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Posts Tagged ‘violence’

     Ok, I am going to rant a bit for a minute.  Twice this week the news has hit us with two terrible stories about families that self-destructed through murder-suicide.  Two families that were destroyed.  One family in particular left a suicide note allegedly saying that the reason they were dead was because both the husband and the wife lost their jobs…were in debt…and were rejected by their employers.  The other family’s reasons have not yet been announced.  The family members allegedly say that there was no clues to this tragedy.  What i want to know is…can we stop families from hurting the ones that they love?  Yes we can, encourage them to seek help:  http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/  Each time something like this happens…those who were lost leave behind friends, family members, neighbors, acquaintances and community members who are hurt, confused and saddened.   We have to take care of each other and learn to be more in tune with those around us.  (more…)

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     For those who have not heard the news story this past week; a man by the name of Bruce Pardo dressed up as Santa and went on a shooting rampage directed at his ex-wife and her family.  He was aware that they held an annual Christmas party.  He had been planning this for quite some time.   About a week or so before the shootings took place…Bruce Pardo and his estranged wife,  Sylvia, were officially divorced after 2 years of marriage.  This man who dressed up as Santa, needed help.   If he had gotten it…maybe this tragedy would not have happened.

        It sounds as if  the Pardo’s marriage was one of deceipt.  Mr. Pardo had not disclosed to his wife that he had a child from a previous relationship that he did not see, nor did he help support.  It seems that when this child was a toddler in Mr. Pardo’s care; the child ended up in a pool and almost drowned.  The young child is now around the age of 7 ; but, Bruce Pardo kept this child a secret from his wife.  She discovered that the child existed by going through tax papers and finding out that he claimed the child as a dependent.  He denied the situation and Sylvia called her mother in law who confirmed that a child did in fact exist and was disabled.   She filed for divorce…he did not want it.

       It seems that during this time…Bruce also lost his job and then was ordered, by the court, to pay support to his soon to be ex-wife.  By all appearances…Bruce did his best to follow through on the court’s dissolution of his marriage….yet, all along he planned his revenge on the woman who divorced him and those who were closest to her and helped her to leave him. 

        Bruce rented two vehicles and he had things planned out.  He had an extra large Santa suit made up for him.  It seems that at the annual party, Santa always showed up.  He went to the home with a gift in his hand…when the door was opened by a young 8 year old girl…he opened fire, shooting her in the face.  He then went about shooting and looking for specific people.  After he shot the people he went looking for…he then used a homemade device to set the home on fire; inadvertantly causing himself 3rd degree burns when part of the Santa suit melted into his skin from the incendiary device he used to start the fire.

         People in the home had tried to hide and some were able to flee.  A sister of Sylvia’s escaped to a neighbors with the young 8 year old girl who was shot in the face.  She was able to call 911.  After starting the fire, Bruce Pardo shot out street lights…allegedly to help further his escape. 

         People are speculating that he had plans to shoot his own mother who was planning on attending the Christmas party, at her ex-daughter in laws parents home.  She felt ill that evening and was not able to attend.  Bruce blamed his mother for siding with Sylvia in the divorce.    Also allegedly a possible victim of violence was the divorce lawyer who represented Sylvia.  One of the rental vehicles was sitting near the lawyers home. 

        It appears that Bruce changed his plans after he was burned.  It is thought that he was in great pain.  He allegedly had purchased a plane ticket for Illinois to go there and cross the state line into Iowa to see a friend.  He also had about 17,ooo.oo dollars plastic wrapped to his body.   Instead of implementing those plans…he drove approximately 30-40 miles to his brothers home and broke in and shot himself dead.

         What is hard to understand is; didn’t anyone who knew him or had occasion to spend time with him, during the weeks preceding the violence, see his mental breakdown?  Was he so good at hiding his wrath that he was able to misleed the people in his life?  Or did he isolate himself a this time?

         Those familiar with the divorce situation say that he seemed almost eager to have it over with.  The neighbors say that he was friendly and even wished them a Merry Christmas after telling them he was attending a Christmas party. 

          People who knew him said he was a friendly guy.  They are shocked.  And yet, a close friend of Sylvia allegedly said that Sylvia said he changed almost immediately after the marriage.  He became secretive.  Others say that Bruce had a secret guilt about the child that was gravely injured on his watch.  The mother of the child allegedly says that he was involved when the child was in the hospital; but then…he didn’t visit nor did he support the child.  In fact, he kept the child a secret from many…including his new wife.

         The thing is…people who struggle with mental health issues dont always get the help that they need.  Bruce Pardo needed that kind of help to cope with the feelings that he had from the tragedy that happened to his child.  He needed support and counseling to heal up from the guilt that he most likely felt after the child was injured.  He needed to have pre-marital counseling to help him break the news of this part of his life to his intended wife. 

          Sylvia needed a husband who could share this past with her.  She needed him to seek marriage counseling when their marriage appeared to flounder shortly after it began.  She needed some indication that the man she married was deeply disturbed and capable of such violence.  She needed protection from the man that she fell in love with. 

          Experts will tell you that people who are in a state of flux…or life changes are often the most vulnerable for domestic violence.  This is a dangerous time when emotions are raw and assets or custody rights are at stake.  Passions are running high.  It should almost  be mandatory to have to have some sort of counseling to help people through the maze of emotion and legal wrangling that takes place.

          I can’t help but to think of those that lost their lives and those who were left behind to deal with the aftermath.  God help them.  The things that they saw and heard will live with them for a very long time.  And what about those who weren’t there; but, were directly affected such as Bruce Pardo’s mother or his brother.  What about them?  People need to pray for all of them.  They are not responsible for his actions…and yet, they are directly affected by them as much as Sylvia’s family and friends.  His brother…can you imagine…how will he ever be able to go back into his home?  He has to wonder…why did his brother come there to commit suicide?   His mother…she was obviously friendly with Sylvia and her family; how will she relate to the surviving members?  They are all hurting…will they be able to help support one another or will it be too painful for them to see each other?

          So many questions and so few answers.  The thing is…unfortunately…people who are depressed or going through trauma often don’t think past the moment, about the long term effects of their actions.  It is the survivors that are left to cope with both the questions and the answers.

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       Minnesota has had a couple of miserable examples of appropriate teenaged behaviors.  First, there is the case of Nicole Beecroft who was 17 years old in April 2007 when she gave birth to a live baby girl, on the floor of the laundry room, in the home that she shared with her parents.  They did not know that she was pregnant.  Not only did she hide her pregnancy; but, prosecutors alleged that she planned the death of her baby before it was born.  She stabbed her newborn daughter 135 times in the abdomen, chest and neck.  The baby bled to death; and that is when, Nicole Beecroft disposed of her child in the garbage can outside of her home. 

       A judge ruled on December 1, 2008 that Nicole Beecroft was guilty of 1st degree murder and will spend the rest of her life in prison without the possibility of parole.  What would possess a woman to not only kill her child but to do so in such an extremely violent way?  Why not give the child up for adoption?  Why not let the father raise the child?  Why not reach out to a parent, a teacher, clergy, counselor, neighbor or a friend? What was the reason behind stabbing an innocent, straight out of the womb infant? 

        Then today, there are reports that 8 Minnesota teenagers are facing charges of terrorizing and abusing nursing home patients.  The nursing home patients suffer from dementia and alzheimers disease.  The accused are minors, except for two young women, they all worked as part time aides at the nursing home.  They are accused of crimes such as spitting on the patients, physical assault, poking at them, and sexual contact with vulnerable adults.  These are serious charges and yet, they may only face 1 year in prison, and or, a fine of up to $300,000 if they are actually convicted.  I am sure that those who had alleged sexual contact will also have to register as sexual offenders for the rest of their lives.  Do you think those punishments are appropriate; if indeed, they are convicted of the crimes?  Are the punishments severe enough for the alleged behaviors?

         Where is the respect for children or for our elderly citizens?  Where is the respect for life?  In general, society has allowed our nation’s children to do what they want, with very little consequences.  When things go awry; many people find others to blame…there is very little accountability for those who go the wrong way. 

        Minnesota does not have a monopoly on violent or abusive teens; every state has such horror stories; that doesn’t make it ok.  Who is going to be the next vulnerable person?  What kind of depraved behavior is going to surface next?   We are raising a whole generation of human beings who have individuals who are either are unwilling, or incapable, of caring about other people in any normal kind of compassionate way! 

        The question is…what are we as a society going to do about it?  We had better figure out a way to understand these type of situations and change the course of these behaviors…otherwise, those most vulnerable, the elderly and the children, will be at substantial risk.  Those people at risk could be your loved ones; or possibly, even yourself! 

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       Well, the prosecutors in the trial against William Balfour, the brother-in-law of Jennifer Hudson and the estranged husband of Jennifer’s sister Julia, have presented their understanding of the motive in the murder case.  They believe that William Balfour was angry that his estranged wife was dating another man.  Therefore, he committed the murder of 3 generations of family members who were closest to his wife in their opinion.

         Who would have thought that anger could have been the motive?  Geez…it is obvious that someone with a grudge killed them.  I guess that the authorities have evidence that William showed up the day of the murders and confronted his wife.  Supposedly they left the family home at the same time…but, William is alleged to have come back and killed Julia’s mother, brother and her 7-year old son.

