Sunday, July 10, 2011

How To Sell A Dead Little Girl

The big sticking point in the trial, from what I’ve heard so far, was the jury just did not know how Caylee died. It very well could have been an accident, some of them reasoned, and even if it wasn’t an accident there was really no way to prove what happened so the whole thing was just one big waste of  taxpayer’s money and Nancy Grace’s ire. We had this really big circus and everyone had a great time, but when the credits rolled the ending was not nearly what we all thought it would be. So far the alleged mother in the incident hasn’t proclaimed she’ll be golfing for the next three years while looking for the real killer but you can just about bet the show isn’t over for her. This one has cheated the system and lived in the limelight for far too long to go peacefully and return to the life of a white trash barfly.
            So now we see the vultures decent to feed on the body of a two year old who was killed somehow, by some Zanny, drowned in a pool, tossed out like trash, with duct tape over her mouth and perhaps a heart sticker there as well. We’ll have anyone who has ever donated sperm to the alleged mother coming out and telling their side of the story, or at least what they remember of it. Someone will have nude photos of her. Someone will have photos of the little girl when she was still alive and they’ll be sold on eBay, and there will be bumper stickers, jewelry, posters, internet sites, virtual memorials, and Facebook pages. True crime books will be written, television interviews with everyone from next door neighbors to the homeless guy that walked past the house in 1996 will be conducted and the show must go on.
            This has been a crime full of surprises and I would be shocked if there wasn’t something that happened next that was shocking. Hmmm, okay, that’s not exactly what I was trying to say but in a way it is. Can’t you just see a made for television movie that has the alleged mother playing herself? The whole thing would be some profanity laced monologue in a stream of consciousness voice over where she acts out the murder on film while telling an entirely different story verbally. In a twist of video voodoo, the little girl will have the alleged mother’s face, and  she will wink as the duct tape is placed over her mouth, because the words won’t ever really stop until she is dead.
            I see a surreality television program running for three or four seasons where the candidates who might have been the father live together and sift through the ashes of a little girl’s life to boost the ratings of a cable channel that hasn’t shown a music video in a decade. Each guy will fondly reminisce his chance meeting in a bar, or some party, or on some street corner, the alleged mother and drugs and no one will notice that almost no one ever remembers a little girl. They will go through the motions of DNA testing but in the end there will be some vote off the island deal where the viewers pick who they think the father is based on how well his story is told. After all, isn’t that how the court case was decided?
            You know she is going to write a book, or at least have her name on the cover of one. The grandparents will write a book, the prosecutors will write a book, the jury will write a dozen of them, the man who found the body will write one, the homeless man that walked past the house in 1996 will write a book and one of my dogs will write one about the murder as well. Oprah will come out of retirement to hold a one of a thousand interviews. Sixty minutes will do its own investigation. Geraldo will look in Al Capone’s vault for clues and not find any. But doing anything on television and having the dead little girl’s name attached to it will sell.
            Look for the morbid to spring up. Cloth baby dolls wrapped in garbage bags with duct tape and heart stickers over their mouths are going to be the big thing this Christmas. “Murder Dolls” are going to sell like hotcakes and you can bet the person who makes them is going to be interviewed and write books. It’s going to pick up steam as it goes along and all the while there is one truly screwed up former and alleged mother who is going to bask in all of this, this world she created by destroying another.  Caylee is slowly going from a little girl to the center ring of a circus and that is all she will ever be. She would be five this year, did you realize this? She would be a first grader next year, but none of that is ever going to happen and that, more than anything else, more than the books, the interviews, the bumper stickers, the duct tape and heart stickers, more than anything else, the fact that she was robbed of a future is worse than any of that stuff that is happening or is going to happen. We traded her in for a set of Ginzu knives and something to talk about at work.
            In fifteen years or so some lunatic will show up claiming to be Caylee and the alleged mother will say see I told you Zanny was real and it will all begin again. This is a story with some legs on it, and it will run forever. It will be interesting to see how all of this plays out, and who winds up being a better person for it, and who is ruined by it, and in the end, how much will be paid for our version of the truth, the only one we’ll accept, no matter what really happened.

