I was nine years old. My father would pick me up one afternoon a week from school and take me for allergy shots at the doctor’s office. I then spent the rest of my day at my father’s place of work. It was awesome! An afternoon with dad. He worked for the New York State Division of Parole at the time and was the area supervisor for a large region in western New York, a primarily rural and beautiful place, as far removed from New York City as the hills of Kentucky, at least in lifestyle. There was a span of several particular weeks that the office was in a different mood than usual. All of my dad’s guys, instead of being their usual jovial selves, were much more serious. There were several times when they would come into my father’s office and politely ask me if I could go play while they spoke to him in private. “How odd” I thought. That usually did not happen.
During those weeks my father and his guys were working on the Dryden Massacre. To make a long story short, Dryden is a little town tucked away in the hills of the Finger Lakes region of New York State, just a few miles away from Ithaca, home of Cornell University. In a particularly nice area in Dryden called Elllis Hollow a man entered a residential home and tortured the members of a family for several hours, after which he tied them up, put pillow cases over their heads, shot them, then set the bodies on fire. He raped the females, and he cut the fingers off of several members of the family. A father, mother, eleven year old son, and a fifteen year old daughter, all burned from existence by a process predator. It happened in a really nice neighborhood. The primary suspect quickly emerged as one of the parolees on the radar of my father’s office. Needless to say they took the situation very seriously. I was only nine years old, but it left an impression.
My father is the sort of man that there are sadly too few of today. He raised sons that try to follow his example, we fail in most regards! However, one thing my dad managed to impart to his children was a solid foundation in mindset. My father did not sugar coat the world, even when we were young. I was inquisitive, I wondered why the office was in such a state of tension. My father told me why. He told me what had happened. He explained what this particular individual had done to an entire family. He explained that the world contains such monsters. He also explained that should our family ever face such monsters nobody will get tied up. When one moves we all move. Decisiveness, overwhelming violence of action. That is the only way in which to deal with monsters. I was nine years old, and I learned much about the realities of humanity from my father.
Of course, dad told me this while wearing his Smith and Wesson revolver, a weapon permanently affixed to his side, on duty or off, before an auto loader took its place some years later. This was before the Glock had become the ubiquitous sidearm of New York State law enforcement. I was already capable of shooting and handling firearms, having been taught by a father devout in principles of self-reliance. The household was well armed, as was the case with most in those hills of New York State. Despite the poisonous political influence of that city the country folks there believe in freedom.
By the time I was a teenager my father had moved his family to a truly free state far south of New York. The hills of upstate were beautiful, but shackled with the socialist politics of that scar of a city that shares the same name. The New York politicians do their best to deny the citizen the ability to deal with the monsters of the world. My father believes in personal freedom, so we abandoned that leftist utopia and moved to a much better place. Thanks dad.
These many years later I teach people to defend themselves with the handgun, a right they have in the free state where I live. I often hear the perspective future student tell me “I am thinking of getting a gun but I live in a nice neighborhood.” I work hard to suppress the scoff and simultaneous chuckle, each time I fight back the shock of such naivety.
Decisiveness, overwhelming violence of action. That is the only answer to the call of the monster. Gunfire tends to be the most convincing translator when negotiating with him. Let the snowflakes ask themselves “why” and “how could it be” and “who would do such a thing” before they resume burying their heads in the sand and pretending the world contains only such angelic creatures as themselves. Let the capable and self-reliant individuals reading this ask “how ready am I?” Are you? And how ready are your children? Do they know the reality of the world as it is?
Thanks dad, for this and so much. You raised men. I intend to do the same for mine.
To learn more about the Dryden Massacre read this article from the New York Times, December 1989.