On July 15, 2013, on a Monday morning about 10 a.m., my 19 year old daughter Jessie was sleeping in her own bed, when a “friend” let himself in, went to her room, bound her, raped her, and strangled her. It was a long planned and well executed attack that shocked our community and devastated Jessie’s family and friends. I’m with you today in hopes that Jess didn’t die for nothing. In the worst pain imaginable, I found deep Peace, Forgiveness, and new purpose: to END male on female violence, and elevate Love over hate in our crazy, sick, violent world. Please join me in a conversation for healing humanity, for changing culture, for washing away hate with Love and Forgiveness. The L>h website is available at ligth.org.

We’ve also got a special present for those of you who participate in this AMA. We are offering free e-book of “A Message From Jessie”

To receive a free kindle ebook please visit this link

Proof

Edit: This has been a great experience! It's been about two hours now and I think this is where I'm going to sign off. I may pop back on and answer some more questions in the future and may even do another AMA. Thank you Reddit for listening and participating. Again if you want a free book from The LOVE>hate Project all you have to do is ask! Thanks so much!

Comments: 344 • Responses: 44  • Date: 

Rakaith195 karma

Hello,

In 2011, I lost my husband and son in a widely publicised murder-suicide. My son was 2 years old at the time.

Firstly, I want to say I'm so sorry for what you've gone through.

I also want to ask: How do you deal with people who refuse to understand your forgiveness? I have never been able to feel hatred towards my husband, he was very mentally ill and we had been in a period of extreme stress for years when it happened - but I still get people putting words in my mouth, informing me that I "must hate my husband".

Forgiveness isn't a popular reaction to incidents, especially when your child was murdered. What do you tell people? Do you get confronted a lot about your views?

buck_blodgett99 karma

I havew been absolutely astounded by the lack of opposition to my forgiveness (until today on Reddit, hahaha).

So, regarding dealing with people who refuse to understand my forgiveness. For me, they are an opportunity and a challenge.

The people who so easily camae on board with our cause are ready to change the world. Its the others, those who don't get it, those who don't believe its genuine, those who can't understand it... Its they who we need to reach. They are slowing us down.

If we are going to heal the world, we must start with the sick. Its not people like you, with your incredible capacity to forgive, who are in need of healing, you're already there. But its people like you who lead the way and hold the space until others catch up.

Its not peaceful people, but rather the Dans of the world that we need to reach. Similarly, if we are going to reach critical mass and overcome hate with love, its not the forgiving we need to reach, but those who can't forgive.

AAronm1998 karma

So sorry for your loss and what you have endured. How often did/does revenge creep into your mind? What do you consider justice (if anything)?

buck_blodgett134 karma

Surprisingly, anger, hatred, and revenge rarely come to mind. I am human, it does happen, but mostly I feel an overwhelming presence of peace, love, and purpose.

As for justice, I leave that to our legal system and Providence. I do not wish for death for Jessie's attacker. I think the decision on death is not for us. In fact, I wish him healing and peace as well.

smoke_and_spark148 karma

That's the crazyest thing I've ever heard.

If anyone murdered someone in my family, I'd want to see them hung Iranian style.

buck_blodgett323 karma

In one of my few moments of anger and hatred, I envisioned myself laying in the bushes in the dark by Dan's house with a baseball bat. If I had acted on that, what would have I accomplished other than to add more violence and hatred to this sick, crazy world, which is exactly what he did. How would I be any different than him? I will never let Dan win, I will never give hate that victory, LOVE > hate. MLK said, "Darkness can't drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate can't drive out hate. Only love can do that." If we are going to elevate humanity and defeat violence, its not going to be Iranian style.

Twasnt14 karma

would it change your opinion on the matter if he committed the same crime again?

edit for clarity: served his time, was released, and repeated his offense like the knife attack in israel

buck_blodgett70 karma

I believe he should be locked up forever and never have the chance to repeat the crime again. Maybe he can be rehabilitated, but how do we know? How do we know with 100% certainty that there won't be another Jessie by his hand? He lost his chance to be free with us. But, I would never take his life. That's not what love does.

P.S. For death penalty advocates, data shows it is actually more expensive for the taxpayer to kill a convict than to house them until they die.

smoke_and_spark-9 karma

No point in imagining a worst case senereo that hasn't happened.

Twasnt8 karma

...are you saying hypothetical questions are not useful? how about a less personal, more general question: what about repeat offenders? do they get infinite forgiveness?

