Perspective…From A Redeemed Madman.
We all know what happened last week in Connecticut. Since the shooting, I keep hearing comments like “how could he do that?”, “what would lead him to kill his own family?”, “He must have been filled with hate to shoot his mother in her face.”, etc. This is where nearly everyone is currently and the general American thought is shock, fear, a lack of safety and bewilderment in regards to how a young man could kill his own mother and then kill numerous innocent children while looking at them. So, with all that being said, please allow me to explain from a redeemed madman’s perspective.
You see in 2005 I was exposed to the gospel of Christ. Furthermore, God was gracious in not only allowing me understand the gospel, but also giving me faith. Many who know me these days, only know the Christian Chris. They know the logical/rational and “religious” person. The person that very few people know is the grown boy I was before I came to know Christ. The ‘man’ that was fully out of his mind, obsessed with conspiracy theories, full of rage, hatred, wishing to do harm to others. This was a ‘man’ completely obsessed with violence. This is not the “man” I am proud of. In fact, I am deeply ashamed that at any given point of time, this is who I was. Nonetheless, this IS who I was.
Due to incidents like this increasing, I thought that perhaps I could provide some insight, if by chance it may help people better understand the people doing this and God willing we can make changes that may help these boys/”men” find a different path.
To begin the story, I will need to go back a few decades. The beginning to many of these issues starts back in the 1980′s.
It started back when I was 6. Back then, my dad worked for long periods away from home. At the time, he was working in Alaska. He would work for months away from home and return for a few days (or so it seemed) before he would leave again. It left me deeply confused as to why my dad wasn’t there and why he wouldn’t come home. I was starting to understand that I was an individual and that for whatever reason, I didn’t fit right. I had a couple of friends in the apartment complex we were living in, but something always seemed off. I regularly felt as though I was trying to find my place or fit, but I couldn’t. I wasn’t alone in this. The other boys my age seemed to have the same intuition and though often we would get along, when it came to picking on someone, making someone the brunt of their joke or the target of the anger/frustration, I seemed all too obvious a punching bag. I remember one night while feeling deeply hurt that my father seemed to have no concern that we even existed, I wasn’t able to reconcile the fact that even though he said he loved us over the phone, he refused to come home. In a last ditch effort from my little influence as a child, to get my dad home again, I went crying to my mom. I begged her to tell my dad to come home. I pleaded that he had to come home and that I needed him. My mom, not fully grasping the immense identity crisis I was going through or my necessity for a dad in my life, explained that she couldn’t just tell my dad to come home. She explained that he had to work, so that we could eat and pay the rent, etc. Although, as an adult I can look back and see that her explanation was both gracious and logical I was unable to accept it. I remember lying in my room that night, full of pain, full of anger and a deep seated hatred for my dad. I decided that night, I would never be like him. I would never put my kids into that situation and I would do everything in my power to never be a “man”. The moment is solidified in my mind and for years was also solidified in my heart.
Over the next few years, numerous things happened that further established my identity as “different” as well as more cemented in my ways to become as different from my parents as possible. I won’t go into length about those events as they would only be a poor me, bitter diatribe about my upbringing and a disassociated identity from the world around me. Let’s just say the events helped catalyze my world view and further distance me from my father.
In 1990, my father died of cancer and my world came crashing down. I had desired for him to eventually realize his need to stop working and pastoring so frequently and instead take more interest in me. I had expected him to get better eventually and things would be new; instead he died. In that moment, I realized that not only had he neglected his role to me as a dad, but now I would never see him again, I would never have another opportunity. In short, our broken relationship would never be fixed. I wept for hours. I carried on and I wanted someone to understand what I couldn’t express. I wanted to be comforted and I wanted someone to fix it. Instead after a few hours, I was met with my mother coming down stairs as I sat in the corner and in a disgusted/frustrated tone she stated “You’re STILL crying! Ughh.” Not only was I alone in my identity and apart from my dad forever, but now my mother was also disgusted by my actions and effectively pulling herself away as well.
Later that year, I began getting bullied daily at school. Despite my distrust and apprehension towards people and especially that of adults, I decided to go tell my principal about what had happened under the assumption that due to the kids’ actions and her position of authority, she would have to stop the problem. I told her all that had happened, where it had happened and who was involved; surprisingly she showed very little interest. It would be an understatement to say I was shocked. I explained it again, in hopes that she had misunderstood the first time, only to receive the same result. For whatever reason, day after day, the same group of boys would chase me down and corner me, after which they would beat up on me. Every day I would go to the principal and explain it all again and ask her to make them stop and every day she would refuse. After numerous attempts, I gave up hope on her and stopped telling her. Instead, I would spend my lunch wandering around, trying to avoid them, hiding in the bike racks, wandering the school, etc.
Later that same school year, our class was having a class event. I had forgotten to get my mom to sign my paper and I wasn’t allowed to take part. I was frustrated and pleaded with the teacher to simply call my mom and ask her for allowance. I realized I had made a bad choice and needed to avoid it in the future, but I figured I had thought of a simple enough solution to fix it; she refused and told me I needed to wait in the classroom while everyone was doing their activity and they would return after. That was it. I had, had it with adults. As soon as she left the room, I left through the back door. I walked outside the campus to the bike rack and realized no one had noticed; no one obviously cared that much. I realized, no one could make me do anything, I was my own person and I had the ability to do whatever I wanted. I proceeded to pick the combination lock of one of the bikes by me in order to steal it, only to get nervous at the last moment. I put the bike lock back on and started walking home. As I walked around the corner to our house, I noticed my mom standing at the door and panicked. I hid in some bushes and after a few hours I walked inside hoping she wouldn’t know I had left school. Needless to say the school had called my mom and she knew.
Fast forward another few years. Now the year is 1997. At this point, I am depressed 16/17 year old, an accomplished thief, a cigarette fiend, a weed smoker, an anarchist and all around criminal. My days consist of attending classes as I feel lead, going to Kmart to steal cartons of cigarettes, forging the signatures of teachers to give hall passes, late notes to fellow students, drawing and skateboarding. I daily get sent to the principal’s office, sometimes multiple times a day. I would say hi to the office secretaries and they would have me wait until class was over and then go to my next class. At this point the principal didn’t bother seeing me anymore. My school counselor would occasionally call me in. He would ask me where I planned to go to college, what I planned to do as I got older and why I was doing so badly in school. I would respond with the usual answers, something to the effect of “I don’t care about school, maybe I’ll sell drugs, if I don’t kill myself before then.” To which he would uselessly try to convince me that I had to have a plan and I had to do something as I got older; obviously ignoring him what I had just told him. My mom didn’t know what to do with me and more than once in a frustrated fury, she told me I worthless, I was stupid and I would never amount to anything. My mom had started working 16/18 hour days. Basically, after I’d leave school people would come over and we would get high in my backyard. I would try to convince myself that I had a great life, but under the surface I hated everything and I just wanted to leave that city and start a new life somewhere, thinking that would solve my problem. I hated the school system and their lack of defense for those who needed it, an elitist American mindset and their mandatory punishments for failures. I began to compile a list of people that I hated and fantasized about hurting them. They ranged from students, to teachers, to school officials to campus proctors and school police. At one point, threatening a school proctor while in detention and warning him he was on my list.
When I hit 18, I dropped out of school and moved into an apartment with a few friends of mine. Shortly afterwards, I lost the job I had. My hopes of a better life fell on their face again, so I began spending my days smoking weed and getting drunk. This went on for a few months as my addiction to alcohol began to grow and my glorification of crime increased. The few “friends” I had began to pull away from me and mock me, to the point where I became a walking joke to them. I stayed around simply because I didn’t know where else to go/what else to do. One night, an acquaintance we were involved with in a drug deal threatened us with death. After I managed to make it home, devastated and shook up, I was locked out of my apartment and my roommates seemed to care less that I was gone. I was at ground zero again. No one who really cared, confused, depressed, unable to provide for myself and hating life. That night I began cutting, a trend that continued for 7 or 8 years.
As I continued into my 20′s, I continued to self-medicate with a number of things, marijuana, acid, mushrooms, theft, alcohol, pills, research, clothing, money, porn, friends, but never felt fulfilled. Every option left me just as empty (if not more empty) than before. In me early 20′s I began to become angry that life seemed so impossible. I started to resent living, I resented people and moreover I resented the world system. My sister started to warn me that I had rage issues and that I needed to get them into control, which I immediately ignored. I felt justified in my rage and it gave me a sense of power that I couldn’t find anywhere else. I started to love the fact that if people wouldn’t love me, they could fear me. My lack of boundaries meant no one could predict what I’d do and I loved that.
