The emotions of many have been affected by the horrible events that took place at Deerfield Middle School in Florida. 15-Year-Old Wayne Treacy showed up at the school in mid-March, almost attacked another girl before his 13-Year-Old girlfriend Kayla Manson allegedly pointed out Josie Lou Ratley to him. Treacy began punching Ratley then pushed her to the ground and stomped her head repeatedly with steel-toed boots.
Prior to the text messages being released many people felt Wayne Treacy was a monster because of his actions, which on the surface appear to be a series of premeditated, calculated thoughts that were executed according to a plan. The question, what state of mind was Wayne Treacy in when he attacked Ratley. Was he fully aware of his actions as he kicked a human being in the head with steel-tipped boots, or was he physically acting while mentally being in a different place and time. Or, was Treacy an angry teen out to prove a point to someone who didn’t take him seriously?
You may think, what difference does it make, either way he’s a dangerous person who needs to be locked up forever. Unfortunately, we cannot go back and change what has happened, however understanding Treacy’s mind before and after the brutal attack is important. No, this is not an attempt to promote an insanity defense, rather an opportunity to find out whether or not a child or teen that experiences the death of a loved one could benefit from professional help so that future cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may be avoided.
If you have not read the text message between Josie Lou Ratley and Wayne Treacy or watched the video of Treacy being questioned after the incident you may want to do so because it is that evidence that the opinions expressed here are based on. Also, researching PTSD, grief and mourning, and teen psychology my be helpful.
The author is not a doctor, psychologist or defense attorney. This is simply an unbiased opinion about what occurred that dreadful day. We have three teens involved in an incident that may have been preventable. Josie Lou Ratley, the victim of a brutal beating which left her in a medically induced coma, a child who may never be the same again. Wayne Treacy, a 15-year-old boy who became so enraged after receiving a text message from Ratley about his dead brother that he threatened her and then followed through with his threats. Kayla Manson, the 13-year-old girlfriend or friend of Wayne Treacy who was the initial subject of the text message between Ratley and Treacy; and the girl arrested for later pointing out Ratley to Treacy.
The Text Message Transcipt
After reading the text messages and watching the video of Treacy being questioned one might agree that what started out as teenagers disagreeing and making nasty remarks to one another ended up being a deadly conversation when Josie Lou Ratley mentioned Wayne Treacy’s dead brother.
It is clear that this affected Treacy and evoked powerful emotions, and his responding text tells us that he became enraged; typing in all CAPS represents shouting. In the video Treacy states that he thought he was talking to Kayla, but it was Josie. He says that Josie was calling him a rapist because he is 15 and talks to her friend Kaylay who is 13 years old.
Treacy mentions that he and Kayla had never done anything, and seems to think that Josie is saying such things because she was abused. He says something about her father, who he doesn’t know is dead, abusing her. This is where things change, Ratley responds by telling him her father is dead and goes on to says go visit your dead brother.
Now, listen carefully to the video and how Treacy says he doesn’t know what Ratley said about his brother, all he remembers is that she said something about his dead brother and he says that really got to him, and Treacy said that he couldn’t get the “feeling” to subside. It seems apparent that two words, dead brother, triggered his rage.
Wayne Treacy says Ratley’s Comment Wasn’t That Bad
There has been a lot of focus on the fact that Treacy admits that what Ratley texted wasn’t that that bad, but the focus should be on everything Treacy said, “It wasn’t that bad, it’s just, I mean, it’s my dead brother, I mean I (pause), when he died I went through the grieving thing and stuff and I cried and I got over it, but nobody said anything rude or nasty towards my brother…something to try and (pause) hurt me about my dead brother.” This teen clearly understood that what was said wasn’t that bad, but what he does not seem to understand is why he felt what he did and why he could not control those feelings because he beleives that he had got over his brother’s death. Obvioulsy he did not; thus his rage and resulting actions.
The bold statement should be the focus because it tells us that this teen is not aware of the unresolved pain, sadness and anger that was buried within. He obviously associates grieving with crying, and crying with getting over it. But grieving is a process that involves many powerful emotions, and this child needed professional help with his feelings. What Wayne Treacy experienced would have been traumatic for an adult.
In his text Treacy uses the words “cold, dead meat” to describe a dead body. This makes one wonder if at the moment his pent up feelings about his brother’s death were triggered if he immediately saw in his minds eye his brother hanging from that tree. And it raises the question, did Wayne Treacy touch his brother’s dead body.
Wayne Treacy, in my opinion, would have benefited from professional help after witnessing his brother’s death. Why? It is no secret that painful emotions buried within eventually find a way to rise to the surface and show their ugly face, and one cannot deny that emotions are extremely powerful.
Had Treacy received the proper help and guidance in grieving his brother’s death, one might agree, this horrible incident would have never happened, Josie Lou Ratley would not be suffering, Wayne Treacy would not be facing life behind bars. You may argue that if Kayla Manson didn’t point out Ratley it would not have happened, or how so many people stood by and watched when Treacy could have been stopped after the first punch thrown; but that is a separate subject and not the focus of this article.
Pain, sorrow, rage, anger and any negative emotions must be gently pulled from within and released. Death is not something a person simply gets over, we learn to cope with the loss and live with the feelings which can be triggered by many things in our day to day life. If your child has experienced a death don’t assume they are okay, most likely they are not, get help.
“Go visit ur dead brotehr” was text that sparked Deerfield beating – Sun-Sentinal.com