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Archive for the ‘NEWS’ Category

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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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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Monday, right before lunch:  Breaking News Alert on the TV.  Similar to a moment I endured on September 11th not so many years ago, I literally froze and held my breath.  What is happening in our society?  Already, those with selfish agendas are lining up for the finger pointing parades.  Who do we blame?

  • Gun control
  • VA Tech University Security
  • Police Emergency Response
  • Mental Health Professionals
  • Media & Popular Culture
  • Immigration Burdens
  • The Gunman’s Family, Friends, Roommates

My opinion, society is our major contributor to these tragedies.  Commonplace in our reality today are many expressions of violence; rage, desperation, insanity, desire for personal gain, discrimination or more simply, ignorance.  Prejudice for those who are different, contempt for unexplainable reasons and a blind eye to those who are suffering are pervasive in our mainstream culture.

Violence permeates our minds and hearts.  Following the incident at VA Tech, our moral outrage peaks until time and other facets of life distract our thoughts.  The effects of violence are constructive only in that the consequences determine our agenda, retroactively.

Violence is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding: it seeks to annihilate rather than convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends up defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.

Martin Luther King, 1964

Expressions of sympathy pour out to the survivors of violent attacks, while words of gratitude are silently murmured that it was not our loved one.  As the parent of one graduate student and one college bound teen, it was by the grace of God it was not UNC-Chapel Hill.  We all pray “someone” will address these atrocities.  Who will be that “someone?”  Our collective lack of humanity is creating an environment where these incidents occur faster than we can lock away, rehabilitate or execute the violent offenders. 

Do I believe that our society prompted Cho Seung-Hui to inflict this devastation?  Probably not.  There will be much speculation on what prompted this attack; mental illness, evil, environment, personal choice, abuse, genetics or character flaws.  Let us all take pause and make a positive impact on our individual communities, accepting responsibility for our actions, embrace our differences, discover our compassion, humanity and respect for others may assist us in becoming that “someone.”  Just my two cents.

At the end of the day, Where is The Love?

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