Jane Devin

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Cruelty is not an Art

September 5th, 2007 · 56 Comments

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Bad experiences are character building. Think positive. What comes around goes around. Live and learn. It’s not what other people do to you, it’s how you choose to feel about it. Buck up, be strong. Count your blessings.

Forget it all. From the time-worn cliches meant to vindicate the worst human behavior, to those narcissistic people who practice cruelty as if the torment of others were an art.

There is no art to callous disregard, misuse of power, broken promises, or malevolent intent. There is no spirituality behind hatred, and no great wisdom behind contempt. There are no sterling life lessons to be found in the cold chill of another’s arrogant indifference or in the bitter sting of betrayal.

We reach for reason and believe that by superimposing logic on the senseless acts of others we will find cause – some justification, no matter how hazy or untenable – for even the most hurtful words or actions.

As we have been taught in times of crises, we count our blessings, as if each good experience we’ve had or each decent person we know should be an effective counterweight to a totally unrelated source of pain. As if love or abundance in one area can or should make up for hatred or insufficiency in another. Of course, they don’t. Love does not make hatred better or more acceptable. Kindness from one, or even many, cannot take away or “make up for” even a single act of cruelty much less several.

The values of love and kindness and all good experiences are not that they are equalizers to negligence, evil or viciousness. Instead, they represent the best traits of humanity – they are spiritual and ethical ideals put into action, and quite separate from the antithetical other-world where people set about to intentionally inflict harm or cause destruction.

In some thwarted fashion though, we attempt to stretch the boundaries of humanitarian ideals to hold, if not occasionally embrace, that which is contrary. We subscribe to ridiculous cliches like “if not for the bad, we would not recognize the good” or “don’t look at this (whatever thing) as bad, but as an opportunity to grow.” As if people who had experienced only love and compassion would somehow be flawed or stunted as human beings, or as if there were no real – and even superior – opportunities given by caring circumstances to “grow”.

Failing to find reason or excuse for the cruelty or bad acts of others does not indicate a failure of our own spirit. We are not made less loving as individuals when we decline to embrace those who would intentionally do us or others harm. We are not made less caring when we choose not to create excuses for uncaring people. We are not made self-centered when we reject the narcissism of others.

The guilt that is often foisted upon “idealists” (or sensitive or spiritual people) is steeped in animosity. Skeptics would have us “prove” our compassion by extending it to those least worthy of it. They would bait us to show our kindness to others by turning the proverbial other cheek to any indignity and bit of ugliness hurled at us.

Rising to the bait causes our antagonists to gleefully point to us as hypocrites; yet a turned cheek leads to charges of blindness or weakness. The goodness we strive for is mocked; ridiculed as impotent or ineffective.

To stand up against cruelty – to name it for the senseless, narcissistic thing it is – and to refuse to deconstruct our ideals to accommodate the notion that bad acts have value is an act of bravery. To say that we view the intentional scarring of ourselves and others not as a “life lesson” or “opportunity to grow”, but as an unnecessary and destructive source of pain, is to buck the tide that exploits goodness on every level. To understand that innocence should not be a cause of shame but a reason to rejoice is not blind idealism but rather the knowledge that one does not– and should not – have to suffer in order to be a whole or “better” person.

I would urge the idealists left in this world to stand up. Be brave and bold in your goodness, and step away from those who would challenge it for the sake of sport. Defend whatever innocence you have left, and value the innocence of others. Put no shelter in your heart for those who would not respect your spirit.

Be brave, and rid yourself of the cliches, creeds, and habits that create excuses for the cruel acts of others and challenge you to take them as your due. You were not born to be either a victim or a perpetrator, but to reach your highest potential, and to share the best that is within you with the rest of the world.

Tags: Human Interest

56 responses so far ↓

  • 1 My mothers daughter // Sep 5, 2007 at 9:02 pm

    There will always be good in this world and there will always be those who choose to be cruel. All the platitudes known to mankind cannot remove the sting of that one cruel, unconscionable comment or action. Sorry is easy to say, but it is after all, only a word.

    It is my choice to stick to my own personal set of morals, ideals and actions, sometimes contrary to outside pressures, which have been ingrained into my very being since I was a small child. It is also my choice to eliminate from my life those who do not share my own personal code of behaviour.

    Free will is an awesome gift as well as a tremendous responsibility. It is up to each of us how we use it.

  • 2 Barbara // Sep 5, 2007 at 10:21 pm

    Jane, your own spirit is so present in each of your posts but in this one in particular. You’ve given me a lot to process and I’ll be back soon with a better response, but what immediately came to mind for me was how society puts the worst among us on pedestals.

    The shallow and vain, the sarcastic, the callous, and criminal are often hailed as “cool”. Our children come home from school or slumber parties knowing gang signs and violent degrading lyrics. Our bosses imitate Donald Trump, our coworkers and acquaintances begin to do and say things in an attempt to be in the “in crowd.” And soon it all becomes a way of life. I think the type of cruelty you’re talking about, the kind that comes from narcisism, is not only about self-centeredness but about the perception a person has about their own coolness and through that their superiority.

