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Dec 17 2014

Dispatches From Hellpeckersville-While We Were Sleeping

While we were sleeping there was a murder up the block. You probably all saw it, it made national news. Another used up marine with PTSD went from place to place killing folks. One of those places was a block from me. One of those people was a fourteen year old girl who went to my son’s school, her mom and dad too. Her brother was shot, stabbed and lost three fingers, but he survived. I can remember asking during the long day of the neighborhood being shut down, “What if he’s not in there? What if there’s somebody alive in there, hurt?” Turns out that was the situation. That marine was long gone from both places they thought he had barricaded himself in, went into the woods and fell on his sword, or maybe not, the details are unclear at this time, but he’s dead.

I could try to paint you a picture of a small town losing it’s innocence, and I guess more people will lock their doors now, but this is a town that forgets. This is far from our first murder. I can think of several right off the top of my head. Just within the past few years there was a little girl taken, messed with and killed, and an old man who killed his equally old wife because he thought she was cheating. A few years further back there was the kid from the next town over who killed his parents and drove all the way to Florida and was found with their blood still under his fingernails. We never had a mass murder before this, but we’ve never had so many Vets with PTSD roaming around before either.

After every one of these incidents I heard the same kind of talk. Here? Did that really happen here? What is happening to our town? You’re not safe anywhere! And this time– I’ll bet it wasn’t even PTSD! Hmm, what was it then? The truth is nothing is happening to our town. The hardware store will ring up a few more sales today, back lights will burn, but most people still know their neighbors here. People still come out on the porch when an ambulance goes up their street to see who’s in trouble, who may need help. And funds have been started for the survivors, it’s what we do. What else can we do?

So, we go on about our business. We keep sending men to war to come home broken, with no way to repair them. There’s no way to know how many other small towns will go through what mine did or what they will chalk it up to. I know what I think. I know it kills me to think of the hours that boy spent, trapped in that house surrounded by SWAT, severely wounded by a man who had snapped, and killed that boy’s entire family. I know that man claimed PTSD, I’m disinclined to doubt that, and I’m at a loss as to why anyone who goes to war for his country and makes that claim fails to find help.

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