(for the record, i do not fully agree with his views, but i respect the determination it must take to maintain his philosophy, and agree that reactionary violence for some self-serving revenge is not the best course of action)

buck_blodgett27 karma

We need to draw a distinction here.

I said I forgave Dan. That doesn't mean I'm ok with what he did. I will NEVER be ok with what he did. Forgiving something isn't condoning something. Forgiving someone doesn't mean go easy on them, let them off the hook, don't put them away where they can't hurt anyone anymore. Forgiveness doesn't mean any of that. I will never accept Dan's choices and behaviors. I will never accept his lies. But that doesn't mean I can't love him. Please remember, you don't have to like someone to love them. Love isn't a feeling. Love is a stand. Its who you are. Its your statement about what you're bringing into this world. I will never bring into this world what Dan did.

CalmerWithKarma-3 karma

I'm lying next to my baby daughter's cot as she holds my hand and drifts to sleep. All I can think of when I imagine what you went through is pure anger and a need for justice. I'm sorry, I know it's because you probably have more strength than I will ever have, but I can't help thinking you're really weak!

I mean no disrespect there, just...how is it even possible not to want to end this person? He's laughing all the way here.

buck_blodgett50 karma

When someone hits you, its easy to just react, lash out, hit back, hate. Its 100 times harder to have empathy for them, be committed to their breakthrough, love them. Love is infinitely stronger than hate. People tell me constantly how strong I am. I tell them, I'm not strong, love is. You may see me as weak; I think you're missing something important. I hope you find it.

CalmerWithKarma32 karma

Please don't take offence. I mean non whatsoever. I just can't understand how someone can have their daughter raped and murdered by someone and claim to love the person that did it. I think it's a coping mechanism perhaps, perhaps not, but it's unthinkable for me.

buck_blodgett40 karma

No offense taken. Thanks for engaging.

I have faced this nightmare, as has my wife, with open eyes and an open heart from the moment it happened. We told the police, the DA, and the lab that we wanted to know everything, every dark detail, as painful as they all were. Not sure what you mean by coping mechanism, but if this is unthinable for you, well that's why I'm on Reddit today. Because I want you to think about it. I want you to think about this: if you don't think a murderer could be forgiven by a father of the victim, then you don't fully grasp unconditional love. That's ok. None of us do. Not in this world anyway. But we can learn, we can grow. And we must if we are going to defeat violence.

Theemuts10 karma

Degrading another only ends up further degrading oneself.

buck_blodgett40 karma

"I will allow no man to degrade my soul by making me hate him." -Booker T. Washington

EliQuince5 karma

I think the decision on death is not for us

I just.. can't. I'm terribly sorry for OP's loss but the person who did this obviously didn't feel this way at the time, and being that it was well thought out and executed makes it that much more unforgivable, to me, at least.

I'm glad that he can forgive him to maybe help cope with the pain and rationalize it in a way, but if I imagine myself in the same situation I think I would find it hard to restrain myself from some sort of retaliation.

buck_blodgett26 karma

We all find it hard for ourselves to refrain from some sort of retaliation. Why don't we all just retaliate then? Anyone who threatens us, anyone who is a danger to us, or could be in our minds, let's retaliate. Wait... Isn't that what we have right now?

Is this the world you want? Should we just keep doing what we're doing? If we want the world to change, WE have to change. We have to master our reactions and our urges. It takes effort. It ain't easy. It would have been easier to just pick up a baseball bat and lay in the bushes. How would that have changed the world? I know have thousands of people energized and interested in defeating violence with love. Will you join us? Or will you just stay the same?

kaye-91 karma

I was date raped by a friend, and didn't tell anyone until a year afterwards. I was told by cops that I had waited too long, which I had expected to hear. What I didn't expect was to be called a slut and a liar and be yelled at by the detectives. I still haven't forgiven the cop, I'm still angry and hurt about that.

My mom, however, takes the cops side repeatedly, saying she was just doing her job and reminding me I shouldn't have been drunk, or it wouldn't have happened to begin with. She hasn't forgiven my rapist. I have. The cop, no. But I did forgive him. What would you say I should say to my mom about all of this? What's your advice?

buck_blodgett82 karma

It is hard to understand. This crime against women is the only felony where the victim is so commonly blamed for the crime. I don't know what to tell you about your mom, except how sorry I am that you had to hear that from her. As for the detective, that is off the charts unprofessional and insensitive. And more than that, it exposes what we are up against in our culture in addressing and overcoming this problem. God bless you. I wish healing for you. You're going to have to figure out your own path with your mom.

If it was me, I would forgive her, my mom the person, but I most certainly not accept her view or behavior.

