law, true crime

A mom is too young to watch an execution…

For a long time, I’ve disliked the “tiered adulthood” system we have in the United States. I remember when I was a young woman, many states made it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drink a beer. I thought it was crazy at the time. After all, in most cases, an 18 year old is considered an adult. An 18 year old can, for instance, sign up for the military and fight, kill, or die for their country. 18 year olds are allowed to vote, although some Republicans would like to change that after the most recent midterm elections. An 18 year old who commits capital murder can be sentenced to death, if he or she is in a death penalty state. And there have been many 18 year olds who have gotten married, had children, or both.

The list of things an 18 year old can legally do in the United States is pretty long. They are, by and large, truly considered members of the majority. I can even understand why the law exists that forbids people under 21 from legally drinking alcohol, given that the United States has such a poor public transportation system in so many areas, and people who are as young as 16 years old are allowed to drive by themselves. Medical studies have shown that a person’s brain and judgment haven’t fully developed until they are about 25 years old. Therefore, a person who is 21 might be less likely to drive drunk… although judging by the many videos that exist on YouTube, I can see that plenty of middle aged and older people still haven’t gotten the message.

Same thing goes for tobacco consumption. Since December 20, 2019, the minimum age at which it’s legal for a person to purchase or possess tobacco products is now 21 in all 50 states. That probably makes sense, since it might deter young people, whose brains are still developing, from picking up a dirty, nasty, expensive, and unhealthy habit, and dying too young of lung cancer. On the other hand, the smoking habit is a money maker for tobacco states, and it also helps cull the human race. Seriously… this was a topic we discussed when I was earning my master’s degree in public health. When many more people smoked, they tended to die younger, which helped ease the burden of our aging population somewhat. Now that smoking is less popular, people are living longer. Of course, not everyone who smokes like a chimney dies young, and when those people get sick, they really get sick. It costs more to take care of them. But then, everybody dies, right? And who needs another “nanny law”? Believe it or not, Trump was the president who signed the “Tobacco 21” legislation, making the minimum age for tobacco consumption a federal law. That was one thing he did right, I guess.

But a person can still do some pretty major stuff when they turn 18. In many cases, an 18 year old is considered a legal adult, and a full fledged member of the majority. That’s why I was puzzled yesterday, when I read about 19 year old Corionsa “Khorry” Ramey, a young mom from Missouri who was just denied the right to attend her father’s execution.

Ramey was just two years old when her father, 37 year old Kevin Johnson, went to prison after he was convicted of first degree murder. In 2005, Johnson was found guilty of killing Kirkwood, Missouri, 43 year old police sergeant and married father of three, William McEntee. For that crime, Johnson is scheduled to pay the ultimate penalty— execution by lethal injection at 6pm tonight at the state prison in Bonne Terre, Missouri.

Even though he’s been in prison for most of Ramey’s life, Kevin Johnson has somehow managed to be an involved parent to his daughter. Throughout the years, Ramey and Johnson have kept in touch through letters, phone calls, emails, and regular visits. They have developed a close bond, and Johnson requested that Ramey be one of the five people permitted to witness his execution. Nevertheless, because Ramey is only 19, she is barred from witnessing her father’s execution. Missouri law prohibits people under age 21 from attending executions. Federal Judge Brian Wimes refused to make an exception for Ramey, who is, by most accounts, a legal adult. Ramey is also the mother of a newborn son. Mr. Johnson did get to meet his grandson last month.

In a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), attorneys argued that the state law violated Ms. Ramey’s constitutional rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The complaint ACLU attorneys filed on Ms. Ramey’s behalf requested the court to stop the state from executing Johnson unless Ramey was permitted to attend as a witness. I suppose it’s possible that the ACLU lawsuit was one tactic used to prevent the state from executing Mr. Johnson. Johnson’s attorneys have also tried to stop tonight’s execution. They don’t deny that Johnson is guilty of murdering Sergeant McEntee, but have argued that racial discrimination played a part in the prosecution, conviction, and sentencing of Kevin Johnson.

The aspect of this case that really gave me pause, though, was reading that Ms. Ramey’s mother was killed when Ramey was just four years old, and that she had witnessed her mother’s death. While I’m certain that state ordered execution is a horrible thing to witness, the argument that Ramey is “too young” to see it is kind of ridiculous, as she’s already seen her mother die when she was a small child. Granted, the law is for everyone to follow, and it wouldn’t be right to ignore it in just one special case. But why set the minimum age at 21, if an 18 year old is an adult in most aspects of life in the United States? If Ramey were so inclined, she could join the military and see her comrades die in battle. She could be convicted of a capital crime herself and be executed at an age younger than 21. Why is 21 considered the “magic age” for witnessing something like this?

According to KOMU.com, Mr. Johnson was himself just 19 years old when he killed Sergeant McEntee. On July 5, 2005, police officers, including McEntee, were investigating a vehicle that was believed to belong to Johnson. Johnson had outstanding misdemeanor warrants and was believed to have violated his probation for assaulting his girlfriend. The police had come to his home to serve a warrant for his arrest. Johnson had seen the police officers approaching, and woke his 12 year old brother, Joseph “Bam Bam” Long. He told the boy, who suffered from a congenital heart defect, to go next door to their grandmother’s house. Bam Bam ran to their grandmother’s house, but then collapsed and suffered a seizure. McEntee had allegedly held back Bam Bam’s mom, as the boy convulsed; he later died at a hospital. Johnson blamed McEntee for his brother’s death.

