There’s no easy way to put this: Dave Bautista had a really, really difficult childhood, as detailed by the man himself in his book Batista Unleashed. He was born in 1969, and he says the Washington D.C. area he grew up in was one of the nation’s poorest throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. As he was growing up, crack cocaine was about to make its entrance, murders in the neighborhood were common, and according to him, life expectancy for children was “worse than in many third world countries.” Bautista goes on to say that homelessness and corruption ran rampant, and even honest folks couldn’t trust the police.
If that sounds like the most dystopic imaginable place to grow up, Dave Bautista immediately raises the stakes by casually mentioning that three people died on his doorstep before he turned 9. In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times, he elaborates on one particular death, where his mother found a man dying of a gunshot wound outside their house. She called for help, but the officials took too long and the man didn’t make it. Meanwhile, Bautista, his sister, and several other children were happily playing outside nearby. They were so accustomed to violent sights that they didn’t even shed a tear, and after Bautista’s mother saw this, the family promptly moved to San Francisco.