K Land, Glamorous Thug Life…

All my eggs are in other baskets today.

My daughter is visiting her mom. She is doing pretty good considering!

Peppermint Mixing Spoon

I put my daughter on the spot and told the nurse in charge of activities that she is an excellent piano player. I tell her she has a gift and should use it.

A New Cousin!

The Thirteen Year Veteran of Life is at a friend’s house.

His friends are well mannered and have all the outward fixings of “Yes Maam, No Sir” and button down shirts tucked in with a belt.

Today, I guarantee they will be a cutting ties of polite society for the certainty of scrapes, severed fingernails and torn clothing.

Roughhousing and playing in the woods is part of what makes boys men. Sometimes I think the boy never goes away.

No one is home and I am not feeling an adventure with my Beloved in the hospital.

Don’t tell….We were playing “footsie”

I did decide took a quick look at my childhood stomping grounds after dropping my daughter off.

Now, I will tell you upfront, If you are queasy or squeamish, let the rest of this post go. I feel like telling a tale in a particular way and it is not for everyone.

Time to leave if you are in any way easily triggered. I warned you.

Circle and Airport is no place to fool with in Colorado Springs and was worse 30 years ago. It was called “K Land” for the Kmart at the top of a hill nearby.

Gang violence between California Crips and Bloods was a daily event in K Land. One pair of apartments in the area had a blue side and a red side and sometimes people died representing these colors.

This was so common that the police had RVs with squad cars parked nearby so they could respond faster to the area.

Children mimic what they see oftentimes.

As a result, I had my first fight at 6 years old at the doorstep of this house.

The door was locked, he was shoving me and I shoved back. Fists landed and he got hurt, returning with his brother for round two..

The second fight was at the gate several minutes later and I learned hood style respect the hard way.

I became good friends with the two I initially fought. Gerrod was my age and Josiah his older brother was two years older.

From them I quickly learned to fight for control of my yard and then my street. I learned about alliances and a little of leveraging influence, as well as numerous bad habits.

Josiah was trying hard to join the Crips. They didn’t want him at the moment because he was Hispanic. The Hispanic gang wouldn’t take him because he was too young.

Josiah begged to get jumped in and so they enclosed his head in duct-tape as an initiation.

Josiah almost died because they couldn’t get the tape off. I was there the whole time and they said they would kill me if I said anything or tried to help.

The duct tape incident served as a lifetime reminder not to join a gang.

Duct Tape

The kid who put the tape on Josiah’s mouth, nose, eyes and entire head was thirteen and his homies were late teens and young adults.

The Hispanic gang normally cool, and I learned how quickly someone could turn under twisted circumstances. One second we are playing army and the next we are playing for keeps.

Shortly thereafter, the thirteen-year-old was shot six times in the butt at a party. I am not sure if he is still alive, but the last time I saw him was in a wheelchair.

I am not sure who was involved in the shooting, but I wonder if Josiah’s family had a vested interest in making a statement. I am sure it has long since been figured out.

In the same timeframe, the neighbors with the trampoline got hit with a driveby.

A Drive-By is when someone takes thier car to a rival area and shoots at as they pass through. It is a cowardly act and a lot of noncombatants fall victim.

A “driveby” shooting

I found my first drive-by shell casings about 2 blocks from this makeshift Memorial. I was about 7 or 8 years old. I found out from police officers that they need them for investigations and stopped collecting them.


The picture above is at John Adams Elementary School.

I attended this school for a short time in 3rd grade. The principal carried a baseball bat for protection and to look intimidating. One time he yelled at me and I sassed him right back to save face. I wasn’t about to be a punk in front of my classmates. I thought they would have beat me up if I did not.

There wasn’t a lot of Reading, Writing, or Arithmetic going on there. The basketball was good and the rules were limited however.

I briefly shot some hoops with Fatima Maddox, now a Harlem Globetrotter. If it wasn’t this hoop, it was a similar location. She told me basketball would be her life and she was right.

John Adams Elementary

Fatima Maddox had other shooting in mind, and she has influenced a lot of people.

I hopped in the car and headed home, benchmarking where I came from and where my children are. My quick look had become long reflection.

Author: Benjamin

Benjamin Thiel is a community leader, urban farmer, and author of The Ongoing Tale at Brothers Campfire. He might know a guy...

