Posted in Arson, Current Events, News, Race, Racism, St. Louis

St. Louis, Arsons and Churches

A suspect has been arrested in the St. Louis church fires.

These fires were long seen as a sign of the racial turmoil in the St. Louis area, as the churches were burned in predominantly black neighborhoods.

With that in mind, I wonder how many are surprised to learn the suspect is a black male.

I have long worried that people against peace in our city will stoop to such lows as to manufacture racial disparity in an effort to spearhead some sort of revolution. Not just black people, either.

The facts are still a long way from being sorted out. Maybe this guy did it, maybe he didn’t. We don’t know much yet, other than he’s been arrested.

Our city needs peace.

Posted in Current Events, Florida State University, Football, Jameis Winston, News, Rape, Sexual Assault, Sports

Jameis Winston, Rape and Skeletons in the Closet

I think the state’s attorney got it right in the Jameis Winston case, when deciding against charging him with the rape of his accuser.

It’s not easy for me to say that.

This case touched a nerve with me, and chilled me to my core.

Years ago, while attending a large university, I was raped by a football player. We both lived on campus, and he was known to me as an acquaintance. In fact, I had a little crush on him. One Saturday night, I wasn’t feeling well. Most of the dorm was empty. My fellow classmates were either out at parties, or had gone home to spend the weekend with their families. My roommate was visiting her boyfriend. I had a cold, so I stayed in.

He called me that night, asking if I was interested in trading CDs- I had a massive collection, and so did he. We’d spoken in the dining hall on more than one occasion about swapping albums. I remember being a little mortified at the thought of seeing him, on account of I didn’t look very good, having been sick most of the day.

Reluctantly, I agreed.

I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say, I ended my night in the emergency room with several injuries, and a positive rape kit. After my release from the ER, I went to the police station with my parents and pressed charges.

He was picked up in his dorm (after his roommate swore repeatedly he wasn’t there), and was quickly charged with rape.

While not a national story, mine was a sensational scoop among the locals. I was stalked, threatened and harrassed. Once, I even tried to drop the charges, as I was scared, lonely, and caving under the pressure of it all.

My request was denied, and I was threatened with arrest, should I choose to stop cooperating with the prosecuting attorney‘s office.

The trial took place about nine months later, and my rapist was convicted after a jury deliberated for just under three hours. I remember the tears streaming down his face as they took him into custody after the guilty verdict was read.

After serving the bulk of his sentence, my rapist had his conviction overturned. The appellate judge said he hadn’t received a fair trial. He was ordered re-tried or released. The choice was mine, and I chose to let it go, and walk away. In my mind, by making this decision, I was finally putting a period on the end of this horrible run-on sentence. I was moving on.

If I thought it was over, I was sorely mistaken.

He subsequently sued the state for wrongful imprisonment.

He won.

Seems I couldn’t put a period on it afterall, and all these years later, I’m still trying to move on.

Now comes Jameis Winston, and the state attorney’s decision not to press charges against him in the sexual assault of his accuser. I purposely avoided the media coverage as much as I could, but when word got out that all 86 pages of the investigative material had been released to the public, I couldn’t help myself.

Anxiously, I read every single page.

I’m jaded. I’m nothing close to unbiased, and don’t pretend to be. Yet after reading all of it, I was devastated. I’ve been accused by too many people to count as being someone who wrongfully accused an innocent man of rape. My name is on websites as a person who purposely, knowingly lied about being sexually assaulted. I’ve been listed among the names of people who have falsified rape allegations.

I know my journey, I know the truth about what I went through. That’s why it never once dawned on me that people actually do fake these things. Because of my experience, because of how terrible every single second of it was, and because of the pain and trauma I carry with me to this day, I never paused long enough to consider that sometimes women lie.

I don’t know what happened between Jameis and his accuser. I do know her story changed multiple times. I know she told two of her friends he hit her on the head, causing her to black out, and therefore remembers nothing of the assault. I know she told investigators something altogether different.

I don’t know who is lying, and if it’s her, I don’t know why she pursued this.

I do know that had this case gone to trial, there would not have been a conviction. I also know about women, and how vengeful people can be when they think they’ve been treated badly.

I know the risk males- especially black males- take when they put themselves in positions of weakness, when they treat women badly, and then expect those women to stand up and act honorably on behalf of them.

