Thursday, May 24, 2007

sins of the father

“If the devil does not exist, and man has therefore created him, he has created him in his own image and likeness”
-Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I remember “Joseph” from my early days of juvenile counseling. He was a pudgy kid with acne and an abrasive personality. Actually that’s putting it nicely. The thing about Joseph was that he would often blow up over the smallest thing. Swearing, spitting, snarling like a caged wolverine.

Even though he was relatively diminutive in size most staff dreaded working the hall he was on. You couldn’t give him a consequence for anything. Not without him having one of those “episodes” anyway.

He would whine and complain. Stomp his feet like a 4 year old and throw whatever he could get his hands on over something as minor as not being allowed an extra brownie for dinner.

He would smart mouth. Curse and yell. He would threaten people three times his size. He couldn’t back up his mouth but he sure tried to convince others he could. I really don’t think he cared if he could.

One day, during one of his calm moments, we were having a casual conversation. I don’t recall how it came up. But he shows me his arms. Up and down both arms are small pinkish scars maybe a quarter inch in diameter.

I see them and wonder if it is some form of skin disease, like eczema or ringworm. I inquire innocently enough…not having the experience I do now to immediately recognize them for what they were.

He tells me, rather nonchalantly, that they are cigarette burns. He proceeds to tell me how his parents did this to him and he is telling me as though he is recounting an episode from a favorite TV show. Face to face he acts as though it is no big deal. But in his dismissive chuckle I can almost hear the devil laugh.

And now I know where that rage comes from.

The devil in Joseph’s life did not wear a red costume. He did not carry a pitchfork or smell of brimstone. He was not a master of fire and darkness. But he did burn this child. He was not the “father of lies” but he was a “father” who was a lie. Joseph suffered from the sins of his father. His skin bore the mark of the real beast.

After that moment I always took Joseph’s little outbursts a little less personal. His insults a little less serious. His anger a little less towards me. It wasn’t me or the rules he was mad at. It wasn’t that he was being a hard head. Nor was he trying to buck the system for the fun of it. He was mad. No, enraged. And rightfully so.

And I believe despite all of this…a stronger person than I could ever be.

Now it made sense. Now that anger had a face and it was not really Joseph’s.
He was hurt and hurt bad. Worse than most of us will ever be. All before his 13th birthday. Hurt physically but more so emotionally. The scars are on his skin. And the emotional scars are in his voice of anger, his cursing words, and his temper tantrums. These things as it turns out…these things we so readily dismiss as the actions of a brat turn out to be scars. Joseph pretended to be many things. Anything really to keep others from seeing how vulnerable he was. He figured if he shouted enough, raised his hackles enough, and broke enough things, maybe, just maybe someone would think twice about burning him again. As with most animals in the wild, he knew, that in order for something to hurt you it has to get close to you. He wouldn’t make that mistake again no matter the cost.

In retrospect I learned a lot of things from Joseph back then. I learned that scars are not always on the skin. That tantrums are not always for attention. That insults are not always personal.

I learned what a devil a man can be. I learned how rage is often really someone crying. I learned that the sins of a father can destroy a son. I learned that hell can be a place in someone's heart.

And I learned how to spot a cigarette burn scar on a kid’s body.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

famous last com

"People that think there is good in everyone, haven't met everyone" -Anonymous
If you spend time chatting on the internet with people you don’t know. This will be the most important article you will ever read.

“He seemed like such a nice guy”

What do you usually hear after that? How that “nice guy” killed a bunch of people. Here’s the thing, most people think that they can spot a bad person. Most people think that a “bad guy” is going to look and sound and act like a bad guy. But the truth is that really good bad guys are the ones you never would suspect. And that’s in real time. Imagine how much easier it is for a killer on the internet. Its amazing the control that some of these master manipulators have over their prey.

More famous last words:
“Oh he would never do something like that.”

Even when shown the evidence, some people still live in denial. That there must be some mistake, that you just must be wrong about his intentions. Even when the evidence is right in front of them. Part of it is their pride to not look like a fool. Most of it is the threat that they may not be as “special” as they were led to believe.

A guy seduces a man’s wife. In person or on the internet. He pretends to care about her life, how special she is, how “different” from any other woman she is. He only cares about her and what is best for her. Yet his victim doesn’t seem to notice that this “caring” person could care less about destroying her marriage, her very family. Even if she is confronted with evidence of his lies she remains in denial. God what power some people have over others. This power is not the result of force but of the victim’s surrender.

Some victims are volunteers.

Consider the tragic story of John Robinson, who used the internet to seek out relationships. I guess he was lonely. He had surprising luck in finding someone to care about him and it didn’t matter that he wasn’t a handsome man, how much money he made, or what imperfections he had. I am sure he was a sweet guy. You can bet every one of the ladies he encountered probably considered him, “sweet.” He said the right things. He filled some “need” they had and they filled the needs he had.

And he filled garbage barrels with their decomposing bodies.

The internet has become the new hunting grounds. For every little bit of information you give some stranger, you have no idea how much easier it is for them to find you. I have been involved in internet threat assessment for several years. One guy I did an assessment on started out telling me where he taught school. One of my associates found a thesis paper of his online. Then we got his nickname. Then what his hobbies and some interests were. I was being his “friend.” I played that I was in need of learning from him. I fed his ego.

