"Mass murderers tend to be aggrieved, hurt, clinically depressed, socially isolated and, above all, paranoid. They believe the world is against them."
--Newsweek, commenting on the US's senseless destruction of Iraq*
Under the bridge
The sparkling blue waters off Miami's Julia Tuttle Causeway look like they were torn from the pages of National Geographic.
But the causeway's only inhabitants don't see much paradise in their surroundings.
Eleven-and-a-half males -- all registered sex offenders convicted of abusing children -- live along the causeway because there is a severe housing shortage for Miami's most unwelcome residents.
"I got nowhere I can go," says sex offender Francisco Perez, who lives with his dog on the shore where Biscayne Bay meets the causeway.
The Florida Department of Corrections confirms that Miami-Dade has passed the strongest laws against sex offenders in the US.
As a consequence there are fewer and fewer places in the county where sex offenders can live.
Miami-Dade's final solution: "house" convicted child-abusers under a bridge that forms a segment of the causeway.
The Julia Tuttle Causeway, linking Miami to Miami Beach, boasts no running water, no electricity and virtually no protection from bad weather.
Every day a state probation officer makes a predawn visit to the causeway, which constitutes part of the terms of the offenders' probation, mandating they wear a nametag around their neck that reads "Sex Offender," occupy a "residence" from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., and not budge from that residence for any reason whatsoever.
So is the idea to nametag and stick all sex offenders who already fulfilled their prison sentences under a bridge?
The DOC official shrugs his shoulders: "Maybe they should feel lucky to be alive.
"More convicted child-abusers are assaulted and murdered by fellow inmates than any other criminal."
Watch two Florida State prison inmates sodomize then murder a convicted sex offender [Video]
Most Florida cities have passed laws prohibiting convicted sexual offenders from living within 2,500 feet of schools, parks, skateboard runways, strip malls, convenience stores, tattoo and piercing parlors, and other places where kids hang out.
The DOC official acknowledges that the laws which have kept sex offenders away from children have forced the offenders to live in vacant lots, near alligator-infested swamps, under bridges.
"We've enacted lawful restrictions, okay?
"We know that kids, children, what have you -- there are a whole lot of venues where they congregate.
"The law says no closer than 2,500 feet, okay?
"That covers a lot of real estate in a congested urban area like Miami where we have a large population of Hispanic folks that never heard of the term birth control.
"So it's not surprising we just don't have a place for these sex offenders that is far enough away from children."
Can I ask where you got your cheekbone implants?
To avoid another Virginia Tech-type incident, the University of Northern Colorado has banned 24 students from its campus, including Hedda Bethel.
According to USA Today, "Ms Bethel, who suffers from anorexia, and went into cardiac arrest at the campus rec center during her junior year, has been barred from the campus as a threat to herself and possibly to others in her community."
Taking no chances, Texarkana, Texas, police Thursday spent hours combing through every crack and crevice of Bowie County High School after a cafeteria worker said she saw two young "Oriental males" wearing camouflage -- one in a ski mask -- "trotting" through the hallways before the school was scheduled to open, officials confirmed.
The alert prompted school authorities to cancel classes for the day.
The cafeteria worker said she did not "think" she saw any weapons on the young Orientals, and no one has seen them since, Texarkana Chief Duane Louie said.
"We don't know if this is a prank, we don't know if this is a copycat deal, we don't know if this is a figment of someone's imagination, but we're going to take every precaution we can."
A lit prof at a small college in Pennsylvania was about to set a carton of old manuscripts next to a trashcan on campus to be recycled, when a ROTC student spotted him and phoned the police.
The professor is a brown-skinned East Indian Muslim whose name is Kazim Ali.
This is what he wrote about the incident: "Because of my recycling, the bomb squad came, then the state police. Because of my recycling, buildings were evacuated, classes were canceled, the campus was closed. No. Not because of my recycling. Because of my dark body. No . . . Because of the way he [the ROTC student] saw me. Because of the culture of fear . . . carefully cultivated in the media, by the government, by people who claim to want to keep us 'safe.' These are the days of orange alerts, school lock-downs, and endless war. "
Watch a brown-skinned East Indian Muslim pretend to recycle old manuscripts [Video]
The Homeland Security Department assigns terrorist scores to travelers.
