I love my life, and I love the world, and I believe genuinely that God does not make mistakes, so there is nothing “wrong” about the way things are. I know from ongoing personal experience that my struggle to know the Truth is Gods gift to me! His gift can be acknowledge and recognized, but it can never be lost or possessed. So, I truly am a happy person on a level where being happy really counts. So, Thank you pretty neighbor girl for pointing out this sad impression I’ve been giving and allowing me the opportunity to amend my ways. – “What Friends Are For”
I believe with all my heart that I should be killed – “Release Day Update”
After I published this morning’s post, I got thinking about how nice it might be to find an online resource, such as a .pdf file of a serial killer’s diary or journal. That might give me a chance to see the inner workings of such a person’s mind. Such insight could help me refine my thoughts about the distinction between the murderous rage of serial killers and the qualitative distinction I’m seeking, the reality of spiritual evil that can not be summed up by the various parts of a psychological profile or even a biography. A first-hand account, no matter how untrustworthy, or perhaps nonsensical, would at least offer answers to some nagging questions.
I’m quite sure that some NSA analyst is looking at my Goggle searches the past couple days and has flagged me. I’ve watched I don’t know how many documentaries on serial killers. Then, this morning, I ran a search for “serial killer journal diary”. A quick perusal of the first page of search results led me to Blogging The Fifth Nail, a blog covering just a few months in 2005. After reading a few of the entries, I thought it might be a good idea to check out who Joseph Duncan was or is, since I’d never heard of him. I watched this documentary on YouTube, and realized a few things. First, I found it nearly impossible to square the circle that contained both the thoughts on the blog and the bare facts of Duncan’s horrific crimes. Second, I was reminded again just how sad and angry I get when I read or hear about terrible things being done to children. Finally, I realized I might well have stumbled upon something for which I’d been searching . That I am horrified, saddened, and not a little frightened by this, well, that’s a good sign that I haven’t lost my mind. At the same time, I know that I’ve entered the dark for sure this time. And what little I can see makes me fear for my soul.
Let’s step back a bit and take a look at Duncan’s blog. It is filled with what I can only understand to be earnest (if not always fully honest) reflections of what was going through his head during the late winter and early spring of that year. Some of what I read was actually quite thoughtful, even beautiful. For example, from February 25 comes the following: “The only cure for crime is Love. Everything else is just more crime.” On February 28, he wrote the following, which certainly has an air of plausibility about it: “Yes, I know a lot about abuse, from all three sides, the victims, the offenders, and the systems. I’m not saying let offenders do their thing, I have no problem with taking direct measures to stop people from hurting people. But I think it is more effective to take direct measures to stop people from wanting to hurt people. We should offer free offender counseling and even amnesty for certain types of offenses if the offender agrees to treatment (before they are caught). That would be a very practical and effective way to reduce sex crimes dramatically. I doubt it will ever happen though, because our society loves the excitement that sex offenders bring into our living rooms through the media and we would be lost without someone to point our fingers at. (This is a known sociological concept, so before you call me off the wall study up a bit!)”
It wasn’t too difficult, however, to find things hidden within that gave me pause as I read them.
Any attempt to make the world a better place immediately and directly interferes with God’s Harmonic intentions. All answers must come in there own time, and God has the timing already figured out according to reasons infinitely beyond my own ability to reason. So, there is nothing that I “can do,” but instead I must continue to strive to give-in to God’s Will, because it is through this “non-doing” that his Will can be seen. I’m growing a lot lately faster than I want at times. – March 23, 2005
I feel the full force and pain of everyone I have ever hurt, but that doesn’t stop me from doing what I need to do. Ultimately my feelings don’t matter, I learned that in prison. I have to carry out my orders or a lot worse than just me dying could happen. – April 15, 2005
[T]hese demons are stronger than even I gave them credit for, and now they are taking my best blows and not even staggering. I’m afraid, very afraid. If they win then a lot of people will be badly hurt – April 24, 2005
That last was very chilling indeed, coming as it does in a post entitled “Wrestling With Demons”. Writing on May 11, in a post entitled “The Demons Have Taken Over”. Duncan says:
Thanks for the comments. As far as letting God take care of the Demons, too late. They’ve locked up the “Happy Joe” person in the same dungeon that “Happy Joe” kept them in for so many years. Now they are loose and I am very afraid. From now on I may refer to “Happy Joe” as “Jet” (me) and the demons as “The Bogeyman.” . . . The demons (if that’s what they/it are/is–I use the term for mere convenience) have convinced me that I should at least question my religious beliefs, (this makes sense, otherwise I would believe anything) and that is how they got the key to the dungeon, and trapped me inside.
To be more specific, I am scared, alone, and confused, and my reaction is to strike out toward the perceived source of my misery, society. My intent is to harm society as much as I can, then die. As for the “Happy Joe” (Jet), well he was just a dream. The bogeyman was alive and happy long before Happy Joe. . . . I was in prison for over 18 years, since the age of 17. As an adult all I knew was the oppression of incarceration. All those years I dreamed of getting out…And getting even. Instead, I got out and I got even, but did not get caught. So, I got even again, and again did not get caught. So, I figured, well, I got even twice (actually more, but that’s here nor there), even if I’m the only one who knows, so now what? Well that was when the “Happy Joe” dream started. I met a bunch of really great people, the kind of people I didn’t even know existed, but here they were, bunches of them, my neighbors, my landlords, my professors, my coworkers, and they were all good people, who were willing to give me a chance despite my past. They were willing to accept me and be my friend, something that was new for me, having been betrayed by many “friends” and even my own family.
So, I tried to make it work. But the problem was those demons. The ones who “got even” for me. They kept reminding me that if my new “friends” knew about them (and what they, I, had done to even), then so much for their friendship. So, “Happy Joe” was just dreaming, or pretending to be happy.
His last post is dated May 13. Entitled “Still Confused”, it reads in part:
As far as “taking people with me” well, I don’t know if that is right or wrong. In fact, I don’t know much any more what right and wrong even is. My view is either everything is right (in some regard) or everything is wrong (in some other regard). The question (one I am struggling with at this point) is, “Does it matter?”
Does anything matter? My mother is crying right now, because her son is in trouble again. She tried to raise a good son, and she knows her son has a good heart, so why does he do these things? She is probably more hurt and confused than me. Does it matter? It hurts me to know these things, but DOES IT MATTER???
A hundred years from now, all my mothers pain will be forgotten, and other mothers will cry for there sons. A million years from now there probably won’t be any mothers (at least not like we know).
I have feelings, in fact I think I must be more sensitive than most people because I seem to feel more than they do, at least more than what they openly express. I feel for the starving children and families in the world, others say, “Oh, that’s too bad, but I can’t do anything so…”
I wish I could be more honest about my feelings, but those demons made sure I’d never be able to do that.
Toward the end, Joseph Duncan wrote the following: “[T]he world will know who I really was, and what I really did, and what I really thought. Also, maybe then they will understand that despite my actions, I’m not a bad person, I just have a disease contracted from society, and it hurts a lot.”
Two days later, May 15, 2005 . . . well, I’ll let Wikipedia tell the story.
On May 16, 2005, authorities discovered the bodies of Brenda Groene, 40; her boyfriend, Mark McKenzie, 37; and her son, Slade Groene, 13, in their home along Lake Coeur d’Alene, outside the city of Coeur d’Alene. Two of Brenda Groene’s other children, Dylan, 9, and Shasta, 8, were missing. An AMBER Alert was issued and searchers combed the area for the missing children while authorities investigated the deaths at the home as homicides. Autopsies determined the cause of death to be “blunt trauma to the head”; authorities also noted that the victims had been bound.
Seven weeks later, in the early morning hours of July 2, 2005, Shasta Groene was seen at a Denny’s restaurant in Coeur d’Alene in the company of an unknown man. A waitress, manager, and two customers at the restaurant recognized Shasta from the media attention. They surreptitiously called police and positioned themselves to prevent the man from leaving. Police officers arrived at the restaurant and arrested the man, later identified as Duncan, without incident. . . .
On July 4, 2005, investigators found human remains at a remote makeshift campsite in the Lolo National Forest near St. Regis, Montana. The remains were sent to the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia for DNA testing and were positively identified as Dylan Groene. . . .
Much of what is known about the murders of the Groene family was revealed by Shasta Groene herself. According to Shasta Groene’s police interview, Duncan killed her mother, older brother and her mother’s fiance and then took her and her brother away in the red Jeep Cherokee.
Shasta told investigators her mother called her into the living room, from her bedroom where she had been sleeping, and she saw Duncan wearing black gloves and holding a gun. Her captor tied her mother’s hands with nylon zip ties, and did the same to her mother’s fiance and her brother Slade. Dylan and Shasta were removed from the house and placed inside the stolen rental car. While she waited with her brother, she heard her mother’s fiance scream out and then saw her injured older brother staggering away from the entrance to the home. Duncan then bludgeoned the three to death; neither Shasta nor Dylan witnessed the murders. Both Shasta and Dylan were removed to other locations, where they were repeatedly molested for six weeks. She said that they drove a long distance and stayed in two different campsites, where Duncan told her of having beaten her family members to death with a hammer.
Some of the details left out of this account is that Duncan forced Shasta to watch as he molested her brother; he forced Dylan to watch as he assaulted Shasta. She was left alone, tied and unable to move, and could only listen as Duncan sodomized Dylan one final time, then shot him in the head with a shotgun. Shasta did watch Duncan burn her brother’s remains.
So . . . I sit here, emotionally exhausted after writing this. I’m not sure what to think. Sickness, violence, the honest human struggle to be the better person we all wish we were, the resignation that comes with discovering we just aren’t. All this is in this story. There’s something more, though. Something dark, insidious, heinous.
It’s a whole that’s greater than any of the parts- biography, psychology, self-reflection, moral judgments, criminal investigation – can account. The extreme violence of the murders, committed with a dry-waller’s hammer, heads beaten beyond recognition; kidnapping, torturing, raping, and murdering children; walking calmly and quietly to police custody. It’s true enough that Duncan had both raped children and murdered before. Not even that past accounts or explains with anything like adequacy the horror of the Groene murders.
The only things that do, in a way, are his own words. Words such as, ” I have to carry out my orders or a lot worse than just me dying could happen.” Words like: ” I am scared, alone, and confused, and my reaction is to strike out toward the perceived source of my misery, society. My intent is to harm society as much as I can . . .” A confession that, at the end of day, Duncan had surrendered any control over his actions or his life to powers he called demons. As for harming society . . . I would wish I could say he hadn’t because then he or his demons would have won. But, they did. And now he sits on federal death row, awaiting a far more painless end than his victims received.
And I sit and shiver, because I just know something far more than simple psychopathic sadism is at work here.
And if you don’t mind I’m going to take a break from this for a few days. I need a break from all this. I hope you understand.