#581 – Jesse Crosson

Sevan Matossian (00:02):

BA I’m more live.

Jesse Crosson (00:04):

That was quick.

Sevan Matossian (00:05):

Just like that. Jesse crossing.

Jesse Crosson (00:08):

How are you, sir?

Sevan Matossian (00:09):

Goodson. Did I say your name right?

Jesse Crosson (00:11):

You did.

Sevan Matossian (00:14):

I love your format on YouTube.

Jesse Crosson (00:17):


Sevan Matossian (00:18):

Thank you. Yeah, I got to, uh, I got to get on the, uh, do you know what the assault bike is? Yeah. Oh shit. We, I think we have an echo. Do you maybe have a YouTube channel open,

Jesse Crosson (00:30):

Uh, YouTube channel open?

Sevan Matossian (00:31):

Yeah, like the actual YouTube channel that we’re streaming live to?

Jesse Crosson (00:35):


Sevan Matossian (00:38):

Mm-hmm <affirmative>. Hi, Caleb. Caleb, you can’t see Caleb he’s on the back end. I just saw him pop up.

Jesse Crosson (00:45):


Sevan Matossian (00:46):

Um, so the videos are, they seem like they were all, um, roughly a minute mm-hmm <affirmative> and I could get on the assault pipe, put on the headphones and hit play, and then it would just play them chronologically. And I would get snippets of your thoughts, your life, what you’re doing today, just in one minute snippets. And I would go back and there’d be anywhere from, I don’t what’s the most you ever make in a day five

Jesse Crosson (01:11):

More than that? Probably seven or eight. Okay. I don’t try to do that generally, but on a bad day when I’m coping, you know?

Sevan Matossian (01:18):

Oh, that’s fucking awesome to hear that. I didn’t even think about that. So that is a coping mechanism too, making the videos.

Jesse Crosson (01:25):

Right. I mean, and it depends on the day. Sometimes it can be stressful and it can feel like work, but yeah, when I’m dealing with, you know, unprocessed trauma, I’m struggling with something, being able to talk about it and feel like I have an audience or receive me and accept that and hopefully relate to it or, you know, get some benefit from it is it’s, it’s a way to work through things.

Sevan Matossian (01:41):

Yeah. It’s interesting. You, uh, you do such a good job. It doesn’t come off like that at all. But I used to make a lot of content around my kids, a little Instagram stories, and it was to deal with like, if they knocked over, let’s say I just put flowers in a vase and I filled it to the top with water and they knocked it over and I thought like, oh shit, someone’s gonna die. I just turn on Instagram. Oh, look a pot of and show like how calm and cool I am. Pot of water got knocked. Ah, it’s fine. You know, like, come on boys. Let’s clean it up. But really it was me coping. Like it was CRA it’s. It’s like, almost like you turned God on to watch you ohoh shit. God’s watching

Jesse Crosson (02:18):

<laugh> I, I guess that’s a good

Sevan Matossian (02:20):

Thanks for kids. <laugh>

Jesse Crosson (02:22):

I hadn’t thought about it that way. Yeah.

Sevan Matossian (02:25):

Uh, it’s a, it’s a brilliant format and it made me, uh, it inspired me to want to, um, start making more kids content again, like, Hey, this is, what do you go when you do that? Um, do you stream straight to YouTube one take live?

Jesse Crosson (02:40):

No, I usually, I usually just record a video and depending on how like centered I’m feeling, sometimes it’s one take, sometimes it’s a hundred cuz I’m stuttering and my brain isn’t working, but then yeah, just load it. And sometimes I’ll do like long form content. Like this weekend. We, we got together, there were a bunch of us, uh, I think seven, uh, social media people who had been in prison who were now trying to like of highlight what we’re doing with our lives or do something different. And it was, you know, we made a lot of long form content. We made some short videos, we just did some things to kind of decompress. But we also had some time that was just us like vice news came out to film us and they said, oh, well, you know, it seems like some of this stuff is for, you know, the internet and some of it’s for you because I mean, we need that the, the, the ven diagram or the overlap of people who’ve like been to prison, had these traumatic experiences, but then also gotten out and talked and talked so openly about it or kind of like based a large portion of their life around it.

Jesse Crosson (03:25):

It’s very small. So it’s been hard to find people to relate to. So being able to do that, both for content, but also just for, you know, kind of like healing or processing is, is really helpful.

