In Memoriam: AOL Instant Messenger and Other AOL Products

Dear Readers,

Once upon a time, there was a bunch of nerds who came up with this glorious and blushy service called America Online. On the instant messaging service, people could chat with their friends, chat with family, and hit up a predator? Oh, did I forget to mention that AIM chat rooms were the most dangerous for kids and teens? And did I forget to mention that Chris Hansen did dateline specials on catching predators on the AOL and Yahoo chat sites? Yes, I didn’t forget that.

But let me tell you my story of AIM, my story of total drama and intrigue that is AOL instant messenger.

I first started using the messaging software when I moved to Tallahassee, Florida in 2008. I had several AIM screen names, but then I moved on to chatting in no time. The software worked with my adaptive screen reading software, worked like a charm. I chatted with my cousin, set identifiers for my buddies, and had a fun time chatting with people I knew. But there were people who hated me who chatted with me on AOL for a short time, and AOL had no clue what went on. WHen Facebook and Facebook messenger came along, AIM lost its charm. I began using the AOL messenger to chat on Facebook, but then Facebook was pulled from it. Therefore, I decided to stop using the software because of what was the dramatic moment for a while. I was told later on to not contact certain entities whose names I will not reveal here on AOL. I have completely left AOL, even though I do have an email address there, but the millennium started with a bang thanks to this drama-filled messenger. Now, it’s Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. AIM, to be honest, I will not miss you. I will not miss the times I was told to either allow someone to flirt with me on AIM or rot in Hell. I will not miss the screenname kf4yfa messaging me for the last time telling me that I was a slut or that I wouldn’t be hearing from that entity. I will not miss anything about AIM and the people who perceived me as evil or slutty at all. Most of all, AIM, I will not miss all the predators who flocked to teenagers’ chatrooms trying to get some. I hope the predators rot where they should but the use of AOL’s messenger software to enable such scrupulous adults will not surely be missed. AOL, if only you hadn’t merged with Time Warner and tried so hard to charge us for Internet service in the new millennium. We will miss the time stamps, the instant chat logs, though not slimy ones, and the AOL phone calls that range from funny ones to sad ones to happy ones. Goodbye, AOL instant messenger.

FYI: No memorial or funeral services will be done in AOL instant messenger’s name, but we will hit the nail in the tech coffin and write the following epitaph on the gravestone of a chat service that once ruled the beginning of a new era of computing softwares: “AOL Instant messenger: 1999-2017, from the strangers to a strange land, you will be never forgotten, but soon hard to remember.”

God Bless the Children

Dear Readers,

It’s kind of a smog in the wall to learn that one of my friends, Arik, is being heavily mistreated by his father, who called his roommate a “fat” person, and he used a word I would not dare write here. Arik has been harassed and mistreated by his father, who also called me a moron. His mother’s worried, and this is just one instance of suffering I’m bound to report.

Another instance of suffering is occurring in Georgia. A young girl is on life support because of an ex, JDO, the infamous blind and disabled abuser who almost killed Bree Searles, who has revealed to me the worst news about the young baby girl and a thirteen-year-old older brother.

God in Heaven, I pray for the safety of the children under the abuse and control of JDO, aside from other things. I also pray for the safety and security of Bree and other girls who’ve been abused and isolated by this man. And I also pray for the safety and security of Arik and others like him whose facebook page is littered with harassing and bad comments about people such as his BFF’s and myself. He is terminally ill and I’m planning to donate $10 in memory of him should he end his life in a way that isn’t so pleasant. Please pray for all the children and adults who suffer at the hands of perpetrators like JDO and many more who are slipping through the justice system. We must put abusers in their place, and their place is in jail. Nobody deserves abuse or mistreatment at anyone’s hands. AS Shania Twain would sing, “Hallelujah, hallelujah, god bless the child who suffers.”

Blindness Around the World: How Other Allies See Dependence or Independence of the Blind

Dear Readers,

I recently watched a video on young caregivers in the UK. It struck me as odd that a blind couple opted to have the older two girls look after the younger siblings. The big problem with this video is that the UK producers tried to be objective, but many American listeners and viewers of this video thought this video was disgusting because the couple was not practicing independence skills as they should be trained in said skills.

The big problem with these American viewers is that they’re basing their disgust on their own experiences, call it Americacentric thinking if you wish.

One particular viewer tried to convince me that kids washing dishes at eight was not age appropriate. However, this person being that she’s Americacentric in her thinking and all too modern as well did not read carefully that my dad, a sighted man, washed dishes and helped clean the kitchen, and was the youngest of four children. Unfortunately, the Americacentric viewers of this UK documentary are not helping the cause of blind people being independent over there by telling themselves that Paul and Amanda, the blind couple, should lose their children just because of the fact that the older kids look after the younger ones. Unfortunately, there are problems with the country’s deep roots that must be addressed before Americans can voice their objections with this video.

First, as my buddy Aaron Danvers-Jukes points out to me in previous conversations with me on TeamTalk and other forms of communication, the UK sees the NFB and United States based blind organizations as “radical.” This hurts Paul and Amanda’s chances of getting access to proper independence training like at Colorado Center for the Blind. Paul and Amanda have a large family, and their way of dealing with it may not be the best way, however with no access to independence skills or training, this couple likely will fail in their effort to raise all their children. The UK sees centers for the blind and independence as radical because of a crown centered mentality. They see independence as more a luxury good as well, I mean, if Kate Middleton was blind, she could have handmaids do her hair etc., as befits a royal. Sadly, the United Kingdom has a long way to go with regards to the way this young carer video was viewed by other world viewers.

First, I would recommend Paul and Amanda try a trip to the United States. They should visit Brent and Ina Batron, a couple with five kids and a close knit family that doesn’t rely too heavily on their kids to raise themselves. Brent and Ina are a couple that rely on their nonvisual training skills, and Paul and Amanda could benefit from seeing the Batrons in action. CCB teaches thousands of blind people to become independent, but so does other places like the Hatlin cCenter in California, where others have gone and learned how to be independent. Hatlin tailors its independence skills training to meet the needs of the individual, not a philosophic organization’s need to promote an image or two. Brent and Ina both met and married at CCB, and five children later, they are devoted parents who care for their kids, but if they lived in England, there might be a problem with the UK social services recommending carers, or caregivers, for the couple and seeing their skills as radical. While the American way of life is based on independence and every man for himself, the Batrons would have to adjust to a different measuring system, mainly SI measurements in the UK, but they’d also have to adjust and educate others about the radical views of the UK thinking squad. The UK does not have a federation, only the RNIB. ANd they don’t do much, says Danvers-Jukes. I’ve heard good and bad about things in the UK, and since independence is a luxury, people like Samantha, another friend of mine and Trenton’s, may find it hard to get a job in her desired field. Samantha is a college student, but she’s on top of her game, which seen as radical by others, this being on top could lead her to some trouble. The United Kingdom has a lot to change with regards to blind citizens over there.

First, why not set up independence training and parenting centers over there? Learn to parent and be independent, we might say, but how is the question. Paul and Amanda would be able to be parents if they only knew how to change diapers, hold the baby properly, and do the things that the Batrons are able to do seemlessly. Parenting is hard, but to burden older siblings with the care of younger ones is not beneficial worth to the parents. Paul and Amanda might need a tech evaluation, so why not the UK set up independence classes in the local area? Ben Breen benefits from having a specialist teach him ways to navigate the vast cities in the Kingdom,, but what about cooking? What Breen might need is something akin to, sadly, the CCB or Hatlin centers. Both places can work with people who have other disabilities as well, but people who are only blind have it bad over in the UK because not only of the Braille illiteracy rate there, but not enough education is being done to give citizens who are blind and physically handicapped independence and dignity. Radical or not, these centers can provide folks like Ben Breen, Aaron Danvers-Jukes, and Samantha Ashe a sense of dignity and understanding about nonvisual techniques for cooking, cleaning, and caring for homes, kids, and pets. Aaron might not, if such a practice came into effect, find it that hard to tell his wife if she is blind to prepare a teakettle. Aaron could do it too, even make coffee for his hypothetically tired wife. No carer included. Samantha could find employment through a local agency if such a thing existed and she could become a neuropsychologist that she wants to be, and when she gets home from a long day’s work, she could feed her pets, feed her kids, whatever she feels like doing, and knowing she can do such things would make her even more confident in daily living skills. While discrimination in the UK is existing still, it can be reversed in decades if what they see as radical can be transformed into what we see as essential to the British family’s dignity.

Pro Life, or Pro Woman? What defines Pro Life?

Dear Readers,

I went to a conservative private school, and there I had to learn that “marriage is pro life.” Is it really? Some women really aren’t able to deal with pregnancy, and a hysterectomy would not work for some women because they don’t believe in throwing out the uterus. Unfortunately, some women who aren’t able to carry are raped, but pro life movements state that abortion is wrong, murder, and denying the fertilized egg of life.

Well, I have a news flash for the pro lifers out there. A fertilized egg that later gets very sick and has to die will die, and sometimes must be removed from the woman’s womb, so this happens a lot. Women who miscarry are often shamed, but miscarriage happens too much. It is not the woman’s fault if she miscarries, and it is not her fault for carrying a rapist’s child either. However, I would personally never spread the seed of sadistic men like my ex (initials JDO) or even the seed of men like Ted Bundy, who was executed for murdering multiple victims. If the child’s father was a slave trafficker, I would personally have that slave trafficker prosecuted if I had that power, and as for the baby? Well, if it is a boy, I would either have two options: carry the boy to term and adopt him out only to find out he inherited the sadism of his father, or abort the pregnancy because at that point, I would be considered a victim of slave trafficking. And I should have every right to make sure the world is safe from guys like Johnny D., whose character is portrayed in Law and Order Special Victims Unit later seasons.

It started with Ariel, a young girl who went missing, and her mother Martha, undercover as a madame who went looking for her daughter. It was discovered that Ariel was under the tutelage of Timmer, a pimp who was then arrested in the episode for pimping teenage girls, and then we find Johnny D., who was abusing girls like Ariel and others who would not cooperate and have sex with their customers. One such girl, Ellie, would later become pregnant with Johnny’s son, who was adopted by Olivia Benson, one of the detectives who was on the squadron. Benson would tell the story of Noah’s mom to Noah when he was just a tiny baby in her foster care. Even more, Benson will probably get a good cop out of that little boy, I wonder when Noah Benson will become a cop, but it is known that Johnny D. was Noah’s biological father, and a sadistic slave driver who frequently abused young girls. Johnny Drake, as is later revealed to be his name, should never have been allowed to have children, but he did because of his work. Sadistic men who commit sex crimes, crimes that sometimes go unprosecuted because the victims are either dead or disabled, they should never be allowed to father children. Fathers take a great deal of time with their children, so mothers should not be forced to carry the seed of sadistic killers, rapists, or racists either. I honestly would choose not to carry my ex’s baby because if I knew he’d go on to abuse other victims, even go as far as hitting one and sending her to the hospital, then lying and saying that because of his blindness, he is incapable of abusing, well, he is. If I knew what he was potentially capable of, whether it be devinace in sexual behaviors or deviance in other ways, I would have never dated him at all.

To the people responsible for the bad commentary on this blog, you have been blacklisted so that your comments will not appear, and even if they did, and even if my blacklisting didn’t work so well, I can still look up the IP address and email and have it blacklisted. I can’t condone men who commit crimes against humanity, or men who commit crimes against the women I stand up for, blind women whose testimony would not be believed because courtrooms want proof of sex and other things. My ex did the things he did because his victim was pregnant, and the baby miscarried. It died in the womb and never got a chance to proove the world wrong that sadism spreads sadism. Evangelical churches should never condone sex crimes of their ministers, and if you are pro life, you should understand that most women would not want to carry the seed of their rapist because it doesn’t make sense for that baby who looks like JDO to go on to become JDO Junior. I would be honored to carry my significant other’s child because he is a responsible man and will make a good father for said child. However, men who talk racist doctrine, hit girls for fun, and use disability to put up a veil of secrecy around abuse, those men should be punished and not allowed to have children, period. And if he impregnates someone, she should choose depending on the gender and likelihood of the baby’s potential to commit crimes whether she wants to adopt the child out or keep the child safe and away from his/her father. News flash for those who think I defamed JDO’s character, talk to the schoolmates who came to me with plenty of evidence to support my claims. Talk to the many girls he has hurt, is hurting now, or will soon hurt. Think about the grooming for abuse, the misuse of money, and the procurement of more victims through the Internet. Please do not comment over this post if you can’t say what’s true, and anybody, even blind men, are capable of abuse. Not paying child support is just the tip of the iceberg. Blind men and sighted men alike can impregnate women of all kinds, and I’m lucky I found the good one. However, I will not be told that I am defaming character of someone who truly is an abuser, is a known abuser, and is not going to stop abusing till he’s caught. Hiding behind disability doesn’t work.

Credits go to all the friends who support all the pro life movements, but bear in mind that antisocial behavior could spread to offspring if not carefully monitored and nurtured out of the child.

Breakthrough

Dear Readers,

I want to see how many of you can come forward to share your stories of bullying and harassment on the Internet truthfully. After four trolling comments and a major threat to the blog’s safety and security, I want to know how many of you have been harassed by someone online, bullied, or pirated for content. Please write in the comments, and unless you’re blacklisted, you may get a reply back. This is a project that I’m undertaking about bullying online on the Internet, how it affects people and its aftermath.

What Cults Are

Dear Readers,

Imagine you go to a religious establishment such as a church or mosque or temple. What do you feel when you go to said church or other establishment? If you are a Jehovah Witness, what do you feel when you go to the Kingdom Hall, for instance? Is it spiritual oneness? You can answer in the comments, and don’t be ashamed of it. But let me tell you about an interesting book I found while browsing Bard, and it is about a famous cultlike church that existed in the ’70s. You guys might not know this, but churches sometimes go bad, not knowing what they do to their followers. I have had no problems with JW members, Catholics, or Muslims or Jews. However, this book gives you an inside look at the most damaging cult in recent history. It carried the biggest casualties, even more than Waco, Texas did, at like 900 followers dead. It was so damaging that the survivors opened up in interviews to the author of this book whose name I’ve forgotten for some reason.

The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and People’s Temple was written in 2017, decades after the Jonestown suicide massacre in Guyana. Does anyone remember when that occurred? Well, this book should jog your memory.

Joe Wilson narrates this book for the NLS talking book program, but it is probably available for Kindle, paperback print, and other formats if you desire.

The book begins with a telltale sign that Jim Jones’s mom, Lynette or Lunetta, wrote in the Jonestown logs that she had raised the greatest man alive. Jones was, however, not really the greatest man alive. This book tells you why. It begins with Jones in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he began what became known as the People’s Temple. Later, the book covers how Jones manipulated and fenagled his followers through good works and strict rules and rigid boundaries into a rather deadly situation. This book to me is an invaluable guide to understanding how a popular cult can be damaging and how one man can use psychological manipulation to cause such atrocities, spare Hitler. Hitler, of course, ran Germany like his own personal playground, and the worst thing was the casualties he brought. 6 million plus men, women, and children were systematically wiped out of existence because of Nazism, including disabled people, who were euthanized. But that’s a story for another day.

Jones’s casualty count being less, much much less, he still held damaging control over 1000 plus people who settled a farm in Guyana. After he was ready, Jones committed a final act of horrible abuse and murdered a Congressman at that.

So how do cults work? This book doesn’t exactly go into other cults, but it does give an idea of how Jones recruited his followers. Jones recruited a lot of disenfranchised individuals, poor, black, white and poor, anything you could name that existed in the ghettos of cities like Indianapolis or Los Angeles. Both cities had black populations that were disenfranchised, but they flocked to Jones because he was charismatic. Cults generally have a charismatic leader, someone who claims special powers, can raise the dead, heal, etc. I’ve never been a fan of faith healings or have ever thought that any but God would raise people from the dead. And then, I was taught that only Jesus rose from the dead, but even that is questionable because none of the material holding Jesus is here, and all we have is a book penned by followers to go by. So to hear a charismatic leader like Jones talk about healing cancer and raising the dead would have turned me off.

The next clue that Jones’s church is a cult is the rigid boundaries. Think of a group of people that follow strict rules, dressing modestly if you’re a female, giving your body to said charismatic leader etc. That’s what Jones’s women did. They were frequently approached for sexual dalliances outside his proper marriage with his wife Marceline, and worse, younger followers were beaten with a board or a hose. Jones frequently humiliated his followers who disrespected him and eight people defected because they saw bad stuff going on in temple. The defections are a clue that others should have taken that Jones was dangerous and could manipulate people through supposed good works.

Isolation is the number one symptom of a damaging cult. Frequently, cults will keep you working day and night to serve them, and then they will estrange you from family and friends. Jones had whole families in the cult, and some kids got sucked in while their parents watched. It’s awful to watch as your loved one is isolated from you in such a horrible way, but Jones knew how to do this well.

Cults frequently steal finances from people. Sometimes they steal your entire workday, making it impossible to talk to friends, socialize, or even see films you want. Jones forbade those activities because he feared his followers would be led astray.

If you or your loved one is in a damaging cult, here’s some steps provided by an article I read about a young woman who got sucked in.

Carrie was sucked into a micro control group, but when police came to investigate the group she was in, she weighed less than 90 pounds. She had scars, both physical and mental, because she’d been controlled. Carrie ended up in a transitional living facility for former cult victims, and her article appeared in Seventeen’s early 2000s issues. She spoke of having to discipline her former group, and having to abuse herself as well. She met a charismatic leader in church at college, and got sucked in when he presented her with a sizable mission, to pray for the Parsi people to convert to Christianity. YEah, sounded like a good mission, but in reality, she was withdrawn from her friends and family, abused, and beaten nearly half to death. She was taken to the hospital because someone found out what was going on, and so far as I’ve read, the police were contacted and the group was torn apart. And for good reason.

Carrie is probably well adjusted to life outside the cult by now, and there are other cults, big and small, like Carrie’s, like the Jim Jones group, etc. HEre’s another example.

Carolyn was born to the Blackmoore family, who had for generations been in a polygamist cult led by charismatic leaders. Carolyn was abused frequently by her mom when her father moved them to cult headquarters in Short Creek, the twin cities of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona. Colorado City had multiple families in the cult, and Carolyn wrote in two memoirs about how she survived, and the ultimate straw that broke the camel’s back for her was the way her husband treated her and her sister-wives. Carolyn later wrote in her later memoir, Triumph: Life After the Cult–a Survivor’s Lessons, that the raid in El Dorado, Texas revealed what Warren Jeffs had done to these people. Recently, way after the raid, Lyle Jeffs took over leadership of the cult, but he was charged with welfare fraud because of the tenet of “bleeding the beast.” There are good polygamist families, but this cult totally ruined everything for Utah food stamp recipients who really need it. This cult could have damaged folks like Carolyn, who is now in a relationship with a good man as far as I know, so she’s been out of the cult for a long time.

Take a lesson from the Jonestown massacre, read The Road to Jonestown, and other memoirs of cult survivors. However, the best medicine for cult survivors is good counseling and therapy, medications included if necessary. Carolyn Jessop remembers talking to counselors and having to shuffle her kids to appointments, but remember, the counselors may be swayed not to go against cult principles. Jessop’s story demonstrates that sometimes counseling is ineffective, but with her strength of character, she was able to get her kids through counseling and eventually won sole custody so that the half siblings and husband as well as sister wives could not mess with them. We are all vulnerable in some way to cults, so take these lessons seriously.

P.S. Due to the commentary I received in the past, I will carefully look at your comment and check for hatefulness, bigotry, and threats. I will not approve any comment that begs to be approved and contains vile language and is synonymous with stuff I’ve recently received. Please keep the comments relevant to the post, nothing else.

Beth