Clouding the Real Issues

I just unearthed an article I wrote 2 years ago, and I thought I would share it here.

5196ca80a2867.preview-620 *This photograph and the article of her sentencing can be found here.

July 22, 2012.  In lincoln Nebraska, a woman named Charlie Rogers stumbled from her home, naked and bleeding, to a nearby neighbor’s because she had been attacked.  Anti-Gay slurs were carved across her body and spray painted on her basement walls, she had her hands zip tied behind her back, and her basement had been set on fire.


The LGBT community rose to support Charlie and no one could understand how something so awful could happen to such a nice woman.   The attackers, three men, were unidentified, and no one could do more than financial and moral support.


The police did their jobs.  Charlie’s case was investigated and facts began to climb into the light, while people looked on, not believing what they saw…


According to police, on July 18, Charlie’s FaceBook page had a suspicious post that presented them with a clear suspect for motive.


“So maybe I am too idealistic, but I believe way deep inside me that we can make things better for everyone. I will be a catalyst. I will do what it takes. I will. Watch me,”


This information, along with forensic evidence collected from the crime scene, lead people to wonder what might really be going on.  Police found white knit gloves, a box cutter, and zip ties in the home, and while that in and of itself is not really suspect, the fact that they believed them to have been purchased on July 17, at the local Ace Hardware, was.


When the gloves were tested all of the genetic evidence came back as a match to Rogers.  There was no male DNA.


A few days before the attack, Rogers had sent her friends a picture of herself with a cross shaped cut on her chest.  Another inconsistency in a quickly muddling story.  Her home also showed no sign of a struggle, and no blood on the bed, which is where the incident was alleged to have taken place.  This lead an FBI forensic pathologist to conclude that Rogers had either injured herself, or had an accomplice do it for her.


An arrest warrant has been issued for Rogers, and I can only hope that a false reporting won’t happen again.  An official related to the law enforcement agencies said:


“The FBI, the Bureau of Fire Prevention and the Lincoln Police Department have spent an exorbitant amount of time and personnel resources investigating this,” he said. “We aggressively investigated this. Every day since this incident has happened, there have been investigators working on trying to identify who these assailants were.”

On Tuesday, August 21, four Nebraska gay rights groups released a joint statement crediting police for conducting what they believe was a balanced and thorough investigation.


“It is important not to focus on the actions of any single individual,” the groups said in the statement. “As residents of Lincoln we must continue to bring our community together to declare that violence and hate are not the values of our city.”


Now.  My problem with this situation is a big one.  Rogers is a woman who is representing a community that is currently struggling for their rights.  I may be married, but I am also a Bisexual woman and the LGBT community really does mean alot to me.  Each and every one of us is a representative of the community as a whole.  If we respond to anger with anger, we are violent.  If we respond to hate with hate, we are a hate group.  If we want to get married and have children we are crumblin the very fabric of society.  It doesn’t matter what or how we do it, we are being judged at all times.


When one person of a group makes a false statement, we all become liars.  We want attention, and nothing more.  It’s all an act for us.  We all lie.


And this brings me to my bigger issue.  The media circus that follows.  The lights are on, the cameras grab every angle and every shameful glance, and all the while other people, people like Kayla Elliott, 29, in Oklahoma, get pushed into the background.


Kayla was staying in her father’s apartment with him while he was ill, so that she could take care of him.  Sometime during her stay, her father’s upstairs neighbor, Camino Nicole Maxwell, began harassing her over her sexual orientation.


According to reports, the harassment went on for months, escalating into a scuffle, where Maxwell threw a punch and Elliott had to retreat into the apartment.  Later in the evening, according to nearby neighbors, Elliott went outside to retrieve a necklace that had fallen off during the scuffle and was attacked by Maxwell, who shouted “I’ll make you straight”  and I’m gonna kill you”.


Witnesses separated the women and called police.  When police arrived, Maxwell was arrested, and is being held on a $5,000 bond for “probable cause of assault with a deadly weapon”.  Elliott was taken to the hospital, as she has suffered a cut to her head that required 18 stitches.  


Now while Elliott is trying to get the charges elevated to attempted murder, the media firestorm in still in Nebraska.


Will Elliott’s case have the national media coverage that Roger’s case had?  We will just have to wait and see.


Let’s just hope this issue doesn’t stay clouded, because not all of us lie.



The Unrest Among Us

Last night I sat here, safe in my home, transfixed by my twitter stream.  I wasn’t seeing what I thought I was.  This was some sort of elaborate prank.  

It had to be.  

This is the United States of America, land of the free, home of the brave.  The footage I was watching wasn’t from Egypt, nor was it from the infamous ISIS, but from Ferguson, Missouri.

Now, personally, I live inside a bubble.  I hardly watch the television.  I get my information from Facebook and Twitter trends, because social media is a place where I need to learn to thrive.  I make it a point to avoid the news.  I am an out of touch viewer.  

I had to reach a family member who works in Ferguson just to be sure that this was reality.  She can hear the shouts and bangs from her office.

I want to do something.  I want to be sure I can make them safe, not just my family, but other families…  The ones caught up in the crossfire.

All I can do is refresh my twitter stream and swallow my heart until I hear that my family is home and safe.

I hope for a peaceful solution.  It can’t come soon enough.


*for more information and a first hand account of the happenings in Ferguson, please visit Washington Post’s reporter Wesley Lowery, and The Huffington Post for first hand accounts.