) ownership over any other individual.  I know with surety, in my heart of hearts, that the only moral interactions that occur between human beings are those that are voluntary.  The illegitimate force of aggression has no proper place; there is no badge, title, legislation, flag, costume, or any other fathomable excuse or invention that can make this force legitimate.

I abhor aggression and I am completely devoted to living a peaceful life.

But it hasn’t always been this way…

I was once a member of one of the largest and most vicious criminal organizations in the world, and in much the same way that I am now devoted to peace, I was energetically dedicated to that organization and it’s business.  I knew full well that gang warfare and the extortion tactics used were responsible for a long trail of bleeding bodies and broken hearts but I did the jobs I was given without question and I wore my colors proudly.  From time to time I would question my actions but I wouldn’t let my mind reach the obvious conclusions that were laid out so plainly in front of me.  To me, the colors I wore represented something to take tremendous pride in, they stood for brotherhood and loyalty.  I was a soldier, on the front lines, defending the people I cared about from outsiders and making money to improve my situation.  I would die for anyone that wore the same colors I wore, and I would kill for them too.

My decision to join the gang wasn’t based on hatred, though.  There was never a time in my life when I considered myself anti-peace.  The truth is, the way I ended up in the gang was much more complex than a desire to do violence or even to make money.  You see, where I was brought up, the life of a gangster was a respected one.  All the kids in my neighborhood looked up to them, they always seemed so tough and confident.  They had money, and women, and shiny guns, and respect.  The music I listened to and the movies I watched filled my head with gangster glory, and as a young child I would imagine myself as one of them in countless fantasy shootouts.  As a kid growing up they didn’t seem like bad guys, to me they were heroes.

As I got older I became more and more infatuated with the gangster life but it wasn’t until right after my twelfth birthday that a tragic event pushed me into a misguided future.  A rival gang attacked my neighborhood, hurting and killing many people that weren’t even gang affiliated.  It tore me up inside to see so many people attacked and I felt compelled to retaliate, so a few years later I was initiated into the organization that was fighting back against the scumbags that came to our territory to hurt our people.

They asked for my loyalty and they got it one hundred percent.  There was nothing to big or small, if they wanted me to do it it would be done.  My organization commited the same kind of aggression that our enemies did, but I was fully indoctrinated with the belief that our ends justified our means.  However, there comes a moment, after enough trigger pulls, when a man’s mind can no longer handle the tremendous strain of the doublethink required to justify his actions.  It is the point where he must either forsake his morality or his aggression because if he does not choose between them his conscience will plague him to the point of insanity.   For many who choose to go the way of non-aggression, the violent acts they have committed are too much for their hearts to bear and their minds are drug into darkness.  I was one of these, but I was pulled from the darkness and encouraged to follow after the light.  I refused to let my sins destroy me and I moved forward into a new man, motivated with love.  I could not let my last acts on earth be acts of aggression and destruction.  That is not how my story ends.  I will make restitution to peace and liberty.

I once wore the gang colors of the United States Marine Corps, but now I carry a banner of love.