Robert's Autobiography

Dedication

The story that follows is dedicated to the youth of the world. If you’re struggling to adapt at school, feeling peer pressure to use drugs or do things you know you shouldn’t, trying to impress someone by acting out, living a fast life filled with drugs, parties and crime, or if you’re just the wild, rebellious type who thinks it’s you against the world, then this story is for you. I invite you to review my experiences and search for parallels to your own lives. If you think you’re different, that you won’t get hooked on something, that you can change anytime you want, well, I’m here to tell you I thought the same way. Once you get caught up in the lifestyle it’s incredibly difficult to pull yourself out of it. I implore you to contemplate my experiences and avoid the many mistakes and traps that, ultimately, sent me to prison for life.

Preface
“The unexamined life isn't worth living.”
--Socrates

I often lie awake during the wee hours of the morning, staring at cracks in a white, concrete ceiling, pondering my life. Every crevice inspires a thought, every thought a memory; thus, an introspective journey begins, guiding me through scenes that resemble those of an S.E. Hinton novel. From the dilapidated trailer parks of Houston to the Mayberry-like streets of Vidor, waves of memories come washing over me like the rising morning tide: riding a bicycle for the first time, jumping off a bridge into the river, playing a guitar, that first kiss, stealing candy from a store, laughing with my family, crying alone in a prison cell. Such nocturnal excursions disrupt my circadian rhythms, but it’s imperative that I explore the deep recesses of my mind and extract and record these memories, for the time is ripe for the story to be revealed.
            As I replay clips from the past a question that has intrigued me for years resurfaces: Why are we the way we are? What causes human behavior? For centuries people believed that our behavior was based on divine or biological antecedents. From as far back as Zarathustra, a sage who lived in the 6th century B.C.E., proponents of dualism ascribed human behavior to the “good” or “evil” deity acting within people. For Zarathustra, it was the god Ahura-Mazda, the spirit of light and good, that was to be praised for a person’s good actions, while Ahriman, the spirit of evil and darkness, was blamed for man’s sin. In Christianity our actions are either guided by the Holy Spirit or Satan. Still, there were others who thought there was more of a scientific explanation. The Greek physician Hippocrates (died 377 B.C.E.) postulated that the four temperaments sanguinary, melancholic, choleric, and phlegmatic were linked to the bodily fluids: blood, black bile, bile and mucus. The German psychiatrist Ernst Kretschmer (1888 – 1964) said our behavior and psychological disorders are linked to various body types.
            In the twentieth century there was a dramatic paradigm shift. New theories such as behaviorism emerged, which states that the environment in which an individual is raised wholly shapes one’s personality, not any divine or physiological factors. The father of behaviorism is J.B. Watson (1878 – 1958), who claimed that he could make a lawyer, doctor, farmer, carpenter or any other type of person out of any newborn baby under the right conditions. The environmentalist or behaviorist school of thought dominated the field of psychology for most of the twentieth century.
            The “nature vs. nurture” debate heated up when biologist E.O. Wilson from Harvard  published his monumental work, “Sociobiology: The New Synthesis”, which demonstrated that human behavior is largely influenced by physiological make-up, just like any other organism’s behavior. Several years later Thomas Bouchard (University of Minnesota) launched a study called “The Minnesota Twin/Family Study” that continues to this day. His team of psychologists and geneticists have studied thousands of identical (monozygotic) and fraternal (dizygotic) twins reared together and apart. This eye-opening study substantiated Wilson’s claims and laid the foundation for laboratory experiments in the 1990’s by molecular biologists and behavioral geneticists. Once again, biological factors were said to play an integral role in shaping the way that we are.
            Personally, I think that all of our behavior, including our impulses, dispositions, aversions, desires, idiosyncrasies, and every other aspect of our personalities, is influenced by a variety of factors that include environmental and genetic components. One might have a genetic predisposition to aggressive personality disorder, but if such a child’s parents dedicate the love and attention needed to overcome it then there’s a great chance of success. I think that our genes only nudge us or push us this way or that; they don’t signal commands that we must obey or else. For me, it’s a combination of nurture and nature that shapes who we are and what we become.
            I believe we can understand ourselves and what influences us through an introspective process that includes an examination of our past experiences and the behavioral patterns in our families. Ultimately, we make our own choices in life, but it helps to know why we are inclined or predisposed to certain types of behavior.
            Any serious attempt at understanding yourself must begin with your parents or whoever raised you. Our parents not only shape our characters with their life lessons, they also pass on their genes. And so the story begins….

