Teach 2 Dumb Dudes

Hans Hageman: Generational Giving

June 20, 2022 Joe Bento Season 2 Episode 10
Teach 2 Dumb Dudes
Hans Hageman: Generational Giving
Show Notes Transcript

In this week's episode we speak to Hans Hageman. Hans is a social entrepreneur. He has developed visionary solutions to improve education from Harlem to India. Hans grew up in Spanish Harlem, New York. His home was Exodus House, a pioneering residential drug treatment center started by his father. We speak with Hans about his life growing up in Exodus house, how it's grown into the school it is today, the other schools he created, as well as his journey in getting there. Hans is quite the Renaissance man and the epitome of the type of person we need in this world today. Be sure to check out Hans at https://www.instagram.com/roninforlife/

Bobby:

Welcome back. Another, teach two dumb dudes this week. We're talking to Hans Haman. Honestly, this dude's done everything under the sun. He goes by the title of a social entrepreneur. He graduated Princeton in Columbia law school. After that he was a prosecutor. He worked as a council to a us Senate subcommittee defense attorney. Then he started various schools, including the east Harlem school at Exodus, which is an independent school in New York city, right in Harlem. This is a school that takes on kids from Harlem, gets them through school and then sends them to boarding schools to help them get out and establish. Their lives in a new direction. He has run various programs from outdoor survival school to first responder training. He, he's done all kinds of projects in Ghana, Senegal, Nicaragua. Hans is really, really an impressive person has done a lot you know, for his community and for the African American community as well. And so we were really, really excited to have him on hope you guys enjoy it.

Hans:

Hey, Hans. How you doing? I'm doing well. How are you? Robin, Joe?

Bobby:

Hey, Hans, I'm doing great. I'm Rob, by the way. Nice to meet you. Nice to meet you. Thank you so much for you know, lending us your time here to come on and teach us a little bit about yourself. After you know, bento let me know that this was booked and, you know, we started looking you up and one of our first things is like, what are we even gonna talk to Hans about? Because it looks like he's done everything in the world, the ultimate

Hans:

Renaissance, man. I like, I like Renaissance man search firms say you have a, a, a multifaceted career. I'm like, yeah, that's another way of putting

Bobby:

it. Yeah. Yeah. You got so ha Jack of all trades. Right. And that's terrific, man. And, and so as, again, as we were kind of going through you know, doing the research about you we certainly gravitated towards the exs house project with your father and then you know, the, the school that it has now become we keep it loose. We keep it conversational. We're just trying to learn as much as we can from you within, you know, the, the short time that, that we have to hear And so please, we always ask everybody when we first get started, right. We know you have a very, very deep history with lots of different things that you've accomplished over time. We always like to ask people, well, how did you get started and kind of what drove you? What was the driving force that pushed you to, to accomplish these things?

Hans:

Well, you know, I don't I don't know how transparent you want me to be. This is fully all right. Okay. As much as you're comfortable with. Sure. Yeah. All right. Yeah. And I, I haven't been comfortable with this until the last couple of years. Sure. But you know, I, I. Family life was great growing up. And, but we didn't have a lot of money and my parents were always serving other people and that's kind of what I've done and the reason I've done it is both because of their example. But also there, there was one particular thing you know, because I I'm of a certain age. Right? Sure. And so health insurance and all those discussions, it wasn't really a thing back then. But my parents were always looking for ways to, to get the best for us. And so we got a scholarship to elite private schools. Me, my brother and sister medical care was tough. Some friends came to my parents and said, I, I got this great doctor at Rockefeller university. And he's accepting boys for, for as, as patients and patience. Yeah. And so my parents were like, this is great. Rockefeller university is very prestigious. And, and so turns out the guy was a serial pedophile and I was 10 years old at the time. Oh, oh my God. And so that was, that was the thing for a couple of years with me. And one of the things that I have come to realize is I it's a sacred wound. Right. Of course. And, and so I always wanted then to be the one adult that any child would be able to trust, even if all the other adults in their lives were, were pieces of dirt. Yeah, that was, that was the main motivating force for me. And I, I didn't come to realize that until the last couple of years, again, like I had my parents example and, and, and they, they were fighting the good fight coming up against all kinds of odds. But for me, that was the main turning point.

Bobby:

Right. Wow. That's incredible. And, and what a, you know, what a good way to look at that too, you know, there's so many people who you. Fall apart when things like that happen in their lives. And it's for you to be able to take that and turn around, use it as your motivation is really commendable.

Hans:

So for sure. Well, and there were, and there were people, I mean, this, this guy is infamous. He's dead now, but he had hundreds of victims. That's good, at least. And several of them committed suicide became drug addicted, alcoholics broken marriages, a lot of different things. And you know, you gotta ask what, you know, why was it? And, and, and lawyers got to me and asked how come you were able to, to make it through. And, and I had a, I had a larger mission, so.

Bobby:

Sure.

Bento:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Did he ever pay for his crimes

Hans:

or. Not while he was alive. No, no. Rockefeller university had to pay some wow. Hundreds of people, hundreds

Bobby:

of people. Well I hope he died miserably

Hans:

then I, unfortunately I don't think he did. I think he, yeah. Yeah, but it's, it's a, don't get me started on the medical profession

Bobby:

in general. Oh yeah. Right. Oof guy. It's funny. It's funny you say that too. We've had a, we've had a couple guys on, in the past, especially, you know, with the whole COVID stuff. And I mean, whoof, is it you open that can of worms and it's like, holy smokes. How deep can we, like, we don't have enough time to explore how deep this goes.

Bento:

We can't, we can't afford another YouTube man. So yeah, exactly. Two episodes

Hans:

taken down. Oh, wow. Wow. Wow.

Bobby:

It's funny too, because there were both, both gentlemen we had on it was contradicting opinions. So why'd they take 'em both down.

Hans:

Yeah. again, the, the, the truth has become really flexible and, and, and dependent on who's in power. And, and that's incredibly frustrating to me for a lot of reasons. Cause I gotta, yeah, I gotta keep my mouth shut about a lot of things in a lot of different settings and I'm in different settings, so it's, it's frustrating.

Bobby:

Right. All I can only imagine. Yeah. I can only imagine, especially within schools.

Hans:

Sure. Well, that's the other thing too, right? So I'm thinking about making one more comeback to, to, to run a school. And then I'm thinking, what, what are you an idiot? You can't, you don't wanna be in a school right now for a lot of reasons. And, and part of it is, are those kinds of discussions where instead of educating kids and, and helping them become critical thinkers, you, you instead have to line up with one orthodoxy or, or, or a group of zealots or the other sure. If you're gonna make it through and I'm, I'm not, I don't line up with. Any group, so,

Bento:

right. Sure. And you shouldn't have to, as a teacher, you know, you're there to educate the kids, you're there to indoctrinate them. So, so speaking of schools let's start off with was it the the house you know, when I first read your profile, it sounded really interesting. And I just kinda, you know, give us a, give us the background on that, how old you were and how that, that whole thing got started. And what, what was it like for you, growing up with your parents and running this, this exercise at the same

