The Aggrieved White Male

I have no historical connect to when this ‘type’ emerged but I suspect shortly after the Mayflower landed and a white man noticed the brown folks congregating on land where he wanted to settle. With that armed with guns, poisonous blankets and a desire to either convert or kill, the birth of the aggrieved white male occurred. Now was that man agitated in his own land, well yes thanks to religious persecution that led the Pilgrims to leave their homes in search of a new one then yes that same affect which the religious right refer to as martyrdom is what today we refer to as aggrieved, agitated and afflicted with the idea that their place in the world will always be one of defense. This is currently being demonstrated by the Fox Broadcaster, Tucker Carlson. His history of failures in the industry are duly noted and his alligence to the White Supremacy movement was always there, disguised in language of an educated individual and a Bow Tie but his provocations of late have grown and escalated to a full on message that has been seized upon and regurgitated by those who once lurked in the fringes of polite society. The KKK, once a domestic terrorist group ran amok post Civil War, which lead to Congress under Grant, passing the Third Force Act as an attempt to contstrain them; it failed, being overturned by what would be another racist version of the Supreme Court. But even their Tennessee Founder and former Governor, Nathan Bedford Forrest, tried to disband the group due to the rising tide of violence also failed; however over time the KKK finally moved into the shadows of history. But with that they remained in them, only to reemerge during the rising tide of Civil Rights Movement in the 1950-60s and again in the 2000’s. Then they really came into the mainstream with the march in Charlottesville. And with that they are back and dancing in formation to a new message and new way of doing so, social media and of course mainstream media via Tucker Carlson. But we can add that before him on Fox there was Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly who used their platforms to rail against any number of white aggrieved male issues that dominated their time on Fox, including the biggest racial trope at the time, the election of a Black President, Barack Hussein Obama. That seems so long ago but it was that dog whistle the one claiming President Obama was not legally entitled to hold office as he was not “American” in which brought us today to the biggest card carrying holder of Aggrieved White Male, Donald Trump. Like Carlson, Trump used his platform to speak for the “every white male, some women and some faces of color” who felt equally aggrieved about their lives and how the “others” were responsible for their failures to be good enough, smart enough and that everyone liked them.

Now these are not just the property of white males nor is anyone exempt from having an number of grievances on any given day over any number of issues, some long standing, some only cursory, and some well established over time via again any number of reasons often associated with gender, race, political or social standings and of course one’s culture and religious affiliations. And with that they are understandable and acceptable to air in popular culture with some reasoning and deference to the larger whole as they may not agree or well understand. That does not give one a reason to load up arms and start shooting anyone who does not fit the profile of your acceptable standards or beliefs.

The 19 year old that took to the streets of Buffalo to stalk and hunt Black Americans had said grievances about a theory common to racists called Replacement Theory. With that despite a few flags tossed he moved without incident throughout without significance and true notice until he acted. And with that even that encounter with Police, despite being heavily armed and having committed mass murder he was talked out of killing himself and was placed into Police custody. If this is not the penultimate example of White Privilege little is.

And with the idea that access to guns is not a problem, let us examine the level of harm brought to individuals homes via guns. Domestic Violence, accidental shootings, often by children who have found them, and the most significant one – suicide. I believe one of the best sources of information regarding is the Everytown for Gun Safety.

When I was at my most depressed a few weeks ago I wondered if it was time to finally accept the idea that my life no matter where I went, there I was, and I was not happy. The two things that have contributed to the depression is weather and of course work. I have no problem managing seasonal depression but coupled with a pandemic it was on steroids. Then going back into a classroom while this is again still ongoing was an option I did not have to take, but I thought if I masked up, ventilated and was careful, limited the days I worked I would be fine. And with regards to physical health that was true but then came the classes with the idiotic Health Teacher, followed by another ESL Teacher after another. All of them were Freshmen kids who had not been in classrooms through both of the most hideous of grades, 7 and 8, and were now in High School. Add to it language issues and these are the most at risk of all the students in any school which makes even the most normal of times challenging. This was not something I chose nor would have, but the Secretary was placing me in them because of my past experience and the fact that you can tell the minute I walk in I am not the “typical” Sub. I am white, groomed, and you can tell by my manner and speech educated. Add to that I admit I am a former Teacher it is invitation to be exploited as a Sub. So when the Admin treated me and spoke to me as if I was just another piece of garbage in the room it exhausted me. I was at the point of cracking up and should have just said no, but you can only stay inside so long. I could have pushed myself to go to other schools but I feel both elementary and middle are not the environs at this time, so my laziness and inertia contributed to my failure to do something else. HOWEVER, being spoken to by that woman is not an excuse for me to do harm, an act of violence to oneself or to fail to practice, Ahimsa, the Sanskrit word for non violence; a concept I attempt adhere to in my life. And on the day I finally called the suicide hotline I just needed to remind myself I was not insane nor violent.

For what we learn about ourselves is anything can prompt a grievance and in turn enable us to do harm, to drink too much, to rage and rant or to simply give up in ways that can be not eating properly, caring for oneself or simply just on auto pilot. Again we all do things to air our grievances and social media has become the biggest forum and in turn audience in which to do so. I honestly did post a passing thought about suicide on Twitter and ZERO responded as I knew they would. It was more a test as I had already understood my rage was about my lack of control in that situation and with that I decided not return to Ferris but again to push my luck or test I did and with that I was fine the two times I went. The convo with the aggrieved white male did not upset me, it amused me as it only confirmed by beliefs. But third time was not a charm and with that my second encounter with the Admin had very different results. I knew I could not control her but my response to her was by far more under my control. And I never liked masks more as it hid my smirk and laughter as I watched her make an ass out of herself. And with that I won’t be back, the year ends in three weeks and I am booked enough to not need to.

But that is the point of this post, while we rant and rave we want someone to just be aware, to be heard and to be affirmed. We may be wrong, we may be right and we may just be well crazy but then later when the heat is dying down the help we may or may not need should follow and be available to anyone in need at any time. We don’t have that and with that we have violence as the soul outlet in which to express it. The documentary on HBO to find the source of the Q’Anon theories led us to three aggrieved men, two white and one the interracial son of one. The original founder of said “Q”, Fredrick Brennan, is again a white man who has since like Nathan Bedford Forrest denied responsibility of the violence that resulted from this raging den of confabulation and misinformation that Watkins now enables. Ah that what you created has gone out of what? Your control.

This weekend is a documentary about perhaps one of our most famous Aggrieved White Males – George Carlin. He is quoted on all sides of the political spectrum as a justification, explanation or admiration of the issues in his 50 years of comedy he brought to the light. There were many before or during his time, Lenny Bruce and Mort Sahl come to mind and there are as many men of color who also fit that role, from Richard Pryor to currently Dave Chappelle. And many of them had major issues that were acts of violence they did to themselves, as both George and Richard had serious drug problems. With that, a man attacked Chappelle which had nothing to do with comedy but the seeking of fame; however it was still an act of a threat via physical storming of a stage. And of late, the issues of being drunk and abusive to comics has been issue, the idea that perhaps with so much time inside people have forgotten the norms of outside. I am going to say that it was always this way but we pretended to not care or notice, we are that self absorbed. But when you take offense at a comedian for saying something you do not like, don’t laugh, just leave. And I have seen that in many shows I attended, including Hannah Gadsby last Friday. I have no idea what to say about people who come to these and either don’t laugh or feel offended. That is who and what comics do, take their grievances, their observations and make them salient and put words and thoughts to the same issues that are out in society. The only difference is to laugh with them. But when we cannot laugh at ourselves we laugh at others and with that we fail to practice Ahimsa. And with this I say, Namaste. Find your place of peace and appreciate it for it is all short lived.

Yeah, Okay, Whatever

Today we here the cry for mental health, the end to video games, hard rock and of course thoughts and prayers. We will not here salient points with regards to gun control, licensing and restricting purchasing of weapon grade army gear. We will not hear about online monitoring of free speech nor of looking at the Fairness Doctrine to upgrade it to include Cable Television. We will hear the same talking points and then we are onto the next story. Only there were four stories of the same merit this weekend so which one are we talking about here?

No one gives a flying fuck over any of this, well other than the immediate families of the victims, they give a shit, but anyone outside of that, a few. Some things we need to do is insist the media stop naming these fuckwit shooters as some of this is the search for infamy. If you are unfamiliar with the Stephen Sondheim musical, Assassins, look into it. The story is about several shooters of varying generations who in search of an audience for their misguided beliefs or a way to vent their frustration about societal ills, they assassinate or attempt to famous figures. The one thing that I feel is a consistent message is the idea of being infamous and being a permanent part of the historical record. And with that there are few who cannot name an Assassin of a famous individual without even the aid of Google. We have famous serial killers and mass murders and those who were lionized, analyzed and written and talked about over and over again. You got to admit a Musical about you is not that bad of a thing. Perhaps that is one thing that needs to die.

Then also this weekend I went to a Warhol exhibit and the curator had merged the concepts of his idolatry of religion with that of his sexuality. Andy was a practicing Catholic the sickly son of Immigrant parents who through both ambition and talent parlayed that into a chronicler of all things “pop” and contemporary. Recently his screen print of Marilyn became the most expensive piece of 20th century work auctioned off for $195M. Andy would have loved it and then went on a buying spree of odd religious memorabilia and crap, Andy was a hoarder and very very cheap. Much of his work was done in collaboration with other upcoming artists and often how does one say outsourced to others. This is a screen print folks, not even an original painting so that says something about Warhol and how he captures the mind of the people he most admired and mocked. Much like Truman Capote, Andy loved his Chelsea Girls and he exploited their looks and talent and many of them faded into obscurity and death. Little did he know that like the Assassins is Sondheim’s musical he too would face the same fate and with that survived miraculously but she too is a icon of another kind and is also present in the exhibit, Valarie Solanas; a movie was also made about her called, I Shot Andy Warhol. See we really do obsess over shooters. Andy died early as I am afraid he would have loved today especially social media as a court of which he could of definitely been King or Queen, whichever.

So what is the problem here? GUNS. I share this article from the Guardian which discusses again the immense culture focus on these weapons of destruction. The internet is a great tool but it is its own weapon and we have had Domestic Terrorists use it to wreak havoc in pursuit of the higher order, what that exactly means is, I am batshit but you will remember me. Look at the Pulse Nightclub shooter, indoctrinated over Islamic bullshit. The same with the couple in San Bernardino a few years ago that shot up his workplace. We have the El Paso Walmart nut, we have Q’Anon fucktards who charged the capital, but before that one with a gun went to a Pizza restaurant in search of baby killers. And there is the kid who shot up the Massage Parlors not over Asian hate but because he was a religious kook who had gone there for sexual gratification and rather than cut his own dick off killed the women and clients there instead. The guns that were used in recent school shootings in two cases were bought by the parents and in almost all cases the Police, the family, the schools knew their kid was a high order nut case going on a rampage. Santa Barbara shooter another. And what really galls me is that this kid in Buffalo had a gun pointed to his neck when the Police moved in and they talked him out of it. Really? Had his name been Jamaal or Pedro and a little more brown in color they would have shot him guns a blazing. Funny how that works that Police are afraid when they see a Brown or Black person driving their car, walking their dog, having a cigarette, standing on a corner, being their home, being at someone else’s home they need to shoot to kill. Yet a dude in full on tactical gear who had just killed 13 people, they feel it is good to try some of that de-escalation tactics we hear about.

And to note that the NRA loves to say that a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy, well the Security Guard in Buffalo had a gun but thanks to the tactical gear it did little to nothing to affect the shooter and with that he too died. And yet in Orange County the Minister took control by heaving a chair on the shooter as he attempted to reload and was distracted and another Church member tackled him and hogtied him. Good guys no guns.

Guns folks. Guns. I have prayer and thoughts that we finally do something about guns.

US gun violence over weekend puts focus on easy access to weapons

Violence includes Buffalo shooting that left 10 people dead, as well as two dead in Houston, one in Los Angeles and five in Chicago

Edward Helmore in Buffalo, New York Mon 16 May 2022 The Guardian

America on Monday was picking up the pieces from a weekend of gun violence that – outside the cost of lives – has refocused the country’s leadership on the toxic interplay of political ideology and easy access to handguns and battlefield weapons.

In the most recent case, two people were killed Sunday and at least three others hospitalized after a shooting at a large Houston, Texas, flea market. In California, also on Sunday, at least one person died and five were wounded – including four listed in critical condition – after a shooting at a church with a predominantly Taiwanese congregation in Orange county, south of Los Angeles.

In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot enacted a weekend curfew for unaccompanied minors at a city park after a 16-year-old boy was killed there. At least 33 people were shot, five fatally, in weekend violence across the city, police said.

The shootings, each horrific in their own way, punctuated the weekend’s main horror: an 18-year-old espousing white supremacist ideology who went to an African American neighborhood in Buffalo, New York, on Saturday and – in less than two minutes – gunned down 13 people at a grocery, killing 10.

That shooting – one of the deadliest racist massacres in recent memory – has renewed scrutiny on internet-promulgated hate speech, access to assault-style guns and body armor, and the inability of law enforcement authorities, elected politicians, religious leaders and the commercial sector to stop such violence from recurring.

In the Buffalo shooting at Tops Friendly grocery, white suspect Payton Gendron is accused of specifically targeting a Black neighborhood and taking aim at Black victims – shoppers, grocery workers and a security guard.

Names of victims and messages of healing are chalked on the ground at a makeshift memorial outside the Tops market in Buffalo, New York. Photograph: Scott Olson/Getty Images

He had purportedly made threatening comments that brought police to his high school last spring, raising questions about whether authorities botched an opportunity to short-circuit Saturday’s killings.

Gendron was never charged with a crime, and investigators had no further contact with him after his release from a hospital where he was mentally evaluated for about 36 hours.

Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said the threat Gendron had made was “general” in nature and unrelated to race. “Nobody called in,” he said. “Nobody called any complaints.”

New York is one of several states that, in recent years, have enacted “red flag” laws which are intended to prevent mass shootings, but they rely on a legal petition to temporarily seize people’s firearms, or prevent them from buying guns.

Federal authorities, led by the FBI which is investigating the attack as a hate crime, have said they are working to confirm the authenticity of a racist 180-page document, purportedly written by Gendron, that laid out a plan to terrorize nonwhite, non-Christian people.

In a Twitch livestream video of the attack, Gendron allegedly trains his gun on a white person behind a checkout counter before apologizing and moving on.

A purported screenshot of the video circulating online showed the N-word scrawled in white, along with the number “14”, which is an apparent reference to this 14-word white supremacist phrase: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”

Gendron, the Buffalo police commissioner Gramaglia said, planned to continue his assault in the surrounding neighborhood. But he was apprehended outside the grocery after removing his body armor and setting down his Bushmaster rifle with an extended 70-round magazine.

“This individual came here with the express purpose of taking as many Black lives as he possibly could,” the Buffalo mayor, Byron Brown, said Sunday.

Representing families of the massacre victims, renowned civil rights attorney Ben Crump told reporters at a news conference Monday that cable news pundits who have spoken fawningly of the same extremist ideology embraced by the alleged shooter should be held accountable.

The manifesto attributed to Gendron talks about the racist theory that Democrats are pushing open immigration policies to “replace” Republican voters with people of color and retain control of the country’s levers of power.

Crump called pundits airing the ideology on mainstream news channels as “accomplices”.

“Even though they might not have pulled the trigger, they loaded the gun,” he said.

Attorney Benjamin Crump, accompanied by the family of Ruth Whitfield, a victim of the shooting at Tops supermarket, speaks with members of the media during a news conference in Buffalo on Monday. Photograph: Matt Rourke/AP

Released, recorded radio transmissions between emergency services showed the speed of the Buffalo massacre and how little time authorities had to intervene. Police had Gendron in custody within six minutes of being alerted to the attack, yet 10 people were still killed.

“Radio, send as many cars as you possibly can,” a responding officer says at about 2.33pm. Less than 30 seconds later, firefighters radioed in that there were at least three people down on the ground and that police “have him” about 20 ft from where they were. At 2.36pm, police reported they had arrested the suspect and confiscated a gun.

But the shooting has brought, as many times before, questions about what authorities can do to confront individuals espousing violently racist intentions before they act on them. And it has brought pressure on social media platforms to flag content posted on their sites.

Before the 2018 massacre of 17 students at a high school in Parkland, Florida, and the killings of more than two dozen people at a Texas church in 2017, authorities had received information indicating the assailant’s violent intent or history.

On Sunday, New York governor Kathy Hochul promised action on hate speech that she said spreads “like a virus”. President Biden is expected in Buffalo on Tuesday to meet with victims’ families. Those slain included an 86-year-old woman who had just visited her husband in a nursing home, a man buying a cake for his grandson, and a church deacon helping people get home with their shopping.

As political figures visited the area over the weekend, some said it was urgent to separate the bonds between gun ownership and religious faith or extremist ideologies.

But for many in the targeted Buffalo community, Gendron’s intent wasn’t the salient problem – it was how the shooting was rooted in US social history.

