Aug 29, 2008

A Sobering comment Re Crimes against Children

The italisized essay below was found on this blog
within the comments section:

And although it may sound a bit dramatic, I agree with much of what "ME Stern" is saying here.

I know that we have always had predators in this world, particularly child predators, as I remember well being warned about them as a little girl. However, like ME Stern, I have been noticing an incredible surge in violent crimes involving children in sheer number, as well as the degree of depravity and violence.
We must put more collective energy and attention into this grave issue. This starts on an individual level; no more hiding our heads in the sand about this tough subject.

Children, the elderly, women and Pets are often targets of abuse because they are usually physically and sometimes emotionally weaker; This makes them vulnerable to those that would predate. Remember,the ultimate desire of predators is control. This is the very same dynamic that is often at the core of partner violence.

I propose that if we begin to change the way that we view all kinds of abuse, we will slowly change the way that everyone around us sees it and handles it. And by talking about it amongst ourselves as well as bringing it into the public forum, we begin to demystify it.
This is the first step to awareness and change.

M.E. Stern said;

"When I come across evil things such as this -- I try to "intellectualize" it in my mind, so I can feel better if at all possible. Yet, I simply can't. I am not a particularly religious person, but I have now come to believe what some people have said. And that is that now evil forces of the universe have somehow come to dominate over the opposite good forces. I don't think it is just as simple as, "oh he is a sick man." I think there is a larger energy field out there that is wreaking havoc notably on children. Also disturbing to me is that I often look for parallel behavior in the world of nature / other animals. And somehow if I see that an analagous thing happens "naturally," I am somewhat comforted. Yet even when, say, a baby lion cub is eaten by a hungry predator it it NOT an act of deliberate evil, it is better thought of as a hungry animal eating available and appropriate food. The perp's actions against this innocent child have no analogy in nature! I am saddened, angered, disgusted and worried for children today."

Aug 27, 2008

Death penalty for Joseph Duncan for kidnapped, murdered Idaho boy

May this sentence be carried out swiftly for the sake of the families involved.

Death for man who kidnapped, murdered Idaho boy

Child-killer eligible for death says Jury after hearing horrific details of kidnapping

Nearly four years ago in Coure de lene Idaho, a paroled and out on bail convicted child rapist decided to stalk and kill Brenda Groene, her fiancee Mark mckenzie and 13 year old son Slade Groene in a brutal home invasion committed for the sole purpose of kidnapping 8 yr old shasta and 9 year old Dylan for the purpose of sadistic pedophilia.

After murdering the three family members, Joseph Duncan kidnapped the two small children and brought them over state lines deep into the lolo forest where he moved from campground to campgrouns torturing and molesting the children or 7 weeks, culminating in the shooting murder of little Dylan Groene-in front of his sister Shasta.

Approximately one week after killing and disposing of little Dylans body (bits of bones were all that remained for criminologists after Duncan purportedly burned the childs body "all day and night" in a bonfire at one of the campsites) Duncan inexplicably returned to Cour de lene, the town of the original murders and shasta's home, with little Shasta alive , in tow.
He tolld shasta that he was returning her to her father because she quote" taught him how to love" and he would later turn himself in to police. However, he has since admitted to manipulating and lying to shasta throughout her entire ordeal as the situation called for-in order to gain "her compliance" tand thus we have no way of knowing what Mr Duncan actually had planned Next for Shasta or himself .
Fortunately, thanks to the sharp eyes of Dennys waitress Amber dean, whatever his plans were they became moot shasta was recognized as the two ate a meal at a local Dennys restaurant, in the wee hours of the morning-they quickly called 911- and Duncan was arrested without incident and shasta began to tell her tale of terror to police.

The murder trial for Brenda, Slade and Mark Mckenzie took two years to begin, and ended 6 months later when Duncan agreed to plead guilty to murdering the two adults and 13 year old Slade by bludgeoning them all to death with a claw hammer, this after tying them hand and foot in their family home. For this plea deal He recieved three life sentences with the stipulation that if he did not receive the death penalthy in the sepearte trial for the kidnappings of shasta and murder of Dylan, that he may still be sentenced to death for the first 3 murders- Legal wrangling that very few of us understood.

The second trial for the kidnappings, sexual assaults and subseqent murder of little Dylan was once again delayed incessently by the defense, and a seemingly intimidated judge allowed it, citing as reason his reluctance to inadvertantly providing ammunition for a later mistrial, thereby relenting to each and every stalling tactic.

The stalling was in effect rendered moot when Duncan pled guilty to all of the charges against him seemingly out of nowhere, which led us all to breathe a collective sigh of relief that at least little Shasta now 10 would not be forced to live through the ordeal of testifying against her tormentor in a long and traumatizing trial. However this still left the sentencing portion of what was a death penalty case, and this finally began last week after another long delay, this one caused when Duncan decided to fire his court appointed attorneys and represent himself.
The Judge, again treading carefully lest a legal mistep were to be found cause for re-0trying the whole case-something that he expressed on more than one occasion. insisted upon a battery of phsychiatric tests to determine if josph duncan was capable of representing himself in a court of law.
7 months later he was finally approved by a myriad of psychiatrists as mentally competent to represent himself in the sentencing trial. The judge ordered duncans attorneys to act as back up counsel for duncan, providing advice and direction if needed. Another delay was side-stepped when both attorneys tried to refuse the judges order-they were in effect admonished by the judge who said that he simply would not tolerate any more delays in this proceeding, and the attorneys would be found in contempt if they tried to bail out now.

I have been following this case since it first happened.
I wept when I read about the brutal murders of shasta's mom, her step-dad to be and 13 year old brother Slade; I joined the thousands of people accross the country praying for the safe return of Shasta and Dylan, despite the abysmal outlook for just such a miracle, considering the clearly psychopathic M.O of the person that abducted them.

Then, almost 2 months later, Shasta was found...alive- although little Dylan was feared dead and a terrible 3 or 4 long days later, forensics validated the tragic news. I remember watching the video footage of little shasta walking into that convienence store, so clearly within that monsters pyschological grip, yet with her little arms folded protectively across herself, telling it all.
That image still haunts the recesses of my mind.

I also can see the heart wrenching photo of Shasta, at the hospital, smiling a shy smile and hugging a little doll, when she was first reunited with her dad, Steve Groene, a man who I'd previously seen speaking on many news channels, pleading with whomever had his children to Please return them safely..please.

This courageous little girl has somehow managed to heal enough to return to school, her old gradeschool in fact, a choice that she insisted upon when given the option of attending a different school, so that she might avoid having to explain her ordeal to curious friends and classmates.

Shasta now 11, is reportedly faring better than anyone could have ever expected. She has developed a love of horses and now rides regularly. She also enjoys riding on the back of her dads custom harley, a bike that was recently made especially for them, with a custom back seat and her brother Slade and Dylans names painted on the side.

It has not been an easy time for Shasta -She had had to deal with life challenges beyond the already mind boggling crimes of which she was made victim; For a time she and her dad experienced near homelessness and life threatening illness. Steve groene, diagnosed with throat cancer just months after shasta's return, had fallen upon hard times due to his inability to work and mounting medical costs from chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Ultimately he lost his voicebox to the disease but managed to survive, seemingly out of sheer determination to not leave Shasta parentless. particularly throughout the upcoming trial which would surely requite shastas expert testimony.\

. Fortunately, the people of Cour de lene rose to the situation and threw in together to build a new house for Shasta and her ailing dad. The home is in Shasta's name and she will inherit it fully paid for, upon her 21st birthday. Considering that the people of cour de lene and the surrounding area are mostly hard working blue collar folks, this makes thier genorousity even more meaningful, as they will surely do without themselves in the process of helping this family.

I can recall reading about how shasta's expert recollection of the details of her kidnapping helped aid the police, FBI and prosecutors in making thier case strong against Jospeh Duncan.
I prayed that she would somehow be spared having to face this despicable man in a court room in order for him to be convicted and given the sentence that he so richly deserved.
It looks like my prayers and others have been answered.

Let us hope that the final results of this trial give at least a modicum of justice to Shasta, Dylan, Slade and the entire Groene family...

child-killer may get death jury says -

Aug 26, 2008

A Public at Risk

A very good article about the serious problem of over paroled and probated repeat offenders and the hundreds of people needlessly victimized each year as a result.

The article focuses largely on the parole/probation crisis occurring within the state of South Carolina, and it is published in a local SC paper-However, it covers the issue as it it currently clearly exists in several states, including Connecticut, where clearly many parallel sentencing issues still require the critical attention and ministerings of State government and the Judiciary.

Charleston, SC Latest Local News: A Public at Risk

Aug 19, 2008

Self Defense for Women against Choke attack...

This link will bring you to a short video on defending ones-self against a choke type of attack where the victim is backed up against a wall.
The video is made by a company called self defense for -I have found this site a substantial source for self defense methods for women in real life threatening situations.

Please watch it, practice with a friend and remember; a high percentage of both partner and stranger violence starts with a choke style grab and/or with the woman backed up against a wall.
Be aware and be prepared.

Aug 11, 2008

Join The Million Voices Campaign to End Domestic Violence

Hi All...
Please join "The million voices to end domestic violence" by following this link and signing
It's a small but important committment...
And/or Donate to NDVH (National Domestic Violence Hotline)
OR..Volunteer your time, it is a precious resource and can help save lives.
Either way, please get involved!
3 out of 5 women and teenage girls in the U.S will experience Intimate or domestic violence within their lifetime. For some, it will be fatal.

Aug 1, 2008

Warning Signs of Abusive Relationship

The link above brings you to the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence website and a list of the warning signs of abusive relationships.

This next link brings you to website called It is a teen dating violence prevention site, and includes a live web based helpline for teens as well as a new 1 800 phone line for teens who need help with dating violence issues. The national hotline is (866) 331 9474

This information is for important for anyone who thinks that they might be in an abusive relationship as well family friends co-workers of someone that we suspect might be in such a situation.

Everyone should become familiar with the signs of abusive behavior and this includes teenagers of dating age. And while this may seem premature to some parents, it truly isn't; teen dating violence is on the rise in the U.S, and as long as our youth are dating at younger ages, this information needs to become common knowledge. I cannot stress this enough-These seeds planted early in life will help save lives in the future. Knowledge and awareness equals power. We will be in effect preemptively reducing partner violence by facing it head on.

In most cases of abusive relationships, it is statistically girls and women who are most vulnerable, although boys/men can be abused as well . As such, we must familiarize our girls with the basic tenets of abuse- What it is, how we know if its happening, the hallmarks of the abusive personality and what to do about it if it is happening to us or someone that we know.

Most often physical abuse is preceded by emotional and/or verbal abuse-Sometimes the person will verbally abuse their partner in front of others, but many times, they do so in private, relying on an acceptable respectable facade in front of others.
This is the most dangerous type of abuser, as he is showing the propensity for deceitfulness and manipulation, hallmarks of sociopathic behavior, which according to the DSM, (diagnostic statistical manual), is termed "conduct disorder" when it begins before the age of 17.
It is usually a precursor to full blown sociopath status by the time the child/teen becomes an adult.

Sociopaths are predators and we need our young people to identify and avoid such people at all costs. This isn't often easy for many adults, as sociopaths can be the proverbial wolf in sheep's clothing. They can be expert at charming and manipulating others. Sizing up peoples needs and weaknesses in order to procure whatever it is that they happen to want from them.

They see others as potential victims, marks in effect, to take what they can from, In this way they are parasites and have no conscience or compunction about this. In fact, they hold their victims in disdain for being victimized. And rarely will they ever admit guilt. They recognize that what they do is wrong in society's eyes thus manipulation and deceitfulness become as necessary to them as the air is to the rest of us... Is it any wonder that most people are acutely uncomfortable even thinking about their existence among us-After all, this goes what I have just described goes against everything that we are taught is right, is human.

But the sad Fact is that they are among us and they are dangerous. For this reason we need to become comfortable ourselves, learning about this difficult subject And talking about them-Our teens particularly our girls, do not stand a chance if we continue to avoid educating them about the realm of predators in the world, either because it is unpleasant, because we are afraid they cannot process it emotionally, or worse, because we ourselves choose not to avail ourselves of this knowledge.