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Columnist: A persona that went dangerously awry, pt. 2

Part 2 of 2

By Glenn Dowell

Contributing columnist

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In the Weekend edition, columnist Glenn Dowell recounted his encounter with hazing and developing a defensive persona after getting into the black power movement. However, this persona led to an encounter that would change his life.

I entered the college cafeteria during lunch to make the announcement to students. As I was about to speak into the mike concerning the evening activity, I was blind-sided by two very large football players.

These guys actually had the nerve to physically pick me up as I was making the announcement with the intent of getting a laugh at my expense in front of the students.

You know what? No one laughed. More than 400 students in the cafeteria and not a soul laughed. They immediately apologized.

Apologize?

I was enraged. These idiots had “dissed” me in public.

I left the cafeteria and rushed home to retrieve a gun and a large stick. I then rushed back on the campus in anticipation of ambushing the two players upon their walking from the cafeteria.

I was going to teach them a lesson about embarrassing me in public. I would beat them until I got tired. I hid behind a very large oak tree and the longer I waited the angrier I became. I only intended to beat them, but something actually came over me of which I had absolutely no control.

As the two players approached the tree, I stepped from behind the tree, and must have appeared to them like a mad man, shouting to them that if they moved I would do harm to both of them! I began beating them with the stick, exacting the revenge I wanted without interruption or interference from anyone.

Campus security finally appeared on the scene and stopped my madness. After I was processed by campus security for a meeting with the dean of students the next week, I was allowed to go free. In anticipating the meeting, I was a bit hesitant.

I knew that I was going to be expelled-why waste his time? I thought about the dean’s office, which was very small, and the dean himself was a diminutive man, barely 5 feet tall. The more I thought about the meeting, the more I realized that this could be an opportunity for the football players to get even with me.

I was right!

As I entered the dean’s office, the football players immediately rushed me. When they did, I immediately pulled “another gun” and stopped them in their tracks.

You know what the dean did? After wetting his pants, nearly all 5 feet of him quickly crawled under his desk in fear. Suffice it to say, I received my expulsion papers in the mail.

God’s intervention

God intervened in my life that day on campus. I did not think of my family or loved ones. Extreme anger, in fact, provides easy access for a kind of demon possession.

If God had not intervened in my life and believed in me, I could have conceivably taken the lives of two young men. Because of this incident I know that there is a God who will not allow his people to ruin their lives because of stupidity. I knew from this incident that he also had something great for me to do in life.

I was concerned about some stupid reputation, the idea that I should harm someone for disrespecting me. That was my persona — the notion that people should be afraid of me.

I would have missed the enjoyment of so many things had I harmed those young men. Being around my family, traveling around the world, having three wonderful children and writing this story from the comfort of my own home — none of this would have been possible had God not saved my life and the lives of those young men.

One of two things would have occurred to me had I been successful that day causing them harm — I would have spent the remainder of my life in prison, or I would have been executed by the State of Georgia. Alumni returning to the school each year would remember me not as someone that the institution would have been proud of but just an idiot who should be forgotten.

What about my persona?

I felt stupid, and after the incident all of the students went on with their lives. My so-called persona got me expelled from school.

I was trying to impress others about how bad I was but could have walked away and forgotten the incident. Youth are killed and commit significant numbers of murders each year because they go to extreme when they feel disrespected by others.

They live in a toxic environment that seems to promote violence and being tough. It is said that youth see more than 8,000 murders in the broadcast media each year.

The precursor to gang violence is often a gang member spray-painting property in another gang’s territory. This violence often leads to the murder of a number of young men, all because their so called persona is not of God, but the world.

What is your persona? If someone met you today, would they leave believing that they had genuinely met a Christian? Would they?

Glenn Dowell is an author and LaGrange native who currently lives in Jonesboro. He may be reached at glenn.dowell@gmail.com.