           It doesn’t sound as if William Balfour confessed to the murders, so it will be a trial that will continue to make headlines.  It will be very painful for the Hudson women to have to relive this nightmare in public.  Julia and William married in 2006 and allegedly had a rocky relationship.  They were seperated at the time of the murders.  Jealousy and rage are volatile and unpredictable.  Thousands of families deal with such behaviors every day; however, they don’t have to have the eye of the public on them while they deal with such tragedies.

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       It is a new day, the beginning of a new week; and soon, it will be the beginning of a New Year.  It is easy to get caught up in the ugliness in the world.  The financial crisis, the rising cost of food, gas, oil, health benefits…you name it.  Crime is rampant.  Each news day is filled with violence, with fear, with selfishness.  I try to wrap my mind around the possibilities in each new day. 

       Today is a fresh start…a do over…a new beginning.  It is not that the things that went before don’t exist; it is that they do exist, and because they do…things must start anew.  Otherwise, it would be nothing but a downward spiral into a cesspool.  There has to be hope.  There has to be a promise that things will get better.  There has to be a chance to change the course of evil.  Each new day brings an opportunity to break away from the things that try to drag us down.

        So here is to a renewal in the spirit of mankind, a breath of kindness, a balm of healing attitudes, the pursuit of goodness over evil, the heart of a giver over those who express greediness in our cultures, the potential of each step forward…let these areas of opportunities be contagious; and, an encouragement of others to infect every person that comes into contact with the idea of improving the world we live!   

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         For many reasons, all of the details about Anne Pressly’s murder case have not been released.  One thing to think about is when, and if, prosecutors actually get a suspect into court to begin proving their case.  What if that suspect cannot get an impartial trial because of all of the information out there that can influence a jury?  So, the authorities have held back much of the information relating to Anne’s murder.  I think that is only right.  It would be a double tragedy to have found the actual person responsible for her murder only to have a guilty plea overturned due to a technicality such as not being able to find an impartial jury!

        On the other hand, there is a suspect in custody now.  His name is Curtis Lavell Vance.  He has given a DNA sample that has allegedly been linked to a woman’s rape in April.  That DNA that he has given, also is allegedly linked to Anne’s death scene.  There really has to be a strong link for the authorities to take it to trial.  I don’t know what evidence the police have been able to obtain…and, neither does most of the people in the media who are commenting on it.

         As hard as it is…we have to wait for things to go to trial; if indeed this evidence is strong enough to take to a courtroom and get a conviction.  All we can do is hope and pray that if Mr. Vance is indeed responsible for either the April rape; or, for Anne’s murder, that he is held legally responsible and is removed permanently from the citizen population. 

          In any case, we can all pray for the woman who was raped in April; as well as those who have been affected by the murder of Anne Pressly.  When it is possible to remove offenders from the opportunity who commit violence upon another person; then, we must do everything in our power to make sure that those charges stick!  But remember, innocent until PROVEN guilty.  We all want to see the person who did these horrible things to these women pay the price; but, that doesn’t mean proven guilty in the public opinion…but, in a court of law.  We all deserve that and; Anne, and the woman who was raped, deserve to have a positive identification of the person who subjected them to such horror & violence!

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        Finally, there is a person who has been named as a suspect in the murder of television news anchorwoman Anne Pressly.  On Wednesday evening, Little Rock, Arkansas police have named Curtis Lavell Vance of Marianna, Arkansas as the suspect.

         Not much was announced about him except that he is thought to be armed and is possibly driving a 1998 Oldsmobile Aurora.  Curtis may also be traveling with a woman and three little children.  There was no announcement about where they may be traveling.

        There has been much speculation since Anne was murdered…some say it was a random act of violence; but many believe otherwise.  There was so much violence in the attack from news reports that i have ran across.  Anyone who expends that much anger/violence in such a crime is generally not a random attacker…it is usually someone who feels they know the victim or does indeed know them and holds a grudge.

          From all accounts since her passing; Anne was a beautiful woman both on the outside and inside…she was a loving, caring person who treated others with respect and concern.  It is such a tragedy to have such a person taken from all those who loved her. 

         If Curtis Vance did indeed murder Anne Pressly…he will likely be a danger to all he encounters.  Regardless, it is good to finally hear that some headway has been made in the investigation of this well loved anchorwoman, Anne Pressly.   No one deserves to die in the manner in which she did. 

         Whoever brutalized Anne deserves to be caught, prosecuted; and, put away for life so that they can never harm another citizen.  Anne was loved by her family, friends, co-workers and her community; they are all grieving their loss.   Let’s hope and pray that Curtis Lavell Vance is apprehended soon without further harm to another person so that the investigation can continue.  Rest in peace Anne.

Breaking news:  Curtis Lavell Vance has allegedly been captured.  No further details at this time.

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