Sevan Matossian (03:35):

What, what do you think about, um, do you consume any advices content?

Jesse Crosson (03:39):

I, so I hadn’t watched TV since I got outta prison and I have a hard time, like, I’ll watch, I’ll watch basically the same thing you’re talking about. Like I watch TikTok if I’m in the middle of something or if I we’ve got like a treadmill in the garage, if I’m on the treadmill, I’ll turn that on. But otherwise I just, there’s something about like receiving content. Um, it’s hard. It’s hard for me to sit in one place for very long.

Sevan Matossian (03:58):

I, I, I lo them,

Jesse Crosson (04:00):

Do you really?

Sevan Matossian (04:01):

Yeah. I lo them.

Jesse Crosson (04:02):

So I, I don’t know enough about ’em. The only thing I ever saw was there was a preview when I was in prison. We never get to see the actual show about, uh, uh, one of the prison systems in Thailand, where they allow their prisoners to train Mo Thai and fight. And if they win enough fights, they like win honor for their prison and they win freedom. I remember thinking like that sounds barbaric, but it also sounds a whole lot better than sitting in here for the rest of my life. Now that was my one exposure.

Sevan Matossian (04:23):

So they used to be crazy cutting edge, Jesse. They were so awesome. They did all the crazy shit. Right. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and then I don’t know what happened to them, but they went straight victim mentality. Okay. They went, they went just, just, and I, I don’t mean this to be offensive. They just went crazy. Woke just like holy, like demand. They’re basically an outlet outta Canada to now Canada. Now that basically demands that people be offended and follow followed. Sure. They, they almost seem anti-free and not almost they, they it’s. Um, and I was born, I’m born and raised in, in Berkeley, California too, you know? Um, I was born in the hive.

Jesse Crosson (05:04):

So you had a taste of it growing up, huh?

Sevan Matossian (05:05):

Yeah, I was born in the hive. I, I, in my heart, I’m a, I’m a tree, uh, tree hug and hippie, um, set ’em free. Let ’em go braless get, have the babies at home. The whole,

Jesse Crosson (05:18):

The whole that’s the inter the interesting cross section, because I grew up in America was like, at least supposedly more like cleanly divided. You had like liberals and conservatives and you had some moderates, but you didn’t have this intersection of all these different ideas and all these cross sections from the left and the right and people who basically don’t as describe to any kind of labels. And it’s been interesting to see. And I think like COVID, and, and different different situations we’ve gone through have really highlighted, uh, that we’re much more fractured as a nation. There aren’t cohesive groups that you have kind of like sub circles that are everywhere. And that, like I said, with the Venn diagram example, like we have more in common than we think with people we may not expect. And in a weird way, I think that should be like empowering or hopeful, but I think it’s been the opposite. I think people have been, felt more fractured or more betrayed. And I think that’s unfortunate

Sevan Matossian (06:00):

A as the nation becomes more extreme in some of the stuff that we’re seeing and, and you can’t even tell, like how much of it’s I’ve started to realize you can’t even tell how much of it’s. Uh, not that it’s not real, but it, that it’s, there’s not a lot of it that you, you remember, you might remember this before you went away. There was, um, stuff like Jerry Springer. Yeah. So like, it would be like white supremacist family marries into black family. You know what I mean? And it’d be like these two families on stage. And, and like, if you’re watching from California, you’re like, fuck, this is like crazy. This is like some weird one off shit. And now you can turn on Instagram and there’s people talking to you about how pedophilia is a bad word, and you should just call it adults being attracted to children and you should accept it. And you’re like, what the fuck? You know what I mean? And it’s this, uh, uh, but what’s interesting is as things get more extreme like that, I, I like, I think you were starting to put a positive spin on it. It’s letting us realize that, Hey, I might be a hardcore Democrat. I might be a hardcore, uh, conservative, but like, Hey, I I’m, I’m not down with the fucking pedophilia shit. Sure. We, we, we bond kumbaya let’s hold hands, August 16th, 2021.

Jesse Crosson (07:11):

That was the most, uh, exciting day in my life, an hour. And a half’s notice, you know, I, I woke up, just went about my day and at two o’clock in the afternoon, they called me to the office. And at that point I had 10 years left on my sentence. Um, and the counselor, you know, said, there’s somebody on the phone for you? And there was a speaker phone. And they said, Mr. Cross, and are you sitting down? And I said, no. Why? And the fear in that moment was, this is basically how you find out that your family has died. Like I found out that my dad had died because they called me me up to, and they let me see my mom, but generally as they call you in the office and they tell you, and they said, no, well, because you’ve been granted apart and you’re going home today.

Jesse Crosson (07:43):

So it went from this like ultimate fear of like, oh no, I lost somebody else. I lost like one more thing to, oh, no, I’m going home. Um, and yeah, I can’t really describe the shock or the kind of like joy or the, at the same time, like fear and anxiety, because I thought they would take it back. I thought it was a mistake. I thought if I didn’t get out soon enough. And they actually told me that when I got in the front, they said, we gotta hurry you through this, or we’re gonna have to keep you. And I was like, fuck, like what can I do to hurry through it? Um, but yeah, that was the day that, that the pardon that I had put in, in 2019 actually came through and it was just insane.

Sevan Matossian (08:15):

A window opens that you, that they can let you out. And if that window of time closes you stay

Jesse Crosson (08:21):

Well, they, what they said was that, so the, the pardon had been signed on a Friday. I was released on a Monday, but for some reason they didn’t get it until late that Monday. And so they said, well, if we don’t do it today, we’ll have to let you out maybe tomorrow. Or maybe like, once we get all this paperwork processed, like there was another guy that I know he received the pardon in 2020. And in like February, I, I don’t remember exactly what the month was. And they said, okay, we’re gonna let you out. And then something happened with his home plan. So that put it off two months, and then there was a COVID outbreak. So that put it off two months. So he just ended up staying in prison six months after they said, you’re going home tomorrow. And that was my fear is like, I’ve heard horror stories like that. So I was like, well, let, let me, let me do everything I can. And it just worked out and I managed to walk out the front.

Sevan Matossian (09:00):

You, you put in a, the, I guess the word I heard you use clemency. I mean, I know the word, but I don’t know the word, basically. You, you applied for clemency. Can you explain that? And, and how, how much prior to you getting released, you applied for that.

Jesse Crosson (09:14):

So in, in the state of Virginia, because there is no parole, uh, the only release,

Sevan Matossian (09:20):

Which is crazy, let let’s circle back on that too. That’s fucking weird.

Jesse Crosson (09:23):

Unfortunately, it’s, it’s a lot more common than people think, you know, in 19 94, 19 95, that the crime act, uh, took a huge, um, basically took a huge portion of the nation and made federal funds dependent upon the willingness to abolish parole and what they call truth and sentencing. And a lot of states have gone back since then, but Virginia isn’t one of ’em. Wow. So there’s no way to have oversight. So in my situation, my guidelines a day, I was sentenced for eight to 13 years, and then they were modified to 10 to 16 years. And the judge sentenced me to 32. So the basis of my clemency in, in 2019, and this is back when it was a long shot like this under previous, uh, uh, governors, they would release maybe five or six people at the end of their term for political reasons or because, you know, kind of cronyism, it was such a rare thing that it didn’t seem a possibility.

Jesse Crosson (10:06):

So for me, it was more of like doing everything I can and then accepting the result. Like if I didn’t try and I had to spend the, you know, the rest of that time in prison, I would’ve felt like a failure. I would’ve felt like a certain sense of like, uh, inadequacy. It would’ve added something to it. So for me, it was really about just like doing everything that I could, but yeah, it was based on the fact that I’d been sentenced twice a high point in my guidelines that I’d been sentenced just after my 18th birthday and the work that I’d done, you know, getting a college degree, teaching classes, starting programs like working as well as the future plans that I had, which didn’t include, you know, uh, YouTube. But so the, the governor in this kind of amazing sweep, uh, granted more petitions or for clemency or more pardons than all the previous governors combined. So it was

Sevan Matossian (10:46):

This huge in the history of the state, in the history of the state of Virginia,

Jesse Crosson (10:49):

In the history of the state of Virginia, it was about 1200 people. Um, it was pretty amazing. What

Sevan Matossian (10:54):

Was the profile of those 1200 people? Was there one, like, was it like, you know, like, uh, um, was the vast majority of them, uh, marijuana, uh, sales, or was the vast majority of people who’d been over 15 years? Was there any like categories you could kind of stick them in? I don’t know this demographic,

Jesse Crosson (11:13):

But what there was this intensive process through. So because the referral before 1995, there is still a parole board that investigates those people’s S from before 95. And part of the arm of that is the clemency, the, the pardon wing. And they worked overtime, they hired extra people like they did these kind of exhaustive, uh, looks and everybody did applied for, for clemency. And it was pretty broad. It was across, I had a friend who had had a felony murder charge. Basically he showed up for a drug deal, went to go get the drugs, the guy that he was with killed somebody. And while he wasn’t even there, he was like a mile away. He spent 23 years in prison for that.

