Published Authors

A place for budding and experienced authors to share ideas about publishing and marketing books
 
HomeHome  GalleryGallery  FAQFAQ  RegisterRegister  Log in  Featured MembersFeatured Members  ArticlesArticles  

Share | 
 

 Devastating news about Don Stephens

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
Go to page : Previous  1, 2, 3
AuthorMessage
Abe F. March
Five Star Member
Five Star Member
avatar

Number of posts : 10354
Registration date : 2008-01-26
Age : 78
Location : Germany

PostSubject: Re: Devastating news about Don Stephens   Sun Jan 31, 2016 11:30 pm

Shelagh reflects my feelings.  DK also shared thoughts about events/conditions that may have contributed to the actions taken.
Shelagh mentioned Don's war record.  He was also a prisoner of the Viet Cong and endured torture.  That event is revealed in his book(s) where his character Jeff Barkill is taken prisoner.  His determination never to be taken prisoner again even if it meant taking his own life is described via his fictional character.  The clandestine operations initiated by the CIA that took Jeff (Don) to S.E. Asia on several occasions could only be revealed via a fictional character.  I’m not defending his final act, but rather trying to shed some light on his possible mental state.  All our comments are speculative.  We haven’t read the note and make assumptions about the content.  Digging a hole in the backyard proves nothing.  He also had dogs that he loved and had posted picture of them on this forum.  There is nothing said about the fate of the dogs and we don’t know what he may have planned for them.
Judging the life of a man by his final acts is unfair.  When he was engaged in the clandestine operations he did not wear the Army uniform.  His actions good or bad while on assignment would be denied by the US.  He knew that going in and that is also revealed in his story.  He never received the Purple Heart for the injuries sustained in his clandestine activities.   I don’t know if he was eligible for Veterans assistance due to cause of his injuries. 
Last night I began reading Don’s first book: “Bearkiller”.  He shot an elk and was in the process of retrieving it when he was attacked by a Grizzly.  Treating his wounds and trying to survive the night, he had flashbacks and he wrote:
“ Barkil, Jeffrey R., Sergeant First Class, RA26405104, nine May thirty eight,” he shouted over and over.  He was delirious.  He was back in Vietnam, a prisoner of the Viet Cong.  The pain in his body made him relive the torture.  They had kept him in a cage suspended about four feet off the ground, constantly swaying.  The cage was made of bamboo and measured about four feet high and two feet square.  It was built so he could not stand up straight or sit all the way down, just stand in a semi-crouch.  For fun, when someone would walk by, they would hit the cage with a pole or the butt of their gun as hard as they could, where his knees or buttocks rested against the side.  The only time he got out of the cage was to be interrogated, which meant torture…”  He goes on to describe the interrogation together with water-boarding techniques.  In this scenario he draws on his experience dealing with pain and the mental attitude needed to survive the bear attack.
In his book: “Halo”, he writes about this event that occurred during his engagement/mission with the clandestine CIA operation.
Back to top Go down
dkchristi
Five Star Member
Five Star Member
avatar

Number of posts : 8593
Registration date : 2008-12-29
Location : Florida

PostSubject: Re: Devastating news about Don Stephens   Mon Feb 01, 2016 9:02 am

I respect Joe's suggestion that we let this chapter close and end speculation. However, each of us experiences this shocking sadness in our own way - and sharing the written world helps us deal with the loss also regardless of the difference in our words or means.

The mind is one of the least understood of our body parts. It is cloaked in mystery, myth, and judgment toward the person whose mind does not operate in what we consider the "normal" zone. I believe this is a terrible tragedy and failure of the medical system and the religious systems that fail to offer alternatives for people trapped in the the love vice that provides no help either physically or psychologically at the times most needed.

Those with wealth have more choices, more support, more hidden options at the bitter end.  However, even those with means are blocked by systems that don't provide care facilities that are comforting and humane.  And because of the superstition and judgment associated with mental issues, research is way behind what's needed in a modern society. A nursing home is a horrid thought - death by any means preferable. Yet, that is the only option in most cases.

