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Being a survivor from domestic violence can mean many things to many different people. Here is my story, and my journey after that in order to have a voice in helping others through a variety of advocacies that I do.

National Domestic Violence Survivor Law Project

The story of my past experiences with domestic violence and how I have moved forward throughout the years to provide advocacy to others.

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Domestic Violence is no joke. Glamour and the National Domestic Violence Hotline are working on a campaign called, “Tell Somebody Campaign”. Click on the video below to learn more about what you can do to help stop domestic violence in your area.

http://www.glamour.com/tell-somebody/video/2011/05/tell-somebody-help-put-an-end-to-relationship-violence

#DVWarrior

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Empathy can be literally defined as:

em·pa·thy [ émpəthee ]   Audio player

  1. understanding of another’s feelings:the ability to identify with and understand somebody else’s feelings or difficulties
  2. attribution of feelings to an object:the transfer of somebody’s own feelings and emotions to an object such as a painting

[ Early 20th century. < Greek empatheia “affection, passion” ]

 Ashoka Fellow Molly Barker, Founder of Girls on the Run International®, who has been working to build-up Ashoka’s Empathy Initiative. suggests the following:

Empathy has been a hot topic at the summit. Typically considered a soft skill and not necessarily essential to leadership (at least in the traditional sense), Bill Drayton, Founder of Ashoka, has uncovered a number of thematic connections between all of those folks who are social entrepreneurs. Empathy has been and continues to be at the top of that list.

Empathy is one of those things … “things” because I’m not sure precisely what to call it … that I’ve taken for granted. I was raised in a very empathetic home. My family members are empathetic. My children are empathetic and most everyone – heck, EVERYONE! – I work with is empathetic. I’ve naturally, based on my own experiences, assumed that most people would understand why empathy is essential to being human … a kind of “duh” sort of thing. A clear and VERY obvious outcome of Girls on the Run is the ability of every girl and coach to give and receive within an empathetic context.

In my mind, without empathy we lack the ability to deeply connect with another living creature. Empathy affords us the experience of being one in experience with another, putting aside our own ego, the need to be right, and being with the emotions of another. It doesn’t mean fixing them, making the emotions go away or enabling the individual. To me it simply means being with their emotions without interference from me.

via So how do you get empathy, anyway? (Hint: You won’t find it in a lecture.) | Ashoka.org.

As an advocate, I am always under the impression that being with empathy is demonstrating a concern and understanding of the here and now of the caller/person communicating with (no matter the mode of communication).  It isn’t a time of formulating one’s opinion of the situation; it is more important to sort through options and more options for the situation given at hand, as well as providing emotional support and guidance for catapulting forwarding to the light at the end of the tunnel, in order to move forward to, hopefully, without the burdens of the crisis situations at hand.

People need to have a voice in their lives moving forward, they need to see and weigh out the options available for them (because when in crisis mode, you rarely see through the mist of the tears caused by the emotional and/or physical pain currently enduring); however, they need to know that they aren’t crazy, that they have lives that are valued, and that they can do things and make great decisions that affect their own lives, as well as those around them.

How do YOU see empathy?  How do you apply empathy in your daily lives?

 

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The National Child Traumatic Stress Network provides a great fact sheet resource to Domestic Violence  and Children:  Questions and Answers for Domestic Violence Project Advocates, answering such questions as:

How do children react to domestic violence?

What are some typical short-term responses?

What about children’s responses in the long term?

What are the factors that help children recover?

What should parents tell their children about domestic violence?

How much information is enough but not too much?

What should a parent tell a child about the parent who was abusive?

How can advocates protect children from adult information?

How should parents respond to and cope with their children’s feelings about them?

What are some strategies for managing children’s behaviors that may occur in families with domestic violence?

How can advocates determine when a child needs more help?

and,

What is secondary trauma and how does it affect me?

 

 

Click on the link below to learn more:

http://www.nctsnet.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/DomViolenceFactSheet_final.pdf

 

 

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Domestic violence cases seem to prevail in spite of all the efforts of the advocates across the United States and throughout the world; however, that doesn’t stop the advocates from continuing to try.  One focus has turned its head towards the affects upon childhood trauma.  One such foundation taking this focus in their hands is the Makers of Memories with its public policy initiative:

The Makers of Memories Public Policy Initiative, launched earlier this month in Washington DC, has already begun to develop momentum towards our two key objectives of:

1) raising awareness about the problem of childhood exposure to domestic violence; and

2) developing a set of solutions to address this problem.

Participants from a wide range of national nonprofit organizations have agreed to collaborate on the educational content and distribution of our documentary film project, 43 Million Secrets, and have contacted us to explore ways that we can work together to motivate leaders and policy makers to take action to provide support and assistance to children who experience domestic violence. We also are exploring programmatic initiatives with these organizations. Some of the individuals and organizations we have engaged to collaborate on our work are featured below in the images from our meeting in Washington DC on June 14.

via Makers of Memories.

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Marsys’ Law created as a result, in California, when a woman was lured back to her ex-boyfriend who claimed wanted to get back with her and make up but in actuality had a shotgun ready to kill her when she entered his home.   This event was a great opportunity to learn more.

PASADENA – The Pasadena Police Department will host a free Crime Victims’ Clinic from 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturday in the second floor assembly room at the department headquarters, 207 N. Garfield Ave.

The clinic will offer information on the Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights Act (Marsy’s Law) passed in 2008, giving victims of crimes and their families 17 constitutional rights.

Workshop participants will include the Pasadena Police Department, Justice for Homicide Victims, Pasadena Superior Court, L.A. District Attorney’s Office, Bailiff’s Office, Victim-Witness Assistance Program; Peace Over Violence and Crime Stoppers.

The clinic is being coordinated, organized and planned by Police Specialist III Patricia Magallanes.

via Crime victims’ rights to be discussed at police clinic – Pasadena Star-News.

