Wednesday, October 31, 2012

L stands for Lincoln

Posted by JM Darhower Wednesday, October 31, 2012, under | 2 comments

AKA The 16th President
NOT the Car
Although, okay, the car is pretty badass, and one does make a cameo in #TheUnnamedSequel, but this is definitely about the president.

I'm a political junkie. I admit it. Politics are my drug of choice. I'm a die-hard liberal, probably about as far left on the political spectrum as you can get. Those little online quizzes often tell me I'm more liberal than our president, who gets heat for being 'crazy liberal', but I digress. That's just me. It's what I believe. I'm a staunch Obama supporter. I adored Bill Clinton and still do. I even like Jimmy Carter and admire his charitable work. I'll tell anyone who listens. I align myself with the Democratic Party and disagree probably 99% of the time with the current elected Republicans.

But my favorite president of all time is a Republican. Yep. Abraham Lincoln. If I could meet any person, dead or alive, and have just a simple conversation with them, it would be him. He absolutely fascinates me. He came from a poor background and ran a store. He was sensitive (hated hurting animals, even for food, and had a bunch of pets) and suffered from depression. He used to store his things in his big hat instead of in his pockets. He wasn't religious, didn't go to church, but he was spiritual--they supposedly used to hold seances in the White House to talk to their passed on loved ones.

Also? He kinda maybe sorta had a psychic side. Seriously. He used to tell his wife that he'd sometimes see two reflections in the mirror, a double reflection of himself, one clear and one blurry. He mused that he thought it might mean he survived his first term but wouldn't survive his second. in 1865 he told a group of friends about a dream he'd had, that he was laying in bed and heard crying in the White House, so he searched and searched until he made it to the East Room. In the room he saw a coffin guarded by soldiers and a bunch of mourners. He asked who died, and one of the soldiers replied "The President. He was killed by an assassin." Less than a week after telling that story, Lincoln was assassinated.

Freaky, right?

So, yeah, this humble, kinda depressed, non-religious, maybe psychic Republican fascinates me. Not only because of personal things, but the political ones, too. I won't bore you by going into details, but of course, the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment top the list.

It's strange, seeing how much politics have changed the past century and a half, the political parties unrecognizable from their former selves.

There's a Lincoln movie coming out soon (a little over two weeks from today... November 16th). Go see that bitch. I know I will.

Or, really, go buy a Lincoln Continental. Whatever. Both are quite awesome lol.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

K stands for Kindness

Posted by JM Darhower Tuesday, October 23, 2012, under | 3 comments

AKA Kill Them With It

Kill them. All of them. Every single one. No questions asked. KAH-BOOM.

Okay, okay... not literally.  I'm totally kidding.  I, in no way, shape, or form, condone murder. I'm probably one of the most sensitive and peaceful people you'll ever meet, despite the fact that I often spend hours researching murder and crime (KEY WORD: RESEARCH. FOR MY WRITING. NOT FOR SERIOUS).

Yeah, I should probably shut up while I'm ahead here and end up on some kinda lists...

To my point: Kindness. Spending hours on the internet every week, it sometimes feels like kindness is a rare quality to find in people. Negativity is rampant online, judgement and hatred everywhere you turn, leading to cyber-bullying that quite honestly ruins lives. It's a sad reality, one I wish weren't so, but it is... I'm sure the anonymity has a lot to do with it, the fact that we can express our opinions online without fear of facing ridicule because they aren't attached to us in real life, but it's gone to the extreme. People use it as a platform to hurt others without having to own up to it, thinking it's harmless, thinking it's okay, but it's not. I, for one, can tell you that nameless, faceless insults are just as hurtful as ones said to your face, maybe even more so. At least when someone insults you to your face, you have a chance to truly defend yourself.

I've been targeted before, as I'm sure most of you reading this have. I've seen the lies, the hatred, the flames. I've watched posts on message boards turn from discussing a story to ridiculing the author, critique turning into straight up name-calling. I've seen people spread gossip like it's gospel without regard for how the defamation hurts the parties involved. I've seen the threats that have, more than once, legitimately frightened me. And it used to truly hurt me to the point that I cried, that I didn't want to get out of bed. There were times I had to respond, that I had to post to defend myself, but it only made it worse. It only fueled their anger. It only spread the hate. At the end of the day, those people still don't like me for whatever reason, and they never will, but that's okay. The bullying is NOT okay, the personal threats and slander is NOT okay, but their opinion? They're entitled to it. They can think what they want about it. That's on them and I can't control it.

What I CAN control, though, is myself. I can control my actions and my thoughts. I can't control how it all makes me feel, but I can control how I react to it.

I've learned to avoid--I don't go on message boards much anymore, I avoid certain websites, I tread lightly when on social media. It's easier, not inviting the negativity in, not seeking it out.

But as far as the people involved, the trolls and even the ones who have no qualms signing their name to the flame--I hold no ill will toward them. I wish them luck. I still read their work, admire their talent, hope they aim for the stars. If I passed them on the street, I'd make a point to say hello. Not to be bitchy, not to call them out, but because it's draining being angry. It's exhausting being negative. It's frankly not worth it to hold a grudge. I'd say hello because they're people, they're human, and we all could use a 'hello' sometimes.

Kill them with kindness. It doesn't always work--some people will frankly always spread negativity no matter what--but kindness never hurts. Never. And it feels good, being positive, not carrying that baggage, no trudging through life holding a million grudges. It's like the old saying goes--forgive, but don't forget. I may never be friends with certain people, but I also don't hate them. I can't. Hatred only truly drags down the person who feels it.

I'm a true believer that the world would be a much better place if we all took the time every day for some kindness. Smile at people, say hello, compliment them. It takes all of thirty seconds, but I promise--I fucking PROMISE--it'll make your day much, much better. Focus on the positive, not the negative, no matter what route they choose to take. Don't stoop to their level and never ever ever let them define you. Be you, the beautiful goddamn kind, smart, funny person you are, and not the person others try to make you out to be.

Having said that, now I will retreat back into my writing hole where I kill more people, but not with kindness. With GUNS. AND KNIVES. AND THE MENACING STARE OF A HITMAN NAMED CORRADO MORETTI. MUHAHAHAHA.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

J stands for Justice

Posted by JM Darhower Wednesday, October 03, 2012, under | 2 comments

AKA Free Sara Kruzan

So, okay, I know my blogs recently have been more on the 'serious business' side, and I promise to post something lighthearted soon, but this is something important that, in my opinion, just can't be ignored.

I'm all the time venting (and raging) about injustice in our justice system. It's one reason I'm personally against the death penalty--any system that potentially punishes innocent people by killing them is just something I can't support (if we could find a way to make it infallible, sure, but humans are prone to error, and it worries me... a lot). My heart hurt when Cameron Todd Willingham was executed in Texas, and again when Troy Davis was executed in Georgia, when both cases relied heavily on flawed evidence and unreliable witnesses (and recanted heavily testimony) to convict. Could they be guilty? Sure. But to execute a man when there's so much doubt just doesn't sit right with me.

This brings me to Sara Kruzan. She grew up with a drug addicted mother and suffered from severe depression since she was 9. At the age of 11, she met a 31-year-old man who treated her like a daughter (the father she never had, as she'd only met her real father three times) and he slowly started grooming her for prostitution. By 13, he was selling her for sex. At the age of 16, after years of abuse, she murdered him, took his money and car, and fled. She was arrested, tried for murder, and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole. Life, at the age of 16, with absolutely no opportunity for release. She says she did it because another pimp said he'd kill her and her mother if she didn't. The prosecution said Kruzan was "no longer employed" by the pimp when she murdered him.

Employed. She was a child prostitute. She wasn't a fucking employee. She was a victim.

We can all agree that what Sara did was wrong. Murder is never the answer, and vigilante justice isn't something we can support. Even Sara understands that. She has spent the last 18 years in prison for killing the man who preyed on her as a child, who sold her, who abused her. She was a minor at the time, and the jury essentially told her she couldn't be redeemed. She wasn't worth trying to reform or save. They condemned her to die behind bars.

In 2011, Governor Schwarzenegger commuted her sentence to 25 years with the possibility of parole.  It's a start, certainly, but Sara still sits behind bars today, and could very well be there for many years to come. She's a human trafficking victim, a SURVIVOR, yet that wasn't taken into account.

She's 34 years old now and still fighting for a new trial. There's expected to be a ruling sometime this month as to whether or not she gets that new trial, where she can finally use the "battered partner" defense.

Watch the video, if you have a few minutes, and meet the girl behind the case. Hear the story in her own words. Then decide if your heart tells you she's "not redeemable".