Sometimes women lie, and men go to jail for crimes they didn’t commit. Many times, though, women are telling the truth, and the men that assaulted them go free.

No one but Jameis Winston and his accuser truly know what happened that night. Just as no one but my rapist and me truly know what happened the night he assaulted me.

If his accuser was not telling the truth, I hope she gets help, and comes to understand the gravity of what she tried to do. I hope she comes to appreciate the life she has forever changed, and I hope she comes to terms with why she made the choices she made that night.

I hope Jameis sees this for the close call it was. As with all things, there’s a lesson to be learned from this experience. I hope he comes to realize how close he came to the fire, and how he almost got himself burned.

Posted in abduction, Abigail Hernandez, C-Haze, Missing, Mystery, News, North Conway, True Crime

Where is Abigail Hernandez?

abby vigilAbigail Hernandez was last seen three days before her 15th birthday in North Conway, NH. She was reported missing by her mother on October 9, 2013.

Not much is known about what happened to Abby, and the few facts available in the case are strange and at times contradictory.

We know for sure Abby went to school on the day of her disappearance. The last confirmed sighting of Abby is on her school’s surveillance camera, which shows her walking through the hallway. She had a backpack with her and an iPhone in her hand. She was alone.

A friend claims to have seen Abby walking home from school at about 2:30 that afternoon, and no one reports seeing anything suspicious. Abby was texting for about a half hour after this last sighting, with her last text, a heart symbol, being sent to her boyfriend a little after 3:00 PM.

By all accounts, Abby’s mother reported her missing on the evening of October 9, 2013, as soon as she got home from work. Some fine it strange, how quickly law enforcement reacted, immediately calling in state police, the FBI and the Secret Service for assistance with the investigation. There was no talk of a possible run away. Abby’s home was quickly sealed off, and was treated as a crime scene, though police said repeatedly they had no evidence a crime had been committed.

A massive search was launched, and through daily press briefings, law enforcement and the state’s attorney’s office would give daily “updates” about the case. Very little by way of information was released during these gatherings, but still, they continued.

Law enforcement set up roadblocks as part of their search effort, stopping cars along the route Abby is believed to have taken home on the afternoon of October 9. This was a busy time of year in North Conway, as many tourists were in the area to view the fall foliage. This area is an annual tourist attraction due to its unrivaled scenery and quaint lodges. It’s believed investigators pulled surveillance footage from neighboring businesses, though it’s unknown if Abigail was seen in any of the videos.

The woods were searched extensively, with human remains, unrelated to Abby’s case, having been found as a result.

Initially, investigators stated they believed Abby had made it home on the afternoon she went missing. This, they claimed, was based on the work of K-9s, who were able to follow Abby’s scent to her home. It was never determined whether there was any other evidence to support this belief. More recently, authorities have said they do not know if she made it home or not.

It was said early on that Abby was believed to have walked her “normal” route home. Later, however, Abby’s mother told the media that her daughter did not typically walk home, and that she was supposed to have ridden the bus on the day she vanished.

Days into the investigation, a report emerged that Abby had made a call on the evening she vanished, at around 6:30 PM. This call was said to have pinged off a nearby cell tower on Cranmore Moutain, a popular ski and tourist area a few miles away. During a press conference with law enforcement and the state’s attorney present, a member of the media asked one of the Fish and Game officers if that report was true. The officer confirmed the legitimacy of the report, and agreed that a call was made from Abby’s phone the evening she went missing, at around 6:30 PM.

Afterwards, however, investigators directly contradicted that report, and said publicly it was not true.

Police have asked people to be on the lookout for Abigail’s missing cell phone, an iPhone with a pink and gray case. Strangely, while Abby is also seen in the surveillance footage at her school carrying her backpack, and investigators claim to have no idea if she made it home that day or not, there has been no public plea to look for her bag, or a description of what it looks like. This, despite the fact that the surveillance at her school is reportedly the last confirmed sighting of her.

Has her bag already been located? Was it found at her home on the night she went missing, perhaps?

Law enforcement has always stated they do not know whether or not Abby was abducted, or whether she vanished on her own. Despite the massive police presence, and immediate involvement of multiple investigating agencies, it remains  a “missing person’s” case.

