About the Blogger
Because nosy people want to know and I've now had my bit of fun teasing and baiting them. For you nosy types, you might want to read this whole “page” (well, about 20 pages) and do some serious fact checking before you go running around the internet posting information. I don't take as kindly to defamation as I once did; nor am I as forgiving as I once was.
Call it a pen name, pseudonym, alias, assumed name (which is on file in multiple databases [some available on line, can't believe how slow the ARs are, I was getting bored] and with multiple governmental entities), nom de plume if you like but I prefer the term nom de guerre, a war name. I adopted it over a decade ago for use on the internet. I had been using the name on my birth certificate on the internet and a man used that to find my rural home, showed up in the middle of the night, and attempted to sexually assault me. He did not succeed but I decided it was wise to use a different name on the internet although those who knew/know me personally are fully aware of my "real name" as many of you are fond of calling the one on my birth certificate and some official records. These are not the only 2 names I have used during my life.
I was born on February 14 (yes, that's Valentine's Day), 1962 at the Independence Sanitarium (I almost wish it meant what some of you are thinking but it's just what many hospitals used to be called) in Independence, Missouri. My mother named me Leslie Deanne Snipes. Leslie was then a masculine spelling of the name and she did that deliberately for my benefit and it has opened doors I would not have been able to go through without it. I was named for my father, Lester, and an uncle named Dean; however, my mother denied that first part for years and even hid my Baby Book to keep me from getting confirmation. My father turned out to be not such a great guy as the years went on. (I rather hope to eventually find out that the Mason's booted his butt out but then they may never have known of some things. As far as I know, he never made Master Mason and wouldn't tell me his Lodge so I have my suspicions. Ah, well, every group has it's bad apples although the Masons seem to have fewer than most.)
In grade school, I was ALL girl and I didn't like "Leslie". That was when my mother explained to me the history of how and when different cultures name their children. Long story short is you can pretty much use any name you want and it is not at all uncommon for people to choose a name for themselves or for others to choose one when one reaches certain ages or stages of life - just ask the Catholics for starters. It is not uncommon in some cultures for children to try out different names to see how they fit and I started to do just that. In the 5th grade, I changed to Deanne Snipes and even insisted that my school records be changed. They were. But my 6th grade teacher turned out to be the same as 5th grade so it had trouble sticking and I returned to using Leslie Snipes.
Between Elementary School and Junior High School, I found out that my father had held a gun to my mother's head while she was holding infant me and that was what lead to their 2nd and sadly not final divorce (leaving out the long story of 3 marriages in there to one another; my mother was much too tolerant and forgiving). Suddenly I had an incredible dislike for my name and, by this time, I had seen my Baby Book which showed the origin of my first name was from my father's name. From then on, my school records showed Deanne Swope, Swope being my mother's maiden name.
Shortly after that, my mother became quite ill and my father used that to weasel his way back into her life. She forgave him yet again and, after a decade of single life, married him for the 3rd time. I refused to change my name back which angered him but I stood my ground in my early teens. She may have forgiven him but it was not going to be so easy to obtain my forgiveness. Fortunately, mom got better. In under a year, the 3rd marriage ended in divorce and my mother had her maiden name restored during the divorce. A couple of years later, my father died alone, in his home in north Houston. He was not found for several days. Seemed perfectly fitting to me. He did not earn my forgiveness and he'll have to wait until I'm on the other side to try for it now. We do not become retroactively better in life due to the accident of death.
In my Sophomore year of High School, my mother sat me down to explain a bit more about names and choices. It turned out that she had not been granted the return of her own name in the first 2 divorces and nearly didn't get it in the 3rd. (In fact, there are family court judges across the country that will not decree a woman may change her name in the divorce even if she's NEVER used her married name, now that's arrogance!) My mother's diplomas were in her married name and, upon finally getting her own name back, that created some difficulties for her both professionally and with things like credit records. She suggested that I needed to choose a single name before I graduated and even offered to pay to have my name changed by a court if I wanted it all nice and legal-like. That was over $500 back then that we could not afford and I opted to stick with the one on my birth certificate for "official" things like diplomas, licenses, etc.
By that time, my mother was dating a lawyer turned teacher so I had pretty easy access to legal advice and knew that I could continue to use whatever names I wished any time I wished so long as it was not with the intent to defraud or commit some crime. Of course, that has never been my intent with any of the names I have used which is why so many know what my "real" name is and why it shouldn't take much for anyone to find it in these electronic times; not to mention that I tend to file my assumed names with officials to make it clear that my intent isn't some form of deception (although it's fascinating how many "officials" don't bother to check assumed names records). We are who we are no matter what names or tags we choose.
The rather fun part in there was going to the High School secretary to have my records changed only to have one of those "sit downs" with the principal who informed me that he absolutely would not change the records because they simply must remain in one's "legal" name. To which I responded: "Then you REALLY have to change them if by 'legal' name you mean the one on my birth certificate." He huffed and puffed and blustered and checked my birth certificate for its raised seal and then instructed the school secretary to change the name on my school records per my request. No, I have never been terribly impressed with authority types as they are all too often as ignorant as this one was.
As my mother, a Ph.D. college professor, was fond of saying, teachers have to pee too and they put their pants on one leg at a time just like everyone else. They have no special qualifications as authority figures and must earn that. (She taught teachers.)
Early in life, I was a rather voracious reader. I tend to soak up information although not to the extent my mother did. During my youth and teens, I was in Bluebirds, Brownies, Camp Fire Girls, Girl Scouts, and then the co-ed Boy Scouting program of Police Explorers (think they are uniformly called Law Enforcement Explorers now). My mother got me involved in all but the last which she referred to as the Junior Nazis. She wasn't entirely wrong but I did learn much including being taught by some officers what I would call "How to Lie like a Police Officer". It was the crème of those officers who strongly suggested that I go to law school because I would never be satisfied with law enforcement nor comfortable with the lies and who hoped I would go into civil law rather than criminal defense. There are indeed excellent law enforcement officers out there but it is certainly a trade that has more than its fair share of bad apples (and still more of a trade than a profession unfortunately).
In my teens, I also volunteered as a Red Cross Candystriper and in my local community theater where I became the youngest stage manager in their history for one production; as well as a number of other volunteer activities. My mother encouraged me to a life of volunteerism and service and there was no Rainbow group where we were as she had during her teens. There were also the obligatory tap, ballet, and piano lessons we couldn't really afford along with the cultural activities expected of college professors and their families. College professors and their families are expected to have culture and participate at cultural functions but they certainly aren't paid enough to afford them; certainly not single women in the 1970's even if they'd managed to earn Ph.D.'s. All in all, it was an outwardly apparent life of privilege and inwardly bordered on poverty throughout my childhood and teens. We learned to get along nicely but with little. I really didn’t know how poor we were until much later in life.
