Monday, November 08, 2010

Virginia serial shooter profile

I finally have a full-time job, but my work schedule is wreaking havoc on my writing. So this post will be brief.
A serial shooter has been targeting military institutions in Virginia, the most recent attack occurring at the Coast Guard. Ballistics has linked the five shootings as being the work of the same offender. Since I am now seriously considering pursuing a higher education degree in the criminology/forensic psychology field, I have decided to take my first, however rudimentary and incomplete, attempt at a criminal profile. The suspect is most likely male, and was recently discharged from the armed services, probably the Marines (the first attack was at a Marine base). The circumstances of the discharge were most likely dishonorable, possibly mental health related. The suspect's ability to evade capture at high security locations indicates specialized training, like that received in the military. This is someone with a grudge against the institution of the military, and probably does not believe that his discharge was warranted. Now, to see if I'm proven right or wrong.
About Keith Olbermann's suspension from MSNBC: I saw a commentary in the local ultra-conservative paper The Examiner trumpeting that the Olbermann situation shows how "unfair and unbalanced" MSNBC is. Olbermann is at fault here, not the network. He contributed to Democratic political campaigns and did not disclose this to MSNBC. When the network executives found out, they suspended him without pay. While Olbermann has never made any secret of his left-leaning politics, there was no way for MSNBC to know that he was contributing to campaigns. But when they found out, they took appropriate action. Would Fox News suspend an anchor who had been contributing to Republican candidates? Considering how Fox advertised and enabled the Tea Party movement, I doubt it. But maybe they would. Keith Olbermann's actions do not, and should not, reflect all of MSNBC or whatever message they may have. Although MSNBC has gained a reputation as a "liberal" network, due to Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, it's not an entirely accurate label, considering that the network also employs (or employed) Joe Scarborough and Chris Matthews. If MSNBC was truly bent on pursuing a liberal agenda, they would have kept Olbermann on after his political contributions, and swept the story under the rug (essentially what the Catholic Church did before the child abuse stories came to light). But that's not what happened. Olbermann was punished for his actions, not congratulated.
In blog news, in the near future, I will be setting up a separate blog where I will write about movies, particularly the ones I see at AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center. Last weekend marked the opening of the 2010 European Union Film Showcase, and I will be posting a review of a fascinating Estonian film I saw as the inaugural post in the new movie blog, tentatively titled Films From the Fringe.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Christopher Hitchens on the Ten Commandments

I do not always agree with Christopher Hitchens. In fact, I find much of what he says infuriating or maddening, like his misogynistic comments about female comedians. He has said that female comedians are "unattractive" and that women in general are not funny. For the record, I have encountered several women, both in the public sphere and in my social circle, who are quite funny, and some are even physically attractive. But, of course, both "funny" and "attractive" are subjective labels. His comments about female comedians sound odd now, considering his complaint in this video about the sexist connotations of the final commandment, which, he says, wrongly equates women with property. Hitchens has also made the astute observation that women are the most frequent victims of religious tyranny.
That said, despite my problems with many of Hitchens' public opinions, like his support of the war in Iraq (which I'm not entirely sure isn't based on a personal animosity toward Muslims), I enjoyed his critique and revision of the Ten Commandments. After all, Hitchens points out, there is more than one version of the Commandments in the Bible, leading Hitchens to say, "If [Moses] can be a revisionist, then so can I." While some of the Commandments, like "Thou shalt not kill," are reasonable enough, Hitchens makes the point that, after passing down the commandments, Moses ordered the slaughter of a rival group. There is even one commandment that Hitchens says he likes, "Thou shalt not bear false witness," which condemns false accusations, something that the devoutly religious have done to other religions for centuries, as seen in "blood libel" myths once propagated by Christians against Jews, Muslims against Jews, and, if memory of history class serves me right, was also leveled against Christians at some point. He then indicates the problem with the final commandment, prohibiting "coveting." Where other commandments prohibit actions, like killing, stealing or lying, this commandment prohibits thought. This recalls the "thought police" of George Orwell's classic totalitarian nightmare 1984. In modern societies, it is wrong or immoral actions, not the thoughts that inspire them, that are punished. For example, prejudice, the base human emotion, is not illegal, but discrimination or violence based on prejudice is punishable by law. After the critique of the established religious commandments, Hitchens offers his own version, which is anti-violence (in his book God is Not Great, after criticizing just about everything about religion, Hitchens emphatically opposes church-burning and other violent forms of protest), and urges opposition of religions and other institutions (and individuals) who use violence. Of course, Hitchens doesn't need to use violent means to upset people and get his point across. His words are all the weapons he needs. He is the embodiment of the saying, "The pen is mightier than the sword." As enraged as I often am with him, maybe we all need to become enraged once in a while. Anger, while toxic when unleashed in the wrong forms, can be a conduit for creativity and thought when correctly harnessed.
In recent months, Hitchens had to cancel his book tour, in support of his memoir (which I have yet to read, but it sounds fascinating), due to a diagnosis of cancer of the esophagus, which killed his father. In an interview with Anderson Cooper, his head bald from treatment, Hitchens spoke honestly about his fight with the disease. He said that even he had the "Why me?" thought, adding that it's natural to think that, but it's just a thought that needs to be pushed aside. Hitchens also said though he is "not fatalistic" about his hope for recovery, his is also, "realistic," knowing that "my odds are not good." Indeed, the survival rate for esophagus cancer is low. While he maintained a calm demeanor, and still has a way with words, in this interview I saw, for the first time (maybe it also comes up in his memoir) a human being, with the same fears and vulnerabilities as those of us he agitates, behind the poison tongue and pen. I hope for his recovery, but, if the worst is realized, Christopher Hitchens will have left behind a unique legacy of eloquence, insight and outrage that will not be matched.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Increasing numbers of Russian police become criminals

67 percent of Russians say they fear the police, and this article gives very good reasons why. Kidnapping, extortion, torture, doing favors for the mob, the police re part of Russia's culture of corruption. Officers who extort money from civilians are reported to earn 5,000 to 10,000 dollars per month, and an officer protecting a "criminal operation," aka the feared Russian mob, can earn up to 20,000 dollars per month. One Moscow police major even turned to attempted mass murder, killing two and wounding 22 after randomly opening fire in a supermarket. Although several senior police officials have been dismissed in the wake of the high profile cases, the Russian people, along with the rest of the world, have doubts that President Medvedev will, or can, do anything significant to counteract the out of control police force. In a country where journalists have been murdered after printing stories critical of the government, former spy Aleksander Litvenenko was poisoned after implicating Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and others in corruption, and the citizens are influenced and terrorized by organized crime, law enforcement is adding to, rather than solving, these problems.
While it seems that what the Russian police need is another Frank Serpico, the Litvenenko case illustrates how Russian officials deal with dissent. Two officers have publicized the wrongdoing that is routine within the force; one was fired, the other arrested on numerous, unpublicized charges. The fired officer, in addition to revealing chronic corruption in his force, also complained about working conditions, saying officers were treated "like cattle." The officer who was arrested claimed that police fabricated evidence that led to convictions. He was arrested shortly after posting the video making his charges.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Grim Sleeper and BTK; Hostages taken at Discovery Building

Grim Sleeper suspect Lonnie Franklin plead not guilty in court last week.
Between the 14-year rest the Grim Sleeper took and the fact that Franklin was convicted with familial DNA (Franklin's son was arrested and swabbed, leading police to the father), strongly recalls Dennis Rader, aka Kansas' BTK killer. Rader was convicted, in part, due to a DNA sample obtained from his daughter, which was compared to DNA from an old murder case ascribed to the BTK killer.
Franklin's attorneys argue that the DNA evidence is "not as concrete" as it seems. Familial DNA is not as exact as DNA from the suspect himself, but, in Rader's case, the DNA compounded on top of other evidence, including records of him using the church computer on which a BTK letter was composed. I don't know what other evidence LA police have against Franklin, other than that he lived in the area where several of the murders took place, and I don't know Franklin's background, leaving me unsure whether he fits the serial killer profile. Of course, no one would have expected Dennis Rader as BTK before he confessed.

In my area, a gunman has taken hostages in the Discovery Building in Silver Spring, Maryland. Most of the employees, as well as the building's day care center, have been evacuated, but, according to the last update I read, a few hostages remain. The suspect, James J. Lee, from San Diego, previously protested Discovery over objections to their environmental programming. The Washington City Paper published an unverified list of Lee's demands, and, as seen in the article, they can only be described as insane. We can only hope that Lee is captured and everyone in the Discovery Building is safe.

