Showing posts with label Killing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Killing. Show all posts

January 24, 2017

He Kicked Gay Man to His Death For Being Gay in Idaho




Steven Nelson pulled his car up to the Idaho Walmart that night in April expecting to meet a male escort, a man he had contacted via an ad on the website Backpage. Nelson picked up the bearded, tattooed man named Kelly Schneider and, at his request, drove him to Gotts Point, on the shore of Lake Lowell.
Another man met them there. With him, Schneider pushed Nelson to the ground and kicked him at least 30 times with steel-toed boots while Nelson begged for his life, according to court documents. Nelson was choked and stripped of his clothes before they drove away in his car, taking Nelson’s wallet, credit cards and clothing with him.
Barefoot and naked, Nelson knocked on the doors of nearby homes, asking residents to call 911. Hours after being transported to a Boise, Idaho, hospital with broken ribs and a bleeding ear, he died of cardiac arrest.
In a state court Monday, Schneider pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, saying he intended to rob Nelson but not kill him, the Idaho Statesman reported. He admitted to kicking the man repeatedly and acknowledged that his actions caused Nelson’s death.
Afterward, Idaho U.S. attorney Wendy J. Olson announced that Schneider, 23, of Nampa, Idaho, had been indicted on federal hate crime charges by a grand jury for willfully assaulting Nelson because of his sexual orientation. The indictment alleges that Schneider’s actions resulted in the death of his victim. The charge is punishable by up to life in prison, supervised release of not more than five years and a $250,000 fine. He is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Boise before Magistrate Ronald Bush. A trial date will be set at the same time.
The fatal beating of the openly gay man has been compared by some in the community to the murder of Matthew Shepard, the gay college student from Wyoming whose torture and subsequent death set off a nationwide debate about hate crimes and homophobia and led to the federal Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. “Folks are grieving the loss of a fellow colleague, as well as facing the reality that our community can be a hostile and sometimes very dangerous place for folks who identify as LGBTQIA,” said Adriane Bang, director of the Gender Equity Center at Boise State University.
Prosecutors dropped Schneider’s charges of felony robbery, theft and robbery conspiracy in exchange for his guilty plea on the murder charge. He faces up to life in prison when sentenced March 20. Prosecutors can recommend a fixed sentence as high as 28 years before parole eligibility, and the defense can ask for as little as 10 years.
Deputy Canyon County Prosecutor Chris Boyd said Schneider had lured and beaten other victims “many, many times before.” He called the beating of Nelson “particularly brutal,” the Idaho Statesman reported.
Jayson Woods, 28, of Nampa, is accused of helping Schneider as he beat and robbed Nelson of his car, wallet and other possessions. Kevin R. Tracy, 21, of Nampa, and Daniel Henkel, 23, of Wilder, are accused of hiding nearby in case Nelson put up a struggle.
Woods’s trial began in District Court on Monday, and Tracy and Henkel are scheduled as witnesses. Tracy is scheduled to go to trial Feb. 6 on first-degree murder, robbery and conspiracy charges. Henkel is set for trial March 6 on the same charges. They have both pleaded not guilty, the Idaho Statesman reported.
Investigators identified and arrested Schneider by comparing his tattoos to a photo in the Backpage ad. They found the others with the help of a woman who called the sheriff’s office to say her SUV had been used to drop Schneider off at the Walmart. According to court documents, the woman said Woods held her inside the SUV, drove her around and forced her to perform sex acts with random men for money.
In the wake of the news last spring, family and friends mourned Nelson’s death, recounting memories of his distinctive baritone voice, his talent for theater lighting and his love for baking croissants. He was in his late 40s when he finished his bachelor’s degree in public relations at the University of Idaho in 2011. He hoped to work as a development director, possibly one day managing fundraising for a political campaign, the Idaho Statesman reported.
Nelson was anything but shy, and gave presentations to university classes about his experiences as an openly gay man, according to University of Idaho Professor Becky Tallent.
“Somebody brought up Matthew Shepard in class one day,” she said. “Steven said something along the line of, ‘I hope to God we’ve gotten past that kind of violence.’”
According to KTVB, Tallent said her friend and former student had previously received homophobic slurs and even a punch, but frequently let cruel comments roll off his back.
“As he put it, people are just sometimes so bigoted that there’s nothing you can do to talk to them,” she said.
Tallent said she was horrified to hear of the brutal way in which her friend died.
“For one human being to do this to another is just beyond the pale, especially as someone as generous as Steven Nelson,” she said.

December 21, 2016

Picture of Tunisian Man Wanted in Berlin Terror Attack




The Independent Uk reports The image appeared to match those on a Facebook profile of a Tunisian man called Anis Amri.
Der Spiegel reported that the suspect was born in 1992 in the city of Tataouine, although he was also believed to go under at least two other aliases and gave authorities differing dates of birth.
In the district of Kleve, in North Rhine-Westphalia, he went under the name Ahmed A, 21, the Allgemeine Zeitung reported.
It was unclear when the suspect arrived in Germany but a confidential security database entry from February reportedly showed authorities believed he had links to Isis, which was reported to be using his hometown as a transit base for fighters last year.

December 4, 2016

Missing Body of 16 yr Old Found with Unattached Limbs Youth Arrested



16 yrs old  Lee Manuel Viloria Paulino (FB pic)


 
 Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino had brought 16-year-old Mathew Borges to his family home just once, in the middle of November. Viloria-Paulino’s tight-knit family knew only that they were classmates at Lawrence High School, a family spokeswoman said. If it was a friendship, it seemed new.