My Sophomore year of High School was rough. One of my teachers was someone who had failed one of my mother's classes. My math teacher was a coach who only passed girls who unbuttoned their blouses. Hey, it was the 1970's and what we wore to school was pretty skimpy and revealing but I found that offensive. Didn't help that the twerp also didn't know squat about math. I believe I still hold the "cut" record at Lawton Senior High School and I had the annoying habit of skipping just the problem classes which the school found particularly annoying for some odd reason. I haven't the slightest idea why they were annoyed that I would show up for Typing, Psych, ROTC; and skip Math and English. :)
My mother was willing to put up with it if I would basically do correspondence Math and English courses through 2 of her college professor colleagues. Problem was I blew through their entire year's programs in Trig and Advanced English in about 6 weeks. And then I was bored again. I won't be bragging about my IQ since I happen to know it was about 30 points shy of my mother's but I am no longer uncomfortable saying I'm pretty damn smart; not frighteningly uber smart with near photographic recall like my mother, but still pretty damn smart.
Well, off I was shipped to try High School in Albuquerque, NM; to live with my grandmother. Lord love her but she was not prepared for a teen in the house! I promptly joined the APD Police Explorers which turned out to have a ring of thieves in its midst. I ducked being sucked into that group but did find my own group of trouble makers who didn't break the law. Idle hands and idle minds = trouble :) My grandmother had to go to Missouri for cancer surgery and I had already effectively dropped out of school again. Back to Oklahoma.
I didn't go back to High School and I couldn't really participate in public activities during the day because of the truancy police, a new concept back then. I'd rather lost touch with all my volunteer activities while I was gone and I was frustrated with not being able to sit the GED and get on to college. In Oklahoma, (at least back then) there was a stupid rule that one's graduating class had to have graduated before one could sit the GED. I ended up being shipped to my grandmother who was then in Missouri after her surgery. I established residency and sat the first GED session available, passing with flying colors. Back to Oklahoma to await those glowing results which arrived one week too late for the next college session.
I fell head over heels in LOVE with a soldier from Ft. Sill but he was also a local boy. My mother would not consent to our marriage. Well, what the heck, 18 is only months away. I'd go to college and graduate and then support him through college. We had an agreed plan. We're young and energetic. We can do all that! Let's get the family started anyway! Get that first kid in the oven. Get a head start on our lives. Pregnancy confirmed and Daddy and Husband to be announces that I will not be going to college but become a traditional military wife and he expects more children and SOON. What choice do I have really, says he. I asked: Have you MET me? My mother's refused consent was one of the best things that ever happened in my life. I might have to deal with child support but I would not have to deal with custody or divorce.
My mother and her best friend set out to get Daddy's signature on an affidavit of paternity before my son was born and darned if they didn't accomplish that. Of course, Daddy (who it turned out had another child prior to this that I didn't know about) disputed paternity and essentially accused me of being a slut, that there could be a dozen potential father's out there but didn't bother to show up for the hearing. At the hearing, the Judge wanted more than "just my word" even though Daddy didn't show. I submitted my diary to the Judge who reviewed it and summarily declared that Daddy was the Daddy. Teen girls tend to keep rather detailed diaries when they keep them at all and I was always the faithful type. I am ever so glad that didn't end up in an evidence file! I later learned that such things can be subpoenaed. Campfire, let me introduce you to my diaries.
My child and I were represented by a government lawyer in that paternity and child support proceeding. He was an ass and he got me a whopping child support award of $89/month. Daddy got BAQ from the Army based upon that court order and it was in excess of $200/month, intended for the support of dependents. (Did I mention that his previous child had been taken from him and the mother by the state of Hawaii so my child was the only dependent he had at that time?) That ass of a lawyer then informed me that he had no intention of trying to collect the child support. His "job" was done.
Took some time for me (who was in college and a single parent) to come up with a retainer for an attorney but I did. Motion for increase in child support. Denied. Enforcement action. Denied. Lawyer's retainer. Gone.
I started doing legal research and it turned out that wage garnishment wasn't all that complicated and it wasn't up to a judge. I did all the legal papers and filed them; had Daddy and the US Army served. In came the child support directly from the US Army, Daddy's employer, to the court clerk. Re-enter that ass of a county attorney who attaches the garnished wages because they get reimbursed for the government benefits I'd gotten because I wasn't getting child support because that ass of a lawyer wouldn't do those garnishment papers. Garnishments were good for 3 or 6 months at a time and I had to file several of them to get the county paid before I got a dime and because that ass of a county attorney STILL wouldn't file them. Along the way, I discovered that county attorneys are pretty much accountable to NO ONE. It seems they still aren't accountable to anyone.
It was about that time that I got arrested for the first time. I got arrested for "failure to pay" a cab fare because I presented a $100 bill and the cab driver didn't have change and decided to be an ass. The cab company's dispatcher recognized my name and authorized accepting a check. When I didn't include a tip, he threw the check at me. I left the cab and went into the diner for a bite before heading down the block to pick up my car from my mechanic. The cab driver called the police. 3:15 PM, enter rookie police officer who's had a bad day and decides to take the call on the way home; a way to take out his frustrations of the day. He throws my school books and belongings to the ground; tosses me across the back of his unit like a rag doll, cuffs me. He has terrified those in the diner who all knew me and were asking me what I wanted them to do and he was getting frustrated further because I was comforting the others and having trouble not laughing in between repeatedly asking for a supervisor to come on site (since, having been in their local Police Explorers, I knew their policies; which he apparently interpreted as meaning I was a career criminal).
Not too awfully long before that, the police department had started requiring some college education for their officers. My mother often taught the Comp I & II courses at odd hours for a bonus and to accommodate the officers' schedules. She would also frequently meet with them at another coffee shop to help with homework, me in tow. By the time of the above incident, most of the local police officers had been students of my mother's and also knew me but not this poor rookie.
