communication, complaints, controversies, ethics, law, true crime

Why do so many people like to blame the victim?

Yesterday was an interesting day. It started in the usual way and ended with a couple of situations that have led me to ponder this morning. Why do so many people seem to think others deserve anything negative that happens to them? Why do some people have this innate instinct to spin any tragic or awful situation into something that could and should have been avoided or prevented? And why do so many people seem to want to see other people suffer?

Take Brittney Griner’s situation. Griner is a basketball star who won gold medals at the Olympics and played for the W.N.B.A. She went to Russia to play basketball. Last February, she was arrested at an airport in Moscow when customs agents found vape cartridges that contained hashish oil in her luggage. Griner’s arrest happened just before Russia invaded Ukraine. Her case was soon international and daily news, especially when in August of this year, she was sentenced to nine years at a Russian penal colony.

Yesterday afternoon, Europe time, it was announced that Griner was exchanged for a notorious Russian arms dealer named Viktor Bout who was doing time in a U.S. prison. Bout had been languishing in the United States for eleven years, and was sentenced to twenty-five years.

My first reaction, when I read about Brittney Griner’s release, was relief. I always like to hear about Americans who are locked up abroad– especially when they are obviously being used as political pawns– being released and coming home. Yes, I know that fellow American, Paul Whelan, is also locked up in Russia, serving sixteen years of hard labor, and President Biden wasn’t able to secure his release. But he was able to get Brittney out, and now she’s coming home to her wife, Cherrelle Griner, and her parents. Yes, I know she broke Russian law by having hashish oil in her luggage, but I don’t think that crime should warrant being locked in a Russian hellhole, being tortured, starved, and forced to work in inhumane conditions. I don’t think ANY prisoner should be treated that way, regardless of their crimes. Russia is well known for mistreating prisoners.

Maybe trading Griner for Bout was an “uneven exchange”, but what was the alternative?

I read a number of puzzling responses to the news that Brittney was released. Some people were actually ANGRY about it. They cited the fact that Whelan is still locked up, and he is somehow a “better American” than Brittney is. One woman, upon reading that Griner would be going to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, wrote that she should be happy, since “medical marijuana is legal in Texas.” Was that response that really necessary? Why can’t people simply be happy that an American citizen is not going to be tortured for nine years for a very minimal offense? Whose side are they on, anyway?

One of the comments regarding Brittney Griner’s situation.

I also get that some people don’t like Brittney Griner because they see her as immoral and unAmerican. She’s a Black lesbian who took a knee during the national anthem, protesting racism. She moved to Russia to play basketball instead of staying in the United States. For these “crimes”, she should have to languish for years in a Russian hellhole prison? I know a lot of people are also upset because marriage equality in the United States is about to be made federal law, and Brittney Griner’s sexual orientation and marriage is a very visible display of what some Christian Americans see as an abomination. It amazes me that so-called Christians enjoy it when people suffer, especially as punishment for things that are beyond their control.

I’ve seen this kind of negative “victim blaming” response in a lot of situations. I’ve also seen a lot of Americans expressing very harsh reactions to people who commit what are really pretty minor offenses. I’ve written about this a few times in my blog. See my unpopular comments about Debra Hunter, Lori Loughlin, and Skylar Mack, women who did jail time for what turned out to be pretty minor offenses. πŸ˜‰

Recently, I read about a Tik Tok user named Katie Sigmond who decided to hit a golf ball over the rim of the Grand Canyon. In the course of sending the ball over the edge, she also tossed her golf club. This was all filmed and put on Tik Tok, where Sigmond has almost seven million followers. Officials at the Grand Canyon found out who Sigmond was and issued a fine. The amount of the fine wasn’t specified, but one official said that the fine for what Katie did was usually about $280.

The comments about the fine were pretty ridiculous. I saw more than one outraged person writing that Sigmond should get a jail sentence for her stunt. Really? I could see a jail sentence if Sigmond’s Tik Tok stunt had actually hurt someone. What her offense actually amounted to, though, was littering. Should we really jail people for being litterbugs? I think a fine, community service, and perhaps being banned from the Grand Canyon for awhile is punishment enough.

