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This Morning, in a Courtroom

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Justice Interruptus. . 

This morning I walked past a newspaper headline: 

Judge in Tracy torture case attacked by Lodi murder suspect at Stockton courthouse


          Posted: 03/04/2009 03:41:36 PM PST

And I wonder how we can NOT talk about the issues of men hating women and doing something about it — physical, attacking, stabbing or shooting . . . 

Or about the role of how words [as our world becomes more virtual and vicarious, words are among the basic tools:  the lever, the inclined plane, the wheel, the Word],:  make actions happen at global speed, weaving webs of hate, love, social connection (or disconnection), labeling, interpreting.  And they also prevent things from happening.  They incite emotions that ignite actions.

About why are fuses so short these days?  Or who is provoking whom?  Or WHY do so many people take justice or revenge, literally, into their own hands — as this young man (age, 28) took –literally, a (female) JUDGE into his hands today.  She was rolled out of the courtroom – – he didn’t make it that far, and one wonders, did he intend to?  I mean, does a man attacking a judge think beyond that moment?  

But his girlfriend, dying, and the cause of this courthouse “conference,” had a smaller audience:


Paradiso was on trial for allegedly stabbing his girlfriend, Eileen Pelt, in the neck as his mother drove them in her car. Debra Paradiso told police her son forced her to drive to Amador County, where he dumped the body. Paradiso’s attorney, Charles Pacheco, said in opening arguments last week that his client was high on methamphetamine at the time. Pacheco did not immediately return a call Wednesday seeking comment.

Take, for example, the words/concepts:  “Sanctuary,” “Safe houses,” “Shelter,” or “Restraining Orders” are they maybe just mythic concepts in use to keep us (or at least those of us statistically lucky enough) walking around with a sense of quasi-immunity, because that’s THEM and we are US, back and forth to work, home, schools, worship, businesses, government offices.  

Are these concrete realities, or are or these the verbal equivalents of valium?    Are they placebos used to keep us the business of a country — or a global village — kachunk, kachunk, kachunk — glopping, trompling, sawing itself sloppily down the road of time, making history, and each generation of conquerors retelling it to their subjects, and offspring[“Mind your place in society”], so that a critical mass can keep on manufacturing more bread & circus distractions, and producing food, at least minimally, for those who can afford it, or make it to a food bank.  

“Well,” it’s said, or MUST be said, “at least MOST people are not shot or injured in their homes, or places of business, or in the course of their job descriptions,” such as comes up in today’s headlines.

But for the rest  – – – about this “Safety” — if it ain’t safe inside a courtroom (Lodi, California, see below), or a school (See Columbine, Amish country, PA, you name it, see it), or in our homes (cf. domestic violence restraining orders across the country), or churches (a Los Angeles church on lockdown, or NJ church, the other year, or <a href=”“>a Colorado one), or the church parking lots (Oakland, Calif. 2007), or beauty salons and surrounding apts. (Martinez, Calif. 2008), even for responding officers, or 3 children in their father’s home (Castillo, Maryland, 2008), or  Buffalo, NY (Seems as if it was just last week, she was beheaded?), ?????? or as an 11 year old shot his pregnant stepmom in Pennsylvania, then got on a bus and went to school and more people are “clueless” and had “no red lights” as to why. . . . then I think we have to converse about the word “sanctuary” in this country.

Here’s a man back in 2001 that was having an “off day,” about 3 months after separating from his (13 years younger) wife. It was blamed on “marital strife” — half her fault, I’m sure. Marital strife didn’t pull a trigger, a person did. Let me make a wild guess as to which person wanted to separate. Neither succeeded. (Depression IS a red flag..)

Or here’s just another day at school, same year, same part of the country:

3,000 Locked in School for 6 Hours After Gunfire

The early morning shooting of a school police officer outside Belmont High School on Monday led to a nearly daylong lock-down of the huge campus near downtown Los Angeles–a precaution that forced students to scrounge for food, while away the hours listening to rock music and relieve themselves in plastic sacks provided by their teachers.

For one, that school is just too damn big.

Recently divorced could be a problem.  Then again, so could recently-married.  This one is RECENT:
(yesterday, Cleveland)

Police Chief Michael McGrath said it appears that some sort of domestic argument sparked Thursday’s shootings, which he called “one of the worst multiple shootings that I’ve seen in a long time.”

Crawford has convicted in 1995 of voluntary manslaughter, according to prison records. He was released from prison in 2000 and sent back in 2002 on a felonious assault conviction involving domestic violence, according to prison records. He was freed again in 2007.

Killed Thursday were Lechea Crawford, 30, her 25-year-old sister, Rose Stevens, and Stevens’ three children: Destanee Woods[age, 4] and twins Dion and Davion Primm [age, 2].

A 7-year-old was wounded and was being treated at MetroHealth Medical Center; the child’s name and condition were withheld at the family’s request.

Two other boys in the house, ages 12 and 13, managed to flee unharmed and one called 911, officials said.

AND, if you are going to leave your man, do NOT go to the house of people you love and know, and are known to him . . . . Domestic Dispute Leads To Murder-Suicide. The story tells who pulled the trigger, but the headline blames it on a “dispute.” In fact, sounds to me like the police are kinda sorta blaming it on the woman for wanting to leave the guy:

Two people are dead and one injured after a domestic situation erupted into a murder-suicide in a southeast valley neighborhood. Police say it began Thursday when a woman served divorce papers to her husband. The husband, 42-year-old Ricky Shadoan, reportedly went to his wife’s parents’ house on Del Sueno Drive, near Hacienda and Mountain Vista. There, Ricky Shadoan reportedly confronted his wife and an argument ensued. He shot her multiple times, then shot her father before turning the gun on himself. His wife was able to flee to a neighbor’s house and call for help. When police arrived, Shadoan and his wife’s father were both dead. His wife was taken to Sunrise Hospital, where she is expected to recover.
TM & Copyright 2009 KXNT Radio Inc.  [underlines added]

It’s the situation’s fault.  It was unexpected.  It’s the woman’s fault, she provoked him, and he “reportedly” came and “reportedly” shot. . . NOW:  There’s a dead divorcing man, in said home, a dead father-in-law, in said home, and a divorcing woman calling 911 with lots of gunshot wounds.  BUT, we wouldn’t want to take her word at face value now, would we ??

And I think a genuine dialogue MUST happen with people that are neither trying to LIGHT THE FUSE (incite) OR, to DEFUSE what is indeed already lit.  I think a dialogue most happen with people that are either uninformed or on the fence (father’s rights, mother’s right’s) about whether this premise that safety can somehow be “produced” in a populace, or community.  

We have to look at the words being used by whom and for what purpose.  It is no longer acceptable to take them at face value, to take their baits.  For example, in MY book, if there’s a body count, it’s more serious than a “dispute.”  If there was already a history of domestic violence in the case then the word “erupted’ is misleading.  We need to vigorously say, WHY are we discussing this issue, instead of that one?  Why reporting this detail, and not that, and look at the history of these ideas.

One of the most critical topics I have to report is why it is so unsafe for women and children to divorce, or separate, from men, when violence has occurred.  WHY is the court coming in and trying to Humpty Dumpty things that two adults have said they do not want to do — live together, or for that matter, talk a whole lot more than necessary, either.    

Why, for some men, is being divorced such a horror they will kill to avoid it?  It’s not like there’s not more sex available.  Is it the domestic services?  The public reputation?  The second income?  Having exposed the perfect family facade?    (I’m female, and don’t have the answers, so pose them).


IS safety a place??  . . .  

IS it a legal reality?  

ARE taxes or stimuli, or education, or religion, or self-defense guns, or more jobs, are they really going to make it happen?  

How many more lives are going to be lost (or, simply wasted) attempting to achieve some nonviolent utopia?  And at what cost? 

IS it an illusion it’s time for us to give up, communally, I mean?

My Bible says, “Safety is of the Lord….”    I’ll post-pone that conversation for now, and how my brain detoxed the meanings of “house of worship” and “sanctuary” the way, before I went from home to church seeking help (from battery, assaults, humiliation, cursings, beggings and threats — behind closed doors, and smiles, in public) from pastors 1, 2, 3, 4, and (I lost count), my mind was also able to separate the word and concept of “husband” from what I was experiencing.      The brain is a remarkably fluid organ and adaptable, up to a point. . . . Like I said, I’ll file that for later blogs.

But, “what’s a woman to do?”  “Where’s (or, more to the point, “How’s”) a man to get some respect?   . . . . We can’t just go on hating, and thereafter killing, meanwhile telling women to submit (in church) and comply with the court orders, but reward men who don’t with full custody of their children, and no contact to the complaining mother, in the name of family preservation, for supposedly the good of our populace.  

THAT wasn’t a family, which is why someone left!

Nor can we just keep on keeping on,  saying, it’s not my family, it’s a private matter.

No it’s not.  And when on a murder trial, the defendant is shot dead, and the judge is injured – – these are NOT private matters.  

Logically speaking, if the (A) separate-from-the-church government institutions are not going to produce it, or the religion-driven government, or the (B)  faith institutions and communities that consider themselves morally superior (transl:   “separated from the government, and laws about not hitting women, or making them beg for necessities, or abusing children either”) are not going to protect women and children — and it’s clear that (C) nuclear, 2-parent families aren’t exactly the refuges they are cracked up to be either — then we need to stop talking about “Safety plans” and “restraining orders” and “law enforcement” and start thinking self-defense/self-protection, every man for himself.

(But what about the women??)

So here we are, March 4th, 2009, in Stockton, California:

Somewhere, somehow, there is a screwup, and a man on trial for murder manages to get a weapon of some sort past the screening process — do not MOST courtrooms have this now?   — and his out of order mother, yelling, causes disruption enough, to cause a recess.  “Disorder in the Court” 

Taking advantage of that disorder, a young man lunges at and attacks the judge.  She is hauled off in a stretcher, and he is shot – to death — by a police officer.  So, does that cancel out the dead, dumped, stabbed girlfriend?  What about the mother?  What about the public?  What about the responding officer??

There is a dead body, and a police-shooting.  Who is to be blamed?  The public needs an answer.  The family needs an answer — anything, so that we can make sure THAT’s not US.  

Aaron Paradiso, the suspect’s brother, told KCRA-TV of Sacramento that his brother was “crazy” and said he had told authorities and attorneys that he shouldn’t be put on the stand. He said his mother had warned deputies that the family believed Paradiso had a cutting weapon from some sort of clipper or scissors.

I assure you, someone will be blamed.  Or, it will be grammatically expunged into passive tense.  

Maybe it won’t bother you like it does me.  Maybe you have not, personally, been through the situation involving a knife, an attack, a lockdown, dealing firsthand with armed law enforcement, or lost a son or daughter to gun or knife violence – by a crook, or a quick-reflexed public servant with a gun (BART Fruitvale, New Year’s Eve, Oakland anyone?) .  Or, maybe this is part of your terrain, and you’ve figured out how to go one with life as if normal because for you and yours, that IS.   Then, I speculate whether you would not think the thoughts I thought this morning.  I have not personally dealt with a drug-abusing partner, or used drugs myself, but the features of this situation have come up to me — losing daughters (to the family court system), battery from a husband, denial from religious institutions, family betrayals, reaching out beyond him (spouse), or, OK, her, Family, Church communities, Employment, Doctors (yes, I told my doctor), Dentists, Pastors (plural) and finally now the local family justice law center. 

Hurrah, I thought, several years ago.  “Phew!” I thought.  I thought, I’m solvent, I’m restraining-ordered, I’m in a good home and back in my profession, I am indeed being a “good” Mom and very carefully a good girl.  I’m co-parenting.  I’m working hard, and I’m HAPPY.  

In my case — my innocence about the larger world post-marriage, and the status of single mothers not needing government assistance in this country — I thought we were a family, people.  No, sir.  We were an opportunity, a market niche.  We were not leaving abuse the politically correct way.  We were not needing a man — in the home. . ..    Shame on us.  

Thereafter (see my first post, “Opening Salvo,” link to the woman who escaped South Bronx, but was defeated by social services in Palo Alto, and lost her son after she lost her mind, and asked for government help….).    

So now, I am much more cautious than before.  It’s like a born-again experience, you cannot go through this and come out the same, and act the same (I think).  Nor do you want to, and get smacked upside the head again.  And again.  Also, having endured the years of isolation, I am much more communally minded.  This has its downsides, such as being bothered by headlines, and feeling it necessary to address them.  Such as noticing language more carefully.  It took me a long time to realize why — it was those words of paying close attention to my spouse, and gauging the safety of this evening, or the possibility of permission (or gas) to leave home this evening, or weekend, or today.  Those were survival skills.


And some of the “clueless” people reading the papers need to talk to those of us who are NOT clueless, who can read an  article, see the indicators, the omissions, and the role of, yes, the COURTS in screwing up a family’s life to the point that now there are bodies to count, and those children (or relatives) will NEVER be the same again. 



This is all I can handle tonight.  I am going to post this blog and edit it tomorrow.  They will improve with time.  In a corner of my mind, though, I am always urgent to get it out there, in case tomorrow does not happen, my life will have made a dent in the fabric of possibilities here, for my daughters (who I so much miss, every day — and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! When you’re both 18, we can discuss this, if you want) and for others’ daughters.  And sons.  

<><><><><>Below here is officially draft status and came earlier in the writing process. 

SO, today, I walked out, past a newspaper headline. . . . and the judge is being wheeled out on a stretcher…

Here’s a man on trial for murder, here’s his Mom, here’s the courtroom, here’s the bailiff, there — one hopes — are the people screening for weapons, here are the audience.  

Reminds me of the nursery rhyme, at least from my childhood:  You fold your hands together a certain way:  “Here’s the church” (fingers interlaced together), “Here’s the steeple” (two index fingers point up, touching each other), “open the doors” (thumbs out) “and here are the people.”  (wiggle the remaining 8 fingers).  

I mean, how do YOU file incidents like this?  In your mind? 

What a family.  I wonder if he was the product of a single-parent family?  Of a bad neighborhood?  Of substance-abusing family?  How do we get to the point where a young man, age 28, stabs his girlfriend in the neck, killing her, and a mother not only witnesses this, but is involved.  Now this same man is about to face accountability for this — which ideally we, we want, right?  

Or, as a good citizen, is it my duty not to think about this, but only about my own household bottom line, contribution, and immediate needs??  What say you?

I have been researching the history of these courts (not the criminal, but the ancillary ones) and the ideas floating around.  I have been watching HOW murders that come from romantic/ male-female situations happened, and I personally know how some people have become homeless, courtesy a bevvy of government-funded “helpers” with great ideas.  

Remember the Trojan Horse.  Beware Greeks bearing gifts.

Beware the unsolicited “helpers,” and

Don’t take candy from strangers.

(FYI, this may include “public servants.”)


I was not so jaundiced, but this morning, I walked out past a newspaper headline…..

Written by Let's Get Honest|She Looks It Up

March 6, 2009 at 4:31 am

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