Thursday, March 20, 2014

When the Meat Goes Bad and the Wicked Run Wild

Honestly, I don't even know where to begin with this except to say it's one of those things that has been unsettling to me for a long time (years, actually) and I think more and more of society is beginning to see the fruit of it.  And that fruit is rotten to the core.

My husband Kevin, demonstrating the Duckface.
I think for me, I first began to really notice it several years ago when teenage girls were posting the Infamous Duckface pics as their profile pictures online.  That odd, come-hither, aren't-I-so-alluring pose that 99.99% of the internet just laughed at.  Strangely enough, while we all laughed and mocked the nonsense, it didn't fade away but instead became more common.

The rest of us just shook our heads because it was so... dumb.

Over time, the gears shifted considerably.  Social media in the forms of FB, twitter, tumblr, instagram, snapchat and tons of other lesser known platforms became the Go-To for all things that feed the Naughty Narcissist in an entire generation of Internet People.  While my generation didn't even have the internet until 25 years ago, now we have 25 year olds who have never known a world without it.  Kind of strange to think about, isn't it?

In any event, we now live in a world where your self-worth depends on how many friends, followers, comments, likes, retweets & shares you get on any given statement or picture.  Younger people (and even some older people that get sucked into this vortex of self-importance) are doing more and more outrageous and risque things, for more and more likes and shares.  The pics are getting more graphic, the statements are getting more incendiary, and everyone just wants to "go viral".  Everyone wants to become "internet famous" and many of them don't give a rat's scrawny butt how they do it.  As long as everyone knows their name, and they're being talked about everywhere.  Ironically, because of the way social media is set up, it's actually pretty easy to get there because people WILL talk about the creepy, nasty, outrageous, horrible, graphic thing you said or did.  They sometimes talk about the awesome, wonderful, humanitarian thing you did too, but that happens far less often and the attention dies down much faster.  People definitely love a scandal.

Heather Elvis
Which is the perfect segue into what might be one of the worst examples I've read in a while.  You may or may not have heard about Heather Elvis.  Long story short, Heather was a 20 year waitress in Myrtle Beach who went missing December 18, 2013. My radar is sort of fine tuned for cases like this that hit the news because I have six girls of my own, and because I have this odd interest in crime cases.  More specifically, how law enforcement investigates and eventually solves cases and the bad guys go to jail.

As I began to follow the investigation into Heather Elvis' disappearance (via the local news station down there, as well as the discussion forum for amateur crime solvers called Websleuths and handful of twitter and FB accounts) I began to notice something very different about this case than previous crime cases I've ever read about.

ONE: both the victim Heather Elvis, and the accused of having something to do with her disappearance (and who have now been charged with her murder as well) Sidney and Tammy Moorer, had a VERY heavy online presence on a wide variety of social networking sites.

TWO: the victim herself was actively posting to one of her accounts just moments before her cell phone mysteriously lost all data.

THREE: Tammy Moorer, the wife of the duo suspected of having first hand knowledge of Heather Elvis' disappearance (and now murder) was not only super busy on her own social media networks, she was also the fake ghost-writer behind her husband's account(s).

As more and more details came out about the investigation and charges, the whole world learned that the missing young women Heather had a brief sexual encounter with the married Sidney Moorer, whom she met at work, and when the wife found out about it, she lost her biscuits. Literally.  Court documents revealed all kinds of graphic, nasty, threatening text messages from betrayed wife, to ex-girlfriend.  To be honest, that's perfectly understandable.  I suspect a lot of married women might not react so gracefully upon discovery that their husband cheated on them with a woman half her age. And frankly, much prettier.  It would be heartbreaking and infuriating at the same time.

What's more, she was still online on these accounts actively posting and maintaining her facade after Heather Elvis went missing.

Sidney and Tammy Moorer
FOUR: Tammy Moorer's online persona was completely and utterly fake.  And by fake, I mean FAKE IN SPADES.  This is the image of herself that she used as her profile pic and on various sites.  Pictured here with her husband Sidney, they appear to be a somewhat attractive, close, loving couple.  This isn't the only picture of them in this type of pose, there are many others I've seen and EVERY single one of them is extremely digitally altered.  I work with photoshop every single day and can spot photoshopped pics in a heartbeat.  I can tell when an image has been softened, which areas of the face have had the blur tool used, the darkening tool and the lightening tool applied. A lot of women do this to conceal blemishes, wrinkles, double chin shadows, etc.  They want to present the prettiest image of themselves they can and photoshop is what they use to do that.  There may in fact be pictures out there of Tammy Moorer that are not massively photo-shopped (maybe ones she didn't take) but I haven't seen one yet.
The REAL Sidney and Tammy Moorer

That is, up until her and her husband's mug shots when they were arrested for the kidnapping and murder of Heather Elvis.