Look, people are flawed. We have to get better at loving each other despite our flaws. Maybe we can hate the flaws but love the people.

stud77161 karma

Was this a close friend ? What was the verdict in the courts.

buck_blodgett114 karma

Yes. They sat next to each other in orchestra for 6 years. He was sentenced to life without parole.

Most perpetrators, the vast majority, know their victim.

dasistverboten21 karma

I can't imagine forgiving someone who had done something like that to my family. What was the most difficult hurdle you faced on your path to forgiveness?

buck_blodgett35 karma

Still hard to explain, but forgiveness came immediately and easily. It seemed to come to me, and through me, from a higher place. I feel like it is available to all of us always, and I'm supposed to share that with people.

sedict19 karma

I am really sorry for your loss.

Let me ask you two questions:

First of all do you believe there are signs that people are "not okay"?

Also,do you think that people can indeed turn to be good people or are they just a lost cause.

As a person that wants to see good in every person I have to say I really admire you and your ability to forgive and find inner peace. Be strong

buck_blodgett27 karma

Thank you.

Yes, I do. But, I'm just a dad, not an expert. Looking back, there were definitely some signs with Dan. But nobody saw this coming, nobody is to blame for his choices but him. But blame doesn't get us anywhere anyway. I believe every single one of us has both good and evil in us. I believe there are powers that be that can make anything possible. Apostle Paul was a murderer, and look what he did after. That said, if we are not safe with you, you need to be somewhere where you can't hurt us.

smiley04289412 karma

Where is your organization located?

What exactly do you do?

buck_blodgett26 karma

Right now, we are headquartered in Hartford Wisconsin. But, we hope and intend to be everywhere, because violence against women is everywhere.

Currently, we present in high schools, universities, and community groups. We tell Jessie's story, the story of her life, her death, and her legacy project. We are in the formative stages of developing curricula for every level of school. Our curricula will engage students in conversations that explore the origin of violence, peace, and love in humans, and motivate and inspire them to positively impact their world.

canadamiranda12 karma

Have you ever thought about doing a restorative justice meeting with your daughter's attacker?

buck_blodgett34 karma

Yes. I've made it known from day 1 that I would like to meet and talk with Dan, and I've made it known that I think it would be amazing if he and/or his family joined the LOVE>hate Project. That would bring unprecedented potential for healing. But, Dan is nowhere near ready for that apparently. First, he must confront the truth, tell it to himself and the world, and repent.

joneSee10 karma

I read in one of your comments here that you are developing a curriculum at ligth.org. I know (male) that I was supplied a fair amount of practice space for violence. Football, hunting, military, etc.

Can people practice at love and forgiveness and get better at those things? What does that practice look like?

buck_blodgett7 karma

First question, absolutely yes. I am a walking, breathing example. In fact, we must. That's the essence of our project, attempting to educate, motivate, and inspire people to get better at love and forgiveness. In my opinion, this is where our answers lie for elevating humanity beyond violence.

I love your last question. Thanks for asking it. I believe the world is full of resources for such practice. Some religious, some not. Find the ones that speak to you.

You will the find the resources that worked for me in my book "A Message From Jessie". We are offering it free today in the post details.

bobic410 karma

What're your religious views?

buck_blodgett62 karma

They are complex and evolving. If you want a full answer, read my book. Its free. Look at the post details for a link.

Our mission, however, has nothing to do with religion. This issue of violence against women, which has been the dirty little secret of churches, schools, families, corporations, and other organizations has been around since the dawn of mankind. It crosses every single socioeconomic boundary. Rich, poor. Black, white, hispanic, asian, and others. Farmland, inner-city. Young, old. Every country on earth, every culture on earth, forever.

We need to reach everyone. This issue is for Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, the born again, and even the gluten-free. This issue is for everyone.

Astilaroth9 karma

Thanks for doing this. How does your forgiveness translate to the person who did this to your daughter? How do you feel about him as a person and how would you shape his punishment if it were up to you?

The reason I'm also asking is because I've been corresponding with US inmates who are in prison for life without parole. I'm not from the US and where i live prison sentences are usually aimed at rehabilitation eventually. Often when i talk about this i hear "well you never experienced what it's like to be the victim of a crime or lost a loved one to a criminal". Since that is true i find it hard to justify and defend my view points on this matter.