When I was done, I was able to find out when he graduated, that he had a daughter, what ball team she played for and without him giving me one, I had his photo. All from the internet. He never told me where his daughter played ball, but I found out. That came from using his nickname in a search. Imagine if I were a child molester.

And if you give me enough bits and pieces, I can find you. Imagine if I were a killer.

The power of charm is immeasurable. People think they are immune to it. You would be surprised at the number of victims who already knew everything they needed to know about how predators operate. But predators, good ones, don’t hide in your closet. They hide in your desire to be noticed. To feel good about yourself. They will make you feel good, right up until the point they ruin your marriage or slit your throat.

Do most people seriously think that predators will come at you with a Jason mask on? “He seems so sweet”. Yeah, kind of like a sucker. Which is what you will be if you fall for every little charming word. I have actually heard someone refer to an abusive spouse of her friend, “He’s a good guy 80% of the time.” Are you kidding me? The other 20% he’s beating the piss out of this woman’s friend.

Hitler probably was a good guy 80% of the time too. The other 20% he was ordering Jews on a train to be incinerated in ovens. Do some research and you’ll find in Hitler’s early days of his rise to power, women thought he was handsome and especially charming. I wonder how many of them he later had killed.

I will write this and some will read it. Even still some of you will fall victim after knowing this. Charm is bait. The need to be “something special” is a killer.

“The most dangerous thing is boredom and the need to feel special.” - J. Sensing

You bored? Feeling inadequate? Feel the need to feel special? Get online and try and get your ego fed. You’ll end up feeding someone else. You’ll be special alright. A special report on the local news.

If someone knows what they are doing, they can play most of you like a yo-yo. All they have to know is what the victim responds to and with skill, that takes about five minutes in a chat room. If the victim feels alone or hate the way they look, they will go after that. The predator will tell them how beautiful they are. If they feel the need to be looked up to, the predator acts like they aren’t as smart as them. If they feel like their spouse doesn’t do it for them anymore, the predator tells them how they’ve never met anyone like them before. You think they really get you, and you are right, they will get you.

You make the mistake of going to meet them in real time and you may never meet anyone ever again.

Maybe you run your mouth about your children. Maybe you tell them where you live. Then maybe you try and live with yourself after some child molester kills your kids for the sake of an orgasm. Funny how someone can tickle your ego and then screw you in more ways than one. Ego is man and woman’s greatest weakness.

The internet is not a safe place to flirt. The internet is not a safe place to develop any kind of relationship. If you don’t believe me, ask the 11 corpses John Robinson mutilated from their need to feel needed. Make no mistake about it. This was no fluke. There will be more.

The other famous last words that you should take heed to....

“It won’t happen to me.”

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


"What good does it do to save the whales, save the rainforest, or save the whole earth, if in the end we ignore the needs of our children and then there will be no one left to enjoy all that we have saved?"

“Murder takes the body, rape takes the soul. In either case, someone dies.” -Anthony

The eyes, the windows of the soul should not have witnessed what I have
Like a rock you have thrown through my spirit
I lie in splinters and bathe in broken glass

When you are no longer around to bruise, beat, and punish me
Break and suffer the children
I pick up the shards to gouge, cleanse, and cut my veins deeply

Far beyond blood, flesh, and bone
My soul lacerated
And I bleed out splinters of me breathless and cold

I have grown attached to this emaciated starvation
Thirst quenched on broken glass
Hungered but you will never touch me again in your deviled infatuation

There was no angel there in my cobwebbed prayers for salvation
In listless guilt I breathe in shadows of the past
Alone with your toxic hands and my filthy, defiled, degradation

I wretch at the thought of being broken in your presence
I would like to burn you
And my memory even if only in intolerable evanescence

Entombed my childhood in your prison of ‘do not tell’
There is neither pardon nor reprieve
Only the screeching of metal from your knotted, pearly gates of hell

Through a glass darkly is my discontented winter
Frozen bitter and palpable
I am loosing myself among all these bloody, broken splinters

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

gutter institutions

“Some say now suffer all the children
And walk away a savior
Or a mad man and polluted from gutter institutions
Don’t you breathe for me.
Undeserving of your sympathy
'Cause there ain’t no way that I’m sorry for what I did.”

-My Chemical Romance

I remember working with this kid. He was a Gangster Disciple and quite a comical character, just fun to be around. He had a "lit book" (gang rules and liturgy book) memorized. And this was no small feat in that such books are often detailed and extensive. Not knowing a rule in the book could be met with serious punishment by fellow "brothers". He knew these rules better than most of us know our own history.

Yet he couldn’t spell some of the simplest words.

This kid was somewhat low functioning too, which made him an easy target for the gang mentality. He had so much potential despite some of his problems with learning. He could have studied and with effort made some positive impact in our society. Maybe been an inspiration to the kids back in his neighborhood. Maybe he would never have been a doctor, but obviously he could have learned a great deal if he could learn a catalog book of gangsterism.

He could have but he choose to go back home and with his brother shoot someone. He can't undo that. Nor can you. There is no calling the bullet back into the barrel. There is no pushing the blood and guts back into a corpse. What you do is what you have learned from others. And when you use your rage rather than your brain, you become a teacher yourself. You will teach those other little kids in your community, not how to make something more of themselves, but how to die.

And in the playground notebooks lie stained with the blood of those who could have been heroes. No ivy league. No honor role. No graduation ceremony.

Only future victims, the graduates of the gutter institutions.