Night of campy fun at AFI

Joshua Grannell (also known as San Francisco drag queen Peaches Christ) brought his debut feature film All About Evil to his home state of Maryland, to AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring. Before the screening, the audience enjoyed a cabaret performance by Peaches, with singing, backup dancers dressed as classic movie monsters, jokes about the teabaggers coming to DC for the Glenn Beck rally, and a special appearance by John Waters regular Mink Stole, who also appears in All About Evil.
The film itself was a campy, over-the-top homage to slasher films, which delivered some genuine scares all its own. When Deborah (Natasha Lyonne) accidentally shows security footage of her killing her mother at her late father's dying movie theater, the short "film" becomes a hit, and she keeps going, filming real murders with a creepy cast of characters that includes a homeless man and a pair of evil twins just out of the insane asylum (the twins also made an appearance at the pre-screening show), and passing them off as movies. When teenage horror fan Steven (Thomas Dekker, who underplays his role in the sea of theatricality) discovers the truth, everyone is so deep under Deborah's spell that, when he issues a warning at a screening, the audience think it's part of the show. Of course, it's the "realism" of Deborah's films that keeps the audience coming back, combined with their theatricality. Deborah, a former wannabe actress, is now a local celebrity giving the performance of her life. Lyonne affects a Bette Davis-style vocal elocution, giving the sense of a continual performance. She, like her movies, is straddling a line between reality and theatre, just as Steven goes from a horror fan to the hero of his own slasher flick. The finale, without giving too much away, is something to behold, with frantic trapped theater-goers and a final showdown where Deborah makes a quite astute comment about the appeal of horror movies: "The audience is always secretly rooting for the killer." Yes, in horror, the killer is the star, the reason the audience comes back for sequels.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Brief movie reviews

At AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center's Silverdocs festival, I saw three documentaries that were very interesting and memorable. While I haven't had time to post in-depth reviews, I can now write down what I remember about them.
The Invention of Dr. Nakamats: This film follows a Japanese inventor with over 3,000 patents (compared, he says, to Thomas Edison's approximately 1,000), and his quest for immortality. This quest is both figurative (he places his name on the front of his house and places in his house, and during his 80th birthday celebration, is quite upset with the hosting hotel that will not change the name of the ballroom to be named after him) and literal (he invented a method of monitoring what he eats in order to, he says, determine what foods will add the most longevity to his life). Dr. Nakamats is portrayed as a lovable, though somewhat egotistical, eccentric, and he is an engaging character. While the overall tone of the film is lighthearted, there are some touching emotional moments where Dr. Nakamats talks about his late mother. He says he still talks to her, and this is one of the ways he gains inspiration for his inventions. He recalls that his first invention, a kitchen appliance, was designed when he was 14 to help his mother prepare dinner. One of the reasons he invents, he says, is out of "love."
Camera, Camera: While a bit slow-moving, this film is, as revealed in a post-screening discussion with the director, writer/interviewer and producer, about tourists and what the pictures they take say about them. It is, as one viewer said in a question she asked, "almost an anti-documentary," a film about the art and practice of documenting. The film is set in Laos, and the country as it is seen through the eyes of Western tourists. Some came for an adventure, some came, as one British man says, for an "escape." There are some arresting images in the film, such as a tourist couple being interviewed while a Lao woman walks right into the shot and hangs her laundry, with both parties oblivious to each other, and a line of Lao men in traditional dress (while it's not directly stated, they looked to be monks or other religious figures) walking down the street with a row of tourists taking their picture, recalling the lines of paparazzi on the streets of Los Angeles. The film was preceded by a short, Between Dreams, where passengers on a sleeper train in Siberia recall their most memorable dreams, the interviews intercut with sleeping passengers.
Marwencol: Mark, a 38-year-old man who suffered severe head trauma and, as a result, amnesia, no longer able to afford therapy, he creates a WWII-era village out of dolls and props. Still plagued by demons from the beating from four young men that caused his injury, he sinks deeper into his imaginary world, the stories of Marwencol, the name he gives to his made-up Belgian village, become more involved, and more violent. Mark names the dolls in his village after himself and people he knows, and his own alter ego is captured by Nazis and tortured, as if he is reliving his own attack. Along the tour of his imaginary world, Mark reveals more about himself and his pre-amnesia self. An alcoholic in, as he calls it, his "first life," he no longer drinks, since, he says, he can't remember alcohol, and therefore doesn't miss it. This film made me think like few I have seen. I started thinking about the nature of identity, starting over, the imaginary vs the real, and how trauma affects us all in different ways. This film was preceded by a short, They Are Giants, about a man who has designed an eight feet by four feet library with hundreds of miniature books bound in leather and mahogany shelves.
Aside from Silverdocs, AFI offers other excellent film series, such as the annual Korean film festival, showcasing the latest films from South Korea, a country that is currently producing some of the most interesting movies in the world. The film I saw in this year's series, Thirst, is a vampire story from the director of Old Boy, Chan-wook Park. While not quite as gory as Old Boy, Thirst is equally unsettling. A priest, having volunteered for a medical experiment, is injected with a vampiric germ and briefly dies, then comes back to life, making him a legend in his hometown. But the adoring town does not know his secret, that he is now a vampire with a thirst for blood. Through the family of one of his followers, he meets a woman who will become his partner in his new life after death. While this woman's murderous inclinations don't come to light until after the priest turns her, the director gives early inclinations that she is not someone to be trusted. In one scene, while her husband is dying of cancer, she looks bored and annoyed by her mother-in-law's grief. The sex scenes between her and the vampire priest are some of the most uncomfortably erotic I have seen, sexy and disturbing all at the same time. The scene where the priest turns his new lover into a vampire is also compelling, starting out with him wanting to kill her, then, overcome with remorse, hurriedly tries to save her by giving her his infected blood. The one major flaw is a climax that drags, in contrast to the rest of the well-paced film, and though it's a generally satisfying ending, the long scenes dilute the intended punch of the end.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Work in Progress: The Breakup

For the last six months, I have been writing out my anger, frustration, sadness, and all of the other conflicting emotions that I felt after my boyfriend of two years abruptly dumped me. The whole work is still a mess of scribbles in my journal and stream-of-consciousness typing, but, as I think I'm finally approaching the day where I'm finally over my ex, I'm starting to develop it into something I can share. In that spirit, this is a preliminary introduction of sorts, and part of the conclusion, to my as yet untitled breakup saga:

I went through every imaginable emotion after the breakup. First I was sad. I cried constantly. I didn’t want to go to sleep because it would just be me and the dark, and the last thing I wanted was to be alone in the dark with my sadness. There were nights I stayed up until 4 am, only shutting off my computer and turning off the light when fatigue pressed my eyes closed. I was angry at my ex for abandoning me, especially since so much of my life was a mess. I was out of money, in debt, unhappy with my job and couldn’t find a path for my life. I was stressed already, and losing him just added to my emotional weight. But for him, everything seemed fine. He went back to his job, always his first and only love, and his life without me was hardly the empty hole that my life was without him. At least that’s how it felt. I wanted him to hurt. I wanted him to cry. I imagined him asking me to take him back, only to have me reject him. At that point, part of me wanted him back, but the part of me that wanted him to suffer and cry was far stronger. As I concentrated on getting my own life together, even the frustrating process of trying to find a decent job, I slowly stopped thinking about him. I wrote, threw myself back into my serial killer obsession (the emergence of England’s “Crossbow Cannibal” about six months after the breakup helped my recovery immensely, however troubling the presence of a serial killer is for any community), and started going out and seeing friends again. I had the requisite rebound fling (more than one), which gave me immense pleasure and confused me at the same time. I enjoyed my brief flings, but I wasn’t anxious to date again. The thought of being vulnerable to emotional intimacy frightened me. I had to get a lot stronger and more confident in myself to be ready for that. But I was slowly getting better, and, when the time came, I would be ready to open myself up to another person again. I had to fully heal myself before I could be prepared to possibly get broken again. If I was strong and solidly put together, maybe I wouldn’t break into as many pieces the next time.
While going through the breakup, my emotions flowed back and forth. Some days, my ex was far out of my mind, and I was focused on my own life and my own desires. But other days, I couldn't stop thinking how much I missed him. It was particularly frustrating because these bad days often came after good days. I'd think I was over him, but then I'd catch a glimpse of him in a store window and, for the rest of the night, I'd think about what I had lost. As the months went on, I could bounce back from these bad days far faster than I did before, but I wanted to get to a place where I wouldn't have any of those days. How long would that take?
One constant through all of the pain was my friends. After one dinner with a good friend, I felt better than I had in weeks. As we talked and laughed about our past relationships and our lives, I realized that there were people out there who liked and appreciated me for who I was, and those were the people I should be concentrating my energy on, not someone who had left me and was now nothing but a negative influence on my life and well-being. I forgot this realization many times, and sunk into post-breakup despair, but it became easier and easier to remember.
While getting over the breakup, I turned, as I always had, to music. On one of my bad nights, I was listening to Radiohead, and "Fake Plastic Trees" started playing. The line "She looks like the real thing, she tastes like the real thing, my fake plastic love," hit me hard. My ex, and our relationship, were fake. It all looked real, and felt real, but in the end, it wasn't. He was never going to give me the commitment I needed from him, because he was perfectly happy keeping our relationship superficial and incidental, only seeing each other once or twice a week to have fun. He wanted us to stay friends, because if our relationship was so shallow anyway, why shouldn't we just immediately go into an even shallower, platonic one? But I couldn't do it. I felt the love between us far deeper than he could ever be capable of feeling. I wasn't about to hide or deny my feelings of resentment and pain toward him in the interest of civility, or whatever he was trying to achieve. He was always so polite and smiling to everyone, even if he told me later that he didn't like them. That was something that annoyed me horribly. This led to another realization, another one I frequently forgot as the sadness temporarily overtook my rationality. He was fake. Our relationship was fake. I despised falsehood. Therefore, maybe I despised him, even though part of me still loved him. There weren't, and still aren't, any simple solutions for me to get over him. But out of this mess came a wealth of self-discovery, which would ultimately help me not only in attempting to get over the breakup but also in figuring out my future. Even if I forget it while suffering through another relapse, the knowledge of myself remains inside me, as a guide to steer me back out of the depths.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A general post about my favorite topic

While I am currently following the trial of England's suspected "Crossbow Cannibal" Stephen Griffiths, I don't feel ready to post a complete opinion on the case. Like Dennis Rader and Missouri serial killer Timothy Krajcir, captured in 2007, Griffiths was a student of criminology, which is interesting since many factors of his case recall previous killers. The Crossbow Cannibal's hunting ground was the same area plagued by Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe in the 1970s. Also, the law firm that represented Sutcliffe is now representing Griffiths. Griffiths' lawyers are also petitioning for Griffiths to be moved to a mental health facility, and Sutcliffe's attorneys pursued an insanity defense, which succeeded. The only difference between Griffiths (if he is the Crossbow Cannibal) and Sutcliffe is that Sutcliffe's victims were not dismembered. Last week, Griffiths attempted suicide in the same prison where Harold Shipman, possibly the most prolific serial killer in history, killed himself. As I said, my examination of Griffiths here is extremely preliminary. Knowing little about how the victims were killed, or Griffiths' upbringing, except that he reportedly hadn't spoken to his mother in several years, I don't have much to say in the way of psychological examination.
That the Crossbow Cannibal targeted prostitutes is hardly unusual. From Jack the Ripper onward, prostitutes are frequent victims of serial killers. While some psychologists suggest that prostitutes represent the depravity and evil of women that the killers loathe, criminal profilers say that prostitutes are merely available targets. Most women will not get into a stranger's car, but a prostitute's livelihood depends on doing just that. Also, to a woman-hating serial killer, all women are whores, regardless of occupation. All the killer wants is a woman to destroy. Prostitutes are simply the most convenient.
One question I've been asking myself lately is: Why do we focus our fear on serial killers when there are so many other dangers facing us, like car crashes, domestic disputes, on the job accidents, war, and other random dangers. As crime writer Harold Schecter wrote, a person is far more likely to be killed driving home than by a serial killer. Those dangers are scattered, and a serial killer on the loose in a community gives a face and, later, a name to the general fear we feel in an often scary world. The apprehension of a serial killer, although only making us marginally safer, because all the other ills of the world are still out there, is still considered a major victory in the fight for public safety. We feel powerless against all the dangers that face us, because we never know when or how, or which one, will strike. Our own bodies could develop disease and kill us, as could family members and the morning commute. Bringing a serial killer to justice is a symbolic control over these ills, since the killer has become the personification of all that is bad in our world. Locking up, or killing, the killer is a minor victory. But in a world full of uncertainty, it's still a victory, a triumph over the evils that haunt us.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"Dating Game Killer" sentenced to death

Rodney Alcala, called the "Dating Game Killer" because of an appearance he made on the game show in the 1970s, after he had allegedly already taken several victims, was sentenced to death yesterday for the murder of a 12-year-old girl. Alcala was also convicted of three other murders in Los Angeles and New York. After being charged with assault of an 8-year-old girl in LA and serving only a 34-month sentence, Alcala fled to New York and allegedly took more victims. Facing police scrutiny in one of the murders, Alcala returned to LA, where the 1979 murder of a 12-year-old led to two convictions, both overturned on technicalities. But in recent years, police had DNA evidence to link Alcala to the killing, resulting in yesterday's sentence. A possible element of the trial that led to the conviction? Alcala, apparently not learning anything from fellow death row convicts Ted Bundy and John Muhammed, represented himself.
One of Alcala's California victims was first thought to be a victim of Hillside Stranglers Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono, due to the location of the victim and the method of strangulation. Some of Alcala's alleged victims were both strangled, often with their pantyhose like victims of the Boston Strangler, and had their skulls cracked, most likely with rocks found near the scene. Since either method would have been sufficient to kill on its own, the overkill seen is an interesting aspect of the murders about which I have yet to hear any theories.
With the conviction, authorities in every part of the country where Alcala has lived is trying to link unsolved murders to him. While it makes sense that missing persons could be tied to Alcala, there is a danger in trying so hard to close cases with the convenient scapegoat of an already convicted killer. When Ed Gein was arrested in the 1950s, police tried to link every unsolved murder to him, a task which ultimately proved fruitless. Gein had only killed two women, and the remains of both were found in his house of horrors. All other body parts, a fact confirmed by a visit to the local cemetery, were from recently deceased corpses. Henry Lee Lucas, with police desperate to close cases, confessed to just about every unsolved murder that was placed under his nose, and several of his "confessions" were later proved false. While it makes sense that police could make logical connections between unsolved murders and Alcala's MO, I hope they don't get overzealous in their quest, as other officials have done in the past.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My not-so-surprising results in an Asperger's quiz

Courtesy of Clint's blog, an Asperger's quiz. I was officially diagnosed with this condition at 19, and as expected, I scored rather high on the Asperger's side.


Some of the questions on the quiz, like "Do you notice patterns in things all the time?" "Do you sometimes lie awake at night because of too many thoughts?" "In conversations, do you need extra time to carefully think out your reply, so that there may be a pause before you answer?" "Do people think you are aloof and distant?" (the one that has provoked those oh-so-annoying comments from guys like the dreaded "You don't look happy") and "Do you tend to get so absorbed by your special interests that you forget or ignore everything else?" (three guesses on my "special interest") seemed so normal to me that it's hard to conceive that they may be seen as "unusual." But that narrow view, that self-focus and inability to sense how others feel and that someone else may see things in a different way, is also part of Asperger's. It has led to many problems in my personal and professional life, but, with time, it has improved, and I find that I can now interact with some people with few complications. Like learning a foreign language, I had to gradually learn the language of social behavior, with all the nuances and subtle shades indistinguishable to my Asperger's-tinted mind, which others innately know. It's been a long, hard road, and I'm still traveling it, but compared to the hellish years of middle school and high school, things are much better now, and I'm grateful and quite proud of the progress I've made.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Conviction in abortion doctor's murder

In Kansas, Scott Roeder was convicted of killing abortion provider Dr. George Tiller and sentenced to a life sentence, with the possibility of parole after 25 years. Dr. Tiller's family was grateful for the verdict, calling it "just," and asked that Dr. Tiller be remembered for the services he provided to women and as a good man. In the family's statement, they sounded remarkably level-headed and not at all bitter about the trial of the murderer who took their loved one.
The words of Roeder's defense attorney, on the other hand, were hardly level-headed. He said that Roeder should not be convicted based on his "convictions." He even had the nerve to bring up Martin Luther King in comparison to his client as someone who also bent the law to act on his "principles." The major difference, of course, is that Martin Luther King never killed anyone, and Scott Roeder shot Dr. George Tiller while he sat in church. However, Roeder's attorney didn't have much else to go on in his case. Roeder, like many other men who feel they are acting on God's will, was proud of his actions, claiming to be defending "the children," and held nothing back in his trial statements. At the end of this sad story, I prefer to recall the words of George Tiller's family, that justice was done, and the request to remember the victim fondly.

Friday, January 22, 2010

I've been away

I have been going through a lot of personal issues, so I have not had the energy to post anything new. But I'm still here, and a recent mass shooting in central Virginia could lead to my first real post in over two months. I hope so.