Take Care,

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sam, at ten years old


Sam: A Decade Of Dog. Fool For a Food Bowl

            “Greyhound?” I asked the vet. “This...” I looked at the small bag of bones on the table. “…is part Greyhound?”  Greyhounds are big dogs. This was a spaniel or a terrier or…something. Sam still looked horrible but a weekend of feeding had brought life back to him, somewhat. He was still terrified of all loud sounds but Sam had discovered women and he loved them, too. A female friend of mine had burst into tears at the sight of Sam, wretched and bones sticking out everywhere at all angles. A woman in the waiting room had cuddled him, even though he was peeing everywhere when she picked him up. The receptionist picked Sam up and held him like a baby, cooing and rocking him. I had no idea if Sam was really part Greyhound but I did know a pattern when it was born. Sam would go on to woo many a female human. But he was still in danger. The vet told me to come back in two weeks. Sam was too close to death to medicate.
            Do you know what it is like to live in a fear so complete that only total darkness gives you comfort? Sam hid in the closet and would not come out for anything but food. I did not force him out, but I did take food and put it further out and in different places. Bert, who just a few days before had been possessed by wild dog demons, immediately went into full blown Protect My Baby Brother Mode. There was no play in Sam, no life other than food, no sweetness, just a never ending hunger for food, and the need to hide. He liked being held and he liked being loved but he headed for shelter as soon as he could. I could get into the closet with him, and hold him while he slept. Sam woke up yelping in fright and it took a very, very, long time for this to stop.
            But it did stop. Sam slowly relaxed. He began to chew on Bert, even if he wouldn’t play with me. Bert permitted the most outrageous behavior out of Sam, and I could not believe it. Bert lay on the floor and Sam grabbed his collar and tried to make him move. Tiny fragile Sam, with bones sticking out in every direction, tugged and pulled and pulled and tugged on Bert, slowly easing him across the hardwood floor and Bert just lay there. Sam gave out easily, couldn’t walk very far, but there was some life in that scarred black body. Somewhere in there, deeply buried by abuse, neglect, cruelty, and deprivation, lived the beating heart of dog, whole and pure, and Sam fought his way from the deep dark places to wag his tail again. He lifted his chin and smiled. Sam walked without wariness. Sam ate with relish instead of desperation. I woke up one morning and Sam was snoring deeply, in content, and when he awoke, Sam’s tail thudded on the floor. Sam woke up a happy dog every morning, and each breakfast was as joyous as the last. Each new day was something Sam exalted in. Sam, Sam, The Happy Hound!
            I wish I could end the story with Sam being whole and cured, healthy and hale, but I cannot. If I am to tell you the story of Sam you must know there is a downside to all of this, and that would be that Sam came to me damaged, and there is just so much I, or anyone else, can do. Sam was fearful of other people, not aggressive towards other dogs, and respectful of cats so when I let him out into the back yard to see his first armadillo, I thought he wouldn’t react, or if he did, he couldn’t try to harm it. Sam saw the armadillo and launched like a black torpedo. If there was any doubt of his heritage before this was a Greyhound, sleek and build for speed, and before I could think to do anything at all, Sam slammed into the armadillo, grabbed it by the head, shook it hard for five seconds, dropped it, and walked away. He never made a sound. He never looked back and never got near the body again. This was the first of many small mammals who paid the price for getting into Sam range.
            When Lucas arrived nearly two years ago, I was scolding Lucas for peeing on the floor. Suddenly, Sam clamped down on Lucas’ neck and in the process maimed my thumb. Were it not for my thumb, Lucas would have been killed. Sam sees the world in black and white. Punishment is death for all offences. When stressed out Sam either runs away or he fights without any sense of proportion. 99.9999% of the time Sam is loving and sweet and gentle, but there are those times…
            Sam knows at some level he is damaged. He knows I isolate him in situations where there might be conflict. I don’t leave Sam alone with the vet when she comes to draw blood, and I do not allow him to be in the same room with the other dogs when they are being treated. At ten years old, Sam isn’t as fast but he is still plenty fast enough. Sam is packing demons of his own, and there isn’t a need to test him.
            But Sam is happy. He is one of the most happy dogs I have ever met. Sam loves life, loves women, likes Lucas most of the time, and years to be petted on a dog’s head. Ear petting is what really gets him, but Sam just wants to have someone near, someone to speak gently to him, and those ears, those goofy looking ears, long to be petted, oh yes. Sam will crawl on top of me in a thunderstorm but fall asleep in the most violent weather if his body is touching mine. Sam has not forgotten love, and love has not forgotten Sam.

Sam, Sam, The Happy Hound, was almost dead when he was found.

