Sep 11, 2016

September 11th

 This archived post is one that I put up every year at September 11th. It haunts me and inspires me. 9/11 was a huge crime against humanity as well as every victim that died that day. Please read with caution:


While recently researching an article called "The Falling Man"  I came upon two tape recordings of  9-1-1 calls made by two victims trapped in the higher floors of Tower Two which, horrifyingly collapsed in the middle of a call made by one man named Kevin Cosgrove 

The other call was made by a young Mellissa Doi, who also perished in tower two.


The heat from the Planes Fuel weakened the structure and it's floors began to collapse, one on top of the other. 

Mr. Cosgrove was still holding out hope huddled under a desk on the 103rd floor of that tower as it fell inadvertently recording his death as he spoke to the 911 operator.

Fifteen minutes later.. Tower one, the first one to be hit by another Hijacked Plane, collapsed. 

As all of us across the Country watched this unfolding on live TV we were given panned back camera shots of the burning buildings. Still I imagined the horrors we spared from seeing; Close up views of the raw suffering and mayhem happening to the brave souls still trapped within the Towers wouldn't come until later.


Hundreds of First Responders were killed as they rushed into buildings that were hopelessly ensconced in A raging Jet fueled fire. The Firemen trudged up 70-90 flights of stairs, carrying heavy gear dragging  hoses to save the handful of lives that they encountered along the way. Many perished when the  buildings collapsed.

For a year at least as a Country, especially in the Northeast, we banded together in a collective yet unfamiliar connectedness,  borne of this cowardly act of  Terror, something that every one of us was affected by in our own unique way, but for all, in perpetuity:. We would never be the same.

However, amidst the nagging pain and anger evolved another en masse emotion:  PRIDE.

We were proud proud of  both our civilians and the First Responders alike. Fireman, Policeman and other heroes were rampant in rushing to help others. Tugboat captains rushed to get People out of harms way off the island, as there was no other way out - the streets bridges were  not passable.  Ferries loaded with people traversed back and forth. No one knew if more attacks were coming.

Manhattan looked like a war zone and in fact it was. Living in Connecticut I was born in New York City albeit until I was ten years of age, I still feel a native New-Yorker 

Memories and photos of  my sisters and I skating in Rockefeller Center with our father were heavy on my mind. His impressively loud whistle, reserved for hailing cabs which I will always recall the smell of the seats. Trips to Radio City Music Hall all and more are part and parcel of me and always will be.

As nice as Westport Connecticut was, it was not New York City. However, the City's influence being 45t minutes away ran throughout this originally artistic community. Known for its theater artists writers Westport became a teeming Commuter town. The New York City line was barely discernible to many of us, it was a cultural influence even to those who were born and bred in Westport and other Connecticut towns. 



Back to my original article about September 11th. 

I re-post this every year on this Sacred Day. Below is a continuation from the first few paragraphs at the start of this Post where I mentioned how this all began for me, researching the "Falling Man "Article in Esquire Magazine.



Note: These two 911 tapes were instrumental in the Prosecution of  the one sole Terrorist that was arrested for helping plan the attack,  Zacarias Moussaoui . He was completely impassive as the everyone in the Courtroom weeped as they listened. Mrs Cosgrove has allowed the release and she made a victim impact statement also regarding the effects of the loss of her husband on her children's lives. Courageous Woman, I am awed by her strength.

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Not knowing what I would be hearing when I came upon the 911 taped calls I was reluctant but feeling I owed it to the victims, I finally listened to them.

It was excruciating, heartbreaking and  life-changing.

As I listened, I found myself experiencing the physical symptoms that each caller was enduring; the black thick smoke that was choking Mr Cosgrove,  the terrible heat that young Mellisa Doi  kept crying to the operator that she and her coworkers could not escape. They were standing on desks. 


The growing panic fear and frustration of the poor  911 operator was evident as she tried to calm these embattled people she knew were likely to die.  The callers were placated, told that help was coming, but not given any concrete information and communication regarding one open stairwell in tower two was not even known until too late by fire fighters.


Kevin  Cosgrove actually worked at Aon Corporation on the 83rd floor.  But, as designated  Fire official for that Aon office,  he tried to make certain that most of his group of employees evacuated after the North tower was hit. 

He then called his wife and began the descent down the stairs on foot just as the second plane hit the south tower. The explosion and heat smoke drove him right back up now to the higher floors, to the roof - this the where his fire training had always taught him to go in situations like this-   to ascend was one's only hope to the roof, for a helicopter rescue.


Tragically. the roof door was locked, as was the roof-door on the North tower -hundreds of people attempted that same superhuman climb up miles of stairs, many flooded, covered with debris only to discover locked doors.

 The word was that there was no chance that a helicopter landing was possible in either building anyway; they say that the smoke and heat made any rood rescue impassible yet I watched those helicopters and small planes circling those towers and I was sol very frustrated and angry as I imagined the office workers trapped with broken windows and flames behind them, wondering why the rescue helicopters were not attempting to help them?


Perhaps ladders of rope to swing to the broken windows as the copters hovered as close as they possibly could to the buildings.  All I know is there were hundreds of people waving flags sheets shirts and scraps of material climbing down the face of the building, believing that those helicopters were there for a reason, for some kind of rescue...and yet, there was none.


In the meantime Kevin took his exhausted body and climbed back down flights and flights of stairwells by foot, facing growing smoke labored breathing and panic; he must have run into the first office where he spotted other men or voices gathered    It was this office on the Southwest corner facing the financial center that he made his now, infamous 9-1-1 telephone call from.


As one person expressed so aptly, at the end of Kevin Congreve's call  "I found myself not wanting to let go of him."

And like many others who chose listen to these phone calls, they have forever changed my perspective of that terrible day.

Kevin Cosgrove's 9-1-1 call  was one of three used as evidence in the Moussaui trial, and this is why It  has become available to the public via the freedom of information act.


After reading this post in it's entirety if you wish to listen to the tape, I have embedded the most tasteful version that I could find. It has a heart warming biography of Mr Cosgrove's life giving us a real feel for who he was at his very core. A man who desperately wanted to live for his family whom he kept mentioning.
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I must warn all readers that these tapes will be an extremely emotional experience, and it will forever change anyone who listens to it. At first, I regretted having listened to them because they were so upsetting so raw, so real, and much worse than I expected. 

However,  I came to the realization that I should not regret listening and sharing in these two callers pain.

I was bearing witness and thus as every victim of crime needs I along with anyone who listened validated these and all of the victims experience.

It was for me a necessary pain 

A pain that ultimately transformed 911 from a terrible terror based tragedy, to something altogether more more personal, more human more TRUE.



The pain that all of us feel upon hearing these desperate callers describe  the horrific conditions in the towers, their fear over their likely imminent deaths, and the distress in having to leave their families and loved ones,  made us now feel that we knew them. By becoming privy to the most intimate last moments of their lives, this has allowed us to honor their experience without the whitewashed effect of pulled back news camera shots of a burning buildings, thousands of feet in the air.


Even the sudden and awful collapse of the towers into veritable dust bowl, like so much else that happened that day, was somehow surreal when it happened.  It is not that we couldn't and didn't consider the horror of what was likely going on way up where our eyes could not see, it just wasn't in our face and we gratefully took advantage of that kind distance, because really, the horror might have been too much for us at that time.


The voices of the people on these tapes however will be with us forever The people themselves will thus reside in us. 


We carry them now.

I do not suggest listening as voyeurs, but as caring witnesses . We can use the powerful emotions that are triggered in us the empathy,  the pain and even the anger-to bring us to a new level of awareness; about violence, crime, tragedy, justice, Life and death. Hopefully with the help of a higher power, we can then use this awareness wisely and do only positive things with it. These good things shall become the legacy of those who perished that day, victims and heroes all.



When reading the memorial pages of the 911 callers, many people shared that the problems that has seemed so important in their lives prior to listening to Kevin Cosgrove's desperate last minutes on earth, immediately were diminished. And this experience was not a rare thing, in fact a great deal of folks cited this as a turning point in their lives, an appreciation for every hour of every day, marked by the experience of listening to these tapes. Thousands of good people expressed gratitude to Kevin Cosgrove and his family for giving them an opportunity to rethink the value of their lives through his heroism.



 Kevin Cosgrove's Memorial Page 

New messages appear daily from all over the world, more since the 911 tapes were released.  Somehow I am certain that the Cosgrove family reads them, and I only hope that they provide solace to them, knowing that their beloved father husband son and friend, has had such a life-changing impact on so many.


Many people will embrace their daily lives,hours and minutes once taken for granted. Time and again, I read memorial messages from young folks not old enough to grasp the reality of September 11th when it happened but, who share that they've shed their first tears about this tragedy, by listening to Kevin's  final minutes and his his death.



My hope is that we will be more inclined to spend our time ministering,or helping -  people in pain or in need; This is the legacy of  Kevin Cosgrove. There are thousands of people like Kevin who suffered the same pain and so many exhibited bravery and courage we cannot fathom.

May you all rest in God's loving arms Your spirits in eternal comfort,


Mar 27, 2016

Fatal Domestic Violence in Fairfield Connecticut

Domestic Violence crimes statistically pose the most danger to Policeman and women and this Fairfield shooting is indicative of this very kind of danger. In this case the perpetrator was fatally shot and we are left with the usual disbelief of friends and neighbors who often claim that they never saw this side of the man who was abusing his spouse.

The prototypical batterer is very often charming and pleasant in social situations but upon closer scrutiny family members sometimes see signs of abuse whether it is physical emotional or both.

Petit Family Murderer Files Appeal

This was expected, yet it is still infuriating.


Joshua Komisarjevsky files Appeal

Feb 28, 2016

Domestic violence call in Fairfield ends in fatality.


Kathleen and Christopher Andrews from their Facebook page. Photo: Facebook, Contributed Photo / Fairfield Citizen

Statistically speaking, it is police officer who becomes a fatality in Domestic violence calls like this.  Story in Connecticut Post

However in this case the alleged perpetrator, a well liked attorney Christopher Andrews, was fatally shot by the Fairfield Police Department. Very little is known about the shooting other than the fact that Andrews had assaulted his wife and child with a knife and blunt force trauma prior to being shot by visiting police.


More as the case develops.

Dec 12, 2015

A Domestic Violence Stop In Milford Leads To Discovery of Taser gun

Domestic Violence Call Leads to Weapons in a Motor Vehicle Charge: Milford Police
Milford police say at 11 p.m. on Dec. 9 officers investigated a domestic violence call that took place in a motor vehicle in the 1300 block of the Boston Post Road.


Investigation led to the arrest of Tony Jackson, 36, of Deer Meadow Drive in Bloomfield, who was driving the vehicle at the time it was stopped and he was allegedly found to be in possession of a Taser-style stun gun.

Dec 5, 2015

Survivors of San Bernadino Attack Describe Horrific Scene

RIYADH—Supporters of Islamic State carried out the deadly attack in San Bernardino, Calif., that killed 14 people, the militant group said Saturday in an online news bulletin.

In a broadcast on al-Bayan Radio, authenticated by SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors and tracks radical groups online, the group said it considered the two shooters “martyrs.” Islamic State tends to claim a wide range of attacks, though its involvement is often disputed.

Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, are the main suspects in Wednesday’s massacre, which took place at a gathering of county employees, also leaving 21 people wounded.
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The Federal Bureau of Investigation said Friday it was investigating the shooting as a terrorist act.
FBI Director James Comey said the couple had shown signs of adopting radical ideas and “potential inspiration by foreign terrorist organizations.”

Ms. Malik posted a message on Facebook FB 1.72 % pledging allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Islamic State, Mr. Comey said.

Investigators are still looking into the circumstances of how the couple met and what led them to carry out the attack.


A new report from George Washington University's Program on Extremism sheds light on the radicalization of American ISIS supporters. WSJ's Shelby Holliday highlights three key findings.

Mr. Comey said that, so far, there are no indications the two suspects were part of a broader terror cell, and that the two suspects hadn’t been previously on the FBI’s radar.

Mr. Farook was a U.S. native born to Pakistani immigrants. Ms. Malik was a Pakistani national who had formerly lived in Saudi Arabia, where her family moved for work around 25 years ago.
Saudi authorities indicated on Saturday that it was unlikely that the couple had met in the kingdom.
The interior ministry said Mr. Farook made two visits to Saudi Arabia. The first was in June 2014 for nine days to perform umrah—also known as the lesser pilgrimage. The second was for performing the hajj in 2013. He came from the United Arab Emirates, entered the kingdom on Oct. 1 and left on Oct. 20.

Ms. Malik entered Saudi Arabia twice with a Pakistani passport to visit family, a spokesman for the Saudi interior ministry said.

The first visit was in July 2008 coming from Pakistan. She stayed for nine weeks before returning to Pakistan. The second visit was in June 2013, again coming from Pakistan. She entered the kingdom on June 8 and left for India on Oct. 6 before the start of the hajj, according to the Saudi official.

Oct 13, 2015

Get Involved In National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Document the Abuse (documenttheabuse.com) is gearing up awareness campaigns for October  to coincide with National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Campaigns will be launched across all social media channels as well as through outreach to individuals and community organizations.

Pastor Neil Schori of Naperville Christian Church in Naperville, Illinois has developed a campaign that will address the faith-based community and it’s role in assisting victims of intimate partner violence.  (safefaithcommunity.com)

Schori hopes to encourage leaders to become safe havens for victims of abuse and to duplicate what he has set up in his home church.

According to Schori, “Victims often have limited resources available to seek immediate and long-term help when leaving an abusive relationship, especially those considered high risk. We have established a system of counseling and referrals, along with assisting victims in preparing an Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit (EAA), which we intend to bring to other church leaders.”
The EAA was developed during the high-profile disappearance of Stacy Peterson when Schori, who was Peterson’s pastor, was approached by intimate partner violence prevention activist, Susan Murphy-Milano. Together they were able to utilize video equipment in the church, along with Murphy-Milano’s methods, to establish the outlines of the EAA, a notarized testimony containing details to build a better case for prosecution if the need arises.

Detailed instruction is contained in her book, Time’s Up: A Guide on How to Safely Leave and Survive Abusive and Stalking Relationships.

Taking the campaign a step further, the Safe Person Project (safepersonproject.com) was developed as a way to engage individuals to become active supporters of the cause and commit to helping victims with referrals to safety if they see signs of abuse.

Training sessions are available to certify the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit (EAA). Neil Schori will be holding a training at Naperville Christian Church in October, and Sandra Brown, CEO of The Institute for Relational Harm Reduction, will be holding EAA training for mental health professionals on November 11 in Hilton Head, SC. For details or registration, please refer to the TRAINING page at Document the Abuse website.

To become involved in Document the Abuse and it’s October campaign download graphic files from the website to share across social media platforms and use the hashtag #IAmSafe.
Join with others to become a Safe Person during the October campaign, it only takes a minute to take the pledge.

Document the Abuse (documenttheabuse.com) is gearing up awareness campaigns for October  to coincide with National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Campaigns will be launched across all social media channels as well as through outreach to individuals and community organizations.
Pastor Neil Schori of Naperville Christian Church in Naperville, Illinois has developed a campaign that will address the faith-based community and it’s role in assisting victims of intimate partner violence.  (safefaithcommunity.com)

Schori hopes to encourage leaders to become safe havens for victims of abuse and to duplicate what he has set up in his home church.

According to Schori, “Victims often have limited resources available to seek immediate and long-term help when leaving an abusive relationship, especially those considered high risk. We have established a system of counseling and referrals, along with assisting victims in preparing an Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit (EAA), which we intend to bring to other church leaders.”


The EAA was developed during the high-profile disappearance of Stacy Peterson when Schori, who was Peterson’s pastor, was approached by intimate partner violence prevention activist, Susan Murphy-Milano.

Together they were able to utilize video equipment in the church, along with Murphy-Milano’s methods, to establish the outlines of the EAA, a notarized testimony containing details to build a better case for prosecution if the need arises.

Detailed instruction is contained in her book, Time’s Up: A Guide on How to Safely Leave and Survive Abusive and Stalking Relationships.

Taking the campaign a step further, the Safe Person Project (safepersonproject.com) was developed as a way to engage individuals to become active supporters of the cause and commit to helping victims with referrals to safety if they see signs of abuse.

Training sessions are available to certify the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit (EAA). Neil Schori will be holding a training at Naperville Christian Church in October, and Sandra Brown, CEO of The Institute for Relational Harm Reduction, will be holding EAA training for mental health professionals on November 11 in Hilton Head, SC. For details or registration, please refer to the TRAINING page at Document the Abuse website.

To become involved in Document the Abuse and it’s October campaign download graphic files from the website to share across social media platforms and use the hashtag #IAmSafe.

Join with others to become a Safe Person during the October campaign, it only takes a minute to take the pledge.

Sep 12, 2015

Connecticut's Prospective Death Penalty Repeal a Predictable Farce Plays Leap frog over Due Process

If it didn't happen one way, it would happen another.  When the horrifically untimely "Prospective" Death Penalty Repeal was passed by a slim margin in 2012 by the Connecticut Legislature everybody in the know, knew that the men that were sitting on death row in Connecticut when the repeal was passed, would never be put to death.

As all on-board lawyers were happy to point out, historically every other state where Prospective DP Repeals were passed, the very nature of the prospective language held the door was wide open for defense attorneys to argue (successfully) that if the State decided that the death Penalty was cruel and unusual punishment at a particular juncture, then it only followed reason, that it could not and should not, be imposed retrospectively upon their client because ....well basically,' it just wasn't fair.'  Excuse the sarcastic summation, but this is in fact what their arguments boiled down to.

Mike Lawlor, then influential Connecticut Legislator and Co - chair of the Connecticut Judiciary Committee, largely instigated and co-authored the 2012 Repeal bill as well as the new Capital Punishment law that prevailed in it's stead.

Lawlor and his inseparable but substantially less vociferous compatriot, then State Senator Andrew MacDonald, also co-chair of the Judiciary Committee, concurred with Lawlor  that the death penalty had to go because A) Connecticut was one of the "last New England States" to abolish the Death Penalty - the implication being that we were " archaic" behind the times and therefore politically incorrect. Thus the repeal of the death penalty was a foregone conclusion.

Furthermore we were informed by Lawlor and other high profile anti death penalty activists and  lawyer contrarians such as Norm Pattis et al, in every other State whereby the Death Penalty was repealed "prospectively", the aforementioned actual application of said Sentence wound up being tossed out in the higher courts time and again, thus assuring that not one convicted murderer on death row, were ever executed as a result of the repeal regardless of what was sold to the wavering members of the legislature and the citizens of the State at the time.

This is particularly infuriating when one is familiar with the excessively thorough and fair process which the state invariably paid for both sides of, that preceded the rare imposition of an actual death sentence in the State of Connecticut. The bottom line is that whole Juries comprised of our dedicated citizens carefully weighed mitigating and aggravating factors as charged by Judges and found  twelve men deserving of a death Penalty sentence for what were found to be particularly brutal cruel  pre-meditated murders of innocent human beings.

This was the presiding law at the time of these crimes and these men were each afforded their due process and found wanting. They were given this sentence after tremendous amount of evidence and deliberation.

What just transpired within Connecticut's Supreme Court in effect washed away the need for any of those silly time consuming legal arguments also known as due process, albeit fruitless due process with a predictable end result. In this case it was already smugly predicted by a gaggle of indignant Lawyers, Legislators, Anti- Death penalty activists and the Governor's hand picked yes men, one of whom now sits as a Connecticut Supreme Court Justice.

Of course this judicial farce occurred after the Prospective Death Penalty Repeal Bill was passed; at which point those who naively trusted the proponents and authors of the new Capital Punishment bill, as well as our newly appointed Governor who signed it into law, discovered that this "prospective" business was nothing more than a disingenuous farce, a plastic bone thrown to the reluctant legislators who were on the fence (and would not have voted to pass the bill otherwise)as well as something to soften the blow and quell the loud opposition of our State's law abiding citizens, still reeling from a succession of particularly brutal murders, each crime happening because of the ineptitude, ill placed liberalism,  and plainly put - corruption of State's Judicial system.

 While we're on the subject of Lawlor, Macdonald and Company, am I the only one that sees the impropriety of ex-Senator turned Governor Malloy appointed Supreme Court Justice-- Andrew Macdonald, having a crucial and official role in this decision regarding Prospective Death Penalty sentencing?

Macdonald had considerable clout insofar as the State's original tenacious and insistent repeal of the Death Penalty. Indeed he was part of both the concept of abolishment, which at first was officially presented to the public as a money saving measure for a ballooning State Budget - although prior to this, the people of this state that wanted to keep the death penalty as its capital punishment (which repeated Quinnipiac polls proved were a 60-75 percent majority) were en masse chastised for being a blood thirsty and vengeful people and then as it rolled along, the Repeal gathered the usual fare; that it is archaic, that it is inequitably used as a sentence and the like. Oh yeah and then there's that monetarily wasteful part; due to the obscenely ludicrous automatic appeals process that in essence crippled it's actual application. That's the part that they don't generally mention.

In any event Jurist Macdonald should have indeed recused himself from the entire Supreme Court oversight of this already inappropriately designated issue that had no business being heard within the Sacred confines of our States Highest Court having in effect played political leap frog and making a farce of our State's already corrupt and crony - ridden Criminal/Judicial system


Sep 10, 2015

New Book About Petit Family Murders in Cheshire Connecticut Emphasizes Survival Through Herculean Traverse From Evil To Goodness

09_11_Cheshire_02
If hope is the thing with feathers, then dread is the thing with claws. A story like that of the Petit family sinks its talons into you and refuses to let go. “One of the worst crimes in Connecticut history,” as The New York Times called it, was notable neither for a sensational body count nor for brainwashed perpetrators, à la the Manson “family.”

 Only three people died on the night of July 23, 2007, at 300 Sorghum Mill Drive in Cheshire, Connecticut. Car crashes routinely exact a greater toll. Gang violence on the South Side of. Chicago might take five times that number on any summer weekend. But dread is unencumbered by statistics, just as it is immune to reason.

When photos of the victims appeared on television screens the night after the crime, many Americans saw slightly better versions of themselves. The Petits—an endocrinologist and his nurse wife—were well-off but not rich, good-looking but not striking. Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, was starting to show her age; Dr. William Petit Jr., 50, could lose some weight.

Their house, two beige stories in the colonial style, was no gaudy McMansion of a Wall Street derivatives baron. Their daughters were next-doorish, their smiles for the camera always properly awkward, as befitting that more innocent era before duckface. Hayley, 17, was going to attend Dartmouth. Michaela, 11, liked Rachael Ray. If their lives could be so thoroughly rent apart, then so could yours. So could anyone’s.

The two men who intruded on the Petits’ blissfully average existence were Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky. They too, in a sense, were average, at least as far as criminality was concerned. They weren’t people-hurters but, rather, stuff-takers. They dealt drugs and took drugs. They were, until that night, two down-and-out white guys in a state with some of the richest white people in the nation. They later said they thought the robbery at 300 Sorghum Mill Drive would be a simple transaction, conducted with minimal violence.

Arriving at the Petit house a little before 3 a.m., they went around back and found Dr. Petit asleep in the sunroom, where he had been reading reports for work. Komisarjevsky beat the doctor over the head with a baseball bat. The doctor awoke, horribly confused. The two men tied him up. Later, they took Petit down to the basement, where they bound him to a pipe. Komisarjevsky propped him up on some pillows. He presumably did not want the doctor, who was bleeding, to be uncomfortable.
Upstairs, Michaela was in bed next to her mother, having fallen asleep while reading a Harry Potter novel. Hayley was snoozing in her own bed. All three women were bound, and pillowcases were put over their heads.

Hayes and Komisarjevsky spent the next several hours looking for valuables and cash, without finding much of anything. By morning, they were frustrated. Around 9 a.m., Hayes took Jennifer Hawke-Petit to a Bank of America branch, where she withdrew $15,000. In the midst of doing so, she was able to alert a bank teller. The teller told a manager, who called the police.
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That first call came at 9:21 a.m. “We have a lady who is in our bank right now who says that her husband and children are being held at their house,” the manager said, adding that the woman who withdrew the exorbitantly large sum appeared to be “petrified.”

Police did not intercept Hayes, who drove away from the bank with Hawke-Petit. Maybe if he were a little smarter, he would have left Hawke-Petit on some stretch of suburban road and fled, $15,000 in his pocket. But instead of bolting, he dutifully returned to 300 Sorghum Mill Drive and discovered that while he had been at the bank, Komisarjevsky had performed oral sex on Michaela, an act he captured on his cellphone.

Hayes later testified that Komisarjevsky ordered him to “square things up” by raping Hawke-Petit, which he did on the living room floor.

It remains unexplained why, as the police circled the house at 300 Sorghum Mill Drive, nobody even thought to knock on the door, ring the bell, just call the house phone. Something so simple could have saved three lives.

At 9:51 a.m., a bloodied Dr. Petit emerged from the basement. His feet still bound, he rolled across the lawn toward the house of a neighbor, who emerged in confusion, not recognizing the bloodied form before him. A police officer also approached.

“The girls are in the house!” Dr. Petit shouted.

The exact sequence of events is unclear, but it seems that, in quick succession, Dr. Petit escaped from the basement and Hayes strangled Hawke-Petit in response. Then the two men doused the house in gasoline, in hasty preparation for a gruesome final act they had not known they were about to stage.

Both men later said the other lit the match.

At 9:56 a.m., Hayes and Komisarjevsky burst out of 300 Sorghum Mill Drive. They tried to drive away in the Petits’ SUV but rammed a police vehicle and were quickly apprehended. The Petit house, meanwhile, burned as a summer rain fell on Cheshire.

By the time firefighters made it inside, there was nobody left to save. Michaela had died of smoke inhalation in her bed while Hayley managed to free herself, only to succumb to fire and smoke at the top of the staircase.

In the eight years since the crime, the two killers and the night’s lone survivor have spoken haltingly and contradictorily to the press, so that some of the most fundamental questions about 7/23/07 remain unanswered.

The most recent entry in this morbid oeuvre is The Rising: Murder, Heartbreak, and the Power of Human Resilience in an American Town by magazine writer and editor Ryan D’Agostino. The book is notable for its access to Dr. Petit, who has remarried and become a father again.

Komisarjevsky, who was 26 at the time of the murders, gave his version of events to true-crime writer Brian McDonald for his 2009 book In the Middle of the Night: The Shocking True Story of a Family Killed in Cold Blood.

McDonald allegedly paid Komisarjevsky $300 for his story and in the course of visiting and corresponding with him, appears to have been charmed by the killer. McDonald’s affection for “Joshua” is almost as creepy as “Joshua” himself.

Two years ago came an HBO documentary, The Cheshire Murders, which was the first time many outside Connecticut saw images of the crime: the charred remains of the Petit house, baby photos of the girls, jerky security camera footage of Hawke-Petit at the bank, looking like an average suburban mother, which is exactly what she had been until the previous night. “People in town refer to it as ‘Cheshire’s 9/11,’” a friend of the Petits says in the HBO documentary. “Life was one way, and then it’s another.”

The pairing of Komisarjevsky and Hayes would have been comical, were it not so horrible. The duo were a malevolent Quixote and Panza, transplanted from dusty Spain to Connecticut, a state of silent factories, hedge fund mansions and strip malls, rivaled only by New Jersey in its juxtapositions between wealth and poverty.

Steven J. Hayes was a pudgy crack addict who could barely mastermind a ham sandwich. As a child, he was abused by a baby sitter, which a forensic psychiatrist would later testify led him to develop a sneaker fetish. His two brothers, both of whom appear in The Cheshire Murders, show an arresting absence of compassion for their sibling, their bloodlust at once deeply personal and utterly dispassionate.

“Fuck the trial,” says Matthew Hayes. “Flip the switch.”

“I hope it doesn’t even go that far,” says Brian Hayes. “I hope somebody puts a bullet in his head outside the courtroom.”

Hayes was an adolescent when he started drinking and smoking weed. He was first arrested at 16; by the time of the Cheshire murders, when he has 44, Hayes had been in jail or prison on 26 separate occasions, mostly for minor stuff that portended no murderous intent.

This was a guy who prowled the parking lots of parks, looking for cars in which joggers or walkers had left purses or wallets. When he wasn’t stealing or doing time for stealing, he worked in restaurants.

Joshua Komisarjevsky is the more intriguing of the two, a kid with money and looks who never managed to trade on either. He was adopted at birth by a family that, on the paternal side, boasted both White Russians and New England blue-bloods.

His adoptive grandfather was Theodore Komisarjevsky, one of the preeminent figures of belle époque Russian theater. After Theodore Komisarjevsky died, his widow, Ernestine Stodelle, a dancer, married John Chamberlain, a Yale man who wrote for The New York Times. A good deal of Joshua Komisarjevsky’s childhood was spent on Chamberlain’s 65-acre Cheshire estate.

Komisarjevsky’s adoptive father, Benedict, was an electrician, while his mother was a school librarian; both parents were devout Baptists who sometimes spoke in tongues. As a child, Komisarjevsky was diagnosed as having oppositional defiant disorder. He was abused by an adoptive brother and, later, abused an adoptive sister. His mother pulled him out of school and educated him at home and, for a time, at a Christian academy.

Whether out of boredom or psychic distress, Komisarjevsky started to come apart around the time he turned 14. His mother later said he came under the influence of a “satanic cult,” though it may have been only some local hooligans.

Whatever the case, “he was breaking into an average of eight houses a week in Cheshire” by 1994, according to McDonald. “There was something sexual about the act of burglarizing houses for Joshua.” The following year came the death of his grandfather, Chamberlain, whom Komisarjevsky would call “one of the most pervasively inspiring role models of my life.”

 Shortly thereafter, Komisarjevsky was sent to a psychiatric hospital, after what appears to have been a suicide attempt.But, as McDonald wrote, his parents were distrustful of psychiatric medicine: “For the Komisarjevskys, Jesus Christ was the answer to their son’s problems.”

They sent him to a religious camp in Maine where he’d previously spent summers. He toured with a Christian music group, which proved a happy time, maybe the happiest time.

 Back in Connecticut, he joined the Army Reserves, less out of duty than as a way to escape jail (stolen sneakers, concealed knife). He wanted to become a sniper, but he left after basic training and drifted, once again, back to Connecticut.

There, he dealt drugs and used drugs. “He was out of money,” McDonald wrote, “and had very few friends.”

In 2006, both men were at a halfway house in Hartford. The narrative of ablution and renewal must have been, to them, both familiar and preposterous, an official fairy tale meant to pacify castaways. In Connecticut, an ancient colony of Puritans, there were some who had clearly been blessed by that severe and silent God, graced by good things from birth. Others, though, languished in the shadows, mired in some cosmic disfavor they could not escape.

If there is a sacrosanct ritual in American civic life shared by all constituencies, ethnic and otherwise, then it is surely the visit to the supermarket: the selection of cereals, the palpation of produce, the bored gazes at celebrity tabloids and dieting magazines in the checkout line. It was outside just such a temple of culinary commerce, in the Stop & Shop parking lot, that Komisarjevsky noticed Hawke-Petit and Michaela, a budding gourmand who wanted to pick up some groceries for the pasta dinner she was going to make that night. He waited for them to emerge and followed them home.

Komisarjevsky later told detectives that he “started thinking it's a very nice house and very nice car and thought it would be nice to be there someday.” Note that his main desire, at least here, was to simply occupy the Petit household. It’s like he wanted to be adopted all over again.


That evening, Hayes and Komisarjevsky met up in the same Stop & Shop parking lot. They went for “a few beers” at Sports Rock USA in Bristol, according to McDonald’s book. They considered mugging people leaving bars or withdrawing money from ATMs, but these both seemed insufficient means of enrichment.

So they drove to the very nice house Komisarjevsky had seen earlier that day. It was now nearly three hours past midnight. At 300 Sorghum Mill Drive, they went around the back, where Dr. Petit was sleeping in the sunroom.


“I hit him in the head with the baseball bat,” Komisarjevsky told the cops the following day, until a bewildered and bellowing Dr. Petit “finally backed up into the corner of the couch and quieted down and was just staring at me with wide open eyes, just sheer confusion.” They tied him up and proceeded upstairs, where the Hawke-Petit and the girls were sleeping.

A few years ago, you could listen to a confession like the one Komisarjevsky made only if you wrote letters and made phone calls, pestering the cops and courts until they finally relented, though probably not without calling you a voyeuristic creep.

Today, you can hear the roughly 90-minute audio recording of the confession on YouTube, the screen filled with a mug shot in which Komisarjevsky looks like a kid still too drunk to know where he has woken up. Whether you should listen to that confession is a complicated question. The recording proved so unnerving when played in court that the judge excused the jury for the day partway through. So caveat emptor.

It’s not that Komisarjevsky offers especially gruesome detail; nor does he have a psychopath’s equanimity, a chilly lack of affect. He sounds, instead, like a freshman in the principal’s office, aware that he has fucked up big time but still confident in his innate goodness and, maybe, his ability to get out of this very large pickle. He is definitely a killer, but he is just as definitely a child: “Obviously, I should have done better.”


In The Rising, D’Agostino argues against any such aspersion. He is not the first to speak on the record with Petit, who has been interviewed by Oprah Winfrey and others. But in the book, he gives an apparently full detailing of that night. D’Agostino wrote that Petit, who was taking a blood thinner at the time, “had lost seven pints of blood [and] thought the two able-bodied men upstairs had a loaded gun.” D’Agostino describes Petit as “almost lifeless” as paramedics rushed him to a hospital in Waterbury.


Somewhat improbably, The Rising, a book about a triple murder, ends on a happy note: Petit is once again a father and a husband, “trying to add bricks and mortar to his new life, a little more every day,” in D’Agostino’s words. Petit sought—and got—the death penalty for both men (although the state’s highest court recently ruled against capital punishment, effectively relegating both men to life in prison). He also started a charitable foundation commemorating his wife and daughters, which he continues to run today.

The best true-crime books—Fatal Vision, Helter Skelter, The Onion Field—hit with a nihilistic thunderclap. Petit’s survival tempers that blow, introducing the discordant element of hope. On television during the trials of Komisarjevsky and Hayes, Petit, with his graying mane and plangent voice, looked the part of a modern-day Lear: deposed, injured, furious at fate yet refusing to surrender his fundamental dignity.

Some in the state’s Republican establishment wanted him to run for office, but Petit refused, citing a desire to spend time with his family. It was his second family. He knew it could be taken away, just like his first.

Newsweek Aug 30 2015

Note: As many of you may know I've written about the Petit Murders and the accompanying trials extensively. I've got my own Post coming regarding  the book and my experiences hearing about and writing about these crimes. An entire state and indeed country and beyond were devastated by these crimes and the aftermath. I am comforted by the tremendous amount of good that has come from the evil that precipitated the murders of three beloved people. 

Aug 4, 2015

The dangers of turning police officers into revenue generators.





In April, several days after North Charleston, South Carolina, police officer Michael Slager stopped Walter Scott for a busted taillight and then fatally shot him, the usual cable-news transmogrification of    victim into superpredator ran into problems.

The dash cam showed Scott being pulled over while traveling at a nerdy rate of speed, using his left turn signal to pull into a parking lot and having an amiable conversation with Slager until he realized he'd probably get popped for nonpayment of child support.

At which point he bolted out of the car and hobbled off. Slager then shot him. Why didn't the cop just jog up and grab him? Calling what the obese 50-year-old Scott was doing "running" really stretches the bounds of literary license

But maybe the question to ask is: Why did Scott run? The answer came when the New York Times revealed Scott to be a man of modest means trapped in an exhausting hamster wheel: He would get a low-paying job, make some child support payments, fall behind on them, get fined, miss a payment, get jailed for a few weeks, lose that job due to absence, and then start over at a lower-paying job. From all apparent evidence, he was a decent schlub trying to make things work in a system engineered to make his life miserable and recast his best efforts as criminal behavior.


Recently, two more deaths of African Americans that have blown up in the media follow a pattern similar to Scott's. Sandra Bland in Texas and Samuel DuBose in Cincinnati were each stopped for minor traffic infractions (failing to use turn signal, missing front license plate), followed by immediate escalation by the officer into rage, and then an official story that is obviously contradicted by the video (that the officer tried to "de-escalate" the tension with Bland; that the officer was dragged by DuBose's car). In both cases, the perpetrator of a minor traffic offense died.  Continued


Aug 1, 2015

Human Trafficking 30 Million Dollar Industry - Suffering Immeasurable




Men, women, and children are sold into a $150 billion annual market for sex and labor. This is happening globally, and domestically; in urban and suburban areas; in hotels, restaurants, and on street corners. Slavery is wrapped up in almost every industry’s supply chain, tainting the food we eat, the clothes we buy, and the electronics we love. After the international drug trade, trafficking of humans is tied with arms dealing as the second- largest criminal industry in the world. Human trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation

Sex trafficking is often highlighted in the media but is not the primary form of modern-day slavery. Using coercion, violence and deception, labor traffickers force victims to work against their will in industries that range from small mom-and-pop shops to enormous mineral extraction camps for commodities such as gold. Some individuals enter into work agreements willingly but accrue enormous debt to the trafficker in the form of food, shelter, documentation, and travel fees. The traffickers inflate these costs and tack on enormous interest rates that condemn their new hires to a life of underpaid labor or slavery.


 Victims of sex trafficking are forced to work in the commercial sex trade against their will. Physical and emotional violence is an intrinsic part of this industry, which preys on individuals in conditions of physical, economic, and psychological vulnerability. To keep them working, victims are threatened, lied to, and beaten by traffickers and pimps, who control their money. This practice exists within all sectors of the sex industry, including street prostitution, strip clubs, residential brothels, pornography stores and massage parlors.

C.S.E.C is the sexual abuse of a minor for economic gain. The majority of child victims come from environments of extreme instability, and most have suffered sexual abuse prior to their commercial exploitation. Homeless and street youth, or those facing food and shelter insecurities are also easy targets.

Traffickers can be strangers or acquaintances, family members or friends. The economic, physical and social vulnerability of most victims makes them easy prey for traffickers, who lure them in with promises for a chance at a better life. Many come from the same country or cultural background as their victims, enabling them to easily exploit the particular vulnerabilities of their targets. Other traffickers employ violence to kidnap and maintain control over their victims. There is abundant money to be made, soaring demand and little risk due to difficulties in identification of the crime. A high burden of proof for legal teams lowers the barrier of entry for the men and women who profit from human trafficking.
Why does modern-day slavery exist?

Because there is skyrocketing demand

Consumer demand for cheap products, labor and services is enormous. In the commercial sex industry business is booming. Traffickers can work in virtually every country around the world and move to wherever the greatest profit can be extracted. Their prime recruitment zones shift rapidly to best exploit opportunities. Combating the crime is complicated. Its covert nature coupled with improperly trained government and civic bodies, corruption and lax enforcement of laws and statutes create the perception of low risk for traffickers.


Dear friends, In the past three months, the remains of dozens of victims of human trafficking have been uncovered in jungle camps in Malaysia and Thailand. These gruesome discoveries are painful reminders of the reality of modern-day slavery in Southeast Asia and around the world. Sadly, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are more than 30 million people enslaved today — and, as the U.S. State Department’s new Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report shows, the international community is not doing nearly enough to fight it. The countries ranking among the worst offenders for human trafficking in the latest TIP report include Thailand, Belarus, North Korea and Iran. Malaysia, surprisingly, was removed from its place in the lowest rung of the TIP report. I urge you to join me in using today — World Day Against Trafficking in Persons — as an opportunity to raise your voice against modern-day slavery. Please join me in the fight by learning more, spreading the word, and supporting survivors of human trafficking. You can play an important part in ending modern slavery at home and overseas. Please Help. Not For Sale Campaign

Jul 20, 2015

Petit Family Foundation 5K Road Race Big Success


Close to 1,500 people lined up to run and walk in the GE 5K road race supporting the Petit Family Foundation on Sunday.

Karen Patane had never raced before, but she decided a year ago she wanted to train for this race.
“I really wanted this one. This was on my bucket list to learn to run. The cause, it’s wonderful. 5K’s when you have a charity behind them, they bring something special,” said Patane.

She started training a year ago. Sunday, she finally reached her goal as she crossed the finish line. Patane doesn’t know the Petit family personally, but she knows their story.

“They’ve come through and made something wonderful out of a horrible tragedy,” said Patane.
In 2007, Doctor William Petit lost his wife, Jennifer and two daughters, Hayley and Michaela in a violent home invasion in Cheshire. The following year, the inaugural race was held and it’s been growing ever since.
“The turnout and everything they do is just so wonderful for the community,” Jan Campbell, of New Milford, said.

Race director Bob Hesline added, “It touches my heart every year to do this. It’s a personal thing.”
By the end of 2015, the Petit Family Foundation will have raised $2 million for charity, half of that coming through the 5K race over the past eight years. The rest was raised through the annual golf tournament.
“It’s really been a team effort with the community and the region reaching out to help other people,” Dr. Petit said.

He chose charities that were close to his family's heart. The first is education for women in science, because his daughter Hayley wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a doctor. Money is also donated toward MS education, which his late wife suffered from. The final piece of the foundation is money to support those affected by violence.

“Obviously this was devastating violence and violence affects many people with a ripple out to the communities, so we thought helping people affected by violence was critical,” said Dr. Petit.
Dr. Petit hopes his family's legacy will live on as he turns a personal tragedy into change.

Jul 11, 2015

Petit Family Road Race Is Here Again!

"Be The Change"
GE Pasta Dinner on Saturday, July 18th
GE 5k Road Race on Sunday, July 19th




info@petitfamilyfoundation.org     |     860.479.1436     |     www.petitfamilyfoundation.org



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Jun 29, 2015

Michaela Petit Inspires New State Flower



Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has signed legislation to honor Michaela Petit's life by establishing a children's state flower in her name.

The 11-year-old Cheshire girl and her 48-year-old mother and 17-year-old sister were murdered in a shocking home invasion in July 2007.


Michaela also coined the Petit Family Foundation's "Be the Change" Mantra, via her Favorite quote on Facebook which was " You must be the Change that you wish to see in the world"

These words were originally spoken by Mahatma Gandhi, and came to the attention of the State and far beyond when it was discovered that at a mere eleven years old Michaela Petit had the sensitivity idealism and kindness of a much older soul.

The www.Petitfamilyfoundation.org is a non profit organization that was formed in the wake of the home invasion that took Michaela her sister Hayley and her mother Jennifer's lives in July 2007.

P.F.F sponsors many now annual events that benefit victims violent crime people suffering with chronic illness such as Multiple sclerosis as well as giving scholarships to girls and women especially in medicine and the sciences. Lone survivor Dr.William  Petit was an endocrinologist, his wife Jennifer a pediatric nurse and Hayley was about to enter her first year of school at Dartmouth where she was planning to be a doctor like her dad.

Jun 24, 2015

Milford Police Officer's Death Ruled A Suicide


 The Milford Police Department received notification from the State of Connecticut Medical Examiner’s Office Monday afternoon regarding the cause of death in the investigation of the death of off-duty Milford police officer Michael Compare.


“It was determined that Michael Compare died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. On behalf of Chief Keith L. Mello and the Milford Police Department, this day is a tragic loss for the family; friends and community Michael belonged to and so proudly served. We thank you for your kind words and support regarding Michael. Michael will be greatly missed,” the Police Department said in a statement.

Jun 23, 2015

Great Program and Website for Cessation of interpersonal Violence

 

.Futures without violence 

Transforming Men and Boys to End Violence Against Women

Title: Transforming Men and Boys to End Violence Against Women
Date Recorded: Thursday, May 7th, 2015
Description: As we develop a deeper and more complex understanding of the underlying root causes of violence against women and children, we have been challenged to examine our current approaches to engaging with men and boys. Understanding male socialization and the history of childhood exposure to violence and trauma is critical to our ability to develop prevention and intervention responses that are humanistic & compassionate and don’t minimize responsibility. Our presenters share their passion for creating change, taking risks and believing in the possibility of healing and transformation for all.
Learning Objectives:
  1. Expand our understanding of the broader impact of male socialization and trauma on women, men and children.
  2. Increase knowledge and techniques for applying a compassion and accountability framework to engaging with men and boys.
  3. Explore promising multicultural intervention and prevention approaches to engaging with men and boys.
Speakers:
  • Juan Carlos Areàn, Director of the National Latin@ Network for Healthy Families and Communities, a project of Casa de Esperanza
  • Erik Bringswhite, Youth Consultant, Motivational Speaker, Trainer, Community Engagement, Youth and Adult Diversion
  • Terri Strodthoff, Founder and Executive Director, Alma Center, Inc.
  • Sam Simmons, SAFE Families Manager, Be More Project and Healing Generations