controversies, healthcare, language, law

“Abortion” is technically not defined as a dirty word.

Good morning, folks. It’s just after 8:00 AM on a warm Tuesday here in Deutschland, and I’ve already done my housework for the day, having gotten up three hours ago. The sun rises very early at this time of year in Germany, and it sets very late in the evening. Consequently, I often need an afternoon nap, because I don’t sleep long during the night.

I don’t really want to write about abortion today. It’s a topic I’m a little tired of at the moment. However, abortion is what everybody seems to be talking about right now. I have some comments I’d like to make in a place where I’m not going to hurt people’s feelings, get into pissing matches with the deliberately obtuse, or otherwise get mired in a bunch of Internet noise. My blog is a place where comments are generally respectful and reasonable. I think abortion is an important topic that deserves that much gravity.

Yesterday, I ran across an interesting Tik Tok/Facebook video by Mama Doctor Jones, a board certified OB-GYN from Texas who is currently working in New Zealand. In the video, Dr. Jones talked about what constitutes an abortion, and what the treatments are for certain medical conditions that occur during pregnancy. She made the video in response to comments by Live Action, a right wing, anti-abortion propaganda machine.

A screenshot from Mama Doctor Joneses’ video. Notice the emotional language. But, in fact, all of these conditions require terminating the pregnancy, which is precisely what abortion is.

Live Action had put out this comment regarding “abortion”, obviously likening abortion to the negative image that many people have of it. The people at Live Action obviously consider the medical procedure that abortion is as “murder”. Abortion isn’t murder, though. Abortion simply refers to the termination of a pregnancy that doesn’t result in a live birth. Moreover, in spite of how Live Action spins it, abortion is a treatment for a number of legitimate medical issues that come up in pregnancy. In fact, a miscarriage is technically called “spontaneous abortion” in medical parlance. Abortion is not a dirty word, but that group, and others who want to limit a person’s ability to terminate a pregnancy, wants to make it so.

I don’t see anything “dirty” about these definitions.

Above is a screenshot of Dictionary.com’s definition of abortion. Nowhere in that definition do I see a single definition that depicts the vile description of abortion that is being put out by Live Action. Abortion simply refers to ending a pregnancy, for whatever reason. There are different techniques used to achieve an abortion, depending on the circumstances. Under the above definition, abortion might involve taking a pill, removing the contents of the uterus, removing a body part, or actually going through labor and delivery. It depends on the case, and the time during pregnancy at which the abortion occurs.

The problem is, the term “abortion” has taken on so much emotional baggage that people automatically think of it as sinful and wrong. That baggage is causing a lot of people pain, as medical conditions that happen during pregnancy and require that the pregnancy be terminated are technically abortions. People don’t want to think of a necessary termination as an “abortion”. The term “abortion” has a nasty connotation that conjures up images of someone who got careless and wants to end a pregnancy out of convenience or shame. Groups like Live Action liken abortion to murder. But abortion isn’t really murder, either. See below.

Notice the first definition. In that meaning of the word “murder”, it’s specified that murder is the “killing of another human being under conditions specifically covered in law.” At this point, abortion is still legal in many places, but I don’t know of a place anywhere on the planet where it’s legal for somewhere to kill another person with premeditation or malice. I also know that sometimes people have abortions because that developing human being is causing severe physical or mental health problems that threatens the life of the already born person. In that case, an abortion is less like murder and more like self-defense.

One could also argue that a developing fetus simply has the potential to become a human being, but hasn’t yet reached that designation. It all depends on when life actually begins. People also have varying opinions on when that happens. We haven’t yet decided if life begins at conception, or at birth. The federal government seems to think life begins at birth, but religious people and hyper-conservative people want to say it begins at fertilization. A consensus has yet to be reached. See below.

I have some dear people in my life who have had to end pregnancies for health reasons. These are women that I know would probably never voluntarily opt to have an abortion. I write “probably”, because a lot of us think we know what we would do in a given situation, but we don’t actually know until it happens to us. For instance, I feel pretty certain that if I were a rape or incest victim, I would want to have an abortion. But I also know for a fact that I have a pretty serious aversion to seeing doctors. I was traumatized by an OB-GYN when I was 22 years old, and that has made me very reluctant to seek medical care unless I absolutely have to have it. To be honest, at this point, even if I have to have medical care, I still might not seek it. I haven’t seen a medical doctor since 2010. Going to see physicians causes me great anxiety.

I also suffer from depression a lot of the time, and that often makes me feel worthless. The state of the world right now adds to my depression, and makes me think it would be better to be dead. So I can’t say for certain that I would seek an abortion if I got pregnant due to rape (which I know I wouldn’t at this point in time). I probably would want one… because my healthy mental days are usually more plentiful than my unhealthy days, and I’m sure I would not want to raise my rapist’s baby. I also know that I would not want to give a baby up for adoption. But I say that as someone who has never experienced forced intercourse with a man, and has never even been close to being pregnant. I would probably feel emotionally shattered if I were ever raped, and that would affect my self-esteem. So, to be frank, I can’t say for certain I would have an abortion. I only know how I feel right now, which is that I would probably want one.

