On the Road with Ralph - Part I

As I type this latest blog entry, me and my faithful companion, Ralph, my now 5-year old beagle, are at a Quality Inn hotel in Montgomery, Alabama.  I am being charged $10.00 extra for the added benefit of having Ralph with me.  He is house-broken.  But, his bark is not house-broken.  I had intended to go eat breakfast at a Cracker Barrel yesterday morning.  I no sooner got to the end of the hall, and to the elevators, when I heard that all too familiar bay of a beagle.  Of course, it was Ralph.  Beagles do not take kindly to being left alone.  So, Ralph and I went to McDonald's driveup.  I got a Sausage McMuffin, hash-browns and coffee.  I got Ralph two sausage biscuits and hashbrowns.  He declined the coffee.  Why are Ralph and I on the road?  Well, I decided to follow up on one of my interests; The American Civil War.  We are in Montgomery because I intend to visit the old Confederate Cemetery a few miles up I-65 from where I am now.  I have researched on my last name only to discover I have a distant relative on my father's side of the family buried there.  I intend to see his grave site and take a few pictures. After we do that, I intend to continue on with our journey.

Our next stop will be at the Vicksburg National Military Park in Vicksburg, MS.  This was a battle where the citizens of Vicksburg were literally starved into submission by Union forces.  It was said that the people of  Vicksburg retreated to caves and basements to avoid the continual shelling of their city.  They were reduced to eating rats before they finally surrendered.  Pets are allowed here as long as they are leashed.  I don't know about Confederate Cemetery in Montgomery.  If they will not allow Ralph to enter, I probably will have to leave Ralph at a veterinarian's hotel until the next morning.  After we leave Vicksburg, we are headed to Shiloh National Park in Tennessee.  "Bloody Shiloh," as it is commonly referred to, was a two day engagement that led to Union forces taking a key railroad junction at nearby Corinth, MS.  Ralph will be allowed here as long as he is on a leash, of course.  Ralph doesn't particularly like the leash.  But, he now seems to regard it as a necessary evil if he wants to go walking with me.  This battlefield will be the final destination of our visits of Civil War battlefields.

It's not easy taking a pet on a journey such as I am embarked upon now.  You have to find hotels that will take pets.  You also have to be prepared to pay extra.  So far, that has not been a problem.  Ralph has been the problem.  That was to be expected of him.  He's five years old going on 25, it appears at times.  Ralph enjoys riding in a car more than anything in this world.  While we are on the road, he is not a problem.  But, when he needs to do his "business," he lets me know by whining.  If that doesn't get the desired reaction from me, he starts barking at me.  I know then I better pull over....or else.  My next entry will be Friday.  We'll probably be in Vicksburg or getting ready to leave.  I expect this to be a three part series.  It may be longer depending upon what happens.  I just hope Ralph doesn't suddenly decide he is tired of the whole thing. We'll see.


Ghost Story: Summers at Grandma's House - Part II

Editor's Note:  Click HERE for Part I.

As soon as that voice (see end of Part I) made its feeling known about our being there, my brother and I were making haste to get out of the room.  Before we could even open the door, the door started opening by itself.  It was grandma!  Grandma looked at both of us as if she didn't know who we were.  She stopped us both in our tracks.  My brother was jabbering loudly about a ghost in the room telling us to get out of his house.  There was a small hassock next to the door that grandma told us both to sit down.  All my brother and I wanted was to not only get out of that room, but get completely out of the house.  After some momentary protesting, we complied with what grandma wanted, we sat down holding each other in fear.  Grandma looked around the room as if she was searching for the form that scared us so much.  Grandma was about to say something when grandpa made his presence known.  "What in sam-hell is going on in this house tonight?  What you two boys yelling about?," grandpa asked.  Grandma whirled around to say, "Joshua get back to bed!  I'm handling this.  Go!"  When grandma used that tone she had, not even grandpa wanted to tangle with her.  So, grandpa went back cussing and grumbling to his bedroom.  Grandma looked to us and told me to tell her what we saw and heard.  I told her about the ghostly shape floating toward the bed, the voice telling us to get out of his house.  Grandma gave us both an exasperated look.  It was as if she had dealt with this before.

