Posts Tagged With: current events

Dealing with current events

Yeah. So, just down the road from me was the “trial of the year” aka the Zimmerman trial.  I’ve got a million opinions about this, as does everyone else on the ‘net, but first and foremost, I think this has all been a hate hype.

I said it. It’s mostly hype.

Honestly, I think Mr. Zimmerman would’ve done exactly the same thing, to any strange kid in his neighborhood, regardless of whether they were black, white, hispanic, Native American, or green with purple stripes.  He felt empowered to patrol his neighborhood as a watch member, and was legally entitled to have a  concealed firearm.  The neighborhood had a history of recent break ins.

The real tragedy in this, in my non-legal opinion, is that it doesn’t matter who the kid was, the outcome with the average 17 to 20 year old guy (and nobody new Mr. Martin’s age until after the fact) would’ve been the same.  Just as Zimmerman was empowered by his handgun and his “home turf” many young adult men have an entitlement complex where they will buck up and be macho about a guy following them when they are doing nothing wrong.

I honestly think Zimmerman himself isn’t racist.  But I think the judicial system is.

Therein lies the rub.  Because the issue became “white man (or half white/half peruvian man) kills black boy” rather than “neighborhood watch guy kills teen” the incident got a full head of steam and drama queens.  Not a year earlier Zimmerman ticked off the same Sanford Police Department (and its then chief) when he was trying to bring the department actions to light when the son of a department officer beat a homeless black man within an inch of his life.  A lot of that was left out of the national and social media.

Before the police department and prosecutors office in Sanford could complete their investigation, FDLE and the special prosecutor took it over.  Because of the public outcry, they shot for a second degree murder charge.

Zimmerman didn’t help things any by lying to the judge about his history and his defense fund.  I’m sure someone’s going to come back at him and his wife for the perjury charges.

I watched a lot of the trial. I work at home, and frankly it was on every goddamn channel in the metro Orlando area.  I watched a lot of the analysis.

Our justice system is set up that defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Period.

The state did not prove it’s case for second degree murder. Period.

The jury found Zimmerman not guilty by reason of self defense. Period.

That means even finding him guilty of manslaughter – which by definition is actions causing death – they found Zimmerman fired in self defense.  Even though Zimmerman shouldn’t have disobeyed the police dispatcher and followed Martin, and even though Martin could’ve run the distance to his dad’s home, Zimmerman is “not guilty.”

Not guilty is a far cry from innocent.

My takeaway from this is several fold.

First – what happens the next cold raining night a neighborhood watch guy sees a strange kid in his neighborhood and follows him, or her?  Can’t tell in a hoodie at night in the rain.

Second – why is there not as much outcry in similar situations where “stand your ground” is claimed?

In Jacksonville – a white man killed a teenager over his stereo being too loud at a gas station.  http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/11/27/florida-man-charged-with-killing-teen-over-loud-music/

In Miami, a man killed his wife’s lover, shooting him in the back several times and claims self defense and stand your ground.  He was acquitted last month.  http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/06/04/2095821/citing-stand-your-ground-jury-acquits-man-who-killed-wifes-lover/?mobile=nc

And again in the Jacksonville area, just a day before Zimmerman was acquitted, a black woman received a 20-year sentence because she fired warning shots at her abusive husband, and cited self-defense/stand your ground.  http://jacksonville.com/news/crime/2012-05-11/story/jacksonville-woman-sentenced-20-years-prison-stand-your-ground

Interestingly, three of these cases are being prosecuted through the Jacksonville State Attorney’s office.  Dunn is being tried in September on 1st degree murder charges.  Hopefully they are slightly more competent in the prosecution in that case.

What’s the difference, besides the gender and race of the accused?  I put money on having money for representation.  Zimmerman had one of the best defense lawyers in the area.  O’Mara easily deflected the overreaching prosecution theories and circumstantial evidence, and proved a reasonable doubt that Zimmerman acted in self defense.  I’m sure the rich Miami man had similar representation.

