The other day we interviewed Claudia Broome who wrote about her dog, “The Tail of Rugby Jones” and his ability to get around with only two good front legs by means of his wheel chair cart. One of the main take-a-ways from that story is how Rugby influences others to see his or her differences as strength and for others to see beyond the obvious. What Rugby is to Claudia, music is to Buzzy.
When I asked Buzzy, are at-risk-kids more susceptible to getting in trouble on the Internet, it made no difference whether it was digital or not. He immediately went to the core, intuitively bypassed the obvious, and focused in on recognizing the innocence of the child, and the need to preserve and nourish the child in all of us. When you talk with Buzzy, you can feel a deep passion, and a common sense concern for kids’ well being.
Most everyone will hear about Buzzy and his initiation into the digital age with his Facebook début, which is less than a year and landed a movie and book deal. Listen to the interview and you will understand that Buzzy’s excitement over a book and movie deal is not about the book and movie deal. Buzzy is excited about his knowing his message may fall into the hands of those who most need to read and see it to make a change in their hearts. Moreover, if not the directors of juvenile halls, get it into the hands of the kids.
Google, Buzzy Martin, and read a little about his life, and you will dismiss any notion of an overnight success. Buzzy lives his life serving kids, and communicates with them through his gift of music, a gift that has been honed and mastered since he dreamed about becoming a rock star at ten years old.
Buzzy refers to himself as a Fred Flintstone living in a George Jetson world. “What is Facebook”, said Buzzy to his friend when he suggested to market his self-published book online. Ironic when you think about how today’s, “Jetson’s world”, has afforded Buzzy a movie deal within four months being on Facebook, and forty-eight hours following that he had a book deal using today’s technology, and “Consequential Strangers” that Melinda Blau talks about in her book.
“My goal in life is to have one million people reading my book, because I’m really trying to promote education not incarceration”, said Buzzy Martin. “We need “at-opportunity” not “at-risk” kids, continued Buzzy.
Buzzy is adamant about how poorly our penal system operates and what it does to the eighty-five per cent non-violent drug offenders who are incarcerated. A message also echoed by a previous guest, Lawrence Lawton, who runs a program for at-risk kids called, “Reality Check Program”. Lawrence tells his story to teens and adults about his incarceration for eleven years in the federal penitentiary, and how to avoid making bad choices and heading down the wrong path in life. I suggested the two should meet.
For three and a half years, Buzzy visited San Quentin prison carrying his guitar to share his love of music with what one might imagine as unreachable hardened souls. Buzzy describes the scene of the stereotype harden criminals passing through the door into the room and the transformation that takes place. For a brief period, these harden criminals revert to his childhood through Buzzy’s teaching and playing music. It is no wonder Buzzy is passionate to reach our children, like Lawrence Lawton, before poor choices are made because they feel unwanted, abandoned, unloved, and the only attention is coming from gangs, or the sensationalized life of an inmate.
The question Buzzy presents is, “How did all these guys get to prison, they just didn’t decide to show up. Something happened in their life that made their heart cold; something was turned off as a kid.”
Imagine an eight-year-old child believing he wants to be an inmate. Believing it is cool, a badge of honor, to do time in prison…A rite of passage. As mentioned in the latter paragraph, “Something happened in their life…something was turned off as a kid.” No wonder Buzzy wants one million books in the hands of readers. The CyberHood Watch partners, Dave & Bill understand what it means to get the message out…“Communication and Awareness”.
The communication and awareness needed mentioned here are the choices a new “fish” (inmate) is presented when face to face with prison inmates. You can either have sex with me, go shank (knife) another inmate (now you become a lifer), or go kill yourself, suicide…You have sixty-seconds to decide. I don’t have any more time for you. Do you really think that eight year an old understand the consequences of his or her choices? Buzzy question to an eight year old is, “What makes you the special one”?
As Juvenile Justice Commissioner, Buzzy Martin has a clear understanding of the problems, and the need to return to instilling core values in our kids. You will understand more by listening to the interview, and doing a little research about Buzzy. He truly relates to kids, even his kids recognize his gift. I am familiar with this personality in a few other individuals I know. They possess a quality of youth that permeates his or her adult status, and resonates with kids. They are the pied pipers of the world, and certainly, Buzzy uses his gift of music to draw his kids to his message, as well as the kid in all of us to Buzzy.
Unfortunately, the kids are not the problem. The problems lay with the authorities, the juvenile hall directors, and the people in charge. If Buzzy’s book, “Don’t Shoot! I’m The Guitar Man” is being sold everywhere from Barnes & Nobel to airport bookstores, and recommended by the Library Journal for all juvenile halls, then why are juvenile hall directors looking the other way. When you consider that Buzzy’s purpose was initially to get his book into the hands of juvenile halls for kids to read, or read to kids, then why are the juvenile hall directors denying the book access?
“All I wanted to do is help kids stay out of prison”, said Buzzy.
Hey Buzzy, when you are on the Oprah and Ellen show, be sure to give a shout-out to The CyberHood Watch partners, Dave & Bill.
A statement my dad said to me when I was about ten years old was, “We have not yet learned to use enough kind words in abundance.” With that in mind, thank you Buzzy for all you do for kids.
Your CyberHood Watch Partner,
david c ballard
Radio Security Journalist
PS: BE SURE TO VOTE for The CyberHood Watch $250K Grant… Text* 104046 to Pepsi (73774) or go to Pepsi Refresh Everything and Vote!