(((My Fellow Americans))) #106: Dave Dahl

(((My Fellow Americans)))

About This Episode

This is probably the most inspiring interview I’ve ever done. Dave Dahl is the creator of Dave’s Killer Bread. What you may not know is that he’s also a convicted felon who went to prison 4 times. The story of how he turned his life around is simply too good to miss. Tonight, I will go live on my show and play the interview with Dave. I’m going to watch it and comment along with you, because I want to hear his story again. Dave and I talk about his story, how he fixed his life and helped others in the same situation, the work he continues to do to help countless others, and how you can do the same. We even talk at the end about restorative justice. This interview is so good!

Episode Transcript

This episode transcript is auto-generated and a provided as a service to the hearing impaired. We apologize for any errors or inaccuracies.
i’ll be buried in my grave before i become [Music] but it seems like since that day yeah we have solely changed [Music] before i become that is [Music] but it seems like since that day [Music] change [Music] [Applause] [Music] oh beautiful myrtle beach south carolina you’re watching my fellow americans with your host spike holland yes yes i know i know every week i do this and every week welcome to my full americans i am literally spike cohen yesterday i did i think probably the most inspiring interview of someone that i’ve ever done and we’re going to play it today and i’m super excited about it but first the liberty world lost someone absolutely incredible steve horowitz died uh after a long battle with multiple myeloma and uh if you’re a libertarian i don’t have to tell you who steve horwitz is and um we know the contributions he’s made but more importantly he’s leaving behind a very grieving family and so uh i just wanted to take a moment to give my condolences to the loved ones of of steve and uh we lost a big person in the movement and that family lost someone that was very important to them as well so rest in peace steve and my condolences to your family and may your memory be a great blessing but we are going to have an incredible show a very very inspiring show and of course this is a muddied waters media production check us out everywhere we are on all social media platforms we are on pretty much all uh podcast we’re on all podcasting platforms almost all social media platforms any of the ones i know of anyway we are everywhere we are also on anchor dot fm slash muddy waters where you can see all of our you can listen to all of our episodes and you can also leave messages for us that we will play on tuesdays and of course we’re available on muddywatersmedia.com now be sure to like and subscribe and comment and do all the things that help our algorithm placement on social media especially on facebook where they’ve all but shadow banned us and we want you to 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discography it’s like 25 bucks you’re gonna be so happy you did it his new album just came out i keep forgetting to i already listened to it but i keep forgetting to remember what it was called but it’s good i just listened to it it’s incredible joe davimusic.bandcamp.com i’d like to thank leble for this delicious water that i realized i don’t know why it’s french because it’s not from france it’s from the us it’s made in america in north carolina and it’s not from the lake or river it’s purified water i don’t know why it’s called leble which i’m told means the blue they could have just called it the blue i don’t know why they did why i assume it’s just a marketing thing anyway belivanaka it is good it’s good i don’t know why it’s french but it’s good shout out to tehran turks’s momentum as always folks this interview that i am about to play i i don’t have sufficient words to tell you how good it is it’s so good i’m going to watch the entire thing again with you now because it’s just that good dave dahl is the founder of dave’s killer bread he is a formerly convicted felon was in and out of prison i think four times he’ll say in the interview um and he completely turned his life around and he’s now helping other people and that should be inspiring enough but the things he said in this that explain how and why he was able to do what he did i don’t care if you’ve ever gotten in trouble with the law before i don’t care what you’re going through in life you’re going to get something from this i know i did and uh it’s still sticking with me and i can’t wait to watch it again let’s do it without further ado let’s just go ahead and watch it because it was great i’m certain that i’m going to have to pause in between to say just how amazing this is but i uh uh let’s go ahead and start watching it now folks my guest tonight is you’ve actually probably heard of him before and you might actually have something he’s made in your uh in your kitchen uh he is an entrepreneur and the co-founder of dave’s killer bread um he has an absolutely incredible story about overcoming some obstacles in his life and challenges that he went through uh and we’re going to talk today about how he got where he is now and uh and how he thinks that we can make even more improvements together so that even more people can be in a position that he is from the the challenges that he faced ladies and gentlemen my fellow americans please welcome to the show mr dave dahl dave thanks so much for for coming on great to be here well thank you and folks uh this interview is pre-recorded but i am live in the comments so any questions that you have for me uh feel free i’ll be happy to expound upon them because i am watching you right now even as you’re watching me watching you i am watching you so dave before we get started you you have an absolutely incredible story um and i think we should probably focus on that first because the rest of our talk is going to make a lot more sense um to uh you know once we have this conversation you are the foun one of the founders and the creator of dave’s killer bread which by the way is my wife’s favorite type of bread um i am uh because of dietary restrictions um i can’t eat it um but my wife absolutely loves it it’s we have multiple of your products in in our kitchen um but what a lot of people may not know is you didn’t start as that’s not where your story begins tell us where your story begun and how you reach the point that you’re at now well uh i was pretty messed up kid i i had uh what i realized now are mental issues uh depression probably bipolar uh definitely manifested as bipolar later but because of that i you know i came from a religious background seventh day adventist i rebelled against that and uh i ended up finding a needle full of methamphetamine which uh pretty much changed everything for me and uh you know i started looking at the world totally differently i i kind of let my morals go down the drain and uh i started stealing and uh you know various other things i finally ended up going to prison four times i did 15 years in various places including massachusetts [Music] michigan wyoming and oregon and uh they were all drug-related offenses essentially but there was a lot of violence involved so anyway it was a mess and the last time the very last time i i did my time about halfway through a seven and a half year sentence i had an epiphany and i mean having been depressed all my life i thought that you know that’s just the way it was going to be i thought my life sucks so why wouldn’t i be depressed you know right um but in reality i realized when i had my epiphany i realized it was the other way around that i was having a hard time because i was depressed and i had a bad attitude and so i went i sort of waved the white flag and asked for help from the psych services in prison and that’s kind of counterintuitive in prison you don’t really want to tell people uh you don’t want to show weakness and stuff so it took me a long time to get to this point but when i did it was very freeing it was a change it began to change my life i went to end up medication that helped me and then i went to school and i went to school for computer aided drafting which i i realized it could have been just about anything but uh i really loved it and it i began to see a different outlook for myself and i was 38 years old at that time so it was kind of late in the game but it was the beginning of a new exist a new path for me and from that point on i i really just became very creative and i started making things happen that’s incredible so you are so just put in perspective i’m 39 so you were a year younger than me you were in in prison and you it came you basically had like you said an epiphany that you had been putting the cart before the horse you weren’t upset and depressed because of everything that was going on it was because of your depression that led to you doing the things that put you in the position you were in you sought out and got help uh and in the midst of where a lot of people would many people often just give up you strived and went and asked for help and and learned a skill and then and then were able to begin getting ahead tell us how did that how did that go because you’re talking about design how did that get us to bread i’m interested how that transition happened there design is a perfect word to describe the entire process you know i realized along the way that i could design my life because i could design furniture i could design uh you know machine parts and uh houses whatever whatever you could conceive of and people would bring me they would say here um here’s here’s this template in other words something that had already been made i would take the measurements and figure everything out about it that i could and then i would draw it myself in 3d space and as a solid model and then i could change it any way that i could envision and so sometimes people had an idea of something they wanted to do that was different than what was already existing or whatever and uh i was able to do that and plus i got from that from that process i learned that i could do that with just about anything including my life so when i in the rest of my time in prison i had that attitude and it was like it was just such an eye-opener and so exciting to be able to do this um i just carried it everywhere that i went including dave’s killer bread so i got out went to work with my family i started at 12 bucks an hour worth 40 hours a week but the other hours i was uh i would i wasn’t getting paid for the other part that i i did which is like 30 more hours every week of of testing and so i would always start with an idea and figure out ways to improve it and right it’s a lot of falling down getting back up and and such and but i was i was the right guy for that that job at that point and i uh because everything i’d been through right i i just kept experimenting i found out what’s the best bread out there just like i would find what what’s the best chair out there for what we’re looking for how can i make it better well it’s designing bread you know and yeah i design everything in my life so this is folks here’s your first lesson before we even get into the meat of what we’re going to talk about i guess we’ve already gotten into the meat of it so you’ve applied the concepts of design where you learn to recreate structures and you looked at your own life and said i can do that here as well i can literally move things around and make my life look like as much as within my power make it look like what i want it to that is absolutely incredible and then you applied that to bread how to design the bread to be that’s wow so before we even get to that that’s that’s amazing so you are now obviously you you you were the uh one of the the founders and heads of dave killer dave’s killer bread um you are now i guess for lack of a better word kind of the brand ambassador for dave’s killer bread it’s you know irrevocably tied to you and your story um but when you once you had dave’s killer bread uh for those who don’t know you also made sure that this wasn’t just about redesigning your life this was also about giving a a hand up uh to those who had been in a similar situation about you and using the company in a way to do so can you talk to us a little bit about that yeah there’s something there’s something about having that experience that i have found and other people have found is you want to share with other people you want other people to have that you start feeling like well this is my world i’m going to make a contribution to this world that makes it a better place and i mean i get i get excited when i meet people like that still to this day but when it was a natural thing it wasn’t really um certainly it was a marketing thing too but you know the best form of marketing is honest and real and comes from the heart and uh so i had an opportunity to tell my story and sell bread because of it how great was that you know um so i but but when i put the story on the back of my the bag back in 2005 we took it to the farmer’s market uh people immediately started noticing and they they liked what i was doing they were it just tickled people to think that hey this guy is this four-time loser if you will and here he is doing his thing now he’s doing he’s doing something great he’s making bread that i love you know right and uh people started talking about the bread everywhere you know word of mouth on the bread word of mouth on the story the story gives people hope you know and i realized really early on that just by telling my story i was giving back and how how else can i do that along the way other things came along uh you know i started speaking to massive groups and just every day at one point i was just speaking speaking speaking to these groups and always finding something in my heart that i could give including sometimes it was material sometimes it was something else uh so you just you just want okay so i think what you’re leading that leading to is the uh the fact that we employed you know ex-felons which it kind of happened by accident at first not an accident because we had to hire a lot of people so you know felons they found out we were felon friendly at the uh at the attempt service that was supplying our workers and then they started sending us nothing but felons i didn’t like that my idea was send us what you got we’re going to pick the best person if it happens to be a felon great right so eventually and we when we had some good luck we had bad luck just like you always have with your different uh employees and you know human resources are are not uh they’re not easy you know necessarily but they if you the right person makes a huge difference in your company so uh and that fell and i knew from my own experience that there were people like me out there and they just needed a chance and i’ve seen it over and over again now when a person is ready they can be just this amazing um resource and so eventually we ended up having you know as i think to this day and i’m no longer with the company but i think to this day the the policy is around 30 or so excellent we never made it a policy that’s just the way it was you know so it started with you just saying and this we can probably speak to this a little bit in terms of how things might be able to change in the future just the fact that you are willing to accept felons not necessarily we only want felons but we’re willing to take people who have been convicted of felonies and have you know even served time in prison because you were probably one of very few companies that were willing to take that they were just giving as many of their felons as they could to you because they’re just trying to find work to them for them so it kind of became a de facto of felon hiring policy just because you were i presume probably one of the few that was willing to take any it sounds like probably and we were hiring we were growing very quickly so uh we had an opportunity to hire quite a few people so uh obviously we hired a lot of felons and that started getting attention including news stories and people you know i like to point out to other employers and things that you know doing the right thing for the right reasons is good but sometimes you do it for the right reasons and it it affects your bottom line in a big way it helps your company in so many different ways by doing the right thing that’s awesome man it’s great that you did it and it’s great that the company even after you haven’t gotten out of it and sold it that they are continuing to to continue with that um i’m interested in so one of the things that i’ve i when i campaigned last year went across the country i met a lot of people who were had been in prison and were on parole or people that were on probation people that had been in jail multiple times all of them with the same often the same story either a mental health or a physical health issue like chronic pain or something like that that led them to using drugs which led them to often committing other crimes or just going to jail for the drug use or sale or whatever else and now they’re in prison and all of their problems have been magnified and so what i and then when they get out of prison not only are they facing the things like um and we can talk more about this things like you know uh bans on them being able to get uh business licenses or being able to work in specific fields just the fact that that criminal record’s on there and many people not willing to hire them uh the fact that they can’t leave the state to work or they have to spend a lot of time uh you know uh basically lobbying their their their um parole officer or whomever to uh there’s a lot there’s fines i mean myself i had like a forty five thousand dollar bail judgment uh total fine that i had ended up having to pay back and then can you imagine that you walk out of prison with a with a and was that with like interest accruing while you were in prison no no okay uh that would have been that would have been insult to injury wouldn’t it uh no they put 45 000 to the average guy getting out of prison there’s like what and they they you know so i know that people get out with these terrible uh you know weights they wait they have to pull around that should not happen right right but another big part of it is just and i i don’t know if you experienced this was there kind of just a stigma around people that knew about your record i know once you were actually doing something positive you actually turned it around kind of as you said designing your life you actually made it a positive that you know i come from this but look at what i’m doing now but before that happened before you were the founder of dave’s killer bread when you were dave dahl who just got out of prison were you dealing with that kind of stigma just from people who just were generally looking down at you because of your record or because of what you had done yeah big time um again i was i had some i did have uh good fortune of my mother uh even though you know we had a terrible relationship before now we we had a decent relationship because i’ve been i turned my life around right she’d seen it right by the time i got out of prison she was willing to take a chance and she let me stay in her in her garage that’s the only thing she had for me was a garage right but i was happy i was in my in that garage i was it was as good as i could hope for eventually i got a car and uh if it hadn’t been for my mother though i don’t know where i would have stayed um this is the problem that people have when they get out of prison is you know sometimes there’s a housing opportunity that is through some organization or whatever but unless you know somebody who’s willing to uh rent to a felon you know it’s really tough and that that alone the housing alone could be a big trip tripwire for you when you get out as well as you know many other things the stigma as you say even though i went back to work with my family there was a lot of bad attitudes toward me you know because of where i had come from some of the things i’ve done in the past that were so so long ago but now there’s a tendency not to forgive that you know yeah uh even though you do your time you’re still you still got to get out and deal with that um so you got to be thick-skinned you know and you have to you really got to be willing you got to be able to fall down a lot and get back up you know i think it’s helpful for a lot of us who haven’t been to prison to remember that it’s possible that we may have done some of the things that the people that did go to prison have done and the only real difference is we didn’t get caught doing it and if we can extend some grace to people who did get caught doing those things or or maybe made worse mistakes than we made but got caught doing it and are now trying desperately to uh to to fix it and dig out of the hole they created for themselves um that that would be very helpful uh for them to be able to because if if if our concern is that well they’re you know they’re a convict and they did this bad thing wouldn’t we want them to do better as opposed to basically condemning them to either a life of crime or a life of living on public assistance or just ending up back in jail because they’re they they’re not able to thrive ahead i i would hope that if anything else we can we can change that stigma but you know you you talked about um you know some of the challenges that people are facing when they’re coming out they have little to no money or savings uh and often you know big five and six figure settlements that they’re having to pay you know judgments against them that they’re having to pay which i mean i’d say insult to injury but it’s actually injury to injury you’ve already lost however many years or months of your life you’re coming out and now they’re like oh yeah by the way you have a the equivalent of a mortgage or a large car loan that you have to pay off uh and also we’re not going to let you work in any real high high income fields so you’re kind of screwed unless you’re already rich um there’s often health issues that happen while they’re in jail it sounds like you were actually able to solve some of your health issues but someone goes in there with chronic pain or chronic health issues prison isn’t exactly known for its world-class health care system um and so they’re coming out with health issues the stigma that’s that’s involved um the inability to get a loan uh because of either bad credit or that or that that record um having low skills or or out of date skills marketable skills but what i want to avoid in our talk and i know you do as well is that we know that there’s the side there seem to be two sides to this discussion and one side wants to focus on well they did something bad and they you know you do you don’t do the crime if you don’t want to do the time and i don’t want to have to you know be exposed to these kinds of people and sort of treating uh convicted felons like they’re a lesser people that that deserve whatever happens to them even after they’ve done their time but then there’s other people who want to treat all felons as i guess victims of society who even if they are victims of society that you know there’s nothing they can really do for themselves and we just need to you know treat them like victims and give them handouts and that’s not really helpful either there are certainly changes to the system that can be made but i think it’s really important to focus on what can happen right now things that can happen now without any policy changes to be able to help felons get ahead um you’ve done some of this and i’d like to hear some of the things that you’ve done and also you you have an organization that you are uh working with uh called constructing hope that’s doing this as well can you talk about what we as people who want to help those around us and what the felons themselves can be doing right now uh to be getting ahead and to try to get past those mistakes that were made that’s a great question it’s the number one question uh that i like to think about and try to find solutions for um because of my own experience realizing that i kind of saw myself as a victim for 38 years right which you know it’s all that mentality of course and we don’t want to we don’t want to uh you know support that that sort of mentality um and it’ll kind of enable that mentality we want to um i want to to give people the opportunity to similar opportunities to what i had um in my case medication was helpful right so but i i again if the person the actual customer if you will the uh the inmate the the convict whatever you want to call this person uh he’s got to make the change and he’s got to he or she and they have to uh make that effort that is not an easy effort um at all it’s very hard and it can be very rewarding and you’re not going to get that reward from victimhood you’re going to get that reward by picking yourself up and doing something about your situation so that’s what i did in prison it took me a long time to get to that point so sometimes you realize you know sometimes you can you can look at a person go well when is this person going to get that simple thing that simple thing that’s going to turn their life around you know and be willing to do the work uh and you gotta end up having some faith that your work will actually pay off and you also have to learn to enjoy the process these are all things that really matter to me still to this day and so as a as the individual themselves their self who is uh who needs it really it’s about you know who are you gonna blame i mean you gotta do it yourself right so what we have to do as uh as citizens and people who care about making a difference in this uh this world the way this this world that we’re talking about we we have to give we have to realize and support opportunities for change um i what would i have done without computer-aided drafting program in prison i you know maybe i’d have figured something else out i probably would have right but uh there wasn’t a whole lot of other things available so to me it’s it’s about education okay in my case medication then it was education and then hard hard work willingness to do whatever it took so i think as a citizen a mother father an employer whatever wife husband once once you can get that person to to accept their responsibility accountability and start working towards something right um what are you going to do to provide this person an opportunity that for that change and and to that end we do you know i kind of knew instinctively or felt that uh when i got out of prison that you know from my experience it wasn’t really taxpayers that were going to change probably not politicians either that were really going to make the big difference right it had to do there had to be passionate people that were going to work from passion and uh belief and uh that’s that’s why i do what i do because i feel like i’m the kind of person i’m the person who’s been there and so to that end i have uh i support organizations like you you mentioned constructing hope yeah which is a local organization here that helps ex-felons usually minorities uh but this kind of stuff could happen for everyone that gets out of prison i would i would hope that they have an opportunity to go and learn a trade i learned mine in prison but it could be happened outside of prison or whatever um learn and trade something practical that can change your life you know that makes you a contributor and once you let your ego go enough to realize that you’re not going to get the instant gratification of crime or drug drug use but you’re going to get something out of this because there’s something even better out of it by working hard so that we’re going to the organization you’re talking about is called constructinghope.org they’re based in portland in the portland oregon area they offer i believe 10-week construction and other trade uh skill development programs so that people can now go and do that work do this these skilled trades in those in those areas uh in in oregon i guess really anywhere that allows it i know some states and this is part of the problem and and in some states they’re actually not allowed to do a lot of different trades usually the skilled trades like construction and stuff they allow them to do but there are often a lot of things that they’re not allowed to do but i i agree with you if we’re waiting for politicians to come up with a solution a probably never going to happen and b if it does it’s probably just going to be all of us as taxpayers getting robbed for yet another social program that’s going to turn people into dependents of the state as opposed to thriving members of society i think it’s important to to reiterate something you just said you’ve said it a couple times you went to prison because of crimes that you committed against other people you committed those crimes against other people often i i assume at least what it sounds like a lot of that was very uh influenced by drug addiction and the reason that you had a drug addiction was because of a mental health issue and i think right what i heard over and over again i’m hearing it from you now and i heard it over and over again going around the country in fact i actually i met someone when i campaigned in portland uh i it was under uh we didn’t have ever all the events had to be outside because of covet um and the lockdowns um we did it under a bridge overpass in portland and i don’t know 100 and something people showed up and one of them was someone who had been clean from heroin for a matter of weeks at that point and they had also i believe if i’m if i’m not confusing the stories they also had had a criminal record uh and they were able to continue to get the drugs that they wanted while they were in prison so for those who think prison is an answer to drug addiction no you can get the drugs in prison too that’s that’s not a problem it’s but but you can learn you can learn how to do it i mean if that if you want it that bad and you want to keep that thing going that bad then you can do it then you can do it right and and so but what started with him his wasn’t a mental health issue his was a chronic pain issue he had gotten hurt he needed pain pills uh at some point he reached his fda cut off where he couldn’t have any more pain pills he started turning to pain pills i heard this story i don’t know how many times uh from different people he started getting the pain pills illegally from other people where they’re at least still getting a you know a scientifically tested dosage they know what they’re getting and everything else and at some point they can’t afford that anymore and they learn that they can just get heroin or they can just get whatever other version whatever other street version of the drug that they were taking is and now they’re a full-blown drug addict and having to deal with all the consequences of that um and then they often end up in prison so there is a i guess systemic issue here as well especially once they’ve already been convicted but this is often something it’s manifest it’s it’s a criminal issue but it’s manifest it’s it’s a manifest manifesting is a criminal issue but it’s actually starting as a a chronic health or a mental health issue and it’s hard enough for someone who is in the midst of that to realize i don’t have to be a victim i can as you put it re-crea you know redesign my life but especially once you’re now at the point of having a criminal record being in prison or being out of prison and having that record hanging around your neck like an albatross but at some point and this is for all of us whatever whatever our status quo is right now whatever whatever our baseline is right now at some point if we want to get ahead it starts with us looking at ourselves as and i’m gonna steal this from you the designers of our lives to whatever extent we can as opposed to the victims of of our lives and that’s a really important thing to touch upon that i think begins with that yeah i think so i i think it’s powerful i’ve uh when i used to speak that’s one thing i used to always talk about is and compare the design of of products that i did to designing my life i mean everything is like that we can choose to our next uh thought and our next action you know we can we eventually if you start making the right choices for your thoughts uh and start by you know extension your your actions uh your life changes you know it’s so simple right but um you know designing you you have to start with the template okay you don’t want to start with the template of the worst person you can think of because i i you know in prison i used to think well i’m going to you know in the early years i want to be a a good gangster i want to be you know some a respected criminal you know what i mean right right right i used to think that i’d look up to that that would be my temple to follow although i didn’t want to be that person i wanted to learn how to do what that person does you know get the connections and so forth so i i kept coming up uh every time i went to prison i’d learned something you know i was going the wrong direction right and when i finally realized that uh i actually had the power to change my life um it was it was a design process that took place but but even before then you were trying to redesign yourself as the best criminal possible you were just going in the wrong direction you so i think we all do it whether whether we realize we’re designing and making and creating our future or not we are one way or the other that’s fanta i love that so the f it’s very rare in an interview that in the first like six minutes i already am like you know already have a mind-blown moment but that is a really key thing that we can all be using right now you know i’m someone who has led a very very blessed existence i have a really supportive family i’ve i had a successful career that i was able to retire from i’ve had a very very fulfilling i guess post career political career whatever you want to call it i have an incredible wife who is i don’t know how i got someone that beautiful and and and smart and intelligent and everything but so i’m incredibly blessed but yet i still have struggles and things like that and it’s in those moments it’s really important to remember that we can design even with whatever because when you design furniture you don’t wait for the problems that you have to solve with the furniture to be fixed you have to work around whatever those issues are those structural problems or those whatever problems to make that design for the furniture or the bread or the house or the car the tool or whatever it is you’re designing you have to work around those issues that’s why you’re making that thing in the first place so instead of looking yourself as being a subject or victim of the life around you you look at yourself as designing yourself as a solution that that’s that’s incredible right there well i want to give give me another example right as a as a young a younger man in my 20s and and addicted to drugs um i remember being in detroit on the streets of detroit michigan i mean that’s a long story but i was there and a long ways from home uh but there really was no home for me so yeah uh i remember being homeless you know and it was cold and there was nowhere to go and i didn’t have any resources or anything and i didn’t like it you know there was no way in hell that i was going to continue to live this way very long there was nobody enabling me to be homeless um i think and this is this becomes maybe i don’t want to go into politics of course but you know if you look at uh the the places that where you know seems like half the population of the downtown and all the air is homeless it’s like right these people aren’t going to redesign their lives until they have motivation to do so and so so that’s i’m just going to say that much uh but if you if you go back to being in prison for me there everybody that i’ve seen transform they do have to hit some sort of bottom they have to hit some sort of point where that that propels them that they they can’t go any further down or where they just can’t take it anymore and instead of taking themselves out like i definitely thought about killing myself a lot okay instead of doing that somehow you find within you the the courage to move forward and start a new life and create a new life and uh you don’t do it by being enabled to continue to live this city life that you’ve chosen right right so everyone has to read whatever whatever their point of discomfort being so high that the fear or discomfort of change isn’t as bad as the discomfort they’re already experiencing so you might as well try something different yours was being in prison and realizing that you know your depression you could either continue to be depressed or in prison or you could have that moment of realizing that maybe i’m the reason i’m here and uh and and i can change things about myself so that i can get out of here and actually do something positive once that happens you can now start to thrive ahead now we’ve talked a lot about that but once someone does reach that point and once someone does have those skills there are barriers and things that are in place that make it where the world isn’t their oyster and where things are harder just a couple of those things are things like um there are in most states bands or at least great restrictions on the ability of convicted felons uh to be able to get occupational licenses or specific occupational licenses in some states any occupational license so even if they have a great uh job idea for a business they actually have to do it through someone else or work for someone else um they uh there are bans on ex-felons getting certified for certain jobs uh like emts or firefighters or anything with any kind of security or financial fiduciary thing there so they can’t get into you know banking or they can’t get into sales or a lot of other different things um there are um the big uh rewards that they have to pay out the big judgments that they have to pay out so there are a lot of things that are in place do you think that any of those things or net are or bans on them being able to own firearms to be able to protect themselves even though the last time i checked the second amendment says i know you didn’t want to get political but it says the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed it didn’t say unless you did something wrong at some point um but the ability to be able to vote do you think that any of these things are necessary or helpful to protect the public or are they really for the most part i mean i’m not going to make you make a blanket statement but for the most part are a lot of these things kind of unnecessary or maybe you think they’re necessary i’m interested in your thoughts on some of these restrictions on felons well my favorite word is accountability right it’s there’s just one word in my life that matters it’s accountability so you know ultimately everything you do you gotta there’s a there’s a reaction there’s something that’s that happens because of something you choose to do um in my case i kind of screwed up my life even though i transformed my life and the way that i thought i still have restrictions on me you know and i can we could go into all that but um it’s another story and the reality is that i can’t own a gun and boy do i want to own a gun you know what i mean uh a criminal can own a gun maybe not lingering someone who does not care what the law is can own a gun right now but you trying to be a law-abiding citizen can’t own one exactly that’s right so that’s basically my deal on that i think i you and i probably agree on a lot of things when it comes to just government being a too big a part of our lives but yeah obviously that’s a tough one because some people really shouldn’t have guns you know and a lot of ex-criminals if you got a felony good chances uh if you haven’t turned your way of thinking around you we don’t want you to have a gun so you know it’s it’s not a simple yes or no kind of thing but i think there’s got to maybe there’s some sort of criteria that could change that or that could make it uh we could say well this person has been out this long they haven’t done anything you know maybe they should be given a chance to own a firearm but in our in today’s world i i can’t imagine getting more permissive about firearms so uh i would anyway well yeah let’s let’s the guns yeah the guns one of those things i i i think i was a little more concerned about things like occupational licensing bans and bans on working in certain fields gun was just something i i’m a libertarian we’re all about guns so i i just i couldn’t help but bring it up but yeah i couldn’t help but go there because it’s like on my mind you know but yeah i i hear you um absolutely i as a person who has has employed i’ve seen my own self become a great employee than a i would say a pretty dog dogged on good employer uh and then uh i’ve seen the people turn their lives around and become these amazing um uh people that you that that not only change their their you know their lives but they have a big effect on the family and friends the community and the business they work for i mean it’s powerful to see lives change so i my my thing is like again i think it’s kind of similar to what i mentioned with the guns um why not give people opportunities when they burn them right yeah and i think anything that can be that isn’t governed by a law or a policy by an insurance policy or anything like that because that’s another for instance uh if you’re a felon and somebody wants you to go to work or you want to go get a place to live well a lot of the reasons why they don’t want you to come live there isn’t necessarily just about about the rules but it’s about bringing down the bringing down the value of the neighborhood in a way you come in there and and you’re scary you scare people you know and then it the manager’s in it puts a manager in a position uh it can put an employer you know so you have to think about all those things so it’s really about the good people that there is there’s so many good people so how do you make it so that these good people get their chance and uh i think there’s there’s ways we can make it better and i i don’t necessarily have all the answers for that i’m more of a guy that’s about changing the person the individual person and i think a lot of this is and i keep hearing this from you and i agree 100 we need to look at people as individuals you are there is potentially someone who has your exact former criminal record but yet if you meet that person that person might be willing to kill you right now for whatever’s in your wallet right hypothetically whereas you have that same record as that person but look at what you’ve done outside look at who you are as an individual person you both as i i mean this is a hypothetical person i don’t even know if this person’s real but let’s say there is this hypothetical person who has dave’s exact criminal record uh but instead of forming dave’s killer bread and instead of redesigning his life uh he’s still just the killer guy or the or the assaulting guy or the violent guy who will who will take you down for whatever’s in your wallet whereas you have completely redone your life and so and and have helped so many countless others along the way we should be judging people as individuals and this even goes outside of whether someone’s a criminal or not in our day-to-day lives so much of the things that we look at stigma against felons racism bigotry all of these things stem in from not looking at people as individuals and which is both good and bad it means looking at you and being able to say wow dave is an incredible guy and look at all the incredible things he’s done and if someone says to me well you know dave is a felon and he did this and then okay he did that and look at what he’s done now that’s even more incredible that he’s done these things but you could apply that in so many other ways you could say hey uh you know steve or bill or whatever rebecca whatever that’s a great person oh well but didn’t you know that they’re black or that they’re hispanic or that i don’t care about that either yeah so it doesn’t matter judging people as individuals i think that’s probably the biggest lesson here right is that we should be looking judging people by their individual merit and who they are as a person as opposed to something that is intrinsic to them at that point like that’s uh you know with your sexuality you’re paraphrasing martin luther king so basically yeah yeah yeah basically yeah and i i mean it’s absolutely true and when it comes back to that’s philosophical but it comes back to uh something concrete in mind and the way i look at things [Applause] when we started um hiring ex-felons at dave’s killer bread it was easy for me to kind of have like a basic criteria that i would use it didn’t mean we always used it because we were doing it really quickly but uh if you say wanted to help a person or you know you basically when you hire someone you want them to help you and you want to help them i mean that’s the way it should be with no matter who you’re hiring right it should be a two-way street where everybody’s uh benefiting but if you look at a person who’s coming out of prison um i didn’t like to hire somebody directly out of prison anyway i needed i figured they had to come out and get acclimated sort of get a get a feel for uh the struggle before you know you give them that job but i also thought that that person say the person did five years just as an example five years what were they doing during that time when they got in there i understand maybe they didn’t do anything for a long time to to help themselves uh but when that when that person comes to you and you’re interviewing that that guy or gal um you say you’re like what programs did you do you know what can you tell me that you were up to for the last couple years it’s pretty easy to see when someone’s full of crap and when somebody’s for real and uh sometimes even someone who’s for real is gonna gonna not turn out good and you know what i mean but you have to i felt like we had to always uh limit our chances for failure by again by judging what they did as an individual instead of just looking at their record you can ask them like what did they do to actually try to better their situation while they were there i i love it i love i love your philosophy and two major parts of it probably many major parts but the two ones that stick out the most are judging people as individuals and recognizing that it’s the power resides in us to begin to whatever extent we can redesign our lives to adjust to the reality that we’re in as much as possible so that we can thrive to whatever extent that we can and everyone’s going to be different their their level of skills their uh their uh just their natural talent their their the level of how bad the situation they’re in is what state they live in there’s probably a myriad of different things that are going to impact how well they do but no matter how well they that their their whatever peak is possible for them it’s going to be immeasurably better for them to look at their life that way and do as well as they can as opposed to saying well this is just how it’s going to be and i’m just in this situation and that’s something we can really all apply and i just think that that’s an incredible thing i want to ask you one more question because this is a this is a a big uh concern and issue of mine and i always like to get i like to get everyone’s thoughts on it but i especially like to get the thoughts of people who come from the criminal justice system people that were in prison on on my idea of how criminal justice could work differently um this is i didn’t come up with this idea it’s something called restorative justice and it’s been around for decades and there’s many different versions of how it can be applied but here’s my version of it for example if you if if i or you or someone if someone is is convicted of um let’s say um uh assault or theft uh or shoplifting or something like that so this is not this is a crime that has a victim someone has been damaged in some way either their property or or their life or their their health or whatever has been hurt as a result especially if the person is a first-time offender or has not had you know multiple offenses like this instead of going directly to the punishment route of saying okay you go to prison for x number of years period boom you’re in there giving them the option of saying okay instead of that we’re going to give you this opportunity to make the person whole that you that you that you harm so if they’re um you know if you rob them you have to give it back and probably pay some additional amount for the trouble of what you did if you assaulted someone you have to help take care of their expenses of their you know their their health expenses or whatever of getting better you have to go through and this is where going back to the root cause you have to go through uh mental health counseling anger management if it’s needed or if you’re you know a kleptocrat you’re addicted to stealing counseling for that you have to or if or if this if in figuring out what’s going on with you it’s determined that you have like a an actual health problem you have to get treatment for that and these things are available to you um and once you have demonstrated that you have fixed whatever problem you caused to whatever extent possible and also fixed whatever root cause problem made you do that in the first place you’re now free you don’t have a criminal record you aren’t in you didn’t go to prison you can now go and and live your life hopefully now in a much better position and whoever you victimized has been made whole it costs much less than putting someone in a cage for years it uh potentially can greatly reduce the recidivism rate because people learn the first time they do something bad uh that this was the wrong way to do it the victim is is focused on as being the main concern making sure that the person who is victimized from this um is made whole and we all benefit from having that many fewer people who are you know have been working through the prison system learning how to become harder and harder criminals to be able to survive in there and then eventually coming out as as old hardened criminals who you know have forgotten what humanity is like um it’s not a perfect system i think it would also require that the person isn’t judged to be an immediate danger to society if it’s a serial killer or something like that obviously you know uh maybe they can get mental health help in in prison but they’re not gonna we aren’t gonna give them one more chance not to be a serial killer but you know assault uh it sounds like a for example it sounds like a lot of the things you did potentially at that initial time if someone had instead of putting you in a cage had said why did you do this let’s make sure that you fix the victim let’s fix what caused this to happen and now you can go live your life what do you do you think that’s something that could potentially work in in certain situations where the person’s not in immediate danger i do yeah i think i mean to me again it comes back to accountability how do we make sure that a person feels like this is something that i can’t continue to do this is going to get me in more trouble next time is this person capable of of doing that you know or is he going to play the system you know and like it is it’s a i think it’s a tough question it was a tough answer um i think uh this you could spend a lot of time on this question uh coming up with the right uh with with the answer as to what crimes what levels of crimes of course kinds of person uh but i do think that anytime you can avoid sending someone to prison um it makes sense unless unless they deserve to be sent there and i i do have a belief that you know i’m i’m gonna look back on my case okay i’ll do it that way because that’s the best thing i can do um okay that i know of i if i went i was never ready to change until i was and because i just but but see i don’t know did that with that medication that helped me stop looking at things in such a way uh would that have worked on me when i was 17 you know i i don’t know i don’t know so the answer is not simple um but that medication was a big factor and guess what else that drafting program was a big answer so i think if you could add that to it you get them saying add those elements to what you’re talking about makes people some actual um rehabilitation slash education kind of offer offering i think that could be very meaningful and think about how how many crimes it could it could uh stop from happening and exactly how much better that person’s life could be and their whole family see every every time a person like me or any any criminal or whatever uh does what they do goes that direction they hurt so many people and they hurt society so yeah uh i i really do believe that when you say restorative justice i think it has to have a rehabilitation factor um that not as not just a not just not just a formality but something exciting something that changes their way of looking at things yeah yeah actual restoration not just restoring the victim not just getting them to sign a thing and say yes i went to x number of hours of but actually giving giving them the tools to determine what caused it to happen and then also yeah i mean if if if medication is needed medications needed if therapy and counseling is needed therapy and counseling is needed and i i’m already hearing the people that are going to be commenting on this thing but what’s this going to cost the taxpayer a lot less than putting them in prison like a lot less not over time even in that moment it costs less but but over time it’s not even comparable right but people people need to understand that uh that rehabilitative factor that isn’t really hard unless you say well because right now for instance there is a lot of construction opportunity and that’s why constructing hope is so powerful one of the reasons why constructing hope is so powerful when you they get out of this they go through this training program honestly there’s just not enough training programs like this and there’s not enough opportunities you but you take a person that’s their first time down whatever instead of sending the president send them to this thing a lot a lot of them aren’t going to make it through probably but those ones end up going they should go to prison they’ll go to jail yeah yeah yeah if they can’t make it through the program if not if they’re not willing to make that change okay great i guess you have to go to jail because it means that if we let you out you’re gonna just hurt people but if you’re willing to do the hard work and it is going to be hard you’re going to have to learn to do something you’re going to have to fix your own issues that led you to do that you’re going to have to make whatever changes are needed and you’re going to have to uh you’re going to have to restore the person that you victimized because they’re the number one concern in that moment is is the person that you already victimized right if you’re not willing to do any of those things off to jail you go you know we gave you a chance apparently you want to live in a cage not my problem at that point right so so that would always be there you know that that’s always there but you know i i it sounds like again and like you said accountability are you going to do the hard work you are not a victim you are you are someone who hurts someone and so even if you’re a victim of something else in this moment there’s a victim of what you did and so you have to fix that go ahead sorry people need to realize i i realized when i realized i had that power see the power of accountability the power to make my next to to create my life uh and you know the power to have courage to to make mistakes and have people you know offend me or whatever do things to me that i didn’t like and not be a victim not feel like a victim because hey it’s how i react to them it’s going to make a huge dif the big difference and uh i’ve done that with all my life since i had that moment and even when i have failures i mean i’ve had some big doozies i come out of it okay because i eventually come out of it i remember in 2013 i i had a fall from grace after great success with dave’s killer bread i had started drinking i was speaking i was doing all kinds of things but i was drinking i eventually got 12 drinking too much went to treatment long story short that didn’t work um but i wasn’t doing crime again i just was drinking and whose fault was it was mine you know i mean right so i knew that but i eventually quit drinking and all the pressures of being an entrepreneur in the situation i was saying with investors uh people answering to people all the things that were going on yeah yeah and then again i i can’t blame anything but i’m saying there’s there were problems that i was not reacting well to and finally um i long story short i ended up smashing the three cop cars one night no criminal intent believe it or not but it was an ugly situation well two or three weeks later i read an article about myself in a local magazine local newspaper saying uh they’re talking about it was the first really negative press i’d ever seen about myself because i was always doing good stuff you know and i saw this uh this stuff and i was just like oh my god i let so many people down you know here i have been preaching and i don’t preach but telling people about right about things that that have changed my life and how i had overcome and all these different things and all of a sudden i’m in this i hit this depression right that i hadn’t experienced i’d never experienced before it was the kind of depression where you couldn’t move and i mean you just couldn’t move and uh i’m like all the things i’ve been talking about all the things that i’ve learned and all that i tell people are the ways that you change your life all of a sudden they didn’t mean anything to me anymore i could not i couldn’t put him to work i was so down but i gotta say time went by i got a little better a little better and then i was able to put those things back to work again so those principles matter it’s that accountability that matters yeah and it goes to show this is a constant thing it’s not a fairy tale where you fix the problem and it when what you in the midst of being dave of dave’s killer bread you screwed up and rather than say well this is you know this is society’s fault they’ve set me up to be a hero blah blah blah blah you realized i screwed up i had a choice not to screw up did it anyway and look at the look at the harm that i’ve caused look at the uh and not just the the police cars that you hit but look at the people that were looking up to me who now have been let down i have to fix this holding yourself accountable it’s it’s an incredible story first of all your level of self accountability is on a completely different level i just want to say that um you’re you’re an incredible guy man i want people to underst thank you i want people to understand how powerful that is and how great i feel just you know having learned that great secret you know you know what i mean so it’s it’s easy for me to talk about it and pass it on to others because i’ve experienced it and more than once you know like when i had in 2013 it was the second time and it was if anything just as hard as the first it was different but but because i had done it before made overcome before i knew i could do it again it just i knew intellectually i could do it again but it took me a long time to feel it i i don’t i don’t even know how to end this interview you are this is so what you’re saying is so powerful because it’s not just i did this bad thing but i got past it and you can too you’re like really getting into the nuts and you can too but here’s what you have to do it’s it’s an incredible story so dave you are i’m sure i’m not the first person to tell you this you are beyond inspiring you have me excited to go do all the other stuff i have to do today and to hold myself accountable for it and i i’m sure everyone else watching this when they wake up tomorrow they’re gonna they’re gonna be just as excited about this um before i let you go i want to give you a chance to give your your last word what is it that you feel like we haven’t had a chance to tell people that you really think it’s important to tell people how can people help with what you’re doing right now how can they be get out and get involved pretty much anything you feel like you needs to be said to to my audience and to me dave dahl the floor is yours thanks spike i uh i i can say you know wrap it up don’t be a victim you know overcome victim mentality that’s that’s one step but you the only way to do that is by replacing it with accountability with understanding that you are the person who can change your life nobody else there’s you can’t depend on the government or somebody else to change your life you got to do it right that’s what i did and as far as organizations that can help and and ideas that can help i think spike and i got to a really good point when we were talking about adding to restorative justice adding an organization like constructing hope but creating more organizations and empowering these organizations to do what they do constructing hope here in portland oregon uh has a great track record of putting people training people in 10 weeks and and then putting them to work in a meaningful job not not mcdonald’s i mean it’s it’s all honorable but you know you gotta most people want to get past the mcdonald’s thing and so i say you know for me learning the trade was the most powerful thing that happened in my life so i want to see a lot more people do that and um please visit constructinghope.org contact them uh but and what they and i would both like to see is more organizations like this across the country making a difference and uh they really do make a difference so i’m excited about this opportunity to talk about it absolutely man and thank you for coming on uh constructinghope.org is the organization uh and i i tell people this all the time when you say to yourself hey this group is great i wish we had one in my area you can probably help to create one by finding people with those same skills and those same mindsets in your area and helping to put together an organization or at least starting that thread you know my my catchphrase is you are the power you know you have the ability uh you can often be that catalyst to make that that initial change um i think that’s just incredible man uh constructinghope.org go to that see what they’re all about go help them go buy some dave’s killer bread if you if you can have bread i’m glu i’m gluten intolerant so i can’t have bread but if you aren’t gluten intolerant and aren’t make sure you you know you can have all the ingredients in it go dave’s killer bread it’s it’s it’s fantastic my wife it’s it is my wife’s favorite bread um it was briefly my favorite bread until i couldn’t eat it anymore so go buy some of that um dave dahl you’re amazing thank you so much for coming on the show man thank you spike it’s it’s a really it’s really an honor to talk to you thank you man what did i tell you i told you i said this was the most inspired like it was just incredible the idea of designing your life seeing your life as a tool rather than a subject that it’s your life is the thing that can get around what’s going on and and be able to thrive despite it as opposed to just having things imposed upon you the insistence on judging people as individuals even in the midst of things that you know any person would be more than justified in uh you know lumping a lot of people together and saying oh you know these people don’t care about me and uh i i i have nothing but good things to say about dave dahl um go to constructing constructinghope.org that’s the organization uh it’s in the portland area that dave was talking about i’m gonna be reaching out to the people there at constructing hope see if maybe i can get some of them on the show more importantly see if i can talk to them about what it is they’re doing how it works and if we can find other people in other areas or if they know other people in other areas who are doing the same thing i think there’s some incredible potential for that as well um go to dave’s website is dave dahl day d-a-v-e-d-a-h-l-360.com uh that’s got his youtube channel on it and a bunch of other stuff um i’m a fan i love dave dahl i think he’s great um and uh i plan to keep in touch with him because i want to work with him on helping not just you know again i thought this would be you know the previously convicted how can we help convicted felons but the reality is what he was talking about yeah it’s it’s good for convicted felons this is good for anyone this is good for anyone anyway uh i uh i have to jump on the next thing so we’re gonna be wrapping things up but let me tell you about uh what’s coming up thank you for watching this incredible episode of my fellow americans tomorrow uh on thursday is uh the writer’s block with matt wright and his guest is jonathan reels who is as we talked about earlier he’s running for congress and he is uh he’s not a real candidate uh yet but if you go to jonathan.cash and make donations once he raises five thousand dollars he’ll be a real boy and uh anyway he’s gonna be talking on tomorrow night at eight with matt wright on the writer’s block right here on muddy waters media uh on friday check me out at 9 30 on liberty late night with dave and mary yep dave and mary uh and then have a great independence day weekend shoot off the fireworks eat the grilled meat do whatever it is you do for fourth of july uh i’m gonna be enjoying the fact that i’m not going anywhere that weekend uh it’s first weekend off um also i believe uh on sunday at 3 p.m is uh the next episode of cajun and eskimo from bayou to igloo or i’ll buy you to igloo whatever it’s called um that’s a great show be sure to check that out and then yeah then uh at uh then join us next tuesday at 8pm for uh the muddy waters of freedom where matt wright and i parse through the week’s events like the sweet little cherubs that we are and then check me out next wednesday this is breaking news check me out next wednesday at eight on kennedy on fox business um i don’t even know what we’re talking about yet but i will be on kennedy and then after that i’ll be on oh we may have to reschedule my show because after that i’m on fight for liberty with david fight so we may have to do my show another day um but uh yeah so uh and then next weekend join me and matt and cajun in in tunica mississippi at the horseshoe resort and casino for the breaking boundaries for liberty event in mississippi so it’s an action-packed week but we will see you right back here very soon tomorrow night the writer’s block i will see you there and um folks thanks again for for tuning into this this was a really really cool episode i think we all learned a lot of really great stuff and um i love you all and i will talk to you soon i’m spike cohen and you are the power god bless guys [Music] yay [Music] [Music] [Applause] [Music] [Music] world through another’s iris if you slide in my kicks it might fit we might just unite and come together become hybrid at the least slightly like-minded indeed the life i’ve lived brings light to kindness all you need is a sign put a cease to the crimes put an ease of the minds like mine sometimes darkness is all i find you know what they say about an eye for a night in a time when the blind who am i to deny when a loved that’s my sister mother father brother is [Music] tell me why [Music] make a change will make a change [Music] you

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Jason Lyon
Jason Lyon
Jason Lyon - USN Submarine Vet -Minarchist/Constitutionalist - #Liberty advocate - Principles over party - Constitution over Idolatry
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