Sevan Matossian (11:44):

Oh shit.

Jesse Crosson (11:45):

Um, you know, there was another guy with robbery. There were a couple guys with white collar crimes. So it was, it was kind of broad across the spectrum.

Sevan Matossian (11:51):

Um, and your shit was fucked up because you had accidental home invasion.

Jesse Crosson (11:55):

Wait, it was not accident. Well, we didn’t, we didn’t know anyone was there, but we broke in like

Sevan Matossian (11:58):

We intentionally, but that’s like really bad. You Rob a house, it’s cool. You Rob a house and someone’s in it. And it’s like, oh, shit’s,

Jesse Crosson (12:04):

It’s a totally different thing. Okay.

Sevan Matossian (12:05):

Yeah. And that’s where your shit kind of went sideways, right? Like, uh, yeah. 50% of it.

Jesse Crosson (12:09):

Well, yeah. 50% of it. Yeah. I mean, like you said, if we had broken into a home, I think that’s a violation of someone’s privacy in their space and it’s, it’s under no, you know, terms acceptable or okay. It is not to the level of yeah. Of traumatizing someone by them being there and being afraid for their life and experiencing what they did. Um, and that, that was a shift, but,

Sevan Matossian (12:27):

And then, and then the other thing was, uh, drug deal gone bad. Um, gun fight, ensued, basically someone was chasing you

Jesse Crosson (12:35):

Basically. Yeah. I mean, it was more complicated than that. Like these two guys had, had stolen a pistol and sold it to somebody who sold it to me. And then they started threatening him because I don’t know if they got caught, I don’t know what happened with their situation, but they wanted the gun back and he wouldn’t give it back to him and he wouldn’t give him my name, but then they found out my name. So then they were over at his house and threatening his girlfriend who was pregnant at the time. It was just this horrible kind of shit show of like, drug-fueled insanity. Like none of it was rational, reasonable. It was just, it was emotion and drugs kind of combined into a really unhealthy place that then yeah, I agreed to go meet them. And like, that was the, the culpability. I agreed to meet them and just had this flash of sanity that like, what, this is a really bad idea. Like somebody’s gonna get seriously hurt. So I left and they chased me. And I remember being so, you know, frustrated and angry, like, dude, I’m trying to go away. Like, I’m trying to not like, have this go bad. Like we all just leave me alone. And then when the passenger reached over, across, in my mind, he was getting a gun. So I just pulled mine out and shot him.

Sevan Matossian (13:25):

He was in the car,

Jesse Crosson (13:26):

We were, we were in cars. Like I said, they were chasing me down the road. I was driving the right lane. They were in the passing lane, like trying to swerve into me.

Sevan Matossian (13:33):

So when you say passenger, you don’t mean passenger in your car. You mean

Jesse Crosson (13:36):

The passenger in the other car? So, because I was in the right lane, he was right next to me in the left lane.

Sevan Matossian (13:43):

He didn’t die.

Jesse Crosson (13:44):

No, nobody died,

Sevan Matossian (13:45):

But you got both of them.

Jesse Crosson (13:47):

I did hit both of ’em unfortunately

Sevan Matossian (13:48):

With one shot,

Jesse Crosson (13:50):

No, with I, I taped the clip. There was, there was no, like that’s people have that whole idea of like a die hard and like this witty line, as you like, you know, take sight and fire, I’ve talked to police officers. I’ve talked to people in combat the mechanics of it. Maybe for people who are well trained are there. But for me, I was like screaming and screaming, tears, and just like going deaf and nothing about it was Hollywood. It was more of just like, kind of a, a breakdown in the moment.

Sevan Matossian (14:14):

So your dry driving, your passenger side windows down, you shoot through the window and get both guys

Jesse Crosson (14:22):

By the way driver’s side. Cause I was in the right lane. They were in the, so shooting across.

Sevan Matossian (14:25):

And did you, yeah,

Jesse Crosson (14:26):

I’m like shooting a gun in my own face. I mean, it was not a smart or reasonable again. It was just, it was a reaction.

