Lost Hope

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything, but today seems like the day to scratch out a few words. I’ve had a huge lump in my throat for the last few days, and I’ve found myself frequently wiping my eyes as I read the news.

Jacob Wetterling disappeared about two months before Jen and I were married in 1989. It had such large coverage in the papers and on TV. As the story played out, it transitioned from a rescue, to a recovery, to an advocacy movement. Patti’s face was everywhere. She was fierce and persistent. I don’t know if she knew that her son’s disappearance would forever changed how we deal with child predators, not only in Minnesota, but across the nation. Even if she did, she would not have cared. This was personal.

And now the monster has been arrested, told his story, and been sentenced, all in the short span of five short days. As a parent – a dad – I am brokenhearted. I feel ill, angry, and so sad. I think about the family and the distraught state they are in. I think about the community, still stunned and in disbelief over what happened in their backyard. Most of all, I think of Jacob.

I read the testimony that came out of the hearing today, and it took me to a new depth of horror and sadness. I think about an eleven-year-old boy – I’ve had two of them – and how he must have been feeling at the time, in a state of shock – scared, confused, and alone with no one to protect him. How, with a bit of guilt in my heart, I feel relief that he died quickly, that he did not suffer over an extended period of time as so many other kids do. Beginning to end, it was all over in just a few hours.

For the family though it has gone on much longer. I’ve read many comments on the case since Thursday that say similar things.

Now the family can start the healing process.

Now there is closure.

Now we know the truth.

It is over, and there is solace in knowing that.

Now we can move forward.

These comments are well-intended – I understand that – but they are such bullshit. Knowing the truth does not make it better because the truth is horrifying. Knowing what happened to Jacob does not make it better. It makes it far worse. It amplifies the horror. It changes it from a series of hypothetical scenarios to actual, fact-based storyline that you can play back in your mind over and over and imagine what your child must have been living and feeling in those final moments.

I grieve for Jacob, but my heart is with mom and dad tonight. They’ve lived 27 years keeping a glimmer of light that things would turn out ok, and that was crushed last Thursday and made vivid today. The family is getting this new and real today, after 27 years of hope. There is no closure. There is no moving forward. The only hope left is that you can get up and put your feet on the floor again tomorrow.

The most hopeless part of this is that realization that there is nothing anyone could have done to prevent any of this from happening. These were just ordinary folks living their lives. This is the sad fact that we must all accept: While we can hope not to accidentally stumble onto a monster’s path, the truth is: The Monsters live among us.

To Jacob, I hope you knew much much you were loved. To the rest of the Wetterlings, I am so sorry. May you find whatever peace you can.

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You go, Cris Carter.

Preach it Cris. Just because we’ve always done something, does not means it is how we must always be.

For The Win

Hall of Fame receiver and ESPN analyst Cris Carter made a poignant speech about disciplining children and relating it to his own childhood Sunday in light of a grand jury indicting Adrian Peterson on a charge of injury to a child.

“This goes across all racial lines, ethnicity… People believe in disciplining their children,” Carter said on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown. “People with any kind of Christian background they really believe in disciplining their children.”

Carter related the story to his mother, who raised seven children by herself. “My mom did the best that she could do … But there are thousands of things that I have learned since then that my mom was wrong.

“This is the 21st century; my mom was wrong… And I promise my kids I won’t teach that mess to them. You can’t beat a kid to make them do what you want them…

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People That Need To Go, v2: Morrissey

I was never a fan of The Smiths, so I don’t have a deep well of loving musical memories to buffer my assessment of Morrissey.  My message to you, sir, is that We Get It.  We get the fact that you believe that eating meat is a horrifying thing.  You even wrote one or two songs on the topic to reinforce your point, as I recall.  Yes, your point has been made.  We understand. 

You are a beautifully bleak, dark, and tortured soul.  Here is some proof.  I guess it is a natural thing for people which such passionate beliefs, on whatever topic they may be, to be completely obnoxious asses about it.  I suppose he feels he need to personally advocate for the animals, because no one else is.  I’m not even sure I disagree with you on the particulars of this topic, though I am a confirmed omnivore.  Animals are treated badly.  But, you don’t change hearts and minds by telling people that if they like meat so much, they should eat their own children.

Morrissey: ‘Eating animals is just the same as paedophilia, rape and murder

We only hear from you when you dispel yet another rumor of a Smiths reunion, or when you pop up in the news once in a while to spew some crazy.  I guess you just enjoy the attention, but shut up already.  Good grief.