The Most Hated Man in America – and how white privilege allowed him to escape

Let’s be honest here – had that body cam video showed anything other than a privileged white male, Petito would probably not be dead.

Had he not been a privileged white male – he’d not be free and on the run right now.

The most hated man in America – Brian Laundrie – is free due to a system that has always believed the white guy, gave him another chance, let it play out.

While many of us are sitting back saying – WHY DID THEY NOT ARREST OR DETAIN OR QUESTION HIM before he escaped? the FBI and police were also working under the challenges white privilege carries. If you arrest someone without all the proper paperwork, you risk the expensive attorney making a case from the lack of dotted i’s and crossed t’s. They FBI and police were playing it by the book because had they not built a proper case to send the person to prison for life, it would have resulted in a long and costly waste of money that would’ve allow him to walk the streets anyway.

Brian Laundrie is the most hated man in America not only because he seems to be getting away with something what we all feel he did, but because of his sociopathic behavior – he drove Gabby’s van home, refused to speak while he hid at the safety of his mommy’s bosoms seemingly going on with his life as if nothing happened. His parents seem to be sociopaths as well – they went on with their lives as if their child hadn’t just returned without his missing girlfriend.

Everyone who has a child can relate to Gabby’s parents. The horror of not knowing where your child is – the outrage that the person who knows refusing to speak.

But do they relate to Brian’s parents? Maybe that’s why people are pissed off too – while we want to protect our children, how many of us would go so far as to hide our child and help our child to escape a murder charge? How many of us would even be allowed to proceed with life as normal if our child was a person of interest in a missing person’s case?

It seems a mom of two, attorney at a lawfirm, has offered a $20, 000 reward for information leading to Laundrie’s capture. I say we get a gofundme page going and donate more – let’s put a bounty on this guy’s head so large that anyone in the world would turn him over –

because, ladies and gentlemen, his parents have most likely gotten him out of the country. He’s on his way – or already in – a country that does not have an extradition treaty with America. They had enough of a head start. And how long could he hide on American soil?

I have faith he’ll be found. He’ll be brought back. He’ll face charges. And I hope his parents do to.

But let’s not wait until then to talk about the women of color who are missing in the same state without the same media circus.

This is Not a White Karen Woman

I have to admit the whole Karen thing frightens me. As a white woman, I don’t want to end up on youtube for complaining about cold coffee on a hot day to a minimum wage struggling college student.

A few months ago, at a local shop, I got into line. As there were three lines, I chose the shortest line. This is practical and makes sense to me. Yet a woman in the longest line began to call over to me. “That line’s not open. There’s only one line. You have to go to the end of this line.”

I leaned over to the cashier – because I was only the 2nd person in that line – and asked, “Is this line open? Is there only one line?”The clerk appeared confused and glanced around, “No, there’s three lines.” I stayed in line.

The woman, yes, a white woman, probably middle class, bright eyes, lovely skin, hair in braids, got out of the long line to come over and inform me, once again, that there was only one line and that I needed to go back to the very long line because “it wasn’t fair.”

I told her I’d asked the cashier and, indeed, there were three lines. This annoyed the woman. She grew a little louder, more insistent, trying to engage me. I ignored her. I felt the click of cell phone cameras everywhere. She grew more insistent, “You can see how unfair this. You know you should go to the back of that line.”

I finally raised my hand between us and offered, “I will not engage with you.”

A gasp of disappointment rose to the ceiling. Wouldn’t the internet have loved that?! Two Karen’s going at it in a DIY while buying plants and pots, unneeded glassware, a light fixture.

It was early. I was tired. It was hot. I really did not feel like fighting because I was smart enough to get into the shortest line.

HOWEVER, sometimes I do want my coffee hot or my tea cold. I want to feel free enough to lean over the counter and say something, but I don’t want to be the next victim of Karen fame.

I guess, maybe, it’s the way we engage. I complained about a postal delivery. Not having any luck over the phone, I went in. I never received my package, but the post office maintained their “GPS proves it was scanned at my door.”

When I went in, the post master said, “I don’t know what to tell you, the GPS… ” I felt the cell phone cameras click on over my shoulder. I informed him what google said about gps’s accuracy limitations. He shrugged. “What do you want me to do about it?” I smiled, spoke softly. “Maybe find out who delivered the package and see if they made an error.” Another sloped shoulder shrug. I consider the postal shootings of the 80s. Even softer, even smilier, “You guys keep track of that, right? If you have gps, you know who scanned it.” I shouldn’t have to ask someone to do their job, but this is the world we live in.

I recently came across a cell phone video of a woman losing it at a fast food drive thru. I wanted to link it, but there are so many “Karen loses it at drive-thru” that I couldn’t find the right one. I did save a screenshot of the original when I saw it.

Officially, this is not a Karen. A Karen is defined as a middle class white woman upset because she’s not getting the privilege she believes she deserves. The woman pictured is most likely not middle class or upper middle class. Most middle class women do not dye their hair pink nor do they get out of their beaters to hang their bodies into a drive thru window and batter the tea dispenser while berating workers.

