Heather Heyer’s Mom: I Have To Hide Her Grave From The Nazis

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VirginiaHeather Heyers ashes are interred in a safe place, says her mother Susan Bro, at an unmarked, undisclosed, completely protected location.

This site cannot be publicly known because of all those extremists who profess their hatred for Heyer and Bro, and who convey their continued threats of violence toward Bro and others of Heyers family. The location is also secret to protect those who work there, says Bro.

She visits Heyer there in peace, and other members of the family and close friends have been to the location, or will be told in time where the place is and taken there.

Its a symptom of hate in society that you should have to protect your childs grave, for Petes sake, says Bro. So, Im protecting my child now.

As she tells me this, what sounds like the wheezing of a dying animal fills the small room we are in. Bro laughs at how horrific the computer hard drive sounds, especially as we are talking about the death of her daughter at the same time as the machines mortal gurgling continues. Every time I think I turn it off, the computer seems to turn itself on again and the guttural howling begins anew.

Shes here, Heathers here, Bro says, smiling, of the machine in the side office of the Miller Law Group, where Heyer worked as a paralegal, aiding people facing bankruptcy. Heyer, 32, was killed after being struck by a car while protesting against white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 12. Many other counterprotesters alongside her were injured.

President Trump blamed many sides for the Charlottesville violence, and said there very fine people on both of those sides. After seeing these remarks, Bro would not take his calls.

Today, Bro will speak in detail about what she sees as Trumps encouragement of white supremacy, about her daughters alleged killer who she will face for the first time in court Thursday, of seeing her daughters body for the final time, and of cradling her asheswhich reminded her, piercingly, of cradling Heyer as a baby.

Bro will also speak of not living in fear of those who threaten her, and of her heartfelt commitment to consolidating a legacy of social justice in her daughters memory. Her plain-spoken warmth and fierce eloquence have impressed many.

When I ask if she holds President Trump in any way responsible for her daughters death, Bro says: Im starting to come to that conclusion because he definitely pushes forward a hateful agenda. There are family members that will possibly not have anything to do with me for saying so. Many family members are strong Trump supporters, and continue to be so despite everything they see.

At Miller Law, Heyers desk is occupied by another person now. Her boss and mentor Alfred Wilson admonishes himself when he picks up the phone to ask his trusted assistant something, and says Heather, rather than Amy.

Justin Marks, one of Heathers best friends, still sits opposite her desk. Her friend Courtney Commander, who was with Heyer protesting on Aug. 12, works at the firm. Her death made international news, and transformed Heyer into a civil-rights icon.

Here, in a modest office in a nondescript building outside Charlottesville, daily life carries on, and yet sometimes, Wilson tells me, its like a beat goes missing and Heathers loss, her absence, is all too apparent and raw. On Heyers old desk is a pencil and pen holder, a computer with two screens, and above her leather chair on the wall two professional certificates, one recognizing Heyers outstanding service, performance and dedication awarded to her just three months before her death.

At Miller Law, Bro, 61, has an office out of which she runs the nascent Heather Heyer Foundation, set up to support the next generation of social-justice leaders. Bro runs it with three volunteers. As long as Im doing something proactive, I can control the feelings, the emotions, a little better, Bro says, as the computers death-rattle wheezes on.

On a cold December night, there is a small puddle of flowers where Heyer was killed on Charlottesvilles Fourth Street on Aug. 12. On the brick buildings on either side of the street, graffiti is written in love and pride to her memory: No More Hate, Gone But Not Forgotten, Love, and Heather written in curled lettering, a chalk image of flowers above the real ones.

On television, when the video of James Alex Fields Jr.s Dodge Challenger driving into the anti-Nazi and anti-white supremacist protestersthat included Heyerwas replayed over and over again, the street in Charlottesville may have looked large to viewers.

In reality, it is not much more than an alley off the citys main shopping drag, the Downtown Mall. (A car speeding at a group of people in such a small space immediately made this reporter think of a bowling ball launched at a tightly packed group of pins.)

This stretch of Fourth Street, between Market and Water Streets where Fields drove his car, will reportedly be renamed Heather Heyer Way.

A preliminary hearing for Fields, 20, is scheduled to be held Thursday, at Charlottesville Circuit Courthouse. Fields is charged with second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding, three counts of aggravated malicious wounding, two charges of felonious assault and failure to stop that led to death. (Crowds are expected to gather at court; nearby streets will be closed off.)

Heyer was among a crowd of protesters who were demonstrating against the white supremacists, white nationalists, neo-Confederates, Klansmen, neo-Nazis and various militias who had descended on Charlottesville for a Unite the Right rally, organized by Charlottesville resident Jason Kessler. (On Monday, Charlottesville denied Kesslers application to hold an anniversary rally there. The proposed demonstration or special event will present a danger to public safety, the city wrote to Kessler.)

Nineteen people were injured by Fields car. He had traveled from Ohio to attend Kesslers rally, which had been organized to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee from Charlottesvilles Emancipation Park, a few minutes walk away from where Heyer died and where there had been disturbances earlier that day.

A short walk from Lees statue is a statue of Gen. Thomas Stonewall Jackson in Justice Park. Both are now covered in black tarp, invisible but still present. At night they loom like giant phantoms.

The statue of Thomas Jefferson at the University of Virginia, where far-right protesters had gathered holding flaming tiki torches on Friday, Aug. 11, remains uncovered, a lone security guard keeping watch nearby.

Around 30 University of Virginia students had stood around the statues base as the mainly white marchers, dressed in khakis and polo shirts, had shouted such slogans as Blood and soil! You will not replace us! and Jews will not replace us!

Bro won plaudits for speaking so powerfully at her daughters memorial service held at Charlottesvilles Paramount Theater, delivering an impressive, moving, and fully rounded vision of her daughters life, where she also stated: They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well guess what, you just magnified her.

I know that for whatever reason we were woefully unprepared and woefully unprotected for what ensued.

An independent report on the Charlottesville violence and police response to it, published this month, sharply criticized both the local law enforcement and local authorities.

Bro echoes the findings. I know that for whatever reason we were woefully unprepared and woefully unprotected for what ensued, she tells The Daily Beast. We need to look to cities like Boston and San Francisco to see how they prepare for when these hate groups come to town.

I ask if Bro holds the police and authorities responsible for Heyers death. Well, things could have turned out differently had they responded differently. Its not for me to figure out the whys and wherefores. But we know, according to the report, that all they put there was a school resource officer who definitely had a reason to fear for her safety. She wasnt given protection. And then to simply leave one sawhorse to stop traffic

He was not under any attack until he drove into the crowd. Then he was having people beat on his car because he was killing people and injuring people.

Does Bro hold Fields responsible for Heyers death?

Absolutely. Nobody made him do anything. I know he claims he felt threatened. The only time people were attacking his car was when he drove into a crowd, and people were attacking his car because he was driving over top of them. He was not under any attack until he drove into the crowd. Then he was having people beat on his car because he was killing people and injuring people.

It was a pretty stupid move. Hes old enough to know better. My husband Kim looked at what he did, and said it reminded him of a video game, except in one of those you drive through people, and bodies fly everywhere with no consequence. I dont know the kid, Ive never met him. The first time I will see him will be in court this week. I will be going.

Initially when her daughter died, Bro flinched at looking at anything related to it, all videos and photographs, until she got through the initial horror.

Then I thought, I have to know what is going on here. Part of making myself tougher and stronger and fixing my purpose and not turning away from it is partly as a response to the bullies who would love to me see cry and in pain.

I would like to say no other mother has to have her child die for social justice, but I know thats not happening, so I will do my part.

She will see Fields in court today, because I feel this is part of what I owe my child. It behooves me to be strong. It also renews my sense of purpose about why I am doing what I am doing. I would like to say no other mother has to have her child die for social justice, but I know thats not happening, so I will do my part.

The part of Fourth Street where Fields struck the protesters is small. Its an alley, not a road. Bro drove a lawyer past it recently. I was trying to explain to her whether he could see people or not, you could absolutely see the end of the street. There is no reason to gun it except for the sole intention of killing. There was no mistaking the fact he was driving into a crowd.

What would she ask Fields if she could?

What the hell were you thinking? What did you think was going to be outcome of this?

Fields has not been in touch. Bro is sure his lawyer would not want him to be.

Beyond Fields, I ask Bro if she believes white supremacy and hate killed Heyer that day?

Oh, of course. Of course. I mean she knew that was a possibility, but no one thinks they will be killed for standing up for their beliefs. She didnt go there to be a martyr. This is part of my frustration with people, who either make her out to be a martyr in that she went there to die, or that she was a saint and angel and godly person.