The people in my life who have had to end their pregnancies for medical reasons desperately wanted to have their babies. They would never choose to have what we think of is an “abortion”. They needed medical care for an emergency situation that involved terminating a pregnancy. Technically, they DID have an abortion, as defined by the medical establishment, but it was not the kind of abortion one might have at Planned Parenthood. And they don’t want to think of their procedures in that way. I can totally understand that. But I also think that it might be helpful if we stopped thinking of abortion as something dirty and sleazy. Sometimes, it’s a necessary, life saving, medical procedure, and like all medical procedures, it really should be private business, with no emotional baggage attached by other people’s opinions.

Personally, I think any person who wants to have an abortion should have one, for ANY reason. It’s not up to me or anyone else to judge whether or not their reasons are valid. People who are pregnant against their wills are not going to be motivated to take care of themselves the way they should. I think it’s a lot crueler to force people to gestate– crueler for the pregnant person AND the developing fetus. Because choices that pregnant people make will affect that developing fetus, and it’s possible that the person born after such a pregnancy will have to live their whole lives with the choices made by the person who birthed them. We don’t have the ability to force pregnant people to take care of themselves, and I don’t think that’s what most Americans would want to see happen. That would put us on a very slippery slope into a dystopian nightmare culture.

I like Mama Doctor Jones because she makes a lot of sense. I’ve seen her respond very logically to people who come at her with emotional comments full of shame and judgment. See below.

I totally agree with Mama Doctor Jones that allowing abortions in “some situations” is hypocritical. If we’re going to assign personhood to developing embryos, then almost no reason for abortion should be acceptable. Allowing it in certain circumstances, but not others, is problematic if we’re calling embryos people. The embryos are “innocent”, right? But forcing women to have babies conceived in the commission of a crime seems cruel to many. I think forcing women to have babies they don’t want to have is cruel. It doesn’t matter how or why they got pregnant. If abortion is okay in one situation, it should be okay in all situations. And before anyone brings up abortions that happen later in pregnancy, let me just say that those abortions are very rare, and usually occur due to a catastrophic medical issue. I highly doubt that women, as a rule, decide to terminate a pregnancy after the first trimester unless they have a damned good reason. They certainly don’t do that for convenience.

Darynidia’s comment is especially good… Why is it that so many people who want to deny women the right to choose, also have no problem suggesting suicide to already born people?
Yes. She sums up my feelings nicely.

So… these are my thoughts on the word “abortion”. I really don’t think of it as a “dirty word”. It’s not defined as a dirty word in the dictionary or by medical professionals. Some members of the public have made it a dirty word by implying that people who seek them are careless, immoral, heartless, cruel, unChristian, slutty, or whatever else. It ain’t necessarily so. Your aunt who had to terminate a pregnancy for medical reasons technically did have an abortion. That procedure saved her life. Your sister who had a miscarriage technically experienced a “spontaneous abortion”. That doesn’t make her a bad person. Your high school friend who got pregnant after having unprotected sex went to a clinic to have an abortion. She’s still a decent person, worthy of respect and understanding. Maybe that procedure saved her life. Either way, it’s no one else’s business but hers.

The people behind Live Action deliberately use shaming language to push their agenda and make people feel bad for exercising self-determination. I would trust a board certified physician like Dr. Danielle Jones, OB-GYN over them anyday. I say that as someone who does not trust doctors, as a general rule. And I do not follow the word of any organization that gets into bed with so-called conservative leaders like Donald Trump and his ilk. This is a man who brags about molesting women and has probably funded and/or caused a few abortions himself. Abortion isn’t a dirty word in any sense, and people should stop attaching so much shame to it. It’s a neutral word that has been burdened with the dogmatic agenda of religious and political groups, who simply want to control women and maintain their power.

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book reviews, true crime

A review of Through the Glass, by Shannon Moroney… a woman’s life temporarily shattered by her ex husband’s violent crimes

When it comes to reading books, sometimes my eyes are bigger than my will to use them for reading. There was a time when I could read several books in a month. But now, as I get older, and my eyesight gets worse, it’s a struggle to finish a book in a matter of weeks. I keep trying, though, and I keep buying virtual books from Amazon, which may sit in my queue for years before I ever get around to reading them. Such is the case regarding Canadian author Shannon Moroney’s 2011 book, Through the Glass, which Amazon tells me I bought in 2018.

I don’t remember why I bought Through the Glass. It might have been a suggestive sell when I bought something else. I might have read a salacious Daily Mail article that prompted me to download it. Who knows, at this point? I’m actually glad I read it just recently, though, because I think this case out of Canada is timely, given that this week, convicted sex offender, Josh Duggar, will finally be sentenced to prison for his crimes against children.

Like many people, I look forward to seeing Duggar get his due. However, even though think his wife, Anna, was somewhat complicit in Josh Duggar’s crimes, I also have some empathy for her situation. She’s a woman in a fundamentalist Christian cult, raised to submit to her husband in all matters. With seven young children, and not much to fall back on, she seems pretty stuck. There’s also no doubt in my mind that Anna has been repeatedly victimized by Josh. As I read Shannon Moroney’s story, I couldn’t help but think of Anna, although Anna is undoubtedly in a worse situation than Shannon Moroney was. Shannon at least had a career to fall back on, and no children to support.

Who is Shannon Moroney, and why has she written a book?

In October 2005, 30 year old teacher and school guidance counselor, Shannon Moroney, married Jason Staples, the man she once thought was the love of her life. The two had met at a Kingston, Ontario soup kitchen three years earlier, where Shannon had brought some of her students to work. Jason was the head chef at the soup kitchen, and everybody loved him. He was always friendly and kind, and he had an amazing talent for art. Shannon was taken with him soon after meeting him; he seemed like the perfect guy. But there was just one thing that gave her pause. Jason Staples was a convicted murderer who was out on parole, having spent ten years in prison.

In 1988, just a few months after his 18th birthday, Jason Staples and his roommate, a 38 year old woman, had a brutal argument. The argument ended with the woman’s violent murder at Jason’s hands. Jason’s first victim was someone Jason’s very mentally ill mother and her abusive boyfriend had found, just before they moved away without him. The living situation obviously wasn’t good, though he tried to leave it before he finally snapped in what was originally deemed “adolescent rage”.

Jason later pleaded guilty to second degree murder and was given a sentence of Life-10. That meant he would spend ten years in prison, then be released on parole, which he would be on for the rest of his life, provided he did not reoffend. Jason had been a model prisoner, and the authorities believed his youth and good behavior made him a good risk for rehabilitation.

By the time Shannon met Jason, he’d already been out of prison for five years, and was doing well in the community. Jason had convinced many people that his dark impulses were in the past, and he was worthy of the second chance he was given. He even had plans to go back to school and earn a degree in art, hoping to make the most of the rest of his life. Shannon had checked out everything Jason told her about his past, and spoke to his parole officer and psychologist. She also examined his official records. Everything seemed to check out fine.

Just one month after their wedding, Shannon was writing thank you notes for wedding gifts and wondering if she was pregnant. She was staying in a Toronto area hotel for a work related trip. There was a knock at the door. When she opened it, her life changed forever. She had expected the knock to be from a colleague wanting to have breakfast. But it was a police officer, who handed her his card and said:

“I’m here about your husband,” the officer said. “Are you Jason Staples’s wife?”

Shannon nodded affirmatively, that she was Jason’s wife… of just one month. The officer told Shannon that Jason was arrested the night before, charged with sexual assault. The cop did not know many of the details of the crime, since he was a Toronto based officer, and Jason and Shannon lived in Peterborough, which was also where Jason committed his crimes. But the officer did know that Jason had called 911 himself, turned himself in, and gave a full confession to raping two women and confining them in the home he shared with Shannon. She was in total shock as she gathered her things and left the hotel room to go home, where she would face the horrifying truth. The beautiful life she had planned, to include having children, advancing in her career, and loving a man who had seemed to overcome his horrific past, had all evaporated.

Jason had kidnapped and raped two women who had come into the health food store where he worked part time. The first victim, a 46 year old woman, came into the store and Jason suddenly accosted her, held her at knife point, and sexually assaulted her. He confined her in the store’s basement. Then, a few minutes later, the second victim, who was much younger, entered the store. Jason held her at knife point, but she fought back, Jason then choked her into unconsciousness, and took her to the basement, where he sexually assaulted her. He bound both women with duct tape, then rented a van, and brought the two women to the home he shared with Shannon.

The two women bravely tried to rehumanize Jason, attempting to talk him down from his terrifying rage. Jason would switch back and forth, from monster to human. By 9:00 that evening, Jason had decided to kill himself. He procured some rope and a ladder. The women continued talking to him, trying to bring him back to his senses. Finally, at about 10:00, Jason spoke to Shannon on the phone. She was unaware that there were two bound women in her home, both of whom had been brutally raped by her husband. After the phone call, Jason went to a pay phone and called 911. He told the police who he was and what he’d done, then asked them to go to his house and help the women. Then he continued trying to formulate a suicide plan as he waited for the police to arrive. After 25 minutes, the police still hadn’t come; apparently, they thought his first call was a prank! So Jason called again. After the second call, the cops finally came. Jason ended his confession at the jailhouse, begging “Just put me away.”

As the investigation continued, Shannon learned that not only had Jason kidnapped and raped two women, but he had also installed cameras in their home, and recorded Shannon during private moments in the bathroom. So, Shannon was also one of Jason’s victims. However, because Shannon was Jason’s wife, many people assumed she was somehow complicit in his crimes. When Shannon asked if there was anything she could do to help the women who were raped, she was told that they “didn’t need to hear from Jason’s arena.” Shannon was left to pick up the pieces after Jason’s crimes, and she quickly found out that there was no support for people in her position.

Soon, it became clear to Shannon Moroney that even though she’d had nothing to do with Jason’s criminal behavior, and was in fact a victim herself, many people were going to judge her. She would not be entitled to any assistance from victim’s advocacy groups. Though she didn’t outright lose her job at her school, she was told that she would be transferred to a different school. Her principal went as far as to ban her from even setting foot in the school, claiming that her presence there would traumatize other people.

Jason was held in protective custody, for his own safety. He had lawyers to protect his rights. No one seemed to understand that Shannon needed help and protection, too. Everyone seemed to expect her to quickly divorce Jason and move on, even though Shannon still saw the human part of him and loved him. She suffered on all levels, from professionally to medically, and few people seemed to have any empathy for her situation. She was caught in the crossfire, being associated with someone who had committed horrific crimes. And very few people seemed to understand that she was as much of a victim as the two women who were sexually assaulted by her husband. Jason never gave any indication that he needed help. She’d thought he was okay, as had everyone involved with granting him parole.