Sevan Matossian (14:32):

What kind of gun?

Jesse Crosson (14:33):

It was a, a col 1911, a 45.

Sevan Matossian (14:37):

Wow. Wow. Had you ever shot it before?

Jesse Crosson (14:43):

Uh, I had shot it at bottles. I’d never shot it at anybody or shot it under stress. I couldn’t even hit any of the bottles. I remember we did that. We unloaded like three clips and I was like, oh, I guess it’s not for me. Like,

Sevan Matossian (14:51):

Did they stop chasing you?

Jesse Crosson (14:53):

They did.

Sevan Matossian (14:56):

And uh, and how, um, Caleb, how many prisoners are there in, uh, Virginia in the, in the prison system that they let 1200 go. I wonder if that’s like, is I wonder what the percentages of that I wonder, are there a hundred thousand people and that’s 1% of

Jesse Crosson (15:11):

’em it’s usually 28 to 30,000.

Sevan Matossian (15:15):


Jesse Crosson (15:17):

Do you think that the other thing is they didn’t necessarily let that many go because some of the pardons were to expunge records from the past, some were to kind of clear the name or clear the, the, the culpability. They weren’t necessarily all to genuinely release people.

Sevan Matossian (15:28):


Jesse Crosson (15:31):

Or down to 23,000. That’s huge. Yeah. Cause it was 29. It was about 30,000 a year ago,

Sevan Matossian (15:38):

You know? Um, what’s interesting, Jesse in, uh, there was a, like a 10 year, um, uh, seven to 10, maybe, maybe seven year. I don’t know. But there was a section in my life where I was homeless and, and I mean like really homeless. I don’t mean like, like my peer group, they call them homeless, but they’re not homeless. They’re drug addicts, like 99%. Like, so like when the news says we’re building homes for homeless people, they’re not building homes for homeless people. They’re building homes for drug addicts, but I was like homeless by choice. But I was like the only one, there was one other guy, old guy I met in all the years who wasn’t a drug addict and, and I was a drug. I mean, I wasn’t into nicotine, but I just didn’t have a drinking problem or okay. LSD or Coke or acid. Most of the guys were drunk in pills. God, so many fucking pills. But, but when I was homeless, I was kind of like excited for like the apocalypse. Right. <laugh> like, if, like, if it came, I was ready for it. Like this is gonna be cool. Like, this would be crazy. Right. Like if COVID would’ve happened when I was homeless, it would’ve been fucking rad. Um, you

Jesse Crosson (16:42):

Were better prepared than anybody.

Sevan Matossian (16:43):

Yeah. And it would, it was just, it would, it would everyone would’ve been just outta my way. I could’ve just sat in the park all day and drew pictures, you know what I mean? Played Frisbee, um, and talked to drunk dudes and it’s a guy it’s a guy thing too. Homelessness is mostly a guy thing. It’s dudes, it’s, you’re you’re with a bunch of dudes, kinda like the prison or, or military or, or, or the priesthood <laugh>, you know, and then, and then I ha and then the same thing was true with, um, I had a different perspective on violence and then when I ha now I have three little boys.

Jesse Crosson (17:15):


Sevan Matossian (17:16):

So when I see someone tussling with a police officer, now I immediately have no, um, I have almost no compassion or leniency for them because what I see is someone grabbing the gun and shooting and getting one of my boys on accident. Do you know what I mean? Like I said, like, even if you don’t have a gun, if you’re fighting with someone who, who does have a gun, my window of like, um, acceptance of that is like, like before I didn’t, I would’ve never even thought that I’d been like, yeah, the cop it’s the cop signed up for it and his job and blah, blah, blah, and use minimum restraint. But now I have kids I’m like, shoot him. You know what I mean? Cause like, I don’t want to be like in the Seven-Eleven getting sunflower seeds and some dude takes a gun from a cop and straight bullet comes in the it’s weird how perspective,

Jesse Crosson (18:01):

But let me ask you this. Yeah. What if one of your kids grew up and was in that situation and the response was for the cop to shoot him.

Sevan Matossian (18:08):

I right, right. Yeah. That too. And, and, and then the same thing. What if my son was that cop?

Jesse Crosson (18:15):


Sevan Matossian (18:16):

You’re right. It’s a, um, and, and, and that could happen. My kids could, um, uh, you, you and I both have been into drugs.

