Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: I am an Animal Abuser

I am going to admit it to the world. I am an "animal abuser". This is what some animal rights people will claim and it is just possible the law might back them. If I am in jail at the end of the week, I will have my first criminal offense on record. I believe in following the law but the animal cruelty laws have gotten out of control in this country. How did I get into this position of possibly being a felon? I blame it on a cop.

My daughter, the police officer with a soft heart for felines (read: don't get the girl anywhere near little furry things) was told some kittens had been dumped behind a strip mall. She goes to check them out with plans to take them over to the shelter and, hopefully, get them homes. She chases them about and two of them slither under a fence and out of her reach. The third she catches because it is dragging one of its legs behind it. She plops it in my lap (the unlucky ridealong) and off we go. Later, when another officer pops his head in the window and asks what the kitten's name is, she replies snarkily, "Not mine." (she already has four cats), a name with such foreshadowing that the fool with the cat on her lap should have already seen how this tale was going to end.

Well, now the dilemma begins. One can't take a cat to the shelter with a broken leg because they will put it down. It is supposed to be the kind thing to do (yes, sure, but the little beast is now purring in my arms and looking up at me with its helpless little eyes). So, we take it to the vet and pay for x-rays. Yep, broken femur - really, bad, broken femur with two bones passing each other . The vet tells us it needs surgery to the tune of $1000 pocket change.

$1000 for a cat? A kitten? A homeless kitten? You have got to be kidding! Where are the old animal doctors - you remember them - the rough-and-tough fellow who would "do what he could for the little fellah" and charge you $20? Oh, yeah, he went away with ten years of school and a loan the size of the treasury of a small African nation. He went away with the doctors and veterinarians not run by insurance and drug companies so that there is no such thing as a reasonable price. He went away with a lawyer like Abe Lincoln who could learn law and then practice it for a price that meant regular folks could actually get some justice.

At some point in this society, we need put our foot down and say, "Let's be reasonable. Let's use common sense and not go broke with perfectionism and trying one more drug or trying to cure everything with science and money. Let's determine if this is something we can do ourselves (with tough parenting as in all those ridiculous ADD diagnoses), or not do at all (with some of those ridiculous expensive medical treatments that haven't a snowball's chance of doing more than torturing a person for an extra three months of 'life'), or do what we can without breaking the bank (as with an stray animal and its broken leg).

By now in this rant, all the animal advocates are going nuts worrying about the kitten's broken leg. I know this...because I googled "kitten, broken leg, heal naturally" and couldn't find one person who wasn't incensed that a person wouldn't pay that $1000 to get the kitty "proper" treatment. As a matter of fact, those who consider not forking out the cash are warned that they can be arrested for animal abuse, a criminal offense. At least, they demand, take the animal to a shelter and have it put down...it is the humane thing to do if you don't want to be a responsible pet owner. Anyway, I couldn't find an answer to how well the kitten might do without surgery, so I called the vet back.

I told the vet the $1000 was too much for me to pay for a stray cat and I was given an option to sign over the kitten and THEN they would do the surgery, rehab it, and get it adopted. How stupid do they think this criminal profiler is? Do they really think I believe that they are going to waste all their time and money on this kitten when there are god-knows-how-many other kittens about to be euthanized at the SPCA? I am not a fool. I sign the paper and when the door hits me in the butt, they tch-tch about how cheap I am and how if I am not willing to help the cat I should have been willing to do the "humane" thing and have it put to sleep so it won't have suffer with a broken leg. Now, they will do the humane thing behind my back while I go off thinking I have done something nice by giving it the vet.

Yeah, right. I said, "No, thanks." I told them I was keeping the cat and taking it to my vet; that way, THEY could think they had done the "humane" thing by getting me to pay for the operation, even if they weren't the docs making the money on it.

I decided to roll the dice on the kitten. From the moment I got it, it has never shown itself to be in any pain. It eats like a pig. It throws itself on me and purrs and purrs and purrs. I concluded it wasn't suffering and it didn't have internal injuries and the leg, even with the bad break, seemed to be in a good position.

A week has gone by. The kitten bolted out the library door yesterday on four legs and it took me thirty minutes to catch it. I dunno, maybe the thing will have a limp of sorts as it goes through life, but the critter certainly doesn't look like it isn't going to be perfectly mobile.

So, now I have joined the ranks of animal abusers because the choice I made for the kitten is probably considered cruel by many. I guess I just don't get the thinking of America. Are we so ridiculously arrogant about our wealth we cannot understand that spending money isn't the answer to everything and not everyone can do it and not everyone can do it all the time? Don't they understand we sometimes should do "less" than we could and just let life be okay, if not perfect? Are we that spoiled and do we need to spoil our children and pets this way as well?

We don't need to be perfect people. We don't need to look perfect until we die, we don't need perfect teeth, we don't need perfect educations, we don't need perfect...anything! We need "good" stuff. We need good health (by eating right), good teeth (by brushing them), good education (by learning what we need to know), and we need good services (that have a reasonable price). Most of all we need good behavior and good morals and good ethics. We can't buy these. And it shouldn't be a crime if we don't spend a fortune on our children and pets but instead opt for a little commonsense, hard work, and humbleness.

I am not an animal abuser. I am an animal lover who gave up her time and energy (and some money) to save a little kitten (who apparently can now be named "Yeah, it's mine"). I made those same tough decisions concerning my children as they grew up and I guess I could have gone to work full-time and spent my money on medical care and dental care and psychological care instead of staying home with the kids, homeschooling them, and seeing they had turned out to be good decent citizens. Perhaps, I was a child abuser as well (and I was indeed called this by certain doctors and dentists who wanted me to spend money I didn't have).

Money is not a cure for everything. Holding a friend as she dies from cancer is worth more than any medical treatment. Spending time with your kids is better than any after-school program. Teaching your children to be respectful and polite is better than any ADD drug. Saving a little kitten and accepting it might have a limp and spending the $1000 on something more reasonable is not animal abuse, but kindness and commonsense coming together to make a rational decision.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: Smiley Face Killers Hit Thailand!

The Smiley Face Killers, that gang of serial killers who have been targeting strong, white, college students in the United States, have changed their modus operandi; they are now killing Asian men.

What attracted the Smiley Face gang to Thailand? A combination of heavy flooding and heavy drinking proved so alluring to the gang, they just had to commit their crimes overseas - at least until the water dries up. "Most drowning cases in flood-hit areas have resulted from drinking alcohol," the Public Health Ministry has stated, and the Thai police have ruled these deaths accidental. Yet these men have died in a similar fashion to the college boys in the US. It would seem reasonable that our law enforcement should be joining forces with the Thai police to investigate these deaths as well.

Just as is true in the United States, the Smiley Face Killers target men and not women. The drowned men of Thailand outnumber women six to one. Instead of painting the smiley faces on trees and buildings, the Smiley Face Gang operating in Thailand, leaves a cup of tea with the tea leaves arranged in the form of a smiley face.

When the waters recede, where will the Smiley Face Killers go next in search of drunk male victims? It is hard to say but we can only hope that Interpol can keep track of their movements and travel itineraries. Since they are getting bolder and bolder, hopefully they will get careless and slip up soon, so that young men will once again be able to binge drink in peace and without the fear of ending up a victim of the Smiley Face Gang

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: Whatever Happened to Chandra Levy?

Remember Chandra Levy? The Washington Post just did a nice spread on the cold case, still ruminating about what actually happened to her and if the married Congressman Gary Condit really did have a hand in her murder. But, last we heard, police theorized some local serial killer was wandering about Rock Creek Park (where her body was finally found in a ravine) did her in.

The whole investigation was somewhat bizarre, with many choices that appeared not to make sense. Leads were not followed up and certain reasonable avenues of thought simply not pursued. One of the biggest questions was the issue of Chandra choosing to go jogging in Rock Creek Park. The location she was found at was four miles from her apartment. She was not an avid jogger and told friends she thought Rock Creek Park was dangerous. She could have jogged from her apartment to that location, but it is quite a distance for a person not into jogging, especially if she planned to run back. She could have taken the public transportation to get closer to that location and begin her jog or walk (as supposedly she checked the weather and it was going to be a beautiful day). The possibility can't be ruled out.

Of course, then there is Condit. The location where Levy was found in Rock Creek Park is pretty much a skip and a jump away from Condit's home. Did they meet and go for a walk? Or was she already dead (a woman heard a scream earlier in the day at her condo) and the searches on the computer were clever ruses to make it look like she was alive? Was she then driven over and dumped.

One of the most difficult things about analyzing a case at a distance is not being able to see for yourself the actual terrain. Was it possible for someone to drive near the site Chandra's body was found and dump her easily enough? Or would the person that killed her clearly need to be walking on the path as well because it was so inaccessible?

Condit is a pretty squirrelly character. He had affairs with numerous women, stringing them along, and attempting to keep their relationships secret. I believe Chandra was naive and foolish and thought Condit was really going to dump his wife and marry her. This is what she told a friend. If she stuck to her guns, she would become a massive liability for Condit, especially if she were pregnant and refuse to abort the baby.

Did he kill her? There is a good amount of evidence that makes one focus on him if she wasn't done in by a serial killer.

I doubt this case will ever be closed any good physical evidence is long gone. If Condit did her in, he got away with a "good enough" murder. If somebody else did it, nothing at this point is going to link him to the crime either.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: Perversion, Porn, and Peter Cook

Unless you live under a rock (or spend your days reading good literature instead of reading tabloids and watching television), you probably know about the nasty divorce trial of Christie Brinkley and Peter Cook. Cook, as it turns out, is a sleaze of the nth degree, an adulterer, a liar, a pervert, and, did I miss anything? If you don't know what happened yet, here is the gist of it. He cheated on Christie with an eighteen-year-old girl from work who he gave $300,000 to keep quiet about the goings on. He also spent $3000 a month of Internet porn, going to sites for swingers and other lovely sites which allow Cook to jack off in front of a webcam while someone is watching or performing on the other end.

Now, spending $3000/month on porn is difficult unless you go to some "very special" sites. Cook clearly did. Christie eventually found out about her husband's bad behavior when the father of the young girl told her what was going on. Now the marriage is over and the courts are hearing the unpleasant details.

I spoke about this the other night on Nancy Grace and I admit I rather freaked out Nancy and the producers when I said I would be concerned that that could be a possibilty of sexual abuse between Cook and his older stepdaughter and/or his ten-year-old daughter. There absolutely have been no allegations and Nancy was quick to clear this up (and my apologies to Nancy for blindsiding her....I hadn't planned to say anything about possible sexual abuse of the girls). What happened was I got more creeped out as the show continued and I heard more and more details about this man's character and behavior. He seems very controlling, desperate for power, somewhat sadistic, not very trustworthy, perverted, and extremely narcissistic. Considering he is obsessed with porn, likes young girls, and has little morals, if I were divorcing him, I wouldn't want my daughter spending time alone with him.

One story that came up is how Peter Cook liked to keep his ten-year-old daughter to himself, not let her talk to her mother, and he gets her ready in the morning and gets her ready for bed at night (as in helping her dress and undress). Does this give anyone else the creepy crawlies and send up red flags? Sure, my husband changed our baby's diapers when they were infants and helped bath the little critters, but by the time my daughter became a real girl-girl, there was no way he would even think of being in the room with her while she was changing her clothes.

I felt bad about speaking so bluntly on Nancy's show and blurting that bit out without warning, but I still think those psychiatrists and investigators need to speak with the girls in that family and be sure that it is safe for them to be around Pervert Peter. Something about that guy makes me very uneasy and I sure hope it isn't what I think it could be. I would hate to hear about some untoward sexual molestation of the girls some ten or twenty years from now after it has done the damage.

One could ask, wouldn't Christie know? I doubt it. She seems to have blinders on when it comes to the men in her life, so she may well just not notice anything concerning.

I hope Peter Cook is just a pervert who likes legal age women. Sometimes it is a good thing to hope those bells ringing are just a false alarms.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

Monday, July 7, 2008

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: The Happening is Good Horror if not a Good Movie

I really loved The Sixth Sense. I liked the suspense and the Munchhausen Syndrome by Proxy in the plot and I thought it was very clever (and, no, I didn't figure out the twist, embarrassing though that might be for a profiler). I missed the next couple of M. Night Shyamalan films and then I went to see Lady in the Water. I sat in the movie theatre with my mouth hanging open (from disbelief), my eyes rolled until they hurt, and when the movie ended, I actually stood up and shouted, "Night! You've lost your mind!" Unquestionable, Lady in the Water was the worst film I have ever seen. True, I didn't walk out like I have other crappy films, but this was only because I couldn't believe the film could continue to be so bad and so I stayed just to see how awful it was actually going to get. It surpassed my wildest imaginings!

I will say, though, that I recommend the film for gatherings with friends - alcohol required - for mocking and popcorn flicking. With this in mind, I actually went to see Shyamalan's new movie, The Happening, in spite of all the bad reviews.

Though The Happening isn't a good film, I rather expected more people in the theatre would commit suicide watching the movie than died on screen. However, I actually found, to my surprise, the movie was actually quite suspenseful and it kept my interest. To be sure, I had to giggle and snicker now and again because the conversations between people were inane and there are just many really stupid moments that require viewers to question that Night should get a little help (no, a lot of help) with plot issues and presentation.

But, I found the horror aspect of the film actually admirable. Many people know I am strongly anti gore and slasher films which I consider to be sadistic, misogynist, and damaging to society. Because of the stance I take on this, some think that I am opposed to any film that includes violence or scary stuff. This is not true. While I am an advocate of clean, good fun, family films which I think should be the bulk of our fare, I do enjoy some art films and clever detective, adventure, mystery, and horror films.

The horror films I support are those that creep you out without making the bad stuff something to drool over, something to live vicariously through, and something that makes one laugh at the victims. One of my favorite creepy films of all time is The Haunting of Hill House, an old black and white film that justs gets to you with its spookiness. The Haunting had this quality.
For those of you not familiar with the plot (spoiler ahead), something like global warming is causing the trees to attack people by releasing some chemical into the air which causes them to commit suicide(snickering here is allowed as, yes, this is a very dumb plot). But, what makes this film a good horror film is the freakiness of whole bunches of people just suddenly stopping in the middle of their mundane activities and killing themselves off. The thought of this happening makes one skin crawl.

The methods which the people use to do themselves in also include some very simple but interesting ways of committing suicide. I think the most riveting part of the film is when the construction workers are chatting and suddenly one of their coworkers slams onto the ground beside them. They are horrified and while trying to tend to him, another coworker slams into the ground behind them, and then another and another. Then they look up and they see all of their friends just stepping off the top of the building they are working on. Great scene and totally creeped me out!

Then other people kill themselves in unsettling ways as well, like suddenly laying down in front of a mower or driving their family straight into a tree. A traffic cop suddenly stops what he is doing and pulls out his gun and shoots himself in the head. He drops to the ground. Then, the man in the car the cop had just been chatting with, gets out, walks over to the cop and picks up the gun from beside the body and kills himself as well. Then, a woman in high heels steps of the sidewalk, picks up the gun again and she drops to the ground. Later on we see the lawnmowers of a road crew abandoned at the side of the road and all the workers are hanging from the trees like big pieces of fruit.

Creepy! Creepy! Creepy! The protagonists attempt to outrun the areas which are being hit and everyone they meet or run with drop like flies.It made me rather tense and I was holding my breath as I hope they would make it, that the people with them would make it, that anyone would make it. It was good, good horror. The point of the film was to put you on the edge of your seat with concepts, not with overly graphic and overlong scenes of torture, dismemberment, and death. Shyamalan actually often moved the camera quickly away as soon as the death takes place and only a quick glance at the damage is seen. I have to really respect that. I got the point without being repulsed, sickened, or becoming some sort of sicko enjoying watching people die.

So, Night, thank you for proving horror films can be done decently, if not terribly well. I really appreciate it.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

Friday, July 4, 2008

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: Hospital's Purgatory

As I watched the disturbing video of the collapse of Esmin Green, the 49-year-old Jamaican woman being ignored while she lay on the floor in the hospital emergency room, I felt sad. I also felt a bit mad at the hospital employees and I also felt a bit sorry for them.

I worked in a hospital emergency room for ten years. I have seen patients laying on the floor. The first time you see someone on the floor, you rush over to help the poor fellow. Then, you find out he is drunk off his butt. Even though he smells like hell and is reeking of urine, you try to help him back to his bed (or chair or stretcher). He tells you to "Fuck off, Bitch!" and throws a punch at your face. At this point, you let the nurse know he is still
laying on the floor and isrefusing help, and she grumbles, "Yeah, he has been tossing himself onto the floor all night." She finishes helping another patient and then ten minutes later struggles to get the man back into his bed, threatening to use restraints if he keeps up his antics. He can be heard telling her very loudly, "No, no, I don't need no tying down, I am going to stay in bed." Twenty minutes later he is on the floor again, only this time his pants are half down and his naked butt is hanging out.

Night after night, there are patients like this. Night after night, there are patients who use ambulances as free bus rides. Night after night, there are patients who come in and fake symptoms to get drugs. Night after night, there are drunk, drugged, violent, and belligerent patients who do all kinds of strange things including lying on the floor. From what I have seen, the staff tries to keep up with the prone patients, checking on their vitals, and hauling them off the floors (which often requires two or three of the staff to handle their dead weight or their feistiness).
But, sometimes, the staff becomes hardened, tired, fed up, and angry: sometimes they feel abused and they roll their eyes and don't bother to rush to check on the patient. The "Cry Wolf" syndrome gets to them and they stop hurrying over every time they see a patient lying on the floor.

Is what happened to Ms. Green acceptable? No, I can't say that it is. It is pretty terrible. But, it is somewhat understandable as well. The hospital staff failed Ms. Green (they should checked on her condition and not left her sitting for so many hours nor on the floor dying). The citizens failed Ms. Green (they shouldn't have such ill funded hospitals trying to serve so many people). The community failed Ms. Green (because there are a lot of messed up people abusing drugs, alcohol, their bodies - and the hospitals that they use excessively and overload the personnel and available beds). The insurance companies, the AMA, and medical bureaucracies failed Ms. Green (because they are crooks ...I won't get started on this). The church failed Ms. Green (because they left a member of their own congregation without anyone to help her which doesn't seem very Christian to me). The family failed Ms. Green (where were all the older kids and sisters and brothers and father/fathers of the children?). And, maybe, Ms. Green failed herself (because we don't know what choices she had made that brought her to this unfortunate moment we see on tape).

So, there is lot of blame to go around and a lot of considering all of us have to do when it comes to unhappy endings like this. Along with the knee-jerk reaction which is easy to experience toward the hospital staff, we need to look at the whole picture and see if what the video shows us is but a part of the whole dismal story.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Criminal Profiling Post of the Day: Murder of Cop Killer is not "Tragic".

"We all understand that the death of this kid is tragic," said Vince Canales, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 89.

I beg to differ. The correctional center homicide of the scumbag that murdered Corporal Richard Findley of the Prince George's Police Department (Maryland) by mowing him down with the vehicle he had carjacked, was wrong, not tragic. The brutal murder of a police officer, the father of two little girls, the beloved husband of a wife who always worried when her husband left the house to do his job protecting the citizens of the county, THAT was tragic, evil, and indefensible.

This piece of garbage, name not worth mentioning nor picture worth displaying, has a record of drug and gun violations and is the member of a vicious gang that preys upon innocent black citizens. But, because this worthless criminal happens to be black and the police officer happens to be white, the family is calling this a civil rights violation. Jack Johnson, Country Executive, while saying the police are not suspected in the death, says vigilante justice may be the cause of the death of the cop-killer.

I would say he is correct. Our criminal justice system allows the murderers of police officers to get far too many appeals and deals and the frustration and anger those in law enforcement feel when a murder of their own is taken lightly most likely boiled over, at least in some manner, within the correctional institution. The inmate was strangled and, while this was obviously wrong and whoever dispatched him must pay the legal price, I doubt the crime was racially motivated.

The family, of course, is upset, outraged, and indignant. Sorry, family of cop-killer, gangbanger, gun toting, drug dealing blight on our community. I don't feel for you. Do you want to know why? Because you never felt for the community when your son was out there abusing the citizens, terrorizing them, and destroying them. My guess is you posted bail for him, picked him up from jail, brought him home, and served him dinner. You didn't leave his butt in the slammer and go speak to the newspapers about the atrocities your son had committed and how he deserved a long prison sentence.

Now, you are upset. Well, too bad.I am upset too. I am upset that a good police officer was killed by your son. I am upset that my daughter, who works on the police force with him, is upset. I am upset my daughter will be going out tonight and may end up in the same condition as Corporal Findley when the next car gets jacked in PG County, Maryland.

God bless Corporal Findley for his dedication and my prayers go out to his family. I hope that your service and brutal homicide will not be overshadowed by the death of your murderer and that you, not the deviant that took your life, will be remember in the years to come.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown