Hero. I don’t think I could find a more appropriate word to describe my friend Matt. Although it may seem like a short time, the five years I knew Matt was all it took to discover a friendship I had hoped would last forever. Soon, there were five of us in a circle of friends that eventually went by the name of The Century 5, taken after our place of work where most of us had met for the first time. Out of the five within the group, I think Matt always remained the most open minded, down to earth, and inviting to anyone he came into contact with.
Through long days at work, road trips, countless hours at Denny’s and in front of the TV, our group had everything we needed. Through the years, jobs changed for many within the group, but the friendships always grew stronger.
I will never forget the phone call I received one afternoon in early February, from a number I did not recognize. The caller was Matt’s mom, and at first the thought of something wrong jumped in my mind, but was quickly dismissed as Matt was the last person I could imagine anything serious happening to. It took only seconds before I heard the bad news, and Matt’s mom breaking down in tears over the phone. I lost all train of thought and didn’t know what to think or how to handle what I’d hoped wasn’t true. I could only ask her more questions as to how and why it had happened. Letting the other guys know was no easy task, and I felt it only appropriate to go up and see for our selves what had really happened. We left the night we heard the news and met up with Matt’s family the following morning.
Going into that basement, was nowhere near as hard as seeing Matt for the last time at the funeral home. Our friend, whom we had only been used to seeing asleep on road trips, or at the conclusion of late night gatherings, had closed his eyes for the last time. I broke down outside the funeral home only minutes before we saw him, knowing that nothing we said directly to him that day would trigger a response, or joke of any kind. Inside, we stood with him for several minutes with his family, and then were also given the opportunity to mourn as a group. It was the last time the five of us would ever physically be in the same room again.
Leaving Chico that night, we left quietly, and didn’t really speak a word to each other on the way home. We were all thinking of our fondest memories, and at the same time disappointed at all the forthcoming memories we would be making the rest of our lives, memories we knew would now be without Matt.
This past summer, the group’s remaining four took another road trip, of which I don’t think a moment went by, without the thought of someone missing from the group. The fun we had could’ve been much more had Matt been with us.
Matt taught me many things about life, some of which were hard for me to prioritize at the time, or that I had taken for granted too often. He ALWAYS held his family and friends as his first priority above anything else in his life, and how he always managed to find time for all of us in addition to his studies and his job, is a method I wish I could’ve paid more attention to.
We have been haunted every day with Matt’s death, but most sadly with the realization of every event he won’t be attending in the future: road trips, holidays, vacations, birthdays, graduations, weddings, newborns, the list can go on. What really stinks about the situation is that Matt didn’t choose to die, these guys on trial right here made the decision for him.
These guys on trial right now were all present at some point in that hellhole of a basement, which they created, the night leading up to Matt’s death. What upsets me the most from the facts and testimony involved in this trial are not the details of torture for which they put him through, it’s the details of the aftermath which bother me. They let Matt die alone, by himself, with no concern over anyone’s well being other than their own.
Where was the friend to watch over Matt after he passed out?
Where was the intelligence in calling for help when it could’ve actually helped Matt?
Where was the “BROTHER”, to be with Matt through his last breath? There was no one in the ambulance, and there was no one at the hospital. I can’t think of another action as cold or inhumane.
What were these guys all doing after the night got out of hand? They were probably all planning how to avoid the consequences of their actions that they knew might affect their future.
These guys have already proved to be true human definitions of what it takes to be selfish and cowardly, however, they need to discover the true meaning of a few words they’ve missed somewhere along the way. Let me be one of the first to educate:
BROTHERHOOD— The state or quality of being a brother
TRUST—————-To rely on, to believe in
RESPECT————To honor, or have consideration for
By allowing the defendants to walk away from this trial without consequences in hand, it shows no hope. No hope for a lesson to be taught, no hope for a lesson to be learned, and an open gate for more innocent lives to be lost in the future. What is it going to take to put a stop to this? A statement needs to be made on how unacceptable this behavior is, and what zero tolerance should stand for it.
Matt Carrington was a hero to all of us when he was alive, and now, although no longer with us in physical form, he remains a hero in our hearts—-always and forever, as his spirit lives on in all who were connected with him.