It was reported Thursday that millions of Americans and foreigners crossing U.S. borders in the past four years have been "assessed" by the computerized Automated Targeting System, ATS, designed to single out terrorists and criminals.
Travelers are not permitted to see their assessments, which the government intends to keep on file for 50 years or until Armageddon, whichever comes first.
Watch an animated version of Armageddon [Video]
Under specific circumstances, the data in the system can be shared with state, local and foreign governments and even with some private contractors.
Almost every human entering and leaving the United States by air, sea or land is ATS-screened on their travel records and other data, including where they live, do they own or rent, do they wear shorts or jocks, how they paid for tickets, previous one-way travel, seating preference, how often they go to the restroom, and what kind of meals they order.
If they are vegetarian or vegan a red alert is sounded.
Watch a red alert go off when a vegan is identified [Video]
ATS was first used to assess the risk posed by travelers in the late 1990s, applying personal information about them supplied by air and cruise lines.
A post-9/11 law vastly expanded the program, requiring airline and cruise companies to forward the government electronic data in advance on all passengers and crew bound into or out of the country.
The names are processed and the bads are then dealt with proportionately.
Example: A brown skin with a Muslim name signifies lethal injection.
(I'm speaking metaphorically).
At land border crossings, agents enter license plates and the names of vehicle drivers and passengers, and Greyhound voluntarily supplies passenger data on its busses to and from Mexico.
US doctors are helping to keep a severely disabled girl child-size at her parent's request.
Lisa X was born with severe and permanent brain damage, called static encephalopathy.
The nine-year-old who cannot walk or talk has the mental ability of a three-month-old baby.
Watch the 9-year-old move her mouth grotesquely and emit animal noises as she tries futilely to speak [Video]
Her parents argue that keeping her "frozen" as a child rather than letting her go through puberty and grow into a woman in a "cruel culture" will give her a better life.
They authorized doctors to remove her uterus to prevent menstruation, limit her breast growth through the removal of breast buds so that she would not experience discomfort when lying down, and give her doses of hormones to stop her growing taller.
What mass murderer Cho was not:
White, beige, sociable, telegenic.
A South Korean immigrant role model devoted to fitness, patriotism and the Virginia Tech Hokies.
Eminently sex-cessful in his pursuit of Caucasian coeds.
A cellphone addict whose every third word was "like."
Free of an "accent" which evoked mockery.
A creative writing student who displaced his rage to official terrorists and opposing football teams.
An "elephant in the room, and you don't know how to tame it," in the words of one of his creative writing instructors.
An al Qaeda fanatic who trained with Osama in western Pakistan but was actually in the employ of the CIA as a species of "Manchurian Candidate."
What mass murderer Cho was:
A 23-year-old South Korean resident alien with acne, a history of (prescribed) antidepressant use, and ongoing suicidal ideation.
An English major with a keen interest in "creative" writing that was violent but evocative, though condemned by instructors, fellow students and outside arbiter Stephen King (allegedly paid six figures for his assessment by Entertainment Tonight) as "dark and disturbing."
A loner, "the loneliest person I have ever met in my life," according to one of his creative writing instructors.
A vivid dreamer who didn't speak in the customary way.
Dumped back on the street by the mental health industry because of profit-loss considerations.
"A real cold individual."
Suicided by society.
April 16, 2007
33 killed, 20 wounded
Gunman: South Korean called Cho.
Aug. 1, 1966
Gunman: Andrew Kehoe.
Oct. 16, 1991
24 killed, 20 wounded
Gunman: George Hennard.
July 18, 1984
22 killed, 19 wounded
San Ysidro, Calif.
Gunman: James Huberty.
Aug. 1, 1966
17 killed, 31 wounded
University of Texas Tower
Gunman: Charles Whitman.
April 20, 1999
15 killed, 23 wounded
Columbine High School
Gunmen: Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.
Aug. 20, 1986
15 killed, 6 wounded
Edmond Post Office
Gunman: Patrick Sherrill.
July 29, 1999
13 killed, 13 wounded
Atlanta brokerage offices
Gunman: Mark Barton.
June 18, 1990
10 killed, 4 wounded
Gunman: James Pough.
Sept. 14, 1989
9 killed, 12 wounded
Standard Gravure Corporation
Gunman: Joseph Wesbecker.
July 1, 1993
9 killed, 6 wounded
Pettit & Martin Law Offices
San Francisco, Calif.
Gunman: Gian Ferri.
What about Wounded Knee?
What about Sand Creek?
What about the enforced removal of native Americans from their reservations?
What about the ongoing murder of African "slaves" forcibly brought to the US?
What about Attica?
What about McVeigh and Oklahoma City?
Dumb motherfucker -- that was a bombing, not a shooting.
Gimme a H; Gimme an O; Gimme a K; Gimme an I . . .
As of two days after the Virginia Tech massacre no major backlash against Asians was reported.
American media contrasted the lack of a backlash to the South Korean public's virulently anti-American response when a US military vehicle in South Korea accidentally killed two girls.
They contrasted the lack of a backlash to the excessive Japanese response when two American GI's allegedly raped and killed an adolescent Japanese girl in Okinawa.
Some American media contrasted the lack of a backlash in the US to the fuss made about a few isolated incidents of corporal punishment at an internment camp for Islamic terrorists in Eye-rack.
American media noted that South Koreans seemed relieved that American news coverage of Cho focused not on his nationality but on individual aspects: his ugliness, his isolation, his weird accent, his psychological hangups.
Pizza for the Homeless
Just hours before his execution by injection, a Tennessee death row inmate convicted of killing a police officer requested his final meal -- pizza for a homeless person.
Philip Workman, 53, asked that a vegetarian pizza be delivered to a homeless person in Memphis, Workman's attorney confirmed.
Riverbend Maximum Security Institution rejected the request.
"Tennessee taxpayers don't give us permission to donate to charity," said Riverbend spokeswoman Dorinda Carter.
According to a Tennessee state prison statute, a last meal's cost must not exceed $20.
Even with inflation that would probably cover the cost of a pizza in Tennessee.
Watch an anonymous homeless person eat a pizza [Video]
Workman was executed by lethal injection early Wednesday.
He'd been convicted in 1982 of killing Memphis Police Lt. Roland Oliver during a botched robbery of a Wendy's restaurant in Memphis.
His defense maintained that new ballistics evidence proved Oliver died from friendly fire at the robbery scene.
They also pointed to the recanted statements of a key eyewitness who now says he lied when he testified that he saw Workman shoot Oliver.
Workman admitted robbing Wendy's with a gun for drug money and tussling with police outside after an employee tripped a silent alarm.
But he insisted that his gun "involuntarily discharged" when one of the arresting cops hit him in the head.
Workman's final (failed) appeal was before the U.S. Supreme Court, with his lawyers arguing that lethal injection procedures were cruel and inhumane.
Conceding there were "deficiencies" in Tennessee's lethal injection instruction manual, Governor Phil Bredesen rescinded it in November and gave the state's Commissioner of Correction 90 days to write a new one.
But for reasons nobody could explain the cocktail of lethal drugs used in the state's executions remained unchanged.
A study published in April by the Public Library of Science -- a nonprofit organization of scientists and doctors -- found the three-drug lethal injection protocol left inmates subject to "immense pain, while frozen and speechless for up to thirty-five minutes" before they died.**
A compassionate young doctor volunteering in the ER at a Blacksburg hospital described the injuries he saw Monday as "horrific" and the shooter as "inhuman."
"There wasn't a shooting victim that didn't have less than three bullet wounds in them," said Dr. JR Wentworth of Montgomery Regional Hospital.
The gunman was dressed "almost like a Boy Scout" with khaki cargo shorts and a black ammunition vest," said Crystal Scanlon, a student who survived by pretending to lie dead on a classroom floor.
"He just came through the door and started firing," Crystal said.
"He seemed real thorough and cold about it, zapping almost everyone.
"I laid on the floor pretending to be dead."
The shooter, who remained silent throughout the rampage, came back 30 seconds after the first round of gunfire and Crystal and the few classmates who were still alive tried to barricade the door with their bodies.
After the shooter couldn't get in, he began firing through the door.
Of the 25 students in her German class, Crystal was one of three able to walk out on her own when police arrived.
