condescending twatbags, Duggars, true crime

No “joshing” matter… Josh Duggar is in the slammer!

This morning, a couple of friends tagged me in the latest news about “sex pest” Josh Duggar. He is currently behind bars having been arrested in Arkansas yesterday. According to People Magazine, Josh was nabbed by Homeland Security. He is being held without bond, although so far, we don’t know what the charges are. He will supposedly go before a judge sometime today. This news comes just a few days since Josh and his long suffering wife, Anna, announced that they are expecting their seventh child, another girl.

Oh dear.

I do remember that in November 2019, it was in the news that Josh’s office at the car dealership where he was working was raided by the feds. Back then, the Duggars claimed that it wasn’t true that any member of the Duggar family was the target of an investigation of any kind. Clearly, they were lying, which is a violation of one of the Ten Commandments. But, as Josh correctly pointed out back in 2015, when he was at the pinnacle of his sex pest scandal, he has been the biggest hypocrite ever. It’s not a surprise that Josh and members of his family lied about his legal issues in 2019.

Yikes. What a weird smirk.

The Duggars are definitely a family a lot of us love to hate. I remember first hearing about them in 2004, when Jim Boob and Michelle Duggar were featured in a Discovery Health special. At the time, I believe Michelle was pregnant with her fourteenth child– Jackson, I believe. After that, the Duggars determined that having more kids was a way to make the fame and money train roll. They popped out five more, with the youngest, Josie, being born extremely premature. There would have been one more girl, but Michelle miscarried her 20th child in 2011. However, they are now raising Michelle’s grandnephew, Tyler, so I guess in a manner of speaking, they got their 20th kid, after all.

Their reality show, 19 Kids and Counting, aired on TLC until May 2015, when the sex scandal came to light. It turned out that Josh Duggar had molested four of his sisters and a babysitter back in 2002 or so. The Duggars hid this information for years, and when it did finally get exposed, they downplayed what Josh did. Later that year, Josh was also outed for having an Ashley Madison account and cheating on his wife. At the time, she was pregnant with their fourth child, Meredith. Josh had been working for the Family Research Council in the Washington, DC area, but he was forced to resign in the wake of the many scandals that plagued him. In November of 2015, Josh was also sued by a porn star named Danica Dillon, who claimed he had assaulted her.

I thought things were calming down a bit in the wake of the scandals. I hadn’t heard of any other issues relating to his issues with pornography, objectifying women, or molesting girls. But I had heard about him being sued for real estate fraud back around 2019, and many people were horrified that he and Anna were still making so many kids. Josh evidently lost the lawsuit because he missed the court date.

It will be interesting to find out why Josh is in trouble this time. It sounds like he did something pretty serious. However, when I look at his mug shot, I notice he has kind of a weird smirk on his face and looks like he might be on something.

Maybe I shouldn’t feel sorry for Anna, but I do. It’s hard to wrap my head around why she continues to support Josh and stay in the marriage. But, I’m sure that Anna has significant barriers to getting divorced. Besides the fact that divorce is something fundie Christians don’t tend to do, she would be hard pressed to be able to support her huge family on her own. And based on the way Jim Boob Duggar treats his own children — ahem, Jill Dillard– it’s likely that if she ever stepped out of line, he would cut her off and do whatever he could to take the children from her. Now… whether or not he would be successful, I don’t know. But when you are abused, it’s hard to see beyond your own perceptions. That’s why so many people in abusive relationships never manage to break away until tragedy strikes or they are somehow forced out of the situation. Sadly, some people never escape.

Anyway… I hope that the marshals who arrested Josh didn’t do it in front of his children. I know a lot of people think Josh deserves the humiliation of having his kids witness seeing him in handcuffs, but I think that would be very traumatizing, especially for the youngest ones. And Josh’s kids may have a shithead for a father, but they are completely innocent and have no doubt been through enough already.

I guess this could be why two of Josh’s brothers so suddenly got married. They probably had an inkling that Josh was about to be busted and didn’t want the weddings ruined by Josh’s latest scandal Either that, or they wanted to draw attention away from it. Same thing goes for Anna’s pregnancy announcement, which came a week ago. They had to do a reveal, since they might have known Josh was going up the river.

Moving on…

I have to write a short COVID-19 related rant. Yesterday, I woke up to read a news story about a couple whose son died of COVID-19 shortly after they arrived in Hawaii on vacation. The couple were vaccinated and had tested negative for COVID-19; but their son, who was under age 11 and had an underlying health condition, was not vaccinated and clearly wasn’t tested. He developed symptoms of illness just hours after landing.

Given that the boy got sick so soon after arrival in Hawaii, I can only surmise that he picked up the virus at home. Officials are still trying to figure out how and where the boy was exposed to the virus. But that didn’t stop a lot of people on Facebook from berating the couple for traveling. Some people wondered why the parents were tested, but the boy wasn’t. I’m not sure about that myself.

After reading one too many awful comments about how this couple deserved to lose their son to COVID-19 because they dared to travel, I had to say something. I don’t understand how people can be so utterly shitty to each other. These parents LOST A CHILD, for God’s sake! Even if they had been completely irresponsible, and they clearly weren’t, it still would have been tragic for them to lose their son. Would most people be laughing and pointing fingers at them if their son had, say, died in a car accident? What if he’d contracted the flu or pneumonia? Would they blame the parents for that? What good does it do to laugh and judge these parents now? Their son is gone. I think they’ve suffered enough already.

COVID-19 is caused by a tiny virus. Plenty of people have gotten sick, even after doing all the “right” things. The sad truth is, it’s a very sneaky and insidious virus. And no matter what, this child was innocent, and was clearly destined to be sick, since he must have picked up the virus somewhere at home. The fact that he was in Hawaii on vacation when he died is immaterial.

I took one lady to task for being such a judgmental twat. She came back with a lengthy response about why it’s okay for her to have no sympathy for parents who lost an unvaccinated child, simply because they dared to go on vacation. I am so sick of people who have no empathy for other people, simply because they disagree with their choices. My response to her was, “Have a nice life. You are beyond hope.” She thought that was funny. Well, fuck her.

I have an appointment to get the first Moderna shot on Wednesday. Bill says I might be able to get the “one and done” J&J shot on Monday, if I want it. Although the idea of blood clots is a little scary, I would like to be vaccinated and have it behind me as soon as possible, especially since Bill has to go away on business Wednesday. Anyway… the upshot is, I’ll be getting a shot of some sort next week.

healthcare, law, true crime

Coronavirus craziness continues around the globe…

I have a friend who lives in Hawaii. She moved there from Germany several years ago. Both she and her husband were military, and both have retired from active duty. Now they have decided to settle there for a few years. One would think that would be a delight, but Hawaii has its problems. When there’s no pandemic going on, people who live there complain about high prices, low availability of goods, dense populations, and traffic jams. When there is a pandemic going on, people seem to lose their damned minds.

Coronavirus has thrown a wrench in everyone’s plans, but I think it’s especially crazy in the Aloha state right now. There’s a mandatory 14 day quarantine if you visit Hawaii, and the authorities are very serious about enforcing it. When visitors arrive at the airport, they have to give the officials their contact information, including where they’ll be staying. Hotel staff watches who comes and goes from the hotels, and they are quick to report people who hit the beaches or go shopping. My friend in Hawaii belongs to a neighborhood Facebook group and people are asking about how to report tourists who break the rules.

Many people being arrested are tourists, not everyone shows up in Hawaii for a vacation. Alyza Alder, 18, arrived in Hawaii and got a job working at a fast food restaurant. She posted about it on Facebook and was quickly hunted down and rolled up by the police. Another visitor from Oregon, 20 year old Artyon Zhiryada, was picked up not just for violating quarantine, but also because he posted a video of himself on social media shooting a chicken. A 51 year old mother named Misty Lynn Beutler was arrested after being caught leaving her son’s home and walking his dog. 23 year man from New York, Tarique Peters was arrested after posting pictures of himself at a Hawaiian beach on social media.

It seems to me that it’s a really dumb idea to post pictures on social media if you’re breaking the law… or even if you’re just bending the rules. A lot of people out there enjoy being snitches. Some people just get a kick out of meddling in other people’s business, especially when they can make themselves feel good about it because of a pandemic. They can say to themselves, “by turning in these people, I might be saving lives.” And indeed, that could be true… but it’s also the kind of behavior that stokes distrust, derision, and ill will toward all.

My friend in Hawaii reports that shopping has become extremely stressful, with everyone watching their neighbors for infractions of the social distancing and mask wearing rules. Then, they go on social media to post about what they see… or leave contemptuous comments about another person’s mask wearing techniques. Although I can see their points about the importance of such things at a time like this, I also think that kind of attitude makes things more difficult than they need to be. I wouldn’t want Hawaii to experience what people in Spain, particularly the children, are experiencing right now.

About a month ago, I blogged about the potential for mental health problems to develop or worsen due to the COVID-19 hysteria. This morning, I read about how children in Spain, who were completely locked down for six weeks straight, are significantly traumatized. Spain was hit very hard by COVID-19, so back in March, the government made it illegal for children to be outside of their homes at all. The restrictions finally eased a little bit in late April, and children were allowed outside for an hour. By that time, a lot of them were so terrified and stressed out by the draconian lockdown that they had no interest in going outside. Some had developed physical symptoms like eye tics, insomnia, and stomach pains. One woman interviewed for The New York Times said that her daughter had suffered such trauma that the first time she went outside, she was very nervous about being harassed by the police. And since that one trip outside, she has not wanted to go out again.

Granted, in Spain, things were pretty extreme. In Valencia, where there are beautiful beaches, police were flying helicopters over parks and beaches and blaring commands to respect the police from loudspeakers. At night, they shone spotlights that invaded people’s homes. Imagine being a small child and enduring that. I’m sure anyone who was in Europe in the 1930s and 40s might be able to relate somewhat. It’s something they won’t forget, and some may never get over it the trauma.

People in Morocco, where the COVID-19 infections have also been high and the government response has been draconian, are similarly afraid to go out. One mother of two teens said that her children are now petrified of going out, getting sick, and dying. I’m sure that will make it harder for them as they become adults and prepare to launch on their own. Most people will eventually recover once this threat passes, but there will be some who will stay traumatized.

I haven’t read of similar tactics in Hawaii yet. From what I’ve read, Hawaii hasn’t come close to the situation that Spain was facing. My friend in Hawaii reports that overall infections are low. In fact, I verified her numbers:

Looks to me like Hawaii is doing okay compared to everywhere else…

And I get that local officials want to keep it that way… Just seventeen deaths and most people recovering is a good thing, after all. But people are still acting like they’re going to die immediately if anyone breaks or bends the rules. My friend says that people are snapping at and scolding each other in the stores, lecturing each other online, and looking for ways to be “responsible citizens” by snitching on their neighbors and strangers. That sure doesn’t make Hawaii sound like the paradise it’s usually made out to be in the travel brochures.

I’m glad to see that my friend has a sense of humor about all of this, though. She’s even posting hilarious satire from The State of Hawaii’s Facebook page. Some of it is pretty believable. For instance, the other day she posted a satirical Facebook post from that page about how wash room attendants who make sure everyone washes their hands properly is a thing. However, bathroom attendants are becoming an actual thing in some places on the mainland. I shared with her a non-satirical article mentioning a Texas barbecue restaurant that has hired a “bathroom monitor” to make sure everyone properly socially distances in the restrooms. My natural observation about this new “career” opportunity is that it sounds like a shitty job with hours that stink.

People are legitimately anxious about catching COVID-19 or being responsible for spreading it. And the anxious people are winding up head to head with the people who insist that their freedoms are being violated by rules regarding social distancing, hygiene, and mask apparel. I have seen some people getting berated because they prefer to wear a face shield instead of a mask. The shields offer some benefits to the masks, though. For one thing, they allow faces to be seen and there’s less fogging. For another, they allow for more air flow and less heat and moisture, which for the hotter climates is a good thing. And they are also a lot easier to clean and don’t have to be thrown away as frequently.

People who have to wait tables or bartend with masks are experiencing acne and having trouble communicating with guests. Some have reported having trouble breathing, too. Although lots of people are quick to say “get over it” and “buck up” as they bring up how medical professionals wear masks all the time, I would hasten to add that people who work in healthcare made a choice to enter a field that requires masks. Until three months ago, people in the United States weren’t expected to wear face masks as a general rule. On the plus side, at least the females who are in the hospitality business don’t have to hear things like “You’d be so much prettier if you smiled.”

We are definitely living in weird times right now. I really hope this doesn’t end up being the “good old days” as time passes.

true crime

Benadryl and baby care don’t mix…

Some time ago, I remember reading a story in the news about a woman who was on a flight with her toddler and the baby kept saying “Bye bye, plane”. A flight attendant told the mom that the child’s babbling was unacceptable and she needed to make him be quiet. The attendant said, “It’s not funny anymore. You need to shut your baby up.”

The mother asked the flight attendant if she was joking, and the flight attendant said, “You know, it’s called baby Benadryl.” Mom and son were kicked off the flight when Mom refused to drug her child. I remember being shocked when I read that story from 2007, but apparently, it’s not uncommon for people to slip diphenhydramine into their babies’ bottles in order to “shut them up”.

I was reminded of that story this morning as I read about the tragic case of 7 month old Abigail Lobsich, who died in February while being “cared for” by an unlicensed child caregiver at at Aliamanu Military Reservation in Hawaii. The babysitter, Dixie Denise Villa, was arrested July 20th, after investigators determined that little Abigail died from antihistamine overdose. The baby’s blood tested positive for diphenhydramine, the active ingredient in Benadryl. Abigail had a level of 2,400 nanograms per milliliter in her system. That’s almost twice the over 1,400 nanograms per milliliter reported in other babies who have fatally overdosed on the drug. Villa is being held on a $1 million bond. She’s unable to post that, so Ms. Villa remains in jail.

Villa, who is a Navy wife, was operating an unauthorized childcare facility on the base and had been investigated for neglect. Anna, Abigail’s mother, stated that her baby had been “perfectly healthy” since birth. Anna also left her son in Villa’s care, and on the day Abigail died, they had gone to the pool, along with Villa’s own two kids. After fixing the children dinner, Ms. Villa claims that she fell asleep on the couch with Abigail on her chest. When she woke up, the baby was “splotchy” and “cold to the touch”. But she claims all she did was put lotion on the children after they got sunburned.

Having taken Benadryl a few times myself, I know that just one tablet is enough to knock me out cold for a few hours. While Benadryl is very safe for adults, it is a powerful sleep aid. I know that some people think dosing a baby with antihistamines is a good way to keep them quiet. While Benadryl is basically a safe drug, it shouldn’t be given to children under age 6 without a doctor’s approval, and infants should never be given medications to make them sleep. Babies need to be able to wake up easily to protect themselves from choking when they spit up. Sleep medications can interfere with an infant’s ability to wake up enough to prevent choking.

Abigail is not the only baby who has died from a Benadryl overdose. Childcare providers, stressed from having to take care of several children at once, have been known to slip sleep medications into their charges, forcing them to sleep longer than they might naturally. It’s more convenient for the babysitter when the child is sleeping. They stay out of trouble and don’t make so much noise, which certainly makes the sitter’s job easier. But drugging children with an over the counter medicine like Benadryl is absolutely the wrong thing to do and, as we can see from Abigail’s case, it can lead to tragedy.

Naturally, I had to read the comments regarding this case, which was shared on Military Times and Army Times. Not surprisingly, some commenters focused less on the parents’ grief over losing their child and more on who’s to blame and what the punishment should be. Some posters felt the parents should be held responsible for using an unlicensed childcare provider. They seem to think that losing their baby due to a totally preventable cause isn’t punishment enough for Abigail’s parents.

While I agree that it might have behooved the parents to do their due diligence about whether or not Ms. Villa was authorized to run a childcare facility, I also know that in the civilian world, people hire teenagers to babysit all the time. I was babysitting when I was fourteen years old. I’m sure Villa seemed like a responsible woman to Abigail’s mother, particularly since she has her own children. Having a piece of paper from the authorities doesn’t necessarily make someone a good caregiver– it just means they have proven they received training and/or went through a vetting process of some sort. On military installations, there are stringent requirements for caregivers to be “licensed”, but first and foremost, a caregiver must have some intrinsic qualities that can’t necessarily be taught. Good judgment, kindness, work ethic, patience, and capacity to love can’t necessarily be measured by a license.

According to an earlier article about Abigail’s death, Ms. Villa’s childcare facility was shut down a few times for being unlicensed and having many violations. Unfortunately, good childcare facilities are hard to find and expensive. It’s been this way for a long time. I was even involved in a campaign regarding childcare when I worked in public health in South Carolina, before I became an “Army wife”. Many parents have trouble finding childcare that is accessible, affordable, and of good quality. I can see from the articles and social media that Abigail’s mom is quite young. I’m sure finding affordable childcare was a real challenge for her, moreso than it might have been for someone older, wiser, and perhaps more affluent (not that I’m claiming I know anything about Anna’s financial status).

Other readers think Ms. Villa should “get the chair”. I disagree with that notion, and she is not in any danger of that, since she’s being charged with manslaughter and Hawaii doesn’t have the death penalty, anyway. While Ms. Villa was certainly negligent and deserves to be punished, she still has children of her own who wouldn’t want to see her executed. Executing Ms. Villa will not bring back that precious baby, even if I can understand why people are angry enough to suggest it.

I feel sorry for today’s parents. It’s hard to know whom to trust. I know it was like that when I was a youngster too, but it seems like nowadays, there’s the shroud of anxiety that comes with everything involving childcare. People are always looking to parents to see if they’re doing parenting “right”. I’m sure Abigail’s parents are absolutely devastated by this… Abigail would have turned one last week and, if you search on Facebook, you can find a post that was shared last year, just as she was born. Who could have known that just months later, that sweet baby would be dead due to a babysitter’s decision to give her a “harmless” over-the-counter drug?

My heart goes out to Abigail’s family. I hope they get the justice they seek, but I also hope for Ms. Villa’s children’s sake, that the justice is tempered with mercy.