Transcript

488:

Harper High School, Part Two
Transcript

Originally aired 02.22.2013

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Prologue.

Ira Glass

Hey everybody. Ira here. This episode of our show contains words that were beeped when we broadcast this over the radio that are not beeped in this online version.

Leonetta Sanders, the principal of Harper High School in Chicago, has a decision to make. And she has to make it right away. She has to decide whether to cancel the school's homecoming game and dance.

Leonetta Sanders

Coach Reed, I need you in the Melon room at this time, Coach Reed. Coach Sales.

Ira Glass

She calls her staff together for a meeting. The day before this, when everybody was at a pep rally in the gym for Homecoming, a 16-year-old who attended Harper last year and dropped out, who still had friends here, was shot just a few blocks from school. Immediately, the staff jumped into action.

If you heard our radio program last week, you heard this part of the story, where it was the gang responsible for the shooting had members on the football team. So Principal Sanders was scared that there might be retaliation at the game or at the dance. They sent home a handful of kids they thought might be in danger.

Here is what happens next. When the staff now assembles on Friday afternoon, Principal Sanders informs them that there's news. Another incident.

Leonetta Sanders

OK, so I just got word that there was a shooting. But it was a shooting in the neighborhood. Anthony Harper's father picked him up. And by the time he crossed 67th, there were shooting. So it's starting already.

Ira Glass

Nobody was hurt in this latest shooting. Though I think to any outsider, it's hard to imagine Harper not canceling Homecoming at this point. The school has just come off a terrible year in which 29 current and recent students were shot. Eight of them died. Dozens more were in incidents where bullets were fired, but they didn't get hit.

These murders, as you would expect, were hard on faculty and students alike. But partly because it's been so tough, Principle Sanders wants very badly to give her students the fun, normal stuff that other high school students get, as much as she can. She really wants them to have a Homecoming dance. And so, her decision--

Leonetta Sanders

We are going to move forward with this dance. I have been on the phone, basically, all day with Tony Ruiz, Chicago police. So they're going to be standing on corners. Tony Ruiz says he's going to have some undercover police cars and rapid response.

Ira Glass

When school lets out at the end of the day, it's tense. There are more police cars than usual. Harper security staff and administrators are out on the sidewalks in force. Principal Sanders is wary as she looks up and down the street for any kids that seem out of place, who might be there for the wrong reasons.

Leonetta Sanders

I'll make sure I-- who is that? He don't go to Harper. Who is that?

Man

I'll check. When I go back in, I'll check.

Leonetta Sanders

You know, when they get cold, they start wearing these damn black hoodies. It's really pissing me off. Why he walking this way?

Ira Glass

Sanders talks to one of the police officers. He throws on his lights, drives down the block, questions the kid, puts him against the wall and checks for weapons, and then lets him go. And very soon, it's time for the game.

Girls

Let's go Cardinals! Let's go! Let's go, Cardinals!

Ira Glass

There's no violence at the game, unless you count the incredible trouncing the Harper Cardinals give to Marshall High School.

[CHEERING]

Final score, 40 to 0. Later, at the Homecoming dance, dressed up kids slowly stream through the metal detector.

Leonetta Sanders

If you're not a Harper student, have your IDs out.

Ira Glass

As for the dance, after all the worrying and the beefed-up security, what ended up happening is nothing-- the best possible outcome. The teenager who had been shot on Thursday, James Williams, made it to the hospital and survived. Maybe because of that, there was no other immediate bloodshed. Kids dance in a darkened gym. On the bleachers, you can make out Barielle, the Homecoming Queen, her dainty crown bouncing up and down at the center of this mass of kids.

For the staff, who have been here at this point for 14 hours, the significance of this moment is not lost. It's regular life. They were able to give the kids regular high school for a night-- a dance. Three girlfriends collect crumpled dollar bills together to make $10 bucks so they can pose, one in wobbly high heels, in front of the fake Roman columns and sky-blue backdrop the photographer's set up.

Photographer

On three-- one, two--

Girl

That's him.

Photographer

Three. There you go.

Ira Glass

Today on our radio program, we spend a second hour at Harper High School on Chicago's South Side. We sent three reporters there for five months, starting at the beginning of this school year, because of all the shootings they've had. We have all heard a lot about gun violence and kids in the last few months. Here at our radio program, we wanted to understand what the staff and families at Harper know about this violence that most of us around the country do not know.

From WBEZ Chicago, it's This American Life, distributed by Public Radio International. I'm Ira Glass. You do not have to have heard our first hour on Harper High School to follow what happens in this second hour.

We're going to be focusing more on the students in this hour. We're going to get to know a few of their stories. Stay with us.

Act One. The Eyewitness.

Ira Glass

Act One, The Eyewitness. Most murders in Chicago-- 82% of them in 2011-- happen in public places, parks and streets and alleyways and cars. And lots of kids at Harper will tell you that they personally have actually seen someone shot. One of the three reporters we sent into the school, Alex Kotlowitz, has this story about a student who has seen more than his share.

Alex Kotlowitz

In the five months I spent at Harper, nearly every time I visited the school's social work office, which was often, Thomas, a junior, would be there, too, during classes, passing periods, lunch, whenever. So much that one day I asked him, hey, every time I come here, you're here. Why do you hang out here so much?

Thomas

Nay, I ain't gonna give you no answer for that. Every time I come here, you come. And I'm for real.

Alex Kotlowitz

No, every time I come, you're here.

[LAUGHTER]

Thomas

Sometimes, I just need to talk to somebody. That's why I come here.

Alex Kotlowitz

Thomas has witnessed an incredible amount of violence. Last June, he was standing on the porch of an abandoned building, talking with another Harper student, Shakaki Asphy, when she was shot and killed. This, though, wasn't the first murder Thomas had witnessed.

Back in 2006, he was at a birthday party for 10-year-old girl, Siretha White, nicknamed Nugget, when someone shot though the front window. Thomas says he remembers being led out of the house by the police and seeing Nugget laying on the floor with what appeared to be her brains next to her. Nugget's killing happened when Thomas was 10. Shakaki's murder was when Thomas was 17. And as his social worker, Anita Stewart, tells it, there have been many, many in between.

Anita Stewart

Last summer, one of the kids in the neighborhood got shot in the face. He witnessed that. Then it was a student here that got shot in the leg. He was a witness to that.

And there was some guy-- and I don't know. He never really fully told me about this story. But he got shot in the head. And he was talking about his brains being on the ground. So he witnessed that.