"Jonathan Minter!  I thought we had an agreement.  You promised no more of this nonsense!  If you bother my grandsons again, I'll get the preacher out here and you'll be banished to hell for all eternity. Do you want that?" grandma asked.   Ben and I looked around, half expecting an answer from the darkness of our bedroom.  There was no voice this time.  But, in the corner near the open window, the form slowly took shape.  It was constantly changing.  It did not seem threatening for some reason.  Maybe it was due to the outraged grandmother who was beside herself with anger.  "I'm not joking this time.  This isn't the Widow McKinsey or a hired hand you are scaring this time.  This is my blood!  I won't stand for it.  One more time and Preacher Hancock will be paying us and you a visit.  No more!"   With that, the form in the corner slowly dissipated into nothing.  It was so quiet that you could hear the gentle breathing of my grandma.  Well, it was gentle now.  Two minutes ago, she was a fire breathing dragon.   Grandma turned around to us, rubbing our heads with her gentle hands.  "He won't be bothering you boys again.  I promise you that," grandma said.   "Who or what was that, grandma?" I asked.  Grandma looked around the room and told us to sit down.  I didn't want to tell her we were already sitting down.

"What you saw here tonight and last night was the spirit of a man named Jonathan Minter.  Jonathan Minter was the owner of this house back in early to late 1930s.  He was a man who lost his wife, Rebecca,  and only child, a daughter named Charlotte, to the flu back in 1938 or so.  As you boys can imagine, this left him very depressed and heart-broken.  His wife died first and about three weeks afterward, his daughter also died with the flu.  It was more than Mr. Minter could take, boys.  That corner of the room, where you have seen his spirit take form, is where he slung a rope to the overhead rafter and hung himself.  He wasn't found for at least a week until one of his former workers came to check on him.  Since that time, he has haunted this old house.  Every owner has had an encounter, including me.  It scared your grandma just as much as it did you at first.  After I heard about his sad story, I came to this room and said aloud that he could stay here as long as he behaved himself.  Most of the time he does just that.  In fact, your grandpa has never mentioned him to me and I haven't said a word to him about Mr. Minter.  Neither will either of you boys.  It's best grandpa not know some things.  Now, I considered having the preacher to come and bless this house.  That would put Mr. Minter into the pits of hell-fire.  You boys know that's where you go if you kill yourself, don't you?" Grandma asked.  We both gave a quick "Yes ma'am."  "To eternal damnation in hell!  I would not wish that on my worst enemy.  I don't wish that on Mr. Minter.  That's why I tolerate him as long as we have lived in this house for the past 12 years.  Now, you boys get back to bed.  You won't be bothered again.  If  he bothers you, come get me.  He knows you are my grandchildren now."

My brother and I got back in the bed. Grandma came over and kissed both of us goodnight again. Then she was off to her room. Neither my brother or I were in any hurry to get to sleep.  "I kinda feel sorry for Mr. Minter now, David," Ben said.  "He must be lonely and he doesn't have anyone to talk to since he is a ghost."  I told Ben to go to sleep.  I felt sorry for him also.  I felt sorry for him because he had incurred the wrath of my angry grandmother.  I thought about him lurking around the house for decades and for all of eternity, even when me and Ben are no longer on this earth.  That was a sad thought to me.  Loneliness can cause so much heartache.  It caused Mr. Jonathan Minter to take his own life.  For that, he was doomed to dwell in that old house.

 After my grandma died in 1986 (grandpa passed in 1975), that old two-story house stood for sale for 5 years without a buyer. It was slowly falling apart from neglect.  Finally, the county declared it unfit for habitation and it was set to be torn down.  My brother and I went to watch the house be razed in 1991.  We both were thinking the same thing.  But, we didn't mention it to each other.  What about the spirit of Jonathan Minter?  I guess we will never know.  I saw Mr. Minter take shape only one other time in the same corner that summer.  But, it appeared very benevolent and not a threat (grandma had that effect on the living and non-living).  I just looked at it and was not scared. I saw him one other time the next summer and then never again.  Like Ben, I felt sorry for him. Wherever Mr. Minter is, I hope he is at peace.

