In Search of a Killer

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I first found out about my cousin’s disappearance from a random post one of my Facebook friends shared.  It was one of those things people like to share without really thinking about who the subject was, and the prettier they were, the more it was likely to to be noticed.  I did a double-take when I really looked at the picture because I realized I knew that missing girl.  That girl was my family.  I had just seen her at another family member’s birthday party last month.  And here was this picture of her saying she was missing.  I was dumbfounded that this was happening.  This happened to other people, but not to us, and we hoped that perhaps it wasn’t true.

When your loved one is missing and you’re faced with the options, you will pick anything over death.  You want them to be missing.  You want them to be stupid and careless like I was once when I was her age, not caring about my parents and making rash decisions because I didn’t know any better.  We thought maybe she was trafficked.  Perhaps she did run away.  Anything other than the idea that she was dead.  It’s hard to imagine a mother hoping that her daughter is trafficked instead of being dead because the first leaves room for her daughter to be alive, and the other doesn’t.  However, when you’re in that situation, you’ll take any  shred of hope that you can hold on to.

As the days slipped away and the circumstances of her disappearance came to light, we realized that things did not add up.  The way she went missing seemed very suspicious as her mother was the last to see her late Wednesday night.  By early Thursday morning, she simply vanished without a trace.  She left behind her phone, her money, and everything else that mattered to her.  It was as if she never existed.  How do you track down a ghost?  Someone who simply isn’t there anymore.  You start to question if you really even knew them.  With each day, we tortured ourselves with the details and re-examined what little we knew over and over until the items themselves didn’t make sense anymore.  How do you make sense out of a life that vanishes into thin air?  What do you have to hold on to except for the memories?

Then we heard the police pulled a body from the Fox River and we waited for what seemed an eternity for the news.  Some of us suspected it was her.  Some of us hoped for the best up until the very moment the words escaped the detective’s lips.  It was her.  There is a strange sense in knowing.  In not knowing, you could imagine she could be out there somewhere, alive. In knowing, we knew that her last moments would’ve been hell.  We knew she suffered.  We knew she was gone.  But we also knew that some families never get their loved ones back, and at least we did.  The investigation is ongoing, but there is a killer out there and we are looking for them.  Who the killer is is anyone’s guess.  It could’ve been herself.  It could’ve been someone she knew and trusted to leave in the dead of the night without her phone.  It could’ve been a stranger that abducted her from her room.

Caitlyn Xiong was a kind and gentle soul who loved children and wanted to be a teacher.  She hated bullies and wanted to fight for those who couldn’t fight for themselves.  She was an underdog and rooted for people just like her.  She was also very strong-willed and independent.  Although she and her boyfriend had just broken up a few days prior, her mother said she didn’t think she was suicidal.  She wasn’t planning her departure from this earth.  She was planning for a future.  She had gotten a job so she could save money for a car and attend school.  She was on the verge of becoming an adult and reaching her full potential, but that was all taken away from her.  She will never fulfill those plans and we will never see them come to fruition because she was taken.

We are looking for a killer.  A killer of hopes and dreams. A killer of family relationships and bonds.  A killer of possibilities.  Because when she was taken, all of these things were also taken.  What happens to a life that is unexpectedly stopped?  Do the answers also stop?  In reality, what we really need to come to terms with is that once we do finally get the truth, it may come with justice, but no comfort, for it will not bring her back.

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What leads good people to follow bad people and ideas?

When I watch the news and see all that is happening, I wonder how there can still be those who support the President? What can possibly happen so that not another person attends his ridiculous rallies meant to bolster his fragile ego? There are always those hold-outs who astound me, such as the people who continue to defend Cosby in the face of so much evidence.  What leads good people to follow bad people and ideas even when it is clear to so many people how bad these things truly are?  The same reason why cults still exist like The Church of Scientology and why people still fall for nationalist ideals.  When we fall for an idea, a religion, or a person wholly, we tie ourselves into that ,and we feel as if we are denouncing ourselves when we denounce what we have bought into.  Instead, we continue on blindly in hopes that there is a higher purpose, being, or meaning than us.

We tend to make gods out of mere mortals because we like to follow.  When someone gives your life meaning, you will view them as a god.  We want to believe in movements and religions larger than us because we want to belong and feel alive.  These things make us susceptible to those who pander to us because we want to believe in the goodness of others and man.  When we start to believe, we sometimes immerse ourselves wholly and don’t know where the idea starts and where we end.  When this happens, we find it hard to extricate ourselves from things that are no longer healthy.  If we can accept this truth about ourselves, it will be easier to swallow the truth that we have taken the wrong path.  If we never face this truth, we will be doomed to follow in the footsteps of so many that have come before.

