Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Remorse

To feel 'sorry' for killing someone seems a little trite. It feels improper to use a word that slips out in response to dropping a biscuit on a clean floor in the context of such an immense act as killing another human being.

I have two recurring nightmares, both of which become prominent around the anniversary of my crime. The first is a terror that my victim will appear out of the darkness, a spectral avenger, to kill me. The second is to be faced with my victim’s family.

What could I say? What possible part of my life, my body or my soul could I offer up in explanation? All murder is essentially irrational and while I could offer an explanation it would seem utterly drained of real meaning.

Each lifer carries their burden differently. Small minorities live in denial or slippery self-justification. The majority carry it as a secret stain on their soul; murder is a very private, as well as very public, tragedy. Some sink into self-loathing and kill themselves.

The burden develops over time. For me, as I grew into adulthood my appreciation of life increased and with it the enormity of what I had done. I have felt slightly apart from the community since that moment. Simon Weisenthal asserted that only the victim can forgive, and so murder is a crime that cannot be expunged. It is a debt that can never be repaid, a harm that can never be undone.

Time doesn't heal the wound, no more than it does for victims. But we both share the superficial healing, the patina of normality and daily life that slowly intrudes into the pain for longer and longer moments. But a slight pause in life can be sufficient to return the raw pain to the surface.

The past cannot be undone. That suffering cannot be erased and it would be futile to attempt it. What, then, is there that can be done? For me, I determined to 'fix' the psychological flaws that

led me to see killing as a solution to a fit of panic and fear. And it is no coincidence that my studies centre on conflict and attempting to reduce violence. All that remains possible is to try to live life in such a way as to leave this earth the better for your having existed.

Sorry?

Ed's note: still no new blog stuff, so looking at today's blog comments I chose this one, from 24/0/09. Hopefully the post will get through tomorrow.

17 comments:

  1. As a relative newcomer to this eye opening blog, I have not had an opportunity to comment on this one before.
    You are right Ben, sorry can never express the full extent of the remorse you so obviously feel, but I really think it is time to start forgiving yourself for an action taken in the heat of the moment by a 14 year old boy. You should never have been treated the way you were by the "system". Had you been you would have been released years ago, I truly think you have paid for the taking of that life so long ago.

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  2. @ Queenie:- Absolutely agree with you 100% - Stop punishing yourself Ben.

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  3. Thank you for being honest Ben.

    BTW Ed, the snow has buggered up many plans, including the prison visit i was suppost to go on Sunday, but couldn't coz my bit of the M25 was closed.

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  4. This blog shows humility, remorse and regret. Everyone is right - forgive yourself Ben and prepare yourself for living a positive life out in the community where I know you will contribute much good.

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  5. Hi Ben,
    I read your blog the first time. I'm from germany, and I found it by reading an article about you at spiegel

    It might interest you:
    http://www.spiegel.de/panorama/0,1518,735795,00.html


    P.S
    It's really bad what you've done. I hope the family of the guy forgave you.

    Greetings from germany.

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  6. Hi,

    as someone before, I found your blog today by reading the article in the German magazin "Spiegel".

    What I red today are the words of an adult who is long grown over the childs doing. And for me as German inconceivable, that you are still in prison, eventhough you have been 14 when it was done.

    I wish you the best and that you will come free soon. Your remorse will ever be with you, but the punishment should finally end.

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  7. Also I found your blog through the "Spiegel" magazin. your words touched my heart. I can only offer you what has worked to erradicate the pain from my life: the study of the Baghavad Gita. There is no need to believe in anything, the Gita is for everybody, Hindu, Moslem, Christian, Atheist it doesn't matter.
    The Gita is the compassionate mother of all that want to listen to her for the benefit of all humanity.

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  8. His family are human too. If they're still around when you get out, try to overcome your fear and meet them. Then you have one less fear and maybe they have too.

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  9. Don't keep punishing yourself. Their are many people who work for our government who kill with impunity, as if they have been given a blessing by a god (not). In no way does this mean that I think that what you did is okay. I would probably hate you if the victim had been my child, might have even killed you, but that would make me no better. I am just saying that there are more criminals high up who are getting away with murder for extremely terrible crimes with our government's backing. You killed one person, I don't know why. The governments kill millions all in the name of greed and hate. They rarely get imprisoned for it.

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  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  11. Swing and a miss, Anon. Nice try though, please come again.

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  13. Ben your page was one i avoided reading in jail for many reasons however i am now a constant observer of all things "mr ben" as i feel your views are independant of any hidden agendas and are 100% "straight up"which is a new concept in this area. Its great to see the coverage you get and i will lok forward to watching,listening and following your progression into society.Good luck with everything and good luck with your life in general as i believe you probably are the single most credible point of contact the public have to all things "prison" hope your first unconditioned festive season went well and you enjoyed it.all the best

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  14. There's a line in that blog that resounded with me, about time not being a healer, for the perpetrator or the victim's family. While it's not an any way the same, I lost my girlfriend in a car accident in 2010. That "daily life intruding into the pain for longer and longer" you mention is exactly how I felt, and still feel now. I can't say I know exactly how you feel, but I think I've got an idea of how you feel now compared to then (if you see what I mean?). I compared it to a cocoon: you build it around the horror of the event, and as time goes on, you learn the ability to step outside that cocoon. But for all the things on the outside that you love, sometimes you still get stuck on the inside. Does that make sense? I think so. I hope so.

    Finally - I agree with all the people above, don't beat yourself up for what you did when you were 14...

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  15. Life is suffering. We are all prisoners Ben(says me without ever having a prison sentence, it could be so easy to get one actually )...I like this video, this lady speaks deeply about just flopping in front of the television eating chips or whatever after a hard day of work somewhere where people might think they are free...and then the view out of a train of how the town is designed ---housing just beside the cemetry...
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UxzlPi5tYE

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  16. Hi Ben, I've recently discovered your blog and find it a really interesting read. This post on remorse particularly struck a chord. I have a good friend that, after knowing him for 3 years, has opened up to me that he is a former lifer for murder. I've taken it as a huge compliment that he has felt he can trust me enough to tell me and I find your blog a real insight in to some of his moods & emotions, and gives hope that I give some of the support he needs.

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  17. An eye for an eye, doesn't work, ask Ghandi. If I take a life, it is my duty to fulfill the obligations of the life I took. A friend of Tai Pulley.

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