Friday, October 31, 2014

Relative speaks of terrible memories of a killer in the family

File:When the Leaves Come Out (Chaplin 1917).pdf
Painting illustrating the killer and the pain of the killer's family members

"I came here to forget, so don't use my name," she said, as we walked together across a small park-like area in the complex where we both live.  "My dad killed my mother and my brother, then himself some years ago; and it was hard staying in the same town where everyone knows everyone else, so I moved."  Like other members of families of those who kill, the woman referred to in this article as Beverly has a lifetime of pain and trying to forget, as the devastating consequences of her father's terrible act continues to create anguish she said she must live with the rest of her life.

Beverly's tears were real, as she continued her narrative.  "I was only 20, and my brother was still living at home.  I knew my parents had marriage problems, but I did not know my dad was capable of killing her or anyone else.  I later found out from other relatives that there were some signs the problems were getting worse.  What I don't understand was why he killed my brother.  And I learned he had threatened both of them and other family members; but I guess they did not take him seriously since folks believed he was just blowing off steam.  But I can't forget that day when I learned about it.  It is something you can never, ever forget, although I have tried to go on with my life, which is why I decided to move to someplace beautiful where I could begin again."

Like Beverly, members of families who have suffered the losses created by those who have killed have to deal with the tragedy, often suffering alone if they move to a new location and having to face those who know about it if they remain in the same area.  Often the newspaper descriptions of the actual killing may name a few family members, those who are interviewed along with neighbors; but Beverly said the town was small enough people knew each other.  Her friends and neighbors would recognize her and say things out loud, or whisper in sympathy; and the knowing and shame became too difficult for her,''

NBC's interview by Erin Burnett of Melissa Moore, the daughter of serial killer, Keith Jesperson, said, in reference to her own experience and feelings in dealing with her father's actions, "There are wounds you can never heal."  In order to deal with those feelings, Moore researched her family tree to see if there was a history of violence in her family that would explain her father's aberrant behavior.  So Moore continues to wonder about the motivation of a man who killed 8 women from 1990 to 1995.

Jeffrey Dahmer's father, Lionel Dahmer,  wrote a book about his relationship with his son, an infamous serial killer, who not only killed numerous young men and boys but also cannabilized them. Lionel blamed himself for his son's personality flaws.   His mother had years before changed her name, and after her son was found to have perpetuated heinous crimes, her anonymity was relatively maintained,as she made no public appearances, pleas nor offered opportunities for interviews.  Yet her associates said, after Joyce Flint, Dahmer's mother, died of breast cancer in 2000, that she was never able to shake off the memory of what her son had done.

Beverly walked slowly away from the conversation with me, shoulders sagging just a bit, as if a burden had been lifted, that one person in the complex knows her secret and would not divulge it with her name, as both of us understood.  The pleasant-appearing woman is indistinguishable from others her age who enjoy the beauty of the area, but in that beauty the darkness of her life continues to bring sad memories to the daughter of a killer, memories, that like others who have family members who have done terrible things, continues to haunt a heart still aching with shame and loss.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Panic, quarantines, lack of cooperation show diverse international response to Ebola experts fear most

Ebola cycle
While six states in the United States have Ebola quarantines, and the CDC has initiated new guidelines for quarantining individuals who have traveled to West Africa, including medical personnel, what has been the European response and the response of other nations to Ebola?  Do the facts of the disease warrant quarantining those who travel from West Africa and what have the various nations and experts said and done so far about it?

In the United States a nurse, Kaci Hickox,  has become the poster child for quarantining health care workers that return from treating patients in West Africa.  In her case, she had returned to the United States and had an elevated temperature that was tested, causing her to be quarantined for several days before being allowed to return to her home in Maine.  She has stressed the fact that she has been symptom free since that temperature elevation and with no health problems related to Ebola.  Yet she is being quarantined in Maine and now threatens a lawsuit against this action which she considers unwarranted by the facts..

Spain has been criticized for its quarantining a nurse who had been treating Ebola patients in West Africa.  The criticism was also lodged against Spain's quarantine of the nurse's dog.  The nurse had cared for a priest who had died from Ebola and later became infected herself, becoming what authorities maintained was the first case of Ebola being transmitted outside of West Africa.  This occurred before the arrival of Eric Duncan from West Africa, who became the first documented case of an Ebola patient in the United States. and who consequently died of the disease, after initially being turned away from the hospital in Texas where he had sought treatment.  

The Spanish nurse, Teresa Romero, 44, however recovered from Ebola.  Furthermore, her husband Javier Limon who had been in contact with his wife did not contract the disease, nor did the other 14 people with whom she had interacted.

Investors responded negatively to Spain's quarantine, as the Spain's stock market was rattled, causing many losses, as the authorities in Spain quarantined the nurse and others who had been in contact with her.  This was in spite of the fact that none of these people had symptoms and did not contract the disease.

700 people were placed under medical supervision in Serbia after 92 of them were found to have traveled to countries that have Ebola.  Chief health inspector Dr. Angel Kunchev underlined that there should be no need to panic because the disease is not transmitted by air but by contact with body fluids such as blood, vomit, diarrhea and sexual intercourse and that the risk of an ebola outbreak in Bulgaria is 0.001% and 0.003%.

How have the French responded to quarantines related to Ebola that are occurring in the United States, Spain and Serbia?  The FrenchHealth Ministry, in agreeing with the health experts that quarantining those who show no health problems is unnecessary, said this by way of an email today:  “Quarantines aren’t justified for people returning from an Ebola-hit country and who aren’t showing symptoms.”

Asia's response has been principally to increase its financial contributions towards combatting Ebola directly at its sources in West Africa.  Korea's response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa was to panic initially with businesses and individuals refusing service to those returning from countries where the disease has occurred in large numbers.  That panic, however, has changed to the country and its citizens making good donations to helping Ebola victims in West Africa.   China has increased its financial contributions toward helping combat Ebola at its source in Africa and has not imposed quarantines or travel restrictions because of it.

While some nations and individuals have responded in panic to Ebola, theUnited Nations has warned that international cooperation and appropriate assistance to the nations most seriously impacted with the disease is paramount to preventing the disease from spreading.  The United Nations announced in mid October:  All countries and organizations must "accelerate and dramatically expand the provision of resources and financial and material assistance," including laboratories and field hospitals, as well as trained medical staff, the U.N. body said in a statement issued that day.

Ebola is "a threat to international peace and security," the United Nations council said, as it gave a scathing indictment of the global response, saying it has "failed to date to adequately address the magnitude of the outbreak and its effects."

In the meantime the majority of health experts, including those who have worked with infectious diseases and know the culture in West Africa,  maintain that quarantining is not the answer to stopping the disease outbreak but encouraging health workers and others who can help patients in West Africa.  These same experts worry that blanket quarantine orders may discourage that help.  They maintain the response from nations should reflect the evidence that has already occurred, that the disease is not airborne and that the panic response may in fact be the worst barrier to stopping the disease from spreading beyond a nation's borders.

In the meantime Australia has issued a ban today on travel from the Ebola-affected countries including Guinea, Sierra Leone and Libera . According to news reports in mid October eleven people have been tested for Ebola in Australia, and all have tested negative for the disease.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Long-term resident details how to live simply, affordably in Hawaii

Makaha Valley Plantation, with two bedroom town homes under $200,000
Carol Forsloff — Several websites have published and republished the list of the 10 Worst Places to Retire, but if you use the list to make your decisions about where to retire, you may be following the proverbial lemming to the wrong direction.  Many folks who do these lists of the best and worst get their information from travel articles and information as well as statistics. The information in this article, however, is provided by a long-term resident, of 28 years who worked, and has retired, in Hawaii; so it addresses many needs and concerns that often come up during discussions about retirement and the cost of living in Hawaii.

