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Stop the world I want to get off!  There is a reason I watch the news in small doses.  This is it, the gang rape, torture and sexual assault of a mother and sonThe words in that sentence are disturbing at the core of my soul on a multitude of levels.  A few days ago, I was not proud to be American.  Today I am ashamed to be part of this world, we are failing our collective humanity.  Failing as parents, friends, neighbors, communities, hell, we are falling short of being human.

I don’t have any answers; only questions and anger.  What was your first thought after hearing about these crimes?

Shock?  The accused are children (14-18 years old).

Overwhelmed?  At the sheer sadistic nature of the attack.

Rage?  Images of the cruel torture of the accused as payment for their crimes.

Pick one, I had them all.

In our country, the accused are entitled to trial by jury, legal representation and if found guilty, punishment to fit the crime in accordance with the laws of that jurisdiction.  The particularly heinous nature of this unspeakable violence will most likely shatter any current concept of justice you possess.  Intellectually, I know that justice should not be fueled by emotion, but based on reason.  The mother, the woman and the human being in me wants retribution.  The pure evil and perverse method in which these offenses were carried out leaves me struggling with my own belief system.

The ages of the offenders seems irrelevant when you consider the atrocities committed, but it is not, it merely makes these events more poignant in our history.  The first suspect arrested was 14 years old, in 7th grade.  Seventh Grade!  Middle School!  Plus 9 other teenagers.  This thrill violence or mob mentality is reminiscent of a Clockwork Orange scenario or Richard Ramirez, The Night Stalker.  These perpetrators were teenagers.  Children engaging in sociopathic behavior,  apparently without an ounce of empathy for their victims.  I have a teenager who is still developing the ability to understand the magnitude of consequences for her actions.  That night in Florida we had serial killers in the making.

What justice will there be for this mother and child subjected to inhumane cruelty and barbaric offenses?  How will the American justice system rehabilitate offenders (child offenders) capable of such sociopathic acts?  I cannot fathom the psychological trauma and recovery process that this family will endure.  It is heartbreaking, we have become our own worst nightmare.

The finger pointing parades will come, as they have before.  We all need someone to blame, a cause for these horrifics acts, someone to hold responsible.  There will be much speculation on what prompted this attack; mental illness, evil, environment, personal choice, abuse, genetics, racial bias, immigration issues, welfare/public housing concerns, socioeconomic factors, education obstacles, lack of parenting, the cost of the War on Iraq and probably the actions of the victims themselves on that terrible night.  I can hear them in my own head already.

We have become a society of voyeurs and bystanders.  Lengthy analysis by the media, recycling the details of the crimes adnausem robs the victims of their dignity.  Today I watched a deeply disturbing interview with the victim posted on a Florida TV website which graphically detailed the depravity of this attack.  I intentionally did not include the link and I question the rationale of airing a minute by minute account of the attacks (directly from the victim herself) when 7 suspects remain at large.  In my opinion, the media coverage bears continued culpability for their sensationalism of the crimes and efforts to report every single reprehensible violation of these victims.  The reporter’s primary goal during the interview appears to be exploit this mother; providing himself an exclusive interview, with leading politically correct questions and no emotional affect.  The headlines “Woman Forced To Have Sex With Her Son” are evidence of  journalistic manipulation, because “Sexual Assault Of Mother And Child” would not have sold as many papers or increased internet traffic.  Surely, I am guilty as well, for reading this news and ranting on my blog regarding this very subject.

How did we arrive here?  I am ashamed of myself for becoming so cyncial, jaded and desensitized to violence. Our social culture today has created an environment where heinous crimes are commonplace.  We all shake our heads and make grimaced expressions at the TV or computer screen when we hear that no one offered these victims assistance.  How could no one hear these attacks?  In fact, one resident of this neighborhood stated: “So a lady was raped.  Big deal.  There’s too much other crime happening here.”  Patriciea Matlock said with disgust.  To you Patriciea Matlock, I ask, are you an actual member of the human race?  Three hours of gang rape, torture and forced participation in sexual assault of a family member is not considered getting off easy in the crime victim arena.  To you Patriciea Matlock, I am sorry for your lot in life, your housing situation, lack of opportunity, education or whatever turned you into a body without a soul.  To you Patriciea Matlock, I pray the other 7 suspects, still at large, do not stop by your apartment for an up close and personal rendition of the true meaning of violent crime and torture.  Lastly, to you Patriciea Matlock, had I been the reporter on the day you provided that idiotic response –  I would have knocked your ignorant ass into next week and had you looking both ways for Sunday.

My last statement is proof that I clearly need a place to direct my rage.  Can we observe the violence in ourselves and become the change we want to see in this world?  Perhaps it is easier to roll over and accept things as they are  – that way, we abdicate any responsibility for mankind.  As I said in the beginning of this post, I have only questions and anger.  There appear to be no solutions at hand or answers to any questions.  What we need is a call to action, so here is mine:

Honor the survivor instinct of this mother and her son.  Help facilitate this family’s triumph over this tragedy.  I challenge you to donate to The Dunbar Village Victim’s Assistance Fund.  Do it because it is the right thing to do.  Do it because it is a strike against the pervasive evil in our world.  Do it to apologize for our collective lack of humanity.  Do it to compensate for the Patriciea Matlocks of this world.

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The scales of justice just fell from their pedestal.  It will be a rare occurence that I climb on the political soap box.  My personal rants are normally limited to that of  parents gone stupidtweens gone wild, husbands with contemporary home repair tipsand crazy idiocracy .  When the leader of the free world hands out a Get Out Of Jail Free Card to Scooter Libby by commuting his sentence for perjury and obstruction of justice, I am ashamed to be American.

It is ironic that this turn of events occured the day before we celebrate freedom, democracy and equality under the law.  In our country defendants are innocent until proven guilty.  While this most certainly was political prosecution of a White House scapegoat, he was found guilty by a jury of his peers. 

What saddens me the most is that even here On The Ponderosa, no one was shocked.  In fact, we have become a desensitized society pervasive with abuse of power and political manuvering.  Dishonesty, corruption and lack of integrity are expected from the elected officials in this nation.  It is with deep shame that I have become so cynical.  It is embarassing that I no longer hold in high regard our system of justice or the political process. 

We, as citizens of this country, have a moral duty to demand that those to whom we have given the power to rule in our stead do so in a way that might serve the best interests of humanity and justice rather than the individual who transforms Executive Power granted by our cherished Constitution in to political expediency.   

We have been content far too long to allow the political machinery of Washington to churn on and it has brought us to this miscarriage of justice.  Remember the same man that signed Libby’s clemency order is the same man that signed the death warrant for the first woman executed in Texas since the Civil War.   He deemed Libby’s sentence of 30 months imprisonment “excessive” and Tucker’s death sentence “tough, but his job.”  Are you kidding me?

To you President Bush, I find you guilty of obstruction of justice.  Shame on you and shame on me for voting for you, twice.  Happy Independence Day America, we are the land of the free, atleast for Scooter Libby. 

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Ponder no longer why adults slowly ease in to alcoholism around say their mid-forties…it is because they have teenagers.  Seriously, AA should add a 13 step to their program…..We have come to believe that we were driven to drink by our futile efforts to communicate with our teenagers and admitted that the exact nature of our wrongs were to have unprotected marital sex about 16 years ago.

In an effort to understand the misnomer Sweet 16 I have researched many parenting books, which are truly useful only to bang against your own head or toss at the backside of your teenager as they walk away in a huff mumbling under their breath. 

Karma numerical guidelines provide the most accurate insight.  Number 16 offers the test of optimism and faith; it represents the misapplication of sexual energy, adversity, secrecy and aloofness.  Not a spiritual guru myself, but these numerology folks have teenagers.

This darling little girl that jumped in your bed because the “scary” man (read: Unsolved Mysteries program) was on TV, the same one who gleefully camped in the yard catching frogs with her dad, the same one that rushed to deliver your homemade birthday card now believes you are the AntiChrist.

School is no longer an academic experience, it exists merely as a social arena to plan evening and weekend activities.  Studying 12 hours for the driver’s license exam and 12 minutes for an english test will be the educational effort example for high school.  Further evidence will be presented as a sudden aversion to math, unless calcuations are required to determine the amount of cash they need from you.  You are THE NEW HUMAN ATM.

Rooms that you spent a week turning in to a palace for a princess, now resemble a pig sty complete with food scraps and odors to keep out anyone with a sense of smell.  Cries of woe are frequently heard from this disaster area declaring that she has NO CLOTHES.  Apparently 10 pairs of jeans, 36 shirts, 6 dresses, 3 capris, 8 skirts, 15 pairs of shoes and 5 pairs of shorts now represent the equivalent of having NO CLOTHES.

The little girl who used to sneak in to your closet for fashion shows would sooner gouge out her own eye that consult your opinion on wardrode options.  Often you find yourself shouting to the driveway “you are not going anywhere dressed like that”, only to be reminded that you must be confused because she was only getting something from her car.  And yes, she always carries her purse and car keys when retrieving CD’s from her automobile.

The four major food groups are now:  pizza, dr. pepper, cookies and anything from the golden arches palace.  Sleeping is tossed aside in favor of necessary tasks like instant messaging, TV viewing and marathon cell phone sessions, unless of course you point out a chore needing her attention. 

You no longer possess a working knowledge of anything, you understand nothing and possess an IQ lower than a turtle.  It is miracle of some deity that you have lived past the age of 40 and can actually shower, consume food and operate a toilet.  (The King’s opinion on my operation of plumbing fixtures has no bearing, in fact, his genetic contribution to The Princess has probably brought us to this point.)

When you tire of choosing your battle, the aforementioned incredible raging hormonal one will do something so small and amazing your heart will melt.  Let me explain:

BATTLE FOR TODAY: Rationalizing that strapless blue satin party dress with black lace is perhaps a tad inappropriate for church service.

HEART MELTING MOMENT:  Scanning The Princess’s MySpace page and reading “The Parentals” in the spot next to My Heroes.

Contrary to rumors, my picture should not be placed in Webster’s dictionary as a photo illustration for the word stupid, I am aware these heartfelt moments are few and far between.  For the other 364.5 days of the year I have Margaritas close at hand. 

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Three weeks ago I was minding my own business feeding the Royal Canines.

The Royal Canines - Mr. Frodo & Jake Man

Cute, harmless looking 200 pounds of  labradors, are they not?

Looks can be deceiving, while they are docile most of the day when afternoon arrives and they are about to reap the dog food rewards from the hard labor of The King & I, they spring in to action.  If you have small dogs this may not be a problem, but when they repeatedly demand your attention by slamming in to your backside while filling their water bucket you will turn around.  Just for a moment, only to stung repeatedly on your right hand by the lovely bees that nest On The Ponderosa.  Normally, I am honored that these bees spend their summers pollenating my lilies, hydrangeas and other floral matter.  My policy for bees is get busy on my flowers, tell your friends, but stay away from me.

Did I mention I am allergic to bee stings?  Not the take a Benadryl kind, the I stop breathing kind.  Never fear Epipen to the rescue.  Immediately after being stung I run to the house and grab the Epipen, inject myself in the thigh.  For those not familiar with Epipen medication, the side effects are similar to drinking a two liter of Red Bull energy drink in two minutes.  Jump around the kitchen, remove stingers and flail about screaming obscenities.  This is helpful to me personally.  Reminder to myself: no more dog treats for a week as this is clearly the Royal Canines fault.

Four days later, I realize something is wrong as my hand and arm clearly resemble one of those giant foam hands folks wave around as sporting events, accompanied by spreading red streaks and severe itching that makes me consider removing my limb permanently.  Clearly I needed medical attention.  Our family physician declares the diagnosis of cellulitis and provides antibiotics with a side of steroids that turn me in to one of the giant mythical characters dancing around in need on the Pepto-Bismol commercial.

Three days later my arm now resembles that of a giant, the red streaks have exceeded their inkpen boundaries designated by my physician.  It is decided hospitalization is clearly required with IV antibiotics. 

If anyone is under the delusion that you will get rest while healing in the hospital, let me enlighten you.  Hospitals are full of people whose primary job responsibility is to keep you awake.  They have secret devices that alert them when any patient has dosed off, no matter the time of day they will come in to your room and wake you up under the guise of performing some necessary treatment. 

As a public service announcement to all women who dream of spending a few days in bed away from the demands of your family while watching tv, reading a bestseller and having your meals delivered to you on a serving tray:  BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR.

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One night a week, The Queen indulges in girls night out with her best friend.  Basically, this is a torrid affair of attempting to enjoy a quiet meal in a restaurant and catching up on gossip.  My idea of a good time does not include the following tale of parents gone stupid accompanied by an 8 year old child that would scare Stephen King. 

Crosby (yes, that is his name) spends the majority of the meal throwing utensils, food, condiments all over the place and smacking me in the back of my head at every opportunity.   Every time he did this, his idiot mother would say, in a voice barely above a whisper, “Crosby, stop that, please.”  At this point, we should have asked to move away from Crosby, but my interest was peaked as to Crosby’s fate.  Granted I have nearly grown children, but if I recall correctly, when they were 8 years old this behavior would have warranted a trip to the restroom where they would have received the knowledge of a come to Jesus meeting. 

This melee continues for 20 minutes and finally I believe the mom is about to discipline her child.  Did you know the word discipline comes from the word disciple (to teach)?  Crosby’s mother is not aware of that…keep reading.  She tells him, “Crosby, if you don’t stop that right now, we are not going to get  the new Power Ranger.”  I wish at this point I could add an exclaimation point or bold typed those words, but her voice was incapable of being strong and authoritative. Ever optimistic, I thought she was finally going to take charge.

Does the threat of no action figure strike fear into his heart?  No, it does not.  He continues his utensil and condiment juggling, adding throwing ice cubes at the waitress to his act .  Finally, mom announces that he will not be receiving his action figure for his continued silliness.  I kid you not, she called it silliness.  With that proclamation his bottom lip trembled, and tears almost filled his eyes.  This child should receive an Academy Award for Best Manipulation of Person Posing As A Parent.  Take a bow, Crosby.  You are about to win the prize.

Mom spots the tear, this is where my best friend had to hold my legs to keep me from climbing over the booth and striking the mom in the head with the ketchup bottle.  Mom pulls Crosby in to her loving arms to comfort his toy deprivation act.  She tells him, “oh, don’t cry, honey, we’ll still go get the Power Ranger.  Don’t cry.”

Let’s see, what has Crosby learned today? There are no consequences for my actions.  I suspect he knew this before fate landed him in the booth next to mine in this restaurant.  Really, there are parents that I must restrain myself from smacking the shit out of, see now I have degenerated to bad language.  You might say this is one of my pet peeves.  No really, this makes my head want to imploded or become an advocate of corporal punishment, purely to make me feel better.  So when I see brats, like Crosby, I feel completely justified in blaming the parent. Blame this mom, I will.  Gladly.

Parents like these are afraid of being the bad guy, not being liked or actually daring to say NO to these children.  Let me say it again, you are not their friend, you are their parent.  For some, apparently from a biological aspect only.  After 18 years these overindulged selfish brats will be unleashed into adult society, we should be afraid, very afraid. 

Now if you want an example of a parenting hero, read here.  She is totally, my parental heroChris, I bow at your parental superiority.

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The mind is an enigma.  As I go through life minding my own business, my brain has the temerity to produce, without encouragement or suggestion from me a song that I find on repeat for the remainder of the day.  Every. Five. Minutes.  Seriously, the hook from this song becomes wedged so deep in your psyche that you may be tempted to either start dancing, god forbid singing or kill the next person who looks in your direction.

My current cerebral playlist includes the following, oh please click on these songs, I want to share the love of music.  This list obviously speaks volumes about my taste in music.  Thanks to an insightful and hilarious blogger that I read religiously, I have also added Amy Winehouse to my musical brain shuffle.   

  KUNG FU FIGHTING  I feel the need to break out in to a Jet Li fighting stance.

  SAVE A HORSE RIDE A COWBOY  Don’t ask, fantastic beat.

  MONEY MAKER  For anyone who has seen me dance, be afraid.

It is just wrong for these to be stuck in your mental playback, if you clicked YOU ARE SO WELCOME.  If you hate me now, I understand, I accepted that you would but am having a great laugh at your expense.  Really, forgive me, it was necessary to share my pain.  Feel free to share the love, pass it on to those you love.

Research has enlightened me that this particular disorder is caused by ear worms, catchy tunes stuck in the auditory cortex.  Great now I need a brain enema!  Prayerfully, and The Princess does pray that I do not bust a move at any moment.

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In the grocery store, minding my own business, preparing myself to hand over large sums of cash for my love of carbohydrates, my eye strays to a tabloid headline…”VA Tech Massacre part of Gay Agenda”.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  I typed that in large caps to resist the urge to type WTF?  Okay, I have degenerated to swearing but hand to God, I could have screamed right there in the checkout line.  I knew the finger pointing parade would navigate all points on the compass, but, seriously people.

The media, politicians, religious leaders, bloggers and just plain folk blame those of homosexual orientation for a degeneration in family values, rising divorce rate, decline of public morals, destruction of the world and probably the rising cost of oil.  They need  a scapegoat to make their hate appear legitimate, they need to make you afraid and tell you who you must fear, after all homosexuality certainly is the root of all evil.

The Gay Agenda is a twisted concept.  Those of homosexual orientation are individuals that come from a broad diversity of backgrounds, religious faiths, politicial views, genders, race, not to mention various geographic locations worldwide.  They want to participate in society and contribute to their communities, well they can contribute as long as they dare not to benefit or expect equal rights under the law.  Their agenda is to live, love, worry, rejoice and rest just like everyone else.  The challenges our society places in their paths based on their sexual orientation amounts to pure discrimination.  Can you even begin to imagine the struggle to accept yourself in a civilization filled with mockery, hate and condemnation for what others categorize as an “alternative lifestyle”?  My perspective is that it is certainly not alternative, it is merely not common.  

It is appalling that members of the religious right continue to blame homosexuals for a range of disasters from AIDS to child abuse to hurricaines to terrorism to under the cloak of “God’s retribution”.  They theorize that homosexuality leads to misery and is completely repugnant, however, it is so appealing that when it becomes acceptable many will be tempted to switch sexual orientation, developing a life long addiction.  Seriously, homosexuality is not a disease, a mental illness or a cartoon sponge that lives in a pineapple at the bottom of the sea.  You cannot be infected with homosexuality, they will not convert you, in fact, they do not want you.  Nor will they steal your children, pedophillia does not have the same definition as homosexuality.  

Of course, we cannot leave out the manacial Reverend Fred Phelps who proudly waves signs “God Hates Fags, Fags Die & God Laughs.”  We express outrage at his behavior and  feel proud of ourselves for not buying in to his particular brand of crazy, failing to realize that his lingering stench of hate permeates our world.  Although I am not prepared to put restrictions on freedom of speech, I would fully support a decree that anyone espousing such crazy crap should be sedated and sent directly to an insane asylum.  Karma is a wonderful equalizer, just imagine the turnout at his funeral.

In the United States we have laws banning discimination on the basis of race, gender or religion, we would never tolerate a headline like this directed toward feminism or a specific race.  Sexual orientation is viewed as exempt from equal protection because it is deemed a behavior or a choice.  My sexual orientation is heterosexual, although I do not recall ever having made that decision.  To those who still believe it at choice, why would any person choose a sexual orientation that would subject them to a destiny of inequity, prejudice and stigma?  Left unchecked this bigotry will lead to a specific group of people to be regarded as worthy of persecution.  This is how prejudice and paranoia are born and we are all bearing witness, some silently. 

“We have met the enemy and he is us.”  Pogo by Walt Kelly

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