Jesse Crosson (18:27):


Sevan Matossian (18:27):

So like what’s to say, like I have three boys, odds are pretty good, right. That they do something stupid that, that puts them in a, in a way that maybe I wouldn’t be compassion for. I know it’s, it’s, it’s tricky. Right. I used to always drive drunk in high school and now I have no tolerance for drunk drunk. Yeah. Like that was, I’d say there was three years of my life where I drunk, drove more drunk than sober.

Jesse Crosson (18:53):

Sure. Well, I remember that was the one meaningful program we had in, in the department of corrections, which was just a pilot program was called a victim impact program. And it was basically going through a list of all the crimes or the classes of crimes. And then neither watching video testimony or written testimony of somebody who had been a victim of that crime and listening to the consequences that are act or of their life, their families, what they lost, like how hard it was. And it was designed to like create an empathetic response. And it was incredibly powerful. And the last section was this woman who came in, who was in a wheelchair and it was her and her parents. And they came in to talk about her experience of being hit by a drunk driver and being in a wheelchair five years later. And knowing she’s never gonna walk again, she’s never gonna be able to dance. And it was her parents talking about getting that phone call that their daughter had been hit by a drive driver. And they didn’t know if she was gonna live and not being allowed to see her and being held back at the scene. And it was, I, I cannot imagine anyone ever watching that and being okay with driving drunk or having someone else drive drunk.

Sevan Matossian (19:45):

Yeah. It’s, it’s a trip. So, um, the George Floyd thing is like that. Some people see the George Floyd incident and they see a white cop holding a black man down. I, I don’t see, I don’t see that at all. I see a guy who was high on fentanyl, meth and alcohol being taken off the streets who could have hit my kid on his tricycle.

Jesse Crosson (20:06):

Sure. I mean, I think it goes both ways.

Sevan Matossian (20:07):

Right? Right. I think,

Jesse Crosson (20:09):

I think that it

Sevan Matossian (20:10):

Is both ways, both ways are totally, uh, fair grounded assessments.

Jesse Crosson (20:15):

I think the thing about the, the cop is looking at Derek Chauvin, looking to kind of like deadness in his eyes in that situation. That’s because police officers don’t get the trauma informed care they need, they don’t get the help they need. They have to show up and watch a child get run over by a car and then respond to some lady who locked her keys out of her car. Like they’re not prepared. They’re not supported to do what they do. And I think his behavior was inappropriate. I understand the situation, but I also understand that he was not supported enough to be in that position and that the vast majority of police officers don’t, they don’t receive the sport. And some, I mean, my experience was mostly with correctional officers. We have about 5% are extraordinary. About 90% are just doing their job and 5% that are basically sadist.

Jesse Crosson (20:52):

And I’m sure that’s true across any of those fields, but I don’t think generally speaking, you can say that cops are bad or even someone that does a bad thing is bad. Like my whole platform is on second chances. And I mean that for everybody, I don’t mean that just for people convicted of a crime. Um, so I think it’s just, it’s, it’s terrible the way we kind of divide and blame rather than saying, Hey, this is a messed up situation and we need to change the way everybody in this situation is acting and every, you know, receives these resources.

Sevan Matossian (21:15):

Is, is there anything that happened in there in those 19 years that, um, you can’t talk about because the implications on you, like I’ve heard you say stuff I’m like, I guess he’s not worried about getting in trouble. Like, um, you used to sell, um, apple pies illegally, Jesse illegal apple pies, and there was one other and, and you ran a, uh, a small gambling business. Um, what’s it? What was it

Jesse Crosson (21:38):

Called? Um, well, my, my cell partner mostly did that. I took over the gambling business for the UFC ticket

Sevan Matossian (21:42):

Quarter, quarter boards. You ran quarter

Jesse Crosson (21:44):

Boards. Oh yeah, no, I did do that. I didn’t even think about that as a business, but yeah. I mean, those are things that are illegal. I kind of doubt they’re gonna come back and press charges from an institutional perspective, but I hope not.

Sevan Matossian (21:54):

Uh, could they,

Jesse Crosson (21:56):

I don’t think so. I mean, because it’s not a, it’s not a street charge. It’s not something they’ve actually charged me with in court. And I think it’s, I don’t, I don’t know how they would press like an institutional charge while I’m outta custody. That would be a shame to like, do all these things and start a nonprofit and go back to prison for selling apple pies.

