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"Warning Signs": A story from a prisoner on death row for teenagers and young adults.

[IF] you have decided to read this article, chances are you will have a bright future. I say that because (reading) empowers your mind. Reading, observing and listening is how all human beings learn. However, you would be surprised by the number of those who have no interest in reading nor giving attentive ears to wise and intelligent voices. In time, they will pay a critical price for the lack of knowledge. I am 100% sure of it because I am one of them.

Allow me to introduce myself: my name is Anthony Mungin. I am 50 years old. I am currently sentenced to the death penalty in the state of Florida. When I was arrested in September 1990, I was only 24 years old. For nearly 27 years, I have been living in a small cell, caged like a wild , dangerous animal.

Could my life have been different? Absolutely! Were there warning signs? Absolutely! In fact, one of the warning signs I want to share with you has stayed in my mind for the past 27 years. In the late 1980's my grandparents bonded me out of jail. I can't remember what I had done to get arrested, but it wasn't what I considered a serious crime (though it was serious enough to be arrested). it was about the third time I had been arrested for a so-called petty crime. I was living with relatives at that time, so when I went home, my 12 year old little cousin, Cynthina, was sitting at the kitchen table doing her school homework. I hugged and kissed her. I asked her what was she working on? Her English teacher told the students to write an essay. I asked little Cynthina what was her essay about? She said: "You, Anthony".

I was surprised, but more importantly, curious. She refused to let me read it and I didn't press her. An hour later, she left her work on the table and went t her room. I couldn't help myself, so I eased over to the table to take a peek. In her essay, she spoke of her love for me and all the potential she saw in me. She spoke of my past athletic achievements in high school and in church activities. Then she spoke of the bad people I was hanging around and those who she perceived as bad influences. I will never forget the last sentence I read:

"Anthony is always getting in trouble, but always finding a way out. One day the bad people he hangs around, is going to get him put in prison."

My "warning sign" came through a 12 year old child's essay. Cynthina never knew I read her essay. She never knew how deeply profound her words pierced my heart. Even back then I recognized the truth that supported her words. Instead of taking heed to the warning sign, I ignored it and continued down a path that proved to be destructive. And now, I am growing old on death row for a crime I didn't even commit.

Trouble is easy and quick to get into with those you assume are your friends. Reality has a hard-core way of exposing (your) choice of bad company (A man's own folly ruins his life, yet he blames God for his troubles -- Proverbs 19:3). I believe that there will always be "warning signs" before a person gets on the path that hits rock bottom.

Have you recognized your warning signs? If you have, please don't do what I did and ignore it. Your life is too precious and too meaningful to throw away.

Good luck and God Bless!

Much respect and Much love.

Anthony Mungin

June 19th, 2017

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