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Archive for July 13th, 2005

I blogged previously about a drunk driver who killed a limo driver and a 7-year old girl on Long Island as they returned from a wedding where the child had been a flower girl only hours before. The murderer walked away from his car. The girl, Kate Flynn, aged 7, was, it turns out, decapitated.
Two days after 7-year-old flower girl Kate Flynn died in a wedding limousine struck by an allegedly drunken driver, her grieving mother described how she cradled her daughter’s severed head as others were rescued from the carnage.

"As I crawled out of the car, the only thing that was left of Kate was her head," Jennifer Flynn said Monday at Winthrop University Hospital.

I cannot imagine the anguish. Ann and I were at a wedding July 8 and the flower girl was adorable. I imagined how beautiful my Little Girl would look as a flower girl (and bride). I cannot fathom going from those feelings to holding her severed head on the curb in a matter of hours because some sub human piece of garbage was too selfish to dry out a few hours before he took to the road.

What makes this worse is that the driver will probably not spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Police allege that Martin Heidgen of Valley Stream drove the wrong way on the southbound Meadowbrook Parkway when his pickup truck crashed into the limousine at about 2 a.m. Saturday. He was charged with two counts of second-degree manslaughter and driving while intoxicated.

"Drunk driving did this to us," Flynn said. "I don’t want people to think this was a car accident. It was so much more. … Kate was stolen from us. … But the life that she led — and I want people to know this too — was fabulous. … But she was taken, and it was taken with drunk driving."

I don’t know enough about law to comment authoritatively, but those charges seem weak.

S 125.15 Manslaughter in the second degree.
  A person is guilty of manslaughter in the second degree when:
  1. He recklessly causes the death of another person; or
  2. He commits upon a female an abortional act which causes her death,
unless such abortional act is justifiable pursuant to subdivision three
of section 125.05; or
  3. He intentionally causes or aids another person to commit suicide.
  Manslaughter in the second degree is a class C felony.

If there is more of the book to throw at him, such as vehicular manslaughter, they should throw it.

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If you know what this guy is saying, hats off to you.

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XXXVIII

Thirty eight years and change ago, my older brothers got together and asked the parents for a dog. The answer was "no." I am told that the reason so shocked my oldest brother that he sat in every seat in the house. I came along on July 13, 1967. My father was 46, my mother was 41, and my brothers were 16, 14, and 9. I am also told the money was three to one that I would be a girl. We ended up getting the dog when I was three. Her name was Dutchess. I am fairly certain that was not going to be my name had the Y chromosome stayed home.
For most of my birthdays in my 30’s, I have compared life at that point to ten years before. Most of the time I like the comparison, although there are some exceptions. Taking inventory:
  • I am five foot two. Ten years ago I was five foot two. I am starting to lose hope that my growth spurt is coming. Draw.
  • At this point at age 28 I was in the waning months of my first job out of school at the now defunct Educational Aids Publishing Company of Clifton, NJ. I was broke, miserable and relocated for the 6th time in 7 years. Thumbs up for today.
  • I weigh 155 pounds. I weighed 140 pounds then. Not good, although nobody thinks I am fat. I may carry it OK, but thumbs up for back then.
  • I have all my hair. Every so often I see a gray hair. An unruly cowlick I had back then now behaves, so thumbs up for today.
  • I had a cat back then. I now have two labs. The cat is buried in an undisclosed location in my yard. I wish she had lived to see my children. Thumbs up for now, but I loved that cat. 
  • On my 28th birthday I was in the middle of one of my prodigious romantic dry spells. Big thumbs up for today.
  • Two nephews back then. Four nephews, two sons and a daughter now. Another big win for nowadays.
  • About $10,000 in debt back then. Just under $900,000 today. Today wins.
  • 1995: not even cable. Today: DirecTV. Today.
  • In 1995, I shaved with disposable razors and shaving cream. Today, Mach 3 and Noxzema. Next to my family, this is the biggest landslide for 2005. 
I will be pondering this all day, so I’ll add to the list if I get some time.
20 years ago. My nephew in the picture just graduated college.
1985

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The Local Rag

Here in Westchester County, Gannett used to run a series of local community newspapers. In my town, we had the old Citizen Register. In other towns it was the Reporter Dispatch, Herald Statesman, and so on. At some point when I was away making my way in the world, Gannett consolidated all the papers into one larger Westchester/Rockland publication known as the Journal News. It wasn’t a bad idea. In 1975, someone in Yonkers probably didn’t have much concern about what was going on in Somers, for example, but in today’s world we are all so much more connected. And so, the Journal News has become one of New York’s "other" papers, like Long Island’s Newsday, The Daily News, The New York Post, and The New York Sun. It and the Sun are the only two besides the Times that is a broadsheet.  You now know far more than you need to know about my news choices at the supermarket checkout.
You might be surprised to know this, but the JN is quite liberal. So liberal, in fact, that it’s editorials give the Times a run for it’s money. That, my friend, is saying something. A few months ago, I blogged about the murder of a 42 year old suburban wife and mother by an illegal immigrant. While the coverage of the crime and ensuing days was extensive, the paper irresponsibly saw it necessary to run a divisive editorial, entitled "Lynching by Thought" on May 11 which said in part:
Painting with broad brush in aftermath of New City tragedy All day laborers are not illegal. All illegal immigrants are not dangerous criminals. Most humans are decent; some are evil. You would think no newspaper would have to restate these basic precepts, yet we find ourselves doing just that in the stereotyped (but limited, we hope) prejudice we have observed in the aftermath of the tragic New City murder.
The piece continued on a politically correct diatribe (which sounded painfully like they were imploring us to not look at the man behind that curtain) that the fact that the murderer was an illegal immigrant had nothing to do with the crime. Of course, there was no backlash to speak of toward immigrants after the murder, outside of a slow week for day laborers, but the editors made it their job to literally tell us how we should think. No room for debate. We weren’t allowed to consider that some illegal immigrants could be fugitives.
In 2004, the paper’s cartoonist, Matt Davies, won a Pulitzer. In the website sidebar, there is still a link below his name pimping the award.
Davies is, as one might expect, pretty out there on the left side of seeing things. When I say left, think Ted Rall. In light of the terrorist attacks in London on 7/7, here was Davies’ cartoon 3 days later:
Today's Matt Davies cartoon
I wouldn’t go so far as to say this is in poor taste, but it shows fairly well where the guy’s head is about this whole thing. At a time when many cartoonists predictably showed some compassion for the victims and derision for the rats who did this despicable act, Davies chose to make a political statement. He wasn’t alone, but one wonders if being predictable is really much of an asset in a creative field. Beyond that, are cartoons that defy sensibilities all that worthwhile?
Consider the source. 

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