Friday, April 30, 2010

Crowd Shots - instant terror creating mayhem


Part One

Twenty-two is a killer. I will not use his name because I do not want this to be about his name in my files. I will use his age; I feel he does not deserve to have his name used by me or any other person.

April 20 is a date that many already recognize as a tragic one due to the Columbine shootings 11 years ago. And, too, it’s also Hitler’s birthday.

When I received an email with breaking news of a shooting in Wichita Falls, Texas, I immediately opened it and began reading. Of course the first email was the basic information of the possibility of several wounded in a shooting at local business. I opened a link with their local newspaper and waited for more information, praying as I did that no one had been killed. But, immediate response of the locals with comments was that a female at the bookstore was dead, and a couple posters making comments gave a name. Thankfully, those reports were false. Four women were shot but none at the store that night died because of Twenty-Two’s violence.

Eileen Levy was sitting at a table with a friend discussing God’s impact on their lives when she saw a man with a gun in the store. The man was Twenty-two and he was talking to a female near the door, he raised his gun and pointed it at the woman’s head. Gunfire sounded, people screamed and the woman went down; Eileen and her friend dove to the floor. Eileen injured her knee as she went down but thankfully didn’t sustain any bullet wounds; her friend, Leanna Duran, age 27, sustained gunshot wounds to her left arm and leg as the shooter walked around firing his weapon and spouting the words ‘white power.’ I am hopeful Leanna and Eileen’s belief in God and His love strengthened that night. Eileen is as much an innocent victim of the violence on April 20, 2010 as Leanna. We should remember Leanna Duran and Eileen Levy’s names.

Jade Henderson is a 33-year-old woman; she is from the Aerospace Medical Services at Shepard Air Force Base. Jade sustained bullet wounds to her head and hand. Jade’s choice of career shows she obviously cares for others and is a true American. Her name as an innocent victim of a violent shooter with an irrational idea that patriotism is ‘white power’ domination should be remembered.

Deondra Sauls is a 24-year-old also from Aerospace Medical Services at Shepard Air Force Base and sustained bullet wounds to her right leg. We should remember Deondra as an innocent victim of Twenty-Two’s night of terror. She, too, is obviously someone who cares about the well-being of others and didn’t deserve to become a victim of a lost soul’s violence. No one deserves to be a victim of another person’s fantasy as it becomes reality.

Mia Gant is an employee of the coffee shop and the only Hastings employee wounded that fateful night. Mia is also 22-years-old and sustained bullet wounds in her right hand and shoulder. Mia is the smile customers see as they’re served coffee and we should remember her as an innocent victim of a power trip executed in an act of terror.

The shootings happened quickly, they always do, but for all those who were there, dropping to the floor and trying to protect themselves, it likely felt a lifetime. Each person inside this store will remember this night. Each of the wounded, either from bullet wounds or while diving to safety, will have a road ahead of them with moments of terror still vivid in their minds.

Twenty-two does not need remembering; of course, they have written down his name on police reports and court records of this tragic event but, hopefully, in time people will forget him. Hopefully, we will only remember those who were shot, and the others who were at Hastings Store on April 20, 2010.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Love The Conqueror


When I was a child, I was told that love was powerful, a conqueror; it surpasses the darkness of hatred. Now I ask, if love is so incredibly powerful that it can conquer all, why do we have so many killers and predators of small children in our midst? How do they see love? Do they see themselves as an individual entity with singular knowledge of love that only they can possibly understand its evolution? How is it that so much domestic violence exists? Why is domestic violence so prevalent in the homes of the very people we entrust our safety? Again, I question love being superior; I wonder if it can conquer all the feelings of regret and pain that grasp our heart when we cast ice-laced words and physical pain at those we most value. Can it conquer all the buried needs of our heart as we go about our day, or those harrowing thoughts that render us with a deep sense of helplessness when a loved one is missing or murdered?

After a silent debate, I’ve decided that maybe it can; for love gives us that sensation of good, the warm touch of being needed when we just know a smile is just around the corner. Love can take us to heights of unimaginable reach and bring us back on the soft pillows of gentleness, and contain us through thorns of strife; of the fear with what the future may hold.

What we know as true love cannot heal the physical body, but it can heal the distance and anxieties that such an event possesses; therefore, love can conquer. Love can keep a light in our eyes while taking roots in the deepest recesses as a joy we aspire to prolong, enclosing it in greatness. It can wake us in the morning with a peaceful song of bliss and lull us into rest at day’s end, settling us in the comforting arms of the happiness that we so often crave, conquering our fears.

