Friday, June 29, 2007

The Green Hills of North Leitrim

Tom scraped the sheep manure off his boots on the wall of the high bridge that spanned the dry stream below. What would today’s lesson be? Euclid and geometry? Caesar and the Gallic Wars? The tale of Cuhullian? Anything to keep the bairns awake. With the long day, mas and pas couldn’t get the children to sleep at night.

He waited until his brother Brian had driven the sheep down to the lower field and then crossed the road and walked the few feet to the walled Castlemile National School in Ballyboy, County Leitrim, Ireland.

Between teaching, farming, and trading cattle, Tom had enough money for passage to America for himself, his wife Bridget, and five of their eight children. The grown boys had earned their own way and had a few pounds left over to help buy land and cattle in America.

He heard Brian had robbed the post office in Glenfarne a few months before but no one knew for sure. Coincidence or not, Brian had the money to buy the farmstead.

Bridget had about 10 pounds from the butter she sold at the market. Between them all, they had enough to buy a place for themselves in a new world.

Ach, he was old, too old at 54 to be leaving all this. The valley spread out before him, a palette of green, the mountains in the background and the sky gloriously bright with puffy clouds that moved slowly west. He could fold himself into them and fall asleep.

Bridget’s brother Cathal knew of a dairy farm for sale northwest of Boston, with rolling green fields and stone walls already laid. No ring forts but Cathal said there was a fairy tree. That will do.

Once Philip is out of goal, we’ll be off, walking down the trail to Sligo for the long crossing. Euclid. What would he say about the shortest distance between two points? With what Philip had done, no one in the family was safe. They’d be after us, they will. Tom wondered if he could go back to point A once he got to point B. Will he ever come back to these green hills?

While Tom made his way to the school, Bridget put in the last of the rhododendrons that she had dug from the back field. Almost thirty years before when she had come up the hill to Tom’s holding, she had brought one rhododendron from her ma’s garden. Now there were more than twenty in the yard and fields, spots of color to tell her spring was here.

They had the same red flowers, all related, like Cathal and me, Cathal, my brother with the big ears that stuck out and long arms, his mouth like an O, wanting us to come over, when we don’t want to. Too late. Too late. We have to leave.

Fiona Speaks is a pseudonym of Jane Gilgun who likes to laugh and talk. This blog is a way for me to connect with witty people who like to talk about ideas and how to connect with what's important. To do this, I want to examine and demystify the blocks I see to building connections and community with other people. Join me. I wrote ths short story while spending a month in North Letrim Ireland in July 2006.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Perpetrators are Self-Centered

Child sexual abuse is an abuse of power, where older, stronger, and more knowledgeable persons take advantage of children for their own gratification. Perpetrators are focused on themselves and are unconcerned about the welfare of children, or they talk themselves into believing that sexual abuse is good for children and that children want and enjoy it.

Some believe sexual abuse involves mutual love and the sharing of something special, even to the point where they are angry and disgusted when they hear that someone else is sexually abusing children. “String them up!” many say. What they are doing is love while what others do is abuse.

Children do not understand sexual behaviors as adults do, and they are developmentally unable to participate as full partners. For instance, one 13 year-old girl believed that her uncle was trying to love her, but she didn’t like what he did. She said, “I didn’t like him the way I like boys.”

Children also do not know that the only person responsible for the abuse is the person who perpetrated it. Unfortunately, a lot of adults do not realize this, and children are at risk to be blamed and stigmatized for being sexually abused.

Nothing about children causes sexual abuse. All children are vulnerable. Those who are sexually abused have the misfortune to be in the presence of perpetrators with no one there to protect them.

This blog is a way for me to connect with people who like to talk about ideas and how to connect with what's important. To do this, I want to examine and demystify the blocks I see to building connections and community with other people. Join me.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Help! I've got a problem just rejected one of my articles called A Case of Family Murder because it was too graphic! The story is a first-person account of a man who killed his children and two women in a single day. He is a terrific narrator and anyone who wants to know what goes on in the minds of perpetrators will learn a great deal from this story.

My dilemma all along has been the graphic nature of the life stories I have collected from perpetrators of violence. I began wanting to understand how they think. I now know. I have been stuck for years figuring out how to present my material so others will read it. I have been afraid of accusations of exploitation.

I look at Criminal Minds, a TV show, and even some CSIs and I think they sometimes have no idea what is going on. They play to old tired plots rather than taking a good look at what perpetrators really think.

Darn, darn, darn. Does anyone have any idea how I can present phenomenological research on violence so other people will read it and learn from it?

Fiona Speaks is a pseudonym of Jane Gilgun who likes witty people. I want to examine and demystify the blocks I see to building connections and community with other people. Join me.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Cindy Sheehan: War Profiteering Posing as Patriotism

The Iraq occupation is an enormous cover-up for war profiteering. This is the reality that Cindy Sheehan could not change. The blowback from her anti-war activities has undone her.

Believes her Son Casey Died for Nothing

She has concluded that her son Casey died in Iraq for nothing. She believes the American public is of no help. According to her, the public is more interested in American Idol than in the thousands of U.S. citizens and the uncounted Iraqis who have died or will not recover from their wounds. She made this clear in her letter of resignation from the war movement posted on

Yet, she does not realizethat many American people are looking for fun and community. Their interest in American Idol is that, too. When pressed, few people support the war, including those who enjoy American Idol.

Remake the World so More People Can Enjoy American Idol

I think she wants to make the world safe so that more people enjoy their lives, but she also wants more people to work to make this possible. Not an unreasonable demand.

She wants to be with her surviving children, her family, and friends, including some she made during her anti-war activities.

The Peace of Human Connection

She wants the peace that comes from human connection, not the strife of challenging a war she believes is based on lies.

Naive Patriotism

A group of Gold Star mothers was thrilled with her resignation. In a written statement they said, 'We are very pleased to hear that Cindy Sheehan is ending her disgraceful campaign to discredit the United States military and the heroic men and women in harm's way in Iraq and Afghanistan.''

This is patriotism in action, but a naïve patriotism. Of course the soldiers are heroes. They also are the sacrificial lambs for war profiteers. As Cindy Sheehan said, the profiteers have convinced many people that the war is about patriotism.

Fiona Speaks is a pseudonym of Jane Gilgun who likes witty people. I want to examine and demystify the blocks I see to building connections and community with other people. Join me.

What Child Sexual Abuse Means to Children

Sexual abusers can talk children into activities that the children do not want, and they can take advantage of children’s socialization to obey older children and adults. When children resist, older people can overpower them. Children know far less than adults about sex and about the consequences of child sexual abuse.

The following are examples of how adults and older people take advantage of children.

One girl, 10 years old, was sexually abused by a teenage boy who was her babysitter. He told her, “Go to the bathroom.” She said, “I went to the bathroom.” He jumped out from behind a shower curtain, pulled her off the toilet, placed her on the floor, and sexually abused her.

Another girl, abused between the ages of five and eight and nine by a man who was a father figure to her mother and a grandfather figure to her said, “I thought there were laws about adults and children.”

A nine year-old girl, abused from the age of three to age nine said, of the abuser who was her grandfather, “He was big. I was little. I had to do what he said.”

Children do not understand sexual behaviors.

The little girl who went into the bathroom described the sexual act that the teenage boy performed in the following way: “He pulled me off the toilet seat, and he dripped something. I was on the ground of the bathroom, and he sort of did push ups on me.”

The girl whose grandfather abused her for six years until she was nine years old said, “Grandpa used to do it on the boat until stuff came out. He had sort of a grin on his face.”

Another girl, 11, said, “It's hard, what he did to me. I couldn't stand to do it to anybody. All the germs and stuff you get.”

Older children do not understand sexual behaviors, either. A 13 year-old said about a conversation she had with a girlfriend.

We were just talking one day. She was talking about her boyfriend. She thought she was big. She had sex with a 17 year-old. I said to her, ‘That's nothing. I go to bed with a 34 year-old.’ She said, ‘You do? Who is he?’ I said, ‘My father.’ ‘You don’t do that,’ she said. The 13 year-old was so ashamed that she ran away from home.

Another 13 year-old said she thought her great uncle was trying to love her. When asked when she thought of that, she said, “It felt kind of weird. I didn't like him the way I liked boys.”

Confusion Over Sexual Pleasure

Sometimes the children experience sexual pleasure, which is confusing to them. An 11 year-old girl said, “Sometimes it felt good, but that made me feel guilty. Sometimes it stung. Why is that?”

A woman survivor said

When I was real, real young, he would put his penis between my legs. And I would come. I mean I would feel pleasure. I don't know it would be come back then. Do you know what I'm saying?

Children May Value the Attention

Some children enjoy the attention but the sexual contact is confusing and unwanted.

Two little girsl had happy memories of their uncle making pancakes for breakfast and taking them to amusement parks. Their faces darkened and their little legs swung as they talked about the abuse that was also psychological, such as locking them in the basement all night.

A man survivor said of his uncle who was a teenager when he sexually abused him

I felt like he cared for me, and that was pleasurable to me. I don't think specifically the sexual act was that pleasurable for me because it was more uncomfortable. I was scared, but I know it was probably the first time I felt there was an adult who really cared for me, and that made me feel good. That was pleasurable. So it may be that I wanted to--maybe not sought out, but enjoyed the time with him, but not specifically the sexual acts, but just feeling cared for by an adult. I think I liked that.

He continued

I'd never thought my parents did [love me], and in some ways today, I still don't believe that my parents love me. He was the first person who like spent time with me and did things with me, made me feel like I was okay. That confuses things there and makes it worse, because I was scared and then I felt cared for and I was confused, and yet he made me feel better.

Adults take advantage of children’s lack of knowledge to silence them.

The adult male survivor said

I was very scared. I can remember he told me that if I’d ever told anyone that we’d both go to jail. So I mean I was very scared about that.

He realized that he didn’t know much about sexuality and consequences of having an adult perform sex acts on him.

He said

You didn't really know much about sexual relationships altogether. If you told me, I may go to jail and you may go to the mental home or crazy house or something, that I assumed is correct. I didn't doubt it.

The girl whose grandfather figure sexually abused her for years reported that he told her, “If you tell, I'll go to jail. That will make my wife unhappy. Yu don't want to make my wife unhappy, do you?” She certainly didn’t. She did not tell her mother about the abuse until the day her mother told her the man had died.

She knew if she told then, he could not go to jail and his wife would not be unhappy. The grandfather figured played on her desire not to hurt others. Another perpetrator told a child, “You'll get into trouble and so will I.”

Children are Blamed for their Own Abuse

Social customs and ideologies blame child victims for their own sexual abuse. Questions such as “Why didn’t you tell?” “What did you do to provoke the abuse?” “How could you let it go on for so long” are automatic for many people when a child discloses sexual abuse.

Children fear being stigmatized, shunned, or not believed because of these customs and ideologies.

Sometimes the children's fears are unfounded, as was the case for a 13 year-old girl who cried in joy as her family embraced her when she told them that her mother's boyfriend had sexually abused her. She said, "My family still loves me."

Sadly, the fears are founded. One mother said, "I will not deprive my son of a home," when she chose to let her son return home after he confessed to sexually abusing his younger sister for five years. His sister had to go to a foster home.

Her teenage brother got probation. The girl was deeply hurt. She could not understand why her mother would not visit her and would not give her the Christmas presents that were stored in the attic of the family home.

In some countries, children who are sexually abused are expelled from the family and have to fend for themselves. Sometimes, their families force survivors to marry the abusers.

Perpetrators Have Sole Responsibility

Such responses direct attention away from perpetrators who are the only persons responsible.

Perpetrators understand the blame the victim culture and they draw out common thoughts about child sexual abuse to defend their actions and blame others. They cover up, often successfully.

A typical excuse is “My wife won’t give me sex. I had to get it from somewhere.” “My wife knew all along. She didn’t do anything to stop me.” “The child came on to me. What was I supposed to do?”

Unfortunately, child survivors and non-offending spouses often take the blame and many other people blame them as well.

Good mental health involves taking responsibility for one’s own actions. In light of this principle, it is clear that perpetrators have sole responsibility for child sexual abuse.

Evidence that perpetrators alone are responsible for their own actions comes from their own words as they talk about the sexual abuse they perpetrated.

Fiona Speaks is a pseudonym of Jane Gilgun who has done research on violence for almost 30 years. This blog is a way for me to connect with people who like to talk about ideas and how to connect with what's important. To do this, I want to examine and demystify the blocks I see to building connections and community with other people. Join me.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Rape is Not Personal

“Nothing ever gave me that intense kind of feeling like when I was driving around, and I would be thinking about raping someone, maybe following somebody,” he said. “I had a physical reaction. I would be shaking, physically shaking, like teeth would chatter. I couldn't stop. I never had that kind of physical reaction to anything else. I would also get butterflies. I can relate that to sports events, before a big game or something.”

These are the words of Hank Ames, a graduate of an elite liberal arts college where he was a lettered athlete in tennis and golf. Married and a small business owner, Hank was convicted of eight rapes of strangers and served seventeen years in prison. I interviewed him when he was in prison.

Hank explained that he didn’t get an erection before games but he did when he was driving around looking for a woman to rape.

His victims had to be women he didn’t know. “The less I knew about somebody the easier it would be to victimize them,” he said. “I couldn't hurt somebody I know or that I had any kind of relationship with. I don't mean relationship in terms of physical relationship, but just an acquaintance, anybody that I had any kind of contact with. I couldn't do that because it was personal then. It was like for me [He thought for about five seconds.], rape was impersonal.”

Not only is rape impersonal, but Hank decided who the women were and what the rape would mean to them. “If I take the right person, it's not going to make a difference anyway,” he said. “The women I was raping were [He didn’t finish the sentence.].

"They'd been in bars looking for guys anyway. My set up was that they'd been out in bars or loose sexually kinds of people. So they had it coming, or it didn't matter to them. This wouldn't be a big, big thing to happen to them.”

After Hank said this, I was speechless for 20 seconds. When I was able to speak, I asked him how he knew the women were loose. He said, “Well, I didn't actually know that. I knew that because that's the kind of people that were out at that time of night.” I asked him what time of night that would be.

“This is another thing that doesn't make sense,” he said, “because there were all kinds of times that I was out. Generally it would be late, like midnight, one o'clock, two o'clock in the morning, that kind of thing, but I was out in the winter time sometimes after it got dark, or not right after it got dark but maybe at seven-thirty or eight o'clock.”

As Hank spoke I noticed how small he looked, not my idea of a rapist at all, but hunched, wrinkled forehead, pushing himself to explain how he thought about his rapes. I tried not to imagine him following me home, grabbing me in my garage, and throwing me to the floor.

After dark, I don’t turn into my driveway but go around the block if there is a car in back of me. I check the rearview mirror for headlights.

Hank doesn’t hold women responsible for their own rapes. “Most women would think that they have some responsibility,” Hank said, “or there's something that they could have done differently to change events or that there was something about them that made them attractive as victims. From my experience, that's not true. The only attractive quality about victims is that they're vulnerable at that time because of the situation.

"It didn't have anything to do with how they looked or how they dressed or [Hank paused for several seconds.] or how much money they made or anything. It is nothing about them. I've read things or heard things, victims talking about it. T

"They can remember the way the guy smelled or the way he sounded or what he looked like or all those kind of things. I can't remember anything about any of the victims. If any one of those victims walked into the room I wouldn't know who they were.”

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Sticking up a Drug Store in the Robber's Own Words


Sticking up a Drug Store in the Robber’s Own Words

The pharmacist didn't believe the robbery was true, like it wasn’t for real for some reason. Then I hit him with the gun, and I put it in his side. Then I think he knew it was a real gun.

It wasn't a real gun. It was a pellet gun, a look-alike nine millimeter. It looked exactly like a real gun. You really couldn't tell. I hit him in the ribs. Then he knew it was for real. He goes, “Okay, okay, okay.” I go, “Get on the floor. Get on the floor.” So he got on the floor.

I usually just squat down, like to get behind the counters, but at that time I just didn't care. Things weren't going right. I wanted to hurry up and get out of there. That was my first thought--let's hurry this up. Just give me the drugs so I can get the hell out of here.

I saw this lady over by the cash register. There were people who started walking away. They were cashing their checks. They started walking away. I didn't even care about those people walking away. The lady in the front, she walked out the door.

I had one thing on my mind--getting those drugs. That was it. I just wanted those drugs. The lady was at the cash register [He snapped his fingers]--it was just an instant thing to say, “Give me all the money in the register” because I usually don't do that. I never touched the register at a drug store.

She grabbed the money. She came over and handed it to me. It was a big wad. I think it was like three thousand or something. I stuck it in my pocket. Then I told her to get on the ground. Then I concentrated on him. I forgot about her. She could've taken a gun and shot me or anything.

I was focusing on him. He came over with a little sack of drugs. It was really weird because nothing went like I was hoping it would go. I was pointing the gun at her while she was giving me money. He went and got the drugs. Now he could've went over there and got a gun and shot me.

I don't know if it was because I had so much alcohol in me or. I mean I just got done drinking about fifteen bucks worth of alcohol. So I don't know if that was it or it was like I didn't care at the time because I was in the mood then. The way I felt is I just didn't care. There was no sense of feeling bad, feeling any guilt, anything like that. I wasn't even really thinking about getting caught. I was just focused on getting the drugs. That was my total focus at that robbery. Then I caught the lady trying to crawl around the counter. I told her to get back.

There was no sense of that feeling of power and that feeling of control. There wasn’t even that feeling. It was just, "Get this over with." I wanted those drugs, and I wanted to get out of there real quick.

Yet I think after I got them and I started leaving, that's when the fear of getting caught really came in because the fear of getting caught, even, when I was doing that, was not even there. It was like I couldn't get this going fast enough. You know what I'm saying? That was my main thinking. I couldn't get it going fast enough. I couldn't get this over with. It just seemed like it was taking forever. It didn’t last long at all. A couple minutes, tops. Three minutes, four minutes, tops.

When I was leaving, then, that’s when the fear of getting caught came in. Boy, I didn't want to get caught. I just didn't want to get caught. As I was running away, getting away, then I felt this desperate need to get away. In other words, the fear of getting caught was there.

Then I committed another crime while I was doing that. I took, what do you call it? Hijacking. Car jacking. It was a van. It was a van that was parked. It was a Handy Electrician’s van. It was really weird because I remember walking through Macy’s department store next door to the drug store. I knew there was something going on. I was right. They knew. Macy’s knew what was going on.

They knew that I'd just committed a robbery. I didn't know that at the time. I found out afterwards that lady who left the drug store, the lady at the front desk, she
left right away. She went across the street, and she hit the button, the alarm button at the bank.
When she saw me heading for Macy’s, she called from the bank to Macy’s and said that there was a guy who had just robbed the drug store that was coming in their store. Well they must've notified security because I remember people looking at me. I knew something was up. I knew something was up.

I just had this feeling that these people knew in Macy’s. How, I don't know but I just knew. I was thinking in my mind that they might have thought I stole something in Macy’s. You know what I'm saying? That I was boosting or shoplifting.

Then when I went out the other side door, that's when I saw all the cop cars, vroom, vroom, shooting by. You know just tons of them all over. I remember seeing that van. I'm just thinking in my mind, I need a vehicle. I need a vehicle. None of this was planned. This was just a spur of the moment kind of thing.

I think a lot of time when I do crimes it is that way. It's the spur of the moment. It's just what's happening while the crime is being committed. You come up with different things or you get different emotions and feelings as it's going on. That's what I tell people a lot of times.

No robbery is alike. Every robbery is so different, so unpredictable. You don't know what's going to happen in them because you point a gun at someone—this one lady one time, she turns around and starts running down the aisle. It's like, Jesus, you can't shoot her in the back. You know, I mean,, but there goes your whole robbery. You try to hurry up, get the drugs. It's just, fucking crazy. Sometimes it's just crazy.

When I went up to that van, like I say, I guess there was a sense of power in that. I felt that surge of power. When I went there and opened that door and I said, “Get the fuck out of the van. Get out of there.” I pointed the gun. Then that feeling of the power came on, whereas I didn't feel that at the drug store so much. The guy just got out of the van. He dropped the sandwich and got out. He just wanted out. Matter of fact, I told him to move over. I didn't tell him to get out of the van. I just told him to move over because I was going to hop in and take off with him in it.

