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Soudary and I agreed that we should be reaching in our old bag of writings and repost some of those stories for the empty seats of our bash. 

So, here's one by our very own Tech Core facilitator, posted under assumed approval from the man himself (Alisak, feel free to send all four-letter words my way for picking on you as I always do)

Publication Core Facilitator

By Alisak Sanavongsay	

Today is a day that I will never forget. Today is my 
twentieth birthday. Today is the day I get my Associate's degree. Today is the day I get to go home.
But, who will I go home to? Both of my parents are
gone. They were both tragically killed during a drive-by shooting... Killed by a stupid kid with a gun.

I've gone through a great deal of change since my 
parents' deaths. Who would have ever thought I would get a college degree? Me, who dropped out of high school after the first year?

It took the death of my parents to make me see that I 
needed to choose a different path from where I was headed. During the 5 years that I was away, I had plenty of time to see that I was sliding down the wrong edge on this razor blade called "life".

So, I decided to do something about it. I enrolled in
a special GED program. After getting my GED diploma, I enrolled in another special program.  Now, I'm receiving my Associate's degree and will be continuing at one of the top universities in the country.  As I stand up here, tears running down my cheeks, 
can't help but think about my dark past.

I was a trouble kid from the start. No matter where my
parents moved me to, I would always find some bad kids to hang around with. I would always get kicked out of school for fighting or something. I even set some kid on fire once.

Things just kept getting worse and worse. At age 10, I
joined a local street gang.  We did lots of stuff that I thought were fun at the time. Things like stealing and fighting never seemed wrong to me.

My parents did the best they could to try to steer me in the right path.  They always tell me that they love me and buy me stuff and take me places.  They were the best parents anyone could have ever had.  I just took everything for granted.

I guess my own strong will turned out to be my weakness.  It was this strong will that led me astray.  I was always so determined to show my parents that I could take care of myself. I demanded respect from everyone.  Any sign of disrespect had to be
dealt with in a manner I deemed suitable.

For my fifteenth birthday, my parents planned a surprise party, but I had already planned to go out and celebrate with my gang.  As I was going out, I had an argument with them  and just took off.

We were heading to our usual pizza joint when ten members of our rival gang showed up. Right away, they spotted us and walked over toward us.  We exchanged words then punches. There were just too many of them and just five of us. They beat us up badly.  I
f the cops hadn't showed up, they would have killed us.  Everyone just fled the scene. Even though we were badly beaten, we managed to muster up enough strength to flee.

We all knew this would not end there.  As if we knew what the other was thinking, we assembled into our positions without a word. The two 16-year-olds got in the front seat. The rest filled up the back seat.  We drove toward the pizza joint to see if they
 were inside.  After spotting them inside, we turned around
the corner and waited for them to come out.

Since it was my birthday, the gang gave ME the "honor".  I was chosen as the trigger man.  We waited about thirty minutes until they finally came out.  We drove up slowly, and I started shooting just before they turned the corner. I thought to myself, "Th
is is
it, you punks.  No one disses me and gets away with it!"

I just kept shooting and shooting. It was like a wild rush of power running through my veins.  I was on such a power high that I didn't care that there were innocent by-standers on the sidewalk.  By the time I ran out of bullets, I had wounded ten people 
and killed three.

Cops were on the scene right away and caught us after a fifteen-minute car chase. All five of us were arrested. The police were able to contact all our parents...All, except for mine. They had gone to look for me.  They were two of the people I had just k
illed.  I was the stupid kid with the gun.  We were all sent to different detention centers. 	


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