R. Kelly and the Cult of Control

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R. Kelly has been in the news as of late due to a Buzzfeed article that details how he allegedly keeps women in a ‘cult.’  I’ve seen comments defending him from either side, some saying that no one batted an eye when Hefner did the same.  Some also argue that these are grown women who are free to do what they want. I agree with that sentiment.  You are free to be in any abusive relationship you want to be in, even if it is slowly choking the life out of you.  R. Kelly has committed no crimes, but morally, he is a reprehensible person who seeks out the companionship of young, impressionable women who he can easily manipulate by using his fame and fortune to leverage control.  There is no law that prevents you from being manipulated, and people confuse manipulation and abuse because the one may lead to the other, but they are not the same.

In my opinion, these young women are being mentally trained to not question their roles in his home.  Is it it a cult?  No, but is it unhealthy?  Yes.  He is using his cult of stardom to wow them and let them know who is the star, but there are no beliefs to be shared.  A cult uses the same strategies to maintain their lambs, but they are not the same thing.  He can be seen as a cult leader because he is charismatic and forceful, but he is not one.  What he is is a man who craves control because it makes him feel more powerful. He enjoys the position of power as did Warren Jeffs, of a Utah Mormon sect that abused his position by having sex with underage girls.  Once again, similar, but not the same.  It’s easy to bandy that word about, but do not confuse the two situations.  R. Kelly is simply a man who uses his position to get what he wants sexually, but Warren Jeffs is a man who uses his religion and position to get what he wants sexually, and religion can easily be eschewed to line up to his benefit.  Religion is a far more damaging agent because it can encompass your whole life and way of thinking.

I do not agree with the fact that these women chose to stay with him, but I also do not agree with the fact that women in the Mormon sect decide to stay within that society, that women all over stay in abused marriages, and that a lot of harm befall women because this is how they are kept from rebelling.  If we keep letting women believe that they are less than, they will keep trying to and not ask for more.  As with manipulators and cults of any sorts, the antidote is to question, for when you start questioning, you start unraveling.  If there is the one thing you teach your children, I hope it is that they always have the right to question.

How to Start a Revolution: The Powerful and the Wrath of the Mob

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The French Revolution changed the face of mankind the social structure of who we are because people were angry and demanded change that was not materializing.  When those in the aristocracy and clergy went along with rules that always favored them in a time of want, those under them rose up and had their heads on a platter.  There will always be those who are in power.  There will always be factions that curry favor and are above the law because of who they are.  There will always be the rich and the powerful, but there is one thing that they cannot escape, and that is the wrath of the mob.  Those who are powerful can escape prison sentences, skirt laws, not pay taxes, and commit murder with impunity, but the one thing they are not above is the anger of the mob.  Remember that when you think you hold no power.

Mob mentality is not always great as it can lead to unjust lynchings, mass hysteria, and general havoc, but it can also bring about revolution.  The anger of the mob is what elected Donald Trump and that means it is not something to be ignored.  It may not always be right, but we must acknowledge that there is much power there and that it transcends those with money and high positions.  The French Revolution brought about many modern changes, but it also brought the death of many innocent people who were swept up in the search for equality.  Sometimes, in the fight for equality, you forget that the people you oppose are still the people you should fight for and infringe on their rights.

If we are to progress forward, there must be anger from the mob, because for so long, the elite rich have taught us not to envy them their ‘earned’ pay.  That we are not to question what they do with their money because they have worked for it, and as such, we have bought into this idea because we decry those who misuse five hundred dollars of food stamps, but do not bat an eye when the Koch brothers’ PAC gave  $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, who then  spent $65,000 on independent expenditures in support of Governor Scott Walker, whose bill to kill collective bargaining rights for public-sector unions has sparked many protests across Wisconsin.  Or how about a private concert thrown by David Bonderman that cost $7 million?  How is it that we have been conditioned to be upset about poor people who misuse their government allowances, but not the millions of dollars that are wasted on lavish parties and politics? Where is the outrage?

If they keep your outrage at bay long enough and tell you that you can’t be upset at them because they have actually ‘earned’ their money, they hope you will direct your anger about your situation else where and blame those who supposedly do not work for their keep and are asking for hand outs.  When you do that, you keep the revolution at bay and won’t go after the rich and powerful because you believe that they get away with everything all the time anyways. So you start to believe that they have a right to spend their money as they please because they ‘earned’ it, while you barely survive paycheck to paycheck like a large majority of Americans.  How long can you live like this until you realize that the power of the mob is stronger than the power of the rich?  It has taken down kings and men of God alike, and it will fuel a new revolution.

 

Analyzing Trump’s Twitter Posts

 

Trump’s often erratic Twitter posts give insight into what kind of person he is. Oftentimes, people give him more credit than he is due because they don’t fully understand the writing errors he makes.  As a graduate with an English degree, I myself have made many mistakes, but usually, these mistakes are because I didn’t proof-read my writing or because I am careless.  In analyzing Trump’s writing, it is clear that he does not have a good grasp of proper writing techniques and instead, is writing how he speaks. This leads to many misunderstanding who he is and what he is speaking about.

In this post, he capitalizes the word ‘leakers’ needlessly because that is how he would naturally speak that phrase.  If he were speaking, he would put emphasis on that word, but he doesn’t understand the context it provides in the written form. This may be because he is not familiar with the written word and how it differs from the spoken word.

In this post, he is using quotation marks to try to undermine what he is speaking about.  If capitalization was the moment he tries to emphasize a word, quotations is the moment is trying to be sarcastic.  As you can see, it does not translate well in the written form once again.

In this post, he is using a hyphen that is not needed, but I believe that if he were making a speech, this would be the moment he would pause for dramatic effect.  As it is, the hyphen does not make much grammatical sense where it is now.

In this post, he speaks in the third person. When someone does that, they are usually distancing themselves from a part of themselves.  He often speaks in the third person, which some people infer to as a grandiose sense of himself, which may be.  Personally, I think a person who believes in himself that much would always refer to themselves in the first person to give themselves credit for a deed well done, but if they are referring to themselves in a third party, I believe they know some semblance of truth and are fracturing who they are to distance themselves from that other person.

In this post, you can see he uses a lot of adjectives to describe something he is speaking about.  This is usually done when someone is exaggerating.  When you exaggerate, your words also show it because you need qualifiers to convince even yourself of what you subconsciously know is incorrect.  When you actually start to believe in the hyperbole that you espouse, your judgement begins to cloud and suddenly, there is no gray anymore, but rather just the black and the white.

What you can discern through these posts is that he is unraveling at the seems.  You can see that he does not fully understand the written word and how others perceive it. Because he cannot see how others perceive him, he is stuck in a bubble of his own making, where he makes his own truths and qualifies them himself.  He is, however, acutely aware of his detractors and makes many remarks to defend himself in the face of their opposition.  When that happens, he sees himself as the victim, for he cannot fathom what he did to bring it on himself.  In conclusion, he does not hold himself responsible for anything and is always in search of things to either qualify himself or to bring down someone else in order to quality himself even more.

A Special Kind of Minority: O’Reilly & Jones

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There is power in being oppressed.  Power in being a victim.  Power in being the David, who slays the giant.  And as such, some have usurped the cloak of the small man to their advantage, such as Bill O’Reilly and Alex Jones.  They claim they are the minority and are the ones being mistreated.  What this allows for is the anger they spew and the fear-mongering they spread like a disease.  When they label themselves as the outsider, they are allowed to be angry and upset at the imaginary giants that they are fighting.  They become the oppressed, and the oppressed are allowed to voice their opinions.  When this occurs, they have shifted the dynamic and to acknowledge reality would be to shift the dynamic back, and as such, they cannot live in facts.  Everyone is allowed to live in their own world, but when their voice is the voice that millions subscribe to, it becomes a dangerous message of perceived inequality.

I once read Yahoo comments, where casual commentors asked the Muslim community to prove themselves to ‘real’ Americans.  One man in particular, who identified himself as Muslim, went to great lengths to try to prove his loyalty, and all it got him was a comment saying it wasn’t enough.  There is no logic in the game of control and power, for that is where the real fight lies.  When you usurp the cause of the down-trodden and call for change when you don’t really own the cause, there is no end to the thirst for your kind of justice because your justice has always been skewed.  Those who subscribe to such views spouted by these two men are looking to gain power over those who they perceive have taken their power.  It doesn’t matter how much the other party is willing to give in, because it wasn’t a real fight to begin with.

Power and the greed for power and control can do viscous things to people.  And for those who are constantly accused of being the oppressor, the next best move is to set yourself up as an oppressed minority that is in search of the truth, but the truth never satisfies.  Having power means owning the ability to tell someone who is different than you to prove their loyalty and never accepting what they offer because you simply don’t believe them.  Power is muting the voices of those who march against you because you don’t believe in their cause.  Power is shutting down a movement because it does not affect you or the people you know.  For if you can’t win the oppressed, you may as well join them as the ones the oppressed oppress.  That’s a special kind of minority.

A Dissenting Voice in the Crowd