Alex Kotlowitz

Thomas's brother has been shot on three separate occasions. Thomas witnessed all of them, including the time his brother was paralyzed.

Anita Stewart

Good morning, Thomas.

Thomas

Good morning.

Anita Stewart

And I can understand why you didn't get here on time this morning. You know that your sister says that she wakes you up every morning.

Thomas

My mama just brought me here.

Anita Stewart

Lower your voice. I'm right here. It's so good to see you this morning.

Thomas

Why you just come talking about--

Alex Kotlowitz

Thomas and Anita have an interesting relationship. He's pretty combative, kind of churlish. At times, it almost seems like he doesn't even like Anita very much. But the truth is they're incredibly close.

Anita splits her time between Harper and another high school. And the two or three days a week she's at Harper, Thomas always comes to see her. She frequently visits him on his block and at his house, and affectionately calls him big baby. I don't think Thomas opens up much to many people, but he does with Anita.

Thomas

You know Nugget's little brother got shot Monday.

Anita Stewart

No. Is he OK?

Thomas

He go shot in his stomach and his leg.

Anita Stewart

Her little brother? How old is her little brother?

Thomas

Like 15.

Anita Stewart

And what school does he go to?

Thomas

I don't know.

Anita Stewart

So what did you think about it when you heard about it, after you heard about it?

Thomas

Nothing.

Anita Stewart

Nothing?

Thomas

Just another person got shot.

Anita Stewart

Just another person got shot? [SIGH]

Alex Kotlowitz

You can hear it in Thomas's voice, muffled and sluggish, as if he's speaking from deep inside a cave. Even his physical demeanour makes it clear he'd just as well disappear.

His braided hair hangs over his eyes. He often has a hood on. He won't look you in the eye. Anita's trying to pull him out of his hiding.

Alex Kotlowitz

Hey, Thomas. What did you think of the memorial for Shakaki?

Thomas

I walked past it. I don't know.

Anita Stewart

Have you looked at it?

Alex Kotlowitz

At the end of October, on the first floor, the school put up a memorial display for Shakaki, the girl Thomas was standing next to when she was killed. It's a glass case filled with pictures of her and her friends, a basketball signed by her teammates, and a note Anita had written to her after she died. Shakaki, who, like so many kids at Harper, half expect to die young, had told Anita if she was killed, she wanted her to put a note in her casket. After she was killed, Anita wrote the note, but you couldn't bring herself to put it in which Shakaki.

Anita had worked with Shakaki for two years. And she's still struggling with their own grief over her death. And partly, it's the shared grief that draws Anita and Thomas together. Like Thomas, Anita hasn't been able to bring herself to look at the memorial.

Anita Stewart

Because I haven't looked at it. I saw it. But I could not go up there. I'm not ready to go up there yet. So why haven't you gone up there to look at it?

Thomas

I don't need to go up there right now.

Anita Stewart

OK. I do have a question for you, Thomas. With all of the things that you have experienced, which one is constantly on your mind? You've experienced so much.

Thomas

I don't think about none of that.

Anita Stewart

You don't think about none of it? None of it's on your mind. Not the situation with your brother? What about at the bus stop? What about at the party?

Thomas

No, I don't think about that.

Anita Stewart

You don't think about the party when you were a kid?

Thomas

Man, I got older. That stuff is old now.

Anita Stewart

It's old? You remember what happened, right?

Thomas

Right, but--

Anita Stewart

Does it really get old, Thomas?

Thomas

It's done now.

Anita Stewart

It's done. I know and I understand that it's done. But does it really get old, where you can say, OK, this is over, I don't think about it anymore?

Thomas

But if I think about it, I'll do something.

Anita Stewart

You'll do something like what?

Thomas

Try to hurt somebody.

Alex Kotlowitz

Try to hurt somebody, he says. Trying to hurt someone or wanting to hurt someone, these are things Thomas has said a lot. One time when I asked him where he thought he might be in 10 years, he said, might be in jail, because I think I'm going to hurt someone.

Mostly it felt like tough talk, like teenage bravado. But on this day, when talking about Shakaki, it started to become clear that this kind of talk, talk about hurting someone, isn't just tough guy bragging. I began to realize that Thomas was trying the best he could to be honest about some feelings he has, feelings that scare him. Thomas begins by haltingly explaining what happened the night Shakaki was shot.

He was standing on the porch, Shakaki next to him. They were just hanging out, just talking. Thomas's brother was in his wheelchair on the sidewalk in front.

When the shooter, dressed in a gray hoodie, came running up alongside the building, Thomas pleaded with him not to shoot. But the shooter fired several rounds, hitting Shakaki three times and Thomas's brother once in the thigh. Thomas ran but quickly came back. He says that when Shakaki was laying on the ground, he first thought she'd be OK.

Thomas

Because when she got shot, then anyways, she gonna be all right then.

Anita Stewart

She was talking, right?

Thomas

She was on the ground. She was talking. But all she kept saying, it burned.

Alex Kotlowitz

She was saying that it burned. When the ambulances finally showed up, they took Shakaki and Thomas's brother to the hospital, leaving Thomas alone. He didn't go home. He was just alone.

Thomas

Then they took her. Then they took my brother. Then I walked off mad. I walked to the gas station to see who I could see.

Alex Kotlowitz

At the gas station, he didn't find anyone.

Thomas

And ever since that day, I was just trying to hurt everybody. I didn't sleep that whole week she got killed. She got shot on Saturday. She died Sunday. I was sleepless for a whole week.

Alex Kotlowitz

He was filled with grief, anxiety, guilt. And then he got into a fight.

Alex Kotlowitz

And what did you get into a fight over?

Thomas

Nothing important.

Alex Kotlowitz

Thomas says an older kid on the street pushed his little cousin to the ground. Thomas was furious. He went after the older boy.

Thomas

It wasn't no fight. I just hit him. And he walked off crying a whole lot. I didn't know his teeth was in my hand until I looked at it.

Alex Kotlowitz

Thomas punched the boy so hard, one of the boy's teeth got stuck in Thomas hand. Later that night, his grandma took him to the hospital. And he eventually had surgery on his hand.

He told me that once he hurt his hand, he was able to sleep again. It was that simple. Getting into this stupid fight, it brought him relief.

Thomas has said many times that he knows something violent is going to happen again. It could be random. He says bullets fly all the time.

One could come through the living room window and hit his grandma. Or a stray bullet could hit Anita when she's on the block. What happens happens, he often says. And when it happens next, he knows he'll need relief again.

Thomas

If it happens again, I don't think I could stop.

Alex Kotlowitz

You're worried that will be the breaking point for you?

Thomas

No, I ain't worried about nothing. If it happens again, though, I know I could hurt a lot of people if I wanted to.

Anita Stewart

I don't think you want to. I really don't think you want to.

Alex Kotlowitz

Anita's trying to convince Thomas to deal with his feelings in other ways. Not long ago, they visited Shakaki's gravesite together. Anita says is was big deal for Thomas to go. I'm proud of him, she told me.

Ira Glass

Alex Kotlowitz, he'll be back later in our hour.

Act Two. Your Name Written On Me.

Ira Glass

Act Two, Your Name Written On Us. In the unofficial school calendar for Harper, there are these anniversaries of days that certain kids were shot or the birthdays of those same kids. They have a big enough effect on what happens at school that the administration and the police department keep track of these days. They can be dangerous.

One of the important anniversaries in the fall is TG day, named for Terrance Green. In all kinds of ways since his death at 16, Terrance Green has become one of the iconic figures in the neighborhood around Harper. Ben Calhoun looked into how that happened.

Ben Calhoun

Terrance Green was murdered during summer break, July, 2009. But more than a month later, when kids came back to school, the grief over his death. It was still flooding from the neighborhood into Harper.

Crystal Smith

It was the largest fallout of a student death I had ever seen before. Even the boys couldn't hold back their tears.

Ben Calhoun

Crystal Smith, one of the school's social workers. In some ways, she says that wasn't so surprising. Terrance was popular and charming and funny. But she was still not expecting what she saw next.

Crystal Smith

I started seeing this TGC, TGC, TGC everywhere. Whether it be I was seeing it on book bags or tattooed on one of the kids. And I was like, what is that? And they were like, oh, you know, this is the Terrance Green Crew. It turned into a whole different gang.

Ben Calhoun

The new clique, the new gang that Terrance's death gave birth to, today it controls 23 city blocks in the neighborhood east of Harper. It's called Terrance Green City, goes by the initials TGC. Sometimes it's called True Gangster City.

For TGC and two or three other allied gangs, the dates of Terrance's death and his birthday in November, in the neighborhood, those days are a big deal. Hundreds of people turn out for street parties. And around those times, the hostility over Terrance's murder, it can all come back. Crystal remembers last November. The staff was told to clear out of the building immediately when school ended.

Crystal Smith

And they had called in for extra police support. Somebody told me, they were like, they brought the big guns out.

Ben Calhoun

Assault rifles. Some of the police outside the school were carrying assault rifles.

Crystal Smith

But then as I was driving down the street, it was just like a scene I had never seen. I had never seen so many kids posted on the corners at one time. And I had never seen them standing outside with bats and sticks and stuff. And they were, like, on every street.

Ben Calhoun

Three years after Terrance Green's murder, the legacy left by it continues to sprawl. The song you're hearing is just one of the many tributes to Terrance online. There's also slide shows, collages, videos, some with slick editing and production. Lots are on YouTube.

Boy

(SINGING) Yeah, TGC, you already know, man. Young Life, Seven Deuce man. RIP my nigger, man. Prince TG, Prince mother fucker TG. Yeah, we gonna miss you.

I got you tatted on my arm, man. The grief's still sitting on us, so we got your name written on us. You know how that go.

Ben Calhoun

The mythology around Terrance and the devotion to him, it's intense. Kids who know Terrance use his last name, Green, in place of their own. This was confusing at first, when I met several of his friends who told me their last name was Green. But the most troubling example of Terrance's legacy was this series of videos made by kids.

The footage is choppy and grainy, like it's shot on a cell phone. It's of about a dozen kids walking around the street at night. They range in age from maybe 9 or 10 to early high school. Here, they are threatening and taunting a rival gang, S-Dub, which is also called the Dub. It's the gang that's widely believed by students, Harper staff, and police to have killed Terrance.

Girl

For the rest of my life, I'm screaming, fuck the Dub!

Boy

Fuck the Dub!

Girl

Fuck the Dub!

Ben Calhoun

Toward the end of the video, one particular kid appears. He looks like he's barely out of middle school, somewhere between 12 and 14. In his right hand is a gun, a semi-automatic.

He points it at the camera. He shouts hate at opposing gangs. He praises the territory he says he's protecting, Terrance Green City.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

The feud between TGC and S-Dub that followed Terrance's death, it's turned into a long chain of retaliation. Principle Sanders says her staff knows of seven murders and more than 10 other shootings that lead back to Terrance. This list includes Cedric Bell, one of Harper's students killed last year.

And it's not like Terrance's story is one of a kind. There's other cliques around Harper named after kids who were murdered. There's Bird gang northwest of the school named after Martel Barrett, whose nickname was Bird. He was killed the same year as Terrance. There's Face World, named for a kid whose street name was Face. There's Frank World and Dome City.

It makes you wonder about the lives of these kids, kids like Terrance. Why did his death lead to songs and kids using his last name in place of their own to assault rifles outside Harper and a remapping of the violence around the school? Why this 16-year-old?

Tony Owens

This is an eighth grade graduation picture.

Ben Calhoun

What a cute kid.

Terrance grew up in a house with two loving, hardworking parents. This is his dad here, Tony Owens. He's a full-time bus driver and a union official for the Chicago Transit Authority. His mother, Lorraine Green, works at a bank. Together, the couple raised five kids.

Terrance's siblings, at this point, have all graduated from high school. One's in college. The rest are all doing well. His older brother is a pastor.

Tony Owens

Hey, hey, here's my man, Boogie here.

Ben Calhoun

How are you doing?

Boogie

It's nice to meet you.

Tony Owens

He's here. Hey man, what's up [INAUDIBLE]?

Ben Calhoun

A friend of Terrance's dropped by during one of my visits to Mr. Owens. Boogie was one of the closest people to Terrance. They were friends since third grade. As you're going to hear, there are some big differences in the way they see Terrance's story.

But here's the stuff they agree on. Terrance was an amazing athlete and a leader. When he was in middle school, he played quarterback for a youth league team that went to a national championship.

And they both say the problem started when Terrance was in high school. He and Boogie had to walk to Harper through a rival neighborhood. The kids there would bully Terrance and his friends. And then Terrance, he had a teenage fling with and then dumped the little sister of a gang member from the other neighborhood, from S-Dub, the gang that people believe killed him later.

