Criminal Vs Religious Organizations

Crime Organizations are really not different than Religious Organizations.

Both have

  • a rigid hierarchy structure, where you have to perform tasks or obtain favour from the top in order to move up
  • a strict code of conduct, granted this is enforced far more in the crime organizations than religious ones.
  • a code of ethics, where again, the crime organizations are superior to the religious ones, since their code is more uniformly enforced
  • use uniforms and other symbols to indicate membership, rank and achievements. Gang uniforms being a particular style of clothing and accessories, often tattoos.
  • use fear/intimidation to control people and often reward their supporters. Crime gangs often rewarding with material goods and protection while religions offer intangible after death rewards that don’t really help you eat or have a roof over your head.

Where they differ is:

  • religious organizations hoard wealth while crime organizations more widely distribute it, including spending
  • religious organizations are more selective about punishing straying members or leaders, often dependent on what the scandal was – sex, money, drugs, ordaining women while crime gangs tend to be much stricter to deal with offenses – so a person really has less leeway to develop unacceptable to the group behaviours or actions.
  • religious groups are not competent to screen their applicants to ensure they won’t be exposed by a scandal, whereas crime gangs have better human resources screening techniques of starting an applicant off with small tasks and work up to bigger jobs to test their mettle and commitment to the cause.

Where they overlap:

  • Religious organizations are often involved in crimes or crime cover ups, whether it’s embezzlement, child sex scandals, gay or straight adulterous sex scandals and criminal organizations are all about covering their crimes up.
  • While Crime Organizations are often made up of people who share a religious belief and do not find that their religion is at all in conflict with their business.  Much like the Pedophile priests and those who protect them certainly aren’t prevented by their religion to not commit crimes. Other religions also have the embezzlement, adultery, and other types of sex scandals.

I have to wonder, if the people who are the hierarchy of religion act in ways that is clearly not compatible with their professed religious teachings – how much can they really beleive in their religion?

If anything should be a straight drop to hell, it must be molesting children; yet hell isn’t a compelling deterrent, so I can only conclude that the people peddling the religion aren’t believers of that religion.

  • Some criminal organizations may even believe that their business is very Christ-like by thwarting authorities and the money changers, that they are in fact doing god’s work. And we know how much organized religion thinks they are doing god’s work, which neatly aligns with whatever the religion wants to do.

If terrorists can justify their actions with that, there’s no reason why a crime organization can’t too.

How is this justice?

In 1993, Robert Latimer, a Saskatchewan farmer ended the life of his severely disabled daughter by carbon monoxide poisoning from vehicle exhaust. He then turned himself over to police and started a firestorm public discussion about euthanasia and disability. He was sentenced for second degree murder and isn’t eligible for full parole until December 2010. He is currently in a halfway home with some unescorted day parole, which he uses to travel back to Saskatchewan to be with his family.

On Feb. 27, 1999, Anton “Tony” Lorenz  kicked his girlfriend, Sandra Quigley in the teeth, battered her head with a telephone and finished her off with a pillow. Sandra was 32 and had previously been hospitalized twice following beatings and one of those times, the beating was so severe that she miscarried.

Lornez is now on partial parole and living in the community where the murder took place and where Sandra’s friends and family live.

Latimer has never denied his actions and many Canadians, myself included, agree with and are sympathetic to the mercy reasons behind his difficult choice. His daughter was in constant pain, with no relief and no hope for any meaningful life. He ended her life gently.

Lornez brutally beat Sandra on several occasions and doesn’t take responsibility for his actions. Shockingly, the parole board still granted him parole while he has avoided questions and doesn’t take responsibility.

Parole is supposed to be for people who have admitted what they did and regret it. Not for people who push the responsibility to the victim and refuse to discuss the events.

This is especially disheartening when you consider people like David Milgaard who was not eligible for parole because he wouldn’t admit to murder and remained in jail for 21 years until DNA finally cleared him of the crime and the actual killer was identified.

Has it really become more socially acceptable for a man to brutally murder a woman than for a parent to end the life of a severely disabled and in chronic pain child?

Latimer does not pose any danger to the public while Lornez does.

Latimer has never denied responsibility and maintained that he was motivated by mercy, while Lornez doesn’t accept responsibility and blames his victim.

Latimer, in addition to being incarcerated for a longer time period has the added punishment of national infamy. While Lornez has the dubious benefit of being one of many men anonymous to the public who’ve murdered wives and girlfriends and ex-wives and ex-girlfriends.