Everyone is posting videos of women (and men!) freaking out, and calling them Karens. Some of these “Karens” aren’t even white! Can we limit it? Find a new name? I feel bad for my friends named Karen – sweet, wonderful women. Who decided this Karen thing? Can’t we use Denise? I don’t know any Denise’s. Maybe Mable. No one’s named Mable anymore. Don’t those names signify a middle class white woman? Mable sounds nice though, she’d probably never freak out. And Denise sounds pretty calm, a Denise would probably never scream at a minimum wage clerk.

The woman in DIY didn’t seem like a Karen. Maybe a Kate or Jane, but not a Karen. The post master didn’t look like a Karen. He appeared to be a lazy Larry.

The truth is we’ve all been living in hell for the last 18 months. We’re all a little on edge. Some more than others. Some of the videos are obviously depicting people with a mental illnesses. Some people are dealing with that last straw – you know the one that broke the camel’s back? Humans have been stretched thin in the last FIVE years. We all lose it once in awhile. It’s terrible to take it out on others. But there are better ways to handle these outbursts than filming people at their worst.

I’m tired of the who Karen thing. Can we Bye Felicia it? Can we move on and make up something new now?

Introducing: The Red Wing Chronicles (A Stream Of Consciousness Personal Exorcism)

Love this book!

I really don’t know how many people read my blog posts. For the past year or so, at various times, I have posted several pieces with subtitles like “A stream of consciousness rant, or lament, etc. from “The Red Wing Chronicles (A stream Of Consciousness Personal Exorcism). This is my latest book- part memoir of my first 30 years or so, and part stream of consciousness rant. Stream of consciousness is a technique in which the writer’s thoughts are quickly rendered into written words with minimal thought or fermentation. James Joyce, Jack Kerouac, and Virginia Wolf have used this technique in various of their works and when it is successful it often is akin to a jazz improvisation in words.

Although the words often flowed, this was a difficult book to write. My childhood was hardly a pleasant one. It was rife with serious illness, bullying and family abuse. The…

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Things I Learned From a 2 Year Old.

Be determined!

Be excited.

Make the most of every moment.

Sing!

Gumballs can be used as marbles. (Use what works)

Play! (Park playlands make for a great workout!)

Spend the least time doing things you don’t like.

Laugh!

Don’t worry about what other people think.

Hug hard.

Nothing is really out of reach. (Goes back to where we started.)

*

imagine what we might accomplish!

Infinite infancies

Remember childhood? The dreams we had, the music we listened to, the beliefs we held so firmly in our grasp. Life was tasted. Every moment. So exciting.

Did we fix anything? Change anything? Make that difference we wanted to?

Are the children in Africa fed and warm? Did the the Great apes stop disappearing? The pandas repopulate the wild?

There’s still so much left to do, even more than when we began. And still we play with our time as if it’s infinite.

Troglodytes Unite! uhm, on zoom?

I’m not a materialist. I don’t run out and buy products for the newer, better version. I don’t sway toward bells and whistles or shiny objects. .

When I wrote on my fb that I was getting a new TV after not having one for more than a year, people seemed to collectively gasp. Prior to that, I had an old model – I joke it still had the tube in the back, yet it wasn’t quite that bad.

I don’t own a microwave or a blue ray player and only updated my phone last year.

I’m not a troglodyte. I definitely keep updated, especially in regards to teaching with technology. I’m certified by a national online teaching organization. I train regularly with new learning software.

I’d like to know the ins and outs of more programs like photoshoppe and whatever else I have on this computer.

However, therein lies the problem with technology. There is SOOOO much. And I feel like I’m starring at one screen or another all day every day.

So not having a new whatchamacallit is my way of engaging less with the screen, attempting to live more inside myself than outside myself. I’m not sure how much it works. And it may take more will power than less technology.

So now I write….

This morning began as perfect set up for a good writing day. I walked the dogs in the cool air, rain dripped daintily from the sky, neighbors waved from their patios. I brewed a beach bellini tea and plucked a fig fresh from the tree. What could go wrong?

Life happened.

Paperwork of the financial type, grading essays, responding to emails.

Nails on a chalkboard.

The dream like setting beckons, the adoring characters wait. The world I was so lovingly creating has come to a standstill.

I am filled with liverwurst sandwiches.

This is why writers have phoneless, internet limited, no contact writing retreats – which are harder and harder to find.

Can you imagine even being disconnected these days? I used to say – “nothing is going to happen that you can’t hear about an hour later” – to my students to encourage them to put down their phones. But I, too, feel that same tug of addiction these days. The world moves fast. Don’t get back to someone and you lose an opportunity.

Our insta-world expects an insta-response or you’re history.

I just want to write. I want to sit down and not have to worry about anything else except the setting, timeline, character arc, beauty of language, reasoning of scene.

I’ll take the transitional cuppa, the stroll in the garden, anything to get back into my writing state…..

until the next interruption.

Dreams of Dying in a Mad World

Freud had his issues, definitely, but he did bring us dream interpretation. He wass the first to propose that dreams mean something other than our mind taking flight during the night. Some of his suppositions about meaning were probably incorrect.

