Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Reading Assignment Ten

Good Afternoon!

So, I really found The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom really fascinating. The idea that you can explain a lifetime of meaning through five people seems really uplifting and happy. It made me think of the people who have impacted my life in immeasurable ways. And it made me think about how you can measure the impact someone makes on you. My baby brother can barely talk, yet I've changed so much since he came along. My mother dated a guy in her twenties who loved to ride his bike. After they broke up, he was riding down the road, just like any other day. A lawyer was driving his car, and had just won a huge case. The lawyer was drunk and hit this man on the bicycle. The man on the bike is a quadriplegic now. He can't move from the neck down. That one second of impact changed his life forever. He is completely dependent on a caretaker now. And the drunk driver? He's in jail I'm guessing. Both of these people changed the others' life.
Other moments and people define our lives: the day we are born, the day we graduate from college, our weddings, the birth of a child. Each moment contains a periphery of people. And each one has helped us get there.

Ever life matters, and everyone makes a difference. That's what this book taught me.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Reading Assignment Nine


So, I took a small detour. I am still fully committed to Emma by Jane Austen. But the other night, I was scoping my bookshelves for an unread book, and The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom fell into my hands. Instantly I wanted to read it. So I did. I read the entire book in two days. And I loved every page. It's about this man named Eddie who dies on his eighty-third birthday. He thinks that his life was nothing special, but when he dies, five people explain how he made a prfound impact on them. I loved this story for its honesty and hope. Eddie slowly realizes the difference he made, that every life is precious and worth something. Some of the people he meets didn't make a huge impact on him, while others changed his life entirely. My favorite person was his military captain. I felt that he made the biggest impact on Eddie. The captain taught him the hardest lesson: the lesson of sacrifice. Eddie learned that to have one thing, sometimes you have to give up something really important. Each person taught him something new, but the captain said the hard stuff. I think that's why I liked him best; I've always admired people who aren't afraid to say tough things, but instead just get them out.

These people made me think of who I'd want to me when I die. I know I'd want to see at least one of my parents, but beyond that, I don't know who I would want waiting for me.

If you died today, who would you want to see?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Reading Assignment Eight


Now that I've finished The Innocent Man, it's time for me to pick a new book. And I have! Today, I started to read Emma by Jane Austen. I'm really excited about it! I've read Pride and Prejudice (which I loved), so it will be interesting to see how I like Emma. I really love the way that Austen writes, and the language is beautiful to me... as opposed to being confusing. Plus, I'm also a diehard romantic, and a story about a matchmaker sounds perfect. Our teacher lent it to me, and suggested that after reading it, I should watch Clueless because the movie is based off of Emma. Well, I've seen Clueless, so I'm going to make a couple of predictions about what happens:

  1. Emma is a lovely, but naive matchmaker who doesn't always see what is best for the people she matches.
  2. Emma's mother died when she was a child- this is taken straight out of Clueless.
  3. Emma ends up with someone she doesn't think is all that great- at first. She slowly grows to like him over the course of the book.
So, I guess that we'll have to see what happens! All of these things happen in Clueless, so that's where I'm basing the predictions off. Also, they seem like things that Austen would do. I'm hoping that Emma lives up the expectations I have for Austen... although I've only read Pride and Prejudice, she's still one of my favorite authors. I'm really looking forward to seeing if my predictions come true!

Any other predictions?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Reading Assignment Seven


The time has come... prepare yourself: I finished The Innocent Man! Over the course of this past weekend, I took a nice, quiet vacation to the mountains. I also got sick, which meant that I got to have an excuse to curl up in bed and read all day long. That is exactly what I did. I laid in bed and read until I fell asleep, then I woke up and read some more. Well, after I did all this reading (and a little bit while), I had a lot to think about. The Innocent Man did a complete 180 on me. I opened to book thinking Ron Williamson killed Debbie Carter. Then I changed my mind, and then changed it twice more. By the time the actual truth came out, I knew two things: 1) Ron Williamson needed serious help, and 2) He didn't commit the murder. So, when I got to the truth, the truth did not disappoint me. It confirmed all of my previous beliefs, along with some of my predictions.

And it said: ***SPOILER ALERT***Highlight to read: Glen Gore was convicted of the murder of Debbie Carter. He was sentenced to death, and then at a new trial he was sentenced to life in prison without parole. I can't believe I called it... I was really happy when they reversed the sentence of Ron Williamson.

Well, I've finished my first book, and now it is time for the second. I'm not sure what I'll read, but I want to read something light after this. I need something to enjoy in a happy way. Suggestions would be nice!!!


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Reading Assingment Six


I am almost done with The Innocent Man! As I was reading last night, I came across a truly sad passage; it was the passage about execution of people on Death Row. The passage went into detail about the entire process: how the prisoner's last day is spent visiting with family, lawyers, and friends. It explains the process of being strapped down to be executed. Oklahoma uses lethal injection to execute its criminals. At the facility Ron Williamson was housed, there are two viewing rooms. One room is for the family of the executed prisoner; one room is for the family of the victim. The prisoner cannot see through the glass; the prisoner cannot see his/her family when death comes.
Regardless of political views, death is a tragic thing. Executions of prisoners is definitely included in this category. The family of the prisoner have to say goodbye through a wall of glass. No hugs, no kisses, no human contact at the very end. There's no hand to hold as this person crosses over into death. The last pair of eyes the condemned one shall see will be those of the warden, not the eyes of loved ones. Death is tragic, and executions should not be excluded from this list. They are the final moments of a life; they are the scheduled deaths that await many convicts.
This passage has affected me the most yet. It is straightforward and very clear in description. I think this is why it touched me the most. The style of writing corresponds with the subject; both of them are stark and cold, with minimal emotion.