Sevan Matossian (22:10):

Oh, it’d be fucking nuts. But dude, there’s, there’s, I’ve seen nut ears. I feel like every day in the news, I see something nuttier. Is there, is there anything in there that you just don’t talk about? Um, because you, you don’t want the blow back?

Jesse Crosson (22:29):

Not so much because I don’t want the blow back as, because I don’t wanna sensationalize things like for, in the beginning, one of the most common questions I got was like, did you ever see somebody murdered? Or what was the worst thing you saw or what was the worst you saw somebody hurt? And that I don’t like talking about because it’s traumatic. Like, the things that I saw are not pleasant, things, not only that turning that into like entertainment for people, I think is just disgusting. Like I’m all for, for, you know, Korean revenge films, I’m all for the UFC. I’m all for self-defense, I’m all for, you know, a legitimate depiction of a war movie. But to sensationalize those things for the purposes of entertainment is just very against my core values.

Sevan Matossian (23:01):

It’s um, yesterday you told in one of the videos I saw, you told, you told a story about watching a guy in the yard, um, get fucking stomped by a bunch of dudes for like five minutes.

Jesse Crosson (23:13):


Sevan Matossian (23:16):

And as I was, I actually started, I didn’t trip on the guys who were stomping on ’em. I didn’t trip on, um, the guy getting stomped. I started, I felt bad for you because you probably wanted to do something, but you can’t do something because the immediate implication is as your face gets stomped. Right.

Jesse Crosson (23:34):

Yeah. I mean, and that, the reason I told that story, wasn’t just for the sensation of seeing it was for, that was like the breaking point for me to realize that I could not allow this place to define me because the, the ethic in that place was, you know, that’s none of your business to let it happen. And I’m watching someone get their face dumped in and like, I’m not okay with that. I’m not at the same time either. It’s, it’s a horrible kind of bind to be in because yeah, it’s, you know, this past weekend, all of us got together for, you know, uh, this kind of convention. And we talked about that. We talked about the ways we adapted to be in prison and the ways we adapted to survive in a place that we had to and how we had to work to kinda get rid of those habits or change who we are, get back to who we wanna be.

Sevan Matossian (24:10):

Because if you see, if you see that in the real world, you, you can step up. Like, I, I can remember two boys fighting and a, and a, um, a boy was, um, collecting, shopping carts one time. And another boy, like some kid, obviously from his high school, started picking a fight with him. And I was with my mom. I was a kid. My mom ran over and broke the fight up, started yelling at them. And there were witnesses and shitloads of people. But you do that in prison. They stop, they stomp my mom out.

Jesse Crosson (24:34):

It would be bad.

Sevan Matossian (24:38):

Does everyone, how long, how long after 19 years, um, have, do you get to see it all? What’s the time before you, how many, how long do you have to be in prison to have seen it all by all? I mean, um, the, the, the selling of illegal pies, a stomping of the face, um, um, whatever you have a whole litany of stories of things, you know, you’ve seen how long, the guy who sells his service, his legal services to the other guys. How long before you’ve seen it all? Is it quick or do you not even after 19. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. And then you figure it out, you see the whole machine

Jesse Crosson (25:16):

And you see every now and then you’ll find those, those people who really stand out. Like I I’ve had people in my life with inside and out that are just extraordinary. Like, those people will always stand out to me, but the kind of class of people, you do, you, you get that guy like his, his identity is being a drug addict. That guy, his identity is being a gambler. That guy’s a gangster, that guy’s a Christian, that guy’s a, and you meet that. And very few people go very far deviate very far that, and I’m not saying they’re not individuals, but unless you develop a close relationship with them, that’s all you see, cuz that’s all they kind of put out into the world. Like everybody plays a role and you get to know those roles and you see the guys who hustle and have creative hustles and have really bad hustles. And yeah, it just, it becomes another place where you kind of know all the characters.

Sevan Matossian (25:53):

Oh shit. So, so there there’s, there, there are archetypes.

Jesse Crosson (25:57):

Oh, very much. So

Sevan Matossian (25:59):

The, um, the Marshall arts club you had is, was fascinating to me.