34 thoughts on “K Land, Glamorous Thug Life…

  1. Ryan Callahan says:

    Glad you made it out of that neighborhood alive. I grew up with gang violence in Littleton. We lived close to Federal Blvd. There were fights at our school every day. I also witnessed my friend’s older brother laying in the back seat of their car after he had been stabbed. Blood everywhere. We all learned to respect the boundaries of the neighborhoods street by street, that’s for sure. Blessings to you all.

    1. Benjamin says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience on this topic Ryan. Blessings to you as well!

  2. cheriewhite says:

    Wow! I’m so glad you’re still here with us and doing good, Ben. It sounds like a lot of things in your past led you to work in the prison system a.d God was preparing you for that.

  3. Thattamma C.G Menon says:

    So lovely photos mom and daughter 🌷β™₯οΈπŸ‘ She is so ok now seeing this photos πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ˜Š
    So terrible and painful story in your schooling days and I shocked read this and lucky
    You are safe that time God Bless πŸ™πŸŒ·I and my grandchildren going for a trip Friday πŸ˜€
    Merry Christmas to you ,your lovely wife and your cute daughter πŸŒ·πŸ™πŸŽ„β™₯️

    1. Benjamin says:

      She is getting better!

      Yay! What kind of trip are your grandchildren going on?

      Merry Christmas to you as well, Thattamma!

          1. Thattamma C.G Menon says:

            You also sure happy that your wife coming home 🏑 πŸŽ„
            My grandson driving , me and my 2 granddaughters
            also following to Ipoh !! Later photos I will add 😍🌷
            Best wishes and happy weekend πŸŽ„πŸ™πŸŒ·β™₯️

          2. Benjamin says:

            Ooh!! Looking forward to hearing all about it!🀠πŸ”₯

  4. nonsmokingladybug says:

    I am glad I found your blog. As for “Sometimes I think the boy never goes away.” You nailed it. I live with a 63 year old boy in an adult body πŸ™‚

    1. Benjamin says:

      I am glad I found yours as well, friend. The boy tries his best to come out during important meetings for me..🀠πŸ”₯

  5. leendadll says:

    I live 2 blocks from the official border of The Insane Crips. Longos are also somewhere near by. They overlapped at the former bar at the end of my block. Great bar though!! Now burnt at least 3 times but quite possibly an insurance thing.

    I haven’t found shell casings, thank gobs, only empty crack/crystal baggies. And that was a very long time ago.

    1. Benjamin says:

      Sounds like you know a bit about this topic for sure. Yep… Sounds like insurance! 🀠πŸ”₯

  6. believe4147 says:

    I lived a sheltered life in a community much like Mayberry on the Andy Griffith show. As an adult I’ve seen some other sides of life, and learned I had a lot to learn. Thankful you made it through all that.
    Hoping/Praying your wife will be home soon.

    1. Benjamin says:

      Thanks for sharing these things. Mayberry sounds peaceful.

      She is scheduled to come home December 30

      1. believe4147 says:

        Believe me, I am thankful for all those who made the community what it was. And thankful to hear your wife may be home soon. God bless you and your family.

  7. salsaworldtraveler says:

    With a childhood like that prison was definitely in your future. It is a tribute to you and maybe others that you became a guard not an inmate.

  8. Cindy Georgakas says:

    Hard to imagine this is real life, real time and you lived that experience. Curious what got you thinking about it today if you don’t mind me asking. You certainly were led to be in the right field and make a difference.
    My cousin who was 21 at the time had some gang guys messing with his tires. He told his mom he was not going to call the police the next time because they never did anything about it. He went out to try to take matters in his own hands and told the to get away from the car. He was tall and built and just had a baby. A 13 year old boy came up and knifed him in the heart and he died instantly. Tragically Devastating. I’m glad you’re here to talk about it!
    Glad your wife is getting g out soon.-:)

    1. Benjamin says:

      Thank you for sharing this experience. Gang life is no way to live.

      To answer your question, I drove by on my way home from the hospital and started typing. There was no other prompt.

      Yes! I am excited about my Beloved coming home soon!

      1. Cindy Georgakas says:

        You’re welcome.
        It’s so sad and people have to live with the consequences for a lifetime…

        Those that were in the game and those that took someones life as a result of it. 😒’

        Interesting it brought you there….. thanks for sharing.

        I can imagine Ben. So happy for you all. Please send my blessings.

  9. mattsnyder1970 says:

    Footsie 😊 That was definitely a harsh childhood. I had inner city experiences growing up but never as bad as this, although in HS I saw someone get stabbed and another person thrown through a glass window during a fight. When I went to AIPH in Philly I saw drug deals, giant dog sized rats and an enormous amount of homeless people.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.