|Where Did I Go Wrong?|
The Peril of Peer Pressure
The Dead End Road
|Listen, to Me!|
Please Learn From My Mistake
"Do not be deceived: bad companions corrupt good morals." (1 Corinthians 15:33)
Hi. My name is David Duren. I'd like to share something of great importance with you, in the hopes that my regrettable story will aid you in making some of the most important decisions in your life.
First, let me tell you a little about myself. I'm a young, white male with an above average I.Q. of 132. I came from a middle class family. As of 1988, I am currently on Alabama's death row awaiting execution.
How did this happen? That's an important question I've asked myself over and over again during the past few years.
While waiting on death row, I have been able to accurately piece together the answer by reviewing my life.
Why is the answer so important? If you will listen carefully with an open mind and heart to what I'm about to share, you can use my mistakes to check your life, and the lives of those you associate with, to help you correct and/or avoid making those same mistakes before they get too far out of hand.
If your life is heading in the wrong direction, it can be corrected before it's too late.
My real problem in growing up was peer pressure. I was a skinny little weakling, a "straight" kid, living in an apartment complex where nearly all of the kids lived with single parents, who had to work and leave their kids unattended. So, for company and fun, we all "hung out" together. I was not accepted, at first, by the other kids, because I didn't do the things they did. I didn't curse, smoke, drink, or smoke pot (marijuana). But I knew if I wanted to fit in, if I wanted any "real friends" (Ha!), I had to do all of those things.
So, at age 12, I inhaled my first cigarette, drank my first beer, smoked my first joint of pot, and began to curse regularly. My peers said: "Aw, a little pot never hurt anybody!" and "Pot's not addictive - it doesn't make you crazy!" I found out later that the medical experts say differently.
Guess what? It doesn't stop there! I've discovered by succumbing to peer pressure, I surrounded myself with so-called friends who drank, smoked, cursed, and did drugs. When you smoke pot, you've got to get it from someone who sells it. Frankly, I never met anybody who sold pot only. So, by smoking pot, you introduce yourself to the whole drug world. Your also run the same risks by drinking alcohol.
Suddenly, you need something to enhance your drink. So, you smoke a joint -- that's what I did. Then, you go buy your joint from your "connection," and he or she says, "Oh man, I don't have any pot right now, but I've got some bad Quaaludes, or some crack, or a few Valium, Placidills, or even acid (L.S.D.)."
So, since you need a "high," you end up buying whatever is for sale. I should know, because that's the way it happened to me. Before you know it, you're not just smoking pot anymore - you're crushing Quaaludes and mixing that with your pot.
So, now you're all strung out and need a pick-me-up. Your friendly drug dealer says, "Hey! I've got some bad speed, man!" Or, "Hey! This cocaine will really put you in the clouds!"
Now, you're flirting with death! What happens when you need a "fix" but can't pay for it? I think we all know the answer to that one. If you think you can do without it until you can pay for it, you're only kidding yourself. I was so bad off, I was doing heroin two or three times a week - and I didn't even really like the "high"!
My favorite drug? Acid (L.S.D). I was doing it (even when I was in the Army) on the average of four or five times a week. I was doing it the night I murdered a 16 year old girl (the reason I'm here now).
Why?? All because I succumbed to peer pressure! That's where it all started. It's been said, "Your friends can make you or break you." Only later down the road did it lead to addiction.
I'm not writing this just to have something to do!
I could be doing something else more pleasant. Do you think it's "fun" for me to sit here and tell you that I murdered a 16 year old girl because I was so strung out on drugs and booze that I didn't know how to act like a responsible citizen? Do you think that's fun for me? No, it's humiliating, embarrassing, and generally downright painful to have to relate to someone.
So, I'm not doing this for me -- I'm doing this for you, because I care! I don't want to see others ruin their lives and the lives of innocent people as I have. I've traveled that road you or someone you know may be on right now. That road is dark. That road is a dead end street. I have reached its end.
Its end is ugly. Its end is pain. Its end is lonely. Its end is death.
Have you or anyone you know ever witnessed a prison execution of death in the electric chair. If perhaps you could find someone who has witnessed an execution by electrocution, ask him to describe the sight of a man strapped into the electric chair when 1,600+ volts of electricity pass through his body - the straining and creaking of the leather restraining straps. Ask him to describe the sight and smell of that man's burning flesh as the electrode gets so hot it sears like a branding iron branding cattle. Ask him to describe the sight of the horrifying mask that once was that man's face. It now looks like a macabre Halloween mask -- eyes bulging, face grimacing, mouth opened in a silent scream (not because he wouldn't scream, but because the pain is so intense that he couldn't scream).
Maybe you realize the perils of peer pressure and are not into the drug scene. Good! You're on the right track.
Maybe you know someone you care about who is now walking that dead end street. If so, share this tract with them.
Maybe you're hanging out with the wrong crowd that is influencing you to go places and do things you know you ought not do. I have cost an innocent girl her life, and I have ruined, I'm sorry to say, countless other lives by doing so.
Please, learn from my mistake! I sincerely hope that what I have shared with you today is responsible someday for saving lives.
I am in the most awfully realistic, life-threatening situation, and my only hope is the salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ. While on death row, I ask for your prayers. Praise God, I have since been baptized into Christ for the remission of my sins (Galatians 3:26-27), based on my faith in Him (Mark 16:16), repentance of my past sins (Acts 2:38) and confession that He is the Son of God (Matthew 16:16-17; Romans 10:9-10). May the love and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ keep you.
In Christian love,