Bro claps her hands as she says the following words, slowly and loudly for emphasis: Heather was a normal 32-year-old girl.

I choose not to poke the bear in power, but Im definitely not happy with how he has chosen to drive forward with white supremacy and neo-Nazis.

Bro still does not want to speak to President Trump.

He responds off the cuff. He doesnt bother to think before speaks, or very calculatedly is trying to manipulate all of us. Im not sure which. I can grant there was a lot of violence on both sides, but to say there were good people on both sidesthats where I draw the line.

You cant say there were good people coming into town with their fists taped prepared to draw blood and do harm. Thats not good people. Nazis: bad people. White supremacists: bad people. And I dont see that you can call it any other way. If you choose to align yourself with those people, and you choose to call them good, then youve told me what sort of person you are. So now I have your number and now I know how I choose to respond to you. And in his case, that means: Im not responding to you, you dont get my time of day.

When you continue to misspeak, and continue to misspeak, until there are falsehoods and false stories, and make thoughtless remarks, that to me looks like a planned, intentional hurt.

A number of frantic phone calls came from the White House when she was at her daughters funeral. When she caught up with the news after Heyers funeral, she saw the controversy swirling around the presidents remarks.

I thought, Well, screw him, Im not dealing with this. Im not talking to him. I have no need to go through this charade of pretending to be nice and happy.

He is the president of the United States. That carries a certain weight and power with it. I choose not to poke the bear in power, but Im definitely not happy with how he has chosen to drive forward with white supremacy and neo-Nazis. When someone misspeaks a time or two, its one thing, but when you continue to misspeak and continue to misspeak until there are falsehoods and false stories, and make thoughtless remarks, that to me looks like a planned, intentional hurt. So, my respect definitely dims somewhat, shall we say.

I ask if Bro thinks Trump has aligned himself with white supremacy.

Well, his actions speak louder than his words. Look at the way he acted towards protesters at his rallies. He has definitely encouraged violence and hatred, and has made fun of people for race or disability, and then always tries to act like Oh, I didnt say anything. As a teacher, I can tell you that the child in the classroom who continually tries to act out like that and says, Oh, I didnt say or do anything, we held them responsible for their actions. I am seeing an upswell of those who are going to continue to hold this president responsible for his actions.

Think before you speak and speak only the truth please.

Heyer had quit speaking to a few of those family members before she died; Bro had negotiated a truce between her daughter and other Trump-supporting family members; others she left alone because the relationship wasnt strong in the first place.

Today, if she could address Trump directly, Bro would say: Think before you speak and speak only the truth, please.

He disrespects everybody, Heathers not special in that regard, Bro says of the president. He disrespects Native Americans, black people, history, everything. He has no respect for anybody. Having seen him pre- and since the election, its not surprising. He has never changed who he was. This man is not about respect. He never was, he never will be. Its who he is.

The last in-person conversation mother and daughter had was at a buffet restaurant where they talked politics, office, love life, recalls Bro. Mostly with Heather you got a word in sideways. After dinner, Kim went to the car to play video games: He knew Heather would talk for a while. Since the election, Heyers politics and commentary on Facebook had become more concentrated. She was a fervent opponent of any kind of bigotry, most recently challenging the proponents of a local anti-Muslim campaign.

On the day of her death, out on the Charlottesville streets, Heyer had calmly asked a female supporter of white supremacy why she was aligning herself with their politics.

Mother and daughters last actual conversation was by Messenger. Bro scrolls through her phone to find it, noting that so many people claim to be Heyer now.

Hey, you were you born in 56, and whats your social. Im setting up an IRA with work and I have to name a beneficiary, Heyer messaged her mom, who passed along her information as requested.

But stay alive, Bro added.

Heyer replied, lolol, Ill try thanks.

Id rather have you than the money, her mother replied.

Then she said lol, and we sent the love emoticon to each other, Bro says quietly.

And that was the last conversation I had with my kid.

Her voice cracks.

That was on August 3rd. You never think thats going to be the last time you talk to your child.

It was good that Heyer was getting her financial affairs in order, says Bro, even if it was all in process at the time of her death. Wilson was working with Heyer on plans to safeguard her income and have her invest in property.

The detective just said something to the effect of Your daughter was pronounced dead at such and such a time, and I remember putting my head down and wailing.

That Saturday morning, Bro didnt know Heyer was at the counter-demonstration. She had heard of the unrest in town without realizing Heyer was caught up in it. She had had a stressful week at work, and was relaxing.

Hours before Heyers death, Bro had posted this on Facebook: If I could give my daughter three things it would be the confidence to know her self-worth, the strength to chase her dreams, and the ability to know how truly, deeply loved she is.

It was meant as a spontaneous message of love and pride to her child. Time has transformed it into something more tragically moving.

You dont expect your kid to pass away, get killed. Like that, she says.

The first moment Bro knew that something terrible had happened was when Justin Marks called her. He told her the hospital was looking for Heyers next of kin. Bro kept calling the hospital, but was told they had no one of Heyers name there.

Bro screamed for her friend Cathy to take her to the hospital. Kim, who was elsewhere, would follow them.

A stranger answered Heyers phone and said he had found it on the sidewalk.

Bro called him back to try and get hold of Marissa Blair, a friend and colleague of her daughters who been with her at the demonstration and whose fianc, Marcus Martin, had pushed her out of the path of the car (he suffered a broken leg as a result).

Bro arrived at the hospital to find it barricaded off in a state of lockdown. Security checked her bag for weapons. I was trying to grit my teeth. I told them, I have been told my child is here. Two strangers grabbed me.

Bro takes a deep breath, pauses, and starts weeping.

I knew at this point it was not good. They grabbed me very tightly and walked me up the ramp to a room. I knew I was about to pass out. I walked in and sat down. A detective introduced himself. I dont remember his name, I remember his face.

He just said something to the effect of Your daughter was pronounced dead at such and such a time, and I remember putting my head down and wailing.

Bro is crying.

Then I called people. But every time I would close my eyes that night Id remember that moment and Id wail again. The week of the funeral I only slept 10 hours from the moment I got up on Saturday morning to the day she was buried five days later.

I kept saying to the hospital people, Thank you. I know you did your best. Im proud of how she died. And thats the only thing I could think of to get me through it.

I knew she was dead. I kept saying to the hospital people, Thank you. I know you did your best. Im proud of how she died. And thats the only thing I could think of to get me through it. I remember shaking hands with people, and people saying Im sorry. Id say again, Thank you. I know you did your best. Im proud of how she died. My brain was locked up, it was all I could say.

Wilson and his wife Feda and daughter Amina came to the hospital.

Alfreds kids loved Heather. She even shared her Amazon Fire Stick with them.

The day Heyer was killed the hospital had asked if Bro wanted to see her, but Bro had wanted to wait for her husband to get there. Bro didnt get to see Heyers body until the day before her daughters funeral. The medical examiner had her up until then.

The computers deathly wheezing rises in volume in the little room.

I was really, really dreading seeing her body, but I needed to see her one last time.

I held her hand, and I said, Im going to make this good for you. Im going to make this count for something.

One of the two ministers who spoke at Heyers funeral met Bro at the funeral home, and prayed with her.

I felt a calm come over me. When I saw her, her face and head were kind of messed up. I knew it was her but her arm, her left arm, I recognized more specifically. We had the same arm, she had longer fingers. It was bruised, it had a lot of bruises on it. But I held her hand, and I said, Im going to make this good for you. Im going to make this count for something.

Bro and Kim were with Heyer for 10 minutes; then her father and his friend went in separately; and Heyers brother and his wife, so everyone had their special time with her.

Bro says the National Institutes of Health called two days after her daughter died to ask if they could have Heyers brain for research.

Bro gave her consent (its not like she could use it). A NIH representative called back shortly afterward to say never mind, Bro says. The medical examiner said it was not usable. She pauses. That tells me there was brain damage. When I saw her, her long beautiful hair was not visible. Im guessing it had been cut off. She had a shower cap on, her forehead had a huge lump across it, her teeth didnt quite look like in the right place to me, and she had a hospital gown on, and I saw her arm and thats all I saw of her. I dont remember if she was in a body bag or covered in a sheet.

Bros voice quivers. Thats my driving force. Dammit, you killed my kid, but Im going to make something good come out of this, in spite of it. Youre not going to shut her up, youre not going to shut up the social justice she stood for. Were going to make it bigger than ever. Were going make big things happen.

The weight of the urn in my arms was about the same weight she was when she was born, and I just felt I flashed back to the day they put her in my arms when she was born, and I sat and held her for a long time.

She and Kim stayed with Heyer for five to 10 minutes that day.

After it was all over, when she was cremated and we had her ashes in an urn, we sat and held the urn for long time, Bro says, her voice cracking again.

When we are cremated theres not a lot left. I had a purple urn. Purple was Heathers color, its why her dog was named Violet. The weight of the urn in my arms was about the same weight she was when she was born, and I just felt I flashed back to the day they put her in my arms when she was born, and I sat and held her for a long time. And Kim held the urn for a long time. And that was the day we spent with my kid.

They said, Dont you want take some ashes home? And I said no. Why would I take her big toe or her pinky finger home? If other people want to do that and bring closure, fine. I have no need for that. Heather is with me in my heart. I dont need a piece of her body too.

At the memorial service, she said she felt she had one shot to introduce Heyer to the world: to explain who she was and why she was at the counterprotest. She asked Heathers birth father to talk about raising Heather, and her cousins to talk about her activism.

For herself, Bro wanted to tie all the elements of her daughters life together. She talked of her daughters strength, purpose, and also her as a person in all her complexity.

To me, I was just speaking the truth. Heather and I would laugh about how, at funerals, people who were wife beaters or alcoholics are suddenly talked of as if saints. I knew she would want her life to be deconstructed honestly and real.

We spent a solid two hours hugging and talking to people. By the end of it I felt elevated again, as if I had wings on my feet.

After her powerful oration at Heyers memorial service, by chance she and Kim drove home past where Heyer was killed.

When I saw, I grabbed my husbands arm and said, Oh my God, oh my God. I screamed and I almost jumped out of the car, because the pain hit me so hard. It was the first time I had ever been there, so that was really painful.

Bro falls silent. She went on a planned visit to the site a week after her daughter died. She and Kim got lost initially, and asked for directions at a nearby farmers market. I was just sick with grief at the thought of going there. Kim and I held each other and just sobbed for three and four minutes. When I looked up there was just this wall of people up at where the Mall was, and I said, Its OK, you can come now.

We spent a solid two hours hugging and talking to people. By the end of it I felt elevated again, as if I had wings on my feet. I was so full of love and caring from other people. I had dreaded it so badly, but it turned out to be a very helpful and healing experience.

Bro went back to the street about a month after Heyers death and recommended to city officials that it should reopen.

When discussions were underway about how to mark Heyers memory in Charlottesville, a statue was discussed or the renaming of a park, both of which Bro rejected, seeing them as yet another red flag to the white supremacists and associated groups who had come to Charlottesville to protest the Confederate statues in the first place.

That is why, Bro says, she gave her support to the suggestion of renaming Fourth Street to Heather Heyer Way.

Bro took home some of the artificial flowers at the site, and scarves and bandanas that had been left there. She gave away some of the flowers to passersby. She has washed and wears some of the scarves. She has also has a purple blanket she made Heather, which she wraps herself up in in the evenings. Thats my cuddle time with Heather, she says.

All of what has happened can seem unreal to Bro.

This time last year I was happily crocheting angels and hats. I was just cooking, and it feels like it was a different life another person lived through.

My grief is folded into my work. Without my work I would sit home and cry. I wouldnt be able to wrap my head around anything else.

Bro says she has lived through several incarnations. First I got married. That first time I thought I was a happy housewife and part-time office worker and then that dream got crushed. Then I was a single mom for a while on welfare and food stamps, and then I went back to school, so I was a student and single mom, then I was a schoolteacher; then I was a bookkeeper; then I remarried after 25 years of not being married.

This is the next incarnation. My grief is folded into my work. Without my work I would sit home and cry. I wouldnt be able to wrap my head around anything else.

She used to knit and crochet voraciously, but doesnt feel she has the mental capacity for it now. The bookkeeper inside her head wants to marshal the foundations paperwork, and in the office she feels close to Heyer.

Bro says her life now is a million light years from anything I ever expected. She declines to tell me where she lives, beyond it being a town a half-hour north of Charlottesville. They have such a small police force they have been trying to avoid connecting themselves to us, she says.

Since Heyers death, hatemongers have not just targeted Heyer herself, but Susan, too. They tell Bro that Heyer deserved to die, that she was fat, that the blunt-force injury to the chest recorded as her cause of death was a CPR machine, not Fields car. Bros life has been threatened, too.

Its kind of stupid, Bro says drily. You threaten the mother of someone you already killed because she dares to speak up.

Not only, says Bro, is local law enforcement unable to deal with threats to Bro and the family, Heyer also disagreed with the local authorities stance on social justice. Bro didnt hold her funeral there, partly because the authorities couldnt guarantee the familys security, and also because Heyers heart was in Charlottesville, she says.

Bros home areas authorities dont want hate groups coming to the area because of Heyer, her mother says; even a planned food drive in Heyers name was canceled because of fear of far-right groups.

Theres a dichotomy in my life, says Bro. I taught in a particular place for 15 years, then worked for that state and county. Now to act as if it doesnt exist is weird. But I dont look back, I look forward. You can only move ahead with the what you have in front of you.

Heyers apartment was in the center of Charlottesville, near where she died and where she was conceived, says her mother.

That pregnancy was a last-ditch attempt to save me and my first husband Marks marriage, says Bro.

Nick, Heyers brother who is five years her senior, had been born first. Bro had been especially delighted to have a son. I never imagined having a boy. I was so happy to have him and Heather. I felt bad I didnt bring them into a stable relationship. In my mind that was selfish and irresponsible. There was a lot of loud, angry yelling, a lot of tears. It was not a good thing for Nick or Heather to be around.

Nick, who is in the Army Reserves and is married with a small child, has been devastated by his sisters death, says Bro. She was not the first person close to him to have been murdered, and he wishes to stay out of the public eye.

At the time of Heathers conception, We were sort of using birth control, says Bro. I probably thought, Were doing OK now, and it was a disaster. He [Mark] had problems at the time, though is a changed man for the better now. We were both lousy spouses. It was a bad marriage, and we split up for a final time when Heather was five months old.

The marriage had lasted eight years, the divorce took three years.

Mother and daughter, both strong-minded, clashed over the years, but were never estranged.

We would clash because she was trying to impose her will on me, Bro says, smiling. She shows me a picture of Heather at 3, where she looks brimming with a quiet anger or resolve, or both.

Bro laughs. She was going to argue with me. The storm is brewing on her face. The way to make her agree was to explain something to her to her satisfaction. Bedtimes, mealtimes: Shed argue about everything. You always needed to explain to her why something was fair and right.

There are other pictures of her and Nick playing in the Styrofoam peanuts left behind from a box of toys sent by their Florida-dwelling grandparents. One of her favorite outfits was to wear a diaper, army helmet, and Bros high heels.

Others have told me all they could hear was the thud sound of bodies being hit. They didnt see the car till the last possible second.

Heyer was a boisterous child, at least early on.

She was born with only one ear, says Bro. Her left ear was folded over. There was no hole in her skull. During fifth grade, Heyer had a series of painful, corrective surgeries. She had 20 percent hearing in that ear.

Most of us forgot, including her mother, says Bro, because she coped so well. But that did mean she couldnt locate by sound, which may have been a factor that led to her death. If a crowd was yelling and a car was coming she may not know where the car was. Others have told me all they could hear was the thud sound of bodies being hit. They didnt see the car till the last possible second.

As a young girl, Heyer didnt have any ambitions. When her mother asked her what she would like to do, to try and nudge her, Heyer replied that she would like to be a fat cat on a pillow and not have to do anything. Her mother laughed and told her that was not an option. Thats often the problem with bright kids. Things are so easy for us, we have difficulty settling into careers.

College was costly, the family didnt have any money, and Heyer had screwed around in high school, her mother says. There were no scholarships coming.

As a schoolteacher for 20 years, Bro wanted her pupils (fourth graders, aged 9 and 10) to succeed, but neither of her children liked school. They were both strong and independent, she says, and she was keen to raise people, not sheeple. She made it clear she could only be there for them in financial emergencies; when they left home, they had to support themselves.

Both Nick and Heather started work at 14, she says. Heather did waitressing and bar work; she had seen Bro do the same to supplement her teaching salary. Food-service work was always something to fall back on, she had told her children.

Bro was thrilled when Heyer came to work at Miller Law in 2012. Her daughter was getting close to 30 at the time, and her mother thinks she was taking stock of her life, and figuring out she did not want to be a waitress at 70. That was a pivot point for her. I had mine closer to 40 or 50, Bro laughs.

After she died the crockpot from Easter was still in the fridge. She was single. She never looked in that fridge. My husband Kim very politely bagged it up and tossed it.

Heyer didnt want to have children, though she loved and doted on other peoples. She adored Violet, her Chihuahua (who now lives with a close friend of hers).

The family marked the holidays by going to Bros parents place.

I tried preparing a big meal a time or two. Heather said, Mom, youre killing yourself. This is no fun for any of us. At her suggestion, we stopped doing the big meal last Thanksgiving. So for Christmas, Easter, and what we would have done at Thanksgiving and Christmas, everyone went to Subway and got their favorite sub.

Heather also prepared a whole crockpot of mac and cheeseit was a deluxe, calorie-laden Paula Deen recipeand three dozen deviled eggs. I found out from her best friend after she died, she hated making them. She felt a family obligation to take it on: piles and piles food we couldnt possibly eat. After she died the crockpot from Easter was still in the fridge. She was single. She never looked in that fridge. My husband Kim very politely bagged it up and tossed it.

Cathy enters to say goodbye. Bro says they have been friends for 18 years, through thick and thin. It carries back and forth as to who needs who, and now I need her. I never had a close friend like that before, Im an odd duck. I laugh at the wrong jokes. I was much more stubborn and hard-headed in the past.

Her daughter was affected by Bros uterine-cancer diagnosis in 2010. For Bro, it was a health wake-up call. Bro thinks it made her realize she wouldnt be around forever.

Around the same time, a significant relationship of Heyersa first love boyfriendwas drawing to its end. Maybe life does that: Things converge and shoot you off into new directions. Its happened that way for me, Bro says.

Life has come at Bro hard and fast since her daughters death. But people who were near Heyer or who helped others who were injured have made themselves known to her. They are suffering, she says, a form of PTSD. Im dealing with the aftermath of a dead child. There are still people receiving medical treatment, people who will never be completely right again. Im not sure all the people are out of hospital yet. Theyre dealing with the trauma in a different way than me. I am dealing with one incident. They are dealing with the effects of being in a war zone.

Kesslers bid to hold another rally in Charlottesville next year may have been denied, but when we spoke Bro was not surprised he had sought it.

Im not happy about it. He feels it got him the bloodbath and the media attention he wants, so hes going to try again. With these sorts of rallies, Bro does not want to give the white-supremacist demonstrators the oxygen of publicity that a counter-demonstration would supply, but if you let them have the field that day, dont they think theyve won?

People have said to me, Heather shouldnt have been there, that people were warned to stay away, that she died from her own stupidity, that this is Darwins Law, that she wiped herself out, Thank God, Im glad thats over. My comment to them was, so when the Nazis came to town, we should all go into our houses and hide. Thats what happened in Germany originally: Its not my problem, not going to look at it, it wont affect me. But it does. It affects humanity.

Its kind of stupid. You threaten the mother of someone you already killed because she dares to speak up.

People have asked Bro why she bothers with her ongoing activism.

I said, Because Im making ripples in the pond, and as long as enough of us make ripples eventually a wave develops. This is part of me maintaining my ripple, my resolve.

Bro is doing a lot of traveling and talking, as she puts it. Her marriage to Kim is a fairly young, four years old. They have been together for seven years. When Heyer died, she said to Kim before she began her foundation work that she would be the face of it, and asked whether he was ready for that. Because this is going to change who I am a lot. Im not going to be that half hippie chick you married.

Kim said to her: Im game.

He travels with her, although has a bad back, so sometimes Cathy goes with her, or Alfreds wife, Feda. She worries that she hasnt seen some of her grandchildren since the summer. Part of that is due to security worries; they could not attend Heyers funeral because Bro felt their safety could not be guaranteed. It seems awful that Heyers family cannot even conduct the basics of grieving without being threatened.

The hate mail has been stupid, pointless, and mostly anonymous from idiot cowards, she says. The authors threaten her life, and make racist remarks like, as Bro recites: They should have killed more n**gers. I wish theyd killed more n**gers. Im glad your daughters gone. You know she didnt actually die. She just laid down of a heart attack, because she was a fat slob.

I take care of it before it takes care of me. Thats why some people think I dont care. I care very deeply, but its like diving into a cold pool and sucking it up, toughing it out.

Its a little insane, Bro says of this hatred, a little like stepping into reality TV. Kim and I had lessons from the FBI: how to watch ones back, be more aware of surroundings, like dont sit with your back to the door of a restaurant. But I dont live in paranoia and fear. I cant function that way. Its the new reality. It is what it is.

I don't allow myself to feel sorry for myself. Im not the only mother whos lost a kid. Im not the only person approaching the holidays who has lost a loved one. I just have to toughen up a bit and get through it. Thats how I survive. I take care of it before it takes care of me. That's why some people think I dont care. I care very deeply, but its like diving into a cold pool and sucking it up, toughing it out. I have to get on with my life, and my life right now is sharing Heathers life.

It saddens her most that it is affecting her grandchildren; one became anxious after his mother became anxious (the situation is now resolved); one young niece who was close to Heyer thinks of her as just daddys friend, and Bro hopes when she is older she will know how brave her aunt was and be proud of her.

After she died, Bro looked through her daughters Facebook posts: They were all to do with friends and social justice.

She hadnt understood how much Heyer had stood up for other people, and at such a young age, until after she was killed, when Bro found out her daughter had stood up as a kid herself for other kids bullied on the school bus, like the woman (and her brother) who set up a GoFundMe page for Heyers funeral.

A white teacher who had adopted an Asian child was abused at school; Heyer took those bullies on, too.

I didnt know she did all that stuff. She didnt talk about it, says Bro.

Heyers social-justice posts became more emphatic after the last election, her mother says.

Bro herself didnt understand white privilege or the politics of Black Lives Matter until her own activism evolved, although she recalls going out with Heyer and a black man she once dated and going to a restaurant and getting the worst service and evil looks from other people. We were followed in stores. That may have been an awakening for Heather as well. We never talked about the moment she became woke, but a few weeks before she was killed she said to me, Mom, I think youre woke now. I said, I think I always have been, but maybe now I am doing better at it.

Heyer, her mother says, lived larger than life and died larger than life. She was always funny, always intense. Her love was intense, her anger could be intense. The irony is that day she went out to be with her friends.

Bro is telling me about the glass table top of a Mexican restaurant, a favorite venue of hers and Heathers, which she only just felt able to return to. As she went to sit down, the glass top suddenly started rotating.

As she says these words, the computer turns itself on again, and the death rattle begins anew.

Bro says quietly, Heather, leave the computer alone please. Ill unplug it if you keep on.

She turns to me, and laughs. If the monitor comes on and typing starts appearing, then you can really freak out.

That day at the Mexican restaurant, Bro put her hand on the table and said, Heather, stop it. and the rotating glass stopped.

The other day in the office, Bro was talking to one of her daughters friends about a past relationship with a guy she had only marginally approved of, and the paper plate being held by the other person suddenly upended itself, sending the pastry on it flying off. Well Heather didnt like that, did she? Bro said.

Bro tries to stay focused on work when at the office, and laughs that her kitchen table at home is her second office space, its surface unseen since her daughters death so covered as it is with correspondence.

She feels Heyers presence mostly when shes driving; the two would sing along to the radio in the car. Heyer loved hip-hop, and both liked Pink, Adele, Amy Winehouse: Strong women singers, Bro says.

I would take it all back in a second to have her back. And yet, I also know this has made an impact on the world and I cant take that away from the world

The Saturday before our meeting Bro had been doing some Christmas shopping in Charlottesville when she was suddenly aware that she walking around with tears streaming down her face. She did not feel self-conscious; she is learning to live with the vagaries of when grief strikes.

Bro can also be positively surprised. The day before we meet, she went to a McDonalds drive-thru (for a yogurt parfait, she says; she and her husband are trying to stick to a diet).

In front of her was a man with a Sons of Confederate Veterans license plate. I thought, Do I hate him? Do I want to hate him?' I tried the thought on. No I didnt. I thought, 'Thats probably his family history. I dont know how he feels about Heather. But me hating him is not going to do any good. He looked a lot like my husband. I saw him see me in his rearview mirror, and recognize me.

I got to the drive-thru window, and the cashier said that my meal had been paid for by him. I pulled around when I was picking up the food, hollered thank you, and he waved. I think, even if a lot of people believe in the Confederate cause, they didnt want people dying that day.

Heyer herself was a private person, an activist happy to serve rather than lead. Bro feels that at some point this becomes my movement too. This is my tribute to my daughter, and its not exactly how she would have done things. My gut feeling is that she would understand why we are doing what we are doing with her memory. I would take it all back in a second to have her back. And yet, I also know this has made an impact on the world and I cant take that away from the world.

Her voice cracks.

I would love to have my child back. But I cant take away what this has meant to other people. If this is what it takes to snap the worlds attention around to say, This has to stop. We have to draw a line, then that is good. I have said before that I dont know why it had to take a white girls death to get everybodys attention, but that is what happened. Sadly, I think my daughters death is a pivotal point in historyand I do not mean to be inflated about that at all. Its just seeing the impact and ongoing impact from this. It's a moment not likely to be forgotten.

When I ask about the controversial statues themselves, Bro is careful first to say she does not live in Charlottesville herself.

For those of us who want to remove the statues, we are not trying to hide or bury history, but lets acknowledge why the statues are where they are. They were put up during Jim Crow times for the purpose of telling a newly confident and more affluent black community: We do not respect you, we still think of you as slaves who have managed to get a little ahead in life. Nothing happened during the Civil War in Charlottesville. Take them down, put them somewhere else, they dont belong here.

Im diabetic, I have to eat, Bro announces abruptly.

In a car en route to a nearby Burger King, she talks about growing up in Roanoke, an only child. Her mother did clerical work, her father was a draftsman. She was much less a tomboy than her own daughter, and grew up wanting to be a teacher, missionary or cowboy: Not a cowgirl. They were boring.

A young feminist, she demanded in first grade to be allowed to wear pants under her dress on snowy days. At her second marriage, to Kim, she recalls laughing gently, she asked that he promised to love and obey her, too.

She knew she was loved. I knew I was loved. We had no animosity between us hanging over. I don't want to let her go, but could let her go

At the drive-thru she orders a burger, onion rings, and a diet soda, and on the way back to the office she talks about worrying that her hippie-ish demeanor made her stand out at social events like a Miller Law Group summer cookout. Heather had told her she loved her mom just as she was.

One thing I felt when Heather was killed was that I had no regrets about our relationship. She knew she was loved. I knew I was loved. We had no animosity between us hanging over. I don't want to let her go, but could let her go. She knew that things were good between us. Bro only regrets the lack of pictures of them together.

Back in her small office at Miller Law, she shows me some framed tweets from Bernie Sanders (Heyer was a huge supporter, and did not vote in the election after the Democrats chose Hillary Clinton over him; Bro was angry with her for this).

There is a wrapped-up and folded banner from the Amsterdam Womens March, a handmade pillow, an honorary certificate from the governor of Virginia and the state flag, a painting of Heyer by an artist from Pittsburgh in her favorite purples. On Bros desk are official letterheads of the foundation, hearts colored purple, inscribed HH.

As the afternoon light leaks to darkness, Bro tells me that activism will now be the focus of the rest of her life. She always had opinions, she says, it was just nobody cared to hear them. The foundation will primarily focus on energizing and engaging young people, and training the next generation of social justice leaders.

She relishes connecting with other civil-rights groups and learning how to be a social justice advocate. I cant see myself doing anything else. By that first Sunday I told my husband I could never go back to my other job. I dont have the mind for it. My mind is wrapped in this now.

Bros health is not good; she says her immune system is collapsing in on itself, she finds it hard to turn her mind off when its time to go to sleep, her sleeping is erratic as is her diet. She has been following a clean eating plan, and then may have junk food, like today.

She talks of the people in airports or shops who approach her. Bro tries to have time for everyone, but she is always aware of those who shrink back, too tentative to say anything. What a strange new world it is, she says, where she may have to get an agent to handle her speaking requests. An agent, she says, laughing gently.

But beyond it all: the talks and award ceremonies, the hugs and thanks and solicitousness of strangers, the new and strange stardom, the life of committees and progressive alliances and celebrities and red carpets and interviews and public speaking, is the inescapable and all-encompassing loss of her daughter.

As we finish the interview, Bro asks where I am staying. I tell her the name of my hotel.

Downtown. Do be careful, Susan Bro says, and she is very serious.

Coming next: Heather Heyers mentor and friends remember her.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/heather-heyers-mom-im-starting-to-hold-trump-responsible-for-her-murder-in-charlottesville

It’s time to nationalize the internet

Last Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission, led by deregulation zealot Ajit Pai, presented a plan to dismantle net neutrality in America. Not only must we fight to prevent that from happening, we must ensure it can never happen again.

Net neutrality is the principle that all internet data delivered to customers must be treated equally. Net neutrality rules prevent internet service providers (ISPs) from allowing users to see more of some types of content and less of others. Some potential consequences of repealing net neutrality rules include unfair speed and access advantages for large companies and tiered internet packages that further commodify things like streaming video and social media.

While telecom companies insist that government regulation hinders their business, opponents of ending net neutrality view these rules as a bulwark against an internet that would be built solely for the profit of large corporations at the expense of its users. Critics see a future of high-cost internet with add-ons, data caps, and fast lanes that complicate access and eliminate the open internet as we know it.

In the healthcare battle, we have seen how rallying people behind a vision of the future can be more effective than simply fighting to maintain the status quo. While lawmakers have been slow to come around, the majority of Democratic voters now support single-payer healthcare. “Medicare for all” provides a vision for a better future. This makes it easier for healthcare activists to knock on doors and win converts. It gives people something to fight for rather than simply stand against.

The same could be true for net neutrality. Instead of just standing against Pai’s proposals, let’s stand for nationalizing the internet.

In the post-Reagan era in America, we have been conditioned to believe that the government isn’t equipped to handle large-scale projects. Conventional wisdom has been that private industry is better equipped to handle things than the government. Deregulation has been the agenda of baby boomer conservatives. And it has failed. It has failed the environment. It has failed the airline industry. It has failed education. It will fail the internet.

What would a nationalized internet look like? When we talk about nationalizing the internet, the best model to imagine probably isn’t the post office, but electric and water companies. Like these public utilities, internet is piped into your house. Also like water and electric, you need the internet to fully function in the modern world.

So, why shouldn’t the internet be a utility?

The biggest argument against this view is that it would eliminate competition. Competition, free-market types believe, is the key to innovation. Under this system, the job of an ISP is to deliver as fast a connection as possible for as low a price as possible. The problem is, competition among internet providers is a joke.

Currently, many consumers have only one or two options for high-speed broadband providers in their area, if any. Fifty-million households have one choice or fewer. Nearly 40 percent of America’s rural households lack high-speed internet, according to the FCC. As many customers know, those that do have high-speed access are subject to fluctuating bills and varying levels of service.

What exactly is being innovated here? Innovations like smart TVs, mobile hotspots, and smartphones have been transformative for many people’s lives. But these technologies have nothing to do with the delivery of broadband internet.

Writing in Pacific Standard, Rick Paulas described the current ISP situation like this: “nly a few massive companies have been able to compete with one another, and a majority of those competitions have ended in a kind of stalemate where they just end up carving up the marketplace block by block, or building by building, and forcing the residents to either choose their service or choose nothing.”

So, there isn’t much innovation going on. But what proof do we have that the free market drives innovation for ISPs? Jeff Dunn of Business Insider tried to argue for a free market solution but ended up admitting that, as currently constituted, the barrier to entry is so high for an ISP startup that robust competition is impossible. In the Washington Post, Larry Downes claimed that public utilities don’t innovate but declined to name one crucial advancement made by Comcast or its ilk in recent years. A recent New York Times op-ed also failed to articulate what innovations have made the nightmare of Time Warner customer service worth our while.

If there are no particular innovations these conservative commenters can point to, who is to say that an internet paid for and overseen by the government wouldn’t be as good if not better? Couldn’t we just vote out politicians who fail to keep our municipal ISPs on pace to handle our computers and smartphone needs? Perhaps the will of the people will be a more effective means for progress in this sector than corporate innovations.

Again, tens of millions of people in America don’t have high-speed internet. Those people are disproportionately poor and disproportionately rural. Are we to really believe that a child who goes without high-speed internet in their childhood can expect to compete in the global marketplace? Can a child in Appalachia, on a Native American reservation, or living in poverty in the inner city really be expected to achieve their potential if they don’t have quality internet access? What percentage of the jobs have you done have depended upon a working knowledge of the internet? What dream job doesn’t require a strong internet presence?

Wouldn’t universal access to high-speed internet actually increase the intellectual and productive possibilities of our country? Maybe the key to innovation is giving everyone in America an opportunity to innovate.

In fact, some Democrats are moving in this direction. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday announced a $40 billion plan to bring high-speed internet to America’s underserved communities.

“Every rural home is entitled to broadband at the same speed and levels as every urban home,” Schumer said during a town hall meeting in New York’s Livingston County. “In fact, it’s not just rural homes but a lot of suburban homes that are left behind.”

Sign the petitions. Give Ajit Pai a piece of your mind. But, at the same time, let’s look beyond the Trump administration. Let’s look to a vision of the future that we want. Let’s build the groundwork for an America where every child has access to high-speed internet regardless of class, regardless of community.

Let’s nationalize the internet.

Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/layer8/nationalize-internet-net-neutrality/

This Squirrel Keeps Coming Back To Visit The Family That Saved Her 8 Years Ago

When Brantley Harrison and her family rescued a tiny, injured squirrel back in 2009, then released her back into the wild, they didn’t expect to ever see her again. 8 years later, however, little Bella still comes to visit them almost every day – as long as snacks are provided, of course.

After a harrowing owl attack left Bella near death as a baby, she was graciously taken in by the Greenville County, South Carolina family, and raised by them alongside three other squirrels named Larry, Curly, and Moe. Bella stayed with the Harrisons until spring 2010, at which point she had healed successfully thanks to a steady diet of fruit, nuts, and formula, and was ready to romp around in the forest. The sweet squirrel never strayed too far from her adopted home, though, and stops by to say hello whenever she can, despite how much time has passed.

“Bella sits right at the front door waiting for someone to notice she has come by for a visit. She has even resorted to jumping over to the dining room window to peer in for someone to see her,” Brantley told The Dodo.

The most amazing part? A few years after Bella’s original stay at the Harrison house, she found her way back to them with an injured foot – and a belly full of babies – necessitating another few months of rehab. “It was truly amazing to watch the baby I raised raise her own babies,” Brantley said. Bella now even has her own Instagram page with almost 4 thousand followers! See some of this family’s sweetest photos below.

Back in October 2009, this baby squirrel was found injured and alone after an apparent owl attack

Rescuers placed the poor thing with Brantley Harrison and her family in SC, who soon named her Bella

For 5 months, the Harrisons lovingly raised and nurtured Bella back to health alongside three other squirrels

Eventually, the time came to release all 4 squirrels into the wild, never to be seen again after a few days

One of their former guests, however, just kept coming back to visit every single morning

It was Bella! The little lady just wasn’t ready to part with the family that saved her life

Whenever she stops by, she asks for nothing more than a handful of walnuts and plenty of cuddles

“Bella sits right at the front door waiting for someone to notice she has come by for a visit,” Brantley says

“She has even resorted to jumping over to the dining room window to peer in for someone to see her”

A few years later, Bella turned up one morning with an injured foot – and a secret surprise

Just before she was re-released, Bella gave birth to three babies, and was once again in need of care

“It was truly amazing to watch the baby I raised raise her own babies,” Brantley commented

Though it’s been 8 years since Bella and the Harrisons first met, their bond is still just as strong

Bella even has her own Instagram account now, where her human family documents her adventures

“My husband will be running late for something and rushes out the door to be greeted by her…”

“And he HAPPILY runs back inside… and goes back out to spend some time with her”

This just might be the SWEETEST human-animal friendship we’ve ever seen!

Do you have a best friend from the wild? Tell us all about them below!

Read more: http://www.boredpanda.com/squirrel-come-back-save-family-bella-brantley-harrison/

Donald Trump and the Success of the Narcissistic Sociopath

While the rest of the country was either recovering from a tryptophan-induced coma and/or raiding department stores at odd hours to score deals in the time-honored American post-Thanksgiving tradition of Black Friday, President Donald Trump wasas usualtweeting.

Trumps tweet sparked mockery, derision, and outcry, along with a clarifying tweet from Time that suggested no such conversation took place. But that single tweet is evocative for more than representing Trumps outsized view of himself and his role in the world; it demonstrates elements of sociopathy and narcissism that the leader of the free worldand his peers in his previous life as a business mogulshowcase.

But why do those with sociopathic characteristics succeed? The answer is a complicated one thats fascinated both organizational psychologists and business analysts for a long time. And it traces back to a story of men, narcissism, an obsession with power, and a quirk in the brain that makes it frighteningly simply for some people to not feel empathy.

Which raises the necessary question: What is a sociopath? The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, commonly referred to as the DSMthe guidebook of the American Psychiatric Associationclassifies sociopathy as an antisocial disorder, or having a general disregard for and violation of other peoples rights. It goes on to dictate the characteristics we are familiar with for representing these disorders: callousness, hostility, deceitfulness, lack of remorse, egocentrism.

Importantly, sociopathy is a result of environmental factors. Sociopaths have become cold and manipulative as a response to trauma: physical, mental, and/or social abuse that made them resistant to trust, erratic in their behavior, even violent.

But wait, doesnt this armchair sort of diagnosis of Trumps mental state break the sacred Goldwater Rule, the American Psychiatric Associations ethical rule to avoid diagnosing a person with a mental condition (here, sociopathy)? The Goldwater Rule was put in place to not only avoid politicizing the psychiatric profession but also to maintain a sense of integrity for a persons wellbeing and their health. While the stigma of being associated with a mental illness has certainly gone down, mental illness still considered by many to be something shameful. And how can one rightly diagnose a person without actually, physically interacting with them?

The psychological (not psychiatric, importantly) experts The Daily Beast spoke toalong with a number of practicing psychiatristshave suggested that Trumps years of media outputbooks, television appearances, tweets, and moremade his case one that is jarringly different, and one in which the Goldwater Rule doesnt apply.

What Trumps relentless output of media suggests, from his youthful days conquering the New York real estate market to his vociferous campaign, is one truth: The traditional rules of diplomacy dont apply to him, and his style of leadership relies on an overwhelming, overpowering self-confidence that hes the smartest, most able man in the room. He grabbed pussy, he equated Mexican immigrants with rapists, he blamed his poor performance at a debate to a moderator's menstrual cycle. None of that stopped Trump from getting elected, and in the year since his election, Trumps consistent belief in his moral superiority has driven his tenure and policies.

Theres something to say about a person with a deluge of optimism in their abilities to lead, unfounded or not. While it might seem that being preternaturally overconfident and reckless in wielding power for powers sake would be dangerous, evolution seems to indicate otherwise. In 2011, evolutionary biologist Dominic Johnson traced the evolution of overconfidence, or narcissism, with game theory, suggesting that the boost of overconfidence that some people seemed to have about their abilities worked as a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. It might seem like magical thinking, but the fact is that while narcissism can drive leaders towards wars, financial collapses, and self-delusions about how much they can influence policy, a mild sense of delusion about ones abilities can be a good thing.

Thats because game theory experiments showed that opponents werent sure how to read a persons narcissism. Was it an empty threat? Was it real? Was the boy who called wolf actually calling wolf? Competitors often didnt know and resorted to believing their opponents big claims, even if they werent true.

Ashley Watts is a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at Emory University. For the past six years, shes studied the intertwining of narcissism and sociopathy of men in power. In 2012 and 2013the advent of President Barack Obamas second termshe and her fellow researchers considered what makes for a successful presidency from a psychological standpoint. She found that what makes these leaders especially compelling and just plain good at what they do is a serious dose of grandiose narcissism.

Thats what people are thinking when they think about narcissism, she said. Its the extroverted, boisterous, self-focused, interpersonally dominant person who is fearless and persuasive. The lack of empathy combined with the tendency to act impulsively with a streak of antisocial behavior is far more common than we might at first assume. Those aspects overlap a lot, she said, and together they can create a person who is very charming. While it might seem odd that a person who is deemed antisocial could simultaneously be considered charming, its really not, Watts argued: Antisocial narcissists are attuned to when and how to turn the charm factor up to manipulate a person to do something or feel like theyve earned the praise they crave from that person.

The channeling of narcissistic antisociality into something useful is defined as adaptive, where a person is able to use the aspects of both character types to fearlessly dominate meetings, make hiring and firing decisions without remorse, and lead groups into directions a person without this unique duality of personality traits would find uncomfortable at the very least, frightening and anxiety-ridden at the worst. In moderate levels and certain occupations, those are adaptive traits, Watts pointed out. Even a little dose of those features makes you a better leader.

Which is why presidents can often exhibit the important narcissistic tendency of fearless dominance. In a study she and her colleagues did in 2012 analyzing presidents up to and including President George W. Bush (PDF), Watts found that what was often deemed negative with regards to sociopathy and its very close genetic cousin psychopathy, objective surveys of presidential performance found that the presidents that were able to wield power with these traits were considered more effective and successful. There are certainly presidents who rank high [in narcissism], and its possible to have both [narcissism and antisociality], she pointed out.

That's the key part of narcissistic sociopathy that Watts emphasizes: If you are a maladaptive narcissist and had nothing to your personality, than being able to channel those traits into effective leadership is next to impossible. Charisma is the magic ingredient, and being able to manipulate people into believing you are a force for good or right goes a long way towards cementing a narcissistic persons path to power.

Elizabeth Lunbeck, a professor of the history of science at Harvard, wrote the book on narcissism of men in leadership, penning not only the book The Americanization of Narcissism but also an essay in the Los Angeles Review of Books this past August reflecting on Trump's narcissism now that he occupies the Oval Office. She thinks that in the last year, strides have been made in pushing narcissism out of its narrowand often wrongassociation with Millennials.

"Until recently, it was the narcissistic Millennial [that dominated the conversation about narcissism], that they refused to grow up," Lunbeck said. But that's not true. She noted that Trump's year has illustrated narcissism's negative effects and how those effects differ from narcissism's positive qualities.

Thats right: Narcissisms negative connotation isnt entirely true. What I think is missing most from the conversation is the idea of healthy narcissism, Lunbeck pointed out. Studies have repeatedly shown that there's a reason why narcissism is a helpful character trait to have: The ability to be calculating, know when to assign tasks to certain people, and make decisions devoid of empathy or personal ties to the subject can seem cold, but it makes for a leader thats capable of executing difficult decisions and propel an organization forwardwhether that be the White House or a storied Hollywood production house.

Lunbeck says the idea of the charming narcissist is very plausible in real life boardrooms and at the height of power in any industry. Were attracted to narcissists because theyre glittery, theyre glitzy, theyre charismatic, and they make us feel good, she explained.

Thats actually the paradoxical part of narcissists: We might feel like theyre outright assholes, people wed rather not deal with because theyre slimy and/or heartless, but we chase them in search of validation. Lunbeck says narcissistic psychopaths ability to fatten us up and get us ready for the kill highlight their leadership potential and also showcases how theyre able to lasso in our weakness as humans to try to get people to be pleased with our work and like us. Its apparent in cycles of abuseEven if someone has been really hurt by others or a lover or a boss, its not unusual for that person to be found in that same sort of scenario againa sort of Stockholm syndrome where those manipulated by narcissistic psychopaths are held prisoner to their pursuit of feeling appreciated and valuable, despite the very people they seek validation from not caring about their wellbeing so long as the job at hand is done. Theres no all-purpose prophylactic about fighting oneself from the spell of a narcissist, Lunbeck said.

Dan P. McAdams, a psychology professor at Northwestern University, wrote a widely shared article on The Atlantic before the 2016 election titled The Mind of Donald Trump, in which he analyzed Trumps behavior from the countless hours of media available to the public.

McAdams specific focus on Trump has shown that indeed, he illustrates narcissism that weve never seen in our lifetimes, that we may never see again. Early signs of this was slapping his name onto buildings and products; McAdams says this behavior continues now with his inability to apologize for missteps. What McAdams sees as even more threatening and potentially psychopathic is the idea that he was elected president despite the now infamous Access Hollywood tape that caught Trump on a hot mic bragging about grabbing women without their consent.

When it comes to sexual predators and men who are in power and abuse their power, this has always been with us, McAdams said. But now, its becoming a big deal. That person in power who takes advantage of his vantage point to coerce people into doing their bidding without their consent might seem inhuman, and to McAdams, thats because it ishe said the closest anagram to Trump was the alpha chimp form of leadership.

But what does this show us about narcissistic, antisocial men in power? All three of the experts on male narcissism that talked to The Daily Beast agree that while we might have gained a social awareness of the dangers of this predatory, abusive power, the year since Trumps election and the subsequent fall from power of men who have ruined the lives of many women and men has also shown that these people thrive off of power and are far more ingrained in our society than we might have guessed. You cant change them right away, they dont become shrinking violets overnight, McAdams said. People get drawn to them because they have that captivating power.

The narcissistic male argument, however, has one critical sample bias flaw: It could be so because thats all weve ever really known. The vast majority of cultures have emphasized male dominance and rewarded men with power over women for most of time. That means our understanding of narcissistic sociopathy is limited to men, Watts said.

That doesnt mean that women are incapable of being narcissists to the point of sociopathy, though. But it does illustrate why there seems to be a prevalence of this type of behavior outside the Oval Office, why Trumps tweets are indicative of a deeper, ingrained leadership style thats only recently come to the throes of public conversation about men in power. Would a woman complain about probably not being selected to being Times Person of the Year? Maybe. But what Trumps tweetindeed, his tweets, pluralillustrate vividly is the fact that narcissism can fuel a person to power and allow him to make wild, often treacherous, statements, that root back to one thing: a ruthless, dangerous hunger for power that is willing to put anything and anyone at stake, that is sociopathic and potentially fatal to democracy.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/donald-trump-and-the-success-of-the-narcissistic-sociopath

GOP Senator Implies Those Who Aren’t Millionaires Waste Money On ‘Booze, Women’

In an astonishing defense of dropping “death taxes” for individual estates worth more than $5.5 million, GOP Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley implied that people not currently affected by that tax are “spending every darn penny … on booze or women.”

“I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing — as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies,” Grassley told the Des Moines Register in an interview published Saturday. Grassley, who serves on the Finance Committee, made the remark when asked about the Senate tax reform measure which would double the exemption for estates to $11 million for an individual and $22 million for a couple. Heirs would inherit the estates tax-free.

Grassley’s comment triggered a wave of criticism on social media. Many complained that the working class is, in fact, spending “every darn penny” on raising their kids, caring for elderly parents, health care and putting food on the table. One Twitter user complained that the GOP was turning America into a version of “The Hunger Games.”

The Grassley interview was part of the Des Moines Register’s examination of how the tax reform measure radically reducing estate taxes will affect Iowans. Grassley has long argued that estate taxes, which currently must be paid on individual estates worth more than $5.5 million ($11 million for a married couple), hurt farms and small businesses in the state. Now, the Iowa senator apparently sees the tax change as a way to reward those who have accumulated millions of dollars by “investing.”

The newspaper found that the estate tax break will affect only “dozens” among 1.4 million Iowa taxpayers, according to IRS data, because almost all estates fall under the current exemption cap. The newspaper noted that the number of Iowans owing estate taxes was just 32 of 1.4 million taxpayers in 2012 — or .002 percent of the total. Sixty-one people — .004 percent of all Iowa taxpayers — filed estate taxes in 2015. Only a fraction of those were farmers or small business owners, the newspaper reported.

Currently, only .2 percent of Americans pay estate tax and will benefit from the changes. The House measure would eliminate the tax on all estates of any size by 2024. The Senate and House measures will have to be reconciled.

Rep. David Young (R-Iowa) and Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) both applauded the changes in the estate tax and emphasized how the changes would help farms and small businesses. Young insisted in a newsletter Friday that it is a “myth” that “repealing the estate tax is a massive giveaway to the wealthiest Americans.”

Grassley said earlier this year that the federal estate tax “may force family members to liquidate to pay the death tax.”

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/grassley-estate-taxes-booze-women_us_5a247d89e4b03c44072e5a04

Study Links Childhood Spanking To Violent Future Relationhips

Although arguably not as common as it once was, spanking a child as a punitive measure still occurs more often than you might think, and evidence is mounting that it’s not a wise thing to do. Some academics remain skeptical when it comes to connecting spanking with future behavioral problems, but the general consensus is to err on the side of caution and not do it.

Adding fuel to the fire is a fresh study published in the Journal of Pediatrics. Led by a team of behavioral experts at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston, it concludes that childhood corporal punishment correlates with increased incidences of violence in future, young adult relationships.

“Even after controlling for several demographic variables and childhood physical abuse, [our study] adds to the growing literature demonstrating deleterious outcomes associated with corporal punishment,” the team explain.

The study focused on the lives of young adults, both male and female, aged 20. They were originally recruited for a longitudinal (long-term) study when they were still in the 9th or 10th grade in various Texas high schools – meaning they were originally 14 to 16 years of age.

The participants were queried throughout their years with respect to both corporal punishment and physical abuse, as well as times they experienced or perpetrated violence in their relationships.

Out of a modest population of 758 young adults, 19 percent reported that they were themselves physically violent in their relationships. Conversely, 68 percent reported that they were the victims of corporal punishment as children.

A painstaking analysis of the two found a strong positive correlation between them. Yes, correlation isn’t causation, but the team controlled for sex, age, ethnicity, parental education, and physical abuse.

Teenage relationships are more likely to be violent if corporal punishment was a factor earlier on in life. View Apart/Shutterstock

This paper doesn’t stand in isolation; there are several other robust studies that come to much the same conclusion. One particularly notable example, a 2006 study looking at young adults across 19 different countries, found a strong link between childhood corporal punishment and violence in university-age relationships.

“We know that experiencing adverse child events (ACEs) is linked to a host of short- and long-term mental and physical health problems, and spanking should be considered an ACE,” lead author Professor Jeff Temple, the director of Behavioral Health and Research at UTMB, tells IFLScience.

“This study is just one piece of evidence – but it adds to the growing body of literature that spanking is harmful and should be discontinued,” he adds.

“Parents, legislators, and educators should be provided with this information so that we can make more informed decisions.”

This work follows on from a recent meta-analysis focusing on childhood spanking, one that caused something of a furore back in 2016. The team behind that research evaluated 75 pre-existing studies and found that for the majority of cases, spanking was linked to 13 out of 17 negative behavioral and psychological problems.

As pointed out by Scientific American, the study was lauded for focusing on just spanking, not other forms of corporal punishment. Some worry that by taking all forms into account, it exaggerates the dangers of spanking.

Although definitive cause and effect associations were considered to still be elusive by some researchers, Temple says the expansive study makes a “strong case for the detrimental effects of spanking,” despite the criticisms of the paper remaining fair.

All in all, “there is mounting evidence that corporal punishment has a negative impact on health and does not work,” he notes.

Undoubtedly, more research will be conducted on this difficult subject. This new paper is certain to reignite a sometimes acrimonious debate, but it’s probable that, as time goes on, spanking will be seen as something increasingly archaic and erroneous.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/study-childhood-spanking-violent-future-relationships/

19 Mental Health Self-Care Tips You Swear By (Instead Of At)

We’re making memes smarter. So can you. Visit the Photoplasty and Pictofacts Workshop to get started.

The holidays are pretty much here, and to help us cope with the stress, we asked readers to tell us their personal tips for staving off the inevitable panic attacks.

They told us …

19

Entry by JarOCats

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by JarOCats

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Entry by Chan Teik Onn

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by Chan Teik Onn

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/pictofacts-836-19-mental-health-self-care-tips-you-swear-by-instead-at

The Truth About The “First Ever Marijuana Overdose Death”

Over the past few weeks, you might have seen some media reports proclaiming a Colorado infant has become the “first marijuana overdose death” ever recorded. If that got your “fake news” radar tingling more than the President’s morning read of his Twitter feed, then you might have been onto something. Here are the facts and context behind those headlines.

The original reports were based on a case study from earlier this year by two doctors, Dr Thomas Nappe and Dr Christopher Hoyte, from Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center in Denver, Colorado.

The 11-month-old boy died in 2015 at a Colorado hospital after suffering a seizure followed by a cardiac arrest. A post-mortem diagnosed the boy with myocarditis, inflammation of the heart tissue, and discovered traces of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, in his blood. The concentrations suggest it was a “single, acute high-potency ingestion”, perhaps of an edible product.

The child was reportedly living in a motel room with parents who abused illicit drugs and smoked marijuana. Nothing else, in terms of the boy’s health, appeared to be out of the ordinary.

“A possible relationship exists between cannabis exposure in this child and myocarditis leading to death… This is the first reported pediatric death associated with cannabis exposure,” they wrote in the study.

The doctors have come out to say their words have been misinterpreted, since claiming that the early news reports were “totally overblown” and “sensationalized”. They argue that the possible “association” or “relationship” between cannabis exposure and the boy’s myocarditis does not indicate there was a “cause and effect” relationship. In fact, there was no direct evidence to suggests this at all. Perhaps their choice of words was heavy-handed, but they now stringently deny any direct causality between the marijuana and the death.

“We are absolutely not saying that marijuana killed that child,” Dr Nappe told the Washington Post.

Dr Hoyte also tweeted this response to the media reports:

The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) openly acknowledges that there has never been a single reported fatal overdose of marijuana. Considering humans have been using this drug for over 10,000 years, that’s not a bad track record.

In terms of recreational drugs and their effect on your physical health, marijuana is one of the safest out there, especially in comparison to tobacco, alcohol, cocaine, and heroin. A 1988 ruling from the DEA claimed a lethal dose of marijuana is 20,000 to 40,000 times more than the amount found in a single spliff. In other words, you’d need to smoke “nearly 1,500 pounds [680 kilograms] of marijuana within about 15 minutes.”

There’s actually not many recent scientific studies on the toxicity of marijuana. However, this is precisely what the controversial study wanted to achieve – to reopen an avenue of inquiry into the possible relationship between colossal amounts of cannabis and the inflammation of heart muscles. Other reports and case studies have hinted towards this association before but as for a mechanism behind this foggy link, there’s scant evidence so far.

 

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/no-a-kid-hasnt-actually-died-of-the-first-ever-marijuana-overdose/

Animals seized in ‘puppy farm’ raid

Image caption The dogs and puppies have been taken to a centre in Glasgow

Nearly 90 dogs and puppies have been seized during a raid at what animal welfare officers believe to be Scotland’s largest puppy farm.

Scottish SPCA officers executed a warrant at East Mains of Ardlogie farm near Fyvie, Aberdeenshire, on Tuesday.

Puppies that vets said could be as young as five days old, and of various breeds, were taken to a centre in Glasgow amid concern for their welfare.

A number of other animals, including rabbits and ferrets, were also seized.

An SSPCA officer from the special investigations unit said: “With the numbers of puppies that we have got here, these are certainly not pets. They are clearly being used for illegal breeding.

“As far as I know there are no licences here in terms of breeding or a pet shop licence so these dogs are being sold illegally to members of the public.”

Image caption Police Scotland supported the raid by Scottish SPCA animal welfare officers

The charity believes the puppies are passed off as home-bred by a dealer, before being sold to members of the public via the internet.

Veterinary surgeon Harry Howarth, who assisted with the operation, said: “The welfare of these dogs has been compromised.

“All these environmental problems that we are picking up are going to cause unnecessary risk of disease and poor health, which is going to cause pain and suffering and death to some of these dogs.

“There are all sorts of welfare rules being broken here. When you look at the puppies, they are not blooming, thriving puppies the way they should be, they look like puppy-farm puppies.”

One man, who arrived at the farm during the raid, told officers there was nothing wrong with the dogs.

The SSPCA said inquiries to establish ownership of the puppies and dogs that were seized are continuing.

The organisation carried out the operation with Police Scotland using warrants obtained under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2006 (Scotland).

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-41983846

ABC’s Ginger Zee candidly, courageously opened up about her suicide attempt.

Warning: Suicide is discussed in this article.

Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Hearst.

Ginger Zee, chief meteorologist at ABC News, knows most viewers only see her through her done-up, smiley, scripted appearances on “Good Morning America.” Her new book aims to change that.

“This is the anti-Instagram book,” the on-air personality told People magazine, noting it won’t present her life story in a polished, picture-perfect way. “I’m so worried, because there’s still a part of me thinking, ‘Oh gosh, this is a lot to tell people.'”

In her book, “Natural Disaster: I Cover Them. I Am One,” the 36-year-old opens up about her battles with mental illness going back several years.

Zee was 21 years old, fresh out of college and living with a former boyfriend, when she attempted suicide.

Fortunately, the amount and combination of drugs she swallowed wasn’t lethal. After being admitted to the hospital, however, she was diagnosed with depression.

Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Women’s Health Magazine.

“I’d lost all hope,” Zee told People. “I just shut down. [Life] wasn’t worth living. I was wasting people’s time and space.”

In retrospect, Zee attributes her suicide attempt at least in part to being newly diagnosed with narcolepsy and ill-prepared to handle a medication’s powerful effects; her senses had been heightened — emotional highs were very high, and emotional lows were very low.

Regardless, her mental health desperately needed addressing. As depression is one of the most common type of mental illness, Zee understood she wasn’t alone. In 2015, about 16.1 million American adults experienced at least one major depressive episode in the past year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

As the Mayo Clinic pointed out, there are various medical reasons why people experience depression, from a person’s genetic traits, to brain chemistry and hormonal imbalances. External factors — like stress and trauma — can also contribute, research has found.

“It’s scary, the way your mind can overpower what is real and what is right,” Zee said. “Now as a mother, to think that that could be my child? That is frightening.”

Zee (right) and her husband, Ben Aaron. Photo by Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images for Women’s Health.

Zee’s life with depression has been an ongoing journey. In 2011, ten days before starting her new, lucrative gig at ABC News, Zee checked herself into a medical facility in New York City, sensing her mental health was spiraling. She didn’t want her career and personal life to suffer.

“I realize, too, that just because I’ve been in a good place for six years and I’ve gotten myself to a much healthier mental state… I don’t think that I’m cured,” Zee told People. “I don’t think anybody’s forever cured.”

Now, she’s decided to share her story so that others know the best thing they can do is express and address what they’re feeling internally: “Being aware of [depression], sharing it, talking about it, this is where I hope that the healing happens.”

Need help? Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/abc-s-ginger-zee-candidly-courageously-opened-up-about-her-suicide-attempt