We get to the police station and the rookie pulls me out of the car backwards and by my hair. He says: "You wanted to see a supervisor? Here he is." while spinning me around to face the opposite direction. Looking straight ahead and I'm virtually looking at a belly button and I know exactly who's standing there. "Hi Paul" is all I could get out in the midst of my laughter and before looking up. Off to booking we all go. While there, the phone rings and it's for the rookie. The cab driver has completed his complaint forms. Rookie has already started to turn green because Paul and I seem to be old buddies and we're both having fun with the jailer who's sure he knows me but Paul and I won't tell him how/why and he can't remember. When Rookie gets off the phone, he heads for the bathroom; a breach of the rules since my booking isn't completed. Paul goes to check on him and comes back to report he's puking his guts out.
The cab driver has completed his forms with all the honesty of one who is higher than a kite (and he was); including that I offered him a $100 bill, that I offered to have him come in with me to the diner as I was sure they could change it, that he would not do that nor let me leave the cab, that the dispatcher had authorized him to take a check and that he had thrown the completed check at me across the back of the front seat. The cab driver felt quite justified in calling that "failure to pay". Too bad for Rookie as the process was too far along to reverse course. It was now in the hands of the City prosecutor who had already left for the day so the booking would have to proceed. Booking complete, bail bondsman on the way, I was delivered to a cell and provided with my school books, smokes, matches (jailer apologized for no lighters being allowed in the cells), and an ashtray to wait for my bondsman to arrive. I finally told the jailer that he was the one who did my fingerprint card for the job I currently had and that we used to bump into one another when I was in Police Explorers; that was how the jailer knew me. :)
Out of jail a couple of hours later. Hired a lawyer the next day. The City offered to dismiss all charges but wanted me to agree not to sue their asses off. I really should have sued them but I didn't. Somehow, all records of that incident miraculously disappeared shortly after we signed our little agreement. Small towns before computers!
I did most of my undergraduate college work at Cameron University in Lawton, OK, although I did about a year of work at the University of New Mexico. I graduated from Cameron with a Bachelor of Science in 1985. (I think I actually completed in Dec of 1984 and walked the stage in May of 1985.) My major was accounting which had a built in minor in business and I earned a minor in English as well. The curriculum changed the last year I was there and they tried to issue a BA (Bachelor of Accounting), the new degree. I objected as that was not the degree program I was contracted to and I preferred the old degree for which I'd applied and which I was granted. I think they may still actually show both degrees on my record; not sure they ever cleaned that up but I only earned one undergraduate degree.
I moved to Albuquerque, NM, and started work on my Master of Accounting which was then a one year program but they kept changing the curriculum and finding more courses that they would require. Unlike Cameron, they were not willing to honor their contracts for degree programs. My mother was also becoming ill at the time.
I soon found out that the lawyer turned teacher my mother had as her significant other for around a decade had been less than faithful. He had moved to New York City to teach and try his hand in the theater but they maintained a long distance relationship with frequent red eye flights both ways. He had transmitted HIV to my mother in the early 1980's. She was diagnosed with AIDS in late 1985.
In 1986, my mother took a medical leave from her job and I moved her to Albuquerque, NM, so she could obtain what little AIDS treatment was then available at Lovelace Medical Center rather than being stuck with the Podunk medical care in Lawton, OK. And I went to war with Social Security for her disability benefits. After several months of paperwork fighting and discovering that all the disability criteria were established based upon how AIDS progresses in men, one day I gathered up all my mother's medical files and documents and literally camped in the local social security office. I told them when I arrived that I was not leaving without a document that approved my mother's disability benefits. At closing time, they threatened to call the police and I begged them to do it and told them I was going to make the biggest public scene I could. I left with the approval letter for my mother's benefits and, oddly, they honored it.
I had to file bankruptcy and just happened into the bankruptcy office of a former prosecutor desperately in need of an accountant because his practice was suddenly growing. He handled my bankruptcy quickly and efficiently and then hired me. He had this lovely thing called a Mac getting dusty in the back corner, a whim purchase. I'd gotten to play with one all day at a demo just prior to that. On his computer, I designed the first computer generated forms ever accepted at the Albuquerque Federal Courts. I even prepared an example set of forms for them to display on the counter and hand out to all the lawyers and clerks who were whining that it couldn't be done. Yes, I am proud of that.
We milled out those simple Chapter 7's like mad and made money hand over fist at a rate the other lawyers couldn't touch. We being the lawyer, his wife/secretary, her son part-time as runner after school and me. Like most "law clerks" of that time, his wife and I fielded calls and learned law from him when he was available and pretending to have consulted with him when he wasn't around. We had to get it right. As an accountant, it was perfectly legal for me to answer many questions of law too. Did you know there's an agreement between the ABA and AICPA on that topic?
Most of you know that you have a right to represent yourselves. All of us “practice law” in our everyday lives, it’s just a part of life. We consult with others. Should you fight that ticket? Yeah, friends will usually answer that one and that’s certainly legal advice. Courts have inherent authority over who practices law in their courts and that makes some sense. However, it also makes sense that one is entitled to have whomever they choose to speak for them and courts and private membership bar associations have long been slowly encroaching more and more upon that option. That one could choose a friend to speak for them in court rather than being barred if one couldn’t find authorized counsel was one of the things that distinguished early America from more oppressive regimes. Rather sad that those who should be most especially protecting access to the courts and law are those who would seek to have a monopoly over them. There are so many cases that the lawyers aren’t interested in, why shouldn’t those cases and parties be granted their choice of voice to speak for them? Is that off topic? Maybe it is. Oh, well…
My mother's mother moved in with us to help with mom and my son who was starting school. We eventually added nurse aids and between us all, it worked. I even squeezed in a few credit hours toward my Master's degree although I never completed it. It was the best and worst couple of years of my life. My mother was dying and I didn't want her to want for anything; nor did I want my child to do without. I worked my ass off and was with them when I wasn't working or in class. My mother and grandmother were worried for my future and that of my son and kept pushing that Master's degree and becoming a CPA or maybe law school. And then my mother, who had been a federal employee early in her life, heard about air traffic controllers (ATC).
I ended up sitting the CPA exam, LSAT, and ATC exams within a period of about 10 days. I was sure I had BOMBED them all. I conditioned the CPA but never re-sat it. My LSAT was decent but not great. My ATC score was 1 point below the cutoff of 90. I was rather relieved at that last one because, between sitting the exam and getting the results, my mother and grandmother had decided the ATC was the best option and my mother's condition was declining rapidly. While she wanted to ship me off to paid ATC school, I wanted to be with her.
The phone rang and it was a federal clerk informing me that the cutoff had been dropped 2 points because they were still so short handed after the strikes/firings of ATCs in the past and wanting to know would I be interested still. I explained that my mother was dying and had only months left; that I'd be interested if it could be deferred until then. That clerk was more than willing to work with me and said she'd call if anything changed. To reassure my mother and grandmother, I told them that ATC was back on the table but not for a while. A few weeks later, I walked into the house and they were both "in a mood" and sent my son to play in the back yard. The clerk had called, they were about to up the cutoff again and she needed to talk to me soon. The 2 of them weaseled enough information out of her to piece the whole thing together and then talked her into signing me up for the next ATC school session!
It was too late to do anything that day and mom had a doctor's appointment the next morning. At the end of that appointment, the doctor was distressed about her condition. She said it appeared she was under a great deal of stress which is a killer for AIDS patients. I explained what was going on and she advised that it might actually be best if i went to the ATC school; after all, it was just 3 months long. Yeah, 3 months when we were working on the hospice paperwork that required a doctor's certificate that death was expected within 6 months.
We completed the hospice paperwork the week before I (child in tow) left for ATC school. I hoped that the doctor had fudged that 6 months substantially to help me get it done before leaving. I was worn down and exhausted when I started ATC school in Oklahoma City. I developed walking pneumonia. They should have pulled me from class immediately but did not and whatever I (or whoever it started with) had spread to most of the class. They didn't pull anyone. Nearly the entire class failed; although we were pretty healthy by the time of finals, the illness had already taken its toll. What should have happened is that those of us who were ill should have been pulled and placed in a newly starting class when we were well enough. It's called recycling through the program and it's done regularly.
After I'd left, my mother's condition improved to what it had been before all the ATC issue and then leveled off. I'd gone with the full intent of quitting and returning if that didn't happen but it did. Of course, I didn't tell her anything other than that I had a cold during all the mess until so many of us failed and then I called for advice since she had been a federal employee. She was incensed, we're federal employees, have rights, and said to get us all together and fight back. I don't remember the process of that fight but there was one. She was right. They recycled the whole class as a class. We graduated the usual percentage another 3 months down the road.
Assignments, selections for permanent locations, are done through a rather complicated process with highest scoring students going to what's called high control and lower scores going to towers. I was given a choice between Houston and Alaska high control facilities. For a variety of reasons, I chose Houston although I detested the concept of living where my father last lived. The transition from Oklahoma City to permanent duty stations is done within days. My son and I headed to Houston and a prearranged long term hotel room because I had an idea of how big Houston was even then and I wasn't about to trust a real estate agent to tell me my new home with the 1 year lease I've signed is minutes from my ATC and have it turn out to be an hour commute each way (which happened to 2 other students in my class).
We'd been in the hotel for about a week I think when my son skateboarded down a grand staircase and into a pillar, knocking himself out. Off to the nearest hospital we went for my son's annual head injury. (Yep, first one was when he was 9 months old and about once a year thereafter. He was/is an athletic boy who didn't seem at all risk averse. After 7 or 8 head injuries, I was old hat at this.) A couple of hours go by and I realize the hospital is working up to accusing me of abuse. Well, I was pretty nonchalant; we lived in a hotel; yes, he'd had several prior head injuries. I had been on the balcony watching him when the phone rang and I ducked in to answer it only to have the next door neighbor come running for me immediately. As soon as I was out of sight, my 8 year old was off to do what I had said no to and the neighbor had seen it all and even heard my admonishment against that skate down the stairs. Lucky for me!
The hospital "investigator" was talked into calling the hotel and talking to the desk clerk and the neighbor. Turned out they'd both seen his little skating incident and both also reported how impressed they were with me as a mother and that I seemed a near expert on tending that head injury coolly and calmly although hastily. I do remember snagging my purse and keys on the way out, closing (slamming) the door behind me in my rush, and bolting down to him. Dropping everything next to him and using his ball cap to hold ice from the nearby ice machine for his head while asking the clerk for directions to the nearest hospital. The hospital finally released him. It was late summer 1988.
I'd chosen a pretty good location for the hotel and we ended up getting an apartment for a year near that same hospital and then buying a house nearby. I don't remember the annual head injury after that one but the one after that was a bicycle incident while I was recovering from surgery I'd just had at that same hospital and had a nurse with me at home while bedridden for recovery. A neighbor took him to the hospital for stitches. At least his third trip there, the hospital pulled his records, my surgery records, and nonchalantly took my consent over the phone. By then, they'd gotten to know my kid as the previous hospitals had: active and willing to risk injury over objections.
Back to 1988. Shortly after that head injury, on a Friday afternoon of a holiday weekend, I got a call from my mother's doctor. She wouldn't say it. I'd known they had all probably been lying to me for weeks at that point. It was the beginning of a holiday weekend and the flights were packed and I couldn't find a pet sitter either. I packed up my son, our cats (oh, yes, cats traveled to Oklahoma City and then to Houston), a couple of bags and we headed west. No cell phones back then and I'd informed the doctor I was on the way. I'd reminded her of my mother's living will and my expectation she would abide it, reminding her that I was the POA. I took the westward/southernish/shortest route toward New Mexico knowing I could do well over 100 mph on most of those roads and I did. I stopped once briefly to sleep for a few hours at a hotel in the middle of nowhere.
My mother had consented to participate in a number of experiments/trials during the last couple of years but all with a clear understanding and written specification that, when death was imminent, NO extraordinary means were to be attempted. I arrived in Albuquerque to find that that damned doctor had contacted every single family member she could, no matter how distantly related, in her attempts to get one person to override my decision because I was "absent" from contact and because that was all she needed to legally override me and my mother's attorney written and executed wishes.
My mother was in the hospital which is not what she wanted but my grandmother had consented to that. She had pneumonia and was literally drowning as fluid built up in her lungs. What the doctor wanted consented was to have someone shove a huge needle through her chest to drain fluids periodically; knowing that each time there would be less time between procedures and that the procedures would be extremely painful (also a violation of my mother's wishes) and that (at best) the procedures would buy a few hours time. She wasn't trying to buy time for me to get there. She still wanted to do this after I arrived. I was beyond furious and quietly told them in the hallway where they could all SHOVE IT, preferably with the enormous needle they were showing me that they wanted to stick in my 5'3", 80 pound, dying mother's chest. I think it was at that moment that I determined to get a law degree despite some previous less than pleasant encounters with some lawyers.
My mother was cognizant enough to recognize me when I arrived. She was stressed and it showed. I soothed her and told her not to worry. Whether there at the hospital or back at home, no more of her wishes would be violated and I’d be there to make sure of that. I know she understood because she nodded and relaxed immediately. I know that’s when she let go although it was almost 2 days after that when she died.
I took a couple of weeks to tend my mother's final arrangements and her affairs and headed back to Houston, back to work. I went back to work too soon but I don't think it made much difference. The last phase of ATC training is classroom and OJT at one's permanent station. The very last phase is reading radar. I have hyperopia (farsightedness) but it is much more severe in one eye than the other. I can't accurately and quickly read a radar screen. It was only one very last thing and I flunked it twice. They asked me if I'd prefer to resign rather than being terminated. I asked how long it would take to be terminated, knowing I'd still have a paycheck coming in for that long at least. They asked why.
When I had returned to Houston,I started house hunting and found a home well within an ATC's budget even if fully financed. I used my mother's death benefits to put 50% down on it and avoid the detailed financing review and get the payments WAY down. I also started applying to law schools. I had been accepted by several by the time I flunked those tests. To my surprise and delight, private South Texas College of Law (STCL) had accepted me but they are damned expensive and I was hoping not to have to finance the whole three years. I explained all this to my supervisors at work.
I was pulled from the floor and put in an office. SOP. I was put in touch with my union rep. The office I was in was doing computer work and it turned out they had a project to convert some Mac files to PC files and were having some difficulty with that. The biggest problem being that it was being done by active ATCs in their down time and they just didn't have much of that. I knew Macs and had bought one of my own by then so I was quick and easy to train to the job. Suddenly, they were dragging their feet on my termination; letting my appeals sit on desks until deadlines and I was doing the same. It took nearly a year to fire me and I got in my first semester of law school at night and didn't have to incur any debt that year. In my second or third year, despite STCL's promises of financial aid, it turned out they weren't very good at processing paperwork and my student aid was repeatedly delayed. Most of the funds went to them leaving very little for us to live on and there was a prohibition against working while attending full time. I quickly started getting behind and one semester they screwed it up so bad it was nearly 4 months before they got the funds to me.
I had about $1,200 dollars in undergrad student loan debt when I started law school. By the time I had $50,000 in debt from law school debt, I didn't think I could afford to quit and go back to accounting and then STCL's financial aid department REALLY screwed me over with that big delay. When my mortgage hit 4 months in arrears, the mortgage company leapt at foreclosure. Over 50% equity? Wouldn't you? Why work with someone when you can take their home, sell it cheap, and still make a profit. There are laws that set requirements for such foreclosures and subsequent sales at reasonable prices and excesses to be paid over to the one who was foreclosed upon. Yeah, I've never been able to pry any information, let alone money out of them. The mortgage companies have some really neat tricks to evade those laws. Don't bother contacting any Texas prosecutors about it either because they aren't interested.
Somewhere in there, I worked for more than a year for the IRS, answering that silly phone line they run. (It's the one where they get the majority of answers wrong.) That was a breeze since I'd been doing tax accounting, returns, and then bankruptcy off and on since my first year as an undergrad. Despite STCL's rules, I didn't have a choice if we were going to eat and keep the apartment we moved to after the foreclosure.
I also started homeschooling my son in the 3rd grade after an ass of a principal threatened to chop off his styled "tail" haircut without my consent and over my son's objections which became somewhat violent I'll admit; violent after this ass attempted to physically restrain him for the cutting and with a pair of sheers in one hand. Justifiably violent defense of self if you ask me. My son was too terrified to go back to school after that assault. Harris County Deputies weren't the least bit willing to take a report from us.
During my 3rd year of law school, I got to watch a couple of off duty, stinking drunk, Harris County deputies beat the crap out of 2 men after accusing them of "looking" at "their" women from across a Denny's dining room. Calls to 911 resulted in a fleet of Harris County Deputies to the scene who arrested the 2 men who'd been beaten, no witness statements were taken, and the drunkards were allowed to drive themselves home. Long story but I did eventually get to testify against them. They LOST that case.
Somehow, I managed to complete STCL in June of 1993 and sit the bar in June. I don't really know how. I fully expected to flunk the bar. Many students take our bar study loans and cram for the equivalent of a semester before taking it but, because of the mess STCL had made of my financial aid that resulted in the foreclosure, I couldn't qualify for that kind of loan. I did a little work for a friend while I awaited the bad news. Started up that Master of Accountancy at UH to keep my loans in deferment. I'd graduated with around $90,000 in student loan debt and enormous payments to start almost immediately regardless of that silly bar and having to wait for results. On the day the bar results were due out, my friend had me at his office trying to sign me onto a case and I was refusing. I'd called in a couple of times for the results but they weren't out yet. He insisted I keep calling because he was so sure I'd passed. Indeed I had and I had my first case with some cash up front. All I needed was to be sworn in and it wasn't going to wait for the pretty ceremony. One of my former STCL professors, a judge, kindly did the swearing in at his court. (He was a family court judge. One of those who doesn't approve of women getting their names back if they have children and it would make their name different from that of the children. I wasn't entirely thrilled with him being the one but I needed that license.)
I knew when I started law school as an older student that I was virtually guaranteed to go into solo practice. It's just the way it is. I'd actually been practicing law for a long time by the time I graduated law school and got a license. I was ready to hang a shingle and start that Chapter 7 bankruptcy mill. Problem was that I couldn't afford an office and an apartment and the office was cheaper. My son and I moved into the backroom of an office in a strip mall that needed built out. The mechanic with the next space over was living there too. The strip mall got sold and we all got evicted. So much for validity of contracts. But my law practice was growing and I struck a deal with a landlord for a house near the medical center that needed some work but would do for both home and office. Life was starting to look decent again despite having to take night classes to defer loans, homeschooling a child, and working 60 hour weeks.
Through law school, I'd begun developing allergies and sinus infections that wouldn't go away. My doctor said "stress" and I left it at that. As the stress was lifting, my health problems were increasing. I started getting abscessed teeth. I had big problems with my teeth when my son was young but the doctors wrote that off as post baby issues and I thought we'd pretty much conquered it but it came back with a vengeance. Of course, I had no health insurance. If anyone out there thinks the public health system helps the working poor, you're just dead wrong and dental care is just non existent for most without cash up front. At one point, I had a tooth extracted an hour before a hearing, lied to the judge telling him I was going in that afternoon because I knew he would reschedule and my client needed a ruling, and I won that hearing. I'm a pretty tough cookie with a high tolerance for pain. Didn't take any meds when my child was being born when I was 18 and didn't tell the doctor that was my intent until I was at the hospital to deliver.
