Tahreem Zeus Rana
Police in Happeville, Georgia have charged Tahreem Zeus Rana with allegedly shooting and killing 26-year-old Vernicia Woodard then burning her body in an attempt to destroy evidence. Before his arrest Rana was an Atlanta police officer. He reportedly met his victim on either craigslist or Backpage depending on the source. I haven’t seen any confirmation if Ms. Woodard was a prostitute but that shouldn’t matter. No one should have to bury someone who has been set on fire and possibly burned beyond recognition just so someone could try to throw investigators off their tail.
Thankfully the Happeville police thought more of Ms. Woodard’s life than her killer as they were able to track him from the internet correspondence between the two however Rana fled. He was apprehended at the Atlanta airport before he could board a flight to Mexico.
So far no motive has been given the killing. I’ll post more as details become available. To my recollection this is the first time that a supposed craigslist killer has been a cop.
UPDATE 12/29/2014: Rana has pleaded not guilty.
UPDATE 10/26/2016: Earlier this month, Rana was convicted of murder.
Elytte and Miranda Barbour
Earlier today Elytte and Miranda Barbour both pleaded guilty to the murder of Troy LaFerrara. If you’ll recall the Barbour’s hatched a plan to kill someone by luring them through craigslist with promises of sex. They eventually were able to convince Mr. LaFerrera into their SUV where Elytte Barbour strangled their victim with a cord while Miranda Barbour stabbed him to death.
The pair have pleaded guilty to second-degree homicide. The main difference in Pennsylvania between first and second-degree homicide is that first-degree can get you the death penalty while second-degree limits the sentencing to life in prison. Since Pennsylvania hadn’t executed anyone in quite some time I always thought that the chances of them being sentenced to death were slim even though they probably deserve it.
Sentencing is scheduled for September 18th.
UPDATE 9/20/2014: This past Thursday both Barbours were sentenced to life without parole.
According to WMAR in Baltimore, researchers are trying to find a link between Columbine and other mass shooters. I am far from a learned scholar but if you’ve been paying attention for the past 15 years it’s hard not to notice a link.
Columbine is the first of what I call the five major school shootings in America. The others being Red Lake, Virginia Tech, NIU and Newtown. In each of those cases the shooters, Jeff Weise, Cho Seung-Hui, Stephen Kazmierczak and Adam Lanza, all had some degree of not only fascination with Columbine but in some cases sympathy or hero-worship of the killers. Weise wanted his shooting to be on the anniversary of Columbine. Cho referred to the Columbine killers as martyrs in his videotaped manifesto. Kazmierczak had an obsession with both the Columbine shooting and the Virginia Tech shooting. Lastly most recently Adam Lanza kept spreadsheets with detailed information about Columbine and other mass shootings. That’s not even mentioning other school shooters that don’t get as much attention like TJ Lane, Alvaro Castillo, Kimveer Gill, Aaron Ybarra, etc.
One researcher goes on to mention the media’s role in all this without saying if they’re to blame one way or the other. I think the media does share some of the blame as more and more media outlets try to be first rather than correct along with the sensationalist nature of today’s major news sources. Reports from these sources can sometimes be viewed as glorifying the killers.
The other thing that is a problem is the dissemination of misinformation that has perpetuated since Columbine. What’s the first thing that people think when they hear a school shooting has happened? Most people will wrongly assume that the shooter must have been bullied, yet there is no evidence that any of the six gunmen involved in the five major school shootings were bullied. Yet as I’ve said many times before this bullying trope, or myth as a I like to call it, has refused to die in the face of evidence that says otherwise.
I used to refer to people who idolized or sympathized with school shooters mutants. Since that time the internet has latched on to the term columbiners. Kids who weren’t even alive during the time of Columbine are on the internet professing their dedication to the two cowardly killers from Columbine and the others that have killed after them. Any one of them could be your kid. This is not normal behavior for anyone and will only set them down a path of destruction either for themselves or someone else. If your kid is one of these Columbiners intervene before it’s too late.
We got the following e-mail not too long ago from someone calling themselves ‘die’ with the e-mail address of fuckyou@*****.com. I blocked out the service name in case that’s an actual e-mail address. I doubt it belonged to the person who sent this.
You posted false information about my father you mother fucker
This curt e-mail allows me to address a couple of things. The first is e-mails like this aren’t going to help any suspect. More than likely they would cause the writer of that particular blog post to dig deeper into the suspect in question. The e-mail’s author did not specify who their father was.
Secondly if a suspect has been cleared or charges have been dropped we don’t want the post up any more than you do. Please send us a polite e-mail asking us to remove the post and we will.
Lastly this is pretty lame for hate mail. Try harder next time.
Wanamaker and Hoffman
I didn’t even know that dental abuse was a thing yet here we are. 31-year-old Jessica Hoffman and 36-year-old Kenneth Wanamaker Jr., both of Lehigh Township, Pennsylvania, have been charged with that very act. Their 6-year-old daughter’s teeth are allegedly so bad that the infection she could get from the dental disease could kill her. A pediatric testified that the girl must have had the disease for most of her life. Their family dentist reportedly urged the ‘parents’ to get dental surgery for the girl as quick as possible. Their reasoning for not getting the surgery was they’re baby teeth and they’ll fall out eventually.
So what makes these Breeders such experts on the way of dentistry? It could be that they’re chronic meth users, allegedly. During the hearing for these charges a case worker testified that Hoffman had a stillbirth at 34 weeks into the pregnancy. According to doctors the stillbirth was caused by her meth use.
I want someone to tell me what is the big deal about meth. What is the initial rush like that it makes you want to keep doing more and more even at the expense of your own children? We’ve all seen the ‘Faces of Meth’ pictures yet people are still willing to risk trailer trash chemistry by allow that crap into their bodies.
If you do meth don’t have kids. If you have kids don’t do meth. If you have kids and do meth get help.
Thanks to Jessica for the tip.
If you or someone you know has a meth addiction you may want to think about contacting the national substance abuse referral line at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit their website.
I haven’t done a comic of the week recommendation in a while because frankly, nothing has really blown my skirt that much lately in the world of comics, until today. Mark Waid’s run on Daredevil has been nothing short of excellent and issue #7 of the current run should be looked upon as a classic issue.
After the Original Sin event Matt Murdock has a flashback to his dad who he idolized. Except the memory shows Matt that his dad may not have been the man he thought he was so Matt suits up as Daredevil to find the only person who can tell him the truth, his mother.
I guess the reason I liked this issue a lot is it because it touched upon a lot of things that I experienced in my life both young and old but I won’t spoil it for you. Pick up this issue as soon as you can.
24-year-old Austin Hamilton of Tampa, Florida was recently arrested for the beating death of his girlfriend’s one-year-old son, Sincere Williams. A coroner’s report said that Sincere died from blunt force trauma to the abdomen. Hamilton allegedly confessed to police that he struck Sincere ten times with a belt and dropped him on his head after Sincere urinated on him during a diaper change.
I was spared diaper changes since my (step)kids were out of diapers when I got married. However my dad told me that I was quite the surprise geyser when I was in diapers. Considering my dad was not the most calm man I ever knew how much rage did Hamilton have to possess in order to do that to one-year-old child? He would have had to have either taken off his belt or gone to get a belt before striking the child which for most people would have been enough time to give them pause about what they were about to do. Also Hamilton had a child from a previous relationship so I doubt this was a new experience for him.
Sincere’s mother was working at the time of the beating. The couple had known each other for years and she thought Hamilton would be fine with the children since he had children of his own. However Hamilton in the past has been charged with battery, domestic violence and had been investigated by CPS. All charges were dropped but you have to think that sometimes where there’s smoke there’s a raging inferno of a forest fire sometimes.
There’s nothing wrong with screening the background of your significant other. It may save your children’s lives and yours. One possible service is instantcheckmate.com which has an A- rating by the Better Business Bureau although your results may vary. You may also want to contact your local police or courts for records availability.
Thanks to Jaz for the tip and CW for the assist.
(In the interest of transparency I received no compensation for any service mentioned in this post.)
Recently ProPublica published an extensive article about their investigations into the U.S. states and how they’ve used the money from tobacco settlements. Turns out, not so good. Too many states entered “it’s my money and I want it now” type deals with Wall Street think that the tobacco money would be as steady source of capital.
While I wouldn’t be foolish enough to say that this is the main reason why so many states are eager to regulate vaping and e-cigarettes I would definitely say that it is a major contributing factor. Since they bled the tobacco well dry they’re going to follow its old users and try to collect the money from their new, albeit less addictive, hobby.
The Haus Personal Vaporizer
First let’s get this out of the way. In the interest of transparency I am not adverse to selling out but this is a non-sponsored post.
Since I’m poor I have to shop at Wal-Mart to help get by. It’s not new that they sell e-cigs but imagine my surprise when I see that they’re selling vaporizers and e-juice too. Just one brand though, The Haus Personal Vaporizer by the same company who makes Mistic e-cigs.
I didn’t purchase one due to funds being tight and I don’t feel knowledgeable enough to do a product review on one of these but allow me to present this informative review that I found on YouTube at the Gear Obsession channel.
So it appears to be a decent product.
What really caught my attention is that it says it’s cheaper than a trip to the vape store. After looking at the prices on their website I wouldn’t necessarily say cheaper but Wal-Marts, and some gas stations, are definitely closer to home than my vape store.
While it may cut into the vape store profits a little bit I think this is good for the vaping community as a whole. If a large-scale retailer like Wal-Mart is backing vaping even on a starter kit like this it could mean having a very big dog in the fight against over-regulation by the FDA. I think this is also good for vape stores because the Haus e-juice is only available in one nicotine strength and that’s full flavored. They list it as 2.4% nicotine. If I had to hazard a guess I would say it was at 18mg or above. Anyone looking to decrease their nicotine intake would inevitably end up in their local vape shop.
I realize this is all ‘perfect world’ theorizing on my part but you never know.
Recently Zorin OS released the Lite version of their Ubuntu based Linux distro. It is intended for older and low powered computers so I was anxious to see how it would fare on my Asus EEE PC 701 4G Surf. For those of you new to this feature the 4G means it only has a 4GB hard drive.
The good news is that it Zorin OS 9 Lite does fit on the 4GB hard drive after install. The bad news is there’s not enough hard drive space left to do any updates.
However if you have an older or low-powered computer that is in need of repurposing that has a hard drive larger than 4GB I would highly recommend Zorin OS 9 Lite. Zorin always makes a solid distro without a steep learning curve for new users. OS 9 Lite is no different.