But a few days after that visit, Viloria-Paulino, 16, went missing. About two weeks later, on Thursday, his decapitated body was found along the banks of the Merrimack River. On Saturday, Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett announced at an afternoon press conference that Borges had brutally killed Viloria-Paulino, mutilating his body so badly that the autopsy took 11 hours.
Cops in Massachusetts arrested a 16-year-old boy accused of decapitating a classmate whose disappearance was reported to police in mid-November.

A woman walking her dog along the Merrimack River discovered a body, later identified as missing 16-year-old sophomore Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino, along the shore in Lawrence on Thursday afternoon.

The body was in a gruesome state — the arms had been hacked off and the head was found 50 feet away, according to the Eagle Tribune.

Viloria-Paulino’s Lawrence High School classmate, Mathew Borges, was arrested Saturday morning after investigators found evidence linking him to the teenager’s death at his home and along the river.
Viloria-Paulio’s family filed a missing person’s report, fearing the worst, but heartbroken relatives said police ignored the case.

“We are poor, we are Hispanic, they considered this a normal runaway case,” the teen’s grandmother, Ivelisse Cornielle, told the Globe. “I told them from day one that it wasn’t.”Of disconcert, (a report via fox25boston) quoted the slain boy’s family saying that Lawrence police treated their son’s disappearance as though he had run away, ‘because he was Hispanic’.

Cornielle wonders if her grandson would still be alive had police had been quicker to Viloria’s disappearance seriously.
 
Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino, 16, was found slain on the banks of the Merrimack River in Lawrence, Mass., on Thursday. His head and arms had been hacked off.

 Accused Mathew Borges, Arrested after police searched his home.


 
Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said Borges will be arraigned on Monday and charged as an adult.

“This was a horrific, horrific murder,” Blodgett said.

“While it shook the community, we were completely and totally committed in our resolve to bring this to justice.”

Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino was always singing — during lunch, even during class. If his friends told him to pipe down, he would just sing louder, until they were all laughing together.

A sophomore at Lawrence High School, he wrote poetry, and encouraged his classmates to follow their dreams. He talked about how love beats material things every time.


“He had a really big heart,” said Stephanie Soriano, 15, a high school friend.

Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino. 
“The most pure soul you could ever come across,” added her friend, Kialy Pichardo, 16.

NY Daily news 
Boston Globe
pics:Facebook

November 22, 2016

A Nation that Kills its Presidents and Leaders

In memoriam







 A day in Dallas, Tx. changed the world





                                                                               
After going through Johnson, Nixon and Ford, the limo was retired in 1977 and returned to its figurative home in Dearborn. One piece of the car, however, is not there: The windshield, riddled with bullet holes, is at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
A Navy ambulance awaiting the body of President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963, at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington. Credit Agence France-Presse — Getty Images 

September 24, 2016

Charlotte Police Shoot Keith Scott Police Video


No words you be the judge

August 1, 2016

Former Dolphins Linebacker Antonio Armstrong and Wife Shot by Teenage Son

4th of July the Armstrong family, Antonio(father 2R)Wive Dawn 2L  
(Facebook photo).

Pastor Antonio Armstrong (former Texas A&M and Miami Dolphins linebacker) and his wife, Dawn, were fatally shot inside their Houston home. Their 16-year-old son was charged with double homicide, but his motive remains unknown.

Dawn Armstrong, 42, died at the scene, and Antonio Armstrong, also 42, was pronounced dead at Memorial Hermann Hospital hours later with a gunshot wound to the head Friday, according to Fox8.
Houston police have not been able to determine a motive for the murder, but they found a note lying next to a gun, which read, "I've been watching you."
It was the son, one of the three children of the Armstrongs, who called 911. The teen, who has not been named, will be tried as a juvenile. The two other children were also in the house when the shooting took place, according to reports.
Antonio Armstrong was associate pastor at Spirit and Life Kingdom Center in southwest Houston, which is led by his mother, Pastor Kay Shorter. Antonio and Dawn were also involved in the church's marriage ministry, according to the church's website.
"We are committed to teaching the Word of God with simplicity and understanding," the website says. "Our vision is for people from all walks of life to understand and receive God's love, forgiveness, grace, mercy and power for them through Jesus Christ."
"They're the family that everyone wanted to be like... her and Antonio together, they are what they call a power couple," Dawn's cousin, Vaun Lee Armstrong said, according to Bet.com. "There was nothing left out. There was no neglect or anything. There was nothing that even could possibly have justified this situation."
"This was an outstanding family," Houston Police Department homicide investigator Jimmy Dodson told KPRC2. "The male of the family was an absolute hard-working breadwinner. He was an associate pastor in the area church. He's a great guy. The mother was apparently a great mother, according to family members. Like I said, it was kind of the all-American family."
Former A&M head coach R.C. Slocum remembered Antonio in a statement. "Antonio was a special young man. He was an All-American and an outstanding player, but he was an even better person. He was such a positive influence on his teammates. He always had a great big smile and was a joy to coach," Slocum said.
The couple also ran First Class Training, a gym in Bellaire. Antonio advocated health and fitness, and was a motivational speaker, posting videos on YouTube, according to ABC7.
His YouTube channel was titled "Strong Talk," whose introduction video said, "Through the healing process, you are strengthened. Life is about being happy and I hope that through these talks, you can take your own personal pains – your own personal disappointments – and find strength in it so you can be the best you that you can be."

