But when I talk to them candidly, like, “So, what happened?. . . What are you here for?” [They say,] “Oh, I just shot this dude. You know, he was talking junk to me or stepped on my shoe. . .” or something like that. And then they go and they’re shaking hands with their friends, like, “Yeah. . . I put a cap in his ass. . . .” They’re cool with that.
WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS? It just comes from lack of discipline. I don’t want to blame it all on the home, but [it’s] a little bit of home life. [Another part of it is] the schools. Have you been to the schools? Have you been to the Providence School Department? It’s not a fun place to see.
I’m poor. My son, he goes to Providence schools. I’m not happy with what I see. If I had the means to send him to LaSalle, he’d be there in two seconds.
I visited a couple of middle schools that will remain nameless, [and] I walked from one end of the hall to the other and I heard the n-word and swearing and just vile language from one end to the other, non-stop. And as teachers stood in the doorways, just looking helpless, like, “What do we do?”
YOU’RE AN ADVOCATE OF TEACHING KIDS TO SHAKE HANDS, NOT TO CURSE, NOT TO SAG THEIR PANTS. ARE THESE THINGS RELATED TO PREVENTING VIOLENCE? I say it all starts there. That has a lot to do with it. That’s why I say it’s a build-up. We let them get away with sagging, let them get away with swearing, saying the n-word. All that stuff, it all builds up . . . it’s a negative progression . . . That’s what Night Vision’s all about, definitely: pinpointing all that stuff.
There could be a hundreds kids in here — the same inner-city kids that everyone believes are so evil and so on and so forth. Under the right circumstances, in the right situation, they will succeed. They do the right thing. People come in here all the time and they’re like so impressed. They’re like, “Wow, the kids shake your hands!” “I’ve been here for two hours, I haven’t heard anybody swear!”
I go head to head to head with some of these kids almost every day. People here look at me and say, “Why does this kid keep coming [back]?” Because this is probably one of the only places they go where somebody can actually put a hand out — I shake every kid’s hand that comes in here. I’ll put an arm around them and say, “Hey, how’s it going? How’s your mom?”
ARE THE PROBLEMS WITH VIOLENCE IN PROVIDENCE DIFFERENT FROM WHAT’S HAPPENING IN BIGGER CITIES LIKE CHICAGO? Opinions differ when it comes to the gangs in Providence. I’m not a big advocate of thinking that we have so many organized gangs. I live with these gangs. I live in this neighborhood, so I think I know the gangs. I know who’s who.