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The Menendez Brothers Today

OMG, I had almost forgotten about these two guys, really. I mean, this shit happened in the 90's! They were sentenced only a few days after OJ was found not guilty. Ancient history, baby. However, I was reminded of them when I woke up this morning.

As a writer, my work schedule is my own and with this being Thanksgiving break, all 7 kids are in the house for a week. I spend my mornings watching DVR'ed TV and meting out punishments for the sporadic, inevitable arguments and fights that break out.

By the afternoon everyone is up and dressed and out and about, doing their own thing around the house and property. Then I write or research, spend a little time on my work, as much as I can with everyone home and a holiday looming.

So this morning I stoked the fire, poured myself some coffee and crawled back into my predawn, dark bedroom to check out the things I recorded last night and wait for the ruffians to awake. I was super excited to see one of the new Barbra Walters specials on ID channel was on. She was interviewing the brothers Menendez, old interviews mostly, but parts that were never aired. She also revealed that she has remained a pen pal of Eric Menendez throughout his incarceration.

I didn't pay much attention when the trial occurred. I was pregnant and also had a three year old. I lived in a very rural location without cable tv. I was in the middle of a relationship where I was so used to cheating I could predict when he would do it. All the crap going on in my own life kept me from caring or seeking out additional info. So much of this interview was new to me. I felt like it was just happening. I sat engrossed, sipping hot coffee and snuggling deeper into my down comforter, mesmerized by the brothers and their painful childhoods.

My impression of these men has always been two greedy teenagers. I always put them in the ilk of Dana Ewell who seems so dead and cold inside, but the things Barbra showed had me in tears in the first 10 minuets. I had tears running down my face all through throughout the program, in fact. Until it came to the parts with their wives who started out as pen pals but fell in love with them regardless of their fates.

These boys, these poor young boys were subjected to molestation by their own father, Jose. From the very young age of 5-6 he began to have them fondle him and perform oral sex on him. As they got a little older, he introduced anal sex. They tried to run away, they tried to tell other family members but everyone was afraid of Jose and his power which he wielded liberally, and when they finally couldn't take it anymore it was discussed openly and violently in the family. Their mother Kitty was emotionless about the situation. She aided in Jose's intimidation tactics every way she could.

One of the things Barbra showed us that had never been seen before was a letter Eric wrote to his cousin Andy weeks before the shootings. He told him "it was still happening" and he wasn't sure how long he could take it anymore.  He described his abject fright and inability to protect himself in anyway. Had this been introduced to the jury during their first trial that ended in a mistrial, the verdict would have been quite different.

A few weeks later when the topic came up as a family discussion, Kitty, their mother, would not rescue them, their family was too afraid of Jose's money and power to try to stop it. They felt trapped and sickened with themselves and their father. Can you imagine living your entire life like that? All your childhood your dad is making you put his penis in your mouth and in your butt and everyone knows but wont help you. They were children when the big secret no one talked about finally came out in the open.

Jose told Eric that evening to go upstairs to bed and he would be in shortly for their session, as he called it. Lyle asked his mom if she was just going to let it happen and she told him to shut up because he had ruined the family.

The two boys went and bought guns, swearing that they would never allow their father to rape them again. Their father had told them that the minuet they defied him or told anyone or tried to run away again he'd find them and kill them. They were to bring no more attention to what was going on in the family or they would die.

But that never happened. Instead, on a night in 1989 when the brothers knew they had an evening of abuse and violation and rape coming, they went into the living room and shot their parents multiple times and then called 911.
It all resulted in a lifetime behind bars for loosing their shit and killing their abuser.

Why does the judicial system and the corrections department not realize that this does and will continue to happen? Why do they perpetually punish people for trying to survive? I cant begin to wrap my mind around what their lives must be like and what type of thoughts go through their heads. How do they find the will to go one when so much has gone wrong. My heart goes out to them and I hope someday they are freed.


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