Showing posts with label Eve Fisher. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Eve Fisher. Show all posts

11 August 2022

Murder in the Chapel - 1935

First of all, many thanks to John Benting, Associate Director of Emergency MGMT/Security Audit Control, at the South Dakota State Penitentiary for his notes on this case.  Mr. Benting is working on a history of the South Dakota State Penitentiary, and I hope he gets it published soon.  All the factual material & material in quotes is from his notes, and all the rest is my own experience and fervid imagination.  

On September 17, 1935, Florence Turner (aged 32), inmate #7164, was killed on the chapel stage by her partner in crime and love, Glenn Murray (aged 33), inmate #7163. Both were doing time for burglary: Glenn got 20 years, Florence 10. They'd robbed a gas station in Rapid City and for some reason kidnapped two people. They took the two out to the country and tied them up with barbed wire. Proving that  Houdini lives when there's enough desperation, the two victims got out of that barbed wire and notified the police of the crimes. After that, it wasn't long before Glenn and Florence were captured north of Belle Fourche (which is only 55 miles away).  They arrived at the penitentiary on July 7, 1933. 

So why did he kill her, two years later? And how?

Well, the "how" is easy:  

"The day after the murder Murray was interviewed by Warden Reilley and State's Attorney Crill. Murray said that the female inmates (there weren't that many of them back then, and they lived in "the cottage") passed notes over the wall."  

My note:  The cottage was a small pipestone building added on to the east side of the main prison. It's still there, it's just been repurposed. 

"The previous Thursday Murray had another male inmate working out on a roof of one of the Hill buildings throw a note over to a female inmate who gave it to Florence. During that Sunday's church service Florence signaled Glenn that she'd received the message. Glenn said the message he had sent to her was that they were going to commit to a suicide pact and that she would show up to sick call on that Tuesday the 17th to carry out the deed."  

So, on Tuesday, Florence went to the prison hospital, which back in those days was reached through the chapel. Murray was waiting there - some say on what's now the stage - with a half pair of scissors he had stolen from the grain house, and stabbed her in the heart. Then he pulled out the blade, dropped it, and walked away.  NOTE:  Murray never, ever attempted to kill himself.  

Glenn's file for Sept. 17, 1935 states: "Stabbing Florence Turner with a dagger M.Sol. 9:15am."  Florence's file page for Sept. 18, 1935:  "Died September 17, 1935. Was stabbed in the heart by inmate Glenn Murray (sweetheart) when going to hospital for treatment. Died instantly."  

Fourteen days later, on October 1st, Glenn's file says "Released from Sol. Confinement 10:30am. Murdering his so called wife by stabbing her in heart." 

Fourteen days: Not that long for killing another inmate, is it?  

Glenn was convicted of murder and given a life sentence, but back then, life wasn't always without parole in South Dakota as it is now. He got out in October 1960, but came back on a violation in 1962. He died two years later in prison of a heart attack in December 1964.   

I'm still puzzled as to why Florence agreed to a suicide pact.  True, she and Glenn were childhood/high school sweethearts (hard to say which), who were going to get married back when she was 17.  Somehow her parents blocked it. Some time later, she married William T. Turner, 20 years her elder, and had five children with him.  After Donna, the fifth, was born, she left Turner and went back home to her parents in Brownsville, Iowa.  When Glenn got out of an Iowa prison in February, 1933, he found Florence, and convinced her to run off with him. She did, taking Donna with her.  They only had one month together, because they were arrested in March. (One month. I hope it was a good one.)

Anyway, at the time of her death, Florence was still married to William T. Turner (then 55). He was living in Waterloo, Iowa, raising the other four children. (NOTE:  Donna was adopted by an unnamed couple in Rapid City a couple of months after Florence's arrest.)  William Turner stated that he exchanged letters with his wife about every two weeks: she would write a letter to him and include a letter for the kids. He also stated that a year before the murder he'd tried to get her out on parole so she could come home and help raise the kids, but the request was denied.  

From the I Am An Evil Person Files:  What leaped to my mind was, "You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille" - and that maybe this was why Florence agreed to the suicide pact. Anything but going home to Mr. Turner. 

Then again, I'm not convinced that there was any note about a suicide pact - maybe it was a note about an escape attempt.  I don't know that anyone ever found the note. And if Florence thought that they were going to escape, and he killed her, well, that would explain a lot of what comes next:

Florence haunts the Hill chapel and the offices, hallway, etc., around the chapel.

John Benting:  "For years people have talked about a ghostly presence in the chapel area. Those who have had encounters have considered it to be a female presence, which is odd for a male dominated prison. More importantly these people who have considered this "ghost" a female presence had no knowledge of Florence's murder. I didn't uncover this story of Florence Turner until around 2015. It had been a story that had been lost in time for many decades as I have spoken to many people who have worked here as far back as the 1970's who didn't know the story of Florence's murder. There are still a handful of stories from a couple different people that come out every year on happenings in the chapel area. I have never personally had an experience here, but I know I have been hearing these stories of the female ghost going back 15 years before we rediscovered Florence's story."

I know a few stories myself. For one thing, there's a cold column of air on the stage of the chapel that isn't a draft: you can shut all the windows, close all the doors, and that column of air is still there. I've experienced that.  

Occasionally things move - not while you're watching, but when you look back up it's not where it was. I've experienced that, too.  

Other people (including a couple of staff I know) have seen a face or more behind a door, or reflected in the glass on a door.  

And, unlike the Loch Ness monster, Florence can show up on videotape:  There's a door in another room that leads out to a small catwalk. That door is ALWAYS kept locked, because that room has been repurposed. Well, there's video cameras everywhere in prison.  So there is a tape, very late one night, when all the inmates were locked down in the cells, and no one was even in the chapel area, that shows that door opening, all by itself, and then closing, all by itself.

I wonder what she was looking for…

28 July 2022

A Mixed Bag

First off, nursery rhymes and how they got that way.  Before the technological revolution and the industrial revolution, life was very, very quiet, and you had to make your own entertainment. Anything loud was very popular.  

I just found out that the "weasel" in "Pop Goes the Weasel" could well be a spinner's weasel.  Now a spinner's weasel is "a mechanical yarn-measuring device consisting of a spoked wheel with gears attached to a pointer on a marked face (which looks like a clock) and an internal mechanism which makes a "pop" sound after the desired length of yarn is measured" (usually a skein, or 80 yards). (Wikipedia)

On a sleepy rainy day, back in the 1700s, that could really the kids up, couldn't it?  Plus it gave them something to do…

And speaking of things to do, they weren't all as useful and harmless as a spinner's weasel.  Doolin 'Dalton sent me a link to the story of Whipping Tom:

"Whipping Tom and Skiping Ione", detail from the Yale Center 'Panorama'

Actually, there were three Toms:  1672 and 1681 in London and in 1712 in the village of Hackney.  Basically, each of them would attack women walking alone and beat them more or less savagely on their rear ends. We don't know much about the 1st Tom, except that he may have given the example to the 2nd Tom in London.  2nd Tom was known for yelling "Spanko!" as he beat them.  He also got into print:  

"His first Adventure, as near as we can learn, was on a Servant Maid in New-street, who being sent out to look for her Master, as she was turning a Corner, perceived a Tall black Man[n 2] standing up against the wall, as if he had been making water, but she had not passed far, but with great speed and violence seized her, and in a trice, laying her across his knee, took up her Linnen, and lay'd so hard up-on her Backside, as made her cry out most piteously for help, the which he no sooner perceiving to approach (as she declares) then he vanished."
- Whipping Tom Brought to Light and Exposed to View, 1681

Eventually a haberdasher and his apprentice (?) were arrested and tried for it.

The Hackney Tom was even more savage, attacking 70 women and using a "Great Rodd of Birch". Thomas Wallis was captured and confessed to the attacks. According to Wallis, he was "resolved to be Revenged on all the women he could come at after that manner, for the sake of one Perjur'd Female, who had been Barbarously False to him".  (Historian Andrew Martin, Citation from Ashton, John (1937), Social Life in the Reign of Queen Anne, vol. 2, London: Chatto & Windus.  HERE)   

Sadly, all documents of the trial and conviction of any of the Whipping Toms have been lost over time... And no one knows who Skipping Joan is.  I tried to find it, and just couldn't.  

Actually, what surprises me most about this case is that they actually investigated and punished the Whipping Toms, because the Middle Ages was not known for its high opinion of women and their rights.  BTW, if you want something frightening, there's a self-described Christo-fascist on social media spouting that what he and his fellows all want is to return to the Middle Ages! When life was sweet! Life was great!  Obviously the jackass didn't realize (1) that they'd all be serfs back then, with all the backbreaking labor that entailed and (2) medieval dentistry & medicine:  

Of course it wasn't all plagues, leeches and purges.  Some of the stuff that sounds the weirdest actually worked:
FOR BURNS:  “Take a live snail and rub its slime against the burn and it will heal”
A nice, simple DIY remedy – and yes, it would help reduce blistering and ease the pain! Recent research has shown that snail slime contains antioxidants, antiseptic, anesthetic, anti-irritant, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and antiviral properties, as well as collagen and elastin, vital for skin repair.  Modern science now utilizes snail slime, under the heading ‘Snail Gel’, as skin preparations and for treating minor injuries, such as cuts, burns and scalds. It seems that medieval medicine got this one right.  (History Extra)

So keep a snail around - you never know when you might need one.

And now for something completely different, my favorite new streaming channel is Retro Reels, which you can get through Roku for the reasonable price of $2.99 a month.  It has just about every movie you can imagine from the 30s and 40s, and we are having a great time.  The only down side is that it has no search engine, so you have to scroll until you find a title you want to watch. And there's everything - from Charlie Chan to Cary Grant - so you're bound to get distracted from your original search.  Happy accidents abound!

The other night we watched The Public Enemy (1931) with James Cagney, and while everybody knows about this scene:

imho, it's nowhere near the most shocking scene in the picture.  But we'll get to that in a minute.  

You can tell The Public Enemy was made pre-Hays Code.  You can also tell it was made in America, because all the good guys are so squeaky-clean they'd bore Billy Graham.  Even Ma... (Oh, Ma, get a new dress and quit pretending you don't know what your Tom does for a living.)  

(I've said it before, and I'll say it again, people really need to reread Victorian novels and find out how to make good people interesting. The stupidest line I ever heard was about 10 years ago on a show where the squeaky-clean hero's girlfriend said "It's easy to be good, but it's so hard to go bad." No, dimwit, it's the exact freaking opposite. The Victorians at least knew that temptation was actually tempting.)  

Speaking of pre-Hays, how about Jean Harlow?  She didn't have a lot of scenes, and she really wasn't that good at delivering her lines (I much prefer her in Red Dust - she and Gable had great chemistry, and they went on to make 6 movies together), but that white silk/satin lounge outfit made all of that irrelevant. 

(Triva: On the set one day, Cagney stared at Harlow's cleavage and asked, "How do you keep those things up?" "I ice them," Harlow said.  IMDB)

Meanwhile, there's Cagney, with charm, energy, one hell of a great grin, and a real gift for that 1930s fast dialog which he made sound like the smartest wisecracks you ever heard, which they often weren't.  The result is that (almost) no matter what he was doing, you root for him. Same as in Angels With Dirty Faces.  (Some people have that gift - watching The Public Enemy, I realized one of the inmates at the pen looks like Cagney's reincarnation, and that explains a lot about his career.)  

Anyway, that charm is what makes the last scene of the movie so shocking. Watch it and see.  All I'll say is, his eyes are open.  

Oh, and one final tidbit I found and am now passing around like cracker jacks at a ball game:  

The One Sentence Persuasion Course:

"People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, assuage their fears, justify their failures, confirm their suspicions, and throw rocks at their enemies."  - Blair Warren

It explains so much...  

14 July 2022

The Semi X-Rated Blog

Because I am sick unto death of lawmakers explaining women's bodies and how they work with apparently endless ignorance and BS, 

(From by Brian Gordon)

I thought we should talk about the female reproductive system.

First, a quick tour:

(Thanks Wikipedia)

Note that the uterus is a self-contained organ that cannot be reached from above. In other words, you cannot swallow a camera and see if a woman is pregnant.  (Sorry, Sen. Vito Barbieri)

The ovaries are next to the fallopian tubes. After ovulation, the egg cell is captured by the Fallopian tube, after traveling down the Fallopian tube to the uterus, occasionally being fertilized on its way by an incoming sperm.  The trip from the ovary through the Fallopian tube to the uterus can take hours or days. Meanwhile, once in a while a fast-swimming sperm can reach the egg in an hour, but not all sperm is healthy and mobile, it's a long way and there are many barriers, and it can actually take days for the winner to finish the marathon to the uterus.

But sometimes a supersperm makes it all the way up to the egg before the egg gets out of the Fallopian tube and fertilizes it there. So the zygote implants there, leading to an ectopic pregnancy a/k/a tubal pregnancy.  

(1) Sadly, it is not as rare as people try to tell you:  about 1 in every 100 pregnancies is a tubal pregnancy.  That's a lot.

(2) Despite the Ohio Bill mandating it, it is scientifically and medically impossible to transplant the fertilized egg from the Fallopian tube into the uterus.  

(3) Ectopic pregnancies will always kill both the mother and the fetus unless the pregnancy is aborted, either with medication or surgery.   (NHS)  

Meanwhile, "miscarriages are much more common than most people realize. Among people who know they're pregnant, it's estimated about 1 in 8 pregnancies will end in miscarriage. Many more miscarriages happen before a person is even aware they're pregnant."  (NHS)  Now most miscarriages happen because there are chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus.  As I've said before, I used to work as a low-level tech at Medical Genetics at Emory University, and the number of possible chromosomal abnormalities is mindboggling. This is important, because currently a number of states whose trigger laws against abortion have been instituted are talking about - and some actually are investigating miscarriages to see if they were actually abortions.  

If this keeps up, with the odds at 1 in 8 of having a miscarriage - approximately the same as dying of cancer - you will soon know someone (or be someone) arrested for a natural tragedy.  

"It's pretty apparent that conservatives believe that all gunowners are future heroes, but all uterus owners are potential criminals. And they legislate accordingly." - Yours Truly

A woman does not have a period until after she has ovulated.  This is why little girls who haven't yet had periods can get pregnant. Meanwhile, an amazing number of men have no idea and don't want to have any idea as to how periods work, and don't want to hear any of the literally bloody details, because it's just so icky.  (Upworthy)  Oh, and no, a woman doesn't automatically have her period every 28 days exactly.  Sometimes it surprises us.

Also, no one quite knows why, but the onset of puberty is getting earlier for both sexes. On average, puberty today begins around age 10 or 11 in girls (11–12 in boys) and ends between 15 and 17.   Some of it's probably nutrition:  My mother, for example, who was born in 1917 in the Appalachian mountains, didn't have her first period until she was 17, in 1934.  

Anyway, considering how our society sexualizes little girls (anyone remember Jon Benet Ramsey and how she was in endless Little Miss beauty contests?), ever younger puberty has dangerous repercussions on our children.  (Wikipedia)  (Psychology Today)  

Which leads us to the 10 year old Ohio girl who was raped and impregnated, refused an abortion in her home state, and had to go to another state to get one. In the process, a number of conservative politicians, including our own Governor Noem, stuck with the concept that abortion was 100% wrong. 

They may also have said, as have so many conservative men (and the occasional woman - HERE) have, that women can't get pregnant from rape.  (So many of them...)  

(1) Every slave woman in the Old South would entirely disagree. And most of the slaveowners' wives as well:


"But what do you say to this — to a magnate who runs a hideous black harem with its consequences, under the same roof with his lovely white wife and his beautiful and accomplished daughters? He holds his head high and poses as the model of all human virtues to these poor women whom God and the laws have given him. You see, Mrs. Stowe did not hit the sorest spot. She makes Legree a bachelor." - Mary Chesnut - A  Diary from Dixie 

(2) Every biologist and gynecologist entirely disagrees.  

So why is it that all these states with trigger laws have no exception for rape or incest? Well, one person says it's "Because men are the purveyors of rape and incest. They want to shift the focus away from the offender toward the woman." (HERE)  Maybe. It would explain why there are literally hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits stacked up in police storage around the country.  (The Atlantic)  

It's also a classic Catch-22 argument:  If women can't get pregnant from rape, then if a 10 year old - or any female - is pregnant, she obviously wasn't raped.  


Meet Matthew Hale, a 1678 master of the Catch-22:  he said witch trials were totally legit because "the existence of laws against witches is proof that witches exist".  A lot of women died to support that circular logic.  

Lord Hale was a primary source for SCOTUS Justice Alito in his Dobbs opinion abolishing Roe v. Wade.  He was also the originator of the Lord Hale Instructions, which were a required part of rape jury trials in the United States until at least 1976:

"It is true rape is a most detestable crime, and therefore ought severely and impartially to be punished with death; but it must be remembered, that it is an accusation easily to be made and hard to be proved, and harder to be defended by the party accused, tho' never so innocent... [W]e may be the more cautious upon trials of this nature, wherein the court and the jury may with so much ease be imposed upon without great care and vigilance; the heinousness of the offense many times transporting the judge and jury with so much indignation, that they are over hastily carried to the conviction of the accused thereof, by the confident testimony sometimes of malicious and false witnesses."  - Matthew Hale, 1678, Pleas of the Crown, p. 635.  

"From the days of Lord Hale to the present time, no case has ever gone to the jury, upon the sole testimony of the prosecutrix, unsustained by facts and circumstances corroborating it, without the Court warning them of the danger of a conviction on such testimony."  People v. Benson, 1856, California, ruling that a 13 year old's testimony was insufficient for a guilty plea because there were no other witnesses.  (LAWNET, my emphasis)   

BTW, what is it about 13 year olds and the male psyche?  Lolita is 12 in the novel and 14 in the movie, so let's split the difference and call her 13.  Jerry Lee Lewis married his 13 year old cousin.  And KY (R) Senator James Lankford said that 13 years old can consent to sex in his 2010 deposition (HERE). Oh, and Lord Hale was a generous man and upgraded the age of consent in his day from 10 (yes, you read that correctly) to 12.  Deep, deep, deep sigh...  

Meanwhile, back to the 10 year old Ohio girl.  A number of people on conservative media are saying that the story is suspicious, if not fake news, because it only has one source.  Now where have we heard that before?  Ohio AG Yost says there's no criminal investigation pending, which is surprising. To which I reply:

  1. Dr. Bernard declined to identify to the WaPo her colleague or the city where the child was located, & she was right to do so. HIPAA laws apply here, as does our last shreds of privacy rights, especially of minors. 
  2. Ohio AG Yost supposedly also said that this abortion 'clearly fit within the exceptions - “to prevent a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman,” - and could be legally performed in Ohio.'  (NYPOST)  
    • Except that, of course, Ohio has no exceptions for rape or incest. And incest is almost always perpetrated on children. 
    • Except that so far, no state with no exceptions has made an exception for anyone. 
    • Except that so far, no conservative Governor in such a state has said - in response to this case - that there should be an exception for the girl on the grounds of her health. 
    • Aunt Crabby calls bulls***.  
BREAKING NEWS:  There has been an arrest in the 10 year old Ohio girl's case.  (HERE)  So far, no apologies from any of the conservatives, including AG Yost, Governor Noem, and Tucker Carlson, who all said it was fake news, and "too good [for Democrats] to be true".  

Meanwhile, in Brazil:  Judge bans 11 year old rape victim from having an abortion because 'she would not have been "protecting the daughter," and would instead have been "subjecting her to a homicide."' (NEWSWEEK

ISABELLA: I'll tell the world
Aloud what man thou art.

ANGELO: Who will believe thee, Isabel?
My unsoil'd name, th' austereness of my life,
My vouch against you, and my place i' the state,
Will so your accusation overweigh
That you shall stifle in your own report,
And smell of calumny.

Shakespeare,Measure for Measure, Act II, Scene 4


30 June 2022

Little Church on the Prairie

First of all, & at last, we knew it was coming:  Jason Ravnsborg has been impeached on both counts in the death of Mr. Boever, after damning testimony on the part of the DCI, etc.  He's also been removed from office, and barred from ever running for public office again in the State of South Dakota.
“The wretch, concentred all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonoured, and unsung.”
                    Sir Walter Scott, "The Lay of the Last Minstrel"
And now on to other stories.

Sometimes these blogs just write themselves.  In this case, it was written by Angela Kennecke at KELO-News.  (I clearly note when I'm putting in my two cents' worth.)  Stay with it - this is quite a story.


“One of the gentlemen had seen someone we didn’t know, completely unaware who this person was, with what was described as an AR-15 rifle. And they took it out of their vehicle and walked into the church building. At that point, with the amount of back story and personal safety concerns, we were very hesitant to go in the building,” Jay Nelson said.

An armed guard stands on the steps of Singsaas Church near Astoria, South Dakota, looking over a crowd assembed to attend the annual meeting of the church's cemetery association, June 12.
Contributed / Marlene Kjelden

We’ll get to that back story in just a moment.

“I apologize for law enforcement and everything showing up,” Attorney Dennis Evenson said during the meeting. 

KELOLAND Investigates obtained a video from June 12th. An annual meeting was underway for the Singsaas Cemetery Association. The people outside, mostly descendants of those buried on the grounds, wanted a say in what was happening. But they found the armed men at the door intimidating.

“I did talk to some of the congregation that said the reason for the security was that they had a previous meeting and it got out of hand and they felt there were threats made and they needed some type of security,” Sheriff Stanwick said.

“Never, ever could I have imagined it could have escalated to the point where you have an AR-15 in a church building and men with revolvers sitting outside,” Jay Nelson said.

Life-long member Jay Nelson says it all started after Jason Hartung took over as pastor in 2020.

“The church was already in the process of becoming non-Lutheran, but becoming non-denominational” Singsaas Pastor Jason Hartung said.  

MY NOTE:  I don't necessarily believe this.  As we proceed, I hope you will see why.

Singsaas Church Pastor Jason Hartung

You need to know that Hartung’s congregation does not own the church building, the cemetery or the surrounding land. There is a separate fund for donors to the cemetery association, many of whom are buried at Singsaas, to maintain the cemetery and grounds, a fund that has more than $200,000 in it.

From the Mitchell Republic: "The Singsaas Cemetery association lies at the heart of the conflict due to an unusual relationship between the well-funded association and the church itself. Whoever controls the cemetery association controls its finances — and the church's physical future.  At stake is not only what Singsaas Church is now, but what it means as a historical location and pioneer legacy."  (LINK)  

My Note:  This is very common with country churches in South Dakota.  The church may have closed, or dwindled to almost nothing, but the Cemetery Association is well funded, by purchases (of cemetery sites) donations and legacies, and they take care of the maintenance of the cemetery and church grounds. Sometimes of the church.  Nothing unusual in this.  But, they are sitting on a chunk of change, which may have some import to what comes next:

"There were rumblings that the church was going to make changes to Singsaas that would eliminate its spot on the National Register of Historic Places, where the church was placed in 2003. Recently a cemetery association member noticed the plaque indicating the church's status had been removed from the front of the church." (LINK)  

“So this is my mom and dad. And there’s my grandma and grandpa,” McHugh said.  Nadine McHugh’s maiden name is Knutson and you can find that name all over this cemetery.  “We’d ring the bell an hour before church started. And before us, my grandparents also were the caretakers here. It’s just in the Knutsons that we’ve been taking care of this church,” McHugh said.

Despite her history with this place, McHugh stopped attending services here when Hartung took over.

“There are things that are going on that perhaps we don’t really understand and perhaps scripturally it doesn’t really sit well with us. And so we haven’t been going here now since 2020,” McHugh said.

"Hartung is no staid Lutheran preacher, and Singsaas is not a quiet Lutheran church. Congregants recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the U.S. flag and hear a reading of the U.S. Constitution during Sunday services. And the church has become stridently vocal on social issues of the day."  (My emphasis)  (LINK)   

MY NOTE 1 - I have never heard of a church where they say the Pledge of Allegiance and/or read the US Constitution during Sunday services.  Sounds more like the Aryan Nations or militia movement "services" to me... 

MY NOTE 2 -  So much for separation of church and state.  Looks like tax fraud to me.

Jay Nelson says he didn’t leave the church voluntarily:
Nelson: There was a congregational meeting held at which me and four other people–none of us were told about the meeting; none of us were told about what was going to happen at the meeting–it turns out in that meeting they voted all five of us out as members.
Kennecke: You got kicked out of your own church?
Nelson: We got kicked out of our own church.

Hartung: We pleaded with them to reconcile with the church. They knew that I was following and church leadership was following the doctrine of the word of God according to Matthew 18.*
Kennecke: Did they know they were going to be voted out?
Hartung: Did they? Yes, they did. They knew they were going toward that direction.

MY NOTE:  Probably Matthew 18:15-22.  

It was the direction that the church was going that led to the fallout in the first place. Nelson and two others have filed a petition with the court over the church’s constitution being thrown out.

“We want to make sure there is integrity in the process of changing the church constitution so that everyone is on board and everyone is represented,” Nelson said. 

MY NOTE:  A unsurprising reason to change the church constitution and the church membership and the Cemetery Association membership would be that $200,000 in the Cemetery Association Fund...  

“There is no such thing as having a church constitution that is unchangeable in any way shape or form,” Hartung said.

Meanwhile, the Singsaas Lutheran Church Cemetery filed a suit against Nelson and two other men, demanding they turn over any cemetery records they may possess. 

MY NOTE:  $200,000, sitting there...  

It’s a battle that has divided this community.  “It’s pitting lifelong friends against lifelong friends; people I’ve been friends with my entire life that won’t make eye contact with me,” Nelson said.

KELOLAND Investigates obtained a letter from Hartung where he asks his flock to pray for God to deal properly with the enemies of Singsaas. 

Kennecke: Are you an enemy of the church?
Nelson: I do not consider myself an enemy of the church at all. But we’ve been made aware that the pastor is communicating within his congregation, citing enemies of the church, which we would take to mean ourselves.

Kennecke: So who are the enemies of the church?
Hartung: Satan.
Kennecke: Not the people that…
Hartung: The people may allow the enemy, be used by the enemy to go against a church that preaches and teaches the word of God. I love these people and I’ve given my life for them.

MY NOTE:  Given his life???  He's only been there a couple of years.

Kennecke: Have you divided this community?
Hartung: It has revealed this community.
Kennecke: Tell me what you mean?
Hartung: It has revealed where people stand on the word of God.

Remember that Sunday meeting where all the guns and “security” showed up at church?

Kennecke: Was it an appropriate response, do you think?
Hartung: Is it an inappropriate response? Not according to the Constitution of the United States, the Second Amendment.
Kennecke: You’re allowed to have guns.
Hartung: Absolutely.
Kennecke: You didn’t break the law.
Hartung: Absolutely
Kennecke: But was it appropriate?
Hartung: Yes.
Kennecke: The sheriff said there was a rifle in the church. Was it an AR-15?
Hartung: Absolutely not.

But that’s not what a Brooking’s County Sherriff’s Deputy saw. According to his report, there was an AR-15 rifle with an inserted magazine leaning in an AV closet to the rear of the church’s sanctuary, and it was in a secure location. The owner of the rifle told the deputy he brought it to church at the request of the pastor to be armed security for the vote.  (My emphasis)  

“It’s not against the law to carry. It’s not against the law to carry into a church. No reason to secure any guns or anything. It’s just something you don’t come across, especially in this part of South Dakota,” Sheriff Stanwick said. 

At the end of the meeting that day the congregation’s attorney, Dennis Evenson acknowledged there wasn’t any real threat posed by the crowd of mostly older people who had gathered.

“Just let them clear out first. We can sit here all day. They’re good people, they’re good people. It’s not a problem there,” Evanson said in the video of the meeting in the church.

Hartung: There was a desire for order and management of the crowds, the potential crowds and there was a request by Dennis Evenson for security due to previous threats.
Kennecke: Have you been threatened personally?
Hartung: Yes I have.
Kennecke: What kind of threats?
Hartung: Death threats.
Kennecke: Have you reported those to police?
Hartung: I have talked to the sheriff’s department yes.

However, the Brookings County Sheriff tells KELOLAND investigates his office has not received any reports of death threats against Hartung. (My emphasis)  Nelson says there is an easy solution to end the conflict.

Nelson: If they wanted to go off and start their own non-denominational congregation with their own constitution, they were always free to do so. They could leave. 

Kennecke: Wouldn’t it just be easier, with this controversy you’re dealing with, to pick up your congregation and move them to a different building, a different site?
Hartung: That’s what some of the controversy; that’s what they want us to do, but the point is why?
Kennecke: And why not?
Hartung: I ask them why? What do they want the building for?

MY NOTE:  Because their ancestors built it?  That it's their building?  Not yours?  But, let's face facts - there's $200,000 just sitting there...

“We’re all a big family here and we’ve never had any issues with this until just the last few years. I just don’t want anything to hurt the cause of Christ in this situation. It’s a church and we’re here to worship God almighty. It’s just really a sad day for there to be so much confusion,” former Singsaas caretaker Nadine Knutson McHugh said.

Kennecke: What is it going to take to resolve all this?
Hartung: The truth.
Kennecke: And the truth is what?
Hartung: The truth is that, instead of having control, manipulation, and lies, we need to go, first of all, How do we honor God in this.

A lot of people on both sides of this issue have mentioned to me that none of it seems very Christian-like.  I spoke to pastors at a couple of previous churches where Hartung served in South Dakota. Both told me he brought more division than unity to their churches. In fact, one church ousted its long-time pastor shortly after he arrived.  (MY NOTE:  That would probably be Spearfish. LINK) Hartung told me that had nothing to do with him. 

Thanks, Angela!

MY NOTE:  $200,000, just sitting there, waiting...  Just one more thing that seems a little rotten in South Dakota, where we talk like Mayberry, and act like Goodfellas...

16 June 2022

Fear and Loathing in the Midwest

I spent the first weekend of June doing an Alternatives to Violence (AVP) Workshop at the pen - my 46th workshop, BTW.  (We all have our hobbies.)  

Anyway, we hosted a bunch of brand new inmates, who were still being processed, i.e., watched and classified. That takes about a month, during which they have plenty of time to experience apprehension and remorse. Maybe.  

So we had a boatload of new inmates, and they all really got into it, and it wasn't just that they were bored s***less in their cells. (Being locked down 23/24 is harder than it sounds, especially if you're not allowed books or other entertainment.) They were impressed that we weren't Bible-thumpers, or some kind of recruitment for treatment centers (although we certainly recommend AA/NA/Al-Anon), etc. All of them wanted to go to the next workshop, and all of them said the program is desperately needed outside. (Tell me something I don't know.) 

Meanwhile, during and in between exercises, war stories were told. Most of them were in for addiction - drugs, alcohol, gambling - or addiction related crimes. 

"Meth is everywhere," one guy told me. "You can't go to a party where someone isn't loaded with meth. You can't hang out with your work buds without someone offering it to you."

"And they're all crazy," another guy said. 

"Yeah, this one guy, he was tweaking for 24 straight, and he finally crashed, right. Right on the living room floor. And then when he woke up, he woke up just freaked, totally paranoid, and started shooting everyone in the house."  

"Yeah, these days they'll kill you. They'll shoot you and don't know why they're doing it. They'll shoot you first and then figure it out."

"Somebody's gotta do something about meth, man." 

"Yeah, you're a hell of a lot safer here than out there." 

(Tell me something I don't know.)  

Of course, some kind of drugs have been everywhere for quite a while.  At least in California, where I grew up. In the mid-1960s, the junior high school girl's bathroom reeked of marijuana, but that's another story.  There were reds (downers), whites (speed), acid (blotter, orange barrel, windowpane, Mr. Happy, and other pharmaceutical concoctions), other hallucinogens (mushrooms, mescaline, peyote, etc.), hash (fresh off the boat or from the pressure cooker), heroin, and cocaine (very expensive).

There was also crystal meth which was, I was told, very cheap. But meth-heads then shot it up, which put it in the "Oh, hell no, I'm not doing that!" category for me. (We all have our standards.) Plus crystal meth users were as crazy then as they are today. True, they were less violent back then, but there were also a lot fewer guns around, especially since I avoided biker gangs if at all possible.  Turns out the biker gangs were the ones who controlled most of the production and distribution of crystal meth, which I did not know at the time, and only found out in writing this blog. (HERE)  

Anyway, crystal meth users were nuts. I had a neighbor at the infamous Blackburn Hotel who used crystal meth. He had a theory that, if he could get his body speeded up fast enough on meth, he would be able to run through walls. He tried that theory out, over and over and over again, with all the bumps, bruises, and smashed bits you'd expect. 

Another feature of modern drugs is, of course, fentanyl. Now there's a conservative talking point (making the rounds for quite a while) that drug addicts die because they're "doing fentanyl", as if they're actually buying fentanyl by name, and so they deserve to die of an overdose. (Sigh; the cruelty really is the point.) But fentanyl (which is apparently ridiculously cheap) is what today's drug dealers cut their expensive drugs with. So heroin - always notorious for being dicey in strength - today is cut with fentanyl. And a lot of junkies die. 

Back in my day, heroin was generally cut with milk powder, which was very cheap, but at least non-lethal. What was lethal was when some really pure heroin went around, and junkies who were used to the cut stuff OD'd left and right. Now it's fentanyl that's killing them, but it's heroin they bought. The same with the fake oxy pills that are out there - cheap fentanyl with some cheap other thing put together in a makeshift lab to look pretty much like oxycontin or oxycodone pills. Only these will kill you, and of course nobody tells you. It's a dangerous world out there. 

Of course, not all the drugs in my day were stepped on with benign substances, either. Orange barrel  acid was cut with strychnine, supposedly because it made for more intense colors in the hallucinations. I don't know anyone who died of it, although I did hear of a few people who had intestinal cramps.  

One thing that strikes me in the difference between then and now is that back then, most drugs were still either a plant (marijuana, peyote, mushrooms), or derived from a plant: hash, opium, mescaline, morphine, heroin, and cocaine. These were all processed in some way, but at least there was some natural substance behind it, and (lacking adulterants) wasn't nearly as toxic as the drugs of today.  

Today, however, most of the drugs are all synthetic - meth, oxycodone, ecstasy (MDMA), synthetic cannabinoids (known on the streets as K-2, spice, synthetic marijuana, bath salts, etc.), and fentanyl, all made in a lab, highly addictive, highly toxic, with a tendency to psychosis.  And it shows.  I see a lot of meth-heads (my generic term for people who've been on synthetic drugs for too damn long), and it doesn't take 30 days for them to detox - it takes 2 years. If then. They just aren't right. Sometimes they never get right again. Not to mention lesser issues like loss of teeth, skin sores, etc. (Warning:  Graphic PHOTOS HERE)

NOTE:  And even these drugs are cut, too - in some cases with brodifacoum, a rat poison that causes bleeding, or fentanyl. 

NOTE: I understand Fox News pundits are worried sick about "pot psychosis-violent behavior link". But pot doesn't do that. "Synthetic marijuana" does, but it's not marijuana. Apparently this is hard to figure out, especially if you're paid just to bulls*** about it.  (Wikipedia, The Wrap)

NOTE: So just get it over with and legalize marijuana nationally, so law enforcement can move on to stopping meth and synthetic cannabinoids, etc. because the boys are right, meth is everywhere, and meth and K-2 can transform people into psychotic monsters.  

God help us all. 

And now, a lighter note:

I don't know if you remember or were there, but if you stood in line at a drugstore in the 1960s and 1970s, you found all sorts of over-the-counter products that were chock full of amphetamines. That's what most prescription diet aids were were made of. Also all the No-Doze type study aids for sale, which now (I am assured) have only caffeine in it. But a lot of prescriptions are still made with amphetamines - like Adderall. 

BTW, am I the only one who remembers Ayds diet candy? There used to be a shelf of them by every drug store register. Yes, sales collapsed as the AIDS epidemic spread in the 1980s, and it folded. (HERE)  Note my favorite of all the ads:  how to control your weight during pregnancy, using Ayds...  

And, of course, back in the late 1800s, early 1900s Coca-Cola's main ingredients were cocaine and caffeine. Since 1929, Coca-Cola has used a cocaine-free coca leaf extract. But my mother, who was born somewhere around 1917 (exact date a little hazy), well remembered her father going up to the drug store on Saturday night for a pail of Coca-Cola, which was Coca-Cola syrup mixed on the premises with soda water. "And that was the best Coca-Cola I ever had. It's never been the same since they put it in bottles." 

Finally, a last word from South Dakota:

From February, 2022:  We had two successive Sioux Falls police officers arrested for possession, manufacturing and distribution of graphic, hard core child porn.  (Argus

From June 13, 2022: 2 Sioux Falls men were charged & arrested as part of a white supremacist group planning a riot at an Idaho Pride Parade. One of them, James Michael Johnson, moved from Denver to Cheyenne, WY, where he tried to make the world a safer place for himself, if not democracy by "march[ing] around downtown armed with a gun or a baseball bat, claiming to be keeping us safe." And then moved to Sioux Falls, because Cheyenne didn't appreciate him enough. (Dakota Free Press)

Seems like something rotten is going on in Sioux Falls that we we really need to pay attention to.

Ah, South Dakota, where we talk like Mayberry, and act like Goodfellas...

02 June 2022

Let's Talk About the Laws

Evil begins when you begin to treat people as things— (Terry Pratchett, I Shall Wear Midnight)

In the wake of the tragedy at Uvalde, I am seriously disheartened (and thoroughly pissed, I might add) by the number of people whose first reaction has been some variation of, "YOU'RE NOT TOUCHING MY GUNS!"  Cold dead hands, and all that.  

“It takes a monster to kill children. But to watch monsters kill children again and again and do nothing isn’t just insanity—it’s inhumanity.” — Amanda Gorman

The other major reaction is "We already have the most regulated guns in the world!" which is hogwash, and/or "We have lots of laws, we just need to enforce them!"

But do we really have such strict laws? I thought I'd check into it, and the short answer is "No.  No, we don't."


Let's start off with background checks.  88% of Americans support enhanced background checks. Our not-so-friendly 2nd Amendment absolutists tell us we already have that. So what kind of background checks do we have right now?  

The 1993 Brady Bill "prohibits certain persons from shipping or transporting any firearm in interstate or foreign commerce, or receiving any firearm which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce, or possessing any firearm in or affecting commerce. These prohibitions apply to any person who:

  • Has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
  • Is a fugitive from justice;
  • Is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance;
  • Has been adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution;
  • Is an alien illegally or unlawfully in the United States;
  • Has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;
  • Having been a citizen of the United States, has renounced U.S. citizenship;
  • Is subject to a court order that restrains the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of such intimate partner, or;
  • Has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

(Some people bring up the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007, but it was repealed by the Trump administration in 2017, so I'm not even going to get into that.)

Anyway, the Brady Bill sounds really good, doesn't it?  Except there are loopholes. LOTS of loopholes:

The Reporting Hole:

Some places don't forward the records.  

State and local agencies are not required by law to report criminal records to the FBI.  In most cases, local agencies don’t have a system in place for submitting the names of people with restraining orders or domestic violence convictions to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) — so those names simply aren’t entered.  

And, even when reported, well: Just because someone’s name is not entered in NICS doesn’t necessarily mean that a federal gun background check reviewer wouldn’t raise a red flag at the point of sale. That’s because background checkers also check two other databases, the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and the Interstate Identification Index, which contain more arrest records. But those records aren’t always complete, and may require further investigation by the reviewer. For example, they don’t always indicate whether an arrest was followed by a conviction. Or a court record might not specify the relationship between perpetrator and victim. If tracking down that information takes more than 72 hours, a gun dealer can make the sale anyway.   (The Trace)  (my emphasis added)

And while Federal agencies - like the military - are required by law to report them, in 2014 the Inspector General found that the Defense Department was still not reporting them.  10 years of not reporting. In 2015, they still weren't reporting 30% of them.  And the service branches do not have a dedicated office that handles such notifications (NYTimes).  

NOTE:  Under the military code, there is no such charge as domestic violence.

Also, various city, county, and state law enforcement agencies often do not report convictions for domestic violence, stalking, harrassing, etc., specifically because they would take away the right to carry a firearm, and guess what a lot of law enforcement do every day?  Yep. So they're off the grid, too.

The National Database Loophole:

There is no national database of who's bought what gun(s).  And that's ALWAYS been opposed by the NRA. 

Meanwhile, many of anti-abortion states want to set up a state / national database of women's menstrual periods, via tapping Planned Parenthood information (which Missouri actually has already done LINK), and various smart devices and hospital records (just in case you got a D&C for a miscarriage and not an abortion, you're going to have to prove it).  No national gun registry, but by God, let's register all women's most intimate health cycles. Next thing you know, I'll have to have a doctor's notarized statement that I'm past menopause to cross state lines - oh, yeah, they're working on laws to stop pregnant women from doing exactly that.  

Call me cynical, but I get the feeling that the GOP considers all gunowners as potential heroes, but all women as potential criminals - and legislate accordingly. 

The Gun Show Loophole:

Only gun dealers have to do background checks. Private sellers don't have to do any background checks at all, whether at gun shows, parking lots, neighbors, Internet, private ads, etc. And your relatives can buy you any gun(s) they want. 

The Who You Are Loophole:

The Boyfriend Loophole - Federal domestic violence laws don’t include people who never lived with, or had a child with, the perpetrator. Known as the “boyfriend loophole,” the omission allows many abusers to buy guns even if there’s been a violent assault that leads to a criminal conviction. About a third of states have laws that aim to bridge this gap, but that leaves 2/3rds off the grid.

The Sibling Loophole - Under federal law, the abuse of a sibling doesn’t trigger a gun ban.  

The Stalker Loophole - Stalkers convicted of misdemeanor crimes are not prohibited by federal law from buying or possessing guns. According to a 1999 study, 76 percent of women who were murdered by intimate partners were first stalked by their killer.  (The Trace)  


"Domestic terrorists and racially motivated extremists are increasingly arming themselves with homemade, untraceable “ghost guns,” a threat that is now a top public safety concern for law enforcement, according to a leaked U.S. government report.

"The six-page report by the Joint Counterterrorism Assessment Team — a coalition of federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies, including the FBI — warns that such extremist groups are gravitating to guns and gun accessories that can be made using do-it-yourself kits or 3D printers. Ghost guns can be acquired without background checks and their lack of serial numbers makes them nearly impossible to trace, complicating criminal investigations."  (The Trace)

73% of Americans support a plan to enforce safety measures on the sale and procurement of ghost guns.

NRA Stance: "The Constitution does not authorize the federal government to prevent you from making your own firearm. This a fact that has been recognized for 200+ years." (Fox)
My Note:  Got news for you, NRA. Our Founding Fathers weren't sitting around making their own muzzle-loaders and dueling pistols. They bought them, like everyone else did.  


72% of Americans support the idea of raising the legal age to buy a gun from 18 to 21 years old.

BUT:  "Federal law allows people as young as 18 to buy long guns, including rifles and shotguns, and only a handful of states have enacted laws raising the minimum age to 21. There’s no federal minimum age for the possession of long guns, meaning it’s legal to give one to a minor in more than half the country....
"44 states that allow 18-year-olds to buy long guns, including semiautomatic rifles, according to Giffords Law Center, which tracks state and federal gun laws. Only six states have raised their long gun purchasing age to 21: California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Vermont, and Washington State. Americans are meanwhile not allowed to purchase alcohol or cigarettes until they are 21."  (The Trace)

Informational:  Since Columbine, there have been 244 school shootings, with more than 311,000 students involved. 185 children, educators and other people have been killed in assaults, and another 369 have been injured.  7 in 10 of the shooters were under 18, which means some adult gave them at least one weapon, or access to it.  (Wapo) and (AP)  

Also, there are no federal restrictions on how many guns you can own. Thus, Texas has no restrictions on how many guns you can own, but it does limit ownership of sex toys to six (section 43.23 of Texas’ penal code).  


The Federal Assault Weapons Ban was a ten-year ban enacted in 1994, which included a prohibition on the manufacture for civilian use of certain semi-automatic firearms that were defined as assault weapons as well as certain ammunition magazines that were defined as large capacity. When it expired in 2004, attempts were made to renew it, but they all failed. (Wikipedia)

When the assault weapons ban was lifted in 2004, a there were 400,000 AR-15 style rifles in America at that time. Today, there are at least 20 million. 

Banning assault-style weapons: Sixty-seven percent strongly or somewhat support; 25% strongly or somewhat oppose.  (Politico)  


25 states allow permitless concealed carry.
39 states allow permitless open carry. 


Red Flag Laws permit police or family members to petition a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves. You would think this would be an obvious gun safety practice - Gov. Abbott (TX) and the entire GOP have been making major speeches about dealing with "the mental health crisis" in this country. 

Meanwhile, Gov. Abbott and the Texas Legislature passed a law eliminating ANY permit requirement for guns — and then slashed $211 million from Texas’s mental health budget.  

So far only 19 states have some kind of Red Flag law in place, but Oklahoma has an anti-red flag law. The law specifically "prohibits the state or any city, county or political subdivision from enacting red flag laws."  And South Dakota's own Governor Kristi Noem proudly announced:

"In 2020, I blocked bills proposing unconstitutional red-flag laws to strip citizens of their right to bear arms. The following year, I signed “stand your ground” legislation, and I further protected your right to purchase guns and ammo during emergency declarations. This year, I repealed all concealed carry permit fees for state residents, which is necessary to remain in good legal standing in other states with stricter gun laws. It won’t cost you a penny to exercise your 2nd Amendment rights." (LINK)  (Emphasis added)

NOTE: BTW, "Stand Your Ground" legislation, as I have said before, specifically denies people prosecutorial immunity under SYG if “[t]he person against whom the defensive force is used or threatened has the right to be in or is a lawful resident of the dwelling, [or] residence . . . such as an owner, lessee, or titleholder, and there is not an injunction for protection from domestic violence or a written pretrial supervision of no contact order against that person.” I.e., a victim of domestic abuse can't claim SYG if it's her husband. Or her father. 

So welcome to a major Catch-22:  Federal Background Check laws don't cover boyfriends or stalkers or siblings, and SYG doesn't cover spouses or fathers.  Ladies, you're screwed.  (Read more at Treason's True Bed.)


Up until the 1970s the NRA actually opposed private ownership of guns. 

Karl Frederick, NRA president in 1934, during the congressional NFA (National Firearms Act) hearings testified "I have never believed in the general practice of carrying weapons. I seldom carry one. ... I do not believe in the general promiscuous toting of guns. I think it should be sharply restricted and only under licenses." The NRA supported both the National Firearms Act of 1934 and the Gun Control Act of 1968 (enacted after the assassinations of RFK and MLK Jr.), which created a system to federally license gun dealers and established restrictions on particular categories and classes of firearms. 

NOTE:  The 1967 California Mulford Act, which prohibited open carry of loaded firearms, was a direct result of increasing gun ownership among black people, especially members of the Black Panthers. It was supported 100% by the NRA. Governor Ronald Reagan signed the bill, and said he saw "no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons" and that guns were a "ridiculous way to solve problems that have to be solved among people of good will." In a later press conference, Reagan added that the Mulford Act "would work no hardship on the honest citizen."  (HISTORY) and (WIKIPEDIA)

And then in the late 1970s a faction of the NRA decided to go political, heavily backing the GOP and promoting the idea of a personal right to own private weapons. It took a while, but in 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller became the first Supreme Court case to decide whether the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense or if the right was intended for state militias. They plumped for self-defense.  (NRA)

There's a long 200+ year stretch between the Founding Fathers and the we must have the right to own every type of firearm and carry it wherever we want to at all times line.


From the Conservative Response Archives:

"As harsh as this sounds—your dead kids don't trump my Constitutional rights … We still have the Right to Bear Arms … Any feelings you have toward my rights being taken away from me, lose those." Joe Wurzelbacher, a/k/a Joe the Plumber, after the 2014 Isla Vista killings (killed 6, injured 14).

I guess he warned us where this was going. But there's no way on God's sweet green earth that I'm going to agree with it.

So, gun bans and confiscation? A disarmed, defenseless, and compliant population, whose security and freedom are simply dependent on the goodwill of others? Is that where you'd like to take us?

(1) See the Reagan quote above and (2) Actually, yes, I would like to see us dependent on the goodwill of others, the way we used to be not that long ago.  And considering this was posted on a conservative Christian website, all I can say is his church is woefully poor at reading the Gospels. 

A pencil can be an assault weapon.

But you can't kill as many with one as you can with an AR-15, can you?

"More than ever, we're held hostage by the pro-life American ethos: Life begins at conception and ends with a Second Amendment execution." — Dick Polman

What the hell has happened to us?

19 May 2022

Hiding in Plain Sight & Other Crimes

by Eve Fisher

Musings about Hiding in Plain Sight:

First of all, re the story of former Corrections Officer Vicky White who ran off with the inmate Casey White from Alabama, I am amazed that they stayed uncaught that long. I mean, 6'9"?  Seriously?  They were caught, as you probably know, in Evansville, Indiana, where "they were found with $29,000 in cash and four guns, including semiautomatic weapons and an AR-15. They also had several wigs in different colors." But, no matter how many wigs they had, how did they make it 11 days without being turned in, especially staying in a motel for a week?  Outside of a basketball convention, 6'9" anywhere should have been like Herman Munster in a Mickey Rooney lookalike contest. 

Along similar lines, I want to know how Jack Reacher isn't known all over the country:

6 feet 5 inches tall, weighing 210–250 pounds and having a 50-inch chest. In Never Go Back, he is described as having "a six-pack like a cobbled city street, a chest like a suit of NFL armor, biceps like basketballs, and subcutaneous fat like a Kleenex tissue."..."He was one of the largest men she had ever seen outside the NFL. He was extremely tall, and extremely broad, and long-armed, and long-legged. The lawn chair was regular size, but it looked tiny under him. It was bent and crushed out of shape. His knuckles were nearly touching the ground. His neck was thick and his hands were the size of dinner plates."  (Wikipedia)  
So... tell me again why he has to introduce himself anywhere?  

And I've written before about James Bond announcing himself everywhere he goes.  "Bond, James Bond."  Not very secret.  

Meanwhile, it's tragic that Ms. White killed herself, but: a widow, no children, and highly respected as a CO at the jail - employee of the year four times - what did she have to go back to? Jail. Trial. Prison. Corrections officers - any law enforcement officer - often face retaliation in prison. The truth is, sometimes consequences show up that are so stark and horrific there's no way to live with them...

Speaking of Consequences...

Some news outlets are already speaking of the Buffalo, NY white supremacist terrorist as a "white teenager," and "just a boy, really." Bull hockey. Last I heard, 18 makes you an adult in this country. You can vote, marry, drive, and as he did, buy any kind of freaking rifle or "long gun" you want from a licensed gun dealer anywhere in this country at 18. 

I'd say more about this case, but I'm too sick to my stomach. 

Meanwhile, even before this one, we've had 198 mass shootings in the United States this year: 

Who's safer with this endless flood of guns, ammo, and hot rhetoric?  Personally, I think it's about damn time that Stochastic Terrorism be made a crime.  

After all, if they could convict the woman who texted her boyfriend repeatedly, encouraging him to kill himself (and he did), why can't we do something similar to people on "certain networks", etc., who actively rev up their listeners to a fury and then say things like, "I'm only asking questions." 

Like a maniac who shoots deadly firebrands and arrows, so is one who deceives a neighbor and says, “I'm just asking questions...”  Proverbs 26:18-19 (Paraphrased for modern usage)

No you're not. You're trying to get them stoked so that you get higher ratings. And maybe there'll be a shooting, and then the ratings will shoot up even higher. 

Which leads me to my next idea:  a Sandy Hook style class-action lawsuit against Tucker & Friends and Fox News for the whole "great replacement theory" and other racist theories that are getting innocent people killed.  

Even More Horrific:  Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

The numbers are horrific. As of March, 2022, there were "103 people missing in South Dakota, with Indigenous people making up 62% of all missing persons despite being only 8.7% of the state’s population. According to the Attorney General’s Missing Persons page, Indigenous women make up 28% of all missing persons and 63% of women currently missing in South Dakota." Also, "Native American women are murdered at a rate ten times higher than the national average." (HERE  And a few of the grisly details HERE)  

Meanwhile, the South Dakota legislature approved making an Office of Liaison for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP), which was fantastic! 

But then AG Ravnsborg said he couldn't find "the necessary funds to establish such a position." Yes, we have a very cheap legislature - they don't give money to anything, even when it's their idea. 

At last the non-profit Native Hope said it would fund the position at $85,000 per year for three years, so there may be some hope. Now can they find the law enforcement necessary to do the actual investigating???

BTW, Native Hope's website is:  Donations are always gratefully received.

On a Lighter Note, What's in a Name?

"A man found floating on a raft in the ocean off the coast of Rhode Island in 2016 after his boat sank has been indicted on charges alleging he killed his mother at sea to inherit the family's estate, according to the indictment unsealed Tuesday.  The eight-count indictment released in federal court in Burlington also says Nathan Carman shot and killed his grandfather, John Chakalos, at his home in Windsor, Connecticut, in 2013 as part of an effort to defraud insurance companies, but he was not charged with that killing. [Why, one may ask?] Carman was found in an inflatable raft eight days after he went fishing with his mother, Linda Carman, who was never found." 

Now families are tricky things, and God only knows what led Mr. Carman to do the things he did. But greed does seem to have been a factor:  he sued the insurance company for $85,000 for the loss of his 31 foot fishing boat, The Chicken Pox. (NewsTimes)  Yes, The Chicken Pox

So of course I sat around thinking of similar suitable names for a boat, and came up with:

Montezuma's Revenge
The Spanish Flu
Daddy's Hemorrhoids 
Reilly's Pyloric Valve 

And those are just the printable ones.  Feel free to add your own!