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Monday, November 28, 2011

A Quick "Hello"...

Hi everyone.

I know I haven't posted in, what.....five days now.

It has been an tough weekend, and I need to take a day or two to get my shit together.  I am currently in the process of going through opiate withdrawal, and it's hitting my body like a motherfucker.  I intend on writing a piece about the situation.  In fact, I was about four paragraphs in, when I decided to say, "Fuck it", and start watching TV.  Needless to say, the constant regimen of assorted pain killers that I have been taking for the last  six months are tearing my body up.  I am hurting like hell right now.  From what I have read, that is the pain killers' way of keeping you addicted.  When you stop taking them, they trick your brain into ramping up the pain levels, so that you feel like you need to take more.

Hopefully, that should go away within the next couple of days.

In the meantime, feel free to stop back by toward the end of the week.  I'm going to do my best to get back into the swing of things, and get on a regular routine.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It's Official: I've Joined The Priesthood

That's right.  I have become an ordained priest in The Church of the Latter Day Dude, otherwise known as Dudeism.

The reason why I am accepting a new religion is simple:  I want to pay it forward.

Four years ago, our friend Lindsay officiated our wedding ceremony.  It was a simple service.  Just Jessi, myself, Lindsay and two witnesses to sign the marriage certificate.  We got married in the kitchen of our three bedroom apartment, followed immediately by a "reception" with chocolate chip ice cream and sparkling cider.  Lindsay became ordained through the Universal Life Church, an online church that allows you to become ordained, immediately, free of charge.  As a minister in the church, she has legally recognized authority to perform marriages in all 50 states in the U.S., and many countries abroad.  We didn't necessarily have the "wedding of our dreams", but, looking back, we wouldn't have had it any other way.

If the circumstances should present themselves, I also wanted to be in a position to officiate a wedding or civil service, especially if it could help someone in my local LGBT community.  However, considering my previous "issues" with religion, I didn't want to become ordained in a church that had a Judeo-Christian philosophy.  I am atheist, after all.

Dudeism was right for me.

Before you ask...Yes, it is a legitimate church.  And it has it's own philosophy.  Dudeism is very similar to Taoism and Zen Buddhism.  It's tenets are simple:  "Live and let live."  Life is short and complicated and nobody knows what to do about it. So don’t do anything about it. Just take it easy, man.

I can abide.

And, as a Dudeist, I don't have to know what in God's name other religions are blathering about.  It appears to be a perfect fit.

In case you were wondering, I am serious about this.  My certificate of ordination will arrive in the mail, hand signed, in approximately two weeks.  I want to be able to help someone in the way that Jessi and I were helped four years ago.

So....who wants to be my first marriage?

Remembering Tiffanie

Tonight is the 20th anniversary of Tiffanie Chumita's death.

She was an attractive, outgoing young woman, who died decades before her time.

She was my friend.  A twenty year old with a kind heart, who was nice enough to take the time to humor a fat, socially awkward teenager, at a time when most of his so-called "friends" ignored him.

On November 23rd, 1991, I sat alone at a wedding reception, watching the doors.  Waiting for Tiffanie to walk in.  She never did.

She died that night from injuries that she sustained in a traffic accident.  Essentially, she bled to death.  And, as one of Jehovah's Witnesses, she was not allowed to accept a blood transfusion.  Would a transfusion have saved her life?  It's hard to say.  But it would have at least given her a chance.

Say what you will about religious freedoms, the First Amendment, what have you.  A religious organization should not have the right to force you to become a martyr for their cause.

Witness publications say that, when it comes to the issue of blood transfusions, it is a "conscience matter", meaning, it is up to the individual to make up his or her own mind based upon what they believe is right.  They don't tell you that if you accept a blood transfusion, even if it is the only means to save your life, you become the pariah of the congregation.  Often times, you're disfellowshipped (kicked out of the church), and shunned by your family and friends.

The organization of Jehovah's Witnesses force their policies upon their followers, usually in the form of bullying and intimidation.

If privately given the chance, would Tiffanie have chosen to save her own life on that night.  We will never know.  She was never given the opportunity to do so.  Her parents, Alex and Connie (Alex was an elder in the local congregation at the time), along with other members of the body of elders of the Park West congregation, were in her room with her.  Speaking for myself, I hold them accountable for her death.  Tiffanie, like thousands of other Witnesses, was browbeaten into making her decision.  She had no choice but to succumb to peer pressure.

My last memory of Tiffanie is somewhat ironic.  We spent the afternoon together at the State Fair, after bumping into each other.  As we rode "The Zipper", Alphaville's 'Forever Young' was playing in the background.  I still see her face every time I hear that song.

I miss you, Tiffanie.

*If you have lost a friend or a loved one from their refusal to accept a blood transfusion, please visit Witnesses In Memoriam.  Let your voice be heard regarding their needless death.

For Jessi

It's strange how some songs become all the more meaningful depending on the circumstances in your life.

Happy anniversary, hun.  You have made me a better person.  I am forever at your feet.


Monday, November 21, 2011

A Mashup Monday Double Feature

It has been a few weeks since I have had a Mashup Monday post.  Honestly, it's probably the article that I look forward to writing the most each week.  Unfortunately, depending on what is going on with my life, or around the world, Mashup Monday gets forgotten.

In scouring the web for a song to post today, I found two that were each so amazing, I couldn't decide between them.  So, I'm sharing them both.

First up is a track that I first heard back in March.  It's a mashup of Gnarls Barkley's 'Crazy', with Adele's 'Rolling in the Deep'.  From Dark Ninja comes 'Crazy in the Deep':

Now, from two songs which have been beat to death, to a couple of tracks that never make their way through the mashup circles.

The next track is a mix of Don McLean's classic, 'American Pie', with 'Dog Days Are Over' by Florence and the Machine.  Not only do these tunes sound amazing together, but Reborn Identity has created a particularly moving video to accompany the mashup.  It's phenomenal.

"I'm Christian, Unless You're Gay."


February 15, 2012 'Watchtower': Domestic Violence VICTIMS Are 'Unchristian' For "Feeling Sad"

Take a moment, if you will to read paragraphs 11 and 12 of the February 15, 2012, 'Watchtower' magazine.  It's part of an article titled "Happiness is Possible in a Divided Household", found on page 29:
"11 Many modern-day examples illustrate the value of applying Peter’s counsel. Consider the case of Selma. When she began to study the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses, her husband, Steve, was not pleased. He admits, “I became angry, jealous, possessive, and insecure.” Selma observes: “Even before I got the truth, living with Steve was like walking on eggshells. He was hot-tempered. When I started studying the Bible, this characteristic intensified.” What helped?
12 Selma recalls a lesson she learned from the Witness who studied with her. “On one particular day,” says Selma, “I didn’t want to have a Bible study. The night before, Steve had hit me as I had tried to prove a point, and I was feeling sad and sorry for myself. After I told the sister what had happened and how I felt, she asked me to read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. As I did, I began to reason, ‘Steve never does any of these loving things for me.’ But the sister made me think differently by asking, ‘How many of those acts of love do you show toward your husband?’ My answer was, ‘None, for he is so difficult to live with.' The sister softly said, ‘Selma, who is trying to be a Christian here? You or Steve?’ Realizing that I needed to adjust my thinking, I prayed to Jehovah to help me be more loving toward Steve. Slowly, things started to change.”  After 17 years, Steve accepted the truth."

I'm sorry?  Come again??

"Who's trying to be a Christian here?"  I thought you said "Did you call the police?", as that would have been the logical response to someone telling you that her husband hit her!  That, or, "I have a gun you can borrow.  It's not registered.  I'll help you bury him in the morning".

Yes.  This is really printed in a 'Watchtower' magazine.  In a study article no less.  One that the entire congregation will read aloud and ask questions corresponding to the paragraphs.  Don't believe me.  Follow this link to the Watchtower's website, and read it for yourself.  The article appears in the study copy of the magazine, and not the public copy, since the Jehovah's Witness organization would hate it if the public knew that they were excusing domestic abuse.

The article in question.

For those that were curious, one of the questions for discussion for paragraphs 10-12 is:
"How did one Bible student learn to apply the counsel recorded at 1 Peter 3:1,2?"