So, due to love’s infinite power, the family of murdered and battered victims can delve deeper in their inner self and find strength to sit in courtrooms throughout this country while hearing all the horrible evidence of what the accused did to their child, parent, or a sibling. Due to the power of love, families can listen to vilification of their loved ones in court and still move forward with their lives; they know the truth, the love for their loved one is great; it conquers lies. Due to love’s greatness and human resilience we can move on with our lives when dissidence, the non physical pain, moves into our personal relationships; for not all relationships are meant to survive the ‘until death us do part,’ of vows. Due to love’s powerful conquering the abused can find strength to reach out for the safe harbor of freedom from their abuser.

We will always have murderers, domestic abusers, sexual predators, pedophiles and hatred in our country because not all people are good; some allow angry bitterness and violence depict who they are. However, the infiniteness of love is a true conqueror as it builds a solid foundation inside the heart and minds of good people, vanquishing remorse, lies, rejections and hatred, giving us new insight and keeping us strong throughout all our tribulations.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Time's Up - A Book of Distinction


Until Susan Murphy Milano educated us all on the meaning of the term ‘Domestic Abuse,’ and it's long term effect on women and children of the abused, anytime we heard of LE going to a home where a husband and wife were 'arguing,' one slapped the other stuff is the way we viewed it. Marital discord, family spat, heated argument - those were the terms we read and believed was truth in these situations. The incidents were nothing more than a shrug and head shake of ‘shame on them disgust,’ and quickly forgotten.

I read another blog piece on ‘Psychology Today,’ praising this book and the author, Robin Sax, mentioned OJ Simpson. That mention got me to thinking; I can’t remember spouse abuse of any kind being seriously discussed on talk shows before the OJ trial. Before the murder trial, when OJ Simpson beat on Nicole and she called the cops, they basically overlooked and did not really see abuse for what it really was, domestic violence; they saw him as the great football hero, Nicole as the argumentative wife with an attitude. Unfortunately, we saw domestic violence that way throughout the US long before they made Nicole’s abuse public; wives had an attitude and they were just ungrateful. The first question spouses were and, sadly, often still asked is 'What did You do to deserve it?' That question makes my blood pressure rise! In truth, wives do nothing to deserve it! Nobody deserves to be hit or beaten in any way. Now we see 'marital discord' that becomes physical for what it is - Abuse! And it's abuse that could, and too often does, escalate to murder.

Women (and men who are abused) need ‘Time’s Up’. They not only need to read it, to think about their own situations, but need to be proactive and protect themselves and their children from an abuser. I think of Micah Pate, killed in April of 2009, and wonder how often or if she was abused by her husband, Thomas, prior to her murder. He claims accidental shooting but, (and that is a huge but) his story doesn’t add up in my mind. I think Micah could have greatly benefitted from ‘Time’s Up’ and it’s roadmap of advice.

‘Time’s Up’ is the best gift a person can give a friend whom they believe is in an abusive relationship. Teens need this book; teens abusing their girlfriend or boyfriend are more prevalent than many realize. Verbal, emotional and physical abuse is escalating in teens.

To quote Robin Sax - To say that Susan Murphy Milano has hit the nail on the head (again) is a total understatement! How true! That is more than an understatement; Susan has hit the nail dead-center, choreographed a life-saving-roadmap for the abused. No word can adequately express or exemplify how important ‘Time’s Up’ is for victims of abuse.

'Time's Up' is more than a manual, a handbook, it’s more than just another book, it’s a ‘Lifesaver,’ a surefire roadmap chocked full of ways to document evidence and protect yourself; in protecting yourself, you are also protecting your children from a life with an abuser. Hopefully, we will eventually see a copy of ‘Time’s Up’ in every library, every police department, every school, every church and every shelter where those who need help can utilize it and protect themselves from an abuser.

(I hope I haven't infringed on copyrights by using the 'Time's Up' bookcover graphic. If so, I heartily apologize and will be happy to delete)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Stray Bullets and Innocent Children

I signed in today with my emails and the headlines of the first that I opened was of a small child caught in crossfire of a shooting in Brooklyn, New York Sunday, April 11. She is 5-years-old and the bullet penetrated her leg. Her mother saw her baby go down and a fear deeper than anything imaginable gripped her, I’m sure. As the spray of bullets continued, one man saw the child and grabbed her up taking her inside with him.

I do not understand how any person can be so cold and vengeful to shoot into an area where small children are playing outside. The child’s mother said Mimi is now scared to go outside. That is a tragedy. I pray Mimi’s family will seek help for her to overcome her fear.

Two young men were also shot, and fortunately, they didn’t have life-threatening injuries either. Whether or not they were the intended victims, I don’t know. According to the author of the article - Witnesses saw a gunman get out of a silver Nissan before firing. Police believe another man returned fire before both fled the scene.

The number of shootings with little children in the line of fire has increased. Shooters are getting bolder, firing their weapons in daytime where many witnesses can see them. Stopping and exiting their vehicles to do their murdering deeds, walking into malls and shooting into large crowds and putting the lives of our children in danger is a deliberate and horrific act of violence. To rape, beat and murder a child is the act of cowardliness and those who perpetrates the act are uncaring individuals and should go to prison for the rest of their natural lives. I, for one, am sick of reading of stray bullets harming people, especially little children. When a person pulls the trigger of a gun, they are fully aware the bullet can harm and kill someone other than the individual they intended to shoot. The law should not allow child killers the privilege of ever knowing freedom.

I have conflicting feelings with the whole gun issue. I do believe people (law-abiding adults) have the right to own guns. But, how can LE win the battle against guns on the streets in the hands of young people when we read of rights to carry them in bars, malls, and churches are being renewed. This is not the 1800s! The more we make the guns readily available then the more for young people to have access to, and the more killings and shooting by stray bullets of innocent people we’ll read of on a daily basis. Young teens are not legally supposed to have a gun in their possession but that doesn’t mean they can’t get their hands on them. The more violence in the world, seemingly condoned since jail time is so few years, the more young people think the only way to solve problems is by an act of violence.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Rage And Child Abuse


Self doubt can breed the seeds of anger and denial. And as anger fills pits deep inside the soul and rages, it solidifies itself into a wall of unconquerable insecurities, the need to control. I can't comprehend why; all I know is it’s all built around actions and reactions. Usually, it’s an action that breaks through already previously singed crevices. Sadly, the reactions to these self insecurities become harsher and define rage.

Perhaps, the self doubts begin as a fight in the soul and a person becomes frustrated, emotionally distraught? Oh well! Some things are burdens to carry but they are necessary burdens so we can grow and become better persons. We’ve all passed through that ‘what next’ channel but we cannot allow the negatives to become the defining factor in whom we are. And, for it to be used as an excuse, the cause, for people to commit unspeakable violence is unfathomable. It isn’t an excuse! No excuse exists for abusing or taking the life of innocent children.

Our children, all children, are the future of this world. Even as this piece is being read, a child is being abused, severely beaten, raped, or murdered. Think about it. It’s a true sad fact. And, I repeat my belief, absolutely no excuse exists for these despicable actions. No doubts, insecurities, anger nor rages are viable excuses to abuse a child.

Matthew Wayne Lightbody, Jr., of Brick, N.J., has second-degree counts of aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child lodged against him. He let his anger take over common sense and compassion. The child is in critical condition. His precious victim: A nine-month-old female. His excuse - He was playing aggressively with the baby.  (My immediate thought- how can a nine-month-old baby play aggressively?)


Curtis Leon Copeland, of Denton Co., TX asked a neighbor call 911. He told the neighbor a child had fainted. When EMS arrived the child was unresponsive and bleeding. According to doctors, the child had severe head trauma, a broken pelvis and broken thoracic vertebrae. Evidence also suggested he had been sexually abused.

Copeland has been charged with capital murder. His precious victim: a three-year-old boy. His excuse - Mom did it. According to Copeland the mother had advised the child had fallen down a flight of stairs prior to her bring her children to his home. He stated in his police interview that the child was slower than usual, had a bruised eye, and he’d noticed an oval shape bruise on the child’s back when he bathed him. (My immediate thought- not a vulgar word was thought but it's still not repeatable on this blog)


Sharon Nicole Worthy, of Denton Co., TX was charged with injury to a child. She was at the hospital giving birth to her third son when the child was sexually abused and severely beaten. However, she was allegedly present when Curtis Leon Copeland pushed the child in the back and caused him to fall face first onto the floor. Allegedly, Worthy did nothing to protect the child or seek assistance for injuries. Her precious victim: Her three-year-old son. Her excuse: According to the article author, she gave several explanations. (My immediate thought:  Her last name is not a hint that she exemplifies good parenting - more so it's - Is lack of maternal instinct an excuse? )

Worthy has had numerous dealings with the child protective services involving bad parenting due to her abuse and the neglect of her children. Her three children all have different fathers. The victim’s father is currently in prison. Worthy wasn’t supposed to have contact with Copeland because he was a convicted felon and had spent time in prison due to the convictions.


Jamille Hardy of Taylors, S.C., was charged with bodily injury on a child. The child is in critical condition. His precious victim: His four-year-old foster-son. His excuse - The boy wouldn’t eat.

Allegedly, Hardy was trying to get his son to eat his dinner but the boy tried to run away. Hardy said he pushed the child. His foster-son is in critical condition with brain and bodily injuries. (My immediate thought - From being pushed?)

Check the included links for more details on these tragic stories. One is just as appalling as the others.