Unfortunately, as I got older, that feeling of power began to lose it’s shine and I realized I was lonely. Through my life, by bullying and “friends” I had been convinced I was hideously ugly, absolutely stupid and worthless. This identity started to eat at me as I realized I would always be alone. Not knowing what to do with my desperation and loneliness, I once again was considering doing physical harm to others. I knew that if I did something, that I would somehow have to cover my tracks completely, which meant wiping out the evidence entirely was my only option, a necessary evil. A short time later, I quit my job in what I believed to be an employee strike. It turned out the other employees refused to quit and I wound up having to find a ride back to California with a few others that had quit as well. Over the next few years, I had jobs, lost jobs, had “friends”, lost “friends and wound up in a cycle of moving, thinking things would be better, my friendships would fail, my job would fail (not necessarily in that order) and I would go into a depressed spiral of getting drunk and doing drugs until I had to move.
In the winter of 2002/2003 I found myself at my lowest. Nothing seemed to take the edge off of the screaming internal struggles I had and the memories of all I had done and experienced. I constantly, deeply depressed and I started feeling entitled even more to justice. I had seen that justice was impossible with man, so I came to the conclusion that I would bring about my own justice. It was the only way and it had to take place. I wanted the world to pay. I wanted them to know my pain. I wanted them to suffer and I wanted that pain and suffering to go so deep, they could never recover. I HATED the world and I wanted them to know. I wanted the world to never forget my name. I wanted the memory of what I had experienced and gone through to be forever seared into the collective conscious of this world. I wanted them to know they couldn’t get away with their evil anymore. They couldn’t force people into a hole and think they wouldn’t snap back. I wanted to leave the nation weeping and I wanted that devastation to force a change in the system. This is the mind of a broken madman, this is the result of a life of pain and this is how a 20 year old “man” shoots his mother in the face, then walks into an elementary school and murders children. To him, they’re nothing more than necessary victims. Simply ants in the path of a raging giant…
For whatever reason, God had a greater plan for my life. In 2005, in attempt to disprove the bible in a last ditch effort to silence my conscience, before I offed myself, I found Christ. As I read through the books Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, I began to notice that so many of the things I hated about people, especially government and religious hypocrites, I saw in those who hated Jesus. I saw that even as He taught to love one another as ourselves and to care for the broken and hurting, the religious/political leaders of his day sought to silence Him and eventually to kill him. I related with Him. I felt like one person could finally understood me and my pain. In the span of about two weeks, I went from trying to disprove the bible, to embracing it wholeheartedly. Only one thing held me back. Despite the fact I desired to be forgiven, I couldn’t escape the obvious guilt of sin the hovered above me. I remember saying one night “God I’ll believe in you and get saved, just let me clean myself up first.” Miraculously, one night, it clicked. God was more concerned with forgiving me and me following Him, than holding my sin against me. It’s true He hates sin, but He is willing to forgive if a person simply believes.
Since then, God has done a lot of hard work on my heart and changed me in ways I could have never expected. He took my cold, hardened, angry heart and began to change it. Where once there was nothing but rage and wrath, I began to see it subside. I started to find myself loving people instead of hating them. I began to learn how to forgive as it sunk in that God had forgiven me. If a perfect and flawless God was willing to forgive me, how could I not forgive others. At times, I find I still struggle with anger and bitterness, but it is usually short lived as God reminds me of His love. I once deeply hurt and resented people for always being fake, but I began to find people who were authentic and caring. People who were willing to lay their life down to help strangers, not to mention their friends who they considered family. I began to find other people who had gone through incredible suffering and heartache, but had found the same peace I had.
As the years have progressed, I have begun to truly learn what love is. Not in word and theory, but in deed and in truth. I have found a new family of other Christians who have been their as I struggled in life and have patiently loved me through it. These same people I have hurt (sometimes intentionally and sometimes unintentionally) repeatedly, but they still stand by my side and love me. People who truly exemplify the words and actions of Christ. Who I am now is nothing like I was before and I thank God for that, but I also thank God that He is unashamed of being associated with me, even as I share my life stories with others. This is the testimony of a redeemed madman.
If you have any questions, would like me to elaborate, or you would like to ask me anything. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to connect with me on Facebook. I hope my story can help you heal.
Even for those of you I don’t know. I love you.