1 Peter Chapter 3, verses one and two state (I'm quoting the New International Version, and not the translation Jehovah's Witnesses use):
"1 Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see the purity and reverence of your lives."
Early in my teenage years, I recognized that Jehovah's Witnesses have a fundamental problem in their belief system.  They honestly, truly in their hearts, believe that if you are not one of Jehovah's Witnesses, you have no moral compass.  That it is impossible to have a conscience, or know rght from wrong, without being a follower of Jehovah god.  

Perhaps that explains the paragraph a bit.  You see, Steve simply did not know any better.  Since he was not one of Jehovah's Witnesses, he didn't know that it isn't acceptable to hit your fucking wife.  For that matter, Steve doesn't know that it's wrong to cheat on his taxes, or rob a bank, or rape and murder a little girl.  In the Witnesses' minds, he wasn't born with the instinct to know what he should or shouldn't do.  Since his parents weren't Witnesses, they didn't raise him to know the difference, either.  Not only do they believe that, when we are nearing the year 2012, we need the commandment "Thou shall not kill", but we need Jehovah's Witnesses to interpret those words for us.

This was clearly Selma's fault.  As one of Jehovah's Witnesses, she knew that Steve couldn't be trusted to keep from pooping on the new carpet, let alone not beat her.  She clearly was not following the principles set forth in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:
"4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
So what's the lesson to be learned?

Let's look at Selma.  She says that “Even before I got the truth, living with Steve was like walking on eggshells. He was hot-tempered. When I started studying the Bible, this characteristic intensified.”  With Selma's patience and love (and a steady supply of bags of frozen peas), Steve accepted "the truth" and became a kinder, gentler man after 17 years!!!!

That's right ladies.  According to the Watchtower, suck it up and stop your bitching.  Because "feeling sad or sorry for yourself" wouldn't be the Christian thing to do.  You made this bed, now you have to lie in it.

Think of the message this is sending to the little girls that are currently in the congregation.  That, in any circumstance, it's acceptable for your husband to hit you.  Not only is it acceptable, but, as the one that is getting hit, you have no reason to be upset.  Essentially, you have what's coming to you.

It's hard to tell, but the picture accompanying the paragraphs is pretty telling, whether it's meant to be or not.  It's the typical "gathering" type of photo that you see in a Watchtower or Awake! magazine.  The men and women are never in the same room together.  Everyone in the photo is wearing "business casual".  The women are wearing slacks and blazers.  The men are wearing khakis and polos. (When I was younger, I used to think that there was a dress code to go to someone's house.)

Something interesting caught my eye.  While all of the guys are in the other room, chatting it up, the ladies are gathered in the kitchen, making dinner.  The one "sister" in the foreground is putting something in the oven.  She literally has a look on her face of, "I better not be late with Barry's dinner, again".   She looks panicked.

It's official.  I'm at a loss for words.

Lady Gaga Shows Off Her Culo For 'Culo' (NSFW)

For the bilingually challenged, "culo" means "ass" in Spanish.

It's also the title of a new coffee table book which is being released tomorrow.  A collaboration between photographer Raphael Mazzucco and Interscope Records Chairman Jimmy Iovine, the project is a 248 page opus to the female tushy.  It measures nearly 14 by 10 inches (about the area of a larger sized laptop), and retails for $65.00.

The tagline for the book is, "The world is no longer flat".  And, by the looks of things, Interscope is promoting the daylights out of it's impending release.

(***Video is NSFW***)

The question I have to ask though, is "Is this art or softcore porn?".

I'm all for erotic art.  In fact Jessi and I own a number of books which feature either erotic or pin-up photography.  But, based upon the way that they are advertising the book, it's obvious that their target market is not the part of the community that appreciates artistic expression.  They're advertising to the lowest common denominator.  They're selling ass.  Don't get me wrong.  It's some very lovely ass, but they're marketing it under the guise of art.  The entire marketing campaign, even the name of the book, cheapens it's contents.  They're marketing a coffee table book to a demographic who, for the most part, doesn't have coffee tables.

From what I have read, the book even features a number of celebrities that agreed to be photographed, specifically for the book.  Included in the list of famous derrieres is Lady Gaga:

If not for that ridiculous "monster claw" bullshit she's doing, it would be a very nice picture.
Personally, I think it's a very lovely photo, though I have a couple of critiques.  First, with her panties still showing, it looks a bit trashy.  Second, put away that fucking monster claw!!!  Otherwise, this photo would have made a much better cover to the 'Born This Way' album than what was actually chosen.  She has quite a delightful backside.

Just sayin'.

Disney/Pixar Release Full Length Trailer For 'Brave'

The film features Merida, the first female protagonist in a Pixar feature film.  It will certainly be interesting to see how Pixar's take of a Disney princess.  The principal cast, with includes Kevin McKidd, Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly, Craig Ferguson, and Kelly Macdonald as Merida, is comprised primarily by native Scots.

'Brave' debuts in the United States on June 22, 2012.  This one is going to be huge.  Expect to see store shelves stocked with all sorts of assorted Scottish swag next summer.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Quote Of The Day

"All the Occupy movements start with the premise that we all owe them everything. They take over a public park they didn't pay for, to go nearby to use bathrooms they didn't pay for, to beg for food from places they don't want to pay for, to instruct those who are going to work to paying their taxes to sustain the bathrooms and sustain the park, so they can self-righteously explain that they are the paragons of virtue to which we owe everything. Now, that is a pretty good symptom of how much the left has collapsed as a moral system in this country, and why you need to reassert something as simple as: 'Go get a job, right after you take a bath.'"
- Newt Gingrich, at last night's Republican candidate debate discussion.

If you were watching the debate, you could tell that Gingrich was chomping at the bit, waiting for the right time to drop this scripted line.  This isn't the first time that he has stood on the side of the wealthiest of wealthy.  He has a history of railing against the unemployed and disenchanted.

Not only were his comments dead wrong about the Occupy movement, but nothing more than a soundbite he knew would make Fox News the next day.  As one website put it, "The second and longest sentence in that graf is meaningless -- it's just strung together, invective-flavored words".

Meanwhile, at Fox, the network is having a field day with recent developments in New York City...

Take a look at the way MSNBC covers Occupy Wall Street, compared to that of Fox News.  At the very end:  A breaking story from Wolf Blitzer on CNN.

Then again, Republicans believe that getting the HPV vaccine makes you mentally retarded.

We Are The 99%? Try The 99.99%

Courtesy of The Guardian:


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Security Worker At Zuccotti Park Fired For Homophobic Slur

Unless you're a fan of the Howard Stern Show, you've probably never heard of Joey Boots.  That is, not until this week, at least.

While filming at the newly vacated Zuccotti Park yesterday, a security officer taunted him, on camera, saying, "Your fly's open, faggot".

Little did the security officer know that Boots was indeed gay.  He came out on the Howard Stern Show in June of 2007.

Chalk this one up to the power of social media.  Within 24 hours, the video went viral, and many online news sites carried the story.

Today, the guard, who was employed by Brookfield Properties (the owners of Zuccotti Park), has been fired.  According to Matthew Cherry, a spokesman for Brookfield:
"His comment was offensive and inexcusable, and we have a policy of zero tolerance for such behavior. In accordance with our code of conduct he's been terminated from his work with Brookfield."
When pressed for further information, Cherry confirmed that he was a security subcontractor, but refused to comment as to whether a contract was still in place with his employer.

Looks like the guy has more in common with the demonstrators than he thought.

I Don't Get It

From a man's perspective....  Compared to some of the other options available to choose from when considering People Magazine's 2011 Sexiest Man Alive, Bradley Cooper is a fucking troll.  What?  Was The Situation unavailable for a photo shoot that day?  Really?  Bradley Cooper?  Just off the top of my head, I could name 7 men that were more deserving of the title.  In fact, let me do so.

1.) Chris Hemsworth 

Have you seen 'Thor'?  For the most part, it's a shit movie, but let me tell you, Chris Hemsworth IS the god of thunder.

2.) Idris Elba

Known for his role in HBO's 'The Wire', and on BBC's 'Luther', he also had a role in this year's summer blockbuster, 'Thor'.

