“5 guys around me, growling, kicking, punching, swearing….. relentlessly. I desperately wish they’d stop. I’m bleeding….bad. “Am I going to die?” I don’t know how severe it is because adrenaline is blocking the pain. The shock. The ringing in my ears. The monsterous noises from my attackers echo and mesh together like something from a nightmare. A nightmare that, for the life of me, I can’t figure out how to wake up from. I’m forced to keep fighting, to keep breathing. I keep wiping the blood out of my eyes to attempt to see where the next punch or kick is coming from. It’s pouring and now my once white t-shirt is….red. One wrong shot to the head and I know my life could end so I protect my head with all my beaten might. I repeat to myself with tears in my eyes, in desperation, “Survive Shawn, just survive.” Finally, the police arrive. Thank God. All the bystanders watched in awe of the scene taking place before them. 3 cuts (one being deep enough that resulted in 8 staples) and 3 broken ribs later, I climb to my feet and am in another world. “What just happened? Am I going to live? …..”
If I would have known this was going to be the outcome, I never would have went to visit my friends at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. I would have stayed home and spared myself the near death experience. The problem is, there is no way to predict something like that. From a fun night of laughs and drinks to being alone, fighting to stay conscious, and frantically defending my life. Not one person stepped up to help me. Not one heroic act of kindness in the crowd of a hundred college students.
The whole night shifted in a matter of 30 seconds. That’s all it took to cause pain that I still feel today. 1 second would have been all it took to end my life. 6 inches is all that stood between a moderate head injury and a life threatening shot to the temple. When I was helpless and scrambling to get to my feet, waving off the violence to flag that I’ve admitted defeat, a girl stomped on my head with a stiletto heel. I remember the sharp pain, scattering through every nerve of my body. I vividly replay the scene when I touch the scar on the back of my head. This was approximately my 6th head injury. I didn’t need another one but there it was, the darkness, the depression, the suicidal demon in my head laughing, which led to an almost fatal level of addiction. If you never had a head injury, the aftermath is torturous. I was lucky, though….
I could have prosecuted my attackers to the full extent of the law. Instead, I let them go. Now I regret that after what I would learn in the future……
A year later, I came across a page on Facebook in which I follow called, “Ryan’s Rally.” Ryan had a similar altercation except the outcome was different. He has been in a coma since November 9th, 2009. He was circled and brutally beaten by Jonathon May and Austin Vantrease (who have been unjustifiably recently released from prison). He was kicked in the head and life for him and his family, forever changed that day. I know the fear that gripped him in his final conscious moments. I know the evil he saw in his attackers’ eyes. He can’t speak about it so I try to do so, for him. The Diviney’s faith and determination to raise awareness is second to none. Frequently, I visit “Ryan’s Rally” and read articles and drop a line of support for this resilient family who I hold dear and close to my heart. They depict the word family. They optimize faith and unity. If you’re not following, stop what you’re doing and go “like” their page. They need our support and most importantly, they DESERVE our support.
This can happen to YOU. This can happen to your son, your daughter, your grandchild, your cousin, your best friend, etc. The negligence and violence are increasing while the acknowledgement of the value of each human life is declining in our world and it is truly petrifying. The insensitivity is repulsive. The ruthlessness and viciousness inside hearts and minds is growing at an uncontrollable rate. Open your eyes and hearts. Look at Ryan. Take a moment and browse through old pictures and witness the life in his eyes. That life was taken away by the hands and feet of others. By an undeniable maliscious and SENSELESS act of violence. I don’t know what the reason was for the altercation was but I know one thing, he did NOT deserve the outcome. I devoutly pray that he comes out of the coma. I hope anyone reading this or the words on “Ryan’s Rally” page realize, DEEPLY, the evil that is breeding in our world. Be aware. When you grow up and the world seems like a movie with you as the main character, you never envision this as a chapter, let alone the ending to your film.
I appreciate that Ken Diviney agreed to let me share this. To the Diviney’s, I say to you, keep that hope, love, and faith. Miracles happen every day. I’ve seen them. And to Ryan, you’re a true warrior and I’ll never in my life, forget your story. #BzBe13
Strength and blessings