Tag Archives: murder

Why Don’t You Just Move?

18 Dec

Well, ask any Katrina victim–moving isn’t always an option–no matter how much you want/need to.

So yes, when a woman got stabbed to death less then 100 yards from where I had to park Rusty–it was unsettling.

BUT

uploaded june 030

When we moved to Spokane from Seattle–it was sight-unseen.  Try finding an apartment when you’re living in another city (6 hours or more away) and see how impossible it is.  Real estate is apparently based on in-person visits.  The agents aren’t super interested in returning calls, and online information is surprisingly limited and antiquated.  Finding a prospective place isn’t that easy, then convincing the landlord to trust you over distance?  Also not that practical.

But because money and work schedules disallowed several visits across the state, that’s what we had to do.  The places that will accommodate that?  Hungry for business ie not very nice.   You have to do what you have to do.  And actually, it was still an upgrade from the frat-house roommate situation we had been living in.  As shabby and old as the apartment was, it was OURS.  And it was close to downtown and school.  And (mainly) we could afford it.

So when bad things happen there–you can’t just jump ship.  Even if you’d like to.

Moving costs money. First, last, and deposit is easily a thousand dollars. Plus any fees for the old place, and any U-Hauls for the big stuff.

Rent would be higher. And I can barely afford my half of the rent working part time (for school) now. I couldn’t pay any more.

And where would we move? IS there an affordable safe place in Spokompton? Seems like every place I go has at least one dilapidated building, strung out junkie, or graffittied wall. Where would we even go?

Moving also takes planning.

Also, when would we have the time to do the physical moving? I’m in the middle of a (difficult) semester where I needs all A’s. Also, Cool works nights and I have work/school during the day. WHEN could we move our stuff and clean up the old apartment?

There are a ton of logistical concerns too.

How about the Spokane police do their job and make it safe to stay here?!

Anyway, so that’s why we stayed in our same apartment in Spokane after terrible things were happening and it started to not be so great.  But it makes the move to Salt Lake City so much better.  We yearned for it, saved for it, planned it, and executed a move.  And now we are enjoying the rewards that much more.  All the moving difficulties and expensive?  Worth it!  But would we feel that way if we had hastily left Spokane?

I don’t think so.

Upstream

8 Jul

Both the pedestrians and the cars are stupid here in SpoKompton.  The drivers are really terrible tail-gators, aggressively following too close most of the time.  They will abruptly change lanes (cutting off other vehicles) when someone is turning in front of them, instead of waiting for 2 minutes.  They NEVER slow down in snow.  There are several other annoying driving behaviors, but you get the gist.  

The pedestrians cross the street anywhere.  Even if a crosswalk is less than a block away.  And they’ll just dart out in front of cars–even if there is a mile gap behind the car.  They don’t wait.  Worst of all, the people out after dark tend to wear BLACK.  They don’t know about white/light/reflective clothing for night strolls.  So drivers really have to keep their eyes peeled.

As a result of this combined stupidness there are tons of hit & runs in town.  I can’t even count them.  One guy at the end of our road, was crossing in a dark area that specifically has a road block and signs that say “do not cross” (probably wearing dark clothes and maybe on substances) and got run over.  Well, when all was said and done, the man was hit by 4-5 drivers who then left the scene.  He was killed, of course.

So that’s the bleak side of it, here’s a little firsthand story that might lighten the mood:

I was driving down a main road after work one night (last summer?) after dark.  I saw something shine in the median and immediately slowed down.  It was a wheelchair bound person crossing the street about 2/3 block from the stoplight and crosswalk.  

in the street–jaywalking or is it jay-rolling? 

I saw they intended to cross in front of me–though I was the only car in sight at the time.  But I also saw that since this was not a crosswalk, there was a curb on the side of the street.  This wheeler was obviously not paying attention to that because they proceeded to cross the dark street.  

Meanwhile the light from the intersection behind us changed and a group of cars came speeding up.  Seeing me stopped, they all went to change lanes to pass me.  Unfortunately, the wheelchair (remember it’s dark) had made it to the outside lane and I held my breath thinking they were sure to be hit.

Luckily, at the last minute the front car slammed on its brakes seeing the impediment in their lane.  But the wheelchair couldn’t get out of the road because of the curb.  There were 2 choices:  Either drive along the road to the next light or go the opposite direction of traffic upstream in the lane) and go to the next road where there would be no sidewalk.

