Shots Across the Bow

A Reality Based Blog

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Why is Katie Suing?

I wanted to post this over at the KNS article, but it was too long, and I think it's too important to leave in the comments section. I'm posting it here and at Stability. I've never cross-posted before because I figure most people who read one read the other, but just in case, I'm putting it in both places.

Katie Granju has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the two people she believes gave her son a lethal dose of methadone and the clinic that supplied the methadone. You can see the filing here.

And if you feel like diving into a cesspool, you can read the comments on the KNS story here.

There are people commenting who know nothing about the case, and have obviously failed to read either the filing or the article they are commenting on. Or it could be that they did read it, but were blinded by prejudice, ignorance, and/or hate. What really angers me is how many of these people who claim that Henry got what he deserved also claim to be good Christians who love the Lord.

Apparently they forget that Jesus didn't hang out with folks like them; He pretty much told them that they were headed to Hell with the Pharisees and other hypocrites. Jesus hung out with folks like Henry; sinners who had lost their way and were looking for redemption, the outcasts of polite society. If anyone bothers to read Henry's story, you can't help but see that he was looking for redemption, a way out of the trap that is addiction. Tragically, that search was cut short by two people who took advantage of him, abused him, fed his addiction, and then sat by and callously watched him suffer, struggling to breathe, waiting until they were threatened with police before finally calling for medical help.

It truly is a horrible story, yet there are many who believe that Henry got no less than what he deserved because he was a drug addict, and that his mother is filing a lawsuit to deflect guilt, his and hers, and to try and take financial advantage of Henry's tragedy.

Needless to say, I am not one of those people, and here's my response to them.

First, Henry was not a criminal. He was never arrested for dealing, much less tried and convicted. Remember the whole, "innocent until proven guilty" thing? You might want to look that up; it's kind of the basis for our entire legal system. It says you can't treat somebody like a criminal until you prove they are one in a court of law. No court ever found Henry guilty of dealing drugs; no policemen ever arrested him for it.

That being said, his mother has repeatedly and clearly admitted that Henry was using drugs, and probably selling them to support his habit. She's gone so far to write that she had hoped that Henry would get busted so that he might get the help he needed but that never happened. So much for shifting blame.

It seems many believe that he deserved to die for using and/or selling drugs, that because he made some bad choices that somehow justice was done when he was left to choke on his own vomit for 6 hours before the two "Good Samaritans" called for help. (Yeah, the lead investigator told Katie that Yolanda and Randall were just two good people trying to help a kid in trouble. Nothing to see here folks. Move along.)

All of you self righteous parents, who believe that Henry's death may have been tragic, but ultimately his own responsibility, what would your reaction be if somebody let your child die like that, refusing to call for help? Would you tell yourself that your child was using drugs, deserved to die, and then go on with your golf game? Reading some of the comments on the story, some of you just might, which tells me you shouldn't be allowed to have a dog, much less a child. I'll tell you one thing. I'm a Navy vet, like my father and grandfather, and my oldest son is in the Army and just got back from his second tour in Iraq, and the comments I've read on this story make me question whether our sacrifices were worth it. The day after Memorial Day, I wonder if all the men and women who have did in service to this nation died in vain. The hatred shown and the willingness to cast somebody off because they have a problem, or because they fail to live up to some arbitrary standards makes me sick. The worst part is that this attitude is apparently shared by the people in our government who are supposed to rise above this kind of crap and enforce the rule of law impartially, and not as some kind of perverted popularity contest.

"Did you hear? A kid was beaten severely, robbed, and then was taken by two people who gave him a lethal overdose of drugs and watched him choke for 6 hours before calling for medical help. He died a few days later."

"My God! That's awful! How did this happen? Did they arrest anybody?"

"No, apparently, the kid had a drug problem and..."

"He was a junkie! Hell, he deserved what he got! Probably saved the tax payers a bundle by just letting the whole thing go away..."

Really? Is that the way we want our law enforcement to work? One standard for people we approve of and another for those who don't quite make the grade?