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Recently attended a child custody inservice presented by Barry Goldstein and Dr. Mo Hanna (who, incidently co-authored the book called Domestic Violence Abuse and Child Custody).  Dr. Hanna also speaks to childhood trauma in her part of the presentation.  The statistics presented in this video by Makers of Memories foundation are, indeed pretty staggering and worth taking note.  In a quest to end domestic violence, we must take a look from all perspectives to really figure out a solution to end it forever.

Please reveiw and let me know what you think.


YouTube – 10 Shocking domestic violence statistics for 2011.

See also for more information:

http://domesticviolenceabuseandchildcustody.com

http://blog.makersofmemories.org/

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Stumbled upon this site from a friend on facebook the other day.  It has a lot of interesting features, including (but, not necessarily limited to) the below:

Legislative Advocacy

As an organization fully committed to advancing justice for consumers, NACA is actively engaged in promoting a fair and open marketplace that forcefully protects the rights of consumers, particularly those of modest means.

Today the fundamental consumer protections that we have depended upon to ensure fairness and justice are under attack. This can be seen in the watering down of federal regulations, the prevalence in consumer contracts of forced arbitration clauses that deny consumers their right to be heard by an unbiased court or jury of their peers, and the ever growing presence of unscrupulous and deceptive business practices that trip and trap consumers into predatory loans, unscrupulous fees, and unconscionable contract terms.

NACA is focused on promoting an agenda that lays the groundwork for rebuilding a consumer justice system that will be based on our nation’s fundamental sense of fairness, equity and honesty. Our agenda items include ensuring that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau holds corporations and businesses accountable for their predatory practices, fighting to ban the unfair practice of forced arbitration, staunching the swelling tide of foreclosures, strengthening laws that protect consumers from predatory mortgage and unsecured credit lending, unfair debt collection practices, and abusive credit reporting.

via Legislative Advocacy – Consumer Advocates – NACA | National Association of Consumer Advocates.

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Everyone needs a place to go to where they can heal, be safe to talk, and empower others along their healing journey.  For those traveling the healing journey due to domestic violence issues, Facebook’s page called, Domestic Violence Voices, offers just one such place.

It’s just a great feel good place with a great community spirit.

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On June 12, 2010, I interviewed Michele who also had an incredible survivor story from many perspectives.

Against all odds is the best three words that I can describe this surivor of domestic violence after hearing about and reading her story. She is a product of extremely young parents that were ill-prepared for parenting (her parents being involved with drugs and prisons) and various struggles leading prior her own domestic violence relationship. She is an incredibly strong woman now and I know you will want to hear her story and her amazing story of survival!

BEYOND WORDS LIVE – MEET MICHELE JUNE 12 2010 9aCST 06/12 by Kat X Beyond Words | Blog Talk Radio.

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On May 29, 2010, I interviewed Danielle Joy, an author with a personal story to share.  Take some time to listen to her story when you have a chance.

Danielle Joy Linhart writes the FROM DEEP WITHIN – BLIND AND BRUISED book straight from her heart, which makes it very straight to the point; however, she has written in a format that is an easy read, and one that can certainly ressonate with any teen going through any degree of teen datingabuse. Please join me as Danielle shares her story on our show and tells more about her book, of which a portion of the proceeds are going to help the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline (http://loveisrespect.org)! The last paragraph on her backcover of the book states, “As a survivor, I want to help those being harmed or whos might be harmed, and to educate those who can help prevent a violent relationship. This book has been a path to self-discovery, to close the chapter on that part of my life. I feel as though I have re-lived the abuse all over again. At times, I had to stop writing, but I am glad I continued because there is a chance I will help someone in need.” How true! It is hard to write book about something that was so painful in your life; it is wonderful that Danielle has managed to get past that to share her story. I can’t wait to share this guest with you. Chat room will be open for discussion too. 🙂

BEYOND WORDS LIVE – MEET DANIELLE 05/29 by Kat X Beyond Words | Blog Talk Radio.

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On May 22, 2010, I interviewed Marilyn Bray, an advocate in Sexual Assault who also shared her own personal story.

Marilyn Bray serves as the epitome of becoming a huge advocate for non-violence, inspired by her own personal experience and has become a catalyst for the new movement of survivors to talk candidly about their journeys, sharing their experiences and become empowered by the truth. Since 2001, Marilyn’s journey toward empowerment and professional growth evolved into advocating and helping those in anguish from being “victims” or rape and sexual assault. She has become actively involved in SOAR SPA, The Clothesline Project, Take Back the Night, survivor workshops and women’s perspective workshops, among many, many other things. Currently, Marilyn serves on an advisory role to Men Stopping Violence Against Women Intiative, recently started in Tampa by a group of concerned men wanting to be a part of the solution. Her story has been shared in SELF MAGAZINE, as well as more recently in the November issue of MARIE CLAIRE MAGAZINE. Please bring a warm welcome to Marilyn has she shares with us her story of survival and her mission of advocacy.

BEYOND WORDS LIVE – MEET MARILYN BRAY 05/22 by Kat X Beyond Words | Blog Talk Radio.

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On May 15, 2010, I inteviewed Hadayai, who talked more about Muslim women and their survivorship:

Domestic violence knows no age, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc – including no culture is immune from domestic violence occurring in their relationships as well. The guest today also has her own show on BTR, but comes to my show to talk more about her story and how it relates in the Muslim Community. In fact, she states that “any association with feminism is alienating in Muslim cultural circles … and… confidence from women has been slow in coming.” We hope to help demonstrate the need of understand cultural struggles when trying to help those victimized by domestic violence situations to seek help. Please join us while Hadayai talks about her mission to enact upon her, simple and huge, vision: “Give Muslim women the tools to change their climate by changing themselves” stemming out of her own experience with domestic violence and her compelling need to fill a need to help others in similar situations. Her goal through the program she founded in Georgia (here in the United States) in 1997 is to “end the silence about domestic violence and to help abused Muslim women and children with shelter, food, and clothing, as well as teach them strategies for self sufficiency – how to be confident in speech, mannerisms, and body language.” Come prepared to understand additional dimensions of struggles found in those encountering domestic violence.

