4 Consecutive Life Sentences

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Hallway outside the courtroom where the sentencing took place.

The assistant district attorney with reporters.

The assistant district attorney speaking with reporters.

 

Today I sat in a courtroom where a young man received four consecutive life sentences.  He was convicted of murdering and raping an 84-year-old woman, robbery, and the beating of the woman’s 89-year-old husband who later died from his injuries.

The setting was very tense and emotional.  As I sat there pondering the case, I wondered if drugs were involved that led him to commit such a horrendous act of violence.  I just can’t process how such a young man could commit such a crime.  He’s only 22 years old.

The family of the victims spoke and addressed the court with emotional expressions of sadness, hurt, and anger.  I can not imagine their pain.  The murder occurred over 2 years ago but their pain and anguish was still fresh.

The law is in place for a reason and breaking the law will not only hurt yourself but it will also hurt others.  We should all strive to be more conscientious of our decisions.  We may not commit an act that’s as heinous as this, but good people make bad decisions all the time.

One bad decision could land you in jail.  For life.

5 Facts About Donald Sterling

1. He’s married. He’s been married to Rochelle Stein since 1957 and it appears that she may be defending him. See the first link below to view pictures of him and his wife out together since his racist comments hit the media. They don’t look happy, but they are indeed together.

2. He’s filthy rich. He’s #972 on “The World’s Billionaires” list and Forbes lists him to have a net worth of $1.9 billion. His sources of wealth are listed to be real estate and self-made. He’s purchased thousands of apartments primarily in Los Angeles. He bought the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team in 1981 for $12 million; Forbes now values the team at $430 million. It’s safe to say that even if he’s forced to sell the team he will remain filthy rich.

3. He’s had legal issues before. In 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice sued Sterling for housing discrimination based on race. In 2009, he was sued by a former longtime Clippers executive for employment discrimination on the basis of race and age.

4. He was an attorney. He graduated from California State University in 1956 and then from Southwestern University School of Law in 1960. He built an independent practice and was a divorce and personal injury attorney.

5. He’s banned from the NBA for life. He can’t even attend games. He’s also been fined $2.5 million which is the maximum amount allowed. Adam Silver, NBA commissioner, added “We stand together in condemning Mr. Sterling’s views. They simply have no place in the NBA.”

Sources:
http://www.tmz.com/2014/04/28/donald-sterling-wife-shelly-video-racist-clippers-nba-v-stiviano/

http://www.forbes.com/profile/donald-sterling/

http://variety.com/2014/biz/news/donald-sterling-suspended-clippers-racist-comments-1201166721/#

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Sterling

Sterling is a Guilty Victim

Ok, so we’re all aware of the Sterling case where he’s on tape making racist comments to a girlfriend. Initially, I wasn’t attracted to this story because even though the focus in the media has been on race, to me it still appeared as celebrity news.

The story is obviously involving influential, celebrity figures. Magic Johnson is in the Instagram photo that sparked the conversation between Sterling and his girlfriend. Again, it INITIALLY appeared as celebrity news so I threw it out. But I no longer feel that way.

Last night some family members briefed me on the situation, and they even played responses by Lil’ Wayne and Obama. At this point I’m interested, thinking “This is kind of a big deal, huh?”

So, this morning I listened to the audio of Sterling and his girlfriend for myself. And in class today this was a major topic of discussion so now I am led to write about it.

If I could label Sterling right now, I would label him as a guilty victim. The reason that I’d label him as guilty is because yes the comments that he made were racist and wrong. There’s no disputing the fact that he’s guilty.

But, I’d also label him a victim because he was confiding in his girlfriend. He was not on-air like previous situations, particularly the Don Imus case. Sterling was not on a platform spreading his negative beliefs to the world. He was speaking with his girlfriend, obviously unaware that the conversation was being taped.

If you listen to the tape it is clearly obvious who was aware that the conversation was being recorded. Honestly, when I listened to it my first reply was “Is this real?” It clearly sounded like a set-up to me. There were points when she seemed to bait him along into a trap.

My suspicions were confirmed when I found out in class today that the girlfriend sold the tape to TMZ.

This point has to make us all contemplate on her motives. This is important context of the situation that should not be overlooked. Unfortunately, I have not seen a media report covering this point.

Additionally, it makes me wonder: Was she aware that he was racist before this comment? Have there been other comments made? We’d have to conclude that she was aware of his beliefs. The media has made it clear that this is not his first incident involving racism. What was her motive with exposing Sterling? Again, these are just specifics that we should all consider if we are to properly analyze the situation.

The point to be made is that we must consider the entire context of the case. Another question that comes to mind is “How long have they been dating?” In relationships we should have trust and we should be able to express ourselves completely to our mate. Trust and open communication provide healthy foundations for relationships. I may add, our mates should encourage us to do better and be better- Not expose our flaws to the world.

Another point to make is that every person on this Earth has some type of prejudice. We stereotype and judge people, whether its based on race, handicap, social status, education, age, and the list goes on. It’s not right and we should all fight against it, but the point is that humans have prejudices.

We can not all sit back, point the finger, and criticize him while we act like we have not been guilty of the same thing at one point or another in our lives. We’d all be facing lawsuits if we had particular conversations recorded and shared with the public.

I am NOT justifying Sterling’s actions. Again, I believe that what he said was wrong and he should have appropriate consequences. But, we can not be appalled, shocked, and surprised. Our country was founded with racial segregation and slavery. Sterling is an older white male so I’m not shocked at all by his statements. All of us are shaped by our environments and upbringings.

Truth be told there are probably several other NBA team owners who feel the same way. Fortunately for them they have not been recorded.

As I close, the intent of this post is to encourage us all to view this situation (and any others of the same nature) in its entirety. We can not blow up certain aspects, while ignoring others.

Yes, with influence comes accountability, but my hope is that we are realistic and not overly critical while judging someone’s else’s faults. We should all look at the big picture, including the details.

Zuckerberg worth $27 billion

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Mark Zuckerberg, 29 year old co-founder of Facebook, is the 22nd richest person on Earth with a fortune of $27 billion, according to an article on Bloomberg.

We’re all fascinated by the rich and famous, so here 3 quick facts on Zuckerberg:

1. His birthdate is May 14, 1984 and he was born in White Plains, New York.

2. He attended Harvard but left after his sophomore year to concentrate on creating Facebook, which was created in his college dorm room.

3. In 2010, he signed the “Giving Pledge” promising to donate at least 50% of his wealth to charity over the course of his lifetime.  (Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and George Lucas are other Giving Pledge members.)

Sources:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-28/zuckerberg-loses-3-billion-in-a-week-as-tech-titans-fall.html

http://www.biography.com/people/mark-zuckerberg-507402?page=3

Clinton Says Education Unlocks Opportunities

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Hillary Clinton recently shared her thoughts on education with a large group of college students in Arizona.  She stated: “Education still remains the key to unlocking opportunity for individuals, for families, communities, and even countries”.  She added, “It remains the route out of poverty and into a better life with a rising income.”

She discussed that there are 6 million Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 years old who are neither unemployed nor in school.  This is a saddening reality. 

Hillary is a Democratic frontrunner for the 2016 presidential election, and she has been making more public appearances lately; including visiting many college campuses.

Clinton is a definite believer in education and hard work.  Her life clearly demonstrates that.

Source: http://www.koco.com/politics/Hillary-Clinton-talks-jobs-with-millennials/25111954