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Archive for the ‘Hate Crimes’ Category

        Today is a day to remember, it is the 64th anniversary of the liberation of the Jewish people from the concentration camp Auschwitz.  It was a day of relief and a day of sadness.  Sadness for those who’s lives were lost before they could be rescued…and a day of relief for those who were still alive and had a chance for survival.  People want to forget the horrors of the concentration camps…or worse, they deny that it ever existed.  The prisoners at the concentration camps were there because of hatred; they were feared and they were hated just because of their heritage.  There is no excuse for genocide.

       If we are allowed to forget the horror of such evil…it could happen again.  If we deny that it ever existed then we are guilty of adding to the evil that took place and destroyed so many people.  It is a time of world history that must be observed.

      There are some who were there that still have memories of that time.  There are some who have loved ones who went through the extreme torture that was the concentration camps.  No group of human beings should ever be treated the way that the Jews were treated.  We lost so many people that could have added culture, music, craftmanship, business accumen…and so much more to the world.  It was and is a tragedy the likes of which we should hope to never see again.

       Think about the suffering and the misery that they went through.  The fear that consumed the soul.  Yet, there were those who resisted, those who aided others by sharing what they had to keep others alive, there were those who tried to hide individuals and help them escape the power of the SS.  The word hero is thrown around so often that people misunderstand the courage that it takes to stand strong in the face of evil, and destructive controlling power. 

       The human spirit is an amazing thing; the will to survive is amazing and can overcome many obstacles.  There are many individual stories from the holocaust and it is important to document them when you have the opportunity.  I posted an earlier story in this blog about Dina Gottliebova Babbitt, a talented artist who was incarcerated at Auschwitz.  She was forced to use her talent to paint individuals and gypsies from the concentration camp for Dr. Josef Mengeles the angel of death who performed terrible “experiments” on those behind the gates. 

       You can read about her and her efforts to get her artwork returned to her before she passes from this world into the next here:  https://writeasrain.wordpress.com/?s=dina+babbit .  Do you know any  stories of the survivors of the concentration camps?

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        Breaking news…it appears that the ATF has arrested two “skin heads” for a plan to assassinate Presidential candidate Barack Obama.  There is no further information released at this time.  I will update as the information becomes available.

Update on this post:  The alleged plotters, Daniel Cowart and Paul Schlesselman planned to kill 88 people by shooting them and then, they planned to decapitate 14 African-Americans.  It is sickening to think that people actually would kill someone based only on the color of their skin.  This plan allegedly was going to be accomplished after they robbed a gun shop, to arm themselves for the attacks…then, their plan was to assassinate Barack Obama.  A plan that is illegal and immoral.

Race really seems like just an excuse to justify this “attempted” violence.  Thank God that this plan was discovered…violence doesn’t solve anything.  This election should be decided strickly by votes.  Attacks such as this is usually motivated by some disturbed or misguided person or organization to gain attention or fame by creating a “historical moment”. 

Whether a person is for Barack Obama for president or not…he is a real person; a man with a family who does not deserve to be targeted in such a way.

 If these two individuals are part of a neo-nazi (skin head) movement or organization they have only succeeded in guaranteeing themselves some prison time; if they are in fact, convicted of attempted murder.  Hate crimes should never be tolerated or allowed to be swept under the carpet.  No one group of people is better than another…people are individuals and should be evaluated as such…there is no justification for directing violence towards any group of people or individuals based solely on the color of their skin or which country that they come from. 

 It just doesn’t make sense to be consumed with anger and hatred…but, there is always a sliver of people in any society, that lives in that zone.  Both those for Barack Obama’s Presidency and those against it need to stand up and say that this behavior is wrong; and, that there should be major long term consequences for such actions.

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        Guantanamo Bay or Gitmo, as it is often referred to, has been infamous since it was turned into a detention center for suspected terrorists.   Those who have been detained there have been allegedly branded as enemy combatants to the United States.   Now there are questions regarding the standard operating procedures; have they been trashed to get confessions?

           Some people feel that the rights of the detainees have been violated since the Bush administration stated that the Geneva Conventions protection did not have to be provided to the prisoners.  The US Supreme court disagreed with the Bush administration and future prisoners will NOW be afforded those protections.  The question is, what happens to those already in custody?  Those in custody have to prepare some kind of defense if they hope to get released. 

         In the meantime, much concern has been raised about those in legal limbo in the detention center. There are some detainees who could be released if the US could find countries willing to take them.   After all, what country is going to want to take in someone who has been accused of terrorism, whether it was proven or not?   Some detainees have already been released; but, many are still awaiting trial. 

            Questions have been raised about some of the interrogation techniques used to get confessions.  Were the confessions legitimate; or, were they obtained because of abusive or harsh treatment during questioning?  What if a person truly was guilty of the charges…but, the evidence was gotten because of hard interrogation techniques…is that acceptable; after all, some of the crimes alleged are pretty horrific?  Or, as a “civilized nation” are we bound to provide “humane” conditions; do the ends justify the means?

