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As some know, I'm working through the (now basically third) draft of a novel composed of short stories that will come out this fall.   Thankfully, I've already received the headstart through a publisher, and I have an editor.. but every 3rd or 4th Thursday, I'm putting up some rough drafts.. some have been through an edit, others are revised but they are definitely not the finished product.

Still, what they are is true.   At least, as well as I can remember them, they are true.   So, if you're after fiction, this isn't that, but so far at least some have enjoyed the read.  :)  

This is a later chapter, which deals with the court experience after being mugged.  Brief summary from earlier chapters:  Having finished a first round of rehab (about a month and a half) which helped recover from around 60+ closed head skull fractures from a baseball bat and having been stabbed a few times, I found myself back in School with a trial to attend.

I've went through a lot of the draft chapters, but some of the commentary here lately has reminded me of this one, so here goes.   Some minor commentary on the political side that won't be part of the final is at the end ;)

Violent Crime, It Changes You
Some of my best thinking came in a small room in the basement of Nichols Hall.   In the corner facing the town the practice studio was filled with mirrors, lights and plenty of room to sit and think in quiet.   You could take a break from the world and rarely be interrupted, just you and your thoughts.   My thoughts, though were more than enough to fill the room that day.  I kept thinking about the counselor who had told me to stay put - I just wasn't quite ready to be on the outside.    Those are the moments you don’t share with others – press on, move ahead I thought.   I stared into the mirrors and I realized she might have been right.  

Being stubborn though was at least one trait of mine that I definitely kept, and it seemed to me that going back would be the same as admitting defeat.   My mind kept rapidly strategizing how to turn defeat into a victory sometimes with good information, sometimes with bad information.  Unfortunately, a lot of the information that I had in my head wasn't "real".   It wasn't magical or insane.. well, I hope it wasn't insane.. but I knew they were not real.   I stared into the mirrors across the floor from me and all I could focus on was the spurt of blood rolling from my ear.   It wasn’t really happening.  Or maybe it was really happening.  Could it be happening?   My sea legs were knocked out from under me as I rushed to a restroom down the hall.   I knew that it wasn’t real.   I really did understand that it wasn’t real.   Rehab had told me they couldn't be real.     It felt real though,  it had all the trappings of reality, and more and more often I found myself talking outloud to a reality that didn’t exist.   Was I losing my mind?

I sat staring in the mirror and prepared myself to go upstairs and absolutely lie my ass off.   I wish I could say I would be in that "good group" of kids, but here I was trying to travel for the university again.. and the truth was just too difficult.   I did not want to talk about the truth in front of anyone, because the truth was not something I could really handle.   That is the hidden benefit of licking your wounds in a basement studio.   You have the entire staircase to concoct together a set of “I feel fine” lies and bullshit to baffle people with, in case you need to talk to anyone before you get out the door.

I would love to say that I was a great person with lots of sympathy, but frankly, most of the people who lived in reality would tell you that the way I was handling the situation would be best associated with the fact I was a dishonest jerk.   I wish I could say more to people, but the fact I was completely prepared to not talk about the kind of drugs I was prescribed or the difficulty I was having in keeping it together would make saying anything else a fraud.   Lies, it seems, yield a lot more comfort than telling people the truth when the last thing you want to talk about in the world is the truth.

Being in rehab did provide some benefits, especially when it came to how to view the world.   I really didn’t remember most of the details of that night.   So many of the details I did remember could not be true.   So, whatever I said anyone may – or may not – have been truthful.

I sat at the bottom of a stairwell and realized that the walk up the stairs would not be comfortable.  My legs still hurt and a simple one story walk would be a challenge.    The pain of walking the stairs unfortunately was just a start to the long walk, about two miles to the courthouse.   Climbing the stairs I knew I just wanted to get out of the building thought my headphones on and be alone with my thoughts and my Walkman.   As long as I would be away from other people, that would be all I needed.

My parents had asked if they should come up and go to the courthouse with me for any trials or sentencing.    "Should we come up?"   I walked out of Nichols hall and I thought about whether or not I should have said yes, but I had no interested in that happening.   I don't remember if friends asked if they should go, but I'm sure if I had asked they would have.   If any had, I think I would have told them not to come.  

I walked around the park where it happened, making sure not to walk through it as I had that night.    What kind of witness did anyone expect, when I couldn’t remember anything that actually happened.   With my Walkman on and a mix tape that a friend gave to me, at least for the thirty minutes ahead,  those pesky facts didn’t matter.

The walk to the courthouse gave me time to think it all over, get a feeling for what I wanted to say.   I would be the best witness who knew absolutely nothing imaginable.   I could be sympathetic, sad, whatever the prosecutor wanted.   It would be an acting gig, as simple as that.   Just go with the script, that’s all that mattered.

I entered the courthouse with plenty of time to spare, but unsure of where to go.   A big sign that lists your name and State of Kansas VS with a courtroom number greeted me just inside the door and let me know where I was headed without having to drop my guard and talk to another person.   I had come early so I could sit in the courtroom and speak to the prosecutor a bit beforehand.   Being a crime victim would be a great role, just do what you’re told and this will go easy.  

Sitting in an empty courtroom on the benches that fill the gallery for about an hour gives you quite a bit of time to embrace your surroundings.   The first row gave me a complete view of the courthouse and reminded me of home.   The benches in the courtroom stretched out like every pew in every Catholic church I had ever been in; only the missals and a kneeler were missing.    A crack in the wood went down the center of my bench in a long snaking line I could trace with my finger.

I traced the wood on the bench and thought about the pew my family sat in as a child.  Good memories though don’t last that long and the more my fingers traced the crack in the wood the more my mind drifted .. it always began the same, with the feel of that taste, that copper taste of pennies filling my mouth as blood filled it.   Closing my eyes I couldn’t escape the image I held in my mind of holding hand to my ear to prevent more blood from coming out.   I didn’t even know if it was real, but it felt real.   It was the only thing I could remember, and suddenly I had lost myself in my own thoughts, lost track of time, I was just.. lost.   I was dreaming.  I was awake.  This is what I wanted to talk about but I couldn't.  Maybe none of it was even real.

"Hello"

I didn't hear anyone come in, I should have heard someone come in, but  I stopped paying attention some time ago.

"I didn't hear you come in, are you waiting for the district attorney?"

"Well, I need to meet someone about a case later today.  I don't know how it's going to turn out. So, you know, just talk and stuff with someone."

She was older than I was, her curly brown hair matted down as she sat down in the pew across from me.   “Oh.”

"Are you here waiting too?"

When you are sitting in a courtroom that is prepared for a trial you are involved with, sharing information does not come easy.   This stranger however was willing to trust me with some information at least.  “Yeah, just here for a case in a bit.   Are you on the docket?”

She ruffled through her purse looking for something and stared at the courtroom doors.  "It's I don't know it's not anything I guess.  I don't know if I want to go ahead with it.  I'm going to see if maybe I don't have to go ahead with it."

"Oh just something simple"

Her agitation level reminded me of a small child trapped in Sunday church, looking everywhere and nowhere all at once.  "Kind of.  I don't know.  It wasn't you know.  It wasn't what it was." She smiled weakly at me and continued, "I'm just here to convince the prosecutor to drop my case."

"Just something simple, though?  I mean, that should be easy."

Talking to someone who was a stranger was like slipping into a warm tub, it was comfortable, it was warm, it was easy.    They didn't know me, I didn't know them.. they couldn't prejudge what I was there for and there wasn't all the baggage of knowledge that comes along with even a casual relationship.   I few quick lines of dialog and the meeting could just drain away and there wouldn’t be anything left for me to worry about.  I felt compelled to ask “What happened?”  As soon as the words left my mouth I knew the conversation was over.

"Just something that got out of control.   I don't know.  I'm going to wait for the prosecutor.   It was good to talk to you."

I never saw her again.  I was left to sit in silence and stare back at the pew where I sat.   I had know idea who they were, but I remember that conversation so well because I remember wishing it would go on, just to distract me.  It wasn't meant o happen.  While this place reminded me of church, it definitely wasn't a confessional, and I wasn't someone who could elicit a confession.   The thought that chased through my mind was simple: DH Lawrence can kiss my ass.

"I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself.
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough
without ever having felt sorry for itself"
Of course a wild thing doesn't feel sorry for itself is because it doesn't have the reasoning skills to realize how absolutely fucked things are.   Despite all the bullshit analysis of my middle school teachers, the thought of "no self pity" seemed stupid and foolish to me at the moment.   I spent my time fixated on something I simply couldn't remember, and the only seeming relief I had from it that day boiled down to a random conversation with a total stranger.   I was lifted out of my funk by talking to a stranger.   I was waiting for her to tell me some horrible reason why she was there, because I really needed some good schadenfreude about then.  She could have talked longer and if her story got worse the happier I was going to be about it – another sucker in the same boat with me.   What kind of terrible person was I, rooting for her misfortune?

Before the sentencing hearing, people began trickling in.   I wouldn't have family or friends there.   It would just be the district attorney sitting on my side of the court.   On the other side of the room would be the family and friends of the person who had pled guilty in my case.  His family slowly filled their pews in the courtroom, and all the eyes turned to look my way.  

It was a typical Midwestern family, and they came in their Sunday best, suits and dresses.   My knees were still swollen and I had walked to the court in a shirt and sweat pants.     I looked over at his mother crying and realized that my worst day was over but hers was just beginning.  Her son would soon be sentenced to a real, adult prison.

With 15 minutes before the case was set to begin, the district attorney and others began to setup the courtroom.   The tripod of evidence went up before the courtroom, pictures and information the prosecutor would want to ask the defendant about in sentencing.   It was up to the judge to determine sentencing, and we wanted a long sentence.   Bringing home how serious the event was would be important.   The goal of all of it was to remind the judge of the severity of the incident.   It would help the family of the accused accept that the sentence the prosecution had asked for was just in light of what happened.

I looked across the courtroom and could see his family, seemingly good people in every way who couldn't make eye contact with me.  We couldn’t look directly at each other but I knew my presence in the courtroom for them was the reminder of the day something went horribly wrong for their son.   It wasn't his first crime.  It wasn't even his first violent crime.   It was the crime that would be his first sentenced as an adult.  

The black tripod didn't reveal its contents but I knew that there would be only one real photo there.  It would be the photo of me during admission to the hospital after an ambulance ride.  Blood gushing from my ear, nose and eyes, my face black and blue.  Teeth broken and the look of death.   I knew that for the next few minutes, his family would see the photo.  The sentence he would plead to, seven to ten years was indeed fair.    I stared at the photo and to the empty pews on my side of the trial and I was reminded only of everything lost.  The photo would stare back at me with dead eyes and tell me:  you can't be that person ever again.   It was as though that reality that I lived in prior no longer existed.   This was the new reality.   I had wanted to think that the empty benches on my side of the courtroom were my choice.  And they were, but it was also a sign that I wasn't going to bring the past along with me into the new world.   I hadn't asked and no one came.   This was the new reality, starting all over, and the past wouldn't come along with me.  

We all rose as the judge walked into the room and we prepared for the hearing.  The prosecutor walked over to me, "You don't have to sit out here, you can sit behind us if you want, if that's you know, better."   The cracked pew was home now, my seat was warm and no matter where I moved in the courtroom nothing was going to improve.

I can't remember how it went, it was like a blur.  I remember looking into the gallery and seeing the mother of the convicted cry as her son blamed lack of love for his violent outbursts.  I remember sitting on the stand and saying that I just wanted him to be responsible.  

I walked back to campus, and for the last time in my life I cut through the city park.   It had happened here.  I didn’t want to avoid it today, closing this chapter meant walking by where it happened.   I couldn't remember that night, but I wanted to remember that night.   I wanted to never remember that night.  I wanted to remember it forever.  I wanted to remember it the way I remembered it.   I couldn't remember it the way it happened.  

The spot in the park where it had happened, the place that police had marked in the diagrams was easy to find.  The grass was starting to green and with the sun out I could sit and stare and think.   It was one of the few times I ever really gave in.  "Be tough, I thought.  You can move on, put this behind you."  

For whatever reason, I couldn't move on.  I couldn't put it behind me.   The world had changed and while it was a story for a while, it was no secret that it wasn't a story people really wanted to think about.   Earlier in the day a friend had confronted me: “You’re milking this, you need to get over it.”   But I couldn't get over it, no matter how hard I tried.  I couldn't get used to the feeling that this was the world I would live in now.


"I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself.
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough
without ever having felt sorry for itself"
Of course I felt sorry for myself.  I felt ashamed for feeling sorry for myself.  Move on, it could be worse.   I could have died.     My friends had moved on, family had moved on, why the hell couldn’t I just get up and move on?   What was so wrong that I could get up and just put it behind me?

With the trial over, it was time to go back to the day to day.   But as I walked out of the park, I knew my stay in Manhattan was over, at least for a while.   I needed to get away and recharge my batteries.



Postscript.

The spotlight of a violent crime is pretty bright right now.   Assaults.  Murders.  Rapes.  And for a while, society stands up and people pay attention.   But after awhile, it goes away.  In some ways it's good.  In some ways, it leaves you with no one who really quite understand what's going on.

I see people on TV who have been victims of violent crime and I feel for their tragedy.  The world for those people have changed forever.  No passing of time can take things back, nothing in the world can undo what has happened.    We all deal with it in our own way, but no matter how many years past, it's a part of us.

It's something outsiders don't understand.   It's not their fault, it's easy to say "move on".   They just haven't been to the same zip code as you've been.  Three times in my life I attended violent crime victims meetings.   It's an interesting collection of people.  Five years, Ten Years, 20 years after things happen, people sometimes feel the need to show up.  People who lost family members.  Abused.  Hurt.  Or a witness to a tragedy.  It's a world people can't relate to on the outside.    No matter how you get through it, you get through it.   But you never get "over" it.  It just becomes part of you.

January is a month that is traditionally rough for me, and today is the day.   January 22, 1995.   Someone once told me that hanging onto this and not "letting it go" is just tiring.  "Get over it, it happened move on."   But of all the victims of violent crime I've known, we'll all tell you that we do in fact move on.   I don't dwell on it every day.   I don't sit and stew on it every day.   But January 22 of every year is a day for me a lot like an anniversary or a birthday.   Maybe I don't remember it the way I did early on but I never forget it either.   And that's the nature of violent crime.  18 years ago, it happened and my life changed.   I'm reminded that 17 years ago, in my one attempt to go back to the city where it happened I struggled with depression and mood swings so bad I lost my roommate and ended up.. well, it wasn't pretty.  I left a new shell shocked girlfriend of the moment to help pickup the pieces and figure out why I couldn't get through it.  

Fourteen years ago, the person who stood trial in this case escaped Hutchinson, Kansas prison, and a Kansas State Trooper to come to my door and tell alert my wife and myself that he had escaped but I was likely "safe".  The fear and panic hit me like a brick and helped wreck a job I really loved and destroyed friendships because for a few months, all I could think about were the events that January.

The past 18 years have been good to me, far better than I could have imagined at any of those moments.   But every January I find myself doing a lot of walking.. because at night, 18 years later, I still think about it.  

It's the thing people don't quite get.   For the families of any violent crime, it's the thing they will never forget.   Years will go by.   Decades will go by.   But those days will always be with them.   We celebrate birthdays every year as a celebration of life and we make it part of our traditions.  We celebrate holidays to bring joy to our families.   For victims of violent crime, there are other days on their calendar for the rest of their life:   The day "it" happened.   The day "it" went to court or not.  The day they were found guilty or innocent.   They day they were released from prison.

I read a story recently that Obama had to hurry to get something done in regards to Sandy Hook and Aurora before the public forgets.   "Let's move on."   I've known a lot of victims of violent crime, and I can tell you for them it's never really over.  It's not easily washed away.   It's part of who you are.

It's a club I hope no one else joins.   But every year, there are new members.  Victims of assault and rape, victims of violence and hate, people who've been abused and people who have lost loved ones.  

Once I committed to writing a book of short stories based on other works, I had three stories that I've never shared with any anyone except for those very close to me.   There are two stories I have only told to groups anonymously that I always said: "I will struggle to write this".   This is one of those.  

It's terrible to say but people who have been a part of a violent crime quickly feel as though we have no one to talk to about it.   It's part of what brought me close to RAINN, an organization devoted to people who "suffer in silence".    

There is a fear that if you talk it makes you weak or self centered.   That people really don't want to hear what's in your mind.  "Get Over It"   It's a societal mantra.  It's been X long on any crime, move on.  That's how we like to think about it.

It was 8 years ago a friend came to me at a client and cried, revealing to me that valentines day for her was so hard because she was raped on Valentines Day sometime in the mid-eighties and didn't come forward.   It was 20 years later but she couldn't stop thinking about it every Valentine's Day.  Her family didn't want to hear about it and she didn't have anyone she could talk to about it.  But on that anniversary it was the thing her mind couldn't forget.

It's our own club, I suppose.   How we deal with it, who we talk to about it, and what we say.  It's a special club.   It's a club I hope you never join.   It's one that if you know someone who's a member, you know it all too well.   Sometimes we don't want to talk.  Sometimes it's all we can talk about.    It doesn't make us good people or bad people.

It simply is the person we have become.   The people who have been through shooting tragedies and assaults in the last month have had the public spotlight.   Time will pass.  And they will move on as best they can.   But it always stays with you.   No matter where you go, no matter how far you go, it will always be with you.   It gets better, but it's never forgotten.

Eighteen years.

Peace.

Originally posted to tmservo433 on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 08:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Groups that Help (43+ / 0-)

    Here's a few groups that provide help to people who need it.   If you're low and need to reach out, they answer.  If you want to give money to support, these are the groups I recommend.

    If you're struggling with recovery from a violent crime, find someone to talk to.  

    RAINN - The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network - http://www.rainn.org/

    Victims of Crime - http://www.victimsofcrime.org/  

    Many states and local groups provide Friends and Family Counseling services for those touched by violent crime.

    No matter what has touched your life, I say the same thing to every group I have ever spoken to: it's OK to talk about it.   Finding someone to talk about it can change your life.  

    Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

    by Chris Reeves on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 11:24:00 PM PST

  •  thanks for sharing this (14+ / 0-)


    for those who suffer from violent crime, there is no going back, but there is some going forward. :)

    "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

    by louisev on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 08:59:23 AM PST

  •  One year anniversary coming up (13+ / 0-)

    On Feb. 8th, it will have been a year since my son's good friend was killed by a shotgun blast in his back. Just last month, his killer was found "not Guilty" for a variety of reasons. The verdict shocked all of us who were sure the killer would of course be found guilty.

    So many people who loved that young man are broken-hearted, and will always be.

    I am so sorry you experienced this. It is unreal.

    •  How terrible. (7+ / 0-)

      There are no words for this kind of sorrow.

      A few days after Sandy Hook, a friend of my son got into a disagreement with a non-student crasher at a college party.  The two took it outside and, when the non-student started getting the worse of the fight, his friend stepped up and shot my son's friend in the back of the head.  Then, after he went down, twice more in the face.  Now he's claiming self-defense.  

      "I speak the truth, not as much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little the more, as I grow older." --Montaigne

      by DrLori on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 01:21:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My condolences (4+ / 0-)

        to you and your families. Indeed, no matter how stupid the fight was, everyone lost. It is such a waste of life, and how terrible for your son to have lost his friend to violence.

        I hope that if it goes to trial that the State does its best for your son's friend. In our case, my son's friend had messed up recently: losing a couple jobs, too much partying, that sort of thing. It made it easy for a defense atty to paint him as "the other," or something, plus the DA didn't do its best work.

  •  These words: (7+ / 0-)
    ...Bringing home how serious the event was would be important.   The goal of all of it was to remind the judge of the severity of the incident.   It would help the family of the accused accept that the sentence the prosecution had asked for was just in light of what happened.

    I looked across the courtroom and could see his family, seemingly good people in every way who couldn't make eye contact with me.  We couldn’t look directly at each other but I knew my presence in the courtroom for them was the reminder of the day something went horribly wrong for their son...

    Thank you for expressing so eloquently, so accurately, what I have not been able to say. Thank you for having the courage to tell this story and for being brave enough to prosecute.  And for holding intact that deepest part of yourself.  Thank you.  {{{{ HUGS }}}}
  •  It does indeed change you. (5+ / 0-)

    It was 30 years ago, but it comes back to me in odd moments.  On the good side, the extreme reactions become more subdued over time.

    "I speak the truth, not as much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little the more, as I grow older." --Montaigne

    by DrLori on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 01:16:06 PM PST

  •  I dated the victim of a violent assault. (8+ / 0-)

    Every time he'd come up for parole, she'd spend the weeks leading up to his parole hearing in a total panic.

    Then, he wouldn't get paroled, and she'd be OK again.

    But she knew he was getting out eventually.

    "Michael Moore, who was filming a movie about corporate welfare called 'Capitalism: A Love Story,' sought and received incentives."

    by Bush Bites on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 01:23:04 PM PST

  •  Violence will always change you (8+ / 0-)

    I am often totally in the grip of all the outrage of it even though it stopped 30 years ago.  For decades I couldn't even touch it.

    I often wonder what kind of person I would have been had it not happened, or when it stopped someone saw it and steered me toward some help.  As it was the response and reaction has always been I didn't do anything! and it was a total disaster, it made things much worse and put off getting better for a long time.

    In the end you're left with something evil, that hell you can't understand, how could others? How could I explain to other people when even understanding is impossible?

    Violence often flashes through my sleep and thoughts completely unbidden, it can get beaten into you.  You shove it aside and apply your psychology but always feel a little broken and out of place.  It's often lonely.  I used to wish I had been a soldier in wartime, it was something I understood and the ending honorable.

    [sigh] That's the worst of it, this incredible power of violence to ripple out and spread, to grow on itself over generations.  Whatever mistakes I have made, violence from my hands to the people around me has never, ever been one of them.

  •  Thank you for sharing (8+ / 0-)

    and giving voice to so many who, for whatever reason, have not seen justice or are not able to share the impact of a new reality due to violence. I have 900 miles and 21 years separating such realities. I am to the point now where it is only once or twice a year I think anything about my life back then...mostly trying to recall what it felt like to be me before I said hello to the wrong man.

    Again, thank you for expressing your experiences.

    Like all dreamers, I mistook disenchantment for truth. - Jean Paul Sartre

    by ApatheticNoMore1966 on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 01:43:38 PM PST

    •  me? 30+ years, 3 continents between (7+ / 0-)

      No recollection, nada, of what it felt like to be me before that.

      But, hell, three continents, three languages, three DEGREES, feels like three LIFETIMES....and I'm working on a book about it, too. Well, not about "it", mostly about the three decades, three continents, three languages and three degrees between.

      Silver lining?Three lifetimes in one. Yeah!

      Poetic justice?
      We shall see.

      I'm tired of the violence, period, in this society.

      As a community college prof, I'm scared to go to work tomorrow, after the incident in TX.

      As a victim of violent crime, I'm TIRED of violence.
      Because it does NOT go way. It changes you. It changes your life. Your career. Your everything.

      Even your memory of who you were before.
      The violence.
      No matter what the form.
      Gunshot.
      Rape.
      "Domestic" abuse (is it supposed to hurt less by virtue of its "domesticity"? Right)
      And then
      you're supposed to get up and
      go to work
      at a community college
      after the gun violence
      erupted
      at a community college
      in the library
      (where you sought, and actually FOUND
      refuge)
      from the violence
      the violence
      violation
      of your
      vocation
      your
      vacation/s
      your everything.

      Vacate
      the
      violence.

      Enough
      is
      enough.

      Because
      once you have been
      victimized by violence
      in whatever form,
      it is always
      there.

      Here.
      There.
      Everywhere.

      Whatever you do
      is
      never enough.

      Enough
      is
      enough.
      Enough.

  •  My friend's neighbor was beaten & left to die in (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AllisonInSeattle

    his house.  Fortunately, his ex got worried about lack of contact, & made a series of calls that got paramedics to him in time.  He's living with his parents in another state, rehabbing.

    He doesn't have much of a social network here.  I've met him only once... but I know he'll need help, & more friends, when he moves back in.  I wonder how he'll have processed what happened; apparently he has no recollection of the attack.

    Such a weird, terrible situation...

    Before elections have their consequences, Activism has consequences for elections.

    by Leftcandid on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 08:43:35 PM PST

  •  Counterpoint by Laxness (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmservo433, Brooklyn Jim, ColoTim
    Of course a wild thing doesn't feel sorry for itself is because it doesn't have the reasoning skills to realize how absolutely fucked things are.
    I can't help but think of a part from Halldór Laxness' Kristnihald undir jökli:
    Some years ago, a horse was swept over the falls to Goðafoss. He was washed ashore, alive, onto the rocks below. The beast stood there motionless, hanging his head, for more than twenty-four hours below this awful cascade of water that had swept him down. Perhaps he was trying to remember what life was called. Or he was wondering why the world had been created. He showed no signs of ever wanting to graze again. In the end, however, he heaved himself onto the riverbank and started to nibble.
  •  I'm showing this to someone.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmservo433, MBishop1

    ...who, like the rest of his family, has recently (and not so recently...you know what I mean) dealt with a horrible, public, violent crime.  I know him; he'll consider it a gift.

    Failure to Publicize Acts of Hatred Only Allows Them to Fester and Metastasize.

    by BoxerDave on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 12:18:49 PM PST

  •  Yes, it changes you. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmservo433, ColoTim

    And you find ways to live with it, but it never leaves you fully.  It becomes part of who you are.  Periodically, you stumble into a trigger and it is all fresh again, even decades later.  Some days, it is harder to remind yourself you're a survivor.  

    You wrote this so well and in speaking for yourself, you speak for many.  Blessings be upon you.

    You are my brother, my sister.

    by RoCali on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 02:29:13 PM PST

  •  A near miss for me was just a few weeks ago. (0+ / 0-)

    I have no kids and will never have any, so my pets are my kids.  I was walking my two dogs in the park a block from home and my littlest dog was about ten feet behind me on a expandable leash.  I turned around to check on him and I saw a coyote about fifteen feet behind him and I believe he was ready to pounce.  I charged the coyote and got my little "boy" out of harm's way, but I never would have forgiven myself had he been attacked and possibly killed while under my care.  I have had a number of thinking sessions about pro-active defenses like slingshots, pepper spray, even a light gun.  I have taken measures to prohibit coyotes from going into our yard, but I hadn't really thought they'd attack while I was walking my dogs on a leash.  I have settled for now with walking them on four foot chain leashes so they're by my side and they won't have the leash bitten through and I carry a bag of rocks for a ranged weapon.

    It's not what you or other commenters experienced, but it was violence that came very close to hurting or killing one I love and I'm changed because of it.

    My sympathies to every victim of violence.  

  •  There are so many-too many- angels or (0+ / 0-)

    heroes that walk alone amongst us.  

    Angel-hero warriors with courage, resolve; inhabited by a true compassion & understanding of soul-mind-heart-body pain....and/or injustices.

    You are one.

    From my heart to yours, gratitude for your posts; for your steadfast works.

    I wish you unexpected joys.  And peace in every step, tmservo433, as you battle for others & self.

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