While it is true that Latimer’s daughter was a far more vulnerable victim, being a child and having severe cerebral palsy making her unable to communicate or move on her own, and had a relationship with a far greater duty of care – parent to child. To many people, Latimer was acting to spare his child a life of pain and suffering. His actions are intellectually understandable although emotionally anguishable. Latimer was not motivated by greed or anger or rage, but compassion for his daughter and his family. A decision of life or death of one’s child has to be the most difficult one a parent has to make, especially if it’s not a simple removal of hospital care.

Parents who’s child is hospitalized aren’t charged with second degree murder for removing life sustaining treatment. Which is a much closer comparable for Latimer’s situation.

Lornez’s murder of Quigley and earlier beatings of her are not at all defensible. That the couple had broken up and he convinced her to return to him suggests that he probably would have murdered her for leaving him.

Women are often more at risk of being murdered by the abusive ex-boyfriend/husband once a restraining order is issued – as it is a direct challenge to the man’s perceived authority and masculinity and this can escalate his actions from abuse/stalking to murder.

What’s interesting to me is that the groups that were so publically outraged by Latimer’s ending his daughter’s life were typically the religious groups.

Yet, these same groups never come forward to protest against the Lornez type cases.

It is very peculiar to me that the religious righteous tend to be so concerned to maintain the continued existence of anyone who can’t speak for themselves (the unborn, the Terri Schiavo‘s, etc). The Religious Righteous remain silent on the deaths of people who can communicate when they are crime victims or soldiers. But the Religious Righteous speak out in favour of death for people who can communicate when they are the murderers.

I have to wonder, why it is that the Religious Righteous attempt to speak out for “those who can’t”. Is is because if the person could, they would tell the Religious Righteous to back off? That they don’t share the Religious Righteous’ beliefs or terror of death?

It’s peculiar that the Religious Righteous upholds Family Values as ideals, yet attempt to interfere in many people’s families that they are not members of.

It is the legal and moral responsibility of parents and spouses to make decisions for spouses and children who are incapacitated. It is up to the woman to decide what is occurring within her body, and she is the first in line to speak for any offspring.

It is not up to unrelated people to step in between a parent and child or potential child; nor between two spouses. Not legally and not morally.

It is in everyone’s interests to ensure that society is as safe as it can be – so it is in our interests to intervene and condemn the beatings, rapes and murders of any member of society.

Sure, some people view abortion as murder and that would have some credibility if their concern about abortion was matched by a concern about murder generally. But it doesn’t.

Too often what abortion objections come down to is subjugating and controlling women, punishing them for sex and often racism. More often than not, there’s more concern that it’s white women having abortions and it ties into the xenophobic fear of being outbred by other ethnicities.

If you don’t believe me, think about all the anti-abortion demonstrations you’ve seen or activists you’ve heard of – primarily white and usually male.

It occurred to me some time ago to not only listen and consider the message, but also look at the group demographics promoting the view.

It seemed to me that if the group was largely homogenous on ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status, that likely, there’s something else uniting the group that underlies the issue they are making public.

That if an issue was truly just or correct, that the supporters would cross a lot of those demographics. Because it would be the issue, such as environmental protection, that drew people from all walks of life to unite in common cause.

Whereas an issue dominated by a particular demographic feels more like a symptom of a larger unifying cause.

To my mind, motivation counts, a lot.

Which takes us full circle back – Latimer’s motivation was compassion and Lorenz was control over his victim.

Funny then that the Religious Righteous is outraged at the compassion and unfazed by the attempt to control.

Cyclists Need to Pick One

Cyclists need to decide whether they are vehicles or pedestrians.

This switching between the two status puts everyone else in danger because there’s no way to know when the cyclist will convert from one to the other.

If cyclists are going to be vehicles and the cities are spending money on bike specific lanes, then cyclists need to have to carry vehicle insurance and bear a license plate. Partly to raise some funds to offset the costs of bike lanes, but also to ensure that cyclists who break the rules of the road can be identified.

And have insurance to cover the costs of damage they may cause to pedestrians or cars.

bike takes out car?

The idea of driving along and a cyclist, blowing through a stop sign because they’ve decided that they are now a pedestrian that the sign doesn’t relate to, smashes into my car – damaging the door or side and possibly killing the cyclist.

The idea of now having to sue their estate to repair my car is a bit icky. It’d be better to deal with the insurance company.

I have several times been in a cross walk with the light had a cyclist approach on the road with the red light – and they suddenly swing into the cross walk and become a pedestrian. Now, I haven’t enjoyed having chain grease on my overcoat, nor jumping out of the way of what appears to be an eminent impact. But a cyclist/pedestrian accident is less likely to have the injury level or death that is likely with a cyclist/car collision.

car takes out several cyclists

In both of these examples, the cyclist is responsible for the collision as a result of switching between the car rules and the pedestrian rules.

It really becomes no small wonder that cyclists raise the ire of many people, to the point that there really are some drier out there who make a point to menace any cyclist – even the ones who are riding appropriately.

I cannot stress enough that vehicles should never menace a cyclist, no one is entitled to play with anyone’s life and well being like that. Drivers of cars and heavier vehicles have to look out for others because of the possibility of death or serious injury, it’s more a responsibility issue than a legal one.

Driving is not a right, it is a privilege and people forget that.

I also agree that people should be allowed – encouraged even – to ride bikes and I don’t mind separate bike paths were possible.

I just think that some of the funds to pay for it should come from the users of it.

Also, I think it makes no sense to have sidewalks with pedestrians and other people on wheels (skates, rollerblades, skateboards, Razor scooters, or whatever) and then act as if cycles are somehow different.

Wide sidewalks could have a line painted with pedestrians on the inside and anyone with wheels on the outside.

separate lanes for all

And, if a cyclist does change from a driver to a pedestrian – they need to actually be a pedestrian. Dismount and walk your bike – then people know what you are doing and it makes for safer streets and sidewalks for everyone.

We all have places to get to – and getting there alive is more important than trying to be on time.

But more than that, we need to have a common understanding of the rules of the road to avoid accidents and allow everyone to get where they are going.

Too often, the person who gets the blame for the accident really is not the person who was responsible for it.

A new Low in Elvis World

With all of the tacky items that EPE licenses, with people who met or were close to Elvis selling their stories or gifts from him, with the poor calibre of repetitious hits packages by RCA/BMG/Sony;  I can only hope that we have now hit the rock bottom of Elvis related items for sale.

Autopsy artifacts.

“Autopsy tools used to embalm and prepare Elvis Presley’s body for his funeral in 1977 and a toe tag used on the singer for identification purposes are set to go under the hammer at a Chicago auction house.

The instruments up for sale at Leslie Hindman auctioneer’s on Aug. 12 include rubber gloves, forceps, lip brushes, a comb and eye liner, needle injectors, an arterial tube and aneurysm hooks, all of which the auction house say were used only once. “

As an Elvis fan, I have kept my collection primarily focused on music, video and books. The other items I have include some Elvis themed board games, playing cards, trading cards and a few posters..

While I would love to own an Elvis worn or owned item, there has to be a line of what to collect, and not only for storage concerns, but also decorum.

I am not going to say good taste, because part of the fun of Elvis was his lack of a distinguishing between what was good and bad.

Listening to outtakes of many of the movie songs, it is clear that Elvis found the songs distasteful, but he wasn’t phoning them in – he gave tracks like “No Room to Rhumba in a sports car”; “Song of the Shrimp” and “Dog’s Life” just as much effort as his early hits. A strong talent can raise the level of the material after all. Let’s be honest, except for the title track, the songs in his first movie,  Love Me Tender, weren’t chart material either.

Princess Diana showed that we do truly love our celebrities to death, but keeping autopsy tools? Wanting to own them? For an amount of money that could be a down payment on a car or condo? Or fund a post secondary semester?

It was one thing to hang outside Elvis’ homes when he was alive, because he did regularly interact with fans. It’s understandable to want to have been close to him.

But autopsy tools, prescription bottles and other such paraphernalia that might have touched him in a medical context – will not bring you close to him nor provide any deeper understanding of him as a person or his cultural impact.

What’s next?

People hanging out in the Memphis airport selling Saint relics?

Elvis’ bones!

Pieces of his true guitar!

Elvis Presley’s Gibson J-200

A slight lull in colours


This gallery contains 14 photos.

With the spring blooms deadheaded and the initial summer bursts over – we’re enjoying a lot of greenery before the late summer/autumn blooms start. Ogo Pogo in Greenland The pictures with the netting behind the plants are in the back … Continue reading

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