Creative Commons License

Monday, December 31, 2012

Kim and Kanye, Sitting in a Tree

Image from Facebook 

As we tiptoe ever closer to the end of 2012, there is an announcement that went public today, stopping my heart for a moment. My friend Pam, who is a wickedly funny woman, posted "Breaking: Kim Kardashian Pregnant" as her Facebook status. I immediately hoped beyond all hope this was one of Pam's jokes, sort of an end of the year/world thing. 

Googling "Kim Kar" was as far as I needed to go before Huffington Post, the "go-to" place for cat videos, photos of celebrities in bathing suits and anything Kardashian, confirmed that yes, Kim and Kanye were having a baby. Kim Kardashian, reality show princess and 72-day wife is pregnant with Kanye West's child. You know Kanye West-he stormed a stage and ripped a microphone out of Taylor Swift's hands after she won an award Kanye thought Beyonce deserved more. Classy guy.

Unfortunately, Kim and Kanye can't get married; Kim is still married to her husband of 72 days, basketball player Kris Humphries. They are embroiled in a bitter divorce dispute, because there's just so much history after being married for a little over two months. The photos, the memories, the MONEY. Anywho, I am waiting for conservatives to come out against this pregnancy, just like they came out against the 72-day marriage. What. Crickets? 

If my friends, Steve and Josh Snyder-Hill wanted to adopt a baby, or use a surrogate to have their own, the conservative party would freak the eff out. Steve and Josh are not legally married in most states in America, but Kim Kardashian's 72-day "marriage" is hunky dory with conservatives because she has a vagina and Humphries has a penis. Remember Britney Spears' 55-hour knot tying? Peachy, thanks to the difference in hardware. And it's totally awesome for Kim Kardashian to be, as Kanye West called her during a concert, his "baby momma" even though she's still married to someone else, because they're both not named Scott or Lisa. 

I was hoping 2013 would be a year of less narcissism, more equality, less bigotry and more acceptance. I have a feeling we're not headed in that direction. Am I blaming the West/Kardashian spawn for the disaster that will be 2013? Nope, not at all. What would be nice is if one or both of them could come out and say "We want everyone who desires a family to be able to have one in America! No more DOMA, legalize LGBT adoption everywhere! #KimKanyeLoveEveryone" Wouldn't that be lovely?

And while I'm living in Equality Fantasy Land, I'd like a rainbow unicorn that poops gold. Happy New Year.




Friday, December 21, 2012

Wayne LaPierre: Evil Incarnate

Image from Getty

As the MSNBC live stream of the NRA press conference began, I knew, somewhere deep down, that this would be the antithesis of what we need as a country. I knew Wayne LaPierre, beholden to gun manufacturer's and mass murderers everywhere would say everything we didn't want or need to hear. 

Mr. LaPierre blamed things from video games to hurricanes for America's out of control gun violence. He blamed "gang members," conservative code for brown skinned young men and he blamed the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary school. Oh yes, he did. He bemoaned the tragedy that she was not armed to the hilt and therefore better equipped to stop the shooter.

Listening to Mr. LaPierre, I dug my fingernails into the palm of my hand and clenched my jaw. See, we have a son. And when Mr. LaPierre introduced his safe shield proposal, my stomach lurched. The NRA wants to create a national security force and place members of this force in every school. The NRA wants my child and your child to attend schools where armed men and women roam the halls.

The NRA hates background checks, so what are the odds that one or two or dozens or hundreds of felons or violent predators or pedophiles or mentally unbalanced people would fall through the cracks and wind up in Mr. LaPierre's band of citizen soldiers? Pretty good, I think. 

Is this our Utopia? Armed people, some of whom probably shouldn't be able to purchase a firearm, wandering the halls of our schools, from preschool to high school? This is the environment in which we want our children to learn math and science and reading? A police state?

It's odd. The people who worship at the altar of the NRA constantly scream about liberals and the Obama administration wanting to create a security force to take all our rights away. Boy, did you guys call that one wrong-it's your own GUY who wants to do that. Once the NRA gets its way in school, where do you think it will end? It won't.

Canadians play "Halo" and "Call of Duty" and "Mortal Kombat." Canadians watch violent movies. Canadians have mentally ill people. What Canada does not have are mass murders every couple of weeks. So as Wayne LaPierre blames the weather and "Natural Born Killers" and everything except guns for gun violence, we must remember the truth. When Wayne LaPierre cannot even bother to remember how many children died at Sandy Hook Elementary school, we must remember their names. And when Wayne LaPierre blames the victims of gun violence for their own deaths, we must remember what is really to blame.

Today, we weep again. But in our sorrow and our rage and our frustration, we must come together as a country and tell Wayne LaPierre in no uncertain terms he will not win. The NRA cannot be allowed to continue its bloody tradition of blaming everything but the military-style firearms it wants every American to own. 

My hope is that today, with his selfish and cruel comments, Wayne LaPierre has, if you will pardon the pun, shot the NRA in the foot. We do not want to "take your guns away." We want to keep our kids.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Got a problem? Take a Pill!

Image from newcounselor.blogspot.com


This is a list of all the "helpful" medications I have been prescribed by supposedly educated psychiatrists over the past 20 years. I have a point, so just muddle through with me.

Pamelor: Pamelor is a TCA, or tricyclic antidepressant. It is specifically used to treat depression and is not overdose safe. Trust me, I know.

Geodon: Geodon is an anti-psychotic, used to treat schizophrenia and the manic stages of bipolar disorder. I have never suffered from either schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

Zyprexa: Zyprexa is an atypical anti-psychotic, used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Zyprexa causes weight gain. I gained 25 pounds in less than a month. Zyprexa can cause hyperglycemia, related to adult onset diabetes. Zyprexa is used in small doses and for a short period of time to treat anorexia. I was never anorexic.

Celexa: Celexa is an SSRI, or selective serotonin reuptable inhibitor. It is used to treat depression.

Wellbutrin: Wellbutrin is an antidepressant, used to treat anxiety and major depressive discorder. It is contraindicated for patients who currently have, or have suffered from, an eating disorder. I had bulimia for over 10 years.

Lexapro: Lexapro is an SSRI and treats anxiety and major depressive disorder. It is contraindicated for patients who are taking Celexa and may increase self harm or suicidal thoughts.

Effexor: Effexor is an SSRI, used to treat anxiety and major depressive disorder.

