A message to the readers

When I started writing about the Brent Brents case through this website, it was with no expectations that anyone would understand the message I was trying to get across: That we need to realize how and why predators exist if we want to prevent the pain they inflict.

I had no expectations, but I did have hope. I thought if just one person “got it,” there could be a positive ripple effect, no matter how slight, and the effort would be worth it.

Clearly, I didn’t have enough faith.

So now I’d like to give a heartfelt thank you to all those who have offered their support, and to whose who have taken the time to write and share their thoughts and stories. It’s been a gratifying process, and at times, a sobering one for the realization of how much silent suffering people carry around.

Toward that end: If you have been abused or assaulted, or are worried that someone you know will inflict harm upon yourself or others, I urge you to seek professional help. There are many organizations you can call, such as the ones listed on the right side of the home page on this website.

If you know someone who has committed a crime that has not been reported, please contact the police and get them involved.

And to those who have written to say they object to this project, I understand. And if anyone has been triggered by it because of their own personal, painful history, I hope you seek out someone to talk to–a counselor, friend, family member, church member. If reading this site distresses you, there is always the option to close your browser and walk away.

I’d also like to clarify a few points:

I believe Brents should be held responsible for his crimes and remain in prison for the rest of his life. I am not making excuses for him–he chose to inflict pain on others. What I am trying to do is figure out why.

Can he be manipulative? Yes. Do I share personal information with him? No. Do I think he now has a sincere desire for some measure of redemption? Yes. And if I’m wrong, then all I’ve wasted is my time and some compassion.

I don’t believe anyone is born evil. Have you ever looked at a baby and thought, That little person’s gonna be a criminal who will eventually rage and crush some souls?

I do think the window of opportunity to help Brents closed decades ago. Maybe if someone had intervened in his life when he was a child, he’d be on a different path. So now all that’s left are questions, and I firmly believe they are worth asking.

I wonder how he formed the decision to become a perpetrator instead of a victim, and how you influence that choice.

I wonder how much drugs and alcohol–and a family history of their abuse–contributed to his lack of impulse control.

I wonder if the blackouts he’s had since he was a child that doctors now say are small seizures caused by brain damage from being beaten by his father played a role.

Again, these are not excuses. But they are factors, and if we can recognize and prevent these factors from happening, can we start to prevent the horrors that predators leave in their wake?

The way our society deals with the issue of sexual assault is a broken, misguided process. We’ve become so punitive, we even punish the victims who dare come forward.

Anger and hate are easy, but they rarely lead to change.

–Amy Herdy

3 Comments

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3 responses to “A message to the readers

  1. Kelly

    Amy, thank you for working to expand the focus from punishment & hate to prevention & intervention.

    I was so moved by your willingness to tread in the darkest of places where the light of love & knowledge are needed most.

    • knew another sociopath too well

      Dear Ms. Herdy,

      I too was fed lies upon lies by an evil genius. Please do not let this monster manipulate you. I believe your intentions are well-placed, but the fact is that some people are just dangerous and ARE predestined to be that way from the day they are born. Some people are likely abused into becoming abusive, but some truly are just ‘wired wrong’. I do not believe Mr. Brents’ sociopathy is a result of his upbringing, and I think it is dangerous for you to buy into it as well. I hope you will find the truth sooner than I did. I hope your EXTREME and seemingly perpetual involvement with him has not dissolved your marriage or your chance for future relationships if it has ruined your marriage. I hope I am not offending you by getting very personal.

      I doubt my email will compel you to be very cautious with respect to thinking Mr. Brents was ‘made’ a villain by trespasses upon him, bu would
      be
      remiss if I did not give it a try. My family and I had the misfortune of meeting and taking into our family a sociopath who was a felon who was ‘on the lamb’ and who created a false identity.
      We had no idea who he was or what he did.
      He was extremely believable and thorough in his lies. I believe sociopath’s often leverage false tales of abusive childhoods to gain sympathy from those whom they manipulate. ‘Our sociopath’ sure did. We found out for sure that many elaborate tales of his childhood abuses were 100% false. Like you, I am not an ‘expert’ in psychologically disturbed persons, but I do have first-hand experience with one that I hope you can derive benefit from. I know you are probably thinking that this is just what you are trying to do as a reporter, trying to get us all to benefit from what you learn from this man, but in fact, I don’t think you are going to help society prevent making more of him. I think the best you can do is learn how to help society learn how to prevent being manipulated by people like him. I don’t believe we made him, unless it is more physical in nature, like releasing toxins that caused some brain mutation, etc. I do think we should try to protect people from others like him though. In this vein, I want to share with you what I think may be paralleled from the man who hurt my family and others, luckily in not as dramatic ways as Mr. Brents. Again, I believe sociopaths are quite adept at creating elaborate fictional histories to elicit our sympathies. They are so ‘good’ at telling the lies that I believe they really believe them. The man I knew said his mother beat him regularly. He said also that she had cancer. He faked his own illnesses. He said his mother was terminally ill, so that my family would not talk to his family and learn the truth about his lies. Ultimately his mother was the one who gave us the truths later that saved us from being further manipulated by him.

      I hope this is useful to you. If it is not, like you say on your website, I suppose you can just not read it.

      Best of luck,
      Someone who knew a sociopath too well

      P.S. Please do not ever publish my name anywhere as I do consider my experience to be a private matter.

  2. Tanisha

    Amy,

    I applaud you and your efforts. I completely agree with you. I believe that we as a society need to look at the issue from all angles and from all victims. Using the information provided, hopefully people will see what factors may play a possible role in an individuals life and how those factors can alter that individual for better or for worse. I agree that a rippling effect can take place with this information. I will do my share to discuss and inform others but of course the rest lies in their hands.

    Thank you again.

    To Brent:

    We are all human. We all have flaws whether they are due to outside influences or not. We all have the ability to acknowledge our flaws, accept them, deal with them, and use that information to make us better individuals. I read some of your entries and believe you are doing just that. That’s all that any of us can do. One day you will find your peace.

    Best wishes.

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