And likewise, Marissa Alexander, had a public defender.

Are Zimmerman, the jury or all Floridians racist?  Everyone’s got some preconceived notions, even the most liberal of folks, about racial stereotypes.  Some protest to much in an effort to over come them.  But I don’t think any of the individuals involved in this acted purely on racial intent, if at all.

The real racism lies within the system.  Where enough publicity can be raised to create a modern-day lynching on one person for a questionably heinous act, but not on others just as abominable.

Let’s see the same hew and cry over Marissa Alexander’s situation.  Or what happened with Ralph Wald in Miami.  Or Michael Dunn in Jacksonville.

And let’s see how we can fix the judicial system to make justice not only blind, but color blind.

 

 

 

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Guest Blogging Today @DeBie Hive – Growing Up Multicultural

Guest Blogging Today @DeBie Hive – Growing Up Multicultural

Kelly is awesome, she’s given me some fantastic advice on navigating the blogosphere and then asked me to guest blog on her page.

This is actually the first of three parts about growing up in the military and the military mindset.  Parts two and three are going to delve more into current events.

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3D printing uses other than circumventing gun regulations …

20130516-101217.jpg

Saw this yesterday via Mashable (http://mashable.com/2013/05/15/3d-printed-star-wars-stormtrooper/). Living near the rats nest it’s pretty neat as a nerd when they do the summer Star Wars fest.

They’ve had similar products at Disney where you can design your own composite plastic souvenir.

But my little geeky brain went two steps beyond making yourself a storm trooper figurine. See, I know some folks who cosplay … Can you imagine 3D printing your own armor? Or making yourself C-3PO? Creating your kid an R2 unit?

The possibilities are endless. The crafter in me is now thinking of all the awesome embellishments that could be made.

Yeah, I know the printers aren’t cheap. You’d have to sell hat you make to break even a then there are trademark and copyright protections to consider.

But hot damn, think of all the fun it could be…

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An entirely different kind of bible thumping

Sometimes Orlando’s local news picks up funny stories from elsewhere. Today I felt this needed sharing:

http://www.clickorlando.com/news/woman-uses-bible-as-a-weapon/-/1637132/20162464/-/13qi6xx/-/index.html

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Oh Obama, how can I not shake my head at your administration now …

If you’ve read my blogs thus far – you’re probably thinking I’m some dyed-in-the-wool bleeding heart liberal.  I went to a liberal arts college, have a degree in Journalism and Political Science, started a MS in International Politics with a concentration in Europe and the Middle East.  You probably think I bleed blue and my favorite political animal is a donkey.

You’d be wrong.

I’m actually a registered Republican, and have been all my adult life.  I’m the child of a military family, and traditionally the GOP has been stronger in those values and valuing the military and their dependents as well as the communities they represent.

Lately, however, I’ve been tempted to just go “independent”.  The repeated efforts of the congress to do nothing but try and impeach the president, the birthers, and the far-right nuts have made me wonder why these anti-government individuals have gotten into government jobs at all.

Benghazi – the entire outrage and weeks of wasted hearings on talking points is making the entire nation just flat our exhausted. Where was the concern when the embassy in Kenya was attacked? What about the other 40+ violent incidents against diplomats globally during the Bush II administration?  Nobody politicized those to this level. 

Increasingly it seems like the GOP was becoming the party of satire, meme central.  “The opposite of pro is con, therefore the opposite of progress is congress.”

And then the proverbial poo hit the fan.  A double-whammy of WTF that makes even the most liberal of news watchers say “holy shit what was that?”

That the president is on national television, in a press briefing, saying “well I learned of it from press reports” does nothing but undermine his appearance as someone capable of leading.  Are you that out of the loop? Really?  Don’t you have cabinet members and advisers who are supposed to tell you what the hell is going on in the country before you read it in the morning paper?