The Tennessee law code, TCA 39-13-210, states clearly that anybody who gives a drug illegally to another person is guilty of second degree murder if that person dies as a result of that drug. The medical examiner's report explicitly links Henry's death to the drug overdose. In fact, the KCSO is on record as declining to prosecute the assault on Henry because he died of the overdose. They have not stated a reason for declining to prosecute the murder by overdose. Henry's mother has been forced to file a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court because for whatever reason, the Knox County Sheriff and the DA's office have declined to enforce, investigate, or prosecute violators of the law.

In short, they don't want to do their job, either because there may be some political ramifications, or because Henry was an addict, an "unattractive victim," as one assistant DA told Katie.

For me, I can't decide which explanation is more repugnant, and the truth is that regardless of which one they claim, they don't get to make that choice. Their oath is to uphold the law, without prejudice, and for whatever reason, political or pragmatic, they have collectively failed to do so.

The hate and intolerance, as displayed in the comments to this story, is giving them the political cover to do so. So let me ask you people something. What happens when you become an 'unattractive victim?' What happens when the powers that be decide that your rights are not worth defending because you don't meet their standards? What will you do then?

In fighting for Henry, Katie is not denying that he was a drug addict. She's not saying that he had no responsibility for his actions; in fact, she held him accountable in every way she could, even after he turned 18 and became a legal adult. They tried in patient and out patient treatment. They tried soft love, tough love, making rules, setting restrictions. In the end, she had to make the ultimate sacrifice of removing him from her home to protect her other children. Not because Henry was a danger, but because his siblings were suffering from his addiction, paying a price in fear and worry that they never should have to pay. I grew up with an alcoholic father, and I know the pain that inflicts on the family so I understand the painful choice Katie had to make.

In fighting for Henry, she's not trying to escape the burden of responsibility for making those choices; as a parent, she feels responsibility for everything that happens to all of her children and she will carry that weight for the rest of her life. Because of Henry's addiction, she had to make a brutally hard decision, and she will carry the consequences of that decision, right or wrong, to her grave with her.

She's suing because no matter how hard she's tried, nobody in the Knox County government gives a damn about Henry and what happened to him, and not only is that unfair to Henry, it means that it will happen again to another young person.

And another.
And another.
And it will keep happening again and again until somebody finally stands up and screams STOP! ENOUGH! You can't kill any more of our children!

And having stood up and said something, then that person must follow up and actually do something.

Our newspapers won't do it.
Our police won't do it.
Our DA won't do it.
Our medical examiner says she doesn't have the time or resources to do it.

So Katie and her family are doing it. Not to take the responsibility away from Henry, but to make sure that this doesn't happen again to any other family. Because Henry is not the only victim here.

For all to many people, Henry was just a junkie. But Henry was a son, a big brother, a nephew, a cousin, a friend, and a good kid. He was a talented musician with a desire to travel and see the world. He was a free spirit with a big heart and a bigger imagination. He was so much more than 'just a junkie,' and Katie wants us to see Henry, and not just Henry but all drug addicts, as who they are, not what they are; as brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, husbands, and wives.

As people.

Because until we see them as people, we're comfortable as passing them off as 'just a junkie,' another 'unattractive victim' whose death is something to disregard rather than to mourn.

That's what this lawsuit is about. And that's why I stand behind Katie.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Memorial Day Message

In between the barbecues, the sales, and the safe boating tips, please take a moment to remember the people who believed that they needed to give back to this country and wound up giving everything. In this day when most Americans have their hands out, looking for what they believe they are owed, the sacrifice of the men and women who gave their lives defending our nation is all the more worth remembering.

Posted by Rich
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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Weather Bleg

Around 1 pm this afternoon, we got hit with a storm here that did things I've never seen before. First, the wind and rain hit suddenly and simultaneously, no buildup just an instant transition from no rain to a major squall.

The rain came down, well, not really because it was blowing horizontally from west to east. Visibility fell to about 2 feet. It was fairly impressive, but I didn't get concerned until the rain changed direction 180 degrees, again, almost instantly.

That caught my attention.

Pea sized hail fell for about 2 minutes, then as suddenly as it started, it was over. The wind and rain shut off like a somebody flipped a switch.

So here is my question. How close was that to a tornado? What has my really wondering was the change in direction of the rain. I've seen it switch gradually, over a few minutes, but this was within a second or two.

In any event, we didn't get any damage that I can see. A few twigs and branches in the yard and that's it. This has certainly been the most active storm season I can remember.

Posted by Rich
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Monday, May 23, 2011

The Obama Middle East Piece Plan: No, that’s Not a Misspelling.

Okay, so here is what Obama said in 2008 to AIPAC when he was running for President:
Let me be clear. Israel's security is sacrosanct. It is non-negotiable. The Palestinians need a state that is contiguous and cohesive, and that allows them to prosper — but any agreement with the Palestinian people must preserve Israel's identity as a Jewish state, with secure, recognized and defensible borders. Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.

Two days later, he backed down from the statement that Jerusalem must remain undivided, claiming it was "poor phrasing." However, he said nothing about the claim for a "contiguous" Palestinian state.

Then last Thursday, he gave a speech at the State Department and said:
The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.

Again, he supported the idea of a contiguous Palestinian State with borders to Jordan and Egypt, one based on the 1967 lines. No mention was made of Jerusalem, which, prior to 1967, was a divided city.

Then, just a couple of days ago, facing heat for what appeared to be either a complete betrayal of Israel or a demonstration of immense ignorance about the issues at stake, he said this at AIPAC:

Since questions have been raised, let me repeat what I actually said on Thursday — not what I was reported to have said.

I said that the United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps — (applause) — so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.

Let's see: Two states - check.
Palestinian borders to include Egypt and Jordan- check.
Contiguous Palestinian state- check.
based on 1967 pre war boundaries- check.

Apparently, he has confirmed that he did say what he was reported to say, which makes his characterization of the reportage a bald faced lie.

In any event, let's take his last word on the subject, the AIPAC speech and look at a map of Israel.

The light color represents Israel's borders prior to the 6 Days War. The dark area shows the lands that belonged to Jordan and Eqypt until they lost them in the 6 Days War after attacking Israel. It's also interesting to know that the Golan Heights and the West Bank were not part of Transjordan, the predecessor to the Kingdom of Jordan, but were annexed during the war in 1948.

Note carefully the scale on the map. Most of Israel is less than 50 miles wide.

Now then, let's evaluate President Obama's proposals while looking at the map.

First, he wants to use the pre-war boundaries as a starting point. That would split Jerusalem, and leave Israel trying to maintain access to the Mediterranean sea with only a 8-9 mile strip of territory. One quick push and the nation would be cut in two, and cut off from its major ports. Clearly, this would not be considered a defensible border. Next, he wants a Palestinian state that is contiguous, and that has borders with Jordan and Egypt. The only way for that to happen is if Israel is cut into two pieces, or gives up most of the Southern half of the nation, along with their only port to the Red Sea.

To fulfill his agenda, Israel would have to give up access to the Red Sea, a significant amount of territory, and accept borders that would be nearly impossible to defend.

But wait! What about the land swaps? Obama says that's the key to understanding his proposals. Israel and Palestine can swap land to create more defensible borders. Well, let me ask you a question. Look at the light colored area on the map. The Palestinian Arabs would be gaining almost a third of the present area of Israel without firing a shot, with a guarantee of more land in Southern Israel to make contiguous borders with Egypt and Jordan. They would also be getting half of Jerusalem back under their control.

What would they want to swap? They already get everything they want, except of course, for the destruction of Israel. They might have to wait a few months for that.

The Israeli's would have to be fools to accept Obama's proposals, and he's a fool for making them.

Or a liar. Take your pick.

Posted by Rich
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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Martin Short Sings to Osama

Posted by Rich
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