Jesse Crosson (26:03):

Yeah. I love that. That’s and that’s, that’s one of the things that I’m most proud of being a part of and it was completely illegal. And that’s what I think is the problem. When we have a divide between what’s moral or what’s good and what’s, you know, legal or what’s allowed, and I understand their concern, like the idea of saying, okay, we’re gonna let these prisoners, especially guys with like stabbings and gang histories and whatever trained martial arts seems really unappealing. And definitely wouldn’t be a, you know, a good thing to the public, but being there and having seen the transformation in people and having seen the bond across people who never would’ve sat at the same table or never would’ve had the same conversation, it was powerful. Like it was one of the most powerful things I was a part of. And that was important enough to me to risk getting in trouble because like, I didn’t do anything else wrong. Like I stayed out of the way, but it was worth it to me to do that because I saw saw the change that it was making.

Sevan Matossian (26:45):

Um, I, I saw you do another interview and, um, the people were surprised the gentleman who was interviewing you was surprised that that would be a good idea that lifting weights or training martial arts for prisoners would be a good idea. And it’s amazing. I it’s amazing to me the, I mean, I get it. I, I, I see the flawed logic that the way that they think, because I have friends who, uh, won’t put their kids in martial arts because they think it’ll make their kids violent. And it’s, it’s it, the pro, uh, it’s such bad thinking to not give it’s such bad thing because these, the kids in my kids’ martial arts class are the least violent, most confident assured. Uh, and, and obviously we know training, um, training is, uh, physical training is one of the best things you can do for a human’s mind.

Jesse Crosson (27:34):

Yeah. When somebody said something the other day that I had never heard it put this well before he says it’s acute stress, washes away, general stress. So if we’re under this general stress of being incarcerated, being away from our families, being in fear, being discomfort, you know, uncomfortable having that acute stress of lifting weights or running as hard as we can in training as hard as we can or doing something intense, washes that away and allows us to then be more peaceful and not be agitated and not be responsive. Um, it’s, it’s a good experience. I mean, and you talked about the assault bike and watching my videos and I’m amazed because the two experiences I’ve had in salt bike when I went to a CrossFit gym in town were that, that was the worst experience in my life. There’s like one minute sprints. Yeah. Yeah.

Sevan Matossian (28:12):

It’s horrible. I’m chill. I’m chill on it. I’m chill. Oh, are you okay? Yeah. Yeah. I mean, sometimes I get aro on it, but I do, I do probably like a hundred calories and 10 minutes and, and I’m covered in sweat and then I get off and then like I stretch or I do some like sit ups or I, you know, I do mellow stuff while I’m, um,

Jesse Crosson (28:30):

Okay. That makes sense.

Sevan Matossian (28:30):

Yeah. And then I maybe go back and forth on it. I don’t do that. Yeah. That thing will make you vomit, right? Yeah. If you try to, if you try to fight with it, that

Jesse Crosson (28:38):

Was horrible. <laugh>

Sevan Matossian (28:40):

Um, Courtney’s your, your fiance’s a CrossFitter.

Jesse Crosson (28:44):

She is,

Sevan Matossian (28:45):

Yeah, that was a trip. When I heard that. I didn’t know that at the time when I invited you onto the show, but a lot of my, a lot of the shows I do are around, uh, CrossFit related subjects.

Jesse Crosson (28:57):

Well, it was cool because it’s, we never had like official, you know, we never had the literature. What I got was the, uh, the, um, uh, what is it called? The supple effort, you know, the book that they call the CrossFit Bible that informed so much of how I worked out and what I did. And then we would get like, they had like box magazines. So we would like steal wads from that. That’s what I did in prison. Like we did the training with that was my aside. And when I went to coffee with, during the pandemic, when I was in this, you know, dormitory, they didn’t like, it was not okay to do any training. Like we tried to hit the pads and they sent all the cops out on the yard and we’re gonna lock us up. And it was like, all right, cool.

Jesse Crosson (29:27):

We can’t get away with this year. So we just did these incredibly intense workouts. And I came outta prison in the best shape of my life. Like I came outta prison. We, there was a video. Uh, I dunno if we did a video or just pictures, I was out like a week and we were running steps with a 60 pound vest and just like killing it. And now I’m, I’m not anywhere near there, but that’s one of the things that Courtney and I have bonded over because, you know, I knew her as a reporter who interviewed me back in 2019. I didn’t know anything about her personal life. So over the next couple years we started talking and she was telling about needing to get kettle bells. I said, what do you need kettle bells for? And then we started talking about our workouts and what we did. And one of the first things we did was the weekend I got out. I helped her. She went to Richmond. I helped.

The above transcript is generated using AI technology and therefore may contain errors.

Check out our other posts.