He just dropped the sandwich, moved to the other side, opened the door and kept going out. [He laughed.] He kept going. Then the poor guy was using his cell phone. I think what was happening was they were on a call or something, and they got lost because he had a map and he had a sandwich.

He was looking at this map. The other guy was on the phone, “Where'd you say this place was?” This is what I'm assuming. Anyway, the other guy with the phone saw the guy jump out of the van. All of a sudden the van screeches away. So he starts chasing the van.

Then I heard his partner, “He's got a gun. He's got a gun.” He’s hollering at his partner to stay away from the van because I got a gun.

Well, by this time, I didn't even get out of the parking lot. The cops were right behind me. I mean I just seen those cherries. Then this sense of fear. My stomach just fell. God, I hate that feeling. It’s like, It’s over with. I got to go to jail. All this shit's going through your mind, but still that feeling of trying to get away is still there. I still attempted to get away.

That's what's so dangerous about that. I could've killed people in that high speed chase that ensued after that. There was one thing on my mind, and that was to get away, to go. They were right on me, about three, four cop cars with the sirens going. I had the truck going as fast as it could go, like sixty, seventy miles an hour down side streets, going right through stop signs. Just whoosh.

It wasn’t even on my mind about getting in an accident or hurting somebody. It was just getting away. That was the only thing on my mind, was just to keep going, keep going, try to get away, try to get away. It was like this instinctive thing that I was doing. You know what I'm saying?

They chased me maybe a mile. I tried to make a turn. I couldn't. It was kind of rainy out. I tried to turn. I knew I couldn't make the turn so I tried to turn back, but the brakes were locked. So then I let up on the brakes, and what happened is just a corner of the van hit this car. I mean the whole van kind of went on its side. The van was on its side. I still did not stop. I still kept going. There was little bottles of these drugs laying all over. I could see they were lying all over so I started grabbing some of them up.

I kicked out the windshield of the van. I tried to crawl out the windshield. As I crawled out the windshield, I hit this car. I went up on the car, and I fell down on the hood. I seen my face was this far from this woman's face. She started screaming. A shoe came off. So I had one shoe on and one off. I got out on the street again. I tried to run. I fell down right in the middle of the street. That's when the officers they were surrounding me. They were circling me.

“I'm going to fucking blow your brains out. We're going to blow your brains out.” All this. That's when I think I finally came to the [He laughed.] idea that I was caught. Even after rolling over, after the cops were all over me, I still felt this, this need to try to get away.

It's really weird when you're getting chased like that, what goes on, too, in your mind. There's a lot of things that was going on. The sense of getting away. There was even a sense of thrill there, too, with that. There was a thrill with all of that and excitement with all of that. Not at first but after the chase started getting to go, then it started getting exciting and thrilling and everything like that. I mean there was some excitement there. Tremendous feeling of a fear of getting caught. I think that added into the excitement.

Boy, it took a long time to really come to the realization that I was caught. In a lot of those police reports the police said that they came really close to shooting me. I remember a couple times they did because when I was pulling out of that parking lot with the van, there was an off-duty cop that heard all this stuff on his radio, and he tried to pull in front of me. When he pulled in front of me like that, I couldn't go anywhere. That's when the cops in the back of me jumped out of their vehicle and came around to the side.

I looked out the window just for an instant. I saw him point his gun. He was pointing right at me. I ducked down like this. He didn't want to shoot because that other cop was in front. Now if he hadn’t been there I think he would've. He even stated in the report that he came real close to unloading on me, shooting me, because they saw me take the gun out and set it on the seat while I was driving. I had it stuck in my pants. It was uncomfortable. So I took it out, and I set it down so I could drive better.

Everything happened fast. It seemed like it happened real, real fast. At one point time was really slow—in the drug store, and then it was just “poof.” All of a sudden it speeded up.
Poof. It just goes. It just happened so quick, but the beginning, it seemed like it took forever.
I think as it progressed, though, and I think that happens a lot--with some—of my crimes.
Things accelerate. Things start going. Then I start getting built up, more excited and stuff like that. When I do a crime I have the excitement and fear and whatever, but as they start to progress, by the time I'm done with it, man, I'm high. It's like “Whew. I even want to get high.
Then I get the drugs and shoot them in my arm. You know what I'm saying? I get the loot, or the jewelry, or whatever it is. It's an adrenalin kind of thing. You just feel really hyped and really going. Real excited.

Wasn't too fucking exciting when they threw me in the back of the cop car, I'll tell you that. [He laughed.] It was over with. Coming down from that is just terrible. The realization of being there in jail. I was in the hospital. I even didn't give up then. I didn't give up then.

I mean I give up when I knew I was caught, but, you know what? I still was trying to figure another way out. That's when I started going. I was in the back, and I cut my head open. The cops were being pretty mean. They slammed the door on my leg and stuff like that.

I was in the back of the cop car. I knew that I was going to go to prison for a long time. So I started taking my spit and going [He moved his saliva around in his mouth.]. I was laying in the back of the cop car. I'm thinking, Well, how the fuck can I get out of this? I was thinking, Well, just pretend that you're really hurt, and they might bring you to the hospital. This was maybe five, ten minutes after they had me in a cop car. I was thinking about going to jail and prison. I'm kind of crying a little bit and feeling sorry and stuff like that. Then I start thinking, Well, try to prolong your going to jail.

The blood was running down my face. I was thinking, Well, fake like you're really hurt and maybe they'll bring you to the hospital.” Maybe there's someway you can get out of there. So what I did is when the police started taking me down to the courthouse I faked a seizure in the back of the seat.

I start flopping a little bit, you know, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. I fell off the seat. I'm on the floor, starting to flop. The cop looks back, “He's having a seizure. He's having a seizure. What should we do?” I can hear their conversation now. “What should we do? Bring him to the hospital?” This and that, this and that, this and that. What I did was I started doing with my spit. I was foaming it up, kind of getting it white. When I got to the hospital I stopped flopping and everything.

They put me in a wheelchair. The cops wheeled me in there. I was cuffed and stuff like that. They put me in an emergency room in the county hospital. They had me lying on this thing. The cops were right there. I couldn't get away. I'm thinking, Well, fuck. I'm in a hospital. Now how am I going to get away?

I'm thinking lying on this bed. There's blood all over my face. I'm lying on this cot and I'm thinking, Fuck. The nurse was looking at me. She was shining the lights. I'm thinking, "I better fake another seizure, and then maybe they'll keep me here longer. I was faking so I thought by them looking at me maybe they could tell that nothing really happened.

All of a sudden I started going spew spew spew. Then the spit that I was saving up like that started coming out of my mouth. It was white and foamy. “He's having another seizure, having a seizure.” They're trying to hold my legs down. . Then I quick stopped the flopping around.

I remember from the workhouse, this guy having a seizure. He told me that after he came out of the seizure, he says, “Boy, I'm tired. I'm just so tired.” So that's what I told them. When you have a seizure I guess it drains all the energy from you. I think that kind of made them believe that maybe I really had a seizure because I told them, “I just want to go to sleep now. I'm tired. I'm tired.” [He laughed.] I forgot all about that.

Then a doctor came in. They still didn't know my name. They kept asking my name. They put me in this holding cell in at the hospital. They got a holding cell down there. Put me in a holding cell. They kept coming in. They had me strapped down I remember. I just felt so bad. I knew I was going to prison. I was just crying. I mean just true hurt and sadness. I knew I was going. I was afraid heavy duty. I couldn't even see the tears were so welled up in my eyes.

I was thinking about my three sons and losing my wife Millie and my sons. I can't even describe it. I just felt everything was all over. I was going to prison for a long, long, long, long time. I felt this tremendous sadness. One of the saddest times I've ever been in my life, I think, was right then, man.

This nurse looked at me. She tried to reassure me that everything was going to be all right. I start talking about my kids. I felt a real genuine caring come from that lady. I remember that. I really remember feeling that. She really cared about me. She felt bad for me.

Anyway, they shave my head. They just shaved a part of my head. I kept going, “Don't shave my fucking head. Fuck you. Don't shave it.” He says, “I'm going to. Hold still.” I said, “Man, I’m not going to let you. I'm going to sue you,” all this because I didn't want to shave. They were just going to shave a big bald patch.

Well, anyway, they started asking these questions. They ended up keeping me overnight then. They ended up keeping me in the hospital. They took me upstairs. They had the lieutenant come in, a couple detectives. They asked for my name. I still wouldn't tell them my name. They get me upstairs.
They got a cop on my door. They didn't handcuff me. Now I'm thinking, again, "Now how am I going to escape? How am I going to get out of here?" This and that. But I just didn't. They were just on me. There were two cops out there. They were young. They were on me. There's no way I could've gotten away, but I tried, you know. I tried everything I could.

I remember them wheeling me down to this room to take a CAT scan because I had convulsions. I had a head injury. They put your whole body in. Then the guy says, “You have to unhandcuff him." So he unhandcuffed me. This was a different guy. They were switching shifts. They had to pull two cops off the street to watch me. There were a lot of things going on. I kept looking at him. The door was here. I was over there. He was over here.

So there was a clear shot at the door, but he could've got there quicker than I could've. So I'm thinking of all these things, like, What am I going to do? I didn’t have the balls. I didn't get the courage up enough to get up and run over there. Well, maybe there'll be another chance tonight, or whatever.

Then I went back to the holding cell. I got into my feeling sorry for myself, feeling real sad and stuff again. I was crying. Then another nurse came in—not the one I talked to before. She started asking about my kids. I started crying again. I felt this real tremendous sense of sadness. She says, “Have you ever been in trouble before?” I go, “Yeah.” She goes, “So you know what you were doing. You made that choice.” I just remember her saying that to me. I go, “Yeah, yeah, you’re right.”

That brought me out of that sadness. Then I started getting tough again. “Fuck you. Fuck everybody." I don't know why I did that. She was right. That's what it was. Screw everybody.
I knew I was going to prison for a long time this time. I figured maybe twenty years. It ended up being nine. But twenty years, I figured. It was just real overwhelming. I felt more sad because of the kids, I think. That's where a lot of my sadness was coming. This feeling inside me.
Maybe I was feeling sorry for myself but I think there was a true feeling, feeling sad for kids, me losing the kids and the kids not having a dad. What Milly was going to think, and the trouble and stuff she was going to go through. That was there. It just was really sad.

Then they came the next morning and the county sheriffs shackled my feet. It was over with. I finally felt, yeah, they got me.

Fiona Speaks is a pseudonym of Jane Gilgun. This blog is a way for me to connect with people who like to talk about ideas and how to connect with what's important. To do this, I want to examine and demystify the blocks I see to building connections and community with other people. Join me.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Mistakes were Made

Another way to cover-up wrong-doing is and give the appearance of honesty is contained in the phrase “mistakes were made,” as when U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez attempted to convince the press, the nation, and maybe even other parts of the world that he took responsibility for the firing of eight U.S. attorneys in the fall of 2006.

Had he said, “I made mistakes,” then he might have convinced others that he was being accountable. Instead, he said “mistakes were made” and then explained that he has more than 100,000 people under his command and that he delegates many tasks, including the task of firing the attorneys. Someone among them 110,000 apparently made a mistake, but not Mr. Gonzalez.

“Mistakes were made” is like a mantra among persons who want to fake their way out of having their cover-ups exposed. Paul Wolfowitz insisted that the phrase "Mistakes were made all around" be inserted into the documents that described why he left as president of the World Bank.

No one made mistakes but Wolfowitz, and the bank directors and everyone else knew this. Wolfowitz wanted to weasel his way out, but it didn't work. He failed at being a shit because recipients knew he was trying to spread the fault around. Only he was at fault.

As John Broder noted in a New York Times article, the phrase "Mistakes were made" is a “familiar fallback” among politicians.

Broder listed several politicians who used that phrase to weasel out of taking personal responsibility for their behaviors. They included Richard Nixon through his press secretary, Ronald Reagan, John Sununu, and Bill Clinton. See John M. Broder. Familiar Fallback for Officials: “Mistakes Were Made,” New York Times,

Fiona Speaks is a pseudonym of Jane Gilgun who likes to laugh and talk. This blog is a way for me to connect with witty people who like to talk about ideas and how to connect with what's important. To do this, I want to examine and demystify the blocks I see to building connections and community with other people. Join me.

The blog is for witty people who want to build community. In this world that seems to be so full of witless efforts to self-aggrandize, I want to promote the simple idea of human connection.