There’s a reason you likely haven’t heard of pro skater Harvey Hawks. After building a successful career in the late 1970s, when the skate industry tanked in the 80s Hawks found himself in the midst of a failed marriage and was spiraling out of control. Things came to a head when on August 22, 1986, Hawks was run off the 91 Freeway in Corona California, and “overreacted.” According to a letter from Hawks’ attorney Steve Defilippis obtained by ESPN, “[Hawks] reached behind his seat to where the shotgun he was to use the next day for skeet shooting was located, intending to fire a warning shot to frighten the other driver. However, rather than getting a round of skeet load, he accidentally [chambered] a round containing a slug, and instead of tiny pellets that would have bounced harmlessly off the van, the round penetrated the… [van] and struck and killed the victim, exiting her body and wounding another backseat passenger.” Hawks was charged with second-degree murder and sentenced to 17 years-to-life.
After 26 years, four months, one week, and six days in state prison, Hawks was released in 2013. Now he’s trying to make amends.
“I live in remorse in my heart every single day for the harm and damage I’ve caused to so many good people,” says Hawks. “I spent a lot of time thinking about how I could give back to society for the damage that I caused.”
Together with Carver Skateboards, Harvey Hawks is volunteering alongside the San Diego Sheriffs’ Department, Longboarding for Peace, Loaded Longboards, Bustin Boards, Concrete Wave, and others at a 9th annual gun buyback wherein Carver will trade every firearm for a new skateboard.
“The way our Gun Buyback works is simple: you bring in a gun and we’ll trade it for a skateboard,” says Carver. “We want to transform those guns into something positive, find a way for kids to be a part of a creative community, and teach them about another way of life.
“There is a serious firearms problem in the US, with 8.9 firearms for every resident, which is more than 1.5 times as many as the next country on the list, Yemen. That’s over 270 million guns in America right now, and yet we continue to produce and sell more guns at an alarming rate. This results in many unwanted and unsecured guns that are accessible to children in the home, prone to theft and potentially used in crimes. The Gun Buyback program is a way to remove these unwanted guns from homes so they can’t be misused. It is not a challenge to the 2nd amendment or to our existing gun laws, but a way to improve the safety of our homes and neighborhoods.”
For Harvey Hawks, getting involved with Carver and the San Diego Sheriff’s Department Gun Buyback program represents a personal mission to do good and make up for lost time. “The best atonement is a life well-served,” he says. “I heard that many years ago, and I live by that creedo every day of my life.”
This year’s buyback will take place at the San Diego Police Department on December 16, 2017 from 8:30 AM – 1:00 PM at 6020 Akins Ave, San Diego, CA 92114.