Tag Archives: jail

Whatever Wednesday: In which I rant about: NYPD, Allegheny County Jail System, and the TSA

I love Wednesdays. Why? Because I get to write about something other than Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorders. I love writing my regular blog posts. But Wednesday is a breath of fresh air – kind of like a rest stop on a road trip, if you will.

Today, I’m taking on some rather touchy topics. I need to get it out of my system. I may just curse. Consider yourself warned.

If you’re still fragile, you may want to skip this post all together. The Alleghany County and Amazon stories may be triggering for some.

New York City Police Department

Image by scoutnurse via Flickr

First, the NYPD. Sure, the boys in blue up there in New York City are charged with keeping the city safe. And yes, like any other human organization, they fuck up from time to time. Okay, so maybe a lot. But this most recent situation? SO very inappropriate. A definite abuse of power. NYPD of the 34th Precinct recently arrested and charged 7 chess players with “failure to Comply With Directions of Police Officers, Urban Park Rangers, Parks Enforcement Patrol Officers, or Other Department Employees, or Park Signs.”

Really, NYPD?

According to recent NYPD crime statistics, murder and injury via gunfire is up by 13.2% over last year. In Manhattan alone, where the 34th Precinct is located, murder is up by 12.2%.

But what the NYPD would have you believe is that a few men, sitting at chess tables behind a fence, closed off from the remainder of the park, drinking tea and eating muffins, are more dangerous than a thug with a gun.

Here’s a crazy idea, New York: MOVE THE TABLES.

But I suppose that would cost too much money. Or is it that it would decrease income for the city? If the tables are left where they are, people will come to play. You will arrest them, earning a measly $50 off of each offender. But is the cost really worth it?

The arrested chess players have no current plans to return to their tables. Why? Because they’re not criminals.


This next rant may prove triggering for some. It’s about Allegheny County’s Jail System. Scroll down if you want to read about the TSA instead.


Recently, Amy Lynn Gillespie, a woman in Allegheny County became pregnant.

So what?

Well, she was jailed for becoming pregnant. Turns out she had been arrested for shoplifting and later for prostitution. As a condition of her work-release probation, she was told not to get pregnant. I do not know if remaining celibate was also part of her probation order.

When she did become pregnant? Allegheny County threw her in jail.

She developed bacterial pneumonia and despite several requests to receive medical attention, she was denied care.

By the time she finally received care, it was too late.

Both she and her 18 week fetus died due to the negligence of Allegheny County Jail System.

What the efff.

Regardless of Amy’s crimes, her unborn infant did not deserve to pay the price. She did not deserve to die in jail. She should never have been jailed in the first place. I’m absolutely disgusted that this happened in my country.

Amy’s mother is suing Allegheny County for the death of her daughter. The hospital at which she received care is not named in the suit. If Amy had been seen sooner, she (and her little one) would still be with us.

Something is not right when a citizen cannot shoplift but a government agency can categorically justify withholding medical attention to a pregnant woman.


Speaking of pregnant women and children, the TSA is all over them these days. All over everyone, actually.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past couple of weeks, you know all about the controversy regarding Scanners, Pat-downs, and TSA Agents. Scanners are believed to infuse an unhealthy amount of radiation into your body. So a pat-down is preferable to walking into an x-ray machine for most, especially frequent fliers and cancer survivors. But the pat-down has become much more aggressive with TSA workers now allowed to use the front of their hand instead of the backs. Videos have surfaced of toddlers, children, being torturously patted down by TSA Agents who seem oblivious to the plight of the little one.

Here’s the thing, TSA. I have talked with my kids about good touch v. bad touch. So now, if I choose to fly with my kids, I need to have the TSA Pat-down touch talk with them too. I’m grateful I don’t fly often or I would be even more upset. My husband and I had talked about the possibility of flying the whole family to next year’s PSI Conference. If things continue the way they are going these days, I won’t let my kids anywhere near an airport anytime soon.

How would I explain the TSA pat-down to my kids?

I imagine it would go something like this:

Me: So, we’re going to get on a plane and fly in a few days. But first we have to go through security.

Kid: What’s that?

Me: Well, there were some bad people who did some really bad things to our country with planes before you were born. So now we have to all bend over and let the government sniff our arses before we get on a plane.

Kid: Realllly?

Me: Well, no, but it might be easier to just do that instead.

Kid: So what DO They do?

Me: They feel all over your body including in your private spot.

Kid: Whaaaaaaa? Why?

Me: A bad person tried to sneak a bomb on a plane in his underwear.

Kid: Well that’s just stupid. What if it had exploded in his underwear? Wouldn’t that have hurt?

Me: Yes, honey, it would have. But he was caught and now the TSA gets to touch everyone in their private spot and all over.

Kid: Well that’s just stupid. I don’t want to blow up a plane.

Me: I know, honey. Neither do I. But the TSA thinks you do until proven otherwise.


Thanks, TSA, for forcing parents everywhere to have to talk with their kids about terrorists, bombs, and how to handle genital groping before they’re even old enough to go to school. You totally rock my world.


This year, I am thankful our forefathers are not here to see the mess we seem to have made of our country. Pretty damned sure they wouldn’t be happy about the current state of affairs. We’ve gone from bold and brazen to scared and huddling masses. Shame on us for getting here.

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The Hand of God

The direction of our lives took a sharp left turn this past weekend. The following post was written last night and I sent it to my husband for approval prior to posting it today. I am prefacing it with the response he sent me regarding the post.

 Though this post is intensely more personal than I expected it to be, I believe that you should post it. I have nothing to hide anymore. I only hope that someone else can learn from my mistakes so that they don’t have to go through this horrible experience. Thank you for being there for me and also for your willingness to help others at the expense of your own privacy. You are an amazing, strong, and beautiful woman. Even though I haven’t really shown it much lately, I love you and respect you. I am actually excited to see what wonderful work God is going to do in our lives and our marriage in the coming days.
Love forever,

As I sit here, I am taking deep breaths and my hands are shaking as they hit these keys. What I am about to share with you is starting to truly sink in and I am thanking God that I am already in His Hands,  already on anti-depressants, surrounded by a powerful support system and have access to a wonderful therapist.

Saturday continued to be a very rough day and at nine p.m. that evening I went out to Borders to escape and breathe. I ordered a Honey Latte and meandered about the store, even purchased a few things. Once I left Borders, I headed over to Wal-mart because Chris had forgotten to pick up a can of air and I needed to pick up a few grocery items as well. I never made it to Wal-mart.

At precisely 10:00p.m., I rear-ended another vehicle just one intersection away from Wal-mart. This vehicle’s driver had slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting a white pick up truck threatening to swerve in front of him. After having hit the brakes once, I slowed down with him, then the car sped back up and then slammed on his brakes again and I would have stopped had it been dry but with the wet road and light mist, my car slid into the rear of the other vehicle. I strongly believe the white pick up truck symbolized an angel even though it caused me to wreck my vehicle. The driver got out and asked if I had a cell phone and I did – I phoned the police and then Chris to let him know I had wrecked the car. He was understandably worried about my well-being. At the time I felt ok. However, by the time the police arrived and we moved the vehicles off the road, my fingertips and toes had started to tingle and feel a bit numb. I opted to go to the hospital even though I do not have health insurance right now. (In the process of getting Medicaid set back up) I was put in a C-collar and on a backboard.

As the EMS was taking my vitals, the police officer started to inform me that there were a few problems. He didn’t get past the first one which was that my tag was expired and had been expired since September 2007. My jaw dropped and I told the officer that my husband had taken care of the tag and that it had been paid, the decal was on my tag! There HAD to be a mistake. No, the officer said, it was not in the state of Georgia’s computer and my decal was fake. My blood pressure was 170 over 100 or so at the scene and they kept checking to make sure I didn’t have a history of high blood pressure. Upon arrival at the hospital I waited for ages to be seen and finally was cleared to be released. The diagnosis was strained neck (whiplash) and believe me, I was praying to God and thanking Him for letting me be there staring up at the lights. It could have been worse. God was with me the entire evening, holding me and comforting me. I felt his presence as soon as I hit the other vehicle. My in-laws had come to the hospital to be with me.

As I was discharged, I left the room only to see the police officer from the accident scene. He informed me that not only was my tag expired but that I did not have insurance. I grabbed onto my father in law to keep myself from falling. My mother in law sat me down. I feared what was coming next. The police officer had to take me to jail for not having insurance even though I believed I had insurance. He did not put handcuffs on me and was extremely apologetic the entire time. I was escorted to the local county jail and sat there for three hours while my in-laws got my prescriptions filled then got a transfer bond to get me out. The entire time I was sitting in jail, Psalm 40 and James Chapter 1 vs. 1-3. Of course, Psalm 40 kept repeating as the U2 song but hey, it’s almost word for word.  I did not return to home that evening. We all got back to their house at 5am and I slept until 7am.

I called my mom to tell her and she shrieked. I also called my therapist’s office and had a discussion with the therapist on call. My mother in law and I had a two hour conversation before I came home. When I finally came home I nursed Cameron and then sat down to talk with Chris. I talked for about three hours, I think. I truly lost track of time. He had informed his dad the night before that he had a drug problem and needed help. He admitted to me that he had been using for the past two years and spending nearly $100/month on his habit. He had lied to me about several financial items and the insurance had lapsed two months prior to my accident.

After our discussion, I had him bring me his wallet and I removed all of his debit and visa gift cards. I went through the bag he takes with him to work. I will continue to randomly check his belongings as well as randomly drug test him throughout the coming months. We also put together a Recovery Goal plan, starting with just one week at a time. I have given him until the end of April to be genuinely making forward progress with his recovery and if he has not been doing so, I will become a single parent because I refuse to stay in this situation and I refuse to raise my children in this situation. This week he is staying with his parents and took the day off yesterday to make phone calls to get his recovery started.

So far he has been doing everything we set up and I sincerely hope he continues on this path. Chris seems to be genuinely remorseful regarding his actions yet I am continuing to be cautious, understandably so.  As with any recovery path, there is forward movement and there is backward movement and as long as he is continually fighting for forward motion, we will be okay. The outcome and status of our marriage is in his hands as he will need to prove to me and not just tell me that he is doing better.

You will find that additional links will appear that provide information for addicts and their family while going through recovery. I am blogging this because my goal with this blog, while focusing on PPD, is ultimately about being honest regarding the human experience in relation to the response of emotions during times of trauma. In that vein, I feel that I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t share this experience with you. The direction of my blog is not changing; I will still primarily post regarding PPD however I will definitely update regarding this situation as there are changes to share. In the meantime, I could certainly use all the support and prayers that you can send our way.