Pushing forward

According to Merriam-Webster, diversity is defined as “the quality or state of having many different forms, types, ideas, etc”. A diverse workforce, for instance, is one in which you find people of varied backgrounds and with varied physical qualities. For many, diversity is thought of in terms of race or sexual orientation, but it goes far beyond that. According to Loden and Rosener, there are two main dimensions to diversity. Within the primary dimension are unchangeable characteristics, such as race, age, ethnicity, physical qualities, sexual orientation, and gender (the last one is changeable however–gender is not an innate quality of an individual, it is a social construct; despite the fact that one can change their gender, that is no basis for the discrimination or oppression of trans people and if you think it is, you are a shithead). The secondary dimension consists of those qualities that are not inherent. These more malleable characteristics include parental status, religious beliefs, income, education, and military experience (via Arizona.edu; source: Loden, M, & Rosener, J. (1991). Workforce America!: Managing Employee Diversity as a Vital Resource. Homewood , IL: Business One Irwin.)

That’s what diversity is, but why is it important? Why should it matter that queer people desire better representation in comic books? Why does it matter that this years Academy Award nominees were a sea of white faces? Why are people so happy that the next Ghostbusters movie will feature an all-female cast?

Other people matter. That’s why.

For too long the message from society has been that the only stories that matter, the only experiences that matter, are those of male, European-American, cisgender, heterosexuals (MEACHs). That is not true. It has never been true (though many people think it is). Recognizing that all humans have dignity and that we all matter means that our stories matter. Our histories matter. Our experiences matter. Maybe they don’t matter to MEACHs (though certainly there are many in that group who value the lives, stories, and experiences of others), but the world doesn’t consist of, nor does it revolve around that group. Unfortunately, for too long in USAmerica, almost everything has catered to the desires and wishes of MEACHs.  The overwhelming majority of movies produced by Hollywood have reinforced the idea that the only people who matter are MEACHs. Our politicians have been and largely continue to be predominately MEACHs. For a long time in this country our workforce was dominated by MEACHs. The protections of the government were extended only to MEACHs for much of our history. In effect, the message sent by U.S. society is that unless you were a cisgender, heterosexual, white male, you did not matter.

Thankfully, that is changing.

Hollywood for instance, is beginning to see that there is market for and money to be made in movies featuring women.

THR reported Aug. 2 that Sony wants to launch a female-led reboot of Ghostbusters from Bridesmaids director Paul Feig. Two days later, the studio said it is targeting 2017 for a woman superhero film set in the Spider-Man universe. Marvel Studios, whose Guardians of the Galaxy lured a 44 percent-female audience on opening weekend (the biggest share of any Marvel film) is said to be close to greenlighting a Black Widow pic forScarlett Johansson. And The Expendables producer Avi Lernersaid Aug. 4 he wants to shoot a female spinoff Expendabelles in 2015 (Sylvester Stallone says he wants Sigourney Weaver to star).

Even as U.S. box office is down about 18 percent this summer, women and girls are driving some of the biggest success stories, including Maleficent ($727.5 million globally), The Fault in Our Stars ($263 million worldwide) and Lucy(a $43.9 million U.S. opening). They follow female-fronted smashes The Hunger Games and Frozen. “It used to be people would look at the success of individual titles and look at them as being the exception to the rule,” says Columbia president of production Hannah Minghella. “But I don’t think we can think that way anymore.”

Of course there is resistance to Hollywood’s diversity initiatives. The Manosphere (helpful glossary here) is filled with whiny, entitled douchenozzles.  These people (largely MEACHs) weren’t happy to hear about an all-female Ghostbusters movie.  While some tried to mask their sexism behind complaints like “Hollywood is ruining our childhood” and “what about nostalgia” and “women aren’t funny, how can they be Ghostbusters”, it’s plain to my eye, that they are really whining because they aren’t the only ones being catered to any longer.

“Our childhoods”. Really? As if your childhood is magically going to be retconned and your memories will be wiped. Your childhood still remains the same. The movie you watched as a kid hasn’t changed. Your memories haven’t changed. Nor will they. So stop your whining you spoiled, petulant brats. The world does not revolve around you.

Diversity in Hollywood can be seen in the upcoming Aquaman movie, featuring Jason Momoa in the title role. In the comic books, Aquaman has always been a MEACH (just like the target audience), but Momoa is Hawaiian (Kanaka Maoli to be exact).  When the Aquaman movie hits in 2018, children and adults of Hawaiian background will get to see themselves represented on the big screen, something that is, to say the least, quite rare. Not only that, but they’ll get to see themselves represented in a heroic manner.  This-diversity-is a good great thing and Momoa is excited, not just for himself, but his kids:

“It’s awesome as an actor to know what your future is going to be because I have children and I’ve busted my ass to put food on the table,” he says. “It’s awesome knowing that I’m going to be in Justice League because my son is the biggest Batman fan and my daughter loves Wonder Woman. It’ll be cool for them to see me in something because they’re not going to be watching Game of Thrones or Red Roadanytime soon, but now they can see Daddy kicking ass in IMAX.”

Momoa joins fellow ass-kickers The Rock and Vin Diesel as a new breed of ethnically ambiguous action hero. As a Hawaiian, it wasn’t easy for Momoa to break into Hollywood.

