The Army of South Vietnam (ARVNs) had a reputation for being corrupt and incompetent, and I noticed that the paratroops carried grease guns, along with other World War II‑era weapons. Since I wanted an extra one to send home, I thought I’d make them an offer. I took a walk to the ARVNs’ compound, but when I saw how careless they were about leaving their weapons lying around, a new plan began to take shape. If I tried to buy a grease gun but failed to close the deal, I would only draw attention to myself. Then, if one of the weapons should later go missing, things could get awkward. Better just to steal one.
“Bobby, I’ll live through your eyes,” my mother said, holding my hand shortly before she had a stroke in the spring of 1989. She passed away that November, but those words haunted me long afterward. I was always drawn to the edgy side of life, and through it all, my mother struggled to surround me with love and safety. I lived life as a juvenile delinquent, then as a soldier, then as a cop. I raised my family and then, in 1997, completed a PhD in criminology.