Tony Owens

And she told him that my brother going to get you. She told Terrance that. My brother is going to get you. My brother gonna get you, because he wasn't dating her.

Ben Calhoun

The way Mr. Owens describes the situation, it was half girl problem, half bully problem. There were some fights in school, some fights on the street. And one Friday afternoon, Terrance got shot in a drive-by. Police reports show the brother was brought in for questioning but was not charged. No one was ever charged.

And this is where Boogie's version of the story separates from Mr. Owens's on a crucial point. Mr. Owens says Terrance and Boogie and their friend's weren't in a gang. Boogie says that was true, but only at first.

Boogie tells the story this way. When it all started, there was the gang that the girl's brother was in, S-Dub. They were fighting with the older guys in Terrance's neighborhood who were in a gang called Seven Deuce. Boogie has no idea what that war was about-- girls, money, who knows? They'd been at it for years, he says.

He and Terrance and their friends, they were separate from all that. They were just kids. They were interested in sports and music. They could cross into S-Dub's territory.

They'd go over, hang out, play basketball. It was no big deal. But by the time they got to high school, it was like a switch flipped on them.

Boogie

Once they come through, and we taller now. It's all about height and stuff like that. So they call it hard legs, shooting at any hard legs. That means male-- any male that look of age.

Any male that look of age will get shot. So that's where it started, right there. You involved now. That's the thing. Now you a part of it.

Ben Calhoun

Boogie says the guys from S-Dub, they just assumed they were with Seven Deuce because they were young men living in the neighborhood. So S-Dub would drive up, point guns at them, threaten them. They'd steal from them and take their stuff, embarrass them in front of girls. It was humiliating.

And avoiding all that didn't seem like an option. Police or parents or teachers weren't about to step in and fix it. So they turned to each other. They did what a lot of teenage boys might do in that situation. They decided they weren't going to back down.

One member of TGC tells me Terrance got his friends together for a meeting. He said he was starting something new, a new group. He named it Yung Lyfe, which stood for young, unique, noble gentlemen living youthful and fulfilled every day.

Boogie

Fear drove us to really get into it. We felt like we had to fight fire with fire. Like Terrance, he always was a stronger leader because he was the quarterback of a football team. So he knew how to lead a team. So we thought if they want to come burn us down, we gonna come burn they town down, too.

Ben Calhoun

All this was news to Mr. Owens, Terrance's dad. He never knew that Terrance and his friends were fighting back this way. And when he hears "fight fire with fire," the implication of that, it isn't something Mr. Owens is really ready to accept.

Tony Owens

You know, let me cut in just for a minute. When he say they retaliated off of that, I mean, what can they do? They didn't have no guns. I don't see how y'all could retaliate when you all didn't have what they had.

Boogie

They had more power than us. But we had more heart. Terrance had a big heart.

Ben Calhoun

You can hear how delicate and respectful Boogie's trying to be with his friend's dad. But Mr. Owens insists, you didn't have any guns. And finally, Boogie admits it pretty plainly.

Boogie

Yeah, they had things like guns and all type of weapons. But we had the same. We just didn't have as much as them. They had cars and all type of stuff. We were still using CTA.

It was crazy. But when they got back and forth, when the war really started, if they came on our side, they would have to worry about making it back to their side. And it was the same way for us.

Ben Calhoun

Other friends of Terrance's have told me, by the summer when he was killed, the shooting was pretty much constant. One said, "I'm not going to lie. We were shooting pretty much every day. It was wolf season," he said.

When they talk about what all this was like, you can totally see why they memorialize Terrance the way they do-- because there'd been this moment when they felt scared and unprotected. He was the one that rallied them. He was their leader. And because he was their leader, he became a target. "He died for us," Boogie told me.

You can see why they'd want to name their neighborhood after him. Boogie says part of what made those years so frightening for them is that they were underdogs. They were younger, smaller. And they had to figure out for themselves how to fight back. The older guys, the ones in Seven Deuce who'd started the war, they hadn't recruited them. They hadn't taught them how it all worked.

Boogie

I'm not blaming it on nobody. But the older guys on our side, they kind of set us up for failure because they let the pressure fall on us. They didn't give nothing to us. But they let the weight fall off onto us. Now it's off of them. All the weight is off of them.

But now it's our problem. Their problems are our problems now. The weight was put on our shoulders and just dumped.

Like the older guys, they so separated from us. It's so segregated that we don't even know their names. But they the ones who started the war which led to Terrance getting killed. But I couldn't even recall one of their names if I wanted to.

Ben Calhoun

Of course, to an adult, this is upside down world logic, that the one thing that could have helped them and maybe saved Terrance's life was being recruited and trained by a gang, that the only adults who could have helped them were gang members. And the more Boogie said stuff like this, how they inherited this war, the more upset Mr. Owens got.

Tony Owens

Don't say you was inheriting nothing, because you wasn't. Inheriting means somebody gave you something. And nobody gave you nothing.

Boogie

And that's what I was saying.

Tony Owens

I'm saying you didn't have nothing to do with what was going on. Y'all was just kids is in hood. Y'all didn't know nothing about these guys. And I never heard this before.

Ben Calhoun

Mr. Owens has lived in the neighborhood since 1986. He thought he understood how the gangs worked. They were organized. They sold drugs.

You joined, got initiated. You became a bad guy. It was clear who was in them and who wasn't. The world Boogie was describing, where his son was kind of drafted into a gang war he didn't even really want to be a part of, that didn't make sense to Mr. Owens.

Towards the end of our conversation, we looked at a map of that new reality. We looked at the gang map Harper High School uses, where Terrance's initials, TG City, sit on a big rectangle southeast of the high school. Mr. Owen's had never seen anything like it.

It upset him even more. TG City, he said. He'd always thought that was just a nice nickname the kids had given to the neighborhood, a way of remembering his son, not a gang.

Tony Owens

And that's what you just showed me. I'd never seen it. I never heard it before. I don't like that. I never heard it. I don't like it.

I don't like it. I do not like that. When you showed me a map of the gang names and TG in that, oh, no. That's his initials. He don't fit in that. He don't fit in that.

Ben Calhoun

After a few minutes, we walked outside to take a break and get some fresh air. Mr. Owens stood on his porch. He told me a story about how the last time he'd seen Terrance was on his porch. It was morning. Mr. Owens was on his way to work. And he watched as his son walked around the corner to see Boogie and go get a haircut.