 

Robert Pruett 999411

 

A Fighting Chance
An Autobiography by Robert Pruett
 

Meet the Parents

My Emergence Into the Field
Cogito, Ergo Sum
Born Into Adversity
Brothers Be Brothers
Insufficient Supervision
When the Going Gets Tough
Going To School; Musical Chairs
A Father To Call My Own

A Dysfunctional Family Epitomized
Triumphalism: A Fanatical Grandmother
A Flagrant Foul: Half the Distance to the Goal
Uncle Bill's House: Summer of 1986 - Up In Smoke
Aldine Mail Route Apartments: Summer of 1986-Spring of 1987 - Developing Addictions
Extracurricular Activities
Tammie and Mike Move In
It Must Be Love
I-45 N. Trailer Park: Spring-Summer of 1987 - The Gagnasty Clan
It's Just a Game
Cloverleaf-Gainesville Street: Summer of 1987 - Peckerwoodville
The Cloverleaf Hillbillies
Cloverleaf-Corpus Christi Street Apartments: Summer of 1987 - The Flea Bag Motel
Channelview-Ashland Road Trailer Park: - Fall of 1987-Winter of 1988 - A Friend With Weed is a Friend Indeed
Don't Shit in Your Own Backyard, Part I
Recurring Themes

Pruett’s Trailer Park - FM 1069, November of 1987 - Summer 1988
This Bud’s for Me
Troubled Times
April Fool’s
The Redfish Camp
Finger Lickin’ Good
In the Genes?
Marcy’s House – Aransas Pass, Late Summer of 1988
Sea Weed
Lamont Street-Aransas Pass, Fall Of 1988
Five Finger Discount
Kieburger Elementary School
U Street House – Aransas Pass, Winter – Summer of 1989
You’ve Got My Seat
Avenue A Property – Aransas Pass, Summer of 1989
Boys Will Be Boys
Lost
For Better or Worse
Lazy Acres Trailer Park – Aransas Pass, Fall of 1989 – Summer of 1990
Joe Cool
I Learned it Watching You

San Antonio, Texas-Indian Motel - Summer of 1990
Austin, Texas - Another Dirt Motel - Summer of 1990
Eddie and Debbie's Apartments-Austin - Summer of 1990
An Easy Mark
Chicks Win Every Time
C' Mon, You're Driving
James Terry's House-Cloverleaf
A Glimpse at Eternity
Spring-Cypress Apartments - Early Fall of 1990
Making Adjustments
James Terry's House Part II-Fall of 1990
Mitchell Rd-Homegrown Style - Late Fall of 1990
Skylane Apartments I-45 South - Winter of 1990 - Spring of 1991
In da Ghetto
Pooh Bear
Love Transmissions
Problem Child
Butch and Sherry's House-Spring of 1991
Ambassador North Apartments-Summer of 1991
Bad Boys of Summer
Palm's Motel
A Devil in White
Green Acres Trailer Park-Greens Road-Late Summer to Fall of 1991
Back in School
Crowded Again

Cloverleaf - Dead-end of Corpus Christi Street-Late 1991-1994
School of Hard Knocks
Justin Lee
Eugene Enright
Trouble at School
The Fast Life
She’ll Just Write a Check
Joseph Day
Pioneer Tree Service
River Rats
Like a Thief in the Night
Caught by the Flame
The Front Trailer
A Close Call
Uncle Sam to the Rescue
An Aspiring Stripper
Bad Influence
Valuable Experiences
Not So Fast
Don’t Shit in Your Own Backyard Parts II, III and IV

Channelview-Avenue C Trailer Park - Spring of 1994
Running With Thugs
How Do I Love Thee?
Backyard Trouble, Again . . .
Pensacola, Florida - Summer of 1994
Channelview-Eugene's House on Woodforest - Late Summer of 1994
Bridge City, Texas-Tenney's Apartments - Late Summer of 1994
Vidor, Texas-Uncle Bill's House - Fall of 1994
Vidor-Highway 105 - Fall-Winter of 1994
Part Time Dealin'
Bridge City-Trailer on the Highway - Winter of 1994 - Early 1995
The End of The Road - Channelview-227½ Dell Dale - Early 1995-August 1995
Pulling My Own Weight
Bad Company
Ray and Jane
Running Out of Luck
Harris County Juvenile Detention Center - July 23-31, 1995
A Tragic Turn of Events

Juvenile Detention Center – Age of Reason - August 24 – October 31, 1995
Harris County Jail – A Lion’s Den - November 1, 1995 – July 23, 1996
Trial of my Life
Garza West Unit – South Texas Heat - July of 1996
Skyview Unit-Coo-Coo For Cocoa Puffs - August of 1996 – July of 1997
Connally Unit – A Gladiator Farm - July of 1997 – January of 1998
McConnell Unit – Assimilating into the Prison Lifestyle - January of 1998 – December of 1999
Penitentiary Hustlers
Self-Educated
A Guardian Angel
The Drop of a Hat
Like Father, Like Son
You’re on Your Own, Kid

Administrative Segregation – Bottom of the Barrel - December of 1999 – April of 2002
Blind Justice
Texas Death Row – A welcomed Release - April 30, 2002 - Present
We All Need Love
Living to Die
Tat Tvam Asi!