Judge finds Michelle Carter guilty of manslaughter in texting suicide case

(CNN)In a case that hinged largely on a teenage couple’s intimate text messages, Michelle Carter was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter Friday in the 2014 death of her boyfriend, who poisoned himself by inhaling carbon monoxide in his pickup truck, a Massachusetts judge ruled.

Carter’s own words — preserved in hundreds of text messages presented as evidence over six days of testimony — helped seal her conviction in the death of 18-year-old Conrad Roy III, Bristol County Juvenile Court Judge Lawrence Moniz said during a 15-minute explanation of his rationale.
“She admits in … texts that she did nothing: She did not call the police or Mr. Roy’s family” after hearing his last breaths during a phone call, Moniz said. “And, finally, she did not issue a simple additional instruction: Get out of the truck.”
    Carter, 20, cried silently as Moniz spoke. She stood to receive the ruling, which could set legal precedent for whether it’s a crime to tell someone to commit suicide.

    ‘There are no winners here’

    Prosecutors had argued that Carter sent Roy numerous text messages urging him to commit suicide, listened over the phone as he suffocated and failed to alert authorities or his family that he’d died. The judge agreed.
    “This court has found that Carter’s actions and failure to act where it was her self-created duty to Roy since she put him in that toxic environment constituted reckless conduct,” the judge said. “The court finds that the conduct caused the death of Mr. Roy.”
    With Carter standing, Moniz said, “This court, having reviewed the evidence, finds you guilty on the indictment with involuntary manslaughter.”
    Although Cater was not present when Roy killed himself, her text messages and conversations with him proved damning.
    One July 2012 exchange of texts messages was typical:
    Roy: “I’m overthinking”
    Carter: “I thought you wanted to do this. The time is right and you’re ready, you just need to do it! You can’t keep living this way. You just need to do it like you did last time and not think about it and just do it babe. You can’t keep doing this every day.”
    Roy’s relatives, who sat near Carter in the front row of the courtroom, wept as the judge ticked through the steps Roy took to end his life, as well as Carter’s complicity. Sitting opposite them, Carter’s family members also sobbed.
    “Although we are very pleased with the verdict, in reality there are no winners here,” prosecutor Katie Rayburn told reporters later. “Two families had been torn apart and will be affected by this for years to come. We hope verdict will bring some closure… It’s been an extremely emotionally draining process for everyone involved.”
    Roy aspired to be a tugboat captain and would be alive if not for Carter’s actions, Rayburn said. He had been trying to better himself, and “we all wish he had the opportunity” to grow up, she said.
    Added Roy’s father, Conrad Roy Jr.: “This has been a very tough time for our family, and we would just like to process this verdict that we are happy with.”
    Moniz let Carter, who was tried as a juvenile because she was 17 at the time of the crime, remain free on bail until her sentencing on August 3. She could face up to 20 years in prison, though experts say such a lengthy sentence is unlikely.
    She was ordered to have no contact with members of the Roy family. She cannot apply for or obtain a passport, nor can she leave Massachusetts without permission from a judge.

    Case was watched closely

    The ruling, which may spur lawmakers to codify the behavior highlighted in the case as criminal, was closely watched by legal experts.
    “Given the expansive definition of manslaughter under Massachusetts law, the guilty verdict is not a surprise,” CNN legal analyst Danny Cevallos said.
    “Still, this verdict is concerning because it reflects a judicial willingness to expand legal liability for another person’s suicide, an act which by definition is a completely independent choice,” he said. “Historically, suicide has been considered a superseding act which breaks the chain of legal causation.”
    In charging Carter with involuntary manslaughter, prosecutors were threading a legal needle, another legal expert said.
    “I thought it was a square peg in a round hole, it wasn’t a great fit for manslaughter,” Daniel Medwed, professor of law and criminal justice at Northeastern University, said after the decision. “Her behavior was so morally reprehensible, but I wasn’t sure how, as a matter of law, it constituted as manslaughter.”
    Medwed said manslaughter involves direct action such as a drunk driver who slams into a car or someone who fires a gun into a crowd to recklessly cause a death.
    “This case involves mainly words, but ultimately [Roy] decided to do the deed, so it didn’t fit in with the classic patter of manslaughter,” he said. “But the facts are so powerful, so compelling and her behavior so apparent that I’m not shocked she got convicted for manslaughter.”

    Texts drove suicide, prosecutors argued

    Carter secretly nudged Roy toward suicide by sending him numerous text messages encouraging him to take his life, prosecutors said.
    In closing arguments Tuesday, prosecutors said Carter berated her vulnerable boyfriend when he had second thoughts about killing himself, listened by phone as he died and used his suicide to get from friends the attention that she desperately craved.
    Carter went from offering “words of kindness and love” to aggressively encouraging Roy via text message to carry out longtime threats to commit suicide, Rayburn told the court.
    “It got to the point that he was apologizing to her, … apologizing to her for not being dead yet,” she said in her closing argument.
    Rayburn reminded the judge of text messages in which Carter encouraged Roy to get back in the truck. In text messages to a friend, she described hearing his final words and breaths on the phone.
    Roy’s body was found July 13, 2014, a day after his suicide in his parked truck in a Kmart parking lot in Fairhaven, nearly 40 miles from his home.

