Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Monday, February 29, 2016

Wicked Stepmother Redux

"We're punishing him for being mentally ill. That's what's happening here. Mark is not a violent person, has never hurt anybody. He's been his own worst enemy in jail by escaping and committing some crimes."
John Middleton, lawyer for Mark DeFriest

"Mark was a prized piece of prey. There was a lot of admiration for what he was able to do. [Prison officials] used to have a class specifically about Mark and all the different ways he could f--k with correction staff, and now they give that to incoming staff. They were learning from him because he could see behind all the machinations within the system."
Gabriel London, director, documentary "The Life and Mind of Mark DeFriest."
"Mark has never been a threat to anyone on the outside. He has Asperger’s Syndrome traits, but is emotional and caring in his own way. He is an intelligent and highly skilled worker capable of making a living on the outside. With help and support from the system and all of us on the outside, he can and will become a productive citizen once again."
Bonnie DeFriest, Mark DeFriest's wife
This is a story about a square peg that refused to be pounded into a round hole. He was diagnosed with autism, and there are some among his defenders who claim him to be a genius-savant. And he has been a very long time in prison. His original offence, somehow considered a crime sinister enough to land him at age 19 in prison, was to commit an unauthorized offence against his step-mother's wishes.

In his father's will his mechanic's tools were left to his son. And the mechanically-inclined young man who had been taught his father's skills saw no reason why he should not take immediate possession of them, despite that they had been set aside to be given to him at a later, probated date. His impetuosity earned him his stepmother's bitter decision to accuse him of robbery and to call police in response to a 'crime' she was eager to report to authorities.

For his unforgivable crime he was sentenced, in 1980, to four years in prison, and that was a lifetime ago. The young man had other ideas than to spend his days in a prison cell, and he repeatedly made attempts to escape. He is now 55 years old, and still in prison, after 36 years. Each additional offence he acquired in the prison system added additional years to his ever-expanding sentence. He earned the wrath of prison officials for his capacity to attempt new escapes, time after time.

Each of his attempted escapes from prison was different, and each was the product of an ingenious mind, from slipping a narcotic into the coffee of guards to producing working copies of prison keys out of paper simply by viewing the keys and from memory reproducing replicas that could do what the real ones did. Once, in a Florida prison, he unlocked jail cells of inmates and freed everyone to roam about at will until they were recaptured and returned to prison.

In another attempt to escape, DeFriest coolly pulled out one of his own teeth so he could arrange to be seen by a prison dentist. After the dental work had been concluded, he asked prison guards for permission to use the bathroom. When he emerged from the restroom, he then attempted to pull off another of his spectacular escapes by intimidating the guards with two zip guns he had made himself from copper pipes -- and fled, hot-wiring a car before being captured once again. 

His casual approach to authority reflected at the very least his confidence in himself and his independent mind. That earned him the rancor of guards who would then beat him. Of the years spent in prison, 27 of them were in the unforgivable psychological brutality of isolation. Because his frequent attempts to remove himself from the prison sentence without recourse to the legal system continued to frustrate prison officials, his incarceration had been stretched forward to the year 2085.

His dilemma has been brought to public attention as a true miscarriage of justice, in imprisoning a young man for a virtual lifetime for having committed a questionable offence which his stepmother took revenge upon him for far in excess of what anyone could imagine might occur in a free society. When the public became interested, his wife began a petition, asking for support to free her husband from prison.
Image result for Mark DeFriest,
And it certainly did not hurt his cause when a documentary was made about his life and the absurd lengths to which the prison system was permitted to ruin it, effectively taking up where his stepmother left off. He will now, finally be freed in several months' time. For justice to be seen to have been done, an apology is due him, and financial recompense as a complement to the apology, representing lost earnings, although there is no compensation for having been robbed of his youth and his liberty.

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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Achievement Exhaustion

"She's got all these degrees. She's a doctor. She's a surgeon. And she's here [Richlands, Virginia mobile trailer park]."
"I've got one year of community college. I know why I'm here. I look at her, wondering, 'Why are you not working somewhere else?'"
"I want a normal relationship."
Jamie Looney, fiance

"I don't want to be normal. Normal is not quite right. Normal is not excelling. That's why they call it normal."
"I'm very misunderstood because I look at the world differently. You can call it the Olympian mentality."
"I guess I'm somewhat under-achieving. Olympian mentality is rough because you just get frustrated with how everybody does everything. Everything needs to be done with excellence."
Debi Thomas, African-American Olympian figure skater
Former Olympian Debi Thomas is now broke and jobless. Credit: Steve Mack/FilmMagic

"She wanted and expected to be treated like a star. She would argue back. It was almost like she was contrarian, like she was trying to argue with everything I do."
Lawrence Dorr, Dorr Arthritis Institute, Los Angeles

This woman was an astonishingly capable high achiever. But then, she comes from a family for whom achievement was simply normal. In 1939 her grandfather attended Cornell University where he achieved a doctorate in veterinary medicine. Her mother was a pioneering computer engineer and her brother received a bachelor's degree in physics from University of California followed by a master's in business from Stanford University.

She was right behind them in pursuing her own professional future studying at Stanford, then on to medical school at Northwestern University to become an orthopedic surgeon and simultaneously training for the Olympics. She achieved her medical degree, she competed in the Olympics and she has medals from the World Figure Skating Championships and the Olympics. And she is now 48 years old, twice divorced, and no longer sees her son or the rest of her family.

She is, it appears, sick and tired of achieving. Why not? She has managed to achieve in her yet-young lifetime far more than most people could ever dream of. She has her demons to contend with. Her prickly personality has not endeared her to any of the people she has interacted with either in her profession of medicine or her brilliant avocation of competitive sport. "I've never lasted anywhere more than a year", she notes.
debi skating
American figure skater Debi Thomas performs her long program during the women's competition 27 February 1988 in Calgary at the Winter Olympic Games. JEROME DELAY/AFP/Getty Images

She has long since left her life of celebrity and accomplishment in both areas behind. Her medical license has expired. She has not worked in the health field or skated for quite some time. It has all been abandoned; she is a person of great talent who has alienated herself from her previous life. Her early plans to become an astronaut will never now be realized.

She is as close to penniless as it is possible to be, yet another American who has no health insurance, and who has gone through bankruptcy proceedings.

She lives now in rural Virginia, in a trailer, with a new partner, along with his two young boys. She says she enjoys her present life, without the pressure of a woman of colour having to be a role model as a spectacularly high achiever. She feels that where she lives now, the people are genuine and generous and she appreciates that. And the landscape, well, she appreciates that too: "I didn't know we even had this beauty in this country".

She is where she is because this is where she wants to be, she says. "I'm free. Don't you get it?"

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Saturday, February 27, 2016

Our Animal Heroes

"The villagers have started to get excited about farming their land again. You can see the light in their faces."
"[Some people remain skeptical of the utility of rate mine sniffers but] as we accumulate more data, the more we break down the skepticism."
"It's not often you hear people say that they love rats."
Paul McCarthy, Cambodia program manager, APOPO (Anti-Personnel Land Mines Detection Project)

"At first I thought: 'Rats finding mines? It's impossible'. But they proved they could do it."
Mark Shukuru, Cambodia project manager
Cambodia Hero Rats
Cambodia 'hero rats' clearing up to six million mines and other unexploded ordnance that kill and main rural dwellers. Denis Gray / The Associated Press

Rats, as adorable, fuzzy-clever little identifiers of the presence of land mines, working their busy little selves in the service of humankind, to undo the dread consequences of man's inhumanity to their fellow men? It's happening, as African pouched rats have been trained and pressed into service as TNT-detectors, communicating their finds to their handlers, and enabling the de-mining teams to clear huge fields loaded with landmines that continue to pose a deadly threat to villagers and farmers throughout the world.

With their sensitive sense of smell, and high intelligence these mice have worked in Mozambique and Angola, and now have been brought to northwestern Cambodia to help make vast areas of arable land mine-free. In Trach, Cambodia, finally two hectares around the village where over 15 people have been killed or wounded by explosives, have now been successfully cleared of the presence of mines thanks to the deployment of African rats. And more, much more is destined to be cleared.

"To me, these rats are wonderful", rapturously declared Khun Mao, a villager unable to cultivate his rice field for years upon end, and who now has high hopes that once all the mines have been removed, that hoped-for event will be bringing him back to the land. The Belgian non-profit organization APOPO has brought these African giant pouched rats to the country to do their magic and release villagers from fear of death, hoping to return to land they were forced to abandon.

Victoria, a 2-year-old rat, sniffs for TNT, sticking her nose high in the air to indicate she's found some. She works her way down a 10-meter line with a handler on either end, and is able to detect the presence of TNT at a distance of approximately half a yard.
Victoria, a 2-year-old rat, sniffs for TNT, sticking her nose high in the air to indicate she's found some. She works her way down a 10-meter line with a handler on either end, and is able to detect the presence of TNT at a distance of approximately half a yard.  Michael Sullivan for NPR

The little TNT-detectives wear pint-sized harnesses attached to a rope strung between two handlers about five metres apart, the men standing outside the danger zone. Darting from one handler to the other, the rats sniff the ground until they detect the (to them) unmistakable odour of TNT. Once one rat has made the discovery another will be deployed to make doubly certain of the accuracy of the first rat's detection. And that's when a de-miner with a detector steps up, digs up the mine and detonates it.

Rats are less expensive to acquire and to train than mine-sniffing dogs, and given their one-kilogram weight/size, are easier to transport. Their slight weight ensures they will not detonate pressure- activated mines and each rat is capable of clearing an area of 200 square metres in 20 minutes as compared to a technician carrying a mine detector who typically will take one to four days to complete the clearance of a similar-sized area.

Cambodia represents one of the world's most heavily landmined countries with an estimated six million pieces of unexploded ordnance remaining in the ground after decades of war. Khmer Rouge guerrillas fighting the Vietnamese army in the 1980s laid the mines at Trach. Across the country some 67,000 people have been killed or injured since 1979 as a result of the presence of those mines, leaving Cambodia with the highest ratio of mine amputees per capita in the world.

The rats work six days a week. On their days off they feast on apples, potatoes, watermelon and carrots. During the working day however, they eat peanuts, and as an especial treat, their favourite food, bananas.
In this Feb. 19, 2016, photo, a landmine clearing rat gets a favorite reward - a banana - after a morning's effort to sniff out mines still buried in Trach, ...
In this Feb. 19, 2016, photo, a landmine clearing rat gets a favorite reward - a banana - after a morning's effort to sniff out mines still buried in Trach, Cambodia. African rats are the latest weapon enlisted to clear Cambodia of up to 6 million mines and other pieces of unexploded ordnance that continue to kill and maim rural dwellers. (AP Photo/Denis Gray)

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Friday, February 26, 2016

Ahead of the Infectious Diseases Curve

"I realized my dreams; now I feel I need to help younger scientists to realize their own dreams."
"This young man was saying [via an HIV documentary] he was going to die because he had loved. This was to me completely unacceptable. I thought, if I can help in any way, that is what I would do. This was one of my big dreams, to help one person."
"If you ask me, can I say now that ZMapp [inoculation against Ebola] works in humans? No, because of the mathematics. Can I say that I would take the treatment? Any day, I would take it. Do I think we have saved people? Yes."
"I don't need somebody to tell me. I realized my dream of helping at least one person. I was lucky enough that it was probably more than that."
"[Ongoing proactive work on Ebola and now Zika helps to] remodel our tools [in the battle against infectious diseases. This era is] equivalent to antibiotics. This is a new era of medicine and we are just seeing the first steps."
"I think it is a great image [being 'ahead of the curve']. But I have a very good friend in Senegal. He has been raising the red flag about Zika for two years. So maybe I just listen to people."
"I have my eyes set on other targets that I think are extremely important. But I don't want to scare people."
Dr. Gary Kobinger, chief, special pathogens, National Microbiology Laboratory, Winnipeg 
Gary Kobinger has made a major mark with his work with monoclonal antibodies.
He told The Canadian Press he is leaving the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg next year to become director of the Centre for Research in Infectious Diseases at Laval
University in Quebec City.
Gary Kobinger has made a major mark with his work with monoclonal antibodies. He told The Canadian Press he is leaving the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg next year to become director of the Centre for Research in Infectious Diseases at Laval University in Quebec City. (CBC)

All eyes were on this scientist at a time when it seemed the Ebola crisis was truly going beyond threatening the three African countries it had struck with devastating force. When the World Health Organization made the final declaration that Ebola represented a public health emergency of international concern -- issuing updates as it monitored the situation in West Africa -- of a new strain of virus with an exceedingly high mortality rate.