There are modern interpretations, spiritual interpretations, and personal ideas of what each dream might mean to the dreamer.

When I was young, I kept a dream diary. I began to wake up multiple times a night – after every dream – and scrawl furiously images and events. Sometimes in the sleepy morning light, I was unable to make out what I’d written. Over time, however, I did see a pattern in the dreams. A message, if you will. My mind was working on my day time issues. And I wrote more.

There are a number of dream dictionaries, dream meaning sites, and even people who do dream interpretation – I totally want that job! Sometimes it’s easier for others to see the meaning in our dreams than we do, depending on how well they know us.

Dreaming of death means, according to these sites, a big change or a new start. I don’t know if I believe that.

Dreaming of loved ones who have passed has a number of different meanings depending on who you talk to or what you read. Some will tell you that you are experiencing visitations. The dead are dropping in to say hello because it’s easier than trying to drop in during the day when you’re reasonable/logical mind is ruling the roost.

I don’t mind when the dead drop in on my dreams. I saw my mother recently. She looked better, and happier, than she had in years.

There’s a school of thought that believes that the best writing comes from the same places these dreams come from, released from the logical mind.

Some of my best writing has come in the middle of the night, somewhere between the dreaming world and the waking world, somewhere between the logical mind and the mystical possibilities beyond our waking consciousness.

I need to do more of that… more sleeping or not sleeping, more dreaming, more writing in those twilight states. I think my writing is more free, more interesting, maybe getting back to what writing is all about. Not the waking world of publishing and promotion, but the inner world of expression and possibilities.

*the title is inspired by the song by Tears for Fears – Mad World – featured in a dreamlike movie, Donnie Darko.

To Infinity and… I’ll Stay Here, Thanks

Richard Branson flew to space, then Bezos and his blue crew. A friend of mine wondered about their choice. I said, hey, they’re filthy rich; they’ve been all over the planet. They need something new.

Those who know me know I love travel. I have a deep seated need to experience new spaces, new places, new cultures and people.

For a sliding moment, I felt sorry for these billionaires whose only novel rush might come from a space flight; however, I rejected that thought quite quickly as reductive. They have the cash, why not fly to space?!

And what about the lucky soul who won the extra seat from the person who had to cancel? (First, imagine that! No refund on that ticket!)

I, like many of you,, cannot afford to go to space. But would I want to? I have to ask myself this question. I used to dream of winning publisher’s clearing house, occasionally wish I could guess those lottery numbers. Hell, I’d take finding a wheel full of cash along side the freeway. (I’m not sure why I would ever be on the side of a freeway looking at tires, but stranger things have happened.)

Given the current state of the world, I’m concerned about getting on a plane because of all the f’n nutty people acting out after a year of being locked in. Everyday someone’s being an asshole, refusing to wear a mask, smacking a flight attendant, or trying to open an emergency exit while in flight (did you see the woman duct taped to the seat?!), and getting yanked off a plane by the police.

Bottom line – I’m not ready to fly in our atmosphere. I’m not sure I’d want to fly out of it. Then I heard the trip to space was only ten minutes long. Ten minutes? I’m risking my life for 10 minutes? Yeah, I don’t think so.

When can I spend a week up there? Call me when they have a Starbucks and a CVS. Kitchy shopping. Trinkets to bring home. First painting done in space. Where I can sip space tea next to an asteroid crater. Hike the lunar landing site. Let me know when we can see how real aliens live and tour old space ruins.

I guess there’s still plenty to see and do here. For me, anyway. The natural beauty of New Zealand awaits. There’s an owl sanctuary in Spain, cocoa farms in Costa Rica, the ruins of Pompeii.

I’ll be here. Gaging my luck, I’ll plan my next flight to NC to see my bestie.

Maybe someday space. But not now. I’m writing.

The Beauty of Forward Motion

At the beginning of the semester, there’s an effervescence in the air on campus. The air around us is charged with positive energy. Thousands of students are buzzing with dreams and goals. They are brimming with the excitement of forward motion, their brains producing dopamine, which seems to affect everyone around them.

The excitement of learning, of trying new things, of working toward something new is like a drug, makes one giddy.

Excitement is lost in routine. Some people go on about their lives, thinking they’ve done everything they need to do and they’ve reached a place of comfort. And they get lazy in that comfort, forget to be open to new adventures.

I asked someone recently about Geocaching. I think of it as finding a treasure, accomplishing mini goals; my brain already releasing happiness hormones in response to the thoughts of the challenge overcome!

His response: It sounds childish.

Yes. Maybe. And isn’t that exciting? The very beauty of youth is excitement at every new adventure, big or small! It’s an energy wrapped up in an overflow of snapping and bubbling. And it’s engaging and enigmatic!

Forward momentum – new challenges – it is what keeps us young.

Einstein was said to have been working on a new theory even on his deathbed. After he passed, his brain showed a lack of plaque. Plaque the normal brain develops with aging.

Writers are all about the new and exciting. The next scene, the next chapter, the next story!

Have fun, engage that childlike excitement, set new goals and accomplish them or fail them – it doesn’t matter – just as long as you keep moving forward!