Friday, December 20, 2013

When in Doubt

Shame or denigrate the victim is much easier than letting the truth prevail.  And when that truth actually takes time to investigate, to ask questions and seek information, go with Plan A and that is blame the victim, I mean they wouldn't be a victim if they had not done something to somehow "ask" or "deserve" it.

This is the culture of the Polaroid Nation, lets only look at the part of picture that develops, immediately go to our Bubblelator and insulate ourselves from doing anything more than has something to do with other than our own narcissistic world view.

In my Conversation with Idiots, Book II, this one is with conversations with idiots who are sure they are not idiots and have some type of degree or education that would confirm they are not. They own a Passport for god's sake and are "cool" as that seems to be the definitive in the new millennial culture of what defines intelligent.

I am a bitch among many of the names I am frequently called and I own my evil.  But one thing I don't do is sweep a narrow picture with a wide brush.  And I find it interesting that usually that comes from the most marginalized group first - women, people of color and those of the LGBT community.  You would think they would be the most empathetic and sympathetic (and yes those are quite differing emotions and reactions but again I am not an idiot) when they hear of others tales of woe. Um no.

I find that those who are victimized more are often the ones who shed the least tears for those who find themselves in similar situations.  And I get it, I really do. After my assault I was and still am asked quite frequently, "what about the boy?"  And my response: "I don't care he is other people's problems right now. Let him kill or rape or drug other women, as he has nothing to do with me."

After awhile the desire for self interest and self preservation dominates, fight or flight. I am exhausted from those last two so now its all about me. I need to do with what I need to do to survive. Not a victim but a survivor is how I chose to define it. And you do what you need to in this world to survive.  It is not pretty but it is a fact.

So when I speak to those who fit into that narrow band I have defined I get what I expect and see on a daily basis. I see it in the children, the defensiveness, the accusatory behavior, the anger and the confusion that results from being marginalized and in turn labeled and demonized as a result.   There is only so much anger one can hold inward before it turns outward.

So in yesterday's convo I found a woman so sure in her knowledge that her smugness only belied her ignorance.  One wonders if she has ever read a newspaper or magazine and had a discussion where her obstinacy was actually seen for what it is - obliviousness  We often confuse that ability to be so recalcitrance and dogged with our opinions as intelligent it offers to explains talk radio and the lather rinse repeat cycle of cable news.

When you are called by your twitter name "angry black lady" I wonder how many times people are willing to engage with you to actually hear your opinion and exchange information in order to learn, empathize and in turn sympathize with that individual and their personal narrative.  And yes there is a woman on Twitter with that nic and yes I have tried to communicate with her and it is not racism that led me to block her, but simply the angry part.  I would do that with 'angry white men' or anyone who defines themselves as angry.  I am angry but I have perspective and it doesn't rule my life although at this stage it could.    Tell me your story and I will tell you mine and perhaps we both might find comfort and resolution, if not solution for others who may end up the same.   Trust me using names to somehow deflect and circumvent the fact that you are aware people generalize and presume you are one way over another due to gender, color, sexual orientation does not work, they will still call you names, you have given them permission to do so and it doesn't hurt any less, it just is less surprising.

And yesterday I read this article about the young gay man who died in Police custody and my first response was "wow slut shaming for a man, at least now we are all equal"  Of course he's gay and that would enable that tacit acceptance that a gay man is somehow deserving or complicit or responsible for his death in police custody.  In legal terms it is called "contributory negligence"  meaning the individual is somehow responsible for the injuries they suffered.

There are many innuendos and implications in the article and of course the ubiquitous "Google" search that defines investigation and research today into someones character.  I love that when I do the same I am brought to a young black woman's Facebook page.  I can't wait to meet the Social Worker who did that to me and assumed that random people on Facebook would know me well enough to find next of kin... at least she did see me so that saves some embarrassment..ah yes another example of the millennial Moroni in positions of authority.