Obviously, the person in the road had a mind to do option number 2.  And sat waiting for the group of cars to reverse enough so they could pass.  So there were 4 or 5 cars reversing so this wheelchair person could go opposite of traffic and find a low spot to go over.

 That’s the kind of thing you get here.  I was just glad no one was hurt and relieved I wasn’t a witness to anything.

Nobody Wants to be THAT Silent Bystander that Could Have, but Didn’t, Prevent Tragedy

25 Mar

Walking about-July 2012 030Today, when I went to class I saw something a little unusual.

I drove to the parking lot and parked, and saw a man walking through the lot.  He was around 50 years old, so not your traditional student.  And he was wearing a green army jacket–not typical of faculty.  He didn’t seem to be DOING anything in particular, I just thought he looked out of place.  But really, I probably wouldn’t have thought twice under normal circumstances.  The real thing that caught my attention was what he carried.  He didn’t have a back-pack or a brief case or any kind of binder of notebook, or even a rake or something that screamed student, staff, or maintenance.  All he had was a crow bar.  And he walked down the row of cars, and sort of meandered further into the middle of the parking lot, instead of the road or exit he had initially been approaching.

And I thought he looked like he could try to break into cars, smash windshields, or worse shoot up a campus.  He just didn’t seem to fit the environment.  And I thought some desperate homeless person or veteran with terrible PTSD could have come from the train tracks behind us or from downtown very nearby the campus.  I didn’t especially WANT to find out what he was doing, and being the only person in the vicinity I did not want to become victim #1, so as I walked I kept an eye on him.  Even through he was now sort of behind me, I just ignored the flashcards in my hand and glanced back every few steps.  And he watched me too.  So I was a little suspicious and unnerved.

I didn’t want to over-react in any way, and certainly I was not alarmed at this point.  BUT if the guy was up to something or intended on some horrible crime, I didn’t want to be that person that everyone interviewed afterward who looks all dumb.  Dumb because they saw something that wasn’t right, realized it, then ignored it and let tragedy ensue.  So I planned on reporting the incident (or non-incident as the case may be) to the front desk when I got inside the school.

But before I made it, there were 2 guys who looked like part of the school’s landscaping crew.  I said excuse me and asked if there was a third man working with them–which confused them greatly.  So I just mentioned the unusual man carrying the crow bar through yellow parking.  I didn’t want a scene or anything, in case the man had been doing something perfectly legit, but I didn’t think it would hurt for someone to ask him what was up either.  And I think landscaping headed over there to check it out, but I’m not sure if they followed up.  So I didn’t report it to anyone else–that felt like over-kill.  And luckily, no one shot up, bombed, or vandalized the school that I know of.

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Going Postal

8 Jun

I watched a documentary about the infamous rash of shootings perpetrated by (postal) workers in the U.S. with the expectation of judging and criticizing the violent offenders.  While I watched the film, I was hit by another feeling–empathy.  For the violent offenders.

Even though I would not, under any circumstance, say what they did was justified or warrented, the movie made clear these were not just crazy individuals.  The stressors and managerial styles of employers pushed them over the edge.  The pressures of the job and abusive atmosphere at work helped them snap.

Why do (Former) Employees Shoot?

-70% of all Americans are unhappy in their jobs.

-feel powerless

-work more and more hours

-companies squeeze more out of employees

-emphasis is placed on profits–not people

-more pressure to perform leads to higher stress loads.

 -treating workers like machinary dehumanizes–>easier to be cruel

-competition with co-workers for (perceived) limited benefits/raises/hr/pay

-alienation at work due to competition or under-performance

-increasing frustration

-employees feel resentful

-tied to work for the income

-manager nit-picking of employees

-feeling of helplessness

-feeling of already having failed

-fear of getting terminated

-employee feels wronged

-have to be subjected to same conditions day in and day out (1/3 life is spent at work)

-identity and self worth are tied up in job

-(threat of) getting fired takes away not only income, but self-worth, identity, and social network.

-media attention on other shooting/attacks inspires the desperate

-perceive self as hero to others in same situation

-revenge/avenge

-kill many innocent people to symbolize larger organization (which can’t be killed).

And the ultimate solutions:

-Co-workers need to report, report, report.  It’s better to investigate a “feeling” than leave it alone and face tragedy.  Awareness of signs and signals–and telling those concerns to the right people can prevent many such incidents.

-Having a plan.  Practicing that plan.  All places of employment need to go over an emergency plan in case of shootings.  Or fires, bombs, terrorist attacks, etc. . .

-The media needs to be careful about sensationalizing shooting events, which can influence other unstable people to commit crimes.

-As always, America needs to put more emphasis on mental health care.  Screening, funding, and supporting it is imperative.

-Businesses need to evaluate their company ethos, goals, and managers to make sure the environment is need a hostile pressure-cooker.

-Impossibly, the U.S. needs to put less emphasis on capitalism, production, and money and more on work relations, vacations, and human rights.  This is a tall order.

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Shoddy Police Work

13 Nov

Better late then never.  Here’s the dramatic conclusion of the murder in my neighborhood:

I really trusted them when the Spokompton police said the murderer was probably a transient. Also, they said they canvased the area and still had a (plain-cloths) presence in this area. What a load of crap.

They absolutely couldn’t have
A] knocked on doors in the murder victim’s apartment complex.
Because this guy matching the description she gave before she died–was her neighbor.

B] They did not even do a search of people with prior convictions in her own complex or in a one mile radius of the attack.

This dude was kicked out of a correctional school, threatened to kill several people including his mother and the at-risk horse therapist, and was charged with harassment just this year. He was in the system.

C]  Couldn’t have been anywhere near the Centennial Trail where the stabbing happened, the park nearby, or our neighborhood.  Because this guy stuck a couple more times.

Before she died, McGill gave a description of her attacker, “Black man in his thirties, with a funny eye.”  Pretty specific.  How many black men with funny eyes could possibly be running around Spokompton?  And yet, when a women was attacked with a mellet right on the Cinntinneal trail less then a mile from where the fatal stabbing had occured–well, the police seemed as surprised as anybody when the attacked matched McGill’s description.  And I should mention–the police weren’t the ones who found or stopped the dude.  Some good semaritan heard the screams of mallet victim, chased the bad guy, and basically handed him over to the police.

And NOW the police are saying Avondre Graham was questioned within 3 days of the McGill stabbing.  I call bull-$hit.  Because if that were true, they would have realized back in May that this dude matched her description, lived right in her apartment complex, frequented the trail, and had a criminal history.  Nothing confusing about that.  So I suspect the police are trying to cover their ass by saying they already knew of this dude.  And they are saying they JUST now got enough evidence to charge him with the murder.  Ah-maz-ing timing if you ask me.  And this evidence–has to remain secret!  Even more convenient. . .

Oh, and the police are all irate that certain witness with-held info or obscured the truth, delaying the investigation.  Duh–the guy’s mother and uncle will corroborate his alibi   Why wouldn’t they?  But why in the world would you believe the family?  Well, yes, police–if people have something to hide they will lie.  You shouldn’t base your entire flippin case on witnesses in the community.  Maybe had you ACTUALLY canvassed the neighborhood  starting with criminals IN her building, you might have come across someone matching that very specific description. . .  Idiots.

And their shoddy work put me in danger.  Avondre was out on the trail this whole time.  Attacking a Gonzaga jogger, robbing and using a mallet to attack a walker, and stabbing someone to death while she was walking her dog.  Well done, Spokompton, well done.

Horror on the Home-front

18 Sep

Another person was attacked less then a mile from where I live. On the trail I regularly run on–just ran on the day of the newest attack. Where Cool and I walk ALL the time. And they think this attacker was the same one who killed that gal late spring–a football field’s distance from my balcony.

I’ll share the details as the story builds, but for now I just want to say:  I would be so pissed to get killed in Spo-Compton. I do not want to die in this crummy “city” with it’s cigarette smokers, constant unruly kids taking over every public space, dilapidated buildings, and frequent poor air quality issues. I want to get somewhere that I WANT to be. Not just somewhere I was born, dragged, or HAD to live in for school or career.

I fully expect to die relatively young, given my relatives, and (lack of) health, but I had better hold on until I reach Colorado! Except, I have been coaching Cool that if ever I need to be put in diapers–just euthanize me. I’m serious–I would have no independence or dignity at that point, so I would just WANT to be put out of my misery. But not HERE. . .

Random Fears

10 Sep

3AM: My nemesis. I always wake up at this hour in the night, sometimes to pee. Sometimes I just make my way to the bathroom since I’m awake already. When I walk across the dark room trying to avoid the bed and the cat, I have this habit of rubbing the sleep from my eyes. And Every. Single. Time. I think–if I tripped I might poke my eye out. . .

Another fear involving eyes regards my contacts.  I always put the left one first, because that’s my worse eye.  So if something were to go wrong and the was acid in my contact case, or the peroxide in the cleaner hadn’t neutralized, I would still have an eye with good vision.

Answering the door.  When there is a knock at the door, and I am not expecting it–well, it freaks me out.  I wonder who it is and what they could possibly want.  I try to be really quiet so whoever it is doesn’t know I’m home.  And I never, never open the door.  I’ve seen and heard about people pushing their way inside and doing terrible things.  So I’m paranoid about people at my door.

Strangers.  Of any kind, really.  I know it’s silly, but I’m suspicious of most everyone.  I watch serial killer movies and documentaries all the time and the number one thing is–the killer is always someone unexpected.  They are attractive and charismatic.  So therefore, you can’t trust sketchy-looking (homeless) people OR normal looking people.  So I’m always weary, and thus unfriendly, towards people I do not know.

Seafood.  I eat most everything.  I absolutely hate throwing food away, so I’ll eat something a little questionable every now and again.  And most things can be nuked extra long and I’m confident all food-borne pathogens are killed.  But anything involving seafood is not even good for leftovers.  When you hear about someone who DIES from food poisoning, more often then not it was seafood that did it.

Not hiding in especially rural areas.  It’s not that I’m super-gay or flamboyant or anything like that.  My problem is that people do not know that I AM gay.  It isn’t like I’m trying to HIDE anything–I guess I just don’t look like your typical gay, and I don’t wear a rainbow flag.  Being seen with Cool is the only tip-off to people normally.  And being closeted is self-hating and lame, not to mention too much effort.  BUT when we go to certain places–I’m like do not touch me, don’t look at me.  I am afraid in places like Idaho, Montana, and other really rural areas that we will get killed over it.

My teeth.  It seems most of my random fears involve my face.  If I skip wearing my (lifelong) retainer at night, I’ll start to have nightmares that my teeth are crooked.  And when I’m awake I’ll thin they feel a little loose, and sometimes I even think they feel different to my tongue.  As a continuation of teeth, I worry more and more when I haven’t been to the dentist.  I NEED to go every 6 months, but moving, money, and scheduling doesn’t always hardly allows that.  And the longer I go between visits, the more exponentially the worry increases that something will be seriously wrong/expensive to fix in there.

So I guess I’m a head case, is the point of this post.

S-L-O-W

22 May

It was 84 degrees yesterday last week, actually is when this happened!  Cool and I HAD to be outside–obviously.  But first she had to work from 1-5:30 PM.  So we went out on our trail right when she got home and walked 2.5 miles downtown.  Surprisingly, hardly anyone was on the trail on such a nice Sunday.  Weird–considering it was a hot weekend.  I guess everyone was at a restaurant or park with mom?

Problem was, on the way home the sun started to set.  Did I mention Cool always walks 3 mph?  Which feels S-L-O-W to me.  I’m a naturally fast walker, but I feel like she slugglishly crawls along.  It is really, really annoying that she always trails behind, and I’m constantly nagging her to hurry up.  And we didn’t really want to be on our now super-sketch trail in any kind of dark.  Just in case.  So I was just going a brisk pace and leaving her behind.  All the way back home.

Finally, we get to our part of the trail–where hardly anyone no one is out and about, and again, where someone was stabbed to death a week and a half ago.  The sun was almost down, and it was gray and dusky out.  We could either hustle down (the middle of) our road or go UP the hill along the main road 2 blocks and through the more populated neighborhood.

Tired as all get out from “jogging” home Cool chose the shorter way–our road.  It’s all blocked off and covered with heavy construction equipment.  Tubes along the entire sidewalk, huge wood things in the middle of the road, blockades and dirt berms on each side street.  We walked up the middle of (the now dirt) road, making it halfway home.  Then, behind us was a Jeep coming fast.  We wondered who would be driving on our closed road and decided to go around some construction equipment onto the sidewalk.

When the Jeep got near us, instead of speeding by as I expected it slowed down, then stopped.  Next to us.  Maybe the driver needed directions?  Maybe he was going to warn us against being down here at night?  I looked towards him as I walked to see what he wanted.  His passenger-side window was open.  But he just leered.  And said nothing.  It made me feel creeped and and suspicious that he would stop right next to us, but didn’t seem to want anything.

Since I was looking at him instead of the sidewalk, I ran into a wheel-barrow full of concrete on the sidewalk.  I stopped.  And still the man said nothing!  Cool was behind me per the usual.  I got a bad feeling and just started running, hoping she would run too.  I had initially planned on walking up the whole road until we got to the stairs by our apartment, but since the creepy guy was there I chose to cut up past the berm–where he wasn’t able to follow in his Jeep.

When I reached the point he couldn’t drive, I turned and looked back to see where Cool was.  Walking.  How frustrating IS that?  We might be killed–and she’s too tired to save herself by running. . .  Anyway, I’m watching her (slowly) walk toward me, and I see the Jeep slowly pull forward, try to turn up the road, then seeing the blockade/berm speed up Riverton.

I don’t know what that was all about, but it was disruptive to my psyche considering the recent events down there!

And Cool and I would make terrible witnesses.  I thought the car was a red Jeep, she thought it was a blue-something.  I thought the guy had longish, black stringy hair, she thought he was wearing a black hoodie.  We could agree he was a pale Caucasian.  Hopefully, we never witness a crime, because we could definitely NOT get our story straight.

A Murder on My Road

4 May

One block from my apartment. Less then a football field’s length away from where I have to park my car b/c my apartment does not have enough spaces. It’s where we walk ALL the time. Probably once a week since we moved to Spokompton.

I can’t say I’m any more scared now then I already was.  I think I’ve mentioned on here how I have a phobia of homeless people (and fires).  I knew the scene by the river.  We walked on the lower trail the first day we moved in, and due to the three different homeless camps out of view from the road/trail above (two of them with drunk people milling about at 10 AM on a Sunday) we realized it wasn’t safe for us.  I was fearful of the homeless hanging about–just because desperate people do desperate things.  And intoxication doesn’t help the situation.

I was already afraid of the hispanic guy who lives by the bench, and pees openly on the Centenial Trail.  And I was VERY afraid of the bed in the bushes by that bench–because the only reason I saw it at all w as I happened to hear some rustling in there.  And the visual was blocked from the trail and the road, and past the line of apartments.  It crossed my mind that whoever made it could grab someone right off the trail, drag them in there, and no one would see a thing.

And I was annoyed at the people speeding crazily down our quiet road.  And we called the police about it a couple of times–with no result.  We knew we’d be looking out the window and see one of those dogs running about (off leash) get hit by some speeder.  Or a kid.

Speaking of cars–I have to park Rusty down there.  And I called the police two different times when someone broke into my car.  Again with no result.  And at the time, I asked the police about the homeless problem and was told “priorities.”  And since we’ve seen sketchy activity in the gravel area near the bridge, and people walking under the bridge then coming out 10 minutes later, I asked if the law minded if people had illicit substances, and was told I could always call about it. . .  Still, we didn’t see a single police car on our road, so I just bought a better car alarm (and kept my eyes away from possible drug deals).

I hadn’t been parking Rusty down there for the last two weeks, like I usually do.  The road was closed for construction.  So it was even quieter then usual.  But every morning I walk down there by myself, to get into Rusty.  And it’s early enough that there aren’t a bunch of people on their balconies, or people walking their dogs, or joggers around.  This could have happened to me on any day.

But a 55 year old Sharlotte McGill was stabbed to death.  She was walking up from the lower trail, where we sometimes hear voices (of the River People) in the bushes.  Someone just jumped out and knifed her.

I’ll bet it was one of the homeless people who hang out around here.

And I assert again–80% of homeless people are addicted to at least one substance.  And this is probably even more true of “The River People” because the Union Gospel Mission, within walking distance has enough beds for people to stay there, free food, even dorm-like rooms that people can graduate to living in longer-term, on top of drug counseling and job training.  The only reason NOT to seek help there, is that you are loaded.  The Mission won’t allow anyone in who isn’t sober at the time.  It’s not a far stretch to think desperate people will do desperate things.

Next–how this turned into the great gun debate.