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Posts Tagged ‘violence’

       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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       I remember back when i was in high school, back in the 80’s, we had a class on social issues.  In that class we discussed high profile situations in our society; which underscored how desensitized our society was becoming to people in pain and misery.

       There was a case of a woman who was stabbed over and over again in New York.  She was screaming and people heard it and yet they did nothing.  Later, when the police were investigating…people stated that they heard it; but, they did not want to “get involved”. 

         I remember thinking, during that discussion, that that was crazy; an isolated incident.  Not so, as i have grown up and matured, I find that people really are becoming desensitized to other people’s pain and misery.  It is crazy but think about it…how many movies have put murder and torture out there for entertainment value…such as those horror flicks or slasher movies?  It is not only sad…but, it is immoral.   Those things desensitize our fellow human beings to the value of life.

         How many television shows continue to shoot, rape, rob, torture and victimize others and draw in millions of viewers each and every day?  How do we expect people to have compassion towards one another?  We need to reconnect to those around us; this is something that affects us all.  Children are growing up today who have great difficulty seeing past their own wants and needs.  Adults who are willing to commit violence to get what they want…no matter who they hurt or kill.  Parents who kill children, children who kill parents, siblings, neighbors or friends.  It is as if they do not know how to “feel” appropriately towards anyone outside of themselves.

        Today, i am brought to a deeper sadness than I have felt in a long time regarding our nation and the lack of compassion that our citizens show towards one another. 

         A young man in Florida committed suicide online while others watched and egged him on.  He posted a suicide note…he live-streamed his suicide online; while people WATCHED and did nothing to HELP him.  Not only that, they allegedly ridiculed him and said things like…that isn’t enough medication to kill you!  What amazes me, is that this went on for hours and hours before someone had the good sense to contact the authorities to try to get help for him.   It was too late; he was already dead!

         There are reports that this person may have attempted to kill himself in the past.  So what; so what if it was a false alarm…who and what does it hurt to contact the authorities and have it checked out?  If that person was faking it…he would have been sent somewhere for a psychological exam to find out why he would do such a thing.  Maybe, just maybe he would still be alive today if someone had made an attempt to help him; when he FIRST stated his intention to kill himself.   

         Unfortunately, the young man was not faking the suicide attempt…he was actually crying out for help.  There were many people who had an opportunity to get involved, save a life, make a difference…and yet…they did not.  How can a human being watch another person suffer in front of their very eyes and pile more emotional damage upon that person?  Even if they thought it was a prank, even if they thought the person was not serious, even if they thought it was a waste of time…they failed to react with compassion.  How much more of an effort would it have taken to pick up the phone…or contact the online service that provided the streaming video and asked for someone to follow up on the person’s well-being?  Someone finally did contact help…but…it was much too late for saving his life; but, at least they made an attempt.

           I sure would not want my mind filled with the image of that young man lying on his bed with his back to the camera; filled with despair and depression…curled up in defeat…knowing that he died as I watched and took no action to save his life.  Every life has value and should be preserved.  My heart aches for him, for his family and for his friends…and yes, even for those who watched him die.  They will have to live with the knowledge of what they saw, what they said and did; and, did not do to help a fellow human being in distress.

           Many people in our society are affected by mental illness, or by depression.  It is not a crime…however, it is a crime to fail to get someone help when they need it.  I don’t know if any of those who participated in this suicide by watching it will be held legally responsible or not…but, I do think that they had a moral obligation to get involved in a way that would have attempted to provide some emergency help for this individual.  Depression is a serious matter and so is a suicide attempt.   Please help to educate others on suicide prevention!  https://writeasrain.wordpress.com/2008/08/23/suicide-prevention/ or on what happens to a suicide victim’s loved ones after the suicide:  http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=6311509

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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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       For those of you who have been following the tragedy of the murders in Jennifer Hudson’s family and the kidnapping of her young, seven year old nephew; think about this, what happens when your safe place, your place of foundation has been invaded or attacked?  This family is going through a nightmare of epic proportions and because of fame, they are having to do it publically.

       Jennifer and her sister Julia have lost their mother, Darnell Donerson and their brother, Jason Hudson; and, Julia’s son Julian is missing.  This home that the murders took place in was Jennifer’s refuge from the crush of the world that she stepped into as a celebrity when her star began to rise from her singing and her acting over the last several years.

       The Hudson family was and is a family of faith.  Jennifer has said that she grew up in that home, that neighborhood and her home church.  It is an integral part of her support system.   It is part of who she is.  Her mother did not want to move when her daughter became famous…they didn’t want that celebrity to change who they were as a family.  Their home was the center of their family.  It was where all things sprouted for them.  Where they came to; to be together.  It was a safe place.  A place of nurturing.

        What happens now; other than trying desperately to get answers to where Julian is….and what happened to their mother and their brother?  Julia and Jennifer are on automatic pilot i am sure at the moment.  Trying to make sense of things…hoping and praying for the safe return of Julian.  But, their safe place has been invaded.

        How will they ever be able to look at that home and feel what they once felt.  Will it ever feel like home again?  Or will they always feel loss and hurt when they look upon the face of the place that has so many memories for their family.  What about Julian when he comes home…did that poor baby witness the murder of his beloved grandmother and uncle?  Will he ever feel safe there again?  Will he ever feel “at home” somewhere else?  What does this kind of trauma do to a human mind and soul? 

         Many people experience such traumas in their lives…it is something that can be overcome…but, it does shake the foundation of a person/family to rebuild that sense of trust and safety.  Please pray for the Hudson family…as well as, anyone else who has had to go through something so violent and traumatic.  Their faith in God will help them through this time.  However, they are human…and will go through much before they are able to recover and overcome.  Have you ever gone through a trauma that has made your safe place feel violated or unsafe to you?  How did you handle it?

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       Sad news tonight, Anne Pressly, the Little Rock Arkansas news anchorwoman who was found, by her mother, severely beaten this past week in her own home, has died.  Just earlier this week, the reports that we heard on the news, was a little bit more encouraging because some of the swelling, in her brain, was shrinking…and, it was looking as if she would survive; albeit with a long recovery.  She was beaten in the head, face and neck.  I heard someone say that almost every bone in her face was broken. 

       It is hard to imagine that one human being could do such a thing to another.  It is terrible that she will not be able to survive and help find her attacker.  At this point, it is being considered a random attack; others disagree because of the savagery with which she was beaten.  Some say there was too much violence for it to have been a random attack; and because of that…someone who knew her; or felt they knew her, caused this terrible attack. 

       Anne was only 26 years old..but, she had already been making a name for herself on television and more recently in the movies.  She had achieved much success.  She had a small cameo in the new movie, “W”.  Anne was on the morning news show, Daybreak, at the Little Rock affiliate news station KATV.

        Last week on Good Morning America, Anne’s father gave an update on her condition.  He seemed guarded, yet hopeful…all the while, thanking viewers for their thoughts and prayers.  They are a family of faith.  Robin Roberts seemed visibly moved as she expressed the fact that she had only just met Anne recently.  I am sad for the Little Rock community of viewers; for Anne’s family and friends.  I pray that the person is caught who caused her death.

        After the attack, Anne’s purse was discovered missing and someone used one of her credit cards.  I can only hope and pray that there is video of the person who was using the credit card and that it can be traced to the person responsible for this beautiful young woman’s injuries and death.  Please keep her family in prayer at this time of loss.  They will need privacy and healing time and lots of support.

For update see:  https://writeasrain.wordpress.com/2008/11/27/finally-a-named-suspect-in-the-murder-of-anne-pressly/

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       Slavery exists even today; i know that that sounds like an inflammatory statement but it is true.  It is just not talked about in any kind of real, life changing way.  I read a book recently which opens up a whole new way of looking at the world.  It is rather frightening.  Slavery exists today in what is called, modern day slavery….human trafficking.  People are bought and sold all over the world…but, it is not a subject that has been addressed in the fullness that it needs to be; to face it and, attempt to overcome it.

        The book is called, A Crime So Monstrous; it was written by author Benjamin Skinner; published in 2008.  He has traveled to places around the globe to educate and inform the world of the human injustice that is perpetrated against those who are vulnerable, and can not fight back without help.  It is a moral call to action.  Once your eyes have been opened up to the extent of the evil that is human trafficking…you will never look at the world in the same way.  Children, women, men, young and old…it doesn’t matter…crimes against humanity should never be tolerated.

        So what is modern slavery-human trafficking?  It is the forced sale of human beings to be used and abused.  There are many forms of it…from sexual slavery, prostitution, forced labor, to forced child marriages and the list goes on.  There are very real networks that cross continents buying and selling humans against their will; it impacts well over 800,000 individuals a year.   Sometimes repeatedly; without concern for the well-being of those who are being transferred like a piece of property.  It is illegal, it is immoral and it doesn’t stop there…sometimes, in many cases it is multi-generational.  In those cases, debt forces multiple generations to work to pay off debts…doing hard labor, with little or no pay.  In conditions not suitable for proper human living conditions.  Often, violence is used to coerce people to do things against their will.  They do not get proper food, shelter, health care or healthy human interaction.  It is not right.  Many of the victims are the most vulnerable in society…the weak, the poor, the disabled, the homeless, and those who are without protectors.

        Do you think it doesn’t affect you?   What if it was happening in your town?  What if it was in your neighborhood?   What if one of your loved ones came up missing?   Missing family member…what if they have become one of the invisible slaves bought and sold for someone else’s gain and pleasure?  People who patronize the prostitutes on any street, in any country, around the world did you ever wonder if …are they doing it because they want to?  Or, are they being forced to perform as a prostitute because they are in fact, someone’s slave?  If you purchase their services…you could be part of the problem. How about people who purchase the servant to cook, or clean in their business or home, especially those  individuals not legally present in that country; are they working for them willingly, or have they been bought and paid for?  

         Our country, the United States of America, is involved in war.  Our military men and women have seen things in other countries that would shock you.  In some of those countries, when war breaks out…rape is used as a tool to destroy cultures and to break down the resistance of the opposing fighters.   Our military men and women have seen what happens to the women in those countries that have been warring with one another when they have gone in to establish some kind of peace-keeping.  Women and children, as well as men, are raped and used horribly.  Some of them never recover, physically or emotionally.   This is unacceptable behavior…no matter what country it takes place in.  These are issues to think about.  No-one is guaranteed safety from these predators.  http://www.humantrafficking.org/updates  This is a global issue.  It affects us all.  If you met one of these individuals in person… how you could be unaffected?  Yet most of us live our lives unaware of their plight.  Their stories of abuse would horrify you. 

         Many of the hotbeds in the modern day slavery networks, are on the news everyday…either they are points of travel destinations, or glamour spots that the rich and famous travel to and from…others are known for their sexual tourism…PLEASE STOP FEEDING THE MONEY MACHINE.   Someone’s “tourism” is someone else’s nightmare!!!   Do some research…don’t travel or support countries that are known for trading the services of human beings, illegally, for money.  Governmental leaders must take a stand and enforce those who would disregard the value of human lives by their inaction.  We must expect legal consequences and demand it from the authorities who can make a difference.

         Ben Skinner’s book, A Crime So Monstrous, touches on some of those people and their situations.  It breaks your heart.  And yet, you know that it is just a way of outlinning the scope of the problem.  You can find out more about the book here:  www.simonsays.com  It is also available as an e-book.  Take the time to educate yourself…read it; and, understand how this affects us all.  We need to stand up and demand that our leaders help to wage a war against those who would commit crimes against humanity in such a vile, and dehumanizing way.  Thank you to those who fight the fight against such inhumanity in our world.  

See possibly related story:  http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/WireStory?id=6081857&page=1 or http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/story?id=6121646

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       There was a recent news story that did much to anger those who work with women who have been “date raped”.   Helen Mirren, a British actress, who won awards last year for her portrayal of the Queen, did an interview with GQ in which she claimed to have been raped several times, many years ago, when she was a student.  Helen is 63 years old now. 

         The reason some people have been upset with Helen, over that interview, is that she seemed to down play the experiences.  She said there was no extreme violence, she was not hit…but rather, was locked in a room and made to have sex.  She did not file charges in those incidents.  She also said that if a man and a woman were about to get intimate and the woman changed her mind, and the man continued; that was indeed rape.  However, in that circumstance; she didn’t feel that a woman could then turn around and take that man to court for it.  Those are highly controversial remarks when taken individually or out of context.  To some people…those comments smack of judgementalism…that those situations aren’t worthy of prosecution of a person who sexually assaults another.  Those comments appear inflammatory to many folks.

         Most people are clear that if a stranger attacks another person and forces sexual relations…then that is rape.  It is true enough…it is.  But there are other forms of rape as well that aren’t as clearly defined for some people. (more…)

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