Sunday, December 16, 2012

Twenty Seven Souls.

The seeds of this post started yesterday.  I posted a snarky comment on Facebook that the teachers and police who saved the children of Sandy Hook and in some instances gave their lives in doing so, were all 'union thugs'.  I got unfriended and berated about being insensitive and political.  Well after that little dust-up I posted the following:

Okay so apparently my snarky post about teachers being "union thugs" was not well received. 

Let me be clear, yesterday teachers, who as an institution are routinely demonized, saved the lives of several hundred children. Almost daily teachers are asked to do the impossible. They are painted by some people as lazy, stupid, uncaring, just in it for the money (ha!). 

I don't have an answer to 

gun violence, I don't have an answer to mental health, except that mental health treatment needs to be cheap and accessible.

I just think while as a nation we are examining the tragedy, and sloganeering and memeing our way to the next tragedy, we owe it to the teachers who care for our kids 8 hours a day 5 days a week, to be respectful of them and the work they do.

Yesterday I didn't have a ready answer to gun violence and mental health. Since then, I've been doing a lot of thinking about the tragedy, guns, violence and the culture of gun fetishism in this country.  I've also been thinking mental illness, the dirty little secret of America.  

The gun violence visited on Sandy Hook and Newtown was quite possibly the most heinous thing I had ever heard of.  I've been to crime scenes with dead kids. A lot of dead kids, but never 20 and never kids the exact same age as my youngest.  

You get jaded doing my job, and things like death, sexual assaults, burnings, beatings, starvings, cagings, wear on your soul, but you harden against it and go on. Friday I was in tears most of the afternoon.  I take the title Child Protection Specialist very seriously and on Friday we as a nation failed to protect our kids yet again. 

Let's talk about guns. 

Now is the time to do so.  A recent survey showed the 71 % of the NRA! support limits on gun ownership including background checks. This via Think Progress shows that 87% of NRA members believe the roll of the 2nd Amendment goes hand in hand with keeping guns out of criminals hands. 

The assault weapons ban and  the Brady Bill need to be reintroduced and re-signed post haste. Internet limits on ammo sales and the gun show loop hole need to end now.  We need gun owners to be as thoroughly licensed and tested as car owners. This is not difficult, it takes will and according to what I've read today, the will of the people is to do this.

Today Representative Louie Gohmert (R-Dumfuckmont TX)* opined that he wished the principal had an M-4 to kill the shooter first. This sort of magical cowboy thinking runs rampant on the right and in the gun fetishist mindset. 

They often refer to the fact that the there weren't school shootings when they were kids and often say this is because people had guns at school.  This is patently false. If you were in kindergarten in the 50's 60's 70's 80's EVER, did your teacher have a gun? No? Shocking. 

The reason there were no school shootings back in the day is that nobody had assault weapons with extended magazines. Those that did maybe had a souvenir from World War Two, Korea or Viet Nam.  You couldn't buy them at the fucking Wal Mart or the corner gun shop. 

Don't come at me with the argument that guns, conceal carry etc, make you safe.  Again false. The deterrent factor is a myth. On the streets of Chicago, New York, LA and ever place, even in my Quad Cities, there are gang members armed to the teeth and they go packing and shoot each other every day. Every day. Every day. The fact that a rival may have a gun doesn't stop them from anything.  

Come to think of it, my work is a perfect example of this.  We are not allowed to carry a gun on our person in our cars etc.  Yet every day my colleagues and I go to armed neighborhoods to investigate child abuse.  You can say I chose my job and you would be correct, but the next time you vilify our jobs, remember that fact. 

There are those that say we need our guns to protect us from tyranny.  Blogger Eric Garland, completely destroys the myth of overthrowing the government here. Its not going to happen.  Someone postulated to me that we need guns in case the Chinese try to take the debt we owe them by force. Red Dawn much? That Army  you think you can over throw? Yeah if the Chinese come calling they'll get knocked back to the Ming dynasty. 

So really beyond recreational shooting and hunting, why do we need guns? Police need them to keep the peace.  The military needs them to protect our shores, but really that's about it. Until Bambi comes packing TOW missiles and anti aircraft guns, a shot gun, or bow and arrow should be fine. 

Mental Illness is America's Dirty Little Secret

As of this writing, no one is saying for sure that the shooter at Sandy Hook had a diagnosed mental illness.  Maybe he did maybe he didn't.  The fact is that there is an epidemic of mental illness that has gone untreated since the 80's.  St. Ronald Reagan severely restricted the funds for mental health, the result was that the mentally ill went to the streets or the prisons. 

Right now, almost 40 percent of my case load involves people with mental illness. Very few are getting the treatment they need. What I mentioned above about confronting guns in neighborhoods? That's a lot less scarier part of my job than walking into a home with a severely mentally ill and untreated person. 

People treat the mentally ill like mental illness is communicable.  Insurance companies fight paying for treatment.  The gutting of social services and mental health services by the government at every level is unconscionable.  These people are citizens, they have the same rights as you and I and they deserve better than scoffing and disdain. 

Let This Be The Last

There should never be another Sandy Hook.  We are a nation of laws. We are a nation of incredible resilience. We are a nation interconnected with each other in ways that most can't fathom.  Passing some common sense gun control, caring for our mentally ill are things that we can and should do.  

People use the words patriot so glibly these days.  I challenge everyone who reads this to be patriotic. Demand from your elected officials that guns are controlled and kept safe.  Demand that our mentally ill are treated, quickly and cheaply. 

27 Souls, 20 of them who would have been friends with my Rowan, demand no less. 

*Dumbfuckmont TX is south of Shiner and west of Houston

Friday, December 14, 2012

Fuck it.

In light of today's tragedy, I have cried, I have sworn and I have drank a whole fucking lot.  The senseless murder of children in a school in Connecticut is almost unspeakable.  I've seen dead kids in my work, and this is still killing me. 

I majored in history, psychology and theology so here's a quick history lesson. In 1787, America was a small, weak country. The 2nd Amendment was passed in part to have a ready militia to repel invasion from England or France or Spain. Those three countries were the super powers of that time. 

When the idea was put forth that the well regulated militia was there to protect people from government tyranny, they were not talking about the United States government.  They were referring to foreign tyranny trying to retake what they'd lost in the New World.

Today, the US is the last super power. Our military is nonpareil. There is no threat of foreign invasion. 

I don't care if hunters have a rifle.  I do care that people have access to assault weapons, extended magazines, etc. This fetishism of guns needs to stop. 

You're not cool because you own a .223 Bushmaster. You're not safe because you own a Sig-Sauer or Glock 9. 

We need to have a safe, sane, existence for our children.  I have two daughters who I love more than life itself. Bailee is in 7th grade and Rowan is in Kindergarten.  Today I had to fight myself all afternoon to go get them from school.  

We need to stop having to worry about sending our kids to school.  The gun fetishists are suggesting that if only the teachers or principal was packing, this would not have happened. This logical fallacy has been repeated over and over.  More guns are not the solution.  

The 2nd amendment calls for a well regulated militia. Well regulated to me means regulated. It doesn't mean that everybody should have a gun.  It doesn't mean that guns protect us from the EBIL KENYAN MUSLIM.  It means regulation.  

At this point I'm rambling.  You get the point.  Fuck today with all  the fuck. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Kasi Get Your Gun

In the wake of Jovan Belcher murdering his girlfriend Kassandra(Kasi) Perkins there has been quite a debate about guns.  

