Dont do as the Romans do…the ongoing tale of Amanda Knox

Today in Italy, the THIRD trial of Amanda Knox and her ex boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito is coming to a close. I have no doubt that regardless of verdict, there will be another (ANOTHER) appeal. The ongoing tale of this case has made a mockery of the Italian “justice” system. Having read media accounts from the original trial, as well as the biographies of both Amanda and Raffaele, I see many things in this case that are just mind boggling and wrong.

When this story first came out, it seemed like a slam dunk case according to media reports. The prosecutors had a weapon, DNA, witnesses….Yet upon closer examination, anyone could see how all of this “evidence” came to be and how it is not the “evidence” it appears to be (as highlighted by the first appeals trial). Amanda made a clear case for herself in her biography. I found everything she said to be articulate and commonsense. Additionally what she relays in her book can be confirmed by other sources (Italian media reports, court transcripts). In the beginning, Amanda did not behave as police thought she should. She was an immature college student in a new country with only basic understanding of the Italian language. These circumstances set her up early on for the events that unfolded. Raffaele, as evidenced by the biographies as well as court/prosecution records, barely knew Meredith. The fact that the prosecutor tried to tie him into the murder theory depicting him as a lovesick boyfriend willing to do anything for his girlfriend (of a week) is another made up theory by Prosecutor Mignini that has no ties to logic.

The first trial was an outright circus of lies, made up evidence and wild theories. Prosecutor Mignini in fact threatened perople who testified for the defense by stating he was charging them with slander AS THEY WERE TESTIFYING. How can this be allowed before a judge and jury and NOT be seen for the bias and incompetence that it is? Mignini was also under investigation for misconduct in other cases WHILE THIS TRIAL WAS GOING ON. I came away wondering how any of these people were qualified to practice law, or wondering how low the bar was set in Italian courts for the truth. The truth is Amanda & Raffaele did not really have airtight alibis because they were doing things normal college students were doing that day & the night before: going out, getting high, having sex. These things do not add up to them being murders. More to the point they were at Raffaele’s house the night before NOT Amanda’s where the murder took place.  The prosecution instead would choose to have the public believe otherwise. Prosecutor Mignini, in the original trial, unfolded a wild story about how Amanda & her boyfriend “must” have been at her house (no proof of this) and were “probably” busy having sex when Rudy Guide knocked at the door  (The only man evidence ties directly to Meredith Kercher’s murder) . In the middle of having sex, they unlock the door to let this random person in then continue having sex. Meredith comes home & Rudy, so overcome with sexual desire, rapes her and they all kill her for no reason. Yeah that makes sense. Never mind Amanda had met Rudy all of 1-2 times and RAffaele never had.   In  this new trial there is a new prosecutor, “The prosecutor in this trial, Alessandro Crini, played down the sex-game aspect. Instead, he suggested that the violence was incited by a dispute between the two roommates over the cleanliness of the apartment. ” …It is unbelievable that THIS is what the prosecution is citing as a motive. A dispute between two adult women over..chores? This argument is a desperate atetmpt at the least. Completely ridiculous at the very best.  This argument hinged on a one time conversation in which an embarrassed Meredith spoke with Amanda about making sure to clean the toilet after each use. This is simple roommate talk spun wildly WILDLY out of control.

More to the point, is the unproven reason that Meredith “couldn’t” have been killed by one person. Why not? Women get raped and/or murdered by lone assailants every day. Raffaele’s layers (as laid out in his biography) had a logical time line for how and why this murder happened, why don’t they?

Frankly if I were a member of the Italian court system, I would be too embarrassed to go to trial a 3rd time considering how badly they came out at the last appeals trial. The DNA “evidence” they so desperately clamored to was too miniscule to test by any recognized standards. Recordings of the CSI unit clearly shows the apartment not taped off , people freely roaming around, people touching things and bagging evidence with ungloved hands (Or not changing gloves to handle each piece of new evidence as is protocol to avoid cross contamination)

I feel bad for the Kercher family. Their daughter’s killer was proven in court and essentially let off light. The only thing the Perugia police did right in this case was using DNA evidence to prove Rudy Guede was the rapist & killer. Unfortunately the results of the DNA testing did not come until after they had arrested Raffaele and Anmanda and concocted their ever expanding theories on how Meredith died. The Kercher family has every right to be angry and upset. Unfiortunately, they are directing this anger at the other victims in this case as opposed to the “justice” system that botched the investigation so badly. Rudy was given a light sentence and rewarded for telling the prosecutors what they wanted to hear. IN light of how violently Meredith was raped and murdered, THAT should be the cause of the Kercher’s outrage.

I sincerely hope that today is the day Raffaelle and Amanda are truly set free.

http://http://www.injusticeinperugia.org/Mignini.html

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Obama’s Brave New World

Allow me to break away from women’s politics and issues for a minute. This past week brought a storm of news regarding internet “security” (sort of any oxymoron in today’s day & age), NSA spying (we all know they do it),  and just how much  our government is infringing in our lives.

While I commend the President in openly addressing these activities, this still begs the question…why? What does the government need to know about you or I that they should legally be allowed to tap our phones without cause? We the citizens of the United States have a Constitution and a Bill of Rights that are slowly disintegrating. I encourage people to write their representatives, senators and yes, the President to state that we will not tolerate this any longer. We should not be treated as criminals in the name of “national security.” President Obama in this respect is no different than George W. The Patriot Act is not patriotic. It is an insult which should be abolished. The likes of Wikileaks, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden are heroes in my opinion. They should be treated as concerned citizens, not criminals. Time Magazine had it right when they included Snowden in their top people of the year issue.

Obama’s speech aside, nothing that he said should be a shock to people in the current age of electronic media, social networking and ever changing “privacy” policies.  We live in an age where our lives are becoming entrenched in electronic media. Although internet services are convenient, we should pause a moment to survey just how much of our lives we have willingly put online. Credit cards, banking, bills, emails, family photos, and yes, opinions in blogs….we volunteer this to the internet ether. I love my Facebook as much as anyone (and certainly my Word Press) but even I am re-evaluating how much information I want to keep floating around for others to grab. It may be time to get back to conversations in person. visiting people in person, writing letters with good old fashioned paper and pens. (I’d say, pick up the phone and call a friend but well, you know….thats no longer going to make the cut)

So in other words, kids, if you want to say something securely and privately, the best way to do it is with your mouths, in person and behind closed doors (preferably your own). For now.

(EDIT This piece was also published in the North Bay Bohemian’s 1/22/14 issue in the Open Mic guest opinion section )

Womens studies, Chicano/Latino Studies, African American Studies..why these are NOT useless majors.

I have an AA degree in Communications. I have double degree in Sociology and Women’s & Gender studies. Recently in discussing an alumni event where I was asked to be part of a panel discussion, the person I mentioned this to, responded by stating “Women’s studies and all those types of majors are the most useless ever.” They never said anything about allllll the other accomplishments I had (degrees) or other fields I have an education in. I responded by stating “well those are the people we need in government, politics, medicine, law….if you were a Latino organization wouldn’t it be a boon to get someone whose specialty is knowing the history and the needs of the population its supposed to serve?” To which the person said “I guess.”

I get this a lot. One person on a random internet thread told me “those majors shouldn’t even be funded by the student loan system.” I think these reaction fall under the idea that people criticize and fear what they don’t understand. Most people do not know what students in this major study for 4 years let alone what they can go on to do with these degrees. The answer, put simply, is ANYTHING. As I said before, we need people who understand ALL TYPES of populations in our society to be working in fields which theywill encounter said populations. Do you really want an OB GYN who doesn’t know anything about women treating you (or yuor mother, sister, friend)? What would be more impressive to a group such as the ACLU if you were seeking employment by them: a degree in a degree in history or a degree in Latino/Chicano/African studies? If you were a politician joining a committee or running for office, would you not consider it an asset to have a degree in the area you wish to serve? EXACTLY.

What can you do with a women’s studies degree besides “anything”? Well how about rape crisis counselor, birth center, WIC eligibility worker, feminist newspaper, womens magazines, lawyer for women’s issues, politician serving and advocating women’s needs (birth control, equal pay etc) …Latino studies: border issues, immigration issues and advocacy, fair pay, equal access to schools, second language learners, helping bring resources to schools which serve high minority populations, school counselor, doctor….

In other words…you get my point. Or I hope that you do.

Father taking care of kids causes internet stir…seriously?

Recently, like this morning, I came across a news article with an accompanying photo of a dad styling the hair of his 2 daughters. MY First reaction was “aww how cute.” Evidently, the internet disagrees. Hateful comments about this man have been splashed everywhere.People are criticizing this man for somehow being lesser of a man by taking paternity leave and taking care of two female children. The outrage in my opinion is not in what he’s doing but in how others are reacting to it. the father in question, Doyin Richards, accurately called it when he stated “The media doesn’t portray fathers as caregivers. We’re seen as bumbling fools trying to figure out parenthood, or macho men pushing their kids into the NFL. The other issue is that there’s a stereotype that black fathers are deadbeats.” And yet any portrayal to the contrary causes a stir, yet deadbeats and bad fathers do not. Irony.

http://shine.yahoo.com/parenting/awesome-dad-styles-daughter-39-hair-breaks-internet-204400163.html

Daisy Coleman attempted suicide this week :(

Not that long ago I wrote an open letter to the town of Maryville for their treatment of Daisy Coleman, a rape victim in their community whose attacker was a well known local athlete. I got crazy replies. Those people are a special kind of stupid.I could not imagine being the victim of a crime thats publicized this widely. I commend Daisy for not backing down. I commend those who support her. I am horrified by the reaction of the people in this town. II realize not everyone is part of the lynch mob but it certainly seems a good majority are. And when I say lynch mob I mean it. The actions of people against Daisy have been hateful and horrific. Criminal charges should be brought against MANY of them. I’m just appalkled at the actions an reactions from some people in this town. In reading their town newspaper, articles about Daisy are very very slanted against her. The paper makes sure to speak of how irresponsible underage drinking is but fails to take to task the BOYS involved (certainly I cannot call them men)

Youre better off without them Daisy. Now please stay off Twitter, Facebook etc & focus on YOU not them. They dont matter. #Justice4Daisy

 

This is just sad, awful & just plain upsetting. ‪#‎Justice4Daisy‬
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/07/daisy-coleman-hospitalized-suicide-attempt_n_4554341.html

Happy New Year -new law changes for transgender folks in CA

If I DID make resolutions, I’d resolve to make an effort to blog daily as my blog implies…and will try to do better!

 

That said, the state of CA, where I live, has made some new years resolutions too…starting today students in grades K-12 who identify as transgender will be allowed to use school bathrooms and play on sport teams “consistent with their gender identity,” starting Jan. 1, 2014.  Although this law is pretty amazing in that it acknowledges transgender folks, non-trans people share practical concerns. There are obvious ways this law could be abused by non-trans people. I applaud the state of CA for acknowledging and furthering transgender rights but what I would love to see are more unisex single stall bathrooms also available as well. (I myself know a few trans folks though & wouldn’t have any issue sharing a bathroom with them. My concern would be more for men who like to prey on women using this law as opportunity to enter a women’s bathroom to harm someone. I have heard this thought raised by others concerned too….I guess the reality is anyone wanting to harm others is not likely to follow law anyways and probably doesn’t care about being “allowed” in a bathroom. Either way, this is a learning process for all of us..one that needs to start happening.