I rented the Breaking Bad dvd from our local library and started watching a few episodes with my daughter yesterday, 5/30/2015.
The show features the transformation of Walter White, an ordinary not-well-off high school chemistry teacher, into a notorious crystallized methamphetamine cooker. He finds himself having a late stage lung cancer and a wife pregnant with their daughter. And worst of all, he is in desperate need of money for both situations. To be sure, he is a smart one, with an advanced level of chemical know-how. Upon seeing how much money he could make in drug business, he decided to partner with his former student to cook high quality methamphetamine.
A 50-year-old teacher who knows right from wrong yet deliberately engages in illegal activity and even commits murder. A law-abiding citizen won’t make enough money for his family if he doesn’t break the law. A respectful high school teacher cannot afford cancer treatment. These situations make for a rather thought-provoking show.
The more I think about it, the more I see Walter as a victim rather than a criminal of the society that denies him decent healthcare when he is sick, that leaves him poor after he has dedicated his life to science and teaching. It is a shame that society has pushed a decent high school science teacher down this road.
When I was in New York in late August, my son told me an unfortunate event of a friend of his.
The boy was also from MIT. A very smart and successful one, he made 6-digit annual salary for a finance company. He quit his job to start his own company. Prior to that, he emailed to himself the file with complicated algorithm codes. To be sure, these codes are company’s property. He knew it was not a proper thing to do, so he changed the name of the file before emailing.
Now, he is facing charges of theft and could face a few years’ jail sentence.
While my son was feeling sad for his friend, I thought of these words from The Dream of Red Chamber.
Do the right thing, as this is the only way to be happy, even though you might not be that rich.
It was a tragic day for 22-year-old Melbourne baseballer Christopher Lane who was killed while jogging through the town of Duncan in Oklahoma on Friday afternoon, 8/16/2013.
“It comes as Duncan Police Chief Danny Ford said he had secured the confession of the 17-year-old who summoned investigators to his jail cell and claimed he and the younger boys were bored “so they decided to kill somebody”.
“He said he was the driver of the car,” Chief Ford said.
“They saw Christopher jog by the house they were at, they chose him to be the target, they got in the car, drove up behind him and shot him in the back.”
I feel sick in my stomach. Bored and start killing? How senseless this can be! Yes, the easy access to gun makes it possible. Now there is a reason why people should stay away from these neighborhood.
By now the whole world seems to have learned of the 58-year-old Ki-suck Han’s death at the hand of 30-year-old Naeem Davis who pushed Han down there and watched him crushed to death by the train.
Crime like this is not a rare occurrence. But this one seems to punch hard on people’s conscience, causing us wonder why there was no one who would lend him a hand. Perhaps people were afraid that Naeem Davis, a huge black guy, might throw them down there, too if they went to help Han.
I don’t have the details and don’t have the answer. I am simply saddened in my heart over the loss especially during this holiday season.
Of course, I always wish something good comes on my way or something representing the truth and the beauty of life. But in fact, what we cherish greatly — truth, kindness and beauty does not visit us as much as we wish. On the contrary, something like the above email visits us more frequently than its opposite. This is what I received on 10/25/2012.
Normally, I trash things like this. But this time, I thought of my daughter and many others who might not be familiar with scam like this type. I decided to keep one of them here.
Not long ago we learned 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway who disappeared on way to school in Westminster, Colorado was killed by 17-year-old Austin Reed Sigg.
Yesterday we learned another mother who was beyond herself when she found the murder of her two children, 2-year-old Leo Krim and 6-year-old Lucia.
The children were in the care of their nanny Yoselyn Ortega, 50, who was lying unconscious in the bathroom floor and is believed to have attempted suicide.
At this moment, we don’t know the detail and what really happened. But the loss of two young children is tragic enough to break the parents, Marina and Kevin Krim.
Now we have to think more than twice when we trust our children, our life to a nanny or someone we don’t really know well.
This is what I received this morning. It is a good practice to always try to contact the person by all means before you actually do what the email asks you to do.
I read this piece of news on 4/7, “The Delhi child servant scandal that has outraged India, Plight of 13-year-old locked in house while employers went on holiday sparks revulsion.” The perpectrators in this case are Dr Sanjay Verma and Dr Sumita Verma.
“It was the 13-year-old maid’s desperate cries for help that finally alerted neighbours to her plight. She was standing, sobbing, on the balcony of the upmarket Delhi apartment. Her employers had locked her in, she said, and gone on holiday. Finally rescued by a firefighter, she told a tale that prompted a widespread display of national revulsion.”
“Her employers – middle-class doctors Sanjay and Sumita Verma – had “bought” her from an agency, which had in turn bought her from her uncle. She was hungry, she said, because they barely fed her. She received no pay and was regularly beaten. Their latest act of cruelty had been to lock her in and go on holiday to Thailand.”
