Excuse me are you listening? 6-15
Sunday, August 19, 2007

Dear Readers,

It has been a scary time for everyone.  In Lansing there have been 11 homicides and 2 of the victims were very prominent figures. 

Nationally, newspaper editor, Chauncey Bailey was gunned down in  in  California because of a story he was investigating.

This happened 1 day after the funeral of one of the recent homicide victims.

In New Jersey, 4 young students on their way to college in the Fall were shot execution style.  One student survived.  Her life will forever be affected by the issue of violence. 

Over the past few weeks, I tried to write about something nice or funny.  But I just kept coming back to the issue of fear and a lack of optimism.

 You know an in your face fear  that is provoked by humans is different.  The fear of knowing there is 60,000 killer bees behind you is different from being attacked by a human.  The fear of falling  500 feet and the anguish of knowing that in a few seconds you would no longer be here is different than being hurt by another human.

Answers come quickly when you know what the beast is.

Fear is like love, there are all types.  I was recently interviewed by a public radio station.  The reporter asked me if I was afraid.  I said, “Yes, however, individuals like Ruth Hallman and Robert Busby give community activist such as myself the permission and the torch to carry it high.”
   
We can all be torch bearers in our own way.

Someone called me recently and asked me why I have not been writing.

I told them that I have been busy.  I have been busy mourning for my city and my friends.   There have been 11 homicides as of the printing of this edition. I don’t know what has happened.  It’s so unreal that I have to repeat it again.   But there is more despair and unhappiness in the City of Lansing than I have seen in a long time.

I hope that when they put the waterfall in downtown they put some fish in it and issue city fishing poles for the homeless and hungry.  People are desperately looking for answers.  The foreclosure rates are causing chaos in the stock market and in people’s lives. Someone will be there to capitalize off of the loss of others. 

There has been a spike in bank robberies in this area as well.

Unsolved Murders

This information was obtained from WILX Channel 10.  Reporter Lori Dougovito discussed the capture and resolution of the unsolved murder of
Jimmy Buckley.  Buckley’s murderer was just caught.

Others are whose cases still languish in LPD files:

June 23, 2001: Bernita White was shot just outside the entrance of the Potter Park Zoo. She was with her 5-year old child. Her husband, Artis, a Michigan State Police D/Sgt. at the time, was considered a suspect. Lansing Police Lt. Bruce Ferguson says,"...there's been no one fully excluded."
(In a recent interview with Artis White, Bernits’s husband, log on to www.tncp.net, he indicates that the Lansing Police Department’s investigation was flawed because he was their only suspect and they let people out of the park after the shooting.)

July 3, 2003: Brandon Bridges, 21, was shot outside of his home on Francis Street. Neighbors say the father of two had his front door kicked in, he was tossed out and shot.
December 20, 2004: Police responding to a 911 call found Barbara Tuttle, 45, inside a Washington Ave. home. Autopsy results show she died of blunt force trauma to the head.
May 3, 2005: The body of 39-year old Teressa Mathis was found inside a home. Investigators say a fire was intentionally set and her death was most likely drug related.
June 30, 2007: Brandon Williams, 17, was gunned down outside of his apartment.
July 26, 2007: Community activist Ruth Hallman is brutally beaten in her Genesee Neighborhood home. She died two days later.
August 7, 2007: Deborah Cooke, 36, is found under a tree in Hunter Park. Police will only say she was physically assaulted.
August 9, 2007: Police responding to a 911 call find a woman, Debra Elaine Renfors, in the same Washington Ave. home Barbara Tuttle died in.

Killer in our midst?

I am not going to cover it up, gloss it over and/or stick a candle in it. Two prominent people were bludgeoned to death in this community and others have been murdered as well.  According to some, the murders are not connected.

Personally, I wonder if we have a serial killer in our midst.  Real or unreal, he is killing dreams and hopes in this city.

On most days, I feel like I found a cocoon with a dead butterfly stuck in the crevasse that was meant to release it into the world.

I have been to many funerals this year.  I was at the funeral of the 17 year old boy who was murdered.    No one is talking as of yet.  Who would?  Snitching is definitely not big and I think it is because the rewards that are being offered aren’t worth taking the risk.

Too many funerals, too much drama, too many fake well wishers. 

The List

I just want to be honest.  I do not profess to be liked by everyone.  But I do have a list of those who are on “The List”.  Those are people who hurt and have attempted to use me.  I encourage people to write things down because it may save your life.

  This list has a purpose and I suggest that everyone has one.  My list is so that my family members know who to kick out of my funeral or wake service.  There is no such thing as forgiveness after death in my opinion.  People need to either have a sincere intent to work it out or be in a place that makes you feel comfortable.  Apologize before someone leaves or explain yourself. 

I have explained to my family that upon my death, not to allow anyone who treated me poorly in life to have the luxury of faking their sorrow in front of other people.

Yes, it sounds so macabre.  This is one of the letters, I will not allow my husband to read before I print it because he will tell me that I’m being harsh.
 
Well, yes I am.  If you have the audacity to vilify someone in public during their life,  vilify them in death, so that people can see the real you.  Why wallow in guilt for the rest of your life for lying?

The Waiting Room

For the people who are mean like that I truly believe that there is a heaven and hell.

I had a dream once about the “Waiting Room” and thought that it would make a great short story someday when I had the chance to get away and write but this is a short version of the dream:

There was a man of prominence who was very mean to people that he didn't like.  He was very disrespectful and discourteous and thought that he was destined for great things.

    Unfortunately, his destiny was to get hit by a chariot while walking and talking on his cell phone.  Yes, I said a chariot.  Yes, this is a dream.  It was in Rome.  As the Romans built and gained wealth off of many people.  Working them to a literal death was to be his ultimate payback.  I don’t know where the cell phone came from. 

His arrogance as he “Waited” to find out where he was and why he wasn’t being served faster.  Didn’t help his cause.

He was so arrogant he didn’t even realize he wasn’t with the living.  With each thought of malice, he was pushed closer to the front of the line.  He smiled and thought finally he was getting some service.  Little did he know that he was getting ready to be introduced to hell.
  Thank goodness for him there were actually people in the world that died in that space who were actually more heinous than he.  As he sat there with the rapists, murderers and killers.

The “Waiting Room”  was actually a long black and red hallway with noble Roman chairs.  Each person was comfortably seated and made a descension and ascension at the same time.

When his time came to be served, he was so happy.

His ultimate resting place was from his torso up, he was in heaven.  His head sticking up above the ground like a mole peeking out a hole experiencing everything that beauty and love had to offer. 
   However, the bottom half of the chair from the waist down was in hell being gnawed, slashed and clawed at by its inhabitants. and singed by heat.

Sincerely,

Rina Risper

 

Would you like to e-mail us?  Have a press release or story idea?  Questions about obituaries?  Send us your questions and comments to:

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