Cellphones of the dead students rang and sang even as the students lay dead, according to Crystal.
Watch and hear murdered students' cellphones going off [Video]
Classes have been canceled for the rest of the week, and Norris Hall will be closed for the remainder of the semester.
Junior Health Science major Hailey Valentine said students were instant messaging each other, urging everyone to wear their Virginia Tech Hokie gear as a sign of unity.
In the aftermath of the shootings at Virginia Tech, police gave the gunman's name as Cho Seung-Hui, with the surname first, as is common in many Asian cultures.
A statement issued by the family indicated that they prefer to use the surname last "like Americans do."
NBC News and MSNBC.com have complied by adopting the rendering Seung-Hui Cho.
FOX News, now in the process of trying to add the Wall Street Journal to its global media family, is sticking to its original version: Cho Seung-Hui.
*Correction: Newsweek was commenting on mass murderer Cho
**Derived from a CNN online report, 5/9/07
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Harold Jaffe / Revolution Post-Mill
m. benedict / the fountain
Shane Jesse Christmass / Case Report into Clairaudience
Tantra Bensko / Clock
Jessica Hayes / Notification
Shane Jesse Christmass / The Modern of Tongues
Daniel King / The Interpretation of Life
Juventino Manzano / Back on the Home Front
Ashok Rajamani / White Men Can't Jump, Er, Tie a Sari
Harold Jaffe / Excerpts from Paris 60
John Darling / There Must Be Cowboys
Edwin Decker / Armageddon of Queer
John-Patrick Ayson / atrophy
Stephen W. Potts / Zone of Silence
Harold Jaffe / Warr Games
William Terry / Affection Interchange Program
Juventino Manzano / Vestige to Visage
Arkady and Boris Strugatsky / A Beetle in an Anthill
Harold Jaffe / Bela Lugosi
Tyrone Nagai / Lola and Jean
Jefferson P. Swycaffer / In Search of The Fuehrer
Don Traverso / Dysecdysis
Thomas Logan / Ghost Dance Soliloquies
B. F. Price / Animals Were Harmed
Jefferson P. Swycaffer / The Gift that Keeps On Giving
Harold Jaffe / Cho
Jefferson Swycaffer / Leviathan of the Blades
Devin Walsh / Felix Culpa
Tony Zurlo / What Did You Do During the War, Daddy-O?
Stephen W. Potts / One Thousand and One Nights
Juventino Manzano / Epiphany in Hell
Don Traverso / Tuesday 10:30 AM
Frank Norris / Comida
Don Traverso / Mist
Juventino Manzano / Suburban Passion In Three Acts
Stephen MacKinnon / Triptych
Juventino Manzano / Requited Ecstasy
Stephen W. Potts / Loose Ends
Kirsten Noelle Hubbard / An Elegy for the Uninvited
Conor Murphy / Think Nothing of It
Jefferson P. Swycaffer / The Lifeboat Game
H. G. Wells / A Dream of Armageddon
Chris Tannhauser / See-Through
Stephen W. Potts / Apocalypso
Mark Twain / Letter to the Earth
Morgan Lockhart / Coyote and the Faceless Cowboy
Brad Lyke / Murder Takes Your Wings
Stephen W. Potts / The Lord's Work
Conor Murphy / Two Poems: After the Smoke Sermon and Inundation of a Rat
Stephen W. Potts / A Sad Story
Jessica Hayes / Above the Ed Sullivan
Chris Tannhauser / Zoroaster's Conundrum
Jessica Wineteer / Fashion Statement
Stephen W. Potts / The Commuter
B. F. Price / Levels of Comfort
Stephen W. Potts / United We Stand
Jefferson P. Swycaffer / The God Monologues
Alan Wade / Wonder Woman, Hungry
Chris Tannhauser / Sadhus in Trouble
Stephen W. Potts / In Your Dreams
Chapter 9: A Patient Darkness
Chapter 8: Backflash
Chapter 7: Scars and Angel Wings
Chapter 6: PR1Σ$+
Chapter 5: Fierce Orbits
Chapter 4: Dead Playboys
Chapter 3: Tabula Rasa
Chapter 2: Blood Sneeze
Chapter 1: Screams Like Meat
Prologue: God's Dogs