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'via Blog this'
Please keep in mind that this blog often has comments and statements directly from the women on death row. Statements of grief, statements of innocence, statements of regret and sorrow. If bearing audience to these women's feelings, my opinions or those of commenters offends you please do not read on.
Where have I been and where did I go? A part of me broke and I had to put it back together.
As I've said before in this blog, I write it because the unruly portions of society are drawn toward me and I am not afraid of them. A lot of people ask me about it, but I think it's also true that I am drawn to those unruly portions of society.
You may say I deserve it, that I should be ready for the things I heard but I was not. I may have asked for the moment of hell I went through but I still did not deserve it. No matter what you hear and report on, you are never used to hearing depravity against a child or women.
I just finished writing a book called Taking Tori for Parker Vronsky Publishing about the kidnapping, torture, rape and murder of a tiny, 8-yr-old Canadian girl by Michael Rafferty and TerriLynn McClintic. I reached out to her, TerriLynn, for information on the book. I was not prepared for what or who I found.
The incarcerated women I work with are one of two ilk; guilty or innocent. If they are guilty; they either say so and don't give a shit, or they deny it and don't give a shit. If they are innocent, they never waiver in their story and eventually someone believes and fights for them, but the truth doesn't always come out. Sometimes it comes out too late.
TerriLynn is no different there. She is guilty. She admits to every last, vile act that ended in the death of Victoria Stafford. What's different is she does care. It was evident in the contact I had with her in preparation for this book and afterward. She doesn't cop deuces and she doesn't sugar coat it. That is very rare in the world of female criminals. She didn't care if I hated her. She didn't care if I was a killer groupie dying for a brush with a succubus, in search of an evil new BFF. She told me she didn't want Tori's death glorified in any way nor anything she did before, during and after the crime. She wanted me to call a spade, a spade.
Never in the decades of doing this have I come across someone like her. Her straightforward and almost deadpan retelling of the story was famous during her court appearances. At least after the first day when she seemed to be experiencing a bad case of nerves and stage fright. Her subsequent days testimony were stronger, steely reiterations. She had already put the murder and her part in it in a steel box inside her chest where her heart should be. It is locked in there and she can no longer see it or feel it or remember it. Unless she wants to.
We continue to foster the environments that make these people and then stand back aghast when they fuck up. We ignore, ignore, ignore, ignore all the tiny things we could fix that would eventually stop the biggest fuck ups.
But go ahead, sit on the couch with your laptop and call her names and spew hateful words. Were you the same people that tortured Tori's poor mother Tara McDonald? As if she hadn't been put through enough vilification of her own while her daughter was missing, it continued even when the real killers were caught. Who you really are is the person who made TerriLynn what she was and then set her on the road to murder.
If your not those people, prove it. Make a move. However small, change this bullshit in your own way and it will change the world.
I offer every woman I write to a free book every quarter. I always choose three, a nonfiction book, a fiction and something technical like a how to or something similar. I print them a handout that has the available books and a description. This quarter one of the books was about hair braiding and had 25 different styles. Usually they choose an assortment, a few go with the popular fiction, some with a book on some historic figure. This time, however, every, single one wanted the book on braids.
I was really surprised. I don't think that's ever happened in all the years I have been doing this. I got curious and went back through the files to see how many had long hair. Only about half of the women I write to have hair long enough to braid. Curious, I asked the next one of them who called. Apparently, knowing how to do some really painstakingly elaborate braids is a lucrative business venture in women's prison.
This fascinated me to no end so I started thinking of articles I could write about the underground industries of women's prisons and how some of these women have skills and aptitudes for business that the world can take advantage of. There is something to salvage here. Something not only beautiful but profitable and economical.
My wheels are turning...