What’s Wrong With Damien Pryce: Chapters 1 & 2

Author’s Note

I met Damien Pryce in the spring of ’19, two months before his execution. To my knowledge I was the last person granted an interview with the self-proclaimed “Angriest Man in North America.” Over the course of the following three weeks I spent a total of seventy six hours gathering the unkempt forty year old’s thoughts and quotes on being the first person to be condemned to death in Canada in over 50 years. The story I was working on, an admittedly self righteous piece on the evils of capital punishment written for the Carleton University Charlatan, was unceremoniously dumped, deemed inflammatory by a faculty cowed into submission by the Department of Regulated Communications’ policy against Anti-Patriotic Speech.

In hindsight that censorship was perhaps fortuitous, my naïve outrage at the death of what I considered an important story about man’s inhumanity to man, lead to an obsession with Pryce’s life itself rather than its end. Ultimately this obsession led to the writing of the book you’re about to read.

To date, in the intervening twenty years, there have been no less than twelve biographies written by DRC approved historians about the life and times of Damien Pryce as well as a heavily edited copy of his journals and blog entries. Not one of them captures the man as anything more than a deluded psychotic, rightly executed for the horrible crime of “pre-emptive infanticide”. Nevertheless, public romanticizing has turned Damien into something of a folk legend and the paranoid State contends to this day with the continued “terrorist” efforts of the Will to Power movement that his teachings inspired.

The book in front of you is not meant to be biographical in the strictest sense. Damien believed that the most important legacy a man left behind wasn’t his children but rather the tangible impressions he made on each life’s path that intersected his own. In his own words;

“Big gestures mean nothing. To truly effect change you have to live as if the world was made by your design. Set an example that will have impact by its very presence.”

With that in mind, I have written this as a testament to the lives he affected. Partly comprised of my interviews with Pryce, and part impact stories from the people whose lives he crossed, this is meant to be a character study of one of the most important free thinkers of the modern age. I have also interspersed the narrative with blog entries recovered from the old PC at his mother’s home in Ottawa, a rare insight to the events and thoughts that shaped the path Damien would walk for a decade.

I’ve taken the liberty of rewriting the witness accounts as prose, mainly in the interest of reader accessibility. It should be noted that I don’t feel this diminishes the validity of the stories, some of which I believe to be mainly apocryphal in nature.

Liam Reynolds

September 15, 2041

Chapter One

I

May 12, 2019

The following is a transcript of my first meeting with Damien Pryce. By this point he had exhausted all normal avenues of appeal and was on death row in the Kingston Penitentiary awaiting his final appeal before the Supreme Court of N.A.

The guard, having escorted me to a meeting room normally reserved for communications between convicts and their attorneys, leaves the room and I find myself, for the first time, standing across a table from a man who will soon die for committing what is seen by the majority as the most heinous form of murder imaginable. Damien Pryce, born a Canadian citizen in Ottawa, Ontario, was convicted of pre-emptive infanticide for acquiring and providing RU 486 or the abortion pill to his former girlfriend, Amber Morden. He was also convicted of the lesser crimes of inciting dissent, and conspiracy to commit treason. Amber Morden was not charged with any crime in exchange for her testimony against Pryce, a court appointed psychologist having determined that, under Pryce’s influence, Ms. Morden lacked the capacity to form intent.

It is apparent that Mr. Pryce has not had access to a razor for several months, a thick black beard spattered with grey covering most of the features we’ve become familiar with thanks to courtroom photos. His head, which I know to be mostly bald from those same photographs, is covered by an orange prison cap which matches the prison supplied coveralls he wears. I am immediately struck by the fact that Damien shows no signs of fatigue or depression; in fact his feet are tattooing the ground beneath him rhythmically, as if the near hyperactive energy contained within him is attempting to escape through the floor of the conference room. He looks at me and grins, piercing grey eyes taking my full measure in a few seconds. Damien breaks my dazed paralysis by raising his manacled hands in the hair to shake one of mine in greeting. The rattle of the chains joining his cuffs snaps me out of my fog

LR: Mr. Pryce, my name is Liam Reynolds; I’m with the Carleton C….

DP: Charlatan. I know, that’s why I agreed to meet with you. You do know that I went to Carleton, yeah?

I don’t, and I can tell that Damien is amused by my ignorance. In fact I get the impression that he’s finding the whole situation funny.

LR: Of course. I’d just forgotten for a moment. Mr. Pryce, I’d like to start by talking about the trial. Do you feel that the trial judge was acting impartially and fairly when he…

DP: Tell you what, sport. Since this is my story, and I’ve already told it about ninety times to reporters, politicians and indignant churchy types over the last two years, why don’t we let me decide when to start?

This is not a good start, and I’m already anticipating the tongue lashing I’m going to get from the faculty advisor at the paper when I turn in my notes. I’ve only been talking with the man for under a minute and already I’ve lost all control over the subject.

LR: Of course, where would you like to start?

My reply sounds snarky and I can tell he notices. He doesn’t say anything for a few seconds and when he does I know I’m not going to get out of this interview what I wanted.

