Tag Archives: death

Richard Ramirez: A Love Story?

Richard Ramirez marries Doreen Lioy.

Richard Ramirez marries Doreen Lioy.

Richard Ramirez, the serial killer known as The Night Stalker and sentenced to die for his brutal murders in Los Angeles County, California in the early Eighties, has died of natural causes in a hospital. He was 53.

Ramirez, who in 1985 was found guilty of 14 murders, 5 attempted murders and six rapes, appears to have been unusually attractive to female admirers. One of those admirers included his wife, Doreen Lioy, who first saw him in a news story.

Feeling that he needed a friend, she commenced to write him a letter. He wrote back and she became his advocate to the press, insisting that Ramirez could not have done the things he was accused of. She reportedly wrote 75 letters to him before she met him. The meeting only deepened their connection, although Ramirez often disappointed her by allowing the visits of other enamored women.

Doreen sat through every day of the trial, decrying its unfairness to any journalist who would listen. She purchased clothing for Ramirez to wear and jealously watched the other women who showed up. Carlo reports that she thought she was the only one who truly loved him. But she wasn’t alone in that sentiment.

In a bizarre twist, Cindy Haden, one of the jurors tasked to decide Ramirez’s fate showed interest in him during the trial.

She was chosen as an alternate juror, but when Ramirez challenged one of the primary jurors and got him dismissed, Haden won a slot. She accepted it with visible excitement. On Valentine’s Day, she had sent Ramirez a cupcake with a message, “I love you,” on it. Ramirez apparently believed that she would not convict him.

He was wrong. She did vote to convict, but later met with him in jail. She told him that she loved him, and allowed him to meet her parents. But it was Doreen who won out in the end, marrying in 1996.

Ardently devoted to him, she visited him four times a week and was often among the first in the visiting line. She made it a point to pack breath mints, explaining: “So I can be able to kiss with confidence.”

When people pointed out the strangeness of her choice of spouses, she rolled her eyes.

“Hometown girl makes bad,” she would say.

Doreen  wasn’t joking about that, apparently.

Relatives called Lioy a recluse who lived in a fantasy world.

Her whereabouts could not be determined on Friday. She was not listed as Ramirez’s next of kin, prison spokesman Samuel Robinson said in an email.

“His blood relatives are listed as the next of kin,” Robinson said.

“A Jail House Conversation with Serial Killer Richard Ramirez–The Night Stalker–Reported by Mike Watkiss”

http://youtu.be/MC5huwZoPZA

 

The Death of the Enlightenment

The greatest intellectuals of history rose to prominence in periods of catastrophic change. In the ancient world, Aristotle, Cicero, Confucius, and the Arab scholar Al-Ma’Mun sought to make sense of the tumult and strife they witnessed around them. They left us manuscripts that would, in the words of the Greek historian Thucydides, last “for all time.” Their minds sought to impose order on the mystical culture and seemingly chaotic world around them in order to bring man’s relations in harmony with reality.

Each of these philosophers’ civilizations would ultimately collapse into tyranny or barbarism after periods of ideological decay; their teachings disregarded and their warnings ignored. In the West, the decline and fall of the Roman Empire would lead to the obliteration of the gains of Hellenic philosophy as well as the ‘genius of order’ of the Romans. The Near East would fall under the sway of Islamic fascists who would subjugate all thought under the omnipresent dominion of Allah. China would continue to move ever so slowly towards achieving the totalitarian vision of its first emperor Qin Shu Huang.

The first signs of the reemergence of civilization in the West can best be attributed to the thought of Thomas Aquinas, who reintroduced rationality into Christianity. The Scholastics would pave the way for the Renaissance, primarily by resurrecting Aristotelian thought. Their works would lay the foundations for The Enlightenment, which would disentangle superstition from politics and liberate men from intellectual slavery to monarchy. Once again, we find that the essential political philosophers of the era, Thomas Hobbes and his refuter John Locke, were men who lived during times of immense change and confusion. John Locke’s Two Treatises on Government would provide the intellectual fuel for the American Revolution.

The American Revolution, which created an unprecedented political and economic order based on reason and deliberation, would contrast mightily with its sister revolution, often misleadingly described as animated by The Enlightenment. The French Revolution was birthed by the unruly passion of democracy, and was the midwife of the “philosophy” of rationalized confiscation known as socialism.

Though both democracy and socialism are draped in the ideological garb of reason, they are divorced of it; the former is animated by transcendental collectivist myths and the latter of class envy devoid of reflection or virtue. One might view them as the doctrines of power accumulation in the state under the stewardship of a cult leader and the repression of all upward mobility threatening the elite establishment, respectively.

The present popularity of democracy and socialism in academia and Western culture is indication of a calculated divorce from The Enlightenment, which liberated men from the control of elites. Unfortunately, the practical success of the American experiment, and now the well-founded distrust of self-described intellectual elites, have led to a disdain for ideas qua ideas among many people.

But the consequence of this development is that we have incrementally abandoned the vision of the founders in our hearts and minds, and are within one swift stroke of severance with that glorious past. We now find ourselves in the midst of a war of ideas, with the soul of Western civilization at stake; yet many still show a pathological lack of seriousness about ideas and how they shape our world.

There are questions that arise of why an intellectual elite would subvert the very civilization it benefits from; and secondly, what makes their detractors so smart? The answer to the first question is a matter of human nature, the second one, a matter of historical awareness.

If we assume that the American way has been successful in terms of wealth creation and political stability, the problem for intellectuals becomes “how do I distinguish myself?” One does not acquire notoriety or power by adhering to the principles of the past, no matter how successful they have proved to be. The ideologies that ‘naturally’ developed in academia over the last century, which attracted “alienated” (or rather, narcissistic) individuals, can be summed up as “contrarianism for the sake of contrarianism” and “rationalized power-seeking.”

Hence, it is in the light of such vapid arrogance we should esteem the intellectual programme to criticize all according to the neomarxian rubric known as “critical theory.” After all, socialism at its core is merely a critique of capitalism. It is not a creative or productive system in any realistic sense. People don’t work for its own sake, and certainly they do not do so for strangers (at least, without the implied or explicit threat of a barrel of a gun). Socialism provides no plausible answer to the “then what?” question of what happens after the destruction of capitalism.

Out of crisis comes opportunity, as our political enemies remind us, and for us that entails laying the ideological foundations of liberty on more solid ground. With the illuminating guidance of our founders Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, and Madison we may add the insights of Ayn Rand, whose explicit infusion of Aristotelian thought into the philosophy of freedom would buttress our defenses against the inevitable assaults that arise from democratic mobs and iron-fisted tyrants. It is moderation in principle that leads to excess in government; and devotion to principle that leads to liberty, security, peace, and prosperity.

The intellectual decay of Western civilization has brought us to a crossroads, and we must choose the path take from here. We must choose liberty or an “Age of Darkness.” It is our task as freedom-loving Americans to ignite a political Renaissance, reawakening and re-energizing the ideas of the founders.

As the philosophy of a people goes, there, inevitably, is civilization led. Philosophies of confusion and detachment from reality lead to decay and collapse; those of order and rationality provide the conditions that make social harmony and human happiness possible. Yet the austerity of the rational life is not for the faint of heart; it demands virtue and a steely stoicism. Ultimately, many will retreat into utopianism and mysticism, which obviate our personal responsibility and detach us from the real world. The outcome of the battle between reality and unreality is the fulcrum on which the fate of civilization turns.

 

Broken Celebrities Should Never Become Our Idols

This week my Facebook page and Twitter timeline has been filled with posts of sadness, anger, disappointment and tributes to the late music star, Whitney Houston.  Many spoke of her angelic voice, her tumultuous marriage to pop star Bobby Brown, and her sad struggle with addiction.   For days the news cycle was all Whitney Houston all the time.

All the attention got me to thinking about the culture of celebrity.  Celebrities are the most celebrated among us.  We voraciously consume personal information and photos of our favorite public figures.  We buy tabloid magazines filled with outrageous claims about celebrity baby-mommas and illicit behaviors.  We hang on their every word.  Reporters stick microphones in their faces and ask about the latest political scandal, deficit spending or green energy and stand rapt while people like Leonardo DiCaprio and Sean Penn complain about rich white people, Republicans and oil. We elevate their responses as if these people are the most intelligent in our society.

It is a sad state of affairs when we care more about what Ashton Kutcher thinks about our tax policies than what the harried parents of four kids think about the policies that affect how they will feed and clothe family and put gas in the car on a daily basis…because here’s the thing about celebrities that I don’t think most americans understand – they are broken people.  I don’t mean just a little off, or people who struggle with the ups and downs of life the way we all do.  I mean these are severely broken people.  I’ve been a trained actress for over 20 years. I’ve never reached the level of public success of an Angelina Jolie, but I’ve worked with a lot of different people in my life, some well-known, others not.  I’ve had the opportunity to live and work around actors and entertainers on a full-time basis.  The entertainment industry draws people from all walks of life and all geographical areas, but they all have one thing in common – a crippling insecurity that can only be satiated by public adoration and attention.  Yes, its true. I know it to be true because I have also been a victim of this sad mentality.  These are people who suffer from “holes” in their personalities, caused by tragic childhoods, loss or abuse.  It’s difficult to trust people close to you, so its hard to find validation in a few healthy relationships.  The love and attention of strangers meets the need for validation and intimacy (for a time, anyway) without requiring one to form a real relationship or be vulnerable.  It is an addiction like any other. It feels like the only thing that can keep you from hating yourself the way you do on a regular basis.

Now, imagine being this person with crippling insecurities and self-hatred.  Suddenly you are thrust into the spotlight.  It seems exciting at first; something you’ve always dreamed about.  People hang on your every move, your every word; they rush to fill your every need. No one ever tells you no.  There is always someone there to tell you how great, how wonderful, how intelligent, how attractive you are.  But you still hate yourself.  You still look in the mirror and see imperfections.  You know (feel) you don’t deserve anyone’s love or adoration.  Slowly, all the attention becomes like sharp razor blades.  Each compliment is another cut to your soul, because you know it’s all a lie. You can never live up to this image of perfection that has been created for you.  In your mind you deserve to be hated for being such a fake, and yet people just keep on celebrating you.  Soon it becomes impossible to handle. This is when many celebrities turn to drugs and alcohol to ease the discomfort of life under the microscope.  It’s an attempt to drown out the raging contradictions in the lifestyles they live.  We’ve seen time after time how quickly those chemical comforts spiral out of control.

It seems so glamorous, but it’s actually a very sad life.  Once you start examining the motivations of most entertainers it becomes clear how very broken and empty many of these celebrities are, and yet we place them on a pedestal and aspire to be like them and think like them.  We mourn when they leave us without recognizing just how skewed was their view of the world and themselves.  These are not people we should be getting our political views from, nor our values.  These are just people – lost, broken people who are looking for love and acceptance in quantities large enough to kill the voices of doubt in their heads.

I am as sad as the next person about the loss of Houston.  Her music was a huge part of my childhood and her talent cannot be denied or diminished.  But I hesitate to make her death somehow more important than the loss of anyone else we might care for and love.  She was a broken vessel.  She sought acceptance and found it among her fans, but she never learned to accept herself.   Let’s not ascribe more value to the opinions of the rich and famous than they are worth. Let’s not pretend their lives are worth more than our own. We can thank them for their talent and entertainment, but we should not allow them to lead us in our thoughts and actions.  It’s like driving a car with faulty transmission – the body might look good but under the hood it’s a big old mess and you are likely to break down completely before you reach your final destination.

 

Crossposted at kiradavis.net

Alan Colmes Mocks The Way Santorum's Family Grieves Dead Child

I’ve been thinking about this video you’re about to watch all day, and I still cannot find an adequate way to sum it up for you.  Alan Colmes can be a difficult pundit to listen to on even his best day, but I think he finally crossed the kind of line that can’t be uncrossed.  On FNC, Monday, he was asked to weigh in on Rick Santorum’s recent surge in Iowa.  As you can see in the video below, Colmes had many negative things to say about Santorum, so I think he could have easily left out the most offensive one of all.  Yet… somehow, he didn’t choose to.  In short, he needlessly and mercilessly ridiculed the way that Rick Santorum’s family grieved over one of their dead children.  The horrific display starts just after the one minute mark.

 

I don’t know where to begin.  I do know the word “unprofessional” does not even begin to cover it.  I know that much for sure.  But to be honest with you, this is par for the course when it comes to Left Wing punditry.  It’s never good enough for them to just criticize a Republican’s policies.  For some reason, they feel compelled to add personal attacks to the mix also.  Whether it’s Ed Schultz calling Laura Ingraham a slut, or David Letterman calling Sarah Palin a slut, or an MSNBC panel talking about Michele Bachmann’s “crazed, bulging eyes”, the Left constantly feels it’s necessary to make personal attacks toward Republicans.  It’s never good enough to just discuss policies or issues.  But this time, it’s too much.  When you make fun of the way a family grieves the death of their child, you have crossed a line you cannot come back from.

Alan Colmes must have thought he was on the Jerry Springer show, where you’re paid to goad and insult the audience.  Where it’s your goal to stoke fires of indignation.  But you know what… Even Jerry’s audience would have no part in what Colmes was selling.  I’m ashamed for him.  And I’m ashamed America’s top rated cable channel even let him finish the segment.  I’m not sure Jerry would have let him stay on after saying that.  But like I said… this is par for the course with Liberal pundits.

Andy Rooney Has Died At The Age Of 92

Sadly mirroring the final days of Steve Jobs, Andy Rooney has also died shortly after resigning from a post that made him famous.  Below is an excerpt from CBS news.

(CBS News)

Andy Rooney, the “60 Minutes” commentator known to generations for his wry, humorous and contentious television essays – a unique genre he is credited with inventing – died today. He was 92 and had homes in New York City, Rensseleaerville, N.Y. and Rowayton, Conn.

Rooney had announced on Oct. 2, 2011 in his 1097th essay for “60 Minutes” that he would no longer appear regularly.

You can find the rest of the CBS piece here.  Andy Rooney was one of television’s longest running commentators; he will be missed.

Hillary Clinton's Candid Reaction To Qaddafi's Capture/Death

Have you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall and see how a major politician responded to an event in U.S. history?  Maybe it would be neat to see how Abraham Lincoln responded to winning the Civil War.  Or maybe you’d like to see Ronald Reagan’s reaction when he first heard about the official fall of Communist Russia.  We don’t have footage of those events, but we do have video of Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton reacting to what would ultimately be news of Moammar Qaddafi’s death. (in the video, she mentions “capture”)  Here’s her reaction when finding out, from her Blackberry smart phone, of all places.

Now, I have no idea what Secretary Clinton saw on her Blackberry (and can you believe she found via her cell phone?), but I did notice how careful she was to tell everyone in the room that the news was “unconfirmed”.  For all we know, it WAS confirmed, but she was trying to keep the release of information under control.  Or maybe it really was unconfirmed, and she was still trying to keep the release of information under control.  Either way, it’s very interesting to see a politician’s response to such a major event.  Also… I believe somebody that many of you will “know” made a cameo in that video.  Bonus points to anyone (who’s not a writer at this website) who tells us who made that cameo in the comments below.

And as always, if you would rather place your comments to any of our stories on Facebook or Twitter, we welcome that too.  It’s kind of like my Grandma always said… you can call us anything, so long as you don’t call us late for dinner.  (but please, don’t call us on the clumsy metaphors)

Courageous! The Movie

I am not one for going to the movie theater, preferring instead to watch movies from the comfort of my own couch. It just makes logical sense to me. It does not cost a drop in the bucket what the cost of going to a movie theater costs these days. I can have all the snacks I want at a mere fraction of the cost, and most importantly, I can actually pause the movie and go to the powder room when necessary!

I’m sure it came as quite a surprise to my husband when he received an email from me telling him that I wanted to go see this movie! I knew we had an upcoming trip out of town, away from the kids, and knowing how much he loves going to the movie theater, I thought this would be a great surprise for him to have me actually say I want to go to a movie theater.

I had seen the preview several times, but did not read any movie reviews. I have found that so often, the movies I like are given bad reviews by other reviewers. Knowing this movie is a wholesome movie made me stay away from reviews even more.

I have visited the main page of the website, but did not want to go any deeper until after I saw the movie. Needless to say, I was completely surprised by the entire plot.

This is just a blurb from the actual synopsis of the Courageous website:

From the writers of Fireproof and Facing the Giants comes a story about four law enforcement officers whose lives are deeply tested as they embrace their calling to serve and to protect. As crime fighters, they must face danger every day. Yet when tragedy hits close to home, they are left wrestling with their hopes, their faith, and their priorities as men. 

Four men, one calling: To serve and protect. As law enforcement officers, they face danger every day. Yet when tragedy strikes close to home, these fathers are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, and their faith. From this struggle will come a decision that changes all of their lives. With action, drama, and humor, the fourth film from Sherwood Pictures embraces God’s promise to "turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers." Souls will be stirred, and hearts will be challenged to be … courageous!

Having seen all of the movies that have been produced by Sherwood Church in Albany, Georgia, I thought I knew what to expect. A heart-felt movie that dealt with real life, but not with quite the same depth and reality as Hollywood. This movie provides very little distinction between the production quality of professionals and those who are called by God for the purpose of bringing Him glory in their movies. That is- with the major exception of the foul language that seems to be a "necessity" in every Hollywood movie.

Please do not get me wrong- unfortunately, I have grown accustomed to the harsh language that peppers our world today, and in fact, at times have been known to speak in a way not so becoming of a lady. Sadly, I’ve grown so accustomed to this reality that there are very few times I’m actually phased by foul language. However, in many movies that come out of Hollywood today, it’s as if they just stuck a four-letter word here and there to seem cool and acceptable to their audience. 

There were times in this movie that I was literally hanging on to the edge of my seat, anticipating what was coming next! There was a moment of actual fear, as I became so lost in the story that it was almost reality for me. There were times I laughed. And there were many times I cried. It hit home for me because of past experiences in my life.

I was not aware of the fact that the movie deals with the tragic death of a loved one. The raw emotion portrayed by the family members who lost their loved one struck a cord in me that cannot be explained. Only those who have lost a loved one in a horrible tragedy know that raw emotion. Only those who have clung to the hem of His garment in the aftermath of the tragic death can know exactly what I’m talking about.

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this movie! Support a Christian movie that has a lot to offer- entertainment, wisdom, knowledge, strength, comfort, laughter, tears, action, romance, and challenges. I specifically challenge any man who is a father to go see this movie. It very well could change your life, and how you view the calling on your life.

While it is a very well made movie, technically, in my opinion, it is a movie made from the talents and gifts of many every day, ordinary people. It is not a movie made by the Hollywood stars and starlets who see millions of dollars per movie. The real-life quaintness was refreshing to me.

If you go to the movies to critique the camera angles, lighting and video technique, this may not be the movie for you. However, I still recommend it to you. I simply challenge you look through the eyes of your heart rather than the eyes of the technical critic in you. 

".. honor begins at home."

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid;
do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”  
Joshua 1:9

 

Final Exit Network Die with Dignity Billboards Continue in Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles

PENNINGTON, N.J., June 2, 2011 — Today, Final Exit Network continues the roll-out of billboards on the nation’s highways – Chicago, Denver and in Los Angeles. These follow others that have been placed in San Francisco, Boston, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, New Jersey and Florida.

The message is simply “Irreversible illness? Unbearable Pain? Die with Dignity … Join Final Exit Network.”

Those who view the billboards are encouraged to be in touch with their local media and to share their feelings on the right to a death with dignity.

The boards are being paid for by donations. Final Exit President Jerry Dincin said, “Anyone wishing to make a tax-deductible contribution toward future billboards is welcome to do so by making a donation on the organization’s website.”

Final Exit Network believes that mentally competent adults have a basic human right to end their lives when they suffer from a fatal or irreversible illness they can no longer bear, when their quality of life is personally unacceptable, and the future holds only hopelessness and misery. In such a case, the individual should have the right to make individual choices, including the timing and companion, free of any restriction by the law, clergy , medical profession, even friends and relatives, no matter how well intentioned. Dincin notes, “Only laws in Oregon, Washington and Montana currently allow hastening death at the end of life, while national polls continually show more than 70% of Americans favor an individual’s right to die when medical circumstances warrant.”

The organization offers free service to all members who qualify, providing relevant information, home visits if possible and compassionate counseling for the individual and family. It further promotes the use of advanced directives and other legal instruments to document the intentions of any individual and to increase the likelihood that their wishes at the end of life will be honored.

Final Exit Network’s medical director was recently found innocent last month after being charged with manslaughter in Arizona. The network also has a case pending in Georgia, where the defendants have just initiated an appeal to the Supreme Court of Georgia.