On Darren Wilson

I didn’t break any laws or do anything unethical in 4 combat tours as an Infantryman. To the best of my knowledge, I didn’t harm any innocents. But when I say my conscience is clear, I mean it only in the sense that I did what was necessary to achieve my mission goals and bring my troops home alive while keeping my honor and theirs intact.

I have nightmares about Iraq and Afghanistan. They come less frequently now after seven years, but I cannot escape the reality that young men died because of my actions. They died by my hand, and at my orders. They weren’t “demons”, and they weren’t evil, even as they were trying very hard to kill me and my troops.

I trained for that for years, and I’m sitting here today. I guess that I was good at it, or good enough anyway. I KNOW I did the best I could to be a good man.  But I ended those lives. Some were young, some were not. Everything they ever were or ever would be, I took from them and I have to own that.

So when Darren Wilson says his conscience is clear and he sleeps well, I don’t know what he means. I suspect that his concept of a clear conscience and mine are two entirely different things. Because 7 years after my last tour, I still don’t sleep well. I smoke too much, and I drink too much, and I have occasional thoughts of suicide. Some days, I just don’t give a damn about anything.

A counsellor told me once that I “owed it to the guys who didn’t come back from those hellholes to live a good and happy life, because they can’t.” I try to be a good husband and a good parent, and I work hard at my job to support the VA in its mission of caring for those who have borne the battle. I try to find things to take joy in. But I can’t escape the fact that I don’t really deserve to be here.

So no, I don’t understand what Darren Wilson is talking about when he says he’s OK with what he did. I have feared for my life and I have fought for my life, and I don’t get to where he is. And while I feel broken a lot of the time, I think he may be more broken than I ever was.

117 replies
  1. 1
    JPL says:

    Sooner, I glad to see you post again.

  2. 2
    WereBear says:

    We need you too, Sooner.

  3. 3
    Kryptik, A Man Without a Country says:

    The fact that you feel like you do is proof of your humanity.

    I’m not sure Wilson is truly human. Nor am I sure that his fervent supporters are either at this point.

  4. 4
    Eric U. says:

    that’s because you’re human, Sooner. Each day after our planes had launched in the morning during Desert Storm, I’d think about the poor Iraqis that were about to meet their end at our hand. And they had been demonized relentlessly for months. Wilson is a murderous sociopath

  5. 5
    JPL says:

    I think he may be more broken than I ever was My question is will he ever recognize that fact.
    I doubt it.

    The rookie police officer in NYC who killed someone on a dark staircase is now a basket case according to relatives. That’s normal.

  6. 6
    alantai says:

    Thank you, Soonergrunt. Your POV is appreciated! You are not broken; you are human.

  7. 7
    raven says:

    Agreed. I remember when my first wife and I had split up and she was in the grips of a clinical depression. She had a kid walk in front of her car and his head smashed the windshield and he flipped over the back. Somehow he was not severely injured but she went to see him at the hospital right after it happened and then said she was just fine. We had a mutual friend who was an MD and had done her internship at Letterman. The doc said there was NO WAY that incident didn’t impact my ex and she was right. Same way for this dude, something is cooking in there.

  8. 8
    JMG says:

    My only possible comment can be praise for your humanity and the ability with which you express it.

  9. 9
    Mart says:

    Maybe you are a caring human and Wilson is a sociopath. He sure is sure of himself.

    Enjoy your family, football, and bird this Holiday.

  10. 10
    raven says:

    Also, remember that what he is saying is scripted.

  11. 11
    Smiling Mortician says:

    Beautiful piece, Soonergrunt. I am genuinely grateful to and for you on this Thanksgiving eve.

  12. 12
    raven says:

    As for you my brother, we all experience levels of guilt based on out experiences in war and it will stay with us forever. You and I know that the vast majority of people that serve in combat zones never (as my old man would say) “fired a shot it anger”. Sure there were mines, rockets and the odd angry shot but most of us never were called on to be grunts. If what the counselor said to you works, then that is great. You’re doing everything you can and that’s a hell of a lot.

  13. 13
    Cervantes says:


    So no, I don’t understand what Darren Wilson is talking about when he says he’s OK with what he did.

    Neither does he.

  14. 14
    kindness says:

    I would think working for the VA would be great for you Soonergrunt. Just having a paying job and one that allows you to connect with those who you have a link with. Sounds like it doesn’t stop the angst & anguish you still feel at times but I bet it helps. Doing a positive thing, for yourself and for others. It’s gotta help some. Impresses us.

    Be of good cheer. The holidays are upon us. Enjoy them.

  15. 15
    Citizen_X says:

    Powerful post, SG. Be at peace.

  16. 16
    Violet says:

    Thanks, Soonergrunt. Good to see you again.

  17. 17
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    I’m so happy to see you post SG, and I wish you, SoonerMrs, and Sooner kiddos a terrific Thanksgiving. As Citizen_X notes, it’s a powerful post.

    I know Darren Wilson is more broken that you ever could be, and I suspect he indeed has no clue. There’s two kinds of men in this world and he’s neither of them. I expect it will not end well.

  18. 18
    Brian R. says:

    God bless you for this.

    And if you’re worried about being broken, then you’re not. Be well.

  19. 19

    So glad too you see you again Soonergrunt! {{{}}} and thanks for writing this piece from your heart, it touched me.

  20. 20
    jake the antisoshul soshulist says:

    I admit that I cannot imagine what you have experienced. The late film-maker Samuel Fuller, who experienced combat on WWII, famously said that the only glory in war is surviving.

  21. 21
    Neutronflux says:

    Jesus. Sooner,you don’t have to carry this load all by yourself. Hang tough sarge.

  22. 22
    Baud says:

    Good post, guy. I hope you have a good Thanksgiving with the family.

  23. 23

    On a lighter note, how is the Sooner doggie?

  24. 24
    Denali says:

    Thank you for your post. It is powerful.

  25. 25
    Hal says:

    I can’t tell if Wilson is a sociopath, or just deep in denial, or just a plain old liar trying the CYA approach, but stuff like this makes me think sociopath/liar is closer to the true Darren Wilson:

    When Stephanopoulos asked if there was a way Wilson could turn what he experienced, “what he was a part of, into something good,” Wilson replied that he would love to teach people, “give people more insight on uses of force and anything I can get out of this career I’ve had and the incident so far; I would love to do.”

    Seriously? Next season on How To Get Away With Murder.

  26. 26
    GregB says:

    Thanks for the input and the post. What really disgusts me about Wilson is that there was no need to run to the press. It also is horrible that he is telling the world he is at peace with what happened.

  27. 27
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Soonergrunt, the word mensch was invented for people like you. I am very far from being a religious person, but God bless. I hope you and all the Sooners have a wonderful and peaceful Thanksgiving, and I hope your own private demons at least retreat into the background most of the time.

  28. 28

    Thank you for this.

  29. 29
    trollhattan says:

    You, sir, are a Mensch. I have no advice on how to fight those demons, am only glad you have the energy and perseverance to do so. You’ve given plenty to the country, you owe it to yourself and your family to keep on keeping on. And hey, you have that tornado shelter now, so there’s that!

    I’m completely at sea WRT understanding Officer Wilson and suppose I’m glad for that. That entire department, and their fuckhead D.A., need a long trip to the gulag.

  30. 30
    greennotGreen says:

    When I was in college (lo, those many years ago) a classmate was driving drunk (also many years before MADD) and hit and killed an elderly woman. Afterwards he joked about it, but I didn’t hear humor or sociopathy in his voice; I heard despair.

    I don’t know where Darren Wilson’s head is. I just know that his badge and gun need to be in some supervisor’s drawer VERY far away from Wilson – forever.

    Have a Happy Thanksgiving, Sooner! It’s good to hear from you.

  31. 31
    trollhattan says:

    GMTA ;-)

  32. 32
    Karen in GA says:

    Sooner, I can’t add to what everyone else has already said (and said better than I ever could). You’re a good person, and we’re better for having you here.

  33. 33
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Nice post. Darren Wilson will feel remorse when he loses the civil suit.

    For Darren Wilson.

  34. 34
    Violet says:

    @GregB: Did Wilson get paid for that interview?

  35. 35
    Cervantes says:


    The ABC interview? Yes, he did get paid.