While refusing to publicly discuss Abby’s father, he has been ruled out as a suspect, along with her mother and older sister. Abigail’s boyfriend is not considered a suspect either, and the same holds true for her boyfriend’s father, who also shared a close relationship with the teen.

Many have said they believe investigators have much more information than they have released publicly. Others think law enforcement has no idea what happened to Abigail, and are simply trying to be as thorough as possible.

There has been speculation that Abigail’s mother, Zenya Hernandez, believes her daughter ran away, based on the statements she’s made asking anyone who noticed any changes in Abby’s behavior in the days leading up to her disappearance to contact authorities. She has addressed her daughter directly during press conferences, but has made no mention of an abductor, or anyone who may have taken her.

Rumors run rampant, with some even wondering aloud if Abby’s father is somehow involved in the military, or law enforcement, prompting the quick response from so many different investigative agencies. For weeks after she went missing, law enforcement refused to answer any questions about him, and would not identify him. He was not present at any press conferences.

Eventually, however, he wrote his daughter a public letter, pleading with her to let everyone know she is safe. He asked that she post her favorite bible verse so that he would know it was her reaching out, and not an impostor or her abductor.

The area is no stranger to tragedy. In recent years, the region has mourned the disappearances and  subsequent murders of Celina Cass and Krista Dittmeyer. Krista’s murderers were quickly caught, while Celina’s case remains unsolved. All three cases have been handled by the same state’s attorney, with some speculation that this fact explains the extreme and immediate response and involvement of law enforcement when Abby was reported missing.

Since she disappeared, Abigail Hernandez has turned 15 years old. She has missed Thanksgiving, and her family needs to know where she is, and what happened to their beloved daughter.

Posted in News

Dallas Crime-Watch Volunteer a Serial Rapist

AP11:15 p.m. EDT September 11, 2013

DALLAS (AP) — The south Dallas crime-watch volunteer accused of four rapes preyed on women as they walked late at night through the neighborhood he appeared to protect, sometimes assaulting them while he held a gun to their heads, according to police affidavits released Wednesday.

More…

 

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Posted in News, True Crime

Mother issues public appeal for return of missing Medfield girl

MEDFIELD–Fighting back tears, the mother of a missing Medfield teenager offered a plea to the unidentified man who left the local library with her daughter Monday afternoon.

Brittany Thompson was last seen leaving the Medfield Public Library at 4:25 p.m. Monday.

“Whoever you are, could you please just bring her home to us today?” said Maureen Thompson, the mother of 17-year-old Brittany Thompson, during a news conference at the town police station. “I want her to sleep in her own bed tonight.”

More…

 

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State Police Search for Missing Medfield Teen Who May Be in Danger

Brittany Thompson Missing: Police search for Mass. teen last seen with man she may have met online

Parents of missing Medfield teen make plea for her return

 

Posted in News

George Zimmerman Questioned by Police after Wife Reports Gun Threat

Tribune wire reports4:39 p.m. CDT, September 9, 2013
LAKE MARY, Fla. —

George Zimmerman, the Florida man who was acquitted of murder two months ago in the shooting of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, was questioned on Monday by police after his estranged wife called 911 saying he threatened her with a gun.

He’s just threatening all of us with his firearm
Shellie Zimmerman, who filed for divorce last week, also said her husband had punched her father in the nose and smashed her iPad. More…

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Posted in Barack Obama, Elections, Mitt Romney, News, Politics, Presidential Campaign

Progress, Elections and the GOP

Obviously, the loss Republicans suffered on November 6th was crushing. As Democrats successfully re-elected Barack Obama and picked up numerous congressional seats, the GOP was horrified to watch as they were hit with massive blow after blow.

Now as political pundits and every-day citizens alike begin to weigh in, many on the right are projecting a doom-and-gloom outlook. Some are even lamenting the loss of liberty forever. Others are predicting something akin to apocolypse, as if the world we live in has literally come to an end.

I agree that the world we used to live in seems to be dying. Different than my Republican counterparts, however, I couldn’t be happier about it. No longer can a political party run a campaign based on lies, based on the promised alienation of entire groups of citizens, and expect to win.

That’s what I call Progress, and I am thrilled to have played a small role in helping to achieve it.

Curious, however, is that behind all the complaining and panic, I have heard very little from the GOP regarding changes their own party needs to make to ensure history doesn’t continue to repeat itself.

If the consequences of this election are so massive, to the point where Americans have lost their liberty, their democracy, and are now a socialist nation as conservatives seem to be claiming, why wasn’t that the focal point of the campaigns the Republicans ran? I see many on the right lamenting the fact that voters voted on social issues, as opposed to what they view as more important issues.

However, I can point to several examples of Republican candidates actively turning their campaigns into referendums on social issues. Whether accurate or not, the impression of many is that the GOP ran on issues like Akin’s and Murdouch’s rape policies, an unwillingness to support gay rights (though polls have long showed most Americans support these rights), and a perceived war on women and minorities (especially Latinos). It’s easy for some people to complain that Democrats hijacked the election, making it solely social issues, but for many of us- who feel the Republican Party at best disregarded us and at worst displayed open hostility against us- we had no choice BUT to vote on social issues.

The fact is, women, minorities and homosexuals were made to feel their very rights were at risk. 

I would have been severely disappointed had Obama lost the election, so I empathize and in some ways understand the Republican response to Romney’s loss. What I have a hard time feeling sympathy for are the actual politicians and handlers that managed these campaigns. Whether or not you agree or disagree, there were millions of people who felt completely ostracized and abandoned by the GOP, believing the only way to preserve their voice in their own country was to vote against that machine.

Republicans ran a campaign that purposefully spoke only to white male voters. Our nation is much more diverse than that. In this way may of us found ourselves voting not for one man over the other, but for a party that we felt represented us.

The GOP has to broaden its appeal, or yes, they will continue to lose.

No party- Democrat or Republican- is going to be able to win an election when the candidates are only attempting to reach a tiny subset of the entire population. Democrats wouldn’t have won the election had they ONLY catered to blacks, or ONLY gay people, etc.

You have to speak to people before you can expect their support.

Posted in Barack Obama, Elections, News, Politics, Presidential Campaign

Rachel Maddow: ‘Republicans Got Shellacked’ On Election Night (VIDEO)

I haven’t heard anyone break this election down better than Rachel Maddow did in this video. This was less about Barack Obama, and more a stand against scare tactics, false attacks and lies.

We spoke, and Rachel explained our voice beautifully.

Rachel Maddow: ‘Republicans Got Shellacked’ On Election Night (VIDEO).

Posted in Natural Disasters, News, Sandy

Price Gouging in Wake of Sandy

… And in the “business owners can be total jerks that love to profit off of human tragedies” category, we have this gem straight from NJ:

MYFOXNY.COM –

The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs issued subpoenas to 65 businesses across the state Friday after more than 500 consumer complaints about alleged price gouging.

“Having seen firsthand the suffering people are experiencing, I assure New Jersey’s residents and retailers that we are taking a zero-tolerance approach to price gouging,” said Governor Christie. “We are not asking businesses to function as charities. We require that they obey New Jersey’s laws – or pay significant penalties.”

Attorney General Chiesa noted that the Division has received allegations of price gouging from all regions of the state, with complaints particularly prominent in Bergen, Essex, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Passaic counties. The top complaint categories are:

-Gasoline, with gas prices in some cases allegedly rising by $1 or more per gallon immediately following the storm, in some cases allegedly exceeding $5 per gallon. The Division has also received complaints about gas stations charging more to fill up hand-held canisters than to fill car gas tanks, in apparent violation of state Motor Fuels Act protections related to fuel prices.

-Generators, Batteries and Non-Gasoline Fuels such as propane; with generator prices allegedly doubling from pre-storm prices.

-Food, including reports of unexpectedly high prices at convenience stores and restaurants in certain areas, affecting consumers who are unable to cook a hot meal at home due to power outages.

-Lodging, including complaints about hotels and motels significantly raising their prices, allegedly for rooms that were rented at much lower rates before the storm.

Consumers who suspect price gouging or any other violation of consumer protection laws, particularly as a result of Hurricane Sandy, are urged to call the Division of Consumer Affairs at  (800) 242-5846.

Read more: http://www.myfoxny.com/story/19990960/price-gouging-complaints-in-new-jersey#ixzz2BBt4e8Xo