The ultra-right needed no help with conspiracy theories, so the IRS and the Justice Department gave them some to really sink their teeth into.

I’ll start first with the one that hits closest to home.  I used to be a news reporter, and AP stringer for elections coverage.  I worked in the community surrounding the largest military base/complex in the nation, if not world.  I was raised on military bases and know the true meaning of military security, top secret, eyes only, and the like. 

So my entire life has been a balancing act, between my curiosity as an American and a journalist, and the child of a military man who knows the guys whose lives are on the line.  The husband of one of my high school’s English teachers died in the Gulf War, on a C-130 that went missing.  I was part of the press corps at 17 when VP Quayle came.  (And lemme tell you, the secret service is good at vetting!)  Years later when the Khobar Towers complex was bombed by terrorists in Saudi Arabia, the majority of the victims were at the base I lived near. Friends of mine lost co-workers and buddies.  I stood between Wolf Blitzter and the British guy from that old news magazine A Current Affair when Clinton came to the memorial.

Balancing security interests versus the public’s right to know is difficult.  But the reason the first amendment is the FIRST amendment is that the right to speak, and know, is the most important right and responsibility of the American citizenry and press to keep tyrants from running amok in our government.  Guns are the second resort, not the primary one as the NRA would have folks believe, to words and knowledge, in keeping our nation free.

So last year, when the AP reported information from confidential sources, presumably within the CIA, who told them a plot to bomb the US as an anniversary retaliation for Bin Laden’s death, in my eyes, it was a good thing.  We know that people are trying to keep 9/11 from happening again. Agencies are talking to each other, and the bad guys are getting stopped.

As the story is unfolding, it turns out multiple AP reporters and editors, at multiple locations, had their phones tapped and checked in an effort to find the whistleblowers. In my opinion that’s a gross overreach of the Justice Department’s purview in the guise of “national security.”

That said, it’s also becoming apparent that the mole hunt was at the urging of the same neo-con war hawks who are decrying the Justice Department actions.  When it was learned of the leak a year ago, they demanded Obama’s administration go after the leaks because it was a national security threat.  Eric Holder, the attorney general, recused himself and assigned special prosecutors to do just what the GOP-controlled house demanded … to find the source of the leak. 

And now that it’s become public just how far the special prosecutors went, without supervision, the same politicos are calling for Holder’s head. 

Here’s what chaps my ass – when Valerie Plame was outed by Scooter Libbey, Dick Cheney’s right-hand-man, there was no ruckus like this from the right.  In fact they tried to keep an investigation of the leak from happening.  It’s these same guys who demanded Obama’s administration find the leak though and independent investigation, and the same guys purporting outrage that they actually did.

You cannot have it both ways.

Case in point, the Watergate era.   The mother of all scandals, where the leak on the Pentagon papers ultimately jailed more than 40 and brought down an administration.  Watergate was bigger and worse on so many levels.  Not only was it a leak hunt and wire tapping issue, but it additionally involved the implicit knowledge and direction of then-President Nixon, burglaries, and coverups of all involved.  Just because someone shared the real costs of Vietnam with the NYT, because they felt the American people had the right to know.

This is why there are reporter shield laws, this is why there are whistle-blower laws. And at the same time, the politicians calling for impeachment and Eric Holder’s head because they resorted to targeting the press to find the leak — are the same congressional members who stripped the press of protections. 

Bear with the first couple minutes of Maddow’s A-block from last night, http://www.nbcnews.com/id/26315908/#51885608.

It explains how the Pentagon Papers tie into the AP and DoJ issues going on right now, and how some politicians are trying to have their cake and eat it too.  And her fishing story’s kinda neat as well.

This too goes a bit to the IRS debacle. 

Sometime ago, PACs figured out they could register as non-profit corporations and take advantage of 501c status to get around reporting donors and amounts, using tax code that they’re organizations that focus on social welfare.  The tax laws weren’t written that way, and when Citizens United was decided by the Supreme Court in 2010, the floodgates were opened. Thousands of PACS registered as non-profit, social welfare groups to hide who their actual funding was.  