BEYOND WORDS LIVE – MEET HADAYAI 05/15 by Kat X Beyond Words | Blog Talk Radio.

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On May 8, 2010, I interviewed Lauri Allen, who is a survivor, as well as part of the Private Quarters comapny.  She told an amazing story.  Please feel free to listen to her show when you get a chance:

Unbelievable turn of circumstances is a great way to describe Laurie who will be talking to us today. I have been enjoying getting to know Laurie and learning more about what she is doing today with her role at Private Quarters (an organization supporting domestic violence survivors) and part of a documentary in progress called BY A THREAD, as well as her personal experiences involved in domestic violence and why she has been so adamant to advocate for change. She states that she is on a mission to share her story as how she became safe in her own skin, as well as just her story of domestic violence on a whole. There is a certainly level of abuse and violence that women hear about on the news, in the obituaries, the obvious and repeated, daily and nightly abuse; however, there is another level of abuse that is hidden, forgotten about and not on the radar because it may not be thought of as “that bad”. At what point does it have to be “bad” to do something about it, after all? What about those less than obvious signs that lead you down a path of abuse and violence that young and mature women don’t understand and don’t know to look for? Those are the masses we need to reach and educate, speak to and empower! Please join us on May 8th, 2010, at 2pm CST to hear what Laurie has to say to empower all our listeners to changes in our lives.

BEYOND WORDS LIVE – MEET LAURIE 05/08 by Kat X Beyond Words | Blog Talk Radio.

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On April 17, 2010, I hosted this interview with Julianne. Hoping that you take time to listen to her amazing story:

 

Julianne will discuss her own personal experiences with domestic violence, as well as her involvement in the development of domestic violence programs in rural America, as well as some dilemmas and issues surrounding reaching those in the rural america about resources available to them too. Domestic violence in rural America is a perplexing issue because the batterer will often go to great lengths to alienate and isolate a victim — oftentimes, this includes moving them out to the most remote area that they can where the victim has little access to communication with the wide world, as well as their friends and family members. How can we possibly reach these folks? Be sure to tune in and perhaps we’ll hear some creative ideas that you, as a listener, can proactively do as well.

 

BEYOND WORDS LIVE – MEET JULIANNE 04/17 by Kat X Beyond Words | Blog Talk Radio.

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On April 3, 2010, I hosted this radio show with Denise Wolford.  Just catching up on what I have been doing in the past few years:

I’m very excited to present to you a show with Denise Wolford who has been dedicated to working towards ending domestic violence through her ministry, All Women Marching for Hope! Denise will share with us her story that led her to where she is today, as well as tell us more about her ministries for hope for freedom from domestic violence in this world. Just about a month ago, on March 6th, she was found marching in the streets of the community of Dallas, along with many supporters and Carolyn Thomas. She will be taking their march in other communities as well. Learn more about domestic violence and some avenues for proactive action. Look forward to seeing you at the show on April 3, 2010!

BEYOND WORDS LIVE – MEET DENISE WOLFORD 04/03 by Kat X Beyond Words | Blog Talk Radio.

 


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Just happened upon this today.  You’ll just need to read the article to understand the full scope:

 

Reposted article for quick viewing here:


In case you hadn’t heard the latest news to make you doubt the basic humanity of the people around you, several years ago a 16-year-old cheerleader from Silsbee High School in Texas was assaulted at a party by Rakheem Bolton, a basketball player and football star whom she says held her down and raped her. Bolton later pleaded to a charge of misdemeanor assault, but here’s the part that’s going to make you want to set things on fire: Not only did the school allow him back on the basketball team, they told the girl it was her responsibility to lay low, stay away from the lunchroom and not go to Homecoming. And when the girl refused to cheer specifically for her attacker at games — while still cheering for the team at large — Silsbee High School officials did something so fundamentally awful that they might as well be twisting their mustaches: They threw her off the cheerleading squad.

She challenged the school in court and recently lost, so now in addition to suffering a horrendous assault, predictably being branded a “slut” in her community, and getting thrown off the cheerleading team for refusing to shout “put it in” at her attacker (seriously), her family has been ordered to pay $45,000 in legal fees to the school.

Jason Ho, an illustrator and Assistant Editor at Bongo Comics wants to help, so he is drawing custom sketches at $20 a pop and donating the proceeds to the girl’s legal costs. They are both very attractive sketches and a small way to help someone who has been failed disgracefully over and over by the indecency and institutional cowardice of seemingly everyone around her.

“The less I say about it, the better, cause if I start talking about it, I’m just gonna get mad,” Ho wrote on his blog. “Suffice it to say, this is utterly unacceptable, and if we can help, we should.”

You can read more of the profoundly depressing details here, but the courage of the young woman cannot be overstated for speaking out about an assault by a football star in a culture that disproportionately values sports prowess (you’ve seen Friday Night Lights, right?) and is quick to blame victims — even 11-year-old girls — for their own sexual assaults.

Thanks to Silsbee High School and Superintendent Richard Bain Jr., for rewarding the young woman’s bravery with the tacit message to shut up because winning sports games is more important than her assault, and for affirming yet again to girls and women around the world that seeking justice for a sexual assault is the fastest and easiest way to get victimized all over again, except in more public and expensive ways.

Sincere thanks to Ho — an artist we’ve featured on ComicsAlliance before — and Help the Cheerleader, which is working directly with the girl and her family to raise money for both the school’s court fees and their own. Donations are being accepted via Paypal here.

Read More: http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/06/08/cheerleader-texas-rape-sketches/#ixzz1OuQWnMyG

 

 

 

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OMG, just read a blog posting that an author stated that,

“There is an oft-repeated, but false, myth that Super Bowl Sunday is the worst day for violence against women.” 

Of course, the author then adds,

“Would that it were that easy.  Domestic violence doesn’t care what day it is.  It is an every day (and everyday) problem of individuals, families, and society as a whole.  The solution to domestic violence cannot, by definition, take place only within the family unit.  It is a public health issue if ever there was one.”

The first sentence sent the hair up on the back of my neck — MYTH?  a fallacy???  I don’t think so!!  I have been working in the domestic violence field for more than 5 years now, not counting the 15 years that I have been a paralegal and the many years of physical and emotional domestic violence that I personally encountered for many years, and yesterday was probably the first experience I had had with working specifically on Superbowl Sunday in this industry and I wrote the following on another site…..

entitled, “Underdogs come up and win! Thank goodness someone did!!!”

Today has been a rough day for me. For many that know, I answer crisis calls for a living. That, in itself isn’t too bad because I generally can separate myself from their pain and move forward to the next caller.

Today, it has been different. Perhaps, it is because I have never worked in this field on Superbowl Sunday; I don’t know. It seems like I had before, but I don’t remember it being this rough.

Superbowl for most people can be all fun and games, but from the domestic violence perspective it can be quite the opposite. I have been receiving higher risk crisis calls today percentage wise than I ever have, I believe. I mean, usually, it is just calls wanting more information or how to plan to help from friends or family members OR understanding how they need to understand why they need to stay away from the abusive person OR some students wanting help on their projects.

Today, though….

* a woman’s face was bashed in by her ex and she just returned home from the hospital. Her ex was on the way to p/u the kids and she needed to ensure their safety until she could reach the attorney and the district attorney in the morning….

* callers calling from places they are hiding from their abusers….

* callers from the other room while there abusive partner was enjoying the superbowl game after having beaten them up. They were seeking shelter space….

* callers wanting us to call 911 for them…

* caller stating that her husband had just “disciplined” her daughter by yanking her hair and dragging her through the house and throwing her into the doorway. The daughter now has a concussion….

* other child abuse calls being called in….

and sooooo much more.

It is times like these when one gets these sort of calls you would like to be able to hang up the phone and call “The Equalizer” to take care of things. I guess I always loved that show because the actor would do so in a not necessarily violent way to get the point across to the aggressor — a sort of person who advocated for the underdog.

It is sort of the peace de la resistance (sp?) in the fact that, at least, one underdog has won today — even if it is from an event that seems to masks the pain of others in the same day.

Some day — I wish the pains of the victims away and the abusive/aggressive folks of this world find peace so that we can all live in the world as one happy family. Is it really too much to ask for???

Now, try to tell me, after my experience yesterday on a domestic violence hotline, that Superbowl Sunday isn’t one of the worst days ever for domestic violence.

In all fairness though, there are hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of calls received day in and day out throughout the entire year.  Domestic violence isn’t just domestic violence on Superbowl Sunday; however, the intensity culminates to something that is both exasperating and emotional.

Some day…..

the violence in the home has to end!

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Life isn’t perfect — it never really is. A man lost his wife tonight who he had been married to for 14 years, dated for 10, and known each other as children growing up.

I have been on many victim bereavement calls after the death of a person. They all take you back in a certain way. This one bothered me more than per usual because, although the paramedics had already come and gone by the time that I had arrived, the woman’s eyes were still opened. I guess I am just used to paramedics in the past closing the eyes of the deceased before I arrive — and when I had found my own husband dead, his eyes were already closed (but my husband had also often talked with his eyes closed – a habit of his for some reason).

Currently at work, working on advocacy in another realm tonight; however, the vision of the woman still remains engrained upon my mind. I am sure that it will for quite some time.

Throughout life there are things that approach the way we feel about life and treasure life for what it is and is to be. Seeing death in people, as morbid as it may sound, is one such way that we gain a greater perspective and value for life and the life we live each day.

As family members thanked us for being there, I mentioned to them that, “I can’t say that we enjoy being here, but we are indeed happy that we can help in any way that we can.” I even had one woman bless me tonight; this is certainly not your normal sequence of events at a scene.

I think I remember from a time when my closest grandmother died a person told me that for every death there is a birth. In so doing, while we sadly will miss the person leaving us and heading towards their life after death (for those of us who do believe in that), it is a joy in being able to look forward to births to follow.

I wonder what great birth will become of this death tonight, as a result. Who knows? In the meantime, we are always forever touched in our souls by life’s experiences — the good and the bad, the life and the death.

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I, honestly, cannot remember if this was also circulated around last year or not in our emails as well; whatever the case though, it certainly would bear repeating….enjoy!!

A Different Christmas Poem
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.


Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.


My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.


The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know,

then thesure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.


My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.


A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.


‘What are you doing?’ I asked without fear,
‘Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!’


For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
To the window that danced with a warm fire’s light,
Then he sighed and he said ‘Its really all right,

I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night.’


‘It’s my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,

I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.


My Gramps died at ‘ Pearl on a day in December,’
He sighed, ‘That’s a Christmas ‘Gram always remembers.’

My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ‘ Nam ‘,
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
< /S PAN>


I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he’s sure got her smile.


Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue… an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.


I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..


Who sta! nd at th e front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.’
‘So go back inside,’ he said, ‘harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right.’


‘But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,
‘Give you money,’ I asked, ‘or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you’ve done,
For being away from your wife and your son.’


In his eyes welled a tear that held no regret,
‘Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.


For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.’

——————————————————————-


PLEASE, Would you do me the kind favor of sending this to as many people as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our U.S. service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities.  Let’s try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us.

LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN
30t h Naval Construction Regiment
OIC, Logistics Cell One
Al Taqqadum , Iraq

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While I am presently at work this morning, I was up in the wee hours of the morning (besides increasing my inventories on eBay and Half) watching the news blurps about the Memorial Wall of the Vietnam soldiers who didn’t make it back to the States.  It made me teary eyed to think that so many had died in service and how fortunate that I was to have my Dad return to our family when I was in second grade from Vietnam as a Captain in a MASH unit.

In my email this morning, I also received a wonderfully thoughtful message from the US Senator John Cornyn (from Texas):

Dear Fellow Texan:
 
Join me today in honoring and remembering the brave men and women who have answered the call to protect our freedom, defeat tyranny and advance democracy.

