Saturday, November 19, 2011

Inaction is sometimes the worst action of all

I've been troubled by a few recent stories. One, is the sex scandal at Penn State, the other is the murder of Jayna Murray, a Lululemon employee in Bethesda. There are obviously, many things about both of these cases that are troublesome, but the one thing that bothers me the most is that there were people who heard or saw something wrong and did not act.

The story I am going to focus on is the Jayna Murray story. The Penn State scandal has been covered quite a bit in the media and probably everyone knows about it and is shocked by the actions of the coaches and administrators there.

Let me tell you what I know about Jayna Murray and her death. I am a big fan of Lululemon. Its a clothing store. There are blogs dedicated to it and those blogs follow everything that has to do with the brand. Last March, there was a posting on one of the blogs with a story about a robbery and murder at the Lululemon store in Bethesda, Maryland. The story said that two unknown men broke into the store after closing and assaulted two employees, murdering one of them.

I live 3000 miles away from the crime scene, but I was riveted by the story. I followed it online via blogs and news reports. I was shocked when a few days later, the police arrested the coworker who survived the attacked, claiming that she had attacked and killed the other worker.

There was a huge outpouring in the community for the family and friends of Jayna Murray. I did not know her and I don't know anyone who did, but I feel the pain, sadness and horror that they must feel at this senseless death. According to reports, the attack was instigated because Jayna caught her coworker stealing. I guess going to jail for murder is better than getting fired for stealing.

As I have followed this story, there is one piece that sticks out to me. The Lululemon store was next to an Apple computer store. At the trial of Brittany Norwood - the accused murdered, two Apple employees testified that they heard something. Here are some quotes:

"I heard noises coming from the right side of the store- something heavy sounding," "Like it was being hit or dragging, some grunting and some thudding."

"We approached the area of the store where the sound was the loudest. At that point we heard some screaming or yelling. It sounded hysterical," They heard two female voices, one hysterically, "God help me, please help me."

The Apple store manager at the time also testified that he heard a panting, "like when you can't breathe and need to catch your breath."

They employees testified that they asked the security guards in their store to check it out. The way they checked it out was to put their ear to the wall. There have been no answers as to why no further action was taken. Why the police weren't called, why the security guards didn't go next door and check it out.

Jayne Murray suffered more than 322 blows before the final fatal blow. She was found with a rope around her neck, hammer and knife wounds to her head, and had been repeatedly struck with a metal stand. The attack allegedly went on for more than 20 minutes. Plenty of time for someone to have intervened and saved her life. But no one did. How can that be?

I know there are all kinds of studies about why people don't act, why they don't step in and take action to stop something they know is going on - they think someone else will call the police or they don't want to meddle in something that isn't their business.

I have always held the belief, in the case of my safety and the safety of others, its better to look stupid then end up dead. I would rather have the police come and find nothing wrong than not get involved and have to live with myself for not taking action.

Sure, none of us know how we would act in the same situation. We'd all like to think we would do the right thing. Its ironic to me that due to the internet, social media and reality TV, we are all so involved in the lives of others. We have no problem butting into the lives of friends, family and acquaintances, but when we need to pick up the phone and call 911 or physically stop someone from committing a crime or an immoral act, we freeze, become scared and decide to mind our own business. Minding our own business isn't the American way. So let's stop acting like it is and start looking out for each other. If you see something that doesn't seem quite right, if you hear or read something that makes you think there is a problem - ACT on it. You may look foolish, but better to be foolish than regretful.

Those Apple employees had to sit in a courtroom and look at Jayna's parents and know that they did nothing to stop the brutal murder of their daughter. How do you live with that?

Here is a link to Jayna's Foundation:
Here is a news story about the conviction of Jayna's murder

Friday, November 11, 2011

Weekend at Grammie's

I spent last weekend in Sarasota, Florida visiting my 84 year old Grammie. I was only there for three days and I went alone. Trevor stayed home to take care of the businesses and the pets. I hate going anywhere without him and I hate leaving the pets, but I had the best time with my Grammie.

My Aunt Roz and Uncle Al just moved to Florida a few weeks ago and now live right behind Grammie. I haven't seen them in at least 6 years, so it was a treat to spend some time with them too!

I don't know anyone who is like Grammie. She is so spiritual and open to new ideas. She is always ready to try something new. She leads book studies, belongs to all kinds of groups and clubs, she goes on retreats and to lectures. I am amazed at how she views the world.

We spent some time sightseeing and the rest of the time we just talked. She said "there is just too much to learn". We talked alot about this life and what follows. I grew up going to church every Sunday and always thought of Grammie as religious. She has really opened up to a different world view. She believes this life is in three dimensions and when we pass, we move onto a different dimension.

My entire life, Grammie has always been fascinated with Easter Island. She's never been there but when she sees a picture of it, she is overcome with a feeling of homesickness. She was telling me that she feels a similiar pull towards Egypt but nothing like Easter Island. We decided that her spirit started life on Easter Island.

I don't have conversations like these with anyone else except my Gram. At one point we were talking and I just teared up because I realized how lucky I am to get to know my Grammie at so many different points in her life.

As a child, she was the doting wife and mother. As I got older, she was a caretaker to so many people. She did what was expected and I rarely saw any unhappiness in her. She gave of herself without complaint, it never occurred to me that she might have wanted more from her life.

After my Pop-pop passed away, I saw my Grammie change into an independent woman. When we joke about her finding a new man, she says "I did that for 51 years, I don't want to do it anymore". Its so strange to hear her talk about that previous life. I know she doesn't regret the path she chose, but she sure is loving this life she has now.

Grammie has good genes - her parents both lived into their late 90s, so she probably has lots of time left. I sure hope she does. She is my favorite person, she always has been. I loved my time with her and I can't wait to go back again.