Today he stood there, staring at the house kitty corner to his. On one wall of it, there was spray paint that said TGC. Mr. Owen's stared, shaking his head. I don't like that, he said. I don't like that at all.

Ira Glass

Ben Calhoun.

Act Three. Get Your Gun.

Ben Calhoun

Act Three, How Kids Get Guns. Chicago's gun control laws are strict. There are no gun shops in the city, no shooting ranges. There's a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

But somehow, of course, kids are being shot by other kids. Teenagers can't just walk into a store or a gun show and buy a gun. So how do they get them? The third of our Harper reporters, Linda Lutton, asked.

Linda Lutton

I talked to eight Harper students at school one day.

Linda Lutton

Can you all come in a little tighter?

Most them are freshman, 15 years old. It was often hard at Harper to get kids to talk about how they felt about the violence in their neighborhood. But when it came to something concrete, like where a kid around here would get a gun, it was easy to get into a detailed conversation about dirty guns and clean guns and the prices of each. They said if it's a cheap gun on the street, you have to be careful. It might have a murder on it.

Boy 1

It'll usually have a murder or something on it.

Linda Lutton

And they know how clean guns, guns with no murders on them, end up on the street.

Boy 2

They got they gun cards. And then when they sell them, they just report them stolen-- like a month later, reported stolen.

Linda Lutton

OK, what's the cheapest? Even if it's a dirty gun with a murder on it, what's the cheapest?

Boy 1

Like $100.

Boy 2

It depends on what kind of gun it is.

Linda Lutton

$100. And what kind of gun would that be for $100?

Boy 2

Because you gotta trick some people. They would be like, give me $100 for a .22 caliber. Boy, I don't even play with those. What, I'm going to give you $100? I'll give you $25 for it.

Linda Lutton

The boys argue for a while over how much a .22 caliber handgun would be worth-- $25, $40, $150, or if it's worth anything at all since it's not a big gun. And who are they getting the guns from?

Linda Lutton

As a kid, how do you know where to go to?

Boy 3

I go to one of the guys.

Boy 4

That's what I was going to say, too-- one of the guys.

Linda Lutton

What does one of the guys mean? What does that mean?

Boy 2

One of your friends.

Boy 4

Well, like for some people, like if you're in a gang or something, you gonna automatically have that. So if you've got connections to a gang, then you gonna have it.

Linda Lutton

So how do know who in the gang has the gun?

Boy 4

We know. We know.

Boy 1

I've actually made phone calls. If wanted a gun--

Boy 4

That's what I'm saying, too.

Boy 1

I could make a phone call.

Linda Lutton

Of course, this isn't the most satisfying answer to the question, where do you get your gun? To shrug and say, "from my friends," it doesn't explain how your friends get them. Guns arrive in the neighborhood through all the means you've probably heard of-- straw purchasers, gun show loopholes. The feds recently charged a college student with buying duffel bags full of guns at Indiana gun shows for sale on Chicago streets.

A University of Chicago crime lab analysis has shown that the biggest proportion of police-recovered guns, around 40%, are purchased legally just outside Chicago, in the suburbs or Indiana. One of the police officers who works at Harper told me $40 or $50 would be a normal price around the neighborhood for a revolver. $100 will get you a semiautomatic.

But talking to these kids, I realize they often can get a gun for nothing at all. They're free. This kid got two guns from his brother.

Boy 4

When my brother got it, of course he gonna give to me. Because my brother, he went to jail for a charge. He's still in there right now.

Linda Lutton

For a gun charge?

Boy 4

Yeah. My brother got several guns, though. But the one that he got caught with, they got it. But he got several of them. So I'm going to look at them for him while he in there.

Linda Lutton

One kid says he was given a gun by fellow gang members who handed it to him, he says, for having certain rank in the gang. He was 14. Another boy who's backed away from his gang, he moved out of Englewood, says he could still get a gun if he needed it for something, as long as he promised to bring it back. Another boy says his mom has a gun, a legal gun. She keeps it in a box, he says.

Boy 3

I was 12 when I got my first gun. I was 12. I found it. I saw it. I found it.

Linda Lutton

He was near 67th Street, three blocks from Harper.

Linda Lutton

Just in the middle of the day, you're going to your grandma's house. And you find a gun.

Boy 3

Yeah, it was 4 o'clock. And I walked through the alley because I had come up to my grandma's backyard. And something just told me, look down. It was five, six houses down from my grandma.

Boy 5

People stash guns outside. They don't want their guns in the house.

Linda Lutton

All the kids agree, if a gun's in your house, the police can find it in a raid. So people stash them. This one was on the side of the garage.

Boy 3

It was on the side of the garage like somebody tried to throw it in there while they was running. But they missed or something. It was just laying, not on the garage, on the garbage. You know, the garbages in the alley? It was just laying next to it. And I just picked it up, brung it home.

Linda Lutton

The boy kept the gun for a while. Later, because he couldn't figure out how to get any bullets for it and because, he says, he had no use for it, he gave it to a friend. When I asked what type of gun it was, the boy said he was too little to know at the time.

He only knew it was black. But now that he's older, 15, he does know. It was a .45.

Linda Lutton

So where do you keep a gun, if not at home? I'm still not clear on that.

Boy 4

Abandoned house, I'm going to say that.

Linda Lutton

A what?

Boy 4

Abandoned house.

Linda Lutton

What, like next door to you maybe or something?

Boy 4

Well, not next door to you. I could be like a block or something. But it can't be that far.

Linda Lutton

How do protect it, then? How do you know somebody's not going to get in there and get it?

Boy 4

Because you hide it.

Linda Lutton

Well, maybe I live on your block, too, and I'm--

Boy 4

Well, one of my guys, he had a banger. And he put it in an abandoned house. He put in the basement. And in the basement, they got a little vent. And just scooted it all the way back then just closed. And that's it.

Linda Lutton

So if he needs it, he's got it.

Boy 4

Yeah.

Linda Lutton

But it's not on him. It's not in his house.

Boy 3

You're just close.

Linda Lutton

As you'd expect, some guns are more popular than others.

Linda Lutton

Do young people want a certain type of gun?

Boy 3

A .30.

Linda Lutton

What kind?

Boy 3

A .30, with a long clip-- a clip like this out the gun.

Linda Lutton

He's not talking about a specific gun but an accessory, a magazine that holds 30 rounds.