In early 1995, late one night, I totaled my little Feista into a concrete barrier on a highway. I was giggly and loose and the EMTs decided I was drunk so HPD hauled me down to the station and did their little video. Broken VCR so they had to do it again. The video began with me asking if they were all set up and ready to go. I was pretty coherent verbally. I don't remember a whole lot of that night and I had a 4 hour retrograde memory loss that never resolved; a memory loss that completely wiped out the 4 hours before the accident. HPD sought no medical care for me. When I was released on bond the next day, a friend took me to see a criminal defense lawyer; don't have a clue who represented me in that case. I signed the retainer agreement and went home where I slept and puked for nearly 2 weeks. I also accepted collect calls from the jail and freely handed out legal advice according to the next phone bill that came in. With the exception of a vague memory of accepting a call towards the end of that time and having basically a WTF? reaction and blowing off the guy calling, I don't remember any of those calls.
The police video clearly showed I had one blown pupil and was reasonably coherent, mussed and wobbly after a pretty serious accident. Those with me that night told me and my lawyer that I had one standard drink. Those who know me know that I am NOT the the fun, giggly type when I'm drunk which is why they don't let me get that way. In fact, I'm much more often the designated driver and that’s generally been my preference sincy my teens. The police report indicated that I kept asking for the "real" test and pointed to my arm. No breathalyzer or blood test was done.
The evidence indicated that I had a concussion and was asking for a blood test even in my concussed state. That was also the conclusion of the concussion specialist the lawyer sent me to but, a month after the accident, it's rather tough to diagnose anything under the above circumstances where the police choose not to obtain any real evidence. My lawyer advised me to take a plea and get on with life since I had a completely clean record other than this. He swore I wouldn't have to allocute, swear to the elements of the crime and facts of a night I had no memory of and under oath. I took his advice and after a little huddle of the prosecutor, defense lawyer and judge, the damned criminal judge insisted on an allocution which resulted in me being sworn, choking out the elements I'd learned so well for the bar exam (and my lawyer was whispering to me) and when it was clear I was just about to call the whole thing off, that SOB judge accepted my plea because he could see I wasn't going to be pushed or fed fact details.
And you know what? You think this allocution thing is really no big deal and your lawyer’s telling you that but, as you’ll see in a minute, it can come back to bite you in the ass.
The deal included some probation and a driver's ed course. For probation, I was sent to work in a nursing home. A sleazy nursing home where the first day of training included being instructed on how to go about stealing from the residents whose families provided more personal care products for them to give to the poorer residents whose families could not; all despite that those items were supposed to be included in their care costs that were being paid mostly by the government. I informed the managers that I would not be doing any stealing. I reported all this back to my probation officer who told me he'd call when he found another more suitable probation assignment. I never heard from him again. The driver's ed course was OK until the very end. During the last class, we were informed that we needed to "take responsibility" by basically allocuting all over again except not under oath. I told my whole little story and told the instructor I'd be hanged if I would do that a second time even if it wasn't under oath. I was feeling better and ready to spend some time in jail if it came to that. From that point on, you can convict me you but can't make me lie!
I got a little notice in the mail that said I'd passed the driver's ed class. There was another little ancillary civil administrative hearing where my license was revoked. Civil? Fair? Not at all. Summary, rubber stamped license revocations. The officer was unavailable to come testify. His affidavit was accepted. No objections allowed. No cross exam allowed. I applied to the court for an occupational license and I did it as a pauper because I did qualify. The government attorney challenged my indigence before a courtroom filled with lawyers at one of those cattle calls. The judge asked how long I'd been licensed and if I was in solo practice. I answered. The judge turned to the government attorney and asked: "Do you really think she isn't broke?" and the gallery roared with laughter. As the lawyer waffled, the judge asked if I had student loans and I said yes, about $90,000 or so. The judge just looked at the lawyer with raised eyebrows and he withdrew his objection. On to the license issue. They put restrictions on those occupational licenses and that attorney wanted some hefty ones on mine. In the end, I got an occupational license upon my promise to follow the general rules for those. The gallery of lawyers giggled right to the end of the hearing.
Life and law practice resumed.
In early 1996, my assistant was driving me to court to file a JP appeal before the deadline at close of business that day. We'd given ourselves a couple of hours extra, just in case. I-45 was under construction (isn't it always) and there was no shoulder and the lanes were narrow and everyone was doing the speed limit and there was near bumper to bumper traffic. All normal. We were in the left lane with a concrete barrier row to our left. Both the driver and I realized the 18 wheeler seemed to be coming toward us like it was changing lanes. I watched as the blinking turn signal came in over the passenger window in front of me. We were in my assistant's uncle's late model Cadillac and he was smart enough to know he had to keep speed, steer into the 18 wheeler but stay in his lane, until we were clear of the concrete barriers on the left. The 18 wheeler dragged down the passenger side of the car and then bounced against us and back several times as he continued to try to gain our lane, speed increasing to get around us. Steel screaming and crunching, sparks flying. And then he was passed us and really gaining speed with us and several others hauling ass after him trying to get his tag, flag him over, something. I don't believe for a second that he would have pulled over except that he ran into a bottleneck of standstill traffic.
We were shaking but basically thought we were OK. I knew I'd hit my head against the passenger window pretty good a couple of times, maybe more, gotten tossed around like a rag doll and had bruising from the seat belt, but it didn't seem bad. The car was in bad shape but drivable and there was the JP deadline... Several of us, including a witness who turned out to be a judge's husband, were sure the truck driver was HIGH on something. The officers did their report but kept asking if anyone needed to go to the hospital, did the car need towed. A lawyer, a 3L law student, and a judge's husband. We didn't get it. Hospital or tow would have meant drug testing for the truck driver.
The report was done. The truck driver got some citations. We got the JP appeal filed, just barely.
I woke up achy the next morning and scheduled a doctor's appointment. The day after that, I woke up in excruciating body-wide pain. I had no health insurance. Doctors will sometimes take letter of assurance from lawyers so I started lawyer hunting and no one in my circle was doing personal injury (PI) cases. This is the kind of case lawyers don't really want. No serious obvious injuries; no hospital records; no tow records and a deep pocket defendant who might decide it's worth fighting back to keep this piddly case off their record. Add to that my pre existing health problems and that I'm already in litigation over the possibility those health problems are related to silicone breast implants, the one luxury I'd allowed myself from my mother's death benefits. I had been forced into a class action suit, opted out and had to file or let the limitations expire. I became one of John O'Quinn's clients. (I hate class action lawsuits.)
The auto injury case was a complete dog of a case but I did find a lawyer to take it and he found an ortho who would take a letter. I saw him several times. He never quite said "crazy" just "can't see anything that supports the level of pain you report" which is pretty close to "it's all in your head" = "crazy". During one session, I asked about Fibromyalgia which I'd read about. It really isn't new. Fibro has been around for centuries by different names. I might as well have announced I was crazy beyond belief for simply asking. His staff called to cancel my next appointment. That case was eventually settled for pennies on the dollar that didn't even cover the direct medical costs of the case and left me in further debt.
Over the dozen or so weeks after the accident, I became increasingly crippled and fatigued; in pain and sleeping more to cope with it (or so I thought). I probably should have been in a hospital. This is the point at which many CFS/Fibro patients do end up in the hospital because they don't even hydrate but I learned that one from my early camping days; always stay hydrated.
I knew I couldn't responsibly take on new clients. Then I started to fall behind on my existing cases. I looked up the SBOT rules for closing my practice and called SBOT. They referred me to a thing called TLAP. Back then, it was new. Basically, they found that DWI from the year before and diagnosed me as an habitual drunk, any disagreement to be punished severely. At that point, I knew I needed to do my damnedest to follow the rules for closing my practice and resigning my license. I did just that and turned over all my files to SBOT well before any upcoming hearings and with the cases with any hearings prioritized for them. The SBOT attorneys I dealt with were incredibly nasty.
My son and I were homeless shortly after that. SBOT sued me twice. Once to get me suspended and once to disbar me. I had resigned and was no longer a member of their little club but they and the Texas Supremes claim jurisdiction in perpetuity over former lawyers it seems (and over those who have never been lawyers through their UPL Committee ). They had even removed me from the website altogether. I don't really know what all went on in those cases because I got no notice of them. They are on file in the Harris County District Courts if anyone is sufficiently interested to go look. I looked at the files a couple of years ago and found they sent notice on one of them to my Albuquerque address from long before I went to law school. In one case, they got an ad litem appointed. He won't return any correspondence from me and it doesn't look like he did squat in the case except get paid. For a number of years, when people would call SBOT, they would be told I had been disbarred and I think that's what it said on their website when they decided to put me back on there. I was never disbarred. The judge declined to do that. The end result of the 2 cases was, as I recall: no disbarment, a one year suspension, clean mental evaluation for reinstatement.
Funny how the SBOT and an attorney ad litem don’t seem to have been able to find me in 2000 since my name was on the Harris County property rolls from about February 1999 on.
Of course, it's never that simple with SBOT and, since my health will never be good enough to be in a practice again, I certainly will not start the war needed to get my license back and that will be an ongoing war to keep it. Of course, as nasty and vindictive as SBOT is, I wouldn’t be surprised to be hearing from them shortly after this is posted.
Oh, and immediately after I closed my practice and before we became homeless, SBOT called most of my clients soliciting bar complaints. My former clients called to tell me how sorry they were that I was ill and how distressed they were by what SBOT was asking them to do. There was at least one file that sat there for quite some time. Long enough to miss a hearing. That was the first case in my priority file. It was a single mother of 5 who had been evicted. I'd already gotten her children's belongings back from the landlord for her. It was a pro bono case but she had given me about $2,000, most of which was posted as appeal bond with the court (with about $100 to cover out of pocket expenses I'd already paid out). There is a fund at SBOT for clients who are harmed by lawyers who keep money when they shouldn't. SBOT waited until her hearing had passed and then called her to explain that fund and solicit her bar complaint so they could reimburse her from that fund. Every penny that belonged to her at one time was on file with the court clerk.
She "won" her complaint and I'm sure got paid. Can't really say I blame a struggling single mother of 5 for taking that bait either. Wanna hear a funny? The case was eventually dismissed and no one ever claimed the bond. A couple of years ago, my son ran my name through that database of "who owe's you money" and it said the great state of Texas owed me money. I filled out some forms and it turned out that the Court Clerk had eventually sent that money to the treasury to be held for me because I was the one who posted it. I already knew SBOT had paid the client at that point so I claimed it. SBOT can eat shit and die if they think they're getting a penny of it back without a fight these 14 years later. She missed the hearing because SBOT sat on her file. SBOT is responsible for her losing her interest in that money by sitting on the file so she’d miss the hearing and SBOT never had an interest in those funds, certainly didn’t gain an interest by sitting on the file and ensuring her interest was lost. The landlord and his attorney are the ones who should have put in for a claim for it. I fell no guilt at all on that one and the other side can contact me if they want that money. Not my responsibility to clean up their or the Court Clerk’s boo-boos.
BTW, to file a bar complaint, Mom of 5 had to sign a waiver of attorney-client privilege and I could probably give out all kinds of information about her quite legally. Not going to do it though.
I had no access to health or mental care; not that it would have helped much then since doctors considered (and largely still do) chronic pain, CFS, and Fibro to be "all in the head" (aka "crazy"). My son and I were homeless for a while and I applied for welfare. They just couldn't believe all that so they'd deny. I'd appeal and win. Repeat cycle until I was in such bad shape that I missed a deadline. My early teens son began acting out. Ran away a couple of times. Can't say I blame him. Landed in state custody and a CPS attorney that I had trounced in a few cases took great joy in filing a case for custody and a petition where he tossed in every boilerplate allegation of neglect and abuse available to him in the Family Code; everything from failure to feed to violent sexual abuse. That's what you'll find in the Harris County file if you dig it up. A visiting judge was assigned and I had to appear to defend my custody. Well, I had practiced family law so I dragged myself into that court and defended myself despite being sick and without any resources to speak of at that point (all hope of welfare gone with the temporary emergency custody order ass-wipe CPS lawyer had obtained).
Wanna know how carefully judges read files and listen in court? The visiting judge opened her sentencing in family court by telling me what a fine job I'd done representing myself and that I should pull things together and go to law school and then she gave custody of my child to Texas. Even ass-wipe CPS lawyer looked horrified briefly.
My clunky vehicle broke down and I was homeless and without a vehicle on the streets of Houston. I reached out to a friend from law school that had recently returned to town from military duty. (Most of my lawyer "friends" evaporated early on in this process when it was clear SBOT saw blood in the water.) I'd been fighting against suicide at that point for a long time already.
