Episode 3 - The Prison Chronicles - The Dangerous Path
Episode 3 continues the illumination of our subjects’ path to prison. In My Dark Companion, the theme was growing up on the streets. The Dangerous Path focuses on the impact of abuse or greed for subjects Ron Self, Matt Ray and Richard Bronson.
In the 1990s, Richard Bronson was a partner at the “Wolf of Wall Street” firm Stratton Oakmont. Richard then started his own firm; his company’s value exceeded $100 million. However, his business practices were not above board. Richard’s path to prison is gilded in greed.
He notes that he had a first chance and blew it. Many of the others he met never had that first chance and they weren’t likely to get a break upon their release from prison. This experience inspired Richard to create a new company focusing on getting Fortune 500 companies to target and hire the formerly incarcerated. Dr Richard Ledet joins Pete A Turner for this interview
Ron Self is a former United States Marine and was groomed from childhood for elite military service. As a young boy, Ron’s father unloaded a heavy burden on his son saying that he caused his father and mother’s divorce and that he was a mistake. The abuse and detachment he suffered as a child-led Ron to choose a reckless path in the Marines.
The abuse pushed Ron to prove himself, over and over, seeking to fill the hole in his childhood. It also ultimately leads to a life of danger that, as Dr Richard Ledet and Pete A Turner can attest, leads to ridiculous and unnecessary risk-taking as a means of proving themselves. These risks often graduate to the destruction of one’s own life, death, or, in Ron’s case, prison.
Matt Ray’s adolescent life took him around Northern California. His parents separated when Matt was young, and he lived with his sisters and his mom near Paso Robles. The foundation of Matt’s youth was compromised when a father in the neighborhood sexually assaulted Matt and his sister.
Again, the shame of the act and fear of being found out led Matt down The Dangerous Path. Matt self-medicated to suppress the traumas that occurred. He sold drugs for money, carried a loaded weapon, and fought with little provocation. His willingness to defend others, coupled with a lack of regard for his own well being, eventually led to him being in a supermarket parking lot with a gun, hunting down the man who had beaten him up. “You’re not going to put your hands on me.” Matt killed one man and injured a second. He was later convicted of second-degree murder and assault with a firearm. For him, murder was an inevitable conclusion.
Supplemental episodes: Richard Bronson: Episode 251 on BIDS Richard Bronson: 70 Million Jobs, Creating Second Chances Ron Self: Marine Force Recon, A Boy Soldier’s Life Matt Ray: Released After 24 Years in Prison, What Happens Next?