Retirement for each person is different, and what one individual or couple may want or need in their leisure years may not fit the general profile that travel writers sometimes use to help people make a decision about where to live when they are no longer working full time.

Small towns are often selected as best places along with cities that have cold weather, both of which will automatically create difficulties because of transportation issues. Small towns rely on driving, like Natchitoches, Louisiana, often selected as one of those best places; but it has no public transportation.  Many cities in the mid section or the East, will likely have a bus or train, but the task of sitting in the cold and waiting for one is surely daunting for someone age 65 and more.

So let's discuss Hawaii, as an example of a place with potential for retirement, as it hit the worst list some years ago and remains one of those places people dream about but where they never think they could retire.  If one casually looks at the real estate ads, the grocery store aisles and the entertainment venues in Waikiki or downtown Honolulu, the financial details will surely create consternation. But that's the reason why looking inside the numbers and interviewing people, or better yet living in Hawaii, and getting around to the nooks and crannies on the back streets or country roads, is the best way to decide about whether or not this place deserves to be on the "hit" list for retirement or a place where one can live well and be happy.

The average housing cost of more than $2000 - $2500 monthly for a house payment would reflect, at 4% interest, or less, a home of $600,000 and likely more, given down payment requirements, which for a home of that price would at 20%, $120,000, making the total about $720,000. That can get a full size home in many areas on the islands, some near a golf course, and completely updated.  It can also represent the new condominiums in the downtown area, advertised as "affordable."  But don't let the front page news fool you, for there are places to live in Hawaii that are close to mainland prices.  In fact, what is surprising to those who make a good adjustment to the culture, and learn how to shop and where to shop for everything from clothes to household gadgets, that an individual can retire on approximately the same budget, or less, than they could in a city on the West Coast of the United States.

The reality is that many elderly folks live in apartments, and these become smaller as folks age, because the price physically and economically for a larger, detached home becomes prohibitive over time. The average size apartment in Hawaii is approximately 500 to 800 square feet.  That is the mini size folks discuss in some places, but it turns out to be ample when you don't want a yard to mow and have to pay the cost of extra utilities for rooms you don't need.

Retirement on two Social Security incomes is possible in West Oahu, for example. Shop local, clip coupons and join the lines with the local folks and eat likewise, vegetables, fruits, fish and rice. A reasonable rental is $1200, and a condominium can be had for less than $250,000 in some places. Choose the country, and you can find one under $200,000. Don't listen to the rumor mills about which area of the island is best, as ethnic groups often have their own bias. Hawaii Kai is the place for the millionaires, long-term residents who have traded up, and those who do home sharing, as it is customary in many places for several people to collaborate and purchase a home together.  Others will rent a section of a home in order to pay the costs of that larger home.  On the other hand, most seniors value privacy because they have special needs.  So the best place to retire might not be an area where the prices are higher for homes and where the merchants cater to those who have the funds to live in an expensive area.

Kailua on the Windward side is on its way to being the haven for some of the rich and famous.  There are also many long-term residents who have added extra rooms, or even extra living spaces by way of small detached housing arrangements, to accommodate that occasional visitor or an adult child returning home.  So it can be expensive to live there, because just like Hawaii Kai the retail prices are somewhat higher than one can find for goods and services in other areas of Oahu.

The outer islands of Kauai, Maui and the Big Island are also potential places to retire.  The biggest barrier, however, is that there is virtually no public transportation on these islands, so the areas are very car-dependent.   On the other hand, the retired elder who has grown children or who has family on any of these islands may fare well, given the fact that in the rural areas of Hawaii people often reach out kindly, with that spirit of aloha, to help one another.

Despite the talk about crime on West Oahu, the area now finds fancy homes popping up along Farrington Highway, the main road leading through the Waianae Coast after weaving through Kapolei, the new city on the Leeward side.  That new city offers affordable shopping and entertainment, as well as homes that are less expensive than one finds on the Windward side of Oahu or some of the other areas near Honolulu.  Furthermore the new Disney resort and Ko'olina offer golf, entertainment, and formal dining, just a few miles from Kapolei and not far from fairly inexpensive housing in clean, well-kept areas.

It is further out on the Leeward coast where one can find real bargains.  It offers the retiree comfortable housing with swimming pools on the grounds, easy access to golfing and the ocean with all its wonders nearby.
Popular golf course in Makaha Valley, 1/2 mile from condo living

 Makaha Valley rests at the furthest point on the Leeward Coast and was once an area that Hawaiian royalty used as private places for respite.  That's because of the mountains that shelter the valley from many of the storms and uncomfortable heat that comes with summer, where many places to live have no air conditioning and rely on the trade winds for cooling.  The trade winds, however, have lessened with climate change, so many retired people, who need a moderate temperature for optimum health, will find real bargains in resort or semi resort areas with condos under $150,000 - $200,000 in some places, entirely livable, complete with swimming pools and near those golf course areas.
Makaha Valley Towers, with condos under $200,000 and many with ocean views

Want to retire to Hawaii? Go and live there for a month, live on the outskirts of Oahu, and travel into town, not the reverse. Go to the nightspots and grocery stores and compare. Ask the local people in the local areas, not Waikiki, where they buy food and follow the lines to Zippys and other restaurants where people know good food can be had for less.

The list of the best and worst is a personal choice, often with choices and opinions made by people much younger than the retirement age. It pays to look inside the news, like one should do with any piece of information that is to be used wisely. In this case, Hawaii can be a great place to retire. 28 years of living there, and several extra years of traveling back and forth, and this retired journalist gives a thumbs up to a great place to live.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Purses reveal power in relationships

A Dooney and Bourke purse is an expensive statement, and the more frivolous, the more fun the type of person
"Get my purse; the money you need is in there." Are you that kind of woman, or someone who gets the bag and defends it against all intruders? In a marital relationship, the bag may show what hides behind the relationship itself.

Most women have handbags for different occasions, big and small, some for traveling and some just for going for walks. The other day a close friend asked if I had a Kleenex, and I said "it's there in my bag." She was surprised and said, "I couldn't do that." So we talked about those differences in how purses relate to power in relationships and how we learn to either part with that in our relationships or don't.

Personal power used to be identified by the clothes a woman might wear.  These days, however, when jeans are in vogue from the business office to the evening outing, it is often the purse that makes the statement about a woman's sense of self.  Since these days it is difficult to tell the designer jean from those available at the discount stories, the purse is often one of the most expensive items a woman owns.  The $200 handbag tells the story of someone who either is affluent, wants to be seen as trendy, or who has a husband or lover who offers that little extra something to make a woman feel important.  Some purses spell power in the workplace, while others say little or nothing, offering only a message that says simplicity is good enough.  A casual purse says “I am casual too.” In some circumstances that works. It doesn't work at a job interview to carry a purse made of jeans material. Indeed a plain, simple bag is best for circumstances where one conducts business. Purses, just like any other apparel, can say a lot about a person.

Many women allow people close to them to get what they need from their bags.  This type of intimacy is usually shared with a spouse and children.  But with acquaintances, most women are more protective of their purses.  How a woman feels about her purse and how she shares it, or doesn't share it, offers information about a sense of power and how relationships differ from person to person.

Women need validation and reassurance in relationships, experts say. Part of their arena of control, if they have limited power, might be how they treat that physical purse. It may say this is my personal space, and you can't enter it without permission. It may imply insecurity or just someone who believes in being particularly careful. How does a man get around that as a barrier? Women need empathy, so a conversation that stresses the purse as valuable and an extension of self would like generate a positive response. Words like this, "That purse is beautiful, just as you are. I know you find it precious, just as you are precious to me. I suppose that's why you wouldn't want anyone near it, and I respect that. But would it trouble you if I just got out a few dollars to run get some groceries? It's closer to me right now, and I don't want you to have to run around and get everything, since you are always helping people. I'll just help out with this little thing, just take out what I need and not disturb anything." This kind of conversation validates the woman, assures her of her self worth, values her contribution to the relationship and shows that the person cares.

Then there's the other type of purse power, as in who holds the strings in finances. This can be a place where many disagreements can become serious arguments, as money matters figure prominently in marital discord. In many studies around the world, information sources maintain that women continue to have unequal representation in matters of money at the highest levels.

There is an inequality in the sharing of certain responsibilities. That unequal status begins with the family and moves out into the community itself, where women have less control over how money is spent in government and with public funds. Women may have money, but very often a man is involved in its control, according to research about it.

It's interesting to note that the power of the purse in semantic terms refers to "the constitutional power given Congress to raise and spend money. " Therefore the purse is a power symbol in language. Women find that they can demonstrate their self worth by a purse, which can be an extension of the personality. At the same time, on a literal level, they worry about not having control over finances, or at leas their share in relationships. That's why discussions about these matters should begin early and elicit feelings in shared communications. Then the purse becomes something that is shared, not just in the literal sense of the physical purse and its contents but the figurative one that implies financial responsibility and shared power.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

FBI announces American media in US and abroad now targeted by terrorists

Society of Professional Journalists logo.jpg
Logo of the Society of Professional Journalists
The FBI has announced that Muslim-led terrorist groups have singled out journalists as special targets no matter where they live in the world, not just those who cover the news directly on the ground in the Middle East. As terrorism grows, the radical groups recognize that the media is the first line of communication and defense against misinformation.  But in targeting journalists, what individuals or groups are included in the extremist manifesto?

The Society of Professional Journalists sent information that was disseminated to media organization in the United States that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) members and supporters have called for retaliation against US interests abroad, and to those conveying information regarding those interests by way of media accounts,

The extremist groups are using social media sites as the mechanism for communicating with their members throughout the world, asking those members to join in actions of retaliation against the United States and its interests abroad.

According to the FBI, a posting on an ISIL-dominated forum is entitled "A Message to 2.6 million Muslims in the United States: This is How to Respond to Obama's War on Islam."  It goes on to suggest that media personnel, that include anchors at various radio and television stations, field reporters, and talk show hosts to be the priority targets for execution, in response to the US-led airstrikes on Syria and Iraq.  This post, along with a video of the execution of an American journalist, are the tools used to announce that members of the media are to be hunted down and killed.  The FBI has detailed the information that the ISIL-affiliated group is the one charged with kidnapping journalists and is considered a threat, to the extent that American journalists are being notified of it.

The Society of Professional Journalists is a principal journalist organization, with extensive contact information that serves as a major mouthpiece for interaction with journalists across the United States.  It provides information on resources, meetings, forums, education and other topics.  In some cases, warnings like those regarding terrorist threats specifically regarding journalists are sent through email contacts.

This follows a significant uptick in the killing and brutalization of journalists everywhere.  In Nigeria journalists are caught in the middle of the two sides struggling for power in the West African country.  Boko Haram has particularly cited the need to kill journalists unfavorable to their cause.  Members of the government forces have also threatened, harrassed and detained journalists.

In Afghanistan the press is again the target of terrorism, as it has been reported there that 2014 has been the bloodiest year for journalists. Some of the top journalists who have been covering the news in Afghanistan have been killed.  One of them was Sardar Ahmad, a journalist who had been working with the French news agency at the time he was killed in March 2014.  But it is not just the reporter or media representative included in the terrorist threat.  Members of their families have also suffered at the hands of extremists.

Now, however, as ISIS and other groups sympathetic to their cause of deliberate and graphic torture and killings of random citizens, or media representatives, have indicated they will take their operations to American soil, or areas of known American interests, the threat to the media has widened,   This offers a new dimension of fear to journalists who seek to bring education and information to the public that might save lives.