Let me start by saying I have dealt with depression in my life. The tattoo on my back is a symbol of that, as well as the symbol of my “recovery”, or my ability to overcome it. It is an Owl, a creature known for its wisdom and serenity. Within it’s belly is a roaring, sharp-toothed Lion. Known for its ferocity when threatened, and it’s violent nature which inspires fear of it’s presence. The depression inside me, my ferocious Lion, is overwhelmed and controlled by my patience and wisdom, my Owl. My Owl was not given to me, it was earned, honed, and established. I did this with the love, patience, compassion, and hope of my family and friends. There is a man out there tonight, who had none of that. He has no Owl.
My family is safe, and that’s all I could have asked for today.
If you haven’t heard yet, a man in my local area killed a few of his family members today. I don’t know him, and I don’t know what set him off on such an escapade. All I know is that his existence on this Earth since 3:00 this morning has been a threat to my family. According to the reports, he started off his killing spree in the Souderton P.A. area, where my wife had just arrived to work. For privacy’s sake, I won’t name where she works, but all I know is we were both on edge the entire day via text. I kept her updated with news reports as they came out, where he was and what the police were doing. After a while it had seemed the danger had been cornered to a house, where Police had surrounded a the block in an effort to put down what they thought was the killer hiding out. Trucks moved in, S.W.A.T. was on hand, and flash-bang grenades had been deployed. Over. Right?
The next report threw me for a bit of a loop. As the gunman moved, thankfully, away from my wife, he had unfortunately started moving towards my parents. Pennsburg Pennsylvania isn’t much to brag about. It’s a small town with a small way of life, not unlike a town of Hobbits. It’s quite, a bit old fashioned, and nothing really happens their besides your average American day. I spent part of my life there, going to Elementary school while my brothers finished up High School. I remember walking with my mother to the local 7-11 (which is no longer there) for a soda, or to the Dairy Queen just down the street from where she worked for a cone in the summer. I played in those streets, soccer in the cul de sac, climbing trees in the woods behind the golf course, walking with my Grand Mother down the side streets. I was there a few months ago, to celebrate my Dad’s 60th birthday, and only a few days ago to visit.
This was no longer some far off place, where I don’t know anyone. This felt like my front lawn. At this point he’s still out there somewhere, which means I’ll probably be up all night tonight. I’m angry in a way, frightened in another, but I am mostly sad. Sad for you that you felt no way out. I’ve met people like you before, veterans of war that can’t seem to adjust. Then it becomes more than just an adjustment problem. Soon you lose your mind, and the confusion sets in. If only you had the love and guidance you needed, you wouldn’t be on everyone’s minds tonight, nor would you have innocent blood on your hands. I’m sorry that your anger has overshadowed your wisdom. I’m sorry that you have no Owl.
Those woods I mentioned earlier? Where my brothers and I once played? That is where they found your body. You had committed yourself to the Earth by way of the sword, which is a way that will confuse a lot of people. In fact, everything you have done in the past two days will confuse many. I already know what the media will pin you as another lost soul, overwhelmed by the depression fed into by you experience as a Soldier and current predicament as a Father. They will chalk you up on the board as confused and misguided, having had your inner self sand-blasted by fear and pain. Politicians will do more talking, like they always do, and bicker as they do. Protests perhaps, trying to bring more light to the fact that depression and PTSD is as serious as it gets. But there is no more light to shed. No more protests to be had. The effect of these things are blatant, as the Sun is blatantly in the sky. So ask yourselves, now, how much more blood must be shed? What is it, if not the loss of innocent life, that will open your eyes? Those without care for the Lion inside have let it loose, killing themselves, others, loved ones, innocents.
To get your Owl, to keep the Lion at bay, you must be harbored by others who have them already. Only those with their own Owl, through love, compassion, and patience, can tame the Lion inside another. So am I to understand, that in all its wisdom and glory, we the people of the United States, have no Owl of our own? Or have we accepted the Lion that we are, and feed on our children?