This year we honor an increasing number of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who have served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the greater Global War on Terror.  They join the proud and honorable tradition of American Veterans in whose name we pay tribute.
 
From World War I to the current Global War on Terror, today America stands in collective awe of the heroism of American servicemen throughout our history. It is important that future generations know these stories of American courage, character and selfless sacrifice.
 
While Texans have many thoughts on the War, there is one thing we must agree on, supporting and thanking all those who fight, and have fought, for this great Nation. 
 
Today is a day for us to honor the service and sacrifice of all of these great patriots.

Senator John Cornyn

I certainly do share Senator Cornyn’s sentiments for all of those who have and continue to serve our Country.

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“Grace will lead me home” – the title of the book she is promoting and speaking out about domestic violence, bringing home to a lot of victims of domestic exactly the fears, trials and tribulations that they have faced and feared.  Check out her story in these YouTube videos:

 

 

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcZg2_BDZKo]

– Robin Givins Story, Pt 1

 

 

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SkgsHX2g0w]

– Robin Givins Story, Pt 2

 

 

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– Robin Givins on ABC  (NOTE: sad to see the hate comments left on this video)

  

“You have to talk about it to conquer it!” – Robin Givins

(what a great quote!!)

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Sent to me by a friend…. check it out. Be cautious and be safe!!!

Nanny Who Answered Online Ad Found Dead
Man Police Believe Posted Wanted Ad Is In Custody In Minnesota
SAVAGE, Minn., Oct. 29, 2007

(CBS/AP) Police say an online ad seeking a nanny may have cost a Cottage Grove, Minnesota, woman her life.

Katherine Ann Olson, 24, was found dead in the trunk of her car at a Burnsville, Minnesota, park late Friday night. She was last seen by friends Thursday morning, when she went to meet someone in Savage about the job, which investigators said she had found on Craigslist.org, a popular Internet bulletin board.

A 19-year-old man from Savage who police believe placed the ad is being held in the Scott County jail pending charges expected to be filed Tuesday. He worked at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, where police arrested him Friday night.

The suspect, identified as Michael John Anderson, was scheduled to appear in court Tuesday, reported CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds.

“We’re confident we have the suspect in custody,” Police Capt. David Muelken said.

A spokesman for Craigslist told Reynolds that, if the link to the site is confirmed, it would be the first muder ever tied to Craigslist in its 12 years of existence.

“Investigators are working with Craigslist,” Muelken told Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith, “and they have been cooperative.”

In a KMSP-TV interview, the victim’s father, Rolf Olson, says the family is devastated but “there was some sense of peace that they found her.”

Olson was a 2002 graduate of Park-Cottage Grove High School, where she was co-valedictorian, and from St. Olaf College in 2006.

Her family said had taken nanny jobs at least twice before, including a job in Turkey, after answering online ads. They said they had misgivings about her finding jobs online, but she never seemed to worry.

That last help wanted posting, said her sister, Sarah Richter, “seemed kind of fishy, but she was just going to check it out, and meet them.”

Olson’s family gathered in front of their home Saturday afternoon to share stories of a vivacious young woman “who was a joy, who trusted people” and always assumed the best in others. They said they were finding strength in the people who were touched by Olson’s life.

“She was going to set the world on fire, and that’s the grief that we feel,” said her mother, Nancy Olson. “It’s not just for us, it’s for all these other people that she would have touched.”

Citing the ongoing investigation, police were cautious about the details they released. They declined to say how Katherine Olson might have been killed or whether a weapon was used. They said they weren’t sure of a motive.

Muelken said a resident told a Savage Public Works employee about a purse found in a garbage can at Pacer Park. A police officer retrieved the purse, which contained belongings of Olson’s. Thinking it was a theft, police called Olson’s home and left a message telling her they had her purse. About 5 p.m. Friday, Olson’s roommate returned the call and told police Olson hadn’t been seen since 8 a.m. Thursday, when she went off to Savage to interview for a baby-sitting job.

Police went back to the park and found a garbage bag in the container. Inside it was a “significantly bloody towel.” An extensive search of the area ensued. A State Patrol helicopter pilot noticed a car in the parking lot of Rudy Kraemer Nature Preserve in Burnsville, a few blocks away from Pacer Park. Police identified the car as Olson’s, and found her body in the trunk.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/10/29/national/main3422072.shtml

© MMVII, CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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“Asabe Ladagu, a Christian widow in this capital city of Borno state in northern Nigeria, has survived without income the past 16 months. It was that long ago, the former librarian told Compass, that Muslim administrators at Ramat Polytechnic forced her into early retirement – without pay – after she and others requested land to build a chapel.

The Christians viewed the denial as deliberate discrimination against Christians by Muslim administrators at a time when there were seven mosques on campus.”

 ~~Nigeria: Ramat Polytechnic Discriminates Against Christians

Can you believe that this is about a current day issue and not something that just happened during Biblical times?   With all the advancement of technology and forward thinking, you would have thought that we would be much more above and beyond this — no matter what part of the world we all live in!

 

 

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October is domestic violence month.

I have a dear friend in Pennsylvania who heard one of Congresswomen speak out with the declaration of Domestic Violence Month and everything uttered out of that woman’s mouth was as if the victim is always a woman. Here, in this video below, sent to me via a Canadian friend of mine (under the guise of a “joke” – “Never marry a woman larger than you”), demonstrates that the victim isn’t always a woman…and the police in the video took it ever so lightly that they just drove by the residence.

When is domestic violence going to be taken seriously — whether it is a man or woman being victimized and the perpetrator held accountable for his/her actions??? After all, isn’t violence just as much a violence no matter who is doing the assault?? As a domestic violence survivor, I couldn’t find myself laughing while watching this video?

What about you???

PS. While the “joke” opened up the can of worms with domestic violence battle, the slur made with the title implying that women that don’t fit the idealist image of the skinny minnie woman (oftentimes wayyy to skinny to fit the mold of the “dream woman”) would be a bully, is downright degrading and not respectful to a woman who is truly a woman without the skinny minnie or bullying imagery. Oh, don’t start me on this one….  What would Tyra say (do you think it might be “So what! if women aren’t skinnie minnies, it doesn’t mean that they are all bullies?” “Who says fat women aren’t better than skinny minnie women?”  “Why do fat women have to be laughed at?” or, “What’s so good about this video, it certainly dehumanizes women and in no way represents women on the whole???”)????

I don’t think that there is a blog space that is large enough for my soap boxes!! That being said though, I believe that this video surely sparks something to think about for everyone.

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I know that whenever I have even considered dating anyone from a distance, especially that I have initially met off of the internet, I have sent them no less than 100 questions to complete. In some instances, it has been much longer than that — just short of actually running a background check. 🙂

Here is an application that is available on the internet, available through an organization called ApplySpace.   One of the things that I don’t like about their form is there is not a way seemingly to adjust the questions, but please check it out and let me know what you think….

Is it enough questions to ask?

Would you ask more?

If given the opportunity to ask additional questions, what would you ask???

Please advise…

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Just arrived about the woman being killed by her daughter’s boyfriend, Selwyn P. Davis, last year (he is on trial)

 Davis, the former boyfriend of Lara’s daughter, is accused of killing Lara on Aug. 22, 2006, during a two-day crime spree. He also is accused of breaking his ex-girlfriend’s jaw, slicing his uncle with a knife, sexually assaulting a teenager and trying to run over a police officer with a car, according to court documents.”  

http://www.statesman.com/news/content/news/stories/local/10/03/1003davis.html

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Summer has been eventful for me…..

1. Biotechnology Program — I attended ACC’s fasttrack program this summer. A very intense program whereby we had 5-1/2 weeks of classes for 3 full days each week, then later had 5-1/2 weeks of nearly 40 hrs/wk internship at many Biotech type locations. Mine was held at the Texas Department of Health. It was an invaluable learning experience and I would love to consider it for a career option; however, the market for Biotech personnel, on the whole in this area, require a degree in Science already. My degree is in Criminal Justice, but they would prefer a degree with more of a forensic approach to it, if in Criminal Justice. Therefore, I am looking to attend in the Spring, perhaps, if I get a Scholarship to do so.

2. Granddaughter — This summer my granddaughter was born. She is absolutely beautiful and growing slowly but surely. Well, that isn’t exactly true as she is outside of the growth percentile range, but weight/height proportional. They are thinking that she may end up being very tall.

3. Still working in the crisis field. I am enjoying it and may continue to make it my career option — if only the money was better!

4. Took a bit of time this summer for a short retreat to reflect upon the summer events and assess where I should be moving forward in my life. Still not sure about the whereto, but really enjoyed the retreat time to enjoy some much needed R&R. (The picture above is one of many pictures I took during my retreat.)

Other than that, not much else happening. Still involved in my Red Hat Society group and planning activities to keep myself active — Church, bowling, reading books, blogging, etc. Would love to hear from you all to see what you have been doing this summer, as what your current aspirations might be. 🙂

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Friend reported to me tonight that a friend was arrested in Travis County, Texas, recently on a Class B charge of being an unfit husband and asked me if I had ever heard of such of a thing.  I told him that I have certainly heard of being an unfit parent, but insofar as being an unfit husband, I hadn’t necessarily heard of that but suspected that its intent might be to light a fire, so-to-speak under some derelict folks who sit and are waiting for things to happen to bring themselves out of a situation rather than to try to do something about it directly.

He went on further to explain that indeed that they had lost their home due to a storm and waiting on FEMA to help fix the situation; however, it is year later and they no longer have a home that they can live in and they have been living in and out of people’s homes and their own car. 

Insofar as the actual law, after a bit of research tonight, I haven’t found it yet.  Does anyone know anything about this law????

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In regards to the blog posting entitled, It has been a long night, I submitted the following response:

“I certainly do understand all that. The spoken words of “Make Love, Not War” is certainly oblivious to the fact that there are people in other countries ready, willing and able to shake up our lives. 911 is only one instance, which shook up many lives to the fact that the bombing and fighting elsewhere has finally hit our lands. One of the reasons we don’t have 911’s every day, or an everyday occurrence of fighting and bombing in our streets, is largely due to the security that we do have in this country, albeit not perfect by any means.

Kudos for everything that you are doing in your role of security, although it is a lot of sleepless nights lurking in the sites while keeping an eye out for intruders who may upset the very way of life we are used to having….”

Honestly, the thought of pulling some of our troops out from strategic places in the world (even Iraq) has me wondering what the shift will do to the protection of our civilians out in the countries, working for such American companies such as Halliburton and others to help build up other countries. There are too many ifs, ands, and buts left to the unknowns that no one can truly predict.

One of my exes’ favorite rebuttals in life’s disdains was, “If “ifs”, “ands”, and “buts” were but chocolate, candy and nuts, we would all have a very Merry Christmas.” How do you ever resolve all the unknowns? No telling! However, if we certainly could, we would certainly be able to have peace in the world by also being able to resolve all the problems of the world. 😀

Just a bit of food for thought…

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Per the 80th Legislation article in the Austin American Statesman today,

Day care owners balk at costly new background checks for employees

Children’s advocates, bill author say the fingerprint checks are key for safety

it indicates that the child care workers are all riled up over Governor Perry signing into law that will require a $50 fingerprint background checks for their employees because they have a “high turnover” of employees.

Somehow, I don’t think that they have a valid point, especially, when it comes to the care of our society’s children while parents are having to work to make ends meet for their families.  While I agree that the average day care worker won’t be able to afford $50 for a background check when they job hop between day care employers due to the wage expectations in that industry, nothing can be more valuable than to ensure the safety and well-being of our children from predators preying upon our children.

After all, we have all heard the stories of sexual offenders who have driven buses and taught or worked in the school districts, let alone the horror stories we have heard of day care workers that have been hired that have had shady pasts.  To me, anything that we do to ensure the safety of the children should be of the utmost concern; if that means, too, that the dynamics of the hopping day care worker changes, then so be it!

I am surprised though, too, that there seems to be a doubling of the fees of the fingerprinting  as they used to be $10 or $12 for State fingerprinting/criminal check and $25 for the Federal fingerprinting/criminal check, from what I remembered in the past.

At any rate, perhaps, if the day care licensing authorities post the approved day care licensed worker on a public access database so that the day care working highering authorities could at least have the option of checking their license approval online versus requiring each and every employee being hired to re-go through the fingerprinting/criminal background check (similar to that already established for the private security officers through the Private Security Commission under the umbrella of the TxDPS, it may curtail some of the repetitive hiring processing costs.  Just a thought.

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I certainly hope so.  Texas has been aggressive against sites, such as MySpace.com, to provide them with the Sex Offenders on their sites, especially after having to sue them for their accountability after some children were attacked by sexual predators when they went to meet them in person.  I am sure that will only make the sex offenders try to be a little more clever in hiding their identities, but at least there will be some cooperation from MySpace to hand over the names and identities used on the sites so that the authorities can crack down on these offenders who are not allowed to be on the computer sites as part of their agreements to be living among society.

Will this completely protect our children on such sites from all sexual predators? Not likely from all as some have merely not been caught — yet.  However, any steps moving in aggressive measures  is certainly a pro-active measure indeed and holds those sites accountable!

Reported:

MyFoxAustin, MySpace to Share Sex Offender Data

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If you go back into my public reader blogs on the Austin American-Statesman (either the “Inquiring Minds” as txbluebonnet2006 or “Inquiring Minds” as txbluebonnet), you will see that I have written extensively about this subject matter.  They were shouting back then that it was all an “amnesty” ploy that the government was coming up with; and, things haven’t changed one iota since then.

Some folks feel, like in a recent public blog on the Austin American Statesman, called, “I am curious”, wherein the author seems to make the whole issue is about where you come from.  It isn’t at all. 

What I care about is the safety of you and me, the neighbors down the street, the communities in my State and across this great nation.  What I want to see is that, no matter where they are from, our government isn’t letting in folks that are pedafiles, murderers, terrorists, drug cartel, etc. that jeopardize the safety of where we live and exist, as well as our futures as we might know it to be.

The reform is all about figuring out the guidelines, and redefining them, to expedite some of the processes of the immigration department to not take 10 years to process applications for citizenship here in the United States due to the backlog of applications.  Some processes may take only 5 years because they don’t have as many people applying from that country as they do from a different country that might have 1,000 times more applicants.

The system is failing because, in the meantime, while they are waiting for their applications to process many of them have come on over to live here illegally; some of which are unsavory criminalistic backgrounds and thereby putting our country at risk.

In the meantime, more and more folks cross over our borders illegally – seeking freedoms and that famed “Horatio Alger’s American Dream” that doesn’t even really exist for many of the American Citizens.  Something needs to be done to curtail the illegal arrivals while we get a fix on the process procedures of the applications.

The drug cartels fighting their wars on the borders of Texas sends up a flag for many Texas Citizens.  Perhaps, those in Washington DC aren’t caring too much because the war isn’t in their backyard yet, but Texans are getting a first hand look at it — especially those in South Texas.

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Your say is needed to make sure that DV programs are funded.  Lifetime is pushing the petition to be signed and states the following:

Tell Congress to fund critical programs that help thousands of victims of domestic, dating and sexual violence

Sign the Petition In just a single day, domestic violence programs served nearly 50,000 adults and children in the United States.* These programs provide emergency shelter, counseling and legal services critical to families trying to escape abusive homes and break the cycle of violence.

Every 2.5 minutes another American is sexually assaulted.** Rape crisis centers, schools and clinics across the country offer medical assistance, counseling and prevention programs.

Today, these lifesaving programs are in jeopardy if Congress does not decide to fully fund the landmark Violence Against Women Act of 2005, which Lifetime viewers helped to make law.

You can help again! Make your voice heard by signing this petition to urge Congress to give the funding needed to keep the doors of shelters, rape crisis centers, and prevention programs open and ready to rebuild lives and make communities safer.

Sources:
*”Domestic Violence Counts,” National Network to End Domestic Violence, March 2007
**RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), calculation based on United States Department of Justice National Crime Victimization Survey

http://www.lifetimetv.com/endviolence/signthepetition/

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and a woman at that????  A Wachovia Bank in North Austin was robbed by this woman on Monday afternoon.

She wasn’t stupid though as she blended in well with the dress style of the nearby High School that lets students off campus for lunch.  After she robbed the bank, she ran off.  Because she blended in well with others in the area, no one noticed where she had gone.

 

Austin Police Department asks that anyone who recognizes her to please contact them.

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When does a Protective Order become more than “Just a piece of paper”? When you advocate for programs like this come into place in your state!! See the following article

Worldly Inquiring Mind “iWIM” 😀

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I can understand that there is a reason to be quiet about notification rather than send the residents into a panic; but, geez this apartment complex needs to exercise some sense. They are talking about an alleged sexual assault (just because it is alleged doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen; just means that the crime suspect is innocent until proven guilty).

Is the apartment complex going to sit there until all the facts are in? Perhaps, at least, a confirmation that a report has been made (either to their office or to the police authorities).

Are they going to wait for trial before they announce that the sexual assault predator was on their property? Now, that would indeed seem preposterous as everyone knows that the trials can take for-ever to come around and the suspect may or may not be actually found guilty from a matter of 6 months to a year, perhaps more — all depending on the caseload upon the Courts already — although everyone is entitled to a “speedy trial”.

What about the children of the residents who tend to play outside (sometimes even unintended)? Wouldn’t it make sense that the parents be notified so that they can keep an extra close eye on their children outdoors. After all, how can the apartment complex make the decision that just because the alleged MO might have been an adult to adult situation; how could they determine that the predator was someone who prefer children but merely found an opportunity of an adult?

