condescending twatbags, politics, poor judgment, true crime

File this under winning stupid prizes…

I probably should have written about the latest insurrectionist dumbfuck yesterday, but I felt too compelled to write about that Missouri pastor who think women need to “pretty up” for their fat-assed, sexist, evangelical Christian, Trump loving husbands who smell like week old smegma. But now that I’ve written about Pastor Stewart-Allen Clark and gotten all of that out of my system, I need to move on to another Republican shithead. You know who I’m talking about…

And before I get too cranked up, I want to apologize in advance for the cursing and name calling that will happen in this post. I’m highly irritable right now, for a number of reasons… and people who think they need to be cut a break when they’ve clearly been in the wrong are people who are not getting much of my patience or sympathy these days. But I don’t like hypocrisy, even when I’m guilty of it. I often preach about civility in my blog, but this guy just makes me feel decidedly uncivilized…

Damn… I love the way Rachel Maddow talks about these assloaves…

Remember January 6th? That was the day thousands of Trump supporting chuckleheads showed up in Washington, DC, prepared to storm the Capitol. These idiots came wearing red MAGA hats, bearing weapons, and sporting bad attitudes as they forced their way into one of our nation’s most venerable and recognizable buildings. They were intent on disrupting Congressional proceedings to oust their orange hero out of office and stop his maniacal assault on the United States and its allies.

Among those morons was a sixty year old man from Gravette, Arkansas named Richard Barnett. You’d think a 60 year old man would know better, right? But no, Richard Barnett was full of piss and vinegar on January 6th. And he invaded Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s office while wearing a cattle prod-like stun gun, sat in her chair, and put his fucking feet up on her desk. He stole her mail, took selfies, and basically acted like a fucking jackass, then shared his dumbassery with the world.

Well, now Barnett is sitting in jail cell. He’s really pissed off about it. And a couple of days ago, he had a virtual court hearing regarding his case. Mr. Barnett is apparently not so tough anymore, having sat behind bars for awhile. The moment he was taken into custody, Mr. Barnett campaigned to be released on bond. At this point, he’s been unsuccessful in his bid to be freed, if only temporarily. And when he had his hearing with Judge Christopher Cooper, a federal judge in Washington, DC, he lost his temper and had a full on tantrum! That’s right– a sixty year old man with balls big enough to storm the Capitol can’t hack being in prison. He says “it’s not fair”, because other people who were involved in the attack have been released.

Judge Cooper seems to have been quite polite and respectful in his dealings with Mr. Barnett, at least based on the way Rachel Maddow describes it. He says “please” and “thank you” and is courteous toward Barnett, who is in the process of replacing his attorneys. The judge says he would like a continuance until May 4th. Barnett then unmutes himself and has a bonafide fit! He screams that he’s been in jail for a month! And it’s NOT FAIR! According to The Daily Beast:

“They’re dragging this out. They’re letting everyone else out,” Richard “Bigo” Barnett yelled during his Thursday court hearing, insisting that “it’s not fair” that he is still in jail while a slew of his fellow rioters have been released pending trial.

“This has been a bunch of crap,” he added. (um… yes, crap that you could have easily avoided by not raiding the Capitol, you racist fuck.)

Barnett could end up going to prison for years for what he did. I would suggest he learn to deal with his situation. As it stands today, Barnett is facing several charges, including theft. He proudly posed for an infamous photo in Pelosi’s office, shared it publicly, and armed himself with a stun gun as his fellow MAGA morons attacked the Capitol while Congress met to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

It’s true that Barnett was one of the first of at least 300 people to be arrested for participating in the riots, and is among the few to remain in jail. But what the hell does he expect? There’s no question about his guilt. This man took it upon himself to go to Washington, DC armed and dangerous. What was he going to do with that stun gun? How would he like it if someone broke into his place of business and took selfies of themselves violating his work place? Barnett bought a 950,000-volt stun gun walking stick at a Bass Pro Shop in Arkansas five days before he traveled to Washington. That was proven by prosecutors who did some checking. What would a 950,000-volt stun gun to do a human being? I don’t want to find out.

Barnett was also bitching about how others had been let out– mainly because they were not being accused of violent offenses and judges deemed their offenses unworthy of incarceration. I don’t think Barnett was planning to be peaceful. If he was, he wouldn’t have brought a stun gun with him. Originally, the Magistrate Judge wanted to put Barnett on home confinement, but prosecutors rightly objected because Barnett was seen carrying a stun gun. They successfully argued that he might be dangerous.

