my heart is a little broken today

The smallish blonde person in the following photos is Courtney Gale.


I bought my house from Courtney and her friend Lisa.  She’s a very sweet woman and I like her very much. 

Unfortunately, this is what happened to her: 

Officer stabbed while working off duty at supermarket

An Athens-Clarke police officer remained in critical condition at St. Mary’s Hospital on Wednesday night after a man attacked her at Kroger on Alps Road Tuesday, repeatedly stabbing the officer with a kitchen knife until customers intervened.

Sgt. Courtney Gale lost a massive amount of blood, and surgeons operated Tuesday night and three more times Wednesday, according to police.

The 9:30 p.m. attack started when the off-duty officer confronted a suspicious man while working security at the West Athens supermarket, Athens-Clarke police said.

An officer tackled the knife-wielding assailant as he ran through a West Broad Street parking lot about a half mile from the crime scene, according to police.

Steven Anthony Eberhart, 44, of 78 Parkview Homes, was charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, aggravated assault and felony obstruction of a law enforcement officer, police said. He is held without bond at the Clarke County Jail.

Officers converged on the hospital and kept vigil.

“Courtney is highly respected and loved very much – she’s family,” Athens-Clarke police Detective Kim Johnson said as she left the hospital Wednesday.

Gale graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in animal science, but joined the Athens-Clarke County Police Department in 1998. She was promoted to sergeant in 2005, and is a supervisor with the Criminal Investigation Division’s robbery/homicide squad.

She was working a side job at Kroger when an employee told her about a man who was acting strangely, pushing a shopping cart filled with suitcases and opening packages of meat, according to police.

Gale was walking toward Eberhart when he lunged, knocked her down, pinned her to the ground and started to stab her, witnesses said.

“It looked like he was trying to keep her from going for her gun or mace,” said one witness, Jeffrey Stovall, a UGA student.

Stovall and his roommate, Andrew Stipe, were about 15 feet away, standing in a checkout line. They thought they were witnessing a murder.

“She turned real pale and there was so much blood, it looked like she was about to die,” Stipe said. “I had to turn away.”

Other customers kicked at Eberhart to make him stop, but Eberhart didn’t run from the store until the manager intervened.

“As soon as I put my hand on him. he turned around and tried to stab me,” manager John Mobley said. “I ran to tell someone to call 911 to report an officer’s down and she’s hurt real bad, and as I came right back, he got off her and ran out the door.”

Even before 911 calls came in, police dispatchers knew an officer was in trouble because Gale managed to push an emergency button on her radio, police said.

A nurse who was shopping at the time probably saved Gale’s life by providing immediate aid, according to police.

“That, and the fact she was so close to the hospital,” Athens-Clarke police Maj. Carter Green said, referring to St. Mary’s Hospital, which is only a few hundred yards away.

The nurse took charge, telling shoppers and employees what first aid supplies to get from store shelves and asking Mobley to use his belt as a tourniquet for Gale, Mobley said.

“She was keeping pressure on to slow the bleeding and telling us to get gauze and other supplies,” the manager said. “To me, there were four to five people who really were the heroes of this whole thing.”

The weapon was a kitchen knife Eberhart stole from Kroger, police said.

“It was a major knife,” said Stipe, who attends Gainesville State College.

Stovall called 911 from his car and helped police follow the attacker as he ran, crossing Alps Road and into the Colonial Promenade Beechwood shopping center then toward an adjoining apartment complex.

An officer tackled Eberhart as he ran in the parking lot of The Omni Club nearby, police said.

Dozens of people concerned about Gale’s condition – from detectives and uniformed officers to Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents and Western Judicial Circuit District Attorney Ken Mauldin – visited the hospital Tuesday and Wednesday.

“We just want to be here for her and give her whatever she needs,” Johnson said. “It’s a sad, sad day, but Courtney’s a real fighter and we know she’s going to pull through.”

The wounded officer’s mother and sister flew from their home in Maryland to be at Gale’s bedside.

Police Chief Jack Lumpkin said the assault shows how officers put their lives on the line each day.

“Sgt. Gale is an outstanding police officer and has a record of accomplishments with the police department,” Lumpkin said. “The attack on her is a demonstration of the complexities and dangers that are associated with a police officer’s job in Athens-Clarke County where, unfortunately, wanton and vicious attacks occur on our officers too frequently.”

Anyone wanting to help defray Gale’s medical expenses can donate at any SunTrust Bank branch or send donations to SunTrust Bank, Attention: Heidi Spratlin, 1022 Prince Ave., Athens, GA 30606.


Published in the Athens Banner-Herald on 121307 

Conversation with a British Person today

Transcript of an instant messaging conversation today:

Patrick: god, people and their ringtones!
Patrick: someone’s phone is out there playing one of the songs from an American Idol winner
Patrick: and instead of answering it, she’s singing along!!!!
Patrick: and your country doesn’t allow firearms!
vick: Technically, we don’t really allow American Idol either.
vick: meeting – back later

This week’s white trash piñata

I am developing a theory about a certain kind of news story.

I think that the 24 hour news stations cultivate a kind of news coverage of crimes and/or incidents that serve no other purpose than to give a certain segment of the audience something to feel superior about.

Case in point, this week: this whole “Was it the pit bull or the ferret?” thing. Last week it was some woman who carried her purse dog into the store instead of her toddler. Before that, it was something else.

Why is this national news? I think because it gives a certain kind of person (and a lot of these people I have noticed, are right wingers) the ability to stand in the breakroom at work and cluck their tongues and say “Now, those sorts of people shouldn’t be allowed to breed….” or the like.

I got to see this written in a grand scale in Bill O’Reilly’s coverage of the Katrina aftermath. The first line of this kind of thinking reads, “Those people are so much worse than *I* am…” and proceeds from there.

Sure, some of these people have serious problems. Some of them are just poor and victims of circumstance. (As if that’s not a serious problem…) But I think the sole reason we hear about them on a 24 hour global news cast is because it drives a certain demographic to watch Nancy Grace every day.

“Sure, I may be fat, lazy and feel sorry for myself, but at least I’m not THAT tragic SOB.”

Roll that around in your head a bit…

Blessed are the… something… wait wait… it’ll come to me…

On the heels of TRex’s rant about shockingly unchristian Christians comes this astonishing bit of irony:

A subdivision has withdrawn its threat of $25 daily fines against a homeowner who put a Christmas wreath shaped like a peace sign on the front of her home.

Homeowner Lisa Jensen told The Associated Press on Monday that the board of directors of the Loma Linda Homeowners Association had apologized, called the incident a misunderstanding and had withdrawn its request for the wreath’s removal.

Jensen was ordered to take the wreath down when some residents in her 200-home subdivision saw it as a protest of the Iraq war. Bob Kearns, president of the board, also said some saw it as a symbol of Satan.

Symbol of peace, symbol of satan… same thing, right?

OH, he meant symbol of STAN, the hippie down the street. That makes so much more sense.

Anti-Union Thugs Doing What Thugs Do

In 1979, a group of men hired to intimidate striking workers raped and killed a pretty 23 year old college student, and not one of them has spent a day in jail.

For more than a quarter century, the brutal sex slaying of Hope College student and hotel clerk Janet Chandler baffled law enforcement officials.

As the case grew colder with each passing year, it became less likely that whoever was responsible would be brought to justice.

And is it any wonder it took nearly 30 years to catch them?

Suspects’ bitter plot led Chandler to her death:

According to the affidavit, Chandler was “intimate” with some of the Wackenhut Security guards who were staying at the inn while working at the strike-bound Chemtron Corp. in nearby Holland Township.

Wackenhut, if you’re not familiar with them, are old school strikebreakers from WAY back:

Wackenhut also offers security for employers experiencing poor relations with labor unions, including strike actions. Wackenhut has a poor reputation with labor unions as a result.

That’s putting it mildly.

