The Sting Of Betrayal

My Own Benedict Arnold Moment

Every man will experience his own “Benedict Arnold” moment. While it might not take place in a revolutionary war to determine the fate of nation being born, it will still leave a blackened stained touch in your memory.

What motivates betrayal? Often it’s money, greed, jealousy, and the desire to attain power. To do that you have to step on people to move up the ladder of power. Certainly, I was stepped on like a scared housewife stomps on an ugly bug while squeaking out a brief, “Eeek!!!!”

My own betrayal  moment caught me off guard.   None of the above seemed like the motivator for the betrayal.  What could the reason have been?  It felt as cold, sharp, and damaging as an Ozark ice storm.  Even now, the though of “WTF, why?” keeps running through my mind.  Often, I prefer for my dirty laundry to stay in the bin, but in this case I will have to reveal my boxers.

I’m a blabber, a conversationalist, and an open book.  Some people love this about me, others loathe it, but few have ever managed to use it against me in a way that cuts deep.

Thing is, I don’t know how much was deliberate and honest-to-god opining on me and how much was cruel intentioned barbs designed to hurt my relationship with my in-laws and my wife. Timing was absolutely horrible as I’m just starting to build a better relationship with my in-laws who weren’t huge on me.

My old boss who I was my absolute unfiltered self around, a man I thought I could trust and actually have “real-talk” with, and someone who I respected – even though he let me go, delivered whatever his own brand of personal vengeance was against me managed to tell the “truth” about me in the worst possible ways.

No grudges did I hold against him when he let me go, in fact I even kept in good contact with him.  However, he indeed held grudges against me which I was unaware of until he told my in-laws about them instead of myself.

Normally, this would be a landmine that would be overcome after one detonation, but he will be in a “life” group with my in-laws for the foreseeable future.  Essentially, I will have someone who can’t be trusted in an environment where trust is supposed to be of the essence.  Circle of trust indeed.

I did somewhat conquer my fear of heights

I’m used to detractors that I barely know,  online critics, and people whose personalities clash with my own and they can all get bent.   Nothing is what I expect from them.  This though felt like I had been cheated on – which I haven’t, it was just that I trusted him that much.  It hurts.

Imagine someone misrepresents your character as much as possible and, sprinkles in a few lies to really get the pot stirred, and plants all sorts of possibilities in your pregnant wife’s head who already is going through raging pregnancy hormones and trust issues from her past.

In this case, her parents were the recipients of Benedict Arnold and the details were passed to her and then she passed them to me.  Chain of information indeed.   My wife wasn’t supposed to be told, and neither was I.

Perhaps my old boss thought what he was saying was true, or my in-laws drew some exaggerated conclusions that were then passed to my wife. That would be a comforting thought.  Honestly, I thought he would always be honest  with any grievances against myself and come talk to me about it.

I actually thought that I was with someone who I didn’t have to filter myself and everything from “locker-room talk” to how men  actually talk on the job site when you work in the trades.   This is what bugs me so much.   That connection I thought I had with someone wasn’t actually there – maybe I forced myself into believing it was, considering I was earnestly looking for a fellow man I could trust in an area where I don’t know anyone.

The Sword Thrusts of Betrayal

Likely it is not the case.    Two lies in particular left me shocked. (1) That he paid me 20$ and hour when he paid me 13$.  (2) That me and the other guy he had hired were going out after we were dropped off from work to the bar and blowing money.    Odd, considering me and this other guy didn’t like each other.

The truth that was manipulated against me in fascinating way too.  Apparently one such truth was how I constantly wanted to go out after work with my boss to the bar and grab a drink.

Absolutely, this was true.   I wanted to bond with my boss as I believed he was someone I could be my genuine self-around. One of the best ways you can do this is to indeed grab a drink and sit down.

In his defense however, he could never really do this as he was trying to be back at home by 6 to be with his family.  I can understand this and perhaps he believes me to be some kind of deviant who would rather be out drinking then helping out his pregnant wife at home – or at least that how it sounded when I was told about it.

Another “truth” was about how I misled him about my skillset, even though I told him what I knew from the start.  Now both me and him were hoping I’d absorb some skills faster, but I alas I did not.   Still, he felt like I lied to him, so my guess is he is doing the same back to me.

One that really got to me was about how I was lazy.  When he first hired me, he was desperate for people just to show up who were trustworthy.  He complained about how people would flake constantly – which they did.  I arranged for him to pick me up in the mornings – which took a toll on him timewise nonetheless – to go the jobsite with him 40+ miles away.

When I was there, I worked in 90+ degree humidity outside on scaffolding.  Now he was generous and bought me and our co-worker lunch everyday as well as provided us with water to keep us hydrated. To be sure he wasn’t a slave driver, and he shouldn’t sound like such.

At several points I did complain about a lack of boards to stand on when we started going four stories up.  I  brought up the idea of safety-harnesses, but he mentioned that it would just get in the way and make us even less safe.

I have no idea if that’s really true or not, but wow right?  Also note that he went up there with us in those precarious positions trying to get work done, so definitely he put himself on the line as well.

Now, I’m not exaggerating how open I was with him.  I even talked about me and my wife’s sex lives – a mistake in hindsight – and how it helped us as a couple.    This was kindly relayed to her parents that all I cared about is sex and apparently how I’m not to be trusted.   In particular, this blew me away.

Wisdom, Resolve, and the Long-Game

A hard lesson to learn from betrayal is that your natural state – open and honest – can be very dangerous to you and your family life.  Even after this, I find the idea of talking less, being more deliberate about the company I am genuine with, and concluding that many more snakes exist in the grass then I admit to be a tough pill to swallow.

Recently, I saw him at my in-laws “Life group” meeting they hold at their house.   Determined for my wife’s sake, I played nice.  It was then that I heard a story involving my old bosses’ wife and some terrible things they had been through.

Wondering whether this had something to do with the backstab held my anger in check.  Because of that, I’m taking the long view.   Honestly, I still desire vengeance or at least some kind of vindication from this betrayal.   You never realize how powerful of a motivator justice can be until you start to strongly desire it.

Given the chance I wonder, would he come clean and apologize to me or pretend it didn’t happen and act as everything was jolly?

What if the chain-of-information provided to me was wrong or someone did indeed exaggerate and elaborate details? Patience is necessary when trying to smoke out what was really said.   I shall indeed play the long-game.

Toddlers, Perspective, Drugs, and Flashbanging Swat Raids.

My family is a diverse  and divided one, and I love it.  Not just racially, but politically and on all those “controversial” issues which you aren’t supposed to bring up at the dinner table at family parties.  Well I’m a true rebel and I bring up that crap anyway.  So I somewhat… started up a huge debate on gun control with my family. (My aunt for a while was of the opinion that we didn’t need guns because the cops would always be there in time to protect people. Note I live about 50 minutes from Chicago.)

It ended up in everyone shouting, my Uncle putting my Aunt in an armlock, my Uncle yelling at my Grandpa for bailing him out of jail – I didn’t even know that happened – my Dad yelling about my Aunt being a cop and it distorting her perspective. It literally looked like something out of a movie.  Wait.  Right there, that magic word – Perspective.

Me and my Dad both hold rather “anti-cop” views – according to cops that is on PoliceOne – the site where if a cop blows up kittens on public television – the use of that force must somehow be justified.  My aunt is a cop and tends to view things from their point-of-view, even if the video evidence is pretty damning. She points out that there are always two sides to the story. I’m not sure what other “sides” to the story there can be in some of the headlines over the years that I have seen – and the one’s I’ll list are just three out of the hundreds.  So just for background:

1. The Kelly Thomas beatdown – that homeless man in Seattle who they literally beat to death as he called for his dad for over 10 minutes.  Seriously, watch the video. It’s sickening and disturbing. I’m EXTREMELY manly, but it made me cry.  Image

2. A “no knock” recent swat raid on a house in Georgia where they “suspected” drugs were located. It’s “unclear” whether they found drugs or not – That means they did not – but they did throw a flashbang in the house that melted off part of the face of a two year old toddler, burned a hole in his chest, and now has him in a coma.  It reads like something out of a movie where everything goes wrong for a family, but the video of the kid really shows how – fucked up – this really is.

