March 14th, 2005

Long road home

The Green River Killer

I have to make a statement regarding an entry I made not too very long ago, about a month ago I think, regarding the Green River Killer. I hereby adjust the previous stand I had about him, a stand I took based on a two-hour long report I saw on Dateline. In the earlier entry I said I felt the police had "the wrong guy". I made that statement erroneously, and here's why.

I've been reading this book, Green River, Running Red, written by Ann Rule, a book all about the exploits of the Green River Killer. It's a big book, and a long read. I'm just about halfway through it; it's hard to read, not because of the vocabulary, but because Rule gives very specific descriptions of locations and people that I am just not intimately acquainted with. I think this book is worth reading twice, or maybe even three times, just in order to absorb all the information presented within.

I also have to make a correction as to the number of murders Gary Ridgway (sp?)(too lazy to go look it up) is guilty of: the official count is 54, if you can believe it (I cannot). In that earlier entry I'd said it was "40+", I think, and while not wholly false, the real number is just that much more staggering.

54. Fifty-four women and girls, murdered. It is unfathomable. It is beyond human linguistic description. It is a number that is difficult to grasp when you're talking in terms of lives lost, let alone considering the number of human lives affected by each of those 54 women: the families, the law enforcement investigating them, and their families. And now those of us reading Ann Rule's account of what happened, or those of us who had been following the story on Dateline.

Mainly, I wanted to say here officially that I rescind my earlier statement that Gary Ridgway, arrested, tried and convicted of murdering all those women, might be innocent. I picked up the book to read to see if there might be more information in there that even a two-hour Dateline report could miss. After seeing Dateline's story, I felt they had the wrong guy; I'm not even done with this mammoth book, and I already see I am wrong. They certainly do have the right guy.

However, in addition to the profiles of all the women who lost their lives at the hands of Gary Ridgway, Rule also provides a profile of the killer, of Mr. Ridgway, and his upbringing and evolution as an adult. While I don't think the police have the "wrong guy", I do feel some compassion for Mr. Ridgway. His was a life of trying to do the right thing, and always winding up being ignored or neglected, and when he did finally get some attention, it was always of the negative sort. I know behavioralists and other righteous-seeming adults are quick to say, "But he was an adult when he committed those murders!! He had choices just like everybody else; and he made the WRONG choices, and he should suffer the consequences!!"

Be that as it may, you also can't argue with the fact that the beliefs and values a person forms when they're growing up are pretty difficult to undo. And honestly, how many people do you know who actually stop to take the time to ask the other people around them, "And how are you doing these days? Do you need some help? Is there anything I can help you with???"

The fact is, we're all struggling as adults, in some way or another. The adults in Gary Ridgway's childhood failed him, and failed him consistently. Perhaps he would have made the same mistakes anyway; but who's to say? And anyway, that's pure speculation. For all intents and purposes, Gary Ridgway was a hard-working man trying to please his loved ones -- is that a crime??? What about the crime of neglect committed by his parents, and all the other adults who came into contact with him as he grew from childhood to manhood?

And no doubt his parents were neglected, and their parents were neglected, and on and on. Gary Ridgway, near as I can tell so far, was *not* trying to be "great"; he was merely longing for, like many of us do, the kind of love and attention and nurturing that every child deserves. And if you don't get it as a child, you spend the rest of your life looking for it, whether people understand what you're doing or not.

At his sentencing, the families of the women he murdered lined up to condemn him. I thought it was as ludicrous as the crimes he committed. That's why I was compelled to say, "two wrongs don't make a right!!" They don't!

Moreover, I saw with my own eyes (ah, the beauty of videotape), Gary Ridgway cried and showed deep remorse when each of those family members stepped forward to cast their stones. Only one person as I recall actually had the decency to say to him, "I forgive you for what you've done". No doubt, the murders he committed was wrong; I'm not saying he should be the exception to the rule. But I am saying take a closer look. Scott Petersen (or 'Peterson', again, I don't feel like looking it up) showed *ZERO* remorse or emotion during his entire trial, nevermind the sentencing part. Now there's a couple of guys who are worlds apart!!! Scott Petersen was a spoiled brat; you could hardly accuse Gary Ridgway of that.

And even the BTK killer ... well, I'm not finished reviewing all the information on that. Although I will say my impression of him is that he was after fame and glory through his murderous spree. And he had a higher IQ than Ridgway. A higher IQ, but no less nondescript.

Oh, I could go on and on. Maybe someday I will. I just mainly wanted to say that my assessment of Gary Ridgway was wrong before; I do think the police have the right guy, now, and for that you can thank the book I'm reading.
Long road home

Must be the green tea...

You scored as Buddhism. Your beliefs most closely resemble those of Buddhism. Do more research on Buddhism and possibly consider becoming Buddhist, if you are not already.

In Buddhism, there are Four Noble Truths: (1) Life is suffering. (2) All suffering is caused by ignorance of the nature of reality and the craving, attachment, and grasping that result from such ignorance. (3) Suffering can be ended by overcoming ignorance and attachment. (4) The path to the suppression of suffering is the Noble Eightfold Path, which consists of right views, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right-mindedness, and right contemplation. These eight are usually divided into three categories that base the Buddhist faith: morality, wisdom, and samadhi, or concentration. In Buddhism, there is no hierarchy, nor caste system; the Buddha taught that one's spiritual worth is not based on birth.

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Buddhism

92%

Christianity

83%

Hinduism

67%

Paganism

54%

Islam

50%

Satanism

42%

Judaism

38%

agnosticism

25%

atheism

17%

Which religion is the right one for you? (new version)
created with QuizFarm.com


I just would like to say right now that I am comfortably firm in my belief in God. I wasn't always this way, and as a rule I don't proselytize. But I do believe in God, and I follow Christianity, and I answered this quiz as honestly as possible. That being said, I found the results of this quiz eye-opening, amusing, and not the least bit surprising.

I go to a Lutheran church (although not nearly as often as my pastor would like, tough toogies), although I was raised Catholic. For reasons I won't go into here, I have officially dispensed with having anything to do with the Catholic church. I am not the least bit surprised that children who are forced to attend have such a difficult time in life, but I also have other reasons for avoiding the Catholic church like the plague that it is.

In my life, I have come to appreciate the vastly different ways that people find 'religion', or don't find it. I myself am Christian, but that's my own special calling. To tell you the truth, I think I'd really be happy with Islam, but I never delved into it enough to be able to say for sure. The Muslims I have known are some of the calmest, most peaceful people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. The barest tip of that iceberg I scratched, I found truth that really struck a chord with me. My dad, a Catholic convert, was really drawn to Judaism in his last years alive (he was raised Protestant). My mother endeavoured to be a nun, but she found herself on the wrong side of the politics at the convent/high school she went to, and at graduation they sent her off into the real world, deeming her 'unfit'/her family doesn't have enough money for the convent life. She is in a state of denial about my current worshipping affairs; to her I will always be "Catholic" ... but that is her, not me.

And of course, I always say, "I didn't abandon the Catholic faith, the Catholic faith abandoned ME!"

Me and scores and scores of other souls.

As for my belief in God, I think Albert Einstein summed it up best: darkness is the absence of light; coldness is the absence of heat; and evil is the absence of God.

Thanks for reading. :)
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