So instead of asking questions and investigating the young man's story fully, if you are going to reveal his health and sexual history, then get the background that completes the story as he is already dead so permission is moot at that point. Then find out what injuries and drugs he has been taking  and in tun that perhaps explain or cause some of the behaviors and problems he demonstrated at the time of arrest.  And then we have the hospital.  The role of a hospital when a victim or perpetrator cannot be overlooked as they are there in two dimensions - to get evidence and in turn treat them to make it to trial.  Patient care is not essential at that point as the second the Police dominate the scene it is a crime scene not a medical one.  I am not surprised that he was only treated for a cut on his head but was he given a CAT scan as that cut indicates a blow to the head  with possible traumatic brain injury?  And if and if he had a stroke that would have been obvious as well and in turn that dictates a level of care that the Police have no interest in waiting around for and money that now become one of a public matter versus insured.  And again that too dictates care that the Police have no vested interest in, a trait that is frankly shared by most public hospitals. Turn em and burn em.

So to say "well that is because that happened to you" is why you think that.. yes and that is why I looked into other cases that were similar and found not one but 3 others.  Contributory Negligence is not the victims "fault" but those who escorted and accompanied  them inside.  Ask and investigate or don't you will not like the truth.  Public Hospitals that serve the community as holding tanks are obligated to not bite the hand that feeds and that hand carries a billy club.

I reprint this tale and then remind you that violence begets violence regardless and that domestic violence is just another problem that is not a criminal one and we continue to criminalize and penalize those who in a heat of a moment make a mistake which carries on for life or in this case, death.

And where the police tread that violence seems to follow. Another tragic death at the hands of the LAPD and their zeal with high speed chases.   And add to that the next enemy to society - the drunk driver.   Yes societies great problems not at all inflamed by the hands of media that have a dirty hand in much of what is defined as a danger to society. And that will the "excuse" or "explanation" or "justification" for why that man had to die. 

 Shoot first ask no questions later if at all.  That is America, why bother no one is listening anyway.

Questions Linger After Death of Yale Teacher in Police Custody

Published: December 18, 2013

"Samuel See, 34, an assistant English professor, was found dead in a New Haven jail cell last month, after a domestic dispute with his husband."

When Samuel See was found dead in a New Haven jail cell last month, nine hours after being put there after a domestic dispute with his husband, the question was how did he die, a disquieting mystery that remains unsolved.

Faculty members and students at Yale University, where he was an admired assistant professor of English, were shaken and openly mourned the abrupt, inexplicable conclusion to his life. Investigations are now examining the circumstances of his death, to see if he had been ill or injured and determine whether the authorities bore any blame. He was 34.

In the weeks that have passed, equally puzzling questions have arisen about just who Mr. See was and how many lives he led.

Was he a hip, beloved college professor enmeshed in discord with the man he had recently married? Was he someone battling crippling health and emotional problems? Or was he a gay hustler, brazenly posting explicit pictures of himself on male escort websites in pursuit of sexual encounters?

From the incomplete pieces that have thus far emerged, it seems he was all of those things.

Over at least the last year, according to people who knew him, the once outgoing Mr. See had become withdrawn. He told one professor that he was H.I.V. positive; a friend said Mr. See believed he had bipolar disorder; and several people said he seemed depressed. In the last year and a half, according to Frank Anastasio, a neighbor, ambulances took Mr. See from his apartment at least half a dozen times. Another neighbor said an ambulance came for him the day before his arrest. At the time, Mr. See was on an unpaid leave.

Jill Campbell, a Yale English professor and friend of Mr. See’s, said she had watched him undergo an alarming change in the last year. “I think he was overwhelmed with feelings of anxiety and inadequacy and shame,” she said. “I had dinner with him a year ago, and the difference from even earlier that fall was really striking. He just wasn’t present in the way he had been.”

Among the problems weighing on him, she said, were the death of a close relative, the strains of his marriage, his health and the acute pressure to perform for tenure review.

In May, Mr. See married Sunder Ganglani, 32, who had attended the Yale School of Drama and was a teaching assistant during the 2011-12 academic year. The marriage had run into serious turbulence. In September, both men were arrested after a fight, and orders of protection were issued mandating that they stay apart.