    ‘Tragic … not a homicide,’ defense said

    Carter’s attorney argued she was a troubled, delusional young woman who was “dragged” into the suicidal journey of Roy, who had long been intent on killing himself.
    “The evidence actually established that Conrad Roy caused his own death by his physical actions and by his own thoughts,” defense attorney Joseph Cataldo said. “You’re dealing with an individual who wanted to take his own life. … He dragged Michelle Carter into this.”
    Carter was “overwhelmed” by Roy’s talk of suicide while at the same time dealing “with all of her baggage,” including the side effects of medication for depression, Cataldo said.
    “It’s sad, it’s tragic,” he said. “It’s just not a homicide.”
    Earlier in the trial, a psychiatrist testified that Carter was delusional after becoming “involuntarily intoxicated” by antidepressants. She was “unable to form intent” after switching to a new prescription drug months before Roy’s suicide, and she even texted his phone for weeks after he died, the psychiatrist testified.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/16/us/michelle-carter-texting-case/index.html

    25 Things Every Woman Should Have By The Time She Turns 25

    1. Enough confidence to no longer feel the need to justify what she eats, who she dates or what she wears, not only to other people, but

    2. The goal of a bank account with a fewmonths’ living expenses in it, if she doesn’t have that already. Just in case.

    3. Only the phone numbers, Facebook friends, weekend plans, and roommates she actually wants.

    4. A best friend who islike a sister.

    5. A space of her own.

    6. A good idea of what she in a romantic relationship, not just what sheor what she she needs, and the willingness to explore different people and other ideas to find what exactly that is.

    7. A closet of what considers to be her “staples,” and among these things, something to wear to an interview, funeral, wedding, impromptu Friday night drink at a casual bar and dream date if ever someone were to call out of the blue.

    8. The tact and grace to ask for a raise, a promotion, a change in a relationship ora date with someone she’s into.

    9. The faiththat she deserves those things.

    10.A favorite coffee order, go-to restaurant for when friends visit from out of town, hairstyle that takes less than five minutes in the morning, “thank you” cards in her desk drawer,the print copy of her favorite book, and bedding that she is proud to show off.

    11. A hobby that has nothing to do withdrinking, shopping or somebody else.

    12.The recipes for a number of easy meals memorized.

    13. The desire and discipline to actually cook for herself. (Just herself.)

    14. A trip she tells awesome stories about and a trip shehasawesome plans for.

    15. A sense that she’s let go of resenting other women for what they do or don’t have over her.

    16. Enough of a healthy relationship with her body that her contentment no longer hinges on comparison, or what her partner would think.

    17. At least one date in her memory with the kind ofpartnerwhowouldn’tcare about those things anyway.

    18. Forgiveness if she’s dated men who haven’t quite matured as quickly as women tend to in their early 20s.

    19.The knowledgeof what she wants in bed and the confidenceto ask for it without feeling uncomfortable.

    20. Adrill, a non-stick pan, a credit card line nobody else has access to, a bra that she was measured for at the store and working knowledge of how to change a tire, unclog a pipe, make an investment and find shoes on the 40% rack.

    21. A relationship with her mother, even if it’s the decision thattheir relationship will be at least functioning, if not familial.

    22. A passport, a sturdy piece of luggage, and the ability to pack the essentials at a moment’s notice should she be offered the chance to get away for a weekend, a week, or a whole new life.

    23. The following emergency kit: Tylenol/Advil, eyedrops, a tampon, hand sanitizer, a fresh pair of underwear, a travel sized toothbrush,hydrocolloid bandages for blisters,$20 cash, a condom, and Plan B.

    24.Forgiveness for who she was.

    25. An idea of who she wants to be.

    Brianna Wiest is the author of, available here.

    Read more: http://thoughtcatalog.com/brianna-wiest/2014/06/25-things-every-woman-should-have-by-the-time-she-turns-25/

    North Dakota Pipeline Spills An Estimated 176,000 Gallons Of Oil

    About 150 miles from where thousands have protested for months that the Dakota Access pipeline could threaten a Sioux tribe’s water supply, a pipeline in the western part of North Dakota has spilled more than 130,000 gallons of oil into a creek, state officials said.

    In all, the Belle Fourche pipeline lost 4,200 barrels of crude oil, or more than 176,000 gallons, before operators shut it down, according to state Department of Health spokeswoman Jennifer Skjod. Most of the oil flowed into the Ash Coulee Creek near Belfield, Skjod said.

    It’s unclear what caused the break, according to Wendy Owen, a spokeswoman for Wyoming-based True Companies, which owns the pipeline. A landowner discovered the leak Dec. 5. The company uses monitoring technology designed to detect leaks, but it possibly failed because of “the intermittent nature of the flow” of oil through the pipeline, Owen said.

    A blizzard last week has impeded efforts to assess the spill’s extent and its impact on the environment. The creek is frozen. Officials are investigating when the pipeline, which typically carried 1,000 barrels of oil per day, started to leak.

    “We have no estimate on when or if it will be operational,” Skjod said of the pipleline.

    The Associated Press reported the company has declared 36 other spills since 2006, totaling more than 320,000 gallons of petroleum products. 

    The area is west of where the Standing Rock Sioux and their allies have fought construction on the Dakota Access pipeline, which had been expected to cross under Lake Oahe, a plan that is now on hold. The Sioux have argued that a pipeline rupture could contaminate the water supply and damage sacred lands. 

    The Barack Obama administration announced last week that it would not grant an easement to developer Energy Transfer Partners to build the final section of the Dakota Access pipeline. The developer has expressed confidence that the project will be completed after President-elect Donald Trump takes office. 

    Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/north-dakota-pipeline-spills-estimated-176000-gallons_us_584f2375e4b0e05aded56896

    What Anxiety Actually Is, Because Its More Than Just Worrying

    Anxiety is the restless nights of sleep, as you toss and turn. Its your brain never being able to shut off. Its the thoughts you over-think before bedtime and all of your worst fears become a reality in dreams and nightmares.

    Its waking up tired even though your day just started.

    Anxiety is learning how to function with sleep deprivation because it took you until 2 am to shut your eyes.

    Its every text you wonder Its a double or triple text in case you messed up. Anxiety is answering texts embarrassingly fast.

    Anxiety is the time you spend waiting for an answer as a scenario plays out in your mind of what they could be thinking or are they mad?

    Anxiety is an unanswered text that kills you inside

    even though you tell yourself,

    Anxiety is that critical voice that says It’s believing every negative scenario you can come up with.

    Anxiety is waiting. It always feels like you’re waiting.

    Its the inaccurate conclusions drawn as your mind takes off and you have no choice but to follow its destructive lead.

    Anxiety is apologizing for things that dont even require the words,

    Anxiety is self-doubt and a lack of confidence both in you, yourself and those around you.

    Anxiety is being hyper aware of everyone and everything. So much so, you can tell if theres a shift in someone merely by their tone or word choice.

    Anxiety is ruining relationships before they even begin. It tells you, Then you jump to conclusions and ruin it.

    Anxiety is a constant state of worrying and panicking and being on the edge. Its irrational fears.

    Its thinking too much, its caring too much. Because the root of people with anxiety is caring.

    Its sweaty palms and a racing heart. But on the outside, no one can see it. You appear calm and at ease and smiling but underneath is anything but that.

    Anxiety is the art of deception for people who dont know you. And for the people who do, its a constant stream of phrases like, or or Its friends listening to these conclusions youve drawn and not really understanding how you got there. But they’re there trying to support you, as things go from bad to worse in your mind.

    Anxiety is wanting to fix something that isnt even a problem.

    Its the stream of questions that make you doubt yourself.

    Its turning back around just to double check.

    Anxiety is the uneasiness at a party because you think all eyes are on you and no one wants you there. Anxiety is that extra shot you take and it seems like youre finally relaxing. Until you wake up the next day hungover, full of regret and wondering what you said to who and do you owe them an apology?

    Anxiety is the overcompensating and trying too hard to please people.

    Anxiety is being everywhere on time because the thought of being late would put you over the edge.

    Anxiety is the fear of failure and striving for perfection. Then beating yourself up when you fall short.

    Its always needing a schedule or a plan.

    Anxiety is that voice inside your head thats saying

    Its trying to exceed peoples expectations even if youre killing yourself to do so. Anxiety is taking on more than you can handle just so you are distracted and not overthinking something.

    Anxiety is procrastination because you’re paralyzed with fear of failing so you hold it off.

    Its the triggers that set you off.

    Its breaking down in private and crying when youre overwhelmed but no one will ever see that side of you. Anxiety is picking up and trying again because the only thing worse than overcoming other people is overcoming you and your own demons.

    Its beating that critical voice that says,

    Anxiety is the want and the need to control things because it feels like this thing in your life is outside of your control and you have to learn to live with it.

    But more than anything anxiety is caring. Its never wanting to hurt someones feelings. Its never wanting to do something wrong. More than anything, its the want and need to simply be accepted and liked. So you try too hard sometimes.

    And when you come across friends who begin to understand, they help you through it.

    Read more: http://thoughtcatalog.com/kirsten-corley/2017/01/what-anxiety-actually-is-because-its-more-than-just-worrying/

    Democratic attorneys escalate legal fight against Trump

    The Trump resistance movement cheered when Democratic attorneys general in several states sued to block the president’s plan to bar travelers from some Muslim majority countries.

    But with far less fanfare in the months since, an emboldened coalition of Democratic state attorneys general has unleashed a torrent of lower-profile litigation they argue is necessary to protect public health, the environment and consumers from a Republican White House.

    State attorneys from Massachusetts to New York to California, often working together, have brought more than 40 legal actions against the Trump administration over the last seven months. The pace, which both parties describe as unprecedented, has produced an average of one lawsuit or legal motion every five days since Trump’s inauguration, not including many more letters, legal threats and formal comments to federal agencies.

    “Donald Trump and his administration has been out there in ways that are illegal, that are unprecedented, that don’t seem to understand some of the basics of the rule of law,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. “It’s required constant vigilance from Day 1.”

    The White House did not respond to a request for comment. But the frequency and variety of the legal challenges — from cases involving the energy efficiency of ceiling fans to gender reassignment surgeries at the Veteran’s Administration — have sparked criticism that Democrats may be playing politics with their states’ legal resources.

    Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, who chairs the Republican Attorneys General Association, said she’s increasingly concerned that her Democratic colleagues are “using these lawsuits for grandstanding to challenge the president.”

    “I grow concerned that their intentions are not as pure as they should be,” Rutledge said, acknowledging that Republican attorneys general aggressively fought President Barack Obama’s moves on the environment, health care and consumer protection during his two terms.

    Democrats acknowledge that the pace of their legal actions is extraordinary. But they insist they’ve been given little choice by an inexperienced Trump administration that they accuse of taking extraordinary steps to ignore the law.

    “We bring our cases based on the merits and it’s just that there are a lot of merits these days,” said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.  He added, “There are things that don’t get a lot of attention that could be tremendously harmful.”

    In mid-June, Democratic attorneys general from Maryland and Washington, D.C. filed a lawsuit claiming that Trump violated the so-called “emoluments clause” in the Constitution that bars members of the federal government from accepting money from foreign governments.

    A day later, few noticed when a coalition of 11 attorneys general sued the Trump administration for delaying energy efficiency standards for common appliances like air conditioners and freezers.

    In early July, 19 Democratic attorneys general sued Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for delaying a rule, years in the making, intended to protect students from predatory lending related to for-profit colleges. That same day, six attorneys general intervened in another lawsuit against Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency for allowing the use of a pesticide they said was linked to health problems in children.

    Just 24 hours later, Democratic attorneys general from 14 states urged a court to overturn a class action settlement arranged by gun-maker Remington trigger defects on rifles. And over the next three weeks, coalitions of Democratic attorneys general sued the EPA for delaying implementation of rules related to chemical accident safety and smog.

    “We’re busy,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said. “It’s been made easy by the Trump administration because of their lack of foresight in the way they’ve approached some of these things.”

    Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro estimates his office is involved with roughly 50 legal actions against the Trump administration. Aware that Trump won Pennsylvania in last fall’s election, he casts his aggressive steps in apolitical terms.

    “I would hope that I would never have to file another legal action against the federal government, the Trump administration,” Shapiro said. “But that would require the Trump administration to follow the rule of the law.”

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/08/13/democratic-attorneys-escalate-legal-fight-against-trump.html

    The week in politics

    (CNN)Take a look at the week in politics from August 6 to August 12.

      President Donald Trump discusses North Korea during a briefing Tuesday. Trump warned that North Korea would “be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen” if it continued to make threats against the United States. Trump doubled down on these comments in the days that followed, saying the US military was “locked and loaded” and ready to respond “should North Korea act unwisely.”
        Two South Korean F-16 fighter jets escort two US B-1B Lancer bombers. President Trump retweeted a US Pacific Command tweet from Thursday night that the bombers on Guam “stand ready to fulfill USFK’s #FightTonight mission if called upon to do so,” referring to United States Forces Korea. The B-1 is considered the backbone of the US long-range bomber fleet and carries the largest conventional payload of any aircraft in the US Air Force.
          President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence arrive to speak with reporters Thursday. During the question-and-answer session, Trump took questions on everything from the Russia probe to North Korea to his ban on transgender troops.
            White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders holds up a sign signaling one more question in President Trump’s session with reporters Thursday afternoon.
            President Trump gives a statement to the press Saturday following an afternoon of violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. A car plowed into a crowd of counterprotesters, leaving one person dead. Trump said he condemned “in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides.” His remarks received criticism from both sides of the aisle, with fellow Republicans slamming Trump’s lack of directness and attempt to inject moral equivalence into the situation of chaos and terror.
            Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price speaks to the media Tuesday about the administration’s response to the opioid crisis. President Trump vowed a stronger law enforcement response to the crisis. Thursday, he declared it a national emergency.
            Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte welcomes Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Malacanang Palace on Monday. Tillerson said he told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines the ASEAN Forum that “meddling in the elections is certainly a serious incident.” He said it had “created serious mistrust between” Russia and the United States.
            Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson speak at a news conference about the city’s lawsuit against the Department of Justice. The suit centers on specific conditions that must be met by “sanctuary cities” in order to receive certain federal grant money.
            “By forcing us, or the police department, to choose between the values of the city and the philosophy of the police department, in community policing, I think it’s a false choice and it undermines our actual safety agenda,” Emanuel told CNN.
            The floor of the Oval Office is resurfaced during White House renovations this week. The renovations include structural repairs to address ceiling leaks, HVAC work and repairs to the South Portico steps.
            An inflatable chicken mimicking President Trump is set up near the White House.

            Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/12/politics/cnnphotos-week-in-politics-0812/index.html

            5 Ways The Modern World Makes Mass Murder Easier

            OK, Christ, let’s get one thing clear here: The internet isn’t a bad thing. At no point will the world become a cartoonist’s caricature of some smoldering dumpland surrounding a cow pen of millennials checking their smartphones. I get that no one under the age of 70 wants to hear some hand-flailing diatribe about the dangers of modern conveniences or how video games and Twitter turn supple minds into itty Patrick Batemans (Batemen?). It’s horse poop.

            But also horse poop: pretending that society has lurched into a tubular hack-the-planet age without any detrimental consequences. And one correlation that’s always troubled me is the FBI’s report about the rise of spree shootings adjacent to the rise in the web’s popularity. While it would be horribly irresponsible to use that data alone to point fingers at the world’s favorite new cat and porn depository, there’s certainly enough circumstantial evidence to at least support suspicious squints toward your cable router. For example …


            The Internet Attracts Depressed, Emotionless People (According To Science)

            Like I just got done saying, the internet isn’t turning people into psychopaths, just as video games and movies aren’t. But to quote the great modern mind Skeet Ulrich: “Movies don’t create psychos. Movies make psychos more creative.” In other words, troubled people can draw inspiration and solace from anywhere, and science has found that one common place to hide has been the internet.

            If a person tends to be introverted, or isolated, or generally uncomfortable dealing with other people (like I’m sure a lot of you reading this are), then the internet is a great place to find peace. There’s nothing wrong with that. But it also means that the more rejected from the world a person feels, the easier it it for them to live their life solely through a computer screen. And while we’ve only just begun to study the effects of this, what little results we have seem to indicate that excessive online use tends to go hand in hand with addiction, depression, impulsiveness, and anxiety. Getting more specific, things like online forums and file sharing tend to attract those with depressive personalities. In other words, you don’t have to be an isolated, depressed loner to enjoy 4chan and Reddit … but it helps.

            And going back to the fact that these websites absolutely don’t turn you into a sociopath, they are fan-fucking-tastic if you’re already one of those to begin with. Forums and Twitter are great ways to pass the time if you have no empathy, considering how impersonal they can be. And you know who tends to fit into that? Teenagers. Specifically, teenage boys.

            “Cognitive empathy” — aka the ability to relate to other people’s perspectives — is not something that develops right away in people. For girls, it happens around the age of 13, but for boys it tends to start a bit later … right around the time they become parentally untethered online. And while I’m totally speculating, it makes way more sense to me that the reason so many spree killers are young men isn’t that men are inherently terrible crime monsters, but that they are biologically more susceptible to violent actions in an age in which you can escape into a faceless digital world. After all, I remember being that age when the internet first became a thing (I’m fucking old, you guys), and can personally attest to the hours I spent on sites like rotten.com and Limewire seeing just how much my adolescent brain could take. That doesn’t mean I’m a psychopath, right? Right, guys? We wouldn’t want that.

            And since my early days, it’s gotten easier to find not only just about any corner of darkness you want, but also a whole digital community lurking there with you …


            Online Communities Make Unhealthy Interests Seem Normal

            Hey, let’s say I’m really into pictures of cars having sex with dragons. Hypothetically, of course. Let’s say it really gets my hammer slamming to see a Toyota Matrix squat behind some nubile hydra and give it the full business. Twenty years ago, that’s something I would have to keep to myself, quietly understanding that it’s kind of messed up I would be into such things. Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to hope I wouldn’t be ashamed of my vehicular fetish, but it’s certainly nothing I could build a whole lifestyle around. With luck, one day I might meet a woman who shared my dark secret, and together we could dress up like Herbie and Draco and go buck wild on each other. Just a honking good time.

            But today, I don’t have to worry about any of that. There’s already a Reddit community of over 3,000 people who share my interest:

            I know, I know, it’s a joke subreddit. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The point I’m trying to make here is this: One of the strengths of the internet is that it unites people from all over the country and world … which at times is also one of the worst things about it as well. Because along with political advocates, LGBT groups, nerd communities, people who drink beer in the shower while naked (hey, NSFW), and any other innocuous lifestyles like cosplayers and furries, we’re also seeing the garbage unions of Nazis, child predators, animal abusers, weird-shaped egg enthusiasts, and a fucking 2,000-strong group devoted to Taylor Swift’s armpits:

            Which somehow forced the dragon-fucking out of top spot on the “weirdest fetish in this article” list.

            This is something we’ve talked about before with online MRA groups. In the same way that a cult isolates and bubbles people into a false interpretation of reality, some online groups find the equally susceptible and gather them under one obsessive interest. And to keep repeating, it’s not that the internet is making them this way, but rather that it’s creating a nurturing place where those beliefs can be not only unchallenged but supported. Someone like an anti-vaxxer or Sandy Hook truther would be booed out of an everyday conversation, but online, they are not alone. Online, they have a community to assure them that what they are doing isn’t bat-dong wacky-sacks.

            And then it’s only a matter of time before that person grows to believe that the rest of the world is the problem. Their awkwardness, isolation, and social anxiety is suddenly a justified reaction to a backwards society. It’s only a matter of time before they proudly lash out against the non-digital world, and what was once a quiet hobby becomes some dude fucking a neighbor’s Tegu dressed like a Transformer. Or, you know, a man shooting up Planned Parenthood after enveloping himself in anti-abortion YouTube videos edited to falsely assert that the organization sells baby parts.

            And I know that it seems super weird to lump violence with joke subreddits about celebrity arm fetishes, but there’s a deliberate reason I’m doing this …


            For Every Stupid Offensive “Joke,” There’s Someone Out There Taking It Seriously

            Lemme tell you about being a young punk in the very liberal state of Massachusetts, which is what I once was. In order to rebel in a place like that, the goal was to be as offensive and politically incorrect as possible. And so derogatory bands like GG Allin, GWAR, and something terrible called “Anal Cunt” were often blasted with a smirk from my shitty car. It wasn’t necessarily that I believed the screeching lyrics, but rather that I enjoyed the immature shock value of it all. And while a lot of these bands were also simply in it for smirks, there comes a time when you realize that not everyone is interpreting them ironically. At some point, you find yourself moshing to a live performance of “Hitler Was A Sensitive Man,” only to notice that the dude next to you has a swastika tattooed on his chest. That isn’t to say I don’t still listen to bands like GG Allin, but rather that I do so quietly and in more personal, adult situations — like in the shower, or doing my taxes.

            And as we sort of touched on before, this shock value is likely what a lot of 4channers and younger right-wingers think they are creating:

            See, the joke was this: Pretend that certain symbols like the “OK” hand sign are Nazi salutes to freak out the media into thinking it’s real. Only guess what? “Pretending” something is a Nazi salute is ultimately the same goddamn thing as using an actual Nazi salute. And the more you do it, the more you end up attracting actual Nazis. Being “ironically” racist is just being racist, especially if you’re not building to any punchline beyond “Look how racist we’re being!”

            And what comes next isn’t pretty. Ever hear of Alt-Reich Nation? It was a Facebook group all about “jokingly” posting racist and sexist memes. I say “jokingly” because its creator came out and clarified just that — as he put it to The New York Times, “Nothing is meant as true; we follow none of the beliefs.” And if you’re wondering why he had to make that public correction, it’s because one of their members recently stabbed and killed someone in what appeared to be a hate crime. But I’m sure he was just doing it for the lulz.


            No One Can Tell You’re Being Radicalized If It’s Happening Online

            Going back to my own edgy punkness (and frankly the reason this whole subject feels personal to me), I got into that genre and style because I spent my junior high years feeling like a complete outcast. And not the cool kind spelled with a ‘K.’ I gravitated toward something that turned my depression into energy, something that boosted my self-worth and made me feel part of a community.

            So I can’t really say it’s a bad thing if young people are doing the same with the internet. However, what makes it vastly different is that before computers, taking part in a community meant being seen doing it. There was a level of accountability toward your family and friends. That goes for the unhealthy hate groups as well. It used to be that racist and violent groups congregated in a very visual way, and anyone joining would have to physically do so by attending rallies or shows or meetings. For communities and law enforcement and parents and peers, if someone became a white supremacist, that transition would come with a lot of huge red flags (ya know, like the swastika one). But now? Not so much.

            A guy like Dylann Roof, who shot up the church in Charleston, certainly posed with his fair share of Confederate Flags and guns, but so do a lot of people. His indoctrination into violence and white supremacy happened quietly online, as it does for most everyone who joins some kind of hate group these days. It can be so goddamn under the table that a respectable member of society can not only be a part of a hate group, but fucking create one:

            And what’s worse is that this problem is especially evident with law enforcement. That Mr. Roof? He had run into the cops multiple times in the past, even being questioned by the police for owning parts to a firearm. But since there was nothing physical linking him to any potential violence, there was no reason to keep an eye on him. Same with the Orlando nightclub shooter, whose neighbor flat-out reported him to the FBI for potential radicalization. They thoroughly investigated it and found no hard evidence, despite it being completely true. How did they miss it? Because it was happening online, while he was alone, with nobody noticing what was happening. He was radicalized into committing mass murder without leaving the comfort of his ergonomic office chair and microwave nachos. And while that certainly speaks volumes about the delightful convenience of the digital age, I’d like to hope you’re seeing what the big problem is here. Especially because these two instances aren’t the only ones by a long shot


            Every Goddamn Modern Spree Killer Fits This Pattern

            Guys. Literally every time some asshole suddenly kills a bunch of people with an ideological motivation, we find out that they belonged to some kind of online community spouting their exact motivations. Dylann Roof described in detail his long nights pouring through racist stories on the Council of Conservative Citizens webpage which eventually led him to be radicalized. The Oregon community college shooter from 2015? He declared his intentions on a 4chan thread he frequented (adjoined with a Pepe meme). The Dallas shooter who targeted cops? Yet again, he was a part of online hate groups and posted about the killings online. Remember Elliot Rodger, who went around targeting women in Isla Vista, California, killing seven? Not only did he post YouTube videos leading up to it, but he was also a member of anti-women forums online.

