If you don’t live in New York City you probably have never heard about the “hoodie debate”. Apparently some stores in Harlem are banning customers from wearing hoodies inside their stores because the clothing blocks video surveillance cameras from seeing faces. Some shopper’s feel this infringes on their rights, others see nothing wrong with the rule.
I live in a small city in East Tennessee. There is a sign on the door of my credit union that says customers must remove caps, hats, and sunglasses before entering. I have never questioned this and to my knowledge no one else has either. I leave my sunglasses in my car, and I never wear caps or hats indoors anyway. I recognize the need for safety. I’ve seen the videos of bank robbers and convenience store hold ups where the perpetrator wears a cap or hoodie and a bandana pulled up to cover his/her face. Race is not an issue; enough of the robbers face can be seen to discern race. Bank robbers have been covering their faces since the Old West and even further back if you look at highwaymen in Europe.
If a store owner expresses concern about being held up; concern for his safety and the safety of his employees and customers it should be his right to ask customers to keep their faces exposed. Many shoppers will automatically push their hoodies back when entering a store. Hoodies are designed for warmth. It’s warm inside the store so logically a customer would not need to wear a hoodie indoors.
The hoodie has somehow become identified with African American culture. My sons and grandsons wear hoodies. Their friends of all races wear hoodies. I have worn hoodies on cold and windy days.
This isn’t a race issue. The signs posted in stores do not say “People of color must remove hoodies”. The signs say customers wearing hoodies or masks will be considered trespassers. The store owner doesn’t care what the race of the customer is. The issue is the attire of the customer. I would feel a little uncomfortable if I was shopping in a store and someone came in with his/her face covered unless it was religious attire. White, black, yellow, red, or brown, if someone is covering his face the appearance of hiding something is there.
Certainly in New York City there are a multitude of stores for shoppers to patronize. Rather than protest one particular store for their dress requirements, shop elsewhere. A shopper’s money is good at any store. There are far more serious civil rights issues that can be addressed than worrying about what is worn in a store. Since race is not the focus of the prohibition it seems to be jumping the gun to assume it is directed at people of color.
Bottom line, we have all seen the signs that say “No shirt, no shoes, no service”. Is “No hoodies, caps, masks” any different?
This book giveaway/contest starts November 1 and runs through November 22,2014
Enter to win a SIGNED FIRST EDITION of “View From the Sixth Floor: An Oswald Tale” the premier offering from author Elizabeth Horton-Newton. This book demands answers to the questions why are strangers suddenly appearing in a sleepy North Carolina town? What do they have to do with widow Olivia Roberts? Why is her neighbor and friend Bill Horton so dead set against her traveling to Dallas, Texas? When she journeys from her North Carolina home to Dallas in search of answers to questions from November 22, 1963 she learns more than she ever expected. “View from the Sixth Floor-an Oswald Tale” is a story of “what-ifs”? What if the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 was a conspiracy? What if accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was innocent? What if someone knew the truth and could prove it? What if someone you trusted turned out to be hiding a secret so big it could change history? This is a tale of friendship, love, political intrigue, and murder.
As if concern over Ebola wasn’t serious enough, conspiracy theorists have jumped on board with what they think is going on. Fueling the already flaming fires they have thrown logs on the pyres exacerbating already panicked masses even further.
According to a NY Times article it seems to have started back in September. The Times article states a Liberian newspaper, The Daily Observer, alleges the outbreak is actually a bio-weapon created by the US military complex to reduce the world’s population. That seemingly wasn’t enough to stir things up. The next claims were against the Centers for Disease Control saying they had patented the virus and were going to make gazillions by working with pharmaceutical companies to create a vaccine. Or better yet Ebola was created so that “quarantines, travel bans, and eventually martial law” could be imposed. (Feuer, NY Times, 10/18/14). While this may seem far-fetched to some, others will latch onto the possibilities like hungry infants seeking mommy’s breast. We simply can’t accept that this type of thing can happen.
That being said let’s take a look at history. As far back as 429 BCE the Plague of Athens claimed between 75,000 and 100,000 victims primarily in Athens, Greece. It is not very likely there was a government conspiracy back then. It can be argued that is a lot smaller population than those currently affected by Ebola. But is it? Actually according to the CDC the number of the three countries most affected by the outbreak, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, is somewhere around 5,000. Even if that number is only the reported cases it is dramatically lower than the Athens number. The bubonic plague in the 6th century claimed around 40 % of the population of Europe; the
Black Death in the 1400’s claimed 30% to 705 of the population. None of these outbreaks were likely to have been hatched by some military or political group. Of course the fleas on the rats that transmitted the disease might have been trained by the military but somehow I don’t think so.
Let’s move up to 2009 when an influenza epidemic (swine flu) claimed a possible 400,000 lives worldwide. Was it a military or political plan to reduce the world population? I’m sure there are some people who would think so. Yet again it was a failure as a wide scale plan.
Whether it is the media that is stimulating universal panic or simply populations that so distrust their governments they see conspiracies behind every test tube, Ebola is a virus. Many people have been saved from death. If the government of any country wants to reduce the population they had better step things up. It’s more likely a worldwide panic will cause more problems than Ebola itself. I don’t discount the seriousness of the fatality of the virus. It is an ugly illness that has taken many lives in any countries. I just think as a military weapon it isn’t working. And that makes me feel a lot better.
Once again our country has been rocked by a school shooting that took the lives of youth and left us with the question, why? What motivates a young person to become so disillusioned with life they resort to killing fellow students or teachers to alleviate their pain? What do they hope to gain by snuffing out the lives of others and often losing their own lives by their own hands?
While the Columbine shootings set the standard for mass school shootings, each attack that has followed has only increased the horror we experience as observers of the carnage. It doesn’t really matter how many innocent lives are taken because it isn’t only the numbers that stun us. The fact that someone with so much life ahead of them consciously takes up arms and cold bloodily assassinates their peers is more than we can comprehend.
Schools have taken steps to prevent these tragedies. They have installed metal detectors, banned all weapons from school property, instructed teachers and school personnel on how to deal with these situations, and encouraged students to speak out if they suspect one of their fellow students is talking about violence. Yet we still have school shootings. How do these troubled killers slip through the cracks?
Why doesn’t anyone see the imminent danger and warn authorities of the possibility of disaster?
Perhaps it is beyond our comprehension that someone we know could be so troubled. Certainly the boy who sits in class every day would never really kill anyone. Our friends, our students, our siblings, or our children could never be so disturbed they could perform acts of violence so extreme that others would die at their hands. But in fact these shooters do have families, classmates, and teachers who see them daily. They interact with us, saying all the right things, apparently dealing with the difficulties inherent in being a teenager. It’s no easy feat to navigate the waters of adolescence. There will be students who will be cruel and bully, teachers who are impatient and don’t always deal fairly, family members who judge and criticize. Middle and High school are the training grounds for adult hood when we will put the lessons learned to use in the grown up world. For some these early lessons seem to be so overwhelming they never reach adulthood.
I have no answer for these events; these disturbing and incomprehensible acts of violence. I do know we have to figure something out. There has to be a way to foresee the moment when a young person reaches the point of no return and snaps. There has to be a way to save more youth from untimely deaths. Instead of publicizing the horrors of what happens let’s find a way to use what we learn to reach out and help the desperate before the body count rises any more.
My first book is currently available at Amazon in both Kindle and print. This story had been running around in my head for many years. My visit to Dallas, Texas and what was the Texas School Book Depository was the catalyst that pushed me to finally write it. As I stood near the so-called “sniper’s perch” I couldn’t connect that space with the “”x” on the street which marked where the target had been.
I remember all too well the day President John Kennedy was assassinated as well as the days that followed. I was ten years old and I saw a man shot on television; a man who subsequently died. No it wasn’t the president. It was the man who was accused but never proved guilty of the crime. Lee Harvey Oswald was 24 years old. All my children are now older than he was when he was gunned down. He had a wife. He had two very young daughters. He was never given the opportunity to defend himself.
I know that President Kennedy was also murdered on the streets of Dallas. He had a wife. He had two small children. He carried the promise of a better America, a peaceful America, and possibly a prosperous America. As an Irish Catholic he was my mother’s hero. He represented what could happen to the child of any immigrant. Perhaps she looked at me and thought maybe someday her child could be president. After the assassination I have no doubt she gave no more thought to that.
I sat with my mother throughout the television coverage of the Presidential funeral. She cried as though a member of our family was being memorialized and buried. It was very disturbing to watch my mother sobbing.
Years later I realized I never saw Oswald’s funeral. When I researched it I was appalled to learn he had no pall bearers. Newsmen covering the event were drafted to assist Oswald’s brother in carrying the casket from the hearse to the grave site. There were no mourning crowds for Oswald. The service was attended by his wife, his children, his mother, and his brother. If he had friends they did not step forward to speak about him. There was no remembering anything good he might have done. Had he been a good son, brother, husband, or father? The implication was that he was a very bad man who beat his wife, disowned his country, and murdered a popular president. Other than that he was a non-entity. It wasn’t until many years later I began to learn more about Lee Oswald. With that came the questions. Had he been the sole assassin? Or had even been part of a conspiracy to kill the president?
Jack Ruby eliminated any possibility of Oswald telling his side of the story. Yes, he had denied shooting the president the entire time he was in custody until his death. Even at the last when he was being coerced to confess he professed his innocence. No deathbed confession from Mr. Oswald, a man who publicly handed out flyers on the streets of New Orleans supporting Fidel Castro; a man who attempted to renounce his US citizenship when he went to the USSR during the “Cold War. This was obviously a man who had no qualms about being in the spotlight for controversial reasons. If he was so anti-Kennedy and had successfully assassinated him why wouldn’t he crow about it? With one bullet Jack Ruby destroyed the opportunity to ask questions that might have provided answers.
The reason’s Jack Ruby gave for his extraordinary actions were as absurd as the act itself. He felt sorry for Jacqueline Kennedy and did not want her to have to return to Dallas for a trial. He did not want people to think Jews were cowards. This might make sense to some people. I do believe most people would find this as illogical as Oswald’s denial of his culpability in the assassination.
All this led to my writing “View From the Sixth Floor: An Oswald Tale”. I wondered what might have happened if Oswald had lived to tell his side. Where would we be today? While my book is a work of fiction, drawn from my own imagination and interpretation of events it does raise some interesting questions.
Perhaps someday we will find dusty old files hidden away in a corner of the National Archives. Better yet, maybe somewhere in this wide world someone does know the truth and will speak out providing irrefutable evidence to confirm his story. We can only wait and hope.
View From the Sixth Floor: An Oswald Tale
The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbøl
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I purchased The Boy in the Suitcase by Lene Kaaberbol and Agnete Friis some time ago and it sat on my Kindle while I read other better known books. Two days ago I started this Danish crime thriller and could not put it down. Although I struggled with the imagined pronunciation of Danish names and places the story itself was so engrossing I didn’t mind the extra effort.
From the first page I was drawn into the lives of the characters and the question of where this story was going. Nina Borg is a Red Cross nurse with issues of her own which she has to push aside in order to deal with the mystery. By helping her friend Karin she is drawn into a dangerous game as she tries to save a three year old boy who has been hidden in a suitcase in a Copenhagen train station. Pursued by a strange and violent man who wants the boy back, Nina travels across Denmark trying to find out who the boy is and why he was in the suitcase.
Nina’s determination to help the boy is matched only by the determination of Sigita whose son Mikas has been kidnapped. As each woman fights tooth and nail to save the boy the true nature of the crime unfolds. With a surprising and unexpected turn the story culminates in a nail biting conclusion.
Every character in this book is another piece of the puzzle of both the boy in the suitcase and the women who struggle to save him. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good thriller with a surprise ending. Strong female characters make this a must read for women.
View all my reviews
I have listened to the questions and read the responses to the domestic abuse questions; why do the abused stay and why do they finally leave. While I admit it started me remembering my personal experiences it also got me thinking about why I was being abused. Once again, as I had many years ago, I questioned whether I had done something to deserve the mental, emotional, and physical abuse I suffered at the hands of a man who claimed to love me.
Following the long thread back to the first time I had been shoved over a coffee table I realized I could not recall what had precipitated the action. I knew where it was, I could describe the living room in my mother’s apartment, but I could not remember the conversation leading up to the push that sent me flying over the table leaving it in pieces and my arms and legs scratched up and bleeding. I was about 18 years old and had already given up a lot of my “freedoms”; how I dressed, where I went, who I talked to, what I watched on television. Most likely the argument was related to one of those things. But I question what could have been so critical that my fiancé thought it was okay to strike me? Had I argued back about some insignificant thing?
Why do abusers abuse? Obviously it isn’t love or concern. It is about Power and Control. I don’t know why one person would so desperately need to control another person but that seems to be the answer. Because when I examine all the instances I keep coming back to control. He wanted to control every aspect of my life while using the excuse he was “protecting” me. I had grown up in New York City so I knew very well how to protect myself. Yet I chose to believe he was controlling me out of love. It was beyond my comprehension that there could be any other reason for his behavior.
Back in the ‘70’s and 80’s domestic violence and more exactly Intimate Partner Violence was not a subject for public consumption. It was the secret behind closed doors that not even law enforcement recognized. I had never known anyone who was abused or so I believed. Now I know that one in four women has experienced some form of abuse. So I imagine someone I knew was being abused in some fashion. However back then it was a private matter and it certainly didn’t happen in the homes of respectable families. Now I know that domestic violence knows no class, no religion, no race, no lifestyle, no income, and no reason other than control.
Why did I stay through ten years of marriage? In the beginning I believed things would improve. I loved my husband in spite of how I was treated. As I said I even believed he loved me. After I had children I stayed for the sake of the children believing they needed both parents. I never considered the negative effect our fighting and the treatment I received would impact them. I often lied to myself saying they did not know what was going on. I know now that wasn’t true. And I also know intimate partner violence affects the entire family.
Why did I leave? After ten years of marriage I realized things were not getting better. In fact things had grown decidedly worse. And for the very first time I had someone who saw what I was experiencing, recognized my distress, and offered me a temporary escape. My parents didn’t do that and as an only child I had no brother or sister to help me. Toward the end I had deteriorated to the point of self destruction. I had come apart, stopped eating, and often considered suicide. The thought of my children kept me alive and in the end it was concern for them that gave me the courage to leave.
Still the questions of why stay and why leave remain. Every person has a threshold. I had finally reached mine. Many women will return to abusive relationships time and again. I was lucky. In spite of the financial difficulties and the threats and fears I never went back.
Almost twenty years after I left my ex husband I remarried. It took me that long to find someone I trusted. That trust has not been misplaced. My husband has embraced my children and grandchildren as his own. Better yet they have embraced him as theirs. I have never again relinquished control of my life nor have I been expected to. I am not just a survivor of domestic abuse; I am a thriver. I am me, and I like the person I am.
View From the Sixth Floor: An Oswald Tale
Why are strangers suddenly appearing in a sleepy North Carolina town? What do they have to do with widow Olivia Roberts? Why is her neighbor and friend Bill Horton so dead set against her traveling to Dallas, Texas? When she journeys from her North Carolina home to Dallas in search of answers to questions from November 22, 1963 she learns more than she ever expected.
“View from the Sixth Floor: An Oswald Tale” is a story of “what-ifs”? What if the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 was a conspiracy? What if accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was innocent? What if someone knew the truth and could prove it? What if someone you trusted turned out to be hiding a secret so big it could change history?
This is a tale of friendship, love, political intrigue, and murder.
On September 11, 2001 I had been working in my new job with the University of Tennessee, housed at the Department of Human Services. In a little over a month my soon to be fiancé would be moving to Knoxville from New York City. At the time he was working in lower Manhattan a few blocks from the World Trade Center. I was going over a file when a co-worker passed my desk saying some idiot had flown a plane into one of the Towers. As I jumped up to get more information she realized what I was thinking. We hurried to the break room where a television was streaming live video. There was a group of us gathered in that small space. I could see both towers burning. Then, as if in some slow motion science fiction film, I watched as one of the towers collapsed. I watched the clouds of debris spread like a blooming flower of dust, expanding over the area and covering everything. I sank to the couch unable to speak.
I did not know the love of my life was in the subway beneath the terror above experiencing his own terror. Trapped in a subway car that could not go forward and staggered back to the previous station in bursts of energy he believed he might die.
I spent hours trying to reach him by phone but lines were overburdened and calls went into space. My father was living in Queens and I did manage to get through to him. Although he was only miles from what has become Ground Zero he was calm and unconcerned. In many ways his attitude got me through the next few hours.
As our country was being attacked and thousands were murdered in what had been my hometown for thirty-five years we heard more news. A plane crashed into the Pentagon and another crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. My husband finally reached me by phone and told me he had gone to Chinatown for lunch after escaping the subway. It would be some time before I got all the details of what he experienced. At that moment I was first furious that he had not gone straight home, then concerned because his behavior seemed irrational. How could he think of lunch when the city was collapsing? I realize now he was unconsciously grasping for something normal in the midst of madness.
We all have our stories and our memories of that terrible day. It has taken years for my husband to be able to watch video of that day and he is still disturbed by the memory. On the other hand I watch again and again as the towers are hit and come down. I remember when they were being built. I remember taking my children to the observation floor. I remember the shops, the offices, the elevators and escalators. Most of all I remember the throngs of people inside. Try as I might I cannot connect with the horror of the moments he spent beneath the ground as the towers descended or the confusion he felt as he finally came up into a world of darkness where residue and debris clouded the air and obscured the sun. All I can do is hold his hand and thank God he is here.
We must never forget that day. We must remember where we were, what we felt, and the thousands who died and thousands who still suffer from the experiences. There are families who lost loved ones, loved ones who still suffer physical and mental effects of the day. Those weren’t just Towers that came down. There were people who had every right to believe they were safe, working to support their families. They were not soldiers. They did not go into a war zone. Most never had the chance to say goodbye to loved ones and those who did say good bye could not understand why this was happening. For all those who lost loved ones we must remember; for those who survived and carry the burden of the day we must remember. We must tell our children and grandchildren. And we must count every moment as a gift, cherishing our time with loved ones. Because like it or not, there are a lot of madmen in the world and life should be treasured in the memory of those who lost their lives on that dark day.