USP Marion CMU
PO Box 1000
by Walter Bond
According to the FBI, and my institutional record, my gang affiliation is ‘Straight Edge’. My gang identifiers are my tattoos. the record is as follows: Face- large tribal, Throat- ‘VEGAN’/w crossed wrenches on both sides, Right Forearm- ‘STRAIGHTEDGE XXX’ from elbow to wrist, Left Elbow- spider web with an X in the middle, Both Hands- X V symbol (tribal style), Knuckles- ‘LIBERATE’, Right Calf- “VFL” (large block letters), Left Calf- “XVX” (large block letters), Left Shin- Large Wolf head/w lettering ‘Hands off the Animals’.
Back when I was arrested in Denver for the arson of the Sheepskin Factory is when this record began (not when I went to prison in 97′ for burning down a drug dealers home and drug enterprise, go figure). I was in county jail in Golden Colorado when I was awakened by the loud speaker ‘Bond, come out here the gang coordinator wants to see you’. My cell door buzzed and opened as did the pod door after it. I was taken to a small office where I met the gang coordinator. He informed me that he had just got back from a training over the mountains in Utah and had learned all about Straight Edge from the gang units there. When he came back to work he was talking about it to a deputy that said “yeah, Bond has that tattooed all over him’. So he wanted to come down and see one (Straight Edge gangbanger) for himself. I replied ‘I’m not in a gang’. He responded, ‘I see, do you mind telling me what your charges are?’ I said ‘Arson, and domestic terrorism’. then he said ‘so you guys beat up people that smoke and eat meat, right?’. I replied ‘I haven’t beat anyone up for smoking since I was a kid’. he then asked me, how many of you guys are here in Denver? I said jokingly, look man I’m a domestic terrorist, not a gang member don’t get it twisted. And I’m done with your questions, can I go back to my cell now? And back to my cell I went.
Back in the unit everyone was curious what the gang coordinator wanted. I was housed with all kinds of gangs and they saw it as a form of status that I had been called out. I said, ‘I’m Straight Edge’, that means I don’t drink or do drugs and I never will. One of the guys asked me “do you guys kick ass, and fuck shit up? Are you bangin’ that shit homey? I said, ‘Yeah, I’ve been known to go hard with it’. Another voice chimed in ‘you gotta go hard with it, that’s what’s up, where you guys from?’ I said, ‘well, we started back east I suppose, but we’re worldwide now’. Before you know it I had this crowd of inmates around me while I told old Straight Edge war stories. I guess that marked the moment of my acceptance and status in the unit.
Upon arrival to the Davis county jail in Utah (to face charges for my Tandy Leather Factory and Tiburon restaurant arsons) I was put into B unit. B unit is basically an intake pod where you get designated to other housing units. While waiting for my classification to another unit I was happily stretching my legs and walking laps. I had just been in transit shackled and chained in a plane all day so it was nice to be able to walk around. Soon I noticed a group of guys checking me out. One of them came over and says, ‘Hey man did you see my tattoo’? I said no. He promptly showed me his throat tattoo which read ‘KSE’. He said ‘that stands for kill Straight Edge’. I laughed my ass off! I thought it was a joke! I regained my composure and said ‘I’m not from here dude, so whatever.’ he proceeds ‘your gonna have to understand that lots of people have had problems with Straight Edge kids around here so you might have problems in this jail, but you seem alright so I’ll go tell everyone it’s cool man’. I watched him go back over to this group of juggalos ( juggalos are a group of genetically-challenged drug addicts that worship two 40 year old men that dress like clowns and try to rap, trust me I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried!) and start talking all big like he just put me in my place.
Now, I’m a reasonable person but I am not going to let a group of burnt out paint huffers and heroin addicts think that they have the better of me, outnumbered or not. So I walked over to them and said ‘look, I’m not from here, I don’t give a fuck what you guys are into. So either leave me alone or come up to my cell and we can throw down but I don’t want any surprises from you all when I got my back turned or I’m in the shower, so what’s it gonna be? We came to an uneasy truce. luckily an hour latter I was told to grab my bed roll. I was assigned to H unit, otherwise known as Hotel.
Hotel was the pod for long term county jail inmates. About half of us were fighting federal court cases and the other half were overflow from the state prison. This unit had just housed another Straight Edge ALF activist a couple months before my arrival. He was liked there which made my time easier. It turned out to be a much better environment of grown up convicts instead of every drunk driver and wife beater that just got booked. The strange thing about Utah is the notoriety that Straight Edge has whether in Salt Lake City or in the county jails. Anywhere else you get locked up no one knows anything about Straight Edge or the ALF. But in Utah most every gang has had a violent confrontation with a Straight Edge kid or crew. I have to admit it was nice to finally have some street credit somewhere. Back in Denver Straight Edge has (this is 2010 I’m talking about) turned into a fashion show. It’s got the vibe like a bunch of kids watched some videos about hardcore and became carbon copies of that image. While I’m not a fan of random violence and the machismo Edge crap It was nice to be somewhere where Straight Edge and Animal Lib are serious issues that people are willing to make a stand on the streets for.
So finally my sentencing day in court came. Amongst a plethora of charade, and speeches from my attorney, and the prosecutor, and the judge, and the manager of Tandy leather factory the U.S attorney managed to bring up Straight Edge. This time by bringing up a flyer I had created years before detailing the ‘What We Believe’ points of my crew VFL(Vegan For Life). He erroneously said that it was from Utah, Which is wrong. I’m not from Utah, I was born in Iowa and raised in Colorado. The only time I went to Utah was on ALF Lone Wolf business and the only reason I went there is because in Denver I stood out like a turd in a punchbowl. Whereas in Salt Lake I was just another one of those XVX face tattoo guys. The US attorney then went on to say that VFL was a domestic terrorist organization that I started( great, now I am not only a gang member but the founder of a terrorist organization! What a bunch of bullshit)!
Since my arrest I have had all my tattoos written down, filed and photographed more times than I can count. I know that Straight Edge has been considered a gang for awhile in a few cities but now I guess it’s transcended local authorities. I won’t say that Straight Edge doesn’t have some fringe gang elements here and there, but I’m fine with that. The true gangsters and terrorists are still the governments, corporations and thugs that manufacture, distribute and proliferate their addictive poisons. I’m still proud to stand against this tide of inebriation whether it is with the flame in my hand, the fist my hand makes or the X tattooed on the back of my hand. I still hate drugs and liquor and I still believe that all the excuses people come up with (the same excuses I once came up with as a user) are still just excuses to escape the world around us instead of trying to change it. being Edge has nothing to do with being a good or bad person. Many sober people are exploiters and abusers. Many people that get stoned or drink are some of the best friends I ever made. It’s not about that. Like any real gangster knows it’s not about hating on others. It’s about loving what you represent, defending it and not succumbing to regret when times get hard.
Born this way, Die this way.
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