Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New York City. NYPD. Rape Victim's Statement. Franklin Mata. Kenneth Moreno.

" I know that in a criminal trial a verdict of not guilty does not necessarily mean the defendants were found innocent, but I am devastated and disappointed by the jury’s decision. I have waited two and half years for closure that will now never come. Hearing that verdict brought me to my knees; it brought me back to my bedroom on that awful night when my world was turned upside down by the actions of two police officers who were sent there to protect, but instead took advantage of their authority and broke the law.

Everything they say about the difficulties of a rape trial is sadly true. One’s word is not enough in these days of C.S.I. and DNA. Even if people believe you, you are tested beyond what any crime victim should have to endure. While on the witness stand, the defense attorneys seek to shame and humiliate you for hours, even days, with deeply personal questions about your body, your intimate life and your social life simply because you dare to come forward. How saddening, how utterly disheartening.

I want people to know I take great comfort and express my thanks in the swift action from Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Kelly to fire Misters Moreno and Mata from service immediately following the verdict. Thank you both for making such a strong statement that this city will not tolerate criminal actions by its police officers. Not a single officer in uniform sat behind the defendants when I testified. That speaks volumes. I know there are thousands of real and good New York City police officers who would have acted very differently that night.

I want to especially thank Coleen Balbert, Edward Tacchi, Randolph Clarke, Dianne Spence and the entire District Attorney’s Office. I cry as I write this because I know they are hurting just like me, and because I know that beyond just doing their jobs, they are real people who care. I have spent countless hours over two and half years with these people and I am blown away by their dedication to fight for truth and justice. Before the jury went into deliberation, I told Coleen this has been personal for me, and their endless efforts to help me has meant the world. And even after this shocking ending, I mean that still, I will love them forever. When Ed told me after the verdict, “I am saddened for this injustice, and so sorry to you for this failure,” I lost it. My heart broke. What I can only say about Ed, Randolph and Coleen is that they did the best for me, they are the best to me, and to so many others they have touched. What sets them apart, makes them best-in-class, is their heart. They gave me a voice after a night when I had none.

To my friends and family, you are the silver lining of this, you keep me going. I am also so amazed and touched by the thousands of people who have expressed their outrage at what happened to me. How amazing are the people of New York City, and all over the country, to speak up in my honor. Thank you so much. I am overwhelmed by your support. I want you to know that if I could I would shake your hand, I would hug you, and I hear you. For me, public opinion will be the ultimate verdict. "

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Bright, Victoria. Australia. A Mob of Wallabies. May 2011.

I arrived in Sydney, Australia on May 15th for a two-week visit. My mom, sister, and brother-in-law live in the western suburbs known as the hills area. After a couple days rest, we drove down to Wandiligong, Victoria to have a look at my maternal grandfather's hometown. His family,the Norleys, was one of the pioneer families who settled in the area, working at the quartz and gold mines that flourished in Wandiligong beginning in the 1850s.

It was a wonderful trip for us. We were finally able to relate images to the oral history that my grandfather handed down to us. We even found the very spot on which the old homestead stood on what is now Growler's Creek Road. Thanks to a 93-yr old local historian who still remembered some of the family members---my grandfather's siblings and most certainly some members of the following generation ( mom's cousins ).

A trip to the local cemetery was imperative. The cemetery is located in the next town of Bright. There, we found the grave of my grandfather's grandfather. A fellow named Thomas Norley who hailed from Kent, England and who immigrated to Australia around the 1840s. He died in 1893. On the other side of the cemetery lay my mom's great grandparents on her mother's side. Their names were Allan and Sophia Kennedy. They are considered pioneers in the Ovens area which is North of Bright. Their eldest daughter, Sarah, married my grandfather's father, David Norley (b. 1850 d.1907). This was all very interesting although the distances in time were hard to fathom.

While meandering through the graveyard, we encountered this mob of wallabies. They quickly spotted us, and one of them immediately took up guard duty. We stayed clear of them because they seemed ready to stand their ground unlike deer and black bears in New Jersey who run at the sight of humans. These are wallabies and not kangaroos. Roos are bigger in size and usually have reddish fur. But, wallabies can be big enough to command some respect. Consider the wallaby in the background in relation to the tombstone near it. The wallaby on guard duty stood approximately six feet.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Tambucho Gassing. Committee on Animal Welfare. Philippines. CAW.

If there is one thing for certain, we know who supports Tambucho Gassing as a form of euthanasia at the Committee on Animal Welfare (Philippines). Their names appear on the poster shown above. They have either openly argued about the benefits(?) of Tambucho Gassing, or have voted to have it retained or reinstated in an administrative order. This is a fact, and not a point of contention. Sometimes, we need to present the sad truth graphically in hope that the errant parties will realize their bad judgment and correct it. Gassing animals to death via vehicular exhaust fumes is cruel, uncivilized, and unacceptable. Tambucho Gassing is not Euthanasia. It is incumbent upon the members of CAW to seek a path around the cruelty, to make drugs like Euthal readily available, and to be progressive in their decisions.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Robin. Jockey Hollow. Morristown, NJ. May 2011.

If you haven't been to Jockey Hollow in Morristown, NJ, go! The continental army camped there for three Winters in their struggle to liberate us from the British. You can see a few examples of the crude huts that were built by the American soldiers. Evidently, hundreds of these huts stood in the area surrounding what used to be Wick's farm. You can still visit the original farmhouse. The original huts do not exist anymore, but some of the original hearths are still in the ground. Life proved tough enough that during those Winters soldiers deserted en masse. Nevertheless, for all your sacrifices, dear patriots, the country is forever grateful.

Not too far from the hill where the soldiers' huts are located, I chanced upon some birds frolicking in the branches above. It was wonderful and refreshing to hear all the chirping, singing, and whistling going on up yonder. I felt that they egged me out of the malaise that consumed me that day; my pessimistic moods often get the better of me.

I trained my camera on this fellow, and clicked away before the opportunity disappeared. This Robin stood approximately 75 feet away and about 50 feet overhead. So, these long shots tested the capability of the lens in terms of clarity at extended focal lengths. I am pretty satisfied. Increasingly, my doubts about purchasing this expensive lens are being overcome. I have taken many unique photos that were simply not possible without this lens.