Hans:

time as well? Well, so, so Exodus house originally was a, a residential drug treatment center that my father started and my mother supported him in while she was teaching and doing other things. And they had daytime residents and then also a residential facility where my family lived. So, you know, we had the apartment and in Redwood blow us were, were two floors of dormitories with guys who would come back from the Vietnam war who had just been released from prison. So, wow. That that's who I was playing volleyball with and softball and basketball. And, you know, when I was a young kid and then, and you know, you got to listen to a lot of different stories and, and, but you saw the power of, of redemption and, and my parents' belief that, that people could make it back from, from their lowest point. And so that was, that was really informative. And they did that for a number of years and. Even while he was doing that we lived in before then we moved into that, that place. We lived in the housing projects on first avenue in New York city. And again, this is how old I am. We got to see from our, from apartment 11 G in Wilson houses. We got to see president Kennedy going down the FDR drive with the astronaut John Glenn. Right. So, wow. It was, it was cause, but, but, but we also got to see our father and me, my brother and sister, as young as little kids would always try to block the door because on several occasions he was going down south to he's a Methodist minister was going down south to March with Dr. King and got beaten and arrested several times down south. And even though we were like tiny, we also knew that he might not make it back from one of those trips. So we would always block the door and he's like, just take care of your mother. I gotta go. Right. Oh, that's tough. And, and so, and they, they, they were tough people and, and. They ran the place until my father had a stroke. When he was 51 that the doctor said, my mother called me and said, he's not gonna, the doctor said, he's not gonna make it. He's gonna die. She says, I refuse to believe that I've got some money. I'm gonna try to get him to a private hospital. And she was able to do that. And he lived another 17 years, but he was paralyzed and aphasic. And my mother tried to keep the residential treatment center going for a year or so after that. But I mean, she was in over ahead and she had Parkinson's. So, you know, during, during that time I had, I had gone to law school cause I was gonna save the world by practicing law. And I had been a, a prosecutor during the height of the the, the crack epidemic. Oh And then I was a public Def well, then I went to Washington DC and worked for a a Republican yeah. Sub subcommittee. Yeah. Re and it was a Republican Senator and I got, see Joe Biden who was, who was really rude to me. But that's another story oh, we gotta get back to that. He's just generally rude. He was arrogant. He didn't, he didn't care. You know, I was a lonely staffer. Sounds about right. and, and I, I, you know, they talk about, you don't wanna see two things made, right. One is sausages and the other's law. And, and I, you know, I got to see the wheeling and dealing down in the Senate and it was crazy. The things people would sell out for. And, and, and just because, you know, there's the higher, highest bid that, that wanted some Senator to do a piece of legislation. And what year was this when you were in there? I was was at eight. Eating. I went to my boss who was the, the in Manhattan when I was a da. And I said, should I do this? And he says, you can't not do it. So that was, I went from 89 to 90. Then I realized that my mother was having a hard time taking care of my father. And I got an offer. Somebody said, look, this, this public defender, new public defender's office in Harlem was looking for a chief counsel. And that was the perfect time for me to go back and, and look after them. And went back there, got to see another side of the law. I, I never, never got a law with defense attorneys

Bento:

prosecuted to defense attorney. I mean, couldn't get more polarized

Hans:

in that, but, but, but again, you know, it's, there's, it's, it's one of the reasons why, you know, now there's a saying that, you know, you should always try to be around people who are seeking the truth and, and, and, and run as fast as you can from people who claim they found it. Right. so right. Sure. You know, I, I, I got a lot of balance in, in terms of, of those things and He came back was working as a public defender. But I also, at that place too, it was interesting. The, the actual lawyers doing the work, they were incredible. They were zealous. They disliked me because I was a former prosecutor, right. A lot of, a lot of intense distrust, but, but you saw what they did for their clients and, and they were amazing. And so my brother, who at the time was a teacher. He got outta Harvard in three years, then worked as a janitor, cuz he didn't want, know what he wanted to do. And one day he was cleaning up offices at the Dean of the school of education. He says, you know, you graduated in three years. Why are you doing that? He said, you should go back to graduate school. So he did. And he got his master's in education from Harvard as well and was teaching. And he said, I got, he called me. And he says, I got a student. And he says he needs representation. And I said, he's out of our catchment area. He says, you gotta take him. He says, this is the most brilliant writer. I've I've ever known he's, you know, he's, he he's, but he's in a lot of, I said, what kind of trouble? He said, well his mother was involved in a very abusive relationship with this guy. Who's a known drug dealer in the community. And my student and a couple of his friends waited for this guy one night as he broke in through the window. And he, he, he was found with multiple gunshots in the back. Oh man. And, and burned in the, in the field. And the police think that my student did it and I said, wish your student now he says, he's, he's in the wind. And so turned out, the guy went to Texas, started his life over again was a manager at a fast food restaurant, married with child. And then like, they had nothing better to do. The warrant squad tracked him down for the murder of this, this, this drug dealer who would, who killed other people. Right. So they brought him back. He was facing a lot of time in prison and my office. Even though my boss said, you can't do it. My, the colleagues there said, no, we will represent him. And they did. And the guy ended up doing only, you know, only but five years when he was facing like 15 to 20. Wow. And he's, he's, he's since put his life back together, but that was the kind of thing. But I also, then I had a woman call me at that office who said look, I know you were a da and I know you're doing this now. And you people represented my son. And I'd really like the work that you did for him. But you also know people at district attorney's office. She goes, my daughter witnessed a multiple homicide out front of our projects and they, they, she testified and they, we were supposed to get relocated and the district attorney says they will not relocate her re relocate us. And I said, you, you gotta be kidding. Oh my God. She says, she says, we're.

Bobby:

It's terrifying, but what is, how can you pull that off the table on

Hans:

somebody? Well that, well, I, that I was incensed and I, and I, and I, I called the district attorney's office and I just got to the number two person there at the time. And I said, if you do not relocate her within the week, you will never have anybody testifying at any murder trial ever again, she got pissed off called the same boss. yeah. Who came into my office, sat down. We had a gr had a glass wall in that office and he pointed out, he says, look at those people out there. He says, they're gonna do what they do. He goes, but you and me were supposed to be going places. He says, we're not gonna be going places. If you're pissing off people in high places he says, says, you need to back off. And I said, with all due respect, I'm not backing off. And they eventually relo, they relocated her that week. Oh, good. good. Yeah. But me and the boss, me and the boss didn't get along. And I said, yeah, it's time for me to step off the treadmill, help my mother out with my father. Yeah. And I said, you know what? I've I've, I've done a lot of work with kids and I did since college why not start a school? My brother's got his master's in education. Right. And I called him and he goes, eh, that's kind of crazy. He said, I'm doing okay. As a public school teacher, I got benefits. And all that says what, what he says, what are you talking about? And I said, well, what would it take for you to join me? He says, if you can raise, this is how crazy it was. If you can raise $50,000 to start the school I'll join you. And he says, where are you gonna start it? I said, I'm gonna start it back where we grew up. Yeah. Home. Because I wanted to keep my parents in that house. I mean, they, they built that place literally raised the money and, and did all that. And, and they deserved to die there. And so. Start, we got, I got $50,000. I had, I had a short time frame, short window to start the school. Half of that was from a a professional gambler who was a family friend. And the other half was from JFK Jr. Who had just joined something called the Robinhood foundation, who I had known way back at private school. Then our paths crossed again at the district attorney's office. Wow. And he was able to get that 20 other $25,000 from that foundation that subsequently went on. That was 92. I got that money. Then it was 93. Again, current events. I was a gun carrying head of school and teacher because I had death threats because we were interrupting the, the crack traffic on the block. And I had verified death threats. And the N Y P D said, look, we can give you 24 hour protection. But we can also expedite a carry permit and tell you and get you a discount on a body armor. so used sweet. I said, I said, I, I said, I'll get my own body armor. I said, but I'll pass on the 24 hour protection, but I'd love it. If you could expedite the carry permit. And this is at the time of their 2,500 homicides, 2,400 homicides

Bobby:

in New York city. I say in the early nineties, that was at the height of, of all of

Hans:

those things. Mm. So for three years I carried a gun as head of a school. And it's, it's one of the things that kept me alive that, and people like this, this Irish, this, this skinny, white, Irish cop with blonde hair who had one of these scooters and, you know, we had all these drug dealers driving around with their high tech weapons and their friends and cars. And these guys coming up in his scooter, this little scooter,

Bobby:

like fucking like fucking

Hans:

Paul. Yeah. Right, right. And he said He goes, look, I'm getting off in about an hour. He says, but if, if you don't mind, I'll stay out here for an hour. And he says, we'll both show 'em together that we're not scared and they can't scare us. He didn't have this guy did not have to do that. He did not have to do that. Right. And I told him that. But he did, he did just on, on most nights that he was on duty. He stood out there with me. These, the bad guys knew I was armed. There's the cop there. There were other cops who I had worked with in the district attorney's office, who put out the word that if anything happened to me and my brother, these other guy, the bad guys would be found floating in the river. I mean, this is how this was. It was, it was that time. You could see that's how it was done back then. Yeah.