I am agnostic when it comes to the gun issue, I generally try to stay above the fray because it serves little purpose to argue with avid gun owners or their counterparts who want all guns banned.  Most people are as firmly entrenched in their beliefs regarding guns as they are about their religious beliefs, or their love/hate of Notre Dame. 

That being said, there is one facet of the recent debate that I feel compelled to comment on.  In recent days columnist Gayle Trotter writing for the Daily Caller and the merry band of brain dead fucktwits on FOXNews' The Five, have opined that if only Kasi Perkins had a gun, she'd be alive today.  

Trotter's piece is a logically flawed mess.  Not only does she try  to counter the statements of Bob Costas with "women who own guns are safer" nonsense, she also blames the lack of marriage stability in the family making the stress worse and therefore pushing Belcher to murder Kasi.  Utter nonsense.  An average of 3 women a DAY are murdered by their husbands in the United States. Do a google search for chrissakes. 

As to what the Five had to say, along with putting forth the "if she only had a gun" meme, Dana Perino added this tidbit: “Well, maybe, or make better decisions,” .  That's right, it was Kasi's decisions that got her murdered.  Nice slut shaming there Dana. Sweet Baby Jeebus make it stop. 

Aside from the flawed logic of their arguments, neither Trotter nor the FOX's the Fucktwits bothered to actually check the facts of the Belcher case.  According to the reports out of Kansas City, Belcher and Kasi went to  shooting ranges together.  She knew how to shoot.  There were guns all over the house including one report that their were as many as 5 or 6 handguns in the living room in easy reach. 

Given that Belcher killed himself after murdering Kasi its safe to assume that had she gotten to a gun and tried to hold him off, he would have still murdered her.   He was a man blinded by a killing rage, they call it that for a reason. 

I have had this debate many times with a friend at work who has a conceal carry permit.  The fact that everyone may be packing, won't make a maniac think twice.   Women may say they feel safer if they carry a gun in their purse.  Men may say the feel safer carrying a gun on their person, but that's the rub.  They may "feel" safe, but are  they any safer in reality.  

Wonder how safe Kasi felt with all those guns around her while staring down the barrel of her murder weapon?

Monday, December 3, 2012

War on Women: Murder is Domestic Violence

Jovan Belcher was a murderer. He shot and killed his girlfriend and mother of his child, Kassandra Perkins. In the days since the murder, and Belcher's subsequent suicide, there has been a throbbing hum of stupid regarding the whys and wherefores of domestic violence, guns and the NFL.  I have some knowledge of the subject. One of the child abuse/neglect allegations my agency investigates is Risk due to ongoing domestic violence in the home.

First, for those who are looking for simple answers as to why this happened, stop.

There are no simple answers.  A combination of mental illness, and easy access to guns? Maybe.  A man hell bent on controlling his woman even if it meant ending her life? Perhaps.  Early onset of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and alcohol abuse? Could be.

You see all of these factors could have made a man a murderer, but not all will be discussed.  Media rarely discusses domestic violence.  I want to discuss the people hell bent on controlling women.  These are the guys we commonly call batterers, domestic abusers etc.  And yes I am using the pejorative 'guys' because almost all batterers are men. In 20 years I've investigated maybe 15 women who battered their husbands in front of the kids.  Out of around 3000 or so reports.

What Belcher did was domestic violence taken to its ultimate end.  I had a twitter fight on Saturday with someone trying to say it wasn't DV.  By definition, killing  your lover is domestic violence. Period.  We will never know if Belcher battered Kassandra before Saturday, it just doesn't matter.  What matters is that a man who was mad at his girlfriend, murdered her when he couldn't keep her in her place.

That's what domestic violence is.  Domestic abusers want to keep their women in their place. They do so with physical assaults, sexual assaults, finances, using the children as pawns.  Much like rape is about power and control, so too is domestic violence.

A short disclaimer, when I first started my job and thought I knew it all, my default positions were either "what did she do?" or "why won't she leave?'  I've learned a lot about the cycle of abuse and I know longer look at things that way.

Women don't have to "do" anything to get battered.  Batterers will find any excuse. The "she had it coming" mentality that a shocking number of people have is truly unfathomable to me.  Nobody has it coming.   Nobody.

So many women who are victims of abuse can't leave the abuser because of finances, threats that things will be worse, or threats made to the children.  Many women I have interviewed really love their partner, think he will get better, think that "this will be the last time".

Some women do walk away, but even then they need support and counsel to help them get their lives back together, and to help them continue to make good choices.

Jovan Belcher was a murderer. I have no idea what the NFL is going to do regarding Belcher.  I do hope the league and the Chiefs put Belcher's remaining contract $ in a trust for his daughter.

Whatever is done by the league, here's what we can do as a society.  We can stop looking down on women as inferior. We can stop blaming and slut shaming women for choices they make.  We can make sure our daughters are treated respectfully.

Most of all when a man murders his girlfriend, we can stop pretending it was something other than domestic violence.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Penn State. It Never Ends

I wasn't going to stop writing about Penn State and the fall out from the Sandusky child rape scandal, but I can't help myself.  In light of all the praise heaped on the football team this last weekend, I just can't not write something.

I heard and read a lot of stomach turning bullshit about the adversity the football team endured this year.  First, a full ride athlete seldom endures "adversity". In this case, none of the members of the football team suffered anything like the victims of Sandusky and the subsequent institutional silence that allowed the monster to flourish.

Lets recap, Penn State Football was banned from bowls for 4 years and has a reduced amount of scholarships and had to pay a huge fine.  The players on the team played the "everyone's against us" card, calling themselves #TeamOutlaw.  That's pretty fucking clever.

The reason your team was penalized is because the evil arrogant bastard who was the head coach and who went to his maker in disgrace, covered up for the most heinous of crimes.  This is not a few guys who got hundred dollar handshakes, or free tattoos.  This was child rape.

I've made no secret of what I do for work.  In 20 years I've investigated hundreds of sexual abuse cases.  The victims have been as young as infants and as old as 17.  Its not fun, and its not funny. Its not some clever slogan on a tee shirt, its not the adversity of losing out on bowl games. Its real fucking life.

The victims of sexual abuse, even those who seek and get help, seldom fully recover. It's with them every day forever. I've had victims tell me some days its a dull ache, some days its an overwhelming, crushing pain that is almost beyond endurance.

I've been at it long enough that some kids who were victims in the 90's have kids now.  Some of them have come back in to the system as parents.  A shocking number of them have problems with alcohol and drugs. A very few have sexual assaulted a child themselves. A lot of them are poor and can't hold jobs. They are depressed and spiraling. This is the real adversity faced by real victims of child rape.

The Penn State football team and their clueless, backwards, blind fans believe that they got fucked over, but in reality they had it easy.  The victims who were literally fucked over? For them it never ends.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Birthday 2012

Well another year is successfully in the books.  I don't feel a day over 45, which is good cause that's how old I am.  Usually on my birthday, I go to work, come home, drink beer and sleep. This year I took the day off. The beer drinking and sleep are still on the table however.

Birthdays are a time to reflect on one's station.  I have to admit, I've got it pretty good.  Good friends, good kids.  I just bought a red sports sedan, and I have a smoking hot blonde wife so my midlife crises needs have been met.

I think  that today more than any  time in the last 20 years I can say I am truly at peace.  I don't usually get sappy but the story about my smoking hot wife and excellent kids needs to be told.

I met Nicole in 1999.  She was married to another guy who is the bio father of my daughter Bailee.  I was seeing someone else at the time too.  In 2003 after Nicole had divorced, and I had broken up with my girlfriend, I happened to call her and ask her to meet for drinks.  She agreed and we've been together ever since. (well except for a brief period in 2004 when i was apparently brain dead).

Nicole makes me a better man. Period. Just her being in my life has been all the difference in the last 10 years. She has been supportive through all kinds of crazy family shit.  And I mean Defcon 1 Crazy.  She was a rock when my mom passed away and most of all she has helped me become a better dad.

About the dad thing.  As I mentioned above, Nicole's first husband, Jason, is Bailee's bio-father.  I was at the hospital for her birth in 2000 and she was 2 1/2 when Nicole and I started dating in 2003.  After Rowan was born in 2006, we thought it would be good for Bailee to have my last name.  Jason agreed and signed off on my adoption of her and on May 8 2008 it was official.

Being a father to both these girls is fun, funny and frustrating, and that's just before breakfast- seriously none of my three ladies is a morning person- every day is a fight to get them up.  I digress, both Bailee and Rowan are their own people.  They're feisty, opinionated and hysterical.  They both have a naughty streak a mile wide and I probably spoil them too much, but what the hell.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that everyday with these women is a gift in my life.  My birthday is just a good day to write about it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Guest Post from @schmutzie

My twitter and 670 The Score friend @Schmutzie wrote this on Facebook and gave me permission to repost it here.  Its really fucking brilliant.


I can't help it.

I guessed correctly on 49 out of 50 states. I missed Florida. Easy to say I just copied Nate Silver's forecast, but that would be lying. Every damned state went the way I thought except Florida.

Really not that hard to do, all it took was a glance at the 2008 electoral map. What has changed in the last 4 years? Which state changed demos? If we could jump forward to 2016 or 2020, I'm pretty sure there will be a blue border around the eastern and western shores of the country, a blue splotch around the Great Lakes, and red everywhere in the middle. Florida might flip back and forth, and maybe Colorado or Nevada, but the rest of the country is going to stay the way it is right now.

And that's a loser for the GOP. It could be argued that it will only get worse as the Hispanic population grows, but it's certainly not going to get any better for the Republicans.

That is a party in decline.

Which is why they're all talking about expanding the base this morning. -It's time to be more inclusive! We need to reach out to Hispanics! We need to broaden the base!- Gee, ya think?

Not that I disagree with them, but what does it say that such a realization comes only after first trying, once again, to control the government by way of old white racist people, primarily old white racist men? Now you're going to pivot? Now you're going to say "Hey, we were wrong. We really do want all of you centrists, indies, Hispanics, gays, African Americans, pro-choicers, evolutionists, atheists, voters who worry about the environment and climate change, Asians,...even the Irish!"-

It's too late for that now. Because they don't want those voters. They want their votes, but they don't want the voters themselves. Sure, they'll try to tweak the platform a little to seem more inviting, but it's all bullshit. They want to stay the way they are. And their stubborn refusal to drag their sorry asses into the 21st century is why they're in decline, and will continue in decline. They won't attract votes from the groups I just listed.

Those groups of voters have heard years, decades, of rhetoric from the GOP about what's wrong with them, about why they're not real Americans. Suddenly the GOP is going to throw open the flaps to the tent, pay some lip service to being more inclusive, and expect a crowd of black homosexual atheists to come rushing in?

They're arguing this morning about what went wrong. They're accepting the fact that the tent needs to enlarge, but they still don't understand why. They're trying to figure out a way to gain millions of new voters without changing the basic message of the party. They still think that the United States belongs to the upper income white people, and it's just a matter of figuring out a way to appear attractive to enough new voters to swing the balance of power back in their favor. And it'll never happen.

And that's where the schadenfreude really comes in.

Fuck Mitch McConnell. Fuck John Boehner. Fuck Paul Ryan, and fuck Mitt Romney. I love the fact that they're miserable this morning. It's deserved. They're also big losers.

There's a special place in hell for the shithead conservatives in the media too. For years they've been acting as if their fucked up views on social issues are mainstream. Maybe not overwhelmingly popular, but reflective of a very large percentage of the views of the American population. And they're wrong. I have many self-described conservative friends, and none of them talk about "liberals" they way Sean Hannity does, the way Rush Limbaugh does, the way Ann Coulter does. Asshole like these have been, almost by default, recognized as spokespersons for the conservative movement-if there even is such a thing- and by association the conservative voters have been tainted. The divisive, inflammatory rhetoric that has been spewing from the maws of these people for years, decades, is largely responsible for the deterioration of serious political discourse. They have no counterparts on the left.

For years I've been taking issue with the binary thinking of conservative good-liberal evil, and the counter-argument as well. I do not believe that conservatives are evil. I believe that the assholes like Limbaugh who have been recognized as the spokespersons are, indeed, evil. They have gotten rich on polarizing this country, and because they're a bunch of fucking hucksters, they couldn't care less if they've fucked up the conversation with strawmen arguments and plain old hate-speech. 

They're war profiteers.

When I hear Limbaugh lecture his listeners on the "liberal agenda" and "gay agenda" and the "feminazi movement" I can only shake my head in wonder. How in the hell is this guy taken seriously? Do people not realize he's selling snake oil?

Well, it's reckoning day for the shitbag losers who ave added nothing constructive to the dialogue. The American people took their best shots- a billion dollars worth of hateful attack advertisements and outright lies about Barack Obama and the evil liberal agenda- years and years of hateful rhetoric about their political opponents- and they have rejected the message. If they haven't figured that out by now, they are in for a very bad 4 years, and 40 more after that. It's over you fucking losers. This country has had enough hyper-partisan flame-throwing. We do not want to look at people whose politics differ from our own as our enemy. We have work to do, and we won't get anything done if we continue to follow the lead of the fucking people who sell hatred. 

And that brings me to Karl Rove. Last night's biggest loser.

I know I've just ranted about the need to chill out on the nasty rhetoric, but I hate this man with every fiber of my being. I thought he was extinct already, thanks to his association with George W Bush, but he wasn't extinct. He played a much larger role in this election than some people realize. He was the mover behind uniting the Kochs, and Sandy Adelson, and a few other gajillionaire dickwads who thought they could buy the White House and take over the entire country by way of American Crossroads, the SuperPac which supplanted the RNC, thanks to Citizens United. Rove had a Hitler-like vision of a Republican Reich which would last for centuries. All he needed to do was prop Mitt Romney up there, win the Electoral College by way of stealing Ohio, and his sinister fucking plan could be put into action.

And that's why this demonic motherfucker was melting down before our very eyes on Fox News last night. Like Randolph Duke at margin call, Rove wanted those machines turned back on. He wanted Jon Husted, his henchman Secretary of State in Ohio, to somehow dig up 150,000 more votes from Cuyahoga County and Hamilton County. He needed that state's votes, no matter how he got them, so that he could launch his long term game plan of Republican domination for the next 50 years. Without Ohio, he knew he was doomed. Without Ohio, Karl Rove knew he faced extinction. And like Hitler, after the invasion of the Soviet Union in the winter of 1941 had turned the tide against him, Rove refused to accept his own defeat and his imminent demise. How is this possible? I spent a billion dollars of Super Pac money. I played this hand perfectly. How can this election not go my way?

