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Casey Brezik

The Short Story of How I Got Here: Casey Brezik

I was just going through some of the letters I’ve received over the years in an effort to minimize clutter, and I realize that in one there was a post someone had printed off for me in which one of my comrades was attributing the acts that led me here to my “mental illness.” I presume this to be a common opinion shared by several due to media reports surrounding my case. None of which have I ever known to be accurate and certainly not unbiased on this case.

Contrary to what’s been reported, at the time of the incident I did not mistake the dean as being the governor. I was only led to believe this later. To think otherwise is ridiculous and not to mention demeaning. However, even though I hadn’t marked him as the governor, I was able to mark him as one of the more important people in the room at the time. Let me start from the beginning though. All of this happened at a strange time in my life, so some backstory is warranted.

As I mentioned in my last post, my first post, the first anarchists I was ever able to clique up with were in Kansas City. After a sequence of events I was left without a place to stay within the city. I knew it was only a matter of time before I would have to leave—I just wanted it to be on my terms. That day came when I had an argument with my, then, girlfriend (she was far too good for me anyway). I hopped the first train and headed south towards warmer weather. I should’ve known more about hopping before I did so because I put myself in a lot of danger without realizing it at the time (though I’m not sure it would’ve made a difference to me) by doing dumb things while riding. I got off somewhere in southwestern Kansas and walked to a truck stop in an attempt to hitch a ride further south. A man told me he would give me a ride to Tulsa. I thought it would be perfect because the only other anarchist I knew by name was out of Oklahoma City.

Once in Tulsa, I hung around the Greyhound station. I’d seen someone sneak onto one when I first left Springfield. With nothing to lose, I considered I should give it a try. Late at night I made my move. Initially, the bus would’ve taken me all the way to LA, but I didn’t know anyone there. Nor did I know where I’d get busted before then. So, I got off in OKC.

I remember walking for a short distance in OKC before I spotted someone walking that looked as though they might be able to point in the right direction towards finding the person I knew. Sure enough, he walked me to the arts district. From there I held a sign, supposedly for a “clandestine” organization, which I came to find out later pissed some people off, some macho men. The irony is that this “clandestine” organization didn’t seem to have existed beyond their stupid little dance party.

Anyway, the sign yielded no results. Ultimately, it was a helpful server at the coffee shop that provided me a pamphlet with the OKC info shop’s address on it, which was meeting later that night. That’s where I met some pretty solid dudes. They had my back when I needed them later on down the road. I didn’t stay with anyone in OKC, but I was shown an abandoned building I could use for awhile.

I’d arrived in time for the 3rd Friday, a monthly art walk. I remember one exhibit in particular that took images from Abu Gharib prison in Iraq and turned the people and situations into cartoon characters, with smiling faces. There were also plenty of condoms available with devil packaging. I grabbed a handful in case I was ever lucky enough to have an opportunity to use them, but it never came. Still, I spoke with the artist and expressed my indignation of how he could portray such dark scenes with light and humor. He told me he had done it in order to bring a difficult topic to the people in a way that wouldn’t make them uncomfortable and cause them to turn away from it. He claimed it’s easier for people to see things like that in cartoon form rather than their true form. In retrospect, I think he was more likely trying to justify what he was doing without having to resort to revealing his true intentions to avoid his ego taking a critical hit. Ultimately, the exhibit and the way it was presented were intended to appeal to the privileged within our society.

Shortly after the exhibit, while chillaxin’ with these new people I’d met, I blew up our chill spot by taking a small clay flowering pot filled with dirt and smashing it into a thousands tiny pieces on the ground. That was my vent for all my frustrations I was feeling. I ran off.

I remember sharing the beers I’d jacked off a delivery truck with these people. I’d jacked CD’s to give them. I even ditched a watch one of them was able to make use of. I never tried to force my way into their clique, but I was still told I wasn’t welcomed inside their house anymore…because my smashing the flower pot was “too agro.” My connection was cut in OKC. The person I was looking for was headed northward with someone out of KC anyway. There were a few from the Northeast whom I was able to gather some vague info from, in case I were ever able to stop by sometime. That did actually happen. For the moment, they showed me a few pointers on hopping and I headed south to Mexico.

