“I wonder how he felt the very first time: did he, invited as an apprentice to twist the pincers or turn the screw, or whatever it is they do, shudder even a little to know that at that instant he was trespassing into the forbidden? …Does he wash his hands very carefully, perhaps, or change all his clothes; or has the Bureau created new men who can pass without disquiet between the unclean and the clean?” —J.M. Coetzee
David Duke James Fry, Chief
Moscow Police Department
118 East Fourth Street
Moscow, ID 83843
Dear Chief Duke Fry:
Thank you for your efforts maintaining the peace in the beautiful, bucolic town of Moscow and across the University of Idaho campus where I earned my graduate degree in 2008, focusing my research on critical theories of identity, trauma, and the taboo.
When you ask for help from the public to determine motive for the 10 January 2015 spree shootings allegedly committed by John Lee aka Kane Grziebielski that resulted in the deaths of David Trail, his landlord and a brother of former Idaho state legislator Tom Trail; Belinda Niebuhr, the manager of a local fast-food establishment regularly frequented by his parents; and his adoptive mother, Terri Grzebielski; and critically wounded Seattle’s Office of Civil Rights attorney Mike Chin, while stating that Mr. Lee has no history of mental illness or, even more significantly, treatment in your records, which records are you describing?
Your local police department records in Moscow? Or the records maintained by Idaho’s Department of Health and Welfare (IDHW), under the direction of Richard Armstrong? Maybe the records of private vendors contracted with Mr. Armstrong’s department? Do you mean the department that struggles to communicate the state’s child abuse statistics in timely fashion to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and only pays its Medicaid providers a rate somewhat less than the amount negotiated under federal law in exchange for the state enjoying federal funding, as plainly acknowledged in a reply in support of petition for a writ of certiorari undated in the body of his text, but the metadata title of Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden’s document indicates, and the Supreme Court record confirms, received 09 September 2014:
It does not bear on the questions whether the Supremacy Clause gives providers a private right of action to enforce § 30(A) or whether reimbursement rates are preempted by § 30(A) if they do not bear some relationship to provider costs and remain in place for budgetary reasons. [emph. mine]
If I understand the legal record correctly, the two parties were not arguing whether or not Idaho was paying its mental health service providers a living wage; here the State freely acknowledges it did not budget for care in the years leading up to the 2015 shootings in Moscow.
Further, the question argued before the Supreme Court on 20 January 2015, just 10 days after your latest round of mass shootings in Moscow, did not examine quality of care, only if those state-contracted vendors have a right to a living wage, and if so, can they appeal to the judicial branch of government to enforce that right, or must they satisfy their loss of wages with the administrative bureaucracy?
The date of Mr. Wasden’s filing, coincidentally, would have been my biological father’s 83rd birthday if he had not died 18 years prior to the date, coincidentally, of the initial writ of certiorari that Wasden filed 02 July 2014. Coincidentally on that same day in July 2014, I engaged in Twitter convo with the formerly “wildest designer” at Google, according to business magazine Fast Company, then newly hired in his position as Vice President of Design at Capital One, prompting his immediate review of my online cv, and when I later followed up with a link to my cover letter of interest in available positions with the bank, my job-seeking effort resulted in his fave, retweet, and return follow, further extending an invitation to me to connect on the professional networking site LinkedIn.
Unbeknownst to Mr. Makoski, I was then subsisting in a redneck chicken shack a stone’s throw from a Simplot plant that processes Idaho spuds into McDonald’s french fries while enduring, under threat of rooflessness, the chain-smoking, hair-trigger rage, and still more trafficking of both my educated expertise and manual labor, continual petty theft, and food stamp fraud from a victim of early childhood incest trauma unremediated by either her years of self-medicating with tobacco, alcohol, and methamphetamine or 13 years of state-mandated psychopharmacological treatment for experimental test subjects in the largest in vivo drug trial in the history of the world.
Coincidentally, one day earlier, my brother-in-law, a senior electrical engineer at Micron, raged at me that I could return to his household to press forward with my postgraduate job-seeking efforts, now that I had completed all of his earlier irrational, oftentimes contradictory demands, up to and including involuntary commitment in the state mental hospital, as reasonably determined by a psychiatrist in Blackfoot might be the response of a rational fellow, momentarily forgetting the only reason he and I were having a conversation in the first place was because my brother-in-law, despite his paid employment designing the world’s memory, either “forgot” or deliberately lied to authorities about crimes as serious as child abuse, elder abuse, rape, homicide, and our shared genealogy while embroidering some biographical fictions about my life in an effort to force me to his will, but only if I was willing to limit my job-seeking to Boise and only apply to jobs for which my skills so vastly exceed the job descriptions that would entail significantly redesigning my résumé to omit my graduate-level education and a decade of exponential professional growth coincident with the Great Recession, design work that he had, in the same conversation, specifically forbid me from doing, as well as apply for those pretend-to-be-dumb-as-a-box-of-rocks jobs while still depriving me of access to telephone, the internet, or toilet paper, as well as continuing to require me to provide on-demand household and yard work labor, in addition to meeting weekly with still more representatives from the Department of Mental Health, declaring they would help me find work, though what we might discuss, after IDHW employees forbid me from discussing my education and professional experiences superior to their own limited knowledge of their own field without threat of repeated involuntary commitment, remains a mystery to me, and furthermore, does that sound like a rational fellow to you?