What if you were me, and doctor after doctor gave you these drugs? Doctors you trusted, doctors you thought knew what they were doing? And what if, after all of this, the only thing that really worked was dialectic behavior therapy and a great mental health specialist named Bert?

Since Friday, the pundits and armchair therapists have been screaming from the rooftops WE NEED BETTER MENTAL HEALTH CARE! Yes, we do, but no one wants to really deal with that. Because in order to deal with it, some pretty massive changes would have to happen. We would need to take the money out of mental health treatment for starters. Let me explain that.

When we lived in Michigan, I was honored to have the second worst psychiatrist I've ever "worked with." I will not name him, because it my sincere hope that he is either in jail or dead. All he did was drug me. He is the doctor who put me on Geodon and Zyprexa. I was a single mother, and when I was on Geodon, every day around 1:00 PM, I would pass out. You can't parent a toddler when you're unconscious.

He put me on Zyprexa when I was hospitalized for self-harm. Within 8 hours of my first dose, I was eating Archway cookies by the handful. When I asked him, after my 25 pound weight gain, what the hell was happening, he told me "Oh, well, yes, there is some weight gain and the slight chance of adult onset diabetes with Zyprexa, is it working?" He never gave me a blood test to check my sugar levels, he just didn't care one bit about anything else except the money he received from the drug companies for writing all these scripts.

So, no more profits for psychiatrists. No more checks from Lily or Bayer or Squibb. Do your goddamn jobs. And, while we're here, let's talk about the actual medication.

I have watched people on Thorazine. They have a unique walk, called "The Thorazine Shuffle." It's extremely sad to watch someone on Thorazine. Imagine for a moment you are a mother, and your child has been diagnosed with schizophrenia or psychotic disorder. Your doctor, the doctor you have trusted to care for your child all these years, prescribes Thorazine. And you watch as your child fades away. Personality-gone. Energy-gone. Imagination-gone. Speech patterns-destroyed. What are you supposed to do?

There are millions of mentally ill people in this country, and the best the medical community can do is drug the living everything out of them and shove them into a state hospital if it gets too bad or a psychiatrist reports a patient is "dangerous" (often code for I don't want to deal with them anymore) or a patient doesn't have insurance or mental health coverage. You don't ever want to be in a state facility. I am lucky enough not to have spent more than 72 hours in one, but I would not wish that on my worst enemy.  Of course, if the state hospital is out of beds, America's other favorite choice is jail. We have more mentally ill people in jails and prisons than in hospitals.

Finally, I'd like to take a moment and address the instant gratification issue we have in this country. Have you watched television lately? Every commercial is for a pill. Can't get an erection? Here's a pill. High blood pressure? Here's a pill. Depressed? Here's a pill. Still depressed? Here's another pill. We are being brainwashed into believing that for every problem, there is a magic, instantaneous cure. There isn't, especially when it comes to mental illness. But we want one, we want a pill to make everyone healthy, so we as a society don't have to deal with "those people." Well, guess what? "Those people" are our brothers and sisters, our husbands and wives, our children, our parents. We better figure out a way to deal with them, because what we are doing to them now is disgraceful.

People want an instant fix to what happened on Friday as well. There isn't one. No one in America can, in the words of Jack Nicholson, "handle the truth." No one. Until we can, more people will die, more guns will be purchased and more people who could get help if someone would just listen, will flush their medication down a toilet and walk out into the world.

Or into a gun show.




Sunday, December 16, 2012

Slogging Through The Truth

Image from birthwithoutfearblog


In the hours following any tragedy, one expects the media to get a few things wrong. Thanks to the Internet, that wrong information is transmitted to billions of people in a matter of seconds. 

This past Friday, a 20-year old man shot his way into an elementary school and murdered 26 people, 20 children all under the age of 10 and 6 adults, many of whom tried to either stop him or protect the young students. As mainstream media descended upon a normally quiet Connecticut town, information that decades ago would have trickled out poured out in wave after wave. Reporters who might have waited for confirmation or the first news conference during the 1970's refused to wait, and instead, did the following:

*They identified the shooter as the wrong person. Rather than wait for a 100% accurate report, they flung a name out there, and almost destroyed another man's life.

*They reported that the shooter's mother was teaching at the school, and that he focused on her classroom.

*They loudly and frequently pointed out the shooter had Asberger's syndrome and a "personality disorder," trying to link those two things to the shooting.

The media also informed the father of the shooter of the horrific event by parking a vehicle in his driveway. That's how he found out. A reporter came to his house.

The most egregious and despicable thing the mainstream media did that day was shove microphones into the faces of small children whose parents were in such a deep state of shock, they did not have the capacity to understand what was happening. Reporters from ABC, CNN, NBC, every network ran "interviews" with little kids who had just suffered the most horrifying moments of their lives. 

Then the armchair psychologists began appearing online, commenting on websites and on Facebook. Obviously, the shooter was mentally ill, and obviously, we need to lock up all the mentally ill so they don't hurt people (Think "Minority Report"). And the gun nuts came out in force, bellowing that the answer to this is more guns. I don't even know how a person can come to that finding. On the opposite side of the coin, people were screaming we need to ban guns completely.

What no one, and I mean no one wants to do is actually look at the facts that we know. Which are...next to none The shooter's aunt told numerous media outlets that the mother was a survivalist, stockpiling weapons. Is that true? I don't know, do you? Yes, the mother owned guns. Fact. Yes, she pulled her son out of school after 10th grade. Fact. Why? I don't know, do you? The brother (who was labeled as the shooter mistakenly by the media) told police his brother had Asberger's and was mentally unstable. Is that true? I don't know, do you? I will concede that something had to be terribly wrong inside the shooter's head for him to do what he did, but since he took his own life, a PET scan isn't really possible at this point.

We need answers, and if we don't get them, what I am discovering during this nightmare is that some of us just make them up. Go right ahead. Label all mentally ill people as dangerous, bombs just ticking away, waiting to explode. Call all gun owners violent monsters, trigger happy assholes who are one bad employment review away from shooting up a building. Do what the media did-keep getting it wrong. 

We need better gun laws in this country. Fact. We need better resources for the mentally ill in this country. Fact. We need to stop being so afraid of everything and everyone. Fact. We need a government that doesn't amass weapons or sell biological weapons to madmen or blow the shit out of children, thus confusing society with a very mixed message. Fact. We need a mainstream media that cares more about truth than about hits, shares, likes and advertising money. Fact. 

