Former Drug Dealer Who Was Shot, Imprisoned Urges Young People To Make Wise Choices

Brandon McCallister (center) | Photo by Ryan Hedrick

Brandon McCallister was at the Stop The Violence Rally last Saturday in Frederick.

Frederick, Md. (KM) – You could say he made it out alive. Brandon McCallister dealt drugs, when he was younger, and ended being shot and spending time in prison. He says he was able to turn his life around. “So fast forward to being shot again, in prison multiple times. My son—born in jail—getting shot. I started realizing that you know what ‘give myself a chance.’ There’s another way to hustle. And I believe that’s I’m a hustler, that I can still find a way to make money without selling drugs,” he says.

McCallister, who is now part of the “I Believe in Me” movement, says he was drawn to dealing drugs because he came from a community where most people don’t have a lot of things other families have. “I thought drug dealing was going to be the answer to all my problems as a youngster because coming up, I didn’t the things the other kids had,”: McCallister says. “I’ve seen these guys. It was glorified to me at a young age: the cars, the women, the money, the respect. So it was like more of a family thing that drew me to that. But not understanding that there were back ends and repercussions for all those things.”

He says right now, his son is in prison for pursuing that lifestyle. “Him seeing me with money and living that lifestyle it was glorified to him. And I glorified it to him because I thought that was the way to success. In my community, in places I’m from, success is defined by how much money you got: cars, women, respect. So he followed that same path,” says McCallister.

Right now, McCallister says it’s important for people like him to discourage young people from following that path. “We have youth that’s lost, and it doesn’t make them bad people,” says McCallister. “It just means we need to reach to these young men and young women and find a way to appeal to them the way the streets are appealing to them.”

Reaching out to these young people is important, according to McCallister, because a life of dealing drugs leads to death, or prison. “And if you think that you can beat it, I’ll be the first one that you can come talk to and say ‘I beat that'” he says. “‘I didn’t to jail and I didn’t die and  I’m a millionaire off the life style of the streets, the drugs.’ And then I’ll believe. But I have never seen or heard that that is the way. So eventually, it’s gonna happen. It just depends on when you want it, or can  you cut it off before it gets to that point.”

McCallster was at the Stop the Violence Rally in Baker Park in Frederick on Saturday.

By Kevin McManus