Well it didn't go Karl's way The reason Mitt Romney waited an hour and a half to concede defeat after Ohio had fallen for Obama was Karl Rove. I have no doubt that Rove called his hatchet-man Ed Gillespie, and told him to forbid Mitt Romney from conceding. But then Virginia went for Obama. And then Colorado. And it became clear that even if Rove had somehow been able to steal Ohio's electoral votes, Obama still had the necessary 270.

And so, when I watched a red-eyed Mitt Romney take the stage last night for his final speech as a politician, it wasn't Romney I was thinking of, it was Karl Rove. In half-heartedly wishing Barack Obama luck in his next term as president, Mitt Romney was really bidding farewell, on behalf of the American people, to Rove.

Karl Rove's career as a political kingmaker is over, and we're all better off now. The country, and our government, have finally been unburdened. We are rid of that evil man forever, and to that I say good riddance.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The War on Women Vote for Obama Edition

Friends, Americans, Countrypeople, lend me your ears. (Sorry Caesar).  Its time to vote.  I've been on record saying I don't care who you vote for, but that was a leetle bit dishonest.  I do care who you vote for and so do my wife and daughters.

I've always supported Barack Obama.  My wife can attest to the fact that when he gave the Keynote at the 2004 DNC, I said "If Kerry loses, Obama's the next President."  Over the years, nothing he has done, has caused me to abandon him.

While I've disagreed with some things he has done, and often wished he were more bold, I've never been a lefty that hates him because OMGZ DRONZ, or other Greenwaldian bullshit.

President Obama has been a steadying force in a tumultuous time.  The economy has steadied adding 5 million jobs.  Foreign policy has steadied. I realize that there's still work to be done on foreign policy, believe me nobody likes the collateral deaths of innocent people, but compared too the "Boot in Your Ass" foreign policy of the GOP, President Obama is a fucking dove.

Most important to me, is the President's views of domestic policy.  Not only has he looked out for the poor and downtrodden, but he's been a champion of women's issues.  Lilly Ledbetter was his first Presidential signature on a piece of legislation! Not stimulus, not healthcare, not ending the war.  The first thing he did as President was stand up for women.

Maybe it's because I have two daughters and so does he, but I get this guy. I get what it means to be a father of girls and want them to be considered equal to boys.  While I'm not President, my position as a child abuse investigator carries a certain weight and expectation. I can't ask anyone to treat their daughters with respect and dignity if I don't treat mine with respect and dignity.

In this I  totally get the President. He's the leader of the free world, but he still is a father who loves his girls and wants to be the best father he can be.

President Obama will protect the rights of women.  Period.  The other guys think shoving wands in brazen harlots' ladyparts is fine.  The other guys think that birth control makes someone a slut. The other guys thinks that women run to abortion clinics with reckless abandon because choosing abortion is easy.

I say fuck the other side with all the fuck. Vote Obama/Biden 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

War on Women: Your 'God' sucks ass

Disclaimer: I grew up Catholic. I went to Catholic high school. I was the Valedictorian with the first perfect GPA in the history of Mater Dei High School in Clinton IA.  I attended and graduated from St. Ambrose University a Catholic University. I minored in English, majored in Psychology, History and yes Theology.  So I kinda know about things related to 'God'.

All that being said, Republicans? Your 'God' can kiss my fat white ass.

Here's the thing.  Every time the subject of rape comes up some dumbfuck GOP candidate invokes 'God'.  The latest in the long line of socially awkward, dark ages lovin' woman haters is Indiana GOP candidate for for United States Senate, Richard Mourdock.  Also no surprise that he's described as Tea Party backed.

In the final debate of the the three candidates for Senate he stated that the only abortion exception he agrees with is life of the mother.  He stated that in the cases of rape:

"The only exception I have to have an abortion is in the case of the life of the mother," said Mourdock, the Tea Party-backed state treasurer. "I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God. I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."

Hey you stupid fucking shit, NOTHING FROM RAPE IS A GIFT! Period. If the 'God' you so lovingly adore actually existed, he or she would probably smite the mother fucking rapist before the rape to prevent the tragedy of rape and (pardon the phrase), god forbid, the tragedy of a rape pregnancy.

The tea party half wits and their anti woman agenda must be stopped.  Men like Mourdock have been trying to keep women second class citizens forever.  They couch their misogyny in pretty language about "God's Plan" and other faux piety.

The fact is if you're a woman, and you are thinking about voting for  these assholes because you share their 'godly values' you're sadly misinformed.

The teabilly's understanding of 'God' is informed by centuries of penis-centric woman hating theology.  Barefoot and pregnant, home in time to cook dinner... you know the way 'God' planned it.  Fact: Women have been shunned by religion since 100 AD when women who had been functioning as priests were banned from the priesthood by the leaders of the church. (Father Dunn, I actually listened in class).

If you're taken in by that pile of unmitigated bullshit I've got nothing for you.

What I do have is an unyielding commitment to make sure that my daughters grow up in a world that abhors rape. A world that supports their right to choose.  A world in which they are treated as complete equals to men.  A world in which they people aren't stupid enough to call a baby conceived of rape, a gift.

If your 'God' thinks rape and rape babies are a gift, your God fucking sucks.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

GOP War on Women: Cause she's easy like Sunday morning.

If this post seems like I'm spitting vitriol through clenched teeth, it's because I'm spitting vitriol through clenched fucking teeth.  I am so fucking over the fucking Republican teabillie bullshit I can barely stand it.

Here's the latest, Wisconsin State Representative, Roger Rivard (R-Dumbfuckburg)* spun a yarn about some sage advice that his daddy told him.

Quoth Roger the Reprehensible: “He also told me one thing, ‘If you do (have premarital sex), just remember, consensual sex can turn into rape in an awful hurry,’ ” Rivard said. “Because all of a sudden a young lady gets pregnant and the parents are madder than a wet hen and she’s not going to say, ‘Oh, yeah, I was part of the program.’ All that she has to say or the parents have to say is it was rape because she’s underage. And he just said, ‘Remember, Roger, if you go down that road, some girls,’ he said, ‘they rape so easy.’

Really? Some girls rape so easily? That's probably the dumbest advice in the history of dumb advice.  How bout, 'Son, keep it in your pants because you respect a woman enough to wait until she's ready.' Or 'make sure you use birth control' or ANY FUCKING THING besides "be careful cause if you knock her up, she'll cry rape'.  

Women don't 'rape easy'.  Rape is not some funny game.  Rape is not a way for the ebil harlots to get back at the god fearin' men.  Rape is power and control. That is all. 

Having met with, worked with and befriended a number of rape victims, I can tell you, rape is not easy.  Coming forward and saying you've been raped isn't easy. Nothing about this entire fucking topic is easy. 

You know what is easy? Voting every one of these motherfucking backward ass teabilly fucks out of office.  Take your dark ages view of women and your fucking corn pone wisdom and stick it up your fucking ass. It'll be like rape, and I've heard that comes easy. 

*Dumbfuckburg is between Madison and Green Lake. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Jerry Sandusky: Monster

Having been a child abuse investigator for 19 years, I've been exposed to some of the most heinous sociopaths that you could possibly imagine. Yet none have quite measured up to the monster that is Jerry Sandusky.

I've been ruminating on the latest Sandusky happenings.  He was sentenced to 30-60 years in prison today for his abuse of 10 boys over 15 years.  Not nearly enough in my opinion, but unlike Law and Order SVU people are seldom sentenced to 450 years in prison.  Let it suffice that he will die in prison.

