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STANDING ALONE



I was sitting on top of my mother-in-law’s house helping my brother-in-law put on a new roof when I heard a commotion going on several houses down the street. I stopped working, stood up and turned around to see what was happening. I noticed an elderly woman run out of her house and begin yelling at some of the neighborhood thugs; they had put their pit bull over her fence so it could chase her little white poodle.

The pit bull headed right for the little dog, grabbed it by the head and shook it back and forth viciously. The little dog yelped in a high-pitched tone and cried for someone to help it. The old woman started screaming and ran to get the water hose to see if she could get the 40-pound pit bull off her poodle, before it was killed. The four boys just stood there laughing and slapping each other on the back. Well, the poor dog was dead within a minute. The old woman picked up her dead dog and sat down on the ground crying, while embracing her dead poodle in her arms. The teenagers retrieved their dog and walked away laughing.

The Airport District was a very rough part of town, not to mention a very poor area. The Modesto California police never drove in or out of this particular area, mainly because they would be shot patrolling that vicinity. This area of Modesto had no moral value, whatsoever. It was common for 11 and 12-year-old girls to become pregnant and have one or two children by their 13th birthday. Drug overdoses were an everyday occurrence as they could be obtained more easily than a coca cola down at the local market. It appeared to me the police had totally given up on this area. Maybe they decided to allow these thugs to run wild, hoping that in time, they would kill one another off. Meanwhile, the poor and elderly folks living in that area went through pure hell, and would not buy anything of value for fear of having it stolen.

After my battle with cancer, my family and I had no choice but to move into that same poor neighborhood, in a small house that happened to be right next door to my mother-in-law. As we were moving in, I noticed several young boys fighting over a four-lawn chair set, which they had taken from an older woman's porch. She drove up about that time and began arguing with the boys. She asked them nicely to please put the chairs back on her porch. They pushed her backwards, causing her to fall over the three-foot chain-link fence around her yard. I was sure that she had broken her neck. Then the boys took the four lawn chairs, table and umbrella, and headed down the road. The woman got up and stood watching as they walked away. Then they turned around to flash her ‘the finger.’ This is just the way it was in that part of town.

These types of things happened every day and night, year after year. These kids would gang up and walk around the area taking whatever they wanted from whomever they wanted and there was no one to stop them or do anything about it. If anyone should dare try to stop this type of bullying, they would have their house burnt down or be found dead in the park. No one dared phone the police, as these kids always seemed to have a way to find out who called and swift action, sometimes deadly action, would be taken against the person.

In all my years of living on the streets with hundreds of prostitutes, thieves and criminals, including all my years in prison, I had never seen such a blatant disregard for law and order. There was a total disregard for other people's rights, especially the elderly. This area of Modesto, California housed the worst of the worst.

I walked outside my house one night about 11 p.m. and found 10 or 15 people standing in the yard next door smoking pot and drinking beer. I lit a cigarette so they would know I was in the area and just stood there smoking. If I had not let them know I was standing there, it would have been considered spying or snooping and would have given them a justifiable reason to attack me.

Later that night, about 10 police cars came to that house with full lights and sirens. It appeared the couple that had recently rented the house was throwing a party. The woman’s husband was asked to drive across town to pick up more beer and some additional drugs. While he was gone, 10 or so of his friends decided to rape his wife.

Early the next morning, I heard a loud argument out in the street right in front of my house. I got up, walked out onto the front porch and noticed the "biker dude,” who lived across the street having an argument with his best friend regarding a drug dispute. The biker ran at his friend, hit him in the head and knocked him to the ground. The biker’s son, who was about 11 or 12, came running out of the house with a baseball bat in his hand.

“Here Dad, knock his damn brains out,” the boy said. “Come on Dad, knock his GD brains out. I want to see his damn brains, Dad.”

I could not believe what I was hearing. I just could not believe that anyone could or would allow their child to talk like that. Had it been my child, I think I would have taken the baseball bat to him. Well, the argument went on for another hour or so and then everyone went into the biker’s house.

I received a telephone call several hours later from a friend of mine. He said word was spreading around the Airport District that I was the one being accused of calling the police about the rape. I hung up the telephone and walked out of my house to empty the garbage. That is when I noticed there were about 10 or 15 of those same fellows pointing at me, as they began to congregate on the lawn at the biker’s house. This house belonged to one of the older members of the gang who thought he was some sort of God to these younger idiots. His never-ending supply of drugs had convinced them that he was "Mr. Cool." He would constantly beat the hell out of his wife every other week or so and never went to jail.

My wife came to the front door and called me back inside. She told me she had just received a call advising that she and the children had best get out of the house. Supposedly, unknown persons were going to start shooting up our house with bullets within the hour. I knew that one of my wife's nephews was a member of the same gang and it was probably he who called to warn her. I told her to stay in the house until I returned and to keep away from the windows. I knew no one would do anything as long as she and the children were in the house, because of her being related to a gang member.

I walked outside, got into my car and drove to a friend’s house. I knew he owned a small Uzi, semi-automatic machine gun. I picked up the weapon, along with 6-30 round clips of ammunition and then proceeded to the liquor store where I purchased two cases of wine, in one-liter bottles. I returned home, loaded the Uzi machine gun and then emptied all the wine into large buckets, saving it for my other brother-in-law, Jimmy. Then I filled the bottles with gasoline, making Molotov Cocktails.

I was very nervous and scared, but I was not going to allow these people to bully me as they did the other people in the area. I walked out of the garage closing the door behind me and headed toward the house. As I walked inside, I told my wife to take the kids and leave the area until she heard from me, but she refused to leave. I also noticed her brother Jimmy now standing on the front porch. I looked out the side window toward my mother-in-law’s house and saw my wife's father standing in the window with a rifle in his hands.

I hurried into the bedroom, grabbed my son's baseball bat and walked back to the garage. I cut a slice out of the end of the bat so I could insert a skill saw blade into the end, and then ran a nut and bolt through the bat and blade, making a weapon that would cut through leather clothing. When I returned to the house, Jimmy was still standing on the porch. I told him the garage was full of wine, if he wanted any. Jimmy was a very nice person but he was not a fighter.

However, he looked at me and said, "I'll go out there with you, if you want me to.”

"No thanks, Jimmy. There is no use in two of us dying today.”

I cannot tell you how proud I was of Jimmy that day and my wife (now ex-wife) who stood beside me in the face of danger.

By then, there were about 15 or 20 of these hoodlums out in the street standing in front of our house. They started to yell, "Get your ass out here you coward son-of-a-bitch.”

They were demanding that I come out and face them. I remember wondering if I really had it in me to just walk out of that front door and start shooting everyone in site. I finally decided I had no choice; that was what I was going to have to do. That meant men, women and young people. The women and young boys in that neighborhood were just as mean and evil as the men.

I looked over at my wife and will never forget that total look of horror on her face. I looked at my son, Roger Jr., who just clung to his mother with no understanding of what was happening or what was about to occur. I slowly walked toward the front door and opened it very carefully. My heart was about to beat right out of my chest. I was so scared. However, I was not going to back down. There was too much at stake. I was not going to allow these people to make me, or my family afraid to leave our own home. The time had come for the old people to get revenge on these worthless bastards.

I was not sure what was going to happen when I walked out of my house. I walked toward the garage instead of toward the street. The machine gun and baseball bat were in the garage and I was not sure if I could get to them before being attacked by the large mob. I opened the door and then closed it. I turned around and walked back inside to my bedroom. When I reached the dresser, I opened the bottom drawer and took out a small caliber handgun. Making sure it was fully loaded I stuck it into my back pocket where it could not be seen. Then I opened the door, walked out onto the front porch and headed toward the street.

The first thing I heard was, "Get your ass out here, you one-balled son-of-a-bitch!"

It was a reference to my cancer surgery, in which I lost one of my testicles. That hurt me more than anything I have ever heard as an adult man. I turned around and headed back toward the garage to get the machine gun, which had a 30-round clip already in it. As I walked away, I could hear everyone in the street, including all the young children calling me a one-balled chicken-shit. I stopped at the garage and started to open the door, but changed my mind. I turned around and headed back toward the street where everything had now become quiet. I guess they were surprised that I was returning. I walked out into the street and stopped within 10 feet of the group.

"You guys know that someone is going to die here today!” I said.

Just about that time, the older biker guy came running out from behind the fence on the side of his house. He ran toward me with several wrenches in his hand yelling, "You son-of-a-bitch! You called the police last night and you are one dead son-of-a-bitch!"

He threw the wrenches down on the ground and ran directly at me. I immediately jumped back and told him that I did not call the police. About that time, one of the boys had worked his way up behind me and as I turned, he hit me across the face knocking off my glasses. Another boy stomped them, crushing them useless and then said to me, "How do you like that, you one-balled freak?"

I decided right then that this young man was going to be the one who would die first. I reached into my back pocket and felt for the small handgun. Before I could get the gun out of my pocket, the biker ran at me and as he did, I hit him right in the middle of the face knocking him down. The group immediately moved toward me. I started backing up and once again reached for the gun. As I pulled it from my pocket, I noticed there was blood going everywhere. I looked at my hand and saw that my entire thumb was laying back; it had been severed in half. I looked around, but could not see anyone with a knife. I pulled the gun from my pocket, moved it slowly right to left and then left to right, to cover the entire mob.

Everything got quiet and nobody moved an inch. I looked at the ringleader and told him there were about 20 of them, and I would take them on one at a time, if they just lined up. I told him I was sure by the time I got through the first one or two, I would be so tired the others could beat the holy crap out of me. But that would be the end of things and no one would have to die.

"You are one dead son-of-a-bitch," he said.

I pointed the gun at the young man who had stomped on my glasses and told him to come to me. When he approached, I told him he was going to be the first to die and I stuck the gun in his ear. Everyone just stood there looking at us in complete silence. My wife had run out and handed me a towel, which I wrapped around my hand to stop the bleeding. She hollered that she was going to call the police; I told her it was too late for that. I suggested if she wanted to call anyone, she should call for every meat wagon in the city, because I would fill them up in less than a minute.

I slowly pulled the trigger and watched the hammer move backwards. At the very last minute, I jerked the gun away from his ear and fired three times into the air. People went running in every direction. I lowered the gun and placed it back into my back pocket. Within 15 seconds, the head biker dude came out of his house with a shotgun and pointed it at me.

"You are one crazy bastard. You come over here and pull a gun on us law-abiding citizens!” he yelled.

I could only shake my head at his comment, as I waited to see if he was going to shoot me. Finally, he lowered his shotgun, walked back into his house and did not come back out. The rest of his gang stood across the street throwing rocks at me from a distance, still calling me a "one-balled freak." I stood there for several hours and waited, until there was no one left in the street except myself.

Several weeks later, I packed up my family and moved to Greer, South Carolina where I went to work for a friend of mine. We lived in Greer for about two years before moving back to Modesto, California. I will never forget driving back down the street to my mother-in-law’s house. Those same people on Connie Way were still doing the same things they had always done. However, not one bad word was spoken, nor was there ever a bad gesture made toward me.

I would like to close this story by saying I have never forgotten that incident or the remarks made to me in front of my wife, my son and her family. I wish to tell the people who called me out into the street that day, they taught me that because of fear; I still have the capability of taking a human life, at least the ones of them who are worthless as human beings.

I had a talk with a friend of mine named Santa Claus. He told me he is making a list and checking it twice, and he is going to find out who has been naughty or nice. Santa told me personally, if he ever gets real sick with cancer or something like that, he might just pay those wonderful fellows a mid-year visit. Should this happen, he has a special gift just for those fellows. It is a gift for being so nice and kind to all those old folks for all those years.

Therefore, if I were you fellows, I would try hard to change and start being EXTRA SPECIALLY NICE to all the old people in the neighborhood.



NOTE: Because of his excessive drug use, the Richard Snoderly died last year waiting for a liver transplant. I guess a liver was the one thing that he could not steal or take from the neighbors.



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