I spent about a week hopping trains, trying to get out of Texas and across the border. The moment came when I thought I’d finally managed to do it, only to find I was in El Paso. However, I’d only travelled a couple of blocks when I saw a sign for “Pedestrian Border Crossing.” After dumpstering some burritos I made my way toward the crossing. It cost $.35, but the night guard was cool and let me across anyway. It must’ve been around 1:30 or 2:00 am because the clubs were letting out.

When I crossed it was a little bit of a culture shock. However, for the sake of time I’m going to save my adventures in Mexico for another post in the future. For now it will suffice to say that I was extradited for violating my parole and entering the country illegally (can’t stray too far south without papers—at least you’re not supposed too). I then had to serve the remaining year of my 3-year sentence for my first charge here in Missouri, possession of marijuana.

I was released from prison May 13th, 2010. I remember reuniting with anarchists in KC. One particular that I’ve always been fond of actually ran to give me a hug. That still makes me feel good when I think about it. Never have I felt so cared about as I did in that moment. I met with everyone and tried to sell a far reaching and poorly thought out plan for expanding operations. It felt good to see everyone.

It wasn’t long before I tired of trying to find a job and took off for the G-20 summit in Toronto. Again, this is a topic for another post. After I was deported, I reunited under some pretty unbelievable chance circumstances with some friends I met in OKC. I even hopped a train to see a friend perform in her punk band while on tour. From there my intent was to catch my friend’s trial, in order to show support, down in Appalachia. Again, another post for another time. From there, I hopped along the Gulf Coast and wound up in New Orleans.

Eventually, I was back in Kansas City to start attending community college. 2 weeks in, I received my financial aid. I used it to buy items I thought I might need in the future, including some clothing. I also went back to Springfield to return something familiar, have once again been distanced by the anarchists in KC. I partied for the entire weekend without sleep. I came back to KC to attend school on Monday. I made it home just in time to see my packages delivered (the items I’d bought online). One these items was my bulletproof vest.

I’d already gone shopping with my financial aid money prior to going to Springfield for the weekend to party with old friends. Now, I was left to “party” on my own in Westport. Really, this amounted to my getting drunk and walking around. Nothing more. I ended up sleeping in an abandoned apartment building not too far from my hang out spot. Actually, I was too paranoid to sleep, as is often the case. It seemed like the building I was in could be used for all sorts of things at night, so I stayed awake listening my MP3 player in the dark until sunrise. Then, I walked to school.

I arrived early and hung out downstairs in the student center. I just chilled until it was time to go to class. Probably, due to lack of sleep and the combination of drugs and alcohol I was still reeling on, I momentarily forgot I had class on Tuesday. Eventually, I made my way to the computer lab for my Comp. Sci 101 course. That’s when I saw the podium with the State seal on it. I backtracked and asked the receptionist what it was there for. She told me, excitedly, that the governor, Jay Nixon, was coming to speak. I found this unbelievable. When I asked her why we weren’t informed, she just shrugged her shoulders.

It was at this moment I remember laughing a sinister laugh, unable to believe what was transpiring. I’d been wearing my vest since the day prior and I generally try to carry a knife on me. Circumstances seemed to be smiling on me.

I remember grabbing a computer as close to the podium as possible. The setup was all very close quarters, so I was more than 4ft from it. However, someone came and told me I’d need to move in a little while before the governor arrived. He also gave me the ETA. With that, I stepped outside to smoke a blunt I’d rolled earlier that morning in the women’s restroom that was closed for repairs downstairs. I bummed a light and walked out to the pavilion. I stood there overlooking everyone as they moved about and considered: 1) what I was about to do, 2) how I was going to do it, and 3) the consequences that I might face for even attempting what I stood there contemplating.

At one point, I specifically remember realizing just how insane I was being and reminded myself that I could still just walk away. However, as I turned to do so, I realized that doing so would mean I would have to live the rest of my life knowing that when it came to act on my principles (which I’d so adamantly advocated for in my travels), I chose to be a coward. I couldn’t live with myself knowing that I’d become one of the hypocrites I was so much against. That was enough to settle my mind. I could live my life in prison, or I could die today, so long as I know I stayed true to myself.

At this, I returned to the computer lab, determining enough time had lapsed. I actually ran to the wrong class at first. I then ran to the computer lab. Not being the “ninja” several people reported me as being, I was unable to wield my butterfly knife as though it were a natural extension of my hand. I wasn’t about to try, so my knife was already drawn when I entered the lab. It became obvious the governor had not arrived when I saw no security present. In fact, very little had changed since I left. I’d jumped the gun.

It didn’t take but a moment for me to have the entire rooms attention as my knife was already drawn. Everyone, but two people so caught up in the conversation, noticed me. I noticed the news cameras, though. I decided not to waste the moment and attempt an impromptu speech. To do this I thought it was necessary to have everyone’s attention, including the two men still conversating. This also served to buy me time as I tried to contemplate what I’d say.

I approached these two men and waved my knife in their faces to get their attention. There was a look of sheer terror that I remember (correctly or not, I’m not certain) creeping across one of their faces. This man was the dean, who I later chased down and stabbed. There was no way I’d mistaken him as the governor at this point. After I had their attention I went to the podium and started with “Mic check, one, two” (lol). Again, I was trying to buy time as none of this was really planned. All the while, I was hoping the cameraman would turn on his camera and start filming (he waited until I was being arrested). At this moment, three people ran out of the room. Due in part to instinct because they were running and partly due to my need to find a distraction to save me from the rather embarrassing moment that was only bound to get worse, I chased after them.

My mind was already made up on bloodshed, even if it meant my own. I took this moment as an opportunity to strike. Ultimately the dean got stabbed because he was the slowest. No other reason. As soon as I struck him, I was tackled to the ground and apprehended.

That’s the story of my arrest in a nutshell. Afterwards, I was left in shackles for 24 hours in a solitary cell. Eventually, the police interviewed me. It was intended as an interrogation, but I was more than happy to tell them my ideologies and my conceptions of a better tomorrow. Throughout this “interrogation,” they led the conversation a lot of places and like a dummy my ego followed. Throughout it all they led me to believe I had actually killed my intended target, which I admitted was Jay Nixon. This confused me at first, but I’ve encountered stranger things in life, so I went with it. I didn’t refute it, not seeing their reason behind suggesting otherwise. However, at the end of the “interview” they revealed that not only was the man I attacked not the governor, but he also wasn’t dead.

Why they did this, I’m still not sure. I can only speculate it was for the news. They wanted to paint me as being more psychotic than I felt at the time. Maybe they needed to reaffirm their suspicions because it was the only way they were able to reconcile my actions. The opposing idea, that I was within my full faculties (without being given all the details), could only mean something more sinister and difficult for people to cope with. Possibly this is also why no attempt was ever made to interview me. My being “mentally ill” meant the problem was isolated and contained. They were free to ridicule me at will and go back to their lives. By the same reasoning though, possibly, if only for a brief moment, I made them pause and contemplate something they couldn’t easily comprehend. Surely he must be mentally ill.

I wont sit here and try and convince you I was all the way within my right mind when I did what I did. I was high on drugs, alcohol, and hadn’t slept at all for 3 days. There’s no way my decision-making faculties were fully functional. I didn’t regret making the decision to act. I knew, to be right with myself I’d have to. But, I do regret the way in which I acted. The dean was not my intended target and there was certainly no reason for him to get hurt. That part was senseless.

Shortly after my arrest, my attorneys were able to find reason to send me to the State psychotic hospital for a 6-month evaluation. However, the psychiatrists determined that I was not only competent, but also had no diagnosis for me. My attorney requested that I stay longer for a second opinion. The second evaluation produced the same results. I came back to the county and after a series of judge changes, I was able to request a bond be set. Not because I planned on making one, but more so because I wanted to know what to expect from this judge when I changed my plea to guilty. I hadn’t been offered a plea deal, and at that point I wasn’t expecting to be.

When it came time for my attorney to deliver my change of plea, the prosecuting attorney opted to offer to have my second 1st Degree Assault charge dropped to a 2nd Degree Assault and have both my ACA’s (armed criminal action charges) ran in together with their respective assaults. Ultimately, this did nothing by way of limiting how much time they could give me. So, more than anything, it served as a notch on the prosecutor’s plea deal record. He still pursued life and the maximum sentence at my sentencing hearing.

I should explain that my second assault charge came from the chancellor of the college. He’s the one who tackled me. He had a small cut on his chest. I’m not certain where it comes from, nor that he didn’t do that himself. It’s worth mentioning that aside his having 17 years experience in law enforcement, including ATF and Missouri Highway Patrol, he was the former director of Homeland Security for the state. Undoubtedly, him and Nixon knew each other prior. This might serve to explain why Nixon made such a surprise appearance that day. I’m not sure. I won’t speculate now.

I will say that I considered Governor Nixon’s decision to hold a surprise appearance a little suspicious. I actually considered that he was trying to get something over on us. As though he may have felt we were easily unsuspecting victims for one of his predatory schemes. I considered he may have felt that he could make an appearance, hold a photo-op with smiling faces and disappear before anyone was any the wiser. So, in a sense, I felt I was defending not only my dignity, but in a much broader sense, all those that wind up being exploited by the hands of our government. I was making a stand. This goes back to what I was saying in my first post about believing in self-defense.

It’s no secret that there’s a war being waged against every single one of us in an attempt to gain our compliance. The more you resist, the more evident this will become. For those of us whom have never dared to defy the rules or norms of society in favor of treading our own path in life, that statement means nothing. For those of us that have never dared, they’re just words on paper, void of any significance. For those who that have dared, it rings true on many levels.

For sometime prior to my actions that led me back into this cage, I became determined to stop treating life as though we weren’t at war. I didn’t want to be complacent to their program only at those times when they were “overly” aggressive or “out of line.” The notion that we’re at odds with them and subjected to “use of force” any time we’re not complacent or passive should be enough to be considered “out of line.” They’ll resort to violence without need and still be considered justified.

This is why I wore a vest. For fear of my life being taken at the hands of the police. At the time, the media poked at me for that, but now, after they’ve decided to broadcast all over mass media that police can and will kill us at will and with impunity (to scare us into complacency?) maybe people can comprehend my feeling the way I did, even then. I didn’t need the media to tell me what I already knew.

However, despite being so privy to what was “really” happening out there—a perspective that seems to become increasingly clear the further you remove yourself from the “acceptable” norms of society—as an effect, the more you resist. I failed to find a means to bring this type of conscious assessment of the world into the minds of others. Some seemed to agree, but when it came to taking action none felt the atmosphere was right. They say an enemy inside the gates is always more dangerous than those still waiting outside. Hence, the reason it’s important to keep those inside pacified and complacent. I felt I had to try to create an atmosphere somehow. There was no one else. No such thing happened, despite my best efforts.

I felt so alone and distraught, it didn’t matter where I was if it meant my existence could only amount to that type of hopelessness. Also, the reason for cheesy sayings I posted on Facebook without much thought or concern with how they’d be perceived. I’ve since discovered that I’m not alone, nor was I, even then. There were others. There are others, still. Having discovered this amongst other things makes me have no regrets about coming in here.

Sometimes I struggle with the fact that I assaulted the dean unnecessarily, but when I heard about how the attack changed him, I couldn’t help but understand that I burst his bubble that allowed him to feel safe and secure. He knows and understands now that the world around him isn’t as safe as he’d like to believe. He’s aware now of what many of us have been living with for sometime. Possibly, that can serve to help him later in life. I realize too, that his former mentality was borne from a life of privilege that many of us are not afforded, regardless of whether we choose to resist or imitate the ways of society. Many of us, a great many of us, are simply left trying to hang on to the edges society. A great many of us are left behind before we ever found the strength to pick ourselves up and walk away.

One last thing. I want to thank everyone that’s shown support in so many ways. I’ve never felt alone and humiliated as I did the day I was sentenced to those 12 years. As part of my defense, my attorney called on my family to show me as a disturbed and misguided youth that had always struggled through life. This was in front of a packed courtroom. The only five people that were there for me were my immediate family members and in their testimonies it seemed as though they were demeaning me, but that was part of my attorney’s strategy. It was the most humiliating day of my life, and despite my hoping that some anarchists would be there to support me, no one showed up. I definitely felt alone then, but I don’t feel so alone now. So, thank you for that with all of my heart.

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  1. Pingback: Anarchists In Space: Casey Brezik | KCMO Anarchist Black Cross - May 7, 2016

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