Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

I have not been very active this week on the Internet. I have not kept up on forums or Facebook as I usually do, I have not created or participated in writing prompts for a few days, and I have not played any chess. Why? Well, that’s simply complicated.

On Monday, a good friend and Jeep club acquaintance of mine was found naked in his apartment with a four-year-old girl that wasn’t his. She was naked, as well, and yelling out of his window for help. Her dad finally broke the door down and saved her, sparing my friend’s life in an unimaginable show of self-restraint. I didn’t then, and do not now, know how to process this information.

This man had been to my house on several occasions, and I to his. Hell, I even helped the guy move. We have put countless miles behind us on four-wheel drive trails together, and shared a campfire more than a few times. Now my wife and I get to be the people we sometimes see interviewed on TV who say, “I never saw this coming!” We didn’t.

This guy was outwardly a good guy. He laughed a lot, he was always ready to drink a beer with ya’ and he had a family. His views in general were very similar to mine and we always hit it off and had a great time whenever we hung out.

And then he hurt a four-year-old. This news could not have been more left-field and unexpected. It’s on the same level as if someone had told me the moon was overcome by Earth’s gravity and would collide with us in two weeks. I can’t even comprehend it, much less process it.

He has affected a lot of people with his actions. That little girl will never be the same, her family will never be the same, and his Jeep club has turned on him like a rabid dog. My wife and I are just completely stunned and depressed over it. She has been crying, I cannot seem to concentrate or feel driven to do much of anything. This man was our friend, and welcome in our home any time.

And now his life is over, too. Never again will he have an enjoyable shower, or celebrate a birthday with a few Budweisers and good friends. He’ll never drive an off-road trail again, he’ll never walk into a store again, he’ll never sleep comfortably again. All that may not matter in the long run; people accused of these type crimes tend not to last long behind bars.

And for what? For one decision that will haunt droves of people for the rest of their lives, myself included. One decision that changed everyone even remotely involved. One decision that hurt more people than he ever would have imagined.

I have been following the case as closely as possible. He is charged with five counts, ranging from kidnapping to, well, worse things. The little girl was hurt. If convicted of everything, he’s looking at three life sentences. Even if he somehow manages to plea out and reduce some of the charges, he’ll die in prison sooner or later.

What’s the point of this entry? I guess there isn’t one, really. It has been on my mind constantly and so I thought I would share here. But I implore all you parents out there to please, please watch your kids closely. They cannot defend themselves and they are so trusting. Be very careful with them. This is really scary shit.


Christina said...

I guess it's a reminder that the boogie man could be anyone. There's no way of knowing and I'm just glad he was caught.

I wouldn't be able to wrap my head around it either. But that's because we're normal. Kinda.

Thanks for the reminder, D.

Michelle L. Devon said...

(HUGS) There's nothing I can say to make things better. Nothing takes this back of changes anything. You can't undo what's been done.

I am truly sorry... but I know you, Derek, and you'll use this. You'll find a way to use this and when you do, you will process it then. It's okay to be numb for a while, to be sad for a while, to be angry for a while, to be anything you need to be for a while.

Then you'll decide how to use this... and you'll process it and move forward. It IS a process, you know.

I love and care about you and your family... your fellow writers and friends are here to support you through it. It's never easy to realign perceptions... to take everything you thought you knew and reorganize it into the new information. It's tough.

(MORE HUGS for you and GirlySkerly)

Love and stuff,

Eliza said...

Crying again...

Lark said...

I'm sorry for your loss, Derek. The depth of what you are feeling is just as real as if your friend had died and you and GirlySkwerly are grieving in a very real way. The problem, the dilemma is that the person, the man remains alive while everything that you thought you knew about him has died for you.

Ultimately, I think you are struggling with hating the action while still loving the man that you knew, that you thought he was... You can't reconcile the two right now, and maybe you never will. You are struggling with how to support the friend without condoning his action. You are a good man, Derek, and a good friend. You don't abandon people whom you love and you want them to think that you have... but at the same time, you need to draw a hard line on this man's actions, which you do condemn.

I know you have a heart for the little girl and her father. Like you, I am amazed that the girl's father restrained himself. But I suspect his first concern was helping his baby girl, not seeking retribution... not yet... there will be days to come when that man will second-guess himself.

As you are doing, honor your feelings and continue to express them here (or wherever). Real-life "monsters" are more surprising, horrific, and heartbreaking than anything we conceive in fiction... but they inform our fiction.

Hugs and much respect to you and Girly...

Farah Evers said...

Sorry to hear. Such news truly saddens me. I hope you and your wife get through this shocking situation.

Best wishes.