July 11, 2018

Dear Chugiak-Eagle River,

This is my confession and plea for understanding, it is my sincere hope that you will choose to accept it and thereby allow me the means to remain in your presence. With that said should you not make that choice I will defer and move on. I am a bad person and I also struggle with mental illness which is well documented. In that confession I acknowledge sufficient cause to bring the full force of the law to bear on me for what I am about to share. The choice is yours (as a community) and I vow to honor that choice.

Mental Illness can never be an excuse for doing wrong, never. It can explain or bring wrong doing into perspective but only for serving justice as opposed to circumventing it. It is my humble request that the good people of this community not accept what I share here as an excuse for any perceived wrong doing on my part. The ends can never justify the means. I have chosen this means of communication to bear my soul and accept whatever judgement is to come. I willingly forfeit any fifth amendment rights I may have without any accompanying plea for mercy.

My mental illness started in junior high school (1974) which is where (I believe) the lens through which I perceived reality became corrupted and/or diverged from how others perceived the same. From that point forward my perception of reality became compromised. Subsequent events (to me) only seemed to confirm that lens of perception which in turn drove this anger which emanated from the depths of my being and manifested outwardly which those around me rightly perceived to be rage, pure and raw. In recent years that rage was displaced onto many within the Chugiak-Eagle River community, for that I am truly guilty.

Eight years ago a series of events began unfolding which led to the good people of a couple churches near Chugiak to believe I was capable of becoming a mass murderer with (apparently) their selves as my imminent target. I was not. In contrast I perceived myself as having been unjustly targeted and deprived of my livelihood. This perception of mine only fed my inner rage. Then Sandy Hook happened, and we all mourned the senseless loss of innocent life. I am not, was not nor could I ever become an Adam Lanza not in my worst nightmare could that ever happen. Still the perception and we all went into a season of mourning.

At the depth of my mourning I despaired life itself which brought up memory of my root mental illness at least as I perceived it. I despaired openly. The fear arose, from where I do not know (not from me), that I would commit suicide by cop. That was not true but those around me perceived the truth to be far from me. This gave the police good cause to be concerned. I am very thankful for the professionalism those who are charged with enforcing our laws were able to display in that day.

For me my ordeal began 44 years ago. For Chugiak-Eagle River our shared ordeal began eight years ago and seemed (to me) to emanate from a couple of closely aligned churches in the Chugiak-Peters Creek area, one of which I attended faithfully for many years. Five years ago my (official) Mental Health diagnosis was downgraded to Adjustment Disorder. The docs explained that I had unresolved trauma from a time in my life when I lacked tools to resolve it causing me to create a (faulty) lens through which I, as a self defense mechanism, viewed others and the world around me through. This caused others to perceive me as mentally ill. Regardless of accuracy, that perception was not without merit.

I strongly believe there is a deeper understanding to be had among our community. My efforts to force that understanding were foolish and as I move into this season where I seek healing I also acknowledge and seek forgiveness for the wounds I inflicted in that effort.

Truly I love you Chugiak-Eagle River and for that love I ask to be held accountable and thereby the opportunity to heal. You have no obligation to provide that opportunity.

This week I will be at the Bear Paw festival and I will be endeavoring to heal inter-personal relationships to the best of my ability. If I in any way offended you or if you believe I may have taken offense (errant or otherwise) lets bring it in the open, resolve it and move on. If such is amenable to you.

Roger Branson