This bothers me more than it should, but it does. A few days ago, my housekeeper told me Derek is putting out the story into the community that I started the altercation that I wrote about in the post, “Playing With Fire.” His version of what happened is ridiculous on its face, but some people will believe anything. If you were to see the balance issues with which I am dealing, you would wonder why I would start anything with an able-bodied young man in his late 20s. It just isn’t plausible.
Derek was here for six months six years ago, but it seems to me that he has learned nothing in those elapsed years. (No, I take that back. He has learned to drive better, in part because of the car we helped him to purchase.) He still holds on to the lessons he learned in his youth before I ever met him. And I am speaking of the fact that if you cannot face the truth of your actions, you can just as easily make something up as a justification, and some people will swallow it.
I know this technique firsthand. Both brothers have accused me of actions and motivations that are entirely false and for which there exists not a shred of evidence. Until Derek assaulted me, I had persisted in believing that Derek was the “sane” brother, more of a victim. But that has changed through experience and my struggle to make sense of both brothers’ acts.
The only thing I can figure is that the two of them had colluded on an elaborate shakedown scheme—an ex-girlfriend of Alex’s told me he had once mentioned my stroking out and his taking over the property. But as both brothers have seen since arriving here, any assets are modest and already tied up. Distasteful though it might seem, the property would require determined work, could never be sold, and would have to be shared with others.
When Derek’s brother Alex was here this spring, Alex told me that Ricky Chavis had nothing to do with the plan to murder Terry King. You will recall that in their trial, Derek and Alex accused Ricky of complicity in Terry’s death. But if Alex is to be believed now, he came up with the murder plan himself and talked Derek into it.
Readers will also recall that there were two murder trials in Florida: one for the King Brothers, and one for Ricky Chavis. This caused troubling confusion on both juries, even if the prosecutor wouldn’t sort it out. The brothers were assigned responsibility for the murder, but they were given relatively short sentences because it was believed that the murder would not have happened without Chavis’ “suggestion.” Chavis was exonerated of the murder by his jury, but he received a long prison sentence because of his post-crime cover-up actions. Now it seems that the murder was as big a surprise to Chavis as anybody, and that lying about his involvement in the murder itself was a successful strategy for the boys.
The lesson this taught to the King Brothers is being applied today in both boys’ lives. The truth doesn’t matter, only what will result in the least amount of pain or inconvenience in the short term.
I want nothing to do with this short-sighted ethic, and I will not knowingly abet its continuation. Derek says that if he hadn’t killed Terry King, Terry would have killed Alex. This “justification” for the crime is, in my opinion, an invention. No matter how strict or misguided Terry King’s parenting was, he did not deserve to die.
Unless each boy faces the truth of what actually happened, healing and redemption are impossible.
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