Why do so many Americans think that jail is the end all, be all for punishment? Do people ever stop and think about how being incarcerated affects the person who is jailed, and their families? Do they consider how putting people behind bars affects society? And do people ever stop and think about when a person has been disciplined enough for a crime? At what point would some of these jail cheerleaders think Sigmond has suffered enough for littering? Would a week be enough, or would they rather see her sit in a prison cell for years? Is that how they would like to be treated if they ran afoul of the law?

The longer I live, the more I think that people don’t really stop and think about the long term consequences of their actions. I’m sure Griner thought she’d get away with bringing hashish oil into Russia. Her mind was probably on playing basketball, not on the fact that she’s an American who was living in country with a leader who has no qualms about finding any excuse whatsoever to use people as pawns. I know for a fact that Russians aren’t inherently bad people simply because they’re Russian. But a lot of Americans seem to think that Griner “asked for” her situation simply because she moved to Russia to play a sport she apparently loves.

Lots of people seem to think Brittney Griner should still be sitting in a Russian prison. They see her as a “traitor” for not staying in the United States. I don’t know what Brittney Griner’s reasons were for moving to Russia. It might have simply been about making money, which I think is fair enough, especially when a person makes a living as an athlete. Professional athletes have a limited shelf life. Maybe she needed the money. Maybe she thought it would be an exciting adventure. Maybe she just loves the game and wants to play during the off season. In any case, she moved to Russia for whatever reason, and got caught up in an international game.

Do people really think Griner deserved nine years in a penal colony for what she did? And why is making money a crime? Especially in our capitalistic society, where people’s successes and worthiness are often based on whether or not they make money?

Awful… and totally unnecessary.

I’ve got more to write on this subject, but I’m going to put those thoughts in my travel blog, because the other situation I want to write about has to do with travel… But the theme is the same. A lot of Americans LOVE to blame the victim. And they love to criticize anyone who has a valid complaint. I don’t understand that mindset, but I notice that it’s especially prevalent in military communities. Bill calls it the “suck it up and drive on” mentality. I call it annoying as hell… Anyway, if you want to read about that situation, have a look at the travel blog later, after I’ve vented my spleen. πŸ˜€

I’m glad Brittney Griner is going to be free. I hope she has the best holiday season this year. Her life is meaningful, and Americans should be glad that she’s out of prison instead of wishing to see her rot.

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ethics, law, true crime, Trump

Ghislaine Maxwell gets sentenced to 20 years in federal prison…

Thank God for other items in the news besides Donald Trump’s January 6 shenanigans and the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. As I mentioned yesterday, I’m pretty tired of thinking and writing about abortion. And I’ve been tired of Trump for years now. Nevertheless, if Ghislaine Maxwell hadn’t been delivered a prison sentence yesterday, I could still write reams about abortion and Trump. There’s still a lot to be said and written about both subjects. But I won’t be opining about those two tired topics this Wednesday morning. Today, I’m going to write about what I think of Ghislaine Maxwell’s punishment. So here goes…

Yesterday afternoon– I think it was afternoon in Germany, anyway, Ghislaine Maxwell, former British socialite and ex girlfriend of sex offender extraordinaire, Jeffrey Epstein, finally got sentenced for her role in Epstein’s disgusting crimes against young women. Ms. Maxwell was accused of sex trafficking young women. She befriended beautiful young girls who hoped to become models and lured them to Epstein’s lair, where they would be forced to engage in sex acts with Epstein and his powerful and wealthy friends.

Jeffrey Epstein had been awaiting his own trial when he allegedly committed suicide in jail back in August 2019. Many people questioned whether or not Epstein wasn’t actually murdered, since many high powered people were his friends and stood to lose a lot if he testified in court. How powerful were these people? Well, they included people like Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Kevin Spacey, Itzhak Perlman, astronaut John Glenn, many US senators, and our very own loser ex “president”, Trump.

