law, safety, true crime

But we don’t really need gun control, do we?

This morning, as I was taking down all the Christmas shit in my living room, Bill read me a very tragic news story coming out of Newport News, Virginia. I am very familiar with Newport News, as I grew up in Gloucester, Virginia, which isn’t that far away from there. I used to think of Newport News as kind of an exciting place, as it was a lot more populated than Gloucester was, and it had shopping malls. Now, I kind of think of it in less glowing terms, as there’s a lot of crime and random violence there, not to mention too much traffic. That’s been the case for a pretty long time.

The shocking story Bill told me about today involves a six year old boy. The first grader somehow got his hands on a firearm and took it to Richneck Elementary School. Yesterday, at about 2:00 PM, the boy shot his teacher, a woman in her 30s. Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew says they don’t know how the child got the handgun, but the shooting was not accidental. It happened in a classroom, after the child had an altercation with the teacher. She’s now at Riverside Regional Medical Center, being closely monitored by doctors, as she recovers from the wounds delivered by a six year old child. I am familiar with Riverside, having been there as a patient a couple of times myself.

ETA: Last night, I read that the teacher was identified as 25 year old Abby Zwerner. She is a fairly recent graduate of James Madison University and current resident of Williamsburg, Virginia, a town I know well. We even have a mutual Facebook friend.

ETA 2: It turns out our “mutual Facebook friend” is Abby’s aunt, whom I was friends with in high school. Six degrees of separation, I tell you. My friend shared a GoFundMe for Abby.

A news story about the shooting at Richneck Elementary School.

Richneck Elementary School serves about 550 students. There are metal detectors at the school, but up until now, students were checked randomly. I’m sure that policy will change, thanks to this incident. That will mean more hassles for the students, and another reminder that schools are not as safe as they once were. It’s also one more example as to why many talented adults might not want to go into education. Imagine this teacher, whose charges are among the youngest in school, being shot by a six year old! She probably thought she was working with a relatively safe population of children. Obviously, she can’t think that anymore.

I wish I could say I was rendered speechless by the news Bill delivered about this latest shooting. Sadly, having watched the violence unfolding in US schools over the past twenty plus years, I can’t say that this development is super surprising anymore. I don’t know what the hell has gotten into people in the United States, but it’s definitely a much more violent place than it was when I was coming of age. When I was in school, we didn’t need cops to be permanently stationed there to keep the peace. Sometimes my classmates would bring their guns to school, but only because they were going hunting, not because they wanted to shoot people.

Now, the boy has been arrested, and his future is in serious jeopardy. Fortunately, only the teacher was injured; no students or other staff members were hurt in the attack. The teacher’s condition is said to have improved somewhat over the course of the afternoon. I’m not sure what that means, as the teacher’s actual injuries haven’t been disclosed, other than to report that they were initially believed to be “life threatening”. One news report included the 911 call, which mentioned that the teacher was shot in the abdomen.

An update by Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew…

The superintendent of Newport News Public Schools, Dr. George Parker, said at the news conference that “we need to keep guns out of the hands of our young people.” Yeah, no shit. There are too many guns in our communities, and too many children are being exposed to gun violence. I don’t know a thing about this little boy, except that his life has now been forever altered. Does he even realize the seriousness of what he’s done?

I also wonder about his parents. Were they responsible for the fact that their child got ahold of a weapon and took it to school? Or was it a friend or a relative? Somehow, an adult let this child down, and now he’s going to have to pay for this action for the rest of his life, even if he doesn’t spend the rest of his childhood incarcerated. How did he learn how to use a gun?

According to the New York Times:

“I cannot control access to weapons,” Dr. Parker said. “My teachers cannot control access to weapons.” He added, “Today our students got a lesson in gun violence and what guns can do to disrupt not only an educational environment, but also a family, a community.”

Dr. Parker said school would be closed on Monday “as we work on the mental health of our staff and our students.”

