Saturday, April 25, 2015


To All Canadian Citizens:

I’ve written open letters to your Prime Minister but I guess he wouldn't open them, so I thought I should come directly to his boss.

Many of you may have heard this story; it comes from just below the equator on the other side of the world, but it’s a tale so astonishing it’s made it’s way out.

It concerns, among others, a kidnapped Canadian citizen named Neil Bantleman, who teaches at the Jakarta Intercultural School (JIS) in Indonesia, along with associate Ferdi Tjiong, and a cast of English speaking educators from all over the world. About a year ago, the parent of a kindergartener came to school saying her son had been sexually abused by members of the janitorial staff, hired by ISS, a Danish cleaning company. Members of the school were alarmed and did what any of us would do upon hearing that awful news: believe it and find the predators, or believe it until it can no longer be believed. Six cleaners were arrested. Some confessed under what, in retrospect, appears to be torture. One who didn’t confess is dead. When the cleaners got to what they thought was the relative safety of the courtroom, they attempted to recant, citing the torture and the fear that had they not confessed, would have ended up like their dead compatriot, who the police insisted committed suicide by drinking cleaning fluid, but who died with serious bruising and cutting on his body and head.
The convictions held, the cleaners lost their appeal. Four received eight year sentences, one – a female with representation - got seven years.

The mother of the child sued the school for something close to thirteen million (USD). When she discovered the cleaners didn’t work for the school, but for ISS, she was joined in her accusations by two other mothers, upped the lawsuit by a factor of ten and named Mr. Bantleman, a teacher/administrator and Mr. Tjiong, a teaching assistant, as offenders also. She attempted to add the name of a U.S. citizen but by then the implausibility of the details were becoming the impossibility of the details, and representation from the American Embassy stepped in. That American’s name was removed from the charges.

Here are a few of those particulars that brought the American Embassy to its feet:

-No reputable doctor found any evidence sexual abuse, even though the charges included serial anal penetration over a long period of time.

-When the mother was asked by credible examining doctors to return the child for further testing, she never returned.

-Several of the male cleaners carried a herpes virus, very common among Indonesian men. Though the mother insisted her child had contracted the disease, he did not. All credible medical opinion said, and still says, it would be impossible for the child to have been raped by those cleaners over the period of time the mother alleged, and not contracted the virus.

-In testimony a policeman told the court that both Neil and Ferdi had failed a lied detector test. Evidence of that test was never produced.
The area in which the supposed abuse took place, during school hours as described by the accusing mothers, is visible from at least thirty yards away on all sides. One of the rooms where it was supposed to have happened is called "the aquarium", because all four walls are glass. If a child was sodomized during school hours over that long period of time, all the elementary staff and half the parents are accomplices.

-Two of the cleaners who were identified by the child (and his mother) on the first day, were only present on that day. Their assignments were in a different part of the campus.
The two children whose names were entered later in the proceedings, continued to attend the school after the first mother’s charges, and showed no fear, trepidation or odd behavior of any kind as they played freely around the area that would have been their private hell. And remember this was through a time before the arrests of Neil Bantleman and Ferdi Tjiong when school officials still believed that something probably happened with the cleaners. That is to say, they were vigilant.

After that it gets crazy. The lawsuit is increased tenfold and Neil and Ferdi go to jail, awaiting trial.
The court proceedings, which are now finally available to the public, would embarrass a kangaroo. The head judge of the three judge panel – her name is Nuraslam Bustaman and let it be trumpeted across the globe, ‘cause this lady is on the take – rejected the biological/medical evidence presented by the defense and accepted the mindnumbingly absurd utterances of the prosecution: 1)Neil had produced a magic stone from thin air to insert into one little boys anus to anesthetize him from the pain. He then returned the stone to a low flying airplane. 2) The fact that Neil said in testimony that he and his wife had sex about once a week was proof to Nuraslam and the other two judges that he must be having the rest of his sex elsewhere. (Forget the adage that has proven true for ninety percent of married couples in our species: place one bean in a jar every time you have sex the first year of marriage and then take one bean out every time you have sex after that…and you’ll never run out of beans.) 3) Kids don’t lie. (If you ever had a kid or were a kid, you know that’s a crock.) Kids lie all the time. They lie to get out of trouble; they lie to please their parents; they lie to get another cookie. And they sure as hell lie to get their momma a hundred thirty million (USD) while making the nice policemen happy.

The judges conviction/sentencing statement/tirade lasted eight hours. Feel free to go to Freeneilandferdi on Facebook and hit links all day long. But put padding under your chin to soften the impact when it hits your desk.

Or trust me. I worked as a child abuse and neglect therapist in the world of abuse for more than twenty years, and served as chairperson for the original Spokane Child Protection Team for thirty years. I have qualified to testify as an expert witness in both Juvenile and Superior Court in the state of Washington countless times. I’ve kept bad guys away from kids most of my adult life.
Neil and Ferdi are not bad guys, nor are the cleaners. They were feeding their families one day, and pariah the next. One escaped being a pariah. He’s dead. This isn’t an issue that can be perceived either way. It isn’t a flip of the coin; it’s not 51-49. This is 100-0. This is corruption and greed with heart-stopping nonchalance. Seven men and a woman not only wrongly accused of a crime, but accused of a crime that never happened.
I know it’s hard to hear of accusations like this without thinking, SOMETHING happened. Well, you’re right. Something did happen. Some cops and some judges and some parents, driven by astonishing greed, left whatever moral fiber they may have possessed behind (and believe me, those fibers had to be microscopic in the first place) and went about systematically destroying the lives of eight families.

PEOPLE OF CANADA! A loyal citizen has been kidnapped – there’s no other way to say it. The extortion sits there like the 800 pound gorilla no one wants to see, and your government remains maddeningly silent! The school where that citizen taught sends its best and brightest to the finest English-speaking universities all over the world. They are future citizens who will make a global difference. And I’ll say it again: No U.S. citizens were charged because the U.S. wouldn’t stand for it. I ask you, is Neil Bantleman’s only crime being Canadian? Look, if you know anyone with influence in Indonesian politics or economy, it’s time to rattle their cages! Scream for them to bring pressure! We need ALL the voices in Whoville. All of them.

And tell your Prime Minister that if he’s willing to leave his dead and wounded soldiers on the battlefield, he’s not man, or woman, enough to lead you.

Friday, April 10, 2015

ANOTHER Open Letter to Canadian Prime Minister Harper

Another Open Letter to Canadian Prime Minister Harper

Dear Prime Minister Harper,

I probably should have made this clear last time.  An open letter isn’t necessarily already open.  You have to open it.  Since it’s clear you failed to address my attempt  to alert you to the shameful, trumped-up charges in Jakarta, Indonesia against Canadian citizen and respected educator Neil Bantleman, I’ll give it a second try.  I would include the names of the others caught in this web of corruption, but if I can’t get you to stand for your own citizens, how on earth can I infuse you with empathy for citizens of a land half-way around the world?

When last I wrote, Mr. Bantleman had been incarcerated for nearly a year while awaiting and then enduring a trial that would have embarrassed a Kangaroo.  The accusations were horrific.  Mr. Bantleman and the others had been charged with the repeated anal rape of a five-year old kindergarten boy at the Jakarta Intercultural School.  As the courtroom events progressed it became clear that the defendants weren’t only being wrongly accused of a crime, they were being accused of a crime that was never committed.  In the end, the three judge panel accepted none of the forensic evidence presented by the defense, while accepting all of the whimsical, random, colossally absurd utterances of the prosecution. 

I would chronicle the details, but I’m from the United States and keenly aware that on this side of the border at least, the attention span of a politician lasts about as long as a quick trim at the barbershop.  If you’re interested in those details, have an intern go to #freeneilandferdi and follow the links.  There has been international outcry, detailed in presses all over the world.

What bothers me is that within that international outcry your administration’s voice has been silent.  The only feedback I have received from your camp is that you don’t choose to interfere in the affairs of other countries. 

But Mr. Prime Minister, this is an affair of your country.  I’m not asking that you send a unit of JTF2’s to bust Mr. Bantleman out of prison, but I’ll bet if you asked any member of that elite force, they would tell you they never leave their dead or wounded behind. 

There is no downside to this, Mr. Harper.  The international decibel level will only increase as the details of this travesty of justice become more and more evident.  Do not let your voice continue to be unheard.  You have left a wounded soldier on the battlefield and if you allow him to lie there, you will be, in short order and in full world view, on the wrong side of history. 

Good teachers are among this world’s greatest soldiers.  You have the power to put economic and political pressure on a corrupt Indonesian government that has allowed this mockery, and help bring at least one great soldier home.  But your window of opportunity is closing.  Neil Bantleman will be set free.  You can be part of that or not.  Either way, your countrymen and women won’t forget.

With Whatever Respect That Turns Out To Be Due,

Chris Crutcher

Open Letter To Indonesian Presdient Joko Widodo

Dear President Widodo,

I am an American author who recently visited Jakarta as a guest of the Jakarta Intercultural School. It was my first trip there and I was treated splendidly by school personnel, and just as wonderfully by the Indonesian people. I’ve visited International Schools in more than a dozen countries, and don’t remember feeling more welcome in what is, to me, a foreign culture.

So I was surprised to be made aware of the (at the time) ongoing court case involving Canadian teacher/counselor Neil Bantleman and Indonesian teaching assistant Ferdi Tjiong.
Well, the trial is over and the two have been convicted and sentenced. But now the real work begins, because they, along with the six ISS employees also accused and convicted, were all sentenced for crimes that never happened. One of those employees is dead, something you might want to look into after this original wrong is righted.

Along with being an author, I spent thirty years working in the arena of child abuse and neglect in the United States. I spent twenty five years working intimately with troubled families and, concurrently, thirty years as chairperson of our local child protection team, often listening to and ruling on extremely complex cases, with the sole purpose of finding truth and dealing with it. I have testified in dozens of abuse cases, in both juvenile and superior court.

But see, the Bantleman/Tjiong case is not complex at all. While in Jakarta I was privileged to visit the courtroom site on one of the trial dates. Since, I have followed the case closely, reading dozens of articles printed in newspapers all over the world, as well as highlights from the head judge’s conviction and sentencing statement. I won’t bore you with the details, as they can be easily discovered by anyone in your employ who has access to technology. What that techy will discover with very little effort is: no medical evidence of abuse (and in fact evidence to the contrary), child behavior totally inconsistent with prior sexual trauma, huge financial motivation on the part of the complainant, physical impossibility of the abuse taking place in the locations at the time alleged, almost idiotic alteration of the complainants’ stories as the “investigation” progressed, abandonment by the judges of scientific evidence in favor of “magical” evidence, and an attitude of retribution on the part of those same judges in response to the international outcry.

Mr. President, I have been advised more than once that it is possible I just don’t understand the difference between our cultures; that legal proceedings and local customs might be so dissimilar between your country and mine that I just don’t get it. But I reject that notion, because this isn’t about philosophy or customs or cultural actions. This is about human decency, and I’m willing to bet our definitions of that match up quite well. This is about lives being destroyed in the name of greed, and because of that it’s about whether or not a seemingly welcoming nation is, in fact, too dangerous for the families of members of the international business community. I, for one, would think long and hard before bringing my loved ones to a place where I or any one of them could be brought up on baseless charges at the whim of a corrupt legal system.

Because if it can happen to those innocent cleaners and to Neil Bantleman and Ferdi Tjiong, it can happen to anyone.


Chris Crutcher
Doctor of Humane Letters
Child Mental Health Specialist
Certified Therapist, State of Washington, USA

Friday, March 13, 2015

Open Letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Open Letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper:

Neil Bantleman, a Canadian citizen and educator at the prestigious Jakarta Intercultural School (JIS) has been imprisoned in Indonesia on child abuse charges that are dazzlingly absurd. By the most basic standards in your country or mine, not one piece of credible evidence points to Neil or his co-defendant, Ferdi Fjiong, nor the five imprisoned cleaners, earlier tortured into confession in the wake of a sixth who was likely tortured out of his life. In fact, all evidence points to the truth that no abuse ever took place.

Much has been written about this case, in Canadian papers, the Wall Street Journal and various online sites, detailing Indonesian police and court corruption, stories of magic stones, testimony entirely antithetical to original charges, and on and on. Your governmental Google expert, or any seventh grader, can pull up the details.

And yet you remain silent.

This is an easy one, Mr. Prime Minister. When the accusers attempted to add an American educator’s name to the list of suspects, the American ambassador came down on them like a hammer, and that American’s name was removed.

This is an easy one. No one on either side of the Canadian political spectrum could possibly hear the details of the Indonesian legal process to date, and believe justice is being served, or even noticed.

This is an easy one. There’s no downside. You have the opportunity to assure all Canadians that injustice to your citizens will be dealt with straightaway, both economically and politically; that Canada doesn’t leave its people behind. Anywhere in the world.

This is an easy one, Mr. Prime Minister, but surprisingly, a great number of writers and educators on your side of the border say your administration is simply indifferent to the needs of the general population.

Don’t let that be true.

This is an easy one.

With cautious regard,

We Who Are Waiting

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Free Neil and Ferdi


I recently returned from a week of presentations at the Jakarta Intercultural School (JIS) in Jakarta, Indonesia, where I witnessed a human rights situation that is, for lack of a better term, dangerously bizarre.  Two elementary educators and six cleaners (janitors from ISS Indonesia) have been charged in a sexual abuse case that does not pass the smell test.  I’m not talking about the smell test that tells you something in the back of the refrigerator has passed its expiration date.  I’m talking about dead bodies stacked on a pile of burning tires.

In March of 2014 a parent came to school charging that her first grade child had been raped by cleaning staff in a bathroom close to his classroom.  JIS administrators removed all cleaning staff under the ruse of training, then cooperated with police, which resulted in the arrest of two identified cleaners.  There was sadness and shock among the entire JIS educational community, and great empathy was exhibited toward the child and Indonesian mother and Dutch father. 

But then Mom went to the press, where she gave graphic descriptions of the rapes and publicized the name of the child.  She said her child was raped thirteen times in March and had contracted genital herpes.  Another four cleaners were arrested, including one woman.  The Mom charged conspiracy, even though two of the cleaners didn’t work on that part of the campus and just happened to be there the day the additional four were being (randomly, it turns out) pointed out. 

The cleaners stated they were beaten and threatened by police without the presence of legal counsel.  One of them supposedly committed suicide by drinking bleach and other cleaning fluids, but a photograph of his body showed severe bruising and evidence that his lips had been stapled.  All but one of the rest of the cleaners confessed, none with any legal counsel.  The female, who did have legal counsel held her ground.  All were quickly convicted, none being allowed to recant their confessions once they reached the relative safety of the courtroom.  Four received eight year sentences, one (the woman) a seven year sentence, and of course, one is dead.

The child was examined by four separate doctors, none of which found any evidence of genital herpes.  Each doctor asked that the mother return with the boy for a second examination and in each case she did not return.  No doctor found anal tears or any evidence that would have had to accompany thirteen instances of sodomy in that short time.  With her case falling apart, the mother offered to disappear for a settlement from the school of thirteen and a half million dollars.  When the school refused, she upped her lawsuit to a hundred twenty five million and implicated three educators: Neil Bantleman, a Canadian, Ferdi Tjiong, an Indonesian and Elsa Donahue, an American citizen.  Neil and Ferdi were arrested and remain incarcerated to this day while their trial proceeds.  The American consulate threatened to bring down the full weight of American diplomacy in the wake of an American citizen being arrested on such flimsy evidence, and Elsa’s name was withdrawn.