DP: Let’s start with you, sport. Where do you sit on my… situation? Are you eagerly awaiting the sight of me flopping around on a stretcher with a “humane” cocktail of lethal drugs swirling through my veins, or are you under the delusion that by writing “the truth” about me you’ll galvanize public opinion enough to move the governor into granting me a stay?

LR: I really don’t think that’s relevant. I’m a journalist and whatever my views, they won’t color what I…

He cuts me off, suddenly leaning forward and his voice becomes lower and somehow sinister for a moment.

DP: Quid pro quo. If I help you, Clarice, it will be “turns” for us. I tell you things, you tell me things. Not about this case, though. About yourself. Quid pro quo. Yes or no?

I’m utterly confused by this, and I can tell he’s disappointed with my reply.

LR: Mr. Pryce, I told you, my name is Liam…

He waves his hands at me dismissively and relaxes back into his chair, the chain binding his cuffs together swinging like a pendulum.

DP: Never mind. Silence of the Lambs must have made the cut on the DRC’s hit list when you were still playing with family friendly action figures. That’s it, I’m canceling my final appeal, I don’t want to live in a world without Hannibal Lecter.

I don’t know how to respond to this, and for the first time I wonder if incarceration has made Damien lose his grip on reality.

DP: Listen, Liam is it? Liam, I have about two months before the government sticks a needle in my arm for something that, in your lifetime, was perfectly legal. I’m not going to win my appeal to the Supreme Court, they want to make a point of executing a Canadian more than they care about achieving any real semblance of justice. I don’t really care what your political beliefs are, I’d tell you my story even if I thought you were Hitler reincarnate, I like the sound of my own voice that much. I just want to know who I’m giving my last interview to. The only way you’re going to get what you want out of me is if I get what I want from you. So again, where exactly do you sit on my predicament here.

LR: I…I think that what you did is horrible. To deny a soul the opportunity to live, especially one that has no capacity to defend itself is a direct attack on God’s plan. I think that anyone who participates in an abortion on any level has broken not just the social compact that binds us all but has spit on the covenant with our Creator. But I also think that the same evil that lies in taking an unborn life is shared in the act of taking a mature life. I can’t see that any justice can be found by killing a killer.

DP: The doctrine of an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind, huh? What church do you belong to?

LR: First Army of God.

DP: That’s a new one for me. They literalists? Do you believe in the absolute sanctity of the Holy Word?

Damien is smirking at me now, and I feel close to jumping across the table and punching him. I have never encountered someone with no religious faith and I feel completely out of my depth. He seems to realize that he’s upsetting me and quickly relaxes.

DP: I’m sorry. I forget sometimes that I’m the odd man out these days. You realize that nothing you write is going to move mountains for me, right? That you’re going to spend the next few weeks listening to me go on and on with my tale of woe and not be able to do a single thing to change it.

LR: I don’t believe that. How can any good come from killing you. There has to be a way to make them see reason. What happened in your trial….

DP: That wasn’t a trial. It was a media circus dressed up like a trial to satisfy the conscience of the mob. There is a determination to make an example of me that supercedes notions like truth and justice.

LR: That sounds paranoid.

It’s at this point that I realize that we’ve somehow moved past the awkward courting stages of the interview process and found the rhythm that I’d been taught to expect. Damien takes his hat off and I’m forced to look away for a second from the glare of the lights off his bald dome. When I look back, I notice that the number six has been cut three times into the skin high on his forehead. He reaches up and scratches the scars, a wry smile cutting open his bearded lips.

DP: Does this look like paranoia? Happened my first night here. Two guards came to my cell and one held me down while the other used a rusty shiv to carve the mark of the beast into me for all to see. The infection was a pain in the ass.

LR: Why would they…?

DP: To let me know that I was never going to leave this place alive. To show me what the State considered me. Not human, just an enemy. I once heard a comedian say, “Capital punishment may turn the State into a murderer, but prison turns it into a sadistic homosexual dungeon master.” I though it was pretty funny at the time. You don’t have a cigarette do you?

I shake my head no.

DP: I didn’t think so. I guess nobody smokes anymore. It’s been over a year since anyone’s been able to get me any in here. You know what the really funny part of this whole situation is? Unlike you I actually believe in the death penalty. I’ve argued more than once that in certain situations it’s the only logical step to protect a society from those that it needs protection from. Heh, I just never thought I’d be the one trying to get out of it. Definitely not here. I always thought we were too polite for these kinds of shenanigans. I definitely thought they would have started with Bernardo. In a way I guess they did.

LR: What do you mean?

DP: Didn’t that get reported? Happened about six months ago. During roll call Bernardo didn’t answer, and the screw found him beaten to death in his cell.

LR: I heard it was a heart attack.

DP: Only if heart attacks come complimentary with blunt force trauma to the skull. Listen why don’t we do this? I’m pretty tired and you look like you’re not getting what you were hoping to. Let’s just start fresh another time.

I’m taken aback at this, but I notice that he does look far more worn out than when I first walked in. All the energy on display a few minutes ago has left him and seeing him sitting there in his orange jump suit, realizing that he’ll never again wear the blazer and jeans he wore into the courtroom everyday during the trial, I feel sympathy for him for the first time. Not just as a case whose ultimate penalty I’m at philosophical odds with, but as a human being. He has a charisma that makes it easy to forget that he’s a monster.