Coincidentally on that same July day but another year, shortly after I completed my graduate studies in Moscow in 2008, former Colombia presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt was rescued by U.S.-backed army forces after enduring six years in captivity at the hands of guerrillas, coincidentally the same day I completed an oil portrait of Patty Hearst in grisaille on birch panel as she appeared via security cameras during a bank holdup while suffering what some psychologists describe as Stockholm Syndrome, a portrait that, from my perspective, the State of Idaho added to its collection along with the rest of my 2006–2013 oeuvre via theft acquisition because an undereducated and naïve IDHW mental health professional, likely herself still suffering from her own rape trauma as indicated by a) her verbal and visible responses to my questions during our unscheduled interview, b) her subsequent email reply to my follow up email offering to introduce the results of my graduate research in trauma and my trauma recovery/healthy communications/conflict negotiation model Unplay the Shame and Blame Game to her colleagues, and c) her telecommunications with Meridian Police Department, who mutually decided: 1) by some inexplicable genetic fluke of nature, I am not related to my father’s ancestors, 2) my ex-father-in-law could not have been one of the FBI agents assigned to watch the apartment where Ms. Hearst was tortured and raped into submission, later appearing to enthusiastically support a bank robbery organized by her captors, 3) I had not been married to either of my two ex-husbands, and 4) my work history and my postgraduate, post-Great Recession job-seeking efforts were not hard work deserving of financial reward, but all of these historic facts were “delusions” to be punished with involuntary incarceration without access to legal representation.
Further, mental juridical health authorities made those decisions by neither fact-checking public record via Google searches – if you know how to contextualize your use of 21st century technology – nor confirming our previous marriage or his father’s career by calling my second ex-husband, a reasonably reliable witness on matters of fact in his position as a prosecutor employed by the State of Oregon, but because she dismissed my educated perspective reporting crimes of domestic violence and labor trafficking, and instead obediently kowtowed to my brother-in-law’s irrational, psychologically uneducated, name-calling perspective that I am “psychotic” and “wrong” after I shared my concerns that his teenaged son was openly identifying with the perspective of rapists and killers at their dinner table, with no parental intervention, and openly imitating his father’s role modeling by jeering at his high school peers for their unsuccessful attempts to kill themselves, behavior that contributed to the doubling of our national adolescent suicide rate between 2007 and 2012, while simultaneously explaining, because food stamp (SNAP) budgets are limited to food-only purchases, I could not perform still further household labor for less than the cost of toilet paper.
No doubt Mr. Wasden’s and Governor Otter’s opinions of your state’s art collection differ from my own.
Do you mean the records of the Attorney General and the Governor so lacking in visual literacy that they approved amateur camp video production objectifying and thus encouraging the victimization of young girls, visually communicating precisely the opposite of their written goals for children’s safety from online predators?
Incidentally, Ms. Hearst’s lawyers were unable to persuade a jury that her violent behavior kowtowing to the abuse of her captors was the result of traumatic experiences. But the court of public opinion disagreed with the judge who appeared to fall asleep at his bench during her trial, including vocal support from real-life Hollywood icon, that most manly of manly men, John Wayne, and she was finally pardoned by former President Bill Clinton on his last day in office on – can you believe this? – coincidentally another 20 January, in 2001, precisely 14 years to the date that the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Armstrong v. Exceptional Child, just 10 days after those fatal, tragic, and, in my expert opinion, avoidable shootings in Moscow in 2015.
Do you mean the records kept by a department with a rate structure so complicated that then-venerable, since-deceased Justice Scalia effectively threw his hands into the air, and, in a 5-4 slip opinion published 31 March 2015, and, coincidentally the same date that Latah County Court Judge Judge appointed Deborah McCormick and Charles Kovis as Lee’s defense attorneys, declared Idaho’s math “judicially unadministrable,” thereby reversing the decision of the lower court? Idaho’s fuzzy math that, in my visual analysis of IDHW’s badly designed forms and redundant data collection costing taxpayers untold millions in excess dollars, published coincidentally just one day prior to the shootings in Moscow, I noted within its own administrative rules so many contradictory or random numbers that Mr. Armstrong’s department seems to be plucking figures something akin to rabbits out of a hat, drawing attention to the disparity in those figures to IDHW, Governor Otter, ACLU-Idaho, and the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, do you mean those records?
And precisely the morning of your triple homicide in Moscow, I reiterated the department’s urgent need to get its records in order, with another courtesy copy to Idaho’s governor:
My interest in coincidences may not interest you or Idaho’s mental health professionals who do not read newspapers because current events make them depressed, or read much at all, as much as coincidence, or what he termed synchronicity, interested Carl Jung, a colleague of Sigmund Freud, whose name may already be familiar to you, despite being of only somewhat fuzzy familiarity to Idaho’s mental health professionals, as he has been described by some as the father of human psychology, a household name in some households, or more delightfully by contemporary psychiatrist Allen Frances, who also writes critically on the broad social harms inflicted by pharmaceutical industry greed, as “a very smart guy who was overrated when he was alive and pays the price of now being greatly underrated.”
IDHW employees seem to struggle as much with math as they do with critical thinking, 21st century technology, psychoanalytic theory, and, coincidentally, visual literacy.
It may even be that Idaho’s math is what killed Scalia. Perhaps he churned on those numbers, emotionally unable to resolve his intellectual decision with his Roman Catholic faith, as of course the problem with “judicially unadministrable” math is that judgment leaves Idaho woefully failing its most vulnerable citizens, until finally his heart gave out.
“The causality principle asserts that the connection between cause and effect is a necessary one. The synchronicity principle asserts that the terms of a meaningful coincidence are connected by simultaneity and meaning… Causality occupies this paramount position with us, but it acquired its importance only in the course of the last two centuries, thanks to the leveling influence of the statistical method on the one hand and the unparalleled success of the natural sciences on the other, which brought the metaphysical view of the world into disrepute.” [emph. in original]
Was Justice Sotomayor reflecting that Boise’s math problem might be connected to Moscow’s masculine rage problem when she respectfully dissented: “The Court’s error today has very real consequences”-?
Consequences such as those shootings in Moscow 10 days earlier.
Because, much as surviving witness Mr. Chin is 80 percent sure that the man who appeared in an orange jumpsuit at the preliminary hearing – coincidentally on my birthday last year – is the man who shot him, I am 99.999 percent sure that John Lee is, or at least identically matches the description of, a man locked up with me in State Hospital South in Blackfoot in June 2014, an environment that experts of both experiences tell me is worse than prison, which means, like me, he was force-fed brain-damaging psychotropic meds by IDHW employees while receiving zero psychotherapeutic care, let alone life drawing lessons to learn visual communication tools to help him remediate both his internal and external conflicts when taught by an instructor better read in psychoanalytic theory than anyone paid by Idaho’s mental juridical health system.
But the state mental hospital did not want to hire me, my state-assigned psychiatrist assured me in an ever-rising tone approaching shrill panic, nearing hysteria, during my unscheduled exit interview after I asked my state-assigned clinician how much she wanted to increase the hospital’s budget by implementing my model for trauma recovery and healthy communications, and refused to hear my succinct, three-word explanation for how so many of Idaho’s mental health professionals could have arrived at so many DSM labels for me despite no evidence of my behavior matching those definitions once I stopped describing my real biography – which the State had already, rather fancifully or irrationally, decided was delusional – and also refrained from offering helpful suggestions informed by my psychoanalytically and visually educated expertise intimidating to so many undereducated IDHW employees.
And decided to just sit back and watch.
While taking such detailed case notes that one of their more intelligent patients, during one of his lucid moments after his morning meds wore off and before his nighttime meds kicked in, queried after one group session that accomplished nothing more for me other than yet another demonstration of the ineffectiveness of IDHW’s trauma pedagogy, “Are you working on that book you’re writing? Or are you just writing down everything we say?”
Would you like to hear my response?
“I haven’t decided yet.”
In that interaction, I may have inspired at least one psychiatric patient to take up the psychologically healthy practice of journal writing, when he responded, “I’m going to start taking notes.”
The state’s nutritionist also would not permit even my volunteer labor teaching the cafeteria workers how to prepare aesthetically appealing food essential to mind-body wellness, another of my job skills that you should be able to confirm with that state prosecutor son of ex-FBI parents, who very nicely asked for my hand-tossed pizza recipe long after we separated, after he was reduced to again foraging for himself.
Compare/contrast his relatively healthy behavior against the behavior of my eldest genetic sister’s husband, who, in our negotiations over time, labor, capital, and supplies, raged at me that a six-course Middle Eastern feast for his household of six could not possibly have taken more than an hour to slap together.
Occasionally, I even work with meat:
If you do not feel comfortable picking up the phone and calling a state prosecutor to confirm our previous marriage or my cooking skills, you may find another of my recipes lodged in Special Collections within the library at the institution where I earned my undergraduate degree and received a 50 percent discount on his second-tier law school tuition by supporting the research of scientists globally renowned in the field of human genetics – more “delusions” according to Idaho’s technologically challenged team of mental juridical health professionals, who insisted I know nothing whatsoever about basic research. Set in lead and letterpress printed with my own two hands, 6 Little Girls also analyzes the effects of naming, abandonment, the virgin/whore dichotomy, bodily shaming, violence, and the psychological harm done by families, religions, and our society when we assign a hierarchical gender value of boys over girls as we grow into women:
An almost scientific sampling of girls in just one family, wouldn’t you say?
Rape stats in my family are proportionately higher than even our national average, and the reason for that is the families who rear sons who become serial killers or militia men taking up arms to rebel against the federal government also teach their daughters we have no worth greater than becoming victim to rapists, wife beaters, and traffickers, these extremes of masculinity and femininity pushed beyond what I still, perhaps naïvely, hope might could return to being our cultural norm.
Watching the video of Lee exiting the courtroom free of shackles or chains after his arraignment affirms for me that not only do my postgraduate, post-Great Recession job-seeking experiences parallel Ingrid Betancourt’s experiences in captivity, contrary to the personal “truth” experiences of one IDHW employee, but also that Idaho treats alleged male murderers with more respect than stellar female graduates of its flagship institution of higher learning, where I was guilty of experiencing the crime of labor trafficking and witnessing other domestic violence, and held for a month without arrest, access to competent counsel, or fair trial, shuffling into Ada County’s Mental Kangaroo Health Court in shackles and chains, on the date, coincidentally, when I would have been celebrating our wedding anniversary with that prosecutor son of ex-FBI parents had I agreed that honesty and fidelity were contract terms that he did not need to uphold, what’s good for the goose does not apply to the gander, and both female and male authorities made no effort beyond feuding family testimony to ascertain the psychosocially relevant and historic reality of my perhaps unique combination of personal and professional experiences toward solving the systemic problems sometimes resulting in mass shootings or serial killings.
The reason I was able to move, in just three short years, from a town with a blinking red light at the busy intersection of two desolate country highways to a Gates Foundation consultant in the high-tech city of Seattle desperately seeking my educated expertise, a professional biography unbelievable to narcissistic, geographically isolated, and technologically challenged IDHW employees and suburban Boise law enforcement personnel, is neither “talent” nor “delusion,” but because I have worked very hard to grow beyond my abusive family background and remote Rocky Mountain states public education to apply academic critical theories to real-world practice, where they are urgently needed.
