Young and Reckless: Birth of the Goodfellas

We were young and reckless. Nothing else can be said, and no apologies will be given for our behavior because it seemed fitting for the time. Who wasn’t against us? It was a time of self-profession and territory claiming. We had gone beyond the ideals of fraternity and become what we would often jokingly call “a legal gang.”

“If I introduce him as a friend of mine, then he’s a connected guy. But if I introduce him as a friend of ours, then he’s a made man, and nobody can touch him. Not even Jesus Christ himself.” We spoke those words with such ease, and lived out the creed and oaths “made men” made.

We weren’t sure whom to trust. But whoever was tearing us down from the inside had to be handled, and whoever was breaking us apart from the outside was being dealt with in a less-than-discreet fashion, starting with the top and working our way down expeditiously. And none of these public dealings were secret to anyone. We were being thrown from public meetings, dismissed from forums, and banned from events in which we were well invested. We became the bad guys. “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” We were doing nothing more than protecting the histories and traditions of our noble Klan. That was all.

In the Spring of 2003, in what seemed overnight at 357 Rose Avenue, in the apartment of J. Sills (Korporate) and Darnell Lamont Walker (S.p.e.r.m.), we had gone from “Glorious and Greater” to “Goodfellas” after a series of activities that should never happen on the campus of an institution of higher learning. We were young and reckless. But we had something to protect. We were made differently. We were entrusted with jewels by men who had put their lives on the line. Why would this tradition stop?

The Fall came, school came, we grew in size, and so did the opposing team, be them administration or guys who dressed like us, and looked like us, but were not us. And we kept growing because there were more eyes on these jewels than before. We needed numbers. We needed more young and reckless men who were willing to put their education and chunks of their lives on the line.

And in 2005 we had to be at our strongest. We were forced to act quickly and think after. We became masters at chess while the opposing team played checkers with their grandfathers on holiday evenings watching snow fall. It was that serious. It would appear The Goodfellas lost. Our tree was painted, ridding it of any signs we were ever there. A tree began by men we learned were legends in many respects. Our concrete diamond that served as sacred ground of sorts was crushed. The sidewalk I painted with my fingers was painted over. This is where we were.

It would appear we lost. But we were chess players. This had to be done. We knew about the process of destroying and rebuilding. We knew the necessity of slicing off one’s own thumb to save the rest of the hand. We sliced our thumbs, and waited.

The article was released, and I was interviewed. I do not regret any of my actions, and I do not regret telling the man who had the power to push the button to “destroy everything. Fuck everything and everybody sitting across from me right now. Burn it down.” It was necessary. It was necessary to spend weeks prior to graduation on trial for assault and battery. It was necessary to kick in doors, and demand answers. It was necessary to write a letter to the college president demanding she clear my brother of all charges “or else.” It was all necessary. Jewels, man. Jewels.

And now look at us. Stronger than any of us could imagine. Building a class of incomparable leaders, and we’re all Goodfellas. The opposing teams have died out or grew sick and tired of fighting. We fought on.

Foolish we were. “You would have done all that for a fraternity?” People who ask that question will never be able to fully grasp what we were doing it for. So we do not explain. That is who we were. Young and reckless.

-Darnell Lamont Walker

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