LR: When would you like me come back?

DP: Doesn’t matter, I’m not likely going anywhere. Just set it up with Terrence.

He signals the guard through the conference room window and pulls his hat back on. This time when he reaches out his hands to shake one of mine, I reach back. He leans in close to me as the guard enters the room.

DP: Just do me a favor kid. Promise me you won’t pray for me.

I still hear the echo of him laughing at that two hours later in my cheap motel room.

2

Taken from one of the earliest entries at www.thingsthatmakemyheadexplode.com

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Poor Excuse for Justice.

So I had a conversation about the fine art of lawyering with one of my colleagues yesterday. Now I should point out that I am not a lawyer. I have never trained as a lawyer; I have never taken law classes beyond basic constitutional law in high school and intro to criminal law in 1st year University. I may or may not have the potential to play a lawyer on t.v. at the same calibre as James Spader in Boston Legal, I don’t know. What I am is a Citizen (that’s right capital C) of what plays at being one of the world’s few, mostly functioning, democracies. What that means is, in addition to having the option of watching large quantities of very questionable pornography on my digital cable box, I have an obligation to be concerned with the actions all the branches of our federal government commit, ostensibly on my behalf.

Which brings me to the question that was posed by my colleague, namely;

“How can you possibly believe in the death penalty?”

And it’s a good question. On paper I look very much like the type of liberal whom Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, and Ann Coulter get their sanctimonious balls all twisted up over. I don’t care who you fuck, who you want to marry, what you do with your own body, or what version of Jesus Christ you happen to have a personal relationship with. I do believe that the interests of corporations should always come second place to the wishes of the voting public and I feel very firmly that phrases like “Pre-emptive Self Defence” belong in the same book of quotes as “hey, what do you think of invading Poland?” or “Let’s sue the Nicaraguans for breaking our tanks with their corpses”. I don’t give money to Greenpeace but the following list of movies did make me mildly upset for a period of 24 hours;

a) Who killed the Electric Car?
b)Bowling for Columbine
c)Fahrenheit 9/11
d)An Inconvenient Truth
e)Torque (This one actually fuelled me with rage for weeks. I mean really, duelling cartoon motorcycles? Did we really need to make this one?)

I also think that the term illegal immigration is patently absurd. Helloooo, you didn’t build the fucking continent! Some people, a long time ago, who are probably in no way related to you, showed up, wiped out an entire indigenous people and started singing “this land is my land, this land is your land”. By that logic I should be able to walk up to my neighbour’s house, shoot him in the face and plant a flag. By comparison, some guy hopping a fence so he can work at McDonald’s for $5.00 an hour doesn’t motivate me to head out to the polls and vote Republican. Please.

So yeah, on the social issues I’m a liberal. When it comes to crime and punishment though, frankly, I wish they’d bring back public hangings in front of town hall. Here’s why.

I live in Canada. And, much like our beloved Joe from the “I am Canadian” commercials, there are several reasons why I’m grateful I’m not an American. Not the least of which is that when our government makes a decision (based, in theory, on the concept that that decision is representative of the will of the people) our Prime Minister doesn’t have the right to step in and scream “Do over!” We do, however, have a common binding philosophy that defines what we consider social order. This is the concept of the social compact.

Every citizen who stays in our respective countries past the age of 18, in doing so, tacitly agrees to participate in a mass consensus that there are certain things that we, as a society, deem either appropriate or inappropriate. This well documented agreement is designed to ensure that we are all safe from the negative attention we sometimes incur as the result of living our separate lives. The entire span of this compact is defended by the system we refer to as Justice. Justice, we have decided, is a series of contingent checks and balances that metes out fitting punishments for infractions upon our social compact. The idea being that, since a break in the compact throws our collective system out of whack, then it stands to reason that a punitive response will correct the imbalance.

The problem with this system is our application of it.

Justice, to me, is restitution not retribution. The act of correcting the imbalance has to have some meaning directly tied to the criminal act. If a person robs my house while it’s empty we dole out a certain punishment. If the same person robs my house and kills my dog, we give him a stiffer punishment. If this individual kills my dog and pulls a gun on my wife, we give a still harsher punishment. And so on. The issue I have is that the punishment is always the same, jail. And depriving a person of their fundamental freedoms by incarcerating them in what amounts to a new social model, ultimately removing them from the social compact for varying lengths of time, is not justice. It only affects the violator negatively, it doesn’t affect me positively, and ultimately the only way for the wronged party to achieve balance again is to be personally satisfied on some level.

I don’t claim to have an alternative system of punishment worked out but, since we are emotional animals and more litigious than prosecutorial in nature, I imagine some form of tit for tat would suffice. For example, a rapist, by committing his act, deprives his victim of her sense of security, her confidence, her emotional stability and her ability to achieve a state of sexual normalcy, perhaps permanently. Some regions have decided that an effective way to achieve balance in this scenario is to chemically castrate the perpetrator thus exposing him to the exact same challenges his victim now faces. In this case the punishment serves two purposes, it renders the rapist incapable of repeating his crime thus assuring society at large that he no longer poses a risk and it ties his punishment directly to his victim, ultimately giving her a small level of personal satisfaction. Justice is served. Sadly, incarceration is too often the solution, forcing the society as a whole to financially carry the burden of ineffectively and temporarily restoring a semblance of order. In most cases this stop gap measure does work, at least nominally. Not, however, in the case of first degree murder.