Christian Post


This is another tragedy by a gun kept in the home and use in anger. It would be very easy for this youngster who is the alleged killer of his parents to get hold of a gun since there are photos of one of his friends and unidentified girl holding shot guns. I guess they were into target practice and 16 was not too young even though I have no knowledge that his target practice or not was with his parents permission or not.
This young man was very popular and into music and trying to get going in that field. By looking at His FB page the youngster was very popular with many friends. A close friend Matthew(the one with the gun)  had a very political page   and posted awful things about Hillary using worse language than the Donald. The note found by the body indicates to me a difference of opinions about something that either his son or his parents were doing.  What ever was going on he saw the pastor and his mom in collusion against him.
One has to question our moral values in this society that a son, any son would permanently dispatched his parents so quickly and purposely and one wonders what could be so great a son would not run away from or just wait a couple more years to be an adult and out of his parents legal arms.
Adam Gonzalez

March 31, 2016

US Killings by Police by Race/Interactive


Image result for jamar clark                                                                           
                                                                                                             








 Prosecutors announced Wednesday that the two white police officers involved in the shooting of an unarmed black man, Jamar Clark, will not face charges. Although members of the community have said that Clark was handcuffed when shot, the police have disputed this claim and attorney Mike Freeman has decided that the shooting was justified. Freeman had the final decision in filing charges against the officers, as a grand jury was not involved.
Included in the following visualization to show a breakdown of the number of people killed by police in the United States by race. Use curser over graph



March 12, 2016

Award Winner Environmentalist Joins the Murdered Roles in Honduras




                                                                     

 Oakland, Calif. — It was always a relief to see my aunt Berta, whom we affectionately called Bertita. Not just because of the constant threats to her life, but because she was a “rayo de luna” — a ray of moonlight — in any situation. 

On March 3, shortly after midnight, unidentified gunmen stormed into the house where she was staying in La Esperanza, Honduras, and killed her. Berta Cáceres was a human rights and environmental activist who was playing a leading role in opposing a dam project that would force an indigenous community to abandon its ancestral homes and their livelihoods.

She was just one more victim in the continuing war against activists in Honduras.

The London-based human rights organization Global Witness has reported that at least 109 environmental activists were killed in Honduras between 2010 and 2015. Scores of journalists, human rights defenders, union leaders, L.G.B.T. rights activists, legal professionals and political activists have also been murdered over the last few years. A vast majority of these killings remain unsolved.

For a decade, Bertita and the organization she co-founded, the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras, had been fighting against construction of the Agua Zarca Dam across the Gualcarque River. It sits on land considered sacred by the Lenca, an indigenous people, to which Bertita belonged through her father. The Lenca said the project, for which the Honduran company Desarrollos Energéticos S.A. received a concession and which has been financed by the Dutch development bank FMO, has proceeded even though the Lenca were not consulted, as required by international law.

Rather than provide protection to council members, the Honduran security forces and judicial authorities have been part and parcel of the campaign of attacks and intimidation against the organization. Since 2013, according to Global Witness, three other members of the group have been killed, including one shot by a soldier as he peacefully protested the project. Bertita received frequent death threats, was detained by the police and faced trumped-up charges in court.

The attacks and threats only strengthened her resolve.

But Bertita was also a daughter, sister, aunt, mother and grandmother — she leaves behind four adult children and a grandson. As her children grew, she found it necessary to send three of them abroad for their secondary and college educations, so they could feel safe from the threats she faced.

During my frequent visits as a child to Honduras and our large extended family, Bertita and I — she was only two years my elder — would chase each other and our cousins around the garden playing hide-and-seek, or play soccer in the dirt patches, always being careful not to crush my grandmother’s red roses.

In July 2009, I went to Honduras as a producer for an international news network. It was the day after a coup by the Honduran military, business elites and right-wing political opposition removed the democratically elected president, Manuel Zelaya, from office. Army troops whisked him away to Costa Rica in his pajamas.
Bertita had been working with indigenous groups on education and rights issues with Mr. Zelaya’s support. She was already well known throughout the countryside and by international rights organizations in the region. Her opposition to the coup catapulted her into global recognition.

On our first night in Tegucigalpa, the Honduran capital, I decided to profile her, but she warned me: “We need to go to a safe house. Come with us and we’ll talk there.” We set out in a taxi. One of her cellphones rang. After a quick conversation with another organizer, she said, “We need to switch taxis and someone will pick us up.”

This had become her life in Honduras; there were no roses to worry about now.

At our destination, we ducked between houses and walked down a corridor to the back of one. We were welcomed by “compañeros en la lucha” — companions in the struggle. They cooked us a meal while we sat down and began filming.

Over the next few days I saw Bertita at rallies and leading protest marches. She spoke with vigor, clarity and force. She didn’t mince words. It was a side of her I had not seen.

“La lucha” was in Bertita’s blood. There was no other calling for her. We would never have tried to stop her because we all believed in what she was doing. Still, we knew that someday it would come at a cost.

Her work brought her the Goldman Environmental Prize, many other awards, and international recognition, all of which should have shielded her from harm. Perhaps they did for a while. But they also made her an even greater threat to the business and media elite, the military and the corrupt politicians of one of the world’s most dangerous places in which to be an activist.

And so, she was silenced.