Seems in Cincinnati’s IRS branch, a couple employees of the IRS decided that groups identifying themselves as anything with “Patriot” or “Tea Party” applying for the charity non-profit designation got ridiculous extra scrutiny. 

What tweaks me about this issue isn’t that the Tea Party or Patriot PACs received extra attention, it’s that EVERYONE should have.  Any group with a political motivation and affiliation trying to pass itself off as a charity non-profit focused on social welfare should get scrutinized.  Maybe not quite to the level that these groups were, but it’s such an obvious and glaring affront to real social welfare oriented charities PACs as a whole should be disallowed a 501c designation. Period.  

And it’s not as if this is the first time in history political forces have tried to use the tax arm of the government to influence outcomes.  As recently in 2008, the IRS went the other way and tried to remove the NAACP’s designation as a 501c because of its political endorsements.  Nevermind all the other social work the organization does, but remove the tax status and donor anonymity because they also have some political input.  The groups targeted by the IRS this time around, are the exact opposite – agencies formed primarily for political work and doing the minimal in social welfare to get the designation. 

What makes me chuckle is my senator, Marco Rubio, calling for the IRS director’s resignation.  Yeah, the problem with that, is congress hasn’t approved the appointment yet, so there’s no director.  And the guy in charge during the IRS mess in Cincinnati – was a GWBush appointee who quit last year.  Good job slick. Way to make Florida, yet again, the place where political reason comes to die.

That said, hopefully heads will roll.  I think Eric Holder was on thin ice after the F&F mess last year.  Clearly he’s lost control of the DoJ.  

And as likable a guy as Jay Carney is – the press office at the white house is as astute at media handling as a kindergartner at show & tell.  

Obama, dammit, get pro-active.  Quit reacting to all the crap going on behind your back.  Demand your people tell you what is going on before it happens and get out ahead of it.  It will keep the transparency you promised and put the crazies back in the cage.

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Getting Back to Me

Getting Back to Me

There are a dozen or so topics, some current events and some just general life reflections, bouncing around in my ADD-addled brain. Expect some rants on the Abercrombie clown, the AP wiretapping, the IRS mess, Kermit “the monster” Gosnell, and a couple other things like turning 40 and the justice system to start flooding the page in the next couple days.

I’m also going to pick up DeBie Hive’s music challenge A-to-Z (instead of bands, going to use song titles to keep the lists manageable) and I will (belatedly) finish the A-to-Z challenge from April. Even if it kills me.

Better late than never, eh?

While I try to form them into cohesive thoughts worthy of sharing, I have kicked back a little creativity with my old Olympus.

These were taken in the atrium at the Gaylord Palms resort in Kissimmee when I was there for a paper arts & crafting trade show earlier this month. I just got around to yanking them out of RAW format. I’ve photographed the venue several times, but these orange lilies and lantana just screamed “shoot me.” So I did.

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Procrastination … and politics.

I’m great at it.  In sixth grade, my social studies teacher at Bitburg Middle School informed my mother I had a terminal case of procrastination.  I’ve always worked best under deadlines (probably why I went into news) and tend to put things off until the last possible minute.

Not to long ago, I reminded someone that I put the “pro” in procrastination – and then was called an epicrastinator – because my procrastination was on such epic levels I deserved a new word. 

I’d love to blame procrastination for why I’m about ten days behind on the A to Z challenge, and just now getting to P – but that’s only a part of it.  Teething punk, princess getting through a growth spurt and a spate of general confusion and starting a new job has kind of derailed what little free time I had.  (And my netbook died, so fighting the mister for control of the PC when we both tend to want to be on it at the same time, or spending time together away from connectivity has been tricky.)

 

That said, I’d originally planned to rant about politicians being in the pocket of special interests, particularly on the heels of the failed universal background check law.  I’ve seen the comment that just like NASCAR drivers or pro football (and by that I mean what us Americans call “soccer”) players — senators and congressfolks should wear patches on their suits so we know who’s sponsored them.

When 90% of the country agrees that expanding basic background checks on gun purchases to the gun show and internet (40% of all sales) market, and only 54% of the senate even votes for it, it further illustrates how our democracy has turned more into an oligarchy.

Today, while three- and four-year-olds are getting kicked out of Headstart programs, and state legislatures in Tennessee and West Virginia are deciding to tie food assistance for the poorest of the poor and the most voiceless of our nation — the thing congress had to fix was airline delays at major airports.  In time for their one-week spring break.  Heaven forbid they have to wait like us plebeians.

Thankfully some of our elected representatives have started to speak for those who cannot speak for themeselves, including Texas Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee, who said, “We’ve got to save the traveling public but I ask the question about 5,000 children in Texas that will lose Head Start or the millions of seniors or our military families that will lose the support because we’ve got the sequester.” 

Others said the platinum-level frequent fliers calling their congressfolks and senators got undue attention, since the three and four-year-olds most impacted by Head Start and food assistance cuts aren’t going to call up their reps.  That doesn’t mean children cannot be activists.  (see the second link below.)

Two excellent blogs on this issue come from Crazy Dumbsaint of the Mind – if you don’t follow her, you should (or at least check her out.)

Where West Virginia reps thinks kids ought to work as janitors in exchange for food assistance:  http://dumbsainthood.wordpress.com/2013/04/26/west-virginia-republican-proposes-kids-work-for-school-lunch/

Tennessee tries to tie food assistance to standardized test scores:  http://dumbsainthood.wordpress.com/2013/04/13/awesome-person-aamira-fetuga/

 

I’ve never been a big Whitney Houston fan, but can appreciate her talent as a vocalist.  And I appreciate her sentiment that children are the future.  Maybe together we can try to get our “representatives” to quit lining their pockets with special interest funding, and start moving in a direction that ensures not only our children, but all children have a future worth looking forward to.

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Optimism

Some days I’m a sarcastic, cynical, jaded individual.  I’ve seen a lot of the worst of humanity, and it can wear you down pretty quickly.  (See my Justice & Karma blog for some details.)

But other days, there are some days where faith in humanity is restored, where I’m optimistic that my girls will grow up in a world with less hate, less venom, less bias.  More basic kindness, respect, and strength.

I find myself turning into a bit of a Pollyana during those times, finding the bright side of things, in the worst of circumstances.  (For those of you of a certain age, or with parents of a certain age, back in the days Disney had Sunday Night Movies and there was no cable and only three channels, you probably saw the movie.)

ImageThat said, the actions in the aftermath of Monday’s bombing in the Boston Marathon finish line viewing, are some of those little optimistic moments.

I’ve got friends and family who are in the Boston area.  Somehow my branch of Irish Catholic missed it, but there was a commentator today who said Boston knows how to do three things best – sports, politics, and revenge.  That even Yankees put aside their rivalry (as the Sox did after 9-11) to honor the city was a shock, leaving me awed.  Watching clips of the Bruins’ national anthem before the game yesterday was chilling — in a good way.

Watching runners and first responders, volunteers and medical personnel on site as events unfolded.  Literally using the shirts on their backs to administer first aid.  The Pollyana in me thinks of how awesome it was that if the bombs had to go off, they went off there and not anywhere else on that stretch  — where the greatest number of medics, ambulances, and others could be of immediate help.  I shudder to think of how high the casualty count could’ve been elsewhere on the course.  The proximity to hospitals with trained trauma teams was another blessing.  Runners completing the course, then going further to the closest hospital to try to donate blood.  Outpouring of donations to the OneFundBoston.org to help cover needs of the victims.

Of course, that it happened at all is disheartening — that there’s still so much evil out there. But only light will get rid of the darkness.  And I’ve shared a few reblogs and memes on my facebook page about my optimism, that as a nation and human beings, we’re better, smarter, and stronger than a rat-bastard bomber.

 

 

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News Analysis – When the Hell Did Confirmation & Facts Cease to Matter?

I’ve mentioned a few times my news background. While I’ve been out of the “biz” a few years now, for so long, it was such a part of my life and identity. The adrenaline rush – there can’t be any illicit or prescribed drug with a high like that.

Two basic tenants of what “makes news” taught in beginner J-school classes are:

If it bleeds, it leads.

Dog bites man isn’t news, but man bites dog is.

A third basic rule, as rock solid and commandment like, handed down from the AP Stylebook as “the bible” – get two, independent, attributable sources.

In essence, don’t speculate. Don’t guess. Unless you’re Woodward with Bernstein to reign you in, no anonymous deep throat sources. Confirm the anonymous. (And protect those sources whose information has been confirmed and indeed puts them at risk .)

I was appalled and sickened by the coverage of some “news” outlets yesterday in the coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing.

I’m still a news junkie, and like most Americans I was glued to the TV and ‘net, trying to source accurate information.

In the barrage of coverage, I realize just how much our trusted news sources have really turned less from news to entertainment. For example, I no longer have any respect for ABC, Diane Sawyer, or George Stephanopolis. Once they started quoting random Facebook and Wikipedia entries as facts, it was all over. Suddenly the State Farm “true on the Internet” commercial came to mind.

I’m no fan of Fox News, but even they tried harder to a point to get attributable sources. They carried coverage of hospitals rather than the same video loop. Granted – they went back downhill shortly after with a commentator advocating genocide of Muslims in America, and an anchor making comments on the air live in direct conflict with the info scroll.

The weirdest coverage, by far, was NBC’s Brian Williams calling the events in Boston “beyond bodacious.” What the hell? Is he the fifth ninja turtle or auditioning for the Point Break remake?

Overall, I think the best, least speculative and most accurate coverage had to go to Scott Pelley and CBS, and Rachael Maddow/Lawrence O’Donnell at MSNBC. They asked smart questions, got their sources on camera and on record, and refused to speculate (as every arm chair expert, myself included, came up with their own theories) as to who could possibly perpetrate this and why.

Maddow’s coverage also included a segment on similar plots that had happened and/or been prevented in the past 25 or so years.

That they were careful to fact check and not guess, earned my respect (not that they need it).

In this day an age when Justin Beiber’s faux pax at the Anne Frank house lead higher than the nut job with nukes in North Korea — it’s encouraging to me that some reporters are still reporters of news. That for some, facts are still the standard.

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Justice & Karma

I’m a couple days behind in my blog posting, and I’d always intended to combine these two topics as they go hand in hand fairly often.  (Though not as often as they should.)

By definition (from Dictionary.com)

jus·tice

  [juhs-tis] noun

  1. the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness: to uphold the justice of a cause.
  2. rightfulness or lawfulness, as of a claim or title; justness of ground or reason: to complain with justice.
  3. the moral principle determining just conduct.
  4. conformity to this principle, as manifested in conduct; just conduct, dealing, or treatment.
  5. the administering of deserved punishment or reward.

kar·ma

[kahr-muh] noun

  1. Hinduism, Buddhism. action, seen as bringing upon oneself inevitable results, good or bad, either in this life or in a reincarnation: in Hinduism one of the means of reaching Brahman. Compare bhakti ( def 1 ) , jnana.
  2. Theosophy. the cosmic principle according to which each person is rewarded or punished in one incarnation according to that person’s deeds in the previous incarnation.
  3. fate; destiny. Synonyms: predestination, predetermination, lot, kismet.
  4. the good or bad emanations felt to be generated by someone or something: Lets get out of here. This place has bad karma.