I'd love to hear your toughts on this.

buck_blodgett26 karma

Joy, my wife, and I forgave Dan the day we found out it was him. At sentencing, I told him I forgave him. But he will never experience forgiveness, he will never feel the forgiveness, until he tells the truth, owns what he did, and becomes genuinely sorry. He can't receive the forgiveness even though its forgiven until he stops living his lie. I also told him I loved him. I didn't mean I liked him. You don't have to like somebody to actively love them. Love is a verb, an action. Love is a commitment to someone, to something, even if that person isn't committed to it myself.

His punishment for me is just right. He is in for life, no chance for parole. I believe he is too dangerous to be given another opportunity to live among us. But I do not want him put to death. That's not acting from love. Life and death, in my opinion, is not our call, even though Dan made it his.

morsk9 karma

Where do you draw the line between forgiveness-as-healing and victim-blaming?

When someone insists that forgiveness is "healing", they're telling victims that they've chosen not to heal by not forgiving, that they're doing it to themselves, that it wasn't the rape or other abuse that hurt them, but their own choices.

buck_blodgett18 karma

Great question!

Forgiveness and victim-blaming are two completely different phenomena. The first comes from love. The second comes from hate.

No one here is telling anyone that they've "chosen not to heal". Rather, I think its important to recognize several things about healing. First, every individual does it differently, because we're all different. Second, it takes time... It takes as long as it takes, and again, everyone's different. I would never do anything but honor your healing process. I would never presume to tell you how to heal, or tell you you're doing it wrong. I would only want to bless your healing process and wish you the very best, and help if I could, and if you wanted me to.

Lastly, I would never say that it was a victim's choices and not the rape or abuse that hurt them. It wasn't Jessie's choices that hurt her. It was Dan. Period. And he hurt not only her by his choices and actions, but also literally thousands of others.

But that doesn't mean I can't love and forgive.

black_flag_4ever8 karma

What do you want young guys to know?

buck_blodgett56 karma

Real men don't hurt women. Real men love, protect, respect, and listen to women.

notafanofanything5 karma

A mentally ill person won't care. A sane person won't rape and kill. Good luck

buck_blodgett8 karma

Do you mean "good luck" in a cynical way?

Mentally ill people may not care, but the rest of us can. The rest of us can provide far more love and resources for those mentally ill who have been ignored and forgotten because they cost the tax payer money, and who then blow up in a violent rage when perhaps with better quality care their blowup might have been prevented.

The rest of us can care about "the monsters" who kill us BEFORE they kill us, maybe when they are two and getting sexually and emotionally abused by their neglectful parent, our neighbor.

Do you mean "good luck" like I'm an idiot and why bother? I'll tell you why I bother. Because it is possible that my work, my efforts to add love to this world and wash away hate, my efforts to educate/motivate/inspire others - like you - to do the same (not assuming you aren't already) might save one life.

What if I worked at this for twenty years, and appeared to make no difference at all, and then one day some seventeen year old kid chose NOT to rape and kill a girl in the park because my voice, from his high school assembly, was in his head ... "real men protect women, they don't harm them"?

What if ONE JESSIE didn't happen? Good luck?! Why try?! THAT'S WHY!!

You are either part of the solution or you are part of the problem by default. We are all in this together, and until we get that nothing changes. So, will you help? Their are millions of women, millions of victims everywhere, who need our help? Will you help them?!

Or will you sit there and do nothing and cynically say "good luck"?

PS If you did not mean "good luck" cynically, I apologize for the rant. I thought it was a good point to respond to, because I know from experience and many presentations that this is a common thought we have. If you didn't mean it that way, I'm sorry for using you as an example. But thank you.

Sanckh8 karma

I am sorry for you loss, truly. Family friends of mind had the same thing happen to them, but she lived. I can't imagine dealing with something like that within my family, which proves how strong you are. My question is: What brought you to forgiving and not holding hatred for the man responsible? I'm wondering because I don't think I would ever be able to do that.

buck_blodgett9 karma

I believe that forgiveness and love is in every one of us. Its who we are. Many of us are not connected with it. If we could get better at connecting with it, if we could discipline ourselves in a journey of peace, patience, kindness, and empathy, then this world will transform radically and quickly. I believe we are not as far away as we think. I know there is tremendous love deep inside all of us. Find it.

XingPing8 karma

So if today Dan expresses regret at what he did and it seems genuine to you, would you start advocating for his release from jail?

buck_blodgett37 karma

Absolutely not.

As I said before, if you are a danger to us, you must be put somewhere where you are not a danger to us anymore. That simple.

That doesn't mean I can't love and forgive. My love and forgiveness is not about Dan, its about me, its my statement of who I am and what I'm bringing into our world.