Stories like this always fill my heart with indignation and make me wonder — how could it be possible that two educated doctors should treat other human beings so inhumanly? Aren’t we supposed to know better than treating others like animals, especially in a religious country like India?
When George Zimmerman presented his side of story of the killing, did Sanford police examine the body of Trayvon Martin to find any signs of a desperate struggle prior to being killed? Did the police get a forensic exam to see where the shot got into the body, how far the shot came from? The results of these exams could very well prove the truthfulness of GZ’s story.
Now we heard two pieces of news: (1) from Richard Kurts, funeral director, who said Martin’s body showed no signs of struggle; (2) from police video of GZ being arrested. In the video, GZ appears uninjured on night of shooting, no bleeding nose or bruising from the close fight with a desperate dead man.
If the police had carried out these exams, why haven’t we heard anything about it so far? If the police had not done any of these exams, why hadn’t them? Why did the police accept the words of the killer without further investigation? Did police try to protect GZ under the excuse of Stand Your Ground law? If yes, why? If not, why didn’t the police further investigate this crime? At this point, I am left with no choice but this final question: Is it because the dead person was a black boy and deserved what he got?
From the handling of Trayvon Martin’s dead, I have seen one pernicious consequence of Stand Your Ground law. That is, it provides the police with an excuse to treat killers differently.
On 10/18/2011, we received a letter and a check in the amount of $997.67 from Hanovor Inc. Vancouver, BC, Canada.
The letter starts with this. “Congratulation! You have been
selected as a lucky winner of the $9700 cash prize… Please note this may be your final notice. Kindly contact Mary Grey at 905-xxx-xxxx for further details regarding your prize.”
“…it is a valid cheque, but it has NOT been activated and funds will NOT be made available to you UNTIL YOU CALL US to confirm you have received it.”
If it sounds too good to be true, it is not true. So I did a google search for “scam hanover.” Within 0.35 seconds, about 1,470,000 results came back. I searched it on FBI site and also found a handful of its reports.
I shared it with my daughter, hoping we both learned something from this. My daughter said jokingly “Oh, too bad I could buy so many clothes with this money.”
In case you have not heard of Yao Jiaxin. Here’s a brief. Yao was driving when he hit a 26-year-old woman, mother of a two-year-old. Instead of sending the injured one to the hospital, he ended her life by applying a few fatal stabs into the woman’s chest for fear of potential medical cost.
When facing a torrential public outcry for tough punishment on Yao, some college professors and Yao’s classmates staged a passional appeal for leniency because Yao was a talented music student. The message from the intellectuals seems to be this — you can kill innocent people and walk away from due punishment if you have this or that talent. Imagine the hopelessly muddle-headed mass among Chinese educators!
Luckily, justice was done. Chinese parents should all watch Yao’s execution. Even better, watch it with their children.
On the evening of 7/11/2011, the day before I left for America, I had a dinner with a friend of mine at a restaurant in Beijing. She just came back from America around 5 PM that day.
We talked a lot on the company, economy, children’s education and a book that she just read on the airplane, Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. In that book, the auther talks about 10,000-hour rule. He cites an example of music practice.
Then, the topic shifted to music and education in China, which reminded me of the infamous case of music student turned murderer — Yao Jiaxin. The case exposed the fatal defect of Chinese education — the single-minded pursuit of skills/knowledge/education. Many parents fail to understand that no education is complete without first taking care of the need to be a decent human. As a consequence, they produce blood-thirsty monsters, even though they are highly accomplished musically like Yao Jiaxin.
On 10/3/2010, I received a scam from email. I don’t remember how many times I have been so fortunate as to receive offers like this. This time I decided to post it below so that people are alerted when they receive email like this.
I am Mr. Wang HongZhang, Chief Disciplinary Officer, People’s Bank of China (PBC). I got your email contact via the internet (Google search) and decided to contact you. I have an interesting/profitable business proposal of US $24.5million and this will be of immense benefit to both of us if only you are interested. Before the U.S and Iraqi war, a client of Bank of China, Mr. Khazeal Hamood Hasaab, a Merchant, made a numbered fixed deposit valued at $24.5 million (Twenty Four million Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars), for 18 calendar months, at Bank of China, Tower Branch, 1 Garden Road Hong Kong. Upon maturity several notices were sent to him, even during the war which began in 2003. Again, after the war another notification was sent, but still no response came from him. It was later found out that Mr Khazeal Hamood Hasaab, his wife and two sons had been killed during the war (Basra).
After further investigation, it was also discovered that Mr Khazeal did not declare any next of kin in his official papers, including the paperwork of his bank deposit. He also confided, in the Chief Risk Officer, Bank of China (BOCHK), that no one knew of his deposit in the bank. According to the laws of my country, at the expiration of 6 years such funds are reverted to the Peoples Bank of China (PBC), where it will be deposited in the reserve of the Government, if nobody applies to claim it. Due to the fact that the fund has been in the bank for more than five years, provisions are being made for it to be reverted to my Bank (PBC). When the case was presented at my desk, I contacted the risk officer (BOCHK), who is a good friend of mine and gathered all the information that I have presented to you. Against this backdrop, I will like you, as a foreigner, to stand as next of kin to Khazeal Hamood Hasaab, so that we can receive his funds.
I will like to know if you will be interested in this project please. I will make more details available to you on receipt of a positive response from you. My official lines and email address are not secure as they are periodically monitored to assess our level of customer care in line with our Total Quality Management Policy, do contact me only at my private email address: —–@aol.com
Mr. Wang Hongzhang
One golden rule to remember: if it is too good to be true, it is not true.
One of the relatives of my colleague had this unfortunate experience. The girl, a young college student, went to a party and got drunk. When she woke up from her dissipation, she found herself being raped, lying outside in the open and totally naked. She had to walk to a nearby house to seek help.
Imagine the agony the young woman had to endure! But, when people talked about it, I got the feeling that the girl herself was partially blamed for her misfortune. “She set herself up for it. She shouldn’t get drunk with a bunch of irresponsible people. If you want to get drunk, make sure you are with some trustworthy people.”
This reminds me of the death of the 18-year-old Kelsey Smith on June 2, 2007. When people watched the video showing how Smith was abducted away from a store’s parking lot, commenting the way she was dressed set herself up for guys with bad intention. Her scantly dressed appearance served to catch attention in a harmful way. In pleading guilty in July 2007, her killer admitted that he had spotted the barely dressed Smith inside the Target store at 97th Street and Quivira Road about 7 p.m. on June 2, 2007. He went outside and waited for her, next raped and killed her.
I would recommend not to get drunk in the first place. Secondly, never put yourself in any kind vulnerable situation either in the way you dress or mixing with the wrong people. The key is to practice self-protection pro-actively in whatever way you can think of.
We all know what these two 18-years-old college students have done to bring about Tyler Clementi’s suicide. My daughter and I couldn’t get over the shock over the news. We talked a lot about it even days after the event. I don’t think the two unintentional killers were motivated by anti-gay prejudice.
Rather, they are simply foolish and selfish to the extreme and are the products of bad parenting. They have not learned to stop and think about the consequence of their stupidity. They relentlessly seek fun and thrills, no matter how vulgar and disastrous it is, at the expense of another fellow student.
I have seen more than once such brainless and cruel antics before. As my daughter put it, “Their parents are partly responsible, too. Because they have not taught their children not to take pleasure in publicly humiliating others.” I see the consequence of bad parenting in Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei, one from an Indian family, the other from a Chinese family. Both cultures are famous for hammering “good” education into their children. Obviously, not good enough.
This once again brings into focus a key ingredient in successful parenting, that is, parents not only need to make sure that their children become learned individuals, but more important, they should help their children develop the capacity for love, sympathy, and human understanding.
Hence, you are a loser parent if your children are as stupid and selfish as Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei.
Time and date: 11:30 PM, 7/27/2010
Place: Downtown Oakland, California, eight miles east of San Francisco.
Event: Jinghong Kang, 45-year-old father of three and a computer engineer from Fairfax, VA was gunned down by two robbers who escaped with $17.
Motive: “The motive appears to be ‘an attempted robbery gone bad.'” Kang handed over the $17 he had on him, police said, but the men shot him anyway.
When I told my sister of this crime, she searched online and said “Oakland is a crime-plagued area. He should not have gone there at that hour.” Even someone in China knows better than going to that place at that hour.
The city of Oakland, CA has been plagued with typical big-city social problems including “high unemployment, widespread poverty, and an elevated rate of violent crime.” The city is famous for the 2009 shooting of Oakland police officers. The worst part is some Oakland residents called this criminal Lovelle Mixon a hero. Imagine that place!
I wouldn’t say leaving some places to the criminals and never ever going there, but always use your judgment when you have to visit places like Oakland.
Recently, Jon Venables, one of the killers of James Bulger, found himself under public eyes again as he did in 1993. 17 years ago, 10-year-old Jon Venables became the youngest killer in UK history. He and Robert Thompson abducted and killed 2-year-old James Bulger. The two killers were convicted that year and were sentenced to only 8 years. Both were set free when they hit age 18, under the condition of their license. The license includes, among others, a ban on returning to Merseyside without written permission in specific circumstances.
First of all, under age killers should be treated more severely than this. The severe punishment will serve as a warning to any potential young criminals and should become part of parenting advice so that both parents and the children will be well-versed on the consequence of crime of this nature. A killer should at least become a lifer (lifetime in prison) no matter how young that killer is.
Lastly, parents should never let down their guard even among the seemingly harmless 10-year-old children.
On 26 August 2010, I learned of this piece of news about 28-year-old Nadja Benaissa, that is, she has been given a two-year suspended prison sentence. This is like a slap on her hand when she could have been given up to 10 years in prison. But, she has already been severely punished by this publicity, with or without court-imposed sentence.
Her crime: she knew of her HIV status, but she chose to keep it a secret and have unprotected sex with at least three men, not at the same time though. Benaissa was found guilty on one count of causing grievous bodily harm and two of attempted bodily harm, even though she denied deliberately infecting anyone.
After I learned of her troubled youth years – drug addict at the age of 14, pregnant at 16, and HIV-positive at 17 – I no longer feel as bitter toward her as before. What I see is a girl emerging from a turbulent teenage years, from a life of youth and follies, young and stupid, and trying to put behind her that shameful chapter in her life. Just as I see in many people that I know of who once had some eventful and rather wasteful teenager years.
Our past follies and youthful imprudences are like an invisible debt to us. At some point in our lives, we all have to pay for this. For Benaissa, the debt of those wanton youth years — her HIV — will follow her throughout her whole life. Sometimes, we can deceive ourselves into believing that we can put behind our past and turn a brand new page, as if what happened in the past had never happened. But as Benaissa’s recent abrasion with law shows, our past is like our shadow. It will follow us till our last day.
“Huping Zhou of Los Angeles is the first defendant in the nation to receive a prison sentence for a HIPPA privacy violation.” I read this news from American Health Lawyers Association on 8/19/2010.
Zhou used to be a licensed cardiothoracic surgeon in China and a former UCLA Healthcare System research assistant. He was terminated there in November 2003. However, he still had access to patient health information and continued to access and read records of both his coworkers and celebrity patient records. Zhou acknowledged in his plea agreement that he had no legitimate reason for obtaining the personal information. Though no evidence has been found by the Department of Justice to suggest that Zhou abused or attempted to share or sell the information he illegally accessed, his illegal reading of private electronic medical records of celebrities and others earned him four months in federal prison, the first of its kind in U.S. legal history. He also received a fine of $2000, in addition to his jail time.
You would think Zhou has not done any harm or damage to anybody, just trying to satisfy his morbid curiosity. Also, there are thousand of others who have done and are still doing the same thing as Zhou did. Still, a rule violation is a violation. Nothing can change the nature of his crime. Hopefully, he could use these 4 months jail time to reflect and make a new start once he is out of it.
Looking ahead, Zhou’s record of incarceration will follow him wherever he goes, almost totally ruining his career in healthcare at least in the U.S. I believe the ruling of the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Central District of California not only establishes a legal precedent but also dispatches a clear warning to all medical practice of the severe consequence of what some considers a mere misdemeanor offense. A law is a law, no matter how trivial it is.
BBC carried an article on 6/15/2010 on the experience of playwright Alan Bennett and how he lost his wallet, with £1,500 while being helped by pickpockets. First, someone aquirted ice cream on Bennett, next he was offered to have it cleaned off from his coat. And in a second his fat purse is no more. He became a victim of the classic “distraction” scam.
Below are some common-used tricks by pocket-pickers.
1. THE SQUIRT
This is a classic scam in which a person will do something funny like squirting mustard dip or ketchup just to get the attention of his victims. As the thief helps clean up the mess, an opportunity is created for him to steal something valuable from his victim.
2. THE PHOTO
This is another “distraction” technique. It often takes a team to complete the task. A couple may come over to take a picture of you. While you explain to the person how to use the camera, the third one takes this opportunity to do the stealing.
3. THE ESCALATOR
As you are getting off the escalator, the person in front of you drops some coins and tries to pick them up. This will create some chaos, a bit jam and jumble, and best of all, an opportunity for the thief to do his job. It turns out the person in front and behind you are the thieves-team.
4. THE SHOULDER SURF
Never underestimate the cleverness of the thief. An experienced thief knows how to manipulate you into acting a certain way so that he can do his job in a split-second. As you are entering your PIN on the charge pad, then you feel a tap on the shoulder and the person behind you asks if you have dropped something on the floor. As you turn to take a look, you create an opportunity in which something valuable from your purse is really dropped forever.
5. THE GOOD SAMARITAN
Because people get a good feeling by helping others, they are willing to lend a helping hand to those in need. This eagerness to help opens another channel for the thievies to creep in.
Keep in mind all these small tricks.
On July 8, 2010, I read with a shudder an article on rising violence against nurses in the U.S. This is the first time both my daughter and I read news on this topic. Needlessly to say, we were more than shocked going through case after case of violence in healthcare. “A 2009 workplace violence survey found that nearly half of all non-fatal assaults in the United States were caused by health care patients.” “According to the U.S. Department of Justice, about 500,000 nurses are victims of violent crimes each year; they are commonly subjected to being spit on, kicked, punched, and threatened.”
Rita Anderson, a 115-pound woman in her early 50s, an assistant manager of a New York hospital, was helping a 16-year-old, 300-pound female patient to use a bed pan. When she leaned over to lower the rails, “out of nowhere came a blinding punch to Anderson’s jaw,” breaking her jaw. Later, the girl said, “I’m sorry, but I was just tired of waiting.” Tired of waiting? Breaking the nurse’s jaw? It took Anderson 8 weeks to recover and eight week of lost work days.
Pontus recalls an instance when a nurse was walking by a patient’s room, who was calling for help with his urinal pan. As the nurse went to help him, “he smashed the pan on her head.” In another case, a nurse wastreating a patient who had just awoken from surgery, “the patient bit the nurse’s hand so hard the ligament was torn off the bone.”
Nurses working at the ER and the psychiatric units are the most unfortunate ones of all. Very often police who find people under the influence of drugs or alcohol drop them off at the ER. This is called “dump syndrome” which involves more than normal dose of violence. The increase in severity and frequency of violence is directly related to the growing number of police ER dumpings.
Here are some figures:
59% of health care worker injuries from 1995 to 2004 were caused by patients.
48% of all non-fatal assaults in the U.S are caused by patients
50% of Massachusetts nurses have been at least punched within the last two years
72% of ER nurses reported feeling unsafe in their workplace
I would expect 100% of ER nurses feeling unsafe. As many hospitals face the severe situation of nurse shortage, it is very likely that patients have to wait longer and act out their impatience violently. This is something to factor in when you consider jumping into the lofty career of saving lives.
P.S. on 7/5/2010, Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick signed a law that will stiffen the penalties for those who assault nurses and other health care workers. The vote follows unanimous votes to approve the measure in both houses of the legislature.
The 8-year-old Sandra Cantu vanished on March 27, 2009 after a surveillance video caught her skipping down the street near the Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park. Her body was found 10 days later in a suitcase by farm workers draining a pond about two miles from her home.
Every time I read news like this, I thought of some hideous male criminal. I used to believe little ones are always safe in the loving hands of a female. Children are especially safe with kind-hearted church folks. Call this prejudice. This time I was aghast and speechless when I learned that this lovely little girl was raped and murdered by a 28-year-old woman, a Sunday school teacher at her pastor-grandfather Clover Baptist Church not far from San Francisco.
When you see this 8-year-old angelic creature, your heart is filled with nothing but love and the desire to protect this tender life. You would never imagine a woman could have taken away this precious little one in such a gruesome manner? What is going on with these crazy people? The perversity of this horrifying crime defies any human comprehension.
Now I have to pronounce this realization — your little ones are not even safe with a female, not even an association of some denomination.
On 5/28/2010, I read a piece of rather disturbing crime from bbc news. Vina Patel and John Cort were business partners of 30 years. “Cort had persuaded her they should increase their life assurance cover from £500,000 to £1.5m, claiming he had a serious illness,” and that their firm’s life insurance would protect the business in case of the death of either partner. After the insurance was doubled, Cort hired a hit man to kill Patel. Consequently, John Cort, 54, of Rutland Street, Leicester, was convicted at Nottingham Crown Court of killing Vina Patel so he could claim life insurance. Hit man Brian Farrell, 37, of Queensborough Terrace, west London, was jailed for a minimum term 27 years.
“The motive for Vina’s murder was greed and money.” Crimes like this always shocked me beyond comprehension. I was wondering, would it turn out differently if Patel had been more careful and had seen through Cort? How could she be a partner of Cort for so long and had not a tiny clue or any dreadful bad omen of what was heading to her way when he persistently urged her to double insurance payout upon the death of either of them? When Cort said that he was in poor health and that it was all for her benefit, was she dreaming that she would be the beneficiary upon Cort’s death if she agreed to his request of doubling the life insurance?
Many puzzles and questions were running through my head, with no satisfactory answer whatever. At least, I wish my readers will be more careful and think more than twice when they face similar business arrangement.
Last Saturday, I read a piece of rather disturbing news. A 15-year-old girl, while babysitting her 7-year-old stepsister, pimped her out to a group of young men who gang raped this 7-year-old during a party in the Rowan Towers in Trenton, NJ. This is utterly disgusting.
A person who would sell her step-sister or anyone of that age to a bunch of bad elements must be wicked beyond hope. The question that first rushed to my head is: how could the parents entrust their 7-year-old daughter to such a bad character? Didn’t they know how unworthy this 15-year-old was? Under what kind of culture could it happen?
I knew wicked males who would plunge upon young girls are never in short supply, and I would expect a bigger girl protecting a younger ones. But in this case, the truly shocking part is what a teenage girl has done to her young stepsister. Now can a parent ever trust a big girl to babysit a small one?
Call me suffering from paranoia. I believe it is better to be cautious than to be sorry.
Last Friday evening while talking on the phone about ImClone’s Erbitux, a monoclonal antibody, EGFR inhibitor, I thought of the book which I read last year. It was written by Alex Prud’homme, Cell Game: Sam Waksal’s Fast Money and False Promises–and the Fate of ImClone’s Cancer Drug. This is a very educational book, a revelation of a white collar crime of high order and a stark warning to those who let greediness get better of them.
Sam Waksal, the CEO and founder of this biopharmaceutical start-up, ImClone, was convicted of insider trading when they sold millions of their company stock weeks before it let out the news that the government rejected ImClone’s application for Erbitux.
Martha Stewart sold almost 4,000 ImClone shares the day before the FDA rejected ImClone’s application for Erbitux. She was eventually found guilty and sentenced to five months in prison, five months of home confinement, and a $30,000 fine for lying about the stock sale.
Thus ended a shameful chapter of an otherwise successful founder of a biopharmaceutical start-up. Don’t do any illegal even if it means you will go broke.
My heart sank sadly when I read about a 15-year-old girl, Phoebe Prince, committed suicide on 1/14/2010 in Massachussetts, as the result of extreme “verbal harassment and physical abuse” at the hand of school bullies.
Phoebe, recently moved to the area with her family from Ireland, was harassed on that day as she studied in the library at South Hadley High School in Massachusetts, apparently in the presence of a faculty member and several students, none of whom reported it until after her death. She was harassed where she went in school and on her way home. Most of the student body and school faculties were aware of the bullies against her, yet none of them ever stood out for her. Her parents contacted school authority asking them to intervene. Obviously, no one care about it.
The suicide was a violent yet helpless protest against not only all the verbal abuse and physical harm and threats poured upon her in a matter of a few months, but also the whole US high school culture. Over two months after her death, nine Massachusetts teenagers were charged for their part in the tragedy.
This incident reminds me so much of the gang rape that I posted on 12/19/2009. No matter how the justice will turn out, nothing can bring back this young life. The tragedy makes me think a lot about bullies in American high school, American culture, the role of school faculties, the need for parents to come out for their own children, etc. It is no exaggeration to say that U.S. high schools are ruled by laws of jungle with the nearly total absence of justice. If you don’t come out to protect your children, nobody will.
P.S.This news was carried in Time magazine, 4/12 issue.
On 10/24/2009 in Richmond, California, over 10 boys engaged in a 2 and a half hour long gang rape against a 15-year-old girl outside a California high school homecoming dance Saturday night. Shocking and disgusting.
The most tragic and disturbing part is as many as 20 people stood there watching without doing anything, some even laughing nearby with video cameras, as if they were watching a movie.
Richmond High student body is predominently Hispanics. What can we say about that high school and the people going there and their norms, values and culture, the culture that devalues their women to nothing but sex objects? Is it too much a prejudice to see this as a reflection of a sub-culture? What has made this part of humanity downgrade to this beastly low existence? I don’t have answer. I feel sad beyond words and deeply disturbed when I think of this poor girl.
“A US Army major has opened fire on fellow soldiers at the Fort Hood military base in Texas, killing 13 people and injuring 30,” according to officials, 11/5/2009.
As with any indiscriminate killing, this one is equally senseless and appalling, thundering out of blue sky. The irony is these soldiers were on their way to kill in a foreign land were stopped and killed by one of them in their homeland. We might never know the exact motive behind this extreme action, yet we do know this is not the first time killing takes place among army comrades and it is the second mass killing in two years. In fact, shootings on US land have been on the rise in recent years due to economic downturn aggravated by the wars.
The imminent departure for the battle zone might have sparked the ignition, but in this case many other contributing factors must have helped push beyond the limit of human sanity and worked together toward this violent outburst. This mass-shooting reminds me of the Virginia Tech shooting, also by a minority, Seung-Hui Cho, in 2007. And just as that shooting, there were some foreboding signs, which were shrugged off as insignificant until after the event.
—He was said to have “faced harassment over his ‘Middle Eastern ethnicity’ and had been trying to leave the army.”
—He “listed his birthplace as Arlington, Virginia, but his nationality as Palestinian” — identity issue.
—He “wanted out of the military, and they would not let him leave, even after he offered to repay.”
—He “did not make many friends” — a loner.
—He “often got into arguments with military colleagues who supported the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan” — anti-war stand.
It is not just another mourning for the dead, but also another case, another statistics for psychologists, sociologist, criminologists and everyone of us to mull over in the years to come.
I can’t believe “Precious“, a rather morbid and pathetical movie, won a top prize at Toronto Film Festival. I see in the story the most horrible crime against children and the failure of the society to protect children from their bestial parents.
The movie is based on the 1996 novel Push by Sapphire, rated R(restricted) for child abuse including sexual assault, and pervasive language, to be released on 11/6/2009. The heroine, the lost and downtrodden in the world of real hell, has all the necessary ingredients of the most abject and wretched human existence, just like the 1982 novel Color Purple by Alice Walker.
The 16-year-old black protagonist growing up in Harlem is all of the following —
giving birth to the first child when she was 12 years old,
pregnant again at 16, both made possible by her father,
dropping school during 9th grade because of pregnancy,
her father = drug addict, AIDS invalid, and started raping his daughter since she was three years old,
her mother = AIDS invalid, physically and mentally abuses her daughter,
all of them living off our dear Uncle Sam and your tax dollar.
The protagonist somehow was enlightened when she read The Color Purple. Yes, she finally found somebody whose miserable existence seems to match that of her own.
I must confess that I am not familiar with the culture and the kind of life depicted in the novel. Even though these social problems and issues do exist and demand our attention, I would think them as being fit topics for social workers, government, sociologists or anyone determined to make a change to that culture. It is more proper to be committed in the form of documentary film. It is definitely too disturbing as entertainment to the eyes and minds of normal people.
I cannot say what the social impact that the movie of crime against the children has to exert upon the viewers or the moral consciousness of the parents who live off raping their daughters or abusing their children. At any rate, this is a crime that needs to deal with not an entertainment for relaxation. Just wondering how Obama thinks of those African-American parents in the movie.
More than two years have passed since Rekha Kumari-Baker of Britain stabbed to death both of her innocent daughters, 16 and 13 years old, while they were sleeping in their beds, in retaliation to the mal-treatment of her ex-husband, David Baker. The shocking murder happened on 13 June 2007. She hated her husband so much that she stabbed at her two lovely daughters, 36-39 times each, making them real scapegoats for their father.
Though the killer mother has been recently found guilty, questions are lingering in people’s mind as to the ultimate reason behind this extremity of crime. What had happened to drive her into such an outrageous frenzy murder. I can see the going-on in the mind of David Baker — “I can treat you like a dog and you can do nothing about it.” But he underestimated his ex-wife’s havoc-wreaking ability.
This reminds me of Susan Smith who took the lives of her young children on the night of October 25, 1994, the date before my daughter came along. I am afraid most people now have either forgot it or never heard of it. My daughter, upon reading it, called them “the cruelest murder.”
A wise man knows not to hurt the mother of his child if he truly loves his child. A wise mother knows no matter what happens to her, the protection of her children is forever her priority. Alas, wise men are rare to find just as hysteric women are too often seen.
We all heard of the 9/8/09 death of Annie Le, 24-year-old Yale graduate, which happened 5 days before her planned wedding to her college boyfriend. She was found stuffed in the wall of a research center, having been suffocated to death. We might never know what exactly happened during the last moment of her life. For a parent, it doesn’t matter how a child dies because the weight of this fact is too heavy to bear.
At first, it came as a shock when it happened in an institution of such a high prestige with heavy layer of campus safety and extra “three levels of security to get into the basement of the lab building, including two swipes of a security card.” It happened even when the victim was cautious and trying to avoid becoming “yet another statistic.”
The murder reminds people of the death of Suzanne Jovin, the 21-year-old German Yale senior brutally murdered in 1998. Her death remains unsolved homicide cold case. We are not sure if this one is going to be one of the cold cases.
What can we say of these levels of security? If anything, they only provide an illusion of security, relaxing our vigilance, making people believe all is well within a secured place. I talked to my daughter, “There is absolutely no security every time you find yourself alone with another almost-a-stranger male. Do not harbor any illusion of security even with 10 levels.” Then the question still remains — how can we parents adequately prepare our children for college with violent crime like this?
CBS News.com, July 23, 2009 3:58 PM, “Thou Shall Not Steal: Rabbis Masterminded Money Laundering Ring, Say Feds,” posted by Neil Katz
MSNBC.com, updated 6:26 p.m. CT, Thurs., July 23, 2009, “44 arrested in N.J. corruption probe Suspects include rabbis, mayors; probe involved black-market kidneys.” By AP.
Washingtonpost.com, Friday, July 24, 2009; 6:40 AM, “Officials lambaste NJ corruption after 44 arrested,” by DAVID PORTER, The Associated Press.
New York Times, “44 Charged by U.S. in New Jersey Corruption Sweep, Agents led suspects from F.B.I. headquarters in Newark on Thursday. The inquiry began with questions on money laundering,” by David M. Halbfinger, 7/23/2009.
BBC news, “US corruption probe nets dozens, More than 40 people, including politicians, officials and several rabbis have been arrested in a major FBI operation in the US. Three hundred agents raided dozens of locations in New Jersey and New York as part of a 10-year probe into corruption and money laundering.”
What happened to the politicians and religious leaders? Not close enough to law or to God? Not really. To be sure, it must be large enough to catch so much national or even global attention. The disturbing part is the offenders are supposed to exemplify their own moral teachings. The fact they knowingly transgressed the force of law and the teaching of their Bible makes the transgression especially unpardonable.
How can we explain the downfall of these powerful persons? Is it because the power of money is too great to resist even to these religious leaders? If that is the case, I am shuddered at the thought that my children someday in the future might be exposed to such temptation. Then again, with my constant nagging, I am sure my children know better than getting themselves into such a huge disgrace.
This is another glaring paradox in American culture — the claim of extreme individualism, one can do whatever one wants to, on the one hand; the actual extreme religious intolerance on the other hand. The victim, George Tiller, was “A hero committed to women in need of help,” who did abortions on “girls as young as 10, rape victims, alcoholics, drug addicts, depressed women, cases of severe foetal abnormalities, etc.” Who would want their 10-year-old girl to become a mother?
What actually happened is not any claim of pro-life but the claim for your life if you don’t listen. If you don’t live by their rule, they will terminate your life. How dreadfully absurd and perverted!
Pro-lifers had been threatened Tiller’s life all the time. He must be a rare courageous fighter not to change his career! Can’t we go by the simple rule — live and let live? Can’t we be more tolerant? Guess not.
Finally, imagine what his family has to go through now!
How young a person must be before a serious offense can be committed? We are kept being bombarded with shocking news of extreme cruelties –its bizarre and abnormal nature one surpassing the other. Last weekend, I was shocked over a piece of news. “This is something that you wouldn’t even think of in your worst nightmare, that you’d have to charge an 11-year-old with homicide,” according to CNN news. It was even sadder to see the picture of the victim — a young, happy 26-year-old mother-to-be. The killing of this heavily pregnant young woman by a 11-year-old boy took place in Wampum, PA, about 45 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, USA.
I see it as another tragedy brought about by some kind of failure on the part of the adults–both the father and the victim. The boy must have had some insurmountable problems with the dead, yet his father was too careless to ever notice something wrong in the boy.
As the adults enjoyed themselves or celebrated the arrival of a new baby, they must have ignored the needs of this young boy or even care to pay attention to him. Thus, the boy determined to get some national attention in his own way. We can trust his way, right? Wake up, adults! So sad! So stupid that it ever happened!
The adults must have grossly under-estimated the boy’s ability to solve his own problem by himself or must have failed to realize how much pain they had inflicted upon the young boy simply by their having good times with each other. They may be now punished for their ignoring the boy. Or when the father taught the boy how to shoot he failed to instill in the boy the teaching of thou-shall-not-kill together with other good virtues.
There are so many things that we parents should learn from this tragedy if we don’t want to see it happen. Yet, we parents are often too stupid to learn anything from other people’s experience. Well, time to wake up. Get smart and read my forever bona fide postings here. It’s true.
“How many families are happy when how many families are sad”–a line from an old Chinese poem entered my mind on the eve before 2009 Chinese New Year. I saw the picture of the decapitated 22-year-old Chinese student, Xin Yang, from Beijing and could not wipe out the sadness from my heart. My son described the crime as “gruesome.” I cannot imagine how her parents can deal with this tragic blow right now. They just sent their daughter to Virginia Tech on January 18 of this year and learned of her death on January 21.
I may not know the reason of the murder but I can never in my life understand how such abhorring atrocity could be ever carried out. Indeed, murders like this forever perplexes the minds of thousands of kind-hearted people. This time I am more than overcome by total astonishment. I am consumed with deep fear and concern. In fact, we all should be for the safety of our daughters.
For many Chinese parents, personal safety, self-defense and self-protection have never been ranked as important as academic achievements. Since we cannot minimize the risk factors in society and cannot prevent their venturing out, we have to prepare our daughters for the adventure.
But how can we prevent unexpected event like this? I talked to my son and found myself grabbing for words, trying to warn him of anything of this kind, but failed to utter anything specific. I wish I knew better as a parent.
“Greed goes before a fall” — revised version of “Pride goes before a fall.” This is what I finally learn from Bernard Madoff’s $50 billion Ponzi scheme fraud, the largest of its kind in history. Greed, greed, greed everywhere, on the part of Madoff, and also on the part of some of those being swindled by Madoff. It was estimated that US government might probably lose as much as $17 billion in lost tax revenue. I am sure many books will be written on this fraud and I can’t wait to read them.
In the process of this, he has succeeded in ruining many people’s lives by hoaxing away millions of dollars from them. The 70-year-old Madoff could not have broken Guinness World Records in the scale of money-swindling without an excellent teamwork of like-minded culprits. It was said that his son turned him in for “a giant Ponzi scheme.” Hopefully, this is not part of another scheme to save his sons, who have a longer road to go than a 70-year-old.
As a parent, I am more interested in the lessons that we can draw from this economic crime. What is unfolded before us are enormous greed, irresponsibility, audacity, hard-boiled crulty, carefully engineered violation of laws, and insatiable desire for more and more until the criminal gets caught and receives what he desires in the end and go down the history as the biggest money swindler.
When we are free from hunger, disease, cold and worries, with blue sky and under a sunny day, the life is so beautiful as it is. The bottom line is anything is better than knowingly doing what is wrong and eventually, fall eternally and most disgracefully.
One last note, for ordinary folks, be very cautious and do not allow greed to take you to any big or small get-rich-quick scheme.