“The present is the past – same thing,” community activist Marietta Malcolm said. “Don’t think like this is an isolated incident, or act like we haven’t had 300 years of it. Every time people say racism doesn’t exist, somebody does something to prove that it does.”

Guns A; Blazing

The week ends and begins with another mass shooting and this one clearly racially motivated. We have spent the past few years debating the intent and reasoning behind many mass shootings which in most cases are not quite as obvious as it seems but like the one in the Waco Walmart of a few years ago, this one is about Race.

I am not spending much time discussing this shooting as again it will go on about White Supremacy, Tucker Carlson, Trump or any other of a number of distractions. The real issue here is that the access and availability to purchase a gun, legally or not, is the real problem here. We can buy, carry and own numerous weapons with little to no and oversight, training and mandatory insurance and yet with a car we have to. Why is that? And with that I will leave it at that.

Women took to the streets to protest their right to have access and availability to Abortion as it appears that Roe will be overturned by the Supremes (a way less cool of a group than the originals) and with that several states will go far and wide to further reduce the availability of Contraceptives and make potentially even a legitimate Miscarriage a crime. Talk about a miscarriage of Justice and speaking of Justices, Clarence Thomas is deeply upset about the leak and the perception of the Court. Gosh Clarence we can begin with your appointment, fraught with controversy about your “alleged” behavior towards women on your staff, then we can go to your years on the Court where you seemed to be Alioto’s water carrier, then onto the other many decisions made starting with Citizens United, clawing back Voting Rights, Affirmative Action and now this. I am not even going to get into your wife, Ginni, and her role in the insurrection and her subsidizing it, her conflicts of interests with groups that have provided Amicus Briefs for the court, and the shadow docket. I am not including the theatrics and antics by Mitch McConnell to stack the court and prevent hearings and appointments to said court in a reasonable time frame and with that the Kabuki Theater that has become the new must see TV when a prospective Justice is being appointed. Sure we have a lot of questions about the Court, as transparency is just a concept when it comes to it, but the failure of it is due largely to the absurdity of a dated concept and the reliance by the Court on said document that somehow supports, if not excuses or explains the decisions made by it. The concept of Originalism is the most insane thing I have heard, well until Alito cited a 14 Century Justice, then well that was the winner. There is no Magic 8/Crystal Ball of any kind that can somehow connect to the mindset and beliefs of the Founders when they wrote the document. This is again like the Bible where someone seems to have an ability to totally read minds, travel back in time and speak to those men to get a better interpretation; Men who were white, slave owners, philanderers, some not even Religious (no!!!), and of course financially well off individuals, who had access and had higher education (you have time to learn when you have others doing the work for you) about everything they meant behind the words they wrote. There was numerous written records and thankfully shared language and communications that enabled a fairly comprehensive ability to study history and learn of them, that said you cannot read a meaning and intent deeper behind words on a page unless the Author provides a comprehensive addendum and footnotes to further dissect the meaning. This is all theory and conjecture and in turn utterly nuts. Care for a Cashew Clarence?

As for what is happening as I have said over and over again is history repeating. And with this we will have another assault with regards to voting and the ability to cast ones vote will become the new challenge by November. The march for Civil Rights and the Voting Rights act will also become the new bellwether in which to measure how we are going back to another age. And yes Gay Rights will become the new crie de cour by the Evangelical right as that issue is less about Gay individuals but more about those surrounding Trans people. That is who they are targeting but all will get swept together as the acronym is clear, LGBQT. That is the T that has everyone’s knickers in a twist as they cannot understand how you can be to put it crudely a “chick with a dick” and do you pee standing?

Knowing the Evangelicals as I did in Nashville that is the real and sole issue. Men who are now women and how to fuck them. Seriously next to peeing that the big fear is what if I am attracted a Trans person and then what? This is the feet pointing in the wrong direction in the restroom stall and the man who goes into a stall versus the urinal. We are obsessed with sex folks and this is all part of it, the body parts we use to fuck and to shit.

And as we move into the week as we continue to retract rights and evade debate over the bumping uglies in more ways then one we will have more mass shootings, hate crimes and the like. The more we ban books and in turn shut doors versus opening them we will become as isolated and afraid as we were during the nascent days of the pandemic. Man in those early days the idiotic bullshit I read fascinates me still as that fear runs deep. Now take that and try to see how someone from a Religious background sees the world and that might help you connect to them to talk to them and not change a mind but maybe just maybe open it a crack. What she said crack?!!!! Fire her, cancel her, run her out of town on a rail!!

I have been harsh about women, well no more than I have about men, I frankly find both genders deeply annoying but I judge one on character and that takes a great deal of time to be revealed. As I wrote about the Aggrieved white male Teacher I met at Ferris who “jokingly” calls himself the White Male Activist, I listened to his grievances and summed it up as that is who he is and that over time it became embedded into his character and he is not someone I work with on a daily basis, would be friends with nor associate with at all. The same goes for the Bitch Admin. I got nothing on her but she is a raging Bitch. And she is like many an Admin in schools I have worked across the country, incompetent but passing as that by being intimidating. Sounds a lot like a Politician. That she is Black has nothing to do with my distaste of her and in fact enables me to have a better understanding of her but trust me I have had more White Admins who were equally idiotic. That is the nature of the beast of Education it promotes if not encourages it as it like the Government is an Institution run by those who fear change and fear the loss of their power. Fear comes in all shapes and sizes.

The Aggrieved White Male is however a special breed. One can be like the Teacher I met who is exhausted from a career that never paid off, financially or emotionally. I cannot stress enough that the profession is considered pink collar, one women do, accepting lower wages in exchange for emotional growth. Fuck that but then again I am lucky that I figured it out year one and did what I had to do to ensure that I was sheltered from it. Marriage was my saving grace and my biggest error in judgement, the other was staying that night for a second drink when I wanted to leave after my date showed up 45 mins late. I should have left when I thought. Fuck that. Again all my trauma has been at the hands of men and all my success at the hands of men. Women have done fuck all nothing for me and despite my best efforts I have tried but again I am done with it. This is not my fight and I want nothing to do with it. And I wish them success. As for the male half of that equation I wish they would finally admit they need mental health counseling. I truly believe men think it is a sign of weakness to seek out therapy and have a healthy outlet in which to communicate with another man or woman about their rage, their fears and their desires. I do believe men all think with and about their dicks and with that we have the toxic masculinity that comes out in mass shootings and sexual assaults.

As for women they need to talk less and I include myself in that as frankly it has brought me more pain than pleasure. Now I just listen and talk about “others” and veil my sarcasm and intellect with faux empathy and concern. That is of course all bullshit as well I don’t care and have no other interest in others bullshit. And that is what most of our communication is, bullshit. That is largely due to social media where it is an echo chamber of outrage and fake concern, where do you think I learned it? I read Facebook page for writers and it is utter nonsense. If you are a writer, write, but when you fill a page with questions about grammar and concepts you are not a writer you are lonely, sad and think this is the key to success. One crazy poster said, I don’t read others works as I don’t have to and I have published successfully. Really you have? Yes she has self published. She was a moron and many on there are equally idiotic, spending a fortune to self publish and either admitting that they cannot break even or lying about it. This is because of one story of success, the shades of gray story of success, you are sure that it can happen to you. You are the male Teacher I met, unhappy and believe that you will find your way to fame and fortune via a book as he felt that way about the Stock Market, despite actually never doing so.

And now we are moving into Podcasts as the quest of fame and fortune. For every Joe Rogan there are 20 others ramming their thoughts into the interwebs to find their million dollar payday. Even the original comic, Marc Maron, who transcended the podcast concept is still a road warrior on the road doing standup. I am seeing him next weekend in Red Bank, NJ. He seems content being the Aggrieved White Male in ways I find entertaining and with that his intellectual curiosity and admitted defects in that area is a refreshing change of pace then the I know I am better, whiter and richer than anyone and I could still pull in pussy if I wanted to. I listen to one called Cover to Cover and while the comic Chris Franjola is amusing he is so in small small doses. I tried the Patreon thing and it just actually longer versions of his ranting about something. A perusal of his Facebook page seems laden with women who are lonely and in marriages that are not that exciting and they have a partial crush on him as he is the closest they can get to fame and that is about as famous as he can be. I was listening to Marc Maron and one of the things he said was I don’t do social media so anyone on Facebook is not me and I have nothing to do with that fan site. We are sure that social media is the link between us and infamy. What kind? Fuck if I know but once you have gotten laid, bought a used something, was outed, harassed/dog piled I am not sure what is the purpose.

And that is where I close, once again on women who are marching for their rights to control their bodies in a legal and safe manner and the women who are marching against it. The same way I looked at the termination of the Admin for reading the butt book, I look at the demographics and social economic makeup of those who are against it. And with the case of Abortion I have been reading a great deal of about who these anti abortion activists are, and all of them are women. They are white, middle class, usually educated, married with kids. They have never struggled and yes they are religious, some more than others but almost all have a connection to the Church. The other set are single women who have never married, have no children, work and have an education but have not had friendships with those who are not like them, single mothers, women of color and again have come from the Church where they are sure they have the answer. These are the women who see other women as victims or as threats. Women who just need a place to take a baby and the women who are sluts sleeping with men with no recourse or accountability, they see them as threats to their sexuality and their own ability to marry or attract a man. The basic Christian tenant of Virgin or Whore. The book shelves are laden with many of these “types” who are the wash your face girl Christian, who uses script to subliminally manipulate facts. Some end up drinking too much, have a best girlfriend “Jo” who ends up taking her out of her life and the closet she is been hiding in and they then rebuke their years of suppressing others; Or they go back to being straight and rebuking being Gay. Again fame and money are all the reasoning they need to do what they do.

Profiles of these women/activists have been written about in many papers, including in the Times and the Post , and you can review them and revile them, pity them or well not give a flying fuck about them. And that third one is a great reason why they do what they do, in fact it is a motivating factor for why many do what they do. We all want to matter, to give a damn, to provoke change or be famous. I think we want to be famous as that way it is assumed we can be rich. Really it all comes down to money as we simply have so few outlets to make said money. Going right back to the original AWM, can I make a living out of it and can I fuck it? Okay sex is the other. Sex and money, the American dream and the real reasoning behind the concept of the Unicorn Meritocracy. Another myth, like the Bible and the logic behind the Constitution, an illusion.

Woman Hear Me

There are marches and protests occurring throughout the country this weekend over the Supreme’s apparent decision regarding Roe v Wade. Not set in stone but it appears Alioto wrote the brief on Papryus, with a quill, as that is how dated his reasoning was with regards to the right to privacy, aka liberty, which he feels is not established in the Constitution. I am no Lawyer but I file this brief under: Are you fucking kidding me?

As a Woman I know you are hearing me when I speak but are you listening? No. I have found a real problem with that of late and it seems to be getting worse dependent upon the “listener.” And as always another week passed, a bad day at the same high school with the Bitch Admin who walked into a classroom with no English speakers and started ranting. Funny, when I saw the same roster and assignment I walked into the same room and said FUCK THIS several times; however, I was alone. But I knew instantly it was a problem as I had been there prior to break and it was a great two hours, six I did not think so, and I was right. So as she screamed to them to remove hats and sit on the chairs at the desks, turn off phones, then turn retracted that and told them to turn them on I knew what was next; she did what she did best and walked out. At the door she paused and asked me to come see her during my prep. I reminded myself that like the first time, she failed to acknowledge or speak to me first, introduce herself and ask my name, nope it was just the same bullshit but instead over books being used as doorstops, aka instruments of learning it was classroom management. But this time I did not care and then she looks in and sees the hats back on and the kids utterly ignoring me. She comes back in and asks what class is this? And with that I said it is ESL 1 with Spanish and Arabic speakers and no English whatsoever. She ignores me and then asks if anyone can translate, a little girl volunteers and tries to tell them what she said. They just looked afraid if not blank faced and the Bitch walked out. Needless to say I did not see her during my prep nor was I called or asked by anyone to do so. How could I as well who is she and where is this meeting to take place exactly? Instead I tried to find a functioning bathroom as on two floors the students ones are locked and unusable as a consistent problem due to vandalism and the Teacher’s lounge is also now locked so I once again pissed in the class sink. No running water however so I used my empty coffee cup, filled it from the fountain outside and used that to flush. Can I say that is it possible to degrade oneself more? As now with four weeks left and numerous other schools needing coverage my time at that school ended that day. That Bitch is not one I wish to encounter nor deal with again, well ever but that would be too much wishful thinking. But this is about more stories about more women and the failures by them to support each other. March away Ladies, I have no intention of being there.

Later, I read on Reddit a post by a New Teacher who had been punched in the gut by a Student. She called the Parents and they came to school, apologized and removed the kid for that day. Later that day the Admin reprimanded her as that is not protocol. I can say that is true as I have never worked in a school where any type of assault, violence or issue is handled directly by the Teacher, their job is notify the Principal, as the Principals job is to cover up this shit. If you have worked in Education you would know that much, and with that the left wing indignation crowd had pounced all over this story, about the Admin terminated by the school board for reading a book about butts.

Okay the story was slanted in bias of the Admin with little to no actual background on the district itself, or the composition of said district with regards to its politics to its population demographics. The area is a county largely Black, heavily populated, just outside the state capital. Best part of it is that ,yes in a red state, but this is an area that voted for Biden in the last election so one would not say they are the “typical” red State crazies stirring up this shit. They have been voting this way for quite some period and when I pointed it out, Gerrymandering was of course mentioned but there would be little purpose as the area is again, largely Black. The reality is that the Board of the District is Black in its entirety, the Superintendent Black, the school population largely Black and the fired Admin – White. With other factors in place such as free and reduced lunch, and state average with regards to achievement low, this a school with challenges. I informed the posters with links to all of that information and data and it was largely decried or ignored. Here is what the schools said about the book:

A letter from Hinds County Schools Superintendent Delesicia Martin cited “unnecessary embarrassment, a lack of professionalism and impaired judgment” on Price’s part in picking the book and for those reasons, he was fired.

This is the link to the district https://www.hinds.k12.ms.us/site/Default.aspx?PageID=171 and you can see the board members and even write to them. The district is just outside of Montgomery Alabama a very solidly Democratic and this is the there Election Division. http://www.hindscountyms.com/elected-offices/election-commission

The local news the Clarion Register did not even report it but the Washington Post did in not one but two articles; however, there are missing elements in the story, such as, interviews with other Faculty or even the two Board members who abstained and their quotes on the subject and why they elected to not vote. Frankly the book is crude and something fun you might share with a small crowd but with the problems they have at this school I would focus on something less crude and more literary and of course a focus on Black culture. And gosh I think I am right on this one, as it does seem odd that the White male picked this particular story and within MINUTES put on leave. There is more to the story folks always more but fuck that we gots to pick sides and be louder and dumber with it. I can see the Bitch Admin fitting in nicely there, there is now a job opening there, she should look into it. And yes folks race comes into it. I am white, the classroom I was in largely Latin with two Arabic kids and a Black Admin. It all looked bad. None of it is going to end well so I stopped it by well stopping right there and not getting further into it. But this is the new indignation nation by both the left and right over books, curriculum, masks and well being open during the pandemic. Which for the record, had they had testing sites set up there from day one to test any and all who came through the doors and followed ventilation, crowd control and diligent with mask wearing, schools could have opened by say May, ran through the Summer to make up lost time and resumed in September with some changes to meet breaks etc. Job sharing, altering times and scheduling would have all worked with even classrooms designated as online learning rooms for a Teacher to report to the School and administer classes onsite. But that is too fucking hard for that crowd, logic is not a part of education in the least. Irony much?

And with this, facts are facts and the district has the right to handle this as they see fit. But to understand education you need to work in it. It is an arbitrary and capricious industry with little to no reasoning behind many decisions made in schools. I cited this during one of my comments and received this response:

The complaint does not have to come from a parent it can come from another Teacher, a Student an Aide, the Custodian or the Lunchroom Worker. It happened to a friend of mine where the Principal summoned her in and said a note was found in the Cafeteria by the Lunchroom Worker mentioning her specifically and calling her a Racist. She asked to see the note, the note disappeared and she had to hire an Attorney to investigate which went of for two weeks and the Worker did not recall such a note but maybe found it but could not remember. And so forth… she realized that she was not liked and transferred schools it is how it works.

*Somewhere along the line we lost all perspective. Instead of handling problems with the lowest level of intervention, especially in matters of judgement not intentional wrongdoing, and moved right to sending the offender to the electric chair. I blame media and twitter for pushing us all to extremes. We need to get back to talking to each other and relearning how to discuss an issue without scorching the earth and destroying lives.

And as we move into a new round of protests by those on the Pro Choice movement, I will of course step out of it. Wear the obligatory 1973 T shirt and donate to Planned Parenthood, League of Women Voters and NOW. They are speaking for women in ways I cannot nor will not. I don’t have a goat in this rodeo and I know how women have treated me both personally and professionally for years, I am not allowing it anymore. When Women are rising up to be as bad as men, what is the answer? I just said no. Try that when a man wants to fuck you. Just say no. It worked for Nancy Reagan and her drug campaign, just now we are changing it up.

Come Together

I have been all over the map with regards to what to do to preserve women’s reproductive rights and ultimately choose their own road when it comes to having children, being able to have sex without consequence and just be happy being women. Women are not happy being women, I made a passing comment about how it sucks being a woman in regards to the story about the Sheriff who aided the prisoner to escape and was found dead apparently by her own hand. Aside from the story sounding much like the Escape from Danemora story with Patricia Arquette, I said that women seem to be found dead when they travel with men in vans for a year, go on date with a man, break up with a man, escape prison with a man, so man it sucks being a woman. I almost ended up dead from going on a date with a man so I think I can say that with certain confidence that yeah, it sorta kinda sucks (at times) being a woman. And right away came the scold, the liberal reprimand from a woman who informed me that victims deserve a place and a voice even if they are dead. Okay, since you don’t know my back story, you don’t even know I am a woman by my online name, I get your point, so I promptly responded, “I know, I survived I am still standing” and I left it at that. Nope, not good enough. The response was, “Well not everyone is you.” Can I just say that is the dumbest motherfucking bullshit response I have had, of late. I get plenty but really, they aren’t. Wow thanks did not know that. It was like the convo I had with the young man that I should be flattered that a young moron of 30 was hitting on me. Really I should? He is barely out of diapers, has a shitty job, is unattractive and uneducated and yes you are right, I am so fucking blessed to be hit on by that, I should drop to my knees and suck a dick!

The same debate over being called or using the word Feminist when I prefer Womanist or even better Humanist. A Bitch and yes she was as it was clear by her screen name, just face palmed her response. To that as I say to children, “Use your words” as that is clear they really have not cognizant thought regarding your opinion so out come the idiot response key, emojis. Lord those are a pale form of communication. And why she loathed my response, and by the way the largest amount of responses to the article about a woman who felt she failed raising her daughter as a Feminist were in fact negative, but this troll was distressed about that and attempting to do what trolls do best, agitate and inflame. Frankly I rarely respond other than “Whatevia” or “Whatever you say, mmkay!” And with her it was nada, I saw her path and thought I will take a turn off this road. The reason she was “upset” is that right now the word/term Womanist, coined by the Author Alice Walker, is now under attack for some of her more trenchant views on subjects that have put her at odds with a larger and yes liberal society. And those who have no issue with Ms. Walker have been called cult members. Remember the free speech thing and book banning thing on the right? Oh yeah it is on the left too. Oh for the love of the Sky Daddy are you kidding me how much denial the liberal left feels when it comes to diversity – of opinion. How about this, Ms. Walker is a gifted writer who is entitled to her personal opinions and she has little to do with my life other than through her books, which – here it comes – we have a CHOICE to read or not. Ah that word, choice rears its ugly head.

What this really comes down to is that few if anyone really understands another story or can truly empathize with another as they have not walked in their shoes. I cannot imagine what life was like for Alice Walker when she came of age and with that I can only learn via reading and speaking to those who have. I cannot understand the pain of a man recovering from addiction and years of living in West Virginia surrounded by poverty in perhaps the most beautiful part of the world living day to day without an education, without opportunity, just being without, unless I have gone there and met them. We don’t know another persons story until we listen without prejudice, just listen. The Aggrieved White Male I wrote about the other day just wanted someone to listen. But he also needed to know that his story is not that unique, almost any Teacher has a story about a Student or Administrator and how it all went wrong. Those will only grow of late I am afraid. And with him I found things I did agree with and we could part without rancor. I loathe him and can spot a Chris Christie “type” and with that I will leave it at that, I don’t need to complain about him, gossip or actually give a shit about him. The joke and the irony was he never asked me my name, not once and as I said about him leaving when he should have stayed spoke volumes way more than failing to ask my name, and this was after me telling him about his two Admins who had verbally abused me for using books as doorstops and their failure to introduce themselves and speak to me as an adult professional. Was he very different? No the Teacher who walked into her shitty classroom and ignored me, same thing. Teachers are not noble or better than anyone else. Just realize that they are still professionals and should be respected by the position they hold and their willingness to do a job few want to.

But almost all of these people that we seem to have a difference of opinion with do agree that abortion rights are worth fighting for and protecting for whatever reason they find that validates that, I am fine with. Again with the AWM Teacher it was about a woman “trapping” you into a situation that abortion would have enabled you, the man to get out of. Okay sure I will accept that and by the way I need to you make some signs as you are the Art dude, so can you do that?

And there are many AGM and Angry Women who have podcasts, Facebook pages and blogs that rally their troops to fight their causes and meet them in the town square to make change, have their voices heard and mostly just find people who are just like them. We all want to find our tribe and with that we have apparently a lot of tribes out there but with the left we have this one problem with maintaining a consensus and even having a quorum. Remember the Women’s March after Trump was elected? Well that dissolved. BLM is struggling to find a voice and national place on the stage with infighting and funds being spent on mansions that simply enables the right to move past and on the subject. The left just can’t get their shit together, herding cats is truly the analogy that fits. And with this I read this editorial in the Times on Sunday and if the shoe fits. And if that shoe does fit, take it to the streets but this time use those boots to walk into the places, no palaces of power and demand lasting change.

Protests Might Not Change the Court’s Decision. We Should Take to the Streets Anyway.

May 5, 2022

By Jay Caspian Kang Opinion Writer The New York Times

Today, tomorrow and for the foreseeable future, thousands of people across the country will continue to protest the Supreme Court’s leaked draft decision overturning Roe v. Wade. But before the paint can dry on a picket sign, someone will invariably shove a microphone in the face of a protester and ask what, exactly, this is going to accomplish. Which laws will be overturned? Whose rights will be restored? How will anyone’s life get better because of all this?

This is the modern contradiction when it comes to protest: Millions of Americans seem willing to go out into the streets to protest — perhaps more than even in the 1960s — and yet more people than ever also seem to severely doubt the pragmatic and political power of street action. Given the procedural and incremental way we look at politics today, which involves a lot of hand-wringing about how certain policies or slogans will affect some far-off election, it’s easy to forget that two of the biggest protest actions in American history took place in the past five years: The Women’s March in 2017, which drew an estimated three million to five million people from around the country, and of course, the summer of George Floyd, which brought out millions more here and around the world.

You could look at these two moments and claim that they accomplished little outside of meaningless social media posts from corporations, a spate of toothless diversity workplace initiatives and a handful of political promises like disbanding the Minneapolis Police Department that were quickly walked back. Abortion rights are now on the chopping block. Unarmed Black people are still being shot by the police, who have seen increases in their budgets in cities across the country.

But such quick assessments not only wildly underestimate the difficulty of fundamentally changing American institutions; they also miss much of the point of protests. No organizers worth their mettle believe that getting people to march together and chant will immediately lead the powers that be to meet all their demands. Rather, the goal is to create an event in which people who are outraged can gather together. Within that space, connections are made, new ideas are tested, and the infrastructure for political action gets built. The street doesn’t always have to be a place to list demands for instant change. The Floyd protests, for example, led to a boost in voter registration for Democrats. The point is the people.

If you want another example of what long-term activism can yield, consider that the fight to overturn Roe v. Wade took 50 years of dedicated organizing. Though the ultimate decision will be made by Supreme Court justices, the engine of the anti-abortion movement has always been street protests — sometimes violent — at abortion clinics, state legislative buildings and big gatherings. These have been paired with well-funded campaigns that put pressure on elected officials at nearly every level of government. Justice Amy Coney Barrett, for example, didn’t ascend the ranks of the conservative judiciary through the traditional pathway of Ivy League schools. Instead, according to Margaret Talbot’s profile in The New Yorker, Barrett’s nomination can be attributed to the way she appealed to religious activists who had expanded their power in the conservative legal movement.

For decades, as Roe stood, anti-abortion activists made incremental progress at the state level, much of which took years to secure. Early on, before they’d made real inroads, you might have asked them, “What’s the point?” The National Right to Life Committee, for example, started in 1968 as a group of Catholic bishops who opposed state abortion laws. As the movement grew, it dropped its affiliation with the church and, after a few organizational missteps, grew to become one of the most influential anti-abortion organizations in the country. Speaking in December on the possibility of Roe’s being overturned, the group’s president, who now oversees more than 3,000 local chapters, said, “We’ve been working towards this goal for many years.”

I have reported on protests from Ferguson to Standing Rock to the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye of South Korea. I have attended small conservative meet-ups, sat with anti-affirmative-action legal activists and met with private citizens who round up large sums of money for right-wing causes. All this has convinced me of one thing: Those on the right are better at organizing than the left. They seem to believe much more in its power than their counterparts on the other side.

This doesn’t mean the left doesn’t have organizational might. The millions who showed up for the Floyd protests are testament to that. What progressives lack is institutional support and elected officials who turn that energy into policy.

You almost never see Republican politicians denouncing protests from their side, no matter how violent or insurrectionary. (Even Jan. 6 is now seen as legitimate political discourse by the party, despite initial condemnation.) When faced with mass demonstrations from progressives, they pass anti-protest laws to suppress the right to organize. This shows an abiding belief in the potential power of public dissent; you don’t make it harder for people to protest in the streets because you think the whole thing is silly and pointless. You make it harder because you actually respect its power.

The Democratic establishment’s response to progressive demonstrations, in contrast, is to pat the protesters on the head and then, when the streets have cleared, blame them for the party’s failures. This week, Tim Ryan, the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate seat in Ohio, released an ad. He opens by saying, “Defunding the police is way off the mark” — choosing to define himself by disparaging activists who have barely been seen by a television camera since the end of 2020. In these moments, it feels as if nobody in America hates the idea of protest more than establishment liberal politicians.

And yet the future of reproductive rights will likely rely on the willingness of those liberal politicians to stand with the thousands, likely millions, who will head to the barricades. It will be on them to find a solution that represents the 62 percent of Americans who do not want to see Roe overturned.

On Monday night, many people on social media rightfully pointed out the breadth of the draft of Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion and how it could open the door for challenges to other once-settled protections, whether of gay marriage or even school desegregation laws. Does it make more sense to try for a maximalist approach that argues that the G.O.P. will not stop at just Roe? Or should the message be about this specific decision and the threat it poses to the lives of women?

The answers will likely be found at demonstrations and in organizing meetings. There is no clear path toward a legislative restoration of abortion rights, no politician who can be the white knight, and solutions like court packing and abolishing the filibuster seem impossible. That’s precisely why people need to take to the streets.

It is no small thing for people to leave their homes to protest an injustice. The thousands who show up to these protests should be applauded for what is fundamentally a patriotic and hallowed act. Now is not the time to worry about the expected value one expects to receive in return for a day spent at the barricades.

Nor is this a time for squabbles over which group gets to lead, who is most affected by this ruling and whose voices should be prioritized. The politics that emerge from these protests need to be capacious and active; no people should think of themselves as only allies. Instead, they should echo the sentiment of something I heard an organizer in Oakland, Calif., say once, something I’ve written about before and a refrain that plays in my head on repeat every time I see people on a picket line: “There is no such thing as a good protester or a bad protester. The good protester is the one who shows up.

The Kids Not Alright

I have long complained, yes complained, about Tennessee and the Nashville area in its zeal for growth and prosperity while simultaneously pursuing political agendas that are both regressive and oppressive in nature. The invisible policies are those usually regarding funding and expansion of health care, anything with social welfare programs and of course education. This is the State that tried to push vouchers and for now it is stalled but given their aggressive religious obsession and the idea that no good deed goes unpunished, meaning that all learning is from a single good book, that book being the Bible, is all that truly matters to the religious right. And this is the buckle of the Bible belt and what a better way to use it as a noose around one’s neck.

The first story I read about was that in a Christian Academy in Knoxville, a student was filmed wearing a KKK outfit and heard spouting racist language. The school has immediately stepped up to investigate but one wonders if said investigation would happen if this story had not made it out into the world of social media? They like to keep their racism like their secrets, swept well under the rug there in Tennessee.

And then I received this article from ProPublica how that an Elementary School in Murfressboro was arresting largely if not exclusively Black students for infractions that are not illegal and with that little was done to prevent or cease this action. Shocking, I know! Not really. The area is a sleeper bedroom community just an hour out of the city and is also growing in population as Nashville is simply pushing out anyone who cannot afford the new “it” city prices and costs on the wages that are still largely below average. And with that the new residents are also drawn by the schools in the County as they supposedly better than those in Davidson County aka Nashville. For the record folks it is a low bar. But the draw to the area are largely folks who are not well educated nor highly compensated. This is an area fueled by tourism and the real jobs of med and ed are not all that well compensated either. Ask those who work at Nashville General Hospital, the sole public one in the region but it has no problem to demand money from the poor. But let’s not forget the region is home to many for profit ones who are no less or in fact are more concerned about the bottom line than that of the patient care line. And Vanderbilt Hospital the mecca and glowing reason for much of Nashville’s growth is no pantheon of equality and parity there either.

Again this is a part of the world where money is the only thing that matters and they like to keep wages low and believe if more want to live there then that is one thing the Chamber of Commerce touts the more that come the lower the rung in which to grab. I have said it repeatedly that the new migrants are often very dumb and very poor as they are easier to manipulate and manage and it is not hard to find many who fill that application as most of the residents are from border areas where jobs are even less to find and for even less pay. The South is growing y’all, but then again new residents are either oblivious or are in fact attracted to the religious calling of the area, so this may not be an issue or problem to the newcomers.

But this story is particularly distressing and for the record the paper of record, The Tennessean has not covered the story since it first appeared, nor the local media. Truly this is a Phil Williams story if ever there was one. But then again this is the South. You know that rug is big but this puts a lump the size of the Cumberland under said rug.

Racial Justice

Black Children Were Jailed for a Crime That Doesn’t Exist. Almost Nothing Happened to the Adults in Charge.

Judge Donna Scott Davenport oversees a juvenile justice system in Rutherford County, Tennessee, with a staggering history of jailing children. She said kids must face consequences, which rarely seem to apply to her or the other adults in charge.

by Meribah Knight, Nashville Public Radio, and Ken Armstrong, ProPublica

Chapter 1: “What in the World?”

Friday, April 15, 2016: Hobgood Elementary School, Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Three police officers were crowded into the assistant principal’s office at Hobgood Elementary School, and Tammy Garrett, the school’s principal, had no idea what to do. One officer, wearing a tactical vest, was telling her: Go get the kids. A second officer was telling her: Don’t go get the kids. The third officer wasn’t saying anything.

Garrett knew the police had been sent to arrest some children, although exactly which children, it would turn out, was unclear to everyone, even to these officers. The names police had given the principal included four girls, now sitting in classrooms throughout the school. All four girls were Black. There was a sixth grader, two fourth graders and a third grader. The youngest was 8. On this sunny Friday afternoon in spring, she wore her hair in pigtails.

A few weeks before, a video had appeared on YouTube. It showed two small boys, 5 and 6 years old, throwing feeble punches at a larger boy as he walked away, while other kids tagged along, some yelling. The scuffle took place off school grounds, after a game of pickup basketball. One kid insulted another kid’s mother, is what started it all.

The police were at Hobgood because of that video. But they hadn’t come for the boys who threw punches. They were here for the children who looked on. The police in Murfreesboro, a fast-growing city about 30 miles southeast of Nashville, had secured juvenile petitions for 10 children in all who were accused of failing to stop the fight. Officers were now rounding up kids, even though the department couldn’t identify a single one in the video, which was posted with a filter that made faces fuzzy. What was clear were the voices, including that of one girl trying to break up the fight, saying: “Stop, Tay-Tay. Stop, Tay-Tay. Stop, Tay-Tay.” She was a fourth grader at Hobgood. Her initials were E.J.

The confusion at Hobgood — one officer saying this, another saying that — could be traced in part to absence. A police officer regularly assigned to Hobgood, who knew the students and staff, had bailed that morning after learning about the planned arrests. The thought of arresting these children caused him such stress that he feared he might cry in front of them. Or have a heart attack. He wanted nothing to do with it, so he complained of chest pains and went home, with no warning to his fill-in about what was in store.

Also absent was the police officer who had investigated the video and instigated these arrests, Chrystal Templeton. She had assured the principal she would be there. She had also told Garrett there would be no handcuffs, that police would be discreet. But Templeton was a no-show. Garrett even texted her — “How’s timing?” — but got no answer.

Instead of going to Hobgood, Templeton had spent the afternoon gathering the petitions, then heading to the Rutherford County Juvenile Detention Center, a two-tiered jail for children with dozens of surveillance cameras, 48 cells and 64 beds. There, she waited for the kids to be brought to her.

In Rutherford County, a juvenile court judge had been directing police on what she called “our process” for arresting children, and she appointed the jailer, who employed a “filter system” to determine which children to hold.

The judge was proud of what she had helped build, despite some alarming numbers buried in state reports.

Among cases referred to juvenile court, the statewide average for how often children were locked up was 5%.

In Rutherford County, it was 48%.

In the assistant principal’s office at Hobgood, the officer telling Garrett not to get the kids was Chris Williams. Williams, who is Black, had been a Murfreesboro cop for five years. “What in the world?” he thought, when he learned what these arrests were about. At Hobgood, two-thirds of the students were Black or Latino. Williams wondered if such arrests would be made at a school that was mostly white. He had a daughter who was 9. He pictured her being arrested. This is going to blow up, he thought; I’m going to end up in federal court over this. He considered quitting, but instead tried to get someone to intervene. Tucked in an office corner, he called a sergeant, a lieutenant and a major, but couldn’t find anyone to call it off.

The officer not saying anything was Albert Miles III. Growing up, Miles, who is Black, had friends who hated the police. But Miles’ dad was a cop. Miles wanted to prove that police could be trusted. That afternoon, Miles had been pulled out of roll call along with another officer; a sergeant told the two to go arrest some kids at Hobgood. The sergeant didn’t say why, but at Hobgood, Miles started picking up details. Miles, too, wondered if these arrests would happen at a school full of white students.

The third officer at Hobgood was Jeff Carroll. He’d been pulled out of roll call with Miles. Carroll, who is white, was a patrol officer and SWAT team member. In evaluations, supervisors praised him as a leader, “cool under pressure.” Carroll also had no idea what these arrests were about. But his sergeant had ordered them, and he followed orders. Carroll was the officer telling the principal: Go get the kids.

Garrett asked if she could call their parents first. Carroll told her no. Garrett told the police that one girl had diabetes and got treatment when she arrived home after school. Please, the principal said. Let me call her parent. On this, the police ultimately compromised, saying the girl could get a shot in the nurse’s office before being taken to the jail.

Of the two officers telling Garrett what to do — get the kids, don’t get the kids — Carroll seemed the more aggressive, the principal would say later. She agreed to get the kids.

Having these arrests take place at Hobgood was not something school officials wanted. They wanted kids to feel safe at school. Garrett grew up poor. Nine-tenths of her students were poor. Years before, Hobgood had struggled academically. Now it was a celebrated success. Garrett and her staff had worked to build trust with parents, with students. “I don’t give up on kids,” Garrett says. But she knew that trust is fragile, and trauma endures.

As Garrett gathered the girls from their classrooms, she believed the police would at least avoid a spectacle. School let out at 2:30. That was minutes away. Garrett’s understanding was that the police would keep the girls in the office until school was dismissed and everyone else was gone.

Garrett rounded up the sixth grader, a tall girl with braids who had visions of becoming a police officer; one of the fourth graders, the girl with diabetes; and the 8-year-old third grader. In the hallway, the principal tried to prepare them, saying the police were there regarding a video of a fight. Hearing this, the sixth grader told Garrett that the two other girls hadn’t even been there.

After returning to the office with the three girls, Garrett relayed to police what the sixth grader had told her.

Her words were barely out when Carroll made it clear he’d had enough, Garrett said later when interviewed as part of an internal police investigation.

Carroll pulled out handcuffs and put them “right in my face,” Garrett recalled.

“And he said, ‘We’re going now, we’re going now, there’s no more talk, and we’re going now.’

“And I said, ‘But, but, but.’”

Carroll yelled at her, Garrett said. She felt intimidated. Bullied. She worried that if she said any more, she might be arrested herself. “And so I backed off.”

By now the girls were crying and screaming and reaching for the principal, who was also crying, as was the assistant principal. “And it was, it was, it was awful,” Garrett later said.

Carroll handcuffed the sixth grader. Later, asked why, he said because policy allowed him to. After being handcuffed, the sixth grader fell to her knees.

Miles handcuffed the 8-year-old with pigtails. “Just acting out of habit,” he said later. Walking to a patrol car, Miles stopped and thought, “Wait a minute,” and removed the cuffs. “I guess my brain finally caught up with what was going on.”

While Carroll drove those two girls to the jail, the fourth grader with diabetes stayed behind to see the nurse. She was sisters with the sixth grader; her initials were C.C.

In all this back and forth, Principal Garrett realized something. The other fourth grader. She had forgotten about her. And now, school was out. The girl had boarded her bus, and was waiting to go home.

The other fourth grader was E.J. Although she’d said “stop,” she was on the police’s list to be picked up for encouraging the fight.

Go get her, the police told Garrett.

Garrett was still crying. She didn’t want to go out to the line of buses and let all those kids see her like that. But she went, feeling she had little choice.

A teacher beckoned E.J. off the bus. Then Garrett escorted her inside, to the awaiting police. E.J., scared and confused, begged for her mother — and threw up on the floor.

The two fourth graders still at Hobgood, E.J. and C.C., were best friends. Williams and Miles walked the girls outside, not handcuffing either. With some parents joining in, the officers formed a prayer circle around the two girls. Miles prayed out loud for the kids to be protected and for God to bring peace and understanding. Then he buckled the fourth graders into a patrol car and drove off. On the way to jail the girls cried, “snot and all,” E.J. would say later. Garrett, meanwhile, pulled out her personal cellphone and began calling parents, no longer willing to do as the police commanded.

For the officers, the confusion didn’t end at the school. It continued once the children began arriving at the jail.

When Carroll walked in with the first two girls, Templeton, the investigating officer, pointed to the 8-year-old and asked what she was doing there. The police had no petition for her, Templeton said. The 8-year-old’s mother soon arrived and took her child home.

Miles brought in the last two girls, the two fourth graders. Then, walking out to his patrol car, he ran into an angry parent, Miles would recall later. It was a father demanding answers. Miles dropped his head, shaking it. The father asked why this was happening. I don’t know, Miles answered. We are good people, the father said. I can only imagine what you’re feeling, Miles answered. He explained, briefly, the juvenile court process. This is wrong, the father told Miles, over and over. After the third time, Miles, fighting back tears, said he understood, as a parent himself, the father’s anger and pain.

Fuck you, the father said.

I understand, Miles answered.

Only later, when he returned to the police station, did Miles allow himself to cry.

​​When the parent asked why this was happening, Miles had been unable to say. But the answer traces to individual missteps and institutional breakdowns — all on a grand scale.

What happened on that Friday and in the days after, when police rounded up even more kids, would expose an ugly and unsettling culture in Rutherford County, one spanning decades. In the wake of these mass arrests, lawyers would see inside a secretive legal system that’s supposed to protect kids, but in this county did the opposite. Officials flouted the law by wrongfully arresting and jailing children. One of their worst practices was stopped following the events at Hobgood, but the conditions that allowed the lawlessness remain. The adults in charge failed. Yet they’re still in charge. Tennessee’s systems for protecting children failed. Yet they haven’t been fixed.

Chapter 2: “The Mother of the County”

Eleven children in all were arrested over the video, including the 8-year-old taken in by mistake. Media picked up the story. Parents and community leaders condemned the actions of police. “Unimaginable, unfathomable,” a Nashville pastor said. “Unconscionable,” “inexcusable,” “insane,” three state legislators said. But Rutherford County’s juvenile court judge focused instead on the state of youth, telling a local TV station: “We are in a crisis with our children in Rutherford County. … I’ve never seen it this bad.”

Rutherford County established the position of elected juvenile court judge in 2000, and ever since, Donna Scott Davenport has been the job’s only holder. She sometimes calls herself the “mother of the county.”

Davenport runs the juvenile justice system, appointing magistrates, setting rules and presiding over cases that include everything from children accused of breaking the law to parents accused of neglecting their children. While the county’s mayor, sheriff and commissioners have turned over, she has stayed on, becoming a looming figure for thousands of families. “She’s been the judge ever since I was a kid,” said one mother whose own kids have cycled through Davenport’s courtroom. One man, now in his late 20s, said that when he was a kid in trouble, he would pray for a magistrate instead of Davenport: “If she’s having a bad day, most definitely, you’re going to have a bad day.”

While juvenile court is mostly private, Davenport keeps a highly public profile. For the past 10 years she’s had a monthly radio segment on WGNS, a local station where she talks about her work.

She sees a breakdown in morals. Children lack respect: “It’s worse now than I’ve ever seen it,” she said in 2012. Parents don’t parent: “It’s just the worst I’ve ever seen,” she said in 2017. On WGNS, Davenport reminisces with the show’s host about a time when families ate dinner together and parents always knew where their children were and what friends they were with because kids called home from a landline, not some could-be-anywhere cellphone. Video games, the internet, social media — it’s all poison for children, the judge says.

Davenport describes her work as a calling. “I’m here on a mission. It’s not a job. It’s God’s mission,” she told a local newspaper. The children in her courtroom aren’t hers, but she calls them hers. “I’m seeing a lot of aggression in my 9- and 10-year-olds,” she says in one radio segment.

She encourages parents troubled by their children’s behavior to use over-the-counter kits to test them for drugs. “Don’t buy them at the Dollar Tree,” she says on the radio. “The best ones are your reputable drugstores.”

Scrutinizing the inner workings of Tennessee’s juvenile courts can be difficult. Court files are mostly off-limits; proceedings can be closed at a judge’s discretion. But on the radio, Davenport provides listeners a glimpse of the court’s work. “I’ve locked up one 7-year-old in 13 years, and that was a heartbreak,” she said in 2012. “But 8- and 9-year-olds, and older, are very common now.”

Davenport has lots of favorite sayings. “God don’t make no junk,” she says to kids, to instill self-worth. To instill fear, she will say, “I’m going to let you be young and dumb — one time.” There’s no jury in juvenile court, so Davenport decides the facts as well as the law. “And that is why I should get 12 times the pay,” she likes to joke.

Davenport enforces a strict dress code in her courtroom, requiring people to “show deference.” There will be no untucked shirts. No sundresses, spaghetti straps or spandex. No body piercings, no uncovered tattoos. Pants shall be pulled up, and if a child shows up without a belt, the judge keeps a bag of them, and if she runs out, “you’ll just have to make do with a piece of rope,” one newspaper profile said.

Davenport says children need consequences. “Being detained in our facility is not a picnic at all,” she says on the radio. “It’s not supposed to be. It’s a consequence for an action.”

Davenport’s tough talk — and the county’s high detention rate — go against a reform movement that started about the same time she went on the bench. Beginning in the late 1990s, the number of kids in lockup began to decline, both nationally and in Tennessee.

Davenport, now 69, grew up in Mt. Juliet, a Nashville suburb. She attended Middle Tennessee State University, in Murfreesboro, majoring in criminal justice.

On the radio, Davenport says she has been “blessed” with an extensive history in law enforcement: “I was trained well in 17 years by different law enforcement agencies.” As a juvenile court judge, she says, she can spot “subtle signs” of gang activity, “wearing something to the right or to the left, or a color here or a color there.”

Her description of her job history doesn’t always match employment records.

Davenport, in a sworn deposition, said her law enforcement career began in 1977 at MTSU, where, as a student, she worked full time as a university police officer for two to three years. But her MTSU personnel file shows her being a part-time dispatcher, then a full-time clerk-typist, then a full-time secretary.

In 1980, Davenport started as a dispatcher for the Murfreesboro Police Department. Then she took another job — not in law enforcement, but in the law department for Nashville, investigating financial claims that might include anything from car accidents to slip-and-falls.

At night, Davenport went to law school. She graduated in 1986. That same year, she told lawyers in a deposition, “I started with the feds.” She told radio listeners that for eight years she was “with the U.S. Justice Department, where I analyzed and tracked and helped identify serial killers.” But this job wasn’t with the Justice Department. Her employer, Regional Information Sharing Systems, received federal funding but isn’t a federal agency.

She then became a private investigator, handling “mostly divorces,” she told lawyers.

In a deposition, Davenport said she first took the bar exam about a year after finishing law school. She failed, then kept trying.

“How — how many times have you taken the bar?” an attorney asked her.

“I passed on the fifth time,” she said.

She was admitted to practice law in 1995, nine years after getting her law degree.

In 1998, she became a juvenile court referee, akin to a judge. One of the county’s judges appointed her. (Asked why, he recently said, “I really can’t go back and tell you.”)

The following year, Rutherford County violated federal law 191 times by keeping kids locked up too long, according to a story later published by The Tennessean. By law, children held for such minor acts as truancy were to appear before a judge within 24 hours and be released no more than a day after that. The newspaper interviewed Davenport, who estimated half those violations occurred because a kid had cursed her or someone else. For cursing, she said, she typically sentenced kids to two to 10 days in jail. “Was I in violation?” she said. “Heck, yes. But am I going to allow a child to cuss anyone out? Heck, no.”

In August 2000 — less than three months after the story was published — Rutherford County elected Davenport to the newly created job of juvenile court judge. Her opponent, a major in the sheriff’s department, was later charged with sex crimes against minors and, in a plea deal, got probation. Davenport has not had another opponent since.

With juveniles, police in Tennessee typically avoid cuffs and custody, particularly in less serious cases. They instead serve summonses instructing kids and their parents to show up in court.

But that wasn’t the routine in Rutherford County. When the Murfreesboro officers arrested the kids at Hobgood, they were following Davenport’s “process”: arrest, transport to the detention center for screening, then file charging papers. “IT IS SO ORDERED,” Davenport wrote in a 2003 memo about her instructions. Four years later she declared that even kids accused of minor violations like truancy must be taken into custody and transported to jail.

Davenport once told Murfreesboro’s Daily News Journal: “I know I’m harsh, I’m very harsh. I like to think I’m fair, but I’m tough.”

In 2016, the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct publicly reprimanded Davenport. In a family law matter, a father’s lawyers had asked to move his case to another county. By law, they were allowed to. But Davenport called “the father and/or his attorneys” a “sneaky snake,” the reprimand said. What’s more, she ordered that a transcript of her words be forwarded, possibly tipping the next judge to her animosity. The reprimand found that Davenport’s “intemperate conduct” threatened the right to a fair hearing.

In some other cases, appeals courts have taken Davenport to task through unusually blunt language.

In one, Davenport was overturned twice. Davenport, finding that a mother had neglected her daughter, granted custody to another couple. Two higher courts disagreed and ordered Davenport to reunify the mother and child. Instead, Davenport terminated the mother’s parental rights. The other couple then adopted the girl, after being “exhorted” by Davenport to move quickly, according to a state Court of Appeals opinion.

The adoption went through while a challenge to Davenport’s parental termination ruling was still pending. In the second go-round, a state appeals court judge made clear his displeasure, saying, during oral argument, “Our little system works pretty simply”: If a higher court tells a lower court to do something, the lower court does it. “That didn’t happen in this case,” he said. Two months later, the appeals court overruled Davenport for a second time. Saying it was “troubled by the proceedings to this point,” the court ordered Davenport to reunite the mother and child — “expeditiously.”

Davenport, through a spokesperson, declined our interview request, to which we attached 13 pages of questions. Previously, when asked about the county’s arrest practices, Davenport told lawyers that she “can’t tell law enforcement what to do.” She told a local newspaper that her court produces “a lot of success stories.” She told radio listeners, “I want the children that come in front of me to leave better than they came in.”

Chapter 3: “Yeah, That’s the Charge”

Friday, April 15, 2016: Judicial Commissioners’ office, Murfreesboro, Tennessee

On the same Friday afternoon as three police officers jammed into the assistant principal’s office at Hobgood Elementary School, three other people huddled in another office a few miles away, to discuss what charge these kids could face.

Chrystal Templeton, the police officer investigating the video, wanted to arrest every kid who watched the fight and “get them all in front” of Davenport, she would say later during an internal police investigation. Charging them was helping them, Templeton believed, because “juvenile court is about rehabilitation.”

Templeton thought an appropriate charge might be conspiracy to commit assault. But then she met with Amy Anderson and Sherry Hamlett, two judicial commissioners authorized by Rutherford County to issue arrest warrants. Anderson told Templeton that she thought the only child who could be charged with conspiring was the kid who recorded video of the fight on a cellphone.

So they went in search of another charge, with Hamlett checking the state’s criminal code on a computer.

Templeton had joined the Murfreesboro Police Department in 1998, when she was 21. By the time of the arrests at Hobgood, she had been disciplined at least 37 times, including nine suspensions. She once left a loaded pistol on the seat of a patrol car, according to her personnel file. During a pursuit, she failed to turn on her dash cam. Another time she lost control of her patrol car and hit a Ford Explorer, which, in turn, hit a Nissan Pathfinder while Templeton’s patrol unit, spinning, smacked a Toyota Sequoia. In all, four cars were damaged and seven people injured, including Templeton.

In the lead-up to the Hobgood arrests, Garrett, the school’s principal, had heard grumbling about Templeton. Templeton was a school resource officer — not at Hobgood, but at two other schools in Murfreesboro. Both schools’ principals complained that Templeton was often absent. Meanwhile, one of Hobgood’s resource officers warned Garrett that Templeton’s handling of the case was going to cause a “shitstorm.” But that officer didn’t share her concerns with police higher-ups. She believed Templeton’s sergeant always made excuses for her, so what was the point?

Templeton had begun investigating on Wednesday, two days earlier. To try and identify all the kids, she asked around at schools and in the neighborhood where the fight took place. One parent she approached for help was E.J.’s mom. Templeton assured her no one was in trouble, that she just wanted to give the kids a talking-to, E.J.’s mom would say later. E.J., who was with her mom during this meeting, said she had been there. It was her on the video saying, “Stop, Tay-Tay.” On a piece of paper, on the hood of Templeton’s patrol car, E.J. and another girl who was with them listed the onlookers. And that was Templeton’s investigation. “My case is the video and the list,” she would say later, even though she couldn’t match any bystander to any image in the video.

The victim, the boy being punched, told Templeton the kids were all friends now. Templeton told him she understood. She then asked the child, “Do you think that there needs to be some consequences for what happened?” she would later recall. “And he said yes.”

Templeton wanted guidance. She believed the boys throwing punches were too young to be charged with a crime. An assistant district attorney agreed. The assistant DA also told Templeton she didn’t believe there was any single charge appropriate for all the kids gathered around. But Templeton still wanted to charge them all.

Inside the judicial commissioners’ office, Hamlett discovered an alternative to conspiracy to commit assault.

Her search turned up a Tennessee statute defining “criminal responsibility for conduct of another.” It says, in part: A person is “criminally responsible” for an offense committed by another if “the person causes or aids an innocent or irresponsible person to engage in” the offense, or directs another to commit the offense, or “fails to make a reasonable effort to prevent commission of the offense.”

Hamlett shared her find with Templeton. They went through the statute line by line, with Anderson joining in.

“I looked at the charge to the best of my ability, from my experience was like, ‘Yeah, that’s, that’s the charge,’” Templeton would later say. (When she subsequently apprised a higher-up in the police department, the higher-up wasn’t so sure. But he didn’t warn her off. “No one ever said no,” Templeton said later, adding, “If somebody told me, ‘No, stop,’ I would have stopped.”)

In the United States, it is typically the prosecutor’s job to review a police investigation and decide what charges, if any, to file. But Tennessee allows counties to hire judicial commissioners to fill this role. From issuing warrants to setting bail to conducting probable cause hearings, Rutherford County’s judicial commissioners can take on tasks that traditionally fall to judges or prosecutors — without needing the legal training of either.

County judges recommend people for the job. County commissioners appoint them.

Rutherford County opens the job to anyone with a Tennessee driver’s license and a high school diploma, supplemented by some college-level course work or vocational training and some office work.

Anderson, a county employee since 1998, was disciplined shortly before this case. According to investigative records, she had passed a note to a sheriff’s clerk. The clerk tore it up, then left with Anderson. Someone fished the note’s scraps from the trash and taped them together. The note read: “Could I get a few? If not, that’s fine. It’s my hip.”

In an internal sheriff’s investigation, the clerk admitted giving Anderson two prescription painkillers. That was illegal, a lieutenant wrote. He informed a county judge, who said they “would handle the situation administratively.” Anderson received a letter of warning, according to her personnel file.

Hamlett started as a judicial commissioner in 2008, making $8.50 an hour. Her application listed a high school diploma, and no college. Her previous job was in a small-town post office where her responsibilities included “computer work and general office duties.”

When Hamlett came up with “criminal responsibility for conduct of another” as a possible charge, there was a problem. It’s not an actual charge. There is no such crime. It is rather a basis upon which someone can be accused of a crime. For example, a person who caused someone else to commit robbery would be charged with robbery, not “criminal responsibility.”

But in the judicial commissioners’ office that Friday afternoon, 10 petitions were issued, each charging a child with “criminal responsibility.” The petitions didn’t distinguish the kids’ actions; the documents were cookie-cutter, saying each child “encouraged and caused” two other juveniles to commit an assault.

Templeton signed each petition. Anderson also signed at least some of them. Templeton then left the judicial commissioners’ office, the 10 petitions in hand.

After the four arrests at Hobgood, other children named in the petitions were brought in by their parents or rounded up by police.

(Templeton, through her lawyer, declined to comment. Anderson and Hamlett did not respond to interview requests. A supervisor in the judicial commissioners’ office told us the two had no comment, and neither did he.)

On Saturday, the day after the scene at Hobgood, police went to the home of a sister and brother who were 12-year-old twins. In court records they would be identified as J.B.#1 and J.B.#2. Officers arrested and handcuffed both children, even as the girl cried and begged to stay with her mother, and the mother pleaded with police not to use handcuffs. The mother recently said, “It hurt me to my heart … for them to take my kids.” Two of her other children watched the arrests, as did three of her nieces. Afterward, her other children had nightmares of being arrested, she said.

The officers put the twins in a patrol car and took them to the juvenile detention center to be processed.

Chapter 4: “We Will Hold the Juvenile”

When police took the 12-year-old twins to the Rutherford County Juvenile Detention Center on Saturday, April 16, 2016, the odds that either would be jailed were long, at least under Tennessee law.

Recognizing the harm that can come from incarcerating kids, Tennessee lawmakers have placed narrow limits on when a child accused of being delinquent can be held in a secure lockdown prior to receiving a court hearing. The child must fit one of six categories, precisely defined. They include being a jail escapee; being wanted elsewhere for a felony offense; or being accused, on substantial evidence, of a crime resulting in serious injury or death.

These two 12-year-olds were charged on negligible evidence with a crime that’s not an actual crime for something in which no one was seriously hurt.

Rutherford County, however, had its own system for deciding whether to keep a child under lock and key. Its written procedure, imprecise and broad, boiled down to whether a child was considered by jailers to be a “TRUE threat.” Jailers allowed the 12-year-old girl to go home. But they locked up her twin brother. Of the 10 children charged in this case, all Black, four were girls and six were boys. Every girl was released. Of the boys, four were jailed, according to court records.

Those four boys became a small part of a big group. In the fiscal year that encompassed April 2016, Rutherford County jailed 986 children for a total of 7,932 days.

J.B.#2, the 12-year-old boy, spent two nights in the detention center, court records show. While there, he was placed in solitary confinement as punishment for standing at his cell’s window, a lawsuit would later allege. We recently interviewed J.B.#2, whose name is Jacorious Brinkley. (He’s 18 now and is OK with us using his name.) A guard, Jacorious said, kept walking past his cell, “saying, like, ‘You can’t, you can’t be by the door. You got to sit down.’”​​

The person who runs the detention center is Lynn Duke. Davenport initially picked someone else, but her first appointee was arrested on a drug charge only hours after receiving the congratulations of county commissioners. Davenport quickly named Duke as replacement. Duke, a former youth services officer, became director on Jan. 1, 2001, and has remained in that role ever since.

Duke reports to Davenport, but does not consult her daily. In 2005, Duke emailed the judge to say she was feeling guilty for not checking in more. “If you need me to do anything … PLEASE TELL ME!” Duke wrote, to which Davenport replied: “GIRL, if I had any concerns or problems you would hear from me. YOU DO A GREAT JOB!!!!!”

When Duke first became director, the county detained kids in a deteriorated 19th-century jail separate from the court building. A local newspaper editorial bemoaned the sight this produced in the public square: kids, shackled together, in orange jumpsuits, “shuffling along the sidewalk and into the Judicial Building.” “Not that we’re afraid to see juveniles cuffed and heading toward justice, but it is a disturbing thing that could be avoided if juvenile court could be held at the detention center,” the editorial said.

In 2003, Rutherford County hired a consulting firm to help design a new detention center. The next year the firm produced a lengthy report, alerting Rutherford County that it was locking up kids at an exceptionally high rate. Jailing children should be “the last of a number of options,” the firm wrote. Less restrictive alternatives not only save money, they’re “more effective in reducing recidivism,” making them better for children and the community.

Scale down, the report recommended. Build a 35-bed juvenile detention center, with room to add on later. Also, build shelter care: 10 beds, in a residential setting, for runaways or other kids who pose no real threat to public safety.

In 2005, Rutherford County dropped the consulting firm and rejected its advice. The county opted for a 64-bed detention center, with no shelter care.

The center, attached to new courtrooms for Davenport and her magistrate, opened in 2008. The complex’s cost, coupled with that of a nearby correctional work center for adults, was $23.3 million.

Duke and Davenport have gushed about their new workplace. A “dream come true,” Davenport called it. They offer public tours. “You’ll see booking … bring your family … [have] a little piece of cake,” Davenport told radio listeners in a 2015 segment. They also lauded the jail staff. “We are a well-oiled machine, so there is not much to report,” Duke told county commissioners.

On occasion, news reports have revealed embarrassing staff breakdowns. Duke fired one officer who pepper-sprayed a kid in his cell, after which the kid chased the officer down and beat him up. (The officer, in a statement, said he was confident he followed procedure.)

In another case Duke promoted a corporal to sergeant despite a troubling disciplinary record; Duke then fired the sergeant after she entered a cell, removed her belt and struck a child with it, according to an internal investigation’s findings. The sergeant denied hitting the child, saying she had just removed her belt and made a popping sound with it. (When we pulled this officer’s personnel file, we discovered she had originally been recommended for hire by Davenport, who wrote a letter lauding her “professional demeanor” and “enthusiasm for the world of juvenile law.”)

When the new center opened in 2008, Duke incorporated a “filter system” into the jail’s written manual. When police arrest a child, they bring the child to jail. There, under the system, staff decide whether to hold the child before a detention hearing, which could take place days later. Say a child is hauled in for something minor, like skipping school. Under the filter system, the child would be locked up if deemed “unruly.” But the filter system defines “unruly” simply as “a TRUE threat,” while “TRUE threat” is not defined at all.

So any child, no matter the charge, who is considered a “TRUE threat,” however that’s interpreted, can end up being locked up.

Plus, the police can weigh in. In a 2013 email, Duke encouraged sheriff’s officers to let her staff know if they wanted a child detained. “If they say I really want this kid held, 9 times out of 10 we can make it happen,” she wrote. She went further in a memo to school resource officers, writing, “Even if we would normally release a juvenile … any time a local law enforcement officer requests a juvenile be detained and agrees to come to court to testify we will hold the juvenile.”

Detention center staff could be quizzed on the filter system when up for promotion, or disciplined for not applying it as written, according to personnel records. The staff member who made her way up to sergeant before being fired said in a deposition, “We were told when in doubt, hold them ’cause it’s better to hold a kid … that should have been released than release a child that should have been held.”

In 2016, Jacorious Brinkley joined in a lawsuit asking for the filter system to be stopped. When Duke was deposed in 2017, she called the system a guideline. Asked when it applied and what it dictated, Duke repeatedly said, “Depends on the situation.”

“Is it your policy or not?” a lawyer asked Duke.

“No. Yes. It — it’s a policy to use it when necessary,” Duke said.

Duke declined our request for an interview, writing in an email, “I appreciate your interest in Rutherford County and its youth, but decline to participate at this time.” Elsewhere she has consistently expressed pride in her operation, saying Rutherford County has the “best juvenile detention center in the state of Tennessee.”

Rutherford County doesn’t just jail its own kids. It also contracts with other counties to detain their children, charging $175 a day. “If we have empty beds, we will fill them with a paying customer,” Duke said at one public meeting.

Duke reports monthly to the county commission’s Public Safety Committee. At these meetings — we watched more than 100, going back 12 years — commissioners have asked regularly about the number of beds filled. “Just like a hotel,” one commissioner said of the jail. “With breakfast provided, and it’s not a continental,” added a second. At another meeting a commissioner said it would be “cool” if, instead of being a cost center, the jail could be a “profit center.”

When, at one meeting, Duke said “we get a lot of business” from a particular county, a commissioner chuckled at Duke’s word choice. “Business,” he said. This brought awkward laughter from other commissioners, leading the committee chair to say: “Hey, it’s a business. Generating revenue.”

Chapter 5: “They’re Not Coming Out Better Than They Went In”

Friday, April 15, 2016: Rutherford County Juvenile Detention Center

She had tried to stop the scuffle. The evidence was right there, in the video. Stop, Tay-Tay. Stop, Tay-Tay. Then, asked by police for help, she had helped. The police had responded by arresting her, as she vomited and cried, saying that she had “encouraged and caused” the fight.

When E.J. was taken to the detention center, she was processed along with C.C., her best friend. Jail staff recorded E.J.’s name and birthdate (she was 10 years old), conducted a 16-point search and confiscated her jewelry, all her small rings. Then they placed the two fourth graders in a holding area.

The air, the bench, everything was cold, E.J. remembers. She heard buzzing, and doors opening and shutting.

E.J. and C.C. sat and cried — E.J., who had tried to stop the fight, and C.C., who, as her sister had told Principal Garrett, was not even there. She had been at a pizza party, celebrating her basketball team’s championship.

E.J. remembers C.C. saying something to her sister, in a nearby holding cell, and she remembers the jail staff’s reaction. The grownups in charge told the children: Be quiet. “It was like a demanding,” E.J. recalls.

E.J. was released the day of her arrest. Come Monday, she was afraid to go back to school, worried the police might pick her up again.

After the outcry over these arrests, the charge against E.J. was dismissed, as were the charges against all the other kids. But E.J.’s mom could see signs of lasting trauma. E.J. had bad dreams about the arrest. She didn’t trust the police. For two or three months, E.J. received counseling.

In July 2016, 10-year-old E.J., through her mother, sued Officer Templeton in federal court. Her lawsuit was later expanded into a class action against Rutherford County.

Her lawyers wanted to know: How many kids were there who, like E.J., had been improperly arrested? How many kids had, like Jacorious Brinkley, been improperly jailed? The lawyers gathered large samples of arrest and detention records from an 11-year period, ending in December 2017. Then they extrapolated.

They would eventually estimate that kids had been wrongly arrested 500 times. And that was just for kids arrested by the sheriff’s office. This estimate didn’t account for other law enforcement agencies in the county that followed Davenport’s “process.” As for how many times the juvenile detention center had improperly locked up kids through its “filter system,” the lawyers estimated that number at 1,500.

Based on their access to the usually confidential records, the lawyers created a spreadsheet showing that more than 50 kids, identified by their initials, had been jailed for offenses that wouldn’t be crimes if they were adults. While most were 14 or older, exceptions abounded. C.V., D.L. and J.S., all age 13, were locked up for being “unruly”; J.B., age 12, for “truancy”; and A.W., age 11, for “runaway.”

The lawyers obtained the jail’s intake procedures, detailing how kids are required to shower while watched by a staff member of the same sex. “Constant visual shall be maintained,” the procedures say. All braids shall be removed, and every scar, mark and tattoo, unless “located in a private area,” photographed.

The lawyers cited research on how arresting and detaining kids hurts not only the children, but society. Kids who have been arrested and jailed are more likely to commit crimes in the future. They’re more likely to struggle in school, and to struggle with drugs and alcohol. “Detention makes mentally ill youth worse,” the lawyers wrote. Detention makes kids more likely to hurt themselves.

In the class-action lawsuit, one of the lead plaintiffs is Dylan Geerts. While E.J. alleged wrongful arrest, Dylan alleged he was illegally jailed.

When Dylan was 14, his uncle killed himself. The two had been close. Afterward, Dylan started talking of taking his own life. His dad took him to a hospital, where Dylan stayed for a week. Doctors diagnosed him as being bipolar and prescribed lithium.

Two months after Dylan turned 15, he spent a weekend night with a friend. “Me and him were like fuel to each other’s fire,” Dylan says. They went looking for unlocked cars, for things to steal. About 3:30 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013, a police officer spotted them. They ran, but he caught them. They had lifted a radio, a hat, a phone case and cologne. Dylan was charged with six crimes. The crimes weren’t violent. There were no weapons involved. Dylan had never been arrested before. But when police took him to the Rutherford County Juvenile Detention Center, the staff, using the filter system, locked him up.

At the detention center, he says, he didn’t get his lithium: “Not a dose.” He spent almost all his time alone in his cell. Going off medication affected “my moods, my suicidal thoughts and my manic depressive disorders,” he says. “Twenty or 21 hours a day are a lot of time to think and let your mind go wild, especially when you’re bipolar.” He felt jittery. “It’s like your stomach has dropped and your chest is real tight and you’re real nervous … it’s like having stage fright … all day, every day.” Classwork was superficial. He was in high school, but they had him doing simple multiplication: “11 times 11, 5 times 7 … I got an entire worksheet of that.”

Once, he used the intercom inside his cell to ask for toilet paper. “I was told I would be put on lockdown if I used the intercom system a second time.” Another time, outside his cell, he was told by a guard that he had a phone call from his father. “I stood up and then another guard jumped up and said, ‘You don’t stand unless you’re allowed permission to stand,’ and threatened to pepper-spray me.”

Three days after his arrest, he appeared before Judge Davenport. She seemed hostile, he says, the hearing perfunctory. Davenport released him, but placed him on house arrest. So for more than two months he was either at home or at school. “Or you’re following your dad like you’re on a leash.” He couldn’t see friends. He wasn’t even allowed to text them.

Dylan’s dad would say that to his mind, house arrest was “the worst thing you could ever do to a child, because he’s looking out a window.” Community service would have been better, something “to preoccupy his time, not un-occupy his time.”

After Dylan was released from detention, he found his lithium no longer worked. He started on a string of other medications. He fell behind in school. In the 16 months after, he tried three times to kill himself. To his dad, the change in Dylan was dramatic. Before detention, “He came to me and said, ‘I was having trouble with thoughts in my head.’ After detention it was acting on thoughts in his head.”

Dylan doesn’t like having his name attached to the class-action lawsuit. But “someone has to be representative,” he says. “If there’s no actual story to it, then no one cares.” We interviewed Dylan this year, in his new home outside Rutherford County. He said if he could, he’d tell Davenport, “They’re not coming out better than they went in.”

The lawyers representing E.J. and Dylan discovered that for children swept up in Rutherford County’s juvenile justice system, the harm could go beyond being arrested or jailed. Many children, once jailed, were placed in solitary confinement.

In April 2016, mere days after the Hobgood arrests, Duke’s staff received Davenport’s approval to isolate, indefinitely, a teen with developmental disabilities. Jailers confined Quinterrius Frazier, 15 years old, to his cell for 23 hours a day while denying him music, magazines or books, except for a Bible.

By that time, President Barack Obama had banned solitary confinement for kids in federal prison, citing the “devastating, lasting psychological consequences.” But Rutherford County allowed isolation in eight ascending levels, calling it “crucial” that kids “understand there are consequences for all behaviors.” Level 1 was for 12 hours. Level 8 was indefinite.

The lawyers for E.J. also represented Quinterrius, in what became a second class action. That federal lawsuit ended with Rutherford County being permanently banned from punishing kids with solitary. A federal judge called the practice inhumane. The county, in settling, did not admit any wrongdoing.

Quinterrius recounted his time in solitary in a court document. He wrote that with nothing to do and no bedsheets until nighttime, “I just do push up endtile I can’t anymore than sleep with my arm’s in my sleeves untile I can’t sleep anymore.” Although it was forbidden, he sometimes talked through vents or cracks to whoever was jailed above or beside him. The hardest part, he wrote, was when jailers would cover his cell’s window with a board. Then he couldn’t even see another kid’s face.

We interviewed Quinterrius this summer, with his mother. He’s 20 now, and is fine with us using his name. He told us that in solitary, he felt like an animal: “They open the flap, feed me and close it.” In his cell, he began talking to himself. And now, five years later, “I still talk to myself a little bit just because that’s what I did for so long.” When we talked with him, he tapped on his phone and pulled on his hair. His mother, Sharieka Frazier, said since his time in solitary, her son seems to need constant stimulation, from music, his phone, the television. “He’s probably struggling now,” she told us during the interview.

“Are you struggling?” she asked her son. “Are you OK?”

“OK, I’m just, I’m OK, mama,” he told her, dropping his head into his palm.

Chapter 6: “There Were No Concerns”

In the immediate aftermath of the arrests at Hobgood Elementary, the Murfreesboro police chief promised an internal investigation. By year’s end, the department had finished its report.

The officer who bailed before the arrests got a one-day suspension. So did the sergeant in charge of school resource officers. Three other supervisors also were disciplined: the sergeant, lieutenant and major who had not stepped in, even as Officer Williams called them from the assistant principal’s office, raising the alert. Each received a reprimand.

As for Templeton, who had initiated the arrests, the department made one finding: Her work had been “unsatisfactory.” She received a three-day suspension — her 10th suspension in 15 years — then kept working.

She retired in 2019 and, according to her LinkedIn profile, is now a life coach and member of Mary Kay, a multilevel marketing company that sells cosmetics.

Nashville police also participated in this investigation, to produce an external report with recommendations. Together, the two police departments delved into one of the case’s biggest missteps: the use of a charge that doesn’t exist.

The district attorney for Rutherford County confirmed to the police investigators that there’s no such crime as “criminal responsibility.” “You should never, ever see a charge that says defendant so-and-so is charged with criminal responsibility for the act of another. Period,” he said.

The investigators interviewed 13 police officers, four school officials, two prosecutors and a pastor. But two people refused to be interviewed: Amy Anderson and Sherry Hamlett, the two judicial commissioners.

They “failed to cooperate,” a Nashville sergeant wrote. “This is unfortunate. … Important information could have been obtained.” In his recommendations, the sergeant wrote that it’s “worth considering” whether police should give more weight to advice from prosecutors than judicial commissioners.

Hamlett was reappointed as a judicial commissioner in 2017, Anderson in 2019.

Their personnel files include no mention of this case.


All 11 children arrested over the fight captured on video sued in federal court. Defendants included the city of Murfreesboro, Rutherford County and various police officers.

At least six of the 11 children had been handcuffed. The four who were locked up spent twice as many days in jail, collectively, as Templeton did on suspension.

Starting in 2017, all 11 children received settlements, for a combined $397,500. For at least five children, some money was earmarked for counseling.

Rutherford County also faced the class action accusing it of illegally arresting and jailing children.

In January 2017, Davenport arrived at a law firm to be questioned by the lawyers for E.J. and so many other children.

Kyle Mothershead, a specialist in civil rights cases, deposed her. He knew about Davenport’s strict dress code — and he made sure to flout it. He wore blue jeans and a white button-down shirt, untucked. He later told us he was thinking, “I am going to fucking spit in her eye and come in all casual and take her off her little throne.”

Mothershead asked Davenport if she ever kept tabs on the number of kids detained.

“That’s not my job is to know statistics,” Davenport said.

Mothershead asked if she’d ever consulted with Duke about the filter system.

Not that she could recall, Davenport said, adding, “I don’t micromanage her.”

Mothershead asked about Davenport’s orders to law enforcement to take children to the detention center upon arrest.

“Because that’s our process,” Davenport said.

“OK. But I just want to make sure that we’re clear,” Mothershead said. “So — so that — that’s your process because you personally have ordered that process into existence?”

“From the orders, apparently so. Yes.”

In May 2017, a federal judge ordered the county to stop using its filter system, saying it “departs drastically” from ordinary standards. By being subjected to “illegal detention,” he wrote, “children in Rutherford County are suffering irreparable harm every day.”

This year, in June, Rutherford County settled the class action, agreeing to pay up to $11 million. Individual payouts figure to be around $1,000 for each claim of wrongful arrest and about $5,000 for each claim of unlawful detention. The county, as part of the settlement, “denies any wrongdoing in any of the lawsuits filed against it.”

With the end of the filter system, Rutherford County now jails fewer of its kids than before.

But that doesn’t mean its jail is ramping down. Quite the opposite. The jail keeps adding staff. Mark Downton, one of E.J.’s attorneys, says the county has “shifted gears.” Forced to stop jailing so many of its own children, Rutherford County ramped up its pitch to other places, to jail theirs.

The county has created a marketing video titled “What Can the Rutherford County Juvenile Detention Center Do For You?” Over saxophone music and b-roll of children in black-and-white striped uniforms, Davenport narrates. She touts the center’s size (43,094 square feet), employees (“great”), access to interstates (I-24, I-65, I-40) and number of cells, which she refers to as “single occupancy rooms.” “Let us be your partner for the safe custody and well-being of the detained youth of your community,” Davenport says.

Thirty-nine counties now contract with Rutherford, according to a report published this year. So does the U.S. Marshals Service.


​​How did Rutherford County get away with illegally jailing kids for so long?

The Tennessee Department of Children’s Services licenses juvenile detention centers. But its inspectors didn’t flag Rutherford County’s illegal filter system, which was right there, in black and white. We collected nine inspection reports from when Duke put the system in until a federal judge ordered it out. Not once did an inspector mention the jail’s process for deciding which kids to hold. “There was very little graffiti,” an inspector wrote in 2010. “Neat and clean,” the same inspector wrote in 2011, 2013 and 2014. Two inspection reports in 2016 said, “There were no concerns regarding the program or staff at the detention center.”

We requested an interview with the department’s longtime director of licensing, to ask how inspectors could miss this. The department refused to make him available.

The state’s failures don’t end there.

Tennessee’s Administrative Office of the Courts collects crucial data statewide. In 2004, the consultant hired by Rutherford County used that data to sound an alarm: Rutherford County was locking up kids at more than three times the state average.

But then, Rutherford County stopped reporting this data. From 2005 to 2009, the county had 11,797 cases of children being referred to juvenile court. How many were locked up? The county claimed to have no idea. “Unknown,” it reported, for 90% of the cases. The county’s data, now meaningless, couldn’t be used against it.

Later, when the county resumed reporting how many kids it detained, lawyers representing children sounded a second alarm. By 2014, the county was locking up children at nearly 10 times the state average. But then the state stopped publishing its annual statistical report, which had provided the statewide comparison points that allowed troubling outliers to be spotted.

In 2017, a state task force on juvenile justice concluded that Tennessee’s “data collection and information sharing is insufficient and inconsistent across the state.” This “impedes accountability,” it reported. The following year, a state review team reported that without good data, “the state cannot identify trends.” The team recommended creating a statewide case management system with real-time, comprehensive data. But that hasn’t happened.

We sent written questions to Tennessee’s Administrative Office of the Courts, asking why it stopped publishing the annual statistical report and about the data gaps. The office’s spokesperson didn’t answer.

While Rutherford County’s filter system was ultimately flagged (by lawyers, not through oversight), it is only one illegal system under one juvenile court judge. With Tennessee’s inadequate inspections and data, there could be trouble in any of the state’s other 97 juvenile courts, without any alarms being sounded.


In Rutherford County, Davenport still runs juvenile court, making $176,000 a year. (She’s up for reelection next year, and has previously said she’d like to run for another eight-year term.) Duke still runs the juvenile detention center, earning $98,000. And the system as a whole continues to grow.

In 2005, the budget for juvenile services, including court and detention center staff, was $962,444. By 2020 it had jumped to $3.69 million.

Earlier this year, Davenport went before the county commission’s public safety committee. “I come to you this year with a huge need,” she said. By now she had two full-time magistrates and another who worked part time. Davenport said she wanted an additional full-time magistrate. And another secretary. She wanted to increase her budget by 23%.

She also wanted to expand the system’s physical footprint. A small school in the same building was closing, so Davenport proposed converting classrooms into an intake room and a courtroom.

The commissioners gave Davenport’s budget request a favorable recommendation. Their vote was unanimous.

During the meeting, one commissioner, Michael Wrather, took a moment to express his admiration for the judge. Tennessee Judge Who Illegally Jailed Children Plans to Retire, Will Not Seek Reelection

“I have said this for years and years,” Wrather told Davenport. “If we have a judge that has a box in the courtroom with belts in it, that requires young people to put a belt on and hold their pants up in a courtroom, I’m all for it.”

“Thank you, sir,” Davenport said.

“Good job.”

How We Reported This Story

When the four girls were arrested at Hobgood Elementary School in 2016, media covered the community’s reaction and the immediate fallout. But left unknown was all that led up to the arrests; what the children, police and school officials, experienced, in their voices; and what the case revealed about the county’s failed juvenile justice system as a whole.

To reconstruct the Hobgood Elementary case, we obtained through public records requests 38 hours of audiotaped interviews conducted by Murfreesboro police as part of their investigation. That investigation included interviews with the school’s principal, Tammy Garrett, and 13 police officers, including Chrystal Templeton (who was interviewed twice for a total of seven hours), Chris Williams, Albert Miles III, Jeff Carroll and five higher-ups. Other materials we drew upon included videotape of the kids’ scuffle; the final report of the Murfreesboro Police Department’s internal review; the Metro Nashville Police Department’s external review; juvenile petitions; settlement agreements; and an email that Miles wrote to an investigator describing his conversation with a parent.

For this story we interviewed dozens of people, including children arrested in the April 2016 case and their parents. We interviewed, for the first time, the kids (now adults) whose cases launched class-action lawsuits against the county over its illegal detention practices and use of solitary confinement. We obtained thousands of pages of documents through 56 records requests to city, county and state agencies. We obtained more than a dozen personnel files and reviewed court records in seven federal lawsuits.

Donna Scott Davenport declined to be interviewed. But we listened to or transcribed more than 60 hours of her on the radio. We obtained her deposition and hearing testimony from a class-action lawsuit. Other records we relied on included disciplinary records from the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct; two personnel files; memos and emails; videotaped appearances before the Rutherford County Commission and a canvass of appellate opinions in cases she had handled in juvenile court. We also listened to the oral arguments from some appellate cases.

Lynn Duke declined to be interviewed. But she often appears before the county’s Public Safety Committee, and we watched and reviewed 137 of those meetings spanning 2009 to 2021. We obtained three depositions in which she was questioned. We reviewed her personnel file and drew upon her court testimony, memos and emails, as well as the detention center’s written operating procedures.

We reached out to each of the police officers named in our story. They each declined to be interviewed or didn’t respond. The sergeant who supervised Templeton also declined to be interviewed.

Michael Wrather, a Rutherford County commissioner, declined to be interviewed other than to say he stands behind his public comments praising Davenport.

We relied on reports and sometimes data from the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, the Tennessee Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, and the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury. We used Prison Rape Elimination Act audits and the 2004 consultant’s report from Pulitzer/Bogard & Associates. We also drew upon reporting from fellow news organizations, including Murfreesboro’s Daily News Journal, The Tennessean, the Murfreesboro Post and the Tennessee Lookout.

Big Daddy

Although Father’s Day is not until next month I am writing a complimenting piece to the Big Mama one for Mother’s Day. I have my problem with Women who seem intent on destroying a Woman’s right to handle her own body and make decisions that have nothing to do with anyone outside their own personal domain and that includes the sperm donor/Baby Daddy/Father or whatever you want to call the half of the equation that contributes in some form or another to conceiving a child. Funny that the role of the male seems just confined to sticking his engorged member into a vagina and then releasing the cracken into the same vadge to swim upstream in which to fertilize the egg within the Fallopian tube where it seems to await this collision; if said collision fails then the egg drops down and the woman bleeds. Well that sums it up and perhaps we need to examine women who are seemingly unable to accomplish said goal of fertilization and LOCK HER UP! That could mean intentionally through the use of birth control or biologically as she cannot accomplish that independently without aid of IVF or at all. LOCK HER UP!!

The yet to be ruled upon brief written by Alito seems to be based again on some 14th Century Judge who for all purposes was a fucking crackpot. But this again was the 14th Century so you know that may be the norm, who I am to judge? Pun intended. But upon looking at this story in the Post about this fuckwit there is quite some juice in there to squeeze as anyone in the 21st Century citing this man’s reasoning of law has got to be fucking batshit themselves. Here are a couple of his “thoughts” which for the record as the article states was the bastion of legal thought for decades.

Hale believed that authorities should distrust women who reported having been raped. In his mind, rape was “an accusation easily to be made and hard to be proved.

The husband cannot be guilty of a rape committed by himself upon his lawful wife, for by their mutual matrimonial consent and contract the wife hath given up herself in this kind unto her husband, which she cannot retract.”

But this one is the real laugh riot: Hale was on the bench so long ago that his judgeship included presiding over a witchcraft trial where he sentenced two “witches” to death.

So to recap: Women are witches, women are whores who can be raped and women are owned by their husbands and thereby sacrifice any legal representation. Good to know! The Treatise cited also has many other gems worth perusal.

And with that, the word “choice” has of late been heavily thrown around. The right of free will and of the right to make our own decisions aka choices, even bad ones, are the right to liberty. Liberty, according to Websters: the quality or state of being free: a : the power to do as one pleases. b : freedom from physical restraint. c : freedom from arbitrary or despotic (see despot sense 1) control. d : the positive enjoyment of various social, political, or economic rights and privileges.

Okay so the writers of the Constitution are not the writers of the Dictionary so what dos Liberty mean in the vein of the “Originalists” as Alito claims to know. Did a Witch tell him? Well according to Cornell Law: As used in Constitution, liberty means freedom from arbitrary and unreasonable restraint upon an individual. Freedom from restraint refers to more than just physical restraint, but also the freedom act according to one’s own will.

Well that seems to be the same thing but again I was not alive in the fucking 14th Century nor in the 17th so you got me but again here is a lengthy definition via Annenberg Classroom. I do dig this reference: Madison noted the standing threat to liberty posed by insufficient constitutional limits on government. He also recognized that liberty carried to the extreme, as in a riot, is equally dangerous to the freedom and other rights of individuals. Constitutional democracy may provide both liberty and order, but the right mix of these two factors can be difficult to find and maintain.

Given what happened on January 6, 2021 we might want to re-examine how we can forestall that shit from happening again.

So yesterday I subbed for an Art Teacher and he was there before leaving to plan for an art show the school is having later this week. As on Friday, the Teacher I subbed for was taking kids on a Field Trip and told me that Monday she was also doing as such and asked if I was subbing for her. No, I was doing another Teacher but clearly the same gig. He was supposed to be a Chaperone at that as well but his dog was sick and he had to take care of that. And then yesterday I met him. Okay, well can I say White Aggrieved Male is sufficient? And here is where the word “choice” once again comes into play. Before he left he asked me if I needed a computer or anything but I said I had my newspapers to read and that I find it is enough to get me through the day. The comment then launched him into a rant about newspapers; I am not going into that but it was basically one step away from a MAGA rally. And thankfully he had to go and I pulled out the paper of which I did share that I too had issues but I still read it the old schools way. The NYT has been all over the map of late as it transitions Editors and Sunday was a mixed bag with a front page article on the dead former Mayor of New York City, Ed Koch, being a lonely old Gay man who died without companionship or actually acknowledging that he was Gay. This is especially notable as he presided over the city during the nascent days of the AIDS crisis and of course now with the end of Andrew Cuomo’s career and him being the one behind the hateful messaging at that time “Vote for Cuomo, not the Homo” which he has steadfastly denied being a part of. That and touching and harassing women. Okay, yeah sure. I found that article bizarre and screamed of Baquet’s hand in his social justice warrior mode. Hey outing a man dead for almost a decade proves and does what exactly? Then the rest of the paper was a marked improvement with the Sunday Review harkening back to days of yore, not 14th Century yore, but of days when that section took an hour to read. (I will write a post about a particular opinion piece to follow.) I can understand criticizing the paper at times but the deal is, I pay and read said paper and have for over 40 years, so I feel it is my right and duty to at times not always agree with the paper as it shows that I have this ability to critically think and do so independently; a choice if you so will. But when one does not read nor care about the thoughts and opinions of others regardless of them and this covers both sides of the argument, you are living in a bubble and a part of only an echo chamber and that is not a healthy place to be. And this man’s manner, demeanor and speech are very “Jersey” but it was truly nothing I cared to care about or listen to.

With his leave the day was fine; however, he returned before the last period which would have been great as then I could leave early and do my thing. This normally most Teacher’s do as they get we are not paid well nor treated well but nope he stayed through the prep period and shared with me his thoughts on the Stock Market and being an Aggrieved White Male. To think a decent man would have said, “Take off I got this, thanks.” But nope he regaled me with how his financial savvy or lack thereof has not enabled him to be rich and that Teaching is a mugs game and that is turned into a horrid political nightmare of wokeness. On some of this I agree but then again it is also why I left and CHOSE to do other things. I CHOOSE now to be a Sub but if I truly had my druthers I would find something else to do, I choose not and am waiting this out for well I have no clue but I would never go back to full time Teaching ever. The pendulum in life swings all ways and currently right now the right tilt is not a good place for those in the field and to be honest it wasn’t any better when it swung left, it was just different. I will write about Teaching and do so over the course of the Blog, and have as it will be a book about how shitty this gig is and how challenging it is to deal with the endless sways and whims of the greater picture. Education is micro to those involved but is is a macro minefield when it comes to what it is – an Institution built on classism, racism and sexism. Lots if “isms” when it comes to Education. And today is a new one, wokeism, so I get it, I really do.

After lamenting his varying tales of woe, I said if you think this is bad I have stories from the most woke place in the world, Seattle, (where he believes as Fox news as said that people can just take your property and seize it, uh no) and Nashville where it is so red you are on fire the moment you walk in the door. He seemed to believe that Seattle was way worse than Nashville and I had to inform him that until you travel in the South and see and touch and feel the poverty you have no understanding what it is like there and how horrific it really is. He is like many people I have met, regardless of gender and profession, that when you live in a bubble you are ignorant and arrogant with it. So after sharing me tales of woe the next class was coming in and he was leaving, gee thanks, and I said to him, “While I am sure you think this is all a reflection of the time and place but your stories and incidences of problems has been one ongoing in the field for quite some time. And that while you are a White Male and the whole privilege thing, the reality is that Education is a Pink Collar Profession and with that it has the ideas and beliefs and concepts ingrained within that we as Teachers should act and behave in a specific way. And with that maybe it is just your honest direct approach to kids and the manner of which you carry yourself is the issue and not you personally but again the veil of how Teachers are supposed to be and you do not fit that mold.” He concurred and it was my polite way of saying, you are an asshole and you can accept it or not. Sorry, not sorry, but dude when you tell a kid who is asking you about what it means if Abortion is outlawed and you respond: Well I told him that if he meets a girl at a party and he is not dating her and has sex with her and she comes back to him with a problem like this he is now going to be on the hook for that and not have an option to take care of it.

What the fuck? What the fuck? Did I say, What the fuck? So this is not about protection, birth control, safe sex or even consent and knowing about your partner, it is about knocking some chick up who tries to “frame” you for a baby. That was my impression and it appears when the kid recounted the story to another Teacher, a complaint was filed. Here is the deal, say nothing. In some way the State of Florida has given you an out. Teach the prescribed materials and curriculum, keep your opinions to yourself and walk out at 3:00. It is how I preferred to Teach and want to stay out of minefields but we have turned the profession into this mixture of social worker, therapist, nurse, counselor, advisor and educator. Sorry, pick one. And that too puts me at odds with many in my field, that work/life balance thing. It was why I got married as frankly I saw the writing on the wall my first year of Teaching and I immediately decided I needed a cushion and an out if this was to be my long time career, and I knew it was not. But like many I invested time and MONEY to do so and my options as a Woman have always been limited and my faith and knowledge on how to not be stuck were few as well. It is different now at age 62 but I that marriage did provide me with the security I now have despite the destruction it caused to my morale. Perhaps had I stayed I would still be the unhappy confused woman I was not the secure bitch I am today. And I said that to him as well that at any time he could have left and chosen something different and that undoubtedly he liked Teaching as here he is. I did not bother to comment that he was wasting his time with the Stock Market as again he clearly does not understand investing or how it works and his repeated failures over the decades shows he doesn’t. But then again that is the Aggrieved White Male, the person who refuses to admit they don’t know something, makes bad decisions and blames everyone around them for their fuckups and failures. Cheers on that!

Hey Big Mama

Today is Mothers Day, either it is serendipitous or ironic that it falls before the final nail in the coffin of those dead babies that Liberals eat, will now have to go underground to find sustenance. Perhaps Q gets the last laugh.

The end of Roe is a throwback to a time I recall. I have said since the start of the pandemic we are in a Groundhog’s Day meets the Twilight Zone where we are going back in history for an official redo. Trump was a Voodoo Regan type, down to the bizarre mental acuity, a glam seeking wife, the numerous children from varying Mothers, (I hope they score well today) and the shape shifting politics. We are now in the Jimmy Carter years with a touch of Ford (meaning and I hate to say this President Biden will not finish a second term) and with that we move into either Nixon or LBJ. That means a President who will not serve a full term (aka Kamala Harris who will not run for election or be forced out for whatever reason) and then we hit the JFK years. This will be a full blown white patriot, who is both Liberal and Conservative as he has served in the Military, has a young family and hits the marks. America loves their White Savior and JFK was that in the 1960s and with that we will be moving into a new decade, the 2030’s. I cannot forget that song growing up “In the year 2525” Well I assume I will hit that mark I hope, I think!

I urge you to watch the video and note it is from the 1927 Fritz Lang classic, Metropolis. The story is about a city of the future is threatened with destruction when a wealthy corporate leader enlists a mad scientist to put down labor reformers. Well hello Jeff Bezos and Howard Schultz who is back as CEO of Starbucks to do just that!

The story is a futuristic look at the schism created in mankind as industrialization and technological advancement serves to alienate the humans from one another. People are divided into two groups: the thinkers–who make plans, yet don’t know how to operate machinery, and the workers–who forward production without having any overview vision. Completely separate, neither group is complete; however, together they make a whole. When one man, a “thinker,” dares to journey to the underground, where the workers ‘slave away,’ he’s surprised at what he sees.

Perhaps that is why I adored Hadestown the Broadway Musical as it had so many elements that resonated with me. The story of building a wall, the love of Orpheus and Eurydice and of course the underground world of Hades and his own conflict of love with Persephone. Women seem to bring men to their knees which is another irony as that is how I have always viewed as the position men prefer women to be in. But the visual imagery in that musical is very much like Metropolis a time that is both in past and yet in the future. It is also the most sexy and diverse cast (other than Moulin Rouge) that until I saw Cyrano at the BAM last weekend could not have topped. And then it was in a French Play with an old story set to a modern beat. One of the best plays I have seen in a lifetime and that is hard pressed as I have seen the Minutes and Hangmen with casts that took me to their place and their anger and their rage in ways I understood and it too resonated with me in ways that even I could not believe that in these half empty theaters were actors and stories that were so relevant today and yet so unseen it is truly a disappointment. You think just having an actor with a significant part in Game of Thrones now starring in one of the roles in Hangmen you would bring in fan base, but alas no. The Minutes is of course amazing and has a young star of Schitt’s Creek as a draw, but it too sits to half empty a house. This is where we are when it comes to thinking, we don’t.

I read this article in The Atlantic about how Social Media is dumbing down America and with that dividing it as the once singular lens in which we viewed all of America’s stories is now a shattered mirror and each of us see in a shard within our own possession. With that we are faux tribal and thrive in echo chambers that lather, rinse and repeat the beliefs, the thoughts we share like a collective Borg. Again science fiction seems to be coming less into the fiction realm. Handmaids Tale anyone? Fahrenheit 451?

With the end of Roe on the horizon know that the moment Roe ruling occurred the reality is that it was the beginning of the end, with nearly 50 years in the making. This article in the Washington Post discusses the history of Roe and the work on the part of the Conservative and Religious right to end the right of a woman’s right to choose. As I shared in my last post that my Parents, who were literally partners-in-crime when it came to terminating our neighbor Vera’s pregnancy over 50 years ago was an act of charity that often defined my parents version of doing the right thing. A nice box of goods to a food pantry works too but then again if you have the ability to do more, do more. And until Nashville that defined me, it no longer does. It took that place to finally make me realize that I have no worth other than a checkbook. I knew that in Seattle but it was there I had the final nail placed in that coffin but that is where it ended and I am still alive despite those in Seattle who tried to do otherwise. And I can never forget nor forgive any of the players in that debacle. And with this a day honoring Mothers even I am pretty sure my Mother’s failures were how they enabled me to find my successes. Without some of her odd perspectives and views I don’t think I could have been nor enabled myself to find the strength to carry on through what happened to me in both my marriage and my violent assault in 2012. She had been through both and in that way without access and availability to all the resources we have today she survived. So I recognize and respect that. Sadly I have little for most women who are the largest proponents against the right to choose, against Gay Marriage, against teaching children about sexuality and history. Folks it is women, they are the majority of naysayers and hideous protestors about the issues that define the culture wars. And why? Because of the years of subjugation and abuse at the hands of the Patriarchy. But Mothers have Sons and Husbands and through them they can find the revenge and anger projected onto those who they see threaten their own personal safe space and belief that they have been systemically raised under in the same way systemic racism has worked to subjugate and oppress Black Americans. We project and we deflect well and with that we do little to work in synchronicity to object in a collective and cohesive way to end this form of tyranny. Historically that was demonstrated in the push for women’s votes, the Voting Rights act was largely in fact a Black Movement and with LGBQT rights fundamentally white despite the faces of color that are legion with warriors who stood on the front lines of said rights. And even BLM that began with a core of Activists in Ferguson, MO and #MeToo as a discussion over sexually harassment and rape became easily co-opted and circumvented by largely White individuals and corporations that used them to front their attempts at finding parity and equality but in actuality doing little more than offering talking points. As we have seen now more and more States and their Conservative Legislators finding new ways to oppress, to discriminate and to subjugate rights across the board and all in the span of the last two years of the pandemic. Post Trump has become a reckoning and with that we have paid a price.

Note that in the article I cited this particular comment about the source of much of this movement:

The organized response had, in fact, already begun, spearheaded by a group of law students at Yale, Harvard and the University of Chicago, who began meeting under the auspices of the Federalist Society in 1982. They were united by the idea that American law had strayed too far from the original intent of the nation’s founders.

The group grew in the late 1980s, with chapters and members proliferating across the United States. It soon became an influential group in Washington with a sprawling budget and deep access across Republican levers of government.

“Abortion was not the motivating factor,” said Edwin Meese III, a former Reagan adviser who has for decades led the fight for conservative legal reforms, in an interview last December. “It was a matter of being honest and faithful to what the Constitution actually said.”

These self-described originalists came to reject Roe as judicial activism, and found common cause with abortion opponents who could mobilize voters. At the same time, antiabortion activists stepped back to reconsider their approach. They decided after the Casey decision that the anti-feminist rhetoric of Schlafly and the Equal Rights Amendment struggles from the 1970s had become counterproductive.

“We had to convince the public that we were compassionate to women,” Willke would later write about the new strategy. “Accordingly, we test marketed variations on this theme.”

And with that we have the Originalist concept of the interpretation of a document over 200 years old, written by White men of privilege who worked in or around Slave Owners, whose own Wives and Daughters had no civil nor voting rights and yet somehow like the Bible, another document composed and translated by men over time when a source of the stories were all verbal with no shared language or known ability to write let alone communicate with each other over what are myths and cannot be proven. Odd is it that we put literally the word faith as a precept to believing we know what these men meant, thought and believed as times have changed or to use this word – evolved – over time. The times are a changing but the documents will not and cannot and therefore we must uphold them. This is the Patriarchy at its worst and its finest and all concocted by a group of men at the finest “liberal” institutions known in America, Harvard and Yale and the University of Chicago, which also gave us the economic theories that have long dogged us with regards to our Capitalist beliefs. Yes tell me about the best and the brightest have gone to said institutions and in turn what they have done to ensure the Status and Quo remain the same. And they are all Sons of Mothers and have Wives and Daughters who enable if not encourage it. Ginni Thomas certainly does.

These are the faces in the 70s of the women protesting legal abortion. They are largely women. Women destroyed the ERA and they are the ones behind the crush to destroy Roe. Women. Happy Mother’s Day.

The Homefront

As we move into a Capitalist Theocracy with a touch of Federalism the war on Women has begun and the first shot fired, naturally from a Southern State where all wars on American soil begin. The case that appears to be the one that finally shot that canon ball was Thomas Dobbs v the State of Mississippi. Not only is this the poorest state in the Union it is the one that has remained at the bottom of the charts in Education, Voting and racial parity for decades. No wonder it started there and the irony or the tragedy is that as I have already written the apparent decision (again via leaked document) seems to say, Abortion is not a right to privacy nor a right for a woman to choose and make decisions about her body. Gosh the South really has perfected that over 200 years and they are determined to keep that concept of ownership alive and well in the 21st Century.

The Washington Post did an article that I have reprinted below as it needs to be read to understand what it was like pre Roe. There are brave and strong women today discussing openly the challenges they faced when they decided to end their pregnancy and that is not a decision I ever had to make. Either luck or access and availability of contraception and health care I have been fortunate to not have to but again no one is ever 100% certain of anything if you are sexually active. And with that we are going back to a time when Women who were were ostracized, limited in decision making and in turn always at risk. We still are folks we still are but we have some rights at least.

When I lived in Nashville and befriended the religious zealot, Ethan, he failed to tell me he was a Fundamentalist Christian or I would have terminated that friendship well before the six week date. But in that I learned a great deal about the Bible and its Misogynistic roots and its belief that women are here to procreate and be subservient to the men in their lives, be that Father or Spouse. Women were sold to their Rapists and forced into Marriages and given a schedule on which sex was permitted and not even determined by the sex of the child. Man that Book of Myths is quite the page turner in hate and bullshit. But the part that stood out to me was when Ethan quoted Scripture that said Childless Women are to be banned from society and I took that to mean, as in killed. This is from a boy who claimed to be a Warrior for Jesus and was willing to kill and die for him, so yeah.

A woman’s infertility might also be marked by the phrase “she had no progeny” (as in Genesis 11:30, Judges 13:2, 2 Kings 4:14). Often these biblical women suffered deep shame as a consequence, their barrenness attributed to some hidden wrong, sin, or flaw.

And this is a book that claimed a woman can give birth and still remain a virgin and in God’s eye that was okey dokey as he was the Baby of God. Okay, sure. All of it is such bullshit as I cannot stop laughing typing this. See why these folks reject science?

And with that I have not been exempt from experiencing the pain and reality of Abortion. My first introduction to it was when I was about 10/11. It would have been 1968/69 and the Neighbor behind us was pregnant. I knew this from my Father, the Gladys Kravitz of the block who suspected she was having an affair with the Plumber who kept visiting or she had serious plumbing problems but with that my Father knew. The woman had already several kids and her youngest was special needs and he had hard time thinking that this was going to be a good thing. Screaming to my Mother about this woman being knocked up with all those kids and she had to do something. So my Mother went to her and spoke to her about this “scandal” “issue” or whatever code word was used in those days, and returned home confirming she was in fact pregnant and did not want the child. My Father again informed my Mother to find a way to fix it and he would pay for it. Charity in my family was never a simple project clearly and to this day I carry that and hence Ethan. And the last time I will ever do it again, I am now 62 and clearly a slow learner. And with that my Mother had a friend who as a Nurse, who knew a Doctor who would give her what was called a D&C and that was then “taken care of.” My Mother in her own way lent a hand as she worked at Nordstrom and bought her a suit to wear and took her to the Olympic Hotel, the swankiest place in town for a lunch after. Well that is one way to handle situations and I agree that style is always never an option after a trauma, it is a must.

I believe this was a similar story with another neighborhood young woman and it like the first time never discussed until right after I graduated High School in 1977. A girlfriend was living down the street with her boyfriend, she was my age 18 and like many troubled folks trying to figure it all out and then she too got knocked up. Immediately my Parents kicked into high gear and demanded that this time the Boy pay. She was afraid and my Father drove me to the Mall to meet the kid and he coached me on what to say but staying clearly out of sight but in range should things go wrong, and with that I collected the 100 bucks or so to pay for the procedure. And then a few days later I drove her to the clinic in South Seattle to have the abortion and waited. It was over in minutes and I recall sitting there alone with some other women and perhaps one lone man and we just left. She went back to her family home despite my folks offering a place to stay and just like before we never spoke of it again. Until now.

Read these stories and ask yourself is this what we really need and want in America? Back room back alley abortions, women dying and having permanent damage done to their bodies because of a sexual encounter and a failure to prevent the pregnancy. I mean really, shit happens but having a child is a lifetime of care and demands that many may not be able to handle or manage. Then what? I recall when I got married in 1996 and was told by my Male Doctor that if I did not want children I should sterilize myself. Well I could not literally but he thought that I should do that procedure. These are our options, forced sterilization or forced pregnancy. The dystopian reality of the Handmaid’s Tale is now not fiction… PRAISE BE!

Memories of pre-Roe America, from people who were there

The period was defined by stigma around sex, as well as limited access to contraception and abortions for women

By Anne Branigin and 

Rachel Hatzipanagos

Growing up in the 1960s, Susan Shurin learned that not getting pregnant was a matter of access.

Shurin, nowa 77-year-old retired physician and former head of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, attended high school and college in Massachusetts at a time when it was illegal to sell or dispense contraception in the state. She knew people who found ways around those restrictions — traveling to New York to get diaphragm contraceptives or, if they were already pregnant, abortions. But, she said, doing so required “money and know-how.”

Then, as a medical student at Johns Hopkins University, Shurin said, she saw what could happen to those without the means.

“I saw septic abortions. I can’t even count how many I saw,” said Shurin, referring to abortions complicated by infection.She recalled that one of her first patients was a 40-year-old mother of four who died of a septic abortion — which she had sought because“her husband lost his job and they couldn’t afford another baby.”

Shurin said it was so common to see these cases in Baltimore in the late 1960s that when a young woman walked into the hospital with a fever and chills, doctors would need to rule out whether a septic abortion was the cause.

“It was incredibly traumatic to watch,” said Shurin, who was in her 20s at the time.

For women, despair and joy as overturning of Roe appears imminent

Shurin wasn’t surprised when, on Monday night, Politico reported a leaked draft Supreme Court opinion that would fully overturn the high court’s landmark 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade: “It’s been coming,” she said. According to the report, five justices had voted to uphold a Mississippi law that would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

The high court confirmed Tuesday that the leaked draft opinion is authentic but not final. “It does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case,” it said in a statement.

Advocates on both sides of the issue have anticipated this moment — the undermining or complete overturning of Roe — for decades. But only a small share remember life pre-Roe, a period defined by deep stigma around sex and limited access to contraception and abortions for women.

At the time, 17 states permitted the procedure; the others prohibited it except to save the life of the pregnant person. New York, with the most liberal policy, allowed abortion within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy, as CBS reported.

As the country faces the prospect of a post-Roe future, The Washington Post spoke to people who remember what life was like before the landmark decision.

Coming of age during Roe v. Wade: Women tell us how they saw the moment then and now

Kathy Nasal Peters, 75, was pleased with the content of the leaked draft opinion. A staunch antiabortion advocate, Peters considered herself “pro-choice” in the 1960s but said she hadn’t thought very much about the issue at that point. She saw it as part of a bigger slate of rights women ought to have access to, like equal pay.

But that changed after the birth of her first daughter in 1971, she said. Peters tried to get pregnant the next year but couldn’t. At a New York hospital awaiting the results of a urine test, Peters remembers sitting in a room with a woman who just had an abortion.

“That was the first time I really, really thought of abortion, because I thought, ‘Here I am doing everything to get pregnant.’ And here, next to me, is this lady who doesn’t want a baby,” said Peters. “I couldn’t believe they did that.”

Several people told The Post that there was deep stigma around premarital sex at the time, which fell squarely on women’s shoulders. Few received formal sex education in schools, and access to contraception was limited. Some said they learned about sex privately, from conversations with friends, but neither sex nor abortion were to be openly discussed, they said.

And before Roe, the ability to obtain an abortion depended on where a person lived and what connections they had.

Some, like Dorie Barron, now 80, relied on underground networks to end their pregnancies. She had two abortions in Illinois in the mid-1960s: One was facilitated through the mob, she said,and the second was through an underground network of women called “The Janes.”

Her first abortion, at 22 years old, “nearly killed me,” Barron said.

Barron recalled being told to go to a motel room in Chicago. Two men and a woman there said they provided three different levels of care, with the “Cadillac” service being the best. Barron could afford only the cheapest level, which cost a few hundred dollars, she said.

“The woman had me spread my legs, she inserted something inside of me and then they packed up their gear,” she said. “In less than five minutes, they were out of there.”

Barron said she continued bleeding after the procedure but was able to find her way home. She was living with her mother, who sent her to the hospital, where she had to have an emergency procedure. “And thank God I went,” she added.

The second abortion she had through “The Janes” network was “totally different.” The women who facilitated the abortion seemed to genuinely care about her outcome, said Barron, who also shared her story in a documentary about “The Janes” set to premiere on HBO.

“I was forever grateful for the care that I received,” she said — so much so that she went on to volunteer for the network herself.

Barbara Young, now a 72-year-old teacher living in Spain, didn’t think she could get pregnant. Ever since puberty, she didn’t ovulate and had trouble getting periods.

But, in 1972, she did. “I was shocked when I got pregnant,” Young said. “I didn’t think I had a risk.”

A 22-year-old workingat an insurance company, Young said she felt having a baby wasn’t an option, even if she were to pursue adoption: How would she hide her pregnancy at work?

She believed that if she went through with the pregnancy and came back childless, everyone would know what she had done. Young blamed herself for being “stupid enough” to get pregnant, she said.

During a group-therapy session she’d already been attending,Young shared about her pregnancy and said she didn’t want to go forward with it. She said she was referred to a therapist, who told her that her health insurance would handle everything.

In July 1972, at 16 weeks, she said, she had a saline infusion at a Boston hospital. (Abortion was illegal in Massachusetts except in cases where giving birth could endanger the patient’s life.)

“I don’t think there was any kind of feeling of a loss to your body. It was a relief: It’s over,” Young said.

Anthony Levatino, a “semiretired” OB/GYN who teaches second-year medical students, recalled teen pregnancy as a “rarity” at the rural, Upstate New York high school he attended. Getting pregnant as a teen was a “scandal of the highest order,” he said.

The year Roe was decided, Levatino, now 69, was a medical student in New York who was drawn to obstetrics and gynecology because of the possibility of having “two patients under your care.”

At the time, he supported abortion wholeheartedly.

Levatino said he rarely encountered septic abortions throughout his post-Roe career and performed, by his estimation, more than 1,200 abortions, including late-stage procedures that “no one was willing to touch.”

“I was dedicated,” he added.

Doubt eventually began creeping in: When his wife struggled to get pregnant, Levatino said, he started viewing abortion differently. “I’m throwing these kids in the garbage,” he would think after performing the procedures. But his qualms about abortion “simply evaporated” once they adopted a girl, Heather, in 1978, and when his wife gave birth to their son 10 months later.

The true turning point came more than a decade after Roe, in 1984, when a car struck Heather outside their home.“She died in our arms in the back of an ambulance,” Levatino said.

The first abortion he performed after her death, Levatino said, he felt sick. When he looked at the remains of the fetuses he aborted, he could think only of Heather.

“I didn’t see [the patient’s] right to choose,” Levatino said. “All I could see was someone’s son or daughter.”

Many who oppose abortion, like Levatino, have been saddened by the broader acceptance of abortion in recent decades, and now a majority of Americans say the Supreme Court should uphold Roe. Peters, for her part, doesn’t see why people would seek an abortion when there are other methods of birth control.

“There is contraception,” Peters said. “You don’t want to have kids, well, just sterilize. It’s not that difficult.”

But for women like Deborah Rothschild, 73, two abortions she had after Roe ultimately helped her escape what she said was an abusive relationship.

Rothschild said she knew two girls who had back-alley abortions before Roe and who were later unable to have children as a result. She sees the possible reversal of the decision legalizing abortions as “going backwards.”

“It’s absolutely horrifying,” she added. “I mean, so much of the gains that women have made … is because we’ve had the freedom not to bear children when we don’t want to.”

Rothschild had abortions in 1975 and 1977. After leaving the abusive situation, she said, she went on to get her graduate degree and work as a curator and writer.

“I don’t understand how women cannot be sympathetic to other women who find themselves making a mistake and then having to deal with this the rest of their lives,” Rothschild said. “It’s just inhumane.”

Abort!

That word is ripe with connotations. This is the definitive from the Oxford English Dictionary: an idea or feeling that a word invokes in addition to its literal or primary meaning. But with it comes another form of meaning: The abstract meaning or intention of a term, which forms a principle determining which objects or concepts it applies to.

With that yesterday’s premature leak of the Supreme’s and their thoughts and likely ruling on what was once thought the presumptive regarding Roe v Wade has now changed. The reality is that history behind this issue is much more complex and ongoing since that decision was made in 1973. And at the time the future Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg was already in the camp to believe that it would never secure the rights to Abortion and for women to make independent decisions regarding their bodies and their choices regarding pregnancy. And with that I agree. It was always tenuous and the story behind Roe had its own challenged history and with that the Attorney for Roe, Sarah Weddington died this year so it marks another end to that chapter in history as well. And that the current decision to leak its likely repeal was not the first time such occurred, as Roe itself was as well. But understanding Norma McCorvey’s personal history to this landmark case is critical in understanding what the women who brought the case, the woman the figure of this case, and ultimately a board of men as that is what the Supremes were at the time, came to the conclusion that vested it that decision was that of the right to privacy. If so, that decision should be the same when it comes to all decisions in life; with that, the reality today is we seem to have little of it anytime we pick up a phone, surf the web, buy a product. Privacy is a value we have long since lost and sacrificed and with that freedom of choice is just an expression that means little. Ask the Mask/Vaccine crowd about that. Today I read another strawman argument to vaccines and abortion. Hey fuckwit you can choose NOT to be vaccinated and that is just an equally life changing one that can change not just your life but anyone around you and with that pregnancy is just the same and ultimately is the decision of the one in that position in which to do so. They are not the same and they are just the same.

With this change it pushes the decisions back to the States, which have been doing as such for the past few years. The GOP long pushing the concept of Federalism where States Rights trump Federal ones often explain many of the more interesting laws and decisions states have made this past decade, which include Voting Rights, Gerrymandering, LGBQT rights, Reproductive rights, and refusing federal monies to expand Medicare/Medicaid or in fact doing so by requiring medical insurance under the law as established by the Affordable Care Act. There were even some states with hands out over pandemic relief and others who simply refused them on that principle. This is where we are moving to, a quasi democracy ruled by a Federalism belief.

Federalism is a type of government in which the power is divided between the national government and other governmental units. It contrasts with a unitary government, in which a central authority holds the power, and a confederation, in which states, for example, are clearly dominant.

While the Constitution addressed only the relationship between the federal government and the states, the American people are under multiple jurisdictions. A person not only pays his or her federal income tax but also may pay state and city income taxes as well. Property taxes are collected by counties and are used to provide law enforcement, build new schools, and maintain local roads.

Throughout the 20th century, the power of the federal government expanded considerably through legislation and court decisions. While much recent political debate has centered on returning power to the states, the relationship between the federal government and the states has been argued over for most of the history of the United States.

The constitutional framework

Although the Constitution sets up a federal system, nowhere does it define what federalism is. However, the framers of the Constitution were determined to create a strong national government and address the shortcomings of the Articles of Confederation, which allowed the states too much power. In terms of the balance of power between the federal government and the states, the Constitution clearly favors the federal government.

I put that definitive summary of this as again this is what I call the work-around when I find myself blocked to access by conventional means. And the GOP if they were to run both Houses of Congress and the Presidency along with the Courts they would throw that concept out the Constitutional window. The reality is that is closer than we think with each passing day, and January 6th was titular to that without intent and deliberation. What was somewhat a fringe concept and movement is now in fact an actual galvanized movement throughout the GOP and many State Governments, see the South as a prime example.

For years the GOP courted business and again here is where the Supremes come into play with the Citizen United ruling or as Senator Romney once said, “Corporations are people too.” Okay then. And with that the large tax incentives, subsidies and tax laws were passed to further court and enable corporations to wield much power in the halls of Congress but more importantly at State levels. I use Nashville Tennessee as my prime example. They were a poor state with low levels of both voting and education and with that they began to court foreign industries looking to manufacture in the US and they began with the Car industries. They were right to work states, non union, had no income tax and of course were willing to throw whatever it took to get them to move plants there. Naturally they did not have the trained and educated workforce in which to employ said businesses and with that the great migration you have seen to move into that area has been replicated throughout the South. You see the same with Amazon and their locations for their mega warehouses and in turn how those are selected and at what costs to the community in which to do so. Elon Musk has done the same with Tesla and Space X and he is not the only one as Oracle is now locating a campus within Nashville and the city is doing whatever it takes to ensure that transition is smooth and the money flows. Again if Oracle thinks that there are enough local talent swimming in the pool to fill the jobs they are “supposed” to have in which to receive said incentives, think the shallow end as they don’t. Which means drawing in larger talent and the only way is through H1B1 Visas and the I or Immigrant pool that supposedly the Conservatives hate. Well they do but not if they are going to work, remain in their insular communities, have no voting rights are not citizens, and the Visa is temporary and can be revoked or renewed within or without reason. We love our Immigrant workforce as they can be the “invisible” force in which they cause no trouble so there won’t be no trouble. The Model Minority Myth.

And that brings me to another subject about Abortion and the reality is that the White Supremacy movement are afraid of the declining numbers and reproductive rates of white folks, long the majority. And with that the Replacement Theory, which is largely Anti-Semitic in tone, extends out to any race that may be the ones taking the ‘jobs’ and place in society once held by White and particularly white men. With abortion being denied, the next step is birth control and I see the morning after pill as their next target with more to follow. And yes folks “back in my day” getting a Condom meant going to the Pharmacist to request them. And even in my day there have been Pharmacy’s denying to fill women’s Birth Control pills under religious exemptions. Will it include Viagra? Ah yes the cake has been left out in the rain as they are not baking it for any of those weddings either. Remember that companies under the Supremes are now permitted to deny certain health care coverage, aka Birth Control, under said exemption. So what now does this mean? Well with the White Nationalists this enables them to breed and ensure their place in society. Note Hungary’s Oban on this issue:

Mr. Orban announced one of his most ambitious plans yet: Any Hungarian woman with four or more children will no longer pay income tax.

Anything to avoid immigration.

“We are living in times when fewer and fewer children are being born throughout Europe. People in the West are responding to this with immigration,” Mr. Orban said in a speech on Sunday.

“Hungarians see this in a different light. We do not need numbers, but Hungarian children.” But Mr. Orban, a far-right leader, has said he does not want the color of Hungarians to be “mixed with those of others.” He led European opposition to refugees during the 2015 migration crisis and has boxed himself into a rhetorical corner that now makes it difficult to change direction.

And that would be the dream to finally eliminate the need of foreign born workers being here at all. The reality for Immigrant families whose children born here of those would lose that right to Citizenship as it would likely be the first, if not only, Constitutional Amendment that the GOP would endorse, the Equal Rights Amendment not so much. As it is that very one that RBG cited would be a better way to ensure reproductive rights that Roe could not. And that warning stands clear now:

The roots of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s criticisms of Roe can be found in her litigation from the 1970s. Ginsburg first articulated her view that “disadvantageous treatment” on the basis of pregnancy is tantamount to sex discrimination in a 1972 case, Struck v. Secretary of Defense.

Ah yes and her unwillingness to step down and enable Obama to secure the seat to a more liberal Justice fell away and today we have the religious right ready to secure a brand new world. But ego is a disease like Covid that seemingly infects the members of Government in ways that is way more insidious. Note the endless stories about Senator Diane Feinstein and her mental decline. Not the first, the last or the only but this is our Government, out of touch and out of their minds.

The truth is that while the Racist community share a dislike of abortion with their Evangelical brotherhood (the Venn Diagram on that one is a significant overlap) they do so at the reality of who are seeking abortions and in turn have long had a significant problem in doing so – women of color. That has long been an issue and now the very thing that they fear – colored babies – may in fact be the larger norm as these are the women who cannot take time off nor have the resources to cross state lines and do so safely and privately. So Tucker Carlson what have you go to say about that?

I urge anyone who has not read the extensive coverage regarding Tucker Carlson and his platform to message the White Nationalists do so. I heard a year ago on 60+ a story that discussed his role and influence in communicating a thought process on these concepts post January 6th, since that it has largely expanded in tone and influence. The New York Times did a lengthy two day, two part story on Fucker Carlson and with this I suggest you too watch and listen to the messages and the fear that he inspires in his audience. It is all largely due to the beliefs he possesses but that he also embraced after years of failing in varying platforms on varying networks. And with that a Star is Born by finding the most hideous of historical framework of America and shitting it out like a baby with diarrhea. And he is a big fucking baby. Shame he wasn’t aborted.