            I can keep going. You probably don’t even remember the guy back in 2007 who shot up a megachurch in Colorado, killing four. He was a member of an anti-Christian site the feds were alerted to hours after the incident. And just recently, there was the unhinged and racist Portland train attacker, who was deemed too intense for a right-wing rally and kept to the internet instead.

            Look, I really can’t stress this enough: Nowhere am I saying that the internet is changing sane people into racist lunatics. Nor am I trying to ignore the millions of other factors, like mental health care and gun control, which play into the uptick of spree killings. And to be honest, I can’t even offer a definitive solution beyond personal responsibility and attention toward people around you who may be troubled. But maybe it would be a good start to at least keep a compassionate eye on your friends and family, and be there to let them know that the non-meme world is pretty cool, too. Otherwise this will just continue, and not even our sexy lizards will be safe.

            Ironically, follow Dave on his Twitter, where he spends a lot of his time.

            Also check out We Asked A Mass Shooter Why The Hell This Keeps Happening and I Hunt Serial Killers: 6 Facts You Thought Movies Made Up.

            Subscribe to our YouTube channel, and check out How Gun Control Made Australia Safer Than America, and other videos you won’t see on the site!

            Follow us on Facebook, and we’ll follow you everywhere.

            Read more: http://www.cracked.com/blog/mass-shootings-are-popular-modern-life-isnt-helping/

            3 simple morning activities that can make entrepreneurs more productive

            Image: Shutterstock / Mopic

            Good morning! What all have you accomplished within the first hour of your day so far?

            Maybe you answered some emails over coffee or headed to the gym to work out and get caught up on the news. You might have believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast la Alice from Alice in Wonderland and journaled ideas for new products or services youd like to create next. Or you put on a pair of pants and considered that to be todays adulting win. But did you do all of the right things in order to be the most productive version of you possible?

            Ill admit that this is kind of a trick question. Productivity listicles advise doing a bit of everything from 20 deep squats while brushing your teeth to gradually waking up earlier and earlier to get the most out of your mornings. Does the act of doing more truly make us more productive or does setting up a mindset to view each morning as a race to win before 6 AM actually push us closer to burning out? If youre ready to wake up and greet the day with focus rather than panic and feel like youre running behind, I recommend doing these simple activities.

            1. Make your bed

            According to Gretchen Rubin, author of the bestseller The Happiness Project, making your bed is what is known as a keystone habit. Its a feel-good activity that spills over into allowing us to take on other healthy habits like exercise and cooking. When you find yourself beginning to flourish within these habits, youll gradually notice how it begins to affect your life. For example, if you used to order takeout frequently but are learning how to cook and enjoying the process of making your own meals, youll be less inclined to revert back to that past behavior.

            Rubin notes in her book that when it comes to inspiring happiness, people repeatedly bring up making the bed as the number one impactful change you can make in your life. As far as morning activities go, this one also isnt time-consuming no matter what size your bed might be. And if youve had a tough day, the added bonus is being able to go home and sink into a freshly made bed.

            2. Think before you drink

            Coffee is a $20 billion dollar industry and one that many of us arguably *cant* live without. However, its also a habit that can add up (if you tend to frequent coffeehouses daily) with caffeine affecting your body and overall health. Take a moment to pause and consider what youre drinking and how it affects your physical and mental state each day. If youre looking for an alternative to the morning java that keeps you perky for the next eight hours, consider sipping on any of these beverages.

            • Water: If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, kick starting your mornings with plenty of water will keep you hydrated and energized all day long. Remember eight glasses or bust. If plain water doesnt do it for you, add a little lemon. This improves your stomachs nutrient absorption and lemons load you up with all-natural benefits including antioxidants and vitamins.

            • Apple cider vinegar with green tea: Green tea is another antioxidant-rich drink that has also been proven to improve how your brain functions and offers up a stable kind of energy as opposed to coffees jittery side effects. Add in a few splashes of apple cider vinegar as your not-so-secret ingredient. When you sip a bit of apple cider vinegar each day, it helps detox your body and acts as a natural antibiotic for your skin and stomach to better aid with digestion and your overall immune systems health.

            • Kombucha or Chai: In need of an afternoon pick-me-up? Pour yourself a mug of the fermented tea drink Kombucha for an extra burst of energy or rejuvenate the senses with a hot and spicy Chai tea to sip on.

            3. Practice an attitude of gratitude

            Each morning, I think before I do anything. I practice a daily attitude of gratitude where I reflect on all of the things I am grateful for in my life. It helps me to set the tone for the day to come and to recognize that even when times are tough, I am truly lucky and thankful to be where Im at.

            Take a couple of minutes after you wake up to breathe and focus on those obvious and not-so-obvious things to be grateful about. For entrepreneurs, obvious areas might be your family, friends, and business. Less than obvious blessings can be having a stocked fridge, the neighborhood you work out of, or the umbrella that shields you from a sudden downpour on the day of a big meeting.

            When you practice gratitude actively, youll discover that your mindset will gradually shift in the process. You might find yourself less focused on cramming in a million things early into the day and more renewed at the prospect that there is always this afternoon, evening, and tomorrow to keep working and discovering new things about yourself and the world to which youll feel grateful as well as productive.

            Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @mycorporation.

            Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/08/10/morning-activities-for-entrepreneurs/

            Texas abortion bill criticized for ‘forcing’ women to buy ‘rape insurance’

            The Texas House passed this week a GOP-backed bill which requires women to pay for a separate health insurance supplement for non-emergent abortions.

            The legislation, which passed with a final vote of 92 to 46 Wednesday, bars insurance plans from covering elected abortions. Should a woman want insurance to help alleviate the costs from a non-emergent abortion, she would need to purchase an additional insurance supplement.

            The bill does not provide exceptions for rape or incest.

            Because of that, opponents of the H.B. 214 bill which still has to pass Texas Senate have said it requires women to purchase rape insurance.

            Read on for a look at what the bill does and how rape insurance came to be.

            What is rape insurance?

            Democrats who spoke out against the bill said they did so because it would force women to buy insurance in case of a rape.

            Democratic State Rep. Chris Turner compared the proposed plan to a person who has basic health insurance who has to add on a vision plan or someone who has a simple home insurance plan but adds on flood insurance.


            No woman plans to be raped. No parent plans for their child to be a victim of incest, Turner told Fox News. The idea that a woman would be forced to consider purchasing for herself – or a parent would be forced to purchase for their child – essentially a rape insurance policy should be abhorrent.

            “No woman plans to be raped. No parent plans for their child to be a victim of incest.”

            – State Rep. Chris Turner

            He continued, I think its abhorrent, its sick, its cruel.

            Turner introduced an amendment to the bill that would include an exception for cases of rape and incest, but it failed.

            A Republican lawmaker who voted for the bill both Tuesday and Wednesday declined to comment on the record but did say the term rape insurance was offensive and exploited rape victims for a political gain.

            Has it been used before?

            This isnt the first time the term rape insurance has been used in conjunction with a bill backed by anti-abortion lawmakers and activists. Currently, 10 other states restrict all private insurance coverage of abortions.


            Michigans Republican-led legislature approved a controversial abortion bill in 2013 that prohibited insurers from paying for abortions unless a woman already had purchased a separate coverage plan.

            Republican Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed a similar measure, but it was still passed through the states little-known citizen-initiated law when the anti-abortion group “Right to Life of Michigan” garnered enough signatures to pass it.

            Then-state Sen. Gretchen Whitmer, the minority leader at the time, said she was grateful that she was not impregnated when she was raped more than two decades ago.

            As a legislator, a lawyer and a mother of two girls, I think the fact that rape insurance is even being discussed by this body is repulsive, she said.


            Idaho, Kentucky and Missouri placed restrictions on abortion coverage in 1980. And since 2011, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Utah have also enacted restrictions for women who wish to use insurance to help cover abortions, according to a Think Progress report.

            Utah does have an exception for victims of rape, incest or fetal impairment.

            What have other responses been to the bill?

            State Rep. John Smithee, the Republican who authored the bill, has defended the legislation as he said it gives individuals more options.

            The bill simply provides the individual with the option to purchase coverage for elective abortions or not, Smithee said in a statement to Fox News. It is nothing more than allowing the individual to make the choice rather than the insurance company.

            “A woman who is victimized by the perpetrator of a rape would still be fully covered for her medical expenses under the terms of her insurance just as she is now,” Smithee continued. “The only procedure not covered would be the actual abortion. That is true today in the vast majority of policies whether this legislation passes or not. Thus, to characterize this legislation as having anything to do with rape victims is pure political rhetoric of the worst sort.”

            This isnt about who can get an abortion. Its about who is forced to pay for an abortion, he previously said.


            Heather Busby, the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, slammed the bill and criticized some politicians for remaining single-mindedly fixated on pushing abortion out of reach in our state.

            Texans should be able to make reproductive health decisions, including the decision to have an abortion, with dignity and respect and without politicians interfering with abortion coverage bans like HB 214, Busby said in a statement to Fox News.

            “Texas Right to Life,” an anti-abortion non-profit, said following the bills passage in the state House that anti-abortion Texans are one step closer to no longer involuntarily subsidizing the abortions of others through their premium[s] and tax dollars.

            The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

            Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/08/09/texas-abortion-bill-criticized-for-forcing-women-to-buy-rape-insurance.html