After that, it gets crazy.

Some highlights of the stunningly, astonishingly, spectacularly, jaw-droppingly absurd events (this from a writer who knows, at a molecular level, that adverbs are not his friends) are these:

--One of the sites where the rapes supposedly occurred during the school day is a site called the aquarium, so-named because it is glass on four sides.  Four sides.  That’s all the sides there are.  Any passersby, and they would have been legion, would have witnessed the goings-on, and their silence would make them complicit. 

--Later the testimony changed to a indicate a collection of “secret rooms” which have since been walled off or filled in or projected into the universe somehow.

--More of the boy’s testimony - and he is not to be blamed for what he has been coached to say – indicated that Neil pulled a magic stone out of thin air, with which he numbed the boy below the waste so there would be no pain.  The stone disappeared as magically as it appeared.

--In the days following the original accusations, the boy continued to attend school and exhibited no evidence of trauma.  He played happily and alluded to nothing untoward and had no problem approaching the places where the alleged crimes took place.

--The police declared they administered lie detector tests to Ferdi and Neil that concluded positively that the two were lying, but never brought the results into court.

--No credible psychologists or therapists interviewed the child or engaged in play therapy with the child, or brought any evidence to court that a trauma occurred.  (Believe me, the trauma that occurred all comes from the mother’s willingness to parade her innocent child in front of the public.)

It goes on and on. 

And the cleaners languish in prison and Neil and Ferdi await their fates.  The entire JIS community is anxious beyond imagination because nothing has been done to exonerate the cleaners and the fear is that Neil and Ferdi will be found guilty to conceal the embarrassment – and corruption - behind that original injustice.

This isn’t a story about sex abuse.  This is a story about corruption. 

March 3 was the last day of testimony (the defense was allowed three fewer days to present their case than was the prosecution) and the verdict is to come in on April 2. 

I’m calling for OUTRAGE; on the part of the American educational community, on the part of the Canadian educational community in particular, and to whatever extent possible on the part of the world educational community.  This could be you.  The teachers and administrators working at American International Schools all over the world are typically adventurous, dedicated, creative souls from all parts of the globe.  They bypass - by way of exceeding - the grueling, anxiety-producing, memory level testing practices that plague American public schools, to fire the imaginations of their students.  And they direct thousands of well prepared imaginative students into some of the finest English speaking educational institutions all over the world.  I have visited international schools in Jakarta, Singapore, Moscow, Warsaw, Mumbai, New Delhi, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Sau Paulo, to name most of them.  Though JIS is halfway around the world, many of the students are Americans, and many more will be applying to attend American colleges and universities.  The Canadian government is being maddeningly quiet for whatever reason, so in my view the educational community needs to raise hell.  Look, I know there are human rights violations all over the world that make this one look tepid, but this is one we can do something about.  Wake up the Twitter world at #Freeneilandferdi and let’s get viral.  For those interested in detail, a chronology prepared by a vigilant JIS parent of the entire set of bizarre proceedings is posted just below this.

Sunday, November 30, 2014


I watched Fredrick Wilson II’s rant on the black man taking some “personal responsi-damn-bility,” (posted below) in the wake of the Ferguson/Michael Brown tragedy and I stepped away seriously considering what he had to say. It’s a call from Fredrick to “his people” to stop blaming, take a good look at where they are and fight their way out by succeeding; by getting an education and finding empowerment. He wants them to stop doing the things, or appearing to do the things that are more likely to get them killed or seriously injured. I suppose I could argue either side.

But see, it’s not up to me to argue either side. I’m a sixty-some-year-old white guy living in a country that has been forever run by forty- and fifty- and sixty-some year old white guys. Any black guy who cares even a little bit about what I have to say about racism is wasting time. But just as Frederick Wilson claims that legions of black guys over relatively recent years have created a perception that scares the cops and the white public into responding too quickly with violence, I claim that legions of white guys have created a perception that if you aren’t a white guy, you’re gonna have a lot harder time getting a break and we will do whatever we have to do to keep you “in your place.”

Neither is always true, or even true most of the time, but perception, as Frederick says, is often reality.

So I give it up to Frederick. It’s for the black community, and every other minority of course, to find the best way to help itself and its members lead long and empowered lives.
But in like spirit, I gotta issue the same spanking to white American males. I’d include white females but we’re doing a pretty good job of holding them back also. When a white man who is very close to me asks in all seriousness why we don’t have a TV channel exclusively for white people like we do for blacks, I’m as close to speechless as I get (which is actually not that close.) Jesus, for all of my childhood and a good part of my adulthood that’s ALL we had. Tap your helmet. And speaking of helmets, when some white guy – and it’s always a white guy – asks me if we have to rename the mascots of ALL the NFL teams because we don’t want Nordic folks to be offended by the Minnesota Vikings or people in the meat packing industry to go off on Green Bay’s mascot or cattle ranchers to cringe when Dallas’ football team comes on TV, I wonder if they know how ignorant of the real issue they sound. I don’t think you’d create a lot of ill will walking up to a stranger in snakeskin boots and a George W. Bush hat and calling him cowboy. But I don’t know anyone who isn’t an avowed racist looking for a fight, who would walk up to an American Indian they didn’t know and call him a redskin.

This bigotry stuff ain’t rocket science.

If it’s incumbent on minorities (and guess what, very soon we’ll ALL be minorities) to step up and take responsibility for their reaction to racism, then the same has to be true for us. We, all of us white dudes, should make a habit of walking into Barnes and Noble, heading straight for the “History” section and demanding to know why The Autobiography of Malcolm X isn’t there. When the clerk tells us it’s in the BLACK History section, that’s time to get seriously and loudly indignant. It’s fucking HISTORY, man! It’s ALL the shit that happened! Same thing for women. Latinos. Asians. Everybody. Half the responses to this rant should be about the folks I left out in that last sentence.

You know, a whole lot of white racists who won’t call themselves racists, WILL and do call themselves Christians (and this is not a knock on Christians; it’s a knock on racists). Many are the kind of Christian who believes there will come a time when they stand before the pearly gates to make their case. Up or down. It’s called Judgment Day. Hard to imagine the gatekeeper going light on a history of turning one’s back on political reform that keeps poor people (high percentage of minorities) away from decent jobs and health care and opportunity just because the guy with the idea for that reform was black. Hard to believe the gatekeeper won’t have been instructed to look for folks who, knowing that resources like food and medicine and housing and wealth are FINITE, took as much as they could get anyway. The gatekeeper might simply be instructed to ask and record those men’s definitions of “enough”.

I noticed that the majority of Hoo-zahs for Fredrick W II’s rant came from white people, declaring “Here’s a black guy saying what I’ve said all along.” Go back and watch it again; that isn’t what he’s saying. Clarence Thomas is the black guy saying what you’ve been saying all along. Nothing.
Many credible brain scientists will tell you that humans are hard-wired for racism; that throughout evolution the safe group has been the familiar group, made up of beings that looked like us, and that’s how we learned to gather. But the brain is evolving too, and it should be smart enough by now to understand that evolution doesn’t have a nurturing component. Evolution doesn’t CARE. It’s up to us to comprehend and appreciate simple cause and effect. If you’re a white guy who believes black men are scary and prone to criminal intent, answer this question with the same earnestness with which you’ll approach the gatekeeper. “Did my actions on earth make it harder for any group of people to get a fair shake?” If you think you’re going to need a different answer, there’s still time.

I don't know that I agree that Fredrick Wilson is one smart young man, I just couldn't figure out how to post this without the banner.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Big Truth

On Friday, October 31, the fourth victim of the Marysville Pilchuck High School shooting, lost her struggle for life. 

