Wedding Bells, Part I

With the new rights of same-sex couples in three states to get married has come a lot of arguing – often permeated by misinformation and outright lies. What should be a simple matter best left to history is turning into a hideous back-and-forth about the rights of the individual and the majority (not to mention the difference between a business and a church).

Last week, things happened at a pretty dizzying pace. The Supreme Court refused to hear a case regarding challenges to gay marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada. The Ninth Circuit had determined the bans were Unconstitutional, running afoul of the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause. The refusal of SCOTUS to hear the case meant that the Ninth Circuit ruling stood, effectively striking down gay marriage bans in those states. Activists in Arizona immediately jumped on the opportunity, arguing that the Ninth Circuit’s decision applied to all of the states in the division. Same-sex marriage was immediately made legal when AG Tom Horne announced that it wasn’t worth fighting and he was ordering the court clerk to begin issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples forthwith.

The argument being made by most of those opposed to same-sex marriage is that the majority voted to approve the ban, so it should be allowed to stand. Several have also tried to say that there was no ban – that the law (known in 2008 as Prop 102) was only about defining marriage as being between one man and one woman. Unfortunately, both of these arguments hold no water. Arizona’s laws regarding marriage had specifically targeted same-sex marriage, going so far as to bar state and local officials from recognizing such marriages that had been performed in other states (a la DOMA). The court wasn’t ruling on whether gay marriage was right – it was ruling that a law that singled out a particular subset of the population was Unconstitutional and could not be allowed to stand. They were right on that.

As for the majority argument? We are a Constitutional Republic, not a Democracy. Tyranny of the majority does not rule the day in America. The minority cannot be told they don’t have rights simply because the majority doesn’t want them to. I’m sure a rather strong majority of voters in Mississippi and Alabama wanted to keep Jim Crow laws when the federal government forcibly repealed them in 1964, but that didn’t make them right and it didn’t mean the court should have upheld them. There’s a majority of very liberal people in Chicago and Washington, DC. Gun laws for a long time have been so strict that carrying (or, in many cases, even owning) guns has been nearly impossible. SCOTUS had to stand up for the minority and tell the majority they were violating everyone’s rights. This is the same principle. The majority determines a lot of things; there are some things, however, best not left to a simple majority. That is the point of a Republic.

Then there’s the “G-d” argument. “G-d says marriage is between one man and one woman, so that’s the way it’s supposed to be!” If you want to believe that, it’s up to you. I’m not here to tell you you’re wrong. I am here to tell you that you cannot codify your personal religious belief into law. The only mention of religion in the entire Constitution is in the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” That means that no government entity or law can tell you what you are allowed to believe. On the same token, it also means that the government cannot pass any law based purely on one religious belief or another. Your rights to believe that I am a sinner for being gay are protected. Your right to tell me I’m a sinner for being gay are protected. You have no right to pass a law against me because I’m gay.

Which will lead into the next article…Wedding Bells, Part II: The Hitching Post!

Poor Jodi

I tend not to comment on a case while it’s still in the trial phase. Often I believe we don’t know enough about the case from what the media has said because the media will report on every little twitch, giggle and fart – truth be damned. They will report on rumors as though they are fact. This time, however, I don’t need a trial to tell me what I can tell from professional intuition. I tend to be very protective of women who have been abused. I deal with them professionally and have, more times than I can remember, watched them go back to their abusers because they don’t feel they have a way out. I know when I’m talking to a victim. I also know when I’m being strung along; not all women who claim to be victims are, and they frustrate me the most because they are the reason the true victims have such a difficult time getting help. The drama currently playing out in Phoenix is easy to figure out.

Jodi Arias is a complete sociopath.

We know what the facts are, and when you put them together they’re chilling on a level that most people don’t want to believe is possible. Jodi Arias met Travis Alexander during a conference for the company he worked for, Prepaid Legal Services, in Las Vegas in November 2006. Arias moved to Mesa (a suburb on the East edge of Phoenix proper, just East of Tempe) to maintain a relationship with Alexander. She lived with a roommate because Alexander was Mormon and living together before marriage is forbidden. By June of 2007, Arias began telling friends that she and Alexander had broken up. By April 2008, Arias moved back to Yreka, California, where she lived with her grandparents. At this point Alexander had already told his friends that Arias had been stalking him – hacking his Facebook page and slashing his tires. On June 9, after he’d missed several important appointments, co-workers and friends went to his home to check up on him. His two roommates, thinking he’d gone to Cancun, said he was out of town. Among those who had showed up to find him was one of the women he was supposed to have gone with, so they forced their way into his bedroom. Pools and trails of blood led to the master bathroom, where he was found dead (and practically mutilated) in his shower. His throat had been slashed, he had been stabbed 29 times, and he’d been shot in the face with a .25 caliber gun. He had been dead for five days. A bloody handprint was discovered on a wall and his brand-new digital camera was found in the washing machine with heavy damage.

Suspicion was immediately turned on Arias. All of Alexander’s friends agreed to give DNA samples – Arias complied as well, though she strangely began calling the lead detective on the case repeatedly to ask how the investigation was going and promising to help in any way she could. That detective discovered that Arias had also been accessing Alexander’s voicemail over the past several days and calling repeatedly, leaving multiple messages, beginning on June 4 (shortly after he would have been killed). She told the lead detective that she didn’t know anything about the crime, even said that she had last seen Alexander as she was leaving town back in April. The investigation turned up quite a trail of curious incidents.

On May 28, Arias’ grandparents called police to report a burglary. It was peculiar because the bandit took exactly one item from each room in the house, including a single .25 caliber handgun in a safe containing four guns, and cash and jewelry were left untouched. Somewhere around May 30-31, Arias asked a friend, Darryl Brewer, if she could borrow two five-gallon gas cans for a trip; on June 2, she rented a white Ford Focus from Budget Rent-A-Car and claimed the rental would be for local use only. Her credit card was used to buy several items at a Wal-Mart in Salinas, CA (including a third five-gallon gas can) and just over 20 gallons of gasoline (a Ford Focus typical to rentals only has a 12-gallon tank) on June 3. Salinas is just less than halfway between Yreka and Phoenix, a trip that would total 1013 miles according to Google Maps.

After the stop in Salinas (still 675 miles from Phoenix), her credit card wasn’t used again until June 6 – she used it in Sparks, NV, fully 737 miles from Phoenix. By then, however, she had gone to Utah to visit her new love interest – a man named Ryan Burns. He said that she was a day later than they had planned to meet and that, despite the heat, she wore long sleeves and had a bandage on one hand. She excused it by claiming she’d injured herself at work. After meeting with Burns, she drove back to Yreka. The Ford Focus was returned with more than 2800 miles on it (how’s THAT for local use?), the floor mats were missing, and the return report stated there were “kool-aid stains” on both the front and back seats.

Here’s where it gets really creepy. Mesa police were able to recover deleted images from the digital camera found in the washing machine. Whoever had run it through a wash cycle had first deleted several pictures; they wanted to be doubly certain that the images would be forever lost. Those pictures were of a sexual romp between Alexander and Arias on June 4. Both of them looked like they were having fun. Arias was even wearing pigtails during the encounter. The very last image, taken at 5:30 p.m., was of Alexander lying on the floor, bleeding profusely.

A DNA match was also made – it was Arias’ blood mixed with Alexander’s in the bloody handprint on the wall. By the time this evidence was discovered, Arias had lied to police multiple times, lied to Alexander’s family (even going so far as to send his grandmother flowers), and had gone to great lengths to throw off any evidence that she could have possibly committed the crime.

Is anyone else shivering yet?

Not even 24 hours after murdering Travis Alexander, Jodi Arias was cuddling and making out with another man in Utah. She gave no hint that anything had gone wrong. After her arrest for the murder, Arias appeared on 48 Hours to make her case to the public. Again, she lied. She admitted to being there, but that two intruders broke in and killed him – yet she had no explanation as to how she knew this and didn’t report the incident to police. Once cornered on that story, she changed the story yet again: she arrived at the new excuse she’s been using in court, that Alexander was abusive and forced her to engage in “uncomfortable” sex acts.

In my experience, a woman who has been abused to the point that she kills her abuser in a fit of blind terror isn’t arriving at that moment without there first being some kind of evidence. There are usually police reports of neighbors calling to report violence (and Alexander had two roommates), friends and relatives noticing bruises or other injuries (such as broken bones or burns), even hospital records. There was nothing on Jodi Arias. I’ve also never seen an abuse victim who didn’t live with their abuser continue to engage in a relationship with them over a period of over a year – or come back two months after moving away to have sex with them and brutally murder them.

Victims who kill their abusers don’t usually realize they’ve done it until the act is done, and it doesn’t include the extreme method that Jodi Arias used. It’s usually a single stab wound, one or two gunshot wounds, something simple and quick. It doesn’t involve heavy planning, renting a car, finding methods for purchasing gas and food well out of the way to make sure your credit card isn’t being used within hundreds of miles of the city where the crime was committed and going to play tonsil hockey with a man you’ve never met…all while claiming that you deeply loved the man you’ve killed.

Jodi Arias is a classic sociopath. She has no conscience. She feels no real emotion; emotion is a second language to her, one she has likely learned over her three decades of life to mimic. She’s proven that she is very good at turning it on and off at will to get what she wants. She is capable of telling a multitude of lies, and every time she’s caught in one lie she concocts anther set of them to cover her tracks. Now that she’s cornered yet again, she is putting on a grand show of weeping in court. I was there the day prosecutor Juan Martinez began his intense questions, yelling at her to look at the picture of Alexander’s dead body. It was an act that deserved an Oscar. It’s an act I’ve seen before and was just as unsettling in court as it is to witness in real life.

I only hope the jury is able to see through poor little Jodi’s stage act. Travis Alexander deserves justice, and victims everywhere deserve better.

Collective Salvation, Collective Guilt

Collective Salvation, Collective Guilt

As we stand one week out from the side-show of collective damnation which the Left engaged in over the Tucson shootings, it shouldn’t surprise all Americans that this is what they have witnessed.  The Progressive Left and, by default, the Progressive Right–the collectivists in both parties–operate off of the assumption that we are all responsible for each other collectively.  You will take notice there was not much condemnation from establishment “machine” Republicans against those falsely accused: Beck, Palin, the Tea Party.  Many in America have been bemoaning the fact that, for a long time, we have had no real choice in our political leaders.  Really…what choice was their between McCain and Obama; tyranny light and tyranny?  Many have speculated, including Glenn Beck, that had John McCain been elected, America would not have had the awakening it did in the form of the Tea Party movement.  Individual Americans, the public, outwardly reject the Left’s collectivism every time it is imposed upon us.  We swing back to the Right expecting that the Right will do something about the bloated government and instead all we receive in return is simple manipulation of the mechanisms the Left has already put in place.  Why?  Because Progressives in both parties operate off the same false premise of collective salvation rather than individual liberty.  Barack Obama was elected on a wave of “collective salvation.”  In fact, I would argue he was also elected on a wave of collective guilt hung around our necks by the accusatory Left, who, for generations have convinced Americans they are racist.  “Oh goody!  I get to alleviate my (supposed) racial guilt for voting for the black guy!  No matter what kinds of realistic evaluations tell me that he’s an Alinskyite Marxist!”  How could we possible expect the Right to shrink government when they hold the same basic premise as the Left–that it is government’s job to take care of people rather than protect rights.  Until the Right learns how to challenge the philosophical premises of the Left–they will continue, by default, to accept them.  The Left counts on this and plays the game by beating the Right over the head and shoulders with such words as:

You don’t want to help the poor, the sick and the infirm.  You’re hateful!

If the Right woke up and learned, philosophically, how to answer those charges on a conceptual basis, they could deflect charges like that as easily as Superman deflects bullets.  But, oftentimes they don’t–either because they are part of the game or simply because they are intellectually incapable of doing so.

I remember learning in high school about the “sphere of liberty” which surrounds each individual person.  Our nation was founded on the sovereignty and freedom of the individual precisely because it was collective ideas down through history which inevitably bring tyranny–aside from the “good intentions” of the collectivists.  All collectivists have good intentions, however, all collectivism is incontrovertibly tyrannical; whether it is a hard tyranny or soft tyranny makes little difference.  Ayn Rand states and Objectivists hold: 

Your intentions don’t count. If you are willing to believe that men should be deprived of all rights for a good cause — you are a Totalitarian…What is destroying all civilization? Just this one idea — that to a good cause everything can be sacrificed; that individual men have no rights which must be respected; that what one person believes to be good can be put over on the others by force.

Altruism is incompatible with individual freedom.  Unfortunately, these ideas of individual freedom were implicit rather than explicit in this nation’s founding documents and were left open to too much interpretation and false compromise.  This is why collectivists of all stripes have been able to corrupt the system.  You can’t continue to compromise with tyranny and expect to remain free.

To the Left, it is completely “rational” to accuse everyone who recognizes individual freedom as the standard for determining collective guilt for the shooting in Tuscon, Arizona.  Anyone who stands in the way of their imagined Utopia is precisely why everyone who values individual freedom is guilty.  Conversely, it is epistemologically sound to recognize that people are individuals, not cattle.  Even aside from being able to defend that view on a philosophical basis–which takes time and study–most people can recognize that it is inherently true simply by observation.  You are not completely free when living under your parents roof–under their rules and their terms.  The same thing happens when everyone is “taken care of” by government–government’s rules, government’s terms to exist.  You are not completely free to do as you please in whatever work environment you inhabit–you are subject to the conditions of your boss–even though contractually, at the time of hire, you may have come to certain mutual understandings, it is still their business.  Ultimately, the success or failure of that business is up to them, therefore, the boss and the boss alone is free to make the decisions he deems are in the best interests of the company.  We all have different talents, drives, desires and goals.  None of this can flourish when put under the yoke of collectivism.  No man of dignity and true self-esteem should be willing to allow himself to be enslaved by his government for supposed “security.”  Benjamin Franklin stated:

Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.

Indeed, it is the ability for individual freedom to flourish which, I would argue, is the true representation of the “Utopia” the Left seeks to impose upon everyone through the force of law.  Imposing Utopia under the force of law is, in and of itself, a contradiction–if something is imposed under the force of law–it cannot, therefore, be considered “Utopia”–at least not to the particular group of people who is being sacrificed to make the other group of people “comfortable.”  Ultimately, someone has to sacrifice so someone else can live–that is the ultimate degradation.  It is the idea of exchanging, voluntarily, value for value, not sacrifice for value, which can uphold the true free-society unburdened by compulsion.  It is for this reason, that pure laissez-faire capitalism is the only political system which upholds individual rights.  Anyone who upholds any other system or “mix” of systems–is not upholding the tenets of individual rights and freedom.  There can be no compromise on basic principles.

This display of desperate malignancy by the Left has certainly given Americans a glimpse of what people turn into when they are consigned to collective societies.  They become animals.  Since everyone is collectively responsible, everyone is collectively guilty.  Therefore, you get growing numbers of pressure groups willing to feed off of and fight each other for the scraps which the benevolent collectivists get to hand out.  Why?  So the collectivists can satiate their need to cry their benevolence to whatever secular or theological powers they feel commands them–whether it is their emotions or their God.  In some cases, it really is simply a lust for political power one man seeks to hold over his brethren.  It breeds a society of contempt, jealousy, and malignancy–exactly the opposite of what the Left and Progressive Right’s stated intentions are.  The principle I am outlining here is the Marxist creed of “from each according to his ability to each according to his need.”  Ayn Rand addressed this hopelessly illogical and contradictory creed in Atlas Shrugged in her “story within a story” about The Twentieth Century Motor company.  You can find an excerpt at my Facebook page here

Love of our brothers? That’s when we learned to hate our brothers for the first time in our lives. We began to hate them for every meal they swallowed, for every small pleasure they enjoyed, for one man’s new shirt, for another’s wife’s hat, for an outing with their family, for a paint job, on their house–it was taken from us, it was paid for by our privations, our denials, our hunger. We began to spy on one another, each hoping to catch the others lying about their needs, so as to cut their ‘allowance’ at the next meeting. We began to have stool pigeons who informed on people, who reported that somebody had bootlegged a turkey to his family on some Sunday–which he’d paid for by gambling, most likely. We began to meddle in one another’s lives. We provoked family quarrels, to get somebody’s relatives thrown out. Any time we saw a man starting to go steady with a girl, we made life miserable for him. We broke up many engagements. We didn’t want anyone to marry, we didn’t want any more dependents to feed.

The collectivist’s damnation of everyone who seeks to uphold individual freedom is also a mockery of justice.  If everyone is collectively responsible–and everyone is collectively guilty–then there are no such things as “criminals.” Why have a legal system?  It’s amazing, isn’t it, how all these things when presented come together to form a coherent whole?  It’s not so mysterious anymore why the Left always seeks to uphold criminality and a depraved society void of all human virtue.  In fact, why even attempt to uphold the ideal of a government subordinated by society to moral, objective law?  Let, anarchy and tyranny (two sides of the same collectivist coin) commence!

You scream loudly to me that you are not collectively guilty of the shooting in Tuscon, America?  Well, then–I think it’s about time we get to kicking some serious collectivist ass, in both parties.  Don’t you?  If not, you better get used to liking and living with your collective guilt–because that is the damnation that awaits all of us if we don’t.