    They treat other people badly in order to feel powerful. They abuse whatever authority they have in order to prove they have ultimate control. And they don’t care about people unless those people are somehow bigger or more powerful than they are. In their minds, there is no such thing as equality, It’s a dog eat dog world for them and they’re going to be the Alpha no matter how many bodies they have to step on to get ahead.

    Change is always possible. But only when a majority of people agree. And while I don’t think being a jerk is part of human nature, I do think that until society stops making idols of people like Paris, “the Donald”, and gangbangers we will continue to have those who imitate them and think that being a jerk somehow makes them cool.

  • 3 Joni // Sep 6, 2007 at 8:14 pm


    You say: There is no art to callous disregard, misuse of power, broken promises, or malevolent intent. There is no spirituality behind hatred, and no great wisdom behind contempt. There are no sterling life lessons to be found in the cold chill of another’s arrogant indifference or in the bitter sting of betrayal.

    Boy you said a mouthful in that one paragraph Jane, especially that last sentence.

  • 4 Joni // Sep 6, 2007 at 8:18 pm

    I have another word, that could have been included and that is ridicule.

  • 5 MontanaMan // Sep 6, 2007 at 8:48 pm

    Joni, ridicule is included………I think this is my favorite paragraph,

    “The failure to exploit our own sense of right and wrong and rise to the bait causes our antagonists to gleefully point to us as hypocrites; yet a turned cheek leads to charges of blindness or weakness. The goodness we strive for is mocked; ridiculed as impotent or ineffective.”

    This is the absolute truth. People who are known to be “good” most often have their goodness tested. It’s taken for granted that they will be good even in the worst of circumstances or with the worst of people. And while anyone else can blow their stack or lose their cool and have people understand or at least not think much of it, when a “good” person does it, the community around him tends to turn on him more than average……..they accuse him of not being that good person they “thought” he was…….

    ask me. I know. I’m one of the good guys.

  • 6 Joni // Sep 6, 2007 at 11:19 pm

    Montana Man,

    You are right, it was included, I missed it. And you are right about what else you said too.

  • 7 A.P. // Sep 6, 2007 at 11:45 pm

    My favorite statement is:
    “You were not born to be either a victim or a perpetrator, but to reach your highest potential, and to share the best that is within you with the rest of the world.

    If only every single individual on this earth would heed those words and carry them out.

  • 8 Alison // Sep 7, 2007 at 10:46 am

    Something has happened in our culture which has elevated the practice of “tearing someone else down to make yourself feel better” so that it’s now considered a virtue. We have become an aggressive people who love to see people voted off islands, fired, booted out of the house, called the weakest link. Even true talent is often ridiculed mercilessly, not to constructively criticize, but just for the sheer fun of humiliating and decimating the aspiring singer, dancer, chef, or whatever.

    The most popular video games are graphically violent; we have road rage violence; schools with guards and metal detectors; prisons turning a blind eye to atrocities within; angry and profane song lyrics; politicians who try out out-tough each other; students assaulting teachers; governments that start wars and threaten more wars; and the list goes on. The callousness is epidemic, at least large parts of this country.

    Greed and corruption are also so commonplace as to now taint whole professions that were once venerated. Bankers; lawyers; doctors; the police; news media outlets; priests and ministers; corporate titans. Who can we even trust anymore?

    You describe examples of this on the level of our personal interactions, but I think it is the society we have devolved into that has conditioned us to admire the strong bully and revere his conquests. Not unlike the days of the gladiators and bloodsports.

    Thankfully there are still people whose values of right and wrong and courtesy and fairness still exist, but I do fear that as the world becomes more competitive, our culture’s scruples will continue to decline. It truly seems we’re headed toward social Darwinism if we can’t turn this whole ship around.

    I was once a diehard idealist, I’m now unfortunately a reluctant realist. My ideals didn’t change, just my hope for seeing them realized. The peace and love 70’s are only a distant memory from a long ago time when we may have still had a ways to go to achieve our national goals, but at least it seemed within reach.

    I agree with you that as individuals we should not allow ourselves to be bullied or make excuses for the bad behavior of others, but we have to also somehow address it at the institutional and societal levels. Individuals follow trends and it would be nice if courtesy, integrity, honor, politeness and humility replaced what now is passing for acceptable. Rewarding kindergardners for graduating to the first grade was probably not a good starting point for developing character. Why do churches and temples generally stand by silently before and during wars? How nice it would be if they reinforced their message when it was most needed.

    The Terry Armstrong story was one isolated unsolved murder. The larger story was the broken, corrupt and arguably unmotivated response to it by the police and prosecutors. That is probably due in part to the volume of brutal crimes we hear about every day and that have desensitized us all to some degree. OK, then why are we fostering so many people who resort to crime? Economics, poor education, hopelessness, anger/rage at feeling left out, dysfunctional homes, etc… If we were a healthier society we would not be up to our ears in everything from murders to rude and insensitive behavior. Or the indifference we treat them with.

    I don’t know the details of what you just went through Jane, but you will be stronger for it and more resilient and unfortunately, probably more cynical. It may take the passage of time but you will absolutely add it to your Lessons Learned portfolio.

    Sorry for the diatribe but how human beings treat other human beings is a constant source of amazement to me.

  • 9 A.P. // Sep 7, 2007 at 11:18 am

    I always love reading your posts!!

  • 10 chrisnyc // Sep 7, 2007 at 1:42 pm


    Your post expressed a lot of the things that I think about. Thank you.

    Jane, YOU ARE SUCH AN AMAZING Writer!!!

  • 11 VIVIAN // Sep 7, 2007 at 7:02 pm

    Its like telling an abused and raped child, it will build charcter. Or like Troy’s kids going to school and having bad things said, Its good for them. I think not. But people who do and say those things do not give one thought to their actions.or hurtful words. I have a brother who , when he was very young , made fun of a girl in school, because she only had a stub fot one hand. he and his friends. just thought that was so fun. I guess that was before he had any feeilngs himself. He is in his mid 70s now, and he will not and has not gone to one class reunion.because he is so ashamed of the things he said. He sent a letter to her and apologized, that was years ago. she said that it was ok, and everyone would love to see him. but he is still so ashamed of himself. Talk about self punishment. and boys are sometimes pretty cruel in their younger days, but grow out of it. but there are the others who go deeper into the abyass and never get out. Somewhere along the way they have lost their souls, anyway the good part. i also have never understood the ones who do bad thing to others, and use the abuse they suffered as a reason. if it was so bad for you, why would you want to inflict that pain on others. to know how bad it feel,s why do they want others to feel the same thing. that is no excuse to me. I guess i am too senseitive. i always wonder how i would feel if someone said or did somethig to me, befoe i open my mouth.

  • 12 Kim A // Sep 7, 2007 at 7:18 pm

    I grew up a very quiet, well mannered, naive girl. I remained naive, quiet and well mannered until I met my current husband and then it took a few years of knowing him to develop the cynical, worldly attitude most seem to need to survive the cruelties of our times. I might have ended up in a ball, hiding from the boldness of perfect strangers who would somehow always correctly perceive my meekness and take advantage of me because I wouldn’t stand up for myself.

    Maybe it’s age, maybe it’s just time to say I am fed up with political correctness and being polite in situations where I’d like to just offer my honest opinion instead of the watered down version.

    (I’d really like to be old enough to say what I wanted out loud and claim the right because of age!)

    Why is it so wrong to tell a parent their kid is a horrible brat and I can’t enjoy my expensive dinner because they decided Jr. needed to cry the entire time I was there? Can’t they recognize the rudeness of this themselves?

    Did that lady really need to cut in front of me in the deli line yesterday? Was her time more valuable than mine?

    If someone asks my opinion on current events, I don’t give the popular answers of the day. I give mine! And let me tell you all, some people don’t agree and tell me I am wrong! Wrong? About my own opinion?! Then I have to give them the definition of opinion. I don’t get asked my opinion by these same people again.

    I understand, Jane, why this has come up. Why aren’t we allowed to have varied points of view? Why can’t we disagree with someone else’s perception? Are we supposed to be programmed to think, feel and act the same? We’re all supposed to be cruel and antagonistic and angry?

    I have been thinking this for a while and maybe someone has an answer. For the past few years, I have observed ( and I know many of you have also)the aggressive hatred being spread through the country. Aggressive to the point of physical violence at political rallies on college campuses and other political gatherings. And all the violence and hate language and vandalism comes from liberal rallies! I thought liberal meant let everyone do what they want without fear of regulation! Why the need for hatred and violence? And why the name calling and bashing of those who don’t agree with the same ideas?

    Why the growing, aggressive anger?

  • 13 Freida // Sep 7, 2007 at 7:51 pm

    Kim A.,

    It’s just this, there are so many of us, and we are selfish.

    Everything is relative, it’s all about math. More people, more of everything.

    To me, it all seems so simple. We are animals, it’s about territory and food. And who’s top dog.

    Dear Jane,

    You said, “As if people who had experienced only love and compassion would somehow be flawed or stunted as human beings…”

    Yes they would be, they would be selfish. . .

    Love Always,

    So, Freida. . .people are selfish when they’re raised as they are now AND they’d be selfish if they knew only love and compassion while growing? I think you don’t give much credit to humanity. And I don’t see how an atmosphere of love and compassion would contribute to selfishness — I think it would be quite the opposite unless. Compassion teaches empathy for others, not selfishness. And loving a child does not create negligent parenting, but instead actively nurturing, guiding and teaching your child to his or her best potential. So no, I don’t think people raised knowing only love and compassion would be flawed or stunted at all. - Jane

  • 14 Jane Devin // Sep 7, 2007 at 8:27 pm

    Alison, thank you for writing such an insightful post. It was not a diatribe at all, and your last line was the thought that drove my article. No matter how old I get, or how many experiences I have, I have never stopped being amazed by the capacity of people to be intentionally bad.

    As for the Terry Armstrong case, I would add the majority of the public to those who lacked motivation. Have they been desensitized to the point where murder is a blase act, or do they really only come to the fore when television makes it some form of entertainment? I have been particularly disgusted by several people in regards to this tragic murder, but perhaps none more than those who said they cared and then proved that they did not. The pretense amazed me. . .especially since it was made toward a woman like Terry, who was such a vulnerable person in life. . .how could so many people consciously choose to fail her even in death?

    I agree, too, that the problem begins with society’s values as a whole. To make any meaningful dent a significant percentage of the population has to agree that change is necessary. I wonder how far we’ll go down — how many liars, bullies, con-men, sociopaths and narcissists we’ll breed — before people will stand up en masse and say enough?

  • 15 Joni // Sep 7, 2007 at 8:30 pm

    Jane, I agree with you wholeheartedly. I don’t see how anyone can see that if you experienced only love and compassion you are somehow selfish. Does not compute. It’s too bad more people aren’t more loving and compassionate.

  • 16 Jane Devin // Sep 7, 2007 at 8:49 pm


    I wish I had even half of an answer to the question “why the growing aggressive anger?” I sense it has something to do with the rolling rock that becomes an avalanche, or part of a culture of self-entitlement where people believe they have every right to do harm, with no expectation of consequence. Or maybe it’s all about power. . .and the one who can inflict the most damage “wins”. . .they get to be the king or queen of the hill.

    Sometimes I think the philosophical answer is not as important as finding a realistic solution. We can ask why does a child play with matches, or we can find a way to keep matches out of the child’s reach right now. In the case of people who act poorly, I think society has to make it an unacceptable act. We’ve done it before with so many things. Wife-beating, child labor, slavery — even smoking in public buildings — all used to be acceptable. When a majority of people agreed change was needed, society made changes.

    We need to make integrity cool again. As a society, we can do that by promoting those who best exemplify the traits we admire. . .not those we create laughable icons of like, as Barbara pointed out, Paris Hilton and Donald Trump. If we don’t want a shallow, narcissistic society, then we shouldn’t support those who help create one.

    Just my two cents.

  • 17 Cindy // Sep 8, 2007 at 1:44 am

    boy after reading all that I fell like a 1st grader reading a college paper. You all sure have a gift in writing. One thing that I did get out of . It made me think…. if I really don’t like someone….. I don’t care if I make them mad…. but if I hurt their feeling then I feel like crap. I hate makling someone hurt or cry.

  • 18 VIVIAN // Sep 8, 2007 at 2:58 am

    A child crying in a restraunt, a lady cutting in line….It seems to me, these are just skimming the top of why the want to be mean and aggressive. It would be mesn to tell anyone their child was a brat, I am sure the child was not crying when the parents sat down for a meal Are they supposed to get up and pay for a meal they did not get to eat because the child cried? do you suppose the meal was not pleasant for them either.? who cares if someone cuts in line., let them stay or politely tell them where the line behind you is. What is the big deal.? Selfish is when you do say what ever you want when you want with out the regard of the feelings of others. That is selfish. being raised in a loving and compassionte way, can only bring love and compassion to the people they come in contact with. And i would hope rub off on some. That is the kind of person i would want to teach my child, or work with . or have as a friend. That is the kind of person i seek out for friendship. or a relationship.

  • 19 VIVIAN // Sep 8, 2007 at 3:17 am

    The most wonderful thing i would want to do is to, raise my child in the most loving enviroment i could find. The people we would be associated with, the teachers the friends the garbage men, the gardner, all of those around us., that they may come in contact with. To shield them from the hurt that is out there. as much as possible. and i have done that, for what ever it is worth, and i helped my daughter and her husband do that for my grand daughters. It was not perfect, but it was not bad either. My granddaughters are so giving and loving to others, very helpful to others. and for that i am proud. My grown children are not as perfect, but they do not hurt others.

  • 20 My mothers daughter // Sep 8, 2007 at 10:41 am


    I always enjoy your posts and your last line caught my eye as I so agree.

    “Sorry for the diatribe, but how human beings treat other human beings is a constant source of amazement to me”.

    Many of the people here and in QV’s chat are aware that I as well as several others have had the absolute year from hell! Through no wrongdoing of our own, we have been hurt, humiliated, cast aside, been told we should apologize, even when we hadn’t even opened our mouth or done anything wrong to start with. (Since hell hasn’t frozen over, I haven’t apologized and probably never will).

    Please don’t get me wrong. I will be the first person to apologize if I am in the wrong or if I have inadvertently hurt someone. Because I have strong opinions and am not shy about voicing them when asked I have had to eat my share of humble pie.

    Throughout this horrific year though, I have discovered who my real friends are, discovered great new ones, and for that I am eternally grateful. However, with a handful or so of exceptions who I am always able to turn to or lean on, I have decided that my dogs are far superior to many people that I know.

    I may sound cynical, but I don’t mean to. I cherish my friends but probably only a pet owner or my (late) loving mother would completely understand what I am talking about.

  • 21 Joni // Sep 8, 2007 at 12:23 pm


    I understand. I have three cats that I adore. They give me unconditional love, where no one else has ever done. They give me great joy. They are funny and I laugh more at their antics than at anything else, or anyone else. I could never live without cats. They are the cutest and most loving animals on earth, to me. They are so much easier to live with than people, any day.

  • 22 MontanaMan // Sep 8, 2007 at 10:14 pm

    KimA, have to disagree with the violence and hate being a liberal sport. I have heard my fill of right-wing tv and radio, read Coulter’s and Limbaugh’s books, saw how the repubs. acted when the vote was up in the air betwen Gore/Bush, and was repelled by all of it. I remember those repubs in the FL counting rooms and the ones outside. They were incredibly hostile.

    But I don’t want to piss and moan about politics on the board here and pretty much agree with the rest of your post.

    Alison, your post was a great read.

    Mothers Daughter and Joni, I have a dog coyote mix by the name of Wolf. Found her as a three-four week old pup on the side of the road and nursed her back to health. That was 11 yrs ago. She’s amazing. If i could clone her I could.

    Jane, are you going on vacation or are you still on one? What’s around the bend?


    MontanaMan, it is yet to be decided if I’ll keep this site up or not. Do I want to continue to write on the internet? I don’t know. It’s a more personal experience than writing elsewhere, and that can be both a blessing and a curse. What’s around the bend? If there’s anything on the net, it will be self-contained. In the meantime, I’ve started a new book. . .a solitary project, and hopefully a cathartic one. Jane

  • 23 Alison // Sep 9, 2007 at 9:59 am

    Thank you A.P., Chris, MMD, MontanaMan and Jane for your kind words. My disgust with the state of things and my disappointment with people generally (count me in with the pets are way better than people crowd) make it easy to let loose when the opportunity arises.

    That’s what I love about this site, Jane. It’s really become a safehouse, a comfortable lounge and sometimes even group therapy for a sizeable bunch of people who share a similar desire to find people they can trust talking to. And do good things… and accept each other even if we occasionally disagree. I come here everyday and it’s kind of like a relaxing and uplifting get-away. Plus, it replenishes my faith in humanity which has in recent years been at a low ebb. And that’s putting it mildly.

    I am so sorry that you have had two hurtful and dispiriting experiences. The pain you feel really comes through in your writings and it makes me angry that someone like yourself can be so mistreated and unappreciated by the very people you did so much to help. You are a rare individual who deserves to be held up as an example of what we should all strive to be. You inspire us with your goodness and it will be a sad day if you decide to give up this site, although I wouldn’t blame you for choosing to do so. Some hurts take a long time to recover from.

    Thank you, Alison. - Jane

  • 24 Freida // Sep 9, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    Dear Jane,
    The ‘Art’ of your words here do seem rather cruel.
    Wish you would write another article.

  • 25 mish // Sep 9, 2007 at 7:20 pm

    I will miss you Please dont go…… :(

    Your my morning reading :)


  • 26 Joni // Sep 9, 2007 at 8:26 pm

    Montana Man:

    That sounds like an interesting pet you have and was so nice of you to take it in. Most of the cats we have ever had, and 2 of our present ones, have come to us. The third one, we got at the SPCA. We rarely have to go looking for one. I don’t know how they seem to come to this house when there are other houses near, lol, but they do and they refuse to leave.

    One of the cats we now have came here this time last year and he’s such a big teddy bear. He’s really a beautiful long haired black and white cat. I took him right away to the vet and had him fixed.

    Our one neighbor used to have a German Shepard they left loose alot and when my kids were little, they used to call him Wolf. I used to yell from my kitchen door “Wolf” and he’d come running and I’d give him food. The neighbors didn’t feed their animals very well. That’s where we got some of our cats over the years and one of our present ones.

    Jane I hope too that you will stay on here. I’d really miss this site. I go over to Art Harris’s site, but I still like your’s. I miss some of the stories you used to write. They always incited the rest of us to respond with our own stories.

    Jane, you said you’ve started a new book. Have you written one before?

    I’ve written two of my own Joni, and was the ghostwriter for a third. - Jane

  • 27 Joni // Sep 10, 2007 at 8:05 am

    Montana Man:

    I meant to tell you in my last post that I agree with your political views 100% and till I got done talking about my cats, I forgot all about it lol.

    Thanks Jane.

  • 28 VIVIAN // Sep 10, 2007 at 9:14 am

    Jane, before i start working out side. PLease do not give up this site. Is there any way we can help you keep it open? Or are you just tired of the of it. Don’t make a decision, untill you have had a rest from it, if you ever will. I took your name off my mailing list, so not to disturb you, as much as i hated to. because you are part of all the posters that are on there. we are all from here, and want to stick together till you come back. Let me know. mty daughter in law is here helping me . clean out EVERYTHING I OWN. What to keep and what no to.. decisions decisions

  • 29 Stella // Sep 10, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    I hope you do not go away. I always come here and read although I don’t often comment because I’m not a very articulate person. I don’t think there is a piece you have written that I haven’t read. And I always enjoy coming here.

    I am sorry you have had two unpleasant experiences while trying to help others. You certainly didn’t deserve that for your efforts, especially since you put so much into them.

    I can see how a book would require all your time for long periods and you would not often be able to participate here because of that but I’m sure there are many of us who would be willing to suffer without you for long periods. Please don’t make any hasty decisions on getting rid of your site. I would miss you something awful.

  • 30 Alison // Sep 10, 2007 at 3:10 pm


    Tell me about it. It feels like a ghost town around here. And what are you talking about–inarticulate??? Whatever you write always makes a good point and is well written. I’ve always enjoyed reading your thoughts on a subject.

  • 31 My mothers daughter // Sep 10, 2007 at 3:40 pm


    I hope you keep this site up but I will understand if you feel the need to close down, even though it is the first thing I look to when I turn on my computer in the morning. You started out this site when you saw a man being crucified in the media and wanted to point out the injustice in that. In my opinion, you succeeded.

    You took on the Terry Armstrong case, after pleadings one of her family members, who has since left you high and dry. Still you persevered, you followed the story, as a detective follows the evidence, wrote a three part conclusion and a final tribute. Once again you succeeded. With any luck, someone will take over where you left off. Hopefully lessons will be learned from your writings.

    Time to move on to something else, whatever direction it takes. You have been used, abused and cast aside instead of being appreciated by those you chose to help, whether directly or indirectly.

    It’s time for Jane Devin to look after Jane Devin

    You are a talented and exceptional writer who deserves better than you have received from many different arenas. As a writer you are only able to do so much and your writings have far surpassed what other writers would have done.

    Enjoy your sabbatical. Get rested and rejuvenated. Work on your novel. And if a topic suddenly peaks your interest, we will be patiently here waiting to read it.

    Where ever you choose to go, I am one reader and friend who will always follow!

  • 32 QV // Sep 10, 2007 at 8:36 pm

    I am so glad that some understand how hard it is to have an online presence like Jane does. Especially when some cause or situation motivates a writer such as Jane to help out only to be the victim of lies and scorn for whatever reason that some may choose.

    It’s hard to make everyone happy. It’s so hard to put up with false accusations when you have only the best intentions in mind.

    MMD, you have got it right and said it better than I could have.

    Vivian, that is a good suggestion. And all the rest here I am sure will agree.

    Joni, thank you for loving the strays. I wish more people could love those poor defenseless creatures.

    Jane, take care of yourself, see how you feel afterward. Or don’t. It’s your life and you can do whatever you choose.

    To everyone, I remember the last night of my blog. There were tears and sadness but in the end, I had to do what I felt in my heart was best. People that I thought were loyal friends were not. The internet is a strange place to be and to put yourself out there for ridicule is not an easy thing to do.

    Whatever you decide to do Jane, I support you as all your true friends do.

  • 33 Tina // Sep 10, 2007 at 9:51 pm

    Jane, my prayers and thought are with you!!! I sure hope that my coming to you when I did, didn’t cause all of this for you!!! I appreciate (and the rest of my family does also) everything you have done. If it weren’t for you, we wouldn’t have made the friends that we have. i appreciate it all!!!

  • 34 A.P. // Sep 11, 2007 at 7:59 am

    MMD, QV, and Alison have expressed my sentiments to a tee. I have been coming here since March. It is difficult to imagine a day without it. Along the way I have had the honor and privilege of meeting some awesome people. It was an experience that turned out to be very different and alot more personal and meaningful than I expected. Jane’s writings have touched me in so many ways and she has my full support in whatever she chooses to do.

  • 35 Freida // Sep 11, 2007 at 8:35 am

    Talk about personal, I have bared my soul, or, at least a lot about my past.
    And, it’s been quite nice to feel that someone actually cared enough to listen.
    That’s Jane, whomever she may be, she listens and and expresses how much she really cares.
    Even though we may differ sometimes, on certain things, that makes no difference in the long run.
    What really matters is that we exert kindness, and patience, and work at it.
    And, we all know that Jane is a worker that writes.
    Or is she?

  • 36 Freida // Sep 11, 2007 at 8:53 am

    Dear Jane,
    This is kind of like what I used to do when I was a pre-teen.
    I used to write, I filled several notebooks, and there was no one that mattered but me.
    I wrote and wrote and wrote, and drew and drew and drew.
    Finally one day my mother found my notebooks, and she was so caring but didn’t understand…after all she only had a sixth grade education.
    But, then she understood more than I knew.
    What really hurt was when she made me destroy my notebooks, and as she stood over me in that process…she was really doing it for me.
    I think, anyway, but then again, she really didn’t understand…and she was so afraid, so afraid.
    And, I now know she really only wanted the best for me, yet…she was afraid.
    If my dad had seen those notebooks…well, I know he would have been violent.
    He wasn’t easily angered, but had lived through Normandy.
    She, my mother, was just trying her best to protect me from him.
    He wasn’t a bad man…in fact he is the man I will most admire for my entire life.
    Wish I had those notebooks back, I would probably burn them myself, or then again maybe not.
    I remember most of my writings and drawings, and peace signs.
    Love You Jane, and Everyone here…
    May God Bless!!!

  • 37 EJ // Sep 11, 2007 at 9:07 am

    I am so very glad that I met Jane Devin through her words of wisdom and encouragement. She is so awesome. I am so glad to have crossed paths with her. I feel that she will come back when another person is in distress or it’s put on her heart that somebody or something needs her attention.

    In his poem, “The Road Not Taken,” Robert Frost wrote about two paths that diverge in a wood and how he chose the “one less traveled by.” He ended the poem with these words: “and that has made all the difference.” Similarly, we may ponder what may have happened if we had veered down another life path. Ultimately, however, it’s the path taken that molds us into the person we turned out to be, for better or for worse.

    This writer (Jane Devin) has been given wisdom and molded by God, whether she realizes this or not. She has and will follow the right path when and wherever it leads her. I wish her the best and many blessings in whatever she chooses to undertake.

  • 38 A.P. // Sep 11, 2007 at 9:31 am

    Beautifully written, EJ!!!!

  • 39 Joni // Sep 11, 2007 at 10:19 am

    I too want to add my two cents. I think Jane is one of the most kind, caring, unselfish people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, even though I’ve never physically met her.

    I’ve enjoyed her beautiful writings since March and miss those very much.

    Jane I wish you the very best in anything you decide to do and best of luck with your book.

    I too, will miss this site, terribly, if you should choose to close it at some point. I told my husband that there is a chance that you may close it and I said that we will all miss it, and each other, very much and he agreed. He knows that I’ve been coming here since March and we have become like a family.

  • 40 Cindy // Sep 11, 2007 at 11:30 am

    6 years ago today the world stopped!! We should all say a prayer for the ones murdered that day and all the ones left without their loved one.

  • 41 Joni // Sep 11, 2007 at 12:00 pm


    I was watching that on MSNBC this morning. They were showing all the footage as it happened then. I remember watching it then too.

    At the time that happened, my oldest son had just stopped working in Manhatten to take a job across the river. He said he could see the smoke from the buildings.

    My youngest son works in D.C. so I had a son in each of those areas, and was worried even though I knew they shouldn’t have been in the immediate vicinity of any of the buildings involved.

    Where my youngest son works, eveyone on his floor have, since, been given a gas mask, incase of chemical warfare, but he said he’d never even make it out of the city before that would run out.

    Also another strange thing, was that two days before this happened, my husband and I went for a “Sunday drive”, and had driven as far as 20 miles from where that other plane went down in Shanksville. It was chilling to think of four of us from the same family that were close to those three places, either two days before, or when it all happened.

    It truly was a terrible day and will live in all our memories forever. My heart goes out to all the people who have lost loved ones that terrible day.

  • 42 Cindy // Sep 11, 2007 at 12:04 pm

    Every time I see stuff of it on tv I can’t help but cry. It makes me so angry and sad. I am glad you and your family are alright. But the fear of knowing how close you were must haunt you.

  • 43 Joni // Sep 11, 2007 at 3:13 pm


    It does, but even worse, is that I worry about my son that is in D.C., because I feel if they try to do anything again, that will probably always be a target.

  • 44 VIVIAN // Sep 11, 2007 at 4:35 pm

    And sad but true is the fact that those murderous souls. want us to be afraid. And how can help it. Especially today i am watching the things that should have been done, and could have been done to stop this from happening. To think that just 2 0r 3 people in the air ports would have done their jobs the way they shouild have, at lest 2 0r 3 of the men would never been allowed to boaed the planes. If they would have checked more carefully they would have found the 4inch knives, the mace, and other things in a carry on bag things that are so simple to do, were done so sloppy, and with out fore thought. I wonder what happened to the ones working that was so lax in their jobs. That is what happens when people have tunnel vision. gET UP GO TO WORK TURN RIGHT AT THAT CORNER, STOP AT THE STOP SIGN, THINGS THEY dO A THOUSAND TIMES A MONTH. aND NEVER LIFT THEIR HEADS TO LOOK A BOUT AND SAY , hEY WANTS GOING ON IN THIS WORLD ,. hAVE I BEEN MISSING SOMETHING. THose are the ones who we have to trust to help keep this county safe?????? SCARY VERY SCARY

  • 45 VIVIAN // Sep 11, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    It is the soldier, not the reporter,
    who has given us freedom of the press.
    It is the soldier, not the poet,
    who has given us freedom of speech.
    It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,
    who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
    It is the soldier, who salutes the flag,
    who serves under the flag,
    and whose coffin is draped by the flag.
    It is the soldier who allows us to wake up each morning and breathe free.

    ~Author Unknown~
    THis was on the Liberty link in “CALLING ALL ANGELS.” THIS we should never forget

  • 46 chrisnyc // Sep 11, 2007 at 6:59 pm

    Hi all– quickly trying to read posts. in the middle of scrabble night. Frieda–I need to reread what you wrote..very powereful.

    I miss you all sorry I havent been around, but I am in spirit. I just dont have much internet access. I was on vacation , and now at home the computer broke and I have to get a new one. But I am here. And I trust that we all are for a long time to come.

    Write more later

  • 47 Linda // Sep 11, 2007 at 9:20 pm

    Correct me if I’m wrong,, but before 9/11 the airports weren’t as strict with carry ons.
    It’s because of that terrible day that security tightend up.
    We were too lax and trusting. But I pray never again!

    Oprah had some of the victims’ children on her show today talking about how they are dealing with it all. It was a sad to hear how much they miss their moms or dads and are trying to cope. We need to keep them in prayer also.

  • 48 A.P. // Sep 12, 2007 at 9:45 am

    Everyone deals with issues in their life using different coping mechanisms. Some express their feelings, thoughts, pain and frustrations in their art or writings. Others may sweep things under the rug ‘ Out of sight, out of mind’ in their denial ( in your case your mother’s destruction of your notebooks). Still others express it with anger. Sometimes a situation may be so overwhelming mistakes are made in how it is handled. You dealt with alot when you were a young girl but it did not extinguish your light. I am glad you found this safe haven to ‘bare your soul’.

  • 49 VIVIAN // Sep 12, 2007 at 10:35 am

    Linda. I was jusy stating what the 9/11 investigation panel was saying on the BIO channel, after the investigation.

  • 50 A.P. // Sep 12, 2007 at 12:38 pm

    I went and ran errands after posting my comment to you. What I had written bothered me because it may have come across as making excuses for the way things were handled by your parents and for your dad’s violence. Violence should never be excused. My intent was to offer you support, compassion, warmth and friendship.

  • 51 Alison // Sep 12, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    See?? A.P.’s comment above is another example of why this group is so exceptional. And Freida is such an important part of it as well. It is such a great forum for very personal displays of courage always being met with at least someone offering a tender and comforting response. And that’s only part of what makes it so special.

  • 52 RosieFan // Sep 29, 2007 at 11:19 pm

    WHat an incredible piece……I’ll put more on the current article comments but all I can say is this should be required reading. It’s amazing.

  • 53 Tee // Sep 30, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    Jane I just met you…came here because of Rosie… now there is a great emptiness in my heart at the thought you wouldnt still be here. I need you here. I need to read what you have to say, because you say it in a way that touches my heart.

    I could talk of cruelty for months, I lived it for 17 years
    Myself and 8 siblings. How we all survived is only a testiment that there is a God, or A higher power that watches over us.

    So much has happened in my life, my nightmare childhood, my marriage of 16 years ending with a 17 year old making her mark on my world, the cancer that now is produced in my cells everyday.
    I still work and just barley, and I do mean barley scrape by.Most dont understand how i even survive.
    I was always told as a child that I was nothing.
    But what I know I am is a good mother,hardworking woman, and as honest as I can be. But I find myself yearning for all that was lost, never recieved, as a child. And to forget all the things that have been done to me and against me.Any one that has been there knows it never goes away, cant be forgotten,or gotten over.
    I can always tell when I come in contact with another person that has been through some of the same torment. Their eyes say it all.

    Jane I need people like you, I need to know there is goodness in the world but most of all that there is understanding
    thank you

    Tee, I’m here, many compassionate people are, and there is goodness in the world. You are not alone. - Jane

  • 54 j // Sep 30, 2007 at 8:08 pm

    jane, where have you been all my life?? leave it to rosie to send us all into your world of perception and hard-cold reality!!! i have my own saying about cruelty and how the people that wield it justify it: perfect people never reach perfection-they MUST lead us on our journey to make it easier for them to forget they never went on their own. now, knowing this does not mean you should overlook and tolerate this behavior -it means moving on-as quickly as we can onto our own destination. these people so love holding hostages-so we must not line up-harder than it sounds if it is family and we have love for them. it has taken me 50 yrs to come to terms with the fact that i am better left alone than trying to reach to heights i never wanted to climb in the first place.

    thank you jane for sharing your thoughts–i have listened and heard. june

  • 55 Shelia // Oct 3, 2007 at 12:08 am

    Wow! You are a kindred spirit! What fantastic insight! What absolute talent in expressing feelings. I feel so connected to you. I can’t wait to read more…

    I’m about to retire from 44 years of full-time pediatrics, Pediatric Intensive Care and Neonatal Intensive Care nursing. I’ve seen too much suffering and hell from parents, co-workers, and administrators. I’ve been told to buck-up so many times (because I didn’t agree with the ethical decisions, low pay, long hours, and managers who demamded that the “job” be more than my husband and personal life) that I pray to win the lottery so I don’t have to do what I love (tend to babies in need) for the next 13 months until my retirement!

    You are a breath of fresh air and a godsend to me. Maybe I can make it now. I’ll just do what I love and leave the rest of the job to those who work for power, money, and reconition! Thanks!!!!!!!

  • 56 Tee // Oct 3, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    Do you think people are born into the cold hard injustices (cruelties) in life? That no matter what they do it follows them and beats them down at every turn?Like a giant black cloud.Ive been told many a time that I have one. people always say “you have the worst luck”Is it a matter of luck?

    As if this life hadnt offered up enough cruelty, filled my plate to overflowing,just when I think its more then enough….Here comes the storm then with it comes the notice of eviction…so soon to be homeless as I live on less then two hundered a week. the icing on the cake .(sarcasm)Sorry for the gloom but I also suffer from depression.

    there are sooooo many different kinds of cruelty those which are created and others that just seem to cling to us,no matter how hard we scrub we cant remove.
    Do we die covered in it? can anyone ever get beyond it? is there some magic spray to repell it?

    Tee, there have been times in my life when I’ve believed that. When I’ve thought I just must have a great big “V” on my forehead that was visible to everyone except me, because no matter what I did or how hard I worked, it seemed that there was an avalanche waiting for me whenever I started to descend from the bottom. . .but. Sometimes our rawest feelings can be our worst enemy. Depression turns into hopelessness, and we all need some bigger, better vision to hold onto if we’re going to make it out of the hole. Sometimes you just have to barrel through, and keep trying–keep trying even when it all feels (and sometimes actually is) impossible. Advocate for, and fight the good fight for, the best vision you have at the time. That’s the only “magic” there really is — believeing that you’re worth fighting for, and acting on that belief. - Jane