When someone commits an act of premeditated murder they are effectively and with forethought choosing to impose their own will upon another citizen by depriving them of their life. This crime is ultimate; they are choosing to remove another person entirely from the fabric of our society and by doing so are negatively impacting every other person who lives in that society. (“ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee” one of my all time favourite quotes and wildly relevant here) The only way for a society to recover from this imbalance is for the person who created it to be removed from the social compact permanently. The absence of the victim hurts us by the loss of their potential contributions; the removal of the criminal heals us by giving us closure.

The common arguments against this idea are many and varied, ranging from the sophomoric “two wrongs don’t make a right” to the more esoteric concept that both deaths diminish us, one from loss and one from uncertainty. I reject all the arguments against capital punishment with the simple logic that allowing the murderer to live forces all of us to endure his continued presence amongst us. It is a constant reminder that we have failed to fix a drastic problem and that we lacked the courage to enforce social order effectively.

I am not arguing for this solution to be used in any case other than 1st degree murder. Crimes of passion are called this because we empathize and can relate on some level to the course of action that resulted in another person’s death. Manslaughter completely lacks the element of intent and if there is no conscious choice then there is no real evil, it’s as random as severe weather. Minors and the mentally infirm are exempt on the grounds that we deem them ineligible to participate in the social compact and therefore have a separate standard for enforcing its rules. Only in the case of premeditated murder are we justified in administering so severe a reprisal.

There is one argument that must be addressed and that is the issue of wrongful conviction. My answer to that is unfortunately pragmatic. Everyone dies at some point and all deaths are fundamentally innocent. Cancer, tornadoes, AIDS, car crashes, bullets or the simple failing of organs are all unfair and not asked for by their victims. I don’t have tremendous faith in the intelligence of most people, especially those that can’t figure out how to avoid jury duty, however we have an adversarial system of criminal prosecution for a reason. Both sides should be able to mount as vigorous a case as possible and when the chips fall it should be reasonably apparent if guilt has been proven. In those cases where someone is convicted wrongfully and sentenced to death, well, it’s just one of many possible ends for that person, none of them asked for. This one has the advantage of allowing the victim to provide one last valuable service to their society.

Come share your thoughts.

3

This next section is impact testimony from Margaret Atherton, a customer who interacted with Damien at the computer supply store he worked at in ’04. Damien Pryce was twenty five at the time this took place.

We were religious long before the Establishment Clause was overturned. We lived in Gimli, Manitoba and only went to the city when we needed something that the Wal-Mart didn’t carry. So, as you can imagine, not very often. My husband and son were always reluctant to shop in the city with me, I think they were worried I would get “preachy” with anyone who upset my Christian sensibilities, but why shouldn’t I, “we’re right, they’re wrong” I would always say.

We were going shopping for a new computer for my son, Jason. He was about to start college in the fall and needed all new equipment for his dorm room. I wasn’t happy about him moving out, but what good mother would be? After shopping all day with no success, we decided to stop by the nearest Staples. Jason quickly headed towards the computer aisle and I saw him get approached by one of the clerks. I remember him being in his early twenties with black curly hair, bad skin and a goatee. He looked like a Jew.

Jason and the clerk; his name tag said Damien, talked for awhile and he seemed genuinely helpful, asked lot’s of questions. I don’t remember what Jason said to him, but I definitely heard Damien’s response.

“Jesus Christ!” he was laughing. “You’ve got to be kidding me”.

Well I charged over to them of course.

“Excuse me,” I said, “don’t you take the Lord’s name in vain.” I was furious. Not just with Damien, he was clearly a heathen, but also with Jason. I mean, he just looked all apologetic at Damien, like I had done something wrong and was embarrassing him.

Damien looked like he wanted to say something sassy at me, but I just glared at him.

“I’m really sorry,” he said, “I didn’t realize….”

“That isn’t an excuse, young man,” I felt on sure moral footing here, you understand, “God doesn’t accept excuses and neither do I. How were you raised, speaking like that in front of decent folk?”

He looked genuinely chagrined.

“Again, I’m very sorry. Tell you what, why don’t I show you something a little bit better for a bit less money by way of apology.”

I really believed he meant it, and I thought maybe I’d overreacted.

We bought the laptop and printer he suggested, as well as a wireless card and used the money he’d saved us to buy the extended warranty. Good thing too, that laptop was a total lemon, Jason only had it for about a third of the first term before it finally died for good. And you know what we found out from a friend who knows about computers?

Well, that laptop? It was the single worst brand on the market. And, what’s worse, so was the printer. And he sold us the wireless card without telling us there was already one in the computer! Can you imagine? I mean you hear things about Jews being cheats, but I never really thought… Well anyways, when I heard about what he did to that poor girl and her baby I can’t say I was really surprised. It’s the way those people are raised, thinking they’re better than everyone else, that the law doesn’t apply to them. I’m glad he’s dead.

