Kaili Behan lost her brother to drugs 23 years ago. She writes here on why she stands for the mercy of accused drug smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran as they await execution in Bali.
To all of those baying for blood today. To all of those saying that they would cheerfully partake in aiming a loaded gun at two men tethered to a post on a deserted beach, and shoot at them until their blood runs into the sand, and their hearts explode in their chests; making their final living minutes (yes death is not usually instant in a firing squad situation) excruciating – YOU DON’T SPEAK FOR ME.
When you repeatedly try and bludgeon the internet by peddling barbaric and offensive opinions, purporting to be a voice for those who have lost loved ones due to drugs – YOU DON’T SPEAK FOR ME.
As it so happens 17 February marked the 23rd anniversary of my beautiful and vulnerable autistic brother Adam’s death – he died from a heroin overdose.
But still, I STAND FOR MERCY.
Adam was at a party ostensibly to celebrate turning 22. In reality the “party” was just another excuse for those who should have been caring for him to indulge their own vices and he was left alone.
My darling brother was not a drug user, in fact he was so anti-drugs that he actually called Crime Stoppers when he found a joint in my backpack when I was 13. It was me that was the family rebel of sorts.
My brother was preyed upon by thoughtless dickheads who thought it would be funny to get the “retard” wasted.
I am sure they never meant to kill him, however among other things, once he was vulnerable and could not defend himself after having been fed a cocktail of prescription medications and alcohol, the perpetrators decided that as he was still lucid to administer him a shot of heroin mixed with Oxycodone – a “hot shot”.
The drugs reacted with his existing medication and began to slow his heart.
My 6’4” big beautiful brother regained consciousness long enough to try and make his way home – a short walk up the beach in the dark of night. Sadly, he collapsed and the incoming tide washed over him, sealing what was already inevitable.
Adam was found at dawn by a woman walking her dog. My brother died on his 22nd birthday, 23 years ago.
Due to many factors, which as an 18-year-old girl, I found hard to fathom – and still do as a 41-year-old woman, the four perpetrators were never held accountable for their crime.
I have spoken previously on the impact that my brother’s unnecessary death had on our family. It was heartbreaking for me to deliver the news to my Dad. It was exhausting and draining to watch my Mum slowly drink and drug herself to death from the guilt of leaving Adam alone that night.
Over the years, in my struggle to understand and come to terms with what happened to my beautiful brother, I have interacted intimately with many families who have lost a loved one through the use of drugs.