The most important question is "why am I on this earth."  It is for such a short time and is so different across the globe. Maybe if that is understood, how we leave this earth might not matter so much.
Back to top Go down
http://www.dkchristi.webs.com
Abe F. March
Five Star Member
Five Star Member
avatar

Number of posts : 10354
Registration date : 2008-01-26
Age : 78
Location : Germany

PostSubject: Re: Devastating news about Don Stephens   Mon Feb 01, 2016 9:49 am

Back to top Go down
Domenic Pappalardo
Five Star Member
Five Star Member
avatar

Number of posts : 2557
Registration date : 2009-04-27

PostSubject: Re: Devastating news about Don Stephens   Mon Feb 01, 2016 11:02 am

Abe F. March wrote:
Shelagh reflects my feelings.  DK also shared thoughts about events/conditions that may have contributed to the actions taken.
Shelagh mentioned Don's war record.  He was also a prisoner of the Viet Cong and endured torture.  That event is revealed in his book(s) where his character Jeff Barkill is taken prisoner.  His determination never to be taken prisoner again even if it meant taking his own life is described via his fictional character.  The clandestine operations initiated by the CIA that took Jeff (Don) to S.E. Asia on several occasions could only be revealed via a fictional character.  I’m not defending his final act, but rather trying to shed some light on his possible mental state.  All our comments are speculative.  We haven’t read the note and make assumptions about the content.  Digging a hole in the backyard proves nothing.  He also had dogs that he loved and had posted picture of them on this forum.  There is nothing said about the fate of the dogs and we don’t know what he may have planned for them.
Judging the life of a man by his final acts is unfair.  When he was engaged in the clandestine operations he did not wear the Army uniform.  His actions good or bad while on assignment would be denied by the US.  He knew that going in and that is also revealed in his story.  He never received the Purple Heart for the injuries sustained in his clandestine activities.   I don’t know if he was eligible for Veterans assistance due to cause of his injuries. 
Last night I began reading Don’s first book: “Bearkiller”.  He shot an elk and was in the process of retrieving it when he was attacked by a Grizzly.  Treating his wounds and trying to survive the night, he had flashbacks and he wrote:
“ Barkil, Jeffrey R., Sergeant First Class, RA26405104, nine May thirty eight,” he shouted over and over.  He was delirious.  He was back in Vietnam, a prisoner of the Viet Cong.  The pain in his body made him relive the torture.  They had kept him in a cage suspended about four feet off the ground, constantly swaying.  The cage was made of bamboo and measured about four feet high and two feet square.  It was built so he could not stand up straight or sit all the way down, just stand in a semi-crouch.  For fun, when someone would walk by, they would hit the cage with a pole or the butt of their gun as hard as they could, where his knees or buttocks rested against the side.  The only time he got out of the cage was to be interrogated, which meant torture…”  He goes on to describe the interrogation together with water-boarding techniques.  In this scenario he draws on his experience dealing with pain and the mental attitude needed to survive the bear attack.
In his book: “Halo”, he writes about this event that occurred during his engagement/mission with the clandestine CIA operation.

I don't understand why Don would self-publish his war story as fiction when he could have sold it as non-fiction?
You Abe have said it is a great story. A good non-fiction war story is an easy sell.
Don was aware self-published books don't bring in much money without a lot of work on the part of the writer. What writer does not want to make money from his work? As to, "He could not tell the story as truth because the Government said he can't," others have and nothing happened to them? The men who were on the moon where told they could not talk about what they saw there...they all did...nothing happened to them? I don't understand...could you explain that to me?
Back to top Go down
alice
Five Star Member
Five Star Member
avatar

Number of posts : 15421
Registration date : 2008-10-22
Age : 70
Location : Redmond, WA

PostSubject: Re: Devastating news about Don Stephens   Mon Feb 01, 2016 1:50 pm

I don't think we will ever know the answers to these questions.
Back to top Go down
http://www.freewebs.com/acrooker/
dkchristi
Five Star Member
Five Star Member
avatar

Number of posts : 8593
Registration date : 2008-12-29
Location : Florida

PostSubject: Re: Devastating news about Don Stephens   Mon Feb 01, 2016 3:43 pm

Authors write what they will. Some write absolute truth. Some write enhanced truth. Some write fiction. Some write fantasy.  It is the writer's prerogative to write whatever they wish and present themselves however they wish - thus pen names. Movies made from novels and real life stories always vary from the truth or no one would watch them - boring. Often, authors write from real life experiences or the experiences about which they have intimate knowledge. I start with a real incident and build facts and fiction around that incident - but the incident is often real or something told to me.

In reality, memoirs do not sell well unless they are written by celebrities.  The best sellers are action, fantasy, mystery, erotica, romance, etc. - far from the details of a life that when told in its reality is generally vignettes of interest held together by long periods of dull and mundane existence.

People in this forum have seemed to be who they represent for the most part, but it is not required. They could use an entirely different persona and still be welcome. I accept members as they represent themselves.

I present no judgment nor do I wish to figure out the impossible why.  I will miss our friend and ache a while for the sadness of those last days and the desperation that drives a person to make decisions that are outside expectations and contrary to many belief systems. 

His passing will also remind me of those that left before him - and my own mortality and what my purpose might be.  I think Don probably knew he had a friend or two here and at times it gave him the comfort he may have needed.

I imagine in all of us here are secrets that occur in our lives outside the forum - times of joy, fear, heartache, loss, and behaviors someone else might not understand.  I am glad he had us, whoever we are and whatever we believe, who appreciated what we knew of him and enjoyed the words he wrote.
Back to top Go down
http://www.dkchristi.webs.com
dkchristi
Five Star Member
Five Star Member
avatar

Number of posts : 8593
Registration date : 2008-12-29
Location : Florida

PostSubject: Re: Devastating news about Don Stephens   Mon Feb 01, 2016 3:56 pm

By the way, a good friend of mine was in all the places our military did not go at the beginning of the Viet Nam conflict.  He was an assassin.  He did terrible things at the direction of his superiors.  Later, he was in the areas of Agent Orange.  He stayed on in the Far East as a civilian contracted to the military in a job that was rife with thievery and corruption and finally found his miserable way home addicted to cocaine.  All of his military service was denied by the military except for his "legitimate" service.  Agent orange effects were denied.  His PTSD that I witnessed was shocking.  It took him many years to finally gain veteran's benefits for what he suffered in zones where the military did not commit the heinous acts he was assigned, Agent Orange and PTSD.  By then, he was totally broken and spent the rest of his life operating less than. He also wrote novels.  I only knew of his suffering because I witnessed his PTSD. He didn't talk about his service.  But I helped him appeal denials of benefits and read the witness letters he received to corroborate his statements.  In those letters I saw the reality of his experiences.  His novels were about people who traveled internationally.  But I knew - I saw who those people were in their own troubled lives that reflected his own difficulty in adjusting to who he had become that was never envisioned by the young man who volunteered to serve. He would never have written a memoir.  Never.
Back to top Go down
http://www.dkchristi.webs.com
Domenic Pappalardo
Five Star Member
Five Star Member
avatar

Number of posts : 2557
Registration date : 2009-04-27

PostSubject: Re: Devastating news about Don Stephens   Mon Feb 01, 2016 6:56 pm

My interest in this thread has not been for the death off Don nor what he has done. For my years on this forum I believe I have made my views on Gods scriptures clear. These were not to challenge the belief of those reading them, nor to convert anybody. I have been a minister for over fifty years, teaching God word to those who have eyes to see, and ears to hear. I am a member of no church, or organized man-made religion. I follow the scriptures as best as a sinner can. To those seeking truth I gladly give my time as is the duty of any who believe in God and his written word. There are ten commandments God has given to all people of the earth, all of his creations. None is any stronger than the other, all are equal. The command, “You shall not kill,” is a simple command…we are forbidden to take the life of any other human. If done by accident is not a violation of the commandment. To do it with intent is a violation of Gods law. If any support those who disregard the law, these are as guilty as those who do it. We are all sinners. We humans can not judge another. To judge one must have the power to take action against the one being judged, and only God has that power, and right. We are warned to separate from those embracing sin for fear we may become like them. No human can read the heart of another, only God can do that, nor can we read our own heart. I tell you the truth, what comes out of the mouth, comes out of the heart.
The few members of this forum who post, and view each other as friends are in their later years…very close to the end of life. Soon those who believe, and those who do not believe will be standing before a living God. Nothing will be hidden.
The time has come for me to leave this forum. There is one of you who believes in Gods written word. I pray you seek the truth in the time you have left.
Back to top Go down
Abe F. March
Five Star Member
Five Star Member
avatar

Number of posts : 10354
Registration date : 2008-01-26
Age : 78
Location : Germany

PostSubject: Re: Devastating news about Don Stephens   Tue Feb 02, 2016 1:48 am

Interesting posts with good insights. 
Dom references the biblical “Thou shalt not kill”.  No problem with that except that I believe it is used with a personal interpretation.  If one truly believes that killing is wrong, then no one should be in the military.  Those in the military are trained to kill - among other things.  Whether the killing is sanctioned (as with military activity) or not sanctioned, it is still killing and that includes the death penalty.  The same applies to other biblical passages like “Thou shalt not commit adultery”.  Picking and choosing what to believe or what is appropriate in ones life is a personal choice.  Asking forgiveness is supposed to erase the wrongdoing.  Going to confession and then repeating the “sin” is a farce, IMV.
Dom, you referenced holes dug in the ground.  Where did you read that?  I don’t recall reading that in the news report nor did I see/read any news follow-up.  
 
In my view, Don Stephens is still with us.  Since we are told that the body is made up of energy and that energy never dies, then Don’s energy lives on.  He did not cease to be my friend upon the death of his body.   
 
Concerning writing fiction or non-fiction.  I can understand that dilemma.  What I wrote intended as a family journal turned into a book.  I considered writing it as fiction and my first attempt (draft) was fictionalized since I was concerned about naming names and about repercussions especially on sensitive political issues.  I found it difficult to write in the third person when that third person was me.  I decided to write in the first person and then convert it later.  That didn’t work for me.  I did change the names of some characters for their protection and mine. I didn’t want to be sued if one of the characters read the book and objected to what I wrote.  
 
Don writes in the first person using a fictional character.  I believe that the fictional character is Don.  Don was a person who honored his word and the contracts he made.  I base that on things he said in what he wrote.. I believe that when he signed his oath to serve the military and other oaths that he honored them.  Getting to know Don through his books tells me that it was not in his character to betray the trust placed in him. 
 
Don is one of the best authors I have had the pleasure of reading.  He tried, as many of us did, to find an agent, but when that didn’t work he went the route of a POD publisher and eventually decided that since he had to do his own promotion and selling he could earn more money by self-publishing.  In his book, “The Hunters for Justice” I felt that it was a timely book that could impact the manner in which the country was dealing with ISIS.  I encouraged him to seek an Agent for that book.  He told me that he had made inquiries, but got no response.  I even sent some inquiries to agents on Don’s behalf (without his knowledge) and got no response.  Choosing to self-publish is a choice one makes for varied reasons.  I believe that if Don could have found an Agent for one of his books that the Agent would have handled the other books that he wrote.  The books he wrote are as good today as ever. 
Don’s work lives on and can be the source of enjoyment to readers now and in the future.  
 
We feel the loss of Don on this forum.  I imagine that there are others who also feel the loss. “With every adversity there is a benefit” is also true with this tragedy.  Comments on this forum reveal our thoughts about this episode in our lives.  We think we know a person and discover that we know only what we see.  We cannot read the thoughts of the other person or know what they are going through, mentally or physically.  Sharing our thoughts may be of benefit to those who are experiencing problems and pain.
Back to top Go down
alice
Five Star Member
Five Star Member
avatar

Number of posts : 15421
Registration date : 2008-10-22
Age : 70
Location : Redmond, WA

PostSubject: Re: Devastating news about Don Stephens   Tue Feb 02, 2016 7:33 am

Domenic Pappalardo wrote:
My interest in this thread has not been for the death off Don nor what he has done. For my years on this forum I believe I have made my views on Gods scriptures clear. These were not to challenge the belief of those reading them, nor to convert anybody. I have been a minister for over fifty years, teaching God word to those who have eyes to see, and ears to hear. I am a member of no church, or organized man-made religion. I follow the scriptures as best as a sinner can. To those seeking truth I gladly give my time as is the duty of any who believe in God and his written word. There are ten commandments God has given to all people of the earth, all of his creations. None is any stronger than the other, all are equal. The command, “You shall not kill,” is a simple command…we are forbidden to take the life of any other human. If done by accident is not a violation of the commandment. To do it with intent is a violation of Gods law. If any support those who disregard the law, these are as guilty as those who do it. We are all sinners. We humans can not judge another. To judge one must have the power to take action against the one being judged, and only God has that power, and right. We are warned to separate from those embracing sin for fear we may become like them. No human can read the heart of another, only God can do that, nor can we read our own heart. I tell you the truth, what comes out of the mouth, comes out of the heart.
The few members of this forum who post, and view each other as friends are in their later years…very close to the end of life. Soon those who believe, and those who do not believe will be standing before a living God. Nothing will be hidden.
The time has come for me to leave this forum. There is one of you who believes in Gods written word. I pray you seek the truth in the time you have left.


You do not need to leave the forum.  Stay and state your views  I happen to agree with these above.  I cannot believe that djs would be honored by having his ill considered acts destroying this forum. It is in a precarious enough situation  already.
Back to top Go down
http://www.freewebs.com/acrooker/
Sponsored content




PostSubject: Re: Devastating news about Don Stephens   

Back to top Go down
 
Devastating news about Don Stephens
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 3 of 3Go to page : Previous  1, 2, 3

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
Published Authors :: General :: Chatter Box-
Jump to: