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Posts Tagged ‘Snohomish County’

Rage Angry Explosion - Free image on Pixabay

Inflated sense of their own importance.

Lack of empathy.

Sense of entitlement.

Expect special treatment.

Believe they are superior.

Problems regulating stress.

Expect unquestioning compliance with their desires.

The rules don’t apply to them.

Their time is more important.

They must be first. They absolutely, positively MUST be first, regardless of the inconveniences or risks they create for others.

Most of us are familiar with these common traits of narcissists. We all know someone who has these issues– an ex-boyfriend, a coworker, a relative. We talk about narcissists easily, highlighting individuals in our own experience and bantering about how horrible they are to deal with.

But what is it called when the large part of a population starts to behave this way? And these many thousands of people carelessly careen around in one- or two- or five-ton weapons on wheels? They must be first. Laws don’t apply to them. They are not concerned with the safety or well-being of others.

I’ve previously used the term vehicular narcissism to describe the way many people in the Seattle area drive. While the term itself may imply narcissism on the part of the vehicles, it’s those who operate the vehicles whose prefrontal cortexes seem to go dark when they get behind the wheel.

In older posts I’ve made lists of the most prevalent Seattle driving behaviors. Some of the people were doing this some of the time. But since the age of COVID hit in early 2020 and police presence seemed to take a few steps back, an insidious mass illness has flooded our roadways like toxic sludge.

At first traffic was light but commutes were punctuated by too cool for school types blowing by at 90 or more in the toll or HOV lanes. Motorcyclists seemed to think we were in a Mad Max movie. People started to roll through stop signs and stop lights. Ten over was a common speed. Gradually traffic volumes returned to normal and my hope was that this behavior would calm down.

But it’s gotten so much WORSE. It seems impossible to leave home without encountering multiple angst-filled, entitled motorists who scream at and road rage others– often for obeying traffic laws!

Have you encountered any of the following behaviors lately?

  • You’re honked at for coming to a complete stop
  • You’re screamed at for leaving a safe following distance
  • You’re road raged for doing the speed limit
  • You have to slam on the brakes because someone from an adjoining street ignored a traffic signal
  • You see a car fly past a pedestrian already in the crosswalk, often people with dogs and children

Yes, these behaviors are routine nowadays. Don’t tell me “welcome to the new normal” because this shouldn’t be normal. People are injured, disabled, and killed by vehicular narcissism, aka drivers who need to better self-regulate.

One of the most amazing parts about this phenomenon is that if you honk or yell or reflexively throw up your hands, the bad drivers will flip you the bird or scream or aggressively jerk their vehicle towards you in some juvenile display of supposed dominance. There is no remorse.

They are most important.

They should be first.

Their time is more important than yours.

There are various takes on what kind of drivers are the worst. The Seattle area does have a lot of high performance vehicles on the roads, especially expensive SUVs. Two weeks ago I saw a Land Rover accessorized to the point of ridiculousness. It looked like something the last man on earth would make if he were going on a cross country zombie-killing trip and didn’t care what any last woman on earth might think. It had a noticeable sign on the back that said, “Enjoy your Jeep, peasants.”

I’ve heard “Teslas are the new BMWs.” Teslas are a trendy new item that accelerate quickly. This is one of the most common types of cars I see blasting down the road as if speed limits are merely a suggestion for the commoners. In the ’80s and ’90s, we had an influx of BMWs that were often blamed on those who escaped LA. Now these silent but deadly electric cars fly over our roads with their kin, joining the hoardes of other wheeled terrors that continually scoff at traffic laws.

A common topic of discussion when complaining about motor vehicle operator behavior is Big Truck Drivers. These are the jacked up full-sized pickups often sporting an illegal lack of mud flaps and wide wheel base. They like to show everyone how awesome the sound of their engine is and how much smoke they can belch as they floor it to pass the unworthy peons who obstruct their need to go 85.

Just tonight I was road raged by one of these. Angry that I was going slightly over the speed limit and not 120, he kept gunning it to ride up on my bumper, flash his lights, and bellow The Indignant Roar of the Entitled Big Truck Driver. He swerved around me in a turn lane and then cut me off. Thanks to his smooth handling skills and mature adult behavior, he was able to get that much closer to the vehicle in front of me. Then he made it to the next traffic signal before I did, where he was subsequently caught in the same five mile per hour traffic jam as the rest of us.

But these behaviors can come from any type of vehicle, like the mini van that backed into me in a parking lot and then told his insurance company I backed into him. Or the sneering woman who refused to let me merge onto the freeway and ran me onto the shoulder at 60. Then there was the SUV driver with a two-handed death grip on a giant sub sandwich who forced me off an arterial recently. The blank look in her eyes told me it probably didn’t register that she could have killed someone because SANDWICH. On it goes. All the time.

Seattle, we need to collectively get a grip. It’s gotten so much worse the past couple of years. Civilized behavior on the roads will continue to disintegrate unless we all ask take an inventory of our own behavior. Let’s take a check-up.

1. Are you STOPPING at stop signs and traffic signals?

This means, as my driver’s ed teacher would say, you actually stop and feel your own body’s counter motion when you do. Your wheels actually stop moving.

This does not include tapping the brakes then rolling through. This does not include looking before you roll through. This does not include blowing the sign or signal without even slowing, or driving through a red because you don’t see anyone coming the other way.

Stop means STOP. Stopping allows your brain a moment to reset and adequately scan for pedestrians and other vehicles in both directions.

2. Are you driving a reasonable speed?

Every day I see people driving 55 in a 35, 35 when the 20 mph school zone light is flashing, ludicrous speeds on the freeways.

Consider how much less able you are to stop for hazards or other living beings when your speed is increased. The news always touts that factoid in snow storms, but it’s true all of the time.

One ironic thing I’ve noticed is that most of the time, when someone is tailgating me in a residential neighborhood or near a school, they turn off in that neighborhood or at the school. Yet I’ll bet they complain about people driving too fast through their neighborhood.

It is also dangerous to drive at low speeds on the freeway, and it’s actually illegal to do that in the passing (left) lane. Keep to the right, maintain freeway speed, and stop blocking travel lanes.

3. Are you yielding to pedestrians?

Pedestrians have been getting missed a lot as drivers blow through signs and signals. Just tonight I saw a poor guy with a Golden Retriever waiting patiently at a crosswalk. He was highly visible but cars from three different directions decided to go through the intersection without waiting for him to cross. When he did cross, other vehicles impatiently started to cross before he was out of the crosswalk.

It is the law that you leave a lane’s width for those pedestrians. Waiting a few extra seconds won’t hurt you.

4. Are you following too closely?

A majority of drivers follow too closely. You should be able to see the rear wheels of the vehicle in front of you at all times. At freeway speeds, you should be able to count a “one thousand, two thousand, three thousand” between you and the vehicle you’re following.

Crashes happen all day every day because people choose to follow too closely. Freeways back up for miles because people can’t stay off of each others’ tails. This is so very avoidable but seldom done.

5. Are you racing between traffic signals, aka stoplights?

This is another bizarre trend in this area. People gun it to get ahead of others in traffic only to make it to the next red traffic signal before them.

It’s been proven that this antsy, reckless technique doesn’t really save you time. It does make you look like a jerk. Calm down, drive something resembling the speed limit, and we’ll all get there.

6. Are you a Frogger driver?

A coworker said the other day, “People drive like they’re in a video game!” This is so very true. Drivers weave in and out of lanes to get ahead of others. If one lane is going the speed limit, they’ll veer into the other to get ahead. They ping pong back and forth, usually without a turn signal. It’s critically important to them that they be first in line, and chances are no one in their car is in labor on the way to the hospital.

7. Are you using your turn signal?

Yes, for real. Signaling before turns, merges, or lane changes seems to have gone the way of the dodo.

IT’S THE LAW. USE YOUR SIGNAL. To do otherwise is pure laziness.

8. Are you braking to change lanes or because you see a freeway exit?

This ridiculous but very normal practice has a butterfly effect on our highways in particular. Drivers brake or slow down considerably to make lane changes. This can be very dangerous in wet weather. Maintain your speed, use your signal, look for an opening. It’s unlikely that you’ll need to use your brakes at all.

If you don’t know what I’m saying about freeway exits, watch and it will become obvious. People in the right lane inexplicably slow at exits, often following the fog line as if they are going to exit, then swerving back onto the freeway while doing 40 or 50.

9. Are you paying attention to your surroundings?

People in our area seem to have poor situational awareness. Mothers push their children in strollers with ear buds in or while on the phone, oblivious to threats around them. People reach right in front of you at the grocery store as if they were never taught the words “excuse me.” People drive as if completely oblivious to any signage or other lives.

What was the name of the last house address or cross street you passed? What was the last mile marker on the freeway? Do you know if you’re traveling east or west? Could you describe what the last jogger you saw was wearing?

Not long ago I was near an intersection where the power was out. While I don’t advise that others do this, I stood on the sidewalk and motioned at people to slow down.

As usual, many people didn’t notice me at all. Most eyes were fixed straight ahead. Some heads were bouncing around as they talked to others. These folks blew right through this dark intersection at the speed limit, or in some cases, far above it.

State law says to treat dark intersections as a four-way stop. But how many even notice that it’s dark? And how many people do you see stop or kind of stop, then follow other cars through the intersection without waiting their turn?

10. Are you taking out your rage on others who have nothing to do with it?

It is unfortunately normal to be road raged and threatened for being a careful driver. Careful does not mean stopping two car lengths from an intersection or driving 15 under. Careful means that you are driving something resembling the speed limit and you’re actively aware of your surroundings.

I came to a complete stop at a stop sign next to a school this summer. The guy behind me completely lost his crap. He started squirreling around in his big truck and screaming like an overgrown baby, then slowed down to yell threats as I signaled and made a sharp turn further up.

Because of behavior like this, many of us don’t want to be “the one who actually stops at the stop sign” or “the freak who goes the speed limit.”

Try going the posted 25 mph speed limit on East Marginal Way in Seattle. You will be mercilessly tailgated, then aggressively swerved around for daring to inconvenience others by obeying the law. They can’t just tailgate and change lanes. To prove whatever their point is, they have to ride your bumper, then make themselves known by scraping past you and swiftly cutting in front of you. It’s a rush, a power trip.

So we conform. We’re sheep. We become the thing we hate, making excuses to ourselves as to why we’re the exception to the rule.

Why our time is more important.

Why we’re entitled to live outside the lines.

Like middle schoolers who don’t want to be uncool, we do what the bullies do and speed and swerve and scream and swear.

11. Do you have super powers?

Comedian Dave Barry has pointed out that we all think we’re above average drivers.

Our collective driving habits seem to reveal that we do, in fact, think we’re above average drivers. We think, “I can glide through this light, I’ll see if there are pedestrians there.” Or, “I know how to handle a car like this. None of these other morons know how to drive.”

We tell ourselves lies to justify our reckless endangerment of others’ lives. Who cares that there might be a baby or a pet we can’t see in that other vehicle. Who cares that we might kill someone’s brother or daughter or grandmother as we blast from Point A to Point B with our eyes fixed straight ahead. It’s not our brother or daughter or grandmother. Our insurance will cover it.

Besides taking stock of our own behaviors and determining if we too have turned zombie and conformed to the sociopathic driving practices of the COVID era, I have one other piece of advice.

CALL THE POLICE.

Report this stuff. Don’t stand for it. Don’t shrug it off. Don’t allow it to become normal.

911 is available from any phone any time. Even if they can’t catch the aggressive driver, if you give them that license plate, it’s in the record now.

Bullies win if you let them win. Bullying becomes normal if you participate and/or look the other way.

We are all important.

It is important to practice empathy.

You are not entitled to endanger others’ safety and lives.

On the road you should not expect special treatment unless you’re an oversized load.

You are not superior to other human beings.

We all need to restrain from taking our stress out on those who have nothing to do with it.

Others don’t have to conform to your special demands.

The rules DO apply to you.

Everyone’s time is important.

And unless you’re in labor or bleeding to death, you don’t NEED to be first.

Just say no to vehicular narcissism.


I become the incarnation of what I express.

Selwyn Hughes

©2021 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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Last night a visit to the growing memorial to the Bothell police officer who was murdered resulted in the post You Matter. I visited the site again tonight and spent some quality time with both strangers and friends as we honored this brave man. The memorial continues to grow. People of all types continue to gather there to express appreciation to our area officers, including the officer who was wounded in this incident.

The world needs to see that the Northshore area respects, appreciates, and values the men and women who take great risks every day to keep the peace in our increasingly restless society.

Shortly after I arrived, the woman on the left burst into a beautiful operatic rendition of The Lord’s Prayer. It was another spontaneous moment that hushed onlookers and bowed reverent heads.

See her arms raised as she lifts her voice towards heaven…

A question has been asked at this site repeatedly: what can we do to show support like this on a regular basis? How do we ensure that they always feel that the majority is behind them?

Bothell’s chaplains are doing an amazing job. The support surrounding agencies are offering Bothell PD is phenomenal.

Note Matthew 5:9, above: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.


Courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality.

C.S. Lewis

The details of Officer Shoop’s murder are here. The circumstances of his death are horrifying. May peace blanket this agency and community.


©2020 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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How will we know it’s us without our past?

John Steinbeck

There is a Bothell I used to know. It is an increasingly distant memory, a mist flickering on the moors of my imagination. What remains of that Bothell amounts to the dying embers of a fire that is being stamped out by an oversized boot called Progress.

In the early 20th century, progress was a large house for the Ericksen family, Bothell pioneers. Gerhard Ericksen was a state legislator whose legacy lives on although most people don’t know his role in the building of Bothell. The Ericksen family only owned this house for a few years. Then it became home to a different family who stayed for quite a while.

The Bothell the Ericksens helped build was not a city that decimated its natural resources and constructed seas of soulless boxes priced beyond what many could bear. It was a Bothell that coexisted with much of its natural environment, that built individual homes with sufficient space between them.

This is summer 2019. Unable to bear the high property taxes any longer, and with property values going through the roof, the strained owners of our eclectic beloved shopping center sold out to developers. An out of state company headquartered in Atlanta stepped in.

Fences went up, buildings started coming down. I was told that the City of Bothell didn’t have the money to save any historic buildings at Country Village on the Bothell-Everett Highway south of Canyon Park. The developer did not respond to questions.

The free-roaming chickens were rounded up and rehomed. People started to take mementos from Country Village without permission. There were online auctions and some of us asked what protections the ducks would be given. We were assured that the duck pond would stay, but that did not mean a thing for the surrounding land that the ducks have nested and lived on for generations.

Have you ever watched Disneyland burn? That’s how losing Country Village feels. For decades we shopped there, ate there, fed ducks there until they banned it, saw Santa there, sang songs there, took photos of the reindeer there. Country Village is where people went for haircuts, Moso bags, toys, antiques, Pirate Day. You could stop by for no other reason than to sit on a bench near the pond and enjoy a bag of kettle corn.

There was a peace there. Malls don’t have this peace. Urban shopping centers don’t have this lifeforce. The feathered fowl, the willow tree, the aging arches and old wagon lent themselves to a calm in the frenzied Seattle metro bustle. No matter how busy it was, you could hear yourself breathe.

On this sweltering day I stepped inside the northern arch to photograph one of the buildings that, to my amazement, was left standing. A security guard approached and related how people were waltzing into the property despite signs indicating that we needed to go no further than where I was. A red dragonfly hovered above his car as we talked at length. Who were you really, dragonfly?

Above is one of the two buildings that I learned would be left standing until April 2020. If someone does not move the buildings by then, they too will be lost forever. So I put the word out– free houses! But there they stand, and now it’s October. They have less than six months to live unless we find a kindhearted soul to save them.

This is the front of that old building. I stood there and stared into the ragged trellis of 2 X 4s designed to protect its interior. But for how long?

How long have these houses stood here unmolested? And now they waste away in hopes of a savior, a moving truck, new land to live the rest of their lives. I remain perturbed that there has not been an organized effort to save them. There are so few like them left.

I still have books I bought in these buildings as a kid.

The Ericksen House served as Whitehouse Antiques in recent years. They had quite the collection of candy and chocolate in addition to metal signs and antiques. Visitors would wind their way through its midsection, then clomp downstairs to circle the basement where, inevitably, someone would always trip at an unexpected step down. Then you’d clomp upstairs past the records on the wall and visit the old bedrooms that were either too hot or too cold.

In an era of big box homes with tiny to no yards, it’s disturbing that a historic beauty like this could go the way of the dodo. Experts tell me that because of vandalism and remodels much of the interior isn’t original. But the bones are still there. And it’s still significant. And it’s still one of a kind.

Descendants of the Ericksens marched in the 2019 Bothell Fourth of July Parade.

This is now October 2019. The former Country Village site looks like someone scraped away all of its trees and creatures and structures with a merciless metal spatula. Someone meaning Progress. This is what’s happening throughout King County as forests are being razed for huge developments, like the travesty in Black Diamond where thousands of cookie cutter homes will transform that wild, tiny mining town into Anywhere, USA.

The land regulations that allow this alarming displacement of wildlife and construction of myriad buildings that are grossly unsuited to the surrounding habitat are supposedly environmentally sensitive. “People need somewhere to live” they tell me. Why do they have to wipe out the local biome and pack people in like sardines? “We need affordable housing,” they say. Then why can’t longtime locals like myself even afford half of one of these supposedly affordable units?

This is the land where we ban plastic straws but tear down acres of proud ancient trees without regard for the inhabitants who’ve been there for thousands of years. There is no empathy for the mountain beavers, coyotes, deer, possums, raccoons, bears, birds, fish. Many of the new inhabitants have no connection to the surrounding environment or local history.

What’s that in the distance? To the right?

What’s that to the left? Oh. The same generic buildings that will soon fill the entire site. That seem to be dominating the Seattle metro area. That are consuming the I5 corridor from Chehalis to Bellingham.

This is what’s left of the duck pond. The rest of their habitat has been destroyed. I don’t know how ducks will be able to roam a high density complex of concrete freely, but Progress knows.

Look north and there it is, its footings being sheared away by loud machines. The Ericksen House is still standing proudly in the face of impending destruction. It’s nightmarish seeing this, and only this corner, of the village left.

It seems illogical, implausible, impossible that in a community as collectively wealthy as Bothell that we cannot find enough of us to band together and save this.

This is not a sinkhole. Not literally. But these buildings will be sucked into the sinkhole of Progress next spring without intervention.

The arch that used to say “welcome” now serves as a billboard for the demolition company.

Near. Far. But near could soon be so much farther that we’ll never see it again.

Will the road signs have to be changed too? Or will they stay and remind us of what Progress has cost?

As if there weren’t enough of these on the former back lot already, here are over a hundred more… along with thousands up and down the Bothell-Everett Highway. As an out of town visitor said, this road seems to have turned into a nonstop block of high density from downtown Bothell to Everett. Where is the wildlife supposed to go? Where are the lower to middle class people supposed to go?

After taking that photo I looked south. This cloud looked like a hand, a tidal wave, an angry face, or perhaps, if you tilt your head to the left, a mighty angel sheltering something with its wings.

If buildings could talk, these two might be reciting lyrics from the ’80s, the decade Country Village was born.

My defenses are down
A kiss or a frown
I can’t survive on my own…

Send me an angel
Send me an angel
Right now…

Above is the Ericksen family plot in the Bothell Pioneer Cemetery near UW Bothell, established 1889. Like the house they built so long ago, their graves face east, hoping for new life.

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History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are.

David McCullough

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©2019 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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Purple Candle 2

This week the trial of Alan Smith began in Snohomish County Superior Court. Smith is accused of murdering his children’s mother and estranged spouse Susann Smith in February of 2013. News coverage has been sparse so far, but the Bothell-Kenmore Reporter  has followed the case all along and will continue to post updates. Matt Phelps and crew– thank you for keeping this in the public eye.

Murder trial begins for Bothell man accused of killing estranged wife

In May of 2013 I wrote the post below, Murdering Susann Smith, which has hundreds of comments attached. I didn’t know when I penned it that it would become a gathering spot for people wanting more information about the case and to share what they knew. The neighborhood where this happened was concerned about their safety and disgusted by what went on at the Smith house after her murder.

For a long time, the primary suspect in the case was free and making a very public affair of his relationship with his new girlfriend, who later committed suicide after giving birth to their child. I still have trouble typing that, especially in light of what he allegedly did to Susann. He treated both women as disposable, as if he was God and had every right to hurt them and then get rid of them. Eventually the police had enough evidence and arrested him.

The brutality of Susann’s death does not resemble a burglary gone wrong as the defense claims. It was targeted, personal, and intended to inflict maximum damage. It shows wicked rage and a deep, seething hatred that had built up like a volcano. I’m surprised that the defense is going with that, that a burglar did it and Alan was at home asleep with his kids when this happened. My knee jerk reaction was, “you’re kidding me.” That is not the angle I thought they’d take, especially in light of the advance planning the police said went on and the evidence.

Returning to what I said in the first paragraph, the media hasn’t taken much of an interest in Susann’s murder. Stories about Alan having sex in his front yard after her murder were read around the world, so the original horror got lost in mankind’s voyeuristic attraction to the sleaze of it all. Imagine if every person who read the public sex story or commented on it in a public forum gave just one dollar to an agency that helps domestic violence victims. Millions of dollars could have been raised.

I’d like to provoke some coverage in the interest of raising awareness of domestic violence and related homicide. Susann Smith was one of 29 victims of domestic violence homicide in Washington State in 2013 and one of two in Snohomish County. This is not rare; it has happened many times before and will happen again. But there is a lot we can do to stop it, and I encourage you to visit some of the domestic violence-related links on the right sidebar to learn more about what you can do to help.

Susann was a beautiful woman who was devoted to her children and I suspect that I would have really liked Susann if I’d met her. But news outlets go for the money making stories, and this case didn’t involve a 21 year-old with perfectly curled hair extensions, false lashes, selfies of her drinking with her girlfriends on Facebook, and a bunch of sordid sexual drama in the marriage. Despite Susann originally being from Germany, I didn’t see this murder case get much international coverage until Alan Smith made sure everyone was seeing how cool he thinks he is by exploiting a woman with mental illness.

Perhaps Susann’s family hasn’t wanted the coverage and just wants to make life as normal for her children as they can. This has undoubtedly been traumatic for both sides of the children’s family and more media coverage might twist all sorts of facts and sensationalize particular elements of the case. But I want people to know that there are many more out there like the man who killed Susann, narcissists who think they’re too smart to get caught and who present a life-threatening danger to their victims. I’ve said it many times before, but men and women alike should be intimately familiar with Sandra L. Brown‘s books How to Spot a Dangerous Man and Women Who Love Psychopaths.

Within a few weeks, a female judge will be deciding Alan Smith’s fate, and I expect that any conviction will be followed by appeals. If you’re a praying person, now is the time to pray. Pray for the Susann’s family. Pray for her children. Pray for the suspect’s family and for Love Thai’s family and little boy, that he would grow up unaffected by all of this sorrow.

Prayer opens windows, inviting God in to comfort the grieving and achieve justice. A trial like this can be like putting the victim’s family through her murder all over again, and this time it might be even worse because some have traveled from another country to be in the courtroom. It might be the first time they’ve been that close to the evidence.

Many people are murdered every year. The utter brutality in this case, which is so blatantly personal, is what’s stood out to me all along. It doesn’t surprise me that the Reporter has noted that Alan Smith has looked blank much of the time. If I am correct about his psychological inclinations, he’s a human shark. He won’t feel remorse or regret over Susann’s death except to the extent that it affects him. He’s not beyond God’s reach or redemption, but that’s between him and God and not something anyone else can work out for him.

Whatever comes of this trial– and I pray that justice would come crashing down like fire from heaven so that no one else can be hurt by this guy– I am reminded that the Creator is keeping score. Yes, Alan is innocent until proven guilty. But his outrageous behavior after Susann’s death, including moving back into the house where her blood had soaked the floors and walls– and planning to move his children in there– has not shouted “shaken father trying to normalize his life.” It’s been more like a chest-beating victory cry to the world, and he only has himself to blame for that. No one did this to him. No one did this for him. No one made him do it. And if he’s guilty, he will have to live– or, if the judge sees fit– die knowing that.

This might come across as judgmental. Perhaps. But I’m a woman who’s spent a lifetime up close and personal with narcissists and sociopaths who are willing to badger, belittle, abuse, exploit, and even want to kill women who stand up for themselves. I have experienced various levels of this in my personal life and in the workplace and have two related degrees. There are elements of this case that resonate with me, and ultimately I don’t see “awesome” or “criminal mastermind.” I see cowardice. I see someone who couldn’t own their feelings or actions and robbed two beautiful children of their mother in some sort of demonic act of vengeance.

It’s in God’s hands. And if I were an abuser, or someone who exploits others, or a killer, I’d be at least a little concerned about what He’s going to say when He asks for an account of my life. Who will have the guts to say, “she deserved it” or “it was coming to her?” In light of my belief that what we do in this life determines our station in eternity, that this is the testing ground for what comes next, “oh God, what have I done?” is a much more realistic answer. And the sooner those words are spoken, the more likely it will be that the person saying them won’t choose a forever separate from God’s love.

I can’t provide up to the minute news coverage of this trial but will post things as they’re sent to me or as I come across them. I will approve comments as soon as I can. I don’t make a dime from blogging so you know this isn’t financially motivated. This is about keeping the spotlight on domestic violence, achieving justice for those involved, and remembering a woman who was put through the worst kind of hell for having the courage to move on.

The next Susann Smith could be in the same room with you– what are you doing to help them to safety?

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Please take the time to become familiar with the Document the Abuse website and the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit featured there. If you are affected by domestic violence, make it impossible for your abuser to get away with it no matter what happens.

Also, check out Susan Murphy Milano’s Times Up! A Guide on How to Leave and Survive Abusive and Stalking Relationships. Susan was our fearless leader at the Time’s Up crime victims advocacy blog until she passed away a couple of years ago. We continue our crusade for justice in her memory.

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©2015 H. Hiatt/wildninja.wordpress.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninja.wordpress.com.

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From the Washington State Department of Natural Resources

From the Washington State Department of Natural Resources

Monday, March 24th, I was perusing blog posts about the Oso, Washington mudslide, some of which were written by people knowledgeable about local geology. I was disturbed by what I found. By Tuesday, the major news stations and newspapers around Seattle had started to publish stories asking the same question—were there red flags indicating that the mudslide would happen? Could a landslide happen again soon?

I’m not an expert, but the more I learn about the geology in this area, the more concerned I become about the possibility of another slide and the more I question whether rebuilding in the same spot—if that’s on the table– is a wise idea. As a society we see rebuilding as a sign of resilience and so might not question the wisdom of doing so. (more…)

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Oso Aid

 The Oso Chapel is hosting a community prayer and share meeting on Wednesday, March 26th, at 7 P.M. Details here

The death toll has risen to 14 in the Oso mudslide as rescuers have been giving their all to reach any survivors before a storm hits on Tuesday. It was actually area residents who found several of their neighbors’ bodies. There are still many unaccounted for– over a hundred missing persons reports have been made to the authorities. Entire families are missing. KOMO reported that a family dog was rescued from the rubble, reinforcing hopes that there could still be people rescued from this nightmare as well. (more…)

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From the Seattle PI. Lindsey Wasson/AP.

From the Seattle PI. Lindsey Wasson/AP.

From the Oso Chapel’s Facebook page:

Oso Chapel will coordinate a Community Prayer and Share meeting this Wednesday evening, March 26th, 2014 at 7 P.M. This will be an opportunity to share, find comfort, and relay specific needs. We want to be a help and a blessing. (more…)

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UPDATE, 3/24/14: PLEASE SEE THE NEWER POST ON THIS BLOG TITLED OSO AID FOR MORE WAYS TO GIVE AND HELP BOTH PEOPLE AND ANIMALS. THANKS!

Oso Mudslide. Marcus Yam, The Seattle Times.

“It’s much worse than everyone’s been saying,” said the firefighter, who did not want to be named. “The slide is about a mile wide. Entire neighborhoods are just gone. When the slide hit the river, it was like a tsunami.” -From the Seattle Times (more…)

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Michael Saffioti. From http://www.nydailynews.com.

Michael Saffioti. From http://www.nydailynews.com.

Yesterday the Everett Herald reported that no criminal charges will be filed in the death of Michael Saffioti. Saffioti died in the Snohomish County Jail July 3rd under questionable circumstances.

http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20130102/NEWS01/701029888#No-charges-in-death-of-Snohomish-County-Jail-inmate%0A

During a previous incarceration, the Herald reports, Saffioti became known as Bubble Boy among inmates because of the way his food needed to be prepared. He had a severe dairy allergy among other medical problems. (more…)

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