True Crime

True Crime

Criminology is such a huge and important topic that an entire genre of true crime has sprung up around it. You can find true crime stories in all formats (books, movies, documentaries, TV shows, websites, live plays, radio programs, games, etc). The topic is horrifying, entertaining, and comical all at once. It can leave you gasping for breath and then have you rolling on the floor laughing.

Many people enjoy a good scare – such as when you watch a scary movie or ride a scary ride. People know that they aren’t actually in danger, but they still get the adrenaline rush. When people read about true crime, it’s as close as they can get to the danger–without actually endangering themselves. At the same time they are usually learning (hopefully) what mistakes not to make should they ever encounter a similar real life situation. It is thrilling and educational at the same time.

The Fulton County Public Library usually does a true crime display around Halloween (a time when many delight in being scared).

True Crime 002

One of the most famous true crime writers is Ann Rule.

Ann-Rule

Ann Rule was a police woman turned true crime writer and lecturer. She led an interesting life which you can read about on her bio page: Ann Rule Bio.  Rule wrote 36 books and multiple magazine articles. I’ve come across many Ann Rule books in my library read through.

In my opinion, Ann Rule’s most chilling book is The Stranger Beside Me.

The Stranger Beside Me

The reason I believe this book is the most haunting of all of the Rule books is because it is personal to Ann Rule. Ted Bundy (yes, the serial killer) and Ann Rule worked together at a Seattle crisis prevention center. Ann considered Ted Bundy a personal friend and spent many hours with him, even entertaining him in her home. Of course, at the time Ann had no idea what Ted was capable of doing. After all, their job at the crisis center was to save lives. Ann and Ted were friends for 18 years. I also find it rather chilling to think that Bundy was a trusted coworker. How well do we know our coworkers? I feel sure that Ann Rule had many occasions in which she thought about how close she (or her daughter) was to being a Bundy victim.

There is also a movie The Stranger Beside Me which is based on the book by the same name. It was a made for TV movie in 2003, so it’s not too scary for most people to watch.

Other books written by Ann Rule are about true crimes that she investigated beyond the newspaper headlines. Ann Rule was always interested in trying to figure out the “whys” behind the criminal act.

While Ann Rule’s books deal with very serious crimes, the next book America’s Dumbest Criminals  by Daniel Butler, Leland Gregory, and Alan Ray deals with the more ridiculous and rather comical stories of crime.

America's Dumbest Criminals

This book contains several very short stories of true but seriously dull witted criminals. This book is a quick, entertaining, and humorous read. There was a TV show by the same name which is now available on YouTube which can be quite hilarious.

Are you a True Crime Reader? Do you prefer the more serious stories or do you enjoy the humorous ones?

 

 

 

 

Bad Guys

bad guy

The library read through of the Fulton County Public Library is still ongoing in the 360’s (Social Problems & Social Services).  I have officially reached the 364’s (Criminology). Criminals, unfortunately, are a major social problem. We can learn a lot by studying the criminal mind set and behaviors. Hopefully the knowledge gained through Criminology will help us to predict and prevent bad events from happening. (For more information on how to protect yourself from criminals, read my post about Predators.)

In The Giant Book of Bad Guys: The World’s Worst Crooks, Gangsters, Murderers, Despots, and Desperadoes by Ian Shott the topics of dictators, serial killers, robbers, and gangsters are explored through real life stories.

The Giant Book of Bad Guys

I’m quite interested in the true crime genre. As pointed in out in my post Lying, crime sells. It’s a huge money maker in multiple formats. I’ve seen many documentaries, movies,  TV shows, and have read many different types of books and magazine articles about criminals. Bad Guys is the first time I’ve encountered a category called “The High IQ” killer. Of course I have read about the typical very smart sociopaths and psychopaths, but didn’t realize that “High IQ” is an actual category.  I found this to be quite interesting in the book as well as some of the historical information.

The next book about bad guys that I read was Villiains, Scoundrels, and Rogues: Incredible True Tales of Mischief and Mayhem by Paul Martin. This book is exactly what it sounds like.

Villians, Scoundrels, and Rogues

Because I don’t think I could write it any better I have shamelessly copied below the descriptive summary out of the Fulton County Public Library catalog, which in turn was a quote from the publisher.

“Everyone loves a good villain! From the back pages of history, vivid, entertaining portraits of little-known scoundrels whose misdeeds range from the simply inept to the truly horrifying. Even if you’re an avid history buff, you’ve probably never heard of this disreputable cast of characters: A drunken, ne’er-do-well cop who abandoned his post at Ford’s Theatre, giving assassin John Wilkes Booth unchallenged access to President Lincoln; a notorious Kansas quack who made millions by implanting billy goat testicles in gullible male patients; and America’s worst female serial killer ever. These are three of the memorable but little-known rogues profiled in this eye-opening and entertaining book. Dividing his profiles into three categories–villains, scoundrels, and rogues–author and former National Geographic editor Paul Martin serves up concise, colorful biographies of thirty of America’s most outrageous characters. Whether readers choose to be horrified by the story of Ed Gein, Alfred Hitchcock’s hideous inspiration for Psycho, or marvel at the clever duplicity of the con artist who originated the phony bookie operation portrayed in The Sting, there’s something here for everyone. Brimming with audacious, unforgettable characters often overlooked by standard history books, this page-turner is a must for anyone with an interest in the varieties of human misbehavior”– Provided by publisher.

From this book, I learned that Ed Gein was the ultimate “psycho.” His behavior was so disturbing that the details of his killing spree  (which took place in 1952) couldn’t be put together all in one movie. Because of Gein’s crimes, Robert Bloch wrote the book Psycho in 1959 which Alfred Hitcock later turned into the movie Psycho in 1960. The Norman Bates character was based on Ed Gein. It was because of Ed Gein that Hollywood began to develop the ghastly characters of  many horror movies. It wasn’t until 1974 that another movie, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, was produced and was also based on Ed Gein’s crime spree. The leather masked killer and cannibal was inspired by Gein. Later in 1991 another movie, The Silence of the Lambs, was in theaters. In The Silence of the Lambs, character Buffalo Bill was a demented transsexual who slaughtered women and used their skins to make various clothing articles for himself so he could dress up in them to turn himself into a woman. This repulsive behavior was based on true details of Ed Gein’s insane behavior. If Ed Gein had not gone on his murderous crime spree in 1952, the movie horror genre might not exist as we know it.

Ed Gein was also somewhat inspirational in the realm of music. You may have heard the children’s song whose lyrics include:

Buffalo Bill won’t you come out tonight

come out tonight

come out tonight

Buffalo Bill won’t you come out tonight and

Dance by the light of the moon

which likely refers, at least in part, to Ed Gein who would dress up in his “woman suit” and go outside and dance in the full moon. (There is also a creepy dance scene in The Silence of the Lambs which is based on Gein’s dancing.)

In movies or books do you ever identify with the bad guys? If you were an actor, would you want to play the good guys or the bad guys?

 

High Tech Waste and Recycling

burningwire

Have you ever had a digital device that died? Even if you were responsible and took it to a recycling center, have you ever wondered what the recycling center does with dead digital devices? Sometimes devices such as phones, computers, laptops, tablets, plasma TVs, etc are just no longer wanted because their owners have upgraded. There are the options of selling and gifting your unwanted devices, but eventually those devices will either die or no longer be wanted by their new owners. Sooner or later all of these devices end up in trash heaps awaiting recycling. Most people think that by taking an unwanted or dead device to a recycling center that the recycling center actually recycles it by reworking it and then reselling it. This is true to an extent but what normally happens is the middle men, women, children, and country.

child in tech trash

To put it rather simplistically, the recycling centers in the US (as well as other developed countries) collect all of the unwanted or broken high tech devices. Then they are loaded onto ships and exported to third world countries where the devices are disassembled and end up in supposedly temporary trash heaps.

keyboard and mouse

digital gizmosPile of Waste - Electronic Waste Documentation (China: 2007)

Americans own over 2 billion pieces of high tech equipment and discard 5-7 million tons of electronic equipment each year. Add in the E-waste of other developed countries to all of this and this becomes a huge global issue.

Once this high tech trash reaches it’s destination it is sorted into like piles, disassembled, and then the recycling process begins–almost all  picked apart by hand (another reason all of your personal information should be wiped from any electronic device before it is discarded. Learn more about how to protect yourself by reading my post about Identity Theft).

cell-phone-landfills

In the majority of situations no safety equipment or precautions are used. Wires are stripped down by burning off the protective insulation.

ewasteland.burning.IMG_1121.360gpexport

Once the stripping of  electronics and burning processes begin, there are threats to human health and the environment because workers (who do not usually wear gloves or masks) are exposed to toxic chemicals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, and various plastics to mention just a few. Not only is there danger of absorption through the skin, open wounds, cuts, etc but by burning off the wires, some of the toxins are airborne and may affect residents and animals in the area by forcing them to breathe in toxic fumes.

section_03_burning

Once the component parts are broken down and items like copper and other metals are harvested then they can be sold to high tech companies who then will use the materials to make more electronic devices and are thus recycled.

Elizabeth Grossman does a great job of describing this issue in depth in her book High Tech Trash: Digital Devices, Hidden Toxics, and Human Health.

High Tech Trash

It seems that all of our electronic equipment such as computers, cell phones, smart devices, etc is safe for human use as long as these devices remain intact. The toxins, health threats, and environmental threats do not occur until the e-waste recycling process begins.

Europe is light years ahead of the US in terms of understanding the significant threats created through the recycling process of high tech devices. Europe regulates which materials are used in high tech devices to begin with and also monitors e-waste recycling. The US has not officially recognized the ongoing threats to human health and the environmental effects of toxins in high tech devices and takes no active involvement in the recycling process.

Another book I checked out was Recycling by Rebecca Stefoff.

recycling

This book (as you can see) is usually now cataloged as a children’s book, but when first cataloged in 1993 by the Fulton County Public Library, it was put into the adult nonfiction section. Recycling was really just beginning to be widely practiced during the 90’s so this book was quite topical for it’s time. Because it’s now at least 24 years old, I will only mention it briefly as part of my read through of the Fulton County Public Library.  I believe that the majority of Dewey Hop readers are familiar with the basic concept of recycling.

Do you think the US should in any way regulate the recycling of high tech devices? Were you aware of threats to the environment or human health during the recycling process of electronics?

 

The Mystery Blogger Award

The mystery bloggers award

Dewey Hop is once again honored to receive another award. This time it’s The Mystery Blogger Award. Many thanks to Melinda at purpleslobinrecovery for nominating Dewey Hop.

Okoto Enigma created this award as a means of helping bloggers connect and discover amazing blogs. This is what she says the The Mystery Blogger Award is for:

“Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve any of the recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.

Here are the rules for accepting/nominating for this award:

  1. Post the award/ image on your blog .
  2. Thank whoever nominated you and give a link back to their blog.
  3. Mention the creator of the award and give a link back to her blog.
  4. Nominate some deserving bloggers and notify your nominees by commenting on their blogs.
  5. Ask your nominees 5 questions of your choice; including one weird or funny question.

So without further ado, here are the answers to the questions I received:

  1. If you could change one thing about our country, what would it be and why?

I would make abortion illegal. I believe in the sanctity of human life. Also, I consider killing an unborn child to be murder.

    2. Which super hero powers would you like to have, if given a chance? Why ?

Super speed like Super Man! I would like to have super speed because I could rush through annoying chores/house keeping, etc and then slow down for more enjoyable activities. I would be able to accomplish so much more each day!

     3. What motivates you to blog (write) ?

As far as the Dewey Hop blog, I blog because it’s part of my job at the Fulton County Public Library. I love reading the library books and getting to share what I’ve read about. Not only is this aspect of my job enjoyable, I’m learning a lot too! I also enjoy all the interaction with fellow bloggers.

As far as writing which isn’t my job–like the book I’m writing–I have several reasons. The main reason for the book is to keep a promise to my oldest tadpole. (For more info read Suicide and Survival.) It’s also a healing experience for me. I am hoping to help many others through very difficult circumstances of life because we’re all in this together!

     4. What is something you like to collect, if anything?  

I collect country angels. I will post a picture of a few of them.

 

Angels 041

Angels 027

Angels 028

All of these angels are on the top of my desk at home. I will spare you all the rest! Just take my word for it-there are a lot of them! The ones I collect are all hand crafted (although I didn’t make any of them).  I do have a few that were mass manufactured (none pictured in this post), but they look like hand crafted ones and mostly those are some that other people have given me but that fit in with my collection.

     5. If given the chance to rename any fast food restaurant, which would it be?                  What would it’s new name be?

I am not a big fan of fast food as most of it is unhealthy (although that is beginning to change with some menu choices). If I had to rename any fast food joints, it probably wouldn’t be nice names so, “If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all” seems to apply here!

I am happy with the questions that were asked of me, so if my nominees would like to participate, please just use the same questions.

Should they choose to accept The Myster Blogger Award and participate, here are my nominations:

  1. Tierney – Tierney is truly a blogger who inspires and motivates! She is a versatile blogger as well. Not only does Tierney inspire and motivate in creative endeavers she’s also very thought provoking in sharing her thoughts about the audiobooks she loves to listen to. She also sometimes shares her hiking adventures, life with her dogs, and life with the other human in her household Terry the Quilting Husband (TTQH).  I always look forward to her posts and adventures.
  2. Camie-Camie is a “new to me” blogger that I’ve only just discovered and she’s already an inspiration to me! She has a way of making events come to life through her writing. I enjoy all of the pictures she shares in describing her life events and adventures.
  3. Cale-Cale is a fun blogger who blogs about his life experiences through organizations, family, home, and work. He is very inspirational because he is always involved in different projects. He is pretty handy around his house and always has multiple projects going on on the homefront. He’s helping to build a cabin get away with his family. His energy level is always high and he’s “real” in writing about his experiences. In addition to all of the above, he also does movie reviews which are always interesting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drinking Water

driking water

Have you ever wondered what’s actually in your drinking water?

Typical Tap Water Content:
  • Chlorine.
  • Fluorine compounds.
  • Trihalomethanes (THMs)
  • Salts of: arsenic. radium. aluminium. copper. lead. mercury. cadmium. barium.
  • Hormones.
  • Nitrates.
  • Pesticides.

Tap Water Content – chemicals and contaminants in water

freshlysqueezedwater.org.uk/waterarticle_watercontent.php

The US used to have a pretty safe drinking water supply but with more and more chemicals being used in things like farming, landscaping, pest control (to only mention a few situations) our water supply is in jeopardy and already contaminated in many areas. To try to keep our drinking water free of bacteria and other harmful substances additives are sometimes used to kill bacteria and to assist in filtering out harmful substances.  Unfortunately many of the things being added to our water with the intent of helping us are the very things that may be creating some serious health problems.

Well water which isn’t exposed to air before entering your home may present problems with radon.  When exposed to air, radon evaporates quickly, so the problem with radon in water isn’t drinking it, but inhaling it. If your primary source of water is from a well, you will need to take special precautions when cooking, showering, filling your washing machine and filling your bathtub.

The Drinking Water Book

The Drinking Water Book: How to Eliminate Harmful Toxins from your Water by Colin Ingram explores these problems and many more.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates at least twenty thousand cases of cancer in the United States each year are caused by radon inhalation. p. 13

Additionally people may improperly dispose of all sorts of medications by flushing them down toilets or rinsing them down sinks along with household toxins found in cleaning supplies–all of which get into our water supply and may or may not get filtered back out of our water.

drugs in water

If you live in a city, you may want to request a copy of your utility’s test report. This report should tell you if there are any pollutants above government limits. (Be leery of any pollutants listed whether above government limits or not.) If the utility’s report shows any type of volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) have your water tested for their presence. Even if radon isn’t listed on the utility report, you should inquire at your local health department to find out if high concentrations of radon have been detected in your area. If so, have your home tested for airborne radon. It’s possible that you may have other types of pollutants in your tap water in amounts too low to test or because the tests performed didn’t cover those pollutants. If you choose to test your water, it can either be done professionally or by an inexpensive self testing kit.

If your water source is from a well or a spring, it’s recommended that you get a test for bacteria at least once a year and preferably during the rainy season. Test for pollutants at least every two years and consider using a whole house water purification system if  your test is positive for any type of volatile organic chemicals. Just like city folks, you should find out about any reports in your area of high concentrations of radon and if there are these areas around you, you too should test your home for airborne radon.

Both city and country dwellers should us an alternative to drinking straight tap water. Here are a few alternatives to drinking straight tap water:

  1. Bottled Water– Bottled water is fairly inexpensive but not without it’s own set of problems. For instance, there aren’t  a lot of laws about bottled water and just because it’s bottled doesn’t mean it has been filtered. For example, I once bought a bottle of water and then read the side of it. It said it was from “The Municipality of …” If you ever see that, on a bottle of water, it’s probably just bottled tap water from another city. This would be the worst type of bottled water. If the water has actually been filtered it is a better alternative to straight tap water. Also, the plastic bottle itself can contribute to health issues unless it says it’s “BPA free.” All plastics (dishes, reusable water bottles, etc) should be BPA free for maximum protection of your health. Disposable plastics never degrade and therefore contribute to the pollution of the planet.
  2. Carbon Filters– are a good choice for filtering tap water that you intend to drink or cook with. This filtration systems can be attached directly to your sink or faucet easily and fairly inexpensively. Using a filtering pitcher such as a Brita is also a good thing. (Check to make sure it’s now available in BPA free.) Carbon filtering is one of the oldest and most reliable ways to filter water.
  3. Distilled Water– the practice of drinking only distilled water is hotly debated. Advocates claim that by drinking distilled water you will purify your body and be in glowing health. Opponents of this practice claim that by drinking only distilled water you deny your body essential minerals. If you choose to use this method be sure to eat many different types of organic fruits and vegetables. You will need the minerals and vitamins found in natural foods.
  4. Boiled Water– Boil water in a stainless steel, glass, or porcelin pot for about 10 minutes for maximum safety.  There has been a link made between naturally occurring aluminum in water with Alzheimer’s. Many people prefer to avoid using aluminum pots and pans due to the possible link with Alzheimer’s. The best think to do is boil water in a nonaluminum pot. If you will be storing water for drinking or cooking, you should store it in a glass container.

Don’t Drink the Water (Without Reading This Book): The Essential Guide to Our Contaminated Drinking Water and What You Can Do About It by Lono Kahuna Kupua A’O is another excellent book which explores all of the above issues and more.

Don't Drink the Water

In this book Kahuna Kupua A’O also explores drinking water from a health perspective and from a spiritual perspective. In particular I was impressed with his comments about dehydration which is a huge contributor to various ailments and diseases. Humans instinctively do not like the smell and taste of water that has been altered by chlorination and chemicals and often won’t drink it. This may or may not be a conscious decision. People may learn to avoid drinking water due to this instinct to avoid contaminated water and may only drink it if they are thirsty and can’t find an alternative drink. People who do this are usually already dehydrated–a process that begins from the inside out. Some health problems that can develop from chronic dehydration are: heart disease, asthma, ulcers, gastro-intestinal illnesses, high blood pressure, and arthritis. He goes on to say that he believes many other diagnosis that patients receive are actually misdiagnosed cases of dehydration.

We all must have water to survive and I hope this post has given you information to drink water more safely.

Do you filter your tap water? What do you do to help ensure your water supply is safe? Did you know about all the additives in our drinking water?

 

 

 

 

Versatile Blogger Award

versatile-blogger-award-konacna

The Dewey Hop blog has once again been honored with an award! I would like to thank Cale at Diaries of a Scatterbrain for nominating Dewey Hop and for his constant support. Cale described Dewey Hop as “versatile, informative, fun, and original.”

In order accept this award, I must list the rules (slightly altered since I never could follow directions! 😉 ) :

THE RULES:

  • You have to thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog!
  • Nominate bloggers of your choice.
  • Link the nominees and inform them about their nomination.
  • Share some facts about yourself.

NOMINEES:

I  (like Cale) will do my best to nominate people who really are versatile, informative, fun, and original. Bloggers, please don’t feel that you have to participate if you don’t want to, but you do deserve this honor whether you participate or not.

Tiereny – tierenycreates

Prepper -Prepper 365

The 20 Something Existential Crisis

Elizabeth – The Comfortable Coop

Brad – Under Western Skies

Kelley – kelleysdiy

Dolly – Kool Kosher Kitchen

FACTS:

  1. I recently lost 8.8 lbs.
  2. I am currently painting my living room. (I’m a wanna be interior designer.)
  3. The Mister and I will soon be touring MMS Aviation near Canton, Ohio. The Mister has been in negotiations with this missionary organization about doing an internship with them. The Mister would be fixing planes and helicopters for other missionaries as well as occassionally deploying to other countries to fix planes and helicopters for missionaries already in the field. Additionally, he would also be teaching students who are learning to fix aircraft.
  4. My RH factor is negative. I’ve recently been told that only about 15% of the US population is negative.
  5. I’ve recently learned to Marco Polo on my phone.

Thanks again to Cale at Diaries of a Scatterbrain for nominating Dewey Hop.

 

 

Abortion

Abortion Fight 2

In 1973 Roe v. Wade became a landmark case when the Supreme Court ruled that abortion was legal in the first trimester of a pregnancy. Ever since that decision there have been heated debates by the pro choice camp and the pro life camp. Most of us have deep convictions about abortion. Abortion has escalated all the way to partial birth abortions. Some mothers have tried to abort babies that survived. There are many websites and stories where survivors of attempted abortion tell their stories. Here are just a few:

http://www.teenbreaks.com/abortion/abortionsurvivors.cfm , http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/01/27/my-mother-tried-to-abort-me-survived.html theabortionsurvivors.com

Ironically, the mother of  “Jane Roe” in the Roe v. Wade case wanted to abort her. She went so far as to ask a midwife to perform the abortion, but the midwife refused stating that “Roe’s” mother was too far along in her pregnancy.  Also ironic is the fact that while “Jane Roe” was an adamant supporter of abortion and stated she wanted an abortion, she herself never had an abortion under the name of “Jane Roe.”

In the days prior to “legalized” abortion, there were still abortions. They were performed by doctors and midwives. Women also induced their own abortions with medicines and herbs. Unfortunately there were also some crazy people that would use horrendous methods to try to induce abortions which often caused harm or death to both mother and baby. The general guideline was that abortions were never to be done after the “quickening.” “Quickening is a Shaker term and it meant the baby was moving in the mother’s womb on its own and the mother could feel movement (usually at 16-25 weeks gestation). Movement signaled life. With the modern technology of ultra sound we now know that movement happens much sooner than when a mother feels the baby moving (6 to 8 weeks gestation)-often before a woman even realizes she’s pregnant.

I, personally, am pro life. I do not believe in abortion for any reason. I am not heartless and I understand there may be situations where rape was involved. While rape is not a woman’s fault, neither is conception a baby’s fault. I do not believe that a woman’s life is more valuable than a baby’s life. I do believe that life begins at conception and I am a supporter of adoption and other assistance programs to help with unplanned pregnancies. There are numerous options today to help women and babies that didn’t use to exist. Women can speak for themselves, but an unborn baby can’t speak (yet). Being unable to speak in the womb doesn’t make a life less valuable.

Reagon T shirt

While I am in the pro life camp, there are things happening in the name of “pro life” that definitely should not be happening. Blowing up abortion clinics and/or shooting abortionists are just as deadly as the abortions these extremists are trying to prevent. The hatred and callousness of some claiming to be pro life isn’t helpful to anyone. I believe there should be compassion and I would never condemn a person who had already had an abortion, even though I don’t agree with the decision to do so. Condemnation is the last thing these women need and they can’t take back their actions so condemnation serves no useful purpose.

Despite my own position, I’ve tried to be fair to this subject with the library materials available. Interestingly, I started with the book, I Am Roe: My Life, Roe v. Wade, and Freedom of Choice by Norma McCorvey  with Andy Meisler. I judged this book by its cover. I didn’t think I would like it. Parts of it have been very difficult for me to read.

I am Roe

Norma McCorvey is the “Roe” in Roe v. Wade. She tells her own story in her own words. I have to say that this book is a good story and has a conversational feel to it. The story and life of Norma McCorvey is quite interesting.

Norma came from a poor family and suffered abuse at the hands of her alcoholic mother. When home life became too much for her, Norma took things into her own hands and ran away from her family. Norma committed a robbery at a young age to get money to run away. Eventually she was caught and landed in the juvenile justice system.  Later Norma married at the age of 16 and had a child. Norma became an alcoholic herself and was tricked by her own mother into giving her child up for adoption. Norma’s second child was voluntarily given up for adoption and when Norma became pregnant a third time, she sought to have an abortion claiming that she had been raped.  At the time Norma lived in the state of Texas which supposedly had antiabortion laws with an exemption for cases of rape. There was, however,  no evidence of any kind that Norma had been raped. Due to the lack of evidence of rape, Texas denied Norma’s request for an abortion.  At this point, Norma attempted to have an illegal abortion but the state had shut down abortion clinics. It was during this time that Norma was referred to activist attorneys who were wanting to connect with women wishing to have abortions. They took Norma’s case which took three years to make it to the Supreme Court. Norma never attended a single trial and in the meantime the baby she was trying to abort was born and given up for adoption. The attorney’s in the case had Norma sign an affidavit as a pregnant woman seeking an abortion and then never even talked to Norma again until three years later when they called to congratulate her on winning the case. Norma stated that she felt used.

Norma became a somewhat unwilling poster child for the pro abortion movement. She didn’t fit in well with the so called women’s libbers and they didn’t care much for her either. However because her case, the now famous Roe v Wade, became so high profile the pro abortion movement was more or less stuck with Norma. Norma worked for years as a spokesperson for the pro abortion camp and she also was an abortion clinic worker. Over the decades following Norma did abort at least one baby.

Norma knew many of the abortion protesters in her area and actually became friends with some of them even though they didn’t agree on abortion issues. Norma knew all the arguments about abortion both for and against although she was still an avid abortion supporter. Then one day she was sitting in a clinic looking at pictures of the development of a fetus. Suddenly she began to make out features like eyes and tiny little limbs. She kept staring at the pictures and without prompting from anyone, Norma realized she wasn’t just looking at cell clusters, she was actually seeing an unborn baby! In that moment Norma’s life changed for ever.

Norma became a Christian and totally switched camps. Norma became one of the most famous anti abortion protesters in the world. She spent the rest of her life trying to undo Roe v Wade.  In her book Won by Love Norma McCorvery  (with Gary Thomas) explains her reasons for her dramatic about face.

Won by Love

Norma spoke out against the “immoral machinations” of the abortion industry. She tells how she witnessed the destruction of countless human lives through abortion and how she herself felt the misery of grief and despair of so many women who chose to end their pregnancies. Seeing death constantly in abortion clinics, Norma “broke.”

Norma quit work at the abortion clinic and was now the poster child for the anti abortion camp aka the pro life movement. Norma admitted publicly that she did not become pregnant with her third child by rape. She said she had made the story up to try to get around the Texas anti abortion laws. Norma publicly contrasted the hatred and backstabbing she had felt while working for the pro abortion people (who, she said, made her feel “like dirt”) with the positivity and love she felt when she switched sides.  She claimed she felt more acceptance and  love in the first two weeks of reversing her position than she did in all the decades of working with pro abortionists.

There are many, many details of the contrasts between Norma’s initial pro abortion life and her life after she became an advocate for pro life. I urge all of you to at least read both of these books so that you will get a good balance of both sides of the issue.

There were other books I checked out but do not have time to comment on in one post. I ask all of you to look honestly at both sides of the issue. A couple other books I checked out were:

 Pro Reclaiming Abortion Rights   The Hand of God

Do you believe that abortion is something that should–or even can–be legislated? Do you look at abortion more as an individual or a societal issue?

 

Firefighters

Two fire fighters and flames

Fighting fires is not something that the majority of us are probably thinking about most of the time. However, should we ever have a fire, we would want firefighters to respond quickly and save people, animals, and anything else they can. Fortunately most fire fighters ARE constantly thinking about fire and preparing for fire and other emergencies. These first responders  have my utmost respect.

First responders often run into buildings and emergency situations when everyone else is trying to run out. They are brave, courageous, and often fearless. They show up and get dangerous jobs done while looking out for everyone’s safety. When they aren’t fighting fires they are preparing for them through educational programs for the public as well as going through on the job training.

I can not say enough good about firefighters in general, but especially about our own local fire department here in Fulton County, Indiana. I am very proud to live in a community where emergency services such as firefighting are not taken for granted and where these men and women are highly respected. This community puts their money into maintaining such services. Although I don’t know the exact dates when this all happened,  our firefighters were in need of a larger, more modern fire house. This is what the old fire house looks like:

Old Firehouse Rochester

This building now houses some offices on the lower levels and the top floor is now a dance studio owned by another Fulton County Public Library employee.

The new fire house looks like this:

New Firehouse Rochester

Since the new firehouse was built, the community continues to provide equipment for our local firefighting heroes. A new ladder  truck and a pumper truck have been purchased as well as updated communication devices and masks among other things. This is a service that is important to keep up to date and is fully backed by the community.

This is a picture of just some of the things firefighters need:

Firefighter Priceless

At the risk of sounding like a commercial, I ask all of you to please support you local firefighters.

Here is a picture printed by our local newspaper, The Sentinel, of some of our firefighters at work:

Local Firefighters (Sentinel)

In 3000 Degrees: the True Story of a Deadly Fire and the Men who Fought It by Sean Flynn, the author describes several firefighters in their everyday life and the reasons they had for becoming firefighters. The story describes deadly fires that these brave men have fought. Their bravery and professionalism is truly amazing. These people put their lives on the line every single day for people they don’t even know. Some have paid the ultimate price.  I don’t want to give too much away so I will just say that this book is both entertaining and eye opening. I would recommend it.

3000 degrees

Another interesting book is Firefighters: Their Lives in Their Own Words by Dennis Smith. In this book male and female firefighters tell their own stories and why they chose to do what they do. The book covers various fire fighting scenarios such as building fires, forest fires, and emergency rescues.

Firefighters by Dennis Smith

Though firefighters are obviously very important, the best way to fight fires is to prevent them in the first place. Your family needs to have a fire safety plan.  If you have prepared your family and your pets, this could be as simple as knowing escape routes from all areas of your home and grabbing your Bug Out Bag (BOB). If you are unsure what a BOB is or what should be in it, you can learn about BOBs and pet BOBs in my post about Natural Disasters.  Every member of your family will need to know where to meet after escaping.

As part of your preparation, you can do a home inspection and make changes as necessary. This is an example of a basic checklist to help you get started:

Live Safe

You will need to have some basic safety equipment located strategically in your home. You need to have fire extinguishers and know how to use them. It is possible that you need different types of extinguishers for different areas of your home.

fiire extinguishers

If you have two or more stories in your home, you should have an emergency escape ladder. Your ladder should be stored inside in an accessible place near a window. you may need more than one ladder depending on the size of your home. Practice with your ladder before you need it and teach children how to responsibly use the ladder.

Escape Ladder

You should have smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors placed strategically throughout your home.

Combination Alarm

In Fulton County you can obtain a free smoke detector from the fire house. Not long ago local fire fighters walked our streets and knocked on doors asking if people needed smoke detectors. If the people said they needed them, the firefighters even installed them for free. I believe there would be a similar type of arrangement in other areas of the country. Even if you have to buy smoke detectors and/or carbon monoxide detectors, this would be money well spent and could save your life and the lives of your family members.

You should also have a first aid kit readily available. It’s not a bad idea to have several first aid kits located in different areas of your home and you will definitely want to have some basic first aid supplies stored in your BOB.  It also might be practical to have some fire blankets.First aid and Fire Blanket Kit

There should be some considerations for the outside of your home as well.  If a fire should start on a neighboring property, you want to try to prevent if from spreading to your own home. There are some simple things you can do to help prevent such a problem as the infographic below shows.

Outside Fire Defense

It is also a good idea to have some sort of a sticker, decal, or static cling notification of pets living in your home. If you are not home and a fire breaks out, firefighters or other emergency personnel would know to look for and try to save your pets. The best decals will tell the number and type of animals in the house, have the pets’ names, your name and contact information for how you can be reached.

Pet Alert

Pet Alert 2

These types of stickers can be ordered or you could easily make your own with your computer and put pictures on them of your actual animals along with the other necessary information.

A few fire related DVDs/BluRays that you may want to check out are:

Backdraft Chicago Fire

Have you ever had a home fire? Do you have an emergency fire plan for your family? Will you be creating a plan?

Natural Disasters

Top Ten Natural Disasters

We live on a volatile planet. The earth’s crust is constantly shifting which changes land formations, forms mountains, volcanoes, earthquakes, and tsunamis. Additionally the wind may form into cyclones and tornadoes while water sources such as lakes, rivers, streams, creeks, ocean harbors, and rain all may contribute to flooding. Droughts may contribute to wildfires. Heat and erosion may contribute to avalanches and landslides.   When events like these collide with humans, the results can be deadly. Despite it all, we all call planet Earth home.

We are fortunate that in most areas of the US there are weather and disaster warning systems. If we are paying attention, we should at least have some warning and hopefully be able to make wise decisions in precious little time that can save lives and minimize casualties. Beyond this, there are things we can do to prepare for the unexpected. Being prepared is one of the best ways to give yourself peace of mind and buy precious time in the event of an actual emergency.  One thing you will definitely want to have is a back up supply of food, water, pet supplies, necessary pharmaceuticals and toiletry items. You can see a detailed list of things you may need in my post on Terrorism.

Organize for Disaster

In addition to the same type of things needed in the event of a terrorist attack, Organize for Disaster by Judith Kolberg covers most natural disasters (also some man made ones) and gives specific suggestions as to how you can prepare. Of course many of the preparations will work for multiple events. Being well prepared for various disaster scenarios involves more than just stock piling food and personal items. Judith Kolberg suggests that you also have clothing (at least one change of clothing for each member of your household), blankets and/or sleeping bags, a well stocked first aid kit, extra tennis shoes and/or boots (waterproof would be best). It is also recommended that you have both a landline phone and a cell phone. A small portable radio and flashlights should also be readily available.

If you are fortunate enough to have the space (perhaps in a basement or garage) you can set up a disaster provision area. Pet carriers and  emergency pet supplies should also be stored in this area.

Basement prep   Garage prep

If you are not so fortunate to have such space luxury there are still things you can do. Here is an excellent way to pack a lot into a small space. You might consider doing one for each family member.

Home-emergency-Kit-flyer

It would be best if you used a waterproof trashcan on wheels since you may have to leave your home on foot. Wheels would obviously make it easier to transport supplies if needed.

If you are leaving your home to go to an emergency shelter you wouldn’t need to take something the size of a trashcan. A shelter should have its own stock of those sorts of supplies. Judith Kolberg recommends having a prepacked “grab and go bag.” For those of you with military backgrounds, this is basically the same thing as a bug out bag. Judith recommends having these bags stored in an easily accessible place. There should be one bag per family member (including pets) and each bag should be labeled by family member name. Weather appropriate coats, jackets, and sweaters should be stored close to these bags. Judith’s book suggests using backpacks hung on coat hooks with weather gear stored directly below them on another row of coat hooks. Some shelters will not take animals so be sure that you have a previously thought out plan about where your pets will go to get to safety. Other shelters DO allow pets so if a temporary emergency shelter is part of your plan, find out in advance the shelter’s pet policy. If you are going to a hotel, you should also find out the pet policy well in advance. Many hotels are becoming more animal friendly.

If you need to bug out and you will be taking pets with you, here are some examples of what you may need:
72_Hr_Bug_Out_Bag

Doggie_Bug_Out_LG-e1456966021606
cat bug out

Check to see if your cat still fits! You may need to purchase a small soft sided cat carrier that can be worn and then use the carrier at your destination to secure your cat.

Cat wear

If you need to bug out with small pets, birds, fish, snakes, reptiles, etc. think along the guidelines listed above. Birds should have a light cover over their cage during movement. Be sure that the cover allows air and light into the cage.  Small animals will require housing, food, water, toys, bedding, treats, etc. Fish will be more challenging. You may want to have a previously established emergency tank set up within a safe distance (for instance in a friends garage, basement, or shed with access to electricity in a nearby town or another part of the city that doesn’t flood). The emergency tank should be filled from the same water source you use for your tank at home. Be sure to have plenty of food, necessary water conditioners and stress reducing products stored here. If at all possible try to give yourself enough time to acclimate your fish to the emergency tank. If you must keep moving and can’t acclimate the fish yourself, be sure you have previously taught your friend how to acclimate fish–and leave written instructions near the tank as a reminder.  Have emergency transfer nets and carriers available. Fish can be transferred in almost any nonmetal clean container that holds water. Bear in mind that while you want your fish to be able to move freely about, you won’t want to completely fill the container–fish still need oxygen. Also, make sure the container has a lid (fish can jump out) with air holes.

If you must leave your home due to an emergency, no pets should ever be left behind. Having a previously thought out plan will make evacuating much smoother and less stressful.

In addition to all of the above preparations there are also several other things that you should arrange prior to needing them:

Your Family Plan– You should have escape routes well thought out for various scenarios and possibilities. Each family’s plan will be different from another family’s. For instance, I live in Indiana and it is highly unlikely that I would ever need to evacuate due to a tsunami (unless on vacation). However, you may live on the coast and need to plan for that possibility.

Your family needs a communication plan. Phone numbers should be in your phone and also written and stored in your bug out bag for easy access. Cell towers may be down, but if you can make it to a landline you may be able to make any necessary phone calls. Also, if calls are not going through, always check and see if texting will work. If you use a prepaid phone, be sure every member of your family has emergency minute cards (prior to the emergency-these would be packed in your bug out bags.) Taking a tablet or ipad with you for communication is an excellent idea if the internet is functional. Don’t forget chargers and accessories.

Have at least two places to meet each other if you should become separated. You need more than one location. For example if you have left your home due to flooding and your plan was to meet in front of the court house but the court house is also flooded you would have a problem if you became separated and phones are down.  Since you were well prepared though, everyone in your family knows the alternate location is to meet at the library. You can make as many locations as you want. It is a good idea to write this plan down and have it in everyone’s bug out bag. When people are under stress they may not remember even simple plans, but again because you are well prepared everyone knows exactly what to do and where to go.

Your Essential and Important Documents-Organize anything you would need to reestablish services, file insurance claims, prove identity, etc and all irreplaceable items such as treasured family photos, etc. Most survivalists recommend putting these documents in light weight containers such as plastic freezer baggies that will protect them from water. All of your family photos can be taken with you easily by having them scanned onto a flash drive and stored in a freezer baggie  in your bug out bag. If needed, they can be reprinted at a later date. It’s also a good idea to scan in all of your important documents although you may still need some of the originals with you like your driver’s license or ID card and your Social Security card. In most cases, one flash drive can handle all of this–and more.  By scanning in all of your important documents you will have all your account numbers and other important information available to you. Always have your flash drive backed up to a disc or other device.

Insurance-Insurance coverage should be arranged now while there is time to do it correctly. Do you live in a flood zone? Have you checked if your home owner’s policy covers flooding? If a tree falls on your roof during a tornado, will your policy cover it? Don’t forget to check on things like cars, boats, lawn mowers, and basically anything it would be expensive to pay for repairs or to replace. Do not just assume that certain events are covered. Ask specific questions and find out what all is covered.  I once went in for an insurance review on my car. The insurance agent said something like my policy only covered anything that was on wheels. In other words, he said, if a deer jumped out of the woods and hit my car (and that does happen in my area) it wouldn’t be covered because something with wheels didn’t strike me. I asked him about horses (there are a lot in my area) and he told me that horses were not covered. Then I asked him what if the horse was attached to a buggy (There are a lot of Amish horse drawn buggys in my area.) The agent looked puzzled and said, “I don’t know. No one has ever asked me that!” I made some changes to my policy.

Home Furnishings– It is a good idea to do a home inventory documented with photos and/or videos. This can be invaluable in helping you replace items in the event a natural disaster completely destroys everything in your home. (Things can be replaced, but people can’t.) This information can be included on your flash drive, phone, or other device.  Again, always back up your important information.

In the book Disaster Preparedness:Ready Yourself, Your Family, and Your Home-Before Disaster Strikes by Rod Brouhard, EMT-P and Crystal Kline, MEP the authors cover all of the topics listed above but they have also included many helpful checklists to help you prepare. The checklists make this book worth checking out.

Disaster Preparedness

 

 

 

 

If  you are unsure what to do in a particular weather (or man made) emergency, there are may books that describe weather and natural phenomenon and what to do. It is a good idea to acquaint yourself with these types of books now. Here are a few of the ones I looked at:

Devastation Tsunami

Natural Disasters

The three books above are pretty amazing picture books. There is also great information in all three.

Do you have any experience with natural disasters? Do you have friends and family who have had to deal with severe weather phenomenon? What will you do to prepare for the possibility of extreme weather and natural events?

Self Defense

Home-Invasion-Defense-Plan-2

While self defense takes many forms such as taking common sense measures (see my post on Predators), other forms of self defense may or may not use a weapon. Some examples of self defense are using your telephone to call for help, using a home security system, using a dog (or dogs) as part of a defense system, using your body as a weapon (martial arts, kickboxing, etc), knives, swords, etc. Some ordinary objects may be used to strike an attacker and are referred to as bludgeons. Thus a ball bat could become a deadly weapon. Self defense is a very in depth topic which I could never cover in one post. Since I follow the books through the library, this post will mostly discuss guns used for self defense.

I live in an area of the country where guns are a way of life. They are used by the military, law enforcement, hunters, home owners, and as recreational target shooting just to name a few uses. I’m not particularly uncomfortable around guns because I have a healthy respect for them and know many very responsible gun owners. Although I’ve never personally been trained how to use a gun, my husband is a former soldier and an expert marksman. Being a gun owner does not necessarily mean a person is violent. In the majority of cases, gun owners want guns to prevent violence. In general its the misuse of guns that bothers me and it’s the reason that I believe in the 2nd Amendment of our Constitution which says:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Hitler-Confiscates-Firearms

Many people in Indiana have guns in their homes for protection. If your personal self defense plan involves a gun, then there is also a lot of responsibility to learn about your right to self defense. Whether you currently own a gun or are thinking of purchasing a gun for self defense, I highly recommend that you read Deadly Force: Understanding Your Right to Self Defense by Massad Ayoob.

Deadly Force

Massad Ayoob does a wonderful job of explaining how to properly defend your home and family with a firearm. There are many illustrative photos in his book so that there can be no doubt what he means as well as many very helpful suggested guidelines. One thing he says is a “must” is that if you choose to protect yourself and others as well as your home and property with a gun you should be trained in the proper use of firearms. Should the unthinkable happen and you are forced to fire your weapon, it will help you legally to have had that training. The author walks the reader through critical decision making and legalities of firing a weapon for the purposes of self defense.

Beyond guns, though, Massad Ayoob also talks about other methods of self defense such as reading body language and putting distance between yourself and a potential attacker if at all possible, the use of less than lethal weapons such as pepper spray, and billy clubs.

If you are a person who hasn’t made up your mind about guns for or against, I recommend that you and everyone else read USA Today’s Gun Control: Preventing Violence or Crushing Constitutional Rights? by Matt Doeden.

Gun Control

Gun Control is one book in a series called USA Today’s Debate: Voices and Perspectives. The authors vary according to subject matter. This book is small but packed with information both for and against stricter gun control. Written on about a 7th grade level, I think this would be a useful text for schools and would be great for a debate class or an in depth US Constitutional study. There are 107 pages excluding  a timeline, glossary, source notes, bibliography, organization contact information, further information section, and index. There are many colorful photographs in the book as well as many thought provoking topics; far too much information for me to cover in one post. Regardless of which side of the issue you are on, there is something in this book that would be of interest to you. Also, I think it’s important to discover what “the other side” is saying. By thinking about an issue from all sides we gain reliable information that we may not have had before. More reliable information will either alter your opinion or reinforce it.

Have you made up your mind on the gun issue? Do you know any gun owners? Have you ever been trained in the use of firearms?