What I've been trying to get my mind around was Sandusky's statement on Penn State College Radio.  In a rambling diatribe, he tried to exonerate himself by blaming the victims.

He describes the first victim to come forward as "A young man who was dramatic a veteran accuser, and always sought attention, started everything."  

A veteran accuser. Let that sink in for a moment.  Clearly from that statement alone, Sandusky tries to paint the young man as the boy who cried wolf.  He didn't cry wolf, in this instance, the wolf was real. 

Perhaps the most telling line in the statement was, "My wife has been my only sex partner".  This goes right to the heart of an abuser's mentality.  Child rape, ANY rape is not about sexual gratification. It's about power. It's about control.  Sandusky controlled the lives of those boys, a haunting, horrible nightmare, until they came forward and told the world what happened.  

I've heard people ask why Sandusky won't just shut up.  He can't. He won't.  He's been the one in control of this for 40 years.  No one really knows how many kids he abused. What I really know is that the only way he can continue to be in control is to make statements and blame victims.  

From this point forward you can expect appeals, more public statements and grandstanding by Sandusky and his clown college of defense attorneys.  An assault on the integrity and voracity of victims. 

Don't be surprised if some victims may not be able to stand the process. Despite their courage in testifying, sometimes courage only goes so far.  If the appeals court grants a new trial, all bets are off. 

It will be drawn out, it will be ugly and it will  be scary. Sandusky will do everything in his power to maintain control of these victims. 

It's like that with monsters.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

War On Women: Its the ABUSE stupid! Part 2

A little while ago I wrote a post supporting my friend Jessica AKA @vdaze who had suffered mental and emotional abuse by a man who is well known in internet circles.  You can read it here. I'll refer to the man in question as Fantasy Hairball™ or FH for short.

In the weeks since I wrote this post, I've noticed a disturbing trend on Twitter and other places with regards to the definition of  "victim".  Questions like does talking about abuse in public seem like whining or payback? Is defending the victim, 'piling on' the abuser(FH)? Shouldn't this all be kept private?

I've worked in social work since 1988. For the last 18 years I have been a child abuse investigator.  In that capacity I have seen first hand the abuse of children.  I've also seen hundreds of cases of Domestic Battery and other abuses of women.  I'd like to take time  to describe my observations and share some things to clear up the questions people may have.

First off, a victim of abuse is someone who suffers physical, sexual, emotional trauma at the hands of the abuser.  Physical and sexual trauma are self explanatory.  The problem many people have is emotional trauma.  How does one judge what is just arguing and what is emotional abuse?

People like Fantasy Hairball™ are so good at charming their way into women's lives that the woman doesn't know that the abuser is bad news until well into a relationship.  Using this case to illustrate FH may pick a fight with Jessica, but she chalks it up to normally butting of heads.  This may have gone on for a while.

When FH turned the corner to abuse it  was when he started blaming Jessica for his feelings of anger or hurt.

"You make me so crazy", "I'm not normally like this but I love you so much, I get crazy with : anger, jealousy, fear of losing you"

Guilt is a powerful tool, so is preying on someone's pity.  "Please feel sorry for me", "I'm in a bad place and you've made it worse."  What was sickening in the aftermath of Jessica's disclosures was that Fantasy Hairball™ used these same guilt trips on other women and his friends to get them to view him as an emotionally unstable wreck who might be suicidal and whose mom was experiencing trauma because of the drama.

This is classic abuser behavior.  "Poor me" behavior is used as a tactic to get the victim back in their lives, keep them in their lives, or convince their friends that the abuser is not a bad guy, just misunderstood.

The other questions all sort of dove tail together.  My first job as an investigator is to get the victim to start talking.  Some times this is done with words, sometimes they write down what happened. Sometimes we draw pictures. Frankly if Twitter or Facebook could be used in an interview to get a victim talking, I'd use it in a heartbeat. So no, talking about it in public with friends is not a bad thing. In fact its the right thing to do.

Calling out an abuser for what he is should be commended.  People who keep things private, who don't air their dirty laundry, who are told to "buck up" and deal with it enable the abuser to continue behaving abusively with other people.  For those who may be friends with FH, he may never have acted badly with you, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen with others.

Fantasy Hairball™ is a text book case of an abusive personality.  He charmed his way into several women's lives and when he was called out, he turned on the women and accused their friends of coordinating attacks and ruining his rep. "Poor me" anyone?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Why I fight the War on Women: Its the ABUSE Stupid!

As most of you know, I'm a child abuse investigator by profession.  I love my job. I'm also pretty fucking good it, or so I've been told.  This post isn't specifically about child abuse, but it is about a facet of my job that is important to protecting children

The facet to which I am referring is protecting women from abuse.  I've been been vocal, and profane in my defense of women and their rights.  Exhibits AB, and C.

Domestic abuse occurs in many forms.  It can be physical, sexual, or psychological.  Recently a friend of mine from the great coffee klatsch that is twitter, Jessica AKA @Vdaze wrote and talked about her abuse by a man on the internet.  He was insidious and he played it like a pro.

Men who abuse women are amazingly similar to child sexual predators. I am NOT conflating child sexual predators with the abusers of women, I'm just saying their methods are similar.  The way abusers wend their way into peoples lives is fascinating. They're charming. They seem friendly. They build seemingly strong bonds.

When the trust has been gained, they pounce.  Abusers of women scream at them, hit them, blame them.  Turn every argument around so that the woman feels like it's her fault.  Fortunately for my friend Jessica, she was not physically abused.  Had she let the relationship progress, there's no telling what may have happened.

When I was young in this job, I used to blame the women victims abuse almost as much as I blamed the abusers.  I didn't get that there is a cycle of abuse, and women often can't shake it.

Where am I going with all this?  I'm trying to make the point that the War on Women isn't just being run by the GOP.  Women all over this country are belittled, beaten down and just plain beaten on a daily basis.  The person who treated Jessica so horribly, is a progressive liberal.

Until we treat women with the respect and dignity that they deserve, we will never be a "great" nation. Until we put our collective foot down about misogyny, verbal abuse and domestic abuse of women, we cannot call ourselves a "great" nation.  Until we place the needs of women and by extension children above our own selfish pursuits, we cannot call ourselves a "great" nation.

One final thought, I know that there are occasions in which women are abusive aggressors.  The number is so small statistically, it barely merits notice.

We have a long way to go. Let's start by treating our ladyfolk with some respect.  I'm a progressive, I believe women are every bit as capable as and equal to men.  Also as I pointed out earlier on the twitter. Strong women are sexy as hell.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Boardroom Mittz

A while ago, I promised my friend Imani Gandy that I would come up with parody song about Mitt Romney, so here it is.

Boardroom Mittz sung to the  tune of Ballroom Blitz by Sweet.

Are you ready?

Oh, Mitt’s been getting so hard
Thinking of the things he‘ll do to you, aha
He dreams of being POTUS
Cause he’s run out of businesses to screw

Oh, He sees Ann’s got his back
As a matter of fact, her eyes are as red as a sun
She’s the girl in the corner, let no one ignore her
Cause she thinks ‘you people’ are dumb

Oh yeah, the party was fighting
Everybody was frightening
False promises are soothing
And they all started grooving
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

And Ann at Mitt’s back said
Time to  attack and he turned into a Boardroom Mittz
And Paul Ryan in the corner said
Barack Not gonna warn ya, he’s turning into Boardroom Mittz

Boardroom Mittz
Boardroom Mittz
Boardroom Mittz
Boardroom Mittz

He’s speaking out on something,
Saying nothing is all he’ll ever do
He’ll quietly take you over
When you appear for work there's nothing left to do

Now Ann at his back
Is ready to crack as she raises her hands to the sky
She’s the dressage horse owner, the taxman can’t corner
She could kill you with a wink of her eye

Oh yeah, he runs on electric
His positions eclectic
His lies he’s believing
'Cause the truth is so fleeting
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

And the Ann at his back said
Time to attack and he turned into Boardroom Mittz
And Paul Ryan in the corner said
Barack not gonna warn ya, he’ll turn into Boardroom Mittz
Boardroom Mittz

Oh yeah, the party was fighting
Everybody was frightening
False promises are soothing
And they all started grooving
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

And Ann at his back said
Time to attack and he turned into Boardroom Mittz
And Paul Ryan in the corner said
Barack not gonna warn ya, he’ll turn into Boardroom Mittz
Boardroom Mittz

Boardroom Mittz
Boardroom Mittz
Boardroom Mittz
Boardroom Mittz

Ooh, it's, it's Boardroom Mittz
It's, it's  Boardroom Mittz
It's, it's Boardroom Mittz
Yeah, it's  Boardroom Mittz

You're welcome.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Why I Fight the War on Women Part 11 Billionity and 1

It seems that a week doesn't go by that somebody doesn't say some stupid fucking shit about women and their right to choose.  This week's winner is Tom Smith, GOP candidate for Senator in the great state of Pennsylvania.  (Side note, what the fuck is up with Pennsylvania? Between this fucktard and Penn State, I swear these people need to be carpet bombed. Aside from the fact that the Angry Black Lady, Imani Gandy comes from Philly, I'd say there isn't one damned sane person from the state.) 

Anyway back  to this weeks douchecanoe, Tom Smith had this to say at the Pennsylvania Press Club when "condemning" Todd Akin's comments.  First he said Akin was wrong about the "legitimate" rape comment but he agreed with no abortion in any instance, including instances of rape and incest. It gets better:

MARK SCOLFORO, ASSOCIATED PRESS: How would you tell a daughter or a granddaughter who, God forbid, would be the victim of a rape, to keep the child against her own will? Do you have a way to explain that? 

SMITH: I lived something similar to that with my own family. She chose life, and I commend her for that. She knew my views. But, fortunately for me, I didn’t have to.. she chose they way I thought. No don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t rape. 

SCOLFORO: Similar how? 

SMITH: Uh, having a baby out of wedlock. 

SCOLFORO: That’s similar to rape? 

SMITH: No, no, no, but… put yourself in a father’s situation, yes. It is similar. But, back to the original, I’m pro-life, period.

So glad that's all cleared up.  What a dumb fucking thing to say.  Since I'm a father of two daughters, I can put myself in "a father's position' for this one.

First off, if my girls have sex and get pregnant out of wedlock I won't bat an eye.  My wife and I have raised and will continue to raise them to make good choices.  If they make a choice we don't agree with, that doesn't make it a bad choice, it makes it their choice.  We will love and respect them and will support them no matter how their lives turn out. 

Secondly, if they get pregnant and choose an abortion for any reason, we'll support that choice.  It's their choice, that's what these Teabillie idiots completely want to do away with. They can't stand the fact that women are equal to men and should be treated as such in all ways.  

They can't stand the fact that women won't simply look pretty and shut up.  They really can't stand that the black guy in the Oval Office believes that women are equal.  In their minds President Obama is an amalgamation of 'where da white wimmen at?' and 'mind if we dance wif yo dates?"  They hate him that badly. Correction, they hate his skin color that badly. 

These stupid neanderthal motherfuckers like Akin and Smith don't represent the fringe of the GOP.  Banning abortion is in their goddamned Party Platform. Don't let the jobs stuff blind you. They want to take away women's choice once and for all.  

Finally my 'father's position' if my girls get raped?  I'm gonna go with a mashup of Liam Neeson's characters in Taken and The Grey,  I'll call it "I'm Gonna Find That Fucker and Kill Him" .

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Why I Fight the War on Women part 11 billionity

A while back I posted a bit about why I fight the War on Women that is being waged by the GOP and the Teabillie idiots.   I wrote about here and here.  I love my daughters and my wife and this shit has got to stop.

Today in what can be called the DUMBEST FUCKING THING EVER UTTERED by a politician, Representative Todd Akin (R-Doucherocket Teabag) of Missouri had this to say about abortion in the case of rape:

“First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare,” Akin told KTVI-TV in an interview posted Sunday. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Akin said that even in the worst-case scenario — when the supposed natural protections against unwanted pregnancy fail — abortion should still not be a legal option for the rape victim. “Let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work, or something,” Akin said. “I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”

Let that sink in for one fucking second before you remember that newly minted Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan believes essentially the same thing.  In fact Ryan goes even further because he sponsored the Personhood Amendment in the house.  He also helped author the "forcible rape" language that was later dropped in the Planned Parenthood funding flap.   Ryan believes in no abortion. Period. Not in the case of rape, incest, health of the mother, non-viable fetus, NOT IN ONE FUCKING INSTANCE does Paul Ryan, Vice Presidential candidate of a major political party believe that abortion should occur.  As if to add insult to rape, he also believes in no birth control.

The GOP has a long tradition of believing that government should mind its own business with regards to what individuals do.  Unfortunately this has never been the case if that individual is a woman.  The assault on women's choice, women's pay and even women's fucking healthcare has become overwhelming since 2010.

I for one will not stand idly by while people like Representative Akin and Vice Presidential Candidate Ryan lead the assault on the basic freedoms that should be enjoyed by all women.

Fortunately we all have "a way to shut the whole thing (in this case the GOP) down"  We vote for Democrats from dog catcher to the goddamned White House.  My wife and daughters mean everything to me and they deserve no less.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Why I'm Fighting

I want to take a few minutes to tell you about two amazing girls.  On Friday, one starts Junior High and one starts Kindergarten.  One of them is a 12 year old wild child and one of them is a 5 year old that I think plans on taking over the world a la Pinky and the Brain. These two girls are my daughters Bailee and Rowan.  Call my a braggart, or a blatherskite, if you will, but also call me a proud father.

Bailee doesn't begin to know what a terrific kid she is.  She's outgoing, funny and smart.  She's a scatter brain sometimes and she's an artiste.  To my ever loving chagrin, the piles of clothes in her room never quite get picked up, but she really 'tries'.  She's a budding activist as evidenced by this:

She believes so strongly in combating the War on Women, that she asked for a Team Uterati Tee Shirt and Bitchfork necklace to support the cause.  I probably don't tell her enough that she inspires me but she does.

Then there's this one:

Rowan doesn't know everything... yet. She wanted a necklace because her sister has one, when we told her what it meant, she looked at me straight faced and said "Daddy, you always say, nobody can touch your 'pagina.' "

She's insanely smart and a budding smart ass.  Sample conversation after buying her a strawberry lemonade from the place with the arches, as I was singing in the car:  Rowan "daddy stop singing, you're interrupting me" Me: "what are you talking about?" Rowan: "you're interrupting my time with the strawberry lemonade"  I died.

One reason I'm telling you all about them is because the start of Kindergarten and Junior High marks a milestone in our family and that's worth bragging about.

The other reason, and to me the most important is that these two girls and my beautiful wife Nicole are the people I love the most and because I do, I will fight the War on Women with everything I've got.  Today the House GOP tried AGAIN to expand anti-abortion legislation.  The Congress elected in 2010 to provide jobs jobs jobs has jobbed all of those who were duped into voting for them.  

Lawsuits against the Arizona abortion law which outlaws abortion after the 20th week have been struck down.  Lawsuits filed under specious circumstances like Hercules are going forward regarding birth control.  Apparently the fact that the birth control issue was argued and resolved before I was born has been lost on a certain segment of our population.

It is imperative that we as progressives support the push back against the GOP's War on Women.  Support causes like TeamUterati.  Support progressive candidates.  Support anyone and everyone who wants to see women continue to be treated as the should be: complete equals in every sense.

As I recently told friends on Twitter, I want my girls to tell their kids about this War on Women and laugh about the antiquated notion that women are less then men.  I pretty sure they will, because  well, they're both  amazing girls.

Monday, July 23, 2012

One Hundred Six Thousand

On September 1st, one hundred six thousand people will be streaming into Beaver Stadium in Happy Valley PA. If the split in the crowd between men and women is 50/50 that means that 12,500 women and 8300 men will be former or perhaps current victims of child sexual abuse.

I want you to think about that: 1 in 4 women, 1 in 6 men.

Today's NCAA sanctions against Penn State are appropriately severe, but I can't help but wonder about the people who will go to those home games.  Almost 21000 people attending are most likely the victims of someone very much like Jerry Sandusky.

The crimes that Sandusky was convicted of are some of the most heinous imaginable.  I don't have to imagine because it's something me and my colleagues deal with daily.  The pain that the victims suffered both physical and emotional is fathomless.  The victims and their families will never be completely healed.  

Against this backdrop of evil and pain, a number of people were valiant in their efforts in reporting today.  Desmond Howard was particularly brilliant on ESPN.  He stated "Remember the victims and don't just remember them, think about them every day. They were victims because they had no choice. They had no chance against a burly football coach victimizing them."  "These current players aren't victims.  They have a choice, they can leave."  "Unlike the real victims, they can walk away"

I don't know if the NCAA sanctions will cause a culture change at Penn State or any other college.  I do know that 12 men, and probably many more don't care about culture changes, or cover ups.  They do care about healing and being as normal as they can be. 

This has ALWAYS been about the victims.  

On September 1st, one hundred six thousand people as well as the rest of us would do well to remember that.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Truth was Set Freeh

With today's release of the Freeh Report available here on 670TheScore's Website , on the Penn State Child Rape scandal there is closure for a number of people.  As one of the people out in front of the case, there's no small amount of vindication for me and many others like Dan  Bernstein and Terry Boers at the Score, Dan Wetzel at Yahoo! Sports, Gregg Doyel at CBSSportsline and Chez Pazienzza at DeusExMalcontent.

In this case, however, I take no pleasure in being right. In fact quite the opposite, I wish I had been wrong.  Had I been wrong, it would have meant that at least 10 boys weren't brutally raped and thrown away.  Had I been wrong a venerable football coach and institution wouldn't have covered up such a heinous crime.  Had I been wrong, any number of "great men and citizens" would not be running around apologizing for the coach and the institution. Had I been wrong, a charity that was a harvesting ground of victims, would have been doing good works and truly helping those kids.

It was revealed today in  the Freeh report that Penn State, including Paterno, Curley, Schultz and Spanier, consistently put the fear of lawsuits and the image of Penn State in front of the needs of the children that Sandusky raped.  Paterno has been outed as a liar, a manipulator and a man of no character or integrity.   Curley, Schultz and Spanier are the quisling sycophants who did his bidding.

This entire sordid story of the cover up reminds me not so much of a Greek tragedy, but of a very modern American problem, organized crime.  The parallels are eerily similar.  At Penn State you had the godfather in Paterno who was viewed by many as a kind and benevolent man, giving time and money to charities and the arts.  John Gotti and Al Capone were patrons of the arts too.  While Paterno's capo's weren't killing people they were helping kill the childhood of young boys.

Even with the revelations today, some are still defending Paterno.  Most of these people are former players such as Matt Millen who rhetorically asked "Does one mistake outweigh 50 years of good?"  Yes Matt it does. This wasn't one mistake, this was a massive cover-up.  Just because Paterno came off as a doddering old buffoon doesn't mean  that he was.

I'm reminded of a classic Saturday Night Live Skit.  Phil Hartman played a doddering Ronald Reagan to the cameras and as soon as the cameras were gone he was the field general orchestrating Iran Contra. To me, Paterno was exactly the same.  He was the organ grinder while he made the monkeys dance.

Another defender of Paterno, Lavar Arrington said that Paterno and Penn State had molded great men in  the forge of the football program.  Great men would have taken a stand against Penn State and Paterno. Calling both out as frauds would, to me, have been an indicator of greatness.

No, the only great men in this case are the victims who came forward, testified and won.  They had the courage, the depth of character and fortitude to withstand horrific abuse and tell the world about it.  If Penn State and Paterno had shown any of the character that was shown by Sandusky's victims, this would have stopped in 1998 if not sooner.

As I said in the open, there is closure for a great many people today.  Unfortunately this isn't the end of child rape, nor is the end of secrets.  I wish I was wrong, but I know I'm not.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thanks Mr. President

Dear President Obama,

Two years ago today, my mom passed away from colon cancer.  Her name was Laurel and she was a wonderful mother to me and my sister, a wonderful wife to my dad and wonderful friend to almost every one she met.   She voted for you, saying, “I like that young man”.  That sir was high praise indeed. 

I’m telling you about her because today the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act that you championed,  insuring that millions of Americans like my mom will get health care they need and can afford. 

You see, Mom didn’t seek medical care when she had some symptoms a full five years before diagnosis.  She simply couldn’t afford the co-pays and testing, even with Medicare and Medicare supplemental insurance.  Co-pays for office visits with specialists were two hundred dollars, some treatments she needed weren’t covered at all and were out of pocket.  Near the end she and Dad were forced to move out of their home and move in with my sister and brother in law. 

As a retiree on fixed income, she waited until she had no choice.  Her doctors and surgeons did what they could, but time ran out. 

It is my fervent belief that the Affordable Care Act will help prevent people like my mom from waiting for care due to costs.  I hope that going forward even broader changes to health care can be enacted. 

For now I just want to say thank you.  Thanks for supporting this law helping out people who truly need it.   Thanks for helping  my daughters ages 11 and 5 grow up in a country that recognizes that providing care for our sick is the human and humane thing to do.

Somewhere my mom is happy that she voted for “that young man”. She was right about you.


Patrick Perion (@QuadCityPat)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sandusky's Victims, How Many Are There.

I've been approached by several people on Twitter and email asking for information about how many boys Jerry Sandusky actually molested.  I've also been asked about the age at which predators start preying on children.  We know that he was found guilty of sexually abusing and raping 10 boys.  There are a lot more.  

First some general statistics.  Latest national data on sexual abuse of children shows that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 10 boys report abuse.  Approximately 1 in 6 boys are actually abused.  We also know that in general serial sexual abusers abuse an average of 117 children.  Those are scary numbers.

In Sandusky's particular case, I suspect that he started the serial child rape when he was between 16 and 18.  This is a guess, but it's one educated by 18 years of dealing with the Jerry Sanduskys of the world.

Serial child rape as with adult rape is about power and control.  We know from the Sandusky trial that all of his victims were between the ages of 10 and 15.  Due to this it can be surmised that Sandusky was between 16 and 18 when the serial nature of his abuse started.  In order to gain power and control, at those ages predators are generally bigger and stronger than their prey.

I pointedly stated that the serial nature of his predation probably started when he was in his late teens.  It's entirely possible that his first sexual assault of someone else happened earlier in life.  I've dealt with predators that have stated that they first abused a younger child when they were 7 or 8.

It should also be pointed out that Sandusky may not have been the victim of child rape himself.  Prison studies of serial child rapists show that a higher percentage of convicted child rapists say they were severely physically abused as children.  Many of them were sexually assaulted, but in most major studies, they claim either sexual or physical abuse, hardly ever claiming both.

Later in life Sandusky used the Second Mile charity and his status at Penn State to cultivate his prey and keep them silent after he brutalized them.  Judging again by the trial records, he abused two boys a year.  Simple math shows that his total in fifty years would be a hundred boys.  However when you factor in the under reporting of male victims those two boys per year may have been as many as four or five. Making the total as high as two hundred to two hundred fifty.

In this case, bet the over.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Sandusky: The Verdict

Wow, what a day.  Before I get to my final thoughts, I have a few thank yous.  First my wife Nicole and my girls, coming home to the three of you makes my job doable, I love the three of you more than I can say.  Adam Hoge at The Score for asking me to do this blog and his bosses for letting it happen.   Dan Bernstein and Terry Boers for promoting the blog during their show, and for putting up with me when I'm AKA Quad City Pat. Finally to you the Score listener, reader and commenter, I'm happy that I could shed some light on a dark corner of humanity for you.

Now my thoughts:

In child sexual abuse trials, there is really no substitute for hearing "guilty" as each charge is read.  The victims are vindicated, the abuser is brought to justice. The prosecution gloats a little.  The defense backpedals.  Everyone on the side of right feels good.

What happens now?

First and most importantly, every one of the victims must get into counseling to work through their issues.  Many already have, but they all need it.

At one point early in my career I had no idea what sexual trauma did to victims.  22 years ago, I was driving a female victim of sexual abuse in a stick shift pick up, to a visit with her family.  She was uncomfortable with sitting in the middle seat where the shifter was.  I thought she was being dramatic. I was an idiot.

I've quoted these stats before, 1 in 6 girls have been sexually abused. 1 in 10 boys.  Sexual abuse is horribly under reported.

Please educate your children.  If they have a secret, if someone tells them a "bad" secret, tell an adult.  If an adult asks them to do something that they think is icky tell another adult.

I don't know what will happen with Penn State and Sandusky.  There may be more charges.  There may be appeals.  There will be civil suits.  Frankly I don't care, these men came forward to tell the world about the unthinkable and they won. That's enough for now.

Sandusky Trial Day 9

Waiting sucks. That's what I have heard from every victim and every family that I've ever sat through a trial with.  

In most sex abuse cases that I have worked there is no trial.  There's a disclosure, there's a confession or enough corroboration that we need no confession.  The perp is charged.  They always plead not guilty at preliminary hearing, then the negotiations start.

The defense gets a copy of all of our evidence.  The advent and use of Children's Advocacy Centers has been invaluable in these cases, because we turn over the taped interviews as part of evidence.  The defense gets a look at a credible kid, and decides that they want to try for a plea deal.  Once in a while, they decide to take it to trial.

After overwhelming evidence is presented.  After victims give tearful heart wrenching testimony.  After people like myself get grilled on the stand because maybe we restated a victim's answer saying penis instead of wee wee.  After the closing arguments, charts, videos and timelines. After the judge reads the charges and the instructions, we wait.

Sometimes we wait for hours.  Sometimes its days.  Personal longest wait was 3 days.  Jury got the case on Friday, we got a verdict on Tuesday, they didn't work the weekend.  We won that one.  The shortest was 2 hours, we won that one too.  I had one a couple of years ago, multiple victims, unrelated to each other with varying degrees of abuse.  Seemed like a slam dunk.  Jury out for 6 hours on 12 counts.  Not guilty.  Turns out one of the jurors was a teacher, and she just "knew" that kids make things up.

You learn to force a smile in front of the families.  You never say you have a doubt. You always tell them that they did great.  You always  tell them not to worry.

You always tell them, waiting sucks....

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sandusky Trial Day 8

Thursday marked the closing arguments  of both prosecution and defense and the case being given to the jury.  The big news of the day happened outside the court house as two more victims came forward.  One of  them, Matt Sandusky, adopted son of Jerry and Dottie Sandusky.

I'll get to that in a moment but first a quick look at the closing arguments.

First the prosecution's which was particularly good. Reading excerpts reported by several outlets, it appears that Mr. McGettigan did his job to the best of his ability.  It will be hard for the jury to forget the faces of the 8 men shown on a 12 foot screen as boys.  That's the sort of thing that connects juries to the people who were victimized.  It humanizes the victims and they are no longer randomly titled "Victim 1 through 10".

In the many trials that I have been a part of, anything done with the big projection screen seems to have an impact.  I had a case a while back in which the defense used the projector and the prosecution did not.  The perp was found not guilty despite a mountain of evidence against him.  Juries are funny that way.

I'll say this for Joe Amendola, he really sells his side of the case.  His close hit all the points he made in the trial.  The one point he made that made me laugh was when he said that Sandusky didn't start being a pedophile until his 50's because all the alleged incidents started in the 1990's.  No, Joe, Sandusky didn't start in his 50's, no one before then has come forward. That"s a big distinction.

In the big news of the day, two more people came forward.  Travis Weaver, a 30 year old man came forward, has filed a civil suit and was interviewed on Rock Center with Brian Williams on NBC.  The full interview is to be shown on Thursday night's show.

Matt Sandusky also came forward.  He was prepared to be a rebuttal witness if Jerry Sandusky took the stand.  Matt Sandusky, through his attorney issued a statement that he was a victim of molestation by Jerry Sandusky and was later adopted by the Sanduskys as an adult.

Several questions were tweeted and emailed to me today about why the prosecution did not use these  two witnesses.  First, if I am reading Pennsylvania law correctly, both of these men are beyond the statute of limitations.  Abuse that occurred under the age of 18 can only be prosecuted 10 years after the victim turns 18.

In Illinois the law is similar.  Victims outside the statute can be used for rebuttal in some instances, but because of bans on presenting prior bad acts as prejudicial, I have not seen any case in which they were allowed to testify.  Usually prior victims are used during sentencing to show patterns of behavior.

The other question that was posed today was why did Dottie Sandusky not notice behavior changes in her Foster Son and later Adopted Son, Matt.

The reason is tragic on many fronts.  Foster kids and adoptive kids make perfect victims for serial sexual abusers.  Foster kids and adopted kids especially those adopted later in life have a myriad of behavioral, mental and social problems.  Any unusual behavior by that child is chalked up to being a foster kid.  They become sullen, withdrawn, perhaps even act out sexually, and it's all chalked up to being a foster or adopted kid with attachment disorders.  Unless the kid makes a disclosure, these behaviors are almost always attributed to other factors.

The children he had living with him as foster and adoptive children are even more perfect prey than the boys with no father figure and no self esteem that he groomed through Second Mile.

This case is finally with the jury.  Unfortunately, no matter the verdict, the atrocities that Jerry Sandusky committed, will never go away.