Re: For Janie
- From: "Karin Zirk" <kzirk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 13 Oct 2010 17:12:15 -0700
"Carla" <carla@xxxxxxx> wrote in message
Hi, Janie (and other interested folks),
This will be a bit long, but please be patient because I want to make
First of all, I would like to tell you and your Dad how sorry I am that
this happened, and I want to acknowledge your physical, emotional, and
psychological suffering. This sort of event is terrifying and brings very
real trauma, on several levels, with it.
Second, I would like to encourage you both to speak with the Social Worker
at the hospital your dad is in to see what sort of support services are
available through them, both to make sure that you and your dad get the
care and attention you both need at this time, and to see what might be
available for continuing services once he is released from the hospital.
If money is a problem for housing and rehab services, the social worker
might be able to help with this.
Also, stay in touch with the local district attorney?s office to see if
they have services available to crime victims. It is often hard for folks
in the rainbow culture to trust the system in this way, but I have heard
good things, at least locally, about the programs that are set up by the
D.A.?s office to help crime victims. You, your dad, and your child will
need a place to stay as he recovers, and the hospital social worker and/or
the D.A.?s office may be able to help with this. Also, if the perpetrator
of this crime is to be prosecuted successfully, you and your dad may need
to stick around for awhile. Please look for and accept whatever social,
financial, and legal services are available to you either because of
medical necessity or because of your status as crime victims needed to
testify at trial.
Third, please ask the hospital social worker and the D.A. what sort of
counseling is available to you and your family, to help you deal with this
trauma and ultimately get past it. This is very important, because if you
can find someone to talk to early on, the effects of psychological trauma
will be reduced in the long run. Please be aware that there are many
effects from trauma that can be long-term, and that a good counselor can
help you prepare for them and minimize their impact. Also, know that there
is healing, and that you will both recover from this in time.
Fourth, be patient with the criminal justice system. I know it seems as if
the police ?aren?t doing anything? if they have not made an immediate
arrest. But a sound investigation and prosecution take time. Do stay in
touch with the D.A.?s office to check on their progress.
Fifth, pay no attention to folks who will tell you that ?rainbows don?t
deal with the cops or with the system,? or who will tell that you are
being unloving or somehow politically incorrect by wanting to see the
person(s) who did this prosecuted. Pay no attention to those who tell you
that you must ?forgive? and let it go. Forgiveness comes in its own time,
and is not about letting the guilty off the hook, but about your own
healing process. A good counselor can help you gain perspective on this.
Pay no attention to the people who seem bent on blaming the victim or
criticizing you based on their assessment of events after the fact. Make
no mistake: a crime was committed against you and your dad, both in the
shooting and in the attack on your home. If by chance you made some errors
in judgment along the way, that does not mean you are at fault for what
Finally, please be aware that, while your desire to council on this is
understandable, it may not be effective in helping you deal with what
happened. As you have already found out, opinions will differ, and folks
will be eager to point out what you could have done differently. I know
this sounds like blaming the victim, but I have no doubt that most folks
are sincerely trying to help, and are only trying to put themselves in the
position you were in so that they can make sure it doesn?t happen to them.
Very human and understandable that they do this, but not very helpful to
Also, a council about this particular event has limited ability to address
what happened to you and offer you any resolution or closure. A cyber
council?or even a council on the land?is not able to make rules for the
future or to ?punish? wrong-doers. Obviously, you have a need to be heard,
and I would invite you to consider what it is that you would like to
accomplish by having such a council. Because of the possibility that the
diverse, and undoubtedly heated, opinions, could further traumatize you, I
would suggest that you think about this at length. What is it that you
want and need from the family at this time? What do you want to ask for in
a council process?
Please be aware that there are considerable obstacles in effectively
addressing the problems that arise due to out-of-control alcohol at
gatherings. There are no easy answers to the problem of alcohol-fueled
violence at gatherings, and folks have been dealing with this for many
years, with varying degrees of success.
This is a huge problem in society as a whole, as well. According to the
Bureau of Justice statistics, 40% of violent crime is alcohol related.
Because reporting on this is not standardized, I would think that this
figure is low. One of the police dispatchers in Eugene told me once that
75% of their calls for service were alcohol-related.
For many years, Rainbow as a community did much better than most other
communities in discouraging the heavy use of alcohol and the social
disorder that comes with it. Of late, problems have been growing worse at
gatherings, especially at some (not all) regionals.
?Disbanding? A-Camp is well-nigh impossible, though, and I don?t believe
would address the problem in any case. ?A-Camp? is a specific camp/clan in
the gathering, and very often the violence that happens due to alcohol has
nothing to do with that particular camp. I have no idea whether or not the
folks involved in attacking you and your Dad identify themselves as
A-Campers; but I think it?s very helpful to avoid labels and blanket
statements, and to remember that these terrible things were done to you by
individuals who were drinking heavily. It is not A-Camp who is at fault,
but the fault of individual people who became abusive and violent after
Again, I don?t know of any easy answers. The one thing I think could
happen differently at Regionals that might make a difference in Shanti
Sena/Council response to alcohol-related problems is for a strong, local
circle of folks to focalize, setting up from Day 1 regular ?Operations?
(or ?Co-Operations") Councils to make sure plenty of folks are
communicating with each other about all the issues that come up at a
I cannot stress strongly enough how important I think it is for the folks
doing the ?work? of the gathering?whether it be kitchens, banking, Shanti
Sena, CALM, Parking Crew, Water Crew, or whatever?to meet and council
daily where all are welcome to share and learn. There is nothing more
powerful than our collective wisdom.
The drinkers are also gatherers, and if a way could be found to include
them in any discussions of alcohol problems so that they would feel more
?ownership? in keeping the camp safe and healthy for everyone, I think we
would see more success among the camps who do drink heavily in doing
?community policing? of their own folks. Somehow, the ethic of the heavy
drinkers needs to change, and they need to feel invested in making sure
that behavior is in keeping with ?family values.?
Yes, I know, I have used some very loaded terms in that last paragraph but
they do communicate specific meanings that I think are clear to everyone.
Anyway, I assume that (almost) all folks who come to gatherings have some
sort of emotional/heart connection, no matter what appearances may be to
the contrary. While it is distressing to hear stories of folks who appear
to come only to shake down and/or harass others, I am eternally optimistic
that (almost) everyone can be reached, eventually, with enough love,
communication and peer pressure. There are endless stories of folks who
have come to the gathering as edgy, hard-core, nasty, and even criminal
individuals; who, with the love and encouragement from family?as well as
open and honest communication about how unacceptable and repugnant certain
actions are?have become wonderful, caring beautiful contributors to the
safety and harmony of the whole.
That said, there are still times when criminal prosecution of certain
behaviors is necessary and appropriate, especially in the case of those
rare individuals who are indeed predators, or who cause serious harm to
others because they cannot/will not control themselves.
Anyway, Sis, I wish you and your dad rapid and complete healing. I hope
that we, your larger family, are able to respond in the way you need from
us at this time, and in the future. Let us know how we can help.
Thank you Carla. That was very well said.
- For Janie
- From: Carla
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