I love this story about the flexibility of the human spirit.
It’s much more than that though. It’s about making choices. It’s about choosing to continue the cycle of abuse, or choosing instead to become a champion for love.
A lot of people raised with violence commit violent crimes themselves. They often end up going to jail, or terrorizing their families. But what is it that makes those who come from abused homes decide against the violence? What makes them choose the path of good?
I believe many victims learn to hide their abuse. Others justify their abusers, or never truly admit to themselves that they were abused at all.
Also, children do what they’ve been taught to do. And since many abusers where abused themselves when they were children, they often continue the cycle as adults.
Byron can put his abuse, and subsequent thoughts about it, into words in a way that can help so many others who are maybe too afraid to speak out, to acknowledge their abuse, or to get help.
DESCRIPTION OF VIOLENCE, SEVERE CHILD ABUSE
I Am A Killer by Byron Hamel
The man who tortured me.
It made sense in my brain. I’d find him. Tie him up. I’d torture him for months. And then I’d kill him. Slowly. I would tear him into pieces. I would mail him to his relatives. And to my mother. She who sat and watched. And who sometimes participated. Getting off on it. She who some of my own family still recommend that I forgive, and send her pictures of my children. They still believe I should respect her. Hold her name up high, and bring her in with open arms. This torturing malicious animal who is my mother.
This monster and her mate, the morbid sexual relief they found from beating me. And how they breathed in coitus while they made us watch as we both sat there bleeding. Five long years I lived through this. So many pieces missing.
Little things that I remember. Like the drowning. Like the heart-to-heart. The time I called him daddy and he punched me in the face for it. The shower, whippings, wire hangers. The time He drove us to the store, all smiles, while on his drug, and bought us ice cream. Sitting with my cone inside that van. Windowless, no seats. The rope and wire and dirty blankets in the back. The sobering last minutes of rare kindness as the drugs wore off and then the cruelty sparked again before we got home from the Thrifty. How the smile changed, to teeth that mangled children.
I held on to this. This vengeance and this evil he had put in me.
I looked for him, but didn’t quite know how, or where to start. The internet was weak back then. These days, give me two hours, a home city and a surname.
I would find and I would kill this man. And then one day, a hit. A trial. He had been to court in Oakland California.
He had killed a baby. Tortured her to death with hangers. The granddaughter of his girlfriend. He was tried, and over time given the penalty of death beyond the shadow of a doubt, with solid evidence. His girlfriend was given life in prison. He screamed and cried as he was dragged out of the courtroom. Swore to God that it was someone else. Some other monster.
I read it all; how it unfolded. And I could remember. All those methods he had used on me. Internal bleeding. That was how she died. 18 months old and 97 wounds.
I swore that I’d attend the execution. Wave to him as he looked out at us. I’d desecrate his grave if there was one, and piss on it.
I watched then, over years, as every few months he received a stay of execution. Some not-for-profit legal group who dedicate their lives to keeping folks like this from dying, to fight back the existence of a capital punishment. I get them. I do. The whole thing is ugly. I don’t blame them.
And then over years I started paying less attention. And eventually moved on. I didn’t care when he would die. I wasn’t sure that I would go. I chose instead to focus on the good folks of the world. To help them out. To help and unburden.
Eventually I stopped watching the death row progress altogether. Still don’t know if he’s alive or dead.
Oh, I still believe in it, the penalty. But I don’t think that vengeance helps a person. What I think, is that his death is good for children. It protects all his potential victims. And it’s good that there is one less monster that so many feel compelled to justify or keep alive. It’s also good that I changed my own monster, wrath and vengeance, into something else. It’s good that I did not become my hated enemy, but instead, a trusted friend to many.
My friends, I’ve seen pure evil in the eyes of those who raised me. For awhile, the evil had me. It controlled me. But I let it go. I chose instead to love; to help, and grow the world into a new one.
I am not a humble man.
I am the sharpened steel blade forged inside the crucible of Hell. But I have chosen. And I chose to rise up from the flames; to wield myself, and cut the chains of those around me. Slash the weeds and hack in two the very concept of the wicked.
And my sword is love. My sword is kindness. It’s compassion, depth, humanity, and care. My sword is bringing peace to others, being there when many won’t. My sword is forging two amazing children into free, inspiring, and heroic women, and embracing them with everything I have. My armory is open to both friends and strangers. I give weapons freely to fight off the demons of the world.
Because I am a killer.
I kill everything that monster stood for. Kill it with sobriety, with self-control, with courage, wisdom, strength, protection. I will kill his legacy with kindness, bring his empire to its knees with every forward-paying soldier in my army of the meek.
We are the greater good. We are the overcoming. We’re the breakers and the builders.
So run, monsters. Fast.
We are approaching.
Byron Hamel is a writer, musician, and award-winning journalist living in Manitoba, Canada. He sings in the bands “Person” and “Ticklish Brother”, and has a series of dark poetry based on cheesy films called “Movie Poetry”. Visit moviepoetry.com and download it for FREE!
Byron grew up hard and severely abused by a father figure who was convicted of infanticide, and is currently on death row. Left with a legacy of traumatic stress and an eating disorder, he is determined to be the best dad he can possibly be to his two girls.