Violence and Death Sentencing

I try not to be too controversial on Momma Muse… I just don’t like debate, never have… but I’m speaking on this one, today..

This week, I got a message from friend about her son and a friend of his. He was friends with a girl his age on Facebook. They lived about an hour away from each other, so had only “hung out” a couple of times. This past Saturday, he received a text that she was missing. The next morning, he got a call on his cell and he passed it along to his mother. It was a family member of the girl calling to talk to my friend to let her know what had happened… her body had been found very early that morning.

The girl was Esme Kenney. A thirteen year old who had two majors at her middle school for the performing arts in Cincinnati.

A suspect was apprehended hours before her body was found. He was sleeping against a tree, just 100 yards from where her body would be found a few hours later. In his pocket was her watch and her ipod. Hard not to already blame him, regardless of the innocent until proven guilty laws in our country.

His name, Anthony Kirkland. A man who had several warrants out for his arrest, a man who was violent and a violent sex offender. His history is littered with offenses, yet this man “slipped through the cracks” of our lenient system and was walking the streets, able to take the life a promising young girl.

I say “slipped through the cracks”.. it’s a term commonly used when a violent person is able to commit yet another violent act after a seemingly long list of other crimes committed. It’s easy to see in retrospect why he should have been locked up longer, tighter… and yet.. he wasn’t. Why not?

I don’t know this young girl. So I’m not calling out in emotional rage. I usually keep my point of view on this topic quiet, as many family and friends just do not agree with me… and really, that’s ok… But right now, this minute, I want to scream.. What is wrong with our country and it’s rules regarding violence committed against another?

I was out visiting my dads this week. This is a man again death sentence, police are referred to as pigs and he’s all for a revolution. He was hippie when hippies where cool… ok, so he’s my dad, but he’s still totally cool.

We were walking about the grounds at his house and were checking out the chickens who were being homed in the greenhouse for their protection. The opossum had been having lunch at the chickens expense. Dad pointed to a live trap and told us he’d let an opossum die in one. Now, I must say this is not typical of my dad. He’s all for life. But, he has had opossum killing off his chickens off and on for years. And no one willing to help the situation.

He called whomever it is you call when you have an issue like this – someone wildlife related and asked them what to do…. They told him to kill it. Plain and Simple. He was told once they start killing your chickens, they won’t stop. Essentially, the opossum become chicken murderers. He told them he didn’t want to kill it and they offered to come get it (and, we assumed, likely kill it themselves) for a small fee of $150. It’s no wonder he went ahead and let it die.

What were his options? Keep it caged, feed it until it has lived to be a ripe old age? It would be as sure to bite the hand that fed it, as to kill the chicken in the coop. And what about the next opossum, and then the raccoon.. and then next? How many wild animals should he home and care for, who would just as happily kill his chickens (and bit his fingers)? The opossum and raccoons were not going to add to “society” er.. the wilderness.. in any beneficial way, particularly since they’d become violent offenders. Why should my dad (or anyone else) be responsible for caring and feeding a violent animal who has nothing to contribute? Just because it’s “life”? oh please. so not.

I took this as a lesson our society needs to look at. While we don’t want to kill animals, the animals are going to kill regardless of what we do with them – no, not all, but the ones who’ve proven violent already. The wildlife experts are aware of this… so why, as a society, do we allow violent offenders to be homed, cared for, and protected? I can’t help but wonder, since our species is thinking, logic-solving, could a harsher penalty be dealt out to keep more in line? Maybe not. But must we each pay to house a man like Anthony Kirkland? He violently strangled, attempted rape and set fire to a helpless thirteen year old girl and guess what… each one of us tax paying citizens is donating to his life behind bars. We are feeding him, providing his toilet paper, we are paying the wages of the men and women who are right there taking care to make sure he has food, and dole out the rolls of toilet paper.

If we took the advice of the wildlife experts, is it really worth saving him? He obviously can’t be set free again, and he isn’t contributing to society… so why do we keep him? What is the point? Because he is human? Because it’s a life? No. Bullshit. His life is not justifiably worthy, not after all he’s done. I, for one, do not want one penny of all the money I make in a lifetime to go to a murderous, evil monster as this.

The coroner is quoted saying the strangulation was “very severe, very severe”. Nope.. not one penny of my money… no way.

Here, read Anthony Kirkland‘s track record. Or, to make it easy to see just what is what, here is the time line breakdown – in my thinking, he must have had quite a juvenile record too, but of course that is neither here nor there and totally irrelevant.

In my opinion, death penalty to the violent critters stealing and killing chickens and to the violent offenders who have no regard for other humans or their lives.

A memorial service was held for Esme Kenney today…

My heart and sympathy goes out to all those who knew and were friends and family of Esme… May you find peace…

Benefits of Homeschooling

by Emily Chapman

Note: I didn’t really title this very well. This is really an article about why homeschooling is more beneficial than public or private schooling and why. Are you a homeschooling family? Why and what benefits do you see over public/private schools (or, what we like to call Box Schools)? Feel free to comment at the end of the article.

Kelly Erickson was at the park with her young daughter, Abby, when a herd of school-aged kids stormed into the play area. “Freaks,” she thought. Four years later, after Abby almost died from a strep infection, the Erickson’s rethought their priorities, and Kelly discovered that not all homeschoolers were “freaks.” Kelly resolved to spend more time being a mom to Abby and older sister Kimberly. She quit work, and decided that homeschooling offered exactly what she and her husband, Doug, were looking for: the possibility of a better education for their kids, and more time with them to boot (Catalanello 1). This story illustrates that people homeschool for a variety of reasons; in Kelly’s situation, she began homeschooling because of her daughter’s health. It also demonstrates that people stereotype other people or things that they don’t know much about, like people who homeschool. As many as one in 25 school-age children are now taught around the proverbial kitchen table (“Protection” 1). Homeschooling is beneficial to both student and parent because students are able to learn at their own pace, parents can spend more time with their children, and students don’t have to cope with bullying and negative influences.

To begin with, homeschooling is beneficial to students because they are able to learn at their own pace. Students in public or private schools occasionally have troubles keeping up, or catching up, with the other students. Each student learns at a different pace, and because there are many students in each class it is hard for the students who need to extra time to learn things to actually learn them. In homeschooling, children can take that extra time; they can go to the local museum or Wildlife Park, whatever it may be, to help learn what they need. Jane Powell, who homeschooled her son, felt that children should be allowed the extra time. As Jane expressed, “I didn’t teach him. I didn’t prod him. I didn’t give him any helpful shoves in the appropriate direction. He learned to read when he was ready” (Davis 2). Children love to learn, until they enter school and are forced to learn; learning should be a fun experience, not necessarily a demand. Teachers have certain guidelines set for them, they have to accomplish this, that, and the other thing in a set amount of time. If one student needs help, they can’t stop the entire class. Public schools lose days because of snow days and in school presentations; homeschoolers don’t lose those days. For a homeschooler, when it snows, you still have to do that days work because you’re already at ‘school’, and the work they do that day may center around snow and the science of it. Because homeschooled students are allowed the time to learn at their own pace, they learn in more detail and generally do as well or better than public and private school students.

Additionally, homeschooling is beneficial to parents because they get to spend more time with their children. In a more relaxed homeschool environment, parents tend to have a better relationship with their kids because the communication is more open both ways. Doug Erickson, father or Abby and Kimberly, explains, “It turns out we really like our kids” (Catalanello 9). Doug, like many other homeschooling parents, got to know his children better and developed a good, solid relationship with them. “As parents, we know our children most intimately. We are experts at perceiving their unique and particular nonverbal, subtle cues that give us important information about them. We hone this ability in their pre-linguistic infancy and we continue to sharpen it as they grow and change because they aren’t always able to articulate those changes for us. As homeschooling parents, we’ve chosen to assume full responsibility for helping our children to access the necessary resources for their education and with that responsibility comes the natural parenting worries and concerns about how they are doing” (Fredericksburg 1). Because parents who homeschool can spend more time with their children, they are able to build better, more stable, relationships with their kids.

Finally, homeschooling is beneficial to students because they don’t have to cope with the troubles of bullying and negative influences. Most people at some point either bully or are bullied. Physical bullying is more prevalent among students in elementary and middle schools, but indirect bullying, such as verbal abuse, is common among students at every level (“Bullying” 1). No matter what the age, people constantly put down other people to make themselves feel superior. Professor Perkins states, “What we’ve seen consistently is that risk behaviors and problem behaviors are overestimated, which means much of the bullying or violence or substance abuse can continue because of people engaging in that think everybody else is doing it” (Teicher 1). In schools, kids and teenagers are being influenced and bullied into doing things they normally wouldn’t. Though everyone is submitted to bullying and negative influences, students in school are more prone in having to deal with this, whereas homeschooled students can focus more on their school work than their peers and what their peers have to say.

The opposition would argue that homeschooling is harmful to the childrens’ social and intellectual development. Students that are homeschooled don’t get very many social opportunities; they don’t learn to work with different types of people. However, no matter how much said ‘opposition’ wants to argue this point, it just isn’t true. Homeschoolers aren’t confined to their house and the people inside the house. Homeschoolers are often in groups and those groups get together weekly, sometimes more than, and go to parks, museums, zoos, etc. Homeschoolers are around as many if not more, different types of people as public and private school students. Homeschooled children are generally more comfortable with a wider range of people than schooled children because they are used to interacting and helping people age infant through adults.

Because students can learn at their own pace, parents spend more time with their children, and students don’t have to cope with bullying and negative influences, homeschooling is beneficial to everyone involved. When students learn at their own pace, they get to take the extra time they need to learn the material fully. Parents who homeschool develop a stronger relationship with their kids and their kids feel more open to sharing things with their parents. Students who don’t have to cope with the troubles of bad influences and being bullied have more mental energy to focus on academic work. Abby and Kimberly Erickson have succeeded in their school work and are both now attending high ranked colleges. As for Kelly Erickson, she is very happy with the decision she made many years ago to pull Kimberly out of school and homeschool both of her daughters. Homeschooling brings families together and maybe if more people homeschool there wouldn’t be quite so much violence and quite so many kids dropping out of school.