Here we have news of the Ohio kidnapping case, in which Ariel Castro possibly faces the death penalty:
Prosecutors said Thursday they may seek the death penalty against Ariel Castro, the man accused of imprisoning three women at his home for a decade, as police charged that he impregnated one of his captives at least five times and made her miscarry by starving her and punching her in the belly.
The allegations were contained in a police report that also said another one of the women, Amanda Berry, was forced to give birth in a plastic kiddie pool.
Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy McGinty said his office will decide whether to bring aggravated murder charges punishable by death in connection with the pregnancies that were terminated by force.
“Capital punishment must be reserved for those crimes that are truly the worst examples of human conduct,” he said. “The reality is we still have brutal criminals in our midst who have no respect for the rule of law or human life.”
Castro, a 52-year-old former school bus driver, is being held on $8 million bail under a suicide watch in jail, where he is charged with rape and kidnapping.
Michelle Knight is the one who was subjected to abortions by starvation and battery. She was also put on midwife duty for Amanda Berry’s childbirth and—how’s this for mental abuse?–threatened with death if Amanda’s baby died. None of the captives ever saw a doctor or other qualified health professional. Fortunately, Knight knew her MMR and saved the baby.
I’m sure it would be even more interesting—and probably horrifying—to find out why Amanda was allowed to give birth while Michelle was not allowed to continue her pregnancies.
That’s a digression, though. Here’s what I want to point out: the prosecutor is talking about the death penalty, while the prisoner is on suicide watch.
I suggest a different strategy: just don’t bother with the suicide watch. Put him in a cell alone with some razorblades and rope, and let the chips fall where they may.
I don’t agree with the death penalty. The practical argument against capital punishment is that are some suspects who are wrongly convicted and executed. As long as there’s any possibility of wrongful conviction, the death penalty is an atrocity. That’s not an issue with Ariel Castro: we know what he did. But then we have the philosophical issue that the government is using its power to kill prisoners in order to show the populace that killing people is wrong. There’s something inherently fucked up about that. I don’t think the government should give itself permission to kill prisoners.
However, I also think the justice system is not obligated to protect prisoners from themselves. If Ariel Castro wants to die, he should have our permission. It’ll be the most sensible decision he’s ever made.
Way to puncture my good mood, The Smoking Gun. This happened:
Charles Ramsey, whose 911 call and subsequent TV interviews have made him a microcelebrity, was once a repeat spousal abuser whose marriage ended in divorce following a 2003 felony conviction for battering his wife.
Here’s the thing: this is not trivial information. It’s not irrelevant dirt someone dug up just to spite this guy. It doesn’t make his actions with Amanda Berry any less powerful or admirable. It doesn’t change the fact that he helped three women escape from captivity. It doesn’t suggest any ulterior motives for helping Amanda and her daughter break through that door.
It does, however, put a little damper on this:
Ramsey has also reportedly said that he went to help Berry because he “was raised to help women in distress.”
No, that doesn’t quite work.
His ex-wife reports that he has since apologized for his actions to her. It’s possible that he learned from his experiences and now understands that domestic violence is a horror that no one should have to endure. It’s possible that he stepped up to help Amanda Berry, while thinking it was an everyday case of partner-battering, because he knows, as a former abuser, how important it is for bystanders to step in.
I don’t think that if you’ve done something bad in the past, that it determines your character for the rest of your life. I don’t buy into “once a misogynist batterer, always a misogynist batterer.” We should have room to learn from our mistakes and live our lives as better people. It should be okay for bad husbands to grow up to be the bravest of neighbors.
Except for guys like those Castros. They can be marooned on an island with a revolver loaded with only two bullets, for all I care.
Awesome dude continues to be awesome:
On Tuesday, CNN host Anderson Cooper asked Ramsey what it felt like to find out that he had been living next to kidnapping victims.
“See, that’s why now I’m having trouble sleeping,” he explained. “See, up until yesterday, the only thing that kept me from losing sleep was the lack of money. See what I’m saying? So now that that’s going on, and I could have done this last year, not this hero stuff, just do the right thing.”
“Because there’s a lot of people, they’re saying you’re a hero,” the CNN host noted.
“No, no, no. Bro, I’m a Christian, an American, and just like you,” Ramsey insisted. “We bleed same blood, put our pants on the same way. It’s just that you got to put that – being a coward, and I don’t want to get in nobody’s business. You got to put that away for a minute. You have to have cajones, bro.”
Cooper noted that the FBI had offered a reward for at least two of the victims.
“I tell you what you do, give it to them,” Ramsey said. “Because if folks been following this case since last night, you been following me since last night, you know I got a job anyway.”
Mr. Ramsey, you put the “being a coward, don’t want to get in nobody’s business” syndrome away when most people would just assume a “domestic violence dispute” was private business. You had cojones where most other people would have left a woman like Amanda Berry to fend for herself. You assumed (based on a lifetime of experience, I have no doubt) a “little pretty white girl” would be afraid of a black man and you STILL stepped up to the plate.
