To Choose Or Not To Choose
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The everyday choices we make in daily life effectively influence our lives whether we know it or not. Whether it is to choose to harm somebody or to choose to help somebody, the choices that we make depend on our intent. Luis Rodriguez had many a time where he was forced to make a choice. In Always Running, he made both choices with negative intention and positive intention. Being an intellectual, and always learning, Luis decision-making skills grew as he aged; he learned to make better, more positive choices as time progressed.
When Luis joined the Animal Tribe, he did a lot of negative activities with the gang. One of these times was when Luis, Yuk Yuk, and a few others decided to steal from the drive-in theatre concession stand. Yuk Yuk wanted Luis to hold the gun, but Luis did not feel comfortable having it. “Whats this feel shit Im not asking for a temperature”, said Yuk Yuk (Rodriguez 77). Luis could have refused, but that would have shown weakness to the other gang members. He didnt want to seem like he wasnt down with the clique. Gang members had to prove themselves worthy to the rest of the members, so there was always pressure from peers. Another time he made a negative choice was when Luis helped in the robbery of a grocery store.
After drinking and partying, Luis, Chicharron, and Wilo got hungry. They decided to steal some munchies from a grocery store. Wilo waited in the parking lot, while Chicharron and Luis went inside to stuff their pockets. Luis, along with his friends, had many instances where they would try to get free things. Luis learns the tricks of the trade from Yuk Yuk. “De Volada”, says Yuk Yuk, which means to do it without warning; impulsively (Rodriguez 75). Luis did many things according to Yuk Yuks saying, and these things all had negative intentions. Luis also made a negative choice when he went along to bomb the Sangra house.
A member from Sangra had shot one of the Lomas members, so the following night Lomas decided to get revenge. A couple of the main people from Lomas had decided that Luis needed to help with whatever needed to be done. Unaware of the Molotov cocktails underneath the seat, Luis entered the car awaiting him. The plan was to bomb the enemys house and set it ablaze. This time Luis did not have a choice. He didnt want to participate, but was forced. “…once youre asked to do a hit, you cant refuse…” says Luis (Rodriguez 118). It was all part of being associated with the gang; they work together. It wasnt wise to go against the group. Luis didnt want to act negatively, because innocent people might get hurt, but he went along with it anyway.. Aside from negative choices, as time passed Luis pursued more positive life choices.
Luis was always a trouble-maker in school, getting kicked out of class frequently and always causing some form of commotion. After getting kicked out of Continuation High School, his father decided for Luis to attend Taft High School. Luis wanted to enroll in some classes other than the industrial arts classes he was taking before, but he wasnt allowed to. His counselor told him “I think youll find our industrial arts subjects more suited to your needs” (Rodriguez 137). The classes Luis wanted to enroll in were Literature, advanced art, and photography. He wanted to make a positive choice to pursue higher education, but under the circumstances was powerless in doing so. Another positive choice was made by Luis when the John Fabela Youth Center opened up.
Chente invited Luis to work for the Neighborhood Work Corps, which helped families below the poverty level. Chente proposed the job under one condition, that Luis would attend school the following semester after summer was over. At first Luis refused because the school didnt want him back, but Chente had some new information. There was going to be a new principal at Keppel, and many changes were to be made. “We need intelligent voices. Were going to