Unless you hope more of your officers will go the way of Lee Newbill?
Then everybody in the system keep doing what you’re doing.
While hoping for a different result-?
Some IDHW employees or Mr. Armstrong’s subcontractors may be tempted to work very hard again reshuffling their three-ring binders in an attempt to again discredit my lived experiences better informed than theirs by my educated expertise, but within my multipartite blogpost The ‘Madwoman’ v. the Madness of the State (working title for my memoir of Idaho’s violation of my civil liberties) I provide more than adequate factual evidence that my biography is indeed interconnected with global historic reality, and what I show there is just the tip of the iceberg, with an avalanche more evidence ready to slide on down the mountain of Idaho’s delusional grip on the 21st century, including still more recent email communications from my brother-in-law, wherein he all but confesses to the crime of labor trafficking, so eager is he to share the “rightness” of his opinion, gloating on his success in seeking revenge for placing boundaries on his narcissistic rage. He must have been successful; the state rewarded his abusive behavior, granting him carte blanche to continue his tyranny. Readily identifying with the perspective of the state’s 13-year psychopharmacological test subject diagnosed by Idaho’s mental health professionals with schizo-affective disorder, who also trafficked my labor, while, like a former Seattle School Board director, failing to uphold the terms of our agreement, he simply is unable to recognize his multiracial, destitute sister-in-law as anything other than an object to be ordered about like a slave.
That’s what the FBI and I mean by trafficking, when I explained the crime to your Meridian cohort.
A fella who survives his wife’s manic depressive cooking by downing antacids by the caseload is no more qualified to dictate the terms of my physical diet than he is to commandeer my psychological well-being or prioritize my job applications by tyrannical fiat.
In your line of work, would you consider eliciting email confessions from criminals to be another useful job skill?
Yes, please, let’s do examine the contents of IDHW’s analogue binders. Rack ’em up. Let’s do question the irrationality of an entire mental juridical health system staffed with employees who base their logic on what is “real” on their individual personal biographies, refusing to read newspapers or read much at all, and by kowtowing to abusive patriarchal authority rather than investigating indisputable historic facts combined with their own observations of my interpersonal behavior. While they simultaneously invented a fictional biography for me. I encourage you to listen to the opinions of those mental health professionals, because, as I used to teach my University of Idaho design students, we can learn as much from bad design as we can from good design, thus, I also recommend that you divide their judgments by perhaps six, and keep in mind that my judgments are unclouded by Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) or their conflict of interest with paychecks dependent on dispensing psychopharmacology wreaking egregious and widespread social harm such as the incidents wracking Moscow in 2007, 2011, and again in 2015.
What I observed was an entire system of mental juridical health professionals whose synapses for the most part seem to be not fully firing across their gaps, incidentally a mental impairment symptomatic of schizophrenia, as described by recent advances in neuroscience published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature, made accessible to a wider audience via The New York Times, that newspaper that IDHW employees defensively bragged to me about not reading. Not even when their articles occasionally get reprinted for filler between the advertisements in the Idaho Statesman. For a more philosophical approach to schizophrenia, see also Fredric Jameson or Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. Of course, IDHW staff struggles with logical thinking could be attributable to a range of factors, such as inadequate nutrition, exercise, or sleep between their 16-hour work shifts, lack of education, passive aggressive childhood role models, passive aggressive workplace supervisors, the effects of alcohol or licit or illicit drugs, or unrecovered trauma from their own childhoods.
How much longer, do you suppose, before the neuroscientists figure out those synaptic misfirings are caused in early childhood by parents who say one thing, and do another, speak “love” while performing abuse that might be as mild as not hearing the child’s perspective or as aggressive as sexual slavery, while simultaneously teaching their offspring the difference between “right” and “wrong,” defining linguistic and mind-altering gymnastics for the next generation to perform?
Post-carceral genealogy research, comparing data sets from multiple online sources, affirms my earlier suspicions, observing my family’s behavior from my perspective educated in psychoanalytic theory. My particular combination of personal and educated professional expertise leaves me arguably the global expert – not “grandiose delusion,” nor even a personal career goal, but simply matter of fact, from growing up in the extended clan of the perpetrator for whom the term first came into use – in the psychology of serial killers, who share commonalities in their psychology with the psychology of mass shooters, and it is this expertise that I lend to your search for motive in the murder capital of the Palouse.
With my genealogy, I should be flipping out. I should be psychotic. I should be swinging violently from mania to depression. So why, after my traumatic experience of incarceration, did the psychosocial worker paid to pay the bills of one of the state’s failed psychopharmacological test subjects beg her to follow my example as a behavioral role model? And why, two years after my release, do I still regularly receive compliments on my physique, optimism, presence of quiet authority, and attention to detail from people working as far afield as (healthy) police officers, naturopathic physicians, academics, psychologists, (healthy) social workers, food bank and community meal volunteers, shelter staff, and other trauma survivors? Not that I do not still regularly encounter people whose judgments disagree with mine; I do, and on the occasions when I share an opinion divergent from or feel the need to place a boundary on yet another fragile ego making what I consider to be unreasonable demands of me, s/he inevitably follows the behavioral pattern that I identify in the first 15 seconds of my communications model based on the structure of trauma, Unplay the Shame and Blame Game:
Each. And every. Time.
To a man. Or woman. Or the spectrum of genders in between those opposite poles. Regardless of other differences in race, ethnicity, age, sexuality, religion, educational background, socioeconomic status, or relative positions of power.
Like watching analogue clockworks for me.
Normal, healthy egos are not shattered by listening to perspectives that diverge from or even directly counter their own. Psychologically healthy individuals do not abuse their positions of power. From my perspective, every time my family generates worldwide headlines, my pharma-free method of trauma recovery becomes that much more socially relevant.
My stock response to behavioral or communications compliments has become, after absorbing them with a humble, “Thank you,” I like to add, “Would you testify to that in a court of law?”
Even post-carceral, navigating new relationships on zero budget with strangers along my journey, I can provide character witnesses who might entertain a jury with weeks of questioning from prosecutors.
If IDHW employees are correct in their assessment and I am “mentally ill” for describing my biography, writing, creativity, critical thinking skills, and reporting crimes ranging from human trafficking to a poorly investigated cold case homicide, and “mental illness” is indeed a “disease” as your friendly neighborhood pharmaceutical sales rep would like you to believe, then you might hope my particular strain of the “disease” is as contagious as HIV or chicken pox.
Would you like to invest in my antidote?
And yes, both inside Idaho’s dysfunctional mental health system and since, more deeply appreciating my access to sunshine, fresh air, and other democratic freedoms that I previously took for granted, I’ve had numerous opportunities to observe what psychosis looks like in practice, affirming my graduate school readings in psychoanalytic theory. Many psychotics are harmless. Some are even quite amiable, better company than anal retentive, sexually repressed, passive aggressive mental health professionals who do not read.
One sad example, a former lawyer traumatized by early childhood experiences, followed by an abusive marriage coincident with a professional practice attempting to represent impoverished clients from the State of California removing children from their homes to abusive out-of-state facilities, finally lost it while awaiting her turn at one of Seattle’s communal showers for King County’s homeless citizens. By 2016, without the Gates Foundation benefiting from my educated expertise as it struggles to solve the design problem of global poverty in the county that houses its own global headquarters, the dire poor now number over 10,000 strong, many subsisting in conditions worse than the mental hospital, worse than prison. Her facial structure underwent that dramatic change similarly described by investigators who interviewed Ted Bundy, some of whom irrationally attributed his vocalization of years of early childhood traumatic experience to “demons,” taut, shining, her eyes focused internally, reliving traumatic memory, as she raged her unresolved conflicts to an audience unseen by the rest of us in the room, her tone of voice another dramatic shift from her usual hesitant, soft-spoken alto to a deep, almost baritone command, “I AM AN ATTORNEY AT LAW! AN OFFICER OF THE COURT, APPOINTED BY OUR COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF, PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA! OUR ARMY OF GOD IS GOING TO DECIMATE YOU!”
So you can maybe see, again, why the IDHW practice of inquiring who is the President of the United States is an inadequate measure for determining who is and who is not capable of rational thought?
The half-naked women moving into and out of their showers responded for the most part nonchalantly, less afraid of yet another psychotic outburst among their ranks than the irrational fear response of your fully armed, uniformed and muscle-bound or polyester-suited, all-male cohort at Meridian Police Department to what may well have been their first ever encounter with an intelligent woman, and my well-organized, bullet-point list of my job-seeking research and experiences relevant to the cross-disciplinary fields of criminal justice and psychology that I prepared in advance of speaking to them while reporting crimes ranging from labor trafficking to homicide. Their eyes bugged out just from seeing the term “involuntarily committed” printed on a piece of paper. Thereafter, your colleagues ignored my educated explanation as to why they should question the authority of the sender of that printed email, demonstrating nothing more than, not a few bad apples, but an entire rotten thick-necked barrel of a police department desperately in need of further training from my educated professional expertise.
For that matter, the dramatic changes in facial structure and tone of that lawyer were quite similar to the behind-the-scenes changes I observed in a former Seattle School Board director while working on rebranding and identity for her 2011 race that nevertheless beat out the corporate-backed incumbent, but left me uncompensated for educated professional labor, and Seattle voters with a severely traumatized elderly lady making decisions affecting daily reality for the next generation of Seattle schoolchildren. Some of them are likely to eventually filter back to either Washington State University or the University of Idaho and your jurisdiction.
Much as Idaho voters get what IDHW pays for.
After four Great Recession years of applying for academic positions the usual way, submitting my faculty candidate dossier via badly designed online user interfaces while ever-increasing my visual literacy and technology skills before I finally decided to admit my University of Idaho credentials are simply inadequate competition in the global higher education marketplace, despite 21st century technology making readily visible the wide range of institutions across this nation and around the globe desperately in need of the depth and breadth of my skills, now homeless, destitute, and returned to Seattle, I nevertheless accomplished a one-to-one interview with the Art Department Chair at another of the area’s institutions of higher learning on nothing more than the basis of my intellectually engaged response to his own sculptural installation. He readily recognized, once I drew his attention to the phenomenon, that his art students, too, tackled recovering from their traumatic experiences within the framework of his curricula. That conversation – where my educated skills are sometimes better appreciated in person than on paper – affirmed for me that my degree from that mill in Moscow is not worth the cheap mass printing of the diploma. Echoing the refrain I have heard for now nine years, that his institution was not hiring, he nevertheless offered an astute career-building suggestion:
Maybe it is my job to translate across the gap between the fields of art and psychology.
Maybe. Or the significant overlap between art. And psychology. And design. And technology. And law.
For building healthier communities.
My post-incarceration experiences also include opportunities to closely observe the “art” therapy program at the Seattle campus of privately held, national higher education institution, Antioch University, where some “art” therapists go to learn their craft from faculty visibly not qualified to teach visual literacy. There, responses to my business card version of Unplay the Shame and Blame Game have varied:
Another artist, self-taught, legally blind, growing up in a household with another tyrannically abusive father, homeless when we first met, like me, also with work juried into exhibitions by Seattle’s curators, benefitting the regional aesthetic but again without corresponding respect for the commercial value of her labor, nevertheless immediately recognized the structure of passive aggressive communications as I spread four of my business cards on the floor between us and we discussed how to Unplay the Shame and Blame Game, “That’s it exactly!”
