I got into the pro-rights movement by accident. I just wanted to take what the government had taught me and help the people in my community live safer with training. I didn’t know that people of color, specifically Americans of African descent in most cities that I was trying to help were discombobulated about guns. It was the swimming pool all over again.

When I was in basic training at Parris Island, SC to become a US Marine, all recruits had to get classified to what level they could swim or operate in the water. It was the largest indoor pool I had ever seen. It had been a rough week for me and I couldn’t do anything right I thought. I was so glad when they told us to put on swimming trunks and jump in the water. I knew it would one of the few places, that the Drill Instructors couldn’t get me for a few minutes. I love water. Like going to the chapel, this was going to be a peace break.

Well, over a hundred young men, jumped into the pool. That was quite a sound. I swam to the deeper end and floated effortlessly for several minutes as I noticed that the room was growing quieter. Underneath me, I saw men in scuba gear patrolling like reef sharks. When I finally looked to the wall, where we had all launched I noticed that there were at least seventy black men, dripping water and shaking from the experience. I looked around and wondered did I miss the whistle. Trying to whisper to my bunk mate who was also out of the water; “Why are you out of the water?” He cautiously whispered back, “The brothers don’t swim.” I thought to myself, “Damn, what am I a mutant?”

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