book reviews, celebrities

Repost: Brooke Hayward explains how her family went Haywire

Here’s another reposted book review. I originally wrote it for Epinions.com on January 9, 2012. It was reposted on my old blog exactly six years later. And now, I’m reposting it again, almost three years after the last repost. As this was written in 2012, please bear in mind that some things in my life have changed since then.

Television has certainly changed since I was a child.  Back when I was still at a tender age, movies of the week were very common on the big three networks.  I remember back in 1980, there was a movie of the week starring Lee Remick and Jason Robards called Haywire.  Though my memories of the actual film are hazy, I did remember the movie was high on drama and based on a book by the same name written by Brooke Hayward.  When I recently got the urge to read something new, I went looking for Haywire.  To my delight, it was available on Amazon.com, both in print form and for the Kindle.  I downloaded a copy and spent the next week reading all about how Brooke Hayward’s family went “haywire”.

Who is Brooke Hayward?

Being a child of the 70s, I haven’t seen that many classic movies.  Consequently, I am not all that familiar with Brooke Hayward’s mother, Margaret Sullavan, who was a successful actress and film star.  I’m also not familiar with Brooke Hayward’s father, Leland Hayward, a reknowned Broadway and Hollywood agent.  But the two were at one time a couple and their marriage produced three children: Brooke, Bridget, and Bill.  Besides her turn as an author, Brooke Hayward is known for being Dennis Hopper’s first wife and a model and actress.

Brooke Hayward has also had many famous stepparents.  Her father was also married to Nancy “Slim” Keith and Pamela Harriman.  His first wife was Lola Gibbs.  They divorced, remarried, and divorced again before Brooke was born.  Also before Brooke was born, her mother had a brief marriage to Henry Fonda and a slightly longer marriage to Hollywood director and screenwriter, William Wyler.  At the time of her early death, Margaret Sullavan was married to Kenneth Wagg, an investment banker.

How things went “haywire”

Haywire is, at its core, a book about growing up with Margaret Sullavan and Leland Hayward as parents.  But at a deeper level, this book is also about being a child of divorce and an innocent bystander to mental illness.  This book was written in 1977, before people talked about how divorce affects children.  Indeed, when Margaret Sullavan and Leland Hayward split up, divorce was not nearly as common as it is today.  It was a source of shame.

In her elegant writing style, Hayward describes how Leland Hayward and Margaret Sullavan grew up and eventually came together, even though they were very different people.  Leland Hayward liked to live a fancy life, while Margaret Sullavan was more grounded and determined not to let their children grow up spoiled.  Hayward liked the city, while Sullavan preferred the country.  Hayward was a sophisticated jetsetter, while Sullavan remained faithful to her Virginia roots.  They were a mismatched couple, even though their marriage lasted a somewhat respectable (by Hollywood standards, anyway) eleven years.

When Brooke Hayward’s parents split up, she and her brother and sister were asked to take sides.  By Hayward’s account, Margaret Sullavan was very possessive of her children and would manipulate them through guilt.  When they had disagreements with her, Margaret Sullavan would suggest they go live with their father, suggesting that it was somehow a punishment.  One day, Bridget and Bill Hayward agreed that, yes, they would prefer living with their dad.  Apparently, that revelation drove Margaret Sullavan to a nervous breakdown.

Aside from problems stemming from their parents’ divorce, Bridget and Bill Hayward had significant mental health issues.  Both committed suicide.  Bridget died of a drug overdose in 1960 at age 21, just months after Margaret Sullavan’s own suicidal overdose.  Bill Hayward died in 2008 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  Both Bridget and Bill spent a great deal of time in mental hospitals. 

Interspersed with her ruminations about life with two world famous but troubled parents, Hayward injects plenty of tales about her contemporaries.  Peter and Jane Fonda were contemporaries and Brooke, Bridget, and Bill spent a lot of time with them.  She describes the elegant lifestyle she enjoyed, despite her mother’s determinations to prevent her children from being spoiled by excess.

This book was updated in 2010 and has a new epilogue, which updates readers on how Brooke and Bill turned out.  There are also pictures which looked great on the Kindle.

My thoughts

I am not a child of divorce, but I am a stepmother to my husband’s two very alienated young adult daughters.  I have only met my husband’s daughters once and they haven’t spoken to my husband since 2004.  Like Brooke Hayward, I have had an up close and personal look at the way divorce can screw up children.  On ther other hand, divorce can be a lifesaver when two people don’t get along.  And if it’s done correctly and the parents put their kids first, it can be a good thing for a dysfunctional family.  Naturally, it works best when parents can cooperate with each other. 

As I read Haywire, it appeared to me that Margaret Sullavan and Leland Hayward did, on some level, try to co-parent.  Sullavan didn’t like sending her kids to see their dad, but she did at least allow them to maintain that relationship.  However, Brooke Hayward’s account is very telling in that Sullavan was adept at emotionally blackmailing her children.  She made disparaging remarks about Leland Hayward and, though she might not have done it on purpose, asked her kids to take sides.  Clearly, this kind of manipulation eventually took a toll on all three children.  While most children of divorce do grow up without having to do time in a mental hospital or prematurely ending their lives, Hayward’s account of how she missed out on time with her father is very revealing. 

Leland Hayward was not blameless either.  He was somewhat guilty of being a “Disney Dad”, lavishing gifts and money on the children in order to assauge his guilt over not being around.  He was not faithful to Sullavan and that was one of the reasons they split.  I’m sure there was guilt stemming from that as well.

One thing I was glad to see is that Brooke, Bridget, and Bill seemed to get along with all of their stepparents.  I did notice that they seemed to like some of their parents’ choices more than others.  For instance, Brooke really seemed to like her first stepmother, Nancy, more than she liked socialite and future U.S. Ambassador to France Pamela Harriman, who was married to Leland Hayward at the time of his death.  Of course, Pamela Harriman is a fascinating subject all on her own! 

Overall 

While I can’t claim to be a fan of Margaret Sullavan as an actress, nor did I ever follow Brooke Hayward’s acting career, I will admit to liking Haywire.  It’s a fascinating read on so many levels.  It’s entertaining for people who enjoy reading about classic film stars.  It’s also great for people who like to read about family systems.  And now I’d like to re-watch the film that prompted me to read this book.

An ad for the made for TV movie, which was based on the book. I remember watching this film when it aired.

As an Amazon Associate, I get a small commission from Amazon.com on sales made through my site.

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memories, mental health, true crime

I wouldn’t want to go back to high school… would you?

Yesterday, I was binge watching the third season of Cobra Kai. It was a YouTube Premium show, but now it’s on Netflix, which makes it nice for me. Now, I don’t have to wait for it to show up on iTunes. Watching the third season of Cobra Kai led to my having some rather vivid dreams this morning, but happily, they weren’t nightmares. I was actually kind of afraid I would have bad dreams, because the last episode had many snakes in it. I don’t hate snakes… I think they’re misunderstood. But I would not want to fall into a snake pit, either. Yikes!

Anyway, as I was watching Cobra Kai, I noticed an article that was being re-shared by The Atlantic magazine. It was originally posted July 6, 2016 by Jeff Maysh, and it was titled “Why One Woman Pretended to Be a High-School Cheerleader“. I was intrigued, especially since in 2016, we neither had Donald Trump as president nor any worries about COVID-19. I figured it was the perfect thing to read as the headlines grow more alarming.

Maysh’s story was about a woman named Wendy Brown, who in 2008, decided to pose as a high school student at Ashwaubenon High School in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Although many of us would like to forget our high school years, Wendy Brown had wanted a do-over ever since she’d quit school in the early 1990s.

Wendy had two children, Joey and Jaimi. At the time of Wendy’s strange trip back to high school in Wisconsin, her children were enrolled in a high school in Nevada, where they were being cared for by Brown’s parents, Joe and Judith. Joey, named after Wendy’s dad, was conceived when Wendy Brown was a high school student at Harold L. Richards High School in Illinois, where she was on the track team. When Wendy started throwing up after races, her mother suspected she was pregnant. Sure enough, she was, and she delivered her son on her 17th birthday. Her son’s father abandoned them both, and Wendy’s school career abruptly stalled.

Three months later, Wendy got pregnant again, this time by another boy. Her daughter, Jaimi, was born nine months later. High school had been a misery for Wendy, and she’d never managed to finish. Besides being pregnant when she was a teen, Wendy also had a speech impediment that caused her to mispronounce words her r’s. Instead of saying “rabbit”, she’d say “wabbit”. Other kids made fun of her.