We must have a very uncomfortable conversation about why Canada has a lot of guns, too, not as many as America, but they have less people and guess what? Based on 2006 crime figures, Toronto's murder rate was 1.8 per 100,000 people, Edmonton's was 3.7. According to an article at CBC.ca, those figures remain stable. But in a 2011 article in The Guardian, Simon Rogers writes that in 2010, there were 12,664 murders in America. Of those, 8,583 were caused by firearms. 

That's the conversation we need to have. Other countries have guns. Other countries have mentally ill. But it's always America that winds up in the headlines.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/jan/10/gun-crime-us-state






Saturday, December 15, 2012

The List



Charlotte Bacon, 6
Daniel Barden, 7
Rachel Davino, 29
Olivia Engel, 6
Josephine Gay, 7
Ana Marquez-Greene, 6
Dylan Hockley, 6
Dawn Hocksprung, 47
Madeline Hsu, 6
Catherine Hubbard, 6
Chase Kowalski, 7
Jesse Lewis, 6
James Mattioli, 6
Grace McDonnell, 7
Anne Marie Murphy, 52
Emilie Parker, 6
Jack Pinto, 6
Noah Pozner, 6
Caroline Previdi, 6
Jessica Rekos, 6
Avielle Richman, 6
Lauren Russeau, 30
Mary Sherlach, 56
Victoria Soto, 27
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
Allison Wyatt, 6
From ABC News.com

Friday, December 14, 2012

An Empty Hand


Image from Shutterstock

I pulled our son's last two Christmas presents from under the bed, planning to wrap them this afternoon. I had the tape and the paper and the ribbon, and as I began to measure with my eye, I slid onto the floor, tears streaming down my face. A fuzzy movie entered my head.

A mother drops her son off at school this morning. It's a beautiful day, and she kisses him on the cheek as he clambers out of the car, anxious to see his friends. He turns and waves, face lit up with a wonderful smile and she waves back, already thinking about her morning tasks. She drives home to wrap his Christmas presents.

Sipping from a mug of coffee, she begins the search for tape, scissors, ribbon in red and green and wrapping paper that doesn't have a crease down the middle. Finding her supplies, she heads out to the dining room to begin the wrapping of the gifts. She hums carols, maybe Jingle Bells or White Christmas. She struggles to tie ribbon, grinning at her lack of extra thumbs. The phone rings.

Breathe. She forgets how to breathe. Hands that seconds ago were adept at placing tape perfectly on a seam of festive wrapping paper now shake with fear as she drops her coffee mug on the wood floor. She spins wildly-where are the keys, I need my wallet, oh MY GOD nononono what is my husband's work number I've called it a million times why won't this damn car start I dropped the car key nonononono.

She doesn't remember driving to school. She falls out of the car, readies herself and runs towards a police officer. Please, my son, please, where is he, let me go in, let me find him, please let me go. The officer shakes his head, we're evacuating, just stay put, I know, but let us do this okay? She nods, not hearing anything but the sound of blood in her temples, her son's laugh, people crying. She waits. She waits. He doesn't come.

He doesn't come out. He was in that room, he was hiding he was watching, he's not coming out he's not coming home.

A thoughtful relative quietly closes his bedroom door, hoping to help with the pain. The relative tiptoes past the master bedroom where a mother sits on the edge of a bed, dry heaving into a wastebasket. She stands, hands limp at her sides and stumbles into the hall. She sees the closed door. Shuffling towards it, she places her hand on the wood, flat against the grain. Her hand he held in the park, in the mall, in the store, empty. Her empty hand.

What do you do with that empty hand, that empty heart? What do you do when you can't cry anymore, but the tears still flow somewhere deep inside? What do you do with that closed door?

What do you do?

This Is Not About a Well-Regulated Militia Anymore


Photo of "The Knotted Gun" by Swedish artist Carl Fredrik Reutersward

On March 13, 1996, 43-year old Thomas Hamilton entered Dunblane Primary School in Dunblane, Scotland armed with two 9 mm Browning HP Pistols and two Smith & Wesson M19 .357 Magnum revolvers, all legally owned. Hamilton opened fire, killing sixteen children and one adult before committing suicide.

Public debates subsequent to the Dunblane tragedy centered on gun control laws, including public petitions calling for a ban on private ownership of handguns and an official inquiry, The Cullen Report. In response to the public debates, the United Kingdom enacted two Firearms (Amendment) Acts in 1997, effectively making private ownership of handguns illegal.

Today, I was Googling Grand Canyon vacation packages when a headline appeared on my home page. An elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut was in lockdown after reports of at least one gunmen in the school. Reports at this time are sketchy; some report that a teacher or other adult has been injured, others state the shooter has been killed while others are speculating there may be more than one shooter at the school.

This past Tuesday, December 11th, 22-year old Jacob Roberts, entered a shopping mall in Oregon, armed with an AR-15 he had stolen from an acquaintance. Roberts, according to friends, did own a legally purchased pistol, and one of his Facebook likes was shooting. Roberts shot and killed two people, Steve Forsyth and Cindy Yuille and injured Kristina Shevchenko before crawling into a corner and killing himself.

On Saturday, December 1st, Jovan Belcher shot and killed Kassandra Perkins, his girlfriend and mother of his 3-month old daughter. Belcher, a linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs, then drove to Arrowhead Stadium where he fired a handgun into his temple in front of police and members of the coaching staff. Recent reports claim Belcher was questioning the paternity of his infant daughter.

Every single time a person uses a gun to commit murder, whether it's a domestic situation or mass murder, Americans wring our hands and ask "why" and mourn, but we refuse to address the key issue, the reason this is happening. That reason is guns. And before anyone says guns don't kill people, let me remind you about Joseph Loughery.

December 8th, a week ago, Joseph Loughrey shot and killed his own 7-year old son with a handgun. Loughrey had taken his son with him to a gun store where he was trying to sell the handgun and a rifle. The gun store informed Loughrey that they did not purchase guns. As Loughrey put the weapon back into the front of his truck, it discharged and shot his son in the chest. He was unaware there was still a bullet in the chamber of the handgun.

My husband owned handguns at one point in his life. He has been shot, and no longer owns guns of any kind. I have witnessed the destruction of guns firsthand and lived in Florida during a rash of kids picking up Dad's or Grandpa's handgun and shooting Cousin Johnny. Even then, gun lovers still bemoaned gun safety, whining that if their gun had a lock or was in a safe, how could they shoot people who were trying to steal their television?