Now the Honduran police and government have begun a campaign of information obfuscation. They first claimed the attack on her was a botched robbery, then a “crime of passion.” Then, a lawyer for our family in Honduras told me, they detained a friend of Berta’s who saw the murder as a material witness, and have asked to question leaders of the council, while making an outrageous claim that there might have been a power struggle in the group. The most obvious suspects — the public and private agents who attacked and harassed Berta and the council for years — don’t seem to be on the investigators’ radar.

But this could, at long last, become a turning point for one of Latin America’s poorest and most violent nations. Berta Cáceres touched countless lives, and the outrage in Honduras and around the world is palpable.

Much more international pressure can and should be leveled at the Honduran government — for an independent international investigation to uncover not just the triggermen, but also the highest-ranking authors of this attack and so many other killings of activists.

Silvio Carrillo is a freelance film and news producer based in California whose work has included coverage abroad for CNN, Al Jazeera English and The South China Morning Post.

SILVIO CARRILLO







December 23, 2015

Gay Hero who Came Out before end of DADT killed in Afghanistan



                                                                           
 Here is our hero Adrianna with her partner celebrating end of DADT
 
 
Adrianna Vorderbruggen, a major in the Air Force who is known as one of the first openly gay service members since "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was repealed in 2011, was killed in action along with six of her fellow service members in Afghanistan on Monday.

She was on a security patrol on foot near Bagram Air Base when an explosive-laden motorbike rammed into the patrol and detonated. Aside from the six who were killed, three U.S. service members were injured in the attack according to U.S. Army Brig. General William Shoffner, head of public affairs at NATO's Resolute Support Base in the Afghan capital of Kabul.

Shoffner said the attack, which was the largest attack on foreign forces in Afghanistan since August, happened around 1:30 p.m. local time.

Major Vorderbruggen had served as a special agent with the Office of Special Investigations at a number of duty stations including McCord's Air Force Base in Washington and Joint Base Andrews in Maryland before joining her unit at Eglin Air Force Base. From Eglin Air Force Base, she was deployed to Afghanistan.

After learning that Vorderbruggen had been killed while serving her country, Military Families and Partners released the following statement and photo on Facebook:

Our friend Air Force Major Adrianna Vorderbruggen was killed in Afghanistan yesterday. Military families understand that...

Posted by Military Partners and Families Coalition on Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Vorderbruggen and her civilian wife, Heather Lamb, were married in June of 2012, and were raising a son who is not yet five.

Hours after the suicide bombing, several rockets hit an area of Kabul housing foreign embassies and government buildings. No casualties were immediately reported but a State Department official told CBS News that U.S. Embassy staff was told to shelter in place.

The Taliban took responsibility for the attacks.

The U.S. now has about 9,800 troops in Afghanistan, some of which are involved in counterterrorism missions. With NATO contributions, there are about 13,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan.

CBS/AP

The victims included New York City Detective Joseph Lemm, a 15-year veteran of the NYPD who also volunteered in the U.S. Air National Guard and was on his third deployment to war zones.
"Detective Joseph Lemm epitomized the selflessness we can only strive for: putting his country and city first," New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said in a statement.
Local media in Statesboro, Georgia, identified a third victim as serviceman Chester McBride Jr., who was remembered by the principal of Statesboro High School as "a young man of high character with a great smile."
Serviceman Michael Anthony Cinco of Rio Grande Valley, Texas, was identified by local media as another victim.
Facebook postings identified others as Staff Sergeants Peter Taub, whose family lives in the Washington, D.C., area, and Louis Bonacasa from New York.
“My son, Chef Jon's brother, Staff Sargeant Peter Taub was one of six killed yesterday in Afghanistan,” wrote the owner of the Taub family sandwich shop in Washington. “The restaurant is closed for the rest of this week.”
Wrote Air Force member Jeffrey Behrman: “Joseph Lemm and Louis Bonacasa, I'm glad to have known you men, I'm glad I was able to buy you men a couple pints before you left for Afghanistan.”
The Taliban, which claimed responsibility for the strike, remains resilient 14 years after the start of U.S. military engagement in Afghanistan. It has ramped up its attacks this year, inflicting heavier casualties on Afghan security forces.
Just last week, the Pentagon warned of deteriorating security in Afghanistan and assessed the performance of Afghan security forces as "uneven and mixed."
More than 2,300 U.S. troops have died in the Afghan war since the 2001 invasion, but the pace of U.S. deaths has fallen off sharply since the end of formal U.S. combat and a drawdown of American forces.
Pentagon data showed there have been 10 so-called "hostile" deaths of U.S. service members in Afghanistan this year. There have been 10 non-hostile deaths, largely from aircraft crashes. (Reuters)

November 17, 2015

People Killed by Police by Race



                                                                                 










October 19, 2015

Yoko Ono on Lennon: “John Wanted to Have Sex with a Man”


                                                        The Beetles
                                                                                 
(L)Ringo (Top)Lennon®George©McCartney


In a candid, exclusive interview, Yoko Ono tells Tim Teeman about why Mark David Chapman should stay in jail forever, the truth about John Lennon’s bisexuality, and the ‘pain’ she shares with Paul McCartney.

Strawberry Fields is nearby—a little, hippy-vibed Central Park memorial, overseen in its creation in 1985 by Yoko Ono, John Lennon’s widow. The musician was shot dead, aged 40, outside the Dakota in December 1980 by Mark David Chapman, and Ono still lives here in the same apartment they shared.

Like the building she occupies, Ono has a perpetual air of mystery: To many, she will always be the villainous interloper—the woman “who broke up the Beatles.”


 John Lennon and Yoko Ono pose for photographers in Amsterdam on March 27, 1969. The honeymoon couple spent a week in bed at the Hilton Hotel to protest against world violence. (AFP/Getty Images)
Age has mellowed the public view of her. Now 82, she is still known for performance art, and for just being “Yoko Ono,” smiling enigmatically behind dark glasses, dedicated keeper of the Lennon flame, and social activist. She manages to be both dainty and imposing, her mischievous, steely smile set against the world.

Ono’s thoughts about her two great passions—the environment and peace—as well as her more esoteric pursuits and beliefs are visible to her 4.75 million Twitter followers.

                                                                         
 The Dakota and people gathering on the news Lennon had been shot. John and still Yoko lives on the top tower on left corner facing  you
Once past the Dakota’s discreet, firm security, the visitor feels as if they are in a mysterious, stone-cushioned cocoon. Ono’s upper-floor apartment is warrens, a collection of model cats with illuminated eyes standing sentry inside the front door. 

When Ono appears, dressed in a black shirt and slacks, sunglasses perched on the end of her nose, she states firmly in her broken Japanese-English, “Hello, so we’ll go to the kitchen.”

She is smiling warmly, but it is a command: The tone reminds me how Ono had ended a performance at MoMA the weekend before with a smile and firm “And that is it.” We were dismissed. You sense Ono rigorously sets her own boundaries. She speaks measuredly. She is not effusive, dramatic, or grandstanding.

We walk past a huge table of hats and sunglasses, her two most famous accessories (and laid out for convenience’s sake, with all the touring she does), into a large, homely kitchen: Notable are pictures of Lennon, and Ono and Lennon.

She remembers buying her first pair of sunglasses, with Lennon, one day at Saks Fifth Avenue, taking a break from the recording studio. They provide a barrier between Ono and the world. “The word privacy comes to me,” said Ono, “like the arm’s-length relationship I can have with people.”

Does Ono still like living in the Dakota? Lennon was shot outside—some might say it’s the last place she would want to live.

She launches into a tale of how she and Lennon ended up living here.

“One thing I think is that he did it once, he could do it again, to somebody else—you know. It could be me, it could be Sean, it could be anybody, so there is that concern.”
They were living in the St. Regis hotel in Beverly Hills at the time, and “hotel living was so unattractive.”

The actor Jack Palance suggested they try the Dakota, and so another day, while sunbathing beside the St. Regis pool (as you do), Ono said to Lennon, “We should do this.”

Ono instructed one of their assistants to go to the Dakota to see if an apartment was free, and one was set to be listed the very next day—this very apartment we’re sitting in.
After Lennon was killed, did Ono ever think about moving?


 John Lennon and Yoko Ono, NYC Central Pk.West, in back The Dakota
   
“Never. We shared this every day. Every day we shared each room. I wouldn’t do that.”

So it isn’t a tragic place?

“He said, ‘I don’t mind if there’s an incredibly attractive guy.’ They would have to be not just physically attractive, but mentally very advanced too. And you can’t find people like that.”
“The good memory supersedes the bad memory. The bad memory was just one that was terrible. But other than that, I felt we were still together. I would feel very strange if I had to leave this apartment. There are so many things that he touched here that he loved. Those things mean a lot.”

And the public attention isn’t so strange, she says. When she and Lennon did their famous Bed-In for Peace in 1969, there were people click-clicking their cameras all the time.

You get used to it, Ono says equably. “When I walk out in Central Park it gets too much because they start to get physical… if they didn’t get physical I think I would just ignore it.” But, she laughs, “I have to walk somewhere. I sort of cast my eyes down a lot.”

“Most people think that Paul or me should not have any pain at all because we are so privileged. But it’s not true. The degree of pain is always there.”
She’s very proud of overseeing the creation of Strawberry Fields, and scoffs at those who originally opposed it, claiming it would be “a drugs’ den,” as she puts it.

“Can you imagine anyone being against Strawberry Fields?” Ono says with a smile. She still walks through it, as discreetly as she can. “I am so glad because a lot of people love it and use it.”

What drugs did she and Lennon themselves use? “I hate marijuana. I never wanted to—but in a social situation with people passing it round you just have to pretend.”

And now, no drugs? “No.”

She says she is aiming to “detoxify” herself to make herself as healthy as possible.

“Detoxify” from what, I wonder: She looks fantastic. Ono says that she took “a lot of drugs” in the 1960s, and in the 1970s there were a “few incidents” as she puts it. She doesn’t drink now, but she has smoked a lot, she says.

“I didn’t like marijuana, so I didn’t constantly take it like most people. I think acid was not bad, but acid is very strong so you don’t take it every day.”

She stopped taking drugs in “maybe 1981 or ’82. After John’s passing, the doctors said, ‘We’ll give you morphine, every day if you want to.’ When you are in extreme sadness, you don’t know what they will do—jump out from the side of a building or something.”

Is she talking about another assassin?

“What happened was that I suddenly realized I had extra responsibility on many levels, so I couldn’t be taking anything. The first night they gave me morphine, but from then on I didn’t take anything. I couldn’t do it. I had to be super-clear to take on the business situation, the political situation, everything. And then I think I took some drugs, sort of like designer drugs or something.”

Whoever gave them to her said they would make her happy. “It wasn’t very good and I just didn’t feel right.”

I ask if she was really worried that somebody would shoot her, after Lennon’s assassination.

“I was concerned, yes. At the time, they could have done it, too. I was really lucky that I didn’t die with John. If that had happened, what would have happened to [their son] Sean?”

How does Ono feel about the possibility of Chapman being released? He was denied parole last year for the eighth time, and his wife Gloria told the Daily Mail the couple had written to Ono seeking forgiveness.

“I’m super-careful, almost like a certain animal who is used to being hunted, like a deer,” says Ono, who employs personal security. “So when I go out or when I don’t go out, in my apartment, I’m very, very careful. It’s very, very difficult for me to think about Chapman, especially because he doesn’t seem to think that was a bad thing to do. It’s crazy.”

Ono has opposed every single one of Chapman’s bids for parole. On her husband’s killer’s possible future freedom, Ono says, “One thing I think is that he did it once, he could do it again, to somebody else—you know. It could be me, it could be Sean, it could be anybody, so there is that concern.”

Does Ono still feel Chapman represents a threat to her safety?

“Yeah. I would be concerned. I said he’s crazy, but probably not—probably he had a purpose he wanted to accomplish like ‘Kill John Lennon.’ So he might have another purpose. He’s not the kind of person who’s… I don’t think he’s just doing it emotionally. There is a reason, whether a simple reason or not, to do what he does, and justify it. So that’s very scary.”


The week before we met, I watched Ono sing and bellow into a microphone at a performance at the Museum of Modern Art as old home movie footage of her parents played behind her.

MoMA had been hosting a survey of her 1960s artworks—including an all-white chess set, and films of her performances like “Cut Piece,” first performed in 1964, in which gallery-goers cut away shreds of Ono’s clothing. Next, Ono will next take the MoMA exhibition to Tokyo, Beijing, and Lyon.

Ono is also set to receive one of the “Icon” awards at the Attitude Awards in the U.K. on October 14, in recognition of her art, of being an outsider, of doing things defiantly her own way, and of supporting LGBT people—most vocally in her 2004 song “Everyman… Everywoman,” which she produced in support of same-sex relationships and marriage and which is a revision of a song she sang with Lennon, “Every Man Has a Woman Who Loves Him.”

Ono talks candidly about why she still lives in fear of Mark David Chapman, the truth about Lennon’s bisexuality, and the ‘pain’ she shares with Paul McCartney.
“I think it’s great,” Ono says of the Icon award. “I get a few awards in different places. This means a lot to me because I have been working for such a long time trying to create a more open situation.”

The existence of prejudice is “incredible,” she says, and marriage equality is “really great, we shouldn’t be so thankful. It’s just normal.”

Prejudice, she thinks, “goes both ways, I’m sure gays feel straights are really dumb. There’s more freedom being gay probably, that’s good.”

LGBTs should have true equality, Ono says, “and you’ll get it. Equality is people having to create their own future. That’s what they’re [gay people] doing. They should be very, very positive.”

“Equality under the law and equality in real life is slightly different,” says Ono. “People are different from how the law can control them. We have a very complex life called the human life. There’s more than equality in life.”

Is Ono proud to receive the Icon award? “Well, as much as the other awards I have received,” she says evenly, “but probably especially this one. There was a closeness I felt to gay people. We both suffered a lot for being different.”

When I ask about her sexuality, Ono laughs. “I think my sexuality is extremely old-fashioned. Many people think I’m a strong woman. I never thought that, but probably I am. Maybe they think I really don’t go for men, but it’s not true. I like normal relationships”—she catches herself—“whatever ‘a normal relationship’ is.”

I ask if she has ever had sex with a woman, or been attracted to them.

“Well, that’s another thing. John and I had a big talk about it, saying, basically, all of us must be bisexual. And we were sort of in a situation of thinking that we’re not [bisexual] because of society. So we are hiding the other side of ourselves, which is less acceptable. But I don’t have a strong sexual desire towards another woman.”

Have you ever? “Not really, not sexually.”

One online satire imagined an affair between Ono and Hillary Clinton.

“It’s great,” Ono laughs. “I mean, both John and I thought it was good that people think we were bisexual, or homosexual.” She laughs again.

What about that old rumor that Lennon had sex with Beatles manager Brian Epstein (which was also the subject of the 1991 film, The Hours and The Times)?

Lennon himself said: “Well, it was almost a love affair, but not quite. It was never consummated. But it was a pretty intense relationship.” Later, Lennon’s friend Pete Shotton said Lennon had told him that he had allowed Epstein to “toss [wank] him off.”

“Uh, well, the story I was told was a very explicit story, and from that I think they didn’t have it [sex],” Ono tells me. “But they went to Spain, and when they came back, tons of reporters were asking, ‘Did you do it, did you do it?’ So he said, ‘I did it.’ Isn’t that amazing? But of course he would say that. I’m sure Brian Epstein made a move, yeah.”

And Lennon said no to Epstein?

“He just didn’t want to do it, I think.” 
“I think he had a desire to, but I think he was too inhibited,” says Ono.

“No, not inhibited. He said, ‘I don’t mind if there’s an incredibly attractive guy.’ It’s very difficult: They would have to be not just physically attractive, but mentally very advanced too. And you can’t find people like that.”

So did Lennon ever have sex with men?

“No, I don’t think so,” says Ono. “The beginning of the year he was killed, he said to me, ‘I could have done it, but I can’t because I just never found somebody that was that attractive.’ Both John and I were into attractiveness—you know—beauty.”