I contributed to a GoFundMe campaign for you yesterday, and you deserve every penny that gets thrown your way. If you want to give all that reward money over to Amanda, Gina and Michelle, that’s your business, but don’t be surprised if they turn around and spend it on nice things for YOU.
I’m sure you’ve seen this story by now:
Berry went missing in April 2003 after last being seen leaving her job at a Cleveland-area Burger King. She disappeared the day before her 17th birthday. One year later, Dejesus, then 14, went missing while walking home from her middle school in the same part of the city. “Both these girls, Amanda and Gina, went missing when the sun was out,” FBI special agent Phil Torsney said in a 2009 podcast asking the public for help. “Amanda was about 7:00 at night; Gina about 3:00 in the afternoon.” The home where they were found Monday was in a residential neighborhood not far from where all three were last seen.
“These three young ladies have provided us with the ultimate definition of survival and perseverance,” Anthony said. “The healing can now begin.”
They are all free and reuniting with their families because a guy named Charles Ramsey heard Amanda Berry screaming for help and came to her aid.
This guy is amazing. Every town should have a Charles Ramsey with boots on the ground. They should give him a house, salary, health plan and transportation stipend so that he can walk around all day looking for people in distress. When he finds them, their lives will be better for having breathed in his presence. America will soon discover that it is not so shocking for a little pretty white girl to run into a black man’s arms. He will be there for the missing white girls AND the missing brown girls; for the imprisoned sex slaves and garden-variety domestic violence cases. If the police or emergency dispatchers act like douches with the rescued girls, Charles Ramsey will step in and ensure that they get the help they need. He will deal with the press so the girls don’t have to. No kidnapper, sexual predator or batterer will be safe when Charles Ramsey is in town. This guy punches Bystander Syndrome in the nuts. He is a credit to the human race.
I’m not even being facetious here. I am genuinely in awe of Mr. Ramsey.
Yahoo! reposted this Babble piece by someone named Buzz Bishop, who wants to complain about married couples without kids living in the suburbs.
My best friend is married, no kids. He moved in to his childhood neighborhood, across from his old school which is now closed. It sits empty because too many empty nesters sucked the demand dry. Meanwhile, the edges of our city have kids being bused as schools are bursting at the seams.
If you don’t want to have kids, get out of neighborhoods with schools. Move downtown, or to a chic restaurant district where you need half the space and your “no curfew” lifestyle won’t be cramped by strollers on the streets.
This could have been a valid position. The case could be made that those who have chosen not to have kids should leave more space in the suburbs for those who do, because it’s the families with young kids who actually need that suburban space. He quickly abandons the topic of downtown neighborhoods being more suited to the childfree, however, because that’s nowhere near as much fun as sneering at people who aren’t like him.
As many of us delay having kids until deep into our 30s, and then some find it’s too late and skip the process altogether, we’re finding ourselves with a Me generation of adults, not adolescents.
Yes, a recent study shows that married couples without children are happier than those with, but selfishness will do that to you. Besides, I could just as easily point to a study done a year earlier that says breeders are happier than non-breeders.
If selfishness makes us happy, then perhaps we should all be selfish a bit more often?
If parenting causes people to develop this attitude, then no wonder more people are skipping the process. Dude, I will buy you a ladder so you can get over yourself. Enduring the stress of childrearing does not make you a superior human being.
I know he’s low-hanging fruit, but this is reflective of a fascinating disconnect in homophobic Christian culture: either he hasn’t read the text, or he assumes his followers haven’t read it.
“If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality, whatever it maybe, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ,” Broussard explained. “So I would not characterize that person as a Christian because I don’t think the bible would characterize them as a Christian.”
On Tuesday, Robertson insisted that the ESPN reporter had been correct because “fornication is a sin.”
“Somehow we’ve said if it’s heterosexual fornication, it’s bad; if it’s homosexual fornication — that used to be called an abomination in the Bible — now it’s a protected civil right,” he continued. “And so somebody that says that that kind of conduct is sinful is now being pilloried in the press. He’s telling the truth! This is what the Bible says!”
Jesus Christ had nothing whatsoever to say about Teh Gheyz, but he did hang out with a bunch of single guys and a woman who was widely assumed to be a sex worker. His “family values” were basically that family was for the birds. The part of the Bible that condemns man-on-man action is also the part of the Bible that forbids eating pork or shellfish and wearing wool/linen blend fabric. Go pick up a copy of the Bible and read Leviticus from start to finish. Seriously; do it. Really puts the “man shall not lie with another man as with a woman” bit in perspective. Does Pat Robertson never indulge in bacon or shrimp? If he ever enjoys a crab cake or pork chop, he doesn’t have a leg to stand on.
This reminds me of that joyous day I spent participating in the #mdssm hashtag on Twitter, when the Maryland assembly was debating a bill to approve same-sex marriage. I ended up arguing (shoulder-to-shoulder with two Christian, African-American Maryland dudes) with some ignorant guy from Virginia (e.g. does not vote in Maryland) about what the Bible says about homosexuality. He was actually surprised to hear that Leviticus also forbids a lot of things that he and other Christians do all the time without apology.
Also, Pat Robertson? Your church should be so lucky as to be good enough for my gay Christian friends. Go fuck yourself. Wait here while I get you a pineapple.
Jason Collins, congratulations on coming out. Don’t let the bastards grind you down.
This week has not been kind to your blogger.
I spent much of Tuesday and Wednesday burning rage-calories, and now the rage-fatigue has set in. Not that I’m satisfied that I’ve run out of rage; only when I get a full day without anyone screwing me over will I let my guard down. Not that I need to search for reasons to be pissed off; lest my personal life finally stop sabotaging my free time, the Internet always provides.
For example, we have this prize right here:
Saxton, a junior studying classics and religious studies, said his sermon was meant to convey that “if you dress like a whore, act like a whore, you’re probably going to get raped.”
“I think that girls that dress and act like it,” Saxton said, “they should realize that they do have partial responsibility, because I believe that they’re pretty much asking for it.”
Saxton’s sermon came ahead of the “Take Back the Night” event held Tuesday night, which aims to unite people against sexual violence. He said his decision to create the sign and display it was tied to the event and to the fact that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
It’s like punching someone repeatedly in the face, then scolding them for putting bruises on your fist.
Just remember: if you hold up a sign like a jackass, point fingers like a jackass, you’re probably going to get your teeth knocked out with a baseball bat. You should realize that you do have partial responsibility, because I believe that you’re pretty much asking for it.
I wonder how many Boston liberals spent the night cowering in their homes wishing they had an AR-15 with a hi-capacity magazine? #2A
— Nate Bell (@NateBell4AR) April 19, 2013
Nate Bell, you have dog shit and drier lint for brains. Go hit yourself in the face with a hammer. I’d tell you to fuck yourself with a pineapple, but you’d probably enjoy that.
(There are some awesome responses to his Tweet. Follow the link and read them.)
I am appalled by the news from Boston yesterday afternoon, but I will leave the analysis on that until we get some info on the bombers. For now, I will share some further news in the Audrie Pott case.
Awakening in a friend’s bedroom after drinking too much at a sleepover, 15-year-old Audrie Pott looked down and realized she had been sexually assaulted and her attackers had written and drawn on intimate parts of her body, her family’s attorney said Monday.
Over the next week, she pieced together one horrifying detail after another. She went online and tried to confront the three boys she had known since junior high who she believed had done it.
The police report also says witnesses told investigators the three suspects took the drunken Audrie to sleep in an upstairs room then assaulted her.
The report says the attackers pulled off her shorts and partially removed her bra, exposing her breasts, the newspaper reported. Markings were found on her chest, legs, back and near her genitalia.
“They wrote ‘Blank Was Here,’ on her leg,” said family attorney Robert Allard, not using the actual name because the suspect is a juvenile. “They marked her.”
There are two thing that stick out here.
One is that the assailants were known, trusted quantities to Audrie. She didn’t just meet these random boys at a party and fail to stop them from taking advantage. She knew them since middle school. They abused and humiliated a girl they’d known for years, and who thought they were okay.
It’s not enough to tell girls to keep themselves safe by sticking with guys they trust. Sometimes, the rapist uses the victim’s trust against her.
The other is that they had no problem with making themselves identifiable as her attackers. They put their names on her body AND circulated a photo of her unconscious, graffiti-laden body to their friends. Which means they believed they would not be punished for what they did to her, even if everyone knew they were the perpetrators.
If they thought they weren’t doing anything wrong, we should be asking why.
If they thought nobody else would think they’d done anything wrong, we should be asking why.
If they thought Audrie wouldn’t object to being stripped, penetrated and marked while unconscious, we should be asking why.
I suspect it has something to do with all those people who jump straight to pointing fingers at the girl who got drunk, rather than at the boys who betrayed her trust.
I see around the leftosphere that someone named Steve Stockman is showing off a bumper sticker that says:
If babies had guns, they wouldn’t be aborted.
Our first reflex is to sputter and point at that womb-controlling, gun-pushing asshat and insist to him that if a fetus shot a gun through its mother’s abdomen, that fetus would be screwed, and besides, babies are already born so stop calling fetuses babies.
That’s not the point. This slogan isn’t about us. We’re not supposed to picture a scenario that actually makes sense. This is about combining anti-choice with pro-gun sentiment. It’s about selling the anti-gun-control position to womb-controllers.
I suppose this message is supposed to evoke the image of a fetus shooting its tiny gun at the abortion provider when he dilates the woman’s cervix, rather than threatening the pregnant woman with a bullet wound if she chooses to abort.
Considering that abortion providers already have to wear bulletproof vests to work, this rhetoric is irresponsible, but it’s not surprising. The anti-choice movement has long demonstrated that it sees nothing wrong with being pro-war, pro-death-penalty, anti-environmental-protections, anti-public-assistance, and anti-universal-healthcare. Why shouldn’t they also be anti-gun-regulations? This is just more of the same.