Linda Lutton

You like those? Why?

Boy 3

They got the most shots. You can shoot forever. Let out 15. Run back to where you going. Somebody else come out and let out five more. There you go.

Linda Lutton

A lot of these student say they know kids who are only alive because the shooters have such bad aim. That could be another reason why the long clips are popular with kids. It's a good accessory to have when you can't shoot.

Ira Glass

Linda Lutton. Coming up, you may remember that teenager who shot his own brother that we talked about in last week's program. We get back to him and what happened to him as the school year progressed. In a minute, from Chicago Public Radio and Public Radio International when our program continues.

Act Four. Devonte, Part Two.

Ira Glass

It's This American Life. I'm Ira Glass. This is the second of two hours that we're broadcasting about Harper high school in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago's South Side. Last year, the school had 29 shootings of current and recent students. We've had three reporters there for five months, starting at the beginning of the school year. We have arrived Act Four of our show. Act Four, Devonte, Part Two.

One of our reporters, Alex Kotlowitz, spent his time at school in the social work office because that's a place that directly and intensively addresses the effects of the neighborhood's violence on specific students who go to the school. We heard one of the school's two social workers, Anita Stewart, earlier this hour.

Crystal Smith is the other one. Crystal is relentlessly bright, positive, cheerful, peppy-- like, aggressively so. Here's how, early in the year, she says goodbye to a kid in her office who is leaving for class.

Crystal Smith

Hello. You are a person, OK. You are valuable. And you matter. Mwah, mwah, mwah. OK, go.

Linda Lutton

By late November this year, though, things have kind of changed. Alex explains how.

Alex Kotlowitz

It's the Tuesday before Thanksgiving break. And I run into Crystal Smith who's just coming in to work. She collapses into her chair.

[DOOR SLAMS]

Alex Kotlowitz

How you doing?

Crystal Smith

I just got here. I've been battling my brain and just not feeling well since last night. But I'm here.

Alex Kotlowitz

Since last night? What happened last night?

Crystal Smith

Well, yesterday when I was at work, my whole face became numb. And my lips were tingling. My hand was numb, so I went--

Alex Kotlowitz

Crystal tells me that last night she went to the ER. She was worried she was having a stroke. But the doctor told her it was most likely symptoms of stress. But Crystal isn't just having a bad day. Work has been wearing her down. And others, it seem, are having a hard time, too.

A week earlier, an administrator became so concerned about Crystal that she sent her, along with the school's other social worker and the school psychologist, to a counseling session just for the three of them. She wanted them to begin to process and move past all the crises and the shocks and the funerals they've been through the past year. Crystal and Anita, the other social worker, told me the session was helpful. But they also said it felt sort of pointless.

"It's not over," they said. Yeah, there haven't been any students killed this year. But the shooting hasn't stopped. I point out that that's how the kids must feel sometimes, and they agree. In the office, I tell Crystal that she looks tired.

Crystal Smith

Yeah, I know. Next week, I'll try to be my, you know, ball of energy. I'm going to try. I don't know, maybe your book stressed me out.

[LAUGHTER]

Alex Kotlowitz

Crystal's been working towards a second master's degree, and in one of her classes this year has been reading a book I wrote over 20 years ago called There Are No Children Here, where I follow two brothers living in the projects on Chicago's West Side. For a couple of years, I followed the boys as they grappled with violence, poverty, and the gangs. And Crystal wonders if reading it isn't adding to her stress.

Crystal Smith

It was really interesting, though. To think that 20 years later, nothing has changed, that's the scarier part.

Alex Kotlowitz

You mean in the neighborhoods?

Crystal Smith

Right. Right. That the same cycles are being repeated over again. OK, now what happened to the cousin, the one with the four kids?

Alex Kotlowitz

She's doing great. Her kids are going off to college. She lives up in Evanston, works in a bank.

Crystal Smith

Really? She got out.

Alex Kotlowitz

Yeah.

Crystal Smith

Really. I am so happy to hear that. I needed to hear that. I needed to know that. Wow. I need to see where education works. And I need to see where success happens.

Alex Kotlowitz

One of the things that's stressing Crystal out is her relationship with a junior named Devonte. Earlier in the year, Crystal begin meeting regularly with Devonte. I talked about him in last week's show. Last February, Devonte accidentally shot and killed his 14-year-old brother. Since then, his sister has stopped talking to him. And things have been strained with his mom.

Before the accident, Devonte was kind of notorious as a problem kid at Harper. He would curse out the staff. And he hardly showed up for school. But since the beginning of this school year, Devonte's been turning it around.

He comes to see Crystal sometimes two or three times a day. In spurts, he talks about his feelings, especially his guilt over his brother's death. He's pulled up his grades, getting Bs and Cs in almost all of his classes, the best grades he's ever had in high school.

So much of this success, I think, has to do with Crystal. For three months, she's let him know he doesn't need to go through this all alone. She encourages him to think about the future he wants for himself. Once when Devonte had stopped by, Crystal had pulled out photographs from a recent vacation she took with her husband in Jamaica.

Crystal Smith

And so look, this is part of the resort that we were on. Every morning, you wake up and you see that.

Devonte

I like that. Almost look clean.

Crystal Smith

It is clean. And the water is so blue, you could see all the way down to the bottom.

Woman

Yes, you can

Devonte

I don't need to go out there, though.

Crystal Smith

You do need to go out there. Look.

Devonte

The sun is small, isn't it?

Crystal Smith

I know. But I got a better picture of the sunset. I'll bring that later. And I'm going to give you one, because I want you to always make sure that you focused on getting to the sunset. OK? OK.

Alex Kotlowitz

So this conversation took place earlier in the fall. Now, today, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, it seems like Devonte is drifting. Like Crystal and Anita, he just seems spent.

Crystal tells me Devonte's become agitated. He's announced that he's only going to come to school three days a week. I asked Devonte if he'd sit down with me and explain what's going on. I began by asking him about his relationship with Crystal.

Crystal Smith

Now, I started getting along with Ms. Smith during sophomore year or something like that. And she started loving me.

Alex Kotlowitz

I think she's really fond of you. She worries about you.

Devonte

Mmm-hmm, all the time. She worries about me all the time.

Alex Kotlowitz

Do you like it that she worries about you?

Devonte

Yeah. I like for a person to care for me and stuff.

Alex Kotlowitz

I started to ask Devonte a bit about his brother and about the accident. But he told me that he didn't really want to talk about it-- which, you know, fair enough. He told me that he hates memories.

Devonte

I don't like to think of stuff. I be wanting to give up on my life sometimes.

Alex Kotlowitz

Is that right, Devonte? Why?

Devonte

I don't like my life no more. I hate myself.

Alex Kotlowitz

Why do you hate yourself?

Devonte

I don't know.

Alex Kotlowitz

You hate what happened, right? But you don't hate yourself?

Devonte

Peoples be looking at me stupid, all the--

Alex Kotlowitz

Do people say things to you, Devonte?

Devonte

Uh-uh.

Alex Kotlowitz

So you just think people are looking at you differently?

Devonte

I see people looking at me other different type of ways.

Alex Kotlowitz

Do you think Ms. Smith does?

Devonte

No. And I'm talking about people in my family. I feel that they don't care about me no more. Like if I leave this world, they don't care.

Alex Kotlowitz

You think they're angry with you.

Devonte

I heard my sister say, my little brother go, everybody go, and don't never come back. And I don't want to flip out on nobody. I've been thinking about me just giving up.

Alex Kotlowitz

That conversation happened two days before the Thanksgiving break. When I next meet up with Crystal a few weeks later, she tells me that Devonte has stopped coming to school, that she hasn't heard from him. What's worse, though, is that she says she's heard from some of the school staff that he's been picked up by the police on a gun possession charge. Crystal calls Devonte's mom to find out what's going on.

Crystal Smith

Hello, can I please speak with Mrs. Grant? Hey, it's Crystal Winfield Smith. How are you?

Good, good, good. The police are there looking for Devonte? What?

Alex Kotlowitz

Devonte's mom confirms that, yes, Devonte had been picked up on a gun charge, and that earlier in the week went to court for a preliminary hearing. She says that once Devonte heard that he could get locked up for 19 months, he got scared and took off. He literally ran out of the courthouse. He's now on the run. She says she's not sure where he's staying now.

Crystal knows that Devonte will just get more caught up in the streets, fending for himself, and that at some point the police will get him. And when they do, he's facing serious charges-- the gun charge itself, violation of probation, which he was on for the accidental shooting, maybe running from the court.

Crystal Smith

It makes me feel like I lost him. And how could I lose him when I'm reaching my hand out? Grab back.

Alex Kotlowitz

A few days later, Crystal calls Devonte. She tells him not to say where he is, so she won't have to lie for him. She then runs through what, for them, has by now become a familiar exercise.

When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Crystal asks. The good Devonte, he replies. Then Crystal remind him, don't forget he's in there.

Crystal Smith

And so it was very hard for me. And I said, OK, son. I love you. And take care of yourself.

And he said, I love you, too, ma. And I hung up. That's that.

Ira Glass

Alex Kotlowitz.

Act Five. Reverse Turnaround Backflip.

Ira Glass

Act Five, Reverse Turnaround Backflip. The time of year that we're in right now is hard for Principal Sanders because it's budget time, planning next year's budget. Harper is actually in a good situation this year with money. But as Ben Calhoun explains, that's about to change.

Ben Calhoun

Harper's in a unique spot at the moment because it's what the Chicago school system calls a turnaround school. A few years ago, the system said Harper need an overhaul. So they turned over most of the staff, brought in new people, and infused the school with money, a lot of money.

Just to give you an idea, Harper's total budget this year is $8.9 million. $1.6 million of that is turnaround money. Last year, the turnaround money was even bigger, almost $2 million.

One former district official involved in Harper's turnaround told me that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who used to run Chicago's schools, he said to his former colleagues, with these new turnaround initiatives, like the one at Harper, he wanted to, quote, "take the issue of money off the table," in other words, give them whatever they need. So the plan was pretty much boost the school with a lot of federal, state, and city money, then as the changes took hold, slowly ramp down the money.

And then five years later, the funding would go back to normal. That's next year. Next year is when the money goes away.

In the fall, I sat down with Principal Sanders and the school's operations manager to talk about all this. They told me the money has done so much. There's a new culinary learning room, new computer equipment, small stuff like a new ID machine.

Principal Sanders talks about the first year of turnaround like it was amazing. There were four assistant principals, reduced class sizes. There was the kind of support staff-- social workers and counselors-- in numbers that other schools only dream of.

The operations manager told me he's been a Chicago Public Schools money guy for 15 years. He's been at more than 10 other high schools. He told me he's seen programs like the turnaround program before. It was called other things-- intervention, reconstitution but he says bluntly that Harper is the first time he's seen it work, partly because there's just been more money this time.

So next year, though, Harper will lose the last $1.6 million of turnaround money, about 18% of its budget. And the biggest effect of that will be layoffs.

Marcel Smith

What's up, [INAUDIBLE]?

Girl

HEY.

Marcel Smith

How you feeling?

Girl

Good.

Marcel Smith

Hey, Miss Carter. Is that a pass in your hand? I'm so proud of you, Miss Carter.

Ben Calhoun

What effect will layoffs have on Harper? I spend a couple mornings with a staff member named Marcel Smith. Marcel works on a program that tries to rescue kids who are failing out. Harper has a lot of initiatives like that. There's mentoring programs and enrichment programs, all boosted by turnaround.

So on paper, that's what Marcel does. But if you walk around with him, you see what Sanders sees, all the little things that would never be considered part of his job. The day I was with him, in the morning, Marcel came across a young man standing in the hallway.

Marcel Smith

What's going on, son? How you feeling?

Ben Calhoun

The kid was keeping a straight face. But he was clearly upset. It turned out he'd been asked to leave his class. As Marcel turned to deal with him, he asked me to turn off the recorder, so I did.

They talked for a minute. Marcel took the kid to his office, sat him down, told him to wait. And we walked away. He didn't want to use the student's name. But he explained what was going on.

Marcel Smith

Apparently, the students were given an incentive for being on time. And it was food.

Ben Calhoun

Cookies. It was cookies. And this student, along with everyone who'd gotten to class on time that day, was allowed to go up and take a cookie. But this particular student was dealing with a difficult and maybe dangerous situation at his house. So he hadn't gone home the night before. And because of that, he hadn't eaten.

So when he went up to take his cookie, he took two. The teacher told them to put one back. Not wanting to reveal his situation to the rest of the class, he didn't say anything. He just refused.

He told Marcel he was just so hungry. That's why he'd been kicked out. Marcel had a box of cereal in his office. And I walked with him as he zipped down to the cafeteria. They were out of regular milk.

Marcel Smith

Ladies? Ladies, how y'all doing? Can I get two chocolate milks, please? Thank you.

Ben Calhoun

Back in Marcel's office, the student sat quietly, staring down, and ate a plastic bowl filled with Honey Nut Cheerios and chocolate milk. Then he got up, politely washed the bowl and spoon, said thank you to Marcel, and the two went back to his classroom. You see situations like this all the time at Harper, situations that could so easily unravel.

And without thinking anything of it, they get addressed because someone is there and makes the effort to figure out what's going on. It's stuff that'll never show up in a school budget. But it can be the difference between a kid going back to class or getting suspended.

Leonetta Sanders

Kids, you know, you can't tell kids when not to have a good day. Like, you can't have a good day on Tuesdays and Thursdays, because I'm not going to be there. You can only have bad days on Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Ben Calhoun

This is exactly what Principle Sanders is worried about next year when the turnaround money goes away, the people she'll have to give up. Marcel's position is funded through next year. But he's exactly the kind of person who there won't be money for. Assistant Principal Chad Adams, the school psychologist, numerous teaching positions-- not currently funded for next year. The social workers who you've heard working with Thomas and Devonte-- there's Crystal, and there's Anita-- next year, Anita will go away. And Crystal will only be part time.

Altogether, Harper expects to lose at least a dozen people, about a tenth of the current staff. Two of the security staff who have seen Harper go through overhauls in the past say it always changes when the money is added. But then everything goes backwards once it's lost. There's more fights. The violence gets worse.

Leonetta Sanders

You know, I mean, there's not much we can do. $1.6 million is a lot of money to lose. Every day, I wish I could win the lottery and just pay people out of my pocket.

Ben Calhoun

When Sanders first said that, it was a joke, not much to it. Except for what Ms. Sanders said then. She told me she does find herself thinking about what she would do if she won the lottery. And a lot of that money, she'd put it into the school.

Leonetta Sanders

I would hook Harper up. And everybody would be sitting back like, dang.

Ben Calhoun

And then she laid out her plan.

Leonetta Sanders

And I would say, yeah, I mean, they would have the state of the art labs. Every student would have access to a computer. Any of the capital resources, human resources, that we needed, they would have.

Ben Calhoun

Sanders kept going like this for 4 minutes and 38 seconds. With her imaginary millions, she bought big things, like vacant land near the school. She rehabbed houses where students who are homeless would have a place to stay. She created transportation programs to get kids to and from school safely.

She did little things. She took a kid who came to school in a hoodie in the middle of winter, and she bought him a coat. She bought detergent for kids who didn't have soap to wash their uniforms. She spent, and she spent. 10 years, she said. She'd structure it out so that the money would be spread out over 10 years.

Leonetta Sanders

So things like that, if I was to win money. It's such a need here. It's just such a need here.

Ben Calhoun

How often do you find yourself budgeting out that imaginary money, that if you had it?

Leonetta Sanders

I do it a lot. [LAUGHS] I do it because every time, it's like a different situation. And I just sit back and say what if? God, what if?

Ira Glass

Ben Calhoun.

Act Six. We Are Harper High School.

Ira Glass

Act Six, We Are Harper High School.

[SCHOOL BELL RINGING]

Marcel Smith

All right, be safe.

Ira Glass

Last day of the semester. This is the day that we ended our reporting at Harper. Marcel Smith, saying goodbye to kids who are on their way home.

I saw that somebody tweeted after our first episode about Harper High School was broadcast. Somebody said that we found the most violent school in America or in Chicago or something. And I just want to say, that is not true.

Nobody keeps statistics like that. We just found a high school-- a high school that's seen a lot of shootings. And there are others.

Liz Dozier

Hi, I'm Liz Dozier, the Principle of Finger High School on the far South Side of Chicago. We've lost nine students to violence in the last little over three years.

Shontae Higginbottom

I am Shontae Higgenbottom. And I'm the new principal here at King College Prep High School here in Chicago. And this year, I've had two students who were shot during our Christmas break. And then we had the last case with Hadiya Pendleton. And she died.

John Lynch

My name is John Lynch. I'm the Principle of Castlemont High School in Oakland, California. So I've been at Castlemont High School for the past two and a half years. And in the time that I've been here, six students have been shot. And two of those students who were shot were actually killed.

Bertie Simmons

I am Bertie Simmons. And I am the Principal of Furr High School. And it's located on the Far East Side of Houston, Texas. In the last two years, I could name five students that were shot and killed.

Rahel Wondwossen

My name is Rahel Wondwossen. And I am the Principle of Cohen College Prep High School. We are located in Central City, New Orleans. At Cohen College Prep High School last year, we had two students who were shot. Both, thankfully, survived. And in the city of New Orleans, we had more than 10 students who were shot and killed.

Laquanda Jackson

My name is LaQuanda Jackson. I'm the Principle of Simon Gratz Mastery Charter High School in Philadelphia. This year, we have lost one student to gun violence. Last year, we lost two students to gun violence. And the year before, there were six.

Alberto Carvalho

My name is Alberto Carvalho. I am the Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools right here in Florida. Over the past four and a half years, I have buried or attended viewings for 44 children who have died violent deaths right here in our community.

Credits.

Ira Glass

Well, our program was produced today by our senior producer Julie Snyder, with Alex Blumberg, Ben Calhoun, Sarah Koenig, Miki Meek, John Menjivar, Lisa Pollak, Brian Reed, Robyn Semien, Alissa Shipp, and Nancy Updike. Production help from Phia Bennin. Seth Lind is our operations director. Emily Condon's our production manager. Elise Bergerson is our administrative assistant.

Music help today from Damien Grey, from Rob Geddis. Original musical scoring for today's program by Rob under the name The Latebloomer. Other Latebloomer music is on SoundCloud.

[ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS]

Our website-- thisamericanlife.org. This American Life is distributed by Public Radio International. WBEZ management oversight for our program by our boss, Mr. Tony Malatia, who went on one of those Prarie Home Companion vacations.

He showed me pictures. They're incredible. Every morning, Garrison Keillor personally wakes you at your bed in a white suit.

Crystal Smith

This is part of the resort that we were on. Every morning, you wake up and you see that.

Ira Glass

I'm Ira Glass. Back next week with more stories of This American Life.

Announcer

PRI-- Public Radio International.