The Year was 1985…
The day was the typical dreary, gray overcast that is familiar to anyone who has experienced a December in Pennsylvania. Sue and I were visiting her parents over college break. I was driving her 1975 Mercury Monarch. Sue was in the passenger’s seat and her Aunt was in the back. We were headed to a mall in Youngstown, Ohio to do some Christmas shopping.
We were on a two-lane stretch of road that was densely wooded. From my left, two groundhogs suddenly appeared and ran across the road. The first one made it safely. I wasn’t able to avoid hitting the second one.
You can see just how deeply this bothers me, even some 28 years later. I even recall what I was wearing (brown flannel shirt over a tan t-shirt and jeans). I remember the sound of it and how the steering wheel jerked slightly in my hands. I still have that awful image of that poor animal spread out on the road, as seen through a rearview mirror in my mind.
I’ll never forget how Sue cried. I remember offering up a prayer (that was when I use to have faith). It was the only time an animal was ever killed under the wheels of a car I was driving.
Until this past Saturday.
I was driving to Ryan’s office on Saturday morning. A squirrel darted between to parked cars on a residential street in my neighborhood. I was obeying the 25 MPH speed limit when I saw a gray blur from my peripheral vision. I didn’t even have time to put on my brakes or try an evasive maneuver. It was just that fast!
By now you’re probably wondering why I’m telling you this. Well, thank you for bearing with me… I’m getting to that now.
Do No Harm…
I’m probably just like many of you. It bothers me to harm a living creature, let alone be involved in its death without merit or benefit; like a food source or safety concerns. Hell, lately I even hate to see a plant die. I know, I’m pathetic… but you’ll have to excuse me on this because my sensitivity is heightened over the past four years. Sue is no different. She is scared to death of spiders, but she would never kill one even if I’m not there to take it outside. She’d rather be shrieking like a lunatic as she gently brooms it out the door.Our children, Ryan and Kari, are raised with the same regard for all living creatures… do no harm. Kari takes this to an extreme. She actively saves animals that are in peril. I can’t tell you how many times she has carried turtles from the road!
I’m sure our family’s values on this regard for life plays large in how I feel about Ryan’s attackers, Austin Vantrease and Jonathan May (both of Newark, Delaware). I’ll never understand how they could go out, not only seeking to cause harm, but actually do it! To a human being! I’ll never get how there is lack of remorse… no accountability… no sorrow… no conscious. How is it that people like us can’t get past a groundhog dying and others seem insulated from beating the existence out of a person?
I sometimes wonder if these types of characters pulled the wings off butterflies when they were younger. It wouldn’t surprise me. Damn, they probably thought the little bastards deserved it?
nicole ann says
im still praying for your family for miracles to happen. if anyone deserves it should be you four…much love to the diviney family.xoxoxo
Kathryn Beggs Howlett via Facebook says
do no harm….
Rhonda Morin says
Kari is my cousin Tammy reincarnate. She brought home kids that didn’t have food, she brought home animals, saved them, refused to kill bugs yet she was taken from us at 13 in 1977. I love your girl if you don’t know already.
Sue, keep screaming, my stepdaughter will hold vigil, all night if needed, watching the spider until someone can come get it out of the house.
Ken, someone once told me that flies are our loved ones checking on us. Since I was told that I can’t even kill a fly.
I remember the first armadillo my mother hit, the one small bird my dad got in the grill of the car, the 2 small birds my husband got, the massive black bird he killed with roof rack and the dead dear he hit second or third on Georgetown Pike. When we stopped about an hour later to get gas, wwwwhew! It was awful. The black bird was terrible too, part of it’s feet stuck to the roof rack for hours. It finally froze off or fell off before we got to Lancaster. It was about 2 outside and with the windchill on the truck it had to be about -50.
So many birds I have taken to be saved by local organizations. I am terrified they will get free in the car, imagine The Birds inside a moving vehicle!
I don’t understand the evil either but collectively I think we can put goodness into the world and maybe we can stop this. It is my hope in life.
🙂 Ken, Sue, Kari and Ryan, and all the critters that live with you, 8 legs and less. Sending good thoughts. Love you guys.
Hi Ken, it is so hard to understand people, especially the ones who are just plain cruel. Where does this cruel nature come from? Answer: It does not come from God. The pain a person metes out to others is not without a heavy price to be paid (in the fullness of time). How this price will be paid is between God and the inflictor of pain.
Many souls are injured and wounded, psychically or physically or both due to damage caused by others. I can only tell you that I live each day by grace and mercy; if I didn’t, I’m not sure what my condition would be — probably not so good.
My feeling – whatever arrows and bullets those who are cruel of heart and mind dish out, they cannot pierce our shield of love with which we surround our family and friends. Yes they can damage us physically, emotionally, mentally — but they (the perpetrators of pain), cannot destroy the most valuable piece of our soul, which is love.
Alas, I know it is true they can do it to some people, who then plain give up, or become bitter or perhaps even cruel themselves. Obviously you did not take this route because your capacity for love overrules all else (at least from what I can see). Thank God you are this way. Not to say you aren’t profoundly angry for what these morally compromised young men did to our Ryan. How could anyone not be not only deeply angry but mortified about what they did?
You, Sue, Ryan and Kari have truly good hearts — and I don’t say that as a trite statement, because the number of people walking the planet who exist primarily to serve themselves without regard for others is breathtaking. And discouraging. And — scary.
I pray you will always know how much you and your family are loved and cared about. While this obviously does not change what happened to your beautiful son, I hope it gives you some measure of comfort on the (many) dark and trying days. In this way, we don’t let the perpetrators of pain (VanTrease, May, et al) defeat us. We still have the love, and I believe Ryan most definitely feels the love — and he always will because we’ll always be here. In this one way, we overcome the inflictors of cruelty and sorrow. Our love for Ryan trumps their unconscionable behavior.
Sending you hugs, prayers for continued healing, and always, love.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:13
Beth Broder via Facebook says
It hurts my heart more than words can describe to know that there are people (especially young people) that CAN intentionally hurt another living thing much less another human being!!! I am so sorry that Ryan & your family have had to go through this & unfortunately are still dealing with it. But you all are VERY STRONG & with all the love that I KNOW Ryan is feeling he can heal. Love can bring miracles & they do happen as we have discussed before. I am living/walking proof!!!
My thoughts,support,prayers & love are with your entire family and RYAN EVERYDAY!!!
Christina Brucker Shupe via Facebook says
I agree with you. I don’t know how someone could hurt another person and not even feel bad. Something is terribly wrong with these people. I hope Ryan is doing well. Prayers for Ryan and your family.
Compassion is like a sense of humor, Ken. Ya either got it, or ya ain’t! Compassion is not listed as one of the Fruits of the Spirit, but goodness, charity (love), and self-control are, and Vantrease and May don’t seem to have these either. And what about joy and peace (Galetians 5:22-23)? How can these men ever have joy or peace after what they have done? Evil surely rained down on Morgantown that awful night! It sickens me yet, even after 4 years, to read the account! I don’t think any of us will ever be de-sensitized when we read about what happened to Ryan.
I thank God every day, sometimes every hour, for Team Diviney, Ryan’s Prayer Warriors and all those who continue to support Ryan’s Rally. Still Here, Still Praying. Not Going Away–Ever! May your day be blessed.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27 Amen.
Paula Hamrick says
There is a world of difference between good and evil. Your family is good and the attackers are evil. They mix like oil and crap, pardon the expression. There has always been battles between good and evil Ken. You still have faith, its just buried beneath a mountain of grief, but you still have faith. The attackers are the type who are driving, see an animal and deliberately kill it because of the thrill of killing. Consider them evil, consider them not even worthy of your thoughts. People like that make my colon spasm. At any rate, we, your supporters, have your back. You, Sue, Kari, and of course, Ryan, are always in our prayers. We have faith. We are praying. We got this.
Your family and Team Diviney are full of compassion (as is our God, Whom we continue to put our faith in on your behalf and Ryan’s). Those who lack empathy simply don’t consider the feelings of others; they feel sorry only for themselves — truly pitiful creatures.
There just is no understanding their wicked, twisted ways of thinking. I can’t even wrap my mind around the difference between the Diviney DNA and ‘the others’. Pathetic and subhuman.