        Lawyers charged with providing legal representation for their clients are alledging that a standard operating procedures manual from the Pentagon had instructions to “destroy or trash” hand written notes or documents from the interrogations; in case the interrogators were called to testify, regarding harsh treatment of those kept in the detention center.  The lawyers claim that not having those handwritten notes makes representing their clients difficult because it is hard to prove that their “client’s confessions” were gotten in an intimidating way or through an abuse of power.

       If evidence has been suppressed by the government…that carries serious legal consequences for anyone in this situation.  While terrorism is a huge concern and we all want those involved in it to be apprehended…we have to examine the limits to the methods that we allow interrogators to use to get that information. 

          Detainees proven to be guilty, without a shadow of doubt, of alleged terrorist activities should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  That is why it is so very important about the way the information is gathered….we wouldn’t want a true terrorist to get away with it legally, because of an illegal method of gathering that evidence.

           Where should the line be drawn between the war on terrorism and humane treatment of suspected criminals?  Or should we have limits at all?  If we don’t have limits…how do we discern the difference between ourselves and those considered to be terrorists?   What about national security; what if releasing some of that information jeparodizes the safety of American citizens?  These are not simple questions, nor are the answers easy to come up with.  What do you think?

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       In a surprising turn of events, a Missouri woman named Ms. Lori Drew is being brought up on charges stemming from a 13 year old girl’s suicide; her name was Megan Meier.  It is surprising because some people in law enforcement believe this area of law to be untried; prosecuting cyber stalking/bullying has not been commonly taken to the legal arena of the court room.  MySpace might mean federal prison for those involved in the alledged hoax.

       Lori Drew, and a 19 year old employee named Ashley Grills, were allegedly involved in creating a MySpace profile of a young man named “Josh Evans” who contacted Megan and initiated a online relationship.  MySpace is a social networking site.  As time went on, “Josh” became abusive online and even went so far as to say that the world would be a better place without her in it …and, that he no longer wanted to be friends with her.  Within an hour of that online conversation…Megan was dead. 

        Not long ago Ashley Grills, the 19 year old employee, did a television interview alledging that Lori Drew was involved in some of the postings.  Ms. Drew denies this…but, she has now been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy and three counts of accessing protected computers without authorization.   This whole case is tragic.

          Supposedly, according to Ms. Grills, the whole hoax was set up to find out if Megan was saying anything about Ms. Drew’s daughter.  This hoax has had horrible consequences.  Young Megan is dead, Ms. Grills is probably next in line for some kind of legal consequences unless she has procured immunity for her testimoney; Megan’s family is mourning the death of their child, Ms. Drew could end up in federal prison, and a neighborhood is torn apart as the Drew and the Meier families lived in the same neighborhood at the time of the tragedy. 

        The outcome of this case could have long lasting impact on how people conduct themselves online, in chat lines or in social networking sites.  It is imperative that people monitor their children when they are online for safety reasons.  Words have power to put down or lift up and people are going to be held accountable legally. 

       It might be a good time to remind people that we have impact on those around us…why not make it a positive IMPACT!  Check this out…  http://theimpactfactor.net?id=35.

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        An investigation has begun, in the city of Brotherly Love, because of a video tape shot by a television crew; it shows officers pulling three suspects out of a vehicle and then kicking and punching them. 

        The three suspects were involved in a shooting earlier.  Officers witnessed four suspects getting out of a vehicle earlier and shooting into a group of men.  One of the suspects got away by running from the scene.  The other three drove off and were chased by the officers and stopped.  The video shows the officers pulling them from the vehicle and beating & kicking the suspects, on Monday. 

          There has been a strong current of anxiety since Saturday when another officer was shot and killed.  The officer’s name was Stephen Liczbinski, and he was a police Sgt.   Three arrests have been made in the fatal shooting of officer Stephen Liczbinski.  That shooting set the atmosphere presumably for the incident on the video tape.  Emotions on all sides, the police department as well as the public, are inflamed.

           Officers, that were involved, are being pulled off of their regular beats during this investigation.  There are reports that as many as 15 officers could be involved in this video taped beating.  Of course, none of us know what went on before the video or after the video was filmed.  However, i think it would be very difficult to find any reason that would allow for such violent and extreme actions on the part of the officers.  If it happened the way it appears to look on tape, then it is nothing short of an abuse of power. 

          This is a horrible situation.  It damages everyone.  There will be more information released when the investigation is done…but in the meantime, it will be difficult to keep peace.

         When the trust of the police department in any city, or town is compromised; it creates nothing but anger, fear and mistrust.  This is not a good situation for the public safety or for the integrity of the police department.  

           The real shame is that this investigation is going to take some of the focus off of the officer who was shot and killed, doing his duty with honor.  Hopefully, a city that is being torn asunder will still find a way to mourn the loss of their officer, Stephen Liczbinski; and support his family.

