The Other Victims

Is it wrong that I feel worse for the Schumacher family then I do for the officer killed in the line of duty and his family? I guess, I don’t mean that I feel worse for but I feel equally as bad for? I don’t think that the officer, his family, department, and community somehow have more grief than the Schumacher’s do.

Don’t get me wrong, the entire situation is heartbreaking and I don’t mean any disrespect by saying that but think about it.. From the little the public knows, the Schumacher family (children and wife) have been victimized for years not just on this one occasion when the police were called. They’d been living with “this” for years. I guarantee you hearts were broken over and over and over for years. This whole thing is just as debilitating for them as it is for anyone else.

The little that we do know is that the shooter has a history of violence and that is only what is public record. Speaking from experiences in and around my life, I can very accurately say that every “instance” is not reported to the officials. If it would have been, this situation may have turned out totally differently but that doesn’t mean that someone’s life wouldn’t have been lost. Maybe not last week but maybe it would have been years prior after a few stints in jail and a few more reasons to be angry at the world.

I don’t know what stirred up the events that happened that night and I doubt anyone really will but I’ve been thinking a lot about the family that he left behind. I couldn’t imagine the mix of emotions that they’re facing. Not only did they lose someone that they probably loved beyond words but they are also going to have people looking at them for as long as they reside in this community.

Just because someone is a bad person or does a bad thing or makes a bad choice or kills an officer does NOT mean that the family and loved ones are the same as that person. Often the opposite is true. It is nearly impossible to help someone that doesn’t want to be helped. And sometimes it’s just as confusing for the loved ones as it is for the person themselves. Some days, weeks, months are great and then some days, weeks, months are horrible. It’s a teeter totter of emotion time and time again.

I’m very relieved to hear that there seems to be more positive community response then negative towards the family of the the deceased. I think that there is some kind of looming black hole for people to open their eyes wider than just the police officer that died rather than the whole picture. Officer Moszer wasn’t the only victim that night.

There have been a handful of funds and donations areas set up for the Schumacher family. For an updated news article and information on donating to the Schumacher family, click here.

I want to mention for anyone reading this, I don’t know the family and I don’t even know what happened that night but neither do you. He may have been ill, he may not have been. He may have had a bad day at work or he may have almost gotten hit by oncoming traffic. Anything can set a person off and events can escalate quicker than we are capable of figuring out a resolution.

Prayers and healing thoughts sent to both the Schumacher and Moszer families.

My 9/11 connection or lack thereof.

I was debating on if I should post anything or not but then I figured; this is my blog. So, sure. Why not? My original post was the usual mile and a half long but I condensed it down into a few short paragraphs. I think at first I felt like I needed to explain myself for why I feel the way I feel but I decided that I don’t. I can’t change how I feel. It might be an unpopular stance but so what. Here it goes..

I don’t feel like September 11, 2001 really impacted me.

Ouch.

What I mean is: The events that day, the people’s lives that were lost, the buildings that were destroyed, the city that was damaged, the hearts that were broken; it didn’t directly change my life. I lost no one. I didn’t know what the “Twin Towers” were or what a World Trade Center was when it happened. (Even now, I don’t really know what operations were going on other than a bunch of businesses, at least one bar, and a couple of art studios.) I’d never been to New York City or on a plane. It didn’t give me the chills when I saw the news unravel on the television in my classroom or make me stop what I was doing.

Every year, I try and “get it.” I watch endless amounts of programming on TV; countless documentaries. I’ve read the news articles and the statistics. I know the story. I’ve educated myself on it. I feel empathy towards the families that have lost loved ones. I sense the pain when I watch or read anything surrounding the date but I also get upset when I watch a Lifetime movie.

I’m not trying to be the asshole here. It would be so much easier to feel the same way everyone else does, honestly. To raise America up on some kind of high pedestal like we’re the only ones that have lost people is obnoxious. We’ve killed just as many if not more after the war than on that day. We are supposed to teach our children to stand up for themselves and not bully one another but the country we live in can’t do that. War and murder is not standing up for ourselves.

And I don’t agree with the argument: “9/11 is about the people we lost. You don’t care about the people lost?” Of course I do, I’m not a sociopath. But the thing is, America’s 9/11 isn’t about the lives we lost. Our society pretends it’s about the people we lost, but it’s about a bigger issue. Getting back at whoever did us wrong.

I’ve found over the years that it’s best to keep my mouth shut because if 9/11 didn’t directly impact you and you voice it out loud (God forbid) than you’re the bad guy. I really never mean to be insensitive I guess but it seems like in the land of opinions, everyone that has an unpopular one isn’t entitled to one.

The only reason I remember exactly where I was, wasn’t because I was in shock. It was because my teacher told us to remember where we were because we’re going to need to know where we were for the rest of our lives. Like it was some kind of test. No explanation, no moment of silence, no nothing. Just remember where you are. Or else.

I’m not completely cold-hearted, I promise. I am capable of compassion. I wish I could pray the pain away for those who’ve lost loved ones that day; for them to find closure if they haven’t and comfort when they need it. I wish for the families of the firefighters, paramedics, and police to know that their deaths were not in vain. For the civilians that had nothing to do with the World Trade Center and were merely just civilians; the people on the planes (who, by the way, I feel are very rarely mentioned) I pray for their souls and for their families.

