There’s a new game in town
Mini ‘how-to’ Bluetooth/Wifi combo for Raspberry PI
Stick’em with the pointy end
Virtual and not so Virtual Space
Be Still my Bleeding Heart …
The Never-ending Privacy Battle
The Many Sides of Bitcoin
Cyber Jihadists
Hacker Gangs
The New Old War
The Sacred Executioner
Scripting Aphrodites
There’s a new game in town My first foray into role playing games (RPGs) wasn’t actually an RPG at all. Rather, it was a computer based word puzzle, “The Colossal Cave” aka “Adventure.” I stumbled upon this game during a computer job back in the late 1970s. The game was written in Basic and ran on a PDP-11. I spent hours […]
Mini ‘how-to’ Bluetooth/Wifi combo for Raspberry PI I recently purchased the Cirago USB Bluetooth/Wifi combo to use with my raspberry pi. All things considered, I am quite pleased. Being reasonably versed in google-fu, helped, of course. Since I want the freedom to do some mobile tinkering, I need to access the pi sans a lan. That, and my latest wild hair project […]
Stick’em with the pointy end Since I have been spending a great deal of my time playing in the field of 3D design and printing, I have only recently stumbled upon, and had time to read, “Privacy for Me and Not for Thee,” penned by Catherine A. Fitzpatrick, a human rights activist whom I first encountered in the virtual world […]
Virtual and not so Virtual Space Not long ago, someone asked if I liked 3D printing better than virtual worlds. The short answer is, equally but differently.
Be Still my Bleeding Heart … “Secure web servers are the equivalent of heavy armored cars. The problem is, they are being used to transfer rolls of coins and checks written in crayon by people on park benches to merchants doing business in cardboard boxes from beneath highway bridges. Further, the roads are subject to random detours, anyone with a screwdriver […]
The Never-ending Privacy Battle This brings me back to the Hundredpercent American. To some extent he is a pet of mine. I have always rather liked him, because he has some promising qualities. For instance, he has enormous hospitality. I used to feel personally complimented by the amazing warm-hearted hospitality showered on me by Americans. […] When I realized […]
The Many Sides of Bitcoin Pariah, darling, or somewhere in between. Bitcoin has continued to linger in the daily media spotlight since the shuttering of darknet’s black-market drug bazaar, Silk Road, and the subsequent announcement of the arrest of its alleged owner, Ross William Ulbricht (aka DPR), on October 2, 2013. Media mavens have long cast bitcoin as a sort […]
Cyber Jihadists “We’re facing a very great threat of loosely-coupled, organizational networks that increasingly rely on IT infrastructure to coordinate their movements and recruit young disenfranchised, apathetic guys as suicidal pawns in a sophisticated, dispersed movement. (…)” (AHM, Usenet, September 21, 2001)
Hacker Gangs Meet Jim Script Kiddie (skiddie). He is the guy (usually in his early to mid teens) who comes into a hacker forum, asking inane questions like, “how can I be a hacker?” He also tends to over-indulge in “hacker speak” making him look pretty much like a moron to seasoned (and not so) computer netizens.
The New Old War In 1956, FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover initiated a program, code-named COINTELPRO (counter intelligence program) ushering in what would become the mainstay for how intelligence communities dealt with domesitic affairs. The sole directive of this program was “to expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize” the activities of various dissidents and their leaders.
The Sacred Executioner In his book, “The Sacred Executioner,” Hyam Maccoby notes: “A figure in mythology that has received little attention is that of the Sacred Executioner. […] By taking the blame for the slaying, he is performing a great service to society, for not only does he perform the deed, but he takes upon himself the blame […]
Scripting Aphrodites On Wednesday, April 13, 2006, 10-year-old Jamie Rose Bolin was reported missing by her father. Investigators thought she may have been abducted by someone she met online. Oklahoma law enforcement suspected her abductor might be heading just across the border to Texas and requested Texas issue an Amber alert.
image There’s a new game in town
image Mini ‘how-to’ Bluetooth/Wifi combo for Raspberry PI
image Stick’em with the pointy end
image Virtual and not so Virtual Space
image Be Still my Bleeding Heart …
image The Never-ending Privacy Battle
image The Many Sides of Bitcoin
image Cyber Jihadists
image Hacker Gangs
image The New Old War
image The Sacred Executioner
image Scripting Aphrodites

Suffer the little children

On Monday, August 21, 2006, a UK station aired the Cutting Edge: Cult Killer–a program exploring how one man’s abuse in a destructive cult culminated in a murder-suicide. That man was 29 year-old Richard Peter Rodriguez and the cult was the Children of God, founded by David Brandt Berg in 1968.

The changed their name to the in 1978 and renamed themselves to in 1982. They became officially known as The Family International in 2004, though for reader ease, this article will continue to refer to them as the .

A year ago last January, on Saturday, the 8th, Richard Rodriguez stabbed Angela Marilyn Smith to death in his Tuscan, Arizona apartment. Smith was allegedly his childhood nanny and a close friend of his mother and present leader, Karen Elva Zerby.

Rodriguez then drove to Blythe, a California-Arizona border town and shot and killed himself. Officials found him early the following morning. Unlike most murder-suicides that often leave loved-ones wondering why, Rodriguez made a video the Friday before detailing his plans.

Although the is moving toward its 40th birthday, unless one was a cultic studies scholar, few were aware of this group prior to last year. Even with the 1993 death of the late actor, . Phoenix–who with his siblings, had been raised in the cult–died of a drug overdose outside of Hollywoods on Sunday morning, October 31.

The lack of public knowledge was in part due to the fact that the group made sporadic, often far-between, news appearances in little-known papers. For example, an article about appeared in the Austin, Minnesota Daily Herald in 1978 during reports of the Jonestown Massacre. There was another brief mention in a London article on cults in 1987, though that was more of a cameo appearance than anything else. Then there were the two articles in 1991–one in Canada and the other in Australia.

The minimal media coverage is not particularly surprising considering that new age cult competition has been fierce. What, with , , , , , and various other “churches”–each vying for a starring role in the spotlight as they played out their gruesome dance upon the Worlds media stage.

By mid-1992, 140 children were being held in protective custody by Melbourne, Australian officials. (Herald Sun, 1992) In 1993, officials in Argentina took 150 children into protective custody. (The Guardian, 1993) In 1994, a Hong Kong paper reported, “EXPLICIT child pornography has been discovered inside a Macau village house last rented by members of the controversial religious sect known as The Family.” (South China Morning Post, 1994). By 1995, three countries–Australia, the United Kingdom, and Argentina–had tried and dismissed cases relating to Children of God practices involving allegations of child sexual abuse and incest.

While the is mentioned occasionally after 1995 (with the news of another murder-suicide in Pennsylvania in 2002 and a murder of 48 year-old Jario Pinzon by 25 year-old Charles Luis Allen, in New Orleans in 2003), it would not be until January of 2005, that they would once again come under scrutiny by the public at large. By April 5, 2005, the FBI had begun investigating the cult “with ties to San Diego.”

spokesperson, Claire Borowik, is alleged to have written, “The Family International says it banned all sexual contact with children in 1996, and apologized to the victims.” (KFBM, TV, 2005) while later claiming, “the “Christian fellowship” adopted a policy for protecting minors in 1986.” (Courier-Mail, 2005)

In an August 17, 2006 article, when Victoria Moore of the Daily Mail asked, “Did the promiscuity impinge on them as children?” Tally Spencer–daughter of Jeremy Spencer, who once played with Fleetwood Mac–replied, in part, “We were young and besides I think it is always exaggerated. But yes, they did have group sex.” Which brings us to today, and the recent airing of Cutting Edge: Cult Killer.

In an August 22, 2006 review, Iain Heggie wrote of the made-for-television special, “There were enough tears to make us assume that this abuse was not fun but not enough information to help us understand what it was like. We were marooned in a dark dungeon of unspecific pity.” Heggie ended with, “Cult Killer lacked the rigour to show how abuse made a killer and a wider perspective on the relationship between cults, sex abuse and personality damage.

Perhaps Heggie is correct. Perhaps the show lacked the depth required to bring its audience into the mind of a tortured soul–a man whose sexual abuse beginning at 3 months old was graphically chronicled in the “Davidito Letters” (later compiled into a “762 page book” titled, “The Story of Davidito“) which were then distributed to members to instruct them on the finer points of how to sexually abuse their children.

Indeed. How does one demonstrate the essence of children marching together, “hailing” to their God, while using the salutation that has long been associated with Hitlers Germany? How does one depict the tentacles of the past that reach out through time and space threatening hope–the very thing that many have come to take for granted?

Then again, Dr. Phil appears to have come close to imparting the struggles and heartaches of the children who are now adults in his special, The Family cult. Nonetheless, it is doubtful that any show or words will ever truly bring its audience into the minds and hearts of the survivors. One thing for certain, this brief article doesnt even come close to conveying what many of the survivors experienced–dark night of soul. After all, unless you were there, you simply cannot know.

In any event, I urge you to watch Dr. Phils special on the Children of God and Richard Rodriguez suicide video and transcripts. Then browse both the Children of God and the xFamily sites. And when you are finished browsing the aforementioned, please sit back for a moment and consider this: Several courts backed down on the child sexual abuse allegations in favor of the freedom of religion.

In the end, the implications are simplistically clear: In our society, religious freedom trumps the welfare of children.