Making matters worse was the fact that Wendy had siblings who did comparatively well in school. She had a younger sister named Jennifer, who was a social butterfly and a cheerleader. She had an older brother who was a football player. Both got through high school unscathed, while Wendy floundered. She was very jealous of Jennifer, who got to wear the school’s black and gold colors on her cheerleading uniform and seemed to have a great life.

Throughout her 20s, Wendy drifted through dead end jobs at discount stores like Walmart and K-Mart. She waited tables and worked in fast food places. She’d even worked as a stripper as she migrated from state to state. Stripping turned out to be her longest lasting paying gig.

Freshly married in June 2006, Wendy and her new husband went six months before domestic violence became a problem. In Cass County, Illinois, where Wendy was living when she was first married, the police were frequently called to their home to break up their fights. Wendy’s husband would lose his temper and knock out all of the windows in the home.

In 2008, the pair moved to Green Bay, Wisconsin, while Wendy’s kids moved to Nevada. Wendy had an old friend who lived there and she thought maybe she and her husband could make a fresh start. They rented a small apartment near Ashwaubenon High School. Wendy could hear the football team practice. She was sad that her children weren’t living with her anymore, and was feeling hopeless. That’s when she got the idea to go back to high school, posing as a fifteen year old kid and prospective cheerleader.

Wendy was a very petite woman who could pass for fifteen. She weighed just 103 pounds and easily fit into junior sized clothes. She put on a girlish speaking voice, styled her hair the way kids in 2008 did, and bought herself a new bookbag. She enrolled in school by herself, telling the guidance counselor that her name was Jaimi and her mom was “hard to reach” when she was at work. The counselor apparently took Wendy (posing as Jaimi) at her word, and for a several weeks, Wendy went to classes and even tried out for the cheerleading team, which she made. She also got into a choral group, in which the teacher noted her unusually “mature” singing voice. It was hard for Wendy to get used to being called by her daughter’s name, Jaimi. One time, a teacher called on Wendy three times before she realized she was being addressed. The teacher chalked it up to Wendy “daydreaming” because she was new.

Wendy Brown’s ruse was destined to fail. She got busted for truancy when she didn’t return to school after her first day. One of the principals called the school where Wendy had noted she had studied previously– the school in Nevada where her daughter, Jaimi, was a student. The staff there informed Ashwaubenon High School’s associate principal that Jaimi was in school in Nevada. The principal called the real Jaimi’s grandmother, who explained that her daughter, Wendy, had a history of committing identity thefts. Meanwhile, Wendy had posed as the manager at her apartment building and ripped off a security deposit from a prospective renter.

In the end, Wendy wound up being found not guilty “by reason of mental disease or defect” to a charge of identity theft. She was subsequently committed to the Winnebago mental health facility in Wisconsin for three years, having been diagnosed with bi-polar II disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and two personality disorders. While she was locked up, Wendy was diagnosed with breast cancer, and underwent chemotherapy and two surgeries, all alone. She also divorced her husband and earned her G.E.D., but was not able to get her certificate until after she was released from the psychiatric hospital where she was incarcerated.

Apparently, all she’d really wanted was a “do-over” of her high school years. And although this case was very embarrassing to the staff at Ashwaubenon High School, no real harm had been done. No one at the school wanted to speak to Jeff Maysh about this case, though. Sadly, Wendy’s children were also estranged from her, as of 2016, and Wendy had yet to meet her grandchild.

There’s more to this story, of course, and you can read it for yourself. I was left kind of flabbergasted when I read it. I suppose there are times when I kind of miss high school a little. Those were simpler days, and I spent a lot of them hanging out with my horse. On the other hand, they weren’t the happiest of times for me, and I didn’t have a particularly enjoyable experience in high school. I mean, on one hand, it’s kind of exciting because that’s when you start making plans for your future. You have your whole life ahead of you. On the other hand, it’s also when a lot of youngsters are insecure and immature, and if you’re not “popular”, it can be a lonely time.

Me in high school, aged 17… That hair is killer.

I also would not want to go back to living with my parents. Wendy Brown didn’t do that, of course. She would fake being a teen by day, then go home to her depressing apartment and be a wife to her abusive husband. But the idea of going back to high school, even if I could do it as an actual teen, doesn’t really appeal to me much. The only thing I might have done differently was take some different courses and study music. But if I had done that, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Things might have turned out very differently. Maybe they would have been better. Maybe they would have been worse.