We have too many guns in America. A mentally ill person, or a felon, can walk into a gun show and purchase anything they want. No background check required at a gun show, hell, in the undercover video I watched earlier this year, the purchaser didn't even have a local I.D. He had cash, and that's all he needed. That man could have been a convicted felon, a rapist or someone who had just been released from a psychiatric hospital, he could be violent predator, but at a gun show, all bets are off.

You want a gun? Fine, here's my idea. 30-day waiting period, during which time, your life is put under a microscope. A background check more detailed, more invasive and more informative than ones used to vet potential CIA operatives. No more gun shows. Period. Looking for an antique gun? You will have to go to a licensed dealer, and go through the 30-day waiting period and background check. One gun a year. No more extended magazines, no more assault rifles. Oh, and you pay for the background check. Every time you want to buy a new gun, you wait 30 days, you go through the background check and you pay for the background check.

As many friends have asked over the past 2 weeks, when the hell did a "regulated militia" become everyone can own as many guns as they want? If you are that desperate to own something which has only one purpose-to kill another living creature-then you should have to jump through hoops to get it. It shouldn't be easier to buy a gun than it is to buy a house, it should be harder. Crack down on illegal dealers selling guns out of the back of their cars. Instead of waging this stupid war on drugs, let's get a war going on guns. Arrest people selling guns on the street, arrest the guy they bought it from, and arrest the guy HE bought it from.

Go ahead, gun lovers, attack me. Attack people who, like me, see gun violence for what it actually is: GUN VIOLENCE. We don't need more guns. We need more laws, we need more regulation and we need them now.

UPDATE: This shooter has murdered today more children than Thomas Hamilton did in Scotland. What will America do? Will our government stand up to the NRA? We will never get rid of guns, but we can make it next to impossible for anyone who might be unstable or a felon or a violent predator to buy one. The NRA Facebook page is gone, their Twitter feed is silent. Cowards.


Photo of children being evacuated from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Thanks to Huffington Post, ABC News, Yahoo News and Wikipedia.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Nightmare that was Dozier


Image of the White House at Dozier from thewhitehouseboys.com


Willy Haynes asked to go to the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys when he appeared before a judge in the late 1950’s. Willy had heard the school had a football team, a band, maybe Boy Scouts, and it was free. It sounded so much better than the life he was living.

Willy was picked up for allegedly stealing a car; Willy couldn’t drive, but neither the police or the judge seemed interested in that fact. Willy just wanted a chance, and the state school in Marianna sounded like the perfect place. Willy could not have been more wrong.
William Haynes turned sixty-nine a few years ago. He’s a Vietnam veteran, has a college degree and he worked for the Alabama Department of Corrections for decades as a corrections officer. He survived beatings at the Florida School for Boys the likes of which we cannot even imagine. One of his beatings was at the hand of Arthur G. Dozier himself, another from Troy Tidwell left a scar on William Haynes’s back, along his waist. He received no medical treatment, no stitches, nothing. Few boys ever did.
What people don’t realize is that this abuse, this torture, went on for over 80 years. The school, first named after Arthur G. Dozier was opened in 1900. Scandal erupted just three years later, when inspectors found children chained, in leg irons, like adult criminals. And yet, the school survived. State officials discovered in the first twenty years the school was open that administrators were hiring boys out to work with adult state convicts. Inspectors also learned that children were beaten with a leather strap attached to a wooden handle. At that point, the superintendent lost his job. And the school survived.
Small reforms, drops of water on a raging inferno, but no permanent solutions. The men doling out the “spankings,” as Troy Tidwell called his particularly brutal beatings, were never removed, never arrested, never told to stop. And into this madness came William Haynes, a boy whose family life was incredibly dysfunctional, a boy who saw the Florida School for Boys as an opportunity to grow and learn and live a life not available to him in Six Mile Creek.
The first time William Haynes was taken to the White House was less than a week after his arrival. William refused to be a “puke"(a snitch), and the school disciplinarian, R.W. Hatton told him “You’re going down.” Willy was dragged across the lawn and through the door of the White House. Lay down. Turn to the wall and grab that rail. Bite the pillow, if you make a sound, I’ll start all over. Jerry Cooper told me they could hear that strap, that 3 ½ inch thick strap, whistle through the air as it was whipped toward their bodies. Mr. Cooper also said the sound changed when the strap was turned on its side, no longer flat, turned to cut the skin. And the school survived.
Willy Haynes goes by Bill these days. He’s retired, has a good life, and a wife he credits as “the most wonderful girl in the world.” Mrs. Haynes has been the brunt of Bill’s short temper, but he told me he has never physically hurt her, and I believe him. You can hear the honesty in Bill Haynes’s voice, you can hear his sorrow and his strength. Bill Haynes, like many of The White House Boys, wants the state of Florida to compensate him for the horrors they experienced at the hands of Florida state employees. And like many of The White House Boys, Bill would give any monies directly to a charity close to his heart. “I don’t need the money,” he stated. What he and the other survivors need is for the state that hid this and lied and covered for sadists to pay.
When Bill Haynes came home from Vietnam, he was told he could avail himself of services at the VA, but if he had his own insurance, they’d prefer he used that. And for his entire life, that’s what he did. He didn’t want to use a service he didn’t need, and possible deprive a veteran who couldn’t live without it. Bill Haynes went to college because one evening, while he was working as a corrections officer at a women’s prison, one of the inmates had a chat with him. Bill pushed inmates, men and women, to get their GED, to take college courses, because if anything, college would teach you to think first. This woman asked Bill what education he had. He replied “None,” and the woman said “You better start practicing what you preach, don’t you think?” He enrolled the next day.
Jerry Cooper and Bill Haynes have nightmares and scars. They have both struggled to control their anger and continue to battle internal demons no one should have to battle. Both these men are incredibly intelligent, empathetic, giving and outgoing. All they want is for the people who hired and protected these sadists to be held responsible. All they want is for Troy Tidwell to take a polygraph, as they have. Bill Haynes offered to pay for not only Tidwell’s polygraph but his travel expenses. Tidwell refused. Both men, along with many others, paid for their own polygraphs, because the state of Florida has no interest at all in justice.
For over 100 years, the Florida School for Boys was a place of unspeakable acts of abuse and terror. History must be spoken, it must be shared, it must never be forgotten. Florida wants to forget this ever happened. Men like Bill Haynes, Jerry Cooper and the rest of The White House Boys are here to make certain we never forget.
Thanks to The Tampa Bay Times, which featured Ben Montgomery and Waveney Ann Moore’s amazing article on The White House Boys and the history of the Florida School for Boys.  All my thanks and gratitude to Bill Haynes for speaking with me so openly and for his kindness. 

