Category Archives: Social Science

Chavis Carter, Suicide? I Think Not!

First, I recommend that you read this story from the New York Times: The Curious Case of Chavis Carter.

Chavis Carter was with two other people in a car when police were called to check into their suspicious behavior. Chavis was questioned, given a quick search and placed into the backseat of a police car without handcuffs while the other two were questioned. During the initial search, police recovered what they estimated to be about $10.00 worth of pot on him and nothing else. After finding that Chavis had outstanding warrants, he was removed from the police car, searched again, handcuffed behind his back and returned to the backseat of the police car. In the second search nothing more was recovered. After the scene was cleared and the arresting officer returned to his vehicle, he noticed that something wasn’t right with Chavis. According to those on the scene, a left handed Chavis, shot himself in the right temple with a gun that had been reported stolen a month earlier, while handcuffed behind his back and locked inside a police car.

I can’t think of any scenario where this might even be remotely possible. Even if it were possible, we are expected to believe that the officer found marijuana on him during the first search and didn’t find a gun. The second search also did not recover the gun. Something is terribly wrong with this whole thing.

I don’t live very far from where this happened and our local news did a followup on this story last night. They reported that the gun powder residue was not tested because it was so obvious that this was a suicide, there was no crime committed and therefore, no crime scene to investigate. Excuse me! I would call this a mysterious death at the very least and I would think, it would be deemed a crime scene until the medical examiner ruled it differently.

I will be interested to see if this case is swept under the rug. I think the average person would be surprised how often things like this happen and are never dealt with. There are so many impossibilities and unanswered questions here.

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Fun With Spam

Who doesn’t get a ton of spam in their inbox? I don’t know of anyone! Every morning I grab a cup of coffee and sit down in my office to go through the email that has flooded my inbox overnight and it’s always the same story…247 incoming and not one REAL email from someone I know or someone who has legitimate business with me. It gets old. It gets real old, but since I’m trying to be more positive these days, I thought I should take these lemons and try to make some lemonade.

I started with the email from George. George says he can teach me “another language” in 10 days! Yes, that’s right, 10 days! So after digging a little bit, I figured out how to email George directly. Turns out, George isn’t George at all! I know, shocker! George signed “his” first reply to me as “Juliana.” So, I expressed my interest to Juliana in learning another language. She replied to confirm that English was in fact my language of choice. I responded that it is not my language of choice, it’s just what my parents taught me as a child and that I already know English so there’s no point in wasting 10 days beating a dead horse. Portuguese is actually my language of choice but I don’t know how to speak it and I thought maybe she could help me out with that. She proceeded to explain to me that she doesn’t know Portuguese but she does know Spanish and if that were to be my language of choice, she would be glad to teach me for a fee. So, I explained that just as she had mistaken my language of choice for English, others could mistake it for Spanish if I learn Spanish and then where would I be? I would still be without my language of choice which is Portuguese! She then, agreed to teach me Portuguese. I was very confused by this! How can she teach me Portuguese if she doesn’t know Portuguese? I was then expected to believe that if I paid my fee 10 days in advance, she would use that money to compensate her own tutor and learn Portuguese in 10 days. Then in turn she would teach it to me. Awesome!! I asked who her tutor would be, so I could just cut out the “middle man” and pay them to teach me, so as not to waste any more of her time. She never replied…darn it! (Come back, Juliana….come back!!)

I sifted through a few more emails that lead me to websites (and probably a few viruses that I’ll have to deal with later) and finally found another from which I could gain actual human contact. I was greeted by someone named John. John didn’t spell very well and it was extremely hard to decipher the code to gain knowledge concerning his elite group through which “Senior People Meet.” John directed me to a website but I told him I was having some problems with my computer and could only email right now. (I’m such a liar!) I just wanted to get some general information from him so I could check out the website later. John assured me that this was a respectable group of “older” adults looking for companionship. I asked the age of the oldest available man and I asked him to provide me with some information on his background…just so I could get a general idea of his interests and such. He told me about Dan, who was 88 years old and had been a “shopkeeper” before his retirement. I asked if he actually owned the “shop” or if he just kept it for someone else and if it could have possibly been a federal shop of some sort, or a jewelry shop….. It turned out to be a very small town grocery “shop.” So I asked John, who else he had for me, adding the older the better! I was then told about Thomas, 86, who had dealt junk auto parts in his younger years. I asked if he still had grease under his fingernails, ’cause that could be a real downer. John then asked my age so I explained that I’m 40 and though I’m not quite a “senior” yet, I’m very mature for my age. I’ve been through a lot in my life and I’m ready to find the oldest, richest man I can find to support me into my golden years. I never heard from John again….

The last one was short and sweet. I was offered a FREE power-chair! Who wouldn’t want one of those? So I did as the email suggested, and asked how “I can get my free power-chair.” The reply I received was a form to apply for one. It was full of blanks for very sensitive private information such as social security number, address, how many people live in the home, are you able to drive, where are you able to go and how often? So I immediately looked for the “contact us” link, and sent another email claiming that I couldn’t figure out how to fill in those blanks with the computer but I do know how to email if someone could help me. I also asked if they intended to steal my identity and rob me while I was out driving to the same places at the same time each week. Needless to say, I didn’t receive a reply on that one. They must be really busy.