One work-study student at Antioch arrived at their generous program for homeless women each week by tell-tell-telling her personal trauma narrative, taking up the most verbal space in the room, week after week after week, not seeming to recognize that in her position more powerful than the program’s participants, it was her job to listen more than to speak, to begin to practice the therapeutic skills she hoped to one day get paid to practice professionally. She responded to the “martyr” card I gave her without expressing any interest in me, in my position as a client in their program, an analysand ripe for her learning practice, asked no questions about my in-depth knowledge of human psychology, art, or design, my experiences, or career goals, and instead held the arrow to her cheek, so it pointed at her face while jeering her disdain for my post-Great Recession struggle to find employers, colleagues, or clients healthy enough to respect my educated expertise with a living wage, “Are you a professional martyr?”
That was the moment, post-carceral, when I knew I was safe enough to once again enjoy irony, whereas in Idaho’s lockup I tried to hold close to my heart the wisdom I gleaned from Nobel laureate in literature, J.M. Coetzee:
“Perhaps, in this world that is the only world, it would be prudent to put irony behind him.”
A more empathic student, close to completing her degree in psychology, responded with gratitude, confiding that she is struggling with her own shame issues, that healing from shame is core to her work with her clients, exclaiming “…but I’ve never seen a visual model before!” Emphasis in the original.
And still another social worker – the first healthy social worker I have encountered in three states now – more recently praised my Unplay model as precisely what she hopes to help her clients accomplish, adding the further compliment that she had never seen a visual model before, despite her MSW with postgraduate coursework in trauma.
That is what visually educated, professional graphic designers do. We create visual solutions where before there were only problems.
In his lengthy memoir of his experiences working with my adopted eighth cousin twice removed to better understand the psychology of the Green River Killer whose career of rage against women so closely followed Ted Bundy’s movements throughout the Pacific Northwest, former King County homicide detective and FBI consultant who helped develop their Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (ViCAP) database, Bob Keppel notes, “Someday, a criminologist thinking out of the box will take the high-risk step of looking at the world from the serial killer’s point of view.”
Or a survivor from the same clan as the serial killer who defined the term for the 20th century will put herself through a BFA and an MFA despite her genetic family’s very best attempts to deny her education, much as they will later deny their shared genealogy. In doing so, she will become better acquainted with his psychology than the killer himself:
Unlike the seasoned homicide detective from 1970s King County, the Domestic Violence Victim Support Services Supervisor at Seattle Police Department in 2012 did not recognize the value of empathizing with perspectives different from her own, a neurotic young white woman who sneered at me for my poverty and multiracial identity while tell-tell-telling her personal trauma monologue, and Seattle Police Department passed me over for even a telephone answering survival job in 2015, despite their own 911 dispatch operators remaining less empathetic than Ted Bundy, to hear Ann Rule describe his telephone answering skills, in his job history writing pamphlets for rape victims and working the area’s suicide hotline. The effectiveness of Washington State’s Homicide Investigation Tracking System (HITS), helping law enforcement better communicate across multiple jurisdictions, is thanks in part to my adopted eighth cousin twice removed Ted’s expertise in the psychology of rapists and killers.
Recognizing commonality between self and other, or art-making subject and drawing object, or male and female, that out-of-the-box thinking, from my experiences in Idaho, provided still more evidence supporting the theory that linguist and psychoanalyst Julia Kristeva, Ph.D. – cited in my MFA thesis lodged in your dusty library – describes as the third taboo, the non-separation between two so-called opposites. To speak aloud of commonality bridging the gap of difference to Meridian Police Department or IDHW staff or my brother-in-law, would, indeed, seem to “…threaten the whole society with disintegration.”
Or the disintegration of some enormously fragile egos.
Dissolving into rage identical in structure if not – quite – matching the level of violence of the communications pattern allegedly followed by Ted Bundy, unable – or unwilling – to listen to the perspective of his alleged victims.
Once again proving the accuracy of my graduate research.
I write “allegedly” to posthumously describe the behavior of a convicted serial killer from my post-graduate, post-carceral perspective beginning to plow through the multiple mass published perspectives of a genre new to my trauma-educated 20/20 hindsight, having received time- and date-stamped confirmation of two of my hypotheses from the fellow who successfully prosecuted Ted Bundy that he may not have committed the murder for which he was electrocuted, further noting the DNA mismatch related to the disappearance of a little girl long suspected to be his first victim, empathetic as I am with Washington’s Congressman Reichert’s complaint that his dedicated 20-year investigation of serial killer Gary Ridgway receives none of Ted Bundy’s brand recognition, despite a higher confirmed quantity of victims, further noting the convincing alibi for two of his alleged Utah crimes and descriptions of her interactions with Utah investigators provided by his then-girlfriend writing under the pseudonym Elizabeth Kendall.
More disturbing still, her relationship with Ted Bundy sounds more similar to the early years of my relationship with a prosecutor than my earlier marriage to a psychopath. In reviewing images of his alleged rape kit seized by Utah police during a traffic stop, while remembering the torture devices brought home by my first husband, I think: amateur.
Just to further contextualize the cold case homicide I reported to Meridian Police Department in 2014, as well as their jeering response to an educated, impoverished woman, despite that 40-year gap in opportunities for police commanders to better educate their staff or recruit better educated employees.
Could the 20th century’s personification of “born evil” be little more than a myth generated by corrupt or inept investigators under-educated in psychoanalytic theory, with zero education in theories of sexuality and gender – continental theories which did not reach American college classrooms until the mid-seventies or early eighties, and apparently have yet to extend beyond the academy into the practical world of criminal justice – and mass media hungry for his charismatic showmanship more recently demonstrated in the public sphere by my third cousin Ammon and his father Cliven? Is misogynistic rage culturally much more widespread than pinpointed on a relatively slim handful of serial murderers?
How far back do police or prosecutorial corruption or communication failures stretch in our nation’s history?
Of course I theorize not from the advantage of reviewing evidence files. But with the benefit of being able to listen to multiple perspectives in 20/20 hindsight. Without my ego shattering. I could be wrong. That’s the fun thing about theory. It doesn’t have to be right:
You make a hypothesis. You collect evidence. You form a theory. Collect more evidence. Someone comes along later to challenge your theory, providing disparate evidence. No reason for fragile egos to dissolve when their theories prove inaccurate.
Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson sounds like his gut instinct is prompting him to listen up, as he struggles to cope with the coincidences behind Moscow’s masculine rage problem. Imagine how different the outcome for the next generation if we learned to remove the term ‘just’ each time we are tempted to dismiss our natural instincts combined with curious alignments along the space/time continuum outside or beyond our present, limited scientific knowledge with, “it’s just coincidence,” and instead respected coincidence as a signal prompting our closer attention?
Of the legal analyses of Armstrong v. Exceptional Child I’ve so far reviewed, not one has pointed out what is to me the obvious split of the Supreme Court decision directly affecting the safety of your citizens in Moscow. Harvard Law Review reads like a high school book report, with the apple-cheeked author/s (?) dutifully citing their prof in their conclusion paragraph.
“Medicaid is a federal–state program that subsidizes the states’ provision of medical care to low-income individuals,” intones east coast ivy league brown-nosers.
That’s one way of looking at it.
Or, you could say, Medicaid enables physicians, psychiatrists, and other employees of our national medical industrial complex to earn their livelihoods on the backs of the poorest of the poor.
And, since I’ve come up with two perspectives for just that one federal case pertinent to your triple homicide investigation, maybe you could introduce still a third?
And if a third perspective, why not a fourth or a fifth?
George Washington Law Review at least has the huevos to express a thoughtful opinion, backed by well-reasoned argument, while explaining the residual fallout from the Great Recession to readers maybe unfamiliar with the dates and numbers: “In 2013, Medicaid covered nearly one in five working-age Americans and their children. When children alone are considered, Medicaid covered 37 percent, over one in three.” In math that even I can follow.
How well is America caring for fully one-third of her children?
Still, the author stops short of noticing, in Armstrong v. Exceptional Child, the Court’s split decision falls predominantly along gender lines. While many pundits accuse the Court of allowing their individual opinions to be unduly influenced by red/blue or political differences, I wonder if that 5-4 slip opinion was published because the men Justices largely take for granted the economics of care?
Are you more like Justice Kennedy, whose masculinity appears not at all threatened by listening to the logic of his female colleagues, or are you more like your mathematically challenged peers in suburban Boise?
If the Moscow community hopes to teach its sons healthier solutions for internal and external conflict resolution than the chaos that ricocheted through your downtown in March 2007 while I was working on my graduate degree; again in May of that year, just one month after the Virginia Tech massacre across the nation; and still again in August 2011, when a former University of Idaho psychology professor, also under the influence of psychopharmacology, taught one of his students what happens when she defies his authority; and more recently again in January 2015; not to mention the drunken wandering away from the toxic masculinity celebrated at a frat party before perishing in the snow on yet another 20 January, that time in 2013, coincidentally – did you notice? – two years to the date the Supreme Court listened to oral arguments in Armstrong v. Exceptional Child – with also a successful suicide at Wallace that same weekend – because self-medicating with drugs or alcohol the sadness of separation from the m/other or the sometimes scary reality of existence has long been the rug-swept norm on your local campus – then it seems to me the question that Judge Stegner needed to deliberate was not the math of how many years does Idaho get to medicate and warehouse John Lee aka Kane Grziebielski in exchange for allegedly killing his mother, a mother-substitute-object, and a male authority figure, coincidentally a brother of a former Idaho state legislator, while merely wounding a civil rights lawyer, but the question raised by Justice Sotomayor: is our society providing an adequate quality of care?
And if not, who is responsible?
With systemic problems, responsibility is shared by many, however tempting it may be to blame the weakest and the most vulnerable, especially in the wake of horrific crimes.
By now, across the nation, in the years following the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School, our national response to violent tragedy has become so familiar as to be almost banal: the event, the shock, the outpouring of grief, the media memorializing victims as pillars of the community or veritable icons of moral virtue, apparently lacking human flaws, the hand-wringing struggle to make sense or logic of the emotional or illogical, the institutional or communal denial that this could ever happen here, even as tragedy keeps repeating itself – the why question – the law enforcement search for motive, and finally the demonizing of the perpetrator of the criminal act, followed by the collective jaw-squaring, spine-straightening determination to march on forward as before, avoiding better systemic solutions to resolving this ongoing pattern of conflict.
Until the next tragic event. Whereupon the whole traumatic process repeats. All. Over. Again.
