HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW THE ONES YOU LOVE?

Can we be sure we really know someone, even if they’re family, even if they’ve been a part of our lives for over twenty years?

Last week Mary commented on my blog about the many ways we can interpret history and the people who make it: An Author Goes on Trail

She said this: Now, it is harder to get away with saying something is, when it isn’t, with all of the video cameras, phone videos and eyes in the sky. It’s easier to test the veracity and prove it wrong. But, it still doesn’t tell the whole story, does it?’

Which made me think of this:

On August 29 a 34-year-old Portland man was shot dead after being stopped for speeding by Oregon State Police trooper, Matt Zistel.

The man he shot was a former army reservist and an ordained pastor. He had a total of five children, and had recently become a grandfather.

Three of those children were in the car at the time of the shooting –a 10-year-old girl and two boys, ages 13 and 15.

Police said he got out of the car and fired at Zistel, who fired back in self defence. Afterwards Allen jumped in his vehicle, drove a half mile and then died, slumped in his seat, dead from a single gunshot wound to the chest, fired by Zistel.

Zistel himself was wounded on the left side and taken to the hospital and released later the same day.

The dead man’s cousin told media that the dead man’s actions seemed to be “completely out of character.”

“He would have never have shot at a police official or anyone of the law,” he said. “He would not have missed the kill shot either.” 

His girlfriend, who had known him since schooldays, weighed in as well:

“He was always a happy, hopeful, lovable person. He never got into trouble. He never got into fights in school. He was just very respectful.  John was a God-fearing man. This is so out of character. I think there’s more to this story. It’s so horrible that his children had to witness this.”

She questioned why Allen would get into a gun battle with police, especially with his three children in the car.

“I can’t see him jeopardizing those kids,” she said. “I’ve seen him pack up and move to get away from a bad neighborhood.”

But after Sherman County district attorney Wade McLeod reviewed the case he decided Trooper Zistel acted in self defence and did not take the case to a grand jury.

The entire confrontation had been recorded by the dashboard camera in Zistel’s patrol car. Eventually on October 4 the video was released to quell speculation about the episode. Now you can see what the DA saw:

Out of character? Maybe.

We may never know why he did what he did. But it gives us pause when we think of history, any history. Which leads right back to the conversation we started in with. We know what happened, but making sense of it is sometimes beyond us. What may seem logical is not always as it is.

Braveheart, Edward II, Isabella

ISABELLA, Braveheart of France.

available now from Amazon US and Amazon UK

 as well as NOOK, KOBO and APPLE

 And also available as POD from Cool Gus publishing.

 I’D LOVE YOU TO SUBSCRIBE TO MY EMAIL LIST – IT’S DIFFERENT TO SUBSCRIBING TO THE BLOG, YOU’LL GET THE CHANCE TO GET FREE BOOKS AND OFFERS.

YOU WILL NOT GET SPAMMED – JUST NEWS ABOUT MY BOOKS EVERY 3-4 WEEKS THAT I AM NOT PUTTING HERE ON MY BLOG.

JUST FILL IN YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS HERE

Holy Week, Easter, Spain

COLIN FALCONER

About colinfalconer

author of bestselling historical novels like Anastasia, When We Were Gods, Aztec and Harem. My books have been published in the UK, US and ANZ and translated into seventeen languages.
This entry was posted in HISTORY and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW THE ONES YOU LOVE?

  1. violafury says:

    Colin, This is very dramatic and this also speaks again to what we were saying about points of view. One of the best and greatest things I love about historical fiction, when done well, is that taken from different viewpoints, is that all we can ever do is imbue some point of reference to a person’s actions, simply because there’s one thing all the video cameras and eyes in the sky can’t do and that is, as you so aptly point out: read minds. We are always left to speculate why something happened. In some cases, for instance, that poor woman in Texas, Andrea Yates who drowned her 5 children, and then was committed to life in prison, it’s pretty easy to see that after reading about her husband’s cold, and cloddish behavior towards her feelings (they lived in a school bus with several of the children at one point) that he convinced her a 5th child was just the ticket to perk her up, when she was already struggling after the birth of their 4th child.

    So, Rusty Yates skips off to remarry and poor Andrea (who looked just haunted and so very sad) is committed for the rest of her days. That is a no-brainer in my book. Mr. John Allen is harder to understand, but such behavior is not unprecedented. I still remember Charles Whitman, the Bell Tower Sniper, who just out of the blue, climbed into the Bell Tower of Austin, Texas. The Tower stands 307 feet high, with a high-powered rifle and began sniping people. He killed 17 people and injured scores of others before he was taken down. Police had to climb up into the tower; the observation platform was too big for them to take him out with another sniper. It was the start of what would become something all too commonplace in America. But, there was an organic reason for it. Charles Whitman, upon autopsy, was found to have an astrocytoma in his brain, As in many of these types of cases, he had killed his mother first. He also had made several threats.

    None of this ever tells the whole story though, no more than the Adam Lanza shooting at Newtown last December. I think the brain is analogous to the universe, in that, for as many different types of personalities, aberrations, motivations, agendas, credos and any other thing that involves either higher levels of thought or emotion, the scope is that broad. That is the unknown. The X factor. I am glad and in fact, honored, that I provided you with a kernel of an idea. I think you’ve provided me with more ideas and pathways and inspirations than just about anyone else, with the exception of my viola professors and coaches in college and while I played professionally. I am so looking forward to “Isabella, Braveheart of France.” I may as well just open up the “Colin Falconer, Tampa Annex,” here in Florida! Have a great week!

    • Thanks so much, Mary, I’m glad you found inspiration here! Your comment last week also got me thinking, because I’d just seen this news item a few hours before. I love it when something like this happens and all these people say: Oh no, they wouldn’t do that. But here was the video evidence that he DID. It’s like that quote from Henry James: “Never say you know the last word about any human heart.”

  2. Pingback: The Great History Hoax | COLIN FALCONER

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s