(To go to the beginning of this story, please click here.)
As humans, we naturally desire justice.
When someone has committed a crime, we believe they should ‘pay a penalty’ according to their crime. When someone is caught lying, we believe they should confess the truth and come clean… When someone wrongs us, most of us are willing to put aside our grudges and forgive the person if they apologize and make amends.
We are “wired” this way… We want 2 + 2 to equal 4… We want justice for ourselves and our loved ones. We want things to be “fair”…. And when they are not, our brains have a difficult time processing the lack of fairness.
This is why, that January in 2015, my mind circled and spun in a frenzy with my desire to make sense of the mysterious events that had happened to us. We had always been law abiding citizens… We had run an ethical and successful small farm for 7 years… We had many dear friends in the area, reaching all the way north to Denver and all the way south of Pueblo, and many in between, including out east where we knew and loved many farmers. We had served on a school board, a farm co-op board of directors, we had built businesses, we had volunteered and formed non-profits. We even had extended family there, and had always had good neighborly relationships with those who lived near us. We had lived in Colorado for 14 years, giving our all to the community. We had good history there. And while there will always be someone on the planet that won’t like us, and someone we will clash with personality-wise, we didn’t even have any real enemies, to our knowledge.
Sure, I am naturally outspoken and may have annoyed a home school mom or two when I said it was ok for my daughters to dress modestly and yet not look like they were from the 16th century. Sure, I may have annoyed a friend or two when I said it was ok to go to a church where everything was not in Latin. Sure, I may have told that one lady that I did make goat milk soap, but I was not, in fact, going to make breast milk soap for her. But real enemies? Not so much…..
So what on earth was going on?
I had a difficult time knowing where and how to start looking into what was behind the events in January. But I searched… I prayed those Psalms that speak of desperation and of “being surrounded by wolves”… I consulted with brilliant attorneys across the country… Slowly, I started to piece together the growing practice of “small farm raids” in America, and what was behind them.
And yes, I discovered that in these incidences, the small farmer is often presumed guilty before being proven innocent. Many times, the media jumps on the band wagon and the “mob” will become judge and jury, and determine just how far a person will be slandered.
The media had showed up the day of the raid, further increasing my shock and dread, but interestingly, they were on OUR side, which is typically rare in animal and farm situations, unless, in fact, the person is obviously innocent. I was blessed that the person who interviewed me had grown up on a farm, and was horrified himself (off-camera) at the injustice. Nothing added up, even to the reporter.
Still, my mind could not rest with what was happening to us. I would lay awake at night, trying to solve an impossible “equation.” Over and over again…. Unable to sleep…. Everything we had been accused of had been fabricated. Lies upon lies…. Almost like someone had written a fictional novel about a family who stayed up all night plotting their next sinister deed to animals that they hate. There was no crime. Only stories. Some of the stories were so far-fetched that they were almost comical. Of course, they had to be fictional, because they attacked a peaceful farm where no crime had ever been committed. But why?
The next week, in addition to the shock I was experiencing from the farm events, I would discover that I needed to be tested weekly for cancer.
Blood test after blood test… Court appearance after court appearance…. A farm unjustly vacant….. In the two months that followed the raid, I experienced PTSD. I would wake up at any sound, my adrenaline would flow when any vehicle drove by our home, what little sleep I got was restless and was fraught with nightmares …. 2 + 2 =…. 2 + 2 =… TWO PLUS … TWO… EQUALS…. It wouldn’t solve. It wouldn’t equate. I was tortured. I cried out to God for mercy, that He would take me in my sleep.
Being a victim of injustice was unbearable. The anger and confusion threatened to consume me… Who would do this? Who would cause this to happen to my family?! What kind of person is so sinister?
I had an enemy, alright. But they didn’t even know me or my family (or my animals). Random events had led to timing that matched up with a high-profile case in Colorado regarding animals, a case that had nothing to do with us. A tiny special interest group was prowling around, looking for cases to add to their portfolio. We happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time…
Or, because truth always prevails, and because this story (and the story of our lives) is about victory through trials, we would discover months later that we were at the RIGHT place at the RIGHT time… As we will always be when we are obedient to God….
(…to be continued…)
PS If you should ever have the unfortunate experience of anyone asking “questions” about your small farm, or you ever feel threatened, please contact FarmToConsumer.org for advice.