Sent to us by the author.
Shortly after K. C. Massey was arrested, I spoke with him and we discussed the fact that he was a felon. He explained that he had turned his life around. So, I asked him to write a bit about his past — what went wrong and how he turned it around. However, before we get to what he had to say, when you read this, keep in mind that prison is supposed to be a rehabilitation system, not a means of vengeance or revenge. Any articles about recidivism show that those returning to prison usually do so within a few years. They never want to talk about those who have rehabilitated, whether a product of the system, or simply because they chose to change their own lives and live an exemplary life.
Now, Massey’s life, in his own words:
I was born in 1966, in Chicago, Illinois, while my father was stationed in the Army on Lake Michigan at a NIKE missile base.
We moved to Texas in 1968. I was raised in a small East Texas community of Palestine until the 3rd grade. My father was transferred to Dallas to work in the dispatch office of Xerox, after he had been seriously injured in an automobile accident and was unable to perform his normal duty as a Xerox repairman. This was a big culture shock and a very difficult time for me. I had been raised a small town country boy now thrust into big city life and schools.
We moved to an area known as Pleasant Grove an east Dallas area. The name did not equate to the life I was introduced to there. I was a rough crime ridden area of Dallas. As a young white country boy, I was out of place from day one. I remember being chased to and from the bus stop to school and being bullied almost daily. It caused problems for me at home. My dad was always busy working while my mother was a stay at home mom. We were not doing financially well due to my father’s accident and transfer to Dallas after a lengthy recovery from his accident. My mother handmade our clothes and most of my belongings at the time were second hand. That was a cause of ridicule from the neighborhood kids making the bullying against me worse. In the fifth grade my parents transferred me to a Montessori school outside of our neighborhood for 2 reasons. One was to get me away from the bullies in my neighborhood and 2, was to get a “Better education” since I had tested as “Talented and Gifted”. This was a terrible time for me as I was one of about 6 white kids in this all black school in an all-black neighborhood. The bullying got worse causing me to act out at home in a very negative way. My parents didn’t understand the issues at school and thought I was just acting out. My parents in an effort to help me had me sent to Salesmanship Boys Camp.
Salesmanship Boys Camp is for incorrigible youths where you are away from home 28 days a month. The program setting is in the East Texas woods with very few modern conveniences. We lived in self-constructed tents made entirely by hand, The tents were constructed of pine trees we hand cut and skinned, notched and hand doweled together. The tents were covered by tarps we hand-cut and grommeted and then stretched over the pine structures. We had no electricity and only had running water from one hose bib. Our lights were kerosene lanterns; our heat during the winter was potbellied stoves. Our latrine was a hole we hand dug and built a box over it. We had a mile or so hike to take showers. We cut at least 2 cords of wood a year for cooking and heating. All the wood was harvested with handsaws and axes. Our group consisted of 10 “troubled” boys and 2 men councilors. We lived, ate, showered, and slept in these primitive conditions year around. I was there for almost 2 years (6th and 7th grade).
After coming home from Salesmanship Camp my family problems were not better and we still lived in the same neighborhood. Again, my parents tried to send me to a school listed as an “Academy” to provide me with a better educational environment. It was the same problem as before. I was one of a handful of white kids in an all-black school in an all-black neighborhood. By now I had become more hardened and began to act out criminally. I had two other siblings, a special needs sister and a brother five years younger than me. I was always in trouble and my mother couldn’t deal with me. I ran away from home all the time to go hang out with my criminal friends. It was easier for me to fit in with them than to be the “Smart obedient “child who got bullied. My freshman year of high school my parents again tried to send me to a good high school, out of my district, again in a non-white area. This led me to skip school and in general be a thug. By the 10th grade my parents had just about given up on me. I was left in the care of the Dallas juvenile system. I was placed in the Dallas County Boys home. I was there for almost 2 years (10th-11th grade). This was a very difficult time in my life. All the people around me were criminals and I only had one choice as I saw it. Be a victim or be a victimizer. The victimizer was an easier role and one of less victimization. My record while in placement reflected that. I went back to the Boys home to visit about 10 years later and I was vividly remembered by the staff that was still there.
After I was released back to my parents to return to my neighborhood High School I never fit in. I didn’t grow up with most of them so I was like an outsider. The only friends I was able to make were the thug kids who had been through similar situations. Thus my life of “Big Boy” crime began. At first we were doing vandalism and petty thefts etc. Then I started selling and doing drugs, from there I graduated to home invasions and vehicle thefts. I was arrested in 1986 for my first burglary. I was given probation and I was homeless. My parents wanted nothing to do with me because I had become everything they couldn’t stand, and everything they had raised me NOT to be. I continued on my life of crime and personal destruction. By 1988 I thought I had moved up in the crime world, I was not actually committing thefts but I was buying stolen property and paying the thieves in cash instead of drugs. I thought I was doing good. Was I ever sadly mistaken. By this time I had a job and a car and a place to live. That all came crashing down too. I was arrested and shown all the pawn tickets I had cashed in linking me directly to the thieves and stolen merchandise. Since I was already on probation for the burglary in 1986 and at the time burglary carried a penalty of 5-Life, I took the offer by the Dallas DA of 5 years TDC. It was the best deal I could hope to get. At the time Texas prisons were severely overcrowded and most people were only doing a month on the year for their sentence I thought I’d be out in 5 months. Well not me, I wound up doing 9 months on my 5-year sentence. It was a very trying time for me personally, but I learned more about myself in those 9 months than I had in the previous 22 years. I learned I had mental strengths and determination to make it through more than I ever thought I could. I had to work in the fields with literally bloodied hands that hurt so bad I couldn’t close my fists. I had no skin left on my hands yet I had to wield a hoe every day. I endured times when I just knew I was gonna pass out from pain and exhaustion. I learned I was way stronger than I had ever imagined. This was my catalyst for changing my life. Never before had any member of my family been to prison. I felt ashamed for tarnishing my family’s name. I never wanted to lose my freedom and rights again.
When I was paroled from prison, I struck out on a journey to find myself. Right out of prison I was fired up to make something of myself. After being out of prison for a year or so, I still didn’t know what I wanted to be or do. It was hard finding a job, or getting people to trust me. The only people I seemed to connect with were criminals and drug addicts. I started abusing cocaine. I still remember very vividly the last time I did cocaine. It was in 1991 around January/February. We were all sitting around getting high on cocaine and all of the sudden my entire body went numb. My heart felt like it was going to beat out of my chest. My “friends” all looked at me and were like, Aww man we got to go. They left me alone to die on that couch a dope head. I closed my eyes and I prayed to God and asked him to save me and spare my life. I swore that if I lived through this I would never ever do dope again. I closed my eyes and woke up the next day perfectly fine. I have never touched dope again.
My life didn’t get better overnight but God opened doors for me to allow me to escape that life and fate. I spent the next few years trying to stay positive and sober.
I met my beautiful wife in December of 1992. My life started taking shape. In early 1993 we learned she was pregnant. Around the same time my ex-girlfriend told me she was pregnant, too. What a shocker for me. I was not really prepared for kids but God put it on me so I had to become ready. I had always told myself if I ever had kids, I would never let my kids go down the road I did. I would do everything possible to give them a childhood I never had.
I was in the summer of 1995 a guy I had recently met was starting a new electrical contracting company and he wanted it to be high-tech. Khristy’s grandmother liked me and wanted to help me get a good career so she bought me my first computer. I liked computers and I had studied computer programming in prison. I spent countless hours teaching myself computers. So when Jerry asked me to help him with his new company, it was my first real computer job. We primarily did electric installations for swimming pools and spas. After I got all the companies networked and a website going there wasn’t much to do at the office. So I decided instead of just sitting around the office I would learn about electrical work.
I found my passion. I don’t know why, but I really loved doing electrical work. I enjoyed working hard sweating more than sitting in an office doing computers. The guys were eager to teach me but they didn’t understand why I wanted to be in the field doing labor when I could be in the A/C taking it easy. That earned me respect among the electricians. It all seemed so easy to me to do electrical work.
Skip forward several years, we moved to rural Hunt County, Texas. I was raising my stepson and my son living the simple country life. My boys were going to a school where K-12 was on one campus on about 10 acres of land.
One day I got a call from my daughter who was now 10. Her mother was going to prison and she had no other family than me to go to. Going back 5 years or so while my daughters Grandma was alive, my wife and I had let Ruth (Grandma) and my stepdaughter and my daughter come live with us. The girl’s mother had always struggled with addiction, one of the reasons she and I couldn’t make it together. Grandma and the girls had lived with my wife and our 2 boys for about a year, Khristy and I told her the girls could stay but she had to get a job to help support herself or she had to go. She showed her gratitude by soliciting my X’s current boyfriend to rob our house. He stole about $30K worth of personal belongings and cash from us. It took about a week for my police friends to discover who had committed the burglary. By that time Grandma and the girls were gone. I didn’t see them again for about 5 years.
Back to the call from Jessica my daughter. I went immediately to pick her up from over 70 miles away. They girls were staying with an old alcoholic man who had other dope head men living there. I took my daughter that day despite the objections of “Hag”. My daughter I found out was out of juvenile pending a court case for assault on another girl her age. I had to get a lawyer and go to court with my daughter for the assault case. The judge gave me custody of her and put her on probation. Her mother was still waiting for transport to prison.
When Jessica came to live with me, she was everything I had raised my boys NOT to be. She was a thief and she would rather lie than tell the truth even if the truth served her better. She reminded me of me when I was a kid. It broke my heart. I remember telling myself if I ever had a kid, no matter what I would never give up on my kid. I would do everything possible to be there for them. Well she was my true test of my resolve. My wife and daughter did not get along at all. My boys didn’t want her there because she was taking from them in their eyes. It was a true personal battle for me. My motto had been since the early 90’s “actions speak louder than words”. A thought first introduced to me by my father. I kept thinking I can’t give up on her. I have to pull my family together, it is my job as the man of the house and as the leader of my family. It was definitely a struggle of epic proportions. In the end, I won. I stuck with my convictions and I did change my daughter’s life. She is the ONLY female in her family going back at least 4 generations to not be pregnant by 16. She was the only one in her family to not have a bout with addictions and only the second next to my stepdaughter to graduate high school. With an A/B Honor roll with my son Kory. She went on to join the US Marine Corps and she is a very loved and respected member of our family and community. In just 2 years as a Marine she has obtained the rank of NCO Corporal. I could not be prouder of her.
My oldest “Step” son Taylor. I have been in his life since he was 3 years old. One of my earliest and cutest moments of him is when I was working on the sprinkler system in our yard, I was covered in sweat. He looked at me puzzled and said, “Why you have cry on you face?” Taylor was diagnosed with Leukemia when he was 3 ½ years old. That was a very painful yet turned out to be a joyful time for us. It was painful to watch a 3-year-old child go through 2 years of Chemo and constant hospital visits. I hated having to make him take shots and seeing the pain and fear in his eyes. It was very hard for us and it is still painful for me to think about. Thank God for his healing power and modern medicine. Taylor is now a healthy 25-year-old man. He is a body builder that can bench press 500 pounds. He has graduated from personal trainer school and massage therapy school. He has a good career opportunity working for one of my electrical supply companies.
Kory is my youngest son. He is my joy too. He is a very caring and independently driven young man. He is the stereotypical good ol country boy. He has always been a very hard worker who takes great pride in everything he does. He is a joy to have as a son, he is always trying to do more and to be better. He followed in my footsteps as an electrician. He has taken the initiative to learn and always get better at whatever he does. He is an honest and very hard working young man who makes me very proud to say I am his father.
I am very blessed man to have the children I do. I am very proud of them. I am glad to have raised them to be good citizens who care about more than just themselves.
About my wife, Khristy is an angel sent from God. She has been my stability and my driving force. She has been my inspiration to be who I am today. She is the one who made me realize how wonderful life can be. She has made me happier and sadder than any human I know. She is my world, and I can’t give enough thanks to God for her and what she means to me and my life and to the successes I have had as a man, a father and a business man. I owe her my entire life, because without her I don’t think I would be half the man I am today. She is far better than I ever deserved and I know she is my direct gift from God.
Due to the blessings bestowed upon me in my life’s struggles, I have been able to reach people and be an example of how life can change for the better if you work for it and want it to happen. I have spent most of my adult life trying to mentor both young and old. I have tried to lead by example and through my actions, not my words. I have been recognized for my charitable deeds by Habitat for Humanity and by the National Rebuilding for America organization. I have been politically involved in my community as well as involved with other charitable groups like Lowes Heroes. I take great pride in “Giving Back” to my community. I have donated equipment for my local sheriff’s office to help keep them safe in high risk situations and I have also donated equipment to my local police departments to help them be more efficient. I have donated time and resources for my local Volunteer Fire Dept. and my home city of Quinlan. I take great pride in being able to give back to the country that has given me the opportunity to succeed due to my efforts.
I am a True Constitutional Patriot who wholly and completely supports our founding fathers vision for this country. I do firmly believe in America, we are only limited by our own efforts. My latest contribution to my country and state was to spend 4 months deployed to the Texas/Mexico border doing the job our Federal government refuses to do. I have personally helped turn back several hundred illegal invaders from various countries, while helping to serve the community of Brownsville. Local law enforcement and even Federal Agents told us that we had made a big difference in crimes against property and the people of Brownsville. We were told at one point there was an 80% reduction in property crime due to our work on the border. We treated any illegal we detained with dignity and we gave them food and water while waiting on Border Patrol to pick them up.
While I am suffering a heavy-handed persecution from my own Federal Government for my service on the border, I would do it all over again. I love these United States!
Thus ends what Massey had written, though there is more to the story. Those who have worked with Massey know him for what he is. In that light, they have written letters in support of Massey and to acknowledge what he has meant to their communities:
C. Massey is a man among patriots.