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Ghost Story: Summers at Grandma's House - Part I

As I related in House at the End of Satter Field Road, I am going to make it a point to discuss my experiences with the supernatural over the course of my life.  This is one more story.

This will be a two-part story.

Like many children, of the Baby Boomer generation (and probably other generations as well), I spent weeks at my grandmother's house, along with my siblings.  When I was 10 years old, my brother and I spent two weeks at grandma's house.  This was 1961.  My grandparents lived off mostly what they grew in their garden and from their livestock (pigs, chickens, goats, etc).  Grandpa worked at a shipyard about 25 miles from the house.  So, my grandparents weren't really hurting financially.  They had an old two-story wood house that was probably built around the turn of the century.  But, it was out in the country and they loved it.  My brother and I went there in 1961 for our annual summer vacation at "Grandma's House" as we fondly called it.  Grandpa asked us, matter of factly once if we were aware it was his house also.  We didn't really have an answer to that.  But, our two weeks were not going to be spent lazily staying around the house.  We had chores to do such as feeding the pigs and chickens, helping grandpa bail hay and all the goings-on of a small farm.  We were usually finished with our chores by lunchtime. So, we had the rest of the day to explore unless grandpa needed help with another chore.

This would be my third summer at grandma's house, my brother's first since he was only 8 years of age.  My brother told me as soon as it got dark that first night he felt "nervous."  I asked him what could he be nervous about.  He said he didn't know.  But, he was scared, I could tell.  Now, this was not Ben's first night at our grandparents home.  We had all spent nights here before.  But, that was always with our parents.  For some reason, when you are a kid, you feel if your parents are around, nothing can harm you.  But, we were going to spend two weeks here without our parents.  I believed that was the reason Ben felt so ill at ease.  I told Ben to just go to sleep and it will be time for breakfast before he knew it.  Breakfast was always a welcome treat for us.  We usually were so full, we really didn't feel like eating at lunch.  But, we always found room in our stomachs for lunch as well.  Since it was July, we slept with the windows open.  All we had back in those days was an attic fan that did nothing more than just circulate the warm air in the house.  But, it was enough.  We had no idea what air conditioners were until we would go in J.C. Penny's or some other department store.  But, we managed to get by.

About 2AM, I felt someone shaking me on my right arm.  It was my brother.  "David, there's somebody in the room."  Still groggy and slowly opening my eyes to see the scared eyes of my little brother, I looked around the room.  "Where??? It's just you and me here, Ben!"  Ben told me to look over near the corner of the room that had an open window.  I looked groggily and could see nothing...at first.  But, as my eyes slowly adjusted to the dim light in the room, I did see a form of some type in the corner.  Now, it was time for me to be afraid.  We had those old kerosine lanterns that grandpa always told us to be careful with since if they fall to the floor, there will be a fire.  I was afraid to light the one on the bed stand.  There was something definitely in that corner of the room.  Ben was now quietly sobbing fearfully.  I told him to be quiet.  I got up to see if it was a coat or something of that nature, hanging on the wall.  As I got up out of bed, it disappeared.  I shakily got back in bed by my extremely fearful brother.  He wanted to go spend the rest of the night in grandma's bed.  I told him he would do no such thing.  Ben wanted to know what it was.  I told him it was just probably a shadow from a tree branch (even though I knew there was no way a shadow would disappear).  Ben seemed to accept that or maybe he wanted to believe it was a branch from a nearby tree.  Soon, he was back to sleep nestled as close to me as he could possibly get.  But, I was unnerved.  I didn't sleep well, if at all, the rest of the night.

