Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Follow the money...Part II

Reading these stories and seeing the pictures of the victims makes one thing clear.

This is mainly a plague impacting minority women.

It's actually sad really when you consider how pivotal African-American women were to the Civil Rights movement in this country. Perhaps it's a question of education here. People need to KNOW their history...

After the Civil War there were roughly about 3 million African Americans in this country, mostly living in poor rural communities in the South. By the sixties that number had increased almost tenfold to reflect the over 30 million African-Americans citizens we have today. That dramatic increase in African-American population numbers NOT only made the Civil Rights movement possible, but was a direct CAUSE of its success. As let's face it, 3 million African-Americans in our society are a minority, 30 million are a respected force to be reckoned with.

Additionally, most of those African American citizens were NOT created through the 'traditional' two-parent families of American myth (as every society, including our own, that has adopted our reproductive strategy has experienced a drastic decline in their population numbers, ie., witness Japan and Singapore, for instance) but most of that population growth was the result of single women having children out of wedlock, as the single mother, has ALWAYS been the engine of growth for the African-American community in our hemisphere.

Of course when that 'reproduction policy' so to speak was making money for the elite in our country it was encouraged and rewarded, NOW that it's costing them money it's an aberration...

Oh please...there is nothing aberrant about a mother wanting to have children whether or not she is married. The maternal instinct is real, it is strong, it exists independent of whether or not a woman is suddenly sporting a marriage license issued by the government. Sorry but it doesn't work that way.

As opposed to what the establishment and public policy wonks have been saying for the last 30 years, single mothers and their children, are not a symbol of pathology for African Americans or a burden to them, but in fact, could be likened to a prototype-army for them that serves to protect the best interest of their community.

Since I assure you that the powers that be do NOT look to how Clarence Thomas or similar establishment types are going to react to various public policies they wish to implement to, for or against the African American community; instead they look to the 'man on the street' to judge HIS reaction. Since that man wearing the do rag on his head, hanging out in the 'hood' everyday is the man who keeps Washington awake at night and careful to do NOTHING too drastic that might upset the community that man represents.

So my question is, who or what would convince an entire people that the very women who have 'saved' their community, with little or no support from others I might add, are now no longer worthy of respect? These women are now seen as a burden, a pathology, as 'bad' mothers not fit to raise their own children.

Well no wonder everybody is trying to kill them...

I believe this is one more result of the disrespect for mothers, particularly single mothers, that has been generated through our media by various social engineering types in the government and legal system including the propaganda machine known as the fathers rights movement and the female emotional terrorists who support them.

Clearly the African-American community has been 'sold' a bill of goods by these groups that has convinced them that the single mother is not concerned about the best interest of their community anymore. That some bureaucrat in Washington trying to enforce child support collection efforts or to cut public benefits budgets is MORE concerned with African-American communities' best interest, then the mothers of that community are...

AND that men, at every level whose only concern is to cut the welfare rolls in our states by forcing lower income parents to pay high child support, have suddenly become the gurus that are supposedly MORE concerned about a community's children then its mothers are...


This is nonsense and the sooner it is exposed the better off we will all be...

As the people who sprout this nonsense give intellectual support to the notion that mothers, particularly single mothers are not worthy of respect, and they are JUST as guilty of murder as if they killed these mothers themselves...


Violence Intersects Lives of Promise
Relatives and Friends Evoke the Women and Their Paths Toward Death
By Donna St. George
Washington Post Staff WriterMonday, December 20, 2004;
Second of three articles

On a Saturday night when her sisters tried to persuade her to go out on the town, Shameka Fludd stayed home. Her workweek had been hectic -- tending children at a Laurel day-care center, then staying late on Friday to clean up. She was three months pregnant and lately more tired than usual.

Her suburban apartment in Columbia was comfortable, set on a tree-shrouded slope in a winding complex of similar units -- a long way from the troubled District neighborhoods where she grew up. At 23, she had two sweet kids, a good job and a close circle of relatives and friends. The pregnancy had come as a surprise. Her circumstances were not ideal, not what a single mother would have chosen if life always happened according to wishes and plans. But she could not bear to have an abortion, she told friends. After five years as a day-care teacher, children had become her calling.

"You don't have to have anything to do with the baby," she told the father. But Tjane Marshall was already a father of two and said a baby would ruin his life, Fludd later told her sisters. His objections upset her, they said. But she did not change her mind.

The couple's clash of wills ended unexpectedly for Fludd in the dark morning hours of May 4, 2003.

That night, her children had stayed with relatives. Fludd was alone, lying in her bed, in a nightgown, prosecutors say, when Marshall dropped by her apartment and asked again about the pregnancy. On the floor near her bed was a copy of Lamaze magazine, with a big, bold cover headline that read: BIRTH.

Hours later, when police were summoned, the magazine was spattered with blood.

Only recently, research has begun to show that cases like Shameka Fludd's are far more common than anyone might have guessed. And as public health experts have begun to home in on the phenomenon of homicide during pregnancy, the Washington region has become a focal point.