3.) Chris Evans

Personally, I think his sex symbol status is long overdue.  After side roles in 'The Fantastic Four' and 'The Losers', which I highly recommend, he is finally starting to get major roles in blockbusters like 'Captain America'.  He'll also be teaming up with Chris Hemsworth next year in 'The Avengers'.

4.) Robert Downey Jr.

Sure.  I'll go there.  If People will give the title to George Clooney and Johnny Depp twice apiece, why not give Downey a chance?  I have had a man crush on him for a decade (or more).

5.) Tom Hardy

Yeah.  No comment needed.  Just look at the man.

6.)Michael Fassbender

He played Magneto in this year's 'X-Men: First Class'.  This Irish heartthrob is set to play a sex addict in 'Shame', slated to be released on December 2nd.  It has been rated NC-17, due to it's graphic sexual content.  Count me in.

7.) Ryan Gosling 

Look at his face.  He knows it.  We know it.  People fucked up.  Buzzfeed even goes so far as to prove, scientifically, why Ryan Gosling is sexier than Bradley Cooper.  But we need science?

Bradley Cooper was tied to the remake of 'The Crow' at one point.  Recently, negotiations on the role fell through.  Based upon pictures released from the studio, THANK FUCKING GOD!  

It's Bradley Cooper as the reincarnation of Chris Angel.
Advocate Magazine is gushing over the news of Cooper's new title.  Obviously, they're forgetting about his most notable work as an actor. 


Tweet Of The Day

In a campaign stop in Nashua, NH, Cain said to supporters that, "Who knows every detail of every country or every situation on the planet?  Nobody!  We've got plenty of experts.  We need a leader, not a reader."

Or, in his case, someone that watches the evening news, CNN or even 'The Daily Show'.  His quote is almost word for word of that said by President McBain, a parody of Arnold Schwarzenegger, in the Simpsons movie which came out in 2007:

Tori's Ta Tas Tipped Off On Twitter (NSFW)

Last night, Tori Spelling's husband, Dean McDermott tweeted a picture of his son with something on his forehead.  Awww.  How cute.

Wait.  Aren't those Tori Spelling's bare breasts in the background?  What the hell?

For anyone interested, an uncensored version is available after the break.  You have to wonder, how did he not notice her boobs in the picture before he uploaded it to Twitter? 

Coincidentally...or not...season 6 of 'Tori and Dean' premieres on the Oxygen Network on November 29th.  Could this have been a way to get some cheap attention towards their Twitter feeds?

Political Cartoon Of The Day

by Jimmy Margulies, The Record of Hackensack, NJ

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Quote Of The Day

"I would want to consult with the intelligence community, the commanders on the ground in that part of the world, which I have stated before. But we should — I don’t have all the information necessary to make that decision."
- Herman Cain, responding to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's question on whether he favors a military strike against Iran.  If you remember correctly, it was during the same interview with the Journal Sentinel in which Mr. Cain said practically the exact same thing, verbatim, as to if he would have handled Libya differently than Obama.
"I need to hear the facts.  As much as possible.  I need to hear all the alternatives.  For example, you might have mentioned that, even within the administration, there were different views.  I would want to hear all of those views, look at all of the information, then I would make the decision as Commander In Chief." 
If you watch the interview, he's practically asking the reporter to fill him in on the events that took place in Libya over the last couple of months.  I'm not sure if he honestly knows if Gadhafi was a "good guy" or a "bad guy".  And apparently, he would want to get the opinion of the labor secretary and the transportation secretary to make sure they were on board with a military operation.

Oh.  One more thing.  During that interview, Cain said that a military attack on Iran would not be "practical", because the country has mountains.

That's right, we would not be able to bomb Iran's top scientific facilities or their weapons cache, because it appears that they're embedded in the mountains.  I think he's thinking of the Afghanistan.

Graph Of The Day: Congress Is Less Popular Than...

More people are pleased with the idea of the United States going communist than Congress' current approval rating.  Simply pathetic.

"Knock Knock, Motherfucker."

Okay.  So, maybe it isn't a giant metal chicken, but it is our fourth anniversary.  Giant metal cocks are reserved for your fifth year together, or your first year, depending on the type of cock.  

And, another thing:  it is truly frightening to see the selection of painted metal roosters at your local Ross store.  Guess there's a market.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Introducing "Witnesses In Memoriam"

On November 23, 1991, Tiffanie Chumita was driving to a friend's wedding.  She blew a tire along Interstate 17 in Phoenix that evening, and pulled onto the shoulder of the freeway.  As she was bent over into her trunk, reaching in for the car's spare, an elderly woman hit her from behind at approximately 70 mph.

According to friends, her legs were practically severed above the knee.  By the time she arrived at the hospital, she had lost a substantial amount of blood.  As one of Jehovah's Witnesses, allowing doctors to give her a blood transfusion was strictly forbidden.

Tiffanie was awake and alert most of the evening.  Her mom and dad were there, as was her brother Steven.  As word spread of her accident, friends arrived at the hospital to say goodbye.  There was no way to take her into emergency surgery to try to repair the damage, if surgeons were unable to give her blood.  She was dying.  Before she finally passed, friends and family members tracked down a male friend of hers.  He arrived at the hospital, just in time for Tiffany to tell him that she had been in love with him for years.  She was only 20 year old.

I was waiting for Tiffanie at the wedding reception that night.  We had bumped into each other at the State Fair a couple of weeks earlier.  We were both there alone, so we spent much of the afternoon riding rides together.  At the time, she was the love of my life.

The following week, a memorial service was held at the Park West Kingdom Hall that her family regularly attended.  Her father, Alex, was an elder in the congregation.  Now, a typical Kingdom Hall can seat about 120-150 people.  Almost 900 were in attendance to pay their respects to Tiffanie.  It was so crowded, that a speaker was set up in the parking lot, so that the hundreds waiting outside could hear the memorial "talk" (sermon).

That week, two additional women in my congregation died as a result of not accepting a blood transfusion.  Nicole Rojas was taken into surgery on short notice.  She was only 20 or 21.  Manuel, her husband of less than a year, ultimately made the decision to let her die based on his beliefs as a Jehovah's Witness.  Speaking for her, he felt that she would make the same decision to refuse blood, if conscious.

Another sister, (sadly, I forget her name) died during surgery while trying to remove a tumor from her kidney. Again, blood related.  She left two teenage girls and a grade school age son behind.

I went to three memorial services (Jehovah's Witnesses do not have traditional funerals) in the span of nine days.  It was a very emotional time for everyone on the West side of Phoenix.  Somehow, though all of this, the congregation's faith was strengthened.

These three women were made to look like martyrs;  servants of god that made the ultimate sacrifice.  Their families were praised and applauded.  They were treated like heroes within the organization.  In actuality, these poor women were brainwashed and bullied into essentially committing suicide on behalf of their church.

I think about Tiffanie practically every day.  Realistically, if not for the peer pressure that was placed upon her twenty years ago, she may have survived the accident.  Who's to say for sure.  With a number of surgeries, and the use of prosthetics, she may have been able to live a normal life.  She could have had children;  possibly grandchildren by now.  But, she was never given a chance.

Less than a year after Nicole's death, Manuel got remarried.  I attended the wedding, trying to figure out how everyone was okay with the situation that was taking place.  He has since gotten divorced and remarried again.  From what I understand, he's living in Mexico now, because that is "where the need is greater".  Friends tell me that every time he visits the Phoenix area, local Witnesses treat him like a king.  They hold him in such high regard, all for offering his wife up for slaughter 20 years ago.

I have started a new Facebook page called "Witnesses In Memoriam".  It's a place where friends and family members can go to write about those who have needlessly died on behalf of the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses.

I encourage you to post your stories about those close to you that you have lost.  While most of the stories will be related to those refusing life saving blood transfusions, many others have died at the hands of themselves or a loved one.  For some, the thought of leaving the organization, and having your entire family and circle of friends abandon you, was too much to bare.  Folks have committed suicide in lieu of cutting ties with everything they know.  Others were simply killed by their partner or parent, who was one of Jehovah's Witnesses.  Please remember them as well.

The page is not to debate scripture or organizational policy.  Also, ANY PRO-JW COMMENTS WILL PROMPTLY BE DELETED.

This is for Tiffanie Chumita, Nicole Rojas, and the tens of thousands of men, women and children that have died in vain.