One thing we learned from the sleep study, without any official report needed, is Ryan hears noises that keep or arouse him awake. We are making every effort to keep his room completely quiet at night. So far, I have to say he does seem to be getting better rest.
It did create a bit of an issue for me. You see, I have trouble sleeping. That’s both falling asleep and staying asleep. My mind is tormented all the time, but especially so when the night brings a bit of calm. To help me cope, I would doze off watching television. It kept my mind occupied and glazed over my sad and angry thoughts.The background noise it created was blissful.
Well, the television was not in Ryan’s best interest, so we turn it off no later than ten o’clock. In actuality, this means we only
watch listen to it for thirty minutes to an hour as we go through the nightly ritual of getting Ryan squared away.
Desperate for a solution, I turned to putting in ear buds, firing-up my iPhone, and listening to the streaming internet radio. I swear, you can find a radio station on any topic! For me, I’m a fan of talk radio and finally was satisfied listening to a broadcast called Coast to Coast.
Here’s where my plan backfired. Mucho big time backfired. The topic was on violent people (i.e., Vantrease and May fit this definition nicely). The discussion centered around whether violent tendencies are acquired genetically and/or environmentally. It discussed evil. Are people born evil? It questioned if a violent/evil personality can ever be completely changed (and they decided probably not often at all, but behavior can be). It outlined major categories that motivate people to become aggressive. Needles to say, I was riveted to the discussion and sleep eluded me for quite some time.
Before I give my opinion on this (and I certainly have strong one), I’d like to hear your thoughts. I have come to rely heavily on you for insight because — all together now — you’re all big smarty pants.[poll id=”45″]
- Sleep Study Explained (ryansrally.org)
Ms. Blasé says
I’ve been thinking about this post for the past couple of days. Ironically, it was posted on a day that I initially took off work in order to go to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in D.C. which chronicles a time in history when unspeakable evil was displayed on a global stage.
I think that narcissism is at the heart of evil, i.e. a toxic fascination with self that leads to a sense of self-entitlement and to the belief that rules don’t apply to everyone and that one’s life is more valuable than their fellow man’s. The inflated sense of self makes it easier to look down on others and to view them as “less than” and, ultimately to hurt or destroy them since “they don’t really matter anyway.”
Everyone is born with a selfish streak that can either be corrected (via discipline) or fed (via lack of discipline and environmental/social pressures). Although the influence of social factors like the media is great, I believe that parental discipline is greater still. It is a parent’s job to not “spare the rod,” to teach a child that there are consequences for their actions, that the world does not revolve around them, and to respect others. I believe that when a child does not have the protective boundaries of consistent loving, yet firm authoritative discipline in their lives, that they are more prone to becoming agents of evil.
I’ve always believed rotten apples seldom fall very far from the tree..
The Colangelis says
I believe violence is related to one’s environment and upbringing. There is a lot of evil in this world too, it seems like it’s more prevalent today than we when we were growing up.
I’m not usually one to post, but I read this every day because of what an outstanding person Ryan is and what an amazingly beautiful family the Divineys are.
The topic of violence, character, and what drives both has been heavily debated for years and years because no one quite knows a concrete causation of violence nor can we fathom what drives one to be violent. I have mixed feelings on the topic because in my classes we learn about genetic predisposition, what can go wrong during child-rearing years, the relationships between children and their parents, and the influence/impact of outside factors on our behavior. In my opinion, I don’t know that we will ever be able to understand the root cause of mean people and violence. What I do know is that truly “beautiful people” exist each and every day right along with this violence. They give us hope. They give us a reason to carry on. You, Ryan are one of those people. As are you Mr. Diviney, Mrs. Diviney, and the amazing Kari. You are loved and prayed for each and every day; there are not enough words to express this.
I want to share a quote that I happened to come across:
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
I say that beautiful people are made.
EK-R literally wrote the book on the grieving process, and what you wrote, dear Emily, is simply beautiful. What positive, encouraging words, and so true. Welcome to Team Diviney 🙂
Pittsburgh Here says
Mean people suck…
Ken would a white noise maker be good for Ryan (and you?)
As an aside: You need some of those video sunglasses that you can watch movies with like folks wear on airplanes!
Sam, Good Idea, we have a white noise sound machine that we use during the day when the hubby works nights. My daughter has one also that she uses in the nursery.
I don’t have all the answers, Ken, but — I’ve been trying to figure it all out for years. Unbeknownst to me, my daughter has been so confused and puzzled about what Van T, May, etc. did, that she has submitted a merit scholarship essay requesting to scientifically research two things: 1. what are the biological and enviromental underpinnings of violence in human beings, and, 2. what causes people such as Van T to be unable to acknowledge and show remorse for violence inflicted upon others.
I knew this bothered her, as it bothers all of us, but I had no idea how much until I read that paper. When my daughter talked about wanting to learn more about how the brain works, I figured it was to learn more about the healing process of Ryan’s injury. It surprised me when I saw that that her motivation is to get academic training and guidance to understand how people like Van T became the way they are. Wow. Apparently this has been deeply troubling her for a long time unbeknownst to me. She said that by learning about and finding treatments for this kind of violent behavior, she hopes to help make the world a safer, more peaceful place for Ryan and the rest of us.
To my daughter, I am sorry this confusion and sadness has been weighing so heavily on your heart. I admire you for wanting to work on finding the answers. This is a productive way to deal with and counteract that which is so troubling and threatening.
To Ryan — you are far more powerful, stronger, and more courageous than your predators ever will be. And…all the love you recieve, you give back many times over. You are a tremendous blessing, and you have made a meaningful difference in the lives of many people. In your young life, you have achieved more than most. Hats off to you, Ryan. Keep showing us how it’s done.
Love, prayers and respect…Paula
Gail Doyle says
Ken, Violence is violence any way you look at it , and no matter what caused it ( and I believe all those answers are probable ) what they did to Ryan is the very worst of a violent ,to me, almost depraved person .Who could ever do that to another human ,no matter what the situation. Can a person who has no regard for human life ever be changed, I just don’t know . How do you change something you won’t acknowledge ? Here for you Ryan
We all have the potential to be violent given certain circumstances. Our upbringing and environment teaches us how to control or not control violence. It is obvious that May and Vantrease were not taught this control. They may have seen violent behavior in the household as an acceptable behavior of life. It appears they learned/saw that it is ok to show violence towards others even if for no other reason you just don’t like what they say. Now, not only are they are paying for their violent actions and the lack of action by their parents to raise positive contributing members of society but, Ryan himself, the Diviney family, Ryan’s friends, the state of WVU and all of us are paying.
Karen T. says
I noticed in the picture that Mrs. VT’s nose seems awfully flat and have wondered from time to time if she herself had her nose broken as a result of family violence . . . which was then passed on.
I don’t think you can blame the parents for the actions of a child. Unless, the upbringing was horrific with abuse or neglect and even then, some kids turn out fine. What I have seen is alcohol is a big factor with behaviors.
The other part of the equation is a parent that never made their child be accountable for their actions. Sometimes teaching our children the right thing is so hard on us, but makes for better children. In this instance, I think the parents are part of the problem.
Amanda Smith says
I believe that it’s instinct for human to have violent tendencies in order to protect and defend. I think that it’s more of just a matter of learning the behavior on how to control those tendencies so that people are not lashing out and hurting each other all the time. It must be caught early on though or a person can be stuck in their own ways, especially if they are never corrected by a parent or a person they respect. For May and Vantrease, I don’t think their parents did anything to help their behavior since they have also displayed their own anger and have not accepted responsibility. Violence is the most extreme emotion an angry person can exhibit. Even though it can just take a matter of seconds to disfuse themselves and move on or attack another innocent person, it is in there control how they want to play it out and it depends on how they are brought up and who they want to be as a person. I have faith that people can change or rehabilitate their behaviors, even Vantrease and May. The only problem is that you have to accept the responsibility first and grow from there.
There are incidents in the New Testament too numerous to quote here in which Jesus drives out demons from persons, believing that they are posessed by evil spirits.
The Roman Catholic Church has a service for exorcism found here: http://www.logoschristian.org/catholic.html
The Episcopal Church also has a formal service of exorcism, and other churches may also. There are those in the world who are so evil, what else can it be attributed to? Are they posessed, or are they just evil?
A good study would be of siblings raised in the exact same environment by the same parents. For some reason, one can carry out acts of violence without a second thought, yet the other(s) could never fathom such a thing. We know alcohol lowers inhibitions too, so maybe the combination would be volatile. I think there must be something pre-existing/inborn for someone to act out in such a violent way.
Good point. I’ve heard from many people that the brother is quite aggressive.
In this particular case, the family’s actions speak for themselves. Behaviors seem to have been learned within their environment. You’ve witnessed it firsthand, both against Ryan and later in the courtroom itself. It’s one of those times where true colors came out and they sure aren’t very pretty.
Personality disorders like sociopaths and borderline personalities definitely have both genetic predispositions and are shaped by life experiences, but not all people who choose violence can use mental or emotional illness as an excuse for their behavior. Even those with an official diagnosis are accountable for their behavior and can learn healthier coping skills, of course; so I guess there really is no good excuse for unprovoked violence.
By selecting other on today’s poll – my opinion – the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree – you truly see the upbringing reflected in ones actions. I know and you know that our children would NEVER be accused of such horrific thug like behavior. Is it genetic – maybe – but even alcoholism can be genetic and controlled. These thugs must have shown signs earlier in their life of gang like tendencies and violence that was never corrected or give consequences. Now that consequences are being rendered, they are still in denial that anything that they did was wrong – yeah – I’ll go with Other meaning they are a product of their upbringing.
I like how you think.