James Holmes is no friend to mental illness

James Holmes

James Holmes

After his arrest for the movie theater murders in Aurora, Colorado, a number of James Holmes fangirls showed up on the internet, mostly Tumblr, because…well…it’s Tumblr. Having dealt with a murder groupie or two in my time I wrote about the self-proclaimed ‘Holmies’ here.

With his recent conviction this article from Slate by Amanda Hess revisits with the Holmies to see if their attitude has changed towards their mass-murdering heartthrob. Surprisingly it has but not necessarily for the better. A number of them now see him as some sort of martyr for mental illness in this country. As someone who suffers from depression and anxiety on a daily basis let me make it clear that in no way, shape or form should this assclown be used as the poster boy for mental illnesses. To do so would be wrong for a number of different reasons.

First to portray him as some sort of sympathetic figure is akin to excusing him for the brutal murders of 12 innocent people. Secondly, there’s enough of a stigma against mental illnesses already that this would make people think that anyone with even the slightest psychological defect is a potential mass murderer. Lastly and most importantly it would further discourage people suffering from a mental illness from seeking treatment lest they be thought a danger to those around them.

If you want to make anyone the spokesperson for mental illness and treatment make it the person who suffers in silence since no one around them can understand how they’re feeling and who receive advice like “Have you tried not being depressed?” by people who don’t know any better.

Backpage sues Cook County over credit card kerfuffle (From the mouth of Liz McDougall XI)

Liz McDougall

Liz McDougall

In response to the major credit card companies cutting all ties with Backpage, they have filed a lawsuit against Cook County, Illinois, Sheriff Tom Dart. The suit asks for damages for the revenue they’ve lost from their ‘adult service’ ads.

Let’s hear from Backpage’s legal team including head legal weasel Liz McDougall…

“Sheriff Dart’s actions to cripple Backpage.com and all speech through the site are an especially pernicious form of prior restraint,” the suit said. “He has achieved his purpose through false accusations, innuendo, and coercion.”

Liz McDougall, general council to Backpage.com LLC, said, “Our goal is to ensure that one elected official, particularly a county sheriff, cannot dictate what speech is or is not appropriate.”

I love how Backpage and McDougall act like they’re the only ones entitled to rights. Sheriff Dart has the right to ask the credit card companies to assist on ending online sex trafficking. The credit card companies have every right not to do business with whomever they want. None of which is a violation of Backpage’s right to free speech. I also find it ironic that Backpage is accusing anyone of coercion since so many of the girls and women that have been advertised on their site have been coerced, a lot off times violently, into sexual slavery.

This is an act of desperation from a company that’s sinking fast. Hopefully they won’t be able to stay afloat much longer.

Elytte Barbour seeks new trial for craigslist thrill kill

Elytte and Miranda Barbour

Elytte and Miranda Barbour

Last year Elytte Barbour and his wife Miranda pleaded guilty to the murder of Troy LaFerrara in Sunbury, Pennsylvania, and were both sentenced to life without parole. The husband and wife pair lured LaFerrara to his death by posing as a prostitute on craigslist. Once they got LaFerrara into their vehicle Miranda Barbour stabbed him while Elytte restrained LaFerrara by his throat.

Elytte Barbour is now asking for a retrial stating that his counsel was ineffective. He claims that there was evidence that he was insane at the time of the murder and that his attorney only urged him to take the guilty plea of second-degree murder to avoid the death penalty. Not surprisingly Barbour is representing himself.

Personally I’d like to see him get a new trial. I could use the laugh since he’s representing himself and if he went back to trial he’s probably be convicted on first-degree murder which would make him eligible for the death penalty.

Are prostitutes safer online or on the streets?

prostitute

Ever since Backpage was limited to only being able to accept Bitcoin as payment for its ads I’ve had people claiming to be sex workers telling me that without Back-page they wouldn’t be as safe being back out on the streets. One former sex worker disagrees

Back in the 1980s, when Audrey Morrissey was in the life, things were more clear-cut. Working the Combat Zone, she was, by design, highly visible. She could see and be seen, sizing up johns before she got in their cars or went with them into alleys. She could demand to see a license or have a friend take down a plate number. If she got into trouble, people would know and hear her screams. They might even help.

“I’m not saying horrific things didn’t happen,” said Morrissey, now 52 and assistant director of antitrafficking group My Life My Choice. She was robbed, raped, beaten, and had knives and guns held to her. “I know quite a few girls who were murdered. But it’s more dangerous today . . . because it’s invisible.”

Now let’s hear from someone who has worked during the Backpage era…

Pimps park women in these hotel rooms, sometimes in cities they don’t know, without friends or money or cars or cellphones. Every knock on the door brings somebody who might hurt them.

“You’re stuck in a hotel room for hours, days, weeks,” said Lala, who began working as a prostitute in 2005, when she was 16, and didn’t want her full name used. “You turn tricks, that’s all you do, and you’re lucky if you just run through them, and don’t get raped or robbed or beat up.”

In my opinion there are more women like Lala on Backpage than there are of these supposed independent sex workers. If you’re as independent as you say you can walk away but something is sill keeping you there. Is it money, drugs, something else? Then you have a pimp that you’re just not aware of. Women like Lala can’t walk away and Backpage helps keep her there whether you want to admit or not.

Illinois craigslist killer gets new trial

Timothy Smith

Timothy Smith

Back in 2011 Timothy Smith of Woodstock, Illinois, shot and killed 48-year-old Kurt Milliman in Smith’s home. Smith was prostituting his then wife, Kimberly Smith, on craigslist. Supposedly Milliman got to rough with Kimberly Smith and Timothy Smith emerged from hiding and shot Milliman.

More than likely to hide their criminal activities the Smiths concocted a home invasion story where they claimed that Milliman was killed in self-defense after tampering with evidence to try to make the scene look like am attempted burglary.

In 2013 Timothy Smith was convicted of first-degree murder and was sentenced to 50 years behind bars. This past Tuesday Smith was granted a new trial on the grounds that the judge at his trial did not allow an involuntary manslaughter charge to be considered by the jury. Smith’s attorney claims that his client meant to scare Milliman and not kill him. I don’t buy it but it is what it is.

As I said before no one in this story was clean but I can see the grounds for involuntary manslaughter as Smith did not allow Milliman into his home with the ‘sole purpose of killing him. Then again, it was a killing in the commission of another crime so I can see the murder charge as well.

No word on when the retrial is scheduled to take place.

Ex-Disneyland employee charged with trying to trade tickets for sex with teen

Darreck Michael Enciso

Darreck Michael Enciso

If one can be a fan of a police department I am a huge fan of the Huntington Beach, California, Police Department. For years they’ve been in the forefront of catching craigslist creepers in their area. As an aside creeper is the term we used where I grow up for guys who like children. Getting back to the subject at hand I’m afraid that the HBPD may have dripped the ball in this case, at least in the way the incident is being reported.

27-year-old Darreck Michael Enciso, of Adelanto, California, is accused of allegedly posting an ad for Disneyland tickets on craigslist in exchange for what some reports are calling very explicit sex acts. Enciso is a former dishwasher at a Disneyland resort. The Huntington Beach Police Department responded to the ad posing as a 14-year-old girl. Enciso allegedly had no problem with the girl being 14. They are said to have arranged to meet for sex in exchange for the tickets and the time of his arrest the suspect had condoms on him.

Now, while I’m not defending the suspect, because by most accounts he didn’t have problems with the ‘girl’ being underage, my problem was with how the ad was posted or at least how it’s being reported how it was posted.

Enciso is accused of posting a Craigslist ad on July 1 seeking women willing to engage in sex acts in exchange for tickets to the Disneyland parks.
The OC Register

Prosecutors say Enciso allegedly posted a Craigslist ad dated July 1 seeking women who would engage in sexual acts in exchange for tickets to Disneyland.
CBS Local

On July 1, 2015, Enciso is accused of posting an ad on Craigslist seeking women willing to engage in sex acts in exchange for tickets to the Disneyland parks.
Orange County DA’s office press release

All the reports I’ve read said that Enciso placed an ad looking for women. To me that implies an adult. Would the HBPD posing as an underage female not be considered a form of entrapment? Don’t get me wrong. I want to see this guy put away in the unhappiest place on earth but I want to make sure he’s there the right way. It could be that he did post an ad making an allusion to minors but that’s now how it’s been reported.

Either way law enforcement is looking for other possible victims…

Investigators believe Enciso previously posted similar advertisements on Craigslist. Anyone with additional information is asked to contact Supervising Dist. Atty. Investigator Mark Gutierrez at (714) 347-8794.

Hopefully the HBPD has not let their fanboy down and it’s just a case of miscommunication to the press.

Jade Helm should stay out of Texas but not for conspiracy reasons

jade-helm

I originally posted about military exercise code-named Jade Helm 15 here. The short version is that a crazy vocal minority in Texas think that the exercise is actually some kind of secret government operation to either declare martial law in Texas or to take their guns or both depending on which crackpot you’re talking to. What makes the situation worse is that when Jade Helm was first announced and the tin foil crowd first complained, Texas Governor Greg Abbot actually acquiesced to this vocal minority of morons and promised that the Texas Guard will monitor the exercises.

As the start of Jade Helm grows nearer I’m beginning to think that maybe the Texas part of the exercise should be cancelled. Not because I believe in any conspiracy theory bullshit but I’m afraid it might put the safety of some of our military members at risk.

I’m afraid that some gun nut will see a member of the military somewhere near his land and decide to take matters into his own hands. Even worst I’m afraid that small ‘militia’ groups may already be forming to go out looking for trouble.

Since the Governor of Texas doesn’t have the balls or the brains to tell some of his constituents that they’re crazier than shit house rats then the US military may want to consider keeping their personnel away from the more armed and brain addled area of the exercise.

We get Tweets: You hate us and want to see us in poverty

Twitter-logo

If you follow me on Twitter you know I only post two things, what words aren’t recognized by spell check and links to my blog posts. Yesterday the tweet went out about the post on how Backpage is now allowing free sex ads and how I thought that this is signalling the beginning of the end for Backpage. In response to that tweet I received the following from a woman who appeared to be a professional escort…

@trenchreynolds You are so happy to see us struggle! Don’t you care if many girls have to walk the street now? This won’t stop pimps

I hate having extensive conversations on Twitter because I hate being hamstrung by the 140 character limit. I can be so verbose at times that it’s sometime hard to get my point across in a limited space but I decided to engage her in discussion. My reply was…

Backpage is responsible for 80% of all online prostitution. Shutting them down would stop a lot of pimps.

Also if you don’t have a pimp you have a choice to not walk the streets.

Those were two separate tweets by the way. She responded with…

@trenchreynolds Stop attacking us and then say that you care about us. You hate us. You will never stop prostitution

@trenchreynolds Hardly any girls have pimps. I’ve never met one. You just want to keep us in poverty

After the tweet me hating them I wanted to say there’s nothing further from the truth but in response to the tweet about how she never met a pimp I wanted to say which one is it? Are there pimps or are there no pimps as her positions seem to contradict themselves. Not to mention I’ve met and heard from plenty of women who did work under pimps and how dangerous and violent that was. It was at this point I realized I was dealing with someone who was arguing their beliefs and not facts, not unlike someone who belongs to a fundamentalist religion and refuses to believe anything that goes against the tenets of their faith. I decided to cut the conversation short at this point.

Youre obviously not interested is having a logical discussion since you insist on hurling untrue accusations at me. Be well

This is what I mean about being hamstrung by the character limit. I wanted her to know that I bear no ill will towards her and wanted to wish her well but ‘Be well’ was all I could fit in. She responded with two more tweets…

@trenchreynolds How can I have a logical discussion with someone who is happy to see me struggle and live in poverty?

@trenchreynolds #backpage is my best my only source and you are happy to see it attacked. It’s stupid to think you can stop prostitution

After I went back to whatever it was I was doing I had a feeling of deja-vu. I felt like I’ve had this conversation before or at least something similar. Then I remembered that I was previously accused of hating sex workers by someone on Tumblr. Here’s some excerpts of that…

You don’t even have the decency to *pretend* to be concerned about women’s safety here: you are a man who ardently supports a system that treats sex workers with incredible brutality compared to most of the rest of the planet. Men like you are absolutely complicit in the endemic violence against women that occurs as a result of that.

You live in a country with dystopic levels of violence against sex workers because men like you will always value your own ego, and the fantasy in which you get to tell yourself “I AM A BIG TOUGH MAN WHO FIGHTS TRAFFICKING” when really the things you’re doing are basically only succeeding in empowering predators against sex workers.

And you have privileges actual women with lived experience of the sex industry could only dream of, with your access to as you so proudly tote, Time Magazine, Rolling Stone, CBS News, The Globe and Mail, the Boston Globe, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, among others. That men like you use your power to do the exact opposite of the things sex workers around the world are fucking screaming for makes you more complicit than most.

Too many people would rather live with a comfortable lie than an inconvenient truth I guess.

It feels like that they’re reading from the same figurative script. While they may not have had pimps it sure sounds like they’ve been indoctrinated by someone, my guess is whoever brought them into the business which is almost as bad in my opinion.

The bottom line is I do not hate sex workers, I do not wish to see them in poverty or have violence committed against them. Whether you like it or not I’m trying to fight for the freedom of those who have no choice in the matter who Backpage is willingly making money from. I’m not doing this because I’m a man who thinks he knows better than any woman. I’m doing it because it’s what decent human beings should do for each other.

RI man convicted of Backpage murder

James A. Adams

James A. Adams

I guess the murdering of Backpage prostitutes has become so prevalent that I don’t hear about all of them.

For example 34-year-old James A. Adams, of Warwick, Rhode Island, was just recently convicted in the 2012 murder of 20-year-old Backpage prostitute Mary Grier. Adams is said to have used Backpage to try to rob one woman he ordered off of Backpage after pistol-whipping her. That victim was able to escape. Mary Grier was not so lucky. Only two weeks after the assault of his previous victim Adams led Ms. Grier into a garage where he murdered her. Forensic reports say that she had ligature marks and around her neck and that the cause of death was homicidal violence.

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin had the following to say about Backpage’s responsibility in all of this…

“Despite ongoing and increasing evidence that the website is being utilized by individuals for criminal purposes, including activities resulting in charges of solicitation, rape, human trafficking and even murder, the company continues to allow the activities to continue, and even flourish,” Kilmartin said.

While collecting millions of dollars I might add. Well, maybe not anymore.

Backpage allowing free sex ads but desperation is showing

credit-cards

With Visa and Mastercard recently cutting ties with Backpage the controversial website is now allowing sex ads to be posted for free with the insulting promo code of #FREESPEECH. Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel after all. I guess #FREEDOMFORALL as a promo code was shot down, or in Backpage’s case chained to a radiator.

Some may think this is some kind of victory for Backpage but it isn’t. It’s a last grasp for hope because unlike craigslist, who used to allow prostitution ads for free, Backpage’s main income source is from the sex ads. Without them they’re dead in the water,

Another sign of obvious desperation is that they’re supposedly allowing ad posters to buy credits for posting ads by having the posters mail checks. money orders and even cash to a PO Box in Dallas. I don’t think many pimps carry around a checkbook, money orders are still traceable, and I don’t think traffickers are even dumb enough to mail cash. Don’t forget to include your return address.

Cook County, Illinois, Sheriff Tom Dart, who convinced the credit card companies to blackball Backpage, has urged the US Postal Service to ensure that they’re not being used as couriers for trafficking. You know, with that whole using the mail for criminal activity is a federal offense and everything.

I’m trying not to prematurely celebrate the death of Backpage but I would say that the end is nigh.