Anyway… I don’t know why The Atlantic is currently sharing these old stories on Facebook. I’m glad they did share that one, though, because it was a nice distraction from politics yesterday, and I’ve only been a subscriber for about a year. And it gave me a reminder that I’d rather be 48 than 15 again, even though it doesn’t seem like it was that long ago that I was in high school. I think today’s students have it a hell of a lot worse than I did. For one thing, we didn’t have school shootings. For another, COVID-19 wasn’t a thing, either. Neither was social media, for that matter. I think Facebook probably makes high school much worse.

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mental health

The “real” causes of depression, addiction, and anxiety…

Yesterday, someone who is Facebook friends with my former therapist shared an insightful Huffington Post article from January 2018. The subject was depression and anxiety, and what really causes them. I was interested, since depression and anxiety have been a part of my life for a very long time… in fact, I’d venture to say they’ve affected me for almost my whole existence. I have a lot of photos from when I was younger, especially around puberty, where I look positively downtrodden.

The Huffington Post article, written by Johann Hari, is entitled “The Real Causes Of Depression Have Been Discovered, And They’re Not What You Think”. Hari writes that in the 1990s, when he was a teenager, a doctor told him that his depression was caused by a chemical imbalance. All he needed to do to feel better was to take some medication that fixed his “broken brain”. So Hari took the drugs, and they worked somewhat, although he was always having to up his dosage. The pain of depression would always come back. Hari thought something was wrong with him, since this “magic” drug cure wasn’t helping him the way the doctors had promised it would.

Some years later, Hari went to Cambridge University and spent three years studying depression and anxiety in an attempt to find out what really causes the condition. He discovered that conditions like depression, anxiety, addiction, and eating disorders are often caused by trauma and a lack of a meaningful connection to other human beings. Do people sometimes have “chemical imbalances” that are helped by antidepressants, mood stabilizers, or other psychiatric drugs? Yes, sometimes they do, and psychiatric drugs can be very helpful even when a chemical imbalance is not solely to blame. But more often than not, mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety are caused by something horrible that happened in the past.

Regular readers might remember that I recently binge watched a bunch of Intervention episodes. Intervention is a show that has been on the A&E channel for many years. One thing I’ve noticed in almost every episode is that almost every addict was affected by a traumatic event. It seems like an overwhelming majority of the females profiled on that show, and quite a few of the males, too, were victims of sexual assault or molestation of some kind. Those who were not sexually abused in some way usually suffered some other kind of childhood trauma that was never addressed. Divorce, physical abuse, death of a parent or other close family member, abandonment and even adoption have figured into the addict’s history.

I recently watched one episode about a guy named Gabe who was born on the streets of Calcutta and abandoned by his mother when he was three years old. He was later adopted by a very white bread Christian family, who brought him to the United States and tried to raise him among his very white, middle class siblings. Throughout the episode, Gabe kept talking about how different he felt, being this dark skinned Indian child in a culture that was so different from where he originally came. He felt like an outsider, which caused him to feel depressed and anxious. When he was in high school, the formerly happy boy began to resent his white, Christian upbringing. Gabe turned to marijuana, cocaine, and later heroin to help ease his psychic pain.

My husband’s ex wife was the product of an affair. Her biological mother was married to a man who didn’t want to raise another man’s child, so she was put up for adoption. The couple who adopted her split up when she was still very young. She didn’t know her adoptive father until she was about seven years old. Meanwhile, her mother married an abusive man who molested Ex, his wife’s adopted daughter, but left the biological daughter he’d had with Ex’s mother alone. The end result is a woman who is abusive and cruel to others, especially those closest to her. She also does destructive things to herself, perhaps in a bid to make herself feel better about her unresolved traumas and, perhaps, the feeling that she was never loved by anyone. That kind of trauma can be contagious. Passing it to others can cause them to perpetuate it in ripple effects. Bill and I are grateful, though, because it looks like at least one of Ex’s children has recognized the pattern of abuse and is taking steps not to repeat it.

It’s no secret that there is no love lost between Bill’s ex wife and me, though it may surprise some readers to know that there is a part of me who has great empathy for her situation. I’m sure she had a terrible, traumatic, abusive childhood, as a lot of people have. There are underlying reasons for the destructive ways she and other people behave, although being an abuse victim is not an excuse to abuse other people.

I can even look at myself and see this phenomenon at work. I come from a family of alcoholics and depressives. My father was abused by his father, and in turn, my dad was sometimes abusive and cruel to me. Add in my run ins with the neighborhood pervert, who used to show me pornography, pinch my ass, and make suggestive comments to me, and maybe you might see a cause for me to be depressed and anxious. When I finally addressed my longstanding depression back in 1998, I took antidepressants and got psychotherapy. Prozac wasn’t very helpful, and in fact, it eventually made things worse. But Wellbutrin was a lifesaver for me. After just four days, my attitude changed. I woke up one morning and decided I needed to make some big changes, and I proceeded to do just that.

I took Wellbutrin for about five years before I weaned myself off of it. I had no problems getting off of the drug. The only thing that changed was my weight. I gained some in the wake of quitting antidepressants. I have noticed some other changes since then. For instance, I used to have meltdowns. I used to cry a lot over anything that upset me. Some of the things that bothered me were pretty insignificant, at least to other people. Now, I don’t cry very often at all. I sometimes get misty eyed when I’m moved, but I no longer get that painful, deeply hurt feeling I used to get in my throat in the futile attempt to fight back tears. I rarely cry anymore when I’m sad or angry. I only cry when I feel emotional. I don’t know if that’s a result of my use of antidepressants or the fact that I’m just getting older and my body chemistry has changed. It’s also been a long time since my last panic attack, although I used to have them fairly often.

Sometimes I wonder if I’d like to go back on antidepressants, but then I realize that would mean having to deal with doctors. I don’t like dealing with doctors unless I’m pretty damned sick. I’m sure a lot of other people are the same way. They’d rather turn to something else to ease their pain… like drugs or alcohol, compulsive shopping or porn, religion or abuse… or food. Writing and singing are two somewhat healthy activities I do to head off depression, although some people have told me that they don’t think what I write is “healthy”.

Personally, I think writing is a very healthy thing to do, especially if it’s all I do (as opposed to taking destructive actions toward others). I write for myself. I share what I write for others, since I know that there’s a good chance that someone out there can relate. Maybe some of the more personal posts I write are helpful to those people out there, even if I do seem “unhealthy”. Maybe I’m not interested in presenting an image of “health” to other people. Maybe my image to others isn’t all that important to me, although it is for many other people.

A couple of days ago, I shared with my mother-in-law a comment that I got from a reader who was upset about a post I wrote about my husband’s ex wife. The post is on my old blog, which is no longer public. The commenter took me to task for constantly “trashing” Bill’s ex wife, said my posts were way too negative and contained too much inappropriate information, and she advised me to “let it go”. She wrote that I came off as “bitter” and “petty”, which I thought was pretty funny. Obviously, not appearing to be “bitter” and “petty” to others is something that is important to the commenter. I wondered what made her think that was important to me. What made her think that I would care about how I “come off” to other people? What made her think that every other person sees me in the way she saw me that day, or that her impression of me was the correct one? And what made her think that her decision to chastise me would ultimately be productive?

I guess, in a way, her negative comment about “my negativity” was productive in that I’m now thinking about what she wrote and composing a blog post about it. But telling me to “let it go” didn’t result in my “letting it go”, did it? All it did was make me realize that she’s one of the many people who don’t get it and isn’t about to put forth the effort to get it. In fact, trying to impose your version of what is “the right image” on other people is bound to lead to depression and heartache, isn’t it? It’s ultimately a waste of time. Because every person is different, and not everyone sees things in the same way. For every person who thinks what I do is unproductive and unhealthy, there’s probably at least one person who understands and is maybe even helped. And honestly, trying to write for other people’s expectations is impossible, anyway. Trying to please everyone is truly a one way ticket to Crazyville, with stops in Depression Town, Anxiety City, and Self-sabotageburg.

Anyway… I think that mental illnesses like depression and anxiety frequently do have their roots in traumas, particularly during childhood and adolescence. I won’t say that’s always what causes those problems. Some people really do have chemical imbalances, and I’m sure for many, there’s a combination of causes that lead to depression, addiction, anxiety, and other conditions like eating disorders. On the other hand, if a simple chemical imbalance causes someone to be depressed and the depression causes that person to be mean, grumpy, controlling and abusive to another person, which then leads them to depression and anxiety, then you might have a true chicken and egg scenario, right? Sigh… well, it’s time to get on with the day. We’re still in France and will go home tomorrow. Maybe then, I can write something that rambles less.

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true crime

Brain damaged Trump supporter pleads not guilty…

Last week, while I was drifting merrily through Scotland on Hebridean Princess, I wrote a blog post about Curt James Brockway, a brain damaged Army veteran and ardent Trump supporter accused of choke slamming a 13 year old boy. On August 3rd of this year, Mr. Brockway allegedly grew incensed at the 13 year old child because he was wearing a hat during the playing of the national anthem at a rodeo in Montana. When Mr. Brockway asked the boy to remove his hat, the boy reportedly responded with a hearty “fuck you”, allegedly inspiring Brockway, three times his victim’s age and much larger in size, to body slam the boy.

Brockway’s excuse is that he suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident. He was serving in the Army at Fort Lewis at the time. Years after his accident, he’s an extreme supporter of Donald Trump, and believes body slamming the boy was warranted, since Trump has said people who disrespect the flag or the national anthem should be punished. Meanwhile, the child Mr. Brockway allegedly assaulted was left with a concussion and skull fracture.

Today, I read that Mr. Brockway, already in legal trouble due to a 2011 conviction of assault with a weapon, pleaded not guilty to the crime of felony assault of a minor. Judge John Lawson reinstated Brockway’s probation, which requires that he stay at home and wear a GPS monitor. In the 2010 incident, Brockway had threatened three people with a weapon during a traffic dispute. He was put on probation and given a suspended ten year prison sentence.

I’m not really surprised that Brockway pleaded not guilty. I’m sure that’s what his lawyer, Lance Jasper, advised him to do. I’m also sure that Brockway feels like he’s in the right for his extreme response to the boy’s disrespect and use of profanity. I think he belongs to a certain segment of society that feels that children need to be taught respect through violence. I first read about Brockway’s plea through a Facebook link from the Army Times. Plenty of people think Brockway was right in putting his hands on another person in violence and fracturing his skull.

It scares me how indoctrinated some military veterans can be when it comes to certain issues. Although a lot of them joke about liberals being so open-minded their brains fall out, I think that conservatives sometimes are guilty of being so closed-minded that their brains can’t access oxygen. This is also often the crowd that thinks corporal punishment is always okay in every situation and a parent’s inalienable right.

Lance Jasper, Brockway’s attorney, is seeking a mental health evaluation for his client. I don’t think that’s unreasonable. I’m sure he does have brain damage from his accident. And, I don’t think he’s brain damaged just because he’s such an ardent Trump supporter that he’d hurt a child, believing Trump would want him, personally, to punish people he thinks are disrespectful and unpatriotic. I’m sure he really does have some functional damage to his brain resulting from his accident and it affects his judgment.

However, Brockway, just like the two Trump lovers who, several months ago, shot each other while drinking alcohol and wearing a bulletproof vest, is just another example of the low caliber of a person who doesn’t question Trump’s toxic leadership, use common sense, or employ critical thinking skills. These people just can’t seem to see what is very obvious to people who aren’t brain damaged.

I don’t know the status of Brockway’s brain today. I do think that if he’s so out of control that he can’t keep his hands to himself at public events, he should not be walking free within society. If he’s so brain damaged or mentally ill that he feels compelled to physically harm other people, he should be in a place where he can be appropriately supervised. Whether that’s prison or a mental hospital remains to be seen. I’m sure more facts will come out during his legal battle. I just hope the kid he hurt will be able to make a full recovery. In the meantime, he’s going to miss part of his childhood and cost his parents a lot in hospital bills thanks to Brockway’s Trump inspired violent outburst.

Granted, we have plenty of violent people in the United States. They seem to be inspired by different things. I’m certainly not saying that Trump is directly to blame for every violent incident. It just seems to me that his leadership is emboldening people who otherwise might not act out in violence and Trump supporters also tend to be pro Second Amendment gun rights types. I am not necessarily anti-gun myself. I know many responsible gun owners. I’d just like to see it a lot more restricted and regulated, like it is in Europe. There is violent crime here, but a lot fewer people die of it because there are far fewer weapons.

I keep thinking I might like to move back to the States soon… so we can own our own house for once. But right now, the United States is completely warped. I’m actually scared to move back there. I’m sure we’ll have to at some point… or at least leave Germany. I just hope it’s sometime when Trump is out of office. I think he’s really damaged the country and awakened a frightening beast in some people. As for Brockway, frankly, I think he deserves a nice long prison sentence. If I was the mother of that boy he harmed, I’d be demanding it.

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