A “Shero” of the Murderous Skies

 

“Heros don’t seek accolades or the spotlight with glitz and glamour; Rather, they perform their humanitarian works quietly, unselfishly without a moment’s hesitation.”….Ladyjustice

Betty Ong may not be remembered by name, but she will live in infamy for her acts of heroism beyond all measure. Betty was the first and primary communicator of the initial phases of the worst terrorist act  in modern history. Betty had aspirations to become a flight attendant as a child. However, she far surpassed any career goals with her humanitarian nature. Betty’s flight on fateful September 11, 2001 was Flight 11 originating from Boston, Massachusetts  bound for  Los Angeles, California. In her 14 year career, she achieved the level of “purser” is the chief flight attendant whose duties include supervising other staff, completing detailed reports ensuring compliance with all safety procedures and all passengers safe and comfortable.

Respect and hospitality by the host is the cornerstone of Chinese culture which appeared to serve Betty well. She was the youngest of a family of five children from San Francisco, California, born in February, 1956. She truly was a people person with a special fondness for seniors and children. Her sister wrote that she was  a tireless worker , always going the extra mile, driving into the city to have lunch with seniors and buying trinkets from her travels for children.

Her amazing  professionalism and courage her fire along with colleague Amy Sweeney during her 23 minute call to reservation agents  at the Raleigh-Durham airport was the beginning of events that provided key information and ultimately saved untolled additional lives!

Okay, my name is Betty Ong. I’m number 3 on Flight 11. And the cockpit is not answering their phone, and there’s somebody stabbed in business class, and there’s — we can’t breathe in business class. Somebody’s got mace or something.

She and Amy continued talking to different entities and related with calmness and  some of the crew had been murdered and hijackers had infiltrated the cockpit. She shared information on the men, including their seat numbers and what they looked like. Their acts provided the “window of opportunity by 20 minutes to  learn the names addresses and other vital information on three of the five hijackers prior to the crash into the North Tower.

With the personal terror put aside, Betty and Amy made the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of their passengers. Had they had time to think, to grieve, we can only image what they contemplated and shared in their final moments.

On February 5, 2017, Betty would have celebrated her 61st birthday.

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Tributes to Betty Ong-

2002 Recipient of the “Madeline Amy Sweeney Award for Civilian Bravery” (named for Betty’s co-worker, Amy) from the State of Massachusetts;  http://www.mass.gov/eopss/crime-prev-personal-sfty/masweeney-award-for-civilian-bravery.html

2011 The Betty Ong Chinese Recreation Center , serving the community for nearly 60 years in San Francisco and a facility in which she played as a child;  http://sfrecpark.org/destination/betty-ong-rec-center/;

Movies – Canadian Actress Jean Yoon depicts the role of Betty in the mini-series the Path to 9-11; and, according to Wikipedia sed a lengthy clip of Betty’s phone call without attribution and family permission to the 2012 movie, “Zero,Dark, Dirty,” apolitical action thriller which endorsed torture in the search for osama bin Laden. Her family subsequently requested a charitable donation from Warner Brothers in her name, give credit on-screen and reiterate that they do not endorse torture during the 85th Academy Awards;

The Betty Ann Ong Foundation, a 501c 3 non-profit,  http://www.bettyong.org/index.htm headed by her sister, Cathie Ong-Herrera  was created in ~ 2006 whose goal is dedicated to childhood obesity .Betty was a staunch believer that a positive attitude breeds self-confidence and self-esteem, which she acquired at an early age.  They endorse Camp Pocono Trails, one of the only weight loss camps accredited by the American  Camp association. http://www.newimagecamp.com/index.html

Finally, an ironic twist on a beautiful tribute to Betty gone horribly wrong! A September 12, 2007 San Francisco article described this tribute below –

Betty Ong is one of several Chinatown natives depicted in a 200-foot-long, 7-foot-tall mural dedicated to Chinese contributions to American history entitled Titled “Gold Mountain.” the mural also includes educators and nurses, Edsel Ford Fong, a waiter made famous by the late Chronicle columnist Herb Caen, and Larry Ching, the “Chinese Frank Sinatra,” who was a longtime entertainer at Forbidden City.

Painted by artist Ann Sherry in 1994 on the side of an apartment building on Romolo Place, the mural has been damaged by taggers numerous times. Each time, Sherry, the building’s owners and community volunteers have stepped up to perform touchups – and twice to restore the mural completely.”

As of 2004, Mural Artist who created this work of art stated,

“I’m done with them. That’s why the mural is painted over,” Sherry said. She said that during the 2004 restoration, which took almost a year, she worked on the mural six days a week for almost a year and was only compensated for transportation and lunch. “It was an absolute nightmare,” she said. “All they could pay me was coming out of their poor little pockets, so I accepted it because at the time I could afford to take a lot of time to do this. … So I basically just did the work, and they let it go to hell again. (It is now re-painted entirely in “institutional beige”)

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How very sad that Betty’s memory and others would be repeatedly defaced by criminals yet again! In my opinion, taggers who “perform their art” on pre-existing beauty, serve no good purpose and perpetuate disrespect and violence, qualities which were abhorrent to “our true shero”, Betty.

References- http://www.businessinsider.com/7-incredible-stories-of-heroism-on-911-2015-9?IR=T

http://www.bettyong.org/BettyOng.htm

https://www.thoughtco.com/how-to-use-huan-ying-2278603

https://www.911memorial.org/blog/remembering-911-hero-flight-attendant-betty-ong

http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/S-F-mural-depicting-9-11-flight-attendant-2541526.php

http://sfcitizen.com/blog/2016/07/21/heres-all-whats-left-of-1994s-giant-gold-mountain-mural-at-romolo-place-in-north-beach-graffiti/http://sfcitizen.com/blog/2016/07/21/heres-all-whats-left-of-1994s-giant-gold-mountain-mural-at-romolo-place-in-north-beach-graffiti/


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Multiple Victimizations: Gender Bias, Missing Persons and Fake News

Yellow ribbons for missing persons

Yellow ribbons for missing persons

Back in the day, I thought seriously about a career in journalism, as the passion was stirred at a very early age. However, I now see that I have the best of both worlds in 2017, with other careers and still investing heavily in the written word. I am a better person for having chosen different paths, for when we examine the current journalistic landscape, at times, it is appalling!

I look for the always credible, the sure-footed people in this crazy world of news who can navigate the minefields and come out unscathed, and always ring true. The real question is where do we draw the line? Or, has the line moved so far afield it feels nonexistent? Exactly!

Do we spend our limited energy daily on separating hype from rumor from fact?  No, we often run it through our personal common sense filter and then do further research if it is of real interest. The rest is often just nonsense. However, we do live in an age where the unbelievable with respect to apparent disintegrating moral values makes virtually anything possible.

All that aside, we have to maintain a personal sense of right and wrong, even if it may have shifted a bit in terms of societal standards. Some look for others to blame; the desperate Democrats, the raucous Republicans, the intolerable President, the manipulative media.

I am of the belief it really doesn’t matter where the blame lies as they all feed into each other like sharks looking for their next meal.  Enter fake news. When did the biggies of journalism, politicians, the uninformed and sad individuals seeking attention become so desperate for the status quo that they felt it necessary to make up news in one-upmanship?

What is vital is the aftermath, the collateral damage done to persons who do not have a dog in the fight and are dragged in any way. Victims of violent crime whether it be a homicide, missing persons, rape, sexual assault, intimate partner violence, etc. are already compromised in terms of coping with their day-to-day existence due to grief, loss, intolerable pain and lack of will to withstand the fight.

The general public sees our society becoming ever violent and does not want to join the victimization club, ever! Those of us who have graduated from victimization and are squarely in the survivor camp can help others to maintain hope, and assist in educating and creating awareness for others.

Another strike against victims are the flagrant biases that the media and some law enforcement and judicial agencies perpetuate.  Children are rightfully seen as the most vulnerable and all important when it comes to crime. However, the unspoken message is that Caucasians still get first class treatment compared to any minority in any context.  Within such classifications, the public often makes value judgments concerning people, and particular lifestyles.

Assumptions are so ingrained that it’s difficult to garner attention to the fact that, for example, young men are not all irresponsible, macho, beer guzzling creatures who walk off into the night, abandoning all responsibilities and family ties. And yet, this is told to us by the police, by people who don’t really know.

As sure as our parents told us that only girls are supposed to play with dolls, this is true. This is the barometer that some people use. Boys to men fend for themselves, always.  They don’t go missing, get kidnapped or are forced to do things against their will because they are males. This is simply an untrue and unfair portrayal at a time when families need all of the credible resources they can gather just to keep their loved one in the forefront of media, competing with all the rest.

When this fallacy about how young males don’t go missing continues, to have fake news intruded upon them is unconscionable. Such was the case with the family of Damien Sharp recently.

A fake news organization article was recently posted on Facebook concerning his case with no direct contact information to law enforcement nor accurate information regarding its content. Imagine the horror when Damien’s family discovered this very hurtful, potentially damaging innuendo. Not only is this family approaching their 15th anniversary of Damien’s disappearance  (May 25, 2002) and potential homicide while operating within the reality of gender bias, they have to deal with a fake news posting as well. This truly is cruel and unusual punishment for a family who needs resolution and peace of mind.

The number of missing persons at any one time in the U.S. (2017) according to Silvia Pettem researcher and author, is 100,000.

We don’t need to venture far to illustrate this point further, for an estimate of the number of missing persons cases posted on the CUE Center for Missing Persons website. The number of young males below 30 or young male children initially posted having reached young adulthood over the years is significant.

We have to do everything in our power to give families with male members equal time in the realm of crime reporting and media attention. We have to resist gender bias and believe the information given by families and not rely on well-worn stereotypes that serve no purpose.  Toward that end, as a crime victim Advocate, I can try to do my part by featuring Damien’s case as one of gender bias in the media on my radio show.

Toward that end, as a crime victim advocate, I can try to do my part by featuring Damien’s case as one of gender bias in the media on my radio show. Stay tuned for this important podcast for Shattered Lives Radio in June!

 And …Stay away from fake news- Trust your head and your heart. LJ


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Seemingly Justified: Betty Broderick in 2017

Betty Broderick, Donna R. Gore, LadyJustice

What circumstance would possibly give one the right to take another’s life? Some would argue intimate partner family violence, or a self -defense killing. However, in the case of Betty Broderick, princess of San Diego high society, she felt put upon, disposed of for a younger model, and not appreciated for her former sacrifices which contributed to the success of her husband’s career and their posh lifestyle.

But does the humiliation add up to justified double murder in 1989, or in 2017? Certainly not! What a warped sense of reality and oh so important tyrannical, narcissist she was by every measure that counts.  You would think that over time, since November 1989, a woman in prison might gain a little perspective, but not Betty!

A second opportunity at the brass ring, a potential release was argued for an entire day on January 5, 2017, before two hearing officers.  However, when all was said and done, Deputy District Attorney Richard Sachs had this to say:

“Betty Broderick is an unrepentant woman, She has no remorse and zero insight into the killings,” She just basically said, ‘They drove me to do this.” No journalistic details were shared about her actual testimony. Suffice it to say that they must have been sufficiently unimpressed.

I wonder what it is about narcissists that they are so lacking in empathy and insight?  Personality Clinical Expert, Dr. Linda Martinez Lewi has this to say: “The narcissist is an incomplete human being. He/she lives as a false self that is grandiose, extremely self-entitled, deceptive and exploitive. Narcissists are deluded all of their lives and they cannot change.”

As regards insight: “Narcissists are incapable of introspection and lack insight. They live from an external perspective. Their image, the persona they project to the world, how much money they have accumulated, the power they wield over others—-these are their life priorities.”

The other necessary ingredient is to have a human connection outside of your physical mental spiritual one-person existence i.e. compassion. It is defined as: Deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it.” 

We need not search far for the myriad of examples of lack of compassion in this horrific tale, replete with the most outrageous forms of behavior-

  • Her constant need for attention and social standing;
  • Disposable wealth on luxury and frivolity;
  • Treating her children as pawns in a seeming unending “high stakes game of chess”
  • No concern for her children’s welfare and exposing them to the most intimate details of marriage, playing them off each other; chastising them for feelings of love of the imperfect father;
  • Unending harassment, stalking and violence, including crashing her car into the front of their former home … all to “prove a point”
  • Using murder as her excuse, and her only way out, essentially a prescription to kill; as her former husband “gave her no choice to shoot them”

Is it any wonder that her mental illness has remained intact when she has had all of these years to ponder, reflect and self-examine.  But, that is not in the makeup of such a person. A leopard cannot change his spots, nor can a zebra his stripes.

Betty’s daughter, Kim wrote a book entitled, “Betty Broderick, My Mom, The Kim Broderick Story.” The most consistent comment was that she told an unbiased, fair account of both parents. How could one of their offspring be objective, living in a shop of horrors?

If you care to check it out, via Goodreads-  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21798288-betty-broderick-my-mom

In January 2017, the parole board denied Betty’s future hearing dates for the maximum time limit – 15 years. She will be 84 years old. But wait, before you brand her as too feeble to continue her evil ways. All of the experts say narcissism begins in childhood, is a personality disorder and can never, ever be cured!

LA Times article with video included at this link:  http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-broderick-parole-20170105-story.html

References

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-broderick-parole-20170105-story.html

http://thenarcissistinyourlife.com/tag/narcissists-lack-insight/


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Let’s Get Perspective- Murder is Murder

Aaron Hernandez

Recent news shaped by local media in Connecticut made it appear that the death of former football player, Aaron Hernandez  was something to expend endless amounts of ink, and great fanfare. His final resting place, Bristol, CT where he spent his childhood, nor his former football career is not license to make him a hero, worthy of being a role model.  It seems way out of proportion.  As I said in a recent Facebook post:

Maybe this isn’t the mainstream view but I just don’t get all of this fanfare for Aaron Hernandez in Connecticut. Yes, he grew up here and will be buried here in a private funeral, but the number of articles treat him like some role model. He was a murderer; potentially two times, they didn’t have a lot of evidence for the second one…… Sports is given this sacred position that is so warped, in my opinion. Yes, it is sad that he committed suicide, but he made his own bed and was a violent guy.  Let’s get real!

 

April 15, 2015 – Hernandez is found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Odin Lloyd, and is sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He is also convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition, and his sentences are two and a half years to three years, and six months to three years, respectively.

April 14, 2017 – Is found not guilty of murder in the deaths of Safiro Furtado and Daniel de Abreu outside a nightclub in July 2012. Of the eight counts Hernandez faced, he is found guilty of just one: illegal possession of a firearm.

Two murder trials, one conviction, one acquittal for lack of sufficient evidence,  law suits, drug, weapons charges,  witness intimidation and a lot of bad behavior in prison spells trouble, trouble.  This is not a man worthy of hero worship!  One redeeming quality by the family, to give his brain to science. Even if he had multiple head injuries, that in no way excuses murder.

The manner in which the media tries to whitewash celebrities who are criminals is an insult to our intelligence and a disservice to society. Talk about fake news! When will the media tell the truth about those who have earned acclaim for the wrong reasons?

