Antonio used to stay in trouble.
Antonio used to stay in trouble.
Deron Neblett

Antonio Bass

For a good number of his 18 years, Antonio caused trouble. He broke into cars, busted out windows, got suspended from school and "caught three cases," he says of his run-ins with police.

His father left when he was two and didn't return until he was eight. Antonio harbored so much anger at him that it took him a year just to call him Dad. But he had his dad for only three more years. One night his father phoned to tell him that he planned to move to Atlanta.

"So you're leaving me again," Antonio said, slamming down the phone. His father called back; they continued to argue. He died the next day. Antonio was 12.

"I didn't get the chance to tell him I was sorry," he says.

Last year Antonio lost his half-brother. The brother's cousin shot an uncle to death during a fight over drugs. When Antonio's brother walked through the door and saw the body, he turned to leave for help. But the cousin dragged him back into the house and killed him, too. He would have turned 17 this year.

"For a long time I just didn't care about nothing or no one," Antonio says.

No More Victims helped him care again, he says, because people in the organization care about him. He decided to stay in school and is now looking for a part-time job. He tries to keep his four younger siblings (on his mother's side) in line and to make contact with his four surviving siblings on his father's side. When someone angers him, his first instinct is to fight, but then he remembers that he is a leader in the program, and that he must act like one and set a good example.


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