Here, experts looking into whether maternal deaths were being undercounted in Maryland and the District discovered in separate studies that a surprising number of pregnancies ended in homicide. Independently, Virginia's chief medical examiner began to probe maternal deaths and identified that 12 percent of them are homicides in her state as well.

Expanding on these findings, The Washington Post conducted a year-long survey of state death record data and documented more than 1,367 maternal killings nationwide since 1990. As startling as the findings are, however, they represent only part of the toll, because no national system exists for tracking maternal homicides.

What has been missing from the research has been the collected stories of the women slain -- more than 125 in the Washington region alone -- who they were, what their relationships were like and how violence intersected their lives at such a pivotal time.

Even in states that track these cases, they are often little more than a checked box on a death-record form -- rarely emerging from the data as young women with lives and hopes and families.

Many, like Fludd, never knew they were in danger.

In the hours that followed, Fludd's grandmother stood in the dark, with Fludd's 7-year-old son and a gathering crowd of shocked relatives and friends. It was difficult for anyone to imagine: Fludd had been shot. She was dead. Who would fire on a pregnant woman in her own bed? There was no sign of a break-in.

Over time, some would think back to the tension about her pregnancy. It still did not make sense, they thought. "I just don't understand," Brenda Coleman, Fludd's sister, said not long after she was killed. Marshall "didn't have to have anything to do with the baby."

Researchers are just beginning to discover what has been a hidden risk of pregnancy: Pregnant women and new mothers are more likely to be victims of homicide than to die of any single natural cause, several statewide studies have shown.

As public health experts focus new attention on homicide during pregnancy, the Washington region has become a focal point. Research rarely casts light on the lives of those who were slain or how violence entered their lives at such a pivotal time.

The tragedy of maternal homicide lingers in the lives of children left behind, some of them born as their mothers were dying. Older siblings sometimes witnessed the violence. The children often must be raised by their grandparents.

Shortly after the killing, police interviewed Marshall on videotape for nearly three hours. He did not confess but presented a portrait of his life and hers and how the pregnancy had put them at odds. He said his relationship with Fludd was a friendship that became sexual. "She was never my girlfriend . . .," he said. "But she was my friend."

The two had known each other for years, he said -- having met in the D.C. neighborhoods that Fludd had moved away from as a teenager. He knew her cousin, her mother, her sisters. They were together once, back in 1999, but then he was sent to prison on drug and weapons charges.

When he was released, in fall 2002, they got together again.

Fludd, he said, helped him buy clothes and get back on his feet.

For a number of months, they talked or saw each other daily. Fludd was the stable one -- with her own apartment, her job, her kids. Marshall had a job, lost it, fell back into drugs, worked at a basketball gym. He had a number of other girlfriends. By the time Fludd knew she was pregnant, they were still talking but no longer intimate.

On the videotape, he recalled their discussion about the pregnancy. "I told her I didn't really need a child right now. . . . I said it would hurt your life, and it would hurt mine right now. We both have two kids. . . . And she was like, well, yeah, but she wanted to have the baby."

Marshall told police that in previous years he had argued against having each of the two children he already had. "I got two kids," he told the detectives. "I didn't want the first one. I didn't want the second one."

From Fludd's position, the pregnancy looked very different. She had not intended it, she told her friends, but neither did she want to end it. She confided to one friend that a doctor had advised her of medical problems that might preclude her from ever having children again.

When she became pregnant by Marshall, "she felt like it was meant to be," the friend said.

The weekend she was killed, Marshall had called her to suggest they talk about the pregnancy again, Fludd told her friends.

While Fludd was at home that night in her apartment, Marshall went to a late-night party in the District. Witnesses told police that he slipped away for at least an hour. Police obtained records of his cell phone calls, which showed Marshall making calls as he drove north toward Columbia.

In the back seat of his rented car, prosecutors would later say, Marshall carried a "murder bag" packed that Saturday -- an extra pair of Timberland boots, a black hooded sweat shirt, jeans, latex gloves and a .22.

When Marshall -- nicknamed "Bird" -- returned to the District, he recounted the killing to his roommate. In court, the roommate testified that Marshall said he approached Fludd as she lay in bed. He asked her if she was sure the baby was his. When she said yes, he raised his gun.

"Bird! No!"

He shot her in the face.

In court, a jury listened to a taped recording of Marshall talking about the killing to his roommate, who had been wired by police with a hidden recording device. Marshall boasted of his own "genius" in setting up the crime. "I wasn't even close enough to . . . get little splashes on me," he said.

Prosecutor Todd Taylor told a jury of eight men and four women: "He wanted to prevent her from having the child she desperately wanted to have" and "move on with his life without the inconvenience of having another baby, another child to support."

Two months ago, a jury convicted Marshall of first-degree murder.

Sentencing was set for January.

Fludd's grandmother trembled visibly in the courtroom, surrounded by 11 relatives and friends.

She is raising Fludd's son, now 9; Fludd's daughter, now 6, is with her father. "We got justice," she said quietly afterward. "That's all we wanted, and we got it. Shameka can rest in peace."

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