Thousand Yard Stare
Perfect Bound Softcover(B/W)
From its first adrenaline-pumping shot, "Thousand Yard Stare" races full-throttle into the nightmare world of George, a Vietnam vet who descends into the neverland of PTSD and takes the reader with him. Flush with detail, rich in research, Pierce Kelley's latest offering will be hauntingly familiar to all battle-worn soldiers -- and their families and friends. Part courtroom drama, part psychotherapy, "Thousand Yard Stare" is a timely book that deserves a good, hard look. Tom Mayer, Editor, Lake City Reporter "This is a real page turner. The Thousand Yard Stare draws attention to a subject many know about, but few care to discuss–PTSD. Pierce Kelley limns with detail the problems soldiers returning from combat can experience." Carolyn Risner, Editor, Williston Pioneer
After the court reporter was in her seat and ready to proceed, the judge said, “Ladies and gentlemen, the State of Florida has rested its case. The defense will now present its case in chief. Mr. Satchel, call your first witness.” “The defense calls Dr. Edwin Baldwin.” The bailiff walked out of the courtroom and returned within seconds. Dr. Baldwin was walking right behind him. After he was sworn and seated, Mr. Satchel asked, “Please state your name.” “Edwin Forrest Baldwin.” “And what is your occupation?” “I am a psychiatrist.” “And would you please tell…” “Your Honor,” Mr. Wadkins interrupted, “in the interest of time, the State would stipulate to the qualifications of Dr. Baldwin and that he is an expert witness.” “With all due respect, your Honor, I would prefer that the jury know of Dr. Baldwin’s qualifications. They heard all about Dr. Andrews and I think it is only fair that…” “As you wish, Mr. Satchel. You may proceed.” “Dr. Baldwin, please tell the jury about your educational background and work history.” Dr. Baldwin proceeded to tell the jury about how he had attended Harvard University and obtained his undergraduate degree, then gone on to Emory University in Atlanta for one of several graduate degrees. After that, I tuned it out and watched the jury. It seemed to me that they weren’t quite as attentive to what he was saying as they had been with Dr. Andrews, but it was hard to listen to. There was no doubt that he was well-qualified, so was Dr. Andrews. Even though he was my most important witness I lost track of all that he was saying. It seemed to me that he was even more qualified than Dr. Andrews but he was a lot older and had been around a lot longer. None of it made much of a difference. I was waiting to hear what he had to say. We all were. That was what was important. Dr. Andrews was in her mid-forties and he was pushing seventy. With his gray hair and gray beard, gray suit with a red tie, he presented himself as a grandfatherly professor. When he finished telling about his awards, books, articles and the rest, Mr. Satchel said, “Your Honor, now I would ask that Dr. Baldwin be declared an expert witness.” “We so stipulate, again,” Mr. Wadkins said. “Based upon the stipulation, the court finds that Dr. Baldwin is an expert witness and he shall be allowed to offer expert opinions in this case.” Mr. Satchel then asked, “Did you, Dr. Baldwin, have occasion to meet my client, George Murphy, and examine him to make a determination as to his competency?” “I did.” “And when was that, Dr. Baldwin?” “I met with George on November 17 of last year.” “And how long did you meet with him, Dr. Baldwin?” He looked over at George and said, “We must have talked for almost three hours, didn’t we, George?” I didn’t know what to say. I wasn’t expecting to answer any questions. He continued, “Yes, I think it was about three hours, maybe a little less.” “And did you prepare a report of your findings and conclusions?” “I did,” he replied. “And how much time have you spent on this case, prior to today, Dr. Baldwin?” “I have over a dozen hours invested in this case. George presents a very interesting situation and I felt it necessary to conduct research on the issue of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.” “How much do you bill for your time, Doctor?” “For this case, my rate is $150 per hour. For my private clients, it is much higher.” “And do you testify for and on behalf of the State, too, Doctor?” “Well, I consider that I am testifying on behalf of the State of Florida right now. They’re the ones who pay me. It’s just that I happen to be testifying on behalf of a defendant in this situation. I am often called upon to testify as a witness for the prosecution, too. I ‘call them as I see them,’ as they say.” “So when asked to examine a defendant by the State, you’ve offered testimony in the past that the defendant was not insane, is that correct?” “Not exactly. If I am asked by the State Attorney’s Office to examine a defendant, as Dr. Andrews was in this case, and I render a report finding the defendant NOT to be insane, the case rarely goes to trial. In fact,” he said, pausing to look up at the ceiling and stroked his beard a few times, “I don’t remember ever testifying under a circumstance like that. My testimony would only hurt the State and the attorney involved would never call me as a witness.” “But that is not the conclusion you reached in this case, is it, Dr. Baldwin?” “No, it is not, but in this case I’ve been asked to examine Mr. Murphy by the defense, not by the State.” “Please tell the jury what opinion you have reached in this case, Dr. Baldwin.” “It is my opinion that at the time George got into that fight with Mr. Kuhn, he was absolutely out of his mind and he was temporarily insane.” “And what was the cause of that condition, Doctor?” “It was a result of his time in the military. George was in the Army for six years and spent a few of them in Vietnam. He had a bad time while there and he still isn’t over it.” “And what, specifically, is the condition which caused that temporary insanity, Doctor?” “The condition is known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.” “And is that a mental infirmity, disease or defect?” “It most certainly is an infirmity and it’s a defect, too, but I wouldn’t call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder an illness.” “Is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder a new concept, Doctor?” “Yes, it is, at least by that name. The illness, or infirmity, has been in existence probably since the beginning of time when men first started fighting with each other in hand-to-hand combat. The earliest reference to the disease comes from the Greeks…” Dr. Baldwin settled back in his chair, looked at the jury and continued, “In the book, The Iliad, written some five hundred years before Christ, Homer tells the tale of how the Greeks conquered Troy by the use of a large wooden horse which, according to the legend, contained hundreds of Greek soldiers. In the early morning hours, after the Trojans had gone to sleep, thinking that they had won the war, the Greek soldiers came out of the horse, opened the gates of the city and allowed the Greek army to gain entry and eventual victory.” He paused and said, “Incidentally, that is the origin of the expression ‘Beware of Greeks bearing gifts, but I digress.” He continued, “Homer tells of the tallest and most powerful Greek soldier, a man named Ajax the Greater, or Ajax the Great. There was another Ajax mentioned in the story and he was called Ajax the Lesser. Achilles, who was considered to be most-favored by the gods and, except for his heel, invincible in battle, was the fiercest of warriors.” I looked up and saw Judge Marcolo looking at the ceiling, rolling his eyes in angst over this testimony, which didn’t have anything to do with my case, but the jury seemed to be enjoying it. Dr. Baldwin went on, “Ajax’s shield was supposedly so big it took the hides of seven oxen to cover it. Can you imagine that?” he asked, knowing that he would get no response from the jury. “After the war,” he continued, “Ajax returned to Athens and fell into disfavor with one of the gods. He is said to have fallen into a sort of stupor, a sort of spell placed upon him by that goddess, Athena. He went out and slaughtered a whole herd of sheep, thinking they were Trojan soldiers. When he came home, realizing what he had done, he was distraught. His wife, Tecmesa, found him in a condition which she described as sitting and looking off into space, as if he had a ‘thousand yard stare.’ Scholars have interpreted that as being the result of his days in battle. “It is said to be the earliest recorded reference to the condition I believe George here,” he said, pointing at me, “suffered from on the day of the incident. There have been many other literary references to that phrase and, more importantly, to the condition now known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.” “Did you conduct a
Pierce Kelley is a lawyer and educator turned author who received his undergraduate degree from Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana in 1969. He received his Doctorate of Jurisprudence (JD) from the George Washington University, Washington, D.C. in 1973. Following his admission to the Florida Bar, Pierce began his legal career as an Assistant Public Defender in Clearwater, Florida. In 1979 he moved to West Virginia and became the managing attorney of a Legal Services office in a rural five county area in the northeast corner of the state called the Potomac Highlands. In 1985, Pierce returned to Miami, where he was raised, and served as an Assistant Federal Public Defender for the Southern District of Florida. Since 1986 Pierce has worked exclusively in the area of civil law, concentrating on personal injury, consumer and family law matters. He has served as lead counsel in over 100 jury trials and has successfully argued before the Supreme Court of Florida and the Supreme Court of Appeals for the State of West Virginia. He is currently an active member of the Florida Bar and an inactive member of the West Virginia Bar Association. He is admitted to practice in the United States District Courts for the Southern, Middle and Northern Districts of Florida, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court, though he has yet to do so. He is now a sole practitioner in Cedar Key, Florida. Pierce began writing in 1989 when a freak accident in a softball game caused him a broken ankle. While convalescing, he wrote A Parent's Guide to Coaching Tennis, which was recognized by the United States Tennis Association as being the perfect introduction and primer for parents of beginning players. Over a span of 50 years, Mr. Kelley was a nationally-ranked player as a junior, in the open Men's Division, and as a senior. He was also the president of the Youth Tennis Foundation of Florida from 1987 until 2007. In 2000, Pierce authored his second book, Civil Litigation: A Case Study, while teaching paralegal students as an Adjunct Professor at St. Petersburg College in St. Petersburg, Florida. He taught at various colleges and universities as an Adjunct for over 25 years. Pierce completed his first novel, A Very Fine Line, in 2004. Since then six more have followed, which are Fistfight at the L and M Saloon, A Plenary Indulgence, Bocas del Toro, Asleep at the Wheel, A Tinker's Damn!, and A Foreseeable Risk. He has also written Pieces to the Puzzle, which is a collection of personal essays, and Kennedy Homes: An American Tragedy, which is an account of a major Fair Housing case Mr. Kelley was involved in during the years 2004 and 2007. Thousand Yard Stare is his eighth published novel.
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