I am always curious about the implicit blame-the-victim stance in the search for motive, as if a disagreement over parking, for example, might ever provide acceptable rationale for resolving a conflict with gunfire-? For at least one Florida jury, a distaste for Skittles, hoodies, and black skin provides adequate justification for homicide as recently as 2013. I was horrified to still more recently look back to 2008, watching a documentary where schoolteachers, administrators, and even a forensic psychologist in southern California readily embraced their irrational fear of homosexuality, and just as horrified while an enthusiastic prosecutor sought the death penalty for a minor child following the example of his familial and communal role models, as rationale for murder.
Why do you ask why?
Is it because prosecutors need to provide logical arguments for illogical rage that extends beyond what should be our socially acceptable range of expressing anger, that volatile emotion that masks fear or sadness?
Better question, if we want to design a culture free from serial killing or mass shootings: why not? Given the commonalities between rapists, serial killers, mass shooters, and just ordinary guys, why doesn’t violent crime occur even more frequently?
Past president of the Idaho State Bar Commission, Moscow resident, and adjunct law faculty at the University of Idaho, Tim Gresback is on the right track, finding similarities between the psychology of psychopaths and the psychology of lawyers, further recognizing, “in this age of medication, no pill has been devised to cause empathy.” Indeed, empathy will not result from State Hospital South’s ineffective pedagogy ker-plopping its patients in chairs and shaming their behavior, replicating the traumatic childhood experiences of patients shamed and blamed by inattentive or abusive parents, in between long sessions of television viewing entertainment that devises or replicates a culture of passive femininity and aggressive masculinity, with library options largely limited to still more passive feminine romance novels or aggressive masculine horror fiction.
Similar to the “art studio” at Antioch, the IDHW crafts room staffed with employees not qualified to teach visual communications is unlikely to repair severe internal communications problems, leaving healthy external communications out of reach for most of their severely traumatized clients.
Rather than isolating psychopathology in a separate box of categories different from our cultural norm, or limiting my understanding of human psychology to yet another either/or dichotomy – in Mr. Gresback’s vernacular, lawyers are either remorseless psychopaths or empathetic collaborators – my chalk-on-blackboard diagram deconstructs that binary myth and and analyzes the psychopath’s relation to our masculine ideal in a culture that rewards those attributes with exorbitant CEO salaries and still regularly uses the sexist term “mankind” to denote all humanity:
Of course the man/woman dichotomy is false too, however much the fragile masculinity of the personnel at Meridian Police Department might shrivel up and fall off in response to my attempt to briefly introduce the concepts of postmodern human biological science in their interrogation room.
That I cannot better educate that immature notion reducing the spectrum of sexuality and gender to just two extremes without invoking yet another (true/false) dichotomy is an excellent example of just how limiting our written or spoken languages when isolated from visual communications: a communications design problem.
That your Meridian colleagues so miserably failed to respect my educated expertise only further proves the theory.
If we want a culture healed from serial killing and mass shootings, all we have to do is listen to the experts as if they were clients or customers in the business realm, and redesign ourselves so our personal, familial, educational, communal, and legal tools better function for those extremes of humanity, whereas currently our culture is designed to push our masculine ideal to the psychopathic extreme. Much as designing for the capabilities of the elderly and young children brought about the OXO line of kitchen products that work better or function more pleasurably for everyone, so too may we proceed with the redesign of our intercommunication tools.
Serial killer Gary Ridgway, who in some ways bested my adopted eighth cousin twice removed Ted in this culture that tends to score homicide using the language of football, echoes much that same insight when asked what he was missing: “Caring.” But who role modeled the concept of “care” for the budding young psychopath? And how was he taught to resolve conflict at that crux of difference, sex, or between his feminine and masculine role models? Are we expecting him to have acquired communication tools better than the mother who shamed him for his natural biological processes, or the father who introduced the taboo of necrophilia as titillating at critical points in his psychosexual development? The same male role model who meekly left the room while his female role model raged her unresolved difficulties in relation to her mother, and so on? Better question, how are Ted Bundy’s or Ridgway’s siblings negotiating their relationships and resolving their conflicts? According to Dr. Keppel’s account, Gary’s younger brother Eddie served prison time for attempted homicide, yet another data example to add to my theory of the wider social cost of multigenerational child abuse. Perhaps a still more relevant question for upcoming generations, what became of Matthew Ridgway? Did Washington provide him with better tools for conflict resolution than the careless box inherited from his parents and grandparents? Is it even reasonable to expect a society to build caring individuals from their design in emotionally neglectful or physically abusive homes?
In your January 2015 multiple homicide case, your expert tells us, “It’s not what I think, it’s what everybody else does,” denying his guilt while at the same time acknowledging the prosecutor likely has enough evidence to convict.
In the design process of solving systemic problems, I have found it useful to begin from 1) the personal, then look to 2) the familial, from there to the wider social 3) community, 4) the global, and 5) historic, though I can appreciate that my approach may be intellectually challenging for folks whose biographies do not readily lend themselves to those interconnections. Beginning from the timeline of John Lee’s life, may I help your investigation by putting on our thinking caps, pulling apart those threads as if unknitting a sample from my Design-As-You-Go line of textile products, and examining what everyone else does in the society into which Lee was born and came of age, paying very close attention to the coincidences and missed communal, educational, and legislative opportunities for providing adequate care for Idaho’s exceptional children?
If you examine each skein of wool still more closely, from the monthly to a daily view, you begin to notice the fibers entwine or separate still further into multiple colored plies, the victims and alleged perpetrators deeply knit into a more nuanced social fabric than our current culture of black-and-white victim-blaming and abuser-shaming allows.
To better understand motive, would you compare your records investigating the 10 January 2015 crimes, which I trust includes information withheld from the public or undistorted by news media, against my perspective connecting the broader, deeper dots, and see where my knowledge and experiences knit together with your Moscow Police Department records?