The next morning, Ben was the one bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at breakfast.  I could barely keep my eyes open.  Grandma asked if I had slept well last night.  I didn't want to say anything in front of Ben.  When Ben finished eating, he set out to feed the chickens.  I told him I'd be right with him.  "Grandma, Ben and I saw something in our bedroom last night," I said.  Grandma looked at me with a surprised look at first.  Then she said, "What did you see, David?"  I told her about the shape in the corner of the room.  Grandma looked at me and sat down in a chair.  "You never seen anything else here the past two summers, David?," she asked.  I told her no, nothing at all.  I just heard the normal squeaks and groans of an old house at night.  But, nothing more than that.  She had a distant look on her face now.  "If you see anything else, come wake me up.  I don't care what time it is," she said.  Now, it was my time to look surprised.  I asked her why.  She said just do it.  About that time, I heard Ben complaining about me not helping out.  So, I went out the door to begin the day's chores.

Grandma didn't say much to me the rest of the day.  Even at dinner, she looked a bit perturbed to me.  What is it she's not telling me, I thought.  Ben seemed to be over his experience last night.  But, I wasn't, especially the way grandma was acting.  We all spent the rest of the night in the family room.  Back in those days, it was only three TV networks.  So, grandpa let us choose which one we wanted to watch.  Grandpa was normally grumpy when we came to visit.  But, not during the summer vacations.  I suspect that was because we were doing chores he ordinarily would have been doing.  Grandma was unusually quiet.  So quiet, in fact, grandpa made mention of it.  She just brushed it off as saying she had some things on her mind.  About 9PM (yes, they stayed up an hour past their usual bedtime just for us), grandpa said he was going to bed.  That was his way of saying, turn off the TV and go to bed.  After grandpa went to the downstairs bedroom, grandma told my brother to go brush his teeth.  I was going with him until grandma said to come over to her chair.  "David, remember what I said.  Regardless of the time, if you see or hear anything in your bedroom, come wake me up," she said. I asked her what was wrong, what was she not telling me.  "Just never you mind now.  Go brush your teeth and get to bed with your brother."  I knew it was no sense in trying to get grandma to tell me what was going on with the shape we saw last night.  She was a very strong-willed person.

So, to bed, my brother and I went.  Ben was fast to sleep.  Remarkably, he didn't mention anything about the ghostly shape we saw in the corner the previous night.  My brother was like that.  If he didn't see a reason to worry immediately, he didn't worry at all.  I tossed and turned.  Sleep was not going to come easy for me.  Again, according to the old windup clock on the bed stand, it was about 2AM when Ben was once again shaking me.  Only this time, he was shaking me as hard as he could.  "David!!!  Wake up! It's back!" he yelled. I woke up not knowing where I was at first.  I looked at Ben and could barely understand what he was saying.  I noticed he was pointing to the same corner of the room as last night.  This time, it was not some murky shape.  It was a solid outline.  Yet, we could see through it.  Ben is crying loudly now.  I look at the shape....it was the shape of a man and he was floating toward our bed.   I'm holding Ben, not knowing what to do.  It was making a snail's pace toward us.  Ben was calling for grandma now.  I was getting up to go get her with Ben holding onto my t-shirt.  About that time, I heard a whispering voice I will never forget....."Get out of my house."
Link to Part II

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Boston Marathon Bombing

First, I want to extend my deepest sympathies to the victims of this cowardly bombing of innocent people at the Boston Marathon.  The gruesome pictures on TV made me wince and turn away.  I can't understand society today.  Do our enemies really think the American people will back down once you sucker punch us?  Did they not learn anything from 9/11 or Pearl Harbor in 1941?  It shows me that there is a deep cultural divide between us and our Middle Eastern enemies (on the assumption this is not a domestic terrorist act).  When there is such mistrust and misunderstanding, then you have problems that some think can be solved by violence.  Violence begets even more violence.   It is a vicious cycle we find ourselves involved.  Now, assuming this is al qaeda or the equally sinister Taliban,  you will see merciless drone strikes and possible strategic missile strikes against these two.  This is going to be a never ending war with Islamic fundamentalists.  Their fascist brand of Islam either makes you submit to their religion or die.  There is really no in between with these scum. I suspect you will see more bombings of soft targets like the Boston Marathon.  Oh, it won't be for a while.  But, they saw some semblance of success in Boston.  They are going to pay for that success.  Even President Obama won't let this attack go unchallenged.

Speaking of President Obama, he now has to accept responsibility for the failure of the intel community to not pick up on this attack.   I worked in military intelligence (a contradiction in terms if there ever was one) a long time ago.  Even back then, we had ways of intercepting communication between terrorists.  I daresay it is much more advanced today.  So, President Obama needs to step up to the plate and accept responsibility for once during his Presidency.  If he does that, people might be able to accept it better.  Then again, this is the same President who has thus far refused to accept blame for the deaths of four Americans in the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya.  It's probably just a pipe dream of wishing for President Obama to accept responsibility for Boston.  


Baby Boomers Want Doctor-Assisted Dying

It seems the Baby Boomer generation is not going to go out quietly.  There appears to be a new movement to have Doctor Assisted dying by having doctors give prescribed medicine that will end their lives if they are suffering from a terminal disease.  Yes, this is the same generation that brought on sexual revolution in the 60s and demanded natural childbirth.  Now, Baby Boomers want to go out of this life at their own choosing.  Of course, this takes into consideration if a person has a terminal disease that is causing him or her great pain.  Their quality of life must be at the bottom of the scale. End-of-life choice has been a cause for debate since the 1990s with Dr. Death, Jack Kevorkian, who was providing this assistance himself.  Unfortunately, Kevorkian went a step too far and wound up in prison.  Dr. Kevorkian died  in June of 2011.  Baby Boomers are not wanting to die the way their parents did according to this report.    Many people die from prolonged illnesses such as Parkinson's Disease, Cancer, Emphysema and a variety of illnesses that cause grievous agony over the course of their lives. Baby Boomers are lobbying Congressmen to allow those with terminal disease to die of their own accord.  Like their parents, Baby Boomers do not want to be a burden on their children.  Thus, the reason for their last Cause Celebre.

I have mixed feelings on this issue of Doctor-Assisted dying.  On one hand, that seems to be in direct conflict with the Hippocratic Oath to practice medicine ethically and honestly.   Doctors have always been about saving lives.  It would put physicians in an untenable position.  Do they break their vows to preserve life or take action to prevent suffering of a patient who has no hope of recovering from a terrible, agonizing illness?  Then they have to know there are instances (rare though they be) where a patient with no hope of recovering has a miraculous recovery.  Indeed, those are rather rare instances.  Chances are that is not going to happen in 99.9% if cases,  Do we really want to go down this road as a society?  Who makes the final decision on who can or cannot give the doctor the approval to end a life?  The patient may be too incapacitated to be able to make a rational decision. There are no easy answers as some seem to think.  But, on the other hand, you have to walk a mile in someone's shoes before you can understand what they are gong through.  I don't pretend to judge people who want suicide over an agonizing life where each day is a struggle.  There are religious reasons why I say I could not do it.  But, not being in the shoes of someone suffering from a fatal disease, I refuse to say I would never do it.  I have no idea the pain that someone suffers to where they are at the point they no longer want to live.  I know I have a low threshold for pain.  So, it's possible I could be faced with this decision someday.  I pray I don't.  But, as a fellow Baby Boomer, that day may come for me.


Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

I remember my grandpa making me drink apple cider vinegar when I was a youngster.  I had stomach problems growing up.  I'd get indigestion, cramps and sharp pains in my stomach.  I went to several doctors and they could find nothing wrong with me.  So, grandpa said if you drink apple cider vinegar, it will "cure all kinds of ailments."   In exasperation, my mother consented to let me drink the stuff.  It tasted awful!  I was willing to drink a pint of castor oil before drinking that stuff.  But, within about three months, my stomach pain ended.  This was after about four years of misery (from age 8 to 12).  I wasn't sure whether it was the apple cider vinegar (ACV) or I just grew out of the stomach pain.  Kids do tend get over whatever problems they have growing up.  I had a friend tell me I need to take the ACV to help me lose weight after just about giving up the idea of losing weight at age 61.  Exercising and watching what I eat had no effect on me.  So, I started taking two capsules of ACV with each meal.  After two months of doing this, I have lost 14lbs.  That's almost two pounds a week.  Now, I continue to exercise twice a day, I watch what I eat (no sweets, avoid sugar and no fast food) because I am not convinced ACV or any other supplement will make you lose weight without diet and exercise.  I am impressed thus far.

Apple cider vinegar has been proven to help with obesity and diabetes according to this site.   ACV has long been considered a folk remedy for just about everything from arthritis to indigestion to weight loss.  I can only speak to weight loss.  So far, it seems to be working for me.  ACV is purported to wash out all toxins in the body.  When I first started taking ACV, I noticed I had a headache at night.  This went on for about three days.  I decided to check to see if this was a side effect of ACV.  Sure enough, it was one of the known side effects.  After three days, the headaches ceased.  Apple cider vinegar is said to lower cholesterol.  I also have a problem with cholesterol.  So, perhaps I can give an update after my next checkup at my doctor's office. It is also said to help with high blood pressure, cancer.  I'm not sold on any of these except weight loss right now.  But, there are some potential risks with long-term use of ACV.

 I'll keep updating this in the future if I continue to lose weight.  Trust me when I say I had tried everything and nothing was helping me.  Apple cider vinegar does help with the craving for food.  That's about all I can say as far as benefits I have noticed while taking apple cider vinegar. 


Police Abuse #2

As I continue to venture onto YouTube, I am becoming more and more disgusted by actions of the very people charged to "Protect and Serve" the public.  I have always been a strong advocate of the police who do a thankless job (or so I thought).  But, it appears that more and more law enforcement officers are violating the very rights that they are sworn to protect.  Police departments, for the most part, don't seem to care about the Bill of Rights.  One example is the 4th amendment.  The 4th Amendment protects you from illegal search and seizure.  However, if you will type in "police and 4th amendment" in the YouTube search bar, you will be disgusted by what you see.  Simply telling police you do not consent to your car being searched can get you handcuffed and put into a police cruiser.  Police will say they will bring a K-9 unit and if they get a hit, they will request a warrant.  K-9 units are very unpredictable.  So, you'll probably get notified that the K-9 police dog has sniffed something that demands a warrant and then the subsequent search.  Police will say, "All you have to do is give us consent and then you can be on your way."  In other words, if you don't waive your 4th Amendment right, we are going to harass you, tow your car down to the station (of which you will be charged to pay) and place you in handcuffs even though you have not been charged with a crime or read your rights.  Police violating the 4th Amendment is the most egregious of our Bill of Rights.  But, it is not the only one.

As you will see by this video, a man is simply video taping on a public street.  This seems to give cause for a police officer to stop and harass him.  The officer asks the man does he know he can go to jail for video taping on a public street.  The man says he doesn't (which I think he realizes the officer is lying about).  The officer, of course, is wrong and he knows he is wrong.  Police despise video tape recording.  They will lie, cheat, and steal (if the circumstance occurs) to make you stop recording.  It is a 1st Amendment right to video tape public servants (such as police) while they are performing their public duties.  They can have no expectation of privacy while peforming their public duties.  They know this.  But, they will try to bully you into believing you are breaking the law.  Also, this police officer requests the man's ID.  You are under no obligation to show your ID unless you are being detained or arrested.  Police know this also or they should know.  When you have police trying to bully you, and you are not being investigated, ask if you are being detained.  If they don't answer (which happens in most cases), ask if you are free to go.  You can not be detained without reason, nor can you be searched.  If you are told you are being detained, be sure to ask why and what was their probable cause to detain you.  This is not Nazi Germany.  Police cannot stop and detain a U.S. citizen without reason or rationale.

Again, I urge to view "police abuse" on YouTube.  I realize many will say or think this is a small minority of police officers.  I wish I could believe that.  But, so many (certainly not all) police today are poorly educated (and they are the most dangerous). Most have not sustained a psychological profile that could detect problems with them before they are allowed to "protect and serve" the general public. 


Blog Fifth Anniversary

Yeah, this is David's Musings Fifth Anniversary.  That makes this blog a Jurassic blog in comparison to many, if not most blogs, these days.  I won't go over the stuff I have said in other anniversary blog posts.  I said last year I might not be here for the fifth anniversary.  I said that on the third anniversary also.  Why do I continue?  I have no idea.  It's just something that I have grown into over the past five years.  It doesn't seem possible that it has been five years.  The only thing different from this anniversary is that, at long last, I have my own domain URL.  No more davidsmusingtsthoughts.blogspot.com.  That was the norm  for 4.5 years.  Now, it is davidsmusings.com.  As you can tell, I lost page rank as a result.  Alexa is slowing coming back.  Of course, I don't get the comments I did at one time.  None of that matters to me any longer.  I had to do things to discourage spammers.  I hold comments in moderation and word verification is on for posts.  Apparently, a lot of people don't like to do that.  If I don't do the above, this blog would be nothing more than spam comments.  I know that for a fact.  I took off moderation and word verification for two hours last year.  I got over 50 spam comments in that short two hour period.  That proved to me I was doing the right thing.

I tried staying away from this blog back in 2011.  I stayed away for six months.  I found myself missing this blog.  So, I came back and opened things back up in February 2011.  I miss all the good friends I made over the years.  People move on, do other things.  That's life.  But, David's Musings marches onward and upward to a possible sixth anniversary date in 2014.  We'll see about that.  So, Happy Anniversary to David's Musings!


A Mercy Killing

A man in Arizona, 86 year old George Sanders, was charged with killing his 81 year old wife, Virgina.  He put a gun wrapped in a towel to her head.  Mr. Sanders pulled the trigger and Virginia was dead.  Mr. Sanders only did this after his wife, Virginia, begged and pleaded with him to kill her.  Virginia was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1969.  George became her only caregiver.  He washed her, fed her and even applied her makeup.  But, Virginia's condition continued to deteriorate.  She had one of her feet diagnosed as having gangrene, possibly losing her entire foot.  She was slated to be sent to a nursing home.  Virginia did not want to die in a nursing home.  Rather than go to the nursing home, Virginia begged her husband of 62 years to end her life.  Out of love, out of respect, he complied with her last request even though it weighed heavily on his heart and soul.   George Sanders was initially charged with first-degree murder and that was lowered to manslaughter.  But, even if convicted of manslaughter, George Sanders was looking at 12 years in prison, which essentially was a life sentence for the 86 year old man.  Mercifully, the judge sentenced Mr. Sanders to unsupervised probation.

I've often wondered how someone can be in so much pain, agony and depression to want to end their life.  But, I decided long ago to not judge a person.  I can't say I would not do the same thing as Mr. Sanders.  No one knows the agony of a terminally ill person such as Mrs. Sanders.  I hope and pray I am never faced with such a decision.  I have always prayed I would die in my sleep without a prolonged period of pain.  But, of course, no one gets to decide how they die.  I pray that I never have to go to a nursing home as Mrs. Sanders faced.  It is just a place where you are waiting to die.  That would be sheer agony right there.  But, it would be a prolonged agony.  Both Mr. and Mrs Sanders did what they felt was right for them.  I am thankful the judge in this case did the right thing.  Sentencing Mr. Sanders to prison would not have been the right thing to do.  But, surely, other cases of this magnitude will come up again and again.  How will society handle this sort of crime (and despite it being a mercy killing, it was still a crime)?  I'm not smart enough to know the answer.  I don't condone assisted suicide.  I am not going to condemn it either.  This is something that will have to be between the dying person and God.

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