Wackenhut isn’t just a handy source of muscle and intimidation to use against strikers, they’re also one of those private firms who the Grover Norquists of the world want to use to supplant the role that government should perform for its citizens:

(more from Wikipedia)

Having expanding into providing food services for prisons in the 1960s, Wackenhut in 1984 launched a subsidiary to design and manage jails and detention centers for the burgeoning private prison market in the United States and abroad. Wackenhut became the nation’s second-largest for-profit prison operator. Although the corrections branch of Wackenhut was financially successful, critics claimed the company’s guards abused inmates in Florida, Texas, New Mexico, and Louisiana.
In 1999, Wackenhut was stripped of a $12-million-a-year contract in Texas and fined $625,000 for failing to live up to promises in the running of a state jail after several guards were indicted for having sex with female inmates. In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, five guards at a Wackenhut work-release facility were fired or punished for having sex with inmates. In April 1999 the state of Louisiana took over the running of Wackenhut’s 15-month-old juvenile prison after the U.S. Justice Department accused Wackenhut of subjecting its young inmates to “excessive abuse and neglect.” In the same year a New Mexico legislative report called for a near-total revamp of prison operations, including two run by Wackenhut. U.S. journalist Gregory Palast commented on the case: “New Mexico’s privately operated prisons are filled with America’s impoverished, violent outcasts — and those are the guards.”

(Hey, it’s Greg Palast…. Hi, Greg!)

But let’s get back the murder of poor Janet Chandler- gang raped by anti-union thugs, beaten to death and her body then dumped in the snow. Where did Wackenhut find these monsters?

Cox identified those arrested this week as: James Cleophas “Bubba” Nelson, 59, of Rand, West Virginia; Arthur Carlton “Carl” Paiva, 54, of Muskegon; Freddie Bass Parker, 49, of Powellton, West Virginia; Laurie Ann Swank, 48, of Nescopeck, Pennsylvania; and Anthony Eugene Williams, 55, of Boscobel, Wisconsin.

Now, why on earth would a bunch of strike breakers be hired out of West Virginia? Labor activists are rolling their eyes at that, I am sure. We know exactly why. There are lots of coal mines in West Virginia, and the owners of those mines have been more than willing to hire out-of-work men and professional thugs to beat, shoot and intimidate striking workers.

Mine and factory owners, Wackenhut, Pinkerton and an army of shiftless and otherwise unemployable muscle have historically used whatever means they deemed necessary to intimidate workers out of standing up for a contract that guaranteed them a decent living.

And here in Michigan, we see the wages of this brutality: Men paid to stand around and intimidate workers while doing no real productive work were engaged in intimidation and extortion, philandering and fear mongering. These sorts of guys swagger around on the periphery of strikes, knowing that they’re working on behalf of the Powers That Be, such as they are, and they get drunk on their impunity. In Michigan, their freewheeling partying and immunity from the law seems to have gone to their heads. They turned on a local college girl who had been sucked into their influence, and they beat, raped and killed her.

More from the Grand Rapids Press:

State police Lt. John Slenk, supervisor of the collaboration between the state police and Holland police, described the situation among guards at the inn and female staff as “a sordid affair, and it just went bad from top to bottom.”

“You have dozens of guards in and out of the hotel. There was a lot of alcohol and quite a bit of drugs,” he said. “You are going to get a band of renegades, and that’s what you got.”

The Chemtron strike ended two weeks after Chandler’s death. Threats against anyone who talked about the murder kept the slaying a mystery for decades as the guards scattered to other states, police say.

Wackenhut is the sort of company Grover Norquist would like to see handing the duties of the Federal Government. Are these “guards” the sort of men you want to be your police force? Do you want these men running your schools?

The Potemkin Pizza Man

Rockey Vaccarella is just like Cindy Sheehan, only…. he made reservations for dinner, right? Is that what they’re asking us to swallow?

And in fact, Vaccarella seemed very confident that he would be meeting with Bush when he left home, to the point where he had a date scheduled and everything:

“Dinner with the President is planned for the evening of August 22nd.”

This guy, this “distressed citizen,” owner of 31 Pizza Huts and former republican candidate for dog catcher or something, who is now softly cooing about “four more years” into whatever microphone put in front of him… this is our new American icon? Am I supposed to buy this?

Nobody is slipping “intellectual-curiosity tablets” in MY afternoon coffee, but do I… hm… sniff sniff…. hmmm…smell… a rat? Or is that the Ninth Ward slowly turning back into marshland while Halliburton pushes piles of trash from one side of the street to the other?

There’s a big pile of trash that needs to be pushed, but I was thinking it was OUT OF WASHINGTON.

Warning- totally New Orleanian inside joke: No wonder Carlo won’t talk to the motherfucker.

I told you he was crazy

I stayed out of the whole “Jeff Goldstein is on drugs” thing as much as possible, mostly because several things went through my head when I saw him writing love poems to his klonopin prescription:

1. This guy might actually have some serious problems, besides his generally obnoxious fulmination.

2. It’s not nice to pick on people who are crazy.

3. And, after all, the motherfucker might be crazy.

I actually said as much here.

And, as I said in that entry, “Sow the wind…”

While I was taking a bit more phlegmatic position on the sport of poking-it-with-a-stick-to-see-what-sort-of-funny-sound-it-makes, I was afforded a perspective on the proceedings one can enjoy from the bleachers, and I thought…. “This can’t end well.” Stopping in at Protein Wisdom one afternoon, I skimmed what was there, and, honestly, Goldstein didn’t appear to have much left but the Koolaid in his bucket and his rage.

You can’t back a guy into a corner and not expect him to come out swinging anything and everything he can get his hands on.

And boy, did he. Which brings us to the moral of the story, I suppose.

No person is more dangerous than a man with nothing left to lose.

I have to admit that I lost the thread on this whole semiotics and intention argument, but it certainly appeared that whatever ground Goldstein had gained through his tendentious arguments and academic esoterica was rapidly being undermined by someone with actual credentials and some experience in the trade. So, y’know, he ended the discussion the only way he knew how. “Fuck you, I’m going after your job and your family.” Nice one, Jeff.

However Goldstein tries to dress it up, outing someone’s family and place of employment is intimidation. I think that’s CLEAR TO EVERYONE BUT HIM and his behaviorally-challenged horde of commenters. (Has anyone else noticed that some of the commenters who do the dirtiest work have a remarkably similar tone to the proprietor himself? I suspect that if one were to undertake the odious task of sorting through the tidal wave of invective, the “I didn’t say it, one of my commenters did! And I refuse to be held responsible for it!” dodge would be revealed to be a fairly transparent feint. Of course, I could be completely wrong about this. The world fairly TEEMS with idiots and assholes.)

I do not know how much this might actually impact the Thersites Family’s lives, because I don’t really know what sort of mischief the denizens of Pastelandia are capable of getting up to.

I have actually chosen not to be those people who lives his life as if there was a slavering horde of murderers, islamofascist terrorists, stalkers, cyber-thiefs and muggers waiting just on the other side of my concealed-carry permit. I refuse to be held hostage by fear.

However, no one has ever “outed” me in an attempt to intimidate me. If you read my weblog closely, it’s not hard to figure out who I am, where I work and what band I am in. Easy for me to say, however, since I am a pretty big guy, my job is fairly secure and I don’t have a two-year-old.

I have had to live with intimidation, though, albeit when I was too young to really comprehend what was going on.

Back in the late 1970s, my mother took on the Klan. Long story short, there was a rash of home invasion murders in the neighborhood where we lived. This was a different time, you must understand, in the only recently desegregated South. The victims of the Columbus Stocking Strangler were exclusively little old white ladies. The Ku Klux Klan, perhaps not realizing that they were no longer held in the high esteem that they had once been, offered to maintain their concept of social order by patrolling our neighborhood in trucks, while toting high-powered rifles and two-way radios. (Um…. Minutemen, anyone?)

ANYWAY, my mother, Civil Rights Activist and firebrand that she was, circulated a petition saying (essentially) “Look, we don’t want a bunch of trigger-happy yahoos driving around shooting deer rifles at any young black man who happens to wander through our neighborhood.” 40,000 people signed it. The Mayor accepted it and instructed the police to run off anyone with more guns than teeth prowling around our neighborhood. You can imagine how this went over with the Honky Brigade.

The Stocking Strangler was eventually caught with no help from the Klan. However we had to live with police protection for a few months. I was too young to really comprehend why we were being watched by the police. I didn’t connect the killing of one of our family’s pets with the whole affair until years later. (My folks did their best to keep me blissfully unaware of what was going on around us.)

But, y’know, this whole flap between Protein Wisdom and Metacomments sorta reminds me of that. “You may have won this round, Batman…. but how do you like THIS?”

Resorting to threatening a family’s well-being is truly the act of a scoundrel. If Jeff Goldstein didn’t intend to intimidate Thersites and his family, then WHY does he keep publishing Thers’ work info and real name on his weblog? Dude. Knock it off. You’re starting to look like even MORE of an asshole.