I ask what she makes of the people outside the building, the crowds still at Strawberry Fields.

Ono misunderstands, or mishears (or is simply focused on the last strand of our conversation), and continues to talk about sex.

“I don’t make anything out of it. When you’re not really interested in that sort of sex, you don’t think about it. Both John and I surprisingly were very passive people. Unless somebody made a thing out of it, if they made a move, I wouldn’t even think about it.”

***

The Attitude award seems especially apposite given the prejudice Ono herself has faced.

“Very heavy prejudice for being Asian, for being another race, and for being a woman,” she says. The sexism she faced was not as severe as the racism, she adds.

“One of the reasons I survived—I am surviving, aren’t I? (she laughs lightly)—is that I didn’t take it that seriously.”

As a younger woman, Ono recalls finding an apartment and being turned down in person. She called the agent later, and was told it was still available.

“I had my life,” Ono says, when I ask how she faced racism, “which is to say, to make good art and good music, and I was very proud of it. Anything else wasn’t that serious. More serious was my parents, who had a different idea about what I should be making. I was too avant-garde probably. I feel that they were embarrassed.” 

He went to San Francisco before her birth in Tokyo—“That’s when I lost my father the first time.” Even when Ono grew older—the family moved to the U.S., then Japan, then back to the U.S.—there was still a distance between them.

“In some ways I am different [from] them,” she says, “because I try to have a warm relationship with my son [Sean] and my daughter [Kyoko].” (She and Kyoko were separated for 27 years after her ex-husband, Anthony Cox, kidnapped the girl.)

But Ono says she is also similar to her parents. Eisuke was a pianist, and her mother, Isoko, an artist. They were “surprised” by their daughter’s pursuits. “I think they would have loved it if I had become a classical musician and composer. They were very polite about it. Neither of them came to my shows. That’s how they expressed their feelings.”

Her parents, she says, were also misunderstood: “They were too cultured for other people to understand them. They didn’t mind it. They said, ‘You go through all sorts of experiences, think of them as a play. Be objective about it, instead of getting upset.’”

Ono also faced prejudice around being with Lennon (they met at one of her shows)—a toxic mix of racism and the suspicion of her influence.

“I don’t know why I deserved so many different kinds of prejudices,” says Ono. “It was really a good relationship. Everything else around us was terribly bad. A lot of things John and I did naturally, instead of saying, ‘Let’s teach them.’ Being ourselves did affect people.”

Lennon was a keen feminist, Ono insists, beginning with being their son Sean’s primary caretaker.

“He felt I knew more about business, which was not true. So he wanted me to take care of the business and he wanted to take care of the child, which was an incredible thing. In those days nobody did that. It was a macho age. And he cooked: He baked bread.”

Still, she was hated for being the woman “who broke up the Beatles.”

“One of the reasons that those things didn’t hurt me was because I had a totally different life.” She pauses. “It was not exactly fruitful. There were so many negative labels about me, but they were from people who really didn’t understand me at all. If I were to come out and say something it wouldn’t have affected anything. They would have laughed. So I shut up.”

Ono and Paul McCartney have had a long, checkered relationship. Tensions seemed to ease between them, but then—in August’s Esquire—McCartney bemoaned that the glory of the Beatles had been, since John’s death, centered around Lennon. 

McCartney told Esquire: “Yoko would appear in the press, and I’d read it, and it said ‘Paul did nothing! All he did was book the studio…’ Like, ‘Fuck you, darling! Hang on! All I did was book the fucking studio?’ Well, OK, now people know that’s not true. But that was just part of it. There was a lot of revisionism: John did this, John did that. I mean, if you just pull out all his great stuff and then stack it up against my not-so-great stuff, it’s an easy case to make.”

Ono was surprised to read that, particularly as she and McCartney had just been together at a dinner, seated at the same table, “talking about good things.”

Does she feel close to McCartney?

“I think it’s a very strange situation. We were kind of like stuck with a situation for 30 or 40 years, so we understand each other—let’s put it that way. What he said in Esquire, I think he’s really right.”

“I mean, he must have suffered a lot, just like I suffered more or less the same thing in a way. So I understand. I’m sympathetic to him for having all sorts of pain. Most people think that Paul or me should not have any pain at all because we are so privileged. But it’s not true. The degree of pain is always there.”

Does she feel they need to forgive each other in some way?

“No, no. We had to come to terms with the past in some way. Both of us are pretty self-sufficient in that sense.”

***

There have been “a few” men in Ono’s life since Lennon’s death, most famously her onetime boyfriend, the gallerist and painter Sam Havadtoy. “I wasn’t hiding. That was very important for me to have somebody around protecting me.”

Now she is single. “I love it. I got married three times [to composer Toshi Ichiyanagi from 1956 to 1962, then Cox from 1962 to 1969, and Lennon from 1969 to 1980]. The third one was extremely good and I just wanted that one to last, but it didn’t. I was always with somebody. Now this is the first time I’m not and it’s very good.”

She smiles. “I don’t have to think about the other person, like, ‘What would you like for lunch today?’ being concerned about the other party—and I don’t have the time to. I think I was given this freedom because I have so much to do.”

Her occupations are both an activist, “trying to do some good for the world,” and taking care of Lennon’s legacy; the latter “was terribly complicated but now it’s simmering down.” 

Ono thinks she has been a good parent to her children, Sean and Kyoko, “in the sense that all parents should not be too into their children’s lives. I’m pretty hands-off. The fact that Sean and I especially understand each other musically and everything, it’s a good relationship in that sense.”

She adds that she likes Julian a lot: “He’s intelligent and sensitive. He’s had a terrible time actually. And also, just like Sean, having a huge daddy didn’t help really.”

Unsurprisingly, and admirably, Ono does not care if you don’t understand her, or laugh at her tweeting esoteric thoughts such as “Let’s report to the Universe how glad we are that our planet is part of the most beautiful Universe,” and “Remember, we are all water in the same ocean.”

“It’s great if I can make people laugh,” she tells me. “That’s just fine. It doesn’t touch my core. I believe in life. The self is growing in us constantly and also protecting us.” Onstage, “I just want the sound to be perfect and good.”

Ono is true to herself—as offbeat and unconventional, unyieldingly so, as that self might be. She has always refused to play by anyone’s rules but her own, or to compromise or make nice to make her own life, and public perception of her, smoother.

Despite all the criticism, mockery, derision, and worse thrown at her, Ono has simply carried on creating the art that matters to her, speaking out on issues that matter to her, and generally pursuing her own passions and path.

Ono says, “There are certain things you can correct by being an activist, but other than that one needs to protect oneself and maintain one’s yin and yang, and be meditative all the time.”

She “really doesn’t believe” in institutional politics. “I feel sorry for politicians. To get the vote they have to do all sorts of things.”

Ono is not as excited about the idea of a Hillary Clinton presidency; the possibility of the first female president is “a symbolic thing. A president has to be a good person for the president, not because they are female or male.”

As for pop music today, Ono doesn’t “particularly make a point of listening to it, but it’s all around.” She prefers old gypsy music. “I have an incredible respect for art. It’s amazing that I do because I am an artist and most artists will have kind of an apologetic attitude about their work. I don’t. I really think that everything we do as artists is helping the world.”

I ask if she considers her mortality.

“Yes, just as anyone else who would think about it. It’s possible that I will suddenly be surprised by dying, but I’m counting on the fact that it’s going to be a long life.”

She lives alone and seems very self-contained: Is she lonely?

“I think most famous people are lonely because they are separate. They have a separate life—whatever that is—from people around them. Even when you’re with them there’s a certain separation. It’s something you don’t create. It just happens in your life, and you either accept it or don’t.”

And she has?

“I totally accept it.”

It is time to go. “So I will say goodbye here,” Yoko Ono says abruptly as we approach the doorway of her kitchen, other rooms in tantalizing shadow. She is smiling her warm, mischievous smile. It is one of the politest—and most emphatic—orders to scram I have ever received.
Tim Teeman
by  Tim Teeman

August 27, 2015

Do You Like Horses and Beavers? You will find them on your Burgers


                                                                        
                                                                     

 If you’re a health-conscious carnivore browsing for bison brisket online—or maybe you're a new Paleo diet devotee trolling the grocery store for a package of ground beef—you probably pay close attention to what's on the label. Was the animal organically raised? Was it grass-fed and not treated with antibiotics, or was it fattened up with feed dosed with pesticides? Like most folks you probably assume that what you’re purchasing is what the package claims it is. But according to the results of a pair of new studies, you might be buying ground horse or a fancy slab of American beaver instead.

That’s the finding of two studies produced by Chapman University’s Food Science Program that will be published in the January 2016 Food Control journal. The researchers conducted DNA testing and other scientific analyses on samples of ground meat (such as turkey, pork, chicken, and beef) found in brick-and-mortar grocery stores and on samples of specialty game meat (including bison, pheasant, and bear) sold online. About 20 percent of the time, the label on the package didn’t line up with what was inside.  

Of the 48 fresh and frozen samples of ground meat found in traditional markets, 10 were mislabeled. Nine of those 10 packages contained a mix of meat species—partially what the label indicated and partially some other animal. The tenth sample was meat from a completely different creature than what the label suggested.

Unintentional contamination at meatpacking plants may account for some of this, according to the study’s authors. If a processor handles pork, beef, and turkey, for example, and doesn’t fully clean the equipment, DNA of one animal can, in varying degrees, end up in the packaging for another. 


The researchers also speculated that “lower-cost species [are] being intentionally mixed in with higher-cost species for economic gain.” In particular, that raises a concern about the ethics of the $39 billion specialty game meat market in the U.S. 

Indeed, the second study tested 54 samples from that lucrative online market and found 10 packages were mislabeled. One bundle of black bear burgers was actually beaver, two packages of pricey bison burgers and one package of expensive yak burgers were plain old domestic cattle, and a container labeled as pheasant was helmeted guinea fowl. The retailer, of course, pockets the difference.

That's troubling enough, but the researchers also found that two of the ground meat samples contained horsemeat, which is illegal to sell in the United States.

“Although extensive meat species testing has been carried out in Europe in light of the 2013 horsemeat scandal, there has been limited research carried out on this topic in the United States,” Rosalee Hellberg, an assistant professor at Chapman University and coauthor of both studies, said in a statement.

It's not hard to imagine all the vegetarians out there breathing a sigh of relief—after all, kale is undoubtedly kale. Sure, we’re more than a century removed from the filthy descriptions of meatpacking plants in Upton Sinclair’s classic, The Jungle, but these studies might be another red flag about the overall cleanliness and safety of meat producers in the United States.

Staff Writer Liz Dwyer has written about race, parenting, and social justice for several national publications. She was previously education editor at Good.


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