Note from Amy: As I continue to plow through my sadly-neglected “other” folder on Facebook, I continue to find terrific messages, like this one:
I was watching a documentary of an interview you gave with Paula Zahn on “the predator”.
I found it extremely interesting and admire the way you handled the case.
Putting bandages on sores isnt the solution. Finding out what causes the sores is the solution.
Anyway I just thought Id let you know I feel youre doing a great job and dont let anyone tell you otherwise.
Note from Amy: This message was sent to me via Facebook where it languished in my “other” folder for quite some time. Still, it was gratifying to find, so I thought I’d share. Better late than never:
hi amy – i just saw your interview with paula zahn regarding brent brents. it really upset me that everyone was attacking you for doing what a journalist does. i thought of truman capote writing ‘in cold blood’ and wondered – what’s the difference? there really isn’t any. or the profilers, or the psychiatrists who study the same people for the same reasons. dangerous people are the ones we need to understand the most. i guess most people prefer to stick their heads in the sand and pretend these types of things don’t happen – and you were vilified for shining the flashlight on it. not that it matters what i think – but fuck them. i think you’re cool as hell – and your book will be discussed long after we’re gone – just like ‘in cold blood.’ – kyle
Note from Amy: I recently received an email from a visitor to this Diary of a Predator website who saw the Brent Brents story done by Paula Zahn’s Investigation Discovery show. I’m including an excerpt of the letter here, and it can be found in its entirety on the Reader Feedback page of this website.
Amy – Welcome to the ugly, vicious underbelly of conservatism… I saw the episode with Paula Zahn and fervently SUPPORT you . I’m a (retired/disabled) attorney and SURVIVOR of LT sexual abuse. IMO, we have no alternative. We must make an effort to discover how predators become predators. There is a lot of phony sympathy toward victims of child abuse. I say phony since there is a complete disconnect when they become adults who had horrible childhoods. (Consider Aileen Wuornos). How does the attempt to understand the evolution of a predator become the effort to excuse what they do? The same dysfunctional, black and white thinking was at work when people were excoriated for asking about the “why” of 9/11.
Note from Amy: The following comments were sent to this Diary of a Predator website on May 30 by a viewer who watched the Paula Zahn episode on Investigation Discovery detailing the case of convicted serial rapist Brent Brents. It’s always heartening to me when people understand the importance of “why.” It’s the reason I continue this work.
Here are the comments:
Hello Amy, I applaud your efforts to understand what creates sexual abusers. As someone who has known several victims of sexual abuse I feel that it is very important to understand the psychological causes of the compulsion to violently sexually dominate others. I hope that I can one day contribute as much to society as you have…
I first saw your story on Paula Zahn and I was impressed with your commitment to presenting both sides of the story, no matter how repugnant Brent Brents actions were.
Note from Amy: I received the message below to this website, Diary of a Predator, earlier this week, after a viewer saw an interview with me regarding the case of Brent Brents featured on the show, “On the Case with Paula Zahn.”
Messages like this are always interesting to receive, and sometimes gratifying, especially when I asked the writer where he saw the Paula Zahn show: “Belgium.”
There are no borders when like-minded people relate to one another.
“We are all connected and responsible for each other.” –Very well said. People sending hate mails to you are not in connection with themselves and do not understand the reason of our existence, the reason of our being. They keep the focus on the negative energy, thus enhancing this negative energy with all consequences for the future.
The negative energy hasn’t been neutralized or turned into positive energy, spiritually speaking. However you’ve at least neutralized the negative energy created by the acts of Brent. Universally speaking, you’ve taken a big step in order to try to understand Brent and by doing so you were faced with your own mirror.
Not many people have the strength and courage to do so. I don’t even know if I would have acted the same in your case. But in the present I understand your choice and your effort, even though I’m aware that my understanding might have been different if I had been a victim or relative of a victim.Today I just saw it for the first time: “On the Case with Paula Zahn.”
Indeed we are not the one to judge another, but I can understand that it is more difficult not to judge when you’re the victim or when you are closely related to the victims.
Time: Sunday December 23, 2012 at 12:59 pm
Note from Amy: I got a very thoughtful email last year from a woman who is working on her master’s in counseling psychology. She had seen me on the Paula Zahn show on Investigation Discovery about the Brent Brents’ case, and wrote to offer her support of my work.
Now she’s doing some work of her own, through an excellent blog called The Feminist Rag–and I offer praise of it not just because she recently wrote a very nice blog about my work on Brents, but because she has insightful and interesting things to say. I began reading James Gilligan’s book Violence on her recommendation, and have learned so much from it. That book articulates so well the underlying causes of violence in our culture and why conventional solutions have failed to stem its tide.
Since the author of The Feminist Rag doesn’t give her name on her website, I won’t reveal it here. Below is an excerpt of what she wrote about her reactions to Diary of a Predator: A Memoir, in addition to some very kind things about my ongoing work which were gratifying to hear.
From The Feminist Rag:
Reading Amy’s book is not for the light-hearted; it took me on an INTENSE emotional roller coaster that had me wrestling with all kinds of conflicting feelings like disgust, terror, empathy and despair as I learned of Brent’s childhood, which was filled with unspeakable child abuse which, unsurprisingly and all too commonly, resulted in a full blown sadistic, out of control, violent, sociopathic man.
Alongside my disgust, despair, and terror, I also found myself feeling empathy for Brent because little tortured boys don’t just disappear, they slowly morph into violent adult men. This is not to say that ALL abused boys turn into sadistic men, but some do, it’s simply how life works — everyone copes differently with the inner hell such a childhood creates. Read more
The following message was sent to this website, Diary of a Predator, and it helps remind me why I do this work:
“I just watched Paula Zahns “On the Case” about Brent Brents. I just wanted you to know that as I watched, I immediately understood your frame of reference for the way you “looked at” Mr. Brents. I also understood why so many people don’t “get it.”
“Many folks can only see what is directly in front of them; few have the vision to see/understand that there is a bigger picture (and I’m talking in most things, not just this case). Trying to understand all the elements of an issue is the only way to truly identify a “solution” that will be something more than just a band-aid.
“But not everyone has that gift; that ability, so the occurrence of being misunderstand is frequent. Your road is not an easy one then. But I truly believe it is people like you; people who CAN step back from their “reactions” to see a bigger picture, that will ultimately be the facilitators of meaningful changes.
“You have both courage and compassion Amy. Stay strong.”
Time: Wednesday June 20, 2012 at 5:51 pm