“I’ve had to bust ass to be in this industry. A lot of things are very black and white,” he says. “Aquamanis especially cool because being a Kanaka Maoli—being Hawaiian—our Gods are Kanaloa and Maui, and the Earth is 71 percent water, so I get to represent that. And I’m someone who gets to represent all the islanders, not some blond-haired superhero. It’s cool that there’s a brown-skinned superhero.”

Yes, it is cool. In large part because it will show that heroes can come in all races and ethnicities, not just European-Americans. This is only one step, however.  Other important steps: Cyborg, starring Ray Fisher, due in 2020 and Black Panther, featuring Chadwick Boseman, in 2017.  Four examples do not, of course, magically make Hollywood more diverse.  Beyond superheroes and beyond increasing the on-screen presence of People of Color, women, and other minority groups, Hollywood needs more Black, Asian, Latino, and female directors, screenwriters, producers and more. Then there are the supremely underrepresented groups in Hollywood, like trans people, people with mental or physical disabilities,  More. More. More. Don’t stop until Hollywood accurately reflects USAmerica, rather than just MEACHs.

The comic book industry is another area in the United States that needs to diversify. Traditionally the domain of MEACHs, mainstream USAmerican comics have diversified somewhat over the last 15 years. There are an increasing number of women creating comics. There are an increasing number of female-led comic books (for instance, Marvel currently produces Thor, Angel: Asgard’s Assassin, Storm, the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Ms Marvel, Captain Marvel, Black Widow, Spider-Woman, Spider-Gwen, Silk, and an all-female team of X-Men; She-Hulk and Elektra were cancelled recently).  Despite this, things in the land of USAmerican comics are far from perfect, and one young girl recently decided to express her dissatisfaction with DC Comics:

The letter reads:

Dear DC comics,
My name is Rowan and I am 11 years old. I love superheroes and have been reading comics and watching superhero cartoons and movies since I was very young. I’m a girl, and I’m upset because there aren’t very many girl superheroes or movies and comics from DC.
For my birthday, I got some of your Justice League Chibis™. I noticed in the little pamphlet that there are only 2 girl Chibis, and 10 boys. Also, the background for the girl figures was all pink and purple.
I remember watching Justice League cartoons when I was really young with my dad. There are Superman and Batman movies, but not a Wonder Woman one. You have a Flash TV show, but not a Wonder Woman one. Marvel Comics made a movie about a talking tree and raccoon awesome, but you haven’t made a movie with Wonder Woman.
I would really like a Hawkgirl or Catwoman or the girls of the Young Justice TV show action figures please. I love your comics, but I would love them a whole lot more, if there were more girls.
I asked a lot of the people I know whether they watched movies or read books or comics where girls were the main characters, they all said yes.
Please do something about this. Girls read comics too and they care.
Sincerely, Rowan.

This letter expresses the feelings of many comic book fans.  A DC Comics rep responded on Twitter:

Despite the advances made in the comic book industry (which, btw, is more than just Marvel and DC; I focus on them because they are the Big 2 publishers and put out the vast majority of comic books on the racks), there is still a long way to go and the bigwigs at Marvel and DC are not the only ones who realize this.  BOOM! Studios founder and CEO Ross Richie says he wants to help push comics forward:

It’s Keith Giffen’s fault. I keep telling people that he talked me into it in a dive bar on L.A.’s west side. But the truth is that I started this company out of the spare bedroom in my apartment because I couldn’t believe the guy that created Rocket Raccoon thought I could do it. Maybe we could bring something to comics that hadn’t been there before?

I’ve loved comics since 1976. I never thought I’d publish them. Sure, I’d worked with giants of the field, including Barry Windsor-Smith, Howard Chaykin, Jim Starlin, Walter Simonson, and others too numerous to mention, when I was a young marketing turk at Malibu Comics 20 years ago. But me, publish comic books? You’re crazy.

So it’s 10 years later now. Comics publishers don’t often make it that far, do they? We should do a victory lap right now.

But who wants to look backward when there’s so much more cool stuff around the bend?

Let’s talk about the future.

Have you ever had a friend that shared a lot of your interests, but they didn’t read comics? You gave them Watchmen, you gave them Y: The Last Man, you gave them X-Men. But nothing stuck. They liked the idea of comics, but there wasn’t a comic book that felt like it was made for them…

Let’s go make that comic book for them. Together. As fans, as creators, as retailers, as the press, as publishers. All of us. Let’s talk about how we can allPush #ComicsForward. Because comic books should be for everyone.

We know where we’ve been—our favorite eras, our favorite characters, our favorite runs. We already know all of that. I’ve got a garage full of Silver, Bronze, Copper, and Modern Age comics and I love them.

But the medium of comics has never been more on the forefront of driving pop culture and as fans of this art form, we have a rare opportunity to take that interest to the next level and embrace an entire generation of potential fans who don’t read comics right now.

We can make a new Golden Age.

At BOOM!, we’ve carefully selected new projects in 2015 that we believe will help Push #ComicsForward. These projects will take on risky subject matter, introduce new characters from diverse backgrounds, and debut a swath of new creative voices to the industry.

Just in the first few months of 2015, we’ve launched a gaming-inspired humor comic in Munchkin, two projects that tackle the complex climate in the Middle East with Burning Fields and The Realist, five series with unique female leads (Curb Stomp, HaloGen, Cluster, Help Us! Great Warrior, and Giant Days), a period crime project (Hit: 1957), and an original graphic novