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Shot At My Head For Defending A Beach From Garbage In Puerto Rico
Hello , My name is JIvan. On February 2019 in a beautiful beach In Puerto Rico, I was beaten over the head with a pistol repeatedly and shot at my head with the bullet missing within centimeters of my face. All for briefly recording 1/4 of a family of close to 20 people who left their garbage at a beach in which I have defended mostly everyday. For over the last 5 years I decided to be the guardian of the beaches and rivers and raise awareness to the garbage by educating the people with my environmental signs as could be read here.
Click here to see the video of the family I recorded.
click here to see a video after they left where I show the garbage.
I won’t go too much into details because there is a case pending. The lost soul was apprehended and is now out on bail on a 3,000 bond. That is the justice system in Puerto Rico.
The lost soul who pummeled me and shot at my face was not in the group that I recorded. I encountered him when he grabbed me as I was leaving to go to my car.
The family called ahead to him as they wanted him to take the camera away from me. Which was in my hand still recording what was going on. Soon The encounter will be released.
The lost soul grabbed me as I was heading to my car. The family with about 4 kids surrounded me. I would say ages 9-13 and many women in their 50’s and 60’s. All whom were yelling to take away my camera. Yes, The women were actually encouraging him.
The lost soul pointed the gun under my chin and on the side of my face. He then proceeded to hit me with that gun. You could hear the kids pleading for him to stop in the audio I recorded. The women kept telling him to take my camera away. But all his focus was on was beating me over the head with the gun.
As the lost soul hit me repeatedly over the head, he pointed the gun towards my face. The shot went off within centimeters from my left cheekbone. It seemed like time stood still when I heard the shot and as the blood gushed down over my face. In the last very second before the gunshot went off, I do recall tilting my head back. Which perhaps saved my life.
I could not register what just happened as shock would set in. My body collapsed to the ground as I saw a pool of blood beneath me. For a nanosecond, I thought I was dead as it felt like my soul was escaping my body.
All I could think about was that I had a hole somewhere on my head with a bullet lodged into it. Heat was emanating from the left side of my head where the bullet passed by.
I then realized that I was still alive. So I figure I just play dead so that they could back off. They all quickly jumped into their cars. I quickly got to my feet and started to run away. I ran towards a police car that was luckily near by.
The lost soul who did this to me was driving his car and they were all drunk. They crashed into a parked car further down the road where he was apprehended and arrested. Talk about karma huh?
Was I wrong in recording them?
I have dedicated all my time to preserving the beaches and rivers in Puerto Rico. Again this particular beach was one where I would be at almost daily making sure no one trashed it.
People would come to this beach and would tell me how clean that beach was. That was all due to me bringing my signs everyday. I would place them strategically all over the beach and cleaning what I find.
I decided to record them because I had enough of this type of mentality. Where people treat this beautiful paradise like a landfill. Here I have a video asking what do the people prefer, paradise or a landfill!
I recorded with the sole premise that they would actually take their garbage. I would have just erased the footage if they did as I said in the video.
They had 3 giant bags of garbage, a Styrofoam cooler with more garbage inside that. Here is a video of the garbage that was left behind which was filmed shortly after they left. If I wasn’t there I am sure they would have just thrown it and left it on the ground. That was how it was when I arrived to the beach. They still left cans scattered about the sand and cigarette butts all over.
All of this in a remote beach which is long walk from the parking area. It is also not that easy to get to. There are no garbage cans at this beach because would be hard for anyone to come get the garbage on a regular basis.
Why Didn’t I just clean it up instead..
On social media I received comments saying I should have not recorded them. That I should have said nothing and let them leave the garbage and just clean it up all myself. Now I do clean the beach when I find things scattered about as I always do my one bag challenge. I clean what many people leave behind unconsciously. To expect me to come pick all that up is asinine.
I am not an octopus with so many arms. Just because I take care of the beaches does not mean that I am there to take out people’s garbage. I do enough with my signs and cleaning as I go along the way. Which by the way I bring 4 signs with me to the beach. I take them back with me along with any trash that I find in the bushes. I wrote about a trash challenge Over 4 years ago which could be read here. which I have adhered to whenever I visit these beautiful places and have encouraged others to do the same
Stray dogs quickly came over and were ripping the bags open. Which the wind would come and take and blow it to the sea. But to many people the ocean and nature has become their garbage can.
Their mentality is if it’s the ocean or in the bushes, no one will ever see it. Just like sweeping dirt under the rug. Here I did a social experiment where I removed trash from the bushes and placed them on the path where people walk to see if they would pick it up.
Could you imagine if everyone left their garbage because they were expecting others to come pick up after them. Which is the case on this island. That is the mentality of many of the people here. Most have this sense of entitlement where they expect others to come clean up after them. So they go on not doing a thing about anything as they expect others to do it for them. Which is why this island is the way it is.
Violence in Puerto Rico
Violence has been a major problem in Puerto Rico. It seems that the only way people know how to solve their problems is by means of a gun. It seems that some of the people are uneducated to even know how to use their brains and think due to the faulty educational system here.
But we can’t just blame the educational system. We must blame the parents who can’t educate themselves to educate their children. Placing their children on front of a TV or computer has now become their way of educating their children. Meanwhile the parents are so busy getting drunk, allowing their children to do whatever they want and learn from how they view how their parents behave.
In my observation, that family seemed to be very drunk. It seems to me that is what family gatherings here are all about. To come together in order to get all drunk. Yet another behavior passed onto their children. I believe alcoholism is a major problem on this island as most would leave the beach drunk and just like that lost soul, they would drive this way. Alcoholism is one major contributor in fueling violence. I will write more on alcoholism in a later blog. Here you can read why quitting alcohol was the best decision of my life.
Their children become clones of their parents who teach them no morals or values. Just this violent closed off mentality. As was the case with this family and this lost soul who did this on front of those kids. Those kids will learn that this is the way you solve your problems. They will also learn to follow in their families footsteps by leaving their garbage.
It also seems like with every generation that goes by, they are dwindling down to nothing. As most of the people no longer know what respect or consideration means. As they would go on disrespecting the land they were born on, as well as disrespecting others and that is because they have no respect for themselves.
I also believe what is contributing to the violence is of what they call music on this island, trap and reggaeton. As I feel that it is brainwashing the youth and incites violence. When they should be listening to more conscientious positive music.
Let us have peace, let us cultivate a different mindset for our children. We should break free from the box we have contained ourselves in. I hope peace could be restored on this island and around our beautiful world that is our home. There is just too much hate. Just like I have been learning and growing, we all too must start growing love and compassion.
It is a damn shame. Here we have such a beautiful paradise which has been confined into a hell of our own making.
As I was in the hospital getting stitched up, I received 3 stitches on top of my head from the pistol whipping and 4 for the bullet wound. I laid there contemplating what just had happened, I pondered if I could forgive this man and so I did. It did not take me long to decide that I will forgive this lost soul. Also I have decided to forgive the family for their total disrespect for the world and for my own life.
I am a changed person from how I used to be as everyday I strive to become a better person. I have been on this path and journey of growing and of self discovery. Where I awoke to see the world and myself differently.
One thing that I have learned along the way is that we must forgive others just like we should like to be forgiven for anything that we have done. I wrote about forgiveness on this post here.
It was a terrifying experience for me to come so close to death. To hear a gun shot go off by my head and thinking that my life was over. All because I just wanted this beautiful beach that I dedicated over 3 years to protect to stay clean.
Since the shooting I have decided to retire from being captain planet. As I will no longer march around the beaches to raise awareness as it is just a lost cause. I will continue to clean up wherever I go and spread awareness through the safe confines of being behind my screen.
In the over 5 year run of being the guardian of our planet, I am sure that I made an impact and hope those seeds I sowed will bloom. I also hope that I have inspired others to be that change that I chose to be.
Not many can say they are fortunate to have survived a shot to the face. I am very grateful to be alive as I was just starting to live my true authenticity. As I have been on a path of becoming a better human. Whereas before I was living like most of us in a web of lies not knowing who we are as we conform the layers of what we call culture and society.
Before this near death experience, I started appreciating and cherishing life more because of my “awakening” . Most of my life I suffered with suicidal thoughts and depression. Read about it here.
Now I have a deeper sense of appreciation if that was at all possible. I noticed before this happened that life was short and this incident was an affirmation and a wake up call to truly live your life as happy as can be and to live it as fully and authentically as can be.
What is next for me?
One thing for sure the chapter in my book is far from closed and I will continue to write the next chapters to my life and look forward to continue to inspire others as I will continue my mission of changing the world.
I have decided to leave Puerto Rico by the end of the year and travel the world with little money and find a home somewhere else. I will write more on why I decided to go elsewhere.
Thanks for the love and support Everyone has shown me . I truly appreciate it. Thanks hugs to all. Peace to all!
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This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)