In theory, folks should be good, moral beings.  In eastern cultures, it’s because of the belief in karma – a cosmic “what goes around comes around.”  In western cultures its because of Judaeo-Christian belief structures and law, knowing there will be a punishment — justice — meted out for wrongdoing.

Lately I’ve been altering the words to the famous “wheels on the bus” song to “The Karma bus wheels go thunk thunk thunk.”  Recently in my own life, people who’ve tried to make it more difficult for me, and people I know, have made some really stupid maneuvers that are going to come back and bite them in the ass.  

And whether you believe in the concept of karma (that good things happen to good people and bad to bad) or justice (that bad will get theirs) there are times when there’s simply not enough karma, or justice.  Three recent incidents in the news before today immediately come to mind:

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/breakingnews/os-child-abuse-murder-20130414,0,6299638.story

The first, is just gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, and mind-blowing to anyone with a soul, particularly parents.  When I was working in news, I covered three stories like this in a six month period.  Every time Department of Children & Families had been called out about possible abuse, and despite every warning sign that the mother’s boyfriend was abusing the child, they left the child in the home.  And all three were killed by the mother’s boyfriend, ranging from six months to three years.  

You get tired of seeing the worse of humanity — the “crime & slime” as it were.  I never wanted to be that jaded old reporter, drowning my feelings in cigarettes and booze.  I’ve known too many good old news folks who died that way.

There is nothing a justice system can do to this monster that will be a strong enough punishment for his actions against his innocent, helpless daughter.  

The second – the monster in Philadelphia on trial for murder who was “providing” women’s health services and abortions, without training or a license, in a filth-ridden clinic to women who could least afford his treatments.  Regardless of your opinion on abortion, this individual — I cannot call him a man or doctor — should be treated with eye-for-eye justice.  There’s not enough karmic reincarnations as a cockroach to make up for the atrocities he committed.  In my opinion (and I re-posted an amazing blog on the topic last week) this is exactly why access to women’s care should be, as many proponents say:  “legal, safe, and rare.”  The women who went to this monster were afraid to be hassled at Planned Parenthood and other providers.  Pennsylvania is one of the first states to try to limit abortion through TRAP laws.

The third has to deal a bit with “rape culture” as it’s becoming known in the blogosphere.  If you’ve paid a little attention of late – in addition to the Steubenville case, there have been two recent incidents — one in California and one in Canada — where the victims of gang sexual assaults at parties took their own lives after photos taken by the perpetrators during the assaults were circulated amongst their peers.  In Canada, the police investigated but despite confessions and photographic evidence, they did nothing against the perpetrators. Until it became a well publicized story.  In California, the victim’s family is pleading for the police to do the right thing, and they are indeed investigating.

I know the statistics, and while I have never been sexually assaulted, I know women who have been.  I know women who were assaulted at young and teen ages.  I’ve seen the damage.  I have three girls — my step-daughter from my first marriage who’s navigated into adulthood fairly well with her mother’s guidance, the princess (4) and punk (6 months).  

Girls are taught even at a young age that it’s their fault – that they can “prevent” being raped.  They’re taught in middle school and high school that their clothing distracts and provokes their male counterparts, that it’s their fault they attract attention.  (http://feministing.com/2013/04/10/this-is-how-you-teach-rape-culture-to-12-year-olds/)

No, sadly, if a rapist has intent, it doesn’t matter where the victim is or what she wore, the rapist is going to do it.  

What needs to be taught is that it’s not about just a sex act, it’s about control. And what this is, is teaching girls and young women that every man is a potential rapist.

That’s not the case.  I know not all men would rape given opportunity and the idea they wouldn’t be caught.

What needs to be taught to all men, even young men and boys, is the same thing, to a degree, the princess learned her first day in pre-k.  Keep your damned hands (and other parts) to yourself.  A lack of answer isn’t a yes. No answer, is a NO answer.

One may hope karma may take care of these men, but their victims (and all the unknown victims afraid to or unable to speak up) deserve justice.

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