A pack of wild horses couldn’t drag me back to visit and engage with the family that I’ve managed to finally leave behind, but there are certain memories cling to me with a death grip.
One of those examples comes courtesy of my youngest half brother.
I can’t remember what we were watching that night when I was visiting my Mother several years ago but it was probably something glorifying war or a show about a band of duck hunting assholes. It doesn’t really make much of a difference, it’s all the same in the end, isn’t it? These guys pretty much always gravitate to the entertainment and entertainers that justify their own deep-seated hatred and prejudice. I get it, we’re drawn to that which makes us comfortable.
The thing that came out of his mouth though, shook and chilled me to the core. Smiling, but without a bit of joy in his eyes, he said: “I can’t wait to be a marine like Dad so I can shoot Muslims and get paid for it.”
Here was my youngest brother, only 16 and already so indoctrinated by his father that he was eager to become a paid murderer.
I wasn’t surprised, only casually replying with: “Well, it’s a good thing that you’re not going to meet the physical fitness requirements then, isn’t it?”, but I was appalled none the less.
When my brother was in the 4th grade, my mother (with her 7th-grade education level) decided to home school due to her inability to stop evolution from being taught in the Missouri public school system. This meant that he was home all day with his openly racist, hateful, abusive and disabled ex-marine father who would regularly regale us with tales of his glory days in Vietnam. Looking back, the only time I remember seeing any genuine joy in stepdad’s eyes was after he had beaten me or while he was reminiscing about shooting the Viet Cong, boasting about the way the Vietnamese women would “throw themselves” at his platoon.
So anyway, here’s this 4th-grade student with a mother who’s focus was never on her children, left to be groomed by a manipulative psychopathic father. I saw his white nationalism and radicalism coming years before he fully embraced it and sometimes I wish that I would have tried to intervene. I’d escaped my family with my life, barely, and I was most definitely not ready or able to dive back in to help others out.
We haven’t spoken to or seen one another since that day, but once in a while, I scroll through his social media out of curiosity and the things that I see there are truly terrifying. On the surface, he seems angry, but that on its own isn’t worrisome.
What’s worrisome is that he feels slighted. His newsfeeds are covered with images depicting brown people through gun scopes, images of military-grade weapons, assault rifles and plenty of blame for everyone that doesn’t look like him.
He’s determined that his life is awful because of the refugees at the border. He is convinced that a woman wearing a burka must be part of a terrorist organization despite never having met or spoken to a Muslim person.
My youngest brother is a radicalized, white supremacist, gun hoarding homegrown terrorist.
Every day I wonder when not if, I’ll read about his terrorist attack and subsequent nonviolent arrest.