Later that same evening, McEntee returned to the neighborhood to investigate unrelated reports of fireworks being shot off. At that point, McEntee encountered Johnson again, and Johnson was enraged over the sudden death of his little brother. He pulled out a gun and shot McEntee several times, which resulted in the police officer’s death. Years later, in an interview, Johnson took responsibility for the murder and admitted that he couldn’t blame McEntee for his brother’s untimely demise.

Earlier in this post, I mentioned the fact that medical research has shown that human brains are incompletely developed until around age 25 or so. Johnson’s lawyers argued that at age 19, Johnson’s brain and sense of judgment weren’t fully developed when he murdered McEntee. They also mention racism, which I’m sad to say, is still a very real thing.

Personally, I am against the death penalty in most cases. I think it’s an appropriate penalty when a person is clearly so unhinged that they will pose a danger if they are ever free again. The recent case of Darrell Brooks comes to mind; I watched and listened to him in court, and noticed that he had absolutely no remorse for killing six innocent people in a Wisconsin Christmas parade last year. He’s an example of a person whom I believe would not be reformed by prison and would think nothing of killing again if he felt provoked. Mr. Brooks was recently sentenced to six life sentences for murdering those people at the parade. Kevin Johnson committed his crime in a red state, where many people preach about the sanctity of life for the unborn, but have no compunction about allowing the state to kill already born people. Most already born people, of course, know what an execution is, and they often have family members and friends who will also suffer when they are executed.

I absolutely agree that Mr. Johnson needs to be punished for his crimes. I am glad to see that he took responsibility for what he did, and has been doing what he can to foster a relationship with his daughter. While I disagree that the death penalty is a the right punishment for most murder cases, I understand that Johnson killed a cop in a very red state, and very red states often penalize cop killers with the death penalty. I do think, however, that if the state is going to execute a man for a crime he committed when he was 19, the state should allow legal adults– that includes people over age 18, which Khorry Ramey is– to witness executions. And while an execution is not something I would ever want to witness myself, I can’t speak for everybody. Obviously, Khorry Ramey thinks she’s old enough and can handle it. Since she’s an adult and a parent herself, the court ought to take her wishes into consideration.

And… let’s not even get into the crazy irony that is regular life in the USA right now, when any idiot can carry a gun into a Walmart and murder people in cold blood. Our legal system is completed whacked.

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law, true crime

A routine traffic stop turns deadly… and now a man is on death row…

Yesterday, while we were waiting for Arran’s chemo appointment, I found myself watching a video about a true crime that happened in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 29, 2020. I didn’t seek out this video and, in fact, hadn’t even heard of this case before yesterday. I landed on this video entirely by chance, and was about halfway through it before I realized how shocking this case is. It made me realize why police work is so very dangerous, even when it seems like a traffic stop is totally mundane.

It was about 3:00 am on that fateful June night. David Anthony Ware was driving a car that had expired tags. He also ran a stop sign and failed to yield to Officer Aurash Zarkeshan, who then turned on his lights to signal to Ware that he was being stopped. David Ware pulled over, and Officer Zarkeshan began to question him, asking for identification, proof of insurance, and other information. At first, the stop seems to be going on in a routine manner, although Ware is clearly eager to be on his way.

Zarkeshan checks Ware’s background and finds that he has a police record and is a convicted felon, which Ware claims was supposed to be expunged. Soon, Sergeant Craig Johnson is on the scene. Zarkeshan asks Ware to step out of the vehicle. Ware then becomes agitated and uncooperative. He demands to speak to Zarkeshan’s supervisor, who happens to be Sergeant Johnson. Johnson identifies as Zarkeshan’s boss, and demands that Ware get out of the car. Ware continues to refuse to get out of the vehicle, so Johnson starts to yell at him, his voice growing more and more forceful and angry. He threatens to use his Taser and Mace. In spite of that, Ware doesn’t comply, probably because he was a convicted felon, and he knew that if he got out of the car, the police would find his gun, and that would mean going to jail. If he was under the influence of drugs, that might have also contributed to his mental state.

I heard Sergeant Johnson’s insistent shouts turn to screams, as he uses profanity and deploys the Taser. Somehow, the device doesn’t manage to stun Ware into compliance, and neither does the Mace. Ware had prior drug charges and given that the Taser and spray weren’t effective, my guess is that he was under the influence of drugs during that stop. That would have also made him dangerous behind the wheel.

Ware then gets on his phone and calls his friend, Matt, who shows up as the traffic stop is truly escalating and both cops are trying to force Ware to get out of the car as he screams for help. Unfortunately, the police officers were so focused on getting Ware out of the car and Ware’s friend, Matt, on the scene, that they didn’t see Ware reach under the driver’s seat and pull out a handgun. Ware was able to fire a few rounds into the officers before they knew what happened. In the below video, the visuals are thankfully redacted, but you can hear Johnson start to say, “What the fuck.” as he realizes he’s been shot at close range. Ware shoots him again in the head. Zarkeshan was also severely wounded, but not killed, as Ware jumps into Matt’s car and leaves the two police officers for dead.

Ware’s friend, Matthew Hall, was charged with two counts of being an accessory to a shooting with intent to kill. He pled not guilty. Last year, Mr. Hall was convicted of both charges. He is now serving twenty-four years in prison. Prior to June 29, 2020, Mr. Hall had no criminal history. It just goes to show how, in a moment of poor judgment, a person’s life can be changed forever.

In May of 2022, Mr. Ware was convicted of the capital charge, first degree murder and shooting with intent to kill. He was also found guilty of shooting with intent to kill, possession of a firearm after former felony conviction, unlawful possession of a controlled drug with intent to distribute, and obstruction. I assume that “shooting with intent to kill” is separate from the capital charge, since a person can shoot another person, intending to kill them, but not actually succeeding in killing them. Ware did kill Sergeant Johnson, but he did not succeed in killing Officer Zarkeshan, hence the separate charge for his crime against the surviving officer.

At the end of Ware’s trial in April 2022, the jury recommended the death penalty. Judge William LaFortune agreed, and in May, Ware was sentenced to death, as well as life in prison for the shooting with intent to kill charge, 30 years for possession of a firearm after former felony conviction, 25 years for the drug possession charge, and one year for obstruction. There are also massive fines, which will probably never be collected. Ware was already scheduled for the death chamber in August of this year, but as is standard in these cases, there’s an automatic appeal. Ware’s attorney, Kevin Adams, filed documents in support of overturning the verdict. He said that in Oklahoma, there’s about a 50 percent rate of overturning death penalty punishments, while the prosecutor said that he hoped the penalty would “deter people” from disobeying law enforcement and using firearms against them.

Special thanks to the Line of Duty channel for sharing this video.

I played this video for Bill last night. Bill was horrified for the cops involved, and although he is mostly against the death penalty, he said he felt it might be justified in this case. Personally, I disagree, because I am more against the death penalty than my husband is. I really think it should be reserved for cases in which a person represents a truly severe danger to the public, such that releasing that person will result in more people being killed. Frankly, I would be more inclined to sentence someone like Darrell Brooks to death than David Ware. Brooks, to me, has obvious disdain for other people and clearly has no sorrow for what he did. He also killed more people in a less humane way, and injured dozens more people. That mindset won’t be fixed with rehab. I don’t think Brooks can redeem himself, as being the way he is is likely due to his personality. Ware, on the other hand, might be salvageable if he got clean.

Mr. Ware does not strike me as being as obviously cold and callous as Brooks is. Even though he could have avoided the escalation simply by complying with the cops, I can hear genuine fear and anguish in his voice as he screams for help. According to the US News & World Report:

“The truth is that when David Ware shot Officer Zarkeshan and Sgt. Johnson, he was in fear for his life,” Ware’s attorney Kevin Adams said. “Sgt. Johnson and Officer Zarkeshan beat David Ware, they kicked David Ware, they tased David Ware, they maced David Ware as he pleaded and begged for somebody to help him.

“And when it got to the point that he felt that he was about to lose his life, he shot Officer Zarkashan and he shot Sgt. Craig Johnson.”

Ware said that he meant to shoot the officers in their body armor in the hopes it would incapacitate them long enough for him to escape. But then he shot Sergeant Johnson in the head after both officers were on the ground.

Having watched and listened to the video a few times, I can agree with Kevin Adams that Ware “lost it” and the crime escalated because he feared for his life. Yes, he absolutely should have complied with the officers, and he should certainly be in prison for the rest of his life. But Ware probably hadn’t planned to hurt or kill anyone that night. He committed a driving infraction and was pulled over, and if his luck had been better, he would have gone home without taking anyone’s life. When he was threatened by the police officers, he probably did literally fear for his life. I’m not saying it was a credible fear that Ware would be killed by the cops, but I believe that he did experience that fear, and that influenced his extreme actions.

Darrell Brooks, on the other hand, clearly meant to hurt and kill people when he drove his SUV into a parade route at speeds up to 30 miles per hour. What he did was clearly premeditated, and he obviously had no fear or remorse whatsoever. He’s a very callous individual who seems to hate the world. To me, that indicates that Brooks is a lot more dangerous than Ware is. I think he would be a better candidate for execution than Ware is.

However, unlike Brooks, David Ware committed his crime in a red state, where the death penalty is strongly supported by the citizenry. He also killed a police officer, and in a lot of death penalty states, that will result in a death sentence. I doubt the death penalty in this case will deter anyone, though. These types of crimes often happen when someone is highly emotional and not thinking clearly. What might make this type of crime less likely to happen is if the United States got much more serious about gun control and limiting public access to weapons. But that will probably never happen in my lifetime. Even if it did, there are so many guns out there that it probably would take a long time before the public’s access to them would be diminished enough to make a difference.

I feel very sorry for Sergeant Johnson’s family, especially his wife and two children. He was clearly a brave man, and it’s obvious from the video that he didn’t want to use the Taser. He gave Mr. Ware multiple opportunities to comply, and warned him several times before deploying the Taser. Maybe it would have been better if he had been a little bit colder, and not given Ware a chance to prepare before popping him with the Taser. But I’m not a cop, so I really don’t know. And again, as is obvious from the video, there was a lot of emotion going on at the time of the shootings. All three of the men engaged in that fight were operating on high adrenaline and instinct, rather than rational thought. It’s truly a terrible thing that it turned out this way, as three men’s lives were forever altered and shortened, and one man’s life was ended way before his time should have been up.

Anyway… given how the death penalty is, my guess is that David Ware still has some time to spend thinking about what he’s done. I don’t think he intended to be a murderer, even though that’s how it worked out for him. If he hadn’t had a handgun in his car, he almost surely wouldn’t be on death row in Oklahoma. Darrell Brooks, on the other hand, strikes me as someone who would easily kill again if he ever walks free. Hopefully, the state of Wisconsin will keep Brooks put away for the rest of his life. And I have no doubt that Ware’s days as a free man are over, and he probably will be executed as planned.

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condescending twatbags, law, narcissists, true crime, YouTube

Darrell Brooks meets his match in “saintly” Judge Jennifer Dorow…

Recently, I’ve found myself watching a lot of court proceedings on YouTube. I can’t seem to help myself. I grew up at a time when there were a lot of dramatized court shows on TV. Then came Court TV, which I never had time to watch. Nowadays, you don’t even need cable TV to see these things unfold, almost in real time. I never thought there’d be a day when I could watch actual court cases progress on my computer, or that I would one day have a “smart” TV that could “talk” to my computer and beam these proceedings into my bedroom, as is the case in our current home.

YouTube shows me videos based on things I tend to watch. Although I’m no fan of Fox News at all, Fox News does show court proceedings. So that’s how I came to see the bizarre case of Darrell Brooks. Mr. Brooks, if you don’t know, is responsible for the Waukesha Christmas Parade Attack, which occurred November 21, 2021 in Waukesha, Wisconsin. On October 26, 2022, Mr. Brooks was convicted of six counts of first degree intentional homicide and 70 other counts related to the crimes that occurred on that terrible day.

On what was supposed to be a happy, fun, festive day last year, an eight year old boy died, as well as five members of the “Dancing Grannies” group. Sixty-eight other people were wounded as Brooks drove a red SUV through the crowd, allegedly reaching speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. Two weeks prior to his disastrous actions at the Christmas parade, Brooks was released from jail on a $1000 bond. He had been in jail on a domestic violence charge, and prosecutors later admitted that the amount of his bond was “inappropriately low”.

I remember hearing something about Brooks last year, when the attack occurred. However, because I am in Germany, I don’t always pay attention to things that happen in the United States. Besides, in recent years, there’s been such a depressing overflow of violence from my homeland that I guess I kind of tune it out now. It seems like there have been so many cases of school shootings, violence at public events like marathons, church services, and concerts. Every day, there’s more news about someone’s life being senselessly snuffed out by a violent crime of some sort. So I guess I can see why Brooks’ heinous actions didn’t really reach my attention until now, when I stumbled across his court proceedings on YouTube. I also know that I passed the videos several times before I finally clicked on one. Below is the first video I watched:

While the profanity was not appropriate in court, I’m sure many people agreed wholeheartedly with the sentiment.

I won’t lie. I love a good courtroom outburst, so that’s probably why I clicked. But after I clicked, I was hurtled down a massive rabbit hole. Darrell Brooks was facing very serious charges. And yet, he’s apparently such a narcissist that he felt qualified to defend himself in court. And folks, I gotta say, Darrell Brooks is no attorney. As I watched him try to use words he obviously doesn’t understand in an attempt to look educated, I couldn’t help but have great empathy for the endlessly patient and fair judge in this case, Jennifer Dorow. That woman is heroic on so many levels!

A screenshot of Judge Dorow’s beautiful smile.

I noticed some of the comments on that first YouTube video. One person posted, “Judge’s smile at 3:13 says it all, sorry for everyone that had to deal with this psycho and hope the victims’ families get some peace.” Sure enough, at that mark, we can see Judge Dorow smile. Frankly, to me, she looks positively elated. I’m sure that smile comes from knowing that the case is about done, and she doesn’t have to tolerate the frustrations of dealing with Mr. Brooks anymore. Or maybe she’s just smiling at the jury, who have also patiently listened to and observed Brooks outrageously carrying on in the courtroom, when they could be at home, frosting their bushes.

I have read that a lot of people have been so impressed by this judge that they’ve sent her thank you letters, flowers, edible arrangements and other gifts, including wine. She even got a telegram from one of her many new fans. The gifts are currently being quarantined at the county clerk’s office, as it would not be appropriate for the judge to receive them while Darrell Brooks is waiting for his sentence, which is scheduled to be handed down on November 15th. In fact, according to the article I linked, “ethics rules for judges and state employees generally prohibit acceptance of most gifts.” But still, it’s really something that people were so impressed by this judge that they felt moved to send her thanks.

One of many ugly faces made by Darrell Brooks as he has his day in court.

A few months ago, I got a little crush action going when I watched Judge Timothy Walmsley preside over the court case involving Travis McMichael, his father, Gregory McMichael, and William “Roddy” Bryan in Georgia. He just seemed like such an even keeled person, and I was very impressed with his sensible approach.

I don’t have a crush on Judge Dorow, but I am very, very impressed with her. She somehow managed to maintain her composure as Darrell Brooks talked over her, interrupted her, snarled at her, and accused her of misconduct. I have to admit that it was rare for me to actually finish any of the videos I started watching of Brooks, because listening to him speak pissed me off so much. I’m not generally a brutal person, and I don’t condone violence, but there were some times when I sort of ached for someone to punch Brooks, hard, in the mouth. He really is infuriating.

So disrespectful!

