Tag Archives: letter

17th of April, 2019. The killing of Barbra Olsen.

I barely recognised the Barbara Olsen that I’ve seen on the TV all afternoon. The woman I knew was a bit shy, but always pleasant and courteous.

You may see Barbara as something else, so I feel I should tell you a little more about her. She has worked in the same company as myself for years, and was the receptionist for the accounting department.

Barbara had one son. She’d spent years struggling with IVF treatment just to have that son, even travelling to Greece to receive treatment. She was always polite and courteous to everyone, but had a persistence and determination that occasionally got people offside.

Barbara’s husband unfortunately died a few years ago in an accident at work. Ever since then Barbara hadn’t had quite the same pleasant air about her, as thought part of her generous spirit had been burned. But she still attended church every week, went to trivia every Wednesday and still kept that pleasant yet professional air with everyone she spoke to at work.

I only knew it was the same Barbara Olsen the TV, because she was holding the same knitted bag that she’d used to carry her lunch to work every day. I’d never have expected in a million years that she’d use it to carry a handgun. She usually dressed very meticulously, but the woman on the screen had chaotic hair and dishevelled attire. There was clearly something very wrong.

I was in the office, watching the Pay TV with Jeremy in the meeting room this morning I heard that Barbara had gotten a letter that her son had been killed in Japan.  Louisa had been on the phone to her at the time that she received the letter, and said that Barbara just simply told her what the letter said in a matter of fact tone, then hung up abruptly.

I have no idea what happened in the hours after that, but the security camera caught the last few minutes of her life this afternoon. A video of which has been broadcast hundreds of times since on almost every form of media available.

This afternoon Barbara walked into the Strathpine army recruiting office and started yelling at two of the recruiters (there is no audio on the security footage). She then began crying and shaking uncontrollably, buckling over in emotion. One of the Recruiters moved around behind her to put a consoling arm around her. But before he could, she reached into her knitted back and then dropped the bag on the floor revealing a handgun.

She shot the recruiter that had been moving up behind her, shot the other recruiter and then moments later she shot herself.

The news has been painting her as someone completely different to the woman I knew. She apparently had a mental illness and was ‘known to authorities’. She had supposedly spent a substantial amount of time in an institution, although the institution wasn’t named.

The news didn’t mention her son’s death; the news also didn’t mention that she spent hours volunteering at community events.  She was however demonised as an anti-war protestor with a mental illness. She apparently had been sending aggressive letters to the army making un-named and reportedly unreasonable demands. All of which doesn’t seem anything like the woman I knew.

She isn’t named very often in the Media; she is instead repeatedly named as a ‘Mentally Ill Anti-War protestor’.

I feel sad for Barbara. Her mental illness, which she must have suffered with in silence with for years, appears to be being used as a propaganda exercise. Her death was truly tragic, as was the death of her Son. But to use it to paint anti-war protestors as mentally ill is just appalling.

I expect to hear all kinds of rumours coming out at work in the next few days, but I feel sad that I was never able to do something to help Barbara when she was alive.


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12th of April, 2019. The brown paper package.

Well, I now know why Tess has been unable to email me. A small package arrived today from Tess, which contained the SatMo that I’d bought for her before she left, and a letter.

It is a very short letter, made even shorter by the sections that have been blacked out by the army. The army have been smart enough to only send a photocopy of the letter, with the text already blacked out. This is so I can’t see the handwriting indentations, or try to read the text from the back of the sheet.

The reason the modem was returned was reasonable enough. The army believed that the enemy might track them using such technology. Particularly as it was known that the Chinese had been selling some models of mobile phone (Simitel) that had an electronic back door that allowed them to spy on the user.

As such, a Chinese made satellite modem was an unwelcome addition to their base. Tess has been able to keep her French made mobile phone, but it is kept locked up in a secure location where she is only allowed to use it during Rec-Leave.

The rest of the letter briefly detailed what life was like up in Townsville. Large sections of this part had been blacked out, presumably to protect locations or people, but the whole letter seemed rather innocuous at best. I guess the army are simply being over-protective of the sort of information that becomes available to the public.

This had been a common story with the army in wartime years. Usually very little about Australians being involved in war has been released until long after the events have happened. I don’t see the Australian army breaking with a tradition they’ve held for over a hundred years.

Anyway, the SatMo works on my own personal laptop. So if we end up losing power for prolonged periods of time in the future, I’ll still be able to communicate with the rest of the world. I might hand it to Miranda so she can use it when she’s at School or something.

Speaking of which, Miranda told me that a lot of her friends from School hadn’t been turning up. She’d heard that there’d been a few families that have left Brisbane and shifted down south to get away from the war.

I can understand that. I think the only thing that keeps me in Queensland right now is that it’s keeping me closer to Tess. I’m glad that Tess got to keep her laptop, as although she has very limited communication with us, It’s great to know that she’s got copies of all our families photos on there, so she can see us whenever she wants.

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