         

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        Josef Fritzl aged 73 is supposedly, “an emotionally broken man”, according to his  lawyer, Rudolf Mayer.  Josef came to be known to the world, last week, as the twisted father from Austria.   He admitted to imprisoning his 18 year old daughter for 24 years so that he could sexually assault her; in his specially designed dungeon, in secret rooms, underneath the home that he shared with his daughter Elisabeth’s mother.

         The man allegedly kept his daughter on a leash like an animal in that basement for the first nine months or so.  Then, over the 24 years, he fathered 7 children with her.  One of those children died days after birth and he put it’s body into the furnace.  He “allowed”  3 of the children to be raised by himself and the grandmother; she believed her daughter ran off to join a cult when she was 18 and couldn’t care for the children.

         The man was convicted of raping another woman when Elisabeth was about to be born.  He served time for that offense about 18 months.  After that time…he had been planning this dungeon with evil intent.

          The lawyer claims that Josef is an emotionally broken man…and many would say, why should we care?  We should care because this man is someone who could be studied to deconstruct the mind of someone so hideously mis-wired as to do this kind of harm to his own flesh and blood.  We can learn alot from the workings of his mind; so that we could hopefully prevent this kind of tragedy from ever happening to another human being.

         If they let this man off from serving the rest of his days in a prison somewhere because of his “brokeness” then, there is no justice.  He has destroyed the lives of so many people.  Elisabeth and her children will forever struggle just to heal from this scarring of their minds and bodies.  Josef does not deserve to live out his remaining time on earth in a mental hospital. 

         We should care that he is broken only out of respect for those lives that he tried to destroy and control.  They deserve to know that he is serving his time in a prison that he cannot escape from…just as he sentenced them when he was in control.   I pray that somehow…they are able to heal enough to have some joy in life. 

         I must say that i am inspired by Elisabeth’s courage to survive all of those years.  To care for her children the best that she could.  Even now, she helped the authorities by going back into that place where he kept her imprisoned to help them to know more about this horror she lived for 24 years.  May God bless her and the family.

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       Hatred is a sickness…it needs tending.  To maintain a good solid hatred, a person has to work at it.  It needs constant time and attention.  It starts to consume a person’s thoughts day and night.  It is destructive.  Hatred can start from a misunderstanding, from hurtful words or actions, it can start from the simplest thing.  But, to build to a point where it starts to destroy…someone really has to invest themselves into it.

        It is sad…but hatred can actually be contagious.  Hatred has claimed another soul…news reports today tell of a young man consumed with hatred.  He has been nurting a hatred for people different from himself allegedly.  The reasons why are on video…to be learned by the public later.   He lives in Chesterfield, South Carolina.   I don’t want to name him…as i think by doing so, sometimes it encourages others who think that they will become famous by following in the footsteps of others who seek to destroy.  That needs to stop. 

        This young man’s parents turned him in to the police.  That had to be one of the most difficult things they have had to do in their lives.  I admire their courage…we need to pray for them. He is still their son.  As a parent we dont have to understand or agree with the things our children do…but we still have to love them and be there for them.   Unfortunately, their son had ordered some ammonium nitrate (10 lbs of it).   The parents had been notified by the Postal Service of an impending delivery and they called the police when they realized what he had done.

         It was then discovered that the young man had a journal where he documented his hatred of others for the last year.  This young man seemed to perform successfully in school and was one of the school’s top students.  He has not been in serious trouble before.  How could this hatred have been bubbling under the surface, without anyone knowing it existed?  Or is there more to the story?  It will unfold in time.

         It seems the young man may have made maps of his school that he intended to blow up.  The young man made a video to be played after his “death”.  He planned for it to be shown after the destruction of his school by his bomb attack.   It has been reported that he had plans to create several bombs; and, he was planning on styling his “attack” to be modeled somewhat after those who implemented the Columbine High School murders in Colorado nine years ago…the anniversary of that horror will be observed this coming sunday.  How close were we to another such national tramatic school attack?  There was no time frame in the young man’s journal…but the nitrate was being delivered just before the anniverary of Columbine High School shootings.  Coincidence…probably not when he already said in his journal that he admired the shooters from the Columbine attack.

          I think the parents of this young man have potentially saved many lives by doing the right (and difficult) thing by contacting the authorities.  Certainly, all of the details are not yet known…the investigation has just begun. 

          However, I am glad that this time, hatred was stopped in it’s tracks.  I am sorry for the parents of the young man.  I am sad at the waste of this young man’s life…as he will most certainly be spending some time behind bars or institutionalized.  However, I am also glad that there is not another “role model” of hatred to be held up and admired by others who are consumed with the need to hate, to destroy and to grab their 15 minutes of “fame” in the media, by trying to kill as many innocent lives as they can with their violence.

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