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Behind the Scenes with Tax Protestors Ed and Elaine Brown

He doesn't like to call it a compound, so I won't. It does have 10 inch thick concrete walls, though. When I heard that Ed Brown was allowing visitors to his "home" in New Hampshire, I had to visit.

Ed and Elaine Brown are a pair of famous tax protestors who are evading arrest in a standoff with the feds.

I exited the highway and passed a Wal Mart. Soon the road became only one lane each way. Soon it was winding through farmland. Shortly after it became a dirt road. The RV hopped over the potholes as veered left onto their street.

Third Times The Charm

On Infinikill

There were about 15 stories between me and the concrete sidewalk, with nothing but a layer of air between the two solids. Occasionally you'd have a few heads that would stick up closer, but only just, and they were far and few between on such a slow Sunday morning. The weather was beautiful, but with it being a weekend, not many were headed to work. The streets were empty, and it was serene. For the first time in years I finally felt relaxed. My legs were dangling over the edge of the building, my hands resting on the ledge, leaning back and soaking up the sun. I wanted to enjoy my last few moments, and I couldn't have taken a better day. After decades of fighting with myself, I had finally over-ruled my previous decision to live, and take the route I always intended. I was going to kill myself.

30 years ago I had tried for the first time and very nearly succeeded. I was working and spent half of my shift preparing to kill myself at home, a few hours later. The pain became unbearable, and I instead decided to move the schedule up and just kill myself at work. I was going to be dead, what did I care where the mess was or who had to clean the mess up? While this was a great theory, working in a desolate building with no one in it on the weekends, it didn't due to one factor. The building wasn't empty. There was one person in an office that I was unaware of, and he walked by at just the moment I tried. I had filled a basin and was drowning myself, and he hauled me out of the water. 911 was called, an Ambulance brought me to a hospital, which discharged me almost immediately for being perfectly fine. Neither the Hospital nor my work knew that it was a suicide attempt, both assuming it was an accident.

When I told my best friend about it, he lost his mind. I caused him a lot of stress and heart ache, and I understood why, but he couldn't see it from my perspective. He kept saying that he couldn't understand how I felt, yet immediately followed it up with a request to not kill myself based on something from his perspective. Apples and oranges. It's impossible to explain it to him, because he doesn't feel the way I do. He doesn't feel the overwhelming, agonizing grief that I felt just existing and I'm glad that he didn't. I wish though, that just for a moment, he could feel how I feel and finally clue in to why I wanted to die. I spend each waking moment fighting for control over my own mind, fighting to sustain who I am as a person, and dealing with the internal conflict of trying to piece together exactly who I actually am. Having done it for my entire life, I couldn't do it anymore.

Then came the moment. The moment when he asked me to live. The moment when he made me promise to live. The pain I felt was immeasurable, but so was the love that I have for him, so I went with his position instead of my own. I lived for no other reason than he asked me to, and I think he realized that. The next few months were rocky, to say the very least, but he stood by me. I didn't have any energy to do anything, I quit my job, and I was homeless and keeping it from him. When he found out that I was actually breaking into somewhere I used to work to sleep indoors at night, he dragged me into his house and put me on his couch. He fed me, he kept me warm, and he was there for me.

Yet throughout all of this, I never felt any different. The past 30 years have only gone by simply because of that promise, and if he had never found out about my attempt and I had the chance to try it before he did, I would have without even a second thought. The pressure was on him, and he made it aware that he was uncomfortable with it, but what else could I do? He really was the only reason I was alive and although I tried to find more reasons to live, I never could. It was always him and only ever him.

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