The Big Truth

Her name is Shaylee Chuckulnaskit. She’s fourteen years old, described in glowing terms by family and friends as a “shining light.” The light has gone out. Shaylee Chuckulnaskit is dead. Killed by yet one more “school shooter”, a term that has become in relatively recent years as common as “most likely to succeed” or “class clown.”

One more school shooter, one more dead classmate; a headline on the AOL news site for one day, then gone. Shaylee Chuckulnaskit doesn’t matter. Her family and friends are forever broken-hearted, left to wonder why and what could have been while the American public, from an action point of view, doesn’t give a shit.

We have allowed the National Rifle Association, along with a frightening number of talking-point-driven disciples to promote an argument so foolish, so outrageously absurd, that it almost sounds like an argument (See Adolph Hitler, Joseph Goebbels, et al). They trot out ex-soldiers and police officers, the two groups who should know best the dangers of putting firearms in the hands of the public (and many of whom do) to trumpet the Big Lie that guns equal freedom. They get firearm embracing “tough guys” to call anti-gun activists “pussies.” Well, tell you what: pussies, properly employed, are quite nice, and it’s impossible to BE one.

The next Big Lie is that it’s really not about guns, it’s about mental health. They spew that vapid assertion in the same breath they use to crush any legislation that would fund the slightest increase in mental health services that could begin to address the issue. Plus any honest mental health specialist would tell you that the likes of Ted Nugent or Joe the Plumber or George Zimmerman or the guy who shot the black kid in the convenience store parking lot because his music was too loud, would be the first to lose their gun ownership rights because they carry a gun in hopes of having the opportunity to prove they need to use it, which is fucking crazy.

Truth: Ted Nugent probably isn’t going to shoot anyone; neither will Joe the Plumber. Other Truth: We have no idea who will. Other Other Truth: We know what he’ll use.

Recently I got into a dust-up on Facebook (I know better, but I’m doing it again) with an ex-serviceman who said I had no right to tell him what kind of weapon he could use to protect his family…and that I had an agenda. He intimated that because he is ex-military and I’m not, he is more qualified to pontificate on issues regarding firearms than am I. Well sorry my friend, but I don’t ask race car drivers to make traffic laws, and I don’t ask people with a philosophical love for an instrument designed for the sole purpose of putting holes in things, to decide on how large the holes or how fast we can put them in, because when we put holes in things what is inside leaks out, and way too often what leaks out is blood.

DUH! that I have an agenda, but if I and other anti-killing activists can get enough voters together, then I WILL have the right to tell him what kind of weapon he can use to protect his family. Once again to Gandhi: There is so very little we can do and it is so important that we do it.

This problem has a generational solution, which means I’m not going to be around to see it solved. Self-styled tough guys will call the likes of me “pussy” and gun manufacturers will continue to trumpet the notion that forefathers they can’t even name, meant to pave the way for a nation of thoughtless cowboys. Conventional wisdom will have to change which means someone with a far more powerful voice than mine will have to lead the call to disarms. It may be the voice of the parent of a slain child whose sound will somehow rise above the wails, or more likely, the parent of a shooter, with the courage and the grit to hold the Big Truth up for us all: If your philosophy trumps your decency, you have a fucked-up philosophy, and worse, a fucked-up allegiance to that philosophy.

I part ways with my liberal friends as they peel off to find reasonable arguments for gun ownership that go one inch beyond hunting for survival. I know it will have to be gradual, we have made guns so available to the disenfranchised and the bullied and those in other ways kicked to the curb, that we now feel the need to arm ourselves against those we have armed.

Maybe I’m delusional, but somewhere down some distant road, I have to believe I hear that voice…

So goodbye Shaylee Chuckulnaskit. Your name now disappears into the sea of the slaughtered. Wouldn’t it be fitting if members of your Tulalip tribe - once called savage by citizens of a savage nation – the tribe who spawned both you and your killer, were to find a way to lead that savage nation to grace.