Excerpted from my autobiography, Waking From the American Dream: 10 Mile, autographed copies of which are available in the Albuquerque area through me for 10 dollars. Also available at Hastings on Lomas and San Pedro and at the Montgomery and Wyoming location.
There is the matter of the two breaking points in 1975 when I was ten, after my father’s death.
There was a recent incident here in New Mexico, a kid who shot and killed several family members. He claimed he had lived with intense physical and psychological abuse for years. I don't condone it. It's tragic.
I know what it is to be dehumanized and abused and neglected by family members, and how this in turn can effect the quality of one’s sentence in the public school system. I think that's tragic, too, even though, unlike a shooting spree, it tends to go unnoticed. You didn't hear about that sort of thing so much in 1975, but I held the bolt action 22-caliber rifle on Brod at the Dansville house. He stood outside the back door and saw me there with the gun, cocked and loaded. I aimed it at his gut. Considering the size of my rounded gelatinous target and the low caliber of the rifle, I doubt very much that it would have killed him.
It was as though I was in a trance. I hesitated, but thought very seriously about pulling the trigger. He smiled at me and stood there and told me that I would not shoot him. Jane's yellow Oldsmobile turned off the paved road to make its way up the long winding rutted dirt driveway. I lowered the rifle and we dropped it.
If I had shot him I would have pulled the trigger on an insane monster that went a long way toward destroying my childhood and who caused me permanent damage. As he reacted to the lump of lead that tumbled into his guts, when he doubled over, fell, screamed, I believe that I would have seen the damage done to my older brother, such as he was, by my hand. I would have been terrified, and tortured with guilt. Jane would have shown up shortly afterward and he would have been rushed to the hospital and would more than likely have recovered.
Unlike a clinical psychopath, I sincerely believe that my schizophrenic brother was capable of remorse, coupled with all the less redeeming traits. I suspect that he would have been able to see how and why I had been driven to such a thing and that he would honestly have forgiven me for it.
Later I once overheard him complaining to Jane that he didn't want to end up in an alley with a butcher knife in his throat, which, I can only assume, had to do with me. Leave it to her to dismiss his complaint, probably coupled with an admonishment for picking on me so much. "Rough housing," as she often called it. That’s one of the life and death impasses I reached after my father’s abrupt death when I was ten.