healthcare, social media, stupid people

Alabama doctor gets “threats” after warning people on Facebook about COVID-19!

Hey guys… I know I’m on a short vacation, but I need to make a comment. And right now, Mr. Bill is about to take a shower, so I have a few minutes to vent about this.

A couple of days ago, I read a heartbreaking story about Dr. Brytney Cobia, a hospitalist in Alabama, who shared an emotional Facebook post about the realities some of the people who don’t get vaccinated against COVID-19 will face if they get sick. She wrote:

I’ve made a LOT of progress encouraging people to get vaccinated lately!!! Do you want to know how? I’m admitting young healthy people to the hospital with very serious COVID infections. One of the last things they do before they’re intubated is beg me for the vaccine. I hold their hand and tell them that I’m sorry, but it’s too late. A few days later when I call time of death, I hug their family members and I tell them the best way to honor their loved one is to go get vaccinated and encourage everyone they know to do the same. They cry. And they tell me they didn’t know. They thought it was a hoax. They thought it was political. They thought because they had a certain blood type or a certain skin color they wouldn’t get as sick. They thought it was ‘just the flu’. But they were wrong. And they wish they could go back. But they can’t. So they thank me and they go get the vaccine. And I go back to my office, write their death note, and say a small prayer that this loss will save more lives.

As always, I am an open book. Please bring me your questions and I will tell you everything I know and everything I don’t.

It’s not too late, but some day it might be.

It got picked up by multiple news outlets and shared in the article I found on MSNBC. I shared it on my page, and one of my friends, who is a nurse at the Mayo Clinic and has been taking care of COVID patients from the beginning, wrote about how she took care of a person who asked her if they were going to die that night. That person, who was unvaccinated and asked for the vaccine while hospitalized, didn’t die. However, another unvaccinated person who was being taken care of by my friend at the same time did die. Both were previously healthy people in their 40s. She still thinks about both of them, and countless others who have been under her care.

Then yesterday, a friend of mine and Bill’s– a Trump devotee from Alabama who was smart enough to get the vaccine– wrote that his daughter is currently in the hospital with COVID-19 and she is VERY sick. She was not vaccinated, so her life is now in danger. Our Trump loving friend– and he really is a friend we knew when we lived in northern Virginia– wrote a heartfelt post to his friends and family members about the vaccine, encouraging them to get it. Most of his friends were respectful and kind, although one referred to the vaccine as “poison” and felt free to opine about how things are in Europe. Bill needed to set her straight on that. I also added my two cents, which I rarely do on this guy’s Facebook, because his friends are even more conservative than some of my relatives are.

People– COVID is NOT a political thing. It’s a public health crisis. Vaccines have been around for hundreds of years, and they WORK. Is there a small chance of experiencing adverse effects? Yes, there are risks in everything we do. But your chances of getting very sick and dying decrease dramatically with the vaccine. I am a big believer in people making their own choices, but some folks are just plain being stupid about this and they are paying with their lives. And their choices are affecting so many other people.

Making matters worse is that some of the terrified people out there in Internet land, offended or angered by Dr. Cobia’s pleading on Facebook, have issued THREATS to her, and her mother! What the hell is wrong with people? It’s never okay to threaten people, especially when they’re being kind enough to tell you the TRUTH. Below is a quote from the Washington Post about Dr. Cobia’s Facebook crusade and the aftermath:

Cobia said that she initially “agreed to a few interviews to help spread the word because I think the message is so important,” but she and her mother have since received “a lot of harassing and threatening messages.”

“So I just need to take a step back from everything right now and let the post circulate and hope it does its job and changes some minds!”

Cobia, and her husband, who is a neurosurgeon, both got COVID last year. Cobia was 27 weeks pregnant with her second child at the time, and chose to deliver early out of precaution. So this is not just about a doctor treating people with the virus. It’s also about someone who got the virus and survived. She knows firsthand about it, although she was lucky enough to have a somewhat mild case. Cobia says she got the vaccine as soon as it was available and even breastfed afterwards.

Getting the vaccine doesn’t mean you won’t get COVID. However, it does make it a hell of a lot less likely that you’ll die from it or be hospitalized. And you are much less likely to be sitting in a hospital bed, holding hands with a doctor like Brytney Cobia, BEGGING for the vaccine, only to be told it’s too late, and you are forced to die alone.

Please… for the love of Christ, get your information from healthcare professionals and, if you can, consider getting vaccinated. When you get seriously ill, it doesn’t just affect you. It affects everyone around you, including the people who have to take care of you. And no matter what, DO NOT THREATEN PEOPLE WITH DEATH BECAUSE THEY SPEAK THE TRUTH! That is just insanity!

I hope the people who issue threats are caught and dealt with appropriately. There is absolutely no excuse for that!


Nowadays, even burgers are political…

A couple of days ago, I read about how several people working at Five Guys in Daphne, Alabama took it upon themselves not to serve some police officers who came in for dinner. Apparently, they cops didn’t have masks as they approached. They went back to their vehicles to get the masks and when they returned, one of the cops overheard a worker say, “I’m not serving them,” as other employees turned their backs on them. The officers took their business elsewhere, complained to the store’s management, and the incident became international news. The employees involved in the incident have all either been suspended or terminated, and everyone working at the Daphne, Alabama outlet of Five Guys has had to endure extra training.

I was left shaking my head as I read this story. I had originally shared it on my Facebook page with the comment, “Not cool.” A friend asked which part of the story wasn’t cool. My response was that the employees choosing not to serve the police officers wasn’t cool. He approved of that comment, as I figured he would. I have a feeling he thinks I’m a bleeding heart liberal through and through. The fact is, I’m really not that liberal about all things. I don’t like corrupt politicians, and there are plenty of those on either side of the political spectrum. Hell, I don’t like corrupt “PEOPLE”. I’m no Trump fan, as most people know, but that doesn’t mean I don’t embrace some conservative values, like doing one’s job when one is on the clock, being paid.

One of my very liberal friends decided to weigh in on the issue. She supported what the workers did, because of #blacklivesmatter and #defundthepolice. I had posted that not all cops are corrupt, but she maintained that the Five Guys workers had every right to turn the police officers’ mealtime into a political statement because some cops are corrupt. She also thinks that since this is now “news”, the people who decided to protest the police on company time have done a great service to the movement. I disagree, of course, and here’s why.

I don’t know much about Daphne, Alabama, and I know nothing about the people who chose to protest on company time. But I do know something about living in the South. A cursory look at Daphne on Google tells me that it’s kind of a suburb of Mobile, Alabama, which is a pretty good sized city. So maybe, if the people working in that restaurant have their own transportation, being fired from Five Guys isn’t a big deal. They can go out and get another job with ease. My friend also pointed out that it’s a “fast food” place, and those jobs are a dime a dozen, and that’s usually true, especially when you live in a city…

But it looks like Daphne isn’t the biggest town. I grew up in a town much the same size. I left there permanently over twenty years ago, and people there still remember me. That was BEFORE the Internet really took off, which has made the world a smaller place than it used to be. Although I haven’t seen the names or pictures of the people who protested, my guess is that local people know who was involved. That might make getting a new job in Daphne problematic for them. Consider, too, that the people in that town probably don’t appreciate such a stunt. Based on the negative comments on the restaurant’s Facebook page, it looks like maybe the “message” sent by the protest was lost on the local populace, who would be the people I would expect the protesters were targeting.

Again– if the people involved have access to their own transportation, maybe it’s not a big deal. But what if one or more of them has to walk to and from work? It can be a real pisser if your commute by foot goes from a half a mile to two or three miles, especially in July in Alabama. Does Daphne have a bus system? I don’t know. Taxis can be very expensive. So is gas, especially if you don’t have a job. On the other hand, that could also work the other way. Perhaps it’s a minor point.

Of course, I don’t know anything about the ex employee protesters. Maybe the Five Guys gig was a second job that provided extra cash, rather than a main stream of income. Maybe they could afford to lose the job. But what if they couldn’t? Now they’ll probably have to look for new work during a pandemic. That might not be easy for them, and again, I’m not sure what they did really changed anyone’s hearts and minds about the police.

Another thing that occurred to me is that the workers were basically protesting unfair treatment and discrimination by the police toward black and brown people. It seems kind of strange to me that their response to that problem is to turn around and do the same thing. Fight discrimination by being discriminatory toward a group of people who do police work? Even if the police officers were exemplary cops who had made the town safer? And even now, a few days later, it’s not exactly clear to me if that was what they were doing when they turned their backs on the cops. At first, it seemed like the protest was about #blacklivesmatter, but then I saw something about face masks and how the cops didn’t have them at first. So were they being refused service due to a lack of masks? Or was this a statement on the corrupt nature of the police? Did they plan to do this in advance, or was this a spontaneous decision? What was the message?

Finally, the very essence of working in a fast food restaurant is service. If you’re a fast food worker who chooses not to serve someone simply on the basis of their employment, you’re not doing your job. For that reason, you deserve to be fired, and other employers would be within their rights not to hire you for a similar position. Maybe that’s okay. Maybe the people who got fired don’t want or need a similar position. BUT– my guess is that if they do decide they want to work at one of Five Guys’ competitors or any other service related job, this issue will arise anew. Cops are people too, and they have needs. If you’re unwilling or unable to serve them, then you’re not a good fit for the service industry.

I don’t blame people for being angry about the way some police officers have treated some people. I also know about a certain very famous football player who famously “takes a knee” when the “Star Spangled Banner” is played. Many people who take issue with Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel in protest say that he shouldn’t be protesting while on the clock. Personally, I don’t care one way or the other if he kneels, because I don’t follow football, and ultimately when he plays football, he is doing his job. Kneeling while the anthem plays may be disrespectful, but it doesn’t affect his actual work. However, Colin Kaepernick is also a famous football star, and he can probably afford to use his platform in such a way. Google tells me that he makes about $7 million a year, and I see that he recently signed a deal with Disney. He’s not easily replaced. People who work in fast food restaurants, unfortunately, are not usually quite so special.

As I write this, I am reminded of an incident that happened in Lexington, Virginia at a restaurant called The Red Hen. The proprietor there declined to serve Sarah Huckabee Sanders based on her employees’ reluctance. But, in that situation, the restaurant’s co-owner ultimately made the decision. It was her business, and therefore her right to make that call. The same is not true in the Five Guys situation. My family is actually from a community not far from Lexington; it’s the town where I got married. When I go back there, I plan to stop by The Red Hen.

In the Five Guys incident, the people who took a stand were employees of a franchise. Their decision to refuse to serve the police officers affects the chain as a whole, because it became international news. Moreover, it’s not like the owner of the restaurant said, “It’s alright with me if you protest on company time.” Those workers apparently took it upon themselves to make personal statements that affected their place of business. In the Red Hen incident, the employees had the backing of the person who had the most to lose. Also, Sarah Sanders Huckabee is a public figure– one person whose actions are definitely protest worthy. The police officers in Daphne are simply folks who do police work for a living. Maybe one or more of them have done protest worthy things, but it’s not clear from the news stories I’ve seen so far.

I do think that the United States criminal justice system must be reformed. People have every right to be angry that George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many others have been killed by police officers. I see nothing wrong with protesting on one’s own time. The Five Guys employees had every right to protest. But doing it while on the job was just asking to be fired. Maybe they don’t care about that, but they might want to consider that it could affect their prospects of being hired by someone else. That might make it more difficult to be an effective protester in the long run.