What about those who tend to come in after sunset? Don’t they deserve to know that, while they probably do exercise caution and basic awareness of their surroundings, they might want to exercise an extra set of caution and awareness? How can the apartment complex (even if it is based on the Austin Police Department’s Detective recommendations) assure that the predator won’t continue to prey? Are they really willing to make that risk?

How would their ownership insurance of the property feel about the increased risk caused by the lack of response and concern to the safety of their residents? I think that they would be extremely alarmed by the slow reaction time of the management.

In Fox’s article, Neighbors Upset with Police for Not Being Told About Sex Assault, they mentioned:

Neighbors are angry and frightened after they say Austin Police left then in the dark about a sex crime in their own backyard. Residents at the Jefferson at Canyon Creek Apartments in Northwest Austin say they learned about the sex assault from the local news one month after the crime occurred. As FOX 7’s Foti Kallergis reports, the sexual assault suspect is still on the run.”

In Fox’s subsequent follow up article (appearing on the site on the same day), Sex Assault Suspect Still on Run, stated:

“One month after a man sexually assaults a woman in Northwest Austin, police have released a sketch of the suspect.

Investigators say last month, a woman was walking her dog near the Jefferson at Canyon Creek Apartments in the 11000 block of Four Points Drive shortly after 1:00 a.m. Police say just as she was opening her door to get into her apartment, a man came behind her, forced his way in, and sexually assaulted her.

 

For the last month, the victim has been working with A.P.D. to help identify the man.

 

He is described as:

 

White male
21 to 22-years-old
6′ to 6’2”
Muscular build, clean cut
Last seen wearing a baseball cap and long sleeve shirt..

 

Police describe him as a preppy fraternity boy meets construction worker. The victim was also able to describe a class ring attached to a chain and a thick belt buckle. You can see the police sketches of the suspect and his belongings in the photos associated with this story.

 

At this time detectives believe it was an isolated incident and even say the suspect may be living at the apartment complex.

 

“[The suspect] said he was very intoxicated, so he could have been someone who was coming home from drinking or something. It was more of a crime of opportunity than someone who was hiding out,” says Det. Scott Stanfield with the Austin Police Dept.

 

If you recognize the person in the sketch, you are asked to call the A.P.D. sex crimes tip line number at (512) 974-5095.”

A few things bother me, besides the story and story’s follow up have been posted on the same day, that (1) the incident occurred several months ago, (2) lack of response of the apartment management to notify the residents about the incident having occurred on the property a month ago when it occurred, (3) lack of duty of care from the management to make the residents safe, (4) them presuming that it might just be an isolated incident, and the possibility that the alleged perpetrator may live on the property.

Because I do live in Austin, I heard Channel 42’s News mention the name of the apartment complex of Tintara at Canyon Creek in their news broadcast tonight and on the video, while the stories written mention Jefferson at Canyon Creek. They are really two separate properties although they have access between the two properties since they are owned by the same owner, which is really a moot point. There are neighboring apartment complexes, residential neighborhoods, and businesses that deserved the right to know as well. As soon as they had the composite sketch, they should have posted it at the mailboxes of all the communities and windows of all the businesses. The chances that they would have the perpetrator by now would have dramatically increased by the prompt action.

Of course, the news broadcast mentions that the victim had just come along to the police station to provide a sketch description of the perpetrator this week; however, the sketch should have been released immediately.

UPDATE: Tintara Management respond as per Channel 42’s News, but blames the security officer for just notifying them of the incident. Somehow, I don’t think that the residents are going to be comforted any by that response read on the station.

UPDATE:  More information and details about the sexual assault crime from Austin Police Department.

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It is all over the news that the Miss America, Lauren Nelson, was all talk and vying more for a PR stunt rather than have the intent to testify to the courts in Suffolk County, New York, about the child predators they caught with regard to them thinking that they were going to come to a home where they intended to have sex with a 14yo, posed by her pictures.


America’s Most Wanted’s producers were quick today to respond and put a spin on the rumors flying by stating:

“Despite the information to the contrary that appears in an article in Newsday, according to the Miss America Organization neither Lauren Nelson nor her representatives have told the Suffolk County District Attorney — or anyone else — that she would refuse to testify in any of the cases in which she participated. We don’t know why the D.A. would make the comments attributed to him without knowing all of the facts.

 

“It is important to note that the Suffolk County Police were in charge of every aspect of the investigation that was featured in our broadcast. The accused predators who were arrested during the taping of this episode of America’s Most Wanted were taken into custody at the discretion of the Suffolk County Computer Crimes Unit.

“We believe that our work speaks for itself, and we believe in letting the legal system take its course.”

Lauren Nelson has also posted a video blog stating about her involvement with the sting and how comfortable she was with the process and speaking with the perpetrators. I am not sure that “comfortable” should have been expressed; after all, isn’t that what Patty Hearst said of her captors when she was allegedly kidnapped??? Just the first thought that sprang in my mind as she was talking and watching her body language and always keep looking down as if she weren’t totally telling the truth or, perhaps, a staged response. Check it out and let me know what you think??

I am not sure who to believe at this point. America’s Most Wanted certainly has a reputation to uphold and they don’t want to be going down in history as staging a sting that was a farce to improve the status of this new Miss America, which is why I am not surprised that they so very quickly posted a statement on their website.

I had, too, posted a posting after watching the sting that aired last Saturday, entitled “America’s Most Wanted Safety Center” under the “Internet” tab on this blog site. I felt that she was being sincere then; I just hope that she wasn’t planting seeds for a PR ploy and wasn’t honest in her campaign. I guess we will soon see how true to her word this Miss America is when she proves the “proof in the puddin'” by either testifying – or, not.

In the meantime, I might be heading back to the blog posting, entitled, “Person of the Week: Lauren Nelson” and see if the blogger has a different opinion of her now that this conflict rumor has started flying!!

Question: If she doesn’t testify, will this put a poor limelight upon her alone or the America’s Most Wanted as well??? Just curious as to what you might think…

Question: Do you think that the convictions of these predators can be successful – even if she doesn’t testify???

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