Tuesday, April 29, 2014

1 Art & 2 Murders for Teachers Pay Teachers--My Creations for Teachers


The above is Archangel Raphael by Murillo as redone by me. I have spent a lot of days developing a coloring book for Teachers Pay Teachers. I took old master paintings of angels and ran them through the GIMP photo software to make them look like line drawings instead of paintings. I first used this ultra laborious process that I learned on You Tube from a fellow artist. Finally, I got sick of it, and invented something shorter which worked as well. 



The above is how it looked beforehand. Then I made my own version of St. Michael the Archangel Defeating Satan by Guido Reni in 1636, below.

























The above is the original Reni painting. I developed ten of these angel line drawings and then added two group portraits of 5 each of the angels. Feel free to download both Michael and Raphael and let your grandchildren (or yourselves) color them.  You do not have to be a teacher to buy at TpT. Anyone can buy the items. The 12 line drawings of angels from paintings in art history are sold here at Teachers Pay Teachers. Also included are the original paintings from which they were derived. They are in a coloring book and then also in individual form for quick printing.

Next I had to go and amend two cases I'd written about for TPT. They were two juicy murders. 

First up was the Amanda Knox case of the Meredith Kercher murder. It involves the two female roommates in Italy, one from the UK and the other from the USA, one of whom ended up murdered and the other convicted of her murder under really bizarre circumstances. The four people pictured on the first slide are going clockwise from top left, Rudy Guede, a local small-time drug dealer and petty thief; Meredith Kercher, a 21 year old UK exchange student from the University of Leeds who was the murder victim; Amanda Knox, a 20 year old exchange student from the University of Washington in the USA; and Raffaele Sollecito, a 23 year old Italian engineering student at the University in Perugia, Italy. 

The Italian courts have surpassed double jeopardy and now are onto at least quadruple jeopardy.  Everything they do legally seems to be a trial de novo with yet a nice new shiny set of facts. This is seven years later and so I was eager to read the latest installment.  Here is what I wrote and added to my Amanda Knox Powerpoint on TPT.

On April 29, 2014 the last court which ruled released a 337 page document which purported to show the rationale behind its decision to convict Knox and Sollecito anew. The problem with this document is that it advances an entirely different motive for the murder, repudiates the old motive (which also came out of thin air), and has also seemingly unearthed evidence which has never been mentioned before. Specifically, the motive that the prosecutor imagined on his own, without a shred of evidence, the sexual game gone awry, is now specifically repudiated. Instead, both the victim and Knox are supposed to have argued about money and that Knox and Sollecito helped murder the victim with a complete stranger to them either after or while this stranger, Guede, was raping the victim.

Add on to this that the stranger was a black man and that the two aiders and abetters were white. Knowing how hard it still is for blacks and whites to trust one another just in ordinary life, especially for Americans, how believable is it that American Amanda Knox then and there decided to become the accomplice to a black stranger who was raping and murdering her roommate because she was missing some money? And that her white Italian boyfriend said, "Sure, fine, let me help you."

This takes this entire legal proceeding to new levels of lunacy. Imagine that you go back to your cottage and there run into a low life drug dealer and thief, a complete stranger to you, who is raping or raping and murdering your roommate. What do you do?  You decide to stick around and aid and abet this person in the murder because you had had a prior dispute with the victim over some missing money. Any person with a bare scintilla of a survival instinct would turn tail and run like hell out of there knowing that she would be next in line as victim as the rapist/killer could not leave a witness.

Also in this 337 page document are more statements from Guede, the convicted murderer of Kercher, which the court gave weight to against Knox and Sollecito even though Guede is the one with DNA evidence in and on the victim’s body. Guede was a stranger.  His DNA should not be in the cottage.  Knox lived there. Her DNA should be there. There is also now conflicting DNA info as to Knox.  The court is saying it has some DNA of hers yet earlier reports said either no, there was none except for a person living there, or what DNA evidence was there was contaminated by the Italian forensic workers. Which of all of these possibilities is it and why are there so many possibilities?

Finally, the court has determined on its own that more than one person had to be present in order to commit the crime(s). The court feels that one person alone could not commit these crimes.  Yet these crimes are overwhelmingly committed by one person all of the time throughout the world, i.e. rape and murder by one man of one woman with a knife and his hands. 

It should also be mentioned that all three college students were habitual and regular users of marijuana plus were drinkers on a daily basis.  To what extent a person would be incapacitated in the ability to fight back by such usage is not even included in this tome. No matter how much nicer Meredith Kercher was than Amanda Knox as a person, they were both daily addling their own heads by smoking marijuana and going to all night bars and drinking. Generally, such people lose capacity to think and react with notable reflex impairment. None of this is covered in the 337 pages.

Above, crime scene and related sites. This case reeks of the Italians now desperately trying to hold onto their honor in the way they conduct their legal proceedings. However, the Italian desire to make murder verdicts assuage national pride and honor is incompatible with finding truth and arriving at justice.

The Amanda Knox-Meredith Kercher Powerpoint Presentation is sold here at Teachers Pay Teachers. It is 16 pages long with full pictures.



The second murder I needed to add to was the Jodi Arias murder of Travis Alexander in Phoenix, Arizona. Arias mounted a bizarre defense theory of her being an abuse victim because she consented to (by her definition) kinky sex with him. In perhaps the only known courtroom instance, his erection was shown in the courtroom on huge monitors as evidence of his kinkiness to bolster her defense.  He had sent the photo of it to her with his cell phone (see photo below). With her sentencing hearing ending in a mistrial and the new one scheduled for September of 2014, this is what I wrote in summation of the import of this case.

A number of things were proven about Travis Alexander. He was still rooted in adolescence and could not enter into a mature relationship with a woman. He also led a double life as far as the Mormon faith. He wanted to be a Mormon and have Mormon girlfriends but he did not want to follow the premarital sexual prohibitions. He met a woman, Arias, with whom he could seemingly have both but she wasn’t really his type.  All of his girlfriends were good Mormon girls who found him too immature to be marriage material. He did treat Arias like a prostitute because that is the way he saw her. She was a prostitute in behavior compared to his other girlfriends. At most, all of this makes Alexander an immature jerk who needed to grow up and act like a man not a fifteen year old. But that is the worst that can be said about him.

Arias, by contrast, was a far darker personality. She consented to any and all sexual acts to have Alexander as a boyfriend.  She was obsessively attached to him and could not pull out of her compulsion to have him as her boyfriend. She was disturbed but not insane. When he continued to use her as just a sexual dalliance and nothing more, she let loose and savagely attacked and killed him.

American law has become more receptive to arguments from abused women that they had to fight back to protect themselves from abusive men who posed imminent bodily harm to them. Being raped is part of imminent bodily harm.

The problem with this case is that there was no bodily harm. Arias was never beaten by Alexander and all sex she had with him was consensual by her own admission. This is the slippery slope that American law has not wanted to slide down in opening the door to women defending themselves from domestically violent men.

To open the door wider means that American law would consider arguments about the psychological damage that a woman felt from a relationship as justification for murder. With that, the floodgates would be open for unrequited love to mask itself as psychological damage. It is quite a leap to go from battered women who are raped by their husbands and boyfriends to women who are psychologically damaged by the unhealthy relationships they choose to have with certain men.

The law has always been very clear about what it expects in the case of unrequited love.  It expects the unrequited lover to walk away and trouble the object of love no more. The law seems unlikely to change this stance and it would be vastly injurious to society as a whole if it did.

The Jodi Arias-Travis Alexander Powerpoint Presentation is sold here at Teachers Pay Teachers. It is 16 pages long with full photographs.


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