Anyway, here in Germany, things are pretty good. There are problems here, but police officers are generally respected and respectable. And because people have been cooperating, the COVID-19 issue isn’t so bad here. Bill and I even got to enjoy a lovely lunch on Sunday… and we were told we did NOT need our masks AT ALL, even to go inside to use the rest room. That was really awesome– although as far as I know, masks are still required in shops and on public transportation.

I think Americans can take a lesson from the Germans. Mutual respect and consideration is a good thing and it leads to a better life for everyone.

true crime

Repost from 2016: Huntsville mom suspected of murdering her two kids before committing suicide…

I originally posted this on my old blog on June 8, 2016. I am reposting it to show how tragedy can strike when a religious partnership falls apart.

Today’s post is admittedly full of speculation based on incomplete information.  I fully admit that it’s entirely speculation and opinion.  As details emerge about this case, I may decide to update or write a follow-up post.

I just became aware of a truly tragic case in Huntsville, Alabama.  It appears that a mother in Huntsville, Alabama has murdered her two children and killed herself. 

According to news reports, Connie Henriksen Foster, 35, was embroiled in a custody fight with her ex-husband, David House, over their two kids, Layla House, 10, and David “Danger” House, 8.   Mrs. Foster and Mr. House were said to have “tension” between them.  The two, who lived around the corner from each other and divorced in 2011, were due in court July 11th.

Mrs. Foster and Mr. House shared custody of the kids and each had them on alternating weeks.  In March of last year, David House sought a modification of their custody arrangement because he believed his ex-wife was using the schedule to interfere with his parenting time.  He also sought a reduction in child support, citing a “material change in circumstance”.

Mrs. Foster argued that because of her ex husband’s work schedule, she had the children more than 50 percent of the time.  She was seeking full physical custody of the kids.  She was also requesting that the judge maintain the child support as it was because, Mrs. Foster claimed, her ex husband’s salary had increased since the divorce.

In several news reports, it’s stated that Mrs. Foster asked that Mr. House be found in criminal contempt because he failed “to take the children to church during his week with them and for failing to ensure that they completed their homework.”  It turns out Mrs. Foster was a devout Mormon and her ex husband, apparently, had either outright left the church or become inactive.  Her faith was evidently so important that she wanted her ex husband punished by the court for not taking their kids to church during his parenting time.

I found out about this case from a post on RfM.  The anonymous original poster claims to have some inside information on the people involved and writes that the mother was extremely stressed out over the custody battle and feeling like “damaged goods”.  While none of the news reports mention the mother feeling like “damaged goods”, I did think it was interesting that the RfM poster, who claims to have been in the same stake, made that comment.  If he or she does actually know the people involved and is in a position to see the family dynamics, I think the comment about “damaged goods” could be very telling.

Now… details about this case are still developing and I don’t claim to know anything at all about the people involved.  It could turn out that this wasn’t a murder-suicide.  It could have been an accident.  All I know is what I’ve read, what I’ve experienced and observed, and what I’ve learned about the culture in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  My comments are based only on my opinion, personal experiences, and impressions, which may not be based on the reality of this particular case.  I admit they are totally conjecture and I could be wrong

What struck me about this case, though, was the idea that the mother may have been driven to kill over intense shame.  When I first met Bill in the wake of his divorce, he was saturated with shame.  He even referred to himself as “damaged goods”.  I was puzzled by that comment.  Before I met Bill, I’d never heard it before.  In the fifteen years since our first date, I’ve heard the term “damaged goods” many times, usually among church folks.  It refers to a deep sense of shame some people have over failing to measure up somehow.

Bill was very distraught and felt extremely guilty over his divorce.  At the time, he was still an active member of the LDS church and had bought into its teachings about family.  More than once, Bill mentioned a quote that is often falsely attributed to David O. McKay:

“No other success in life can compensate for failure in the home”

As a Mormon, Bill really took this quote to heart.  He feared I would judge him negatively for his divorce.  He believed everyone judged him for falling short; when in reality, he was in an untenable situation and had survived unbelievable abuse for almost ten years.  Mormonism, which he and his ex wife had practiced for three years before their marriage finally crumbled, had not helped at all.  If anything, his church involvement increased his anxiety, shame, and negative self-image.  The church was not a source of comfort for Bill.  It was a source of intense stress. 

I also think that like many people, Bill had a magnified impression that people even cared about what he was going through.  Most normal people have too much to worry about in their own lives to be overly concerned about someone else’s private affairs.  Unfortunately, stress, anxiety, and depression can lead people to have very distorted views.  Having suffered from depression and anxiety myself, I remember how screwed up my thinking became.  Things that should not have fazed me would heap up on my conscience, adding to my stress level and further skewing my perspective to the point of overwhelming me.  I didn’t see things as they really were.  In the days after his divorce, I don’t think Bill saw things as they were, either.  Perhaps Mrs. Foster was feeling similarly judged and overwhelmed.

Because Bill had been somewhat indoctrinated and didn’t want to give up, he tried to keep going to church for awhile.  After we married and he’d gone completely inactive, he stayed on the membership rolls for four more years.  He didn’t want to upset his kids.  That seems really laughable to me now, since the idea of family actually means nothing to my husband’s daughters.  If it did, the kids wouldn’t have had such an easy time of ditching their father simply because of divorce and the fact that he doesn’t believe in Mormonism.  

I know it’s not how things are in every Mormon family, but I have seen this theme of shame over falling away from the church crop up repeatedly.  It’s one way families pressure everyone to stay in the fold.  If a church member decides to go inactive or believe in another religion, they will likely find themselves ostracized.  Friends and other church members may decide to avoid them.  Family might even disown them or try to turn them into a reconversion project.  There is tremendous pressure within the LDS church to keep everyone in line and on the same page, even after divorce.  Those who don’t stay in line can lose access to loved ones. It sounds like this intense pressure to stay in the fold could have been a factor in this couple’s split, as it was in my husband’s split with his daughters. 

I don’t think Bill’s ex wife actually cared that much about Bill’s decision to leave the church; I doubt she believes in it, either.  It simply made a good parental alienation tool.  What matters is that his daughters believed in the church and acted accordingly when Bill “strayed”.  Had the Ex been a truly devout church member, my husband’s decision to leave the religion may have made her feel intense shame.  However, Ex has no shame, so she simply used the concept of shame to try to control Bill and keep him and their kids under her control. 

Now, if Mrs. Foster was a very devout Mormon, it’s possible that she felt deeply ashamed by her divorce and panicked that her ex husband was influencing their kids to stray.  Mormons believe that as long as everyone believes and obeys the church’s teachings, they will be together after they die.  So that belief, along with feeling stressed, ashamed, and overwhelmed, could have possibly led Mrs. Foster to take the extreme actions it appears she took.  On the other hand, she had remarried, and judging only by her Facebook photos, appeared to be in a good relationship.     

A truly loving and respectful relationship between non-abusive people doesn’t involve shunning, disowning, and manipulation.  It seems to me that if my husband’s daughters had ever loved their father, they would not have disowned him.  But, even as I write that, I know it’s very likely that their mother told them outright lies about him and subjected them to intense pressure to disengage.  The Mormon church reinforces that pressure to stick with true believing members.  My husband’s daughters were no doubt counseled to avoid people who offered a different perspective or, heaven forbid, had abandoned the church.  It’s possible that Mrs. Foster felt pressured to keep the kids away from her ex husband.  He was obviously fighting back, though, and it may turn out that he was successfully making a case for being allowed to influence the children.  She may have seen murder and suicide as the only way to protect them from an apostate.   

Many divorced couples like to pretend the previous marriage never happened and prefer to try to replace their children’s parents with a new partner.  After divorce, in some religious families, new so-called “worthy” spouses step in and are even presented as the actual parents of kids born to other partners.  It’s like they want to whitewash the past.  This phenomenon doesn’t just happen in Mormon families, but it does seem to happen more often in families where religion is involved.  There is a great deal of pressure to live up to the right image.  Those who fall short can end up feeling deep shame.  It does at least sound like Mrs. Foster and Mr. House were trying to co-parent, which is more than I can say for some divorced couples with kids.

Of course, it’s likely that a lot of people will immediately suspect that the woman’s ex husband actually did the killing because people tend to be very cynical about men.  One person on RfM has already posted that the story seems “fishy” and we may find out that it wasn’t a murder-suicide, but a triple homicide.  Time will tell.  Personally, I am withholding judgment on Mr. House until more information is available.  At this point, I see no reason to believe he is responsible for his ex wife’s and children’s deaths.  Police have said this case appears to be a murder-suicide perpetrated by the mother and that’s what I will assume it is until new information indicates otherwise.

Again, I really don’t know much at all about this particular case and, to any friends or family members who happen to read this, I want to express sincere condolences.  Regardless of the root cause, whatever really happened to Mrs. Foster and her children is a terrible and senseless tragedy.  However, if there is any truth to the allegation that Mrs. Foster was feeling ashamed and overwhelmed over the divorce and her ex husband’s refusal to take the kids to church, I do think it points to a very toxic situation.  Shame can indirectly kill. 

Edited to add… I just checked out Mrs. Foster’s Facebook page.  She has a link to this article about finding a mate who loves God more than he or she loves you.  It was posted just three days ago.  It appears that she was also planning to move.  She posted a public listing for a house along with the comment that she had “upgraded” her husband and now it was time to upgrade the house.  

Here is a follow up to that post from June 2016, posted two days later.

Life is the ugliest thing you’ve ever seen!

This morning, as I was catching up on RfM, I was reading a thread about the Huntsville, Alabama mom who apparently killed her two kids and herself a few days ago.  Apparently, I’m not the only one who suspects that the mom may have decided to end it all due to the custody battle and her ex husband possibly leading their kids away from Mormonism.

One person wrote about how his TBM ex wife left him after a very long relationship, mainly due to her belief that God is more important than love.  Granted, this person’s post wasn’t very long and didn’t include a lot of information, but basically he wrote that he and his ex wife had a lot in common and were very compatible.  According to the poster, a bishop told his ex wife that God is more important than one’s spouse.  So she went to the temple, prayed, fasted, and decided that a divorce was the answer, because she needed a man to go through the temple with her and take her to the Celestial Kingdom.  The poster concluded that the Mormon church ruins families. 

Bill’s ex wife did something similar before they split.  She went to the nearest temple, which at that time was in St. Louis, Missouri.  She later claimed that while she was praying in the Celestial Room, Heavenly Father told her to divorce Bill.  She later told him about it– and, for the record, I think Heavenly Father was dead on– and used that as one of her excuses to split up.  She said that Heavenly Father had told her she would not be alone, but she wouldn’t be with Bill.  Go Heavenly Father!   

Bill was, of course, devastated.  In retrospect, the divorce was the best thing that ever happened to him.  But he loved his kids and knew that if he divorced their mother, he’d eventually lose them.  The thought of not having access to his kids was crushing for Bill.  So he asked his ex wife if she thought he was a good husband and father.  She said, in a very cold tone of voice, “Maybe to another family.”  I’m sure she said this as a way to humiliate Bill.  I can only imagine how powerful yet disgusted she felt, seeing him on his knees crying and trying to convince her to work on their relationship. 

Looking back on it, I think Ex was right.  Bill is a good husband to someone else and, given a chance, would have been a fantastic father.  But she didn’t say that to make him feel better; she said it to diminish him and make him feel beneath her.   

Now, I still don’t actually know why the Huntsville mom apparently decided to kill herself and her children.  However, I have read some follow up articles that indicate she may have been very depressed and anxious.  I have also read that she was very TBM. 

What a lot of people unfamiliar with Mormonism don’t understand is that, for many women, getting to the temple is paramount.  The temple is the key to the Celestial Kingdom.  Women can’t get to the Celestial Kingdom on their own.  They need a temple worthy husband to get them there.  For that reason, they tend to exert a lot of pressure on their husbands to stay faithful and worthy.  The women keep their men on a straight and narrow path and make it very costly for them to stray from it.  A husband and father who leaves the church is very dangerous to a woman who believes in the Mormon gospel with all her heart.  But after divorce, the woman no longer has as much control.  Divorce laws, at least outside of Utah, make it difficult for ex wives to keep ex husbands on the straight and narrow.   A man who doesn’t automatically acquiesce to the mother of his children and realizes that, as a father, he also has rights, is dangerous to a TBM woman who hopes to make it to the highest echelon of Heaven. 

My guess is that Mrs. Foster and her ex husband were married in the temple and had been sealed.  One of Mrs. Foster’s complaints after her divorce was that her ex husband wasn’t taking the children to church.  That makes me think that he must have been in the process of leaving the church, but perhaps hadn’t resigned.  Mrs. Foster was probably not sealed to her second husband.  She was probably sealed to her first husband, who was slipping into unworthiness.  To a very devout Mormon woman, being sealed to a man who can’t take her to the Celestial Kingdom is potentially devastating… depending, of course, on how much one believes in Mormonism.  From what I’ve read, Mrs. Foster was very devoted to the church.

When a Mormon couple divorces, if they have been sealed to each other, they are divorced only in the eyes of the law.  They are not divorced in the eyes of the church.  Divorcing in the eyes of the church requires what is known as a sealing cancellation and, from what I understand, sealing cancellations are difficult to get.  A woman must have a worthy priesthood holder who can step in and permission must be granted by high ranking church authorities.  She can only be sealed to one man.  And, if she has children with an ex husband and is sealed to him, the children will remain with him.  I have also heard that any other children born to the woman after the divorce will also “belong” to the first husband in the afterlife.  Divorced Mormon males, on the other hand, can be sealed to more than one woman. 

I have heard from multiple sources that not even a resignation from an ex husband cancels a sealing.  The reason for that is because there is a chance the ex Mormon husband could decide to come back to the church.  If he comes back and is re-baptised, all of his former “blessings” would be restored.  On the other hand, I have also heard that resignation cancels everything.  When it comes to sealings and resignations, the jury seems to be out as to what Mormons actually believe.  However, some male posters on RfM have resigned and, when an ex wife decides to get sealed to a subsequent spouse, they’ve gotten a letter from her bishop informing him of the new sealing and asking if there is any reason why she shouldn’t be allowed to be sealed to her next husband. 

Bill has never gotten a letter from Ex’s bishop.  My guess is that she hasn’t been sealed to #3 because she probably throws it in his face that she’s sealed to Bill.  This is the kind of thing she does to humiliate her partners and keep them in line.  She triangulates and keeps people competing for her attention.  She filters and skews information and never lets anyone in her sphere speak directly to one another.  The end result is that they burn with resentment toward each other, but never actually talk to each other and compare notes.  But again, I doubt Ex actually believes in the Mormon church. She simply uses it as a means of controlling other people. 

Mrs. Foster, on the other hand, was apparently a true believer and was distraught over the breakup of her marriage and ensuing custody issues.  She was not keeping the kids from their father, at least not initially.  She did not appear to be trying to poison them against their dad, as Bill’s ex wife did.  She may have been afraid they would fall under her ex husband’s influence and abandon the church, which would mean that they’d also be abandoning her in eternity.

Again… this is all purely conjecture on my part.  For all I know, Mrs. Foster and her kids could have been murdered by someone or they could have died as a result of a freak accident.  We still don’t have the whole story as to what actually happened to them.  But based on the fact that she was a devout Mormon and her ex husband was fighting with her over custody issues, I think it’s possible that she became depressed and overwhelmed at the prospect of her kids not making it to Mormon Heaven with her.  She feared them losing the gospel and not being with her in the afterlife.  She may have thought that murder and suicide was the only way to protect them from the “evil influence” of an apostate. 

To someone who knows nothing about Mormonism, and I’d venture to guess that many people don’t, this kind of reasoning seems ridiculous.  I will admit, when I first married Bill, the whole sealing aspect of the church was a bit upsetting.  I realized that on some level, Bill’s narcissistic ex wife thought she had an eternal hold on him and they’d be together after we’re all dead.  But then I realized that the whole “temple marriage” thing is a bunch of hooey.  Even if it were true, Bill wouldn’t be going to the same place Ex is, simply because he left the church and won’t be going back.  The whole temple marriage/sealing shit is mainly a way to keep church members obedient.  But to those who believe in it, the concept of forever families is very powerful.  There’s great pressure for Mormons to try to be perfect.  Divorce and apostasy are sources of great shame for some members. 

I think the concept of temple marriage is a source of significant stress for those who put a lot of stock in it.  Add in a bonafide mental illness like clinical depression and generalized anxiety disorder and you could end up with someone driven to the type of desperation that can lead to suicide, homicide, or both.  Mrs. Foster may have felt that this was the only way she and her children could be together in the wake of the divorce.  Or she may have been exhausted fighting for control of the kids and determined that killing them and herself was one way to take control, once and for all. 

Many people who read this blog may think that I’m overly interested in Mormonism.  I’m sure more than one TBM has stumbled across some of my posts and been very offended by them.  I doubt most church members think about this stuff very deeply.  For one thing, they don’t have time!  Life keeps them busy.  They have kids, jobs, and church callings to occupy them.  I, on the other hand, have a lot of time to think and research.  I have come to the conclusion that in many families, as long as everyone in a family loves the church or is willing to go through the motions, Mormonism can work. However, if someone in the family decides the church isn’t for them, problems arise.  That’s why I think Mormonism can destroy families.  And, if there is any truth to what I’ve written today, my guess is that the church had a hand in destroying Connie Foster and her family. 

In the same RfM thread I linked, another poster wrote:

“Trying to get a custody agreement changed from “shared” to “sole” simply on the basis of ‘he’s not mormon anymore’ is not a slam dunk. It’s easy to speculate that her attorney would have let her know this. If she feared that she wasn’t going to have her way, and that her husband (who was probably making in-roads with the kids on the Sundays he had them) would still be in their lives, I can see where with the appropriate derangement she could justify taking the kids’ lives and then checking out to be with them.”

He concluded his post by writing, “Life is the ugliest thing you’ve ever seen.”  Thinking about this situation makes me conclude that he’s probably right.

true crime

Women in Alabama ought to be up in arms!

Alabama is in the news again for its increasingly misogynistic views and policies regarding females, particularly those of color. In May of this year, Alabama’s female, Republican governor, Kay Ivey, signed an unconstitutional bill into law that outright bans most abortions at all stages of pregnancy.

Meanwhile, the Internet is abuzz today due to the case of 28 year old Marshae Jones, who was five months pregnant with a girl last December when she was shot in the stomach during a fight with another woman. The fetus did not survive the shooting, which would have been sad enough. What really has people alarmed, though, is that Ms. Jones has now been charged with manslaughter and was just released from jail on a $50,000 bond.

How can this be, you ask? Well, police say that Ms. Jones started the fight that got her shot in the stomach. She did not take steps to keep herself out of harm’s way. Because she was pregnant, they conclude that she should have done all she could to protect her unborn fetus. Since she allegedly started the fight that ended with her being shot and her unborn child’s death, police reason that she should be charged with manslaughter.

But I say hold on there, coppers… what about the woman who did the shooting? Ebony Jemison, who was fighting with Ms. Jones in the parking lot of a Dollar General store over the paternity of the unborn child, was initially charged with manslaughter in the death of the fetus. That charge was dismissed after the grand jury failed to indict her. So evidently, Ebony Jemison is now free, even though she shot someone. However, based on reports, she did shoot in self-defense, as she was evidently trying to get away from Jones when she fired her weapon.

Now… having read about this case, I’m pretty dumbfounded. Do I think Marshae Jones was right to get into a violent altercation with another woman over the father of her unborn baby? No, not particularly. Pregnant or not, I think it’s stupid to get into violent fights with other people, particularly if they’re packing heat. However, losing a pregnancy should not be a crime. I’m sure Ms. Jones had no idea she would be shot and her unborn child would be killed. This situation, like others involving pregnant women that have resulted in incarceration, seems to put pregnant women at a different legal status than other people. That’s not fair, and it could set a horrible precedent for other women who might lose a pregnancy that others might deem was due to their negligence.

Complicating matters is the fact that Ms. Jones is a black woman, and I think we know what kind of record Alabama has towards promoting the rights of people of color. This situation is appalling on many levels and reeks a bit of The Handmaid’s Tale to me. Before you know it, pregnant women in Alabama will wind up practically incarcerated by their own accord, trying to avoid being arrested for losing a pregnancy.

The officer who was quoted about this case, Lieutenant Danny Reed of the Pleasant Grove Police Department, had this to say: “When a five-month pregnant woman initiates a fight and attacks another person, I believe some responsibility lies with her as to any injury to her unborn child. That child is dependent on its mother to try to keep it from harm, and she shouldn’t seek out unnecessary physical altercations.” There’s something about that statement that totally skeeves me out. He sounds like a legalistic cretin who hates women and wants to control them.

I’m glad to see people are outraged about this and saying “Hell no.” This is a slippery slope we really don’t need to be on. I’m also glad to read that prosecutors may choose not to prosecute Marshae Jones for the death of her unborn daughter. It’s not that I don’t think what Jones did was stupid and the loss of her baby was avoidable. It’s just that this could really cause problems for a lot of other pregnant women. Pregnant and breastfeeding women in the United States are already under a microscope, with people calling the cops on them if they think they’re doing anything to harm their unborn fetuses. I’m reminded of Tasha Adams, the woman in Toad Suck, Arkansas, who was arrested when a waitress called the cops on her for drinking while breastfeeding.

Pregnant women should NEVER be prosecuted for losing a pregnancy, regardless of whether or not it was her fault. That’s is a dangerously slippery slope and it will cause a lot of problems. Where do you stop? Should we prosecute women for smoking, drinking, walking after dark alone, or not wearing a seatbelt while pregnant? Should we prosecute them for getting into car accidents, falling down stairs while wearing high heels, or eating food that makes them sick? You see where I’m going with this? And again, I really doubt Ms. Jones knew Ms. Jemison was going to shoot her.

Incidentally, this case predates Alabama’s new law against abortion, so it has no official bearing on this case. However, the fact that people in Alabama want to force women to be pregnant when they may not want to be is a good indicator of how women are treated there. Makes me glad I don’t live there myself… although they obviously could use some more blue voters.

condescending twatbags

“I want to protect our children. All of them!”

This morning, as I was trying to work the stiffness out of my lower back and coaxing Zane to stop being an attention whore and eat his breakfast, I happened to read a super sad story on Huffington Post entitled “I Wish I’d Had A ‘Late-Term Abortion’ Instead Of Having My Daughter”. The article was shared by a friend of mine who is a nurse, so I knew it would be worth the read.

At age 17, Dina Zirlott was a high school junior, an honor student, a varsity cheerleader, and show choir singer. One day, she invited a male friend over. While they were watching TV, he started running his hand up her thigh. She asked him to stop, but he wouldn’t. She got up to go into the kitchen for some water. He followed, and then raped her. She told no one about the attack.

Following the rape, Dina’s grades plummeted. She got sick, lost weight, quit all of her extracurricular activities, and was so despondent that she considered suicide. Two weeks into her senior year, she quit school, because she was forced to see her rapist in the hallways.

One day, about eight months after the rape, Dina’s mother found a book about recovering from rape wrapped in newspaper under Dina’s bed. Concerned about what her daughter was reading, Dina’s mom confronted her daughter, then took her to a gynecologist. The doctor ran tests for diseases and pregnancy. Dina’s pregnancy test was positive. An ultrasound revealed that the fetus was a girl and, tragically, had many birth defects that were inconsistent with life. Dina’s unborn child had hydranencephaly, which meant that she was missing a significant portion of her brain. The doctor explained that in the womb, the baby would develop because her brainstem was intact. But she would be born blind, deaf, and cognitively stunted. She would have seizures, and would likely suffer from diabetes insipidus and hypothermia. Then, after significant suffering, the baby would eventually die.

Dina was living in Alabama when she was pregnant. At the time, it was legal to have an abortion up to the time at which a fetus was viable, somewhere around 24 to 26 weeks. However, Dina’s fetus was already beyond that point and, even if she could afford to travel to another state to have an abortion, she lacked the money for the procedure itself. Any attempts to end the pregnancy would also be stalled by red tape.

Dina’s daughter, Zoe, was born on October 27, 2005, when Dina was 18 years old. Months later, Zoe died in a hospital, cradled in Dina’s stepfather’s arms. During her short life, she’d endured multiple medical procedures and was on many drugs to treat her vast array of medical problems. Even though Dina was full of love for her baby, and she has since had three more daughters, she has been “consumed” by grief. If a late term abortion had been an option for Dina, she says she definitely would have opted for it. It would have spared her, and her baby, a lot of pain.

I couldn’t resist reading the comments on this piece. Most of them were very compassionate. But then I ran across one that left me scratching my head. It was written by a man named Danny who apparently resents the government telling him that he must protect his children by putting them in seat belts.

So then why do people make laws forcing me to put a seat belt on my child? Either, as a society we protect the children that cannot protect themselves, or we do not. I love how liberals make laws that say I cannot smoke in a restaurant, buy a sugar drink that is too big, I must wear a seat belt, I must wear a helmet, I must buckle up my kids, but it is no ones business if a women kills a baby after 6 or 7 months in the womb except the mothers. Why does it matter to you If I wear a seat belt? Or a helmet? I am not bothering you. I am not effecting [sic] your life at all. And if the life of a child is not the business of society, then why must I buckle them up in a car. Why is it your business if I spank a child? It’s mine! I made it. You didn’t. If I want to smack it around what do you care? I want to protect our children. All of them! If the baby can survive out of the womb then it is too late for abortion. Sorry.

I guess what Danny is trying to say is that we have laws that require the parents of already born children to take care of them in a certain way. And telling men that they have no say over the lives of unborn children is somehow hypocritical, since the government “butts in” with laws about how he takes care of his children. Except children who are already born are not in the same situation unborn children are. An unborn child is still a part of its mother. It’s the biological mother who is going to be dealing with the gestation of the child, and sorry, but until the baby is born, it should be entirely her decision as to whether or not she wants to be pregnant. That’s just my opinion, of course.

The man who made this comment got a number of responses. Someone asked him what he had done to make life better for children. Much to everyone’s surprise, the guy claimed:

I have 2 adopted children. My daughter I adopted at 3 she is 22 and my son was 1 when we adopted him he is now 21. We Fostered a girl from grades 8-12 , She is currently a senior at Texas Tech. Growing up My parents fostered 3 kids while raising me and my Brother. He has one adopted son. My parent spent 35 years working with youth in our church. I currently, volunteer as a football coach for elementary boys because I love the game and teaching young boys to be young men. I am on the board of 2 local charities. One is dedicated to youth in sports and education and the other is to collect Bicycles for the youth in the area. Last year we collected 2600 bikes for local youth. I spent 2 years working for a charity that helped high school dropouts get a high school diploma through the largest charter school in Texas. And of course I donate to and work with my local church on a variety of projects including sponsoring a golf tournament (through my company) that raised $6000 for the Matamoros Children’s Home in Matamoros Mexico.

If he’s telling the truth, good on him. But I think I’d be more impressed and interested in his opinion about Dina’s story if he spent some time taking care of profoundly disabled babies who spend every day in pain because they were not allowed to die peacefully. It also surprises me that this guy, who apparently does a lot for disadvantaged children, has such a narrow viewpoint. Is it really compassionate to force extreme measures on profoundly disabled and sick babies? Everybody must die at some point. We offer much more dignity to our pets than we do fellow human beings.

The guy later came back with another comment, pretty much indicating that his argument is against hypocrisy and supporting the “right to choose”. He had more to say about those oppressive seat belt laws, too. As you can see, he’s not exactly the most eloquent writer:

Many state are enacting laws that do not let you smoke in your own home. I am not a smoker, I hate the smell. I live in a town that still allows it in restaurants, I choose not to go those places. But I support their right to choose. My whole point is Many that support the right for a woman to choose want to limits the rights of others to choose in many areas of their life. I am talking late term abortion. Many say a woman should be able to choose to terminate the life of that child. 100% the baby dies. On the other hand You say I cannot choose sugar drinks because I MAY get diabetes. but not 100% I cannot choose to not wear a seat belt, because it is possible that one day I MAY get in an accident. Not 100%. That if I got in a accident I could be permanently Injured not 100%. Check your hypocrisy. You want to choose what you want but limit my choice if you disagree with it. On your seat belt issue. I dated a girl that got in a car wreck not wearing a seat belt and was paralyzed from the waste down. However, The car that hit her came from the other side of the road. The radio call was the serious injuries are in the Convertible. Her car was not convertible, the other car ripped her roof off and was determined the seat belt would have decapitated her. Nothing is 100% except abortion and it is 100% death.

So… because you are “forced” to wear seat belts, you think women should always be forced to give birth, huh? Well, I, for one, fully support your “right” to drive around without a seat belt or ride a motorcycle without a helmet. You go right ahead, buddy.

He continues with this:

You have made a bunch of assumptions about me. The one that is true is I do not like to be told what to do. But I do not believe I should be telling others what to do. I do not know where I have ever demanded what a woman does with her body. In our world, we like to live in the black and white and not the grey. This is also where our division comes from. I do not believe in abortion, but I do understand that not everyone believes as I do and I recognize the difference. I am not for the world living under the rules of Danny. In an abortion, the grey area that pro choice people forget or overlook is that, at some point in a pregnancy it is no longer a fetus it is a life that can live without the mother. At this point, we are not talking about a woman’s body, but her body and the life inside. And how to protect both. That is the only thing I have discussed here. I think that life is worth fighting for. I will tell you that I think ANY woman that is raped should take the morning after pill immediately. But if you wait until month 8, the rules change because you are not talking about a single woman’s body but another life as well.

Yeah, but in this case, the fetus had no chance at all of a meaningful life. She was born very sick, and she spent her short time on Earth in constant crisis. Not only was she probably in pain, her medical issues caused pain for her family and very likely ran up enormous medical bills. It would have been good if Dina had been able to go to the doctor right after she was raped and get the “morning after” pill. I am very glad to read that Danny supports letting women take that pill. A lot of “pro-birthers” don’t, even in cases of rape. But he continues to argue, even adding curious commentary about “marsupial abortion”. What the actual fuck?

Last year a woman that was 5 months pregnant went into early labor and had the baby in the car on the way to the hospital. The Boy just turned 1. So after 5 months, it starts to become a life, not a gut feeling. Marsupials Give birth to a live fetus that is undeveloped. The Fetus then need to attach to a teat to finish development. At what point would you think it okay to abort that baby? Before birth? After Birth but before leaving the pouch? There comes a time for all mammals that the fetus is viable. To completely ignore the life is wrong. I am not saying we should completely the mother, but once there a second viable life involved, it is no longer the woman’s body alone to be considered.

After several more comments from people who tried earnestly to get Danny to understand reason, he wrote this:

You are correct about abortion being unique and no other situation like it. Most have missed my point. We make all these laws to protect children. People assume I disagree with them. That is not always true. I think we should force parents to protect the children with belts and car seats. Because the children are not developed enough to care for themselves. Unfortunately we do need to force the parents to protect their kids. There comes a time in a pregnancy that the fetus is a viable baby. This is the truly hard part of the late term abortion. At what point do we protect that child from the parent? I am not trying to tell a woman what she can and cannot do to her own body, but when she is carrying another life, She becomes responsible for the child whether she wants to or not. And like an infant that we force the mother to put in a car seat because the baby cannot speak for itself , the baby in the womb needs someone to speak for it too.

What Danny doesn’t seem to realize, despite so many people trying so hard to explain it to him, is that women who have late term abortions are not having them for “shits and giggles”. Late term abortions are very expensive and difficult to get. They are virtually always done in situations like Dina’s, where giving birth to the baby would be crueler than having an abortion would be. There are worse things than death, you see. Living in extreme pain, especially as a helpless baby who doesn’t know what’s happening and can’t make any choices, would be one of those things… in my opinion, of course.

I do think I understand Danny’s arguments. I just think his arguments have little basis in reality or practicality, particularly when it comes to the abortion issue. He seems to think that allowing mothers to have choices over what happens to their bodies during pregnancy, or allowing them to decide what happens to their unborn fetuses, is a grave mistake. I have a feeling that, deep down, Danny thinks women are lesser beings than men are and should be controlled. Like so many men who feel the need to opine about abortion, he thinks he should have a say, when it’s NOT his health at stake and never could be. Biological men don’t have abortions. It’s simply not an issue they face, thanks to basic biology. That means they aren’t equal in this situation. They can’t be. Just like women can’t speak to what it’s like to have a prostate gland and will never suffer illnesses or issues caused by the prostate gland.

Sigh… I guess Danny gave up after that last comment. I wish men could get pregnant. I wish they could experience everything that goes along with gestating babies and childbirth. I think that would be fair. But, as most of us know, life is not fair. It’s not fair that Dina was raped and so traumatized by the assault that she didn’t seek help right after it happened. It’s not fair that Dina found out she was pregnant with a profoundly disabled baby on the same day she finally saw a doctor about the rape. It’s not fair that Dina was forced to have the baby and the birth resulted in more trauma, grief, and extremely expensive medical care. What’s especially not fair is that it sounds like Dina’s rapist was never punished for his role in this tragedy! It looks like he may have gotten off free and clear! Who dealt with the entire nightmare regarding Zoe’s birth? Dina did. The “father” was nowhere to be found when all of this was happening. So why the hell should he have any say? I think he shouldn’t.

Anyway… with any luck, Danny and his ilk will someday see the light. Or, barring that, maybe drive without a seatbelt and be ejected or something. I’m glad he adopted his kids. Don’t need more from his gene pool roaming around.