Is that kind of what you wanted?

Chapter 2

1

May 14, 2019

Four weeks and 2 days before Damien’s final appeal to the Supreme Court.

The same guard, who I’ve learned in the last day is a congregant of the Kingston parish of my church, let’s me back into the same conference room, where this time I wait alone for about ten minutes before Damien joins me. When he enters the room this time, he is absent his prison cap and is sporting a shiner on his left eye. It’s bright purple and the eye is swelled shut. Despite the painful bruise, Damien seems in high spirits and greets me with a grin. When we’re both seated and the guard has left the room, I reach down to remove the small cardboard box tied to the back of my right leg and slide it across the table to him. Damien whistles in appreciation and makes the package of Player’s Light cigarettes disappear up one of his sleeves.

DP: It’s not my birthday. Those must’ve cost a small fortune.

LR: About fifty dollars. And only after searching the city for hours looking for a cigar shop. Just promise you won’t get caught with those, I don’t want to be banned from the premises. What happened to your eye?

DP: Oh, you know how it is. Just minding my own business and a door knob leaps at me out of nowhere and SMACK! right in the noggin. What’ve you got there?

Damien is arching the brow over his good eye and staring intently at the newspaper that I’ve just pulled out of my bag, this morning’s Ottawa Citizen. I slide it across to him and after he reads a few lines of the front page story he breathes in sharply and lets the breath out in a low whistle.

DP: They actually burned it down?

LR: And left a box of fossils on a park bench around the corner. You seem genuinely surprised. To hear the press tell it, you’re in constant contact with Will to Power and direct all their movements from your cell.

He snorts.

DP: Clearly I can’t even dodge door parts effectively in here, how am I going to direct so called terror cells? What do you think, they going to rebuild it?

LR: The Creation Museum? I hope so, it was a fun place. Besides if they don’t, then the terrorists have won.

Damien looks at me incredulously and then starts to laugh, almost falling off his chair at one point and the guard bangs on the door as a none too subtle order for him to behave.

DP: Oh, you weren’t being ironic. You were what, sixteen or seventeen on 04/01?

LR: The April Fools? Sixteen.

DP: Well that happened because a lot of very stupid people were thinking the same thing, about the time you were born “If we don’t rebuild the World Trade Towers, the terrorists have won.” “If we don’t have fucking Monday Night Football, the terrorists have won” Well they built a fucking football stadium between the new towers and sure enough, fifteen years to the day from the first attack, someone nuked a fucking Jets game with a radioactive suitcase. That’s going by the Muslim calendar by the way, strange how everyone expected something on the anniversary according to ours. Pure fucking arrogance. Now, no more New York. Maybe someday they’ll rebuild the eastern seaboard to show that the terrorists haven’t won, yeah? And here you sit, parroting the same old bullshit. It is naïve to dismiss something as terrorism just because it terrifies you. This wasn’t a terrorist act, it was education.

LR: I fail to see how burning down a scientific institution is…

DP: Scientific, huh? Tell me something, if I spent my entire life trying to prove that the events in The Lord of the Rings were literally true, would the methods I used be considered scientific, do you think?

LR: That’s not the same at all, the Bible is….

DP: A book. And a pretty badly written one considering the presumed source. But it’s not polite to talk religion, especially not with someone bearing gifts. Back to terrorism, yeah? After all, that is one of the things I’m charged with, or at the very least “inciting dissent”, whatever that means. Makes me something of an expert on the subject. This “act of terrorism” as the paper calls it, is educational in the sense that it is a reminder. A reminder that not everyone wants to be stupid. Do you know what used to be at this site?

LR: Another museum, right?

DP: A real museum. That used to be the museum of Science and Technology. There used to be a great big, silver rocket ship out front and a topsy turvy room inside. They had demonstrations on static electricity and liquid nitrogen. Every weekend my mom would take me there for Young Scientists of Ontario seminars. It was a place that took knowledge and the acquisition of it seriously. Now…..

Damien pauses for a second and leans his head back, a wistful look on his face.

DP: Now it’s a place where they teach children that the reason fossils seem to be found at lower levels of the earth’s crust than a young Earth model allows, is that the Great Flood scattered the bones all over the earth and moved the dirt over top of them when the water receded. That… that friendly purple dinosaurs hung out in twos with Noah on the arc. That’s not science Liam, that’s wish fulfillment. This is education in the sense that someone, somewhere, wants to remind people of what we lost when we decided that what we believe is more important than what we know.

I sit across from him and realize that my face is flushed with anger. I’m upset that, in order to get my story, I have to listen to this madman tear down everything I love, and express remorse for the loss of a time when sinners educated our children and prayer wasn’t allowed in schools.

LR: You sound like you endorse this kind of behavior.

DP: In theory absolutely. In practice, well in practice a lot of things can go wrong. People can get hurt for one. Fire is almost never a good way to get your point across, it so easily gets lost in the ashes. When they tried to pin these Will to Power guys to me during the trial, I almost wanted to take credit. I mean, having followers, that’s the kind of thing that can stroke a guy’s ego. Until he get’s nailed to a tree for it. I never endorsed or encouraged violence. I’m just glad that the moral majority didn’t become the moral everyone.

LR: Let’s talk about that for a minute. During the trial there was a pretty strong case made that your last blog entry essentially ordered your followers to take action against the state. It became a kind of manifesto for them; they even took their name from one of the passages. Yet you denied any knowledge of their activities and any association with them right up to the end. How can you deny responsibility for a group that essentially wouldn’t have existed if you hadn’t written what you did?

DP: “A pretty strong case”, you say. Were you there?

I shake my head no.

DP: The “case” they made against me was based entirely on the testimony of three guys that claimed they used to belong to the cell responsible for the New York bombing. Never mind the fact that sixteen separate organizations took credit for that explosion. Never mind the fact that had they belonged to this so called cell and repented, as they claimed, their co-conspirators would have most likely dealt with them long before they had a chance to testify as to their complicity. And, most importantly, never mind the fact that, after my trial, no one ever heard another word about them. Three men allegedly responsible for the death of millions, maybe tens of millions when you factor in the cancer cases that must still be popping up from radiation exposure, and nothing. No trial, no news coverage, certainly no execution. They just vanished. Doesn’t that strike you as somehow…fucked sideways, considering?

I’m literally in shock. This is an obvious, logical question to ask and to my knowledge not a single person, absolutely no one on earth has publicly asked it. I’m reeling from this and Damien leans in, the mark of the beast that’s carved into his forehead briefly and mercifully obscured and what he says next is so filled with self deprecation and wry humility that I believe him utterly.

DP: That last fucking entry. Jesus. You know what’s really funny? I had no idea, literally none, that anyone outside of my Facebook contacts was reading that fucking blog. Not for a really long time. I never even put a hit counter on it, couldn’t find one that worked properly. I tried once, I posted a pieces asking for a boycott of Fox Television and forwarded it to all of my contacts and when I checked the counter in the morning it was showing over twelve thousand hits. Needless to say I uninstalled it and didn’t bother again.

By the time things started getting really bad and I was traveling all over the country like a less green Incredible Hulk, I had an idea that a few more people were reading it ‘cause I kept running into folks who recognized me. By that point I was occasionally doing streaming video entries to save on limited connection time, you know? But I had no fucking clue that it had become a bloody cultural rallying point. It wasn’t exactly like the media was advertising it and the DRC was in full swing then, ripping anything it found to be seditious or inappropriate off the web. I just figured that last entry would disappear into the ether, not make me a wanted man.

Damien laughs shortly and I notice that he’s somehow managed to free one of the cigarettes from it’s container up his sleeve and is rolling it around between his fingers.

LR: You seem anxious, does talking about this bother you?

DP: Nah, man. Well a little I guess. I have nights when I lie awake and wonder, really wonder if I was in anyway responsible for what happened to New York. Millions dead. How do you deal with that? It’s crushing. Especially for a Jew. Especially when my end is coming. To be called the Hitler of my generation, it’s…it’s not how I wanted to be remembered.

I really want to smoke this fucking thing.

Haven’t had a cigarette in over a year. I went through the three days of gut twisting withdrawal and the weeks of putting anything longer than a domino and thinner than a penis in my mouth. I gained thirty pounds, yeah even on shitty prison food and then lost fifty. This is just one bitch that never let’s go. The really, really funny thing? They’re going to put a needle in my arm in just about two months. Kill me in five minutes flat. But if I lit this thing in here, they would look at me like I was a monster for possibly, maybe, one day if they live really, really badly, shortening their lives by about twenty seconds.

Listen; let’s do this some more tomorrow. I want to get my smoke on while there’s still time to hang out alone in my cell. I’m really liking where this is going, that tape recorder of yours is a really good listener….

LR: Actually it’s digital, no one’s used tape in…

DP: I give a shit about semantics. What I’m trying to say, without sounding too much like I want to give you a jump, is that I’m enjoying our time together and‘d like it to keep going. It’s a nice…distraction in this place. I just think I might like this cigarette a little more right now, you know? No offense.

I still have another question I want to ask about Will to Power, but he’s essentially pleading with me at this point and I figure he’ll be pretty much useless until he gets that smoke. I have some digging to do back at the hotel, into whether a case was ever brought against the men who testified to their involvement in 9/11, so I decide to let him off for now and I stand to leave.

DP: Did you ever read it, the last entry I mean?

LR: Yeah, in my Philosophy of Politics class. Right after we talked about Rosa Parks and how civil disobedience is tantamount to sedition. Never the rest of them though, they’re considered contraband material.

He laughs at this. It’s the first genuinely happy and healthy sound I’ve heard from him in our two sessions.

DP: Just like Catcher in the Rye, huh? Awesome. Well, I’m not going to say it’s Shakespeare or anything, but if you want, I’ll see if I can get my mom to set you up with a copy from my computer. Tomorrow? I mean, this again, not the blogs, those’ll take awhile.

I nod my agreement and knock on the door to summon the guard.

2

Taken from one of the earliest entries at www.thingsthatmakemyheadexplode.com

Thursday, May 30, 2007

I Hate You All (A smoker dares to blow a line in the sand.)

So here’s the deal. I smoke.

Yes, I’m fully aware that smoking is bad for me. It’s also been made clear that some of you think my smoking is bad for you.

Fuck you. Die, seriously. There’s already too many people on the planet and I like me better than you.

I put up with it when they banned smoking in bars and restaurants even though I think it’s a fucking travesty that a person who owns a business can’t decide what perfectly legal and government taxed activities take place in his/her business. I complained bitterly when they barred me from smoking on outdoor patios but I dutifully complied. (though I did make a point of blowing every last puff of smoke at you smug bastards snickering at me from 2 feet away.)

For awhile I even put up with the condescending speeches about the evils of smoking lobbed my way by every sanctimonious, cheese eating, non-exercising, American Idol loving jackass who I had the privilege to work with over the last decade or so. That trend ended last year when I started reminding every single one of you that the end result of your own addiction (to gasoline) can roughly be measured by the following ratio: 1 litre of gas burned: 1 Iraqi citizen butchered by illegal occupation forces. (not an actual statistic. Also I totally endorse the right of the U.S.A. to violate whatever international laws they choose. They have more guns than me. By a wide margin.)

I have now officially had it.

I live in a city where rents are skyrocketing because landlords want to play the condo conversion game and the provincial government has decided it’s best for the people if the rental market remains completely unregulated. Even if people wind up homeless in a province where everyone is earning roughly 20% more than they have any right to. It’s important, the P.I.P. (people in power) remind us, to let the market correct itself naturally, without interference. Fine. So explain to me how this same government thinks it has the right to step in and add one further measure to the regulations against tobacco. (a product that I will again remind you is 100% legal and generates huge, huge tax revenues) The provincial government of Alberta (who have not been exposed to a general election in god knows how long and therefore can’t claim to be the least bit representative) have decided to propose a bill that would ban the sale of cigarettes from every single retail venue in the province. Except liquor stores.

I can only assume this has something to do with dropping liquor tax revenues as this administration has made it quite clear they don’t give a shit about the health and welfare of the Albertan people.

Adding insult to injury, I read an article in the Edmonton Journal today about a B.C. woman who is suing her rental company to evict her next door neighbour. Her reason? Her neighbour smokes on her own fucking balcony! And the hell of it is, she’ll probably win. This comes in the midst of a year long conversation being had by rental agencies across the country about the legalities of banning smokers from their properties. Corporations in the States have begun firing employees who smoke to get a break on insurance rates and thus far most of civil cases launched against them have failed.

Have you fuckers forgotten that this is an addiction!? Let me remind you. Health Canada likes to inform us that quitting smoking can be as challenging as getting off cocaine or heroin. No company fires its employees for having a drug abuse problem. They show empathy and get their people addiction counselling. We don’t take it upon ourselves to constantly lecture our friends who maybe gamble too much or drink a little more than they should or cheat on their spouses. For fuck sakes, can you imagine if people started bitching at every fat person they saw to go to the fucking gym?

Substance and behavioural addictions are considered a bona fide mental defect under the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination in the Bill of Rights. I am protected from discrimination from you by the same law that protects women, visible minorities, the elderly, homosexuals, Mormons and all of you NDP voting, tofu eating, and tree humping communists out there. We’re all equal under the law.

I’m not a moron. If cigarettes were made illegal tomorrow I would be ecstatic. I would endure the agonizing torture that is withdrawal with a smile on my face because it would be proof positive that the government cared more about the welfare of its people than tax dollars or corporate contributions. I would fully support fines and punitive measures against those who broke the law. But it’s not illegal. It is taxed. And until that changes I’m telling you, leave us and the companies that sell us our poison alone.

I’m declaring war. From this day forward I am lumping all of you in to the same category as Jehovah’s Witnesses or that Vegan chick who yells at me because I don’t see the problem with drinking milk. I will tell you politely to go fuck yourself and I will happily whistle a jaunty tune as I suck back my smoke while imagining you being hit by a bus.

Come share your thoughts.

3

Based on impact testimony of Brian Michael Barber. This account takes place during the summer of ’06 when Damien was living in Ottawa briefly.

It’s safe to say that my one…run in with Damien changed the course of my life. I mean, it’s not like you can pin point any one event and say with certainty, “That’s it. That’s the moment everything changed.” Bad books start that way, not real life. But if certainly was a pivotal point for me.

I think I was either fourteen or fifteen and I was the shit. At least compared to all the other guys hanging out front of the Rideau Centre that summer, I was the shit. At least as far as these things are measured in the hearts and minds of pubescent schmuks. I was the only one out of my circle of friends who could actually back up my claims of sexual godhood with at least one bona fide case of sexual intercourse. I had a steady supply of pot which I distributed, in quantities that only a mathematical dyslexic would dare describe as grams, to people who I called friends. I had an ego the size of Manhattan.

The day this happened was boiling hot, one of those days that people living in the rest of the country don’t really get. Ottawa’s a brutally humid city in the summer and this was one of those days that the humidity and the heat combined to produce hot rain from a cloudless sky. We were all hanging out at the fountains, you know in the square across the street from the mall? Just, you know, shooting the shit, playing a little hacky sack until the heat drained us too much and then lighting joints in the shade. It was just a long, boring day. The kind you immediately miss once you’re a grown up and have to work all the time. It was probably the combination of boredom and having a captive audience that made my chase the girl and her dweeb boyfriend down the street.

I knew them both from school, her name was Amanda something, I don’t remember his. They were a grade or two ahead of me and were practically joined at the hip. He was the kind of kid that probably got taken apart in gym class, nose always in a book, glasses, bad clothes. Every school has a bunch of them; they either wind up signing the paycheques of the kids who beat on them in high school or going Columbine in the accountant’s pool. She was a bandy, played the flute or something, totally off my radar normally, cute enough, but social death to even look at.

Except, like I mentioned, it was fucking hot outside, and she was stripped down to her bikini top.

Now, and I cannot emphasize this enough, I normally never would have even paid attention to her, but she had unbelievable fucking tits. Like Heavy Metal tits, you know? No, you don’t remember that one? I would recommend looking it up, but I guess it would be hard to find these days. On account of the glorious goddamn tits. Fucking DRC bastards. Anyway, in my opinion she was utterly wasted on him and I decided to prove that to her in the only way my pot addled, testosterone fuelled brain knew how. I ran up behind them and donkey punched him in the back of the head.

Needless to say, it didn’t yield the desired reaction. He pitched forward onto the ground and just started keening, real quiet and scared. Amanda? She started screaming, just yelling her fucking head off and then she started belting me. The really messed up part was, the whole time she was hitting me and hollering at the top of her lungs, I was totally oblivious to anything except the sight of her tits bouncing around in that bikini. Which is probably why I didn’t notice Damien walking up behind me until he had essentially grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and was hauling me around the corner.

“Are your parents dead?” he asked.

I normally would have lipped him off, the fact that I was pinned to the wall of the alley behind the Christmas store with my feet at least half a meter off the ground may have contributed to my cooperation. At just over six feet and a little more than two hundred pounds, he shouldn’t have been able lift me like that, I was only a little smaller than him. But, I guess what they say about intense emotions or strain leading to elevated levels of strength is true enough and I didn’t want to find out just how emotional or strained he was. You’ve met him; he’s kind of an intense dude, no?

“No, they’re still alive.”

He dropped me and just stood there, his arms folded across his chest like he was posing for the cover of Action comics.

“I see,” he said, “so they raised you to believe that hitting random, innocent pedestrians was what exactly? Good fun? Social commentary? Performance art? I guess you don’t mind if I do this, then?”

He pulled his fist back and buried it in my side, hard. I cried out and felt a little piss dribble out of me.

“Why isn’t anyone screaming for you? You’re friends are right over there, why is this happening to you?”

I looked to the end of the alley and sure enough my boys were all standing there gaping like retarded chimps. Not one of them was looking like they would help me. Damien punched me in the other side and I felt my bladder let go. My friends laughed and then scattered when the piss started running out of my shorts and down my legs.

“You know why they didn’t help you?”

I shook my head and he leaned in close and whispered in my ear.

“It’s ‘cause they’re really shitty friends.”

Damien let me slump to the ground and he crouched down beside me. This time when he spoke it was gentler.

“You’ve got a choice. You can get up, figure out some excuse that let’s you believe that none of this was your fault at all, and then wake up tomorrow and do something just as asinine. Or, you can take some of that attitude and point it at yourself for a change. Take some ownership for this and realize that just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.

Excuses don’t mean shit, kid. Trust me, the only person who cares about your reasons for doing something is you. Only your actions matter. Try and remember that.”

And then he was gone. And I was lying there in a pool of my own piss, listening to the sound of my friends laughing around the corner. And I hated him. For a long time I hated him, for shaming me in front of my boys, for making me feel that scared and small. It took me a while to figure out, that was how every person I ever cut down in front of their girlfriend or their buddies felt. That kid I punched in the head, he didn’t curl up on the ground and start mewling ‘cause he was in pain, hell he was long gone by the time I got my ass out of the alley, he was crying because feeling that powerless is a horrible fucking feeling. And knowing that he probably went through something similar every goddamn day at school, shit, it takes a lot of courage to know you’re going to face that and still wake up in the morning.

Anyway, I didn’t change overnight or anything, what teenage dolt was ever swayed by words, right? But I did gradually lose my taste for being a thuggish twit. It wasn’t until years later though, that I really understood what Damien had meant when he talked about actions and reasons.

After the N.A. Union took effect, some of the laws, well it wasn’t enough that we were on the right side of the thin blue line anymore. Some of the things we were asked to do were just plain wrong and it didn’t matter if the law was on our side; the wrong action is just the wrong action, no matter what. So, I gave up being a cop and now the only good I do is trying to straighten up the odd kid I find who’s got enough of a mind to realize that not everything is hunky dory under the new deal. It’s funny, I’m almost doing the opposite now, of what Damien did to help me, but the ones that tow the line? They just creep me the fuck out.

God I miss bikinis.

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