Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pick a topic...

I'm sitting here debating on what today's blog post should be about.  I have a few topics in mind, but they aren't really related, except that they're all on my mind this morning.  I guess the first one I can write about is the plight of Oscar Pistorius, a double amputee, Olympic athlete, and convicted murderer.  I read on CNN about what he faces if the judge decides to send him to prison for the culpable homicide of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

Now, it seems like a no-brainer that a convicted murderer would go to prison.  Oscar Pistorius may be a special case, though.  Yes, it's true that he's a famous athlete and that may have some bearing on how he gets treated.  He's also missing both his legs.  South African prisons are extremely overcrowded and unhygienic.  Medical care for inmates is lacking because there aren't enough nurses to take care of them.  Since Pistorius is a high profile inmate with a significant disability, he may not end up in one of those overcrowded, unventilated prison cells with other guys who have AIDS and/or tuberculosis.

I'm sure that a lot of people think he deserves inhumane treatment since he was convicted of such a serious crime.  Personally, I think prisoners are still human beings and they deserve humane conditions in prison.  South Africa apparently has some policies that are supposed to protect the human rights of prisoners.  However, though the policies do exist, they are evidently not put into practice.  It will be interesting to see what happens to this disgraced Olympian.

The next topic that comes to mind involves two Austrian teenagers of Bosnian descent that I read about the other day.  Two girls, Samra Kesinovic (17) and Sabina Selimovic (15), decided to run away from Austria last April and join ISIS.  They had reportedly been lecturing their classmates about their lifestyles and were sympathetic to ISIS.  Apparently, a local preacher, Ebu Tejma, had convinced them that they should abandon their comfortable lifestyles in Vienna and head off to Syria, where they could join the jihadi cause.

So these very pretty girls in the prime of their lives left the comforts of Austria and were apparently married off to local fighters.  Now, they're pregnant.  I read in another report that Samra was killed, though later articles seem to dispute that.  Teenagers are often notoriously dumb sometimes and they can make stupid decisions that mess up their lives.  I'm sure these two young ladies thought they were going into a situation very different than what they've actually experienced.  I'm sure they were promised things that haven't materialized and now they're being exploited.

All I can say is that I hope these girls somehow get out of this predicament, but I think their chances are pretty slim.  They are now broodmares for the ISIS machine.  I hope news of their dire situation encourages other misguided teens to avoid the same fate.  ISIS is seriously some fucked up shit.  That being said, I hope no one gives up on finding and rescuing them.  I feel sorry for their families.

And finally, there was the long talk Bill and I had on our way home yesterday.  He told me more about what it was like being married to his ex wife.  She apparently hit him a few times.  We talked about what he should have done...  Naturally, what he should have done was not settle for her and not married her.  Hindsight is always 20/20, though.  He experiences guilt every day when he thinks about his daughters who have grown up influenced by his ex wife.  He saved himself, but he didn't save them... and if he'd tried, they no doubt would not have seen his actions as valiant.  They have been taught that he's a bad person and that their mother is a victim.  Their mother is a victim, but not of Bill's.  She was victimized by the people who raised her and now those who are involved with her have to live with the aftermath...  even people who have never met her, like me, are suffering the consequences of her abusive upbringing and the wrath caused by it.  

Given that his younger daughter struck him during her one visit with us, I worry that the man who ultimately marries her will also suffer abuse.  I fear that she will seek out a man who is naturally gentle and kind and take out her anger on him and whatever children they have.  I truly hope she's changed, though we've seen no evidence she has.  She looks like Bill and acts like her mother, only she inherited Bill's intellect, so she's smarter than her mother is.  I just hope if she does become an abuser, her victim goes to the police and has her prosecuted.  Bill wishes he had prosecuted his ex, although you have to be careful with women who hit, since they can end up convincing police that they're the victims.  

If I had a son, I would be having a serious talk with him about avoiding abusive people.  Of course, I'd be having the same talk with a daughter, but I really think sons need to hear it more than daughters do.  Too many people in our society think that women are the only ones who can be victims of domestic violence and that they are automatically weaker than men are.  It ain't necessarily so.

For more on this, I recommend Dr. Tara Palmatier's excellent blog, Shrink4Men.

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