I wasn’t going to watch any more of Brooks trying to play lawyer, but then he made disturbing comments about being forced to wear shackles that were shocking his ankles. I had never heard of that, so I wanted to know more. Judge Dorow made it very plain that the restraints Mr. Brooks wore in court were not shock devices, as she also explained that it’s not in the public’s interest to be able to see them, as that would potentially create security risks for the sheriff’s office. Brooks, of course, loudly and vehemently screamed at the judge that the shackles were shock devices. It’s complete bollocks, of course.

A lengthy explanation about the shackles Brooks wore in court still doesn’t satisfy him as he screams at the judge again.

I’m not sure what’s up with the face mask. I don’t see anyone else wearing them in the courtroom, so I don’t know that they were required. Maybe he had to wear one because he was staying at the jail. Or maybe he saw wearing one as a form of power, since it hides some of his facial expressions. Either way, the mask makes me see Brooks as less human somehow, since it blocks his face and the non-verbal cues that come from one’s facial expressions.

He’s so uncooperative. It looks like this part of the case was proceeding in an empty courtroom, because Brooks was being so disruptive. Judge Dorow speaks of “muting” him, then removes the wall of boxes he put around himself, blocking him from view.

The below video was probably the most frustrating for me to watch, since Darrell Brooks clearly doesn’t know anything about law. Listening to him is a waste of time, because his comments don’t go anywhere, and he constantly raises objections that are pointless, non-applicable, or just plain stupid. And yet, there’s Judge Dorow, gamely plugging along, overruling Mr. Brooks’ objections repeatedly, and never quite making it to her boiling point. I think if I had been the judge in this case, I would have blown my top many times.

This one was especially frustrating… but at least we know that the trial is over and Brooks will soon be where he belongs.

I have never met Darrell Brooks. I don’t know anything about him, other than what I’ve seen in these videos. I know, having watched the videos, he’s not someone I would want to meet. I’m not a psychologist, but to me, it looks pretty certain that he’s some kind of sociopath or malignant narcissist. He doesn’t have any respect for the judge, or anyone else, whatsoever.

I’m sure he’ll appeal. Hopefully, another judge will have to deal with him.

Below is a news piece about this case… and how so many onlookers had the same impressions I did about Judge Dorow. She really is a “freaking saint”. If you’re going to watch any of these videos, that’s the one to see, as it serves as a nice conglomerate of the outrageous behavior Judge Dorow has patiently tolerated from Darrell Brooks throughout these proceedings. Her composure and resolve to keep her cool are extremely commendable.

Imagine being intimate with this man. He has children. He’s probably terrifying when he’s angry and not wearing restraints.

When I listen to Darrell Brooks speak and watch his facial expressions, I can’t help but realize that this is just a “civilized” version of what he must have been like in the free world. Imagine this man, enraged by something or someone, having the freedom to act in a physical way. Obviously, he’s capable, and that’s why he’s going to go to prison. Even with the face mask, we can see the rage in his eyes and furrowed brows, and hear the way he speaks to the judge. I’m sure the fact that she’s a woman is even more infuriating to Brooks, as it’s pretty obvious to me that he doesn’t respect women. And women who are powerful, like Judge Dorow, are especially likely to agitate him. I’m not especially big on prison, but some people really belong there. Darrell Brooks is obviously one of those people. He’s clearly very dangerous and has very poor control over his emotions and impulses. He’s belligerent and obstructive, and sadly, has just enough intelligence to be really infuriating. Like I said, I don’t condone violence, even in prison, but I suspect he’s going to repeatedly get the shit kicked out of him by other inmates. And he will probably really deserve it.

Anyway… much lauding and many kudos to Judge Dorow. She has clearly found her vocation in life. She deserves a vacation and a very happy holiday season for her good work. And while I don’t really want to see or hear Mr. Brooks speak again, I might tune in for his sentencing, as I watch Judge Dorow send his ass to prison for a much deserved terminal stay.

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healthcare, law, politicians, politics, poor judgment

Lindsey Graham proposes a federal 15 week abortion ban… so much for states’ rights!

A few months ago, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, much to the delight of conservatives. Finally, the abortion issue was going to be settled by the states! And those in red states, like Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas could finally look forward to not allowing abortions for ANY reason. It was one more tool for males to control females… or, those who are able to give birth.

But then, usually red state Kansas had an election, and voters there turned out en masse to protect the human right for the already born to have an abortion. Suddenly, Republicans realized they’d royally fucked up with their overreaching plan to eliminate the right for people to choose for themselves whether or not to be pregnant and give birth. Besides that, there were many awful stories from women who needed to access abortions for legitimate healthcare reasons and were being denied. Some women’s doctors were sending them home to get sicker when their patients were miscarrying, because the doctors didn’t want to be arrested or sued. And some physicians were even calling lawyers before offering standard treatments.

The most troubling and awful story of all, though, came just days after the overturn caused the state of Ohio to ban abortions. A ten year old CHILD was raped by her stepfather and forced to go to neighboring Indiana to get a very necessary abortion. At first, conservative pundits scoffed at the story, thinking it was fake news put out for political reasons. But, soon enough, it became clear that the story wasn’t fabricated. Sadly, the attorneys general in Ohio and Indiana were too narcissistic to admit that policies against allowing abortions were going to ruin or potentially end people’s lives. Instead of examining bad policies, they vowed to go after the female physician who provided healthcare to the ten year old who was pregnant through no fault of her own.

Savvy Republicans have finally also started to notice that people are pissed off enough about this egregious affront against the already born, that those who usually vote third party or Republican are voting for Democrats who have vowed to protect abortion rights. Crazy Trump supported candidates are winning their primaries, but losing general elections– see Sarah Palin’s recent disastrous run in Alaska. And so, Republicans who used to have anti-choice language on their Web sites are silently scrubbing them of any evidence that they are against allowing pregnant people the right to choose. They KNOW that abortion is one of those bipartisan issues, and they are finding out that their little stunt in overturning Roe v. Wade is backfiring spectacularly. And… they are now finding out, way too late, that allowing Trump to be the Republican candidate in 2016 has completely ruined their political party. It’s now been taken over by extremist MAGA asshats whose policies don’t work for most rank and file Americans.

South Carolina’s Senator Lindsey Graham, a man who is not married and never fathered any children, has decided to address this abortion fiasco by proposing a federal abortion ban. In the past, Graham had championed legislation that would outlaw abortions after 20 weeks. Now, he wants a FEDERAL abortion ban at 15 weeks. On the surface, this may seem okay to some people, since most abortions happen well before the proposed 15 week limit. At least it’s not a total ban, right? However, this bill does nothing to address the unreasonable and dangerous abortion bans that are currently law in many red states across the nation. What Graham’s legislation would do is make it federal law that abortions aren’t allowed after 15 weeks, except in certain cases, EVEN in states where abortion is currently allowed. So much for letting the states decide, eh? According to Slate magazine:

Unfortunately, many genetic and physical defects can only be detected after the 15th week of pregnancy. As The 19th reported in August, the earliest point when doctors can detect anomalies is between 15 and 22 weeks, when scans show fetal organ structures. Certain abnormalities detected at this stage, like Trisomy 18 and anencephaly, render fetuses “incompatible with life,” meaning they will die during birth or shortly thereafter. At most, if carried to term, these children will live just for hours or days in immense pain. And continuing the pregnancy often puts the patient at heightened risk of medical complications.

The lack of an exception for fetal anomalies in Graham’s bill is intentional. For years, the anti-abortion movement has sought to outlaw abortions due to fetal “disability.” Before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, at least nine states had passed these bans. Three states also gagged doctors from even raising the possibility of termination with patients after diagnosing fetal abnormalities.

What really pisses me off about this plan is that, yet again, conservatives are pushing a narrative that late term abortions are rampant and done for convenience. That simply isn’t true. First of all, later term abortions are rare. Secondly, I won’t say there aren’t people out there who want a second or third trimester abortion because they’ve changed their minds about having a baby. There might be one or two people out there in the world who actually are that cruel and crazy. What I will say is that the vast majority of people who need later term abortions are folks who desperately wanted their babies, but found themselves in devastating medical situations that forced them to make a terrible and heartbreaking choice. Nothing about having a late term abortion is fun or convenient. Any legislation that addresses the so called “wanton sluts” who slaughter their almost viable babies in utero, just because they’re murderous, is just a bullshit conservative narrative.

No one who is in that situation– where either the mother or the developing fetus is desperately ill and facing death due to pregnancy– should have to explain to anyone else why they are choosing abortion. It is NO ONE else’s business. And no, we don’t need Lindsey Graham to ride in on a white horse and come up with an extremist federal abortion ban, especially since he is rumored to prefer the company of other men over women. I don’t understand why so many people are focused on abortion, when there are so many other problems in the world that affect people who have already been born. Why not focus much more attention on agendas like inflation, healthcare access, public safety, and international relations? You know– things that affect everybody?

Why don’t lawmakers listen to actual physicians about this issue? Mama Doctor Jones tweeted this just this morning:

Because people are pointing out medical emergencies that necessitate abortions– and YES, treatment for ectopic pregnancy is ABORTION– some “pro life” people are getting confused. Abortion is not a dirty word. Sometimes, it even happens naturally.

Another fair point by Mama Doctor Jones.

Not that I am upset that a lot of Republicans are facing uphill battles in their upcoming elections this year, but some of them need to realize that most people aren’t completely stupid. Taking away other people’s rights to choose, especially when planned or unplanned pregnancy is a condition you’ll never have to face, is just a bad idea. This summer, we’ve already seen the terrible unintended aftereffects of abortion bans. It’s only going to get worse. I think a lot of people who have given serious thought to this issue, for themselves, loved ones, or just people in general, have realized that this is an issue that politicians simply need to stay out of. Especially when they are Lindsey Graham. I don’t think he did his party any favors with this proposed federal legislation. It’s not going to pass, and it makes him look like an uninformed jackass. I’m glad to see that some people are finally seeing the light and voting accordingly. Sadly, some people are changing their minds, because they have been personally affected by the abortion bans. And some of those folks are people who were once vehemently “pro life”, but learned firsthand why being able to access abortion HEALTHCARE is essential for their own well-being.

I think it might be time for Mr. Graham to retire. Maybe his fellow Republicans will do what they can to convince Graham to find his next passion in life.

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Ex, healthcare, law, modern problems, politics, social media, Twitter

The baby depository “drop box”…

Last night, I read a news story about how some conservative groups, post Roe v Wade, have decided that it would be a good idea to have “drop boxes” for unwanted babies to be placed in. These boxes are supposed to give people a way to surrender their babies with “minimal interference”. It’s seen as an expansion of the “Safe Haven laws”, which have already been around in all 50 states for a couple of decades now.

The Safe Haven laws were enacted to discourage people from dumping their babies in unsafe places, such as trash receptacles or public restrooms. Instead, parents who want to give up their babies are encouraged to take them to any emergency room, fire department, or a law enforcement agency. According to the link I provided, in four states, Guam, and Puerto Rico, only the mother is allowed to relinquish her infant. In the District of Columbia, infants can only be relinquished by residents of the District. Twelve states already allow so-called “drop boxes”, which are devices that would trigger a 911 call to emergency services when the box is opened.

Personally, I am not a fan of these “boxes”, mainly because I don’t think that people who are relinquishing a baby should be able to do so anonymously. Some of them simply need help, which they won’t get if they are encouraged to anonymously drop off their babies. I know the boxes exist in other countries and are supposedly “life savers” for the babies. But it seems to me that it would be better to 1. prevent unintended pregnancies in the first place, and 2. provide appropriate healthcare to women who want or need it. Sometimes, abortion is healthcare. Sometimes, it’s the kindest, most responsible thing a person can do. And all the time, it’s an extremely personal decision that should not involve anyone but the already born person who is directly involved. I agree with this point, which was made in the article I linked (and unlocked):

“Is this infant being surrendered without coercion?” asked Micah Orliss, director of the Safe Surrender Clinic at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “Is this a parent who is in a bad spot and could benefit from some time and discussion in a warm handoff experience to make their decision?”

As I was reading up on “baby drop boxes”, I found this letter to Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. It was sent by an adoptee rights group called “Bastard Nation”, which opposes use of the baby drop boxes. I think they make good points in their letter, as these are people who are adoptees and have to live with issues surrounding being adopted. I’m going to have to read more about Bastard Nation later, when I have more time.

Later in the article, Dr. Orliss is mentioned again:

Because of the anonymity, there is limited information about the parents who use safe havens. But Dr. Orliss, of the Los Angeles safe haven clinic, performs psychological and developmental evaluations on some 15 such babies annually, often following them through their toddler years. His research found that more than half the children have health or developmental issues, often stemming from inadequate prenatal care. In California, unlike in Indiana, safe haven surrenders must be done face-to-face, and parents are given an optional questionnaire on medical history, which often reveals serious problems such as drug use.

The article also explains that mothers who abandon their babies and have a change of heart may have a hard time reclaiming their infants. They are also not immune to being subjected to legal sanctions, particularly if there is evidence that the baby they drop off is unhealthy due to drug or alcohol abuse. It’s potentially risky for them. See below:

In Indiana, which has the majority of baby boxes, state law does not specify a timeline for terminating birth parents’ rights after safe haven surrenders, or for adoption. But according to Don VanDerMoere, the prosecutor in Owen County, Ind., who has experience with infant abandonment laws in the state, biological families are free to come forward until a court terminates parental rights, which can occur 45 to 60 days after an anonymous surrender.

Because these relinquishments are anonymous, they typically lead to closed adoptions. Birth parents are unable to select the parents, and adoptees are left with little to no information about their family of origin or medical history.

Mr. Hanlon, of the National Council for Adoption, pointed to research showing that over the long term, birth parents feel more satisfied about giving up their children if biological and adoptive families maintain a relationship.

And in safe haven cases, if a mother changes her mind, she must prove to the state that she is fit.

According to Ms. Kelsey, since her operation began, two women who said they had placed their infants in boxes have tried to reclaim custody of their children. Such cases can take months or even years to resolve.

Birth mothers are also not immune from legal jeopardy, and may not be able to navigate the technicalities of each state’s safe haven law, said Lori Bruce, a medical ethicist at Yale.

While many states protect surrendering mothers from criminal prosecution if babies are healthy and unharmed, mothers in severe crisis — dealing with addiction or domestic abuse, for example — may not be protected if their newborns are in some way affected.

The idea of a traumatized, postpartum mother being able to “correctly Google the laws is slim,” Ms. Bruce said.

But then… the article also points out that some of the babies do well, and turn out to be healthy. I have been thinking, though, that all of this focus on babies being born could lead to less freedoms for potential birth mothers. Are laws going to be changed that force potentially pregnant people to get prenatal care, since their bodies are basically being thought of as akin to vessels now? If a woman doesn’t regularly see her OB-GYN, is she going to be punished? If she does something considered unsafe, will she be at risk of arrest or incarceration? That’s another thing– why are so many Americans so hot on jailing people? We have so many incarcerated people in the United States, and some of the anti-abortion folks just want to put more people behind bars. What kind of life is that?

There’s something really sickening about the fact that drop boxes weren’t acceptable to many conservatives for collecting votes, but they are for babies. It’s like dropping off a book at the library, or something. There should be more to relinquishing a baby than simply dumping off a kid in a box. Maybe something can be done to make the situation less dire for the natural parents so that they don’t feel compelled to abandon their offspring. In any case, I would hope that people are made aware of the fact that there’s a window of time in which the parent can reclaim the baby, if the situation is such that they’ve panicked or had a change of heart.

Anyway, once again, I expressed my opinion. I immediately got an inappropriate laugh reaction from someone I quickly blocked. I noticed two other “laugh” reacts, both from obvious MAGA trolls. Then I got a nonsensical comment from someone. I wrote “huh”, because I genuinely didn’t get what they were on about. That person came back and said they didn’t have the time or crayons to explain it to me, so I blocked them, too. If your response to me is immediate rudeness and insults, I don’t see why I should waste any time with you. If you choose to interact with me unsolicited, and all you have is mockery, then welcome to my block list. I don’t have the energy for it. I wonder, though, is that the overall goal for these people? To be so insufferably obnoxious that they immediately get blocked by strangers on social media? I think a lot of them make rude comments for attention. If they get blocked right off the bat, they don’t get any attention. So what have they accomplished, other than looking like assholes?

I’ve decided to be a lot more aggressive about blocking people who deliberately annoy me. I think the current political climate calls for it. There’s no reason to engage with people who are disrespectful and immediately make personal attacks against others. That doesn’t mean I block people who simply disagree. It means I block people who are sarcastic, rude, insulting, or just plain mean. I don’t deserve to be treated that way. No one does.

This one guy was going on about killing babies in the “whom”. Seriously, that was how he was spelling “womb”, as he sanctimoniously lectured us all about how babies shouldn’t be denied all of the “wonderful and beautiful” things in life. Yeah… like climate change, poverty, housing shortages, inflation, gun violence, domestic violence, political nightmares, rampant crime, extreme debt, and every child’s special hell– abuse. There are worse things than not being born, and I’m so sick and tired of reading comments from pro-life (birth) men, whose lives will never be personally affected by pregnancy or childbirth. A lot of them are only “pro-life” because they are upset about not having the choice to opt out of parenting and resent being forced to pay child support. See this video from a West Virginia legislator for more on that phenomenon:

“Chris Pritt owns his own law practice, Pritt Law, where he specializes in divorce, custody arguments and child support. But standing before the state legislature in West Virginia, his argument was a linguistic pretzel to justify eliminating all child support for the parent who gets custody of a child. According to Pritt, there are fathers who don’t want to be involved in the lives of their children.

It’s not just the men, though. On Twitter this morning, I read some MAGA woman’s comments about how miscarriages that require D&C aren’t abortions. Except a miscarriage is LITERALLY referred to as a “spontaneous abortion” in medical parlance. She also went on about how necessary medical treatment for situations like ectopic pregnancies aren’t abortions. Except they are. If there is a heartbeat in the embryo that is lodged outside of the uterus, and the pregnancy is terminated for medical reasons, it’s still technically an abortion. Abortion isn’t a “dirty word”. But these MAGA people want to term it as “murder”, which it’s not, and refer to it as a specific action involving ending a “healthy” pregnancy. People get abortions for all kinds of reasons that are important to them, none of which are anyone else’s business. Calling abortion “murder” is just a way to rile people up and get them to think irrationally. Murder is a legal term that involves people who have already been born.

I didn’t engage the MAGA woman, but one look at her Twitter page was all I needed to know that she isn’t someone I want to have anything to do with. So I blocked her, too. I considered blocking a guy who was demanding “proof” of a Twitter user’s story about a friend whose pregnancy ended in the 7th month of gestation and she couldn’t get appropriate medical care before she got sick. The guy actually demanded that she “prove” it to him. So, she blocked him. He was whining about being blocked, but other people were telling him that she doesn’t owe him personal information about her friend. Besides, there have been enough recent news stories about people being denied appropriate medical care in deep red states when they are miscarrying. That is a situation that will only get worse. And this is a world we want to bring innocent babies into? Where the females will be obliged to stay pregnant or denied medical assistance when they are in trouble because doctors are now terrified of being sued or arrested? Or the babies can be anonymously “dropped off” in a depository box, instead of handed to a human being? Maybe the boxes have saved lives, but I still don’t like them. I should be able to state that without some stranger laughing at me or calling me “stupid”.

I am all for allowing people to have abortions when they want or need them. It’s a personal healthcare decision, and restricting it causes a whole host of slippery slope situations that will cause big problems down the line, as well as a loss of privacy and freedom for already born people. People don’t seem to realize that forcing people to gestate will result in a lot of social problems that will affect everyone on every level. Because those new babies being born will have many needs… and we don’t meet all of the needs of people who have already been born as it is.

Moving on… a little levity for Monday…

I suspect Ex must be starting a new cycle of abuse, as she posted a picture of a man who appears to be #3 on social media with the following comment:

Oh how this touches my heart. I was adopted; my reunion was like this with my birth father, except he then refused to acknowledge me to his family. I am fortunate to have had a real Daddy to raise me and love me. He’s passed and I miss him so much! Hubby has to fill in on hugs! (interesting how she values her adoptive father, who by Bill’s account, was kind of non-commital to her and was always out at sea, but she denies her children access to their fathers, or replaces them when she gets divorced with inferior models, like #3)

My guess is that she and #3 may have hit a rough patch and she’s now making up with him… the cycle of abuse is starting again. But who knows?

I was also amused to see this comment from Ex, who apparently hasn’t heard of Duolingo… Duolingo does, in fact, offer what she seeks.

[her favorite author] does her homework and makes us do ours!!! I want to learn Gaelic but cannot find a program, not even BABEL has it. Anyone know of a good app or website or person I can learn SCOTTISH GAELIC, not Irish, from?!?! I’m of Scottish descent and want to know my own tongue!!!!

Anyway… Ex was born in Texas, not Scotland. I have lots of Scottish ancestry myself, but I am an American. So is Ex. And plenty of poison has come from Ex’s tongue, whether it’s through speaking, kissing, or giving someone head. So I think she knows enough of her own tongue, and should keep it to herself. 😉

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