As she spoke to Jason, through the glass partition at the jail, she learned about the tragedies in his life that had led him to where he was. Jason was adopted at three months old, and raised by a woman who sexually abused him. His adoptive father died when he was very young, and his mother took up with a man who abused her, and Jason. On the night of his crimes, Jason had also overdosed on some over-the-counter substances– caffeine pills and ephedra.

Shannon Moroney is interviewed about Jason’s crimes. She appears in many YouTube videos.

Picking up the pieces…

Slowly, Shannon Moroney put her life back together. She didn’t immediately divorce Jason, although many people seemed to think she should just quickly dump him and disassociate from him. She visited him in jail, and later, prison. At the same time, she tried to figure out how to move on from the legal fiasco that enveloped her. The process of rebuilding led her to change careers, and she earned a master’s degree at East Anglia University, in Norwich, England. Jason’s crimes and the aftermath of them made her want to do victim’s advocacy, and she eventually left teaching and counseling, and became an author and public speaker. After divorcing Jason, Shannon found love again and remarried. She now appears to be thriving, but as this book illustrates, it was a tough road to get where she is today.

My thoughts

Through the Glass is a fascinating book on many levels. As an American living in Germany, I’m always interested in seeing how other countries operate. Canada has a very different legal and penal system than the United States does, so that aspect of the story alone, was fascinating for me. Canada also has a very different healthcare system than the United States does. Shannon seemed to have a lot of support from her family doctor, a woman called Sue, who would actually come to Shannon’s home to see her and went to the jail to see Jason. I can’t imagine something like that happening in the United States.

The Canadian system seems a lot more humane than the US system does, although there were plenty of inhumane aspects of Shannon’s story. While she describes a lot of insensitivity toward her situation from friends and colleagues, overall, I think the Canadian people were more understanding toward her than Americans would be. It seems to me that Americans are very quick to judge, and judge harshly, and declare people guilty by association. By Shannon’s descriptions, at least her countrymen tried to understand her ordeal on some level. They would try to put on a pretense of kindness, even if they weren’t very helpful to her, as she navigated the horrific mess left to her in the wake of Jason’s crimes.

At one point, while he was being assessed, Jason was sent to a psychiatric facility, and Shannon describes visiting him there. It was a lot more welcoming than the prison was, and Jason was treated as a patient, rather than an inmate. I found myself agreeing with Shannon’s comments about how warehousing people in prisons isn’t very helpful to society, even though Jason obviously is a danger to others and probably should be kept away from society. Still, she seems to believe that prisoners should be treated with humanity. On that point, I totally agree with her, especially since most incarcerated people will eventually get out of prison. It serves society to see to it that they have the best chance at success when they are released.

On the other hand, I’m sure I’m among a lot of readers who have trouble reconciling how long she stayed married to Jason, especially when it was clear that he would not be leaving prison for a very long time, if ever. I can understand having basic empathy for other human beings, but Jason’s crimes were truly horrific and disgusting. One woman died, and two others were left with terrible memories of being brutalized by a madman. Sometimes, Shannon seemed overly empathic toward Jason, trying to paint him as a really good man who was just misunderstood. I was glad to read when she finally divorced him, even though he has some redeeming qualities. When it comes down to it, though, Jason can’t be rehabilitated enough to be in public again.

It occurs to me that Shannon Moroney has something in common with Elizabeth Smart, in that she’s turned a horrific tragedy in her life into a way to help others. That’s admirable.

Overall

I think most people would find Shannon Moroney’s story interesting. However, some readers might be disgusted by what seems like a lack of empathy for the victims, since she does show empathy for Jason. Personally, I believe Shannon when she claims that she does have empathy for Jason’s victims. I also appreciated that she was honest about her conflicted feelings for her ex husband, Jason Staples. I think it was good that she stated her true feelings, rather than just expressing what people wanted to hear from her. But, knowing what I know about the public at large, and the black and white thinking that a lot of people have, I know some readers won’t see it the way I do. We often expect people to feel the way we think they should feel, when life isn’t always that simple.

Anyway, I’m glad I finally got around to reading this book, that has been waiting for be read for years. As we await Josh Duggar’s upcoming prison sentence, I will try to have some empathy for his wife, Anna, and the mess she’s in right now. It’s easy for us to see that Anna should leave Josh, but we don’t see life from her perspective. It’s not always so simple. Shannon Moroney’s story really drives home that truism, at least for me.

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true crime

What was Vicky White thinking when she broke Casey White out of jail? I sure don’t know…

Happy Thursday, everybody. I’m in a pretty good mood today, because Bill and I had a great time at the Keb’ Mo’ show in Mainz last night. I have already written about our experience, so anyone who is curious can pop over to my travel blog and have a look. We had fabulous seats, and Keb’ Mo’ was super entertaining, playing all of the songs I hoped to hear, as well as a few that I need to revisit! The show was supposed to happen on November 16, 2020, which was our 20th wedding anniversary. Of course, we all know what happened in 2020, and that show would go on to be rescheduled three times! Keb’ Mo’ even came out with another album before he had a chance to do last night’s show, which did include some of the newest material. Anyway, it was a great time. I’m not even too perturbed that our upstairs toilet is still kind of “deadlined” until the plumber can get here to fix the flusher.

So now, I’m trying to figure out what today’s post will be about. A couple of days ago, I mentioned the now late Vicky White, a 56 year old former corrections officer from Alabama, who broke her “boyfriend”, 38 year old Casey White, out of jail and absconded with him to Indiana. I enjoy writing about true crime, and this case has “movie of the week” written all over it. I mean, here was a lady who had worked at the jail for years, was second in command, and was highly regarded by her colleagues. And yet, for some reason, she decided to retire several years before she would have turned 60, which is when she could have retired with benefits. She was to retire on her last day of work. She also sold her house for $90,000, which was well below market value. What the hell was she thinking? What caused a respected corrections officer to become a fugitive in her final days of life?

Friend and fellow blogger, Alex Diaz-Granados, commented that he’d like to read my “take” on this bizarre case. At this point, though, like everybody else, I can only make assumptions.

I remember when the story first hit the news. At first, people wondered if maybe Vicky White had been overpowered or manipulated in some way by Casey White (no relation), who is 6’9″ tall. Vicky White, who had been the assistant director of corrections for Lauderdale County, in Alabama, had told other staffers at the jail that she was going to take Casey White to a mental health evaluation. After that, she said she had intended to seek medical care for herself. When the Whites didn’t return to the jail, some checking was done, and it turned out that the mental health evaluation story was bogus, and Vicky had also lied about going to see a doctor. They also realized that Vicky White had violated policy by traveling alone with the inmate. Naturally, that led investigators to believe that she was complicit in helping Casey White escape the jail and stay on the run for eleven days. Later, investigators said that video footage had proven that the escape was well-planned, although I’m not sure if White planned anything beyond getting Casey White out of jail.

Vicky White right before her death.

In the time following the escape, more research shows that Vicky White had used disguises, forged her name, and used aliases. She and Casey White spent eight whole days in Evansville, Indiana before they were finally confronted by the authorities and led then on a high speed car chase that ended with an accident. White’s final call to 911 has been made available to the press. On May 9, 2022, she shot herself in the head with a handgun before police were able to arrest her. Casey White had asked officers to “help his wife”, although they were not married to each other. Then we hear an officer saying they needed to clear “some of this shit out of the way”. Vicky White still had the gun in her hand after she shot herself with it. She was still breathing at the scene, but later died at a local hospital.

Bodycam footage of the efforts to save Vicky White. I guess she preferred death to what awaited her in the court system.

Thinking about this case, it makes me wonder what in the world had recently happened in her life to cause Vicky White’s life to go off the skids like this. She made some very strange and troubling decisions in her last days on the planet. Having spent so many years in her criminal justice career, I wonder if the realization that she’d made such a huge mistake caused her to implode the way she did. But I really wonder how it was that she came to be in a relationship with Casey White in the first place. In his case, I almost feel like maybe he was hoping a cop would kill him. I guess I can understand that, as it’s definitely not ideal to be incarcerated. And now, thanks to this escape, life for Casey White will probably be sheer hell from now on. I read the police chief in Alabama said White would be cuffed and shackled 24/7 in his cell, and he would definitely have a lot more guards watching his every move. He is now in a state prison, about 100 miles south of the jail from which he had escaped with Vicky White, who had apparently begun a secret relationship with him when he spent time, intermittently, at the jail where she worked for pre-trial hearings. Casey White had initially been locked up for stabbing and killing Connie Ridgeway in 2015. Now, the authorities will add escape charges to his rap sheet.

I feel for the people who worked with Vicky White. No doubt, they had many good memories of working with her, and didn’t want to see her go down this path, or end her life in the way she did. I also feel for Vicky’s family, especially her mother. I guess that Vicky felt she couldn’t face her family, friends, and former colleagues. She probably felt disgraced, and this situation may have seemed hopeless. This year, she was voted “Corrections Employee of the Year”, and it was not the first time she had achieved that honor.

I suspect that Vicky White’s final actions will make things much harder for her former colleagues, too. It will be harder for people to trust each other. And it will make it harder for prisoners, too, who will probably be treated worse.

It surprises me that none of her co-workers saw or said anything about this supposed relationship Vicky White had with Casey White. Didn’t they notice anything? Below is another video, posted two days before they were found in Indiana. Supposedly, Vicky had a “double life”.

Two days later, they were caught, and Vicky White made a tragic and irreversible decision.

One inmate in the above video said that it was “chaotic” in the jail, and she wasn’t surprised Vicky was able to break Casey out of there. It makes me wonder if people who worked there just ignored policies as a matter of course. Someone in the video mentioned that Vicky was divorced, but still lived with her ex husband, who died in January of this year of Parkinson’s Disease. Another person, a former co-worker, says she had a “dark side”, and didn’t resemble the sunny blonde in the photos that were released. He also felt that she knew exactly what she was doing, and had planned this for a long time.

I guess time will reveal whatever can be gleaned from the information that comes up in the wake of this situation. We’ll never really know what motivated Vicky White to take these steps that led to her death. But at least Casey is back behind bars. I’ll be watching to see what else comes from this story. I’m sure someone will write a book. Dr. Todd Grande has already made a video about it.

Todd Grande looks at this case.

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controversies, ethics, healthcare, law, sex, sexism, slut shamers

The vast majority of “pro-life males” make me want to hurl!

Ah abortion… yet another topic I am tired of thinking and writing about these days. And yet, it’s a topic I can’t escape, because so many people are posting and talking about the abortion issue, since the Supreme Court is considering overturning Roe v Wade. There have been so many articles written about this subject. If one pays attention to the Internet, as I do on a daily basis, it’s impossible to ignore the headlines. I suppose I could practice some self-control and not read some of this stuff, in the interest of controlling my blood pressure. But anyone who reads my blog, knows that self-control isn’t always one of my fortes.

One thing I’ve noticed over the past few weeks, is that when I read the comment sections on anything having to do with abortion, I inevitably run into the stereotypical “pro-life male” commenter. That’s a man who feels compelled to self-righteously “mansplain” to women why they think women should be forced to maintain an unintended pregnancy. They usually use loaded words and phrases like “murder”, “sanctity of life”, and “kill”, and they whine about hypothetical taxpayer funded abortions, which is NOT a thing. The Hyde Amendment of 1976– that’s 46 years ago, folks– makes public funding of abortions against federal law. But I still see comments from dumbassed “pro-life males” about how they don’t want to pay for abortions with their tax dollars.

“Pro-life males” usually take on an air of disgust, as they sanctimoniously preach about “protecting the most vulnerable”, shaming anyone who dares to question whether or not a gestating human has the right to privacy, autonomy, or self-determination. They loftily opine about how “irresponsible” and “cruel” pro-choice people are. How can a “decent” person not want to “protect the most vulnerable”? “A developing fetus can’t defend itself”, they reason; therefore, it’s up to these high and mighty males to be the white knight for these unknown beings!

I would like to know, where are these guys when those babies are born? I never see these “white knights” talking about continuing their valiant fights, “protecting the most vulnerable and innocent” by offering to pay for their care or, supporting their mothers, or even babysitting them! I’d like to ask some of them how many special needs children they’ve adopted. Hell, I’d like to ask them how many dirty diapers they’ve changed… and how many times they’ve gotten up in the middle of the night to breastfeed a crying infant. I’d like to ask them if they’ve experienced any permanent changes to their bodies and bank accounts after a baby has been born. I think we all know the answer to those questions, don’t we?

I often get queasy when I stumble across “pro-life males'” holier-than-thou screeds, which NEVER address anything more than “protecting” a developing embryo’s or fetus’s “right to life”. They never want to talk about anything other than that barest of minimums of “protecting babies”… maintaining the precious embryonic heartbeat. They don’t address whether or not the pregnant person should be granted some assistance of any kind. To read their words or hear them speak, it’s always the woman’s fault for being “slutty” and “getting herself pregnant”. I can’t remember ever reading any comments from these guys concerning providing women and children access to affordable and high quality healthcare, housing, food and medicine, child care, or education. I never see them mentioning anything about the responsibility society has toward the so-called “vulnerable and innocent” babies whose mothers were forced to give birth to them. Usually, these guys just want to lament about the “irresponsible” women and how much people who need welfare disgust them for being “lazy”.

From what I’ve seen, most “pro-life” guys just smugly want to focus on maintaining, at all costs, the heartbeat of the developing embryo, the pregnant woman’s circumstances be damned! And then, when that embryo eventually turns into, hopefully, a healthy baby, they no longer give a shit about the baby’s welfare. They never cared about the woman’s welfare, so now there are two people who are left to figure out how to get through life with so much stacked against them.

Pro-life males never seem interested in contributing money to make sure the developing fetuses are getting the best chance at starting off life on the right path. They have nothing to say about how “cruel” it is for a developing embryo or fetus to be growing inside a pregnant woman who can’t or won’t take care of her health. I never see them concerned about pregnant women’s access to competent medical care, making sure that those developing fetuses don’t suffer because their mothers aren’t healthy. In fact, most of these guys seem to lack any charitable thoughts whatsoever toward anyone but the voiceless potential babies being carried by perfect strangers. They only have negative words for them. And they usually get decidedly pissy when women tell them they shouldn’t get a say about forcing someone else to be pregnant.

God forbid anyone encourage them to do their parts in preventing unplanned pregnancies, either. They bristle at being advised to use condoms, get vasectomies, or– perish the thought— simply keeping their dicks in their pants! To hear them speak, or read their comments, one comes away with the idea that preventing pregnancy is solely up to the females. They are almost always solely focused on the so-called “trampy females” who lack self-control and have extramarital sex for “fun”. Never mind that it’s usually the men who are demanding sex or, in some sad cases, forcing women to engage in it. Never mind that sometimes, women seek abortions for reasons that are very personal or even tragic. Their narrative is that women who consider abortions are always irresponsible, selfish, and out of control.

Below are a few examples of the so-called “pro-life male”. Notice the underlying hostility, misogyny, and disgust… Poor guys. You’d think that a woman’s right to choose is a personal affront to them! “Josh” had several comments on this subject. It really seems to cause him serious butthurt that women still have the option to choose… at least for now.

Having a penis doesn’t mean you don’t get to voice your opinion. Must have missed that in the constitution, the right to murder the most vulnerable.

Abortion is the killing of another person for convenience.

A woman pointed out to “Josh” that murder is not the right term for abortion. “Josh” then proceeds to whine some more.

Anyone who wants to kill babies and let “facilities” profit from selling their organs is sick. You’d think a bunch of veterans (who were lucky enough to not be aborted) would stick up for the ones who cannot defend themselves. Men need to have a say in it, to protect the babies, especially the ones responsible for the baby.

I don’t need a uterus to be a woman these days. That being said, abortion is murder.

I could probably spend all day finding more puke-inducing shaming comments like these, almost unilaterally from males who refuse to understand why a woman’s decision to terminate a pregnancy is none of their goddamned business. So often, I’m tempted to respond to these guys, but I know it’s a lost cause. Because they just don’t want to get it. They can’t see how having children permanently changes a woman’s life.

Yes, there are MANY women who are delighted to become mothers. But becoming a mother comes with huge costs… and so few of these “pro-life males” seem to care about that. I never see them offering to support women who are pregnant and need help. They very rarely express compassion, empathy, or kindness. It’s all about how the woman who has an abortion is a “murderer”. And then, they seem to think she should be sent to rot in prison. Gee… that’s good for society, isn’t it? Taking a woman out of the workforce to waste her life sitting behind bars. Especially if the woman has other children who need her. Those other kids are better off in foster care, right? /sarcasm

I have never cheered for abortion. I certainly don’t think it’s the ideal solution. I would prefer that people who don’t want to be pregnant simply avoid getting pregnant. However, I also don’t think I have the right to dictate to someone else what they should or should not be doing with their bodies. Of course I would prefer that unintended pregnancies due to “irresponsible behavior” didn’t happen. I would also prefer that women were never raped, have severe health issues, abandoned by the men who impregnated them, or experienced any of the other negative situations that would lead them to consider abortion.

I determined long ago that the circumstances surrounding how and why someone gets pregnant, and why they might want to terminate a pregnancy, is none of my business. Abortion is healthcare, and it should be private. I don’t need to know why “Josh” in the above comment might need to have his prostate removed someday, even if it means he can no longer pleasure the hypothetical woman (or man) in his life. What’s important is that he might need to have his prostate removed for health reasons that are not my business. The same thing goes for an already born woman who decides that she needs to have an abortion. It’s her health on the line. Her health and well-being should always come before that of a potential human’s taking up residence in her womb. After all, if she’s not healthy, neither will be the developing fetus.

I know that I have no right to tell someone abortion is only okay under certain circumstances. It’s true that developing fetuses have nothing to do with the circumstances of how or why they exist. They are “innocent”. But if abortion is truly “murder”, then how can there ever be a situation in which murder is “okay”? I would say abortion is less murder than “self-defense”. The woman is defending herself against negative outcomes of being pregnant, which can include everything from financial difficulties, to poorer health, to being forced to maintain a relationship with an abuser, to death itself. I never see these insufferable “pro-life males”, who lecture everyone about the “sanctity of life”, offering any solutions for the women who find themselves in difficult or impossible situations caused by pregnancy. Instead, they want to dehumanize the women by labeling them, criticizing their choices, and refusing to offer any help to them whatsoever. They can’t even spare a kind word of encouragement or understanding. It’s just non-stop slut shaming and willful ignorance about the conditions would drive someone to terminate a pregnancy.

I don’t think most of the “pro-life males” give a rat’s patootie about “saving babies”. The vast majority of them, from what I can tell, vote Republican. Besides forcing women to birth, they are also for gun rights and cutting welfare benefits. They don’t agree with healthcare for everyone. They don’t want to pay higher taxes so that vulnerable people can get a better quality of life. I never hear these guys talk about helping babies and children with special needs, who may or may not grow up to be adults with special needs. There’s nary a peep about making sure that the babies, born to the women who aren’t prepared to be mothers, are loved and cared for, so that they can get the best start in their lives. Nope. It’s all about blaming the woman– the woman, who CAN’T get pregnant without the man’s input, and will have to deal with just about everything that comes with making babies.

“Pro-life males” don’t seem to consider that their part of literal babymaking only lasts for a couple of minutes. Instead, they whine about having to pay child support or not getting a say as to whether or not a pregnancy continues. Or they equate paying a couple hundred bucks a month in child support to a 50/50 contribution. I wonder if those guys would take a job gestating a baby, especially since at this writing, the other parent isn’t legally compelled to offer any support to the pregnant woman. I wonder if, after the baby is born, those “pro-life males” would take a couple hundred bucks a month to raise the baby… if raising a child was just about dollars and cents, that is. My guess is that most of them would not be happy with that pay scale, especially since it also potentially means fewer job opportunities and promotions.

How is it that in 2022, we still have so many clueless, sexist, mansplaining, slut shaming, men in the world who have no concept of why so many women see abortion as a human right? Why do so many men not realize that there’s a huge price to be paid for making women gestate babies they don’t want? How come so many of them forget that every woman was once a developing fetus– something that they claim they want to “protect” at all costs? Why don’t they care more about people who have already been born and are struggling? Why are they so focused on everyone but the person doing the actual work?

I have never met anyone who is “pro-abortion”. Almost every case I’ve heard of involving abortion has been about someone making a very difficult decision. It’s a decision that doesn’t require mean comments from guys like “Josh”, who will NEVER be in that situation himself. What Josh and his ilk should do, is take a moment to muster some empathy. Any man who labels women as “murderers” for looking out for themselves– just as most men do– should never request sexual gratification from a woman. I hope Josh is a virgin. I hope he STAYS a virgin. Clearly, he’s not mature enough to handle the realities of what can happen when people have sex.