But I’m not sorry that I can’t fully grasp the “never forget” symbols spread nationally each year all over social media. I don’t disagree with it but I also can’t fully stand behind it or I’d be lying. Pretending that I gave a real shit. This goes back to me stepping on hot coals but I feel like people blast social media these days with 9/11 pictures to just prove to each other that they “never forgot.” And maybe that’s what my issue is: People who act as if the tragedy really meant something to them when it didn’t. You posted a picture, that’s all. Did you actually participate in a moment of silence? Did you pray for those lost? Did you lose someone? Did it change your life?

There isn’t a huge gathering for my classmate each year that committed suicide a couple of years ago. There isn’t a yearly prayer service for my grandpa who died when I was a baby. I don’t expect people that didn’t know the people I’ve lost to mourn for me. To “never forget.”

And I hope that those truly effected by the 9/11 attacks do find comfort after 14 years to know that their loved ones are still with them, just in a different form. I just think (obviously my opinion only) that just because you post a picture and say “never forget,” are you just doing that because it’s 9/11 and you’ve been instructed to never forget or were you impacted? How is 9/11 connected to you other than by a tv screen?

Again, as I stated from the beginning of my post. This isn’t meant to be insensitive or stir up trouble. I was in 6th grade when the planes hit the twin towers. I didn’t know what they were. I didn’t know anything about New York City or their significance to the country. Maybe that’s it. Maybe it’s a lack of education on my part? I don’t know. And again, this isn’t meant to offend or insult anyone who was directly impacted by the attacks.

American Sniper.

I’m not very good at reviews in general so I hope that’s not what you’re expecting.

Tonight, we went to American Sniper staring Bradley Cooper. I’m assuming you’ve heard of it. I don’t have TV and I rarely read the news (which I probably should do more often) and even I’ve heard of it. I’ll leave it up to you to do the research if you still don’t know what its about. You can find a summary on it’s IMDb page here.

Ever since I was little, the war and/or the military in any way, shape, or form didn’t interest me. Most people remember exactly where they were on 9/11. I was in either 5th or 6th grade. I remember a teacher telling me that I needed to remember that day. The TV in the classroom was on. Why did I need to remember this day? Why were we watching TV when we should have been doing English? I’m sure I could do the math and figure out if I was in 5th or 6th but it wasn’t “important” to me at the time. And I’m still trying to figure out its significance in my life. I didn’t feel in danger. I didn’t feel sad or scared. No one bothered explaining it to me I guess and because of that, I suppose I never really put much thought or empathy towards something I had no interest in.

I’m sure I didn’t explain that very well and I’m sure patriots would cringe at my lack of American history but who cares. I’m not afraid to say that I don’t support the war. I don’t know why we needed to ‘get even.’ That’s what it is if you simple it down, isn’t it? Hell, we got more than even. We’ve killed so many more people than we needed to. And having to say “needed to” is disgusting. I’ll never understand why we went to war other than to get even. To prove to the world that we’re some kind of superpower. It’s not something that we should be proud of. I’ll never understand why men and women would choose to put themselves in the situation to be in a war. And quite frankly, I’m tired of hearing the “serving my country” speech.

Before you panic – I’m not anti-America. I love the country I live in. I have a basic understanding that because of our soldiers, we have the freedom we have. But do we really?

I would never, ever sacrifice my life or my sanity for a country. I know this isn’t true for everyone but there is no way of telling how you’re going to come out of the war. If you physically survive being in the military or war itself, the mental side effects that could haunt you for the rest of your life isn’t worth it to me.

Watching the re-enactment of Chris Kyle in American Sniper partially proves my point. American Sniper was a phenomenal movie. It was an eye opener for me. Coming from someone who doesn’t support nor understand why people enter the military at any rank – gave me a view through the eyes of someone who has experienced it. He, as I’m sure many many other men and woman have, put themselves at so much risk and danger. They put their country before their family. I’m sorry if it’s selfish but I could never do that and no matter how hard I try to empathize with those that have, I can’t.

I’ve wanted to write a post about this for so long and getting half way through it, I just can’t seem to say what I want to say. I want people to understand that I’m grateful for being born into a country of freedom. I understand that our ancestors worked their asses off to make this a country worth fighting for. I understand that our country is a target. But I will just never be able to understand why anyone would want to subject themselves to a life of murder and mental suicide.

Sadly, I know people who have only joined for the benefits which is a topic for another day. I also know a strong young woman who fought and survived only to come back with mental turmoil and eventually took her own life. I know a man who served his country only to come back to an empty home because his wife was tired of being second place to America. There are so many reasons people serve and I’ve tried to find appreciation for that but I just don’t know why anyone would do that to themselves out of their own free will.

I wish I could explain it better and honestly, I really do wish I could understand. There are tougher problems in our own country that we could use the man power to solve. I’m trying not to be totally ignorant here because I know that there are world-wide threats to our country and to our citizens. With the technology that we have and how quickly it’s advancing why isn’t our government and military capable of having “missions accomplished” with fewer men and women holding guns and killing people?

With that being said, even though I’m sure you are still cringing and may not fully believe what I’m going to say – I am grateful for the men and women out there like Chris Kyle. I’m grateful that you have more of an understanding for the foundation that our country stands on. I’m grateful for your sacrifice to your life and your families. I send my prayers and hope for your sake to God and anyone else out there listening that with the intelligence and power as a 1st world country, we won’t always have to use murder and violence to solve problems that don’t need to exist. Knowing there is so much hatred in the world is a topic that makes the universe so much more complex than I think was ever intended.