Bobby:

Right, right. That's how, especially, because especially cuz back then the, the N Y P D never had any of the appropriate amount of resources necessary to fight what was going on in the city at that time was unbelievable.

Hans:

They had, they still had a can do attitude because it, there was another incident where I spoke to the captain after I got threatened by these, they used to have these freelance construction crews that were non-union and they would go and threaten all the workers on the job site, whether they were union or non-union because they would put all their people on. Right. I got, I got to school, I got to school open up early one morning. And they were chasing these, these bad guys were chasing with metal bars and pipes. And I don't know what else they had this, this, this one guy. And it turns out he was from Mexico who was getting ready to do, work on a job. And I got between them and they're like, do you wanna die? And I'm like, I showed them my, my, my model, 1911 government cult. Right. And like, oh, it's like that. And I said, yeah, so you need to walk away. They said, we're gonna come back. I went to the precinct, spoke to the captain and he says, he said, what they need to understand is we got a bigger, better armed gang. He says, so you call us as soon as they show up back again. And, but again, that was the, that was the attitude. But I also had the black Muslims contact me who said look, we know your father was, cause my father was white. My mother was black. Yeah. And they said, look, we understand that. They said, but you're working with our children. And we will soldier in that community if they don't back off. So all that pressure, the drug gang asked for a meeting that was brokered by a friend who also grew up there and was a cop. And so I sat down with the head of the gang and he said, what do you want? I said, you can't sell drugs when we're having school. Right. Cause that's it. right. I said, yeah, that's it. And he, he, until he was sent to prison, he enforced with an iron hand. That they were not allowed. His people were not allowed to sell drugs on that block when school was in session. I mean, he kept to his word. Yeah. And then went to prison and then started communicating with me because his family and everybody else abandoned him. And he had, he had nobody to talk to nobody to put money in his commissary. And so for a few years that we, you know, we, I would write him letters, put money in his commissary, and then we were gonna have a big reunion cuz he was getting out after I think it was eight years. And he says, I'm going to Miami first. He says, I'm gonna call you. I wanna buy you dinner. He never made it back from Miami. He was shot dead in the street. Oh, wow. But yeah, so, so those were, those were, those were, those were, those were crazy years.

Bobby:

I can only imagine. And I can only imagine too, as, as you see all these things happening on the TV now with these, these kids and all these schools, I mean, I, I can only imagine what you feel like, you know, knowing, being in that position where you had to carry.

Hans:

Yeah. And it's, it's it's, you know, nothing was gonna happen. I had to, and I had to protect my kids and I, there was the, at the, you know, again, as part of that and people, my board knew, and they weren't uncom, they weren't comfortable with it, but again, that's how bad those days were. They said like, okay, we get it if you gotta do it. But at the time, one of my board members was the wife of the then treasury secretary under bill Clinton and she, and a woman who was I think, I dunno if at the time she was a deputy commissioner or something in the city. Was also on the board. And we were coming out and a gunfight broke out right in front of the building and I had to get them inside. And after that, she never questioned about, you know, why I carried the kids who I carried. They knew not, not to even ask to play with it or anything stupid like that did. Right, right. Cause they were growing up. They were growing up in that, in that neighborhood where things

Bobby:

were crazy. Oh yeah. I'm sure they I'm sure they saw worse things than yeah. Than any of us could imagine. Absolutely.

Hans:

That's absolutely.

Bento:

And that school is still going on today, right?

Hans:

Yeah. My brother and I ran it for nine years and then one of us was gonna kill the other one. So I consulted a couple of mutual friends and I said, look, who needs to go? And I, you know, I was told by a couple of people who I really respect. They, they said, look, as you can tell from, from my resume, like you can do a lot of things. You've done a lot of things. Yeah. He needs this, you, you should be the one to go. So I went and, and, and moved on to a, a, a where I, I ran a program with 350 employees youth development organization, you know, a few blocks over. But, and that was a good move too. It's it's still go. It's still going today. And I, you know, nice. He's he, he got a, then mayor Bloomberg broke ground on their brand new cuz we were living in a building where I had to fix the boiler. I had to kill rats. I had to, to unplug the sewer water, you know, and then clean up and then make breakfast for the kids and make lunch for the kids. And then teach. Right. And then raise money. Right. So, you know, he, he got his 24 million bill, I think it was 24 million brand new building. Terrific. It it's going great. And so whatever, 25 years later, he's he's still getting it done. So that's, that's incredible.

Bento:

Yeah. Cause I, I had Google search, you know, the Exodus house. And I saw like this like really nice looking new school. And I was like, I don't think this is the right place and quite out. Yeah. It's just the evolution of, of, and

Hans:

Joe don't Exodus house either. Cuz that was one of the things we battled over. I wanted to keep the name in for tradition and, and, and sake of what he goes. No, it's east Harlem school. I mean, oh, that's, that's really creative, you know,

Bobby:

but, well, I'll tell

Bento:

you why, if you Google Exodus house, Harlem, that school comes up, so,

Bobby:

oh good. You still,

Hans:

you still getting your way. And we, and we, we had our 15 minutes of he's still going with it, but we had our 15 minutes of fame back then and I, I got to meet the Serena and Venus Williams. Oh wow. You know, the. Puff daddy or whatever it was, he is now. And you know Maya Angelou told me, and it's the biggest story behind that, that, that I look great in a Speedo. And, and then, and then when I told her, I said, I said, I appreciate it. I look okay. She, she, she tore me a new one by telling me I was being falsely modest and that's not an attractive characteristic in any human being and just accept the compliment, like, okay, alright.

Bobby:

Oh my God, Maya, Angela's gonna tell you that you,

Bento:

we saw on Instagram too, that Martin Luther king Jr. Actually gave your father you know, like a sign document, thanking him for his work like that. That was

Hans:

incredible. No, it's, it's, it's, it's a tremendous legacy and it, and it's, and it's been something that I think both me and my brother, you know, have felt that we need to, and my sister too, that we need to carry with us in terms of, of how we approach our work. No matter what it is we're doing, it's not, it's not, it's not great for, for marriages. I'll say that that kind of commitment. Yeah. But yeah, it's something to carry. Yeah.

Bobby:

That's unreal. Yeah. And so let me, let me back up too, cause I did wanna, you know, ask you a little bit further about your father and the you know, traveling down to work with you know, Dr. King as a white fella, that must have been a little different. I, I mean, talk to me a little bit about that, that experience and, you know, growing up where you grew up, but having the white dad, like, you know what I mean? Like where you. Like, I, I don't really know how to, how to even judge, like what that must have been like, like in your community, like how other kids would react to things

Hans:

like that. Like, well, and I guess the times that were, they were different. I mean, he stood out. Yeah. And there were a couple of other white ministers from some place called the east Harlem Protestant parish, but he never, you know, he, he, he was different. He never had a church. He grew up in, in Nebraska. My mother grew came family came up in the great migration from Alabama to Chicago. Mm-hmm and when he told his family he's marrying a black woman he's essentially disowned until the kids were born. Then the family said, oh, you know what, we, we, we didn't mean it, but wow. The, the mess of Methodist church says, there's no way you're getting to church. Yeah. And so he, he kind of gave up on that aspect of things and his ministry were the, where the men and women he worked with every day. Yeah. And, and in the community, he was respected because I guess he identified as a pacifist But, but he was, he was very tough and, and there was a period. I think it was the NA I think it was during what, what was called the nap commission and the French connection. There was a cop in the movie long time ago, Eddie Egan or whatever was a cop there. Yeah. And so my father knew him and, and my father testified against the corrupt police and was not so, so, and I saw him getting arrested one time by the police over some garbage. And then all the guys in the house marched on the precinct, snapping off at the time, car antennas, bringing baseball bats, they were gonna riot in front. And so everything got calmed down. But my father, he was, he was different. There was a, a group called the, the, the young Lord's party, which was the Puerto Rican equivalent to the, the black Panthers. My father was part of a sit-in with Lincoln hospital and a local church. For their feeding program. And I remember guy named Felipe Luciano who was very big with the young Lord. So I saw years later and he just said, you know, how much depth of feeling he had for my parents and in the community? Oh, so my father put his bucket down and there was never any question of him being a, like a missionary or, or a visitor or, or just a, you know, an accidental tourist. He was as much a part of the community as anybody. And it was a servant of the people there. And it's, it's why, you know, I got, well, I got a 20 year old son. Who's a little more conservative than I am. But I have an issue with organized religion cuz you saw what happened with, I saw what happened to what, you know, my father. Right. And, and, and mm-hmm but he still had this. Faith. And and I know one of you guys is an atheist. I know that I, I heard that heard that episode. Okay. There you go. Yeah. But, and, and I identify mainly as more spiritual than religious, but sure. But yeah, but my father, and there were two other men who happened to be ministers who, and they also happened to be white. And the other guy was a white guy who put his bucket down in the Harlem community and fought against corrupt police guy named Bob castle and, and, and the late Jonathan Demi wrote a, did a movie based on him called my cousin, Bobby. And you know this again, my father Bob castle. I mean, they were crazy with their militancy in terms of, of better lives for better people. The third guy was the guy named Ernest Gordon, who I met at college, who was the Dean of the chapel. And we were getting ready to take over group of students getting ready to take over the, the main administrative building because of the, the investments in the VE apartheid South Africa that my college had. Mm. And I was asking him his opinion on that and should I stay arrest and all that. And he, he knew of my father and, and he told me, you kind of gotta ha he basically said, you have to. And I looked into, I looked into Ernest Gordon before this was the guy who was, he was one of the people who the, the movie, the, the bridge over the river choir, mm-hmm and the death March, and the Japanese prisoner award, he was in the, in the, in the Scottish Highlanders or something and was given up for dead. wow. But made it back. And, and, and, you know, he found his faith or whatever, but so it, coincidentally, right. All these three guys who happened to be white, who happened to be believers Came into my life. And, and so that's, that's been, that's informed it. And so my father, my father, all he did was all he did was work. I mean, that's, that's all he did. Right. And in, in many respects, it's, it's essentially what kind of drove him to getting, having his stroke. wasn't, he didn't pay attention to his health. Yeah. And he was, he was fearless and going down south, I think now back then, if I was back then, would I have had the guts? I like to think I would've cause the jeans, but you

Bobby:

know, I don't know though. I mean, that's, that's a great question because you know, not only are you walking into a very hostile. Territory, but you're immediately viewed as like a trader. Exactly. Right. Exactly. You know, and, and I think that that just makes it even more dangerous. Sure. I mean, but even more, you know, you

Bento:

know, well, and then you're, you're, you're also a, you're a trait to, to the white people down there, but you're also suspicious to the black people down there. So I mean, exactly. He really went down there and technically couldn't win on either side. So, I mean, that's, that's amazing. It takes exort amount of bravery to do that. It's

Hans:

incredible. Yeah. A lot of ball and, and, and I, I, I, you know, there's, there's not a week that goes by that. I don't think about that and wonder would I have been able to do it. And, and he, I, I think he told her, my mother said something to, to one of my siblings about, oh, you know, Hans has done all these great things and, you know, dad is just, can't imagine, you know, how he's accomplished so much. You know, that was way back when, but I'm like thinking like, what are you kidding me? I'm like a big kid compared to you. I mean, that, it's not, I, I don't even see how that works. And, but. Yeah, it was, it was, it was nice. And, and before he left, I mean, he got to see the school up and running. He knew that that place was gonna survive. He got to meet Paul Newman who came up to sing happy birthday to my mother. Oh. So, you know, he, he, he got to experience a, a little bit of, of, of it and, and, and knew that's legacy was gonna be carried on, so, right.

Bobby:

Terrific. That's terrific. And so in terms of you know, your school and, and you know, how it kind of evolved from, you know, after school programs to full-fledged school talk to us a little bit about the structure, right? Cause if I understand it's a charter school and it's you no,

Hans:

it's not. So it's not, we, we predated charter legislation. Okay. There was no charter legislation, which is why it was crazy to even think we could do it. Okay. While we think we could get past fire department inspections while we thought we could get, you know, reimbursed for meals, but I didn't know any better. Mm, so,

Bento:

and still made it work though. It's yeah. That's why, what you originally said, you know, $50,000. And my first thought was that doesn't really sound like a lot to start a school

Hans:

it, it, it wasn't. And there was, you know, there was one time where I was down to $1,500 in the bank to pay like 10 people, staff people. And, and you know, yeah, $3,000. That's like a Hyundai but they, you know, it's since changed. And I think my FA my, my brother's got you know, seven figure endowment in the bank and all that. So yeah, it was wow. Which is, but again, that's why I was the plumber, the security guard, the

Bobby:

fundraiser. And somebody's gonna do that bar. Is that teacher? Yeah. At the beginning. How, how many students

Hans:

are in the school now? I think they're about 150 and that's the other thing too. It's it's, it's we, we always would take hits for how come you're not scaling up. How come you're not, you know creating a network. And, and again, I think both my brother and I, whatever we disagreed on, I think we also understood that education is should be a deeply personal individual endeavor. And, and, and, and it can't be cookie cutter and too many of the charter schools. Am I, soon to be ex second wife, you know, has worked a lot of years at a charter school. Mm-hmm and I just see the process that, that, that they go through. And we had people who were just starting out when they were starting charters. And a couple of them are big, big charter networks. And they were asking like, how do you do what you do? What's your, what's your plan for expansion? And they, their eyes glazed over. And we told 'em we had no plans for expansion. Right. But that, yeah, that's, that's. I still have relationships with most of the kids from the days of that middle school. And these kids are like 40 years old now, which is crazy. Right. And same thing for a high school that I started later on at that, that other youth organization that I talked about. But because it was an individual endeavor, I knew about the kids lives. They knew about my life. Right. And, and they knew, you know, I was a little harder, harder than I probably needed to be back then. But part of that was inexperience. But part of it was because I was so desperate to make sure that they didn't end up like so many other kids in the community.

Bobby:

Right, right, right. Yeah. I can't, I can't blame you for that one bit. I probably would be the same way, especially, you know, I think of myself in, you know, my military experience and, you know, one of those points in your life, it is just, you need the hard truth. Yeah. And it's not always easy right. To, to pick that moment for other people, but a lot, lots of times it's it's the, the necessary step.

Hans:

Yeah, no. And I, I was, that's where I was placed. And so you know, I had a short window at time to, to operate with, with these kids. And, and so you

Bento:

had to, and their kids, they don't know the consequences of, you know, you've, you've already gone through it. So you knew the risk that these kids were in to. You know, either put 'em on the right path and have a great life, or, you know, bring him down the other path and drug dealing in jail time and, you know, everything else

Bobby:

that you

Hans:

saw, you know, or, or going to, to, to, you know, which I did to, to, and more than one occasion go to the, the deathbed of, of a parent, you know, who, who would succumb to, to you know, drugs right. And no other family members, but me and the kid, you know, standing there at the bedside. Right. And, and wow. And so that's. Yeah, but they, but they, we, we, and we, and we did things that other schools weren't doing, you know I guess it's not popular now, but we started a boy scout troop and, and, and we won, we won awards. We got 'em to New Mexico. We traveled to What is it in, in, in Minnesota, Elie, Minnesota, and at we, I, I, we went winter, camping and dog sledding there. And at the time we we also hit 65 degrees below zero, which air temperature, which is the coldest recorded at the time, the coldest recorded air temperature in north America or, or the United States in the United States, continental the United States. And I still have frost by damage from that time. But the kids, the kids, the kids will never forget it. They, and we, we, and this is, and again, right, these were black and brown kids. And we walked after we, we were only able to hang out for like four days, the dogs weren't even moving. Right. These SL were tough as hell. So we, we, and so our guys said like, let's, let's, let's bring it in. Like, okay, no problem with that. So we came in and, and after we, we got all the gear squared away, we went to this restaurant. And so a couple of kids, my kids said, look at those white people, they're staring at us. Why are they staring at us? We can't go anywhere without people staring at us. So then this woman came over and she says, You were the kids that were out there, we heard it on the radio. She just sort said, we just want to tell you that you are our heroes. You are our new heroes, cuz we live in this place and we weren't even going outside. Wow. And so, so again, that, that, that whole framework flipped for, for these kids who were on that

trip,

Bobby:

you know, that's terrific. It's amazing. And so describe, you know, these kids' journeys kind of after going through your school, I mean, are, are a lot of these kids getting into, you know, either, you know, higher education or job placement stuff, like, you know, where these kids ending up instead of like bento said, you know, right back on the

