Something About a Minnesota Winter

Something About a Minnesota Winter


Something about a Minnesota winter

when the wind whips the snow into white curtains

and blows the frigid air up our noses

and freezes the hair in our nostrils

when dogs have to wear boots

or have frost-bitten feet

when horses grow hair thick as sheep fleece

and their eyes sparkle in the blazing light

when tulip bulbs rejoice they are underground

blanketed with three feet of snow

when human beings hunker down

and eat big bowls of buttered popcorn

Makes me long for hugs and kisses

and the warmth of you

all around me

You melt the ache in my heart

put the spring back in my spirit

remind me that all is well


27 January 2014

in the midst of the 2nd Arctic vortex of the winter



The Death of George the Duck Teaches Me a Lesson

The Death of George the Duck

Teaches me a Lesson

I will no longer be silent about the horrors of violence.

George the duck was murdered in July 2013 at her home in River Walk, San Antonio, Texas. Her last minutes were caught on a web cam. Late at night, two men in white t-shirts grabbed George, who was sleeping next to a lamp post. They laughed and shouted as they held her by the neck, kicked her, wrung her neck, and then sauntered down the walk as she dangled dead from their hands. They threw her into the San Antonio River, laughing all the way.

 For years, George was an attraction for tourists and San Antonians alike. She’d walk up to people as if knew them and often posed with them for photos and videos.  She also has babies. Her husband was a mallard, and so the babies don’t look exactly like George, but they carry her genes and hopefully her spirit.

The Death of George as Tipping Point

I just learned the story of George the duck and immediately decided that my decades-long reluctance is over. Never again, not ever, will hold back on telling stories of what violence looks like and how it feels to be the target of violence. Never again will I worry that if I sensationalize violence if I tell the stories I have heard. The death of George, a duck, has struck me deeply as cruel and horrific.  That chord is far too familiar. At times, it has been more than I thought I could bear. I had done interview research with perpetrators of violence since 1985.

The laughing glee of the murderers reminds me of the glee that I heard as people they told me stories of the violence they committed—on people and sometimes on animals, such as sodomizing a chicken. One man told me that he got the best orgasms when he had penetrated a chicken and then slammed her head in a door. The spasm of the chicken was exquisite. Ecstasy.

Get it?  I’m done pussy footing and moly coddling. If readers don’t want to know what violence looks like, I encourage them not to read this article.  Stop right here. Stop when you get to the chicken part. Stop when you get to “George the duck was murdered.” You may have good reasons why you don’t want to read such stuff. Take care of yourself. Do what you’ve got to do. To be honest, another reason I haven’t published most of what I’ve already written because the stories sometimes traumatize me. Well, I just have to pull myself together, don’t I?  I’ve sure worked on myself long enough.

It’s time for me and the rest of us who can bear it to dig in and take a good hard look at violence. Let’s join my Sicilian relatives who say “Basta” when they’ve had enough. I’ve had enough. Basta. The death of George the duck was my tipping point.

Here goes.

Here’s one of the hundreds of stories I’ve written and never published. This story will show you what violence is for one human being. So will all the others I have to tell. Stay tuned. I’m going to publish them. Maybe you will reach your tipping point and do something about violence. Thank you, George. You have many legacies.

 The Story of a Serial Rapist

Who Experienced the Abuse of Children as Love

 I would actually go through mental battles before I raped. It would be like, it was like I was two different people.  I’d be talking.  Sometimes I’d even talk verbally: “You can’t do this.” The one that was saying, “You can’t do this,” was real gentle, docile type individual.  The one that was the, “Yeah, I can do this,” was a real belligerent, evil, what I consider evil type individual.

Eventually it would come down to the dominant one would just tell the docile one, “Fuck you. Shut the fuck up.  We’re going to do this,” and that’s the way it would come out.  That’s the way it would be and (finger snap) the other one would just disappear.

All the time that the rapes were going on, it would be like this one would be standing up there watching and would be in pain about it. The dominant one would feel powerful.  Just seemed like every time I raped that individual got more and more and more and more powerful. The other one got weaker and weaker because it’s like I was losing part of me.

I wasn’t beating them because I would snatch them up by the neck and apply just enough pressure to get them to consent.  They knew they were going to die.  They would give in.  I’d just tell them, “You’re going do every damn thing I tell you to do.  You have no choice.” That’s the way it was.  I didn’t beat anybody up.  I didn’t hit women.  My ma told me, “You don’t hit women,” and I never hit women.

I was the greatest around kids.  You know what I’m saying (chuckle)? That’s  the part that’s so messed up.  I can play with kids.  They’ll all have fun and they’ll all want to be there with me, have a good time.

