Fiery the Angels rose, and as they rose deep thunder roll'd
Around their shores: indignant burning with the fires of Orc
- William Blake, America A prophecy.

Confessions of an Ex-Soldier, Ex-Cop and Ex-Con


Sunday, August 11, 2019

I will start this by saying that I don’t ask for your forgiveness or your blessing, but I have sinned. And it’s been, well, a very long time since my last confession. It’s been nine years, six months, and three days to be exact. It should have been ten years, but I got six months off for good behavior.

You should probably know that I was once a soldier and I served in combat. I was even decorated. I fought in Iraq, of course, back when this conflict was simply a ‘War on Terrorism.’ I got out long before it spilled over into Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, and Israel; long before the ragheads blew up the Washington Monument, and long before the draft and the protests and the Homeland Permanent Emergency Act. Sometimes I think it would have better if I’d have stayed in, I would have been there at the Khwor Abd Alamaya when the Ayatollahs gassed the 92nd during their landing. Maybe I could have helped, but I probably would have died with the Division on the way to Tehran and maybe that would have been better for everybody. I don’t know. Instead I took an honorable discharge in the summer of 2008 and came home to be a Los Angeles cop. I was an LAPD Patrolman for five years and if you’re old enough, then you’ve probably heard of me. I was in the news nearly every day for a while, during the trial. My face was on the front page of every major newspaper in the US on the day I went to prison. I expected to die there, and I’m sure that many thought I deserved to die there – can’t say I blame them. Instead, ten years later I walked out a free man. Ashamed, damned, an ex-con with no usable skills, but mostly free as far as the State of California was concerned. I still have to report to my parole officer twice a month, and I am required to meet with a state appointed anger management counselor once a week for the next year. I can also go to group therapy if I want, and I’m thinking about it. I am required to get a job, and tomorrow I’ll report to the employment office to find out what kind of work a convicted murderer and ex-cop can get.

I, for reasons that should be apparent already, won’t tell you my real name. There were thirty seven of us cops, all former Soldiers, twenty two of us served in Iraq. Four died in prison, one of cancer and the other three slipped on a bar of soap in the shower - to use the vernacular. Seventeen of us have been released in the last month. So, you could probably figure out who I am without much trouble, but I’d ask you not to. Those of you who read this will, in all likelihood, call me many things, none flattering, and I certainly deserve it. But for convenience sake you may call me VanDerDecken. Taking that nom de plume is perhaps a bit arrogant, but arrogance is what brought me to this pass, and arrogance was Captain Henrich Van Der Decken’s sin too. So I think it’s fitting.

No one knows better than me how far I’ve fallen. I don’t think that it is possible to find my way back to His grace. I don’t believe it is possible to atone for my sins, of which there have been many - both in thought and deed. I don’t need you to tell me what fate awaits me, and I’m not looking for either divine absolution or for your forgiveness. I can’t forgive myself for the things I’ve done and I surely don’t expect those that I’ve wronged to forgive me. Perhaps God, in his infinite compassion, can, but I don’t expect that either – and I won’t ask for it. If I do one thing right in my life, it will be that I take full responsibility for my situation.

I can’t bear to set foot in the Church again, at least not for a while anyway. So instead, I’ve started this journal as a form of confession and you can read it or not as you choose.

Posted by VanDerDecken at 7:49 PM

1 comment: said...

i stumbled on to your site looking for walmart in wasilla.becauase i need some pretty pink floral material, to finish a sewing project.which they are out of in the eagle river walmart. what a read.. fascinating . deep thunder has my attention. I don't Blog a couple of my kids do they love it.your bowls are beautiful. i used to find pretty material at yard sales and thrift shops to make my quilts. recycle, inexpensive cause i was broke for the last 30 years raising 5 kids on a meager budget. By myself cause I am a poor judge of character. and don't do well in relationships which is a whole nother issue. so for shits and giggles i read your out ragous coments about put on pants. cottage cheese butts,etc. but there is more to this than meets the eye. I remember in high school they talked about the future of energy in the USA. we were going to have solar powered vehicles. our homes would have solar that. was 40 years ago.vw got 32 mpg or more. gas was 32cents a gallon what the hell happened? i used to tell anyone who would listen if we all just stopped (not drive not work not buy not sell) for 4 days we could change america and find a voice again. I am sure this is niave. it would probably take way more than four days.But everyone is so afraid to even think about it and you could never get enough people to consider it. We spoiled americans are to "well fed and entertained to care" I heard that on a pbs documentary.(the quote)and the people who don't vote make me crazy cause they think their vote don't count vote and make it count.and don't bitch about anything to me cause that makes you part of the problem.Gramma