Screenshot of Richard Barnett in Nancy Pelosi’s office. He ain’t smilin’ anymore, folks.

Barnett has also referred to himself as a “white nationalist”, and in another photo, was shown with an envelope addressed to Nancy Pelosi. Barnett took the envelope from her office. According to The Daily Beast, he explained himself thusly:

“I did not steal it. I bled on it because they were macing me and I couldn’t fucking see so I figured I am in her office. I got blood on her office. I put a quarter on her desk even though she ain’t fucking worth it,” Barnett told one news outlet, according to the complaint. “And I left her a note on her desk that says, ‘Nancy, Bigo was here, you bitch.’”

A couple of months ago, I was willing to cut Skylar Mack a break for breaking the law in the Cayman Islands. Skylar has youth on her side, and she owned up to what she did while sincerely apologizing. Richard Barnett is just a spoiled brat who doesn’t want to face the very real consequences for breaking the law. Consider the man is 60 years old, acting like a toddler. You would have thought he would have been raised better. Play stupid games. Win stupid prizes. Enjoy your time in the big house, Barnett. You earned it. Oh… and FUCK YOU.

Weird Wilbur, who probably would like Richard Barnett fine, has words of wisdom for him…

“Add Title”…

I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to write about yesterday. I’m tired of the usual topics, even if they’re always on my mind. There are some things I would like to write, but I can no longer be free about some subjects because certain people feel compelled to meddle in my personal business. I figure most people are tired of the usual headlines. I know I’m tired of them.

I miss the days when I would spontaneously come up with topics that popped into my head. But right now, things are so weird that it’s hard to come up with fun stuff… and even if I did, a lot of readers don’t seem to appreciate them. Well, maybe with the exception of Alexis, who is probably too busy to read daily anymore.

On days like yesterday, it’s good to have a book review from the original blog. Over the years, I’ve reviewed some very interesting titles. Unfortunately, a lot of my reviews are lost in space. When my first iMac and its external hard drive both died, I lost access to some of my best stuff. As I get older, it gets harder to breeze through books the way I used to. And I also find that I no longer have the inclination.

I did post a well-received comment on Dan Rather’s News & Guts Facebook page last night. There was an article about Trump supporters wanting Kanye West on the ballot, no doubt so he can siphon off votes that would go to Joe Biden. I don’t understand the insane devotion some people have to Donald Trump staying in the White House. It makes no sense to me… although I can understand that there is a group of people who are tired of being lectured by the politically correct among us. I can even admit to feeling that way myself a lot of the time. But I am a lot less irritated by political correctness than I am outright insanity, stupidity, and incompetence. Trump exhibits all three of those “qualities”.

Last night, I posted that I think that there should be a requirement for presidential candidates to have had some experience in an elected position before they are allowed to run. Being the President of the United States is not an entry level position. We have seen all too well what happens when someone incompetent is put in charge. I really think we need to put into place a law that excludes wealthy, narcissistic, mentally ill celebrities like Donald Trump and Kanye West from fucking with our elections. The office of POTUS is much too important to put someone who is not serious about leading and doesn’t care about the citizenry to do the work.

Frankly, I also think there should be an independent psych evaluation of potential presidential candidates. All of the successful candidates have some narcissistic qualities, but we should never have another malignant narcissist in office again. It’s too dangerous.

I got many, many likes on that comment, and lots of positive comments. One or two people disagreed. One guy shrugged and said that my idea would require a “Constitutional Amendment”. To that notion, I responded “So?” The Constitution can be amended. It’s not engraved in stone. As times change, so do laws. I’d like to see more candidates who have done real service, too… Military or Peace Corps or Americorps… any kind of service that shows they can humble themselves to work among regular people and live in austere conditions. I have had my fill of men who shit on golden toilets as they eat Big Macs and fries representing us in the White House.

Aside from my discussion on News & Guts, I also made a music video. Most people aren’t as interested in my music stuff, but I like to do it because it’s just about making something pleasant. There’s nothing in my videos about politics; there’s no profanity or airing of dirty laundry. It’s mostly just pretty stuff. I enjoy the emotional release of making music and the creative process. I would just as soon make recordings without any photos in them, but people like to look at stuff when they watch a video. I don’t necessarily want them looking at me, though. I’m kind of camera shy. I did “meet” another guitar guy last week. I really enjoy his playing, but he’s more interested in acapella harmonies. Unfortunately, I like his playing better than his singing.

Tomorrow, we’re going to pack up the car and head off on vacation. Hopefully, neither of us will get sick as we get a glimpse of life outside of Germany for the first time since February. Well… Bill did go to the USA in March. But other than that, we’ve been stuck in Deutschland. Not that it’s a bad place to be stuck, mind you. I’m just ready to see the Alps and eat some really good food.

I guess I’ll bring my guitar with me, too, so I can practice… I don’t think I want to take a whole ten days off. I’ll bring along my laptop, so I can write and upload new pictures. My desktop has been giving me issues this week. My keyboard and mouse randomly disconnect at the same time and I have to shut off the computer and reboot. And sometimes even that doesn’t fix the problem. This computer isn’t even two years old yet, so I’m not sure what’s up with the bluetooth. It’s an irritating problem, but since we’re going on vacation, I can forget about it for awhile.

I did mean to write yesterday. I stared at the empty WordPress template for hours. I kept looking at the “Add Title” prompt in the title space. Nothing came to mind, other than wanting to rant about something that I can’t rant about publicly, at least for the time being. So I took the day off and reposted a book review– a good review on an important topic. I think people really should think more about whether or not every ugly incident needs to be recorded and made viral.

For instance, a couple of days ago, I ran across a video on YouTube involving a kid– maybe ten or eleven years old– in the back seat of his mother’s car having an extremely epic temper tantrum. He was not wearing a seatbelt and was screaming and grabbing at his mother as she tried to drive. Someone was filming this for posterity. I saw it on at least three channels, although people had turned off the comments.

I shared the video with friends. Maybe I shouldn’t have, under the circumstances. More than one of them wondered why the kid was being filmed. I wondered why Mom hadn’t pulled over until the tantrum ended. What destination was so important that she needed to keep driving while her out of control son was flailing around, kicking, screaming, and being demonic in the back seat?

To my friend who was opposed to the filming, I remarked that nowadays, everyone has a phone, and people feel compelled to film every little thing. Watching that video is a good reminder that not everything needs to put out there for posterity. I don’t know who the boy is or how old the video is, but it was just a few bad minutes of his life. Makes me glad there were no cellphones when I was his age.

Well… that does it for today. I’m going to go do some reading, practice guitar, walk Arran, and do my much dreaded Thursday chore of vacuuming. Cheerio. And for those who want to see the video I did yesterday, here it is…

true crime

Really giving her something to cry about…

Yesterday, I decided to spend the day catching up on my reading. The weather was cold and snowy, and it was dark outside. It was the perfect weather for finishing my latest book, Rachael Denhollander’s What is a Girl Worth. I’ll probably review it later, if I don’t have any technical issues with the blog. For some reason, I’ve been having some technical difficulties this morning.

Anyway, while I was reading my book, I happened to catch one of Elizabeth Warren’s Facebook posts. She shared a news article from the Orlando Sentinel about a shocking incident that occurred in September of last year. Reporter Grace Toohey wrote about the horrifying arrest of six-year-old Kaia Rolle, who attended Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy last fall.

Kaia suffers from sleep apnea that causes her to act out. School staff members were aware of Kaia’s condition and working with her to overcome it. On the day of her arrest, Kaia had a pretty serious temper tantrum at school, possibly brought on by her sleep apnea. Kaia had punched and kicked three school employees. But she later calmed down, and was quietly listening to a story being read to her by a staff member when former police officer Dennis Turner and a colleague arrived on the scene.

When Kaia saw the big cop with zip ties in his hands, she asked “What are those for?”

Turner said, “They’re for you.” He handed them to his colleague, while Kaia figured out what was about to happen.

The other officer tightened the zip ties around Kaia’s wrists as she started crying, begging, and screaming for help. Then, former Officer Turner marched the little girl out of the school and put her in the back of his police car. She was charged with misdemeanor battery, though the charges were dropped the next day. That same day, Turner arrested a six year old boy at the same school for the same crime, although the boy’s arrest was stopped by superiors before he’d gone through the whole process. Kaia was actually taken to a juvenile center, fingerprinted, and mugshot. She was so tiny that staff had to get her to stand on a step stool so her photo could be taken.

I’ve found the body cam video for this incident several places on the Internet, but almost all of them cut off the end. The most accessible videos only show Turner putting Kaia in the back of a police SUV, probably without a booster seat. She’s clearly terrified and traumatized, but that part was somehow less shocking to me than the very end of the video, which is visible on the Orlando Sentinel’s article. Supposedly, Turner arrested Kaia because one of the school’s staff members she’d punched and kicked had wanted to press charges. School officials denied that was ever the case.

On the longer video, we can see Turner going back into the school and speaking to staffers. The school officials were clearly concerned about Kaia. They asked Turner if it was really necessary to restrain the girl with zip ties. Turner said that if Kaia had been bigger, she’d be wearing regular handcuffs. Then, as if to boast, he said he’d arrested over 6,000 people and the youngest one was about seven years old. When he was told that Kaia was six, he said with a touch of amusement that she’d “broken the record”. He wasn’t the slightest bit dismayed or concerned as he made his statement. He actually sounded kind of proud of himself. None of the staff members tried to stop the arrest, although they did seem rather non-plussed by it.

As horrified as I was by the news story, I was especially shocked as I watched the video. The child is tiny, and Turner is a very large man who had backup. No wonder Kaia was petrified. While I understand that the police have a dangerous job, especially nowadays, it really seems like overkill that such a little girl had to be restrained in that way. There’s no way she was a physical threat to anyone.

When I listen to Kaia speak, I’m surprised by how bright and articulate she is. I can’t imagine, at that age, having the presence of mind to beg a police officer for “a second chance”, or even knowing what zip ties are. I remember seeing little kids meltdown when I was that age. I probably had a few tantrums in school myself. But back in those days, there weren’t “zero tolerance” policies that required arresting small children for age appropriate temper tantrums. When I was a kid, the principal would handle the discipline. Granted, that might mean getting paddled. I don’t necessarily approve of that, either. But at least most young kids had a fighting chance of getting through grade school without a police record.

Fortunately, Dennis Turner has been dismissed from his job, even though Florida has no minimum age for arrest. Turner had violated his department’s policy, which requires officers to get approval from a supervisor before arresting anyone under age 12. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Turner retired from the Orlando Police Department last year, after 23 years on the job. He was employed by the OPD’s Reserve Unit, which is made of retired officers who do part-time work for the agency. However, despite Turner’s long tenure as an Orlando cop, his record as a police officer is troubling. Prior to retiring last year, Turner was disciplined seven times for violating department policies. The complaints ranged from unsafe driving to a child abuse charge involving his own seven-year-old son. In 2009, he was accused of sending threatening text messages to his ex wife. He’s also been accused of racial profiling. What the hell was this man doing on the police force? He should have been fired many years ago!

Maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised and dismayed that Dennis Turner enjoyed such a long career as a police officer, particularly considering that he was working in Florida. I must admit, though, that reading this story really upset me. I don’t even recognize the United States anymore. It’s turned into a place where there is no more common sense or decency. The police are required for every intervention and it seems like the only response is to arrest people and put them behind bars. It absolutely ridiculous, particularly when an incident involves a small child like Kaia.

The Orlando Police Department is now doing serious damage control.

Kaia Rolle no longer attends Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy. She now goes to a private school, because she refuses to attend a school with a police officer on campus. I’m sure Kaia is left with a lingering fear of the police, which could turn out to be tragic for her if she ever needs their help. These kids are so young, and they have their whole lives ahead of them. What has happened to our society that we have people wearing badges and carrying weapons, thinking this is an appropriate response to a small child having a temper tantrum at school? It seems like a scary number of Americans have completely lost their sense of humanity and common sense. It makes me glad I don’t have any children.


Tantrums and “fightin’ words”…

Yesterday afternoon, as winds blew fiercely through our ‘hood, I got bored and started checking out YouTube. Someone uploaded a video of a young girl having a massive tantrum back in 2016 (or possibly earlier).

I don’t know why, but I started watching this… and quite clearly heard the other girl, apparently filming all of this for posterity, say “Fuck you!” while their mom was outside of the car. Mom buckles the girl into her seat and they start heading for home as the child continues to wail and flail. At one point, the other girl yells that her sister has somehow hurt her, and she yells at her little sister to “get off her”.