With kids, it’s weird.  It was like warm, comfortable, gentle.  It was like making love.  I think it’s the other type individual if it’s with children, the one that was docile and stuff.  Kids—it’s where he belonged.  That’s where he fit in.  There wasn’t anybody threatening him.  When it was more powerful, put pressure on him. I don’t know how to explain it.  (big sigh)

It was like, all right, like you could be a threat, okay, if you were there, okay, because you’re an adult.  You could threaten this other type of individual, the small, docile one. When he’s with kids, okay, he could have power over kids because they couldn’t hurt him in any way. So he had his power there because you don’t hit women.  I don’t know why I wanted to be sexual with kids.

The love, the love that I experienced, the gentleness that I ever experienced, the caring that I ever experienced in my life came from Kyle Wallace.  The price for all that was having sex with him.  Okay?  He was gentle with me. He was kind to me. Okay?  He didn’t hit me.  He didn’t threaten me.  That was the same type of stuff that I did with kids.  I enjoyed sex with Kyle.

I went through a thing about being a homosexual about that.  That was really weird.  I was nine, ten, eleven, twelve until I got into the state training school.  Four or five years I was sexual with Kyle.  My father was beating me with a rubber hose.  It’s just a flip flop.  Sex started with Kyle and I.  He used to take a couple of us kids swimming.  Then he just started taking me by myself.

When I was in the state training school, that was incorrigibility but that was for like child molesting.  I was messing with kids that were like my own age.  They really didn’t call it child molesting because it was all the same age.  This was going on like when I was ten, eleven, twelve years old.  I was also being molested at that time, too, by Kyle, who owned the farm next door. He molested other boys, too.  He never got caught.

My mother’s boyfriend used to come home drunk and beat my ma.  I used to jump on him and hide the kids first and then jump on him until he would get off her and start beating on me.  Then she’d get away, and then I’d get away.  That was the normal pattern when he came home.  I shot at him with a shotgun, just beebees, hit him in the back.  He was on the porch, and I shot from the living room.  Most of the beebeees hit the porch.  Some of them went into him.

They took me to a state home.  I wanted to kill that man.  I was eight. I went to a juvenile orphanage home.  It was a farm.  I was the youngest person there, too. That’s where I learned to love animals.

I was also raped when I was six.  Three teenagers that I didn’t know. They made me suck them off, and they did me in the butt. Just about anything that they wanted to do.  They told me they’d kill me if I told.  I was with a friend.  I told him to run away.  He did.  I never saw him again.  He lived right across the street from me.  I stopped wanting to live a long time.  I stopped wanting to live when I got raped.  Yet I wouldn’t tell anybody.  They said they’d kill me if I told.  That kept me from telling so I must have wanted to live.

I think I was mixed up because I thoughts when I was a kid to shoot myself and stuff.  I knew how to handle guns.  My father taught me how to handle guns real well. I was a real good shot.  I knew what it would take to kill somebody and what it would take to kill myself.  I think I was in the process of making that decision.  I never let anybody know anything about me.  Why should I?  I figured I wasn’t going to be around long enough anyway.

I know I had a lot of hatred just towards everybody, mainly men. I always felt like I had no power over men.  I think it had a lot to do with why I rape women because I could get power over them but I couldn’t get it over a man.

Then I almost killed myself on drugs when I was about seventeen.  I went to the hospital and the doctor that I was seeing told me, he says, “You want some help?  We got some people who will come up here and talk to you.” They took some tests on me, and these two guys come in, little snooty looking guys.  One of them told me I was paranoid schizophrenic and should be locked up for the rest of my life (laugh).  So I kind of told him to kiss my feet. Then my doctor that was treating me for malnutrition and other stuff that I was into asked me if I really wanted to get some  help.  I said, “Yeah, I do,”

If you let people get close all that results in that is that you get hurt. You either get hurt because they turn around and walk away.  I still have that belief.  That anybody you get close to is

going to leave. Period.  So I’m already prepared for that.  Kind of a real funky way to go into a relationship with anybody but that’s the way it is, you know.

The other part of it is that if it’s men they’re going to want sex from you if they get close.  So you don’t let them close. That way you don’t have to give them sex.  Right?   To this day at 42 years old if I get into a room with a man I’m very nervous.  I don’t allow anybody to know it, but I’m very nervous because I think that’s what’s coming.

I think the day that I stop feeling like that will be the day that I know I have enough power and control not to hurt people.  

Now there’s some bestiality into this too, for about three years in my early twenties. It was bizarre.  I was doing a lot of drugs.  A horse and cow.  That’s having sex with animals.  This is going to be real gross, but this is the way it was.  It seemed like sex to me was just a place to dump your nut. 

I can’t think of a better way to put it.  That’s just the way it was in my head, even including sex that I had with women.  I was living with a girl name Sam. I used to have sex with her two, three times a day.  It was just like a better place to masturbate. I know its sounds weird but that’s the way it was.  I’ve never been satisfied sexually.  It was more like my dick was a weapon, was a gun. This is how I brutalize.  Instead of hitting women this is what I did to them because you can’t hit women.

I would make women give me oral sex, anal sex, vaginal sex.  Whatever I wanted, that’s what I did.  Whatever I wanted them to do, I made sure they did.  Powerful.  Nobody could hurt me.

You get the release and the feel good. I think that’s why there was so much sex with my victims.  It was just because I’d give a nut and then two minutes later I’m hard, and I want to go do it again.  My last victim, I had her for eleven hours in a hotel room having sex with her.  You know, that’s (sigh) not normal behavior when you gun several nuts

When I’m in a relationship, it’s kind of the way I show I love–having sex with them. I’ve tried to explain it to people and they have no concept of what that means, but if f you go back to look at what I had with Kyle, that’s the way I expressed what I felt for him is that I gave him sex.

I always wanted to.  I had this thing about wanting to die, but yet, I was one of the strongest survivors that I know.  My mother taught me to survive.  That was the one thing that she taught me real well was how to survive.  “You will survive in any given situation.”  I’ve survived the parish prisons in Louisiana, just being in there for like thirty days.  They are holes.  They are hell holes.  They are hell holes.   I mean they’re nasty.  We’re talking about rats and cockroaches and bugs that you haven’t ever seen, and like movie shit that they show how hard it is.  I survived that and kept mentally focused.


You got to the end. Congratulations. The more we take it in, the more likely we are to stand up to the social forces that shape people who do with this man does. Did this story give you ideas about what to do?  Then do it.

This is a classic case of an abused child becoming an abuser. This man became an abuser because no one helped him as a child. He has experienced complex trauma and NO ONE HELPED HIM.  If anyone had been kind to him and had established a long-term relationship of trust with him and helped him deal with his many traumas, he would not have done what he did. He would not believe what he believes. Think about it, for goodness sake. Do something. Learn about attachment as the foundation for children learning to cope with trauma.

 References and Sources

See a video about George the Muscovy Duck

George the duck gets beat to death by thugs.  YouTube.


Gilgun, Jane F. (2014, January 16). The Ducks of River Walk, San Antonio.  YouTube.

Gilgun, Jane F. (2013). The logic of murderous rampages.  Amazon.

Gilgun, Jane F. (2012) The NEATS: A child & family assessment (2nd ed.). Amazon.

Gilgun, Jane F. (2011) Child sexual abuse: From harsh realities to hope (2nd ed). Amazon.

Kidd, Sue Monk.  (2002). The secret life of bees. New York: Penguin.

Lieberman, Alicia F. (2004). Traumatic stress and quality of attachment: Reality and internalization in disorders of infant mental health. Infant Mental Health Journal, 25(4), 336-351.

National Child Traumatic Stress Network.  Retrieved January 13, 2014.

Trauma Center a Division of Justice Resource Institute. Retrieved 11 January 2014.

Van der Kolk, Bessel A. (2005). Developmental Trauma Disorder: A new, rational diagnosis for children with complex trauma histories. Psychiatric Annals 35(5), 390-398. Available free on-line at  Retrieved January 10, 2014.

About the Author

Jane F. Gilgun, PhD, LICSW, is a professor, School of Social Work, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

See a video about George the Muscovy Duck


Broken Left Ankle When Ellie Rolls in the Snow

My horse Ellie went down in the snow in a flash. I didn’t have time to jump off. I felt an enormous pressure on my left ankle and then felt two breaks. Ellie got off me immediately and stayed on the ground with her legs under her. Suzanne, my riding companion, helped me to my feet. Ellie got to her feet, and then walked over to me. She seemed concerned. That’s how fast accidents can happen. The video shows scenes from the emergency room after the accident. Several photos of the beautiful Ellie end the video.

Surgery on Broken Left Ankle

What a surprise. When I broke a bone in my leg eight days before, the emergency room doctor looked at the x-rays and said I didn’t need surgery. He said to see an orthopedic surgeon in a week or two to get a walking cast. Wrong. The orthopedist took one look at the x-ray and said I had to have surgery that day. This video shows the events of the three days that followed the orthopedist’s recommendation for surgery. Watch this video and learn what to do and not to do when you break a bone.