Hans:

streets. Well, and, and for better or worse. And, and, and it can it's, you can argue it both ways. We decided that we were gonna send them again. You're you're, you're, you're not, we, you know, we weren't the, the professional Olympic diving coaches, we were like the lifeguards at the local beach. Right? Sure. And so we were gonna, we felt in order to save their lives and, and the families agreed with it. Wasn't like, you know, we were hijacking these kids. No, of course we, we sent them almost exclusively to boarding schools. Wow. Okay. And, and, and, and the schools were thrilled to have them, you know, before all this diversity equity and inclusion stuff was going on, the, the, the administrators at, at that time were, were, were, were. Clear eye and, and, and open about wanting to, you know, diversify in, in a real way. Right? Not, not, not in a virtue signaling way, right. Their student body. And so the, the kids were there and they made the best of it. And, and all these kids now they're, they're, they're doing well, but you know, again, some, some, some went on I'm thinking of one kid, he, he decided, you know what, college isn't for me. But he was a real outdoors guy and he, I think he's making more money now in cons than I do in construction. Right. So he's in construction. That's what he, that was great. That's what school he bought his house. And, and so it's the

Bento:

world needs people like that too. And then everybody needs to be book smart and

Hans:

educated, you know, more than ever. And that's, and that's one of the things that we, we were telling the kids right. At the time, it was more geared towards the, you know, the work of the, the head, but now, you know, it's, it's, I see anyway, the, the work of the heart and the hands is even more important particularly now. And so but we, we, we did have kids who went to, you know, good schools and, and are, are, you know, fine, upstanding, productive citizens. You know, some kids from my high school I remember I had two, two sisters came to me. They were their mother's like, they don't belong in special ed and they, they didn't, they didn. This one girl's now is finishing up her dissertation for her PhD. Wow. And so she and her physician husband, you know, like they, they're trying to find time for the kids. Right. But so this as a kid, you know, it's like, wow, okay, you're living a better life than I'm living.

Bobby:

Right. But that's

Hans:

terrific. I mean, but kids who went to, you know, I had a guy who did two tours of Afghanistan. Right. So. Another kid, another kid in the Marine Corps also, but they, but, but they, they were on a, a much better path than the ones.

Bento:

Sure. Right. At least they got to choose their path

Bobby:

at the end of exactly. Yeah. Well, and I think that that's the biggest thing, right. Is, you know, you're teaching these kids how to identify opportunities for themselves. Right. You know, I mean, I know, you know, even plenty of people around here where we grew up, you know, it was nowhere like Harlem and you know, the kids who get in trouble and get into drugs and get arrested and all those kind of things. That's the number, one thing they need too, is like, you just need to get away from who you're with and where you are. And. And start fresh again. And so I love that concept of the boarding school too. Like, especially coming from a place like Harlem, like you need to learn about the rest of the world, because what you've experienced is just one small facet of the world. And there is a lot more out there for everybody. And, and so I really like that idea of the boarding school. I think that's phenomenal.

Hans:

And, you know, and, and, and, you know, an adjunct to that was, was what I had in my high school. And these were, again, these were kids who, some of whom would drop outta school because of being bullied, cuz they were gay or, or they were gang members and got kicked out or whatever. But these kids all came together as one family. Right. And, and we would, we would travel and, and, and my board lost their minds. They're like we don't have money in the budget to travel, but again, kind of. Serious internet, you know, it was the internet, but not really most of our records from this 87 year old organization were stored underneath the pool. Right. Or whatever. So, right. I, I, I, I was going through documents cuz somebody, there was a rumor that somebody had left a million dollars for kids basically to expand their horizons. It's supposedly very general language, but the woman who was there, she was really old. I'm like, ah, you know, she's no go take a look at the, I went through these boxes. I spent one evening just going through boxes under the pool. And I found this thing that it was, it was very general. This, this money is to expand and people by board could never figure out why was the, why were these funds restricted? Right? How did we get them unrestricted? But I found the documentation and I said, you can't restrict it. You have to do this. And so I actually put it in a fund for these kids to travel. And so we did service projects in, in, in, in places like, you know Kenya Ghana Nicaragua.

Bobby:

Yeah, I saw that. I saw that. So tell us a little bit more about, more about that. And so this was with the the school and forgive me, I, I don't have the name for me. Here's the Boulder

Hans:

outdoor survival school. Is that correct? No, we did. We did that too. That was, that was in Utah. And that was a survival thing. The boys that was 10 school. Yeah.

Bobby:

Another school that

Hans:

got it. Yeah. They, they, we, we, we took a bunch of kids on that survival trip to Utah and that was, that was tough. And then I'm glad I took 'em when we did, because I think the month after like two people died on it oh man. Hundred trips up. It would've been tougher to get them out, get the kids out, you know,

Bobby:

I'm sure you would've had a few drop off, like, OK. Two,

Bento:

two people die, but

Bobby:

hundreds of people

Hans:

have done it. So the boy would've talked to me about something crazy like liability, but who knows? Yeah. Yeah. Right. But now the, the, the other things were, were projects where in, in Nick and I, where we went and worked with Local farmers to help them rebuild their farms. In Senegal, we helped build vegetable gardens with a, a local organization for patients with aids who would've died if they didn't have these additional, this additional nutrition. Cause they were there and their families didn't have money to bring them food. So we helped this organization get, you know, dig vegetable gardens. And so my kids got to see, and again, it sounds a little corny, but I guess it's apropo and the times we're living and like, oh, wow, okay. Just by virtue of our zip code, when we were born, we don't have to endure this. We have options. Right. Sure. Right. Right. And as tough as their lives were, they saw these people whose lives were a lot tougher.

Bento:

Right. And at that time you couldn't just Google something and see how other people live across the world. So, right. Yeah. You only grew up in your little bubble and that's really all you knew, right? Yeah.

Bobby:

That's amazing.

Hans:

Yeah. That's really powerful. And, and it's an organizing, it's an organizing characteristic for, or it's. It's why a couple of these kids actually went into the military. They want to see more of the world, you know, so, wow.

Bobby:

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, Hey, I went to the military, I get to live in, in South Korea for a year.

Hans:

That was great. Nice. yeah, I was, I was in the reserve. I ironically it was at a time where the Soviets were supposed to be attacking. Right. Yeah. And now, now, now it's Russian. They still might be

Bobby:

they're right.

Bento:

Nothing more things change, more things stay the same. I was never in the service. I was always too fat, so OK. no service

Bobby:

to me. that's funny. And so, and so let's go on to the the working with the police departments and, and kind of you know, working with, with those departments and how to communicate better with community leaders, especially

Bento:

in Baltimore, which is yeah. You know, I know that's one of the police stations that is always on the news or somethings going on. And just one of the, one of the worst, you know, probably one of the worst cities for crime

Bobby:

in the United States. Yeah. And I would, so I would love to get your opinion on, on, not, not only, you know, to hear your, your experience with that, but also, you know, in the, you know, few cases we've seen within the past five years, you know, How do we stop these kinds of things against these, these poor black folks? Like, it's unbelievable, like some of these things that we see it's clearly poor policing. Yes. And it's clearly, you know, and it's, you know, line. Yeah. And so for, for us, I mean, even me, like I come from a family of police officers, but my father, for instance, he was a, a 30 year homicide detective in province. Wow. Wow. And so like, you know, for him, he has a very different perspective on things. Yeah. but in the same sense, he says the same thing that we all say, he goes, yeah, they're just really shitty cops, just like they're are shitty teachers and shitty carpenters. Yes. And anything else. And, and so as much as I, I hear that, but at some point too, like it's gotta be more, there has to be something done. And so I, I would love to get your

Hans:

perspective on it. Well, I mean, there are a couple things, right? So, so, so my vision of policing was kind of formed by, like I told you that skinny, Irish cop who stood with me, there was a guy named Steven McDonald who was shot and paralyzed from the neck down. And I, I actually went and boxed at a, at a benefit for him. And he was just so gracious and kind him and his wife. And he actually forgave the guy who shot him and met with the kid who shot him and paralyzed him from the neck down. Wow. So you saw cops like that? I got another friend who was the one who broker the deal between me and the drug dealers. And this guy was a 20 year cop in, in, in, in New York. Legendary, the village voice wrote a, the local paper here, wrote a story about him Anthony Acosta. And I've tried to get people to read that story because one night he was off duty coming home and he saw a bunch of white guys beating an African Ry cab driver. He intervened. Turns out that these white guys were cops who had been drinking at a local bar. And they said that the guys came, the guy at delivery cab came too close to one of their private vehicles or something. So they were beating him and my guy got involved. He was a cop. Right. And then when they found that out, these guys, and there was a captain with them they said, look, that's terrible. Just, just, just say, you didn't identify yourself as a police officer, but I did. I said, well, just look, we need to make this, go away. Just say you didn't, I, you know, you didn't identify yourself. He said, I'm not doing that. Right. And he didn't and he was investigated and they took his, they took his badge in his gun for two years while they investigated he had to support his family by becoming a contractor in Iraq and Afghanistan, a security contractor. Wow. Uh, And he was eventually exonerated and you know, the good news is the delivery cab driver got a multimillion dollar settlement. yeah. Um, Nice taxpayer money. Of course. Yeah. Yes. But this cop, my guy. Had to rebuild his career and frankly, he's still doing that, right. He's still rebuilding this career, right. Don see away. Right? No, and, but I got to see what good police looked like. And and I got, and in Baltimore I was there because of a guy named Adam Wolinsky who's in his eighties. Now his 20 year old son of mine, I talked about loves this guy. And, and Adam was a former speech writer for Bobby Kennedy. And he had a, a, a vision that policing needed to be done better. Yeah. And, and he, I, it was in the early, I guess I met him in Washington when I, in, in, in 1990. That's when I first met him. And we stayed in touch after I left, but he had this vision for something called police Corps and he was going to train cops to be a part of the community. He was gonna train them to get out of their vehicles, to walk amongst the people, right. To know people by name back like the beat cops. Yeah, exactly. And, and, and that, if things went bad, these, the, the cops that he was gonna train were gonna be able to shoot somebody to kill with, you know, one or two shots if it, but the, but first it would go to hands. And if they were involved in a hand to hand confrontation with a bad guy, there was no question that the cop was gonna win because they would be so much better trained. And he brought in a former Navy seal, hand to hand combatives guy, right. He brought in the best handgun instructors, but he also brought in people like me to teach communications and community relations and neurolinguistic programming and meditation and all these other things. And, and, and so he was, we were in St. Louis, Mississippi, Baltimore, a bunch of places. Wow. And, and I would walk with Adam through Different station houses in Baltimore. And you could see clearly who were the cops, who were these police core cops, just, just the way they dressed, the way they carried themselves. And then you also saw the people who couldn't stand Adam in his program. And these were these tough off you know, plain clothes units. There's a new show out there now on HBO called we own the street. And it's about the, these corrupt Baltimore cops. And it's a, it's, it's a, it's a kind of a, a sequel to the wire. And I think that these cops who were being there or were actually some of the cops I met, who didn't want to talk to Adam Molinsky or me when we would walk through. Let's talk about training for your guys and, and they would laugh and to ride us and, and, and put the program down. Right. And so I saw, and, and I, I, I saw, and I, I mean, I saw what good policing was and this program was going to continue. It was federally funded, but then what happened was the war on terror took all this, the, the funding away and police court basically died on the vine. And it's a shame because again, I saw, and the police commissioner at the time, a guy named Fred Feld bought in 100% to this method of policing. And when they tried to and, and in the war on terror, one of the offshoots of that was they were going to increase the militarization of the police and the equipment. Yeah, that's right.

Bobby:

They all got the the the Humvee.

Hans:

So exactly. Yes. All of that. And, and, and special sniper rifles, bill felt rejected all that money. And he was vilified for it. Okay. He says, my cops are not gonna be buttoned up in super armored personnel carriers. He said, that's not gonna happen. Right. Right. And, and I, I did ride alongs with these guys and, and, and, and it was fun for them because they would show me, look, that's where they, they, they shot that episode of the wire. And this is, I'm like, I believe you, I believe you, that we had to stay here. I mean, and you, the danger was palpable in, in, in, in these areas, but these caps were. The police court cops were unafraid. They were unafraid. And, and then the people knew them. And you saw the, the, the, the, the church ladies or the people on the stoops were happy when they saw them. Because it doesn't matter what, you know, defunding or what, whatever you're gonna do the bottom, line's gonna be when, when, when something bad is happening, the cops are gonna be the first ones to show up. And who, who do you want to have show up? Right. And somebody you're familiar with yeah. Or a complete, and who, you know, is gonna not go to their weapon first. Right. But, but, but that training it's, it's, it's, it's like, like a dark Relic of the past. And, and, and so you have, again, polarized groups where you either completely defund the police or go back to that militarization of the

Bento:

police. Well, it's, it's hard. Right. And that's the problem. Yeah, exactly. So training, training officers like, oh, that's true. Like training officers like that, it takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of money. Yep. And it's hard and people aren't into hard, like, especially when you're in position of authority, you want. Path to least resistance, you know, they want, they want all the cool military stuff that, that they can get, you know, for free

Bobby:

from the government and increase the budgets to keep them high. And it's just

Hans:

a bad look. No, it, it really is. And, and nobody, nobody nobody's talking about nuance or subtlety or complicated plans or, I mean, it's, it's just, and I, I can't even, I can't even look at the discussion now around policing, because as you're saying, Joe, it's no, nobody wants to do the hard thing.

Right.

Bobby:

One, one theory that I had heard out there wasn't necessarily right. It was, you know, in line when, when all the defund police stuff started. But somebody had floated the idea of, instead of making these, you know, police core, you know, employees you know, where they have to have that additional training to have police officers. When they get a call that a, I don't know, social worker is the right word, Rob. Yeah. But, but some sort of field position, you know what I mean, to

Hans:

go out there with them. Funny, funny, funny. You should mention that. And I don't know if it shows up on my resume, but I'm, I've been contracted to do work with a group called SUV and it's called it has stop urban violence and it's modeled on a program that was started in Chicago. Mm-hmm that has a group of violence, interrupters and street outreach workers who go out when something's going wrong in a community. Either as a first line or certainly as a second line to deescalate, make sure there's not retaliation, further violence and also the comfort, the victims of violence. So I'm, I'm gonna be working with violence interrupters because yeah, there is definitely a role for that kind of a program. But, but people. Far to the left, wanna clean. They have that as, as, as, as the absolute default position. Oh, okay. But you know, it's, again, it it's it's it's well, I'm not, I'm not even gonna go into the gun thing, but Yeah. It's it's

Bento:

no, but you're right. Sending, sending some, just somebody out there for that you're you're, you know, they even talk about like, even for like domestic disturbances and things like that. Yeah. Like, you know, having a therapist go out there is great for those situations, but you also need that protection for that worker too. Cause yeah. Right at the end, you know, at the end of the day, I mean, and that, that's kind of like the, the side of the cops is like, when you get that call, you don't know what you're going into. It could be right. Something that you can use easily, or it could be somebody firing shots at you. Right. So that's why

Bobby:

I

Hans:

would want them both expert in each of their fields. Right. And that, and that mutual respect. Right. But in, in the current climate, you're not gonna have, if you were to say, okay, we're gonna pair 'em up. And, and, and you're starting tomorrow. There wouldn't be the, the common lines of communication or the mutual respect that you would need to make that relationship work. Mm. That, that would be that I think that is an important model that, that needs to be investigated.