Take Care,

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sam; A Decade Of Dog

Nearly all the Dog People I know have heard the story of Patrick The Miracle Dog who survived being dumped down a garbage chute and severe starvation to come out on the other end of torture a healthy dog. If you haven’t seen the photos of when they first found him I suggest you look, and you will see what people do to dogs, sometimes. It’s bad, and it is really bad, and you’re going to want to throw up, or kill someone, or both. Now, once you’ve recovered from that let me tell you a story about a dog who looked worse than that, and was found not by people, but by Bert, the Muttibeasti.
            Bert who I suspected was part Husky and part Chow,  had spent eighteen months as an only dog and he was a creature of mischief for it. At eighteen months old, Bert was showing all signs of being part badger, part kangaroo, and part otter. He dug, he jumped and he loved the water. Bert was a handful and as an only dog he tormented me by ambushing me at inopportune moments, and running off with stuff that I needed. I wanted to get another dog, a puppy for Bert, but there was no way in hell I could afford it. But one day, on the 4th of July weekend, in 2001, all of that came to an end, except the part where I couldn’t afford another dog that is.
            I hadn’t fenced in the back yard yet for the lack of funds, so I walked Bert around on a leash. Mostly he was good on a leash but he loved to pull when he saw a rabbit or a deer. Suddenly, Bert went off the deep end with me, and I nearly lost him as he leapt into the air. This wasn’t a deer or some other animal, I was sure of that, but I didn’t see anything in the woods. There was a small black shadow, there, just beyond my neighbor’s fenceline running west, so I put Bert in the house and took a look. I had no idea what it might be because it certainly didn’t appear to be anything I had ever seen. It was a small black spindly looking thing, like a giant spider with just four legs. It really took a moment for me to realize it was a puppy, or what was left of one, and had it not moved away from me, I would have thought it dead. I went over to it, speaking softly, and the little dog rolled over on what was left of his back. Whatever I was going to do to him could not be worse than what had already happened. I picked him up with one hand, and there was no mass to him at all. I could see every bone in his body, and his skin was limp and lifeless. Cuts crisscrossed his body as if someone had beaten him with a belt. There was nearly nothing there but misery.
            I went and got a plastic bowl of cat food and came back to where the little dog was lying still on the porch. I fed him tiny handfuls of food and he gulped it down. I went back for some water, calmed Bert down, and when I returned, fed the puppy some more. He looked to be barely three months old, with the tiny puppy teeth all intact, but his gums were white. Half the fleas in Brooks County covered his belly, and the other half had left for a more decent meal. Food, water, food, water, and finally he stopped to take a breath. This was as bad as I had ever seen, and as bad as it could be. Life was now measured in hours, not days or months or years. I would either be able to pull him back from Death’s feet now, or I would not pull him back at all. Honestly, when I first discovered him my first instinct was to put a bullet to him. How on earth could such a desperate creature survive? Yet Bert’s attention never wavered from the puppy. Ears up, tail high and wagging, body on full alert, Bert knew that something terrible, some unspeakable evil, had been fostered on the dying dog that lay on the porch. I let Bert out to snuffle our guest and as Bert got near the little puppy he bared his tiny teeth and growled! GROWLED! Bert might have accidently killed this animal but there he was, head up, ears back, daring Bert to get any nearer to him. Bert looked at me and smiled.
            I was afraid to bathe him for I thought the shock of water might kill him. What wouldn’t at this stage? I fed him small amounts of food until it got late. Bert stood at the window all night, keeping vigil.        I didn’t want to name him. He would be dead when the sun came up. I couldn’t afford another dog and this one needed some help. But I had fed him. I had offered him shelter. The rules were clear. Feed a stray and take him in and you have to keep him. A friend of mine and I had been discussing Mark Twain and Twain’s first name was really, Sam. The little dog, if he greeted the sun, would be named Sam.
            He was gone. Sam was gone. Sam snuffled the blanket and wandered around on the porch. I rattle the food in the bowl and the tiny black puppy appeared from under the porch. He recognized me, didn’t growl at Bert, and I fed him. He looked ever so slightly better, and I took him inside. I bathed him in the kitchen sink and it looked like a box of black pepper had been spilled at the bottom of the sink.
            As Sam slept on the floor, on top of a ten by six inch vent he didn’t quite cover, I wondered how it felt to be free of that many fleas. What did it feel like to be a meal while starving? Sam would spend the first night inside, and if he lived through that, I would take him to the vet.

Take Care,

Monday, July 4, 2011

Declaration of Independence

Declaration of Independence

The Unanimous Declaration
of the Thirteen United States of America
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.
He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.
He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.
He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:
For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing taxes on us without our consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:
For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:
For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:
For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:
For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.
We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.
New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton