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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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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The Silence Can be Deafening- No Apologies for Being an Advocate 

Don Gore

Don Gore, my father

After 36 years of surviving the most life-changing event in one’s life, you gain perspective, but you also lose friends along the way.

My father’s murder occurred in Hartford Connecticut on April 17, 1981, and it made the law books for a particular legal maneuver. It was a case whose trial was prolonged for 6 1/2 years, caught in the morass of determinate and indeterminate sentencing laws. It was a case that coincided with the infancy of victim rights. My father’s case began as a missing person and ended as a homicide.

It was a case characterized by unthinkable events such as our family learning the news via a newspaper article and taking it upon ourselves to call the police, as no notification had come our way. There were promises were made such as, “This career criminal will never get out.” In fact, a very skilled attorney/victim advocate was puzzled as to why the perpetrator ever became eligible for parole in 2013.

My father’s murder case changed the State of Connecticut policy regarding the anonymity of victims during a parole hearing although the parole board failed to even acknowledge such a milestone.

That’s when I decided not to be silent. Don Gore needed a voice and I became that person in every way imaginable.

It is not a role I consciously chose, it evolved as my intellectual curiosity and need for justice grew.

Times have changed, with an entirely new generation appearing since 1981.  The landscape in victim services has expanded to include a plethora of agencies, governmental to non-profit. In addition, in 2017, violence, public perception, tolerance of what once was unacceptable, and the ever-changing social mores, has also escalated with the immediacy of social media.

In situations such as violent crime, I believe complacency breeds indifference. If you are not part of the solution, you could be part of the problem. It’s not that you have to go the whole hog, just make a meaningful contribution in your own way.

But then, there are the constants that don’t seem to change the work against positive change and hope for the future. These elements are equal to the silence that pervades if you chose not to be a voice for change, or, at the very least, acknowledge what others are doing and give moral support. The silences can be deafening causing me to work with increased fervor.  Some examples:

  • The murderer having no cognizance of who he killed or who was related to him in addition to showing no remorse;
  • The vulnerabilities that still surface, even after 36 years;
  • The tendency of the public to stay in denial mode, shaking their collective heads unless homicide or other crimes have touched them personally;
  • The lack of connection or involvement in many homicides and missing person families;
  • The refusal to see beyond the obvious that homicide and missing persons isn’t uplifting and that there is nothing positive that can come forth by educating and creating awareness. How wrong these people are, they will never get it! When you look beyond the surface, as advocates, we have been the force for so much positive change. As a byproduct, you gain surrogate families who can be very nurturing. Out of tragedy, inspiring events occur.
  • The lack of resources and assistance for so many families, even in this enlightened era forcing us to be ever more creative to get the job done.

The Future

Although I do not look forward to the five-year mark looming in the background for another appearance at a parole hearing in 2018, I embrace the right and duty to continually try to be the voice of my father, Donald W. Gore, whose life was snuffed out so abruptly and unfairly.

I hope he will be observing with pride from his place in heaven.  Dad, you are missed by many!

DRG- 4-16-2017


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Homicide Isn’t “Uplifting”

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The title of this blog – such is the refrain of book store owners, Christian oriented businesses, coffee house venues etc.  What’s an author to do? They don’t get it!

Definition of Uplifting – “Morally or spiritually elevating; Inspiring happiness or hope”

People who are not impacted by crime cringe at the mere mention of murder. They may not watch the news as “It’s all bad.” “It makes me sad.” “I want to protect my children.”  Well, their “Candyland existence” does not work when pitted against the realities of life.

The key is balance – To expose ourselves and our children to the realities, to be proactive, but not be possessed or obsessed by the evils, to appreciate, to have empathy, to get involved with a cause that is related in order to change the world for the better!

Granted, it is very challenging for adults to make sense of the seeming random, senseless violence happening all around us.  How can we possibly explain to our children?  The act of murder, is not uplifting whatsoever. HOWEVER, the pathway to resolution and the positive byproducts in the aftermath can be very rewarding, enriching and give one’s life real purpose, and meaning that honors your loved one in a way you had never imagined! 

It does our children no favors to overexpose them to the chaos in our world. Nor does it prepare them for life in 2017 to “live in a bubble of your own unrealistic creation.”

Tips to bridge the Gap-

  • Know and appreciate resiliency- Point out examples to your children and try to model it in your own behavior and when you encounter difficult situations. Stress that life is not always happy, but that there is always a way to “find the sunshine on the other side” if you problem solve!
  • Use opportunities to make ourselves and our children aware within our community  “when bad things happen to good people” by participating in  fund raising events, vigils,  marathons, searches, rallies with a  hopeful, positive message;
  • Seize opportunities to meet others – even one person that has a different life experience as a result of crime and make a friend. Your local crime victim advocate may be able to pair you with a person who would best benefit from such a pairing.  Typically someone in the acute phases of grief may really needs someone to listen, not advice, (which can be intense). Alternately, if you meet them with much space and time between the crime and your meeting, you will gain much insight into how others cope…and still manage their life in spite of…It’s amazing what you will learn from such a relationship!
  • Instill hope in the aftermath of crime and tragedy, for that truly is God’s Grace at work;
  • Join a non-profit organization that needs volunteers in order to gain exposure and insight.  The positives far outweigh the crime itself when everyone is working toward a common goal.  Many talents and skills are needed – small and large, so don’t be shy!  You will receive far more than you give, guaranteed!   In addition, you often build lifelong relationships!  One fine example is the  repeated winner of Great Non-Profits.org- The Cue Center for Missing Persons- http://www.ncmissingpersons.org/about/
  • Reviews from Great Non-Profits –  Very Uplifting!  http://greatnonprofits.org/org/community-united-effort-cue

 

Other References –

https://www.amazon.com/Grief-Diaries-Surviving-Loss-Homicide/dp/1944328149

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/uplifting?s=t


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Donna R. Gore

To schedule Donna R. Gore for your next conference, seminar or event, please contact ImaginePublicity. Phone: 843-808-0859 or Email: contact@imaginepublicity.co