It’s going to take a lot more than a day off school for the children to heal from this scary situation. Schools should be safe places for children. But then, homes should also be safe, and it doesn’t sound like the boy in this story has a safe home. I hope there will be criminal consequences for the person responsible for allowing this child to get his hands on a gun. This is a situation in which I do think prison time is entirely justified. Not only did this person put everyone at that school in danger by allowing a six year old access to a weapon, but he or she also ruined this child’s life before it’s even really begun. And that is tragic and, indeed, criminal!

If there is a bright side to this story, it’s that even though school shootings are very much on the rise, shootings perpetrated by very young children are still very rare. According to the New York Times, at this writing, there have only been 16 incidents since 1970 involving a child under age 10. This is based on research done by David Riedman, who founded the K-12 School Shooting Database after the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., in 2018. According to Riedman, there has only been one school shooting incident that involved someone younger than six years old. That incident happened in Memphis, Tennessee in 2013, when a 5 year old kindergartner discharged a firearm in his school’s cafeteria. No one was injured in that incident.

Anyway… I still don’t like Newport News, because it’s always been kind of crime ridden and congested. Now it has the distinction of being a place where a six year old can bring a gun on school grounds and open fire on his teacher. That is extremely and profoundly heartbreaking on so many levels. I pray the teacher is able to recover, and this child gets the intense help and intervention he obviously so desperately needs. I also wish the staff, students, and faculty at Richneck Elementary School all the best as they process what has happened. No wonder so many parents would rather homeschool these days!

I don’t want to just offer thoughts and prayers, because that seems to be a very trite thing to do… but I don’t know what else to do, other than shake my head and feel completely shocked and dismayed at the state of the world these days. It’s just terrifying, and so very sad.

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complaints, musings, poor judgment, true crime

What would you have Skylar Mack do?

I know I can and should write about how today is the very last day Trump will be called “president”. Or, at least he has to wait four years before he runs again, which I hope will never happen. I do have some thoughts on Trump’s departure from the White House. I also realize that things aren’t going to noticeably improve for awhile. It takes time for the stench of big business to clear, just as I’m sure it takes time for the stench of Donald Trump’s farts and shits to dissipate. We will have some wild news days for some time to come.

A screenshot of a funny image making the rounds today. Kudos to Portuguese cartoonist, Vasco Gargalo for this awesome image. Here’s a page for him.

However… although I could write about Trump’s departure, I want to address something else on my mind. It has to do with mean people and mean comments.

Last night, I got a drive by visit from some butthurt guy from Charleston, West Virginia. I’m not sure what he was doing on my blog. I don’t know for certain, but my guess is that he’s a Trumper who is upset that his orange leader is departing Washington, DC and wants to lash out at strangers. Or maybe he’s not a Trumper. Maybe he’s just an asshole who likes leaving rude comments to people he doesn’t know who happen to have a different viewpoint than he does.

Anyway… this guy, name of Marty, hit my post about Skylar Mack, the 18 year old young woman who was arrested in the Cayman Islands and spent about six or seven weeks in jail. Not the one I wrote yesterday, but the one I wrote last month.

In his post, Marty wrote some choice words about what an entitled jerk he thinks Skylar Mack is… then he called me a SJW, as well as a few other things. I could tell by my statcounter report that Marty had spent a total of about four minutes on my blog, and felt compelled to spew his nastiness at me, a perfect stranger, simply because he doesn’t agree with the views I express on my personal blog.

I did not publish his comment. In fact, after skimming it, I deleted it. And if he comes back here and leaves me another shitty comment, I will ban him. Maybe some people think that’s harsh or a violation of his right to freedom of expression, but this space isn’t a democracy. I pay a lot of money to host my blog. It’s my space. And while I used to let people pretty much write whatever they wanted, I’ve decided that I’m not going to do that anymore. Life is too short. If you want to be rude and nasty, go post somewhere else. I will not allow it here.

Speaking of Skylar Mack. I noticed similarly nasty spew written about her on the news sites. Many people, the vast majority of whom have never met Skylar Mack, are calling her a selfish, entitled, spoiled brat. They laugh at her apology, and even the fact that she admits she deserved to go to jail. Last night, I left a supportive comment for her, writing that I hoped she’d learned something from her experience and could move on with her life. I got a response from some woman who feels sure that Skylar didn’t learn anything but how to run to mommy for help.

Skylar Mack speaks out.

I responded that I felt like that wasn’t a fair assessment of Skylar Mack at all. I highly doubt that woman has ever met Skylar. Granted, I never have, either, but I’ve read that she’s 18 years old and a junior in college. If that’s true, she must have done some things right. I don’t approve of her choice to go to the Cayman Islands and then break quarantine. It was a stupid mistake. But she’s paid for her mistake, and now it’s time to let her redeem herself in peace.

The lady came back and said that I only feel this way because Skylar’s name is “Skylar”. In other words, she assumes, not ever having met me or knowing a single thing about me, that I am only being supportive because Skylar Mack is a pretty White woman. That’s not true at all. It doesn’t matter a whit to me that Skylar is a pretty White woman. I wouldn’t think locking her in a cell for months on end for her crime would be appropriate no matter what she looked like or what her name was.

I don’t think locking people up is appropriate in all circumstances. I think it’s done far too often in the United States, particularly for non-violent crimes. Skylar was jailed in the Cayman Islands, but I’m pretty sure that time behind bars was very unpleasant for her. I doubt she’ll forget it anytime soon. And I think the reduced punishment she received was fair and just, particularly since her initial punishment didn’t involve jail time at all and was reassessed by someone wanting to make an example out of her.

Skylar Mack can’t help who she is. She can’t help that she was named Skylar, and was born White. She can’t help that she has a supportive family who did what they could to help her. You know what? If she was my daughter, I’d do the same damned thing. I would be angry at her for making a poor decision and would definitely voice my strong disapproval of her choices. I certainly would not have bankrolled her trip. But if she was my daughter and she got in trouble in another country, you bet your ass I’d do whatever I could to help her. I think most decent parents would. I don’t blame Skylar Mack’s family for reaching out for help. I would do it, too, for a friend or a loved one.

Then I asked the lady, who was still challenging me, what she would have Skylar Mack do. Does she honestly think another month or two of her sitting in jail would have made more of an impression on her? How about a year? Should Skylar be forced to wear a hair shirt or self-flagellate? Should she kill herself or be beheaded? Exactly what punishment, in this person’s view, would be sufficient? And what makes her think she’s qualified to judge? Would she want that for herself if she made a mistake and landed in jail? I would also strongly caution her to never say never. All too often, “never” turns out to be a famous last word.

While I might agree that people of color typically get treated differently by law enforcement– that is, much more harshly– than White people do, I don’t think the solution to fixing that issue is to treat White people worse. I think the solution is to treat everyone with more respect, fairness, and kindness. We all make mistakes, particularly when we’re young, inexperienced, and impulsive. It’s not effective to be cruel and abusive. The goal of punishment should be correction and reform, not breaking people down so they can’t recover.

If it later turns out that Skylar didn’t learn from this experience and goes on to commit more crimes, I might change my mind about her. I’m sure I’ll be less inclined to give her a pass for bad behavior. But at this point, I truly hope she can move on from this and get back on the right path. I think she got the point, and no, it doesn’t matter to me that she’s a pretty White woman and apparently privileged. She’s a human being, and I think she should be given basic respect and consideration for that.

I feel that all people should get basic respect for being human. I am inclined to forgive Skylar Mack for making a mistake. I think I should be able to state that without someone making assumptions about the type of person I am, making fun of me, or leaving me mean or insulting comments. And again, leaving me a rude comment here will result in nothing more than laughter, deletion, and banning. I ain’t got the time for it.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, maybe I’ll be back later for one last Trump post. Or maybe not… today might be a good day to make some music.

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true crime

Is sending someone to prison ever an act of compassion?

Yesterday, I read a news story about a 36 year old Pennsylvania woman named Ashley Menser who was in the news recently because in 2018, she pleaded guilty to stealing $109.63 worth of “groceries” and the judge decided to sentence her to incarceration for at least ten months in prison. That would have been shocking enough. Ms. Menser is also very sick with cancer and could die within weeks.

According to The New York Times, she has advanced uterine and cervical cancer and needs to have a hysterectomy and tissue around the uterus removed. A post on PennLive.com states that Ms. Menser has advanced ovarian cancer. She is mentally ill as well, and suffers from post traumatic stress disorder over the loss of her child. At one time, she was addicted to opioids, and she currently takes powerful psychiatric medication that affects her ability to be able to tell what is real, and what isn’t. According to her attorney, Scot Feeman speaking to The New York Times,

“With the psychiatric medicine, she has trouble discerning what’s real and what’s not,” Mr. Feeman said. He said Ms. Menser was distraught after the sentencing, and that he intends to ask the judge to reconsider.

“She is in a lot of pain, and very ill,” he said, “and she’s very concerned about her health prospects going forward.”

Then, I read that Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, John Fetterman, a Democrat, was prepared to personally write out a check for the value of the items Ms. Menser took from a Weis Markets store. Mr. Fetterman was shocked by the extreme sentence, even though Ms. Menser did plead guilty to a third degree felony and had a record of minor theft and drug charges. Even the powers that be at Weis Markets seem to be wanting to distance themselves from Ms. Menser’s case, which is proving to be somewhat a public relations nightmare. In a statement to the media, and without mentioning Ashley Menser’s name, a spokesperson for the market said,

“After she left our store, we alerted local law enforcement, who subsequently arrested her. Since then, we have not participated in the judicial or sentencing process.”

In other words, it’s not even like anyone at Weis Markets was dying to see Ashley Menser sent off to prison for such a long time. However, district attorney Pier Hess Graf issued a statement defending the sentence handed down by Judge Samuel A. Kline. She noted Ms. Menser’s rap sheet, which includes 13 prior theft convictions. Ms. Graf also noted that the judge recommended that Menser be sent to a state facility as soon as possible, so that her health conditions can be addressed. He also allowed for a special parole consideration, that could see her out of prison within seven and one-quarter months.

Having read about this– and I did look at another source, which seemed to show Ms. Menser in a less sympathetic light than The New York Times does, I still think the sentence is ridiculous overkill. Nevertheless, a couple of friends seem to think that the judge may be doing Menser a favor. The first friend admitted that she didn’t read the article, probably because it’s behind a paywall. But her comment was something along the lines of, “well, at least she’ll get medical treatment.”

Another friend had the same thought. Like my other friend who opined on this story, she wondered if sending Ms. Menser to prison is somehow an act of “compassion”. Both of them seemed to think Ms. Menser doesn’t have access to medical care when, in fact, she had an oncology appointment scheduled for the day of her sentencing. They probably think that because she stole “groceries”, although it turns out that Ms. Menser didn’t simply steal food.

I’ll admit that I don’t know a lot about Ms. Menser or the Pennsylvania prison system. For all I know, their state run prison facilities may offer top notch medical care for inmates. I just think that too many people are in prison in the United States, especially for non-violent crimes. Moreover, what I have read about American prisons and the quality of healthcare allotted to prisoners, particularly in for profit facilities, makes me think that sending Ashley Menser to prison would be signing her death warrant.

I decided to check out the comments on this story on The New York Times‘ Facebook page. Again– I was baffled by how many people posted comments along the lines of, “At least she’ll be treated…” and “It’s crappy healthcare, but it’s something.” I’m guessing the people commenting also didn’t read the article, which makes it clear that Ashley Menser has access to physicians and even had plans to visit her oncologist on the day she was sentenced. Menser was hoping for house arrest, so she could continue to be treated for her illness, which I’m sad to say, probably will lead to an early death for her regardless.

It boggles my mind that so many people think jailing Ashley Menser over petty theft is a good thing, and I would think that even if she weren’t so ill. Prison is expensive on many levels. Yes, the actual incarceration does cost money from taxpayers and the incarcerated person’s family, but it also costs in terms of “baggage”, which makes moving on from mistakes more difficult. The United States incarcerates a whole lot of people, and for some private companies, putting people behind bars and keeping them there has become a lucrative source of income. But what effect does all of this jailing have on society? And do people who go to prison really “benefit” from the experience? I would guess sometimes they do, but most of the time, they really don’t. Personally, I think prison should mainly be a place to send dangerous people, not non-violent offenders– with some exceptions for very serious non-violent crimes.

Ashley Menser stole “groceries” valued at about $110. According to the PennLive article, she didn’t actually steal food. The items she shoplifted reportedly included makeup, hair dye, a candle, and a “Super Skinny Serum” product. However, as Menser’s attorney pointed out, Ashley Menser is mentally ill and takes psychiatric medication that makes it difficult for her to know what is real, and what isn’t. I’m not at all saying that she shouldn’t be punished for stealing. She has no right to be a thief, and this is obviously a long standing problem for her, given her prior convictions. But even if she wasn’t so ill, I’d still think this prison sentence is overkill.

It will probably cost the state a lot of money to take care of Ms. Menser’s medical needs; the grocery store where she stole the items doesn’t seem interested in seeing her go to prison; and her crime was non-violent. Incarcerating Ashley Menser no doubt costs taxpayers a whole lot more than the value of what she stole, even without the cost of her medical care (of which she may have to pay for herself– some states do make inmates pay for their care– I admittedly don’t know if Pennsylvania is one of those states). Why can’t she complete her sentence on house arrest, under those conditions? What good will come out of warehousing Ashley Menser in prison, where despite the state prison’s greater ability to treat her medical problems over the local jail’s, she’s still going to get poorer care than she otherwise would?

Lieutenant Governor Fetterman ultimately did not deliver a check to Weis Markets to pay restitution on Ashley Menser’s behalf. Instead, he says he’s going to work with the company’s executives to see if they will issue a statement requesting that the court reevaluate the sentence handed down to Ashley Menser. He says,

“I know they don’t want this. Nobody wants this. My hope is to get them on board and say, ‘This has gone far enough.’”

Adding that he is still prepared to pay restitution for Ashley Menser, Fetterman continues,

“If there is no victim, why carry this out? Why are we arguing over whether a woman with cancer should be denied the ability to see her doctor?”

What’s even sadder to me, though, is that so many Americans think that the judge might be doing Ashley Menser a solid by sending her to prison, where she’s constitutionally guaranteed healthcare. The reality is, even though she’s guaranteed healthcare as a prisoner, it’s almost certainly not going to be as appropriate as what she’s already arranged for herself. This isn’t a case of someone who doesn’t have support or access to medical care. So many Americans lack health insurance and access to affordable healthcare, though, that they think this might be a “favor” or an act of mercy. It’s sad on many levels. I think a lot of Americans just have a law and order mindset and like to see people sent to prison… until, of course, it is they or a loved one facing time in the joint.

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true crime

Sometimes guns are handy…

Special thanks to Wikipedia user Alex E. Proimos for use of the facepalm picture.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you probably know that I think there are way too many guns in the United States. It’s much too easy for people to get their hands on weapons that can kill innocent folks just going about their business. However, even though I think there are too many guns, I also recognize that sometimes guns are useful. And, as long as many stupid people own guns and try to use them to harm others, I don’t necessarily disagree with responsible gun ownership.

Yesterday, I read a news story that, frankly, kind of blew my mind. At about 6:20pm one week ago, in Dayton, Ohio (where I lived as a baby), a 23 year old man named Roosevelt Rappley decided he was going to rob a Dollar General store. That decision led to his very premature death. Why? Because although Mr. Rappley had brought a handgun with him to do his night’s “work”, he didn’t count on a clerk in the store also being armed and dangerous.

It seems that Mr. Rappley, who was known to police because he already had a pending weapons charge, entered the store, pulled out his handgun, pointed it at other people, and then demanded money. A clerk who was on duty also happened to be armed, so he pulled out his gun and shot Rappley, who reportedly fired in retaliation. Then, in a futile attempt to escape, Rappley staggered outside and collapsed, dying at the scene about seven minutes after the drama started.

A video about this situation.

After shooting Rappley, the clerk called the police and admitted that he killed Rappley in self-defense. The police determined that the clerk was not violating the law, since he owned the gun legally and was on private property. Moreover, Rappley had started the violence when he brandished a gun and demanded money that wasn’t his.

What really gets me, though, is that Rappley’s siblings are absolutely furious about this. Why? Because the clerk was armed! Rappley’s siblings think the clerk should not have had a weapon while he was at work. They say the clerk should have called the police instead of shooting their brother himself! I wonder if that’s what Rappley’s siblings would have done, faced with the situation Dollar General’s customers and employees encountered when they met Roosevelt Rappley. Would they really just call the police if they had a gun at their disposal that could remove the threat instantly? What exactly should the clerk have done? If he hadn’t had a gun, he might have ended up getting killed, simply because he happened to be working at the time Rappley came by to rob his place of employment.

One of the first rules of safe weapon handling is that you don’t point a gun at something you don’t intend to shoot. While it’s possible the clerk could have just incapacitated Mr. Rappley instead of killing him, Rappley was pointing a gun at innocent people in the store. It seems to me the first priority is to make sure Rappley doesn’t kill innocent people as he’s demanding money. If that means he gets killed, so be it. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes!

Do Rappley’s siblings think their brother was going to allow the bystanders to call the authorities? If one of them had whipped out a cell phone, would Rappley have treated that as fair play? Somehow, I doubt it. And since Rappley had a “rap sheet”, it’s pretty obvious that he wasn’t exactly a law abiding citizen. This is a clear case of self-defense. Sorry, sis, but your little brother brought this shit on himself.

Um… maybe the two of you should have done more to convince your brother not to be a criminal. Seriously… I get that you lost a loved one, but he brought about his own demise. Sorry that you’re pissed that he wasn’t able to rob Dollar General “safely”.

I don’t know if the clerk made a habit of bringing weapons to work, but I did read that Dollar General stores have been targeted a lot by crooks lately, especially in Dayton. In fact, that was the fourth time that particular store was robbed this year! I think if I were working in a place that was targeted so often by criminals, I’d want to pack heat, too.

I do think it’s sad that yet another person has died due to gun violence. I’ve read way too many stories about young people dying because they were shot, often under really stupid circumstances. I agree that Americans are much too enamored with weapons. Unfortunately, at this point, I’m not sure what we’re going to do to get the guns off the streets. This is one case in which a good guy had a gun and actually used it to stop crime from happening. So I say good on the clerk. And shame on Rappley, who died doing a bad thing and now has family members grieving for his sorry ass.

On another note… remind me to avoid Dollar General.

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true crime

Brain damaged Trump supporter pleads not guilty…

Last week, while I was drifting merrily through Scotland on Hebridean Princess, I wrote a blog post about Curt James Brockway, a brain damaged Army veteran and ardent Trump supporter accused of choke slamming a 13 year old boy. On August 3rd of this year, Mr. Brockway allegedly grew incensed at the 13 year old child because he was wearing a hat during the playing of the national anthem at a rodeo in Montana. When Mr. Brockway asked the boy to remove his hat, the boy reportedly responded with a hearty “fuck you”, allegedly inspiring Brockway, three times his victim’s age and much larger in size, to body slam the boy.

Brockway’s excuse is that he suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident. He was serving in the Army at Fort Lewis at the time. Years after his accident, he’s an extreme supporter of Donald Trump, and believes body slamming the boy was warranted, since Trump has said people who disrespect the flag or the national anthem should be punished. Meanwhile, the child Mr. Brockway allegedly assaulted was left with a concussion and skull fracture.

Today, I read that Mr. Brockway, already in legal trouble due to a 2011 conviction of assault with a weapon, pleaded not guilty to the crime of felony assault of a minor. Judge John Lawson reinstated Brockway’s probation, which requires that he stay at home and wear a GPS monitor. In the 2010 incident, Brockway had threatened three people with a weapon during a traffic dispute. He was put on probation and given a suspended ten year prison sentence.

I’m not really surprised that Brockway pleaded not guilty. I’m sure that’s what his lawyer, Lance Jasper, advised him to do. I’m also sure that Brockway feels like he’s in the right for his extreme response to the boy’s disrespect and use of profanity. I think he belongs to a certain segment of society that feels that children need to be taught respect through violence. I first read about Brockway’s plea through a Facebook link from the Army Times. Plenty of people think Brockway was right in putting his hands on another person in violence and fracturing his skull.

It scares me how indoctrinated some military veterans can be when it comes to certain issues. Although a lot of them joke about liberals being so open-minded their brains fall out, I think that conservatives sometimes are guilty of being so closed-minded that their brains can’t access oxygen. This is also often the crowd that thinks corporal punishment is always okay in every situation and a parent’s inalienable right.

Lance Jasper, Brockway’s attorney, is seeking a mental health evaluation for his client. I don’t think that’s unreasonable. I’m sure he does have brain damage from his accident. And, I don’t think he’s brain damaged just because he’s such an ardent Trump supporter that he’d hurt a child, believing Trump would want him, personally, to punish people he thinks are disrespectful and unpatriotic. I’m sure he really does have some functional damage to his brain resulting from his accident and it affects his judgment.

However, Brockway, just like the two Trump lovers who, several months ago, shot each other while drinking alcohol and wearing a bulletproof vest, is just another example of the low caliber of a person who doesn’t question Trump’s toxic leadership, use common sense, or employ critical thinking skills. These people just can’t seem to see what is very obvious to people who aren’t brain damaged.

I don’t know the status of Brockway’s brain today. I do think that if he’s so out of control that he can’t keep his hands to himself at public events, he should not be walking free within society. If he’s so brain damaged or mentally ill that he feels compelled to physically harm other people, he should be in a place where he can be appropriately supervised. Whether that’s prison or a mental hospital remains to be seen. I’m sure more facts will come out during his legal battle. I just hope the kid he hurt will be able to make a full recovery. In the meantime, he’s going to miss part of his childhood and cost his parents a lot in hospital bills thanks to Brockway’s Trump inspired violent outburst.

Granted, we have plenty of violent people in the United States. They seem to be inspired by different things. I’m certainly not saying that Trump is directly to blame for every violent incident. It just seems to me that his leadership is emboldening people who otherwise might not act out in violence and Trump supporters also tend to be pro Second Amendment gun rights types. I am not necessarily anti-gun myself. I know many responsible gun owners. I’d just like to see it a lot more restricted and regulated, like it is in Europe. There is violent crime here, but a lot fewer people die of it because there are far fewer weapons.

I keep thinking I might like to move back to the States soon… so we can own our own house for once. But right now, the United States is completely warped. I’m actually scared to move back there. I’m sure we’ll have to at some point… or at least leave Germany. I just hope it’s sometime when Trump is out of office. I think he’s really damaged the country and awakened a frightening beast in some people. As for Brockway, frankly, I think he deserves a nice long prison sentence. If I was the mother of that boy he harmed, I’d be demanding it.

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