ManlyGoogoo8 karma

So sorry for your loss. When it happened, did you at all get angry at God, or wonder why God let this happen? I know that a lot of times when people go through tragic events they immediately want to say "how could God let this happen or let such a good person die?" and feel it is unfair that this happened to them. How did you deal with this? And then convert any anger/hatred into love? What would you say to people who immediately want to blame God for something bad happening in their life? I think it is amazing that you have been able to start such a good project after such a tragedy, keep up the good work!

buck_blodgett24 karma

Thank you. When it happened, I really wrestled very little with anger. I was overwhelmed with an incredible outpouring of love. It was incomprehensible and terribly painful, but I knew immediately that an act of such blatant disregard for the sanctity of life an another person's feelings MUST be answered with an even more incomprehensible forgiveness and love.

When this happened, I was an atheist. The second night after Jess was killed, alone in the dark hotel room at 3 am, I sat down to talk to God, a funny thing for an atheist to do. I said, "If you're really there, show me." The series of unbelievable responses I got over the next year changed everything for me. So, no, I've never been mad at God. I am deeply great full and at peace because of him.

To people who would blame God, I would say, "ask... wait... understand that there is more going on here than meets the eye... understand that we are dogs trying to understand calculus... and stay open-hearted, open-minded, open-willed.

bobic47 karma

do you ever feel like your capacity for forgiveness is tested?

buck_blodgett7 karma

Yes.

I know love and forgiveness, when I am accessing the divine, are unlimited and inexhaustible. They are also always available. Always. Infinitely. Yet, I am human. I'm not always so great at being a clearing to access and receive these gifts. But I do now know that they are always there, waiting, available.

RubberDong7 karma

I am so terribly sorry for your loss.

I really have no question other than with you to be strong and celebrate her life instead of mourn her passing.

Hate is an unhealthy feeling, you dont want to have hate in your heart. Being able to help others and make the world a better place is how you honour her life and congratulations.

Have other people shared their stories with you?

buck_blodgett22 karma

Before this happened, I had no idea how many people are carrying great loss. Before this happened I had no idea how many women had been raped and murdered by men. Now, I seem to be a magnet for people's stories. You cannot believe how many people are living with violence, and how it changes their life forever. It kills their joy, their trust, their faith, their ability to have a healthy relationship with their soul mate, and sometimes it even kills them. Suicide. Before Jessie's murder, as a man, this issue was not on my radar. Now I see its everywhere. It affects everyone, and most of it don't even know it. And we don't talk about it. Its time to change that.

You are so right about hate. It is so unhealthy, it kills us from the inside out, and we don't see it happening. The forgiveness I found was as much for me as it was for Dan. And its beautiful.

jaatnapuchosadhuki6 karma

Very sorry for your loss. I hope Jessie is at peace now. It is incredible that you find the wherewithal to forgive despite the depravity of the crime. What do you think is the one big change you think the world needs for violence against women to stop?

buck_blodgett14 karma

Thank you.

Love.

EdgarAlanPoet5 karma

Its great that you're making the best of an awful situation and starting a campaign like this, I'm very sorry for your loss. What are your goals? How do you plan to achieve them? Are there obstacles that you forsee happening?

buck_blodgett15 karma

First of all, I am aware that to accomplish our mission to end violence against women we will have to have 7 billion people on board, because it only takes one and our mission is not complete. Further, I am aware that never in human history have 7 billion people agreed on anything.

But I'm also aware that human history is one long sequence of humans accomplishing what had never previously been done, from harnessing electricity to putting a man on the moon to ending slavery and apartheid, and many other social justice issues since.

Culture changes all the time. We need to raise awareness to critical mass and a tipping point, we need to up our game and add more love to this world. You can call me weak, you can want revenge, but none of that makes a damn difference. But the power of love transforms. Its the most powerful force in this universe.

We are developing curricula for every level of school. We need to reach all young hearts and minds. We intend to be in every school district in the U.S. teaching principles of peace within 3years. After that, the world.

There are obstacles everywhere. But the chief three of these, the three killers of possibility and change, are cynicism, fear, and doubt. Love conquers all of these, so we go forward.

I_Speak_For_The_Ents4 karma

I understand finding peace... but why does peace require you to FORGIVE him? This is too cold and calculated for me to even understand...

buck_blodgett1 karma

I know, most good people cannot understand something like this. It's too sick, too dark. Still can't wrap my head around the "why" and "how" a friend could be capable of such a thing.

Best-selling author Sarah Young said "most of mankind's misery stems from feeling unloved."

If Young is right, then the obvious antidote to "most of mankind's misery" is supplying Love to those who feel unloved and forsaken. Isis is recruiting tens of thousands of jihadists a year from the world's "disenfranchised". School and church shooters are often those who feel disenfranchised, were bullied, or were mentally ill and denied care; again, people who were unloved.

If we just hate on the sick and lock them away WITHOUT adding more Love to our/their world, we fail to get at the root of the problem. We must up our Love energy to critical mass, and a cultural tipping point, so their is enough to wash away hate, enough to spill over to those who don't have any.

This is NOT pie in the sky. I HAVE SEEN THIS HAPPEN LOCALLY. Joy and I were buried in a sea of love and kindness after Jessie's murder. It was unbelievable. I had to ask myself, why don't we do this for each other all the time? Why do we wait for tragedy to let our love out? We are totally capable of expressing our incredible deep love daily for a long time; I saw it. But our culture doesn't teach us this. Our culture teaches us to be cool, to be a badass if we're male, or "hot" if we're female. It doesn't teach us and glorify letting our amazing love out every day.

There is absolutely no good reason on earth we can't do it. We can do it locally. And we can do it globally. So when will we, how long will it take us, and how many lives lost until we get there?!

IHateTheLetterF3 karma

This is really horrible, i am very sorry to hear about this.

This may be a stupid question, but what is your stance on the death penalty?

buck_blodgett2 karma

Not a stupid question at all, thanks for asking my opinion. I am not for it. Dan took Jessie's life. It was not his to take. Jess would never let people's darkness suck her down to their level, and neither will I. I want to honor her. She did not believe that life is ours to take, nor do I. Life is sacred to me; all life. He is extremely dangerous and he needs to be jailed for life so he can't hurt anyone else. But I don't want him killed. Let his Creator decide when his time comes, and what lessons he learns first.

bocek2 karma

I understand your point and respect it, but I also look at it from an different angle and then I understand a punishment like the death penalty. I think of it this way: If a girl had the possibility to defend herself from being raped, how far would she go? Would she, in extreme cases take an knife and stab the rapist while she is defending herself? Or would she just let it happen to her? So how could I dare to forgive someone this evil, while the girl would take action as far as killing the rapist just to not let it happen? This is why, I think, the human nature comes up with anger, to replace the "failed" attempt of the girl to defend her self, to get her "somehow justice" even we all know that it sould not matter afthermath. What do you think?

buck_blodgett1 karma

Love this question ... you're really wrestling with the issue at hand. Just my opinion: defending oneself in the midst of an attack and granting forgiveness in the aftermath are two different things. I believe everyone has the right to defend themselves. Had I been there during Dan's attack, and of course as a dad it will forever hurt me that I was not, of course I would've fought to protect her. SHE fought to protect herself (as the details of "A Message From Jessie" - still available free today - make vividly clear - see the link in the description above) and I'm proud of her for that.

But once the fight for life, the self defense is over, what will I now hold in my heart? Who will I be going forward? What will I add to this world? Will I fight for Peace and Love and the end of violence now, or will I let Dan put a shadow over my heart, make me angry and bitter, and succumb to his darkness. Never. I will never give him that win. I shine brighter now than I ever have in my life BECAUSE of Dan. I am changing the world for the better because of hate. "Just watch us Sweetie ... your voice will be heard again ... Love will do some serious ass-kicking on hate ... ". I promised Jess. I meant it. I will fight for Love, for her cause, until life leaves my body.

Will you forward our cause? Will you part of the solution, or not?

HoorayForEmptyness2 karma

Hello,

I'm glad that you have been forgive/found a piece with what has happened. I'm just wondering, if he hadn't been convicted and was still on the street do you think you would have been able to reach this point? Or, do you think part of your peace is that it is probable that he won't be able to do this to another.

buck_blodgett1 karma

Yes (first question). My forgiveness for Dan came immediately upon finding out it was him (three days after Jess was killed), and literally every day (700+ days now) since. He wasn't convicted until thirteen months after the murder. My forgiveness is not circumstantial. It is not related to whether or not he has the chance to do this again, whether or not he was sentenced, and what his sentence was. Had he gotten off, that would have been a second injustice for us to live with, but our forgiveness is independent of all that. It is a "higher thing" and is not driven by events. It is from the heart, the soul. He stole Jess from us, stole her future, and put her through hell first. He must be accountable for his actions; same with all of us. He must be separated from free people so he can do no more harm. I can detest his choices and actions. But I refuse to allow into my heart hate for another. He had control of Jessie's body for a few minutes and he took her life, but never for a second did he have one ounce of control over her spirit, her heart, her immense Love, her beauty, and her Goodness. Nor will I ever allow him control over mine. I am who I am, Love and forgiveness, and Dan and Hate Itself has no power to touch that. Period. LOVE>hate.