Dr. Kobinger and his laboratory drew global interest because of  his work and that of his laboratory.

As one of the world's recognized elite Ebola researchers as well as chief at the Winnipeg laboratory, it was his team that was responsible for designing the first Ebola vaccine. He lead groundbreaking work on the Ebola drug ZMapp which, using antibodies, successfully fights the dread virus. The vaccine and the Ebola drug, considered still to be at the experimental stage, were used regardless, because of their efficacy in saving lives during the Ebola outbreak.

Now that a new infectious disease is drawing the world to attention with the Zika virus and its dread effect on newborns in Latin America, Dr. Kobinger is once again focused on a Zika-specific vaccine, just as other researchers are busy trying to find ways to destroy the Aedes aegyptus mosquito recognized as the vector that spreads Guillain-Barre syndrome leading to birth defects, as well as dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.

ebola microbiology lab
The National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg has partnered with researchers in the United States to develop a Zika virus vaccine. (John Woods/Canadian Press)

ZMapp clinical trial results have been recently released. The drug would require a success rate in patients of 97.5 percent to meet efficacy criteria. ZMapp has demonstrated itself to be beneficial 91.2 percent of the time it is used for its specific purpose in Ebola response. ZMapp was given an official go-ahead for use as a result of the dire emergency that had presented itself with its rapid spread and high morbidity rate. Of 25 people who were given ZMapp who were in critical condition with Ebola, three died, and the remainder recovered.

Those then who on compassionate grounds became part of a clinical trial through desperation, mostly survived because of its use. Whether or not ZMapp or the Ebola vaccine will ultimately match licensing requirements, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has requested "extended access" to both, so that should another outbreak occur, they will be available for use. They represent a new field in fighting infectious diseases; the use of antibodies in the struggle against viruses.

Dr. Kobinger is now focusing on another vaccine whose purpose is protection against Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). He will, however, no longer be working at the Winnipeg laboratory, a Level 4 laboratory, come summer. That designation describes the most secure of laboratories where work proceeds safely on the most dangerous of pathogens.He is taking on a new position, director of the Centre for Research in Infectious Diseases at Laval University in Quebec City.

Quebec City is where the young Gary Kobinger grew up. "I see this [new position at Laval] as expanding the horizons, not restricting them. I have so many friends in the field of Level 4 (research) that I'm really hoping that I'll be able to keep collaborating with many of them."

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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Accidental Slaughter

Those who know him attest to his sterling character. He is characterized as a personable, charitable person who goes out of his way to help others. He is empathetic and in short, a very nice person. He is physically presentable, young, and the fact that he is a hard worker represents yet another bonus. Little wonder that any woman might find him marriageably attractive. It doesn't hurt one little bit that he is set to inherit a fortune from a family business. He is what used to be called a "catch".

And he was caught, it seems, by a young woman who is prepared to share his future. They were destined to be married. They still are, but it seems that the marriage that was in an impending state may yet be carried through, but it will be some time before the two  young people are able to be in one another's company for the foreseeable future. He will be called to duty elsewhere, for it appears likely that he will shortly be sentenced to a likely ten years in prison.

This very likeable young man who thinks deeply of the welfare of others around him, also has a background of driver carelessness on the highways. The young man who was known to shovel snow, cut lawns, rake leaves and otherwise be of assistance to the elderly, who would stop to offer directions to people, who if a vehicle broke down would ask if he could be of assistance, is also a man guilty of the deaths of three young children and their grandfather.
"As I  listened in horror [in court during his trial where he has been charged with impaired driving on four counts causing death, and two causing bodily harm], to the catastrophic consequences of my actions [in victim impact statements], I knew my words would be of no consolation. Ever since the tragedy that occurred as a result of my inexcusable conduct, I have wanted to say that I'm sorry, and apologize to the whole family, from the bottom of my heart."
"I will spend the rest of my life attempting to atone for my conduct, and devoting myself to educating the public of the disastrous consequences of drinking and driving."
Marco Muzzo, Newmarket, Ontario courtroom

Daniel Neville-Lake, 9, Harrison 5, and Milagros 2, and their grandfather, 65-year-old Gary Neville were in their grandparents' Grand Caravan on their way to Brampton, Ontario. With them was the children's great-grandmother. They never made it to their destination, because a car driven by 29-year-old Marco Muzzo who though he had consumed quite a lot of alcohol, thought he was perfectly fit to drive, and ended up T-boning the car conveying these family members.

While the children's grandmother Neriza Neville and her mother Josephina Frias survived, the other four passengers did not. Directly after the accident -- which the young man realized was imminent and responded by holding down his brakes to little avail -- he dialled 911. The scene was a devastation of crushed and broken bodies, severed and displaced spinal cords. As for Mr. Muzzo, when authorities arrived he was found to be profoundly under the influence of alcohol.

Muzzo court Neville-Lake supporters
Supporters of the Neville-Lake family appeared at the courthouse in Newmarket, Ont., where Marco Muzzo made a brief court appearance.  (Jean-Philippe Nadeau/CBC)

He had a previous record of driving offences which included speeding and texting while driving. And on this occasion he required physical support to remain standing, his eyes were glassy and he reeked of alcohol. He was returning home from a bachelor party having flown in a private jet from Miami. Forensic evidence indicated a sky-high blood alcohol level, between 190 and 245 mg per 100 ml of blood, roughly three times the legal driving limit of 80.

He recalls 'only' three or four drinks on the plane after having consumed alcohol until early morning the previous night.

York Crash
Four of the six people that were travelling in this van died after a horrific crash last year in Vaughan, Ont. (Pascal Marchand)

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Tempest In A Sanctimonious Apple

"We have no tolerance or sympathy for terrorists. When they commit unspeakable acts like the tragic attacks in San Bernardino, we work to help the authorities pursue justice for the victims."
"Apple is a uniquely American company. It does not feel right to be on the opposite side of the government in a case centering on the freedoms and liberties that government is meant to protect." "[But] this case is about much more than a single phone or a single investigation, so when we received the government's order we knew we had to speak out."
Tim Cook, CEO, Apple Inc.
Apple's fight with the FBI
"We simply want the chance, with a search warrant, to try to guess the terrorist's passcode without the phone essentially self-destructing and without it taking a decade to guess correctly. That's it."
"We don't want to break anyone's encryption or set a master key loose on the land."
James Comey, director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Washington
"This is a specific case where the government is asking for access to information [Apple should assist the U.S. government's wish to hack into a locked iPhone, in the San Bernardino, California terrorist attack]."
Bill Games, former head, co-founder, Microsoft
Apple protest
A demonstrator outside the Apple store at the Grove shows a "digital sign" in support of Apple's resistance to help the FBI. 
(Sarah Parvini / Los Angeles Times)

He's out of the game that other vast conglomerates and their chief operating officers are still headily involved in, but his opinion still has a good measure of clout, if not now as a highly respected computer-giant-software entrepreneur, then as a philanthropic philosopher whose billions derived from the world-wide-web have been put to inestimable good use universally. So, while Apple, Facebook, Twitter and Google are all averse to ceding to a government request to enable them to investigate possible links to Islamist terrorism through their platforms, Bill Gates stands foursquare for co-operation in this instance.

Tim Cook may talk a good line about lack of sympathy for the jihadi agenda, but he sees greater facility of purpose in denying investigative intelligence authority the means by which they may use the advanced technology of the Apple iPhone as a conduit to that intelligence. For one thing, defiance of government is hugely popular, particularly in the field of perceived intrusions into privacy, and a corporation such as Apple balancing its reputation on integrity and loyalty to its client base through their guarantee of privacy fits the bottom line as a superior public relations strategy.

While stating on the one hand that "it does not feel right" (thus establishing their selective patriotism) to defy government through a specific request bolstered by a court order, it is to Apple's credit among its clients that it poses as a protector of their security issues in a world where intrusiveness has been the subject of a colossal backlash from people addicted to their interface with online services and Internet social platforms, where in fact, they don't one whit mind unleashing on the world all their private concerns and actions which portray them as the noble and high-minded citizens that they reveal themselves to be.

So, Tim Cook loftily proclaims his pride in his and his company's decision to never to risk the "security of hundreds of millions of law-abiding people", who happen to be their clients, just for the possible chance that in allowing the FBI to hack one device owned by one erstwhile American citizen whose dalliance with fanatical Islamism caused him to take the lives of an unfortunate number of his co-workers. If the FBI hope to be able to link others within the community where the atrocity took place, or further afield, to the crime to alert them to the possibility it might be repeated, they can bloody well use other means.

The plea by FBI director James Comey that Apple owes this concession to the victims of the San Bernardino assault has fallen on the unconvinced ears that have balanced all the pros and cons and found that plea wanting even if it means that the FBI "can't look the survivors in the eye, or ourselves in the mirror, if we don't follow this lead". So the iPhone that was a technical companion in communication for Syed Farook who killed 14 innocent people for the crime of not being Muslim, will remain locked against the FBI enquiry.

In the balance between a federal magistrate judge ordering Apple to concede its assistance to the FBI to enable it entrance into the password-protected phone, an industry giant thumbs its metaphorical nose at government, its intelligence agency, and its judiciary. Apple as defiant of orders to cooperate is simply Apple doing 'the right thing' for its product-constituents who expect no less of it, for having selected Apple's products they have chosen the fail-safe technology of encryption, a lock that puzzles authorities and investigators and that's just the way it is.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Vulnerable Brain

"Earlier [chronological age of cannabis use] is worse, because the teenage brain is still developing and it seems like cannabis is hijacking that development. That is the problem."
"If it is going to be legalized, regulation has to be key. Just because it is [sic: will be] legal doesn't mean it is a benign drug."
Dr. Andra Smith, neuro-scientist, psychology professor, University of Ottawa

"We may be living in an environment where legalization is coming, but let's not forget about youth whose brains are developing and are at risk for mental health disorders."
Dr. Tony George, medical director, complex mental illness, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto

"They felt that cannabis makes them better drivers, some young people reported that they felt it helped their focus and attention at school … we also heard from young people that they felt marijuana prevented and even cured cancer."
"So there's a real opportunity here to bring some clarity to this issue about what does the evidence really say about this drug and its health effects?"
"The key message is marijuana is not a benign subject. There are significant effects, whether you are looking at cognitive functioning, mental health, risk of addiction-impaired driving."
"The purpose of [Monday's public forum] was to convey that message."
Amy Porath-Waller, director of research and policy, Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse held a town hall on marijuana's effects on youth at Ben Franklin Place in Ottawa Monday, Feb. 22, 2016.
The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse held a town hall on marijuana's effects on youth at Ben Franklin Place in Ottawa Monday, Feb. 22, 2016. (Andrew Foote/CBC)

"I think in the end our goal [is that] the evidence is going to be compelling enough that we're going to really try to move forward on delaying use of cannabis by young people and preventing it as much as possible."
"The issues of access, minimum age, controlled sales, those are all important elements so that when people do have access to the drug they're adults, they can appreciate the effects it's going to have on their lives, they have more responsibilities, less leisure time."
Nancy Langdon, Ottawa Public Health supervisor

The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) fielded its researchers and officials in a series of public forums set up for Halifax, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary to interface and interact with local public health departments to ensure that their message of the potential disruptive health effects of youth smoking marijuana are well known. A kind of heads-up before the introduction by the current Liberal government of a new legalized status for marijuana, a promise made during the election campaign of last October.

That legislation is imminent, and many within society await it eagerly. Marijuana has proven to have its uses, both in a social setting for adult 'relaxation' and as a remedial health issue and pain reliever. Currently, as under the previous regime, medicalized marijuana by prescription was made legal under the auspices of the federal health department. This new looming legislation will serve to expand its legal status making it as available to adults without prescription as alcohol and tobacco.

And therein lies the concern. While legalizing marijuana is a reasonable option, removing the stigma and penalties that came with its use as a banned product where users could be arrested for breaking the law and imprisoned for its recreational use, the time has come to remove that criminal penalty under government regulatory use. At the same time because research has demonstrated that there are problems inherent in its use for developing brains of young people, which marijuana can disrupt harmfully, an alert was required.

