Update: January 31, 2015:
Since writing this piece was contacted by Evan Andrew Ross. Turns out while the California crew all shun Brandon now, they remain friends with Brandon’s California Co-defendants. Meaning, they’ve learned zip. Also learned Evan has reading issues, and their entire group subtweet attacks on me from behind blocked accounts. Some people live and learn; and some people, don’t.
Post verdict, people are understandably curious about the reaction of Brandon Vandenburg’s friends. Partly because the defense was utterly defensed, but more particularly because most of Brandon’s friends were resolutely behind their high school and college buddy – including after the ‘cooperation’ of Brandon’s friends, who also became “Co-Defendants.” That’s a strong bond.
But people are also curious because high school is generally the first time most kids experience placing their trust someone else, (and why everyone remembers their first love) harder, is trusting someone once cocaine enters the picture. So while it’s fair to mention Brandon’s cocaine use was not a key point at trial, Brandon’s admitted usage did come out at trial. Thus, one has to wonder when and where cocaine began to factor into Brandon and his friend’s lives and how that added wrinkle did or didn’t impact their belief system.
growing up adding birthdays with this California crew did/does involve many hours drinking, then recovering from the after-effects, pretty much, full time.
I mention this as the verdict served up one very sober reality check and added curiosity factor. The verdict was sort of like watching the end of the train wreck. Passengers start coming out – dazed but happy – and pretty soon as the reality they’re alive hits; it’s
“Wow. I survived a train wreck! That was close!”
(Amanda Perez (left), in Nashville Criminal Court listening to jury instructions in the Brandon Vandenburg sex crimes case.)
Evan’s tweet was the first to ask: “why the fuck is Amanda walking in with them”
– and with that an observer could sense a shift in Brandon developed, finely-honed narrative.
Evan’s tweet was a reaction to what might have felt like a blindside. He could acknowledge what he was seeing, but had no idea why. Like most, it turns out the sudden realization one is not in possession of valuable information, works great as a denial breaking eye-opener. Your core gets it. However, there is generally some travel time involved before core meets cranium.
Still, eventually, it gets there.
Amanda and friend welcoming the new year.
While the Vandenburg family pulled out all the emotional stops for Brandon; the look on Amanda’s face in court seemed to indicate she might have been rethinking a lot of things, and as much as she loved the family, returning to her current life was something Amanda might be anxious to do.
That aside, reaction was swift, if not introspective. No one seemed to mind the reading of Finley’s texts, “You’re gonna get in trouble – get out of there – she could call rape.” or “Team Miles and Joey” because they (eventually) came clean.
Then, for some, introspection kicked in.
“Mind blown” was an initial reaction
A few thought of the victim, first.
Some remained stuck on “the league” Note the 18 favorites in the tweet below.
(In fairness, this is America. Our culture clearly favors football over raped women. Exhibit A being the verdict didn’t make national headlines while deflated footballs continues to dominate.)
But ultimately, the reaction is what anyone might expect. The kids want what everyone wants. To lick their wounds privately. Time to get together so they can get it together. Time to ask each other how were they fooled for so long. Because this, this horrible thing Brandon did that night and the days and nights afterward to cover up his crimes (including blaming the victim for getting sick). Well, that’s one of those, core-shattering, “I can’t trust my judgment” kind of curve balls life will serve up. And this hit ’em all right in the face.
And that takes time to sort out.
The other reaction kids had? That’s easy. They’re not fond of talking about this to anyone but each other.