We must give equal credit to a culture of sports wielding its power and influence way beyond the norm.  Salaries are enormous, athletes change their commitments like they change their socks with little consequence, while broadcasters give them adulation and free passes in most cases from intimate partner violence to murder. It’s okay because they have talent.  This is so wrong and no one holds them accountable.

Others who have received similar treatment by the media; politicians, big government, and sports culture include:

  • Caitlyn (formerly Bruce) Jenner- Olympic champion Bruce (now Caitlyn) Jenner was involved in a fatal car accident on the Malibu stretch of Pacific Coast Highway in February 2015. According to eyewitnesses, Jenner’s SUV rear ended a white car and sent it careening into oncoming traffic. It was then struck by a Hummer. The driver of the white car was killed, and seven others sustained injuries. Jenner was not hurt nor was she charged with manslaughter or a misdemeanor.
  • Former First Lady Laura Bush -Misconduct with a motor vehicle resulting in death. See blog – https://donnagore.com/2015/08/12/laura-bush-fatal-car-accident/
  • Billionaire Howard Hughes- In 1936, billionaire entrepreneur Howard Hughes hit a pedestrian with his car. The man died, but Hughes was not charged with any crimes as a result of the incident.
  • Football player- Carolina Panthers Rae Carruth was complicit in the 1999 murder of his girlfriend, Cherica Adams, 24, and the attempted murder of his unborn son with friend Van Brett Watkins (the shooter). See blog- https://donnagore.com/2016/03/09/murdering-men-and-their-motive-no-room-for-babies/;
  • Senator Ted Kennedy- In 1969, Ted Kennedy drove his car off a bridge on Chappaquiddick, an island near Martha’s Vineyard. The car went into the water, and though Kennedy swam free, his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, drowned in the overturned vehicle. Kennedy fled the scene and waited nine hours to report the incident; He later pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident. https://books.google.com/books/about/Senatorial_Privilege.html?id=mtrouya7aa4C  
  • Author William S. Burroughs  (Naked Lunch) shot and killed his wife, Joan Vollmer, in 1951. He was not charged with murder. The event stemmed from a drunken evening where the couple was playing a game of “William Tell,” as they had done in the past, in which Burroughs tried to shoot an apple from his wife’s head.
  • Actor, Movie, Broadway star Matthew Broderick was in Northern Ireland, in 1987, vacationing with his then-girlfriend, Jennifer Grey, when the tragedy occurred on a country road in Ennis-Killen, County Fermanagh. Broderick inexplicably veered into the opposite lane. He smashed head-on into the car driven by Gallagher, 30, with her 63-year-old mom (who had multiple sclerosis) as a passenger. He was later convicted of the lesser charge of careless driving and fined just $175 versus 5 years in prison, The victims’ stunned family calling the case “a travesty of justice.”

And, there are so many more, but you get the idea; special privileges for many in the public eye. My hope is that if they have a conscience, if they are tormented, then they would come out, admit to their crimes, intentional or unintentional, and do positive things to pay it forward for the rest of their lives! But, that’s frequently not the way it works.

In the meantime, as I write this,  the radio commentator is saying, “Friends and family are saying goodbye to Aaron Hernandez…” While loss of life is sorrowful for any individual and those who love them, let’s not make Aaron Hernandez any better than anyone else at the end of his life, public figure or not, after all, he was a convicted murderer.

References- http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/09/us/aaron-hernandez-fast-facts/ http://www.ranker.com/list/celebrities-who-have-killed-people/celebrity-lists

http://nypost.com/2002/09/02/brodericks-guilt-actor-to-meet-with-irish-kin-of-fatal-87-car-wreck/

people.com/archive/matthew-broderick-leaves-behind-the-grieving-irish-town-that-charges-him-with-two-lost-lives-vol-28-no-13/;

http://people.com/crime/caitlyn-jenner-not-charged-in-deadly-car-accident-district-attorney/

http://realitystudio.org/bibliographic-bunker/william-burroughs-and-the-william-tell-legend/


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