elumbella2 karma

I know I'm late, I still have a question that I didn't see, I hope you have time to answer:

You said in another comment that forgiveness came to you naturally, that it was the logical thing for you to do. How do you teach this forgiveness to people who just have revenge and hate in their mind? Where do you start changing their opinions? How can you learn forgiveness if it doesn't come easily?

buck_blodgett2 karma

Again, I'm just a dad, no expert here, but my personal experience of Forgiveness since Jess was murdered is this: we don't need to learn it. We already have it. It's in us. We ARE forgiveness, just as we ARE love. But we get disconnected from it. I don't think anyone has to learn to forgive; I think we can get more and more skilled at re-connecting and accessing that part of us. That's what takes practice and discipline ... the habit of seeing quickly that we're off track and getting back on. For many, it has been so long since we were connected closely with Love that it seems to not exist, and I sound crazy. Ask .... wait .... stay open .... hope .... it will come:) Thank you for your beautiful question. THAT is the right question! As for people who just have revenge and hate in their mind ... those can be replaced in an instant, but the WILLINGNESS must be there. Old habits die hard, and the mind is tricky, but if one is WILLING and one puts in the effort, learning the habit of letting out our innate Love and Forgiveness is just like learning the multiplication tables or learning anything...

SmartAlice1 karma

I'm so sorry for your loss. Was there any warning signs that this so called "friend" wasn't quite right? And what kind of a family did this person come from that would raise a monster like that? I asked because when I was younger I made a huge mistake in not listening to the warning signs and could have ended up like Jessie. (My cultural background is not American and in my culture when someone commits a crime, the whole family is looked upon as being responsible.)

buck_blodgett1 karma

Really glad you asked the question about family. This is important. We know his parents, and, since the trial, we know his extended family a little. They are great people. They provided a good environment for him to grow in. Of course, we don't know all that happens in the privacy of a family, but all indications are that he had plenty of love and attention and resources. His parents had nothing to do with the choices Dan made. His computer searches revealed a lot about the sickness that grew within. He searched serial killers by number of victims and then their methods; apparently he wanted to learn from the best. He watched snuff films, films where men attack, sexually assault, and ultimately kill women. This didn't come from his family in my opinion. This came from the darkness within that all men must master, imo, coupled with cultural influences (the online subculture of sex and violence). All men have fantasies about sex and violence, but most learn how to control them and follow the path of good. Dan followed his fantasies down the path of darkness and succumbed to them. He made his own choices.

Regarding "warning signs": nothing to speak of. He hid his secrets extremely well. No one saw this coming.

LeUrban1 karma

How do you overcome something like this?

buck_blodgett1 karma

With Love. With an open heart, an open mind, an open will. By refusing to let hate win, refusing to let it shape me, govern my actions, tell me who I am. LOVE can tell me who I am; hate is not allowed in my heart.

hi_snowflake1 karma

I'm very sorry for your loss. If you don't mind, how did you find forgiveness through all of this? What did you tell yourself that permitted you to let go of such anger, and what do you tell yourself if you ever begin to feel angry?

buck_blodgett1 karma

See the answer immediately above:)

Something in me knew from day one that harboring hatred and anger would suck me down to Dan's level, and that, for me, "it was on" between Good and Evil for the rest of my life. I wouldn't let him destroy my life; he already destroyed Jessie's. I live to honor her and her cause now; she wouldn't want anger and hate to win.

The inexplicable and totally non-sensical deep peace and love that found me in the wake of Jessie's death was so crazy sweet that I fought to keep it. I can't even describe the intensity of the pain; it was a constant battle between the two sides .... I was either in deep peace or indescribable pain. Still am today, though it's not so acute and intense anymore. But I vowed to train myself to master accessing "the space" of love and forgiveness and let my love out, full out, every day from now until my end. So I use some tools: a daily devotional that gets my mind on the right thing (I repeat it to myself throughout my day), prayer and meditation for a few minutes in the morning, spending time with people who mirror my efforts and forward my cause, and I also am blessed with two amazing coaches. These tools work for me. But it doesn't matter which tools you pick, as long as your heart and soul are in constant pursuit of Love.

When I get angry (rare for me) I remember my devotional, my prayer for the day, and my coaching. It re-connects me with Love and Purpose.

Important: I do not stuff my anger. Ever. I let myself feel how I feel. I grant being to my feelings. They are valid. But I get centered and move on quickly. I never dwell in darkness, just as I never pretend its not there when it is. I let it come, then I let it go ...

SilentlyCrying1 karma

Have you spoken to your daughters killer since he was sentenced?

buck_blodgett1 karma

No, but I have made it known to him and his family that I would like to. I am applying for the program where victims families can have contact with the perpetrator, but the perp has to be willing, and he has to qualify for the program first, by acknowledging the truth and showing real remorse. Dan has not done that yet to my knowledge.

vaaka1 karma

I'm very impressed by your forgiveness and the following question is by no means derisive of it. How would you feel about forgiveness if the perpetrator were wealthy and got off his crimes because of "affluenza" or some other corrupt backdoor deal?

buck_blodgett1 karma

My forgiveness is not circumstantial. It is not dependent on events. It does not hinge on the perpetrator's present attitude, behavior, or sentence. It is not influenced by ANYTHING he does or doesn't say or do. It would be given whether he was rich or poor, found guilty or not.

My forgiveness is MINE to give. I choose it to be unconditional. That in no way means I excuse him or condone his actions or feel sorry for him or ask for leniency. I do not. He did what he did and he has lost all trust; he must be locked up and rendered unable to harm another person ... ever. If he got off because he was rich, that would be a second injustice.

But that doesn't mean I can't forgive and Love. And I do. My forgiveness is his to receive, and he knows that. He hasn't received it yet though, because he is still living his lie and denial (against a mountain of DNA evidence) and he has not shown real remorse.

My forgiveness is not based on justice. Their is no justice. Jess is dead and gone. She's never coming back. No sentence will ever change that. It is horribly UNjust, forever. But Love forgives, and that's who I choose to be in this world, because that is the only hope I see for our culture and our world to change and for Peace to eventually overcome violence.

I think that its too easy to separate criminals from ourselves and label them "monsters". I think there's a good and evil in all of us, and we are all flawed, and we need to get better at loving each other despite our flaws. Please join us (not assuming you haven't already:), and move our world in that direction, one person at a time. You, your choices, and your actions matter.

kittyburritto1 karma

Was the friend her's or your's?

buck_blodgett4 karma

He was Jessie's friend. They were both 19 when he killed her. They sat together, first and second chair, in orchestra for six years. They actually dated for about three months freshman year of high school, four years before the murder. He broke up with her. They remained in the same circle of friends, a dozen or so in their very close group. Everyone in that group lost two friends that day.

PS Just to set the record straight for everyone with no knowledge of the case: Jess did absolutely nothing to make Dan mad. She was a good friend to him. He was sick. His computer searches for months prior to the event revealed that. No one in their close circle of friends had any inkling what was happening to him, and the darkness that was taking him slowly, until the day he succumbed to it.

buck_blodgett3 karma

This was not a crime of passion. It was a long and well planned attack by a sick person who gave in to his sick fantasies.

Darkchyylde-32 karma

.

MaxFreedomMoussa37 karma

You say you want to end "male on female violence". Why specific

Are you fucking serious? Why is this man, who's daughter was murdered, focusing on male on female violence? You're not happy because his goals aren't broader? Fucking reddit...

buck_blodgett19 karma

It's ok, and thanks for sticking up for us. This is good. One thing I've seen in the past two years is that people care a lot more than I realized, people are very passionate about peace and violence, universally we want to do something about it. But we just don't know what to do, we get resigned, we get cynical, we get angry. I believe we must hold ourselves to a higher standard of patience, kindness, and tolerance. Thank you both for caring enough to speak up and participate.

buck_blodgett32 karma

Female against male violence absolutely happens. As does male against male violence. I wish for the end of all violence, but my calling is this specific issue, because of what happened to my daughter, and because it was her issue in life, and because this issue itself is big enough. I can't do everything. However, 98% of the murders in the U.S. are committed by men. If we handle male violence against women, if we reach to the core of ourselves and bring forth a cultural breakthrough of this degree, we will have done much and come a long way.

VerumInInanis-46 karma

I've never understood forgiveness. And hate is an energy that burns with more intensity than anything else. It's unstoppable. I'd say you're weak. If it were my daughter that bastard would still be screaming. Don't you want justice? The universe is all balance, and you owe a debt.

Keep the book.

buck_blodgett31 karma

You're right, you don't understand forgiveness. If you did, if you really got it and let it in deep, you would never say what you just said, and you would see the destructive power of what you just said.