It was a fun morning! Spam is your friend, people! Spam is your friend!


Why Can’t I Be Just A Voter?

A long stretch of my voting adulthood was spent without being registered to vote. Just after my 18th birthday, I registered for the first time and was so proud that I was among citizens who could make a difference. I proudly went to the polls and cast my vote responsibly…knowing who all the candidates were and what they stood for. I took responsibility for my civic duty and felt very good about it…and then something happened. I can’t remember exactly what it was but I know it was something. I stopped voting.

Eventually I moved to another state and refused to register. Just under 20 years passed without a single vote from me. I gave no excuses. I just didn’t vote. Over time, I forgot why I stopped.

This year I registered again. I found a candidate that I believed in and decided to go full throttle in his direction. I got one vote in for him and he dropped out of the race. So, here I am, all registered and ready to vote in the presidential election and looking for a candidate to back. I’ve started reading up on what’s left of the candidates…what they’ve done, what they’ve promised…and I’ve discovered something. I’m expected to pick a box to crawl into and a tag to stamp on my forehead.

The “women’s vote”, the “black vote”, the “Hispanic vote”, Democrat, Republican, upper class, middle class, lower class…….What the hell is going on here?

First of all, I thought my vote was supposed to be secret! I have to choose to be either Democrat or Republican when I’m given a ballot but I’m neither. If I choose Democrat, everyone knows I’ll vote for Obama. Just give me a ballot with everybody on it and let me decide in the booth! I don’t care how long the ballot is or how long it takes me to sift through the names. Just give me the ability to vote for whoever I want!

Am I so shallow that I am automatically going to vote like every other working white female? Is there no room for me to care about the plight of a Hispanic male? I’m not gay or lesbian but their right to marry is important to me and could influence my vote. Am I grouped by that as well? If so, I’m on the opposite side of that issue from most of the people who surround my little plot inside the good ol’ Bible belt. How do they account for rogue voters like me? Am I just a “wild card?” There’s another label!

I guess the thing that gets to me most is the electoral votes. I understand the original reasoning behind this but get with the times people. There is so much corruption in this whole process that there is absolutely no way in hell that all those votes go where they are meant to go. Most of the popular votes don’t go where they should!

So, as I sit with my signature on my little voter registration card, I have a tough decision to make. Do I tear it up and refuse to talk about it or do I waste my time at the polls? I just want to be a voter! Just a plain old voter!


Old People Don’t Suck!

When I was younger, I use to wonder why “old people” were so rude and selfish. I just bounced around with my happy-go-lucky attitude and snarled back at them with a smirk when they’d get rude over something that I deemed silly. I can remember passing it off as jealousy of my youth. In my mind, old people sucked! As I thought all these things, and voiced a little of it too, I never considered their side of it. I never considered the reasons that they did the things they did or acted the way they acted.

Well, I’m not exactly “old” yet but I’m getting there. I’ll be 41 this year and that puts me about 20 years ahead of my original “Old Folks are Rude” discovery. I’m sure my opinion of this will evolve even more but as of now, I am beginning to understand. I kind of understand now that I was being selfish and rude. It was me that sucked! It was my heavy gas pedal foot and my energy level. It was me being inconsiderate of other people wanting to be safe on the road rather than just getting where they were going in the quickest possible manner. It was me being in too big of a hurry to wait for someone to read a label on something in the grocery store and brushing past them like they had no right to be there. It was me, that bounced attitude off these people and they were just reflecting it back. It was me all along!

And now that I’m getting older, I understand that sometimes “old timers” have just had enough! We (I say that loosely..) just don’t give a shit! Why should we? I’m gonna stand there and read that label because, dang it, carbs matter these days! I’m going to drive near the speed limit (for now anyway) because not only do I have someone in the car with me most of the time, but I understand that I also hold the lives of other drivers in my hands. I’m going to walk as slow as I need too because by cracky, my feet and legs hurt bad enough when I get out of bed in the morning and I’m not going to make it worse! Why should I hurt myself for these heathen whipper snappers?!??!

So be warned, children! (…and by children, I men anyone under 30-ish these days) I’m rude, selfish and inconsiderate and I don’t apologize for it!*

 

*This is what I want to say so badly it hurts, but the truth is, I’m a doormat. I suck! I want so badly to be rude, selfish and inconsiderate but I always fall short. I really, really want to not give a shit! …but I do. I just can’t help it. So feel free to crash into me with your cart in the grocery store and cut me off in traffic. I’ll smile and wave at you…then go home and cry in the shower…


Life After Death

Life After DeathI have followed this story since the day those three little boys were found in West Memphis. It was a sad, sad day. Such a horrible crime and the person(s) guilty of committing it, still out there with the ability to do it again.

All these years later the situation has not changed. The person(s) who did this, still out there, somewhere, simply because someone, anyone, had to be held accountable…guilty or not. Instead of destroying only the lives of the three young victims and their families, that community chose three more young boys to destroy along with their families. Their only crime was that they chose to be “different.” The community plucked these boys off the street and branded them as murders because of the way they dressed, their interests and, I believe, their economic status. It was like  the witch hunts of the Salem days. They figuratively threw these boys in the water and when they sank to the bottom, proving they weren’t witches, they were left there to die.

Today, these three young boys are men, who have enjoyed a year outside prison after being released, but not exonerated. They were forced to enter a plea that in essence kept the state of Arkansas and other individuals involved, safe from prosecution for their false imprisonment. I can imagine that being a tough pill for these men to swallow after years of building frustration.

The so called “leader” of this pack, and the only of the three to be sentenced to death row, Damien Echols has written a book about his experience and their continued fight to find the real murder(s) and clear the names of these young men who were wrongly accused and imprisoned. His book, Life After Death”, is set for release on September 18, 2012. Even if you have no intention of reading this book, I urge you to buy it. Show your support to these young men and give to the cause of bringing the correct people/person to justice for the three little boys who lost their lives, the families of the little boys, the wrongly accused and their families as well. My copy is on reserve!


If It Ain’t King James…

So, there’s bridge construction going on a few miles from my house and on my regular lunchtime commute home today, I found myself stuck. If it weren’t bad enough that they are taking out two bridges at once less than a mile apart, as I waited I found myself staring into what I would wish to be the great abyss, but turned out to be a odd little bumper sticker on the back of the van in front of me.  The sticker read, “If  it ain’t King James, it ain’t Bible.”

I have more than one problem with this. Actually the first thing that came to mind was, “Welcome to the Bible Belt, AIN’T it swell!?!??!” Is nothing sacred? Come on people! I am very passionate about my cheesecake but I don’t have pro-cheesecake slogans on the back of my car and you’ll certainly never find me downing the strawberry cheesecake as opposed to the cherry cheesecake!

Also, doesn’t the whole point surrounding this have to do with language? Yes, we are in the south but that doesn’t mean we should go completely slack on the vocabulary. If you are going to speak out, do it with dignity…or maybe the idea was to target rednecks…

Now to the King James Controversy. Yes, I understand that the King James version was translated from Hebrew, Greek and other languages by tons of scholars in an attempt to keep it as accurate as possible….but I would like to believe that the other versions of the Bible were translated to a more modern version of English by scholars as well.  I feel that the use of the King James version is nothing more than tradition and there’s nothing wrong with that. So, please stop feeding people the lines about God specifically leading the translators of the original texts to translate them perfectly. If he could lead those guys, he could lead the guy who translated “The Message.”

I have no problem with what Bible you prefer to read or even if you prefer not to read one at all….I just found it annoying that while stuck in traffic, I had to translate redneck slang to understand that you like your religion translated the early modern English way.


The Death of Jack

I hadn’t thought about Jack Kevorkian in many years but today I was bombarded with stories about him everywhere I surfed. I think the first account of his death that I read today was from Yahoo News. I then surfed on and happened across another death announcement on the National Public Radio site. So, I did a Wikipedia search and found another.

I’m filled with mixed emotions about Mr. Kevorkian just as I was years ago when he was constantly in the news. In that same stretch of years, I’ve changed my point of view on many things but not this one. There’s a nagging itch in the back of my head that wants to say that he was just plain insane…but that’s only a small part of me.

For the most part, I believe he was a hero. Not only to his patients but a role model to the rest of us. I believe there was something very special about this man and it has absolutely nothing to do with the cause that he fought for. It is the very fact that he fought so passionately for what he believed in. We should all admire him for that. If the world had more men willing to stand up as ferociously and selflessly as Mr. Kevorkian, I believe our planet would be a much better place.

I believe another important thing to remember about him is that as he was performing this “service” to his dying patients, he did not act in a malicious way. He did the things that he did with only love and compassion. Most of us have had the misfortune to watch someone we love suffer a long painful death due to illness. I’ve seen this first hand twice in my life and watching someone waste away, in pain, is truly horrible. One of these people knew she would soon be leaving us and was ready but determined to fight until the very last second. It would have been a crime to take that away from her. Mr. Kevorkian’s ideas would never have done that. He would have only helped those who wanted his help. I believe I would want his help in that situation and given the opportunity, I believe he would have been there to help.

Those who fought so diligently against his cause fell into basically two categories in my mind; those who believed it was wrong according to religion and those who believed it was wrong due to the presidents it would set and the limits (or lack thereof) being stretched. To the latter, I say, If you can make it illegal, you can regulate it instead. As for religion, the patients themselves have the right to choose their own religious beliefs and if they choose to ignore religion in making that decision, it should be left to them. Not their families and certainly not the public or the government. For a country with separation of church and state, there sure are a lot of laws made based on emotions that surround religion.

RIP Mr. Kevorkian


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