Bobby:

Yeah, but you're right. There probably would be some heavy resistance to that, especially, you know, too, because especially like if you have good cops who know their community and know the people in their community, I remember my, my grandfather, he was a round state trooper when he was stationed. This was, you know, this was in the eighties and federal hill, Rhode Island, you know, early eighties, late seventies, federal hill, Rhode Island. So it was like you know, the, the mobs, you know, they ran those, those neighborhoods, you know, and, and the Italian guy sitting in their lawn chairs on the, on the end of the street but my grandfather was the guy walking around those neighborhoods and is, you know, around state police get up. And that was a big thing that he always said, like, you know, if you were not part of that community, Like you didn't just go in there and start wrestling with stuff. Like they called my grandfather, they called his partner and there was, there was three other guys and there was the five of them who worked that area. And so I always liked the idea of, of, of that, like guys on the beat. But like Joe was saying, like it's too hard to transform all these people into something that they're not. And that's where I've always felt like the, the pairing them together. Is technically the past path

Hans:

of least resistance. I think that's the only way you're eventually gonna go. And Rob, you said something earlier be, but, and I think it about police, but it also applies. Yeah. It applies to teachers and military to, to, to, to, to, to say that any of those people by default of their, their position or role are heroes. No, you got some people there who can't find any other job. You got some people there, particularly in the military or police who want to, to, to, to bring violence to other individuals course. There are some people there who it's like, okay, this is a decent paycheck with benefits. I'm gonna do my 20 and get out. And then there are some people who are, who are actually heroes and heroic, but I gotta believe, and I know for a fact, from my own experience that that's a very small percentage. So as long as people think, oh, teachers they're heroes, they're cops, they're heroes, military they're hero. No, everybody's there for different reasons. You gotta take 'em on an individual basis. Yes. And you gotta have the training and, and, and, and the setup like you're talking about. To make sure that, that you don't let people's, humanity and it's good and bad things, you know, come out and, and sure. And take over hijack what's supposed to happen and be a good result.

Bobby:

Right? Exactly.

Bento:

Yeah. And that's just that, that's just that virtue signal you hear now where it's just cool to call those people heroes all the time and you know, just, we live in such society now where we just overuse words to the point where they have no meaning anymore and feel that's one of them now.

Hans:

Yeah, no, it

really

Hans:

Well, that's, that's why, that's why I'm amaz my, my son. And like I said, he, we, our politics are a little different, but I, I, I respect him because he's darker than I am. He's he had, when he was in high school here, he got the Afro, we came up from Harlem and, and, and he heard the N word. I don't know how many times. And we were sitting in the car freshman year, he was in tears and I said, we got some options. I can go tell their fathers that their kids can't say that. And if the fathers don't listen, I'll fight their fathers. You can fight the kids. Right. You can tell the principal, you can ignore it. We got a whole bunch of options that calmed them down. And, but, but, and he, he figured it out. Right? And so he became like captain of the football team, captain of the basketball team, captain of the track team, he was with the president of future farmers of Amer future farmers of America, right. Coming from Harlem. He was the head of the chorus. I mean, a bunch of different things. Wow. And it was a wonderful experience. And then his senior year, he got a call from somebody who wasn't a friend, but it was at the high school and said, look, my sister has some posts, a white kid. My sister has some posts from a couple of years ago. And, and there's talk that she's gonna be kicked outta school for these posts, cuz they they're saying that she's a racist. And he asked my, my son, can you speak to some people. And I'm like, and then my son's like, what do you I'm, like I said, you know, you're setting yourself up. I said, you will be vilified by every person of color or every woke person who is, you know, and it was at the height of all this. It was the height of all, but he didn't care. He wrote an oped piece. He spoke to the head of the school and said, so do you think this is gonna advance race relations? If somebody who, when they're 14 writes an ignorant, fake couple of Facebook posts, he says, where do you think you're gonna push them? Right. He says, how is this fostering communication? And, and, and actually you, it was a great thing to see. He's right. Yeah. Yeah. Well, she was, she wasn't kicked out. She wasn't even suspended. Wow. And, and my son didn't get the, the fall out, the blowback from, from, from that kind of thing. So, but yeah, it's, it's, it's yeah, everybody's polarized. Everybody's got a lexicon and, and, and, and, and a glossary that you gotta use depending on what room you're in. And, and it's crazy.

Bento:

It's, it's like you pick a team and it's like, all, whatever this team wants, this is what you believe in now.

Hans:

Like, go And, and, and, and, and, and I tell my, I tell people when I talk to, I tell 'em upfront look, and, and, and it's, that's why I'm glad I'm the age I am, because my tagline on my email is I wanna be an ancestor worth claiming, or an ancestor worth remembering. And I'm like, I'm playing for team human. Right. Right. And I'm very clear that, and, and I grew up in a black community. I I'm very clear that I'm African American and all. But a lot of these boys that for instance, at this prison where I work, a lot of them are white. Right. And so am I gonna pretend that, that they're not there for the, this is a place where teens are put for extremely violent crimes. They've been tried in adult court. And so that's not heroic for me to work there. I know that one day, whether it's 10, 15 years, or maybe even two years, they're gonna be on a street with the people that I care about. Right. So what, what are you gonna do for those kids, right? Or should I say, no, you know what, you're white. I don't wanna work with you. None of it makes any sense. And I'm, I'm a, you know, there's David R. Hawkins, what will power versus force talks about the different levels of consciousness and, and, and, you know, you can be in the void, that's a high level, but yeah. To be on, in the level of allness is, is, and I'm, I'm on team allness and team human, and that's who I play for first. Right. I got my club team that I'm playing for and, and, and nobody can take my, my, my racial bone of fee days away. Right. They will try, they will try cuz I've had people try to cancel me because I haven't been as militant or aggressive in my pursuit. And I'm like, you need to really Google me. Yeah. I said, you need to Google me and then like, all right. All right. You know,

Bobby:

I'm very confused by that.

Bento:

are you really though? It's the internet? I

Hans:

mean, well, but it's also because it's also because my father was surprised about it's also. So, so it's like, oh, you know, you can't speak for black people. And your last name is you got a German last name and right. I'm like, well, so even go,

Bento:

even going back to what I said, where he goes down there and he can't win any, either sides. Yeah. Right. You're his offspring. And even you, can't a generation behind like, that's, that's how, that's how big

Bobby:

it is, which is just madness. And I, and I don't really understand that line. I'm thinking either that if you're not a black person, you can't speak on black people's behalf.

Hans:

Well, and again, I, I, I, all I know is I, those three men that I talked about, you know? Yeah. My, my father Bob castle, and then I, and the people who are saying it, I'm like, tell me what you've done in the struggle. Yeah. What, what actions have you taken? Or you just talk about it. Right. So, so if somebody's going out there and it's like, you know, I did 15 years you know, as a black Panther, I'm like, all right, we'll talk, you know, but if all you're doing is you're a keyboard warrior. I don't want to hear it. Or if all you're doing is taking stands at your elite university, I don't want to hear it. Cuz you're gonna get outta that elite university and take a job with an investment bank I advertising or marketing

Bobby:

for. I don't wanna hear it. You're gonna find out real quick how the real world is. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Unbelievable unbeliev and cuz the whole thing for me, you know I, I always am interested to hear potential solutions because for me, like, you know, when we hear about our country discussing. Issues like policing or how to solve racism. It's a bunch of old frigging white dudes in the same room. Yeah. Yeah. What the fuck do they know? Yeah. Right. They're the one who look at a look at abortion in the first place. Right. There's barely a

Bento:

female, even on that board talking about abortion. That's just

Hans:

a bunch of old whites. Well, that's no that's yeah, no, that and that, and that's crazy too, you know? I, I it's it's but, but I'll go in and I've seen people on both sides of the spectrum. Try to come at me. Because I haven't decided to line up with them politically. Right. It's like, no, we're gonna talk about this on a case by case basis. Right. Let's think about it critically. Let's think about it, you know, with an eye towards real justice, not whatever the, the, you know, justice means today or tomorrow. Let's, let's, let's figure out some critical virtues, but it's, it's it's and

Bento:

people's brains can't handle that. Right. They just, no, they like the second, the second, like you could be having the greatest conversation with somebody and the second they just. Even here, you have the slightest opinion that differs from theirs. It's just like shut, shut down. They shut down, right? There's no, no, there's no discussion anymore. There's no. Hey, let me present my points to you. You present your points to me. And at the end of the day, even if we don't change our minds, at least we both learn something. No, it's just like, you know, you're a boot liquor, or you're a cock or whatever, you know, it's,

Hans:

it's wild. Which, which, which is why I think my third wife is gonna have to go with me and live. We're gonna live off grid. So yeah,

Bobby:

God, I, I ha I can't tell you how many times I joke with Bentel. I was like, that's it like, I'm moving to Canada to the deep, middle,

Hans:

nowhere woods. Like, I'm, I'm more, I'm more than half I'm more than half serious on that. I, again, for all the reasons that you mentioned, and for all the reasons you, and it's like, I'm gonna let other people, you know, I, I got the, the program in prison I have, right. Is a, a breathwork Coaching certification program. I, you know, I was told by the administration, we need nationally recognized certification programs. It's not nationally certified. I said, but I can tell you how much people at, at, at, at, you know, Gwyneth Paltrow's group are making teaching. Breathwork said so, and they're not nationally certified in anything. I said, I've got five different breathwork coach certifications. I can teach these kids. I said, so covertly, they're gonna have to get control of their nervous system. I said, but once they get out, the thing that they're gonna have with them is a certification that they're gonna need to bring to youth organizations other nonprofits, local groups, where they're gonna help people to breed at a rate that's gonna help them access their parasympathetic rest and digest. Let's all get long nervous system, right? Mm-hmm so if that's my main contribution to the world where I can have violent teen criminals come out and like, no, I'm feeling pretty BLI out. And all I want to do is breathe in the right way and teach other people to do it. Then I don't need to engage in all those crazy political conversations. Right. And, and, and I still go back to those people and it's like, so you're arguing about this, that, or the other on either side of the political spectrum. And I'm helping these kids get control of their mental health and become more aware of the allness of human society. And they're gonna go out. And even if two of them go out and bring that message to a larger group, we've won because as it is now, right, it's several hundred thousand dollars a year in New York state to incarcerate one of these kids. That's right. So tell me what you're gonna do. Right. Right. And, and so I just look for impact. I got an action bias and, and, and, you know, that's why the resume looks as crazy as it does.

Bento:

And why wouldn't you want a bunch of kids who are in juvie or prison? Who are otherwise not calm. Why wouldn't you wanna teach? 'em a method to make them calm. Anyways, the very least it relaxes them or the, and even if it, even if, just once it distracts them and calms 'em down from a fight or yeah.

Bobby:

And they make one better who or anything

Hans:

exactly. Right? Yep. That's and that, and that, and that's that, that's my mission now, you know, it's, it's, it's real simple. I used to like say, ah, you know, people are gonna think it's too crazy. The pandemic helped me get over that mostly. And, and so when people are like, yeah, I do breath work coaching, you know? Right. And people are like, oh, okay. But whereas like three years ago, four years ago, why? Yeah.

Bobby:

It seems to become very popular. Now. It is. Yeah. It is especially too. You know, so with a lot of therapists right now, they're making the switch from cognitive behavioral to the dialectic, right? Is that correct? No, no.

Hans:

To somatic. So, so, so, so there's dialectic behavioral, behavioral therapy. There's cognitive behavioral therapy, but they'll move to things like that are more somatic within the body. Yeah. Like EMDR, yes. Internal family systems. That kind of thing. Yes. Because trauma trauma is held in the body's it's right. It's from ancient times. That's, you know, our, our dorsal vagal system, our parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system, our parasympathetic system shuts down and we go either into sympathetic fight or flight. But if that becomes overwhelming, we go into dorsal and that means we can't relate to other. Right or, or, or we're triggered and we don't even know why we're getting triggered.

Bobby:

And, and that's the one that's like deeper than your fight or flight response as well.

Hans:

Correct? Yeah. Yeah. That's right. Yeah. Yep. Yeah. And,

Bobby:

and so all that stuff is absolutely fascinating. And so that's where I think, like, even if breathe working is just the first step for some of these folks into that world. I mean, the, the ability for you to, to stop and look at your life and, and make decisions in wise mind. I, I mean,

Hans:

it is such a, well, I mean, Victor Frankel, right? Who wrote man's search for meaning and, and the creator of logo therapy, who was a, a prisoner and a Nazi concentration camp, you know, said, you know, there's a quote that, where he talks about freedom is the space, you know, between stimulus and response. Mm-hmm, you have the opportunity in between. And, and at particularly now, you know, Joe's talking about, we don't talk to each other or whatever, it's, it's because there's no space now in between stimulus and response where people take the time to relate to, to, to, to develop emotional attachments, to regulate with somebody else's perspective. Yeah.

Bobby:

That was a great quote. Awesome. Absolutely. Absolutely.

Bento:

Well, Hans, this is this has been very enlightening. I've definitely tossed a lot of stuff. I feel like we can go for another two, three hours and just

Hans:

scratch the surface. I hope I wasn't too over the, all over the place, but it was no

Bobby:

guys.

Bento:

Yeah. There's one thing I like is

Bobby:

variety. We like, we like to keep things loose and, and honestly we feel like, you know you know, in the natural flow of a conversation, what we kind of each feel is important or what we, you know, care most about those things are gonna come out, you know? And so like when we first started this, we kind of came into it with like an agenda and, you know you know, this question, this question, this question, but it just ends up being robotic and all that. And so that we, we just decided. Natural conversations with people. It goes as long as, as it goes, we get into what we get into and somebody like yourself who has so much to offer, we can always have you back to do more about something

Hans:

else. Well, I, I love li I love listening to your show and the range of guests you have, whether it's oh, thank you. Yeah. Or, or hypnosis or C, B, D or ghost. I mean, I love it, so, yeah. Yeah.

Bobby:

It's terrific. And then thank you for that. I appreciate the listens there. But yeah, we, we're all about just like, you know, there are more experiences in life and more things in life than we are ever gonna get to. Yeah. And so this is our way of learning ourselves, but then also hopefully sharing that with our audience. And especially, we really love the opportunity to give somebody like yourself a little bit of a limelight, because I have to say the work that you do is amazing and really inspirational. And I can't thank you enough for, you know, doing that and, you know, and making that your goal with your life because boys, it needed.

Hans:

Thank you both for the platform. I really appreciate it. It's been fun talking with you both. Absolutely.

Bento:

Absolutely. So before you go, we always like to give our guests the opportunity to kind of pitch what they're doing, what they got going on, websites events,

Bobby:

anything

Hans:

up coming. Yeah. How can find you so I'm on Instagram, I'm Ronan for life and there's a, a page where you can find a bunch of different things and it's high, which is spelled H y.page/ronan for life.

Bento:

Is it Ronan as the

Hans:

samurai it's master master of samurai? Mm, excellent.

Bobby:

Excellent. R N

Bento:

I N. Yep. Fantastic. All right. Hansville again, really appreciate it. You know, maybe we'll have you back on time, another time to kind of dive in, dive a little deeper into aspecific topic, but really appreciate your time tonight.

Hans:

Thank you. I'll look you guys up if I head up that way. Rhode Island. Awesome. Yeah, we

Bobby:

love that Hans. Absolutely, man. We're always around. Thanks a lot. So nice to meet you and keep up with good work. We appreciate both.

Hans:

Appreciate take care, man.

Bobby:

Welcome back to another, teach two dumb dudes. This is Rob Washburn. No, this is fucking stupid. Do I? We never introduce ourselves like that. This is Rob Washburn. I

Bento:

coming at you.

Bobby:

All right.