Tag Archives: murder

In The Dark

Silence hangs in the air like an axe.

The clock tick-tick-ticking closer toward the witching hour.

Gradients of darkness give shape to the room.

A black mass in the corner waits, quiet and knowing.

 

A face with two sets of eyes stare,

One a ghastly green, the other a blazing blue,

Never blinking, always watching.

High above it waits, eternal.

clock
“Never blinking, always watching.” Photo from: media4.giphy.com

The axe falls by degrees, a slow draining drip of dread.

Whispers, voices, leak through the wall,

Crawling along the ceiling and echoing,

Loud enough to hear, muffled enough to hide.

 

Scratches dig deep into the door,

Claws dragging long grooves.

Just wait, wait until the night ends

And the blood red light leaks in.

Making a Murderer

Making a Murderer is a documentary series about a man named Steven Avery who lives in Wisconsin. He grew up with is last name being an insult, his whole family being named the “troublemakers” of his county. He has been tormented his entire life by the Manitowoc police, who framed him for crimes he has never committed.

He was an easy target, simply because of his family’s reputation. His cousin, who hated Avery, was married to a sheriff on the police force who framed Avery for a rape he didn’t commit. After 18 years of being in prison, he was found innocent for the rape, DNA evidence was “found” that proved Avery didn’t commit the crime. The police had this DNA evidence in file but refused to bring the evidence forward because they wanted to keep Avery in prison. The torture doesn’t end there. Two years after Avery is found innocent and is out of prison, he is framed for murder.

Steven Avery, the first time he was arrested for a crime he didn't commit. Photo from gazettereview
Steven Avery, the first time he was arrested for a crime he didn’t commit. Photo from gazettereview

Steven Avery was framed for the murder of a woman named Teresa Walbach, who was a photojournalist who came to Avery’s Auto shop, run by him and his family, to take pictures of the vehicles that they were selling.

After Walbach came to the Avery plot, she was reported missing and was later found in the back of Avery’s land, buried haphazardly. Later on, evidence was found all over his property, but only after the Manitowoc police hadn’t found anything. There are too many suspicious activities that occurred to state them all, but it’s obvious to anyone watching that the police set up Avery to take the fall for the murder.

The police had a motive to frame Avery. Avery was suing the police department for the time he lost while in prison for the rape he didn’t commit. Three weeks before Avery was suppose to receive the money, this woman went missing and, unfortunately, was murdered and placed on Avery’s property. It was astonishing to see all of the illegal events that the police did and how those weren’t taken into account when proving Avery’s innocence. Avery is still in prison and is going to serve a life sentence for another crime he didn’t commit.

I strongly recommend going to Netflix and watching the ten episode series titled “Making a Murderer.” It’s eye opening and amazing what can happen to an innocent man through the corrupt justice system and authority given to the wrong people.

Transgender issues hit home

Transgender people are simply that: people. They are the same as me and you, just with unique circumstances. Don’t you think that all people should be treated equally? That all people deserve the same rights and privileges as others? Isn’t America the land of the free and the home of the brave? What kind of world do we live in where people are being murdered every other day for being different, for being transgender?

That is not a world I want to live in, and not a country I want to be associated with  the way things are right now. I never understood the importance of transgender issues and transgender abuse until recently, when these issues began to impact me personally.

Transgender people are just people. Photo from Caitlyn Jenner.
Transgender people are just people. Photo from Caitlyn Jenner.

You can never really understand what it’s like to be affected by transgender issues until it relates to you personally. You could go on all day about how you’d vote over and over again for equal rights for all, but you never understand the true impact and importance of it all unless you are affected directly.

On Friday, October 30th, my little brother came out to me as transgender. I was shocked, to say the least; however, I had some idea that something was bothering him for sometime and somehow, I just knew. From my dance costumes he loved to wear when we was three to him growing out his hair since last

year, there have been subtle signs for as long as I can remember.

My first thought when he told me was “What if he gets murdered for being his true self?” “What if he gets hurt or bullied or something awful because he can’t hide his true self anymore?”

I was scared for him. He’s my baby brother and I need to protect him, but in this situation, I can’t control the actions of the world around me and it’s one of the most frustrating and scary feelings I have ever experienced.

I shouldn’t have to have these thoughts. I shouldn’t have to be scared for my brother’s life because of what the world and society has done to transgender people. He needs to become the person he is meant to be and I nor my family are going to let the world stop him from being happy.

Being transgender in America is dangerous, but it shouldn’t be. We, as the people of the United States, should stand up against the crimes being committed against transgender people and bring the country together as one.

We should all be equal under the constitution and no person should walk the streets of America afraid for being who they are.

Art under attack

Rape, murder, and arson flood the airwaves. Flagrant disregard for the sanctity of human life clog television screens. Iraq and Syria are buried in rubble, and perched on top of the ruins like flocks of vultures is the Islamic State. Dust from destroyed homes, places of worship, and businesses coats everything in a fine gritty film. The landscape is so foreign it might as well be the moon.

Sadly, it’s not just modern trappings of domesticity that have been incinerated by ISIS’ vicious wave of terror. Mixed amongst glass windows, steel beams, and cement cinderblocks are millennia of priceless relics from the ancient world. For nigh on a year, Islamic State militants have been toppling, drilling, and torching irreplaceable pieces of art all over Syria and Iraq.

art under attack
“Mixed amongst glass windows, steel beams, and cement cinderblocks are millennia of priceless relics from the ancient world.”

Only last month in August, ISIS succeeded in blowing up the best preserved temple in Palmyra, Syria; which had previously survived almost 2,000 years of turmoil. The story for other artifacts is similar. Statues, reliefs, paintings all had managed to withstand the brutal tests of time; holding out against wars, erosion, and the black market. Monuments to the awe inspiring color and complexity of the Ancient Near East decimated where they reside. Museums and their staff bombed, ties to our collective past shredded. The horrors being committed by these religious extremists are numerous and unspeakable. The devastation and despair being inflicted onto hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians can not be understated. Flesh and blood are worth more than limestone and lapis lazuli ever will. However, when the basic principles of our collective humanity are being systematically turned into gravel, when the bedrock of our past and the eyeglass to our future lies in potholes, and the world’s heritage is actively threatened  by men who are so frightened of the idea of a world where things are not black and white that they are willing to kill the scholars who protect the greyscale? Then we as a global community must come together.

Dr. Khaled al- As’ad was a world renowned Syrian professor of antiquities, who spent his entire career preserving the Temple of Baalshamin in Palmyra. When ISIS demanded he lead them to the temple’s greatest treasures, the 82 year old refused. Khaled al- As’ad was beheaded on August 19, 2015 for protecting the past, maintaining the present, and ultimately, preserving the future for generations to come.

No murder charge in removal of fetus?

When I visited Boulder, Colorado, there was a very strong liberal presence- which I loved. There were eco-friendly cars, a Planned Parenthood office and a Republican headquarters office that looked to be in shambles, which made this place paradise for me.

However, shortly after visiting Boulder, a incident occurred which made it very clear that there needs to be balance in pro-choice legislation. A pregnant woman responded to a Craigslist ad about baby clothes.When she arrived at the poster’s house, she was brutally attacked. The attacker, a nurse’s aide, allegedly took the woman into her basement and cut the fetus out of her stomach, killing the fetus.

The victim hid from the attacker and called 911, and police responded to the scene. They found the victim bleeding and disoriented to the point that she didn’t realize her baby had been cut out of her stomach. Luckily, however, the victim survived.

Colorado state law does not give fetuses personhood, which makes charging the attacker with murder very difficult. The law is new, which means it has tons of flaws. For example, the law recognizes fetuses as people if they can survive outside the womb for a period of time. How long that period of time is, however, is unclear. Also, because the law allows for early-term abortions, it can be difficult to claim the attacker committed murder without also attacking women who seek abortions.

In my opinion, I believe the law needs to spelled out and airtight. This woman was clearly a victim. She was attacked and had her baby forcibly removed from her stomach by a nurse’s aide(not even an actual nurse), which could have caused far worse injuries. She innocently responded to a Craigslist ad searching for clothing for her baby, so clearly she wasn’t planning on aborting. The attacker, however, clearly had planned to,lure in the woman by posting the ad.

To add insultGraphic from IMG Kid to injury, a Republican lawmaker and professional lunatic (aka televangelist) named Gordon Klingenschmitt claimed the incident was an “act of God.” He explained by saying God was punishing America for allowing abortion. It never fails to amaze me how low the right will stoop.

If someone was kidnapped and had an organ forcibly removed, there would be outrage. It happens all the time around the world and often isn’t reported, but the people who do it are deemed the scum of the Earth. This woman didn’t take out a lung or a kidney which would make her victim’s body operate inefficiently, but she forcibly took out her baby — which could cause long-term damage to her reproductive organs and years of emotional scarring. If an organ or even a limb were taken, the attacker would never again see the light of day.

There’s no excuse for what this woman did, but we must remember to keep the ideals of most pro-choicers out of this situation. I believe that most people who identify as pro-choice would agree that this situation is horrific and not at all what we fight for. My hope is that in the journey to becoming a pro-choice country, we can ensure that the law is more clear and doesn’t allow room for such atrocities.

 

Not all atheists are anti-theist

In Chapel Hill, North Carolina, three Muslims were killed by a neighbor following a parking dispute.The original report makes it seem like the shooter, Craig Stephen Hicks, was just a lunatic who had enough of his neighbors and their disagreements about parking. However, looking at his Facebook page, it’s very obvious that Hicks considered himself an atheist. His profile picture was a red photo with the words“Atheists for Equality.” His cover photo, though, was a banner promoting anti-theism. This leads me to believe that Hicks may have murdered his neighbors over the parking dispute, but was especially motivated realizing they were part of the Muslim community.

Many are running to blame atheism for the murders, but judging by Hicks’ cover photo and photos of his gun, I believe Hicks was an anti-theist. Although many atheists detest religion, that doesn’t mean we’re completely against it. It’s possible to be both anti-theist and atheist, obviously. However, the anti-theist label is an umbrella that not all atheists want to be under.

Being atheist doesn’t necessarily mean you hate all religions and all religious people. It means you simply don’t believe in a higher being or afterlife. Being anti-theist is just as dangerous as being a religious extremist, because it breeds hate. Hatred for anyone simply because of their religion is a slippery slope. Holding hatred for a specific group to the point of calling yourself “anti” whatever can lead to violence, which is what I believe happened in this situation.

I don’t agree with religion if it interferes with my life in any way, but I don’t automatically hate someone simply for being religious. It’s a shame that Hicks displayed himself as atheist, but also anti-theist, because this will ultimately lead people to associating atheism with anti-theism. I, personally, don’t want to be associated with anti-theism because it’s hateful. I don’t hold any hate in my heart for people who are religious and who don’t interfere with my life. I’m not sure if Hicks had any interaction with his neighbors which may have involved them pressing their religion–but even if they did, that doesn’t give him a license to kill.

I’ve had many people press their religion on me, but I’ve never once thought about reacting violently. I’ve thought about replying with an anger-filled, intelligent argument, but I’ve never wished any harm to someone. Being anti-theist means wishing any form of theism would cease to exist. I believe religion can be poisonous if it affects the lives of others, but as long as the religious person doesn’t do harm to anyone in the name of their religion, I see no reason to be hateful towards them.

In the wake of these murders, there are going to be a lot of fingers pointing at atheists blaming them for hating religion, leading to the death of three innocent people. Just remember– there’s a difference between atheism and anti-theism.

 

What makes something an act of terror?

On Sept. 25, a 30-year-old man walked into his former place of employment, beheaded a woman and stabbed another repeatedly. Alton Nolen was fired from his job at Vaughan Foods right before he attacked the women, obviously killing the woman he beheaded, and seriously injuring the one he stabbed. Immediately after this incident was reported, people began searching into the background of this criminal.

Some news source’s first headlines of the story included that Nolen had recently converted to Islam. Of course, many viewers tried to force the focus on this unrelated fact. Scrolling through Fox News’ ever-entertaining comment section on the story, many viewers insisted that this was an act of terror. But why? When any other group commits a crime such as murder, it’s just that. But when a Muslim commits a crime, many are quick to cry “terrorism.”

Alton Nolen. Graphic from NBC News
Alton Nolan. Graphic from NBC News

Some other fans of Fox insisted that this was a hate crime because the two women who were murdered were white, and the assailant was black. But the fact of the matter is, this guy committed this crime out of rage. He had just been fired and reacted violently, taking the lives of two employees. This wasn’t a crime out of cold blood, it wasn’t a hate crime, it wasn’t terrorism; it was violence in the workplace. Many conservative viewers criticized liberals for calling this “violence in the workplace,” because for whatever reason, they continually want to believe that every crime committed by a Muslim is somehow an act of terrorism.

So why is it that whenever a Muslim commits a crime, terrorism is the first thing viewers look towards? Why do so many try to classify these acts, when the truth is they’re just murder? More comments from Fox News viewers claiming that this was a hate crime felt the need to point out that when a white person kills a black person, it’s a hate crime. Many of the less intelligent comments argued that there needs to be a movement for hate crimes against white people. Hate crimes are defined as violent acts that are motivated by sex, race or other prejudices.

I find it funny that so many of these commenters, predominately white folks, want to push that this was a hate crime. Many times, when a white person commits a crime against someone of a different race, many people assume it’s a hate crime. So it makes sense that some of the more close-minded people would want so badly to believe that a hate crime could also be committed against us white people. But why continue to try so hard to categorize these crimes? Murder is murder, no matter what race the person is who commits the crime. Justice should be blind to race, treating all those who chose to commit violent crimes the same.

Nolen didn’t commit a hate crime or an act of terror. He was motivated by his hatred for a company that had rejected him. He didn’t specifically kill those women because they were white and somehow that infuriated him, he was angry because he was fired. That’s it. Common sense tells me it’s safe to assume that Nolen committed these crimes in an act of rage, due to his being fired.

The close-minded seem to think it’s safe to call this an act of terrorism just because of the man’s religion. Unless he confesses his hate for this country and admits that he did this to horrify the public, there is no reason this man should be assumed to be a terrorist.

 

Trayvon Martin case: One year later

The first anniversary of Trayvon Martin’s death leaves many unanswered questions about the gun control debate as well as the “Stand Your Ground Law” which was showcased in Martin’s death.

Trayvon-Martin-2
Photo from Chron.com.

Correspondent of Bet Jonathan A. Picks conducted a question and answer segment with Martin’s mom, Sybrina Fulton. Some of the questions pertained to her attempts to amend Florida’s well-known “Stand Your Ground Law,” which she says, “allows you pursue, chase, follow someone, be the aggressor and then say you were standing your ground when you shoot and kill someone.” She is calling this the Trayvon Martin Law because this is what led George Zimmerman to kill Martin. Continue reading Trayvon Martin case: One year later

Prosthetic limbed olympian steps into a world of trouble

Oscar Pistorius, South African Olympian and first double amputee to compete in the Olympics, is on trial for the Valentine’s Day murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Prosecutor Gerrie Nell is calling the crime premeditated and claiming there was “a motive to kill.” Nell claims Pistorius got up from bed, put on his prosthetic legs and walked seven meters before shooting Steenkamp several times through a closed bathroom door. Continue reading Prosthetic limbed olympian steps into a world of trouble

Death to the death penalty

Two weeks ago, The Tartan published a pro-death penalty article in their “Insights” section, penned by an author who chose to remain anonymous. The article is mostly rambling and filler words, but I think I’ve distilled the writer’s argument into a form that makes its flaws more apparent. The author believes that the death penalty is morally justifiable, beneficial to society, and impervious to error. Unfortunately, those points are all invalid. Continue reading Death to the death penalty

RU houses more than we think

Not many students know this, but there are tunnels underneath the Radford University campus. Back in the day, when Radford was an all-girls school, they were used by the students to get around campus without having to go outside. These tunnels have been closed for a long time now and no one is allowed to walk through them ever again.  However, even fewer students know about the legend that these tunnels hold so secret. Continue reading RU houses more than we think