I know it’s kind of rotten of me, but I laughed pretty hard when the girl said “Fuck you.” It’s as if she’s heard it a lot of times and it means nothing more than a childish oath to her, like “buzz off” or “go suck an egg.” My guess is that the older child either watches a lot of cable TV or has frequently heard older people say that. I decided to share the video with friends because, honestly, I wasn’t sure I’d heard her clearly. Had she really said “Fuck you!” on camera? Yep… she had!

I couldn’t help but remember what it was like for me when I was that age. I HATED seatbelts with a fiery passion when I was a child, even though in those days, they were just lap belts in the back seat and we were not required by law to use them. I hated riding up front especially, on the occasions I was forced to wear a seatbelt (which wasn’t that often, really), because the shoulder belt would always hit me in the face. I remember throwing tantrums whenever I was required to buckle up– usually by my dad, who was sometimes a stickler for safety and always wore his seatbelt, but was inconsistent about making me wear them. Usually, he’d make me wear one if he was feeling especially controlling. Mom was the same way, although she generally would rather let me go unrestrained than listen to me scream, cry, and yell. How times have changed!

Another thing that struck me was that if I had ever thrown a tantrum like that, especially at that age, my dad would have really given me something to cry about. And if I had said the word “fuck” in front of him, particularly at that age, there would have been a beating. I’m not exaggerating about that. My dad hated swear words, even though he spent over 20 years in the Air Force.

Bill once made him turn seven shades of red when he explained the expression “Charlie Foxtrot” to him. Dad was unaware that it was a euphemism for “cluster fuck”. Bill whispered, “You know, Sir… ‘cluster fuck’.” My father looked like he was going to pass out right there on the spot. I think he didn’t like swearing because his father cursed a lot, and my dad didn’t have a good relationship with his dad. So anytime someone cursed– even my mom– he’d get uncomfortable or even upset. And unfortunately, I have always enjoyed cussing, so I sometimes got in trouble for dropping four letter words. Dad would usually respond in a physical way or lecture me about how unladylike/unrefined/”lazy” cursing is. (I don’t agree that it’s any of those things, and I don’t let men tell me what to do anymore. I have a great vocabulary. I simply enjoy cussing.)

When he was angry, my dad could be very scary. His face would turn beet red and he’d lose control. Then he’d take out his rage on my tender ass. I remember one time, I said “Hey! You! Shut the **** up!” and he was in the next room. It was something I’d heard on TV and I thought it was funny. I hadn’t even said the word “fuck” , and he came over and knocked me upside the head. Then he yelled at me, causing me to want to keep saying “fuck” over and over again. I generally hated my dad when he disciplined me in that manner. Years later, I still deeply resent him for hitting me. The last time he did it, I was almost 21 years old. I told him if he ever laid a finger on me again, I would have him arrested for assault and battery. I meant it, too. Anyone who hits me now better kill me.

Them’s fightin’ words… better watch your step when you use them.

As you can see, I learned nothing from those discipline sessions. I still use the word “fuck” with wild abandon. I never understood why it was such a big deal not to use it. I think most “taboo” words are stupid. Yes, it’s important not to use language to hurt other people, but by and large, they’re mainly just words. I’m much more concerned about the intent behind using certain words than I am the words themselves. The child in the above video said the word “fuck”, but it didn’t come across to me that she was being truly hateful. She was simply annoyed by her little sister’s outburst. She probably didn’t even know what “fuck” means.

This is what Bill says to me…

I think if I were that girl’s mom, I might have her look up the word “fuck” and use it properly in a sentence. Then, I’d tell her to be more careful about when and where she uses that word, and consider whether or not it’s the word she really wants to use in any given situation. Because… when it comes down to it, some words are “fightin’ words”, and if you use them in the wrong place or in front of the wrong person, you could really come to regret it. On the other hand, I say this not as a mother myself. As irritated as that mom sounds as her other child is filming, I give her credit for not exploding. She seems upset at first, but then calms down and drives the girls home, even though the younger child is still freaking out. Some might debate whether or not she should have kept driving during the girl’s fit, but my guess is that the mom just wanted to be in her home, rather than a hot car. I also wonder if she knows all of this is on the Internet for the world to see.

And this is my response.

Looking on YouTube, I see that there are a lot of videos of children having tantrums. I guess some people are amazed by them and start filming, then can’t resist sharing them with the world. It makes me glad YouTube didn’t exist when I was a small child, although I’ll admit, sometimes tantrum videos are fascinating, funny, and/or disturbing. Personally, I think it’s very risky to share such things online, but that’s probably because of my social work training.

I do think that tantrums need to be addressed in children, although it’s best to do that when the parent is somewhat calm. Otherwise, the child can grow up to behave like this woman…

There’s no telling what led up to this outburst… It was widely publicized a few years ago and I think I read that these two eventually broke up.

I wonder what led this guy to film his wife. I guess she had a habit of freaking out like this, because otherwise, why would he be prepared? He thinks it’s funny, which, of course, makes things much worse. On the other hand, I can’t blame him for laughing at his wife because she does look and sound ridiculous. As I wrote the other day, when someone is making a scene, it’s not the calm one who is going to be stared at and judged. And that’s certainly true in this case, although I’m sure some people probably think the guy is a jerk for filming his wife and laughing at her. God bless him, though…

This behavior in me would probably prompt Bill to shop for ballgags. Fortunately, I did eventually outgrow tantrums, even if I never outgrew swearing. Either way, I prefer swearing to physical violence.


Life’s lessons…

This morning, Bill and I were having coffee and somehow, we got on the subject of his ex wife. I’m pretty sure the subject came up because one of us quoted from National Lampoon’s Vacation— the scene where Clark Griswold and family put the recently deceased Aunt Edna on top of the Family Truckster and delivered her corpse to Phoenix, Arizona, where she was left languishing in the heat. Clark delivers a pseudo prayer for Edna’s soul, but Edna was such an obnoxious old bat that his prayer is facetious and uncaring.

This scene led to quite a conversation this morning.

Bill remembered that his ex wife had a family member that did something similar with a dead person. Ex had a relative– supposedly a nice enough guy, kind of quiet, and obviously very practical. For whatever reason, he loaded up a relative’s full coffin in the back of his pickup truck and drove it to the cemetery. Bill said he stood there aghast as this was going on, reminded of Aunt Edna in Vacation and wondering how many laws and regulations were being broken as this corpse was being delivered in an unofficial way. Apparently, that’s the kind of family Ex has. They see a simple solution and/or way to cut corners to settle things, and they do it without any qualms, even if laws are being broken. A lot of times, they get away with it, which only encourages more lawless behavior.

After Bill related this story to me, he explained more about his ex wife’s family dynamics, which are unusual and extremely dysfunctional. As I mentioned previously on my old blog, Ex was adopted. During their marriage, Ex made it clear to Bill that being adopted really stuck in her craw. It was the ultimate rejection, even though she was eventually chosen by another couple. This early rejection, and the aftermath of her traumatic childhood, has helped shape the type of person she is.

In Ex’s case, the couple who adopted her were allegedly abusive. Ex never even knew her adoptive dad until she was about seven years old. He was in the Merchant Marine and was gone at sea all the time. Ex’s adoptive mother supposedly got tired of being alone all the time, even though her husband had reportedly provided well for her. She apparently messed around with other men and eventually divorced Ex’s adoptive dad so that she could marry Ex’s stepfather, a financially successful man with an abusive streak. Ex’s mother had bio children with the new stepfather, so Ex was apparently treated as second rate, both by her mother and her stepfather. Ex claims her stepfather sexually abused her, which he likely did, based on some bizarre behavior Bill observed during their marriage.

Years later, Ex sought out her bio parents and was able to track down her mother. She met her, and learned that her birth was the result of an affair. Ex’s bio mom was married and had an affair with another man. When she got pregnant, bio mom’s husband said he didn’t want to raise another man’s baby. He ordered her to give the baby up for adoption or she would be cast out on the street.

I’m sure just hearing this story rang off all kinds of internal alarms for Ex. Here she was, adopted, which apparently had already caused her angsty feelings because she was rejected by her biological parents. Then, her mother and stepfather were neglectful and abusive, and engaged in a lot of sabotaging behaviors, sending the message that she’s second rate. Then, she learns that she was the result of an affair and her bio mom’s husband hadn’t wanted her. And her bio mom, who may or may not have even stayed with her husband, chose to give up her baby rather than tell her husband to go screw himself. I mean… if she was already having an affair, their marriage couldn’t have been that strong, anyway.

Whenever I hear stories about Ex and her tragic upbringing, I do feel pangs of empathy, even though I fully admit to despising her. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for her being raised in that situation. I don’t blame her for having issues. It was not her fault that the adults in her life failed her the way they did. However, I don’t approve at all of the way she deals with other people. She is, herself, a very abusive person who not only causes pain to the people directly affected by her behavior, but also to the people who are in relationships with her victims. Her behavior, for example, has indirectly harmed me, and it’s probably harmed her children’s spouses. It will probably eventually harm her grandchildren, too.

Unfortunately, instead of choosing to be different from her adoptive and biological parents, Ex turned into a menace who hurts other people. Younger daughter wisely noticed the pattern of multiple marriages and instability in her mother’s and grandmother’s lives. Ex is currently on her third husband. Grandma was married five or six times.

Ex’s adoptive dad– the one she didn’t meet until she was seven years old– once got an annulment the day after he married someone because, apparently, he didn’t like the way she smelled. According to Bill, adoptive dad was a much better person than Ex’s stepfather was. Imagine how low the bar must have been set for Bill to make that determination. Bill said Ex’s stepfather was the kind of man who had charisma, but was very cruel and, in fact, Bill said that when he met him, he felt like he was in the presence of evil.

Younger daughter, who is a good Mormon and has probably had her fill of drama, wants to break the cycle. As much as I disliked younger daughter before she and Bill started talking, I now really admire her for her strength of character. I have changed my mind about her. I never had as many intense feelings about older daughter. At this point, I figure she’ll come around eventually, when it’s safe for her to do so. She’s still living with Ex, apparently raising her youngest brother.

Perhaps as a result of what she went through as a child, Ex grew up to be a very abusive, narcissistic person. For years, Bill suffered at her hands, listening to her rage, enduring physical, emotional, and even sexual assault. She lied to people about the kind of person he is and did her best to ruin his relationships with his own family members, as well as the children he had with Ex. But despite every thing Ex did to try to destroy Bill, he never took her to court or officially tried to fight for his rights to his money or his children. Many people would blame him for that. Some even take it as an admission of guilt, of sorts. In fact, on my old blog, I regularly got comments from people who didn’t believe his story and/or wanted to blame him entirely for what happened, simply because he’s a man.

Make no mistake. Bill knows that he made errors when he was younger and less secure. He should not have married his ex wife, not just because she was an abusive person, but also because he didn’t love her. He had pity for her, and that is not the same thing as love. He takes full responsibility for making a poor choice. It wasn’t respectful to Ex, or to himself. However, because of what he went through with his ex wife, Bill has changed the way he deals with people. Although he never asserted his rights in a courtroom, Bill did learn to gather evidence to strengthen his side of the story. Because I’m his wife, I’ve also learned to gather evidence to support my stories. He also doesn’t allow people to bully him the way he used to. His anti-bullying skills were honed when he went to war with a narcissistic junior Trump clone, and sharpened with other bullies he’s met during his career. And he’s also taken a stand against Ex in the form of assertive behavior. He doesn’t try to placate her anymore.

On my old blog, I wrote several times about Christmas 2004, and how Ex tried to force me into spending Christmas with her at Bill’s dad and stepmother’s house. I didn’t want to go. I knew it would be a bad idea. There was a lot of pressure for me to get with the program, though, even though I knew in my heart that my attendance at that gathering would be a disaster. No matter how well-behaved, friendly, and nice I tried to be, it wouldn’t be enough for Ex. She would find a reason to criticize. It would ruin my holiday, cost a lot of money we didn’t have, and not do anything to strengthen Bill’s relationship with his kids or his family. So I stayed home. It was hard for me to make that choice, even though it was the right thing to do. I later realized that an earlier event had taught me what needed to happen. It was one of life’s lessons.

I had gotten the courage to stay home from Ex’s sick Christmas gathering the previous year– Christmas 2003– when Bill and I endured a disastrous holiday with my own family in Virginia. One of my sisters got a ride with Bill and me to our parents’ house. I had told her that if there was any fighting, I’d be leaving. My sister agreed with those conditions. Sure enough, there was a fight. True to my word, I decided I wanted to leave. My sister first tried to manipulate Bill, then when that didn’t work, she threw a massive fit. We left her at my parents’ house, and she had to take a bus home.

It was painful for me to do that to my sister. I hadn’t wanted to do it, but I knew it was the right thing to do. I didn’t want her having a temper tantrum in my car for hours, nor did I want to be bullied into staying at my parents’ house, seething with anger, when I could just as easily go back to my own house and salvage my peace. That situation hurt, but it taught me to trust my own judgment and not let other people bully me.

I am now unusually angry about our situation with the ex landlady. This morning, I was musing about why this has me so upset. It’s not even like what she’s doing is uncommon. Read on Toytown Germany’s forums, and you’ll find many stories of greedy landlords ripping off their tenants’ security deposits. It happens in the United States, too. A lot of times, landlords get away with outright thievery, since people don’t have the time or the money to fight in court. Foreigners in Germany are particularly vulnerable, since many folks don’t speak German and don’t bother to get legal insurance. They either think it’s a waste of money, or they just can’t spare the money… and the amount they’d be fighting for, while significant to them, is not worth a court battle. American military folks often don’t have the money to get the insurance (which is actually pretty inexpensive, considering the coverage) or they think it’s a scam. They’re only going to be here for three years or so, so they figure it’s not worth the hassle. Sometimes, that means they get ripped off.

In our case, we’re being brazenly ripped off of over 2500 euros, which is a lot of money. Several of the things the landlady accused us of doing, we didn’t do. Several of the most significant charges that were made are outright illegal. Either ex landlady got an insurance settlement, or the statute of limitations has run out. She obviously thinks she can get away with this scam, which I’m sure she rationalizes as “fair”, since her awning broke on our watch and the insurance company didn’t give her what she thinks is a “fair” settlement. They gave her only a few hundred euros, and replacing the awning would take much more money; therefore, in her mind, we should make up the difference. However, she didn’t have it properly repaired when we pointed it out to her, and she made a huge deal out of other repairs we requested. She made it clear she didn’t want to spend the money on repairing her old awning. But she doesn’t mind spending ours to renovate the property, and jack up the rent for the next people. That’s wrong, and it’s against German law.

I’m sure, based on what I wrote at the beginning of this post, our issues with the ex landlady seem small and I seem obsessive. I fully realize that they’re small. However, when you look at the cumulative effect of this kind of treatment over many years, maybe it makes more sense as to why we’re finally fighting back. Bill has suffered character assassination and financial loss for many years. He’s a good man, and he was always above board, both with his ex wife and our ex landlady. Both of them were paid in full and on time. He followed the letter of the law when he gave them notice, both for the divorce and for when we moved out of our former home. Maybe he wasn’t the perfect husband or the perfect tenant, but he’s still better than a lot of people are. He deserves to be treated with more respect and fairness. This time, he has the ability to fight back. He doesn’t even expect to get the whole amount of the deposit back. He may even lose, but at least he will have taken a stand. Maybe we’ll all learn something from this.

We relate.

Life’s lessons often come from unexpected places. Because of my sister’s meltdown in 2003, I was able to see why I shouldn’t have to spend Christmas with my husband’s ex wife in 2004. If I’m willing to walk away from Christmas with my blood family members, why shouldn’t I tell the Ex to pound sand when she tries to manipulate me into a similarly toxic scenario? Why should she get more consideration than my own sister gets? After a year of silence, my sister did eventually speak to me again. Ex was still bitching about my refusal to celebrate Christmas with her years later– and she doesn’t even like me! I guarantee she’d like me even less if I’d been forced to celebrate the biggest holiday of the year with her.

Because of the way Ex treated Bill during their marriage and the many years he spent defending himself against her lies, Bill learned that he has to gather evidence… especially when it’s clear that he’s dealing with a difficult person or someone with a high conflict personality. Two years ago, when the awning fell, it was clear that our former landlady was going to remember that accident and try to screw us out of our deposit. We became hyper vigilant about most documentation, and we bought legal insurance in anticipation of the fight for our money. We have a nice file of evidence that shows what kind of a person she is, to include many irrational, hostile, and contradictory emails, which were always met with calm respectful responses from Bill. Of course, I also have a public blog full of evidence about what kind of a person I am. I know it could easily work against me. But my guess is that what’s in my blog is irrelevant to the issue at hand.

I think our dealings with Ex have made us pretty adept at spotting and preparing for other people who act like bullies and try to take advantage of Bill’s good nature. I feel pretty certain that Bill’s move to defend himself will really upset the ex landlady. She might even send us hate mail or try to countersue. I don’t expect this to be pleasant, but sometimes life’s most valuable lessons are unpleasant for everyone. Taking a stand is important for many reasons, most of which have nothing to do with money. Fighting back is empowering. We’d rather spend the time on something else, but sometimes you just have to take a stand, if not for yourself, then for other people’s sakes.