April 27, 2015: Storms of Thunder
As I put pencil to paper this evening storm clouds are gathering. I can see lightning off in the distance and hear faraway thunder as it rumbles toward us. The weather reflects my mood. I am angry. My anger grows like the approaching storm.
I suppose it’s more than a little hypocritical of me to be upset. Truly, this is not righteous anger. I am guilty of committing a nearly identical act myself.
Somehow, in my mind the circumstances were different. I had seen evidence that led me to the point of removing a young man’s finger. In this case, there was no evidence … only questions. Questions that rightly needed to be answered. But, this way …?
A little girl has a minor injury to her ear and, most likely, a much more damaging injury to her psyche. Then again, who among us has blissfully escaped psychological damage with the collapse of society? No doubt, the girl had already suffered emotional trauma. We have compounded it.
Ariela has compounded it.
It is a wrong that cannot be put right. No amount of apologizing can patch that little girl’s soul. It may be months before she sleeps through the night … perhaps she never will.
Ariela and I have grown close since we found her at Fernando’s estate. I would even say that she had come to be my right hand. Her military bearing and training have proven invaluable … which makes this cut all the deeper.
Why in the world would she not consult with me? If we were members of the military, conducting a mission such as this without the express knowledge and approval of one’s chain of command would be unthinkable.
Did she suppose that I would not approve?
If so, she was right! We have no evidence to prove that the Schmidt family has done or intends to do us any harm – only coincidence and supposition. Unlike Marta and her boys, the Schmidts have not proven themselves a threat. Conversely, Marta had proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that she had both ill intent and the wherewithal to carry it out.
Therein lies the difference between my torture of Ricky and Ariela’s torture of the Schmidt’s daughter … we knew Marta was guilty of a number of crimes against humanity. We only suspect that the Schmidts may be somehow involved with the group that attacked Pete’s farm. And, we only suspect the Schmidts because of the timing of their visit. If they had show up a day or two later … the thought likely would not even have entered out minds.
Ariela said nothing when I confronted her. She stood straight and tall like a good soldier … Marine … looking straight ahead at some point 1000 yards behind my head. She believes what she did was necessary and right. I can see it all over her face … in her stance. I’m sure she believes she was only doing what was necessary to protect us.
That doesn’t make it right.
I’m beginning to wonder if Ariela’s head injury has had an effect on her personality and cognitive processes. It’s not uncommon. In fact, it’s quite common for a person with a severe head injury to have a fairly significant change in their personality. Miriam worked at a head injury rehabilitation facility for several years. I frequently volunteered there. We saw it first hand. Families and spouses of those recovering from head injuries were puzzled and shocked by their loved ones’ behavior.
Granted, I have no frame of reference by which to judge changes in Ariela’s behavior, but it seems odd that a Marine of her caliber would do – or fail to do – the things that Ariela has over the last few days.
Forgetting to take a weapon with her when she went to investigate the noise that eventually turned out to be the Schmidts … major mistake. Unthinkable for a highly trained Marine.
Torturing a … prisoner without running it up the chain of command? Beyond comprehension.
The more I think about it … my anger begins to abate. Perhaps Ariela is suffering from a loss or change in her cognitive abilities as well as from a change in her personality. It may not be something she can control.
That raises other issues, but it may explain her recent actions.
The thunder is really rolling now. Rain has begun to pelt the metal roof of our home. Interestingly, I’ve found it to be a relaxing sound. It’s the sound of growth. The earth will drink in the rain and produce a bountiful harvest for us. The lightning will inject nitrogen into the earth that will fertilize our plants. Many are frightened by thunderstorms. The storms do hold immense power. At times they cause damage. For the most part, though, storms with thunder and lightning are a good thing.