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From the heart
Don’t look at gangs positively

To the Editor:
I grew up in Snohomish (Dutch Hill) where I lived my life until the age of 27. I now reside in a California state prison, sentenced to an accumulation of 140 years.
I was a member of a Snohomish-based religious cult called “The Gatekeepers.” 
Upon my arrest in 1998, the town I grew up in and loved was shocked with disbelief that one of their own was being shown on the television having been involved in a high-speed chase with the San Diego Police and subsequently arrested and charged with a litany of serious charges; one of which was attempted murder of a police officer.
My reason for writing a letter is that I hope my story could make some small difference in the lives of other young men and women who find themselves lost in life, where the pull of either gangs, or like in my case, religious cults, look attractive.
How many are out there just looking for love and acceptance in our own town?
With the explosion of drugs and vandalism in the town of Snohomish, would this be considered inevitable due to the growing population, or a telltale sign that our families are weakening and the immediate need to bring light to the culture that will inevitably inherit the town I still call home.
I hope my tragic mistakes could be used to help others. 

Blaine Applin
California Mens Colony State Prison
San Luis Obispo, Calif.


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