What can I say on a day like this? Thank goodness it only happens once a year. No words could capture the heartbreak, despair, yearning, and anger. Yes, what I feel is beyond what the written language can offer. Besides, my thoughts are scattered and my emotions are not to be trusted. Still, I am going to try by borrowing much of what I wrote exactly one-year ago today. Funny how the passing of time hasn’t changed much.
We miss our son. Oh, how we miss him so badly. Every day it feels the same. We live a life in limbo. It’s not fair for this to happen to such a fine, gentle, young man. It’s not fair at all. Ryan had it all. He had it all taken away.
I guess there’s really nothing more I can say about that. Instead, today is one of those where I turn to my anger to get me through.
3 years = 156 weeks = 1,095 days = 26, 280 hours = 1,576,800 minutes = 94,608,000 seconds. Yes, Austin Vantrease and Jonathan May (and their families) had nearly ninety-five million chances to do the right thing. Nearly ninety-five million times they fell short. Waaaaaaay short. Really, why would we expect any more from failures… than failure? I can see the truth, and literal proof, in the adage that failure breeds failure. They destroyed lives and turned their backs on the damage they created. Just like the night they attacked my son, they are still hiding. Worse yet, they became aggressive when the opportunity arises. Let’s remember them looking for confrontations in a parking garage and creating and using social media to spew their evil. Haters! We know what you are!
After the sentencing hearing for Austin Vantrease, I remember a big deal made of something I said to the court during my Victim Impact Statement. Something that was twisted and turned by the Vantrease supporters until it fit their insanely illogical logic. I was asked what I thought would be a fair punishment for the convicts. My response? I said, “give me two minutes alone in a room with them and a baseball bat and a promise they will leave in no worse condition than Ryan”. Is this a fair punishment? Yes, I would think it is. Two things about my statement: 1) I never said I wanted to do it, I was asked what would be fair, and 2) it made the point that the court couldn’t satisfy a like-for-like restitution and the maximum punishment is the only option. It wouldn’t be complete justice because that can never be accomplished, but it would be a start.
I had a friend ask me if I had a rifle and came upon either of those two, would I open fire? I said I wouldn’t, content to leave it at that… until pressed. “No”, I said, “I wouldn’t shoot them with the rifle. I’d be more inclined to beat their brains in with it.” I could never do this, of course, but given the hypothetical circumstances, a bludgeoning seems proper. Sadly, I need their miserable selves alive to face their carnage every single day with the hope of somehow taking responsibility.
It’s clear to me that these men are surrounded by anger, aggressiveness, enabling, and denial. I almost fell out my seat when I read a quote posted by Gale Vantrease (Austin’s mama). She said, and I quote, “My heart is broken because of what the media and the state of WV has put Austin through, and Monday [sentencing] was an unbelievable travesty… A fight is a fight is a fight. When you start a fight, or enter into one, there is always a chance you will get hurt….. that is why as parents we BEG our kids not to fight!” (Source: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Truth-About-Austin-Vantrease/ on 11/18/2010). Amazing! She blames everyone except her criminal son! What a leathery piece of work she is.
Now, I’ve said this a few times before and I’m going to say it again… As I see it, Bob Vantrease is Gale’s bitch husband. A full-fledged wimp. He must have cried like a pussy when she ripped his testicles from his scrotum. If anyone’s interested, they’re likely in Gale’s purse. She probably keeps them in a pill box.
The other Vantrease siblings are spitting images — personality-wise — of each parent. The son, Cody, is aggressive… a classic example of Napoleon Complex (or, as most would understand, a “little shit”). Like his younger brother, he gets himself into trouble with the law (see Cody Vantrease. Wanted!). Like his mother, I can see the anger and hate engrained in his face. From what I can tell the daughter, “Sis” (as she likes to be called), takes after her dad, the epitome of a passive-aggressive. Remember, she’s the one who thought it was a good idea to start a support website for her felon brother (and then couldn’t understand why people thought this was just wrong). She proudly proclaims “Austin wouldn’t hurt a fly”. Well, I’m sure all flies are greatly relieved.
As for the May family, they seem like they just don’t give a rat’s ass of what becomes of their son and the mess he created. It surprised me just how comfortable and care-free they were in court. They were lounging there reading a newspaper. Any more relaxed and they would have been sleeping. I almost expected room service to come in with tea and crumpets. Do you need your pillow fluffed? Anyhow, I suspect this is a family in disarray. All signs point to it.
Yes, it feels good to just let my anger flow. Sure, I’ll no doubt be told to forgive, or that I’m my own enemy, or how the anger will eat away at me. Who knows, maybe this is true? But I am what I am (real and raw, so I hear). I’m good with how I’m coping. I’ve found a way to get by and doubt I will change… at least not any time soon.
Please know how much we rely on you to help us through. Not a day goes by that I’m not thankful that you help carry the burden. Without you all, we would be in financial ruin. We would (and did) go days without eating. Ryan would not be in such great physical health for his type of injury. Thanks to all you bought and do for him. You keep Ryan relevant. His story continues to touch more people and Team Diviney is strengthening.
Disclaimer: This article is my opinion… but I bet I’m 100% correct!
During this week, when readership will be up, I’d like to use this horrible anniversary in a positive way. Let’s see if I can increase donations to Ryan’s Special Needs Trust Fund. Ideally with more people signing-up for the monthly recurring option, but a one-time contribution is always appreciated. For those who already do this, maybe even see if they might make an extra donation, apart from their recurring one. No sense faking anything here (Real and Raw!), I’m blatantly exploiting the anniversary of the beating to improve the situation. Ryan’s situation, to be exact. I you can help, the contribution form (in yellow border) is in the right sidebar of this page.