Reading Assingment Five

Bonjour! I've been reading The Innocent Man for three weeks now, and I have a feeling I know who the killed Debbie Carter. I think the killer is (drumroll please!).... Glen Gore. I firmly believe he murdered her, and here is why:
Glen Gore was seen in the parking lot of the Coachlight, which is the last place Debbie Carter was seen alive. As she was talking to him, a witness saw her shove him away (Hmm, interesting). After her murder, Glen Gore did not submit hair samples to the police like the other men Debbie knew. Gore was a witness at the trial of Ron Williamson. He testified that Carter asked Gore to save her from Williamson. The nail in his coffin- at least in my book- is his criminal record. Gore had an extensive history of violence against women. Gore shot a police officer while holding his wife and daughter hostage. Beofore that, he broke into her house and stabbed her with a knife. He also choked her.
Something I have not mentioned before now is that Debbie Carter was raped before her death. Gore's history of hurting women made him a prime cantidate as the murderer, which should have been more solid due to a witness seeing Carter push him the night of her murder. Gore's fingerprints were never recognized in court; he never submitted them. There was a bloody handprint at the crime scene that did not match Ron Williamson. It could have matched Gore. I am fairly certain Gore murdered Carter. The evidence against him stacks up much higher compared to that of Ron Williamson.

Reading Assingment Four

Hola! I've started to notice that the more I post about this book (The Innocent Man), I am more and more excited about the next post. When I read now, I think, "That'd make a really great post. Make a mental note." It's also helped me understand the book more. Because I'm mentally reviewing things throughout the course of reading this, I'm retaining more information. Hooray! But, on to the topic of the day...

Keeping in the theme of the last post (unjust things in our judicial system) I bring you... mental illness and how it affects your constitutional rights. In my second post, I talked about how Ron Williamson is "off his rocker." He started out fine, but his mental state has slowly declined over the course of the last 7 chapters. As I read each paragraph, my emotions have a wide range; they go from disbelief to anger to sadness. Whenever I read about Ron, those emotions become overshadowed with worry. I worry about him as the pages go on, and each bad thing that happens to him makes me cringe. I know I said that I thought he might have committed the murder of Debbie Carter, but I'm changing my mind again: I don't think he did it. He just couldn't have. There's evidence that he was at home watching a movie with his mother, but my change in heart comes from Ron's obvious mental illness. He comes off as a person not mentally competent, but he seems so- gentle. And confused. His confusion melts my cold resolve that much more.
When Ron is arrested and put on trial for the Carter murder, he actually refuses to be in the court room. He screams and has outbursts, leading the judge to send him back to his jail cell. I don't think Ron knew any better. He should have had a mental evaluation. Had an evaluation occurred, all legal proceeding would halt. If he was found incompetent, his case could change. He could plead insanity. Ron got a psychological evaluation when he was in jail for the first time. When he was on trial for murder, Ron was not so lucky. His trial proceeded normally, with him locked in a jail cell, unaware of the decisions going on.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Reading Assignment Three

Salutations! In my third post about "The Innocent Man," I would like to focus on a crutial group of characters in this story: the police officers who both investigated the crimes, and those who interrogated Tommy Ward. Tommy Ward was convicted of the murder of a woman named Denice Haraway, who was abducted from her job as a convenient store clerk not very long after the murder of Debbie Carter. Her body was never found. There were also almost no clues to help find her. Tommy Ward was falsely accused and convicted of her murder. You might ask," How could that be?" Well, Tommy was brought in for questioning by the police... and remained in their custody for over 8 hours. His interrogation is documented on film, but what is not seen on that film is the 5 hours of screaming and insults he experienced. Ward turned off the camera filming this, thinking it was against his constitutional rights. If those 5 hours had been filmed, his fate would be completely different. Tommy "confessed" to dreaming up the murder, but only to play along with the officers... to make them stop abusing him. Tommy confessed to the crime: the crime he did not commit. Confessions taken by threats or coerced conditions are discounted in court. Tommy's confession would have been almost surely discounted. This irks me, but what just drives me nuts is the behavior of those police officers!!!! They verbally abused him! Not okay! And because of their threats, Tommy confessed. Tommy was convicted of murdering Deniece Haraway. He was sentenced to Death Row. Death Row. Eek. After reading this passage about him, I got shivers down my spine. Tommy didn't deserve this. And my heart ached for him at the same time it wanted to shout at the interrogating officers. Sadly, these are not the only officers who make misteps in the judicial system.


Reading Assignment Two

Hi! I'm now on page 147 of "The Innocent Man." It's finally gotten really interesting! At last! To be honest, I was bored at first... nonfiction has never been very interesting to me. I prefer characters over facts. But the plot has thickened (so to say) and I'm enjoying the suspense. At the moment, Ron Williamson has been arrested for the murder of Debbie Carter. Looking back, he's the character that has changed the most over the course of the last 147 pages. Ron started out as a promising baseball player, groomed to join the major league. He loses that chance when his shoulder becomes injured, and his life plummets after that. He drinks excessively, and eventually develops a mental illness. During my last post, I stated how sure I was that he was not the killer. However, now I'm not so sure. The evidence the book gives that he is guilty has begun to mount. His sanity is completely non-existent. He shouts in the court room, and screams in his cell; Ron has finally come off his rocker. This is where I finally became interested in the outcome of this book. Ron is clearly not sane, yet the inner flap of the book states that he*** SPOILER ALERT (highlight it if you want to see)***recieves the death penalty.How could this happen? I knew it from the beginning, but now that I know who he is, the result of his murder trial is shocking. The contrast between his former self and later self is astounding, but the way he is treated has left me flabbergasted. I'm hooked until the end; how did Ron come to this fate?