Originally published at Mad Mike's America

A Lifetime Of Pain


Image of Jerry Cooper from npr.net


Imagine being 13, 14 years old. It’s night, but the lights are still on in your dorm. You know that this is when they come for kids, dragging them out of bed for some minor infraction-out of bounds, littering, being late for supper-and you hear the boots on the hard floor. If you put your head under the blankets to try and keep the light out, try to hide, the guard hits you in the head with a flashlight. You don’t sleep, you never relax, you are always aware that they could come for you next. You could be the next White House Boy.

Jerry Cooper is angry. Bill Haynes is angry. Roger Kiser is angry. All The White House Boys are angry. They’re also tired and frustrated by the state of Florida’s unwillingness to arrest the one man they all say was the most feared, the most violent and the most protected child abuser in the country, Troy Tidwell.
Troy Tidwell still lives in Jackson County, Florida, but you can’t call him; his phone has been disconnected. He is in his mid eighties now, and refuses to speak with the press about his time at the Arthur G. Dozier School in Marianna, Florida. He has spoken with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and he has spoken with Mr. Glenn Hess. Mr. Hess is currently running for the office of state attorney in Florida’s 14th district, and I managed to reach him Thursday afternoon.
Before detailing my conversation with Mr. Hess, let’s look at Jerry Cooper’s time at the Dozier school and who he is today. Jerry struggles with anxiety, he still awakens in the dead of night, shaking and sweating. And for the past decade, Jerry, along with other members of The White House Boys, have been working, struggling, sometimes begging to have the state of Florida listen to them. No one will.
Jerry’s experience at the Dozier school brought him in direct contact with Troy Tidwell. Jerry was one of three eyewitnesses to the death of Edgar “Tommy” Elton. According to the state of Florida, and Glenn Hess, eyewitnesses don’t matter. It doesn’t matter that one of the eyewitnesses was assigned to work in the hospital on school grounds and swears that Tommy was never brought there, as the official statement indicates. Tommy Elton died on a gymnasium floor, and Troy Tidwell, according to The White House Boys, is culpable in his death. Troy Tidwell refuses to take a polygraph, and let’s be honest; why should he? Not one person, from the attorney general to any politician is interested in justice, Jerry Cooper says.
Glenn Hess has a little experience with child abuse. According to police reports, on November 29th, 2001, Glenn Hess grabbed a 12-year old boy by the shirt and slammed him up against a wall. The boy was playing basketball at the Boys Club West, and was approached by Hess. The boy, Steven Shank, stated to police that Hess told him to get off the court. Shank replied that he (Shank) was out of bounds, at which point, according to Steven Shank, Glenn Hess asked for the basketball. Shank asked why he should give up the basketball, since he was only dribbling, when, according to the police report, Glenn Hess grabbed Steven Shank’s shirt and “picked him up against the wall.” Another adult onsite called the police, but by the time they arrived, Hess was gone. The other adult witness told police Hess gave her his name.
I never got a chance to ask Mr. Hess about this. I caught him, he told me “at a conference, with no notes.” Mr. Hess did not want to discuss Jerry Cooper, but he did tell me the case has been “examined and re-examined” and the last action has been taken. He stated he has heard stories, and they are unfounded. When asked if he had plans to investigate or arrest Troy Tidwell, he said the FDLE spoke to Tidwell, and if there was a case to prosecute, it would have been prosecuted. Glenn Hess compared the atrocities at the Dozier school to “war stories…the more you tell them, the more they change.”
So, there it is. Jerry and others have paid for and passed polygraphs, but Troy Tidwell never has. Jerry Cooper remembers working alongside adult convicts at a peanut farm, working with adults at a brick yard, and Jerry Cooper remembers 135 hits with that 3 ½ inch thick leather strap. Jerry remembers a boy named Philip, who was shot in the back of the head by a deputy while trying to escape. Jerry remembers another boy, whose name he never knew, escaped from his own cottage and hid under the porch of Jerry’s cottage for three days. One day, a state car pulled up, two deputies yanked that boy out from under the porch, and no one ever saw him again. Jerry remembers that unknown boy was on the baseball team.
All these men want is justice. The nightmares will never stop; the memories will never completely fade away. They are scarred, physically, emotionally and psychologically, and all they want is someone, someone to say “Yes, we believe you.” The federal government is investigating, but if only the state of Florida, the state that paid Troy Tidwell and Hatton and the rest of the “staff” to beat and bloody these boys would just step up and say “We’re sorry,” that would go a long way towards healing. If people like Glenn Hess have their way, Florida will never apologize, never take responsibility, and never have to admit any wrongdoing in the pain these men still suffer.
Thank you to Jerry Cooper for his time and honesty and providing documentation used in this article. Thank you to Glenn Hess for speaking with me.
Originally published at Mad Mike's America

Thank you, Larry Flynt


Image of Hustler's fake Campari ad from boingboing.net


The first Bachmann Diary I ever wrote was for New Progressive Muckraker. NPM is in limbo, but that was the place I cut my teeth. I've had one blog refuse to publish The Bachmann Diaries for fear of being sued, and when I received that information, I did a little digging. And I discovered that I owe a big thank you to Larry Flynt.

In 1983, Hustler Magazine ran a fake ad for Campari liquor. The ad featured Jerry Falwell, allegedly being interviewed about his "first time." In the ad, Falwell admits he lost his virginity to his own mother in an outhouse. It's absolutely hilarious, especially the part about the goat. Falwell freaked out and thus, Hustler Magazine, Inc v. Falwell, 485 U.S. 46 was born.

The reverend claimed he had suffered emotional distress due to the content of the fake advertisement. Hustler magazine, it must be noted, identified the ad as "ad parody-not to be taken seriously," and listed the ad in its Table of Contents as "Fiction; Ad and Personality Parody."

Falwell sued first, and was awarded $150,000 in damages. Flynt appealed, first to the Fourth Circuit Court, who rejected Flynt's argument, sided with Falwell and refused to rehear the case. Larry Flynt took his appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which overturned the ruling of the Fourth Circuit. Why? In a nutshell, the Campari ad was so obviously fake, there was no way Falwell could claim what he was-that said ad was libel.

When I began The Bachmann Diaries, I was completely unaware that Jerry Falwell had sued Hustler Magazine, and I was really in the dark about the Supreme Court ruling on that fake Campari ad. But I read everything I could, and I realized that satire is covered under the First Amendment. Now, if I were to write realistically about Michele Bachmann, it would be all over. I don't do that. There is no way I or anyone else believes Bachmann murdered a poodle and buried it in her backyard or that her husband is flying all over the world, "saving" gorgeous gay male models.

About that poodle. It was revealed during the presidential campaign that Michele Bachmann suffers from migraines. The Onion took that information and wrote a satirical piece about Ms. Bachmann having blackouts and waking up, covered in blood. I took that to a wholly bizarre level by having her come to in her yard, holding a weapon of some sort with fur in her teeth.

Do some of the Diaries hit close to home? Yes, I will admit that. But, I always run them by a comedy/lawsuit meter-my husband-and if he laughs and says "There it is," it gets published. If he ever said "Whoa Nellie, that's a bit too real," I rewrite it. But we believe the Diaries are so out there, no one in their right mind could read one and say "OH MY GODLANDIA, that's illegal!"

As long as Michele Bachmann keeps talking about the imaginary dangers of Sharia law and how evil homosexuals are and ignoring bullied kids, I will keep writing The Bachmann Diaries. When she stops channeling Joseph McCarthy and wreaking havoc in other people's lives (Huma Abedin, the Anoka school disctrict), the Diaries will fade away. Until then, thank you, Larry Flynt.

Wikipedia provided information on the lawsuit and resulting verdict.


Florida Justice: Not Like Anywhere Else


Image from West Orlando News


Listening to Kevin Wood’s story is difficult. He has dealt with trauma, heartache, betrayal and dishonesty, and watched his children go through hell. Especially one.

In 1998, Kevin Wood’s then 12-year old daughter was allegedly raped by a man identified by Wood as Wayne Mincey. According to Kevin Wood, Mincey was never questioned, detained or arrested for the rape of his 12-year old daughter. The rape resulted in a pregnancy, and in 1999, DNA tests proved that Wayne Mincey was the father of Wood’s grandchild. The only time Mincey ever went to court was in response to a summons regarding child support.
Kevin Wood claims that the sheriff at the time, Guy Tunnell, did not investigate this crime, and allowed Wayne Mincey to walk free, never charged. Guy Tunnell was rumored at the time to be “buddies” with Glenn Hess, former judge and current candidate for state attorney in Panama City, Florida.
Kevin Wood is working with The White House Boys as they try and dig through decades of lies, cover-ups, false leads and roadblocks. Some of these roadblocks have been in place since the early 1900’s, but some are much more recent. Kevin Wood, Robert Strayley, Jerry Cooper, Bill Haynes, Roger Kiser and others believe the more recent cover-ups have been orchestrated by none other than Glenn Hess.
The Florida Attorney General is, for lack of a better term, the defense attorney for the state of Florida.As the chief legal officer of the states, commonwealths and territories of the United States, the Attorneys General serve as counselors to their legislatures and state agencies and also as the “People’s Lawyer” for all citizens.  His or her role is to represent the state of Florida in any litigation. For example, a group of men who were abused, beaten and raped by state employees at a state funded school.  Did Florida fail in that role?
There are so many red flags regarding the Dozier school, and Marianna in general. According to Roger Kiser, he received a letter from the son of a former head nurse at the school The son wrote that he recalls a conversation between his mother and father, where his mother wanted to tell someone what was happening up at Dozier. His father told her to keep her mouth shut; their farmland could be called in, their house burned down or their cows poisoned. People were terrified to speak up, and for some reason, some still are. Some, like Kevin Wood and The White House Boys, have already been to Hell, they have nothing left to fear.
Kevin Wood has an affidavit in his possession; a signed, notarized statement from a woman named Carrie Brooks. Ms. Brooks claims that on February 2nd, 2006, Glenn Hess approached her and asked if she wanted to make some extra money. Hess was a sitting judge at the time of this alleged incident. Then assistant State Attorney, Brian Kelley, according to Ms. Brooks’ statement was present for the initial question, but stated “I don’t think I need to hear this,” and walked away. Judge Hess then said to Carrie Brooks, according to her notarized statement, “There are a lot of people in Bay County that would like to see Kevin Wood dead.” Ms. Brooks then writes “I can’t recall if he said ‘would like to see him dead’ or ‘would pay to see him dead,’ but it was something to that effect.”
Kevin Wood is a civil rights activist, who helped a homeless man named Randy Fowler aka Jim Bikeman secure his release from Chattahoochee State Psychiatric Hospital and is currently assisting a transgender woman with a civil case in Florida. He didn’t have to get involved with The White House Boys, but their stories grabbed him and inspired him to help. And he is helping-helping us put this tragedy into the public eye, helping The White House Boys maneuver through paper work and legal terminology and along the way, Kevin Wood has discovered something about himself. He is recharged, motivated and anxious to see justice done for everyone the state of Florida refuses to recognize.
Originally published at Mad Mike's America

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Pinch Me, It's Henry Rollins!


Image of Henry Rollins from Altpress.com



In the 1970′s, American punk rock was everywhere. The Ramones, Husker Du, The Dead Milkmen, The Plasmatics and Black Flag created havoc in the music industry. Born out of the British punk scene, American punk rock was blaring from radios and tape decks by teenagers too young to understand Vietnam, but old enough to understand we were angry. One front man stood out. He was handsome, he was loud and brash and he didn’t take any shit from anyone, including audiences. That was Henry Rollins. 

Rollins has gone on to a career as a spoken word performance artist. He has his own radio show, he tours around the world and yes, the hair is grayer, the anger is a bit more controlled. Henry Rollins was the spokesperson for a generation, my generation, and when he agreed to an interview with me, I was beyond thrilled. Rollins is an artist of the highest caliber, and if you’ve never heard Black Flag or The Rollins Band, or heard Henry Rollins speak, you’re missing out on true genius.

Here we go:
Q) You were the lead singer for Black Flag, one of the most well-known punk rock bands in America. During that period of time, a lot of bands jumped onto the punk scene, some deserving of the title “punk” and some not. What do you think made Black Flag so popular, and what were some of the more enjoyable aspects of being a punk rock deity?
A)I think Black Flag had a unique sound and message. That was due to the creative genius of Greg Ginn and Chuck Dukowski. They had a very unorthodox approach to things that was quite often terrifying. The band stood out. The band was very good live, that was of great importance that in the live setting the band could deliver. A lot went into that. As to your other question, I have no idea what to say.
Q) In the 1980′s, you produced an album of acoustic songs for Charles Manson that was never released to the public. What compelled you to work with Manson? Did you ever meet with, or speak with him?
A) Greg Ginn wanted to put out some cassettes of Manson’s music his lawyer sent to SST. I was put in charge of making the edit. I ended up working on the project. I never met or talked to the man. The album was never released.
Q) “Get in the Van,” a spoken word album about your time and travels with Black Flag, won a Grammy award in 1994. For a man who started his career as an anti-establishment punk rocker, what was that experience like for you?
A) It was somewhat ironic, I guess. I gave the Grammy trophy away. I have no idea where it is. I guess that is your answer.
Q) Your best friend, Joe Cole, was murdered in front of you in 1991. That experience is the subject of your book “Now Watch Him Die.” You were also held for questioning by police in Cole’s death. Does his passing still impact you, and if so, in what way?
A) am sad about the complete pointlessness of his death. It is an endlessly frustrating thing to think about. I am sure that won’t get any better.
Q) For quite a few years, you have focused on spoken-word performing, and in a 2011 interview, told a publication you “swore off music.” Do you find performing with simply the spoken word as fulfilling as performing in a band? Have you generated a new fan base with your performances and radio show?
A) I am not a musician. So, when all the lyric ideas I had passed through me to songs, I was done. I didn’t see the value of standing on a stage singing old songs. Life is too short for me to do that. The talking shows are much more challenging than the band stuff ever was and I like being alone backstage, onstage, etc. There is a truth to it that I enjoy. As to your other question, I have no idea. My shows usually sell out. I don’t know where people find out about me from. I just do the work.
Q) Your assistant, Heidi May, who is pretty popular in her own right. What is the strangest thing she has to deal with, other than the rodents in your freezer?
A) I guess the strangest thing she has to deal with all the time is me. I am pretty crazy and she keeps everything in a line. I am sure I frustrate her at every turn. She is one of the best people I have ever met and I am very lucky to have her holding things down.
Q) Do you consider yourself a poet, a performance artist, or a combination of both; what inspires your spoken word performances?
A) I just work. All the titles really have hold no interest to me. I just get it done.
And for all of us who went bat shit insane over Ted Nugent, got our panties in a bunch, freaked out and said he should be arrested, we close this interview with what may be the best perspective on Nugent:
Q) Ted Nugent has been in the news lately, for what many are calling inflammatory and violent statements made against the current administration and Democrats. Do you feel he crossed the line, or were his statements blown out of proportion?
A) He’s a gun loving draft dodger, why does anyone take him seriously?
Did I mention that I love Henry Rollins? This was an insane moment in my life, and one I will never forget.

Originally published at Mad Mike's America.

A Chat with Will Turpin of Collective Soul


Image of Ed Roland, Will Turpin and Dean Roland by Erin Nanasi


In the early 1990’s a new music genre burst onto the scene. Alternative rock, a combination of punk, independent and classic rock music leaped into the spotlight and young people responded with exuberance and excitement. In the middle of this mix was Collective Soul, a band out of Georgia, led by Ed Roland.

Collective Soul was different. Their lyrics were somehow more emotional, less harsh, and they immediately connected with audiences all over the world. They drew a legion of fans, including me. I had the opportunity to chat, via phone, with Collective Soul’s bass player, Will Turpin, and it was a wonderful experience. Will is gregarious, funny and down to earth, and shared some insight with me on the popularity of Collective Soul and why he thinks their music has stayed the test of time.
Will told me that as young men, filled with promise and a sense of immortality, Collective Soul believed the world should hear their music. With the release of “Hints, Allegations and Things Left Unsaid,” the world did. Collective Soul’s first hit, “Shine” was played on college radio stations all over Georgia and caught the attention of major record labels. “Hints” was a demo album, but fans were enamored of these young men from Georgia.
When I asked Will if they knew from the beginning that Collective Soul’s music would touch as many people as it has, he told me that it took about a decade for him personally to grasp how popular they truly were. He said the band never really thought about what was “cool” or “not cool”, and that if you start thinking that way you will “screw yourself up.” Collective Soul wanted to take Ed Roland’s lyrics and set them to fantastic music, and take their fans along for the ride.
Collective Soul’s music has a spiritual element to it, not religious, but if you really listen, you hear a deeper emotion coming through. Will credits Ed Roland with the “poetry” that are the lyrics. It’s a collaborative effort, Will says, and Ed is the prolific writer who helps Collective Soul create that emotional connection with listeners. Yes, the band is spiritual, talking about the beauty in the Book of Psalms or the way Jesus lived his life. After all, Ed and Dean Roland are the sons of a Baptist minister. Collective Soul is not a Christian rock band, not at all. They have found the perfect balance: profound lyrics, seriously rocking music and at the core, a connection to the spirit inside us all.
It’s not a recipe, Will told me. Any art that gets out there and affects people has to come from somewhere deep. I asked him if he has any insight as to why Collective Soul’s fans have never wavered in their support and, frankly, love of the band. He noted he was only speculating, but believes it is the emotional connection, the relationship their music builds with the fans. Music isn’t just technical skills, Will reminded me, it’s “conveying emotions through frequencies.” The word he used was ethereal, and I agree.
Collective Soul is preparing for a tour, a series of intimate evenings with the band. They are offering “VIP Packages,” where for less than the normal price of a concert ticket, you receive priority seating, a meet and greet with Collective Soul and other wonderful treats. It’s a unique way to tour, and one Will said the band came up with in early January. Collective Soul has built a relationship with their fans, and Will believes this tour is the best way for the band to connect with all those loyal listeners. He and the other band members grew up lower middle to middle class in small Georgia towns, and they are always conscious of their humble beginnings when pricing tickets for their shows. Will “takes it seriously” when people pay $35 to see one of Collective Soul’s concerts; he remembers that’s not easy to do.
This was a huge honor for me, both as a writer and as a fan of Collective Soul. Will Turpin was without a doubt one of the nicest “celebrities” I have ever spoken to, and I want to thank both him and Jimmy Brunetti for helping put this interview together. 
“Shine” on.
Originally published at Mad Mike's America

An Interview with James Rollins


Image of James Rollins from Barnes and Noble.com

James Rollins is the New York Times best selling author of The Sigma Force series and stand alone novels including Amazonia, Subterranean and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Mr. Rollins' latest Sigma Force novel, Bloodline, was released this past June, and I was honored to interview him. 
1) You are most well-known for the Sigma Force series, featuring Painter Crowe. How was Painter Crowe “born?”
He first appeared in my novel Sandstorm.  Prior to that book, all my previous stories had been stand-along novels. I resisted writing series–until I discovered Painter on the page.  Here was a former military man recruited by Sigma, a secret organization tied to DARPA (the defense department’s R&D division). The goal of Sigma was to defend the nation against global threats, utilizing a crack team of former soldiers who have been retrained in various scientific fields. Basically scientists with guns.
As I wrote Sandstorm, I knew Painter and this group could not end with this single book. And they haven’t.  This summer’s thriller Bloodline marks the eighth novel in the Sigma series.  And similar to the discovery of Painter, this new book debuts a pair of characters that I’ve thrilled to bring to the page:  a former army ranger and his military working dog.  The pair of them and their deep bond were a great joy to write.  And as a veterinarian myself, how could I not write several scenes from the dog’s point of view?  I wanted to try to capture what it’s like to be a war dog:  to hunt, to fight, to protect.  They’re a unique pair of American heroes that I’ve grown to love—and I hope readers do, too.
2)  Where did you get the idea for these two new characters—the army ranger and his dog?
 About a year and half ago, I was lucky enough to participate in a USO tour of authors to military bases in Iraq and Kuwait. There, I saw several of these war dogs in action. I was also able to meet and talk to a veterinary school classmate of mine who works with the veterinary corps out in Iraq. After that encounter, it got me thinking about writing this book, of honoring these unique war heroes on the page.
But what I liked best about exploring this pair’s unique relationship is a phrase commonly used by military working dog handlers–It runs down the lead–describing how the emotions of the pair became shared over time, binding them together as firmly as any leash. And it’s that bond and ability for the two to operate as one that I wanted to explore in this novel.
 3) On your website, there is mention of you, telling stories as a child in order to play pranks on your siblings. Can you share a bit about those stories?
First, you have to understand my family. My father was a foreman at a Libby’s canning plant.  My mother stayed home and had children…many, many children.  Being Polish and Roman Catholic, I believe there was some requirement on the number of kids:  less than five children, and the secret of Kielbasa would be taken from you.  So I was born the third of seven children, and of that litter, I was the only storyteller of the family (what my mother called “The Liar”).  My early work consisted of convincing my younger brothers that the new ventriloquist doll I got for Christmas would come alive at midnight and hunt for fresh blood…which led to many sleepless night and wet beds.  Or revealing to my baby sister that our family were really Martians—except for her, of course, as she was our adopted human pet.
I still pay their therapy bills, but it was worth it.
 4) You’ve traveled the world, and use exotic locales in your novels. What city or natural wonder made the biggest impression on you, both personally and as an author?
 If I had to pick one, I’d say it was the Amazon rain forest.  That vast and trackless dark forest was featured in my early novel Amazonia.  As a writer, the mystery and history of the jungle was impossible to resist.  As a biologist, the sheer wonder of this massive ecosystem was an endless joy to explore. And as a veterinarian, the diversity of animal life was fascinating. In my book Amazonia, one of the main characters is an orphaned jaguar named Tor-tor, who of all my characters still gets the most fan mail.  Though I wager Kane (the war dog featured in Bloodline) will give that jungle cat a run for his money in regards to popularity.
 5) Jake Ransom is the hero of a series you write for children. When you were a child, did you want to be someone like Jake, or Painter Crowe-solving mysteries lost for ages, battling dark forces and visiting fabulous and historic places?
 I don’t think Jake and Painter are too far apart as characters. Jake–as the time-traveling son of a pair of archaeologists who disappeared at a Mayan dig site–finds himself solving mysteries, battling dark, forces, and visiting ancient lost civilizations. So the two are not too far apart in goals and aspirations.  As to your question about who I’d want to be, you might notice that Jake Ransom and James Rollins share the same initials.  He’s the kid I always wished I could be.
 6) You joined with other writers in 2005 to form International Thriller Writers, and served as co-president of the group in 2009. Can you tell us a little about ITW?
 It’s a fantastic organization and a great network for all things thriller related. We’ve built a huge website chocked full of information about books, authors, and tips on writing.  We also have a very successful mentoring program for debut authors in the field, where established authors take new writers under their respective wings and help guide them through the pitfalls and triumphs of book publishing.
I personally undertook establishing the ITW Thriller awards, where the best-of-the-best could be celebrated each year.  For anyone who has written (or is thinking of writing a thriller), ITW is a great launch pad.  And best of all membership is free.  The organization keeps itself afloat through the publication of unique thriller anthologies, including Love is Murder, an anthology of romantic thrillers edited by Sandra Brown. Such anthologies also serve to introduce new authors to the world, alongside powerhouses in the field like Lee Child, Clive Cussler, and James Patterson.
 7) Finally, if you could take three books with you on a vacation, what would they be?
 What? Only three?  Typically when I travel, I always try to find fiction books that are related to my destination.  So the choice of those three titles would greatly depend on where I was going on vacation?  If I’m going to Paris, I might bring The Paris Vendetta by Steve Berry. If going to China, I might bring Amy Tan’s masterful The Joy Luck Club.  If I’m going to the moon, I would certainly pack The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein.  But for general travel, it never hurts to be have a copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams in your pocket–mostly for the very good advice written atop that illustrious interstellar guide, words important to any world traveler:  Don’t Panic.
Thank you, James Rollins, for your time and generosity. This was truly an honor. Your readers are anxiously counting down until June 26th and Bloodline promises to be as much, if not more, of an adventure than previous Sigma Force books. It features favorite characters like Commander Pierce, Kat and Seichen, and introduces Sigma Force fans to Army Ranger Captain Tucker Wayne and his military war dog, Kane. And Bloodline asks the ultimate question: Would you want to live forever?
Please visit www.jamesrollins.com to order Bloodline, peruse James Rollins’ other amazing novels and learn even more about an author whose books may keep you up so late, you have to call in sick to work. (He loves when that happens!)