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law, LDS, mental health, narcissists, true crime, YouTube

Lori Vallow Daybell is finally going to get her day(s) in court…

A few months ago, I read and reviewed a true crime book about notorious Mormon child killer, Lori Vallow Daybell. The book I read, The Doomsday Mother, by John Glatt, is about a woman who professed to be a devout Latter-day Saint. She was beautiful and charismatic… and apparently, she was also more than a bit crazy. Lori Vallow Daybell was, at one point in time, just a toxic person who did things like alienate her children from their fathers. She had her son from her second marriage, Colby Ryan, daughter, 16 year old Tylee Ryan, and her adopted autistic son, J.J. Vallow, and professed to be a dedicated, loving, devoted mother to them.

But then she got involved with Utah sexton and doomsday Mormon author, Chad Daybell. That combination– Lori’s high conflict, narcissistic, paranoid personality, mixed with the doomsday visions of Chad Daybell, proved to be deadly for her children, who were brutally murdered and buried in a pet cemetery on Daybell’s property. Daybell claimed to be preparing for the “end times”, and he wrote about his views in his books, of which Lori was a devout fan. Together, they would also bring about the death of Daybell’s first wife, Tammy.

Lori’s brother, Alex Cox, shot and killed Lori’s fourth husband, Charles Vallow. At the time of his death, Vallow was seeking to divorce Daybell, stating that she “had believed she had become a god-like figure responsible for ushering in the biblical end of times“. Cox claimed he shot Vallow in self-defense, and he was never charged for the crime. Cox later died of an apparent blood clot in his lung.

In February 2020, when Lori Daybell was arrested in Hawaii, and was later extradited to Idaho, she was deemed too mentally ill to stand trial. Now, she has finally been declared mentally sound enough to answer the criminal charges against her. After months of being confined in a mental health facility, Judge Steven Boyce, who had ordered Daybell to undergo treatment so that she could assist in her own defense, has declared her mentally fit enough to stand trial. She is now scheduled to be formally arraigned in court next week. She and her fifth husband, Chad Daybell, will stand trial together early next year.

A video reporting about Lori Daybell’s return to competency. Nate Carlisle explains this latest development.

The Daybells, who married in 2019, are being charged with conspiracy to commit murder and first-degree murder, in connection with the deaths of Lori Daybell’s children 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 16-year-old Tylee Ryan, as well as Chad Daybell’s first wife, Tammy Daybell. Ms. Daybell also faces charges in Arizona for conspiring to kill her fourth husband, Charles Vallow, with help from her now deceased brother, Alex Cox. Mr. Daybell has already pleaded not guilty to the charges, while Ms. Daybell hasn’t yet entered her plea. Last month, Judge Boyce denied Chad Daybell’s legal team’s request to have his case separated from Lori’s.

At this point, not much has been reported about Lori Daybell’s actual mental state or what treatment she has been undergoing. I can’t even imagine what mental healthcare providers had to do to get Lori Daybell ready to face the charges against her. I would like to know how one is deemed fit or unfit in cases like these.

I remember back on June 20, 2001 (my birthday), when Texas mom Andrea Yates was in the news for methodically killing her five children by drowning them in a bathtub, I had some sympathy for her. Yates, by most accounts, was a good person before she finally succumbed to mental health ravages caused by post-partum psychosis. She was legitimately and obviously mentally ill, and she couldn’t help the delusions that led her to kill her children. Hers was a case that certainly warranted an insanity defense. I can’t even fathom how truly awful it must have been for her to restore her sanity. Andrea Yates has even been offered the chance to leave the mental hospital, but she has declined to go.

I’m not nearly as sure about Lori Daybell. To me, she comes across as a woman with a very long history of hurting people. She probably was legitimately mentally ill when she was captured, but was she that ill in the years leading up to her violent crime spree? I really don’t know. I made a point of not following this case when it was hot news, but I am now interested in watching how it will go. I hope and expect that Lori and Chad will spend the rest of their lives in prison. I think that would be just, in this case. Their crimes were absolutely horrific, especially toward poor J.J., who was just a kid and was probably tortured before he died.

Hopefully, she will be tried in January 2023, but it will depend on Lori’s mental state, and whether or not it deteriorates.

I’ve mentioned before that the reason I didn’t want to follow this case closely was because Lori reminds me a bit of Bill’s ex wife, although there are definitely some differences between the two women. Ex, at least as far as I know, hasn’t committed murder. But some of their behaviors are eerily similar. I realize that there but for the grace of God go we.

J.J.’s bio grandparents, who are from Louisiana, are waiting with bated breath for the trial. They can’t wait stare her down at the trial.

My best wishes and good thoughts go to the people who have survived the horrifying crimes allegedly committed by Lori and Chad Daybell. I can’t even fathom how absolutely horrific this must have been for them. I know they look forward to seeing justice done. Chad Daybell will face the death penalty, but the prosecution hasn’t yet indicated whether or not they will seek the death penalty for Lori. Generally speaking, I am against capital punishment, but I must admit that I won’t lose any sleep if these two get sentenced to death. That doesn’t mean I would vote for it if I was a juror, since I think the death penalty is wrong. But if either of these two happen to get that sentence, I certainly won’t be attending any protests or writing any letters.

I think Lori and Chad Daybell are very sick people… but they are sick in a way that medicine can’t cure. I hope they won’t ever see the outside of a prison again.

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