“Accidental Killers”

I read this article by Alice Gregory in the September 18 issue of the New Yorker and was blown away. I could relate to every word and I cried a lot. I still tear up when I read the end of the article.

What really amazes me about my reaction is that the article is not about ritual abuse. It is about people who cause a death by accident and who live with guilt and sorrow for the rest of their lives. Like us, they feel isolated and misunderstood and are told, “It wasn’t your fault.” “It was just an accident.” “That’s the past now, isn’t it time you got over it?” None of which is helpful, as we know.

People who killed somebody by accident seldom meet or read about others like them, so they don’t have a chance to learn that their emotions are normal, are shared by others. There is no opportunity to form a community or to help others. It is a heavy and lonely existence.

I came close to killing a child when I was 22 or 23. I was driving slowly up a side street and a boy riding a bike hit the passenger side of my car. He flew up and landed on my hood. Our eyes locked for what seemed like an eternity. I knew how close he had come to being run over: I am not sure he understood the danger he had been in. That long moment ended when his mother started screaming at him from a second story window. He got off the hood, picked up his bike, and slowly went into the house. Shakily, I went on my way.

Three feet, thirty seconds, and this article could be about me.

Alice Gregory has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Harper’s, and The New York Review of Books. She has a website at http://www.alice-gregory.com/ with many of her articles, both in print and on podcasts. The entire text of “Accidental Killers” is at https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/09/18/the-sorrow-and-the-shame-of-the-accidental-killer Browse through her other articles: many are fascinating.

For those of you who are not familiar with the New Yorker, it publishes serious articles, fiction, reviews … and cartoons. My parents subscribed to it, and I have, too, for most of my life. Its website is https://www.newyorker.com/

Below is the conclusion of “Accidental Killers.”

 

In the Book of Numbers, God instructs Moses to tell the Israelites that they are to designate six cities of refuge “so that anyone who kills someone inadvertently may flee there.” The accidental murderer will be protected from the wrath of the “blood avenger,” a family member of the deceased. The rules are spelled out in detail: when a person enters one of these cities, a tribunal determines whether he or she is eligible for sanctuary; those who killed with weapons, for example, cannot remain there. According to Talmudic commentary, assembled in the twelfth century, the roads leading to the cities of refuge were to be well marked, free of obstacles, and wider than regular roads, so that those who have killed another unwittingly could proceed there without delay.

When Maryann Gray [who hit a child who ran in front of her car], a secular Jew who grew up celebrating Easter and Christmas and reserving Scarsdale tennis courts on the High Holidays, first learned of the concept of cities of refuge, she was overcome with gratitude. “The Torah was talking about me,” she remembers thinking. Gray was struck by the specificity of its prescriptions, which suggested that lives like hers were once contemplated with sophistication by the highest authorities. She became obsessed with the concept, researching it at the library of Hebrew Union College, a seminary with a campus in Los Angeles, talking about it with rabbis, and reading their works.

There is “no statute of limitations on self-imposed pain,” David Wolpe, the senior rabbi of Sinai Temple, in Los Angeles, told me. Gray spoke to Wolpe at the start of her inquiry into the cities of refuge; he explained that their purpose was to allow individuals to share some of their pain with a community. “Maimonides, the great medieval Jewish philosopher, says that in the collective grief the individual’s grief is assuaged,” Wolpe wrote to me in an e-mail. When “people realize that loss is part of the iron law of life, it helps them reconcile themselves to their own situation.” Most of us will not be forced to assimilate a catastrophic accident into the story of our lives, but rituals and refuge seem so obviously necessary that a world without them looks inhumane.

There is no extra-Biblical evidence that cities of refuge ever existed. But Gray does not want to believe that they were merely a figment of an antique but ethically progressive imagination. “If I had been exiled to a city of refuge, I might not have needed exile from myself,” she once wrote. She was moved by the idea that, in such cities, a person like her could participate fully in society without shame. “I love that there was a way of recognizing the true devastation that’s been wrought, the harm that’s been done, without condemning the individual,” she said. “That’s what I’m looking for—to live in the world with acceptance and with opportunity, but also with the acknowledgment that in running over this child something terrible happened and it deserves attention.”

 

I’m moving the list of holidays to the end of my posts, because I feel it gets too much emphasis if it is at the beginning. If I received complaints, I’ll reconsider.

Upcoming Holidays
February
2/2 Candlemas/Imbolc
2/13 Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras
2/14 Ash Wednesday/Beginning of Lent
2/15 Partial solar eclipse.
2/14 Valentine’s Day
2/25 Walpurgis Day
March

3/1 Full Moon
3/20 Spring Equinox
3/24 Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan
3/25 Palm Sunday
3/30 Good Friday/Death of Jesus Christ
3/31 Full Moon (Blue Moon)
April
4/1 Easter Sunday
4/1 April Fool’s Day
4/8 Day of the Masters
4/10 Full Moon
4/16 – 4/23 Grand Climax/Da Meur/ (Preparation for sacrifice in some Satanic sects}
4/30 Walpurgisnacht/May Eve

Dates important to Neo-Nazi groups
1/30 Hitler named Chancellor of Germany
4/20 Hitler’s birthday (Note: Hitler was born on Easter, so Nazis celebrate his actual birthday, 4/20, and Easter of the current year. His alternate birthday is 4/1 this year.)
4/30 Anniversary of Hitler’s death
(Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lamas, Halloween, solstices, equinoxes, and full moons.)

 

 

We Are Innocent

Upcoming Holidays

February

2/2 Candlemas/Imbolc
2/13 Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras
2/14 Ash Wednesday/Beginning of Lent
2/15 Partial solar eclipse
2/14 Valentine’s Day
2/25 Walpurgis Day
March

3/1 Full Moon
3/20 Spring Equinox
3/24 Feast of the Beast/Bride of Satan
3/30 Good Friday/Death of Jesus Christ
3/31 Full Moon (Blue Moon)
April
4/1 Easter Sunday
4/1 April Fool’s Day
4/8 Day of the Masters
4/10 Full Moon
4/16 – 4/23 Grand Climax/Da Meur/ (Preparation for sacrifice in some Satanic sects}
4/30 Walpurgisnacht/May Eve

Dates important to Neo-Nazi groups
1/30 Hitler named Chancellor of Germany
4/20 Hitler’s birthday (Note: Hitler was born on Easter, so Nazis celebrate his actual birthday, 4/20, and Easter of the current year. His alternate birthday is 4/1 this year.)
4/30 Anniversary of Hitler’s death
(Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lamas, Halloween, solstices, equinoxes, and full moons.)

We Are Innocent

I read this post in Forsaken Phoenix’ blog  https://forsakenphoenixsite.wordpress.com/ and it took my breath away. I immediately wrote and asked permission to re-blog it.

I have thought and felt many of the same things but I never put the whole picture together. I’d get a memory or an insight, and then another six months later a different memory or insight. I don’t think I was strong enough to get everything at once.

Boy, is it powerful to have it all down in black and white! So powerful that I had to take long breaks reading it, which is unusual for me.

So here you are, a present from Forsaken Phoenix.

“We are innocent of all acts coerced under torture.”
Why can’t I believe this?
They trained me to endure and obey.
To say I’m innocent feels like a cop out. Why?
Because there were other lives affected – because of me.
I feel like I failed in my training.
I feel like I failed them.
If I were to speak to another survivor right now I would easily tell them “It’s not your fault! They did it! They made the rules, they set the parameters, they conducted the tests, and then THEY graded them. You did what you were instructed to, you did what you were trained for, and you survived.”
But to point that back at myself? It feels selfish. … but is it? Really?
How fair to myself is it to expect myself to not only preserve my own life but those of everyone else around me? They constructed everything meticulously. From the rules to the training even down to the lesser of two evils ‘reward system.’ They built my ego slowly. My initial disgust at the predicaments slowly transformed into pride. That took time and meticulous planning on their part.
Pride in what I endured and for how long.
Pride in my ability to maintain a clear functioning mind during extreme torture.
So why then, when my tests came, did I always seem to fail?
The rules were simple.
Or were they?
Endure.
And obey.
Those were the rules.
So then why when I was graded, did I always fail?  Technically I followed the rules. Morally, I feel as though I failed.
And officially, they deemed it a failure.
So was the grading system faulty?  … most likely not. And they didn’t do things ‘on a whim’ – they did them meticulously. That leaves nothing but a planned failure. They expected me to fail and when I passed, I still failed. The reasons for such failure – interchangeable and unimportant to them.
If I failed by means of not adhering to my training, then I paid personally.
If I ‘failed’ by means of passing and doing what I was trained for, I paid – by means of those around me.
So then to say that I’m innocent now turns into – is it fair to expect myself to have god-like powers to not only protect myself but everyone else?
They used us against each other.
We were like their personal human cock fighting ring.
We were toys to them. Like human dolls to mutilate and destroy.
They were calculating – and that’s the worst kind of perp.
There was no amount of obedience that would have saved both myself and all the other victims around us.
I was trained to endure and obey – and I was *damn* good at it – they knew that. So what did they do? Amped it up a notch.
Instead of paying physically they made me pay morally.
My punishment was and is moral torture – watching others endure what I was trained for (not them) and then telling me it was *because of me.*
Look what I did.
I did that.
But is it fair to expect such things of myself? Is it fair to expect that of anyone?
… no. It’s not.
Yet still all I can think is “Why couldn’t I just save …. ??”
…. because they were determined to not let me.
There was no way I was going to win.
I was utterly and completely helpless …. and that’s how they planned it all along.

More on Isolation: Secrets

Upcoming Holidays

November
11/23 Thanksgiving (Search for Thanksgiving
on this blog.)

December
12/3 Full Moon
12/21 St. Thomas’ Day/Fire Festival
12/21 Yule/Winter Solstice (Search for Yule on this blog. The information there also applies to the Pagan background of Christmas.)
12/24  Christmas Eve/Satanic and demon revels/Da Meur/Grand High Climax
12/15  Christmas Day (Search for Christmas on this blog. These posts are personal rather than on the historical background of Christmas.)
12/31 New Year’s Eve

January
1/1 S New Year’s Day
1/7 S St Winebald’s Day
1/12 Full Moon
1/13 Satanic New Year
1/17 Feast of Fools/Old Twelfth Night/Satanic and demon revels

Dates important to Neo-Nazi groups
1/12 Birth of both Rosenberg and Goering, Nazi leaders in WWII
1/30 Hitler named Chancellor of Germany

 

My Schedule

I want to tell you that I am going to spend Christmas with my friend in Arizona and fill my soul with beauty. I really don’t know how much access to the Internet I will have, but I doubt that it will be a lot. So I am going to skip the December 20 and 30 bog entries.

Because of lack of Internet access, I also won’t be approving comments from December 13 to January 4. Write them anyway! They will be just as appreciated even if they appear late.

I’m going to miss your comments a lot. If I do manage to get to a computer, I’ll sneak in and approve them. Sound okay?

More on Isolation: Secrets

The topic of isolation really seemed to resonate, so let’s go ahead with it.

I think that any time we have a secret, isolation follows. I’m not talking about not telling what you are going to give somebody for their birthday, I’m talking about the kind of secret that would get you or the other person or persons in trouble. And ritual abuse survivors sure have been made to keep a whole lot of that kind of secret!

Obviously, the secret puts a barrier between you and those who aren’t supposed to know about it. You have to be careful not to slip and tell by mistake and you have to keep your feelings to yourself. You are walking on eggshells, and danger seems everywhere. What would they do to you, or what would happen to those you told, if you made a mistake?

So we live like this until we learn that healing comes through telling rather than staying silent. That is a really hard concept to absorb after so many terrible threats over so many years. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to speak out.

Then there is the guilt that was bestowed upon us. Whatever happened, it was our fault We were stupid and lazy and bad and it was our fault for doing something wrong because we didn’t try hard enough to get it right. We believed that, and we saw that others didn’t believe that about themselves. We were always the weird ones, stupid, lazy, bad, and at fault.

This basis of childhood guilt lays the foundations for more complicated forms of guilt. Take survivor guilt, for instance. We feel guilty because another child was hurt, and we weren’t, especially if we were told that it happened because we did or didn’t do something. It’s much, much worse when somebody was not just hurt, but killed. It’s tormenting to be alive after witnessing such things. And if we were made to do that?

Reading about PTSD in vets, you will find that seeing a buddy die or seeing combatants you were responsible for die is excruciating. Flashbacks to these events occur over and over and can, without support, lead to addictions or other self-destructive behaviors. I’d say we know that path all too well.

For years I blamed myself for not having done anything to stop them from hurting other people. When I finally accepted that I was little and powerless and did the best I could, I still blamed myself for not having suicided rather than be forced to hurt anybody else. It took years, decades really, to acknowledge that my life force fought against dying, even by choice, and that they had taken so much of my power that I could’t have suicided even if I had chosen it and had had the means. I was truly a helpless little kid.

At the time I was struggling with these issues, I was going to Survivors of Incest Anonymous groups for ritual abuse survivors. When I tried to talk about guilt at not protecting others, I didn’t feel understood. Not rejected, but our heads were just in a different place.

Finally I found a twelve-step group for perpetrators. My therapist was opposed to my going for fear it would increase my guilt. But it was such a relief! We all had different stories and we all had the same feelings about ourselves. As I felt compassion for the other group members, I learned to view myself with compassion.

One of the most powerful experiences I have ever had was when I co-led a group  called “Guilt After Killing” at a conference. There were about forty people there. The two of us leaders spoke for about five minutes each and then encouraged people to talk to each other. They didn’t really need encouragement! They talked until we were told that the room was needed and then continued talking in the halls.

There were ritual abuse survivors, mind control survivors, and veterans in the same room, but we all spoke the same emotional language. In that room, some spoke of things they had done for the very first time. Some heard stories both like and unlike theirs and perhaps shared their experience to help others. Together, we weakened the power of the secrets we had been carrying for so long and came away a little bit lighter.