And so, the travelling fora was born, named by the CCSA The Effects of Cannabis use during Adolescence. The Centre feels it will be necessary to protect the health of young Canadians for strict regulation to ensure that marijuana is kept out of the hands of young people. It's a little like locking the barn door after the horses have galloped off, since a drug and alcohol use survey of 2013 found that 22.4 percent of young Canadians between 15 and 19 had used cannabis, in any event.

A large crowd filled Dundas Square in Toronto as pot smokers gathered on April 20, 2011. (Peter Power/The Globe and Mail)

In fact the use of cannabis among the young appears roughly two-and-a-half times more prevalent than adults aged 25 and older using marijuana. As far as most teens were concerned, in information relayed about attitudes, conveyed during focus group interviews, there is a widely-accepted belief that marijuana is essentially harmless in its effect; simply that it is a pleasurable, mild and benign commodity which adults in their insistence on controlling and withholding pleasure from the young, characterize as harmful.

Researchers and health-care advocates are aware of a growing body of evidence that make it clear there are serious mental and cognitive issues involved for frequent marijuana users among the young. And the earlier the use of marijuana is initiated, and the more frequent its use, the more potential damage will accrue. The very architecture of the still-forming brain in adolescence can be permanently altered, quite apart from its effect in impaired executive function.

A protester lights a joint during a 4-20 marijuana rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa  (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Research has linked teens who regularly use cannabis and have used it by age 15 at least on 50 occasions, with lower test scores and a reduced academic performance in comparison with their peers who prefer not to smoke. A higher risk of psychosis and schizophrenia has also been linked to heavy marijuana use by adolescents. Swedish research revealed that people who used cannabis on more than 50 occasions by age 18 were six times likelier to develop schizophrenia than those who refrained.

Though the causal relationship between marijuana and psychosis still has room for further research, the suggestion is that those with a predisposition to schizophrenia could be vulnerable to the psychosis-inducing effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana. And there also looms the concern that the issue of driving under the influence of alcohol will be mirrored by rising incidents of driving under the influence of pot, presenting another scourge on the roads.

The active ingredient in marijuana is tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, which, when ingested, produces a range of effects that include a sense of well being; a feeling of relaxation; enhanced sociability; difficulty concentrating; distortions in sense of time, vision and hearing; and at higher doses, auditory and visual hallucinations. Other effects include increased heart rate, reddening of the eyes, sedation, increased appetite, and decreased muscle tone. The extent of these effects and the actual experience of the user will be determined by a number of important factors that can vary greatly.
Use of any drug has some measure of risk attached to it, and marijuana is neither a demon weed nor a benign substance. As with all substances, it is important to distinguish between casual, regular and heavy use, with negative effects being more likely with heavier use. Studies of effects are hampered because marijuana is often used in combination with other substances, particularly tobacco.CPHA - Canada's Public Health Leader

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Monday, February 22, 2016

Dire Needs Opposing National Law

"They come to my office and ask, 'Is there a chance for my baby to have microcephaly?' We need to inform them there is."
"Later, both patients [who had tested positive for Zika] told me they had abortions."
Dr. Artur Timerman, Sao Paulo

"Some children with severe-appearing brain malformations seem to be relatively unaffected. Yet others with relatively minor structural problems may have profound disabilities."
Dr. Hanna M. Tully, neurologist, Seattle Children's Hospital

"[With any child whose head measures] three or four standard deviations below the mean, then it's very unlikely that you will be dealing with normal intelligence."
Dr. Constantine A. Stratakis, pediatric geneticist, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Maryland
Mosquitoes will be sterilised with gamma rays and then released to disrupt the breeding cycle as part of Brazil’s fight against the Zika virus.
Mosquitoes will be sterilised with gamma rays and then released to disrupt the breeding cycle as part of Brazil’s fight against the Zika virus. Photograph: Marvin Recinos/AFP/Getty Images
"We have an epidemic, an emergency, and the public health sector is not properly caring for women's rights."
"We have constitutional rights at risk, the right to health care and human dignity."
Debora Diniz, anthropologist/researcher, Brazil
Three-month-old Alice Vitoria, who has microcephaly, is held by her mother Nadja Cristina at their home in Recife, Brazil
Three-month-old Alice Vitoria, who has microcephaly, is held by her mother, Nadja Cristina, at their home in Recife

In Brazil, a woman seeking medical attention at a hospital because of a botched abortion, was handcuffed to a hospital bed and arrested. Scholars in Brazil estimate that up to 850,000 abortions are illegally performed annually in their country. The sturdily Roman Catholic country does not permit abortions with singular exceptions; in the case of rape or anencephaly where parts of the brain or skull are absent, or when the mother's life may be in danger.

Even so, conservatives are attempting to impose greater strictures on abortion to bring them in line with El Salvador which disallows abortion under any circumstances.

A complication arises with requests for abortion related to fears of microcephaly; while absolute scientific evidence of Zika causing the dread malformation in babies is yet absent, even though scientists are convinced that link is there, microcephaly is detectable through ultrasound scans around the end of the second trimester. At 24 weeks, raising objections from supporters of the existing abortion laws in Brazil who argue that late term abortions are forbidden, by church and by state.

And those women who have undergone testing to determine whether they have been infected by Zika, and who are pregnant, may not by law, seek abortions based on their fear that their child will be born disabled. Unless they are wealthy and have the means to obtain illegal abortions or go abroad for that purpose. In Recife, microcephaly-central in Brazil, abortion rights activists are battling the move to make abortion even more restricted in the country.

On their side, is a judge in central Brazil, Jesseir Coelho de Alcantara, who has publicly announced his intention to permit women to pursue legal abortions if they have been infected by Zika, and fear microcephaly will be the painful outcome. And in Brasilia, legal scholars are working to present a case before the country's highest court promoting permission for pregnant woman to have access to abortions once their foetuses are confirmed with abnormally small heads.

Another complexity in this more than-sufficiently complex challenge for women is the issue that about ten percent of babies with microcephaly appear abnormal but have no mental deficits.
Geovane Silva with his son Gustavo Henrique, who has microcephaly, at the Oswaldo Cruz hospital, Recife, Brazil
Geovane Silva with his son Gustavo Henrique, who has microcephaly, at the Oswaldo Cruz hospital, Recife

The situation is an alarming one, not only for Latin America where the Zika virus has spread to other countries, and seems destined not to find barriers to its spread in North America and elsewhere, pharmaceutical companies now see a challenge. "It's easy to do a few quick experiments and demonstrate some very promising kind of diagnostics or even something that might look like a vaccine. But to actually take that and really move it forward takes a huge amount of infrastructure and expertise and money", explained Richard Kuhn, head of biological sciences at Purdue University.

Yet the reality is that fifteen pharmaceutical companies around the world are looking into research for the development of a vaccine, even though it would take years to undergo the rigorous clinical tests to confirm efficacy, once such a vaccine is created.  The disease and its transmission by the Aedes mosquito has gone from the forests of Uganda and Tanzania to Asia, across South America, Central America and the Caribbean. Concerned governments are offering incentives to researchers.

President Obama is prepared to request $1.8-billion in emergency funding of the U.S. Congress. "Nobody was prepared for this. No one has worked on growing the virus, characterizing the virus, or developing an animal model. It takes a few years to get to that point if you start today", said Farshad Guirakhoo, senior vice-president of research and development at GeoVax of Smyrna, Georgia, currently working on a vaccine in collaboration with the  University of Georgia.

"Virology is a very difficult field. There are companies that never really deal with a virus. They can't make good tests", said Sudhir Bhatia, founder of Genekam Biotechnology AG of Germany which has developed a diagnostic kit to detect Zika. Canada's Biocan Diagnostics Inc., Altona Diagnostics of Germany and GenArraytion Inc. of Rockville Maryland are also devoting room in their research laboratories for diagnostic tools and vaccines. Much depends on the outcome.

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Sunday, February 21, 2016

More Catholic Than the Pope

"It is the poorest women who are suffering from this crisis. It is not women in the upper-class neighbourhoods, who can protect themselves from mosquito bites."
"I haven't seen anything from the governments of these countries themselves [Latin America] that indicate they are reconsidering the restrictive laws because of this crisis. I haven't seen any of that."
"The only calls that have gone out from health ministers is 'Don't get pregnant', which is kind of an unrealistic demand I think, if contraception is not available for the poorest..."
"Of course men are responsible for having sex and getting women pregnant as well, but the reality is that men refuse to take this responsibility seriously. So women are the ones who get pregnant and they are the ones who are called upon to prevent getting pregnant."
Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, Dutch physician
Baby in Brazil with microcephaly after mother got Zika virus while pregnant
Photo: Still from video

"Not only is increased access to abortion and abortifacients [abortion-inducing drugs] an illegitimate response to this crisis, but since it terminates the life of a child it is fundamentally not preventative."
Vatican statement

"[Unlike abortion], avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil [in certain circumstances it may be viewed as] the lesser evil."
"[However, abortion is never permitted, including foetuses with serious brain defects caused by the Zika virus as abortion is] a crime. It is killing one person to save another. It is what the mafia does … It is an absolute evil."
Pope Frances 
Pope Francis
Photo: Still from news video

No woman considers the birth of a disabled child to represent a blessed event, not even when the Pope himself sanctifies such a birth giving it his personal blessing. Yet even he has compassion for the mother and the child who will be faced with a lifetime of sorrow in negotiating life's passages from such a hugely disadvantageous perspective. And so, he can personally and graciously overlook defiance of Church doctrine in the form of contraceptive for this singular situation, but never, no never, abortion, a cardinal sin.

An Internet-based helpline for women has lately been inundated with requests for help from desperate women, those who have access to computers (which rules out a lot of rural women living impoverished lives), speaking of their personal anguish, and reflecting the larger desperation of Brazil's demographic of child-bearing-aged women, as well as those across Latin America where the Zika virus is raising its grotesque head, leaving infants in its wake with uncharacteristically small heads and brains; microcephaly.

The Canada-based Women on Web providing advice and medications on request for women in need of abortion assistance haling from countries where abortion is banned, has been receiving increasing pleas for help through emails from women anxious to avoid giving birth to microcephalic babies. For those thousands of women who have already been shocked into insensibility by the reality that their newborns will face a life of uncertainty and discrimination, health misery and anguish, it is too late.

These women are begging for pills that are unavailable in Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru or El Salvador where laws against abortion procurement prevail. Abortions in El Salvador are not to be had for any reason, including rape and incest. Colombia will permit abortions if severe deformity is identified in a foetus. The organization meant to aid women constrained by law from release of bearing a malformed baby was founded in 2005 by Dutch physician Dr. Rebecca Gomperts.

Women on Web has been supplying packages of Mifepristone and Misoprostol around the globe for over a decide to women who have requested their assistance. But the numbers have taken a sharp uptick since the Zika crisis has developed. "We think [the increase in requests] is related to the Zika outbreak. We cannot explain it any other way. Probably a lot of women are looking for abortion services now", stated Dr. Gomperts.

Little wonder, when in their patriarchal society that adheres to the strictures of the Roman Catholic Church forbidding both contraception use and abortion, when the women are informed by their highest government authority that it is up to them to avoid pregnancy, a true 'catch-2' that victimizes women and punishes them for having to bear a burden whose outcome is circumstantial and not of their volition or wishes.

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Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Pathogenic Horror of Anecdotal Reality

"Doctors, pediatricians, neurologists, they started finding this thing we never had seen."
"Children with normal faces up to the eyebrows, and very strange heads. The doctors were saying, 'Well, I saw four today', and, 'Oh that's strange, because I saw two'." 
"They cried, they breast-fed well. They just didn't seem to be ill. The pediatricians were saying, 'We've never seen anything like this. These kids are different. This is something new'."
"I'm more comfortable now [that researchers are being involved and a way sought to destroy the mosquitoes]. I see so many people working as a team and so much international concern. Now it has become clear to the whole world."
"If we had known what was going on, that would have been one thing. But there was no book to follow. We had no map. I couldn't sleep for several weeks."
Dr. Celina M. Turchi, infectious diseases researcher, Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Brazil
Leticia de Araujo holds her daughter, one-month-old Manuelly Araujo da Cruz, who was born with microcephaly after being exposed to the zika virus during her mother's pregnancy is seen here, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Feb. 11, 2016 -- Antonio Lacerda/EPA

"This epidemic is an unfolding story."
"As with Ebola, this virus is something that could exist for years under the radar, and we don't know until we get thousands of cases what it really does."
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, United States
Mosquito on the skin.
Zika virus is transmitted by the Aedes species of mosquito. This species is also responsible for the transmission of dengue
In Recife, the realization that a growing number of babies were presenting with the condition labelled microcephaly, came unexpectedly. The Zika virus had for quite some time been present and spread by Aedes mosquitoes, known to cause disease, but no one connected a virus that had been present for almost 70 years with the new and puzzling appearance of babies born with abnormally small heads and brains. No one even suspected that the cause of dengue could also cause microcephaly.

Patients had begun slowly arriving in hospitals in Natal, up the cost from Recife. Natal had been a host city of the international soccer championship. Patients all displayed similar symptoms; a flat pinkish rash, bloodshot eyes, fever, joint pain and headaches. "That scared some patients and doctors, and my team. We knew nothing other than that it might be some kind of light dengue", explained Aline Bezerra, municipal epidemiologist.

Despite inconclusive tests, patients kept arriving. Then, a year ago two more nearby states revealed the mystery disease had spread, finally reaching Salvador, with a population of 2.5-million. It was thought by some doctors to represent an allergy. "People were claiming it was polluted water. I began thinking it was something transmitted by mosquitoes", said Dr. Gubio Soares, a virologist at the Federal University  of Bahia in Salvador.

And so, Dr. Soares, with the help of a colleague, kept testing samples, while others were doing the very same thing. Parvovirus, dengue, chikungunya and other diseases were one by one discarded as theories. And then, a month later, Dr. Soares and Dr. Silvia Sardi felt confident that it was Zika. "I actually felt a sense of relief. The literature said it was much less aggressive than viruses we already deal with in Brazil", admitted Dr. Soares.

It was thought to be a benign disease, nothing to be concerned over, and this is the message that the-then health minister of Brazil conveyed to the public in May. He was soon contradicted when an online service operated by the International Society for Infectious Diseases published the opinion of Thomas M. Yuill, an emeritus professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison: "The arrival of Zika virus in Brazil is not good news. [Brazil has] abundant mosquitoes and a large population of susceptible people", he wrote.

Zika made its mark first in 2007 progressing in an easterly direction across the Pacific. In early 2014 it appeared in the Cook Islands and New Caledonia close to Australia, to Easter Island, and then to the Western Hemisphere where American Samoa and Tonga are now experiencing outbreaks. Discovered in 1947 in the Zika forest of Uganda, it was thought to be a mild virus, and it was not until 2013 that evidence surfaced that Zika had posed a health threat, for no one had up until then been hospitalized after having contracted it.

That is history. Now, a hospital psychiatrist in Recife recalls her memory of the mothers of these babies; mute, expressionless, wandering like ghost figures through hospital corridors, holding their babies with vanished foreheads. "They were in a state of shock", she stated. Dr. Turchi, requested by the national health ministry to investigate, travelled to hospitals, spoke to health professionals. And she contacted every scientist she knew of from all over Brazil.

She named her working group MERG, the Microcephaly Epidemic Research Group. In early November, Dr. Adriana Melo in Paraiba State north of Recife, drawing amniotic fluid from a pregnant woman, found Zika in the fluid. And then brain tissue was examined from two stillbirths and once again Zika was discovered in the tissue. "At last we had a road to follow", said Dr. Turchi.

Brazil, a staunch Roman Catholic country whose laws reflect religious strictures, frowns upon abortion. And for the most part, women are not able to resort to abortion access for whatever reason in much of the continent. Zika is now being transmitted in 33 countries whose inhabitants total about 600-million people. It has now been found south of Florida and Texas. Guillain-Barre has been identified as the harbinger of microcephaly and is being found wherever mosquitoes thrive year-round.

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Friday, February 19, 2016

Devastating Cultural Heritage

"[The practice is] regarded as part of our culture, or a confirmation that they will be officially 'Islamized'. [The practise] in Indonesia is mostly symbolic [no cutting at all]."
Jurnalis Uddin, chairman, Center for Population and Gender Studies, Yarsi University, Jakarta

"They think it's a family or cultural tradition, and an Islamic obligation, yet they can't name any verses in the Q'uran about female circumcision."
Rena Herdiyani, government lobbyist, Kalyanamitra, NGO

"Mutilation is horrible, but it's not true that it happens here. They cannot stop us. It's our tradition."
Fitri Yanti, 30, Indonesia

The ancient ritual of female genital cutting practised throughout Africa and the Middle East is also widespread in Indonesia, which is home to 12.7% of the world's estimated 1.7-billion Muslims, qualifying it as the country with the largest Muslim population in Asia. Almost half of all women in he country appear to have undergone ritual circumcision. An adjustment was recently made by the United Nations in their global figure for women and girls who have undergone circumcision.

Where formerly that number was estimated to be $130-million women who have experienced genital cutting, that number has now risen to $200-million with the inclusion of Indonesia. Female circumcision can run the gamut from slight cuts to radical, rough surgery where the clitoris and labia are removed and the vaginal passage is sewn shut, creating all manner of dire health problems including difficulty in urinating, in menstruating and in childbirth resulting from scars tissues.

Where once, in Medieval Europe, women were often forced to wear metal girdles (chastity belts) that were locked as restraints against infidelity, either voluntary or forced, in today's world nothing like it exists except for the presence of women and girls of African, Asian or Middle Eastern heritage living in the West, where the cultural dedication to continuing the practise carries on. The number of countries across the globe where female genital cutting is a social custom, however, is 30.

"We knew the practice existed but we didn't have a sense of the scope", explained Claudia Cappa, a statistics specialist for UNICEF. With the addition of Indonesia, it is clear that genital cutting is not limited as "an African problem". Indonesian experts are quick to explain that the extremely severe disfiguring that describes female genital mutilation (Clitoridectomy or infibulation) is not normally done in that country; rather they claim, it is a mere 'scratch'.

The official Indonesian government defines female circumcision as "an act of scratching the skin that covers the front of clitoris without injuring the clitoris". The percentage of girls aged 15 to 19 who have been cut worldwide has been reduced from 51 percent in 1985 to 37 percent at the present time, in countries where the practise remains a normal part of the social-cultural contract. In Egypt 30 years ago 97 percent of 15 to 19-year-olds were circumcised; the new figure is 70%. High by any measure.

Liberia has reduced its rate of female circumcision from 72 percent to 31 percent, and Burkina Faso from 89 percent to 58 percent. Despite public pressure from outside those countries that practise circumcision, and indeed from within as well, the practise continues. "Current progress is insufficient to keep up with increasing population growth", reports UNICEF. As a result, if trends continue the number of girls and women undergoing circumcision "will rise significantly over the next 15 years".

Ten years ago in a bid to enter the modern world, the government of Indonesia attempted a ban against circumcision, but that came up against vigorous resistance from religious authorities for whom the custom is important, that girls undergo the ritual before marriage. That led the government to neutralize its position, issuing regulations that state only medical professionals should be engaged in the cutting practise.

That change has led to a bit of a dilemma. Since medical providers perform the procedure, legitimacy is conferred on the practise by default. "We are very concerned with medicalization. Medical personnel are looked up to and are seen as knowing what's good for your girl", observed Francesca Moneti, child protection specialist with UNICEF.

As for Indonesian women themselves, a survey obtained their views and they vary. While female circumcision does take place in the countryside, it is confoundingly, more prevalent among  urban, wealthier families. This is a custom that reflects a patriarchal society's concern over female sexual morals, an effort to ensure that sex is not pleasurable for women, but a painful ordeal, to restrain them from infidelity.

As in so many cultural practices introduced to demean and disempower women that become so all-prevailing, women embrace the custom because without engaging in it they become social outcasts for whom good marriages are impossible to attain to. This is so engrained in society that women become the most vocal supporters of such customs harmful to women's health,dignity and longevity.
Beliefs in female circumcision practices within society:
  • "It can ensure virginity (maintain chastity before marriage)
  • It can ensure fidelity during marriage
  • It will increase male sexual pleasure
  • It can secure or enhance fertility
  • It can secure the economic and social (i.e. marital) future of daughters
  • It will prevent the clitoris from growing long like a penis
  • Through the reduction or elimination of the female genitalia, that this will attenuate the sexual desire in the female
  • The female genitalia are considered both dirty and unsightly
  • It will keep the female clean, and more hygienic
  • It is an important ritual and part of the initiation of girls into womanhood
  • It is 'tradition' and part of one's cultural heritage
  • That it is a religious mandate -- although the practice predates both Christianity and Islam"
    • (

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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Desperately Seeking Justice

"[The crack epidemic [between 1988 and 2002] [enabled a serial killer to target women] willing to sell their bodies and their souls in order to gratify their dependency on this powerful drug."
 "This was the perfect opportunity for someone who preyed on women. Someone who knew the streets and the dark alleys by heart, someone who lived there and was able to blend in, someone who knew where the drug-addicted women and perhaps prostitutes would congregate and who knew how to lure potential victims into the darkness and the isolation of a vehicle through the promise of crack."
"It was the perfect place and time for a serial killer to roam the streets of Los Angeles, really without detection."
Prosecutor Beth Silverman, Los Angeles trial of Lonnie Franklin Jr.

"The day of reckoning is here. You can't help but be excited that  you lived to see an end to this madness."
"It's been a long road and I'm glad I'll physically be able to be there."
 Porter Alexander, father of a victim
Franklin denies killing the women whose bodies were all found within a five mile radius of his house
Franklin denies killing the women whose bodies were all found within a five mile radius of his house

"State computers produced a list of 200 genetic profiles of people in the database who might be related to the serial killer. One of those profiles shared a common genetic marker with the DNA found at each of the 15 crime scenes."
"The resulting pattern indicated a parent-child relationship. Knowing that the Grim Sleeper had to be a man, they tested the DNA of the 200 offenders whose profiles resembled the crime-scene DNA to determine whether any appeared to share the Y chromosome, which boys inherit from their fathers."
Los Angeles Times

"It's not over until it's over. There's more to it than people want to believe. It's up to the prosecution to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt."
Seymour Amster, Defence Lawyer
Behind bars since his 2010 arrest, Lonnie Franklin Jr., named the "Grim Sleeper" serial killer because such a long lapse occurred between his first killing and subsequent ones, pleaded not guilty to the crimes with which he has been charged. Now 63 years of age, he denies having killed nine women and a teen-aged girl. According to authorities, from 1985 to 2007 this is the man who killed nine women aged 18 to 35 as well as a 15-year-old girl.

Prosecutors projected images for the jury of the ten women who they claim were murdered by Franklin 

Police investigators in Los Angeles started to look into the city's unsolved cold cases with DNA presenting as their enabling tool, and they felt that the case of the unsolved 'Grim Sleeper' would be as good a place as anywhere to begin their search for justice. DNA samples from state prisoners were being collected over the years and kept in a law enforcement DNA database. When police urged the state to agree to investigate DNA matches that might be related to the killer, the then-state attorney-general agreed to accepting familial searches.

And this is what eventually led police to Lonnie Franklin Jr., whose own DNA data was not to be found on that database. But his son, Christopher Franklin had been arrested on firearm and drug-related charges. And his was the perfect father-son DNA match that police hoped they might find. They still required confirmation, however, so an undercover officer followed the man to a pizza outlet where a birthday party was taking place. Posing as a busboy the officer collected dishes Franklin had used. An uneaten crust of pizza, a napkin and a drinking glass hosted the sought-for evidence.

During the 1980s and 1990s, the Grim Sleeper was one of at least three serial killers plying their deadly trade in the Los Angeles area, targeting vulnerable women during the crack cocaine epidemic. Franklin's lawyers claim an analysis of their own had pointed guilt to someone other than their client, determined from evidence gathered from two crime scenes. But a judge ruled the expert used by the defence was not qualified to take the stand.

So the trial resumes, while Franklin's one surviving victim, Enietra Washington last year stated that she was ready to see the trial through to the end, to find a measure of closure through justice meted out to the man she accuses of having attempted to kill her. "I thought I forgave you, but I was wrong", she said in confronting him. "You stole so many people's lives."

Officers raiding Franklin's house after his arrest found pictures of more than 1,000 women and videos 

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