He took me for coffee and a meal and we talked and talked. I didn't know he was a Mason and he didn't know I was a member of the Masonic family. That night was when he found out. I wanted to bounce ideas to help myself. He would hear none of it and took me home. His wife wasn't thrilled but acquiesced to him putting me in his office over the garage which was actually an old apartment. He and his brothers put together a plan to help me get through for a while. A couple of cases that I'd referred out very early on were won and I received some small referral fees that helped too. In early 1999, O'Quinn got my SBI settlement. As far as I'm concerned, he also stole about $200,000 from me with his creative accounting methods. Best most of us SBI clients could tell, he about doubled the outrageous percentage we'd all agreed to.
Many of us were in SBI were in cross over support groups then and it was in the wind that one or more of us was going to file against O’Quinn. I'd done the accounting and had the proof. My case should have been the first one filed. The lawyer I hired pissed around and it ended up being the second. The first sought and obtained class status leaving the rest of us to the whims of a class counsel worse in my opinion than O'Quinn had been. I couldn't get out of Texas fast enough for my taste.
My hired attorney ended up in some kind of receivership and "shared" my case with some other lawyer for more than the percentage fee I'd agreed to pay in the first place. He won't speak to me. The other lawyer quit when he found out and when I objected to that additional fee. I have no idea what ever happened to my case that (I think) was filed in Austin. There was media news that some agreement was reached with O'Quinn's executor, who happens to have also been the Dean at STCL when I attended, just before Christmas. I got a notice of a hearing that was supposed to happen last month or so. Haven't heard squat since. It's been about a decade that case has been pending now. What settlement? What legal representation? (I HATE class action lawsuits. The lawyers rack up millions in fees, people are forced into the class and get no real access to the class counsel they didn’t choose, and the clients see little if anything.)
I’d have filed about a dozen SBOT complaints over the last decade except I’ve seen how good they are at going after the vulnerable rather than the sleaze. Reminds me of government lawyers. It’s all about the stats, win/lose, truth and justice be hanged.
I filed for social security disability when I closed my practice. Oh, that story is much too long to cover here. 12 years, files lost by SSA 2 or 3 times for extended periods. Several trips up and down the appeal ladder. Move to another state, find a lawyer, another appeal hearing, federal court, sent back to appeal hearing, multiple strokes at age 42 while waiting for the decision, back to court to win. Finally and it only took 12 years! Gee, I didn't mind a bit since the very first hearing decision concluded there was one job I could do - to polish eyeglass lenses in a factory at less than minimum wage and ignoring that I couldn't do that for more than 4 hours/day according to the SSA's occupational expert. With the tiny cash benefit comes medicaid and some medical care. Not really. I'd already spent a rather small fortune from my settlement to find out and finally convince myself that most doctors are about as incompetent as most lawyers. I'd had decent income before going to law school but you have to understand how social security benefits are calculated to understand what 6 years out of that bracket had done to tank my benefits.
I so won't bore you with all the diagnostics but here's a bit of what I “have”:
So I won my SSD in court and the file goes back to SSA for processing, payment of back benefits (got news for you, back benefits not really helpful years after the hunger and pain), and future action. First future action? Determine that beneficiary's condition is likely to improve so they can do a review every couple of years, keep me under stress to ensure it doesn't improve, and then cut off the benefits when I'm too sick to fight back again. No doubt at all that this is indeed the plan.
Then there's the IRS trying to collect taxes on that non-taxable pain & suffering settlement that I got in 1999. Thinking they've "got me" because I'm holding property in a "fictitious name" so they slap a lien on it. They were none too happy to find out that name was properly on file and I still had to sue them to get that lien removed. Nicely, they had put me in insolvency with their outrageous and illegal lien, I stroked and was back in Houston, so when I was well enough, I was able to drag them into Bankruptcy court, my old home turf instead of their tax court. Lien removed at pretty substantial cost to me.
I’ve declared bankruptcy several times. The account/lawyer in me just sees it the same way big business does; another financial tool. Not all of them were discharge and that wasn’t even the intent at the time of filing. Wrongful things can make one insolvent and, if the bankruptcy court fixes those quickly and efficiently which restores solvency, why not go that route?
And here's a few dangling details the whiny curious might want:
The "Take a Stand Against Bullying" commercial just played on TV in the background. How very appropriate.
Not one day has passed since I closed my law practice that I don't wish that 18 wheeler had killed me. I may get kicked a lot but I simply don't seem to know how to lie down and die, let alone take that final step to kill myself. I just keep getting back up to fight and get kicked again and again. And, hey, I have several of the clean psych reports with my "big" mental issue being reasonable depression given the circumstances of my life and health. It's never been diagnosed but I'm quite sure I have PTSD, more specifically the PTSD that comes from dealing with lawyers and government and being crushed repeatedly.
I know what it is to be wrongly accused. I know what it is to have my word taken at face value and suddenly become utterly valueless. I know what it is to be denied anything vaguely resembling due or fair process. That is why I keep fighting and why I blog.
All of the above might lead someone to believe I can be easily trounced. Ask around. It isn't quite so easy and it's gotten less so since the strokes. I have returned to fundamentals and I know my rights. I know what rights I have to defend myself and my property and that of others like my neighbors. The courts and legislatures are but some of the places to fight things out and none of us should ever forget that as I did for a long while.
I told you about my youthful volunteerism and service. What I didn't mention was what I did for fun. I was on the ROTC rifle team and I bartered with a gunsmith. I got shooting lessons, access to all the weapons, free ammo, and range time for my work (cleaning and repairing guns, reloading, working gun shows). It wasn't long after I met the Ingram that we had to modify that agreement a wee bit. That's where I spent much of my "bored time" between High School and College too.
Knowing how violent and aggressive animal rights activists are, having watched them become so over the last few decades, before starting this blog, I moved to a home near the end of a dead end road with a clearly delineated property line that is mostly fenced. I have sensitively microphoned security cameras in this quiet rural neighborhood where strangers are noticed and not particularly welcomed. I am sick and I am tired and I am sick and tired of people taking what isn't theirs to take. I am inclined to exercise my rights to protect my life and property from trespassers and thieves who use the courts to ignore due process and the very concept of fair trials. I try to speak for others who want due process and a fair process restored to the laws and the courts and especially to the lawyers generally as a concept. Because the takings of animals has become so egregious, I spend most of my time trying to speak for those who own animals.
I have long since accepted that I cannot control others. Those who harm me or my animals will be held accountable eventually. However, I will do what is within my powers and legal to defend myself, my animals, what is mine and try to help do that for others as well. That is what the US Constitution was intended to do and it is worthy to defend it.
I've tried to be as accurate with dates/timeline as I can but I did have some 15 mini strokes about 5 years ago so there might be some minor errors in there somewhere.