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I Never Went Anywhere Without My Gun

I Never Went Anywhere Without My Gun
  • YEAR BORN: 1958




I was born and raised in the suburbs of Rome, in an area made up of the poor working class. Life was tough. I never knew my real mother, and I didn’t have a good relationship with my father. I grew up learning the rules of the streets.

By the time I was ten years old, I had already started stealing. At age 12, I ran away from home for the first time. On more than one occasion, my father had to pick me up at police headquarters and take me home. I argued with people constantly—I was violent and angry with the whole world. When I was 14, I left home for good. I started taking drugs and living on the street. Not having anywhere to sleep, I would break into a car and stay in it until the early morning hours. Then I would look for a water fountain so that I could wash up.

I became really good at stealing—anything from bag snatching to robbing apartments and villas during the night. I started to gain a bad reputation and was soon invited to join a notorious gang, which allowed me the “opportunity” to upgrade to robbing banks. Because of my aggressive personality, I was soon a respected member of the gang. I never went anywhere without my gun; in fact, I slept with it under my pillow. Violence, drugs, stealing, foul language, and immorality became my way of life. The police were constantly on my heels. I was arrested several times, and I spent years in and out of prison.


On one occasion when I was let out of prison, I decided to go and visit one of my aunts. Unbeknownst to me, my aunt and two of my cousins had become Jehovah’s Witnesses. They invited me to attend a meeting of the Witnesses. Out of curiosity, I decided to go with them. When we arrived at the Kingdom Hall, I insisted on sitting near the door so that I could keep an eye on those who came in and out. Of course, I was armed.

That meeting changed my life. I remember thinking that I must be on a different planet. I was greeted by people with warm, friendly smiling faces. I still have a vivid picture in my mind of the kind, honest look the Witnesses had in their eyes. This was certainly a million miles away from the world I was used to!

I started to study the Bible with the Witnesses. The more I learned, the clearer it became that I had to change my lifestyle completely. I took to heart the words recorded at Proverbs 13:20: “The one walking with the wise will become wise, but the one who has dealings with the stupid will fare badly.” I realized that I needed to distance myself from the gang. That was not easy to do, but with Jehovah’s help, I succeeded.

For the first time in my life, I started to have control over my actions

I also cleaned myself up physically. With much effort, I stopped smoking cigarettes and using drugs. I cut my long hair, got rid of my earrings, and stopped using bad language. For the first time in my life, I started to have control over my actions.

I had never enjoyed reading and studying, so it was a real challenge to concentrate and apply myself to Bible study. However, as I made the effort, I gradually came to love Jehovah, and something started to change inside me—my conscience began to bother me. I often had negative feelings about myself, doubting that Jehovah could ever forgive me for all the bad that I had done. In those moments I found a lot of comfort in reading about Jehovah forgiving King David after he had committed serious sins.2 Samuel 11:1–12:13.

Another challenge was sharing my faith with others in the door-to-door ministry. (Matthew 28:19, 20) I was terrified that I would meet someone whom I had hurt or wronged in some way in the past! But gradually I was able to overcome my fear. I began to find real satisfaction in helping others learn about our wonderful heavenly Father, who forgives so abundantly.


Learning about Jehovah saved my life! Most of my former companions are dead or in prison, but I have a truly satisfying life and a future to look forward to. I have learned to be humble and obedient and to control my volcanic temper. As a result, I enjoy better relationships with the people around me. I am happily married to my beautiful wife, Carmen. Together, we find great joy in helping others learn about the Bible.

Oh, and I now do honest work—it sometimes still involves banks, but instead of robbing them, I clean them!