3. An 80 year-old man killed in his own bed in a swat raid where the police were looking for Meth. They didn’t find any and were forced to change their story after bloodstains in the man’s bed indicated that he had been sleeping.  “Put the gun down!” apparently was shouted after the six shots were fired… not before.  What side could the deputy who pulled the trigger have to justify his actions?

Sidenote: Below, courtesy of Cato is a map of many botched Swat Raids. It should trouble you. Their site has the “interactive” map for you to scour through.


I list those three examples specifically because of the perspective on the other end toward what happened.  The perspective of the district attorney and the GBI (George Bureau of Investigation) emphasized by the County Sheriff (Terrell) on the injured Toddler story mentioned above blew my mind.

“I’ve talked to the D.A., I’ve talked to the GBI,” Terrell said. “I’ve given them the whole information and they say there’s nothing else we can do. There’s nothing to investigate, there’s nothing to look at. Given the information given, GBI’s SWAT team would have done the exact same thing – they’d have used the exact same scenario to enter the house.”

As Radley Balko points out in his article on the Washington Post about this story and the SWAT policy for raids:

If your drug cops conduct a raid that ends up putting a child in the hospital with critical burns, and they did nothing that violates your department’s policy, then there’s something wrong with your policy.

However, I’ve seen cops defend this burned toddler pointing to the perspective of the SWAT team, notably at the fore-mentioned PoliceOne facebook page where what I assume is mostly officers exchange stories of “winning”. Note some of these perspectives:

  • “As sad as this is this is not the fault of the Police. The scum bag mother is to blame here.”
  •  “They did nothing wrong. Don’t take a infant to a drug house and this would not happen.”
  • ” Here’s an idea. Don’t sell drugs and cops won’t throw flashbangs into your house.”
  • “Dont commit crimes and things like this wont happen…..yeah blame the police for doing their jobs arresting POS criminals. This is the families fault this baby is injured. NOT the police.”
  • “Meanwhile, keeping a toddler in the home of violent felons, meth labs, dangerous criminals walking in and out on a daily basis high on dope, and complete disregsrd for any care for a toddler is ignored. Charge the parents an extra felony for the innocent childs suffering.”

The Facebook posts to the article go on and on.  What’s fascinating is that the drug fiend they were looking for was the husband’s brother who didn’t even live there, nor was there at the time when the raid occurred.  Essentially, we all better hope that none of our friends or family does, partakes, deals, ect – with or without your knowledge – and come’s back home for Thanksgiving because a SWAT team could bust through the door and toss military grade hardware your way.

What this all boils down to is that no matter who gets hurt, the cops they will justify whatever happens because from their perspective, it appears to be us vs. them; they are first and we are a distant second.  I love my Aunt dearly, but she said something that has disturbed me in conversations over things of this nature, “I will do whatever I need to do get back home safe to my family.”  I understand that, but imagine all the other cops who think like this. I hope I’m not deemed an obstacle to said safety from their perspective.

I don’t have a particular vendetta, even though my aunt believes I do. I have no criminal record, though I am still perturbed at some of the bullshit traffic tickets I’ve gotten. I won’t pretend to say I don’t have a bias, but when I see injustice like this excused it angers me. When a toddler has part of his face burnt off, a hole in his chest, and is in a coma in what is essentially an appeal to “safety” for the SWAT team by flashbanging without knocking or investigating to see if children were present, we have a deep problem.

Seriously. Justify it. I dare you. Look at it from “their perspective” and justify the botched raids and what happened to people like Kelly Thomas.  Even if “use of force” is/was justified, their deaths certainly were not.

We need to be deeply worried about the prevalence of this assumption among Law Enforcement that “resisting” arrest automatically means it’s acceptable to use lethal force to subdue a “suspect.”  I seriously don’t give a fuck if the suspect is resisting or not. It doesn’t mean you need to kill them or use excessive force. 

I strongly suggest LEO’s would be less likely to endorse excessive force of they or their families were subjected to their all too common playbook.

Everyday there is a story of excessive force by the police, brutality, mistaken shootings. We need to address this growing epidemic of state sponsored brutality before we, our families, and are friends become suspects and subject to this treatment.