On Nov. 23, a Saturday evening, the police were called to Mr. See’s apartment to address a domestic dispute. According to a police summary, Mr. Ganglani came to the house to collect belongings. When the police arrived, Mr. See told them to remove Mr. Ganglani. Because both of them had orders of protection, the police arrested both men. Mr. See became furious and fought with an officer. As he was steered to a police car, Mr. See, according to the summary, yelled at one of the officers, “I will kill you — I will destroy you.”

He somehow got a cut above his eye that was treated at a hospital.

Mr. See was charged with violating a protective order and threatening and interfering with the police. He was put in a detention center under the care of state judicial marshals at 9:10 p.m. At 6 a.m. the next morning, he was found “nonresponsive” and soon after he was pronounced dead.

A spokesman for the New Haven police would not comment on the case, saying it remained under investigation. The coroner has yet to declare a cause of death, though trauma was ruled out.

Reached for comment, Mr. Ganglani said that despite reports to the contrary, “I’ve never been living elsewhere. There was no separation.” About his relationship with Mr. See, he said, “He was a remarkable human being in every sense of the word. I admired him and am so grateful to have been loved by him.”

Mr. See’s effect on those who encountered him at Yale was considerable. Hannah Zeavin, a student of his who graduated last year, spoke of “the amazing quality of learning with, being in community with Sam.” She added, “Every single interaction was generative and vitalizing and opened up new possibilities.”

Nathan Brown, a longtime friend of Mr. See’s who said his understanding was that doctors had diagnosed bipolar disorder, said, “Literally every person he met loved him,” adding, “He was truly brilliant. I think he was going to have a truly distinguished academic career.”

In his research, Mr. See wrote about Darwin’s influence on modernist novelists and the way “queer feeling” came to be depicted as a natural part of the world.

Joseph Roach, a Yale English and drama professor and friend, said Mr. See was very generous. “He could laugh at himself and get you to laugh at yourself as well,” he said. “When you ran into Sam, the day went better.”

Katie Trumpener, a Yale comparative literature and English professor who considered Mr. See a dear friend, said he told her and others that he was H.I.V. positive, but bound them to secrecy. In April, Mr. Ganglani wrote to alert her that Mr. See had been admitted to a psychiatric hospital. Later, Mr. See told her how “it was like being tortured to be there.”

After not having seen Mr. See in a while, he rang Ms. Trumpener’s bell about two months ago. “He said he had further physical problems and his doctor thought he had perhaps had a small stroke,” she said. “He said he was having terrible hallucinations and he feared that he might harm his husband inadvertently, because he wouldn’t be able to tell fantasy from reality.”

She said he mentioned that because of a possible stroke it would take him an entire day to unload the dishwasher. A month later, Ms. Trumpener said, he sent an email reporting that new medications had halted the hallucinations.

Mr. See grew up in Bakersfield, Calif., and Ms. Trumpener said that he withdrew from his undergraduate studies at Amherst College when he became bulimic and had a breakdown. He completed his education in the California public system.

Sorting through the dimensions of his identity, though, has left some colleagues who loved him to wonder how well they really knew him.

Under the name Ryan Cochran, Mr. See advertised his availability on multiple gay escort websites, sometimes with explicit pictures of himself. A Twitter account for Ryan Cochran has his picture on it, and counts Mr. Ganglani as one of its followers.

On one site, Mr. See described himself in part: “I’m a professional, well-educated, sexually limitless escort working out of New Haven.”

None of his colleagues or friends who were asked about him said they knew of these activities. How long he may have pursued them or whether he earned money from them are unclear. One of the sites had reviews from presumed clients, including “Ryan is very hot” and “Ryan is simply a god.”

Ms. Campbell, his English professor friend, received an email from Mr. See in mid-October. It mentioned a “bumpy month,” a third hospitalization since April and a “slow march toward wellness.” He ended with the hope of seeing her and “giving you the warmest hug I can muster.”

After hearing of Mr. See’s death, Ms. Trumpener said she wrote Mr. Ganglani. His reply was: “He was everything to me.”

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