Now you'd have to click on these images to see them full sized, to really get a good idea of what's going on here. In the first picture, Tammy Moorer doesn't have a single blemish, under-eye circles, discoloration of the skin, etc.  In fact, her face looks nearly flawless.  Granted, she's not wearing makeup in her mug shot photo but even if she was, her face still doesn't look the same.  By stark contrast however, Sidney Moorer looks relatively the same, except for the softening tool used in the first picture.  It's evident in this photo and many many others, Tammy Moorer was quite focused on making her online appearance look flawless.

It wasn't just her images she did this with either.  As more info came out over the last few weeks, Tammy Moorer painted this fantastic, wonderful picture of the Moorer home life. Hubby was a successful, self-employed man, she homeschooled the kids, they built their own dream-Disney-style Polynesian home, and took annual, exotic Disney-themed vacations.  I've even seen some screen shots of her own posts on the Disney discussion forums and she comes off as this bubbly, fun-loving stay at home mom who just loves life and enjoys Disney.

The truth is far from that image.  During the police arrest and the search warrant of the home, many many harsh realities came to light.  They both lied on their taxes (big time) and lied about their income for loan applications.  The condition of their home was absolutely horrific:

"Spoiled meat, moldy potatoes and three guns lying in plain view were among the findings during an Horry County Police Department search of the home of Sidney and Tammy Moorer, according to a police report.... According to the Feb. 21 police report, the Moorers and their children were present during the execution of the search warrant and they were all asleep in the downstairs master bedroom...One family member was sleeping in an oversized chair while another was asleep on a mattress at the foot of the bed. A third family member was asleep on a mattress in the walk-in closet, the report said....Police said in the report that three firearms were out in the open. Two long guns were leaning against the wall while a subcompact pistol rested on the night stand beside the bed. "Overall, the home was in disarray and unsanitary," the officer wrote in the report... Police further said in the report there was some sort of meat lying on the kitchen island and that it had aged for some time. Cooked potatoes were also on the counter top and had begun to mold... The report also said trash was left on the counter tops and floors... Upstairs, the home was in "complete disarray nearly in an unlivable manner," the report continued... Hundreds of Legos were scattered on the floor with other children's toys, trash and clothes and the backyard was covered in animal feces, according to the report." - source

Now, I've been a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom (we homeschooled for 10 years) and that doesn't sound like what police would ever find in my home.  Even on my WORST housekeeping day and trust me, the cat poop on the living room carpet some days was pretty bad, but it was the FIRST thing that got cleaned up, sanitized and blotted with stain remover every morning, even before coffee. Untold numbers of Legos and Barbies on the floor yes. But that's where any similarities end.  In fact, that police report description is a FAR CRY from the way Tammy Moorer gushed about her home life on the internet.  It's completely the opposite, and the fact is, she's a completely and utter fake.  From what she wanted "the world" to think she looks like to what she wanted the world to think she lived like.

While most people following this case are just hoping for ONE outcome, the Moorers confessing and telling law enforcement where Heather Elvis is (and I want this too, for the Elvis family) , many are also finding themselves somewhat dumbfounded at how FAKE the Moorer's really are.

But... it's so common these days.  It's the thing to do.  Fake your picture(s), fake your life, your home, your kids, your job, etc.  The internet has just given an entire generation of people this sort of Second Life where you can be/say/do whatever you want.

Frankly, I find it all deeply disturbing.  It's almost as if it's feeding this wicked, vile part of our soul and saying "post the lie, everyone will love it, and love you!"

Moms... dads... if there's ever been a time to take a serious look at your kid's online world (and your own), it's now.  Be sure they and you are keeping it real, be sure you and them are not so caught up in "fame" or being "known" that clicks/likes/shares/retweets/whatever aren't what matter.

And, for those who pray, pray for Holy Spirit conviction for Sidney and Tammy Moorer and they confess, disclose the location of Heather Elvis and the Elvis family can bring their girl home, and say a proper goodbye.  And pray for the Moorer children.  God only knows what these poor kids have actually lived with.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Can We Combat The Rape Culture? YES, One Little Boy at a Time

You've likely heard the term.  Maybe you even understand what it means.  Maybe you're not sure.  To clear it up, I thought this entry at wikipedia did a pretty good job:

"rape culture is a concept that links rape and sexual violence to the culture of a society, and in which prevalent attitudes and practices normalize, excuse, tolerate, and even condone rape. Examples of behaviors commonly associated with rape culture include victim blaming, sexual objectification, and trivializing rape. Rape culture has been used to model behavior within social groups, including prison rape and conflict areas where war rape is used as psychological warfare. Entire countries have also been alleged to be rape cultures."

I've written about this before and you can read it here, if you like. But today I want to focus on something specific and that is, how do we combat it?  How do we as a culture fight back against it and change things?  There is actually a way to do this and it's not as complicated as one might believe. It does however take a lifetime of commitment.