  36. 36
    GregB says:

    @Violet: I don’t know…

  37. 37
    stinger says:

    Thank you for this post.

  38. 38
    Violet says:

    @Cervantes: If he got paid, then that answers the questions of why he did it, among other reasons. He wanted the money.

  39. 39
    Loneoak says:

    This is a superb, thoughtful piece, Sooner. Thank you for sharing.

  40. 40
    Shaun Appleby says:

    Hard to imagine who thought putting Officer Wilson in front of a camera was a good idea. I’m not saying it won’t satisfy the instincts and curiosity of the wilfully ignorant but it also tends to confirm a great deal of what already seems terribly wrong with the whole incident. No compassion, no compunction, no regrets; in fact, presenting as the victim to a terrible incident of his own agency. Who coached this guy and then put him on TV anyhow?

    Your mileage may vary but Officer Wilson seemed to me shallow, disconnected, stressed, and, frankly, several degrees of dishonest. His handlers apparently don’t care a fig for him; perhaps quite the contrary. I wonder if he’s being subtly thrown to the wolves.

  41. 41
    beth says:

    The more I read about Wilson’s interview (I refuse to watch it) the more he seems exactly the same type of personality as George Zimmerman. I can only hope his life will be as miserable as George’s seems to be.

  42. 42
    beltane says:

    Storycorps on PBS recently featured the recollection of a WWII veteran who had shot and killed a German soldier during the Battle of the Bulge. Though it was a kill or be killed situation, the memory of shooting the young German soldier and watching him fall haunted this veteran for the rest of his very long life. Perhaps Darren Wilson is a sociopath lacking all normal capability to feel remorse, empathy, etc.

  43. 43
    beltane says:

    @Shaun Appleby: You’d think that shitbag of a police department which employs him would pull out all the stops to keep him as far away from the cameras as possible.

  44. 44
    balconesfault says:

    We’ve already established that Zimmerman is a sociopath. Wonder how long it’ll take for Wilson to give us similar evidence.

    I’m reminded of the contrast between Bush Sr. and Jr. The latter recalled that the night before Desert Storm started was brutal for him, he had a terrible time sleeping, wandering the White House considering the potential ramifications of his decision.

    Bush Jr, otoh, apparently slept like a baby the night before we invaded Iraq under his direction. And from all accounts, he’s never lost a night of sleep since, unless perhaps worrying about the hit his popularity rating took as a result of the war.

  45. 45
    Leo says:

    Great post. Wilson’s comments are appalling.

  46. 46
    raven says:

    @balconesfault: Bush Sr was in the shit.

  47. 47
    Cervantes says:


    You know, your careful “if” reminds me: I should have added that ABC News claimed a few years ago to have ended its practice of paying for interviews.

  48. 48
    p.a. says:

    Any psychologists here? Can someone who has done what Wilson did feel the way he does after the fact without having the mindset before the encounter that African Americans are less than human? In Nazi terms a World Enemy, exterminable vermin? In Maoist terms a class enemy, parasite? Demon?
    Can his ‘clear conscience’ post hoc be a defense mechanism if he didn’t already believe blacks are less than human before the murder?

  49. 49
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Between the Mensch and the demons — almost spooky!

  50. 50
    trollhattan says:

    I’m willing to believe some in that department are just jealous at this point. He got the trifecta.

    Don’t know if it’s been linked already, but TBogg’s piece bookends well with Sooner’s. No snark, all dagger.

  51. 51
    lurker dean says:

    very well said, all the best to you soonergrunt.

  52. 52
    El Caganer says:

    Broken? Far from it. Wilson is perfect; the perfect LEO for 21st century America.

  53. 53
    mtiffany says:

    Everything they ever were or ever would be, I took from them and I have to own that.

    With self-awareness and compassion like that you wouldn’t last a day in any of America’s police departments.

  54. 54
    Poopyman says:

    None of us “deserve” to be here. Some of us are still here because we were 10 seconds fast enough through the spot where the drunk crossed the center line, or somehow miraculously survived that really stupid thing we did at 17. Some of us are not here, nor do they “deserve” not to be here.

    Your situation – and the thousands like you – was rife with a large number of decisions that brought you through. Some made the same decisions and didn’t make it. Chance is a fucking hell of a thing. But in the end that’s really all it was. Don’t make it mean any more than that.

    Oh, and fuck Wilson. I think there’s a higher than normal chance that we’ll hear about him again.

  55. 55
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    I don’t have anything to add to the others about Darren Wilson; they nailed it. And I don’t really have anything to add in terms of well wishes to Sooner, though I endorse them.

    My reaction was that I really not sure that any counselor that tells someone that they owe it to anyone to have a happy life really ought to be counseling people. As I try to wind my way through depression, the last thing I need is someone telling me that I owe happiness to other people.

  56. 56
    raven says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): People only see a counselor when they have depression? I didn’t realize that.

  57. 57
    beltane says:

    @p.a.: He did state that patrolling Ferguson was being in “enemy territory”. God knows that many perpetrators of atrocities against civilians during times of war feel no remorse for their actions whatsoever. Darren Wilson may not have much of a future in US law enforcement, but he might have a flourishing career killing civilians overseas as a private rent-a-soldier.

  58. 58
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @raven: No, but given Sooner’s description of where he was, I think that’s a fairly safe bet. Outside of an Alexandre Dumas novel, very few people contemplate suicide without being depressed.

  59. 59
    raven says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): His description is of where he is not where he was.

  60. 60
    Shaun Appleby says:

    @beltane: Unless… They wanted to put some misdirecting chum in the water until the media frenzy blows over.

    It’s easy to be angry at Officer Wilson; no doubt to the welcome relief of the enablers of the systemic injustice which empowered him to ‘legally’ execute his victim.

  61. 61
    Pogonip says:

    What Wilson meant by his remarks was “My lawyer told me that I even hint I think I did anything wrong, I’ll lose the civil suit.”

  62. 62

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): Did you see my suggestion for your editing woes in last night’s open thread?

  63. 63
    Ruckus says:

    Sooner, some times life serves us shit sandwiches for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You do the best you can, you try to live honestly, you try to raise good kids, and if you are real lucky, you make it many decades without having to cause others to suffer. But sometimes that’s not what is asked of us, or even demanded from us. Sometimes you just have to work out the demons the best you can. But you know you are OK because you have demons. Only three types of people don’t have the types of demons you have. First, those who lack the mental ability to know better(or worse), second, those lucky enough to never be put in the position you were, and lastly those who lack all ethics/morals/empathy for their fellow man.
    Many have stated that war is hell, but someone had the proper retort, war is war and hell is hell and of the two I’d prefer hell.
    The gist, hang tight, think about the good things you have and can still accomplish, teach your kids what war is really like, they deserve to know, it’s the only way we may ever get rid of it.

  64. 64
    dance around in your bones says:

    Well, I haven’t seen the interview but my 1st guess would be that he can’t ADMIT to himself or in front of a gawd damned TV camera that he feels any remorse. From what people have said here, seems like his body language is telling something different than the words falling out of his mouth. It will hit him at some point if he’s a human being.

    And Soonergrunt? Your post was so sincere, so thoughtful, and so sad – made me drip some salty water out my eyes…..thank you for writing that.

    It just galls me that ‘The Powers That Be’ never seem to admit that when they send young people into wars that IF they come back, many come back awfully damaged in a fundamentally human way….the military tries really hard to train soldiers out of their distaste for killing another human being, but in the end it doesn’t really take – if you’re a mensch.

    I hope you can give yourself some loving kindness and compassion – it wasn’t ALL your fault. There are turtles all the way UP as well – you just got caught in the middle, and you did the best you could, and that’s all one can do, anyway.

  65. 65
    jharp says:

    I always try to tell the gun nut assholes around here the burden they would carry over killing someone.

    And the answer is yes, they are too fucking stupid to get it.

    I would never shoot anyone to defend my property. And since I don’t ever carry a gun I don’t see myself shooting anyone over anything.

  66. 66
    David Fud says:

    Best to you SG. What you bring is invaluable, even if you think it is common. If our leaders were more like you, we wouldn’t be in the world of hurt we are now.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  67. 67
    Seth Owen says:

    I thought I read that ABC said they did not pay Wilson for the interview.

  68. 68
  69. 69
    jnfr says:

    Thanks for your willingness to say this.

  70. 70
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    Thank you for sharing this. And…well, just thanks.

  71. 71
    Rob says:

    Thank you for sharing this, SG.

  72. 72
    JCT says:


    but he might have a flourishing career killing civilians overseas as a private rent-a-soldier.

    Um, no – even that would take some courage and Wilson is a flat-out coward.

    My father-in-law was cornered by a German farmer in a barn with a pitchfork after being shot out of the sky. Had to shoot him point blank or be skewered. Bothered him for the rest of his life. And this was a guy who lost many family members in Europe. He apparently had nightmares for years.

    Strong thoughts your way, SG and enjoy your holiday with your family. You did the best with what you had and that is all anyone can do.

  73. 73
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    Thanks, Soonergrunt.

    I hate thinking that $400k in bounty money and whatever ABC paid goes a long way towards calming one’s conscience. But I think it.

  74. 74
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    Thank you for this, SG. These days we need to constantly be reminded that humans go to war, and humans come back from it. Please continue to tell your story so that blowhards aren’t able to say that it will ever be “easy”.

    Take care of yourself, your family, and your friends. We all need you.

    Enjoy your holiday!


  75. 75
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: No, I didn’t. At least I don’t think I did. Mostly it looks like I’m just going to have to have one copy with the edits and one copy in the right order.

  76. 76

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): I suggested using LaTeX, it is great for books and long articles. It is a markup language like HTML for typesetting.

  77. 77
    Valdivia says:

    great to see you here and a powerful moving post.

  78. 78
    Rob says:

    Is there any verification for the claim that Wilson was paid by ABC for his interview?

  79. 79
    raven says:

    @Rob: Is my post at 68 not good enough?

  80. 80
    cmm says:

    Sooner, thanks for a great post. You are 100% correct. That officer’s statements about the town where he works (“enemy territory”) and his othering descriptions of his victim speak volumes. I am a white officer in a majority black town but I live here as well as work here. I’m proud to serve my neighbors, all of them. But this job does eat you up. I’m beyond ready to get out and move onto the next thing. I haven’t fired my gun anywhere but the range but there is always the chance that it could happen. But not simply because someone pissed me off, never never that. And I 100% believe that’s what happened in Ferguson. The rest is all tap dancing to cover that up. I’m appalled and disgusted and walking around as depressed and shell shocked as everyone else. It’s awful.

    And I know the feelings that you are talking about SG, though I haven’t been in combat or even in any really terrible situations at work. Just seeing awful shit, day after day, and the shallow stupidity and selfishness of so many people, I know it’s affecting me. I’m so f-in tired of it. One of my friends, with just a few more years in than me, ate his gun a few months ago. Im not suicidal. But I will be glad the day the gun leaves my house for good. I never carried one before this job and I almost certainly won’t once I’m finished.

  81. 81
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:

    You are a good man, Soonergrunt. Thanks for this post.

    The mean little guy in me hopes to see wilson wandering the landscape like Zimmerman currently is.

    They can both rot in hell.

  82. 82
    xane says:

    namaste to you…

  83. 83
    lonesomerobot says:

    I can’t begin to tell you how incredible that was to read.

    Well, I guess I just did. The world needs more people like you.

  84. 84
    rikyrah says:

    thank you Sooner for your honesty.

  85. 85
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @cmm: Hang in there. You’re doing an important job, and we need more officers who aren’t in it to play bang bang… :-(

    Have a good Thanksgiving!


  86. 86
    cmm says:

    Ha! Not likely, I’m working evening shift tomorrow. We have a Target and a newly opened Walmart, both of which will be kicking off Black Friday at 6PM. My thanksgiving is probably going to suck.

    But I’d rather be doing that than being around relatives opining on the events in Ferguson, and our current president. Jesus. For Thanksgiving, I’m grateful that I live far enough away to be exempt from attending such festivities.

    Thanks for the kind words.

  87. 87
    Persia says:

    Thank you SG. I’m thankful for voices like yours, and your compassion and anger.

  88. 88
    Kathleen says:

    Thank you, SG. Joy and peace to you and your family.

  89. 89
    satby says:

    Sooner, I’ll just add to the thanks, not just from me but also on behalf of my Marine son, who did 5 tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. I know he suffers too. You speak for a lot of vets I suspect. We ask terrible things of those we send to war.

  90. 90
    satby says:

    @cmm: Thank you for being one of the real good guys. I come from a cop family, and if they were still alive they would be ashamed I think, of what has happened to the profession they went into to serve and protect the public.

  91. 91
    grandpa john says:

    @raven: Hmmm well at least it increases the pot for the civil suite that surely follows

  92. 92
    mainmati says:

    Sooner, your posts have long established your humanitarian creds. I wasn’t military but did Peace Corps in some difficult but peaceful environments. Not even remotely comparable to yours and other BJ-ers but it was service nonetheless. Wilson, at best, was (and still is) clearly a completely incompetent police officer; apparently used to being the idle colonial harasser but then not knowing the elementary ways of controlling a situation with an unarmed male the same size as himself (if we even believe his story that he was entirely overwhelmed while in his Jeep Cherokee or whatever it was, in which he could have driven away at any time). Instead, he felt it necessary to fire his weapon 12 times at an unarmed teenager. He’s a far more stupid loser than even George Zimmermann.

  93. 93
    ellennellee says:

    wow, sooner. just, wow.

    thank you so much for sharing this.

    your conclusion is priceless. yes, wilson – as much as zimmerman, for example (and why would i put jaimie diamond and his ilk in there, too?) – is a very broken man. but all the more ruined because he has no clue how broken he is.

    all the more reason to stick with this, dude. we all need you! and what a perverse thought that you might – however understandably – walk away, and creeps like them would blithely keep walkin’?

    that, my friend, would be just so much more wronger, than anything!

  94. 94
    ellennellee says:


    (a wee chuckle) good to see you over here, too. and yes, could not agree more that this sooner post is simply remarkable.

    but reading your response, i am moved to ask again – why all the damn guns? wouldn’t ridding ourselves of those help a lot?

  95. 95
    divF says:

    SoonerGrunt – everyone has said all the things I would have said, so I’ll just say thank you.

  96. 96
    Lavocat says:

    And you would be right. But you are self-aware and he is not. And that is what allows him to sleep at night. Wouldn’t you like the brain-bleach that Darren Wilson was apparently born with?

  97. 97
    Darkrose says:

    Thank you Sooner.

  98. 98
    Tehanu says:


    My only possible comment can be praise for your humanity and the ability with which you express it.

    I can’t say it better than that, so I’ll just quote it and add, “This, a thousand times.” And thanks. Wishing you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving.

  99. 99
    Steeplejack says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    I read one of the previous threads where you were talking about your problem of editing a long document, but I didn’t have time to reply. I don’t know if this will solve your problem, but one thing I have found useful in the same situation is to have a “master” document that includes the various parts, e.g., individual chapters (although you can break it down further than this).

    Information on master documents and subdocuments in Word here.

    What this allows you to do is to handle each subdocument—a chapter, scene or whatever—as a discrete piece for editing, tracking changes and comments, etc. You can freely move the subdocuments around in the master document, and you don’t run into the problem of screwing up your entire document (novel) by having everything in one huge, ungainly file. But when you do want to see everything together you can view (or print) the master document and merge everything together. It is like doing a mail-merge printing for labels, except each “label” is a piece of your larger document.

    I hope this helps, and I’m sorry if I misapprehended your problem.

    ETA: Hands-on instructions here.

  100. 100
    Betty Cracker says:

    You’re a good man, Sooner.

  101. 101
    Rosalita says:

    So good to see you posting Sooner. You can see by the comments we all think highly of you and your words. I know that doesn’t change any of the other feelings you have. As someone who almost married a former special forces soldier who was so “trained” to not show anything, and still won’t admit he doesn’t sleep well, drinks too much, has PTSD, I am grateful that you have the self awareness and bless you for helping the others at the VA.

  102. 102
    Wally Ballou says:

    “I do not think anyone can be perfectly well, who has a brain and a heart.”

    – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

  103. 103
    sharl says:

    Thank you Sooner, for sharing this painful but profound insight, and for being here.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. Keep on keepin’ on.

  104. 104
    Beth in VA says:

    You sound like the perfect guy. Seriously, your country, family, friends (including all of us cyber-friends) are so much better for your service and honest reflections. I’m Thankful today for Soonergrunt and all his ilk.

  105. 105
    Matt says:

    The only question remaining about Wilson is: was he *born* a sociopath, or did he learn it on-the-job from his fellow KKK homeboys on Ghoul Squad?

    He certainly was coached by KKK-driven materials: his testimony about Brown’s appearance is straight outta “A Wyatt Mann” comics (Google warning: seriously racist-ass shit).

  106. 106
    Steppan says:

    I barely post here, but I have to now.


    Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

    I sometimes wonder if I’d actually be able to do those things in a situation like that, and the parts of me that say yes scare me. I can only imagine living with it.

    May you be happy, may you be well, may you be free from suffering.

  107. 107
    SatanicPanic says:

    Damn, I don’t know what to say about this. that’s a heavy burden to have to bear Sooner

  108. 108
    dopey-o says:

    IMO, if you lived and your brothers died, you don’t owe them a life well-lived. you were spared so that you could tell the truth about war. they can’t speak now, you speak for them.

    And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
    -Job 1 : 19.

    we can’t bring them back, and we probably won’t prevent others from dying this way. but it is where we begin to push back against the evil.

  109. 109
    debbie says:

    I think Wilson’s conscience is clear because he thinks he’s gotten away with it.

  110. 110
    LT says:

    Thank you, SG. Very well said, very much needed.

  111. 111
    Birthmarker says:

    Thanks, Sooner, for a powerful piece, and thanks to you and other veterans for bearing this burden for your fellow Americans.

    Didn’t it come out after the Casey Anthony trial that one of the networks paid her $200,000 for her personal photos? So they aren’t technically paying for the interview, but money changes hands. There’s a cover story in place. In the Anthony case the money helped pay for the legal defense. IIRC.

  112. 112
    Exodio says:

    What he says in the news and what he is really feeling may be two totally different things. I would hesitate to pass judgement on a man who is in the public eye.

  113. 113
    mataliandy says:

    @raven: Almost 30 years ago, a kid rode his bike into the side of my car when I was pulling out of a parking lot. He was entirely unharmed, but I STILL feel bad about it. A person could have died because I didn’t look hard enough, or wait an extra 2 or 3 seconds, or whatever it was that could have prevented the accident. I didn’t see him at all – it was dark, he was wearing dark clothes, had no lights or reflectors, and was riding on the wrong side of the road, and he was blocked from my view by a phone pole – but none of that matters. He could have been killed, and it would have been my fault. And I feel awful about it. I worry every time I back out of a parking spot, or pull into a road, that I may not have looked “enough.” I’m so glad he was OK, but that moment of seeing him rolling across my hood will haunt me for the rest of my life.

  114. 114
    Fort Geek says:

    Very late to the thread, but I felt like telling you that you’re a standup guy, Sooner. It’s a pleasure to read your posts. I know that doesn’t change how you feel inside, any more than positive stuff changes how I feel about myself. Even more than for your military service, thank you for taking care of the vets.

  115. 115
    grondo says:

    The difference may be that you seem to *have* a conscience, which perhaps is not the case for Officer Wilson.

  116. 116
    Flukebucket says:

    Wilson has no conscience and damn sure should not have a badge and a gun

  117. 117
    Sondra says:

    Because you have a conscience, you are hurting. I was in Vietnam and I know that the young men who were there hated what they were doing. It was their job too, and if they survived to become old men now, they are still hurting at times.

    All of us have trouble sleeping at times because it’s impossible not to remember. What you trained to do helped you to survive the most unnatural endeavor of your life. It was your fate to survive. Surviving is the hard part, and no one has ever thought to train you in this part of being a soldier: but you must figure it out on your own and do a good job of it for your own sake.

    We all have to do that. Be the great person that you are and just keep slogging on. Darren Wilson is a liar. We know that from his testimony. When he says he sleeps well, he is lying again. Even sociopaths have something like a conscience and whatever that is, it will keep him awake at night and plague him with paranoid thoughts.

    I think we will all see, at some point in the future, that this will not end well for him. He will never have a normal life again and sooner of later he will fail to survive it.

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