In 2020, I watched Netflix’s revelatory documentary about what went on in Epstein’s fancy homes in Palm Beach, Florida, London, England, New York City, and his private island in the Caribbean. Ghislaine Maxwell was in the thick of it, and she presented a gentle, friendly face to trusting young women who were looking for a big break. Instead, they were used and abused by Epstein and his depraved, corrupt buddies. When I think about the metaphorical snake pit those women faced, filled with slimy narcissistic scumbags, it makes me cringe with revulsion.

Ghislaine Maxwell orchestrated much of the abuse, funneling girls and young women into the vortex of Epstein’s inner sanctums, victimizing them as she smiled and pretended to be their friends. They would trust a woman before they’d trust the lecherous middle aged men who wanted to use them for their own sexual gratification. Now, those women are living with the aftermath of that abuse, and Maxwell knows that she will be in prison until at least her late 70s. She must also pay a $750,000 fine.

Maxwell was arrested in July 2020, and she’s been sitting in a Brooklyn jail cell the whole time, as her case has slowly ground through the court system. Now, it’s time to get down to business. She didn’t get the five years her lawyers asked for, and she didn’t get the 30 years prosecutors wanted. She might not die in prison, but her life as a socialite is over. As she learned her fate, Maxwell addressed her victims, claiming to empathize with them, and telling them she hoped her prison sentence would bring them “peace and finality”.

I read about this case last night, as many people were still reeling from the Roe v. Wade decision, and learning about Donald Trump’s horrible conduct on January 6, 2021, as Cassidy Hutchinson testified about Trump’s incredibly narcissistic and abusive behavior. Trump was a friend of Epstein’s, and I know of at least one person who described what he did to her at Epstein’s home. A lot of people are quick to deny Hutchinson’s testimony about January 6, and they doggedly defend their man, Trump. I have little hope that Trump will ever face punishment for his crimes against people. But at least they got Ghislaine. I think 20 years in prison and having to pay a huge fine is fair. And in spite of how terrible her crimes are, I hope Ghislaine Maxwell is treated humanely while she does her time in prison.

Someone in the Facebook comments wrote that Ghislaine Maxwell should spend all 20 years in solitary confinement. Against my better judgment, I wrote “That would be inhumane. She needs to be punished, not tortured. America should be above torture (even if it isn’t).

A few people liked my comment, but at least two people gave me grief over it. One seemingly outraged woman asked me if I would feel the same way if it had been one of my daughters who was victimized by Ghislaine Maxwell. To that, I responded “Yes, I would. I don’t condone torture. Twenty years in solitary confinement would be torture.” A man tagged me in his angry comment about how much Maxwell should suffer. I wrote to him that he was entitled to his opinion, but I disagree with it. I don’t ever want to get to a point at which I think torturing other people is okay… even if I completely understand the sentiment behind those thoughts. Solitary confinement, even just for a couple of weeks, is considered inhumane and akin to torture. I am not okay with that.

Once again, I’m left sitting here scratching my head at the logic of some of my countrymen. So many people are happy to excuse Donald Trump for his egregious and well documented crimes against people over his long career as a businessman, politician, and “star”. A lot of them would be absolutely delighted to see him elected president again, even though he boldly admits to having no control over his sexual impulses, abuses his employees, cheats his creditors, and demonstrates an attitude that he is ABOVE the law. But some of those same people want to torture Ghislaine Maxwell. The mind boggles. Maybe it’s because she’s a woman, and women aren’t supposed to be “monsters”.

I remember a couple of years ago, when Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman were in the news for their fraudulent actions of trying to buy their daughters spots at prestigious universities. I read so many comments from “outraged” people who thought they should just ROT in prison for decades. What Loughlin and Huffman did were not crimes of violence. Yes, their crimes were dishonest and unfair. Yes, they abused their great privilege and wealth. They needed to be held accountable, and they were. But plenty of people felt that their sentences were too light, and they should be locked up for years.

I remember when 18 year old Skylar Mack went to the Cayman Islands and flouted the COVID rules there. She got caught by the police, and faced incarceration as punishment. At one point, she was sentenced to four months in jail, and some Americans were complaining when her family members tried to get her sentence reduced, which it eventually was. I wrote about her case several times in this blog. A few people wanted to tell me off for not wanting Skylar to rot in jail. My response is that I don’t see how locking up an 18 year old for two more months in a hellish Caribbean jail, potentially traumatizing her for life, would be justice.

Ghislaine Maxwell, of course, is no Skylar Mack, Lori Loughlin, or Felicity Huffman. Her crimes were much worse than theirs were, and she really did legitimately hurt people. So yes, she needs to be severely punished, and it’s entirely fitting that she spend a couple of decades locked up. But even though Maxwell’s crimes against young women were horrific, we are not much better as a society if our response to Maxwell’s crimes is to punish her using methods that are considered cruel by most civilized members of the global community. The United States is supposed to be a first world nation. Americans, as a people, should be above torturing people.

There’s another, more selfish reason I don’t condone torturing Ghislaine Maxwell. And that’s if, by some circumstance, I ever end up on the wrong side of the law, I would not want to be tortured. I wouldn’t want torture for my friends or loved ones, if they ever got sent to prison. I don’t think abusing people delivers good results for society, especially if there’s a chance that a person in prison will ever be released. I don’t want to see that person so completely shattered that they can’t recover. Not only is it not good for them, or their friends and loved ones, it’s also not good for everyone else in the world, who might be victimized if they go off the rails. Abuse has a terrible effect on people. It makes them angry, jaded, and potentially violent. I don’t think that angry, jaded, violent people, fresh from incarceration, are safe to be around. People should be able to recover from their mistakes. Otherwise, why go on living? And what would they have to lose, committing more crimes against other people?

I don’t think there are many truly evil people in the world. As long as someone still has a shred of humanity within them, we should have some respect for them as human beings. Every one of us would want the same consideration. And, as people who haven’t committed serious crimes, we should be at a level at which we can grant basic mercy, even if someone has done something really terrible. Of course, I write this as I’ve also read many comments from people who think anyone who has had an abortion should be jailed for life. It’s probably hyperbole when people say or write these things. I still wish people would stop and think for a minute when they express this kind of vitriol. At best, it’s unhelpful and unrealistic. At worst, it promotes barbaric ideas that put the United States in the same company as Middle Eastern countries where prisoners are routinely tortured and denied basic rights.

But I do understand the outrage… and I do agree that Maxwell should suffer the consequences of her actions. I think that will happen. Ghislaine Maxwell has spent most of her life pampered and cosseted, cushioned by extreme wealth and privilege. Prison will not be pleasant for her. We don’t need to make it worse for her by locking her in a hole for twenty years. That’s extreme, and it would make her go insane… and then we would be obliged to treat her mental illness, although the reality is, she would probably be neglected. And then there would be people who would actually pity her… which she probably doesn’t deserve at all.

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narcissists, politics, poor judgment, stupid people

Jenna Ryan is soon to be off to the pokey, and she’s bitter. Someone should tell her, “Pride goeth before the fall.”

Justice has finally been delivered to Jenna Ryan, the blonde real estate broker from Frisco, Texas (near Dallas) who flew on a private jet to Washington, DC and bragged about taking part in the insurrection on January 6th. I wrote about Jenna a few times last spring and I’ve noticed some folks hitting those links. So, even though we need to pack up our stuff and get on the road to our final vacation spot of Salzburg, Austria, I’m going to take a few minutes to opine about her upcoming sixty day prison stint.

First off, I want to remind my regular readers that I am truly not a big fan of incarceration, particularly for non-violent offenses. I’m the one who famously wrote a few unpopular blog posts about Skylar Mack, the pretty blonde teenager who went to the Cayman Islands and flouted COVID rules. Many people thought Skylar should sit in jail for four months, thinking about what she’d done, which really just amounted to disrespecting local laws, since she wasn’t actually sick with COVID. So many people commented that Skylar was a “spoiled brat” and needed to do time, locked up abroad, cuz’ that would “learn her” about obeying the rules. I was against Skylar having to rot for four months and wrote several times about it. I was glad when her sentence was reduced.

I remember that Jenna Ryan’s case began while Skylar’s was still in the news… and, even though Jenna Ryan technically didn’t hurt anyone when she took her jaunt to DC in January, I found her behavior much more offensive than I did Skylar’s. Jenna is in her 50s, and is supposedly a successful business person. She must have known very well that storming the Capitol building wasn’t going to be legal. And then she bragged on social media about doing that.

When she got arrested, Jenna made a point of predicting that she’d never spend time behind bars. Why? Because she’s blonde, had a “great” job, and has “white skin”. Then she attempted to crowdfund her legal fees, later claiming that she didn’t even need the money, but wanted contributors to be “blessed” by God.

Well, the chickens have finally come home to roost, and Ryan is going to have to do some time. The judge in her case has given Jenna Ryan sixty days. I read in the above link that she doesn’t have to report to prison until after the New Year. I also noticed that she seems somewhat less interested in interacting with the public. Below is her Twitter reaction to the sentence.

Pathetic… no wonder Donald Trump didn’t pardon her. What a loser.

I don’t blame Jenna for not wanting to talk to anyone about this outcome. Being sentenced to sixty days in lockup, after you’ve bragged about never having to go, is embarrassing and humiliating. But honestly, I don’t know why she didn’t see it coming. Oh wait… yes, I do know. Jenna Ryan is yet another person who seems very narcissistic. I don’t know for certain that she is, since we’ve never met, but I do think she shows all the classic signs. In fact, if I were looking for clues that someone might be a narcissist, I might think of Jenna on television, pleading for a pardon from Donald Trump, and then going on Twitter, arrogantly predicting that she was only going to get a slap on the wrist for her part in the insurrection. She really brought this on herself on all levels.

I also notice that Jenna’s attitude toward interacting with the public has changed significantly. Below is her tweeted excuse for why she’s going to be incarcerated.

Notice that she’s limited who can reply. In one sense, I can understand why she’s limited replies. I, myself, have turned off comments on older posts. Nasty comments aren’t fun to read. On the other hand, this is quite a change from last spring, when she was happily taking on all comers. Someone should remind Jenna that “pride goeth before the fall.”

I’m sure that Jenna Ryan is quite familiar with smear campaigns. She’s probably engaged in a few herself. The above tweet amounts to a pathetic excuse for her ridiculous and offensive conduct. I suspect that if she’d shown more remorse and kept a much lower profile, she might not be going to prison. Maybe she wouldn’t be doing any time behind bars at all. But she had to embrace the spotlight in a grandiose way, and now she’s “high profile”. Her behavior has been obnoxious, defiant, and insufferable, and it’s right for the judge to make an example out of her. Maybe putting her in prison won’t deter people who are anything like Jenna Ryan, but it might make more impressionable people think twice about trying to disrupt and overthrow government procedures.

I also think Jenna Ryan’s case might be a clue to Trump supporters that he does not care about anyone but himself. He certainly doesn’t care about anyone who isn’t a “winner” and can do something for him. In my view, Trump values people who can make him money, satisfy his libido, or garner him more power, fame, or prestige. Jenna Ryan and her ilk can’t do any of those things, so her dramatic trip to Washington, DC was an exercise in pointlessness and stupidity. Below is what Jenna said last January, when she found herself on the wrong side of the law…

“President Trump I want you to know that I have been a true supporter of yours and I believe that you won the election. I believe in America and I believe in your values. And I was not a violent protestor and I would ask that you would pardon me from this misdemeanor.”

Trump did not pardon anyone related to the riot prior to leaving office. And I could have told Jenna Ryan that he wasn’t going to do anything for her. She’s not his “type”. I also don’t think Trump cares if he actually won the election (and he didn’t, by the way). He expected to stay in power because he’s a malignant narcissist, and the rules that apply to everyone else, don’t apply to him. I can see that Jenna Ryan has that in common with Trump.

Well, time’s a wasting, so I’d better end this post and get dressed. I will be sorry to leave beautiful Slovenia, but I miss my dogs. I’m also itching to write up this trip and share more of the gorgeous photos I took. So, as I end today’s fresh post, here’s one last thought…

Maybe Jenna needs a little perspective about what a bully is. She obviously missed that Donald Trump is one. Instead of seeing that he’s a power-mad, dictator-wannabe, she embraced and championed his futile bid to keep bullying the American people, and the world at large.

So, to sum things up… I am not surprised Jenna Ryan got prison time. I think she deserves it. I hope she learns something from the experience. I doubt she will, but maybe she’ll prove me wrong.

The end.

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Biden, musings, Trump

Struggling not to be a hypocrite…

This week has been bewildering. I can see it in my blog posts from the past ten days or so. I’ve gone from being cranky and irritable, to elation. Elation turned into dismay, then there was a dash of guilt. This morning, as I sit here thinking about what I want to write about today, I realize I’m a hypocrite. Every day, I struggle to be consistent about things. I try not to be hypocritical. But I often fail.

I’m not alone. Most people are hypocrites. Most of us say one thing and do another. We often have good reasons for being hypocritical. A common excuse is that a certain situation is different somehow. Like, for instance, I recently wrote a sympathetic post about how hard people are being on Skylar Mack, but then I wrote another, much less understanding article about how Jenna Ryan and Jacob Chansley are getting what they deserve.

I wrote yesterday about how I think redemption is important. I think that people should be able to rise above their mistakes. So how is it that I can have so much empathy for Skylar Mack, but not as much for Jacob Chansley and Jenna Ryan? There are some significant differences in each of those cases, of course.

Skylar Mack is 18 years old and barely an adult. What she did, while foolish and potentially dangerous, didn’t actually harm anyone. She wasn’t infected with COVID-19 when she broke quarantine. That doesn’t mean she was right to break the rules; it simply means that this time, she didn’t literally hurt anyone by breaking them.

Skylar needed to be punished, though, because other people are always watching. Not punishing Skylar could have emboldened other people to do what she did. Some of those would be rule breakers might be infected with COVID-19, and if they broke quarantine and mingled with the locals, they could cause an outbreak on the Cayman Islands. It was just my opinion that Skylar didn’t need to rot in jail forever for what she did. I’m glad the local officials agreed and let her go this month, even if a lot of virtue signaling hypocrites at home thought she should have fried.

Conversely, both Jenna and Jacob are much older than Skylar is. Jenna Ryan is a 50 year old businesswoman. Jacob Chansley is 33 years old. Both are well over the ages at which their brains should be fully developed. Skylar still has a few more years to go before her noggin is completely solid, and medical science supports that. According to this article by the University of Rochester Medical Center, Skylar still has a “teen brain”, and she will have that for about seven more years. That means her judgment is not the same as an older person’s should be.

Jenna and Jacob surely knew that what they were doing was illegal, and it’s been illegal for a very long time. I mean, come on. When was the last time you were able to just walk into a federal building like the Capitol, completely unvetted and unchecked? Granted, I haven’t been in a U.S. federal building in ages, but even in the years prior to 2014 (which is the last time I was in the USA), most federal buildings had at least a security guard. Many of those buildings have metal detectors and require showing identification. On January 6th, 2021, a whole bunch of people showed up in Washington, DC, hellbent on breaking and entering a restricted building. They KNEW it was wrong. If they didn’t know, they probably shouldn’t be allowed to cross the street by themselves.

Moreover, five people DIED at the riot. Countless other people were physically injured, psychologically traumatized, or both. There was a lot of property damage due to vandalism, and there was also theft. Jenna Ryan and Jacob Chansley may not have stolen anything or caused any property damage themselves, but they were certainly not doing anything to stop the damage. In fact, they were encouraging it and participating, and they were doing so with a very defiant, unapologetic attitude. They had to know that what they were doing was against the law.

By contrast, up until the spring of last year, people were coming and going from places like the Cayman Islands with no one tracking their movements. Face masks weren’t a fashion accessory. Neither were armbands that monitor a person’s movements. Except for the fact that Skylar Mack was evidently in the Cayman Islands alone at age 18, she was doing what many teenagers before her have done, completely without consequence. The rules suddenly and radically changed for her and her peers. The rules did not suddenly and radically change for Jenna and Jacob.

And finally, Jenna and Jacob did things to draw attention to themselves. They bragged about what they were doing on social media. Jenna Ryan went so far as to advertise herself as a realtor as she raved about “stopping the steal” and “taking back our country”. It’s sheer lunacy that she thought this was okay and that she’d get away with it. And after she got busted, she took to social media to beg for donations. Later, she posted an unbelievable confession:

WHAT? Who do you think you are, Jenna? Televangelist Paula White? Seriously, I bet Jenna is a fan of Paula White’s. I used to watch Paula on TBN, as she would beg for love gifts for her “ministry”, even though she lived in a mansion.
Paula White in action. I think Jenna sounds a bit like her.

PayPal canceled Jenna’s account, so I guess those “blessings” are no longer flowing. Mom and Dad would be so proud that I remember a concept from the Doxology. All those years in church sometimes come in handy. But, besides taking donations she claims she doesn’t need, Jenna also felt entitled to a pardon from Donald Trump, who quite predictably, didn’t come through for her, or her buddy Jacob Chansley, who can’t eat prison grub and needs an organic diet.

At least Skylar Mack did her time, paid her fines, and respectfully admitted that she deserved to be held accountable for what she did. Yes, her grandmother reached out for help from the government. She was genuinely concerned about her loved one’s well-being. But I didn’t hear Skylar, herself, asking for Trump’s help.

Jenna and Jacob acted like their shenanigans were a big fucking joke, and they were entitled to behave like miscreants because apparently, they think Trump gave them permission. Even if Trump had “invited” them to break the law, that didn’t mean there wouldn’t be serious consequences for doing so. Surely, Jacob and Jenna know that U.S. Presidents aren’t actually above the law– although Trump has sure acted like he was.

Judging by the news yesterday, I can see that there are still some pesky QAnon folks around who haven’t gotten the news that they were “played”. Some of those folks have wisely come to their senses… but too many are still on the QAnon/Proud Boys’ bandwagon. That includes a newly elected legislator from Georgia named Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has already filed articles of impeachment against President Joe Biden. This Trump trailing twit says that Joe Biden is unfit to hold office because he “blatantly abused power” when he was Vice President during the Obama years. She also accuses Biden of “blatant nepotism” regarding his son, Hunter Biden. Um… nepotism? Where the fuck was Ms. Greene during Trump’s tenure? Does she not realize that Trump gave most of his children and their spouses government jobs? I just can’t understand the stubborn cognitive dissonance in some of these people.

But anyway… I see that some people might think I’m a hypocrite for some of my views. And I’ll own up to that. I did get a little pissy the other day when someone chastised me and accused me of “falling for click bait”, although my getting pissy didn’t result in anyone getting blocked or unfriended on Facebook. And maybe I should be more understanding about my former “friend” blocking me a couple of days ago for praising Mike Pence on my space. I really don’t know what she’s going through right now. We’re all dealing with a lot of stress. I mean, I’m feeling depressed, hopeless, and stressed out and I don’t even have kids or a fucking job!

On the other hand, Biden is now in power and Mike Pence is not, so is it really that harmful to offer Pence some praise as he (hopefully) leaves federal politics? I’ll bet praise has been slow in coming for him over the past four years. He sure as hell never got it from a true narcissist like Donald Trump. I’ll bet “Mother” went through some hell, too. Poor woman probably had to hear and witness many horror stories about what an unapologetic asshole Trump is… although I’m sure Pence didn’t swear when he told her about it. If he didn’t actually tell her, then I’m sure it showed up in his demeanor. I’m married to a man who was both married to and once worked for narcissists. And I’ve witnessed and heard a whole lot of sad stories myself.

Well, anyway, I guess it’s time to wrap up today’s post. Bill has just called me to breakfast and he hates it when I let it get cold. So I’ll close by saying I know I’m a hypocrite about a lot of things. I really try not to be. But, as my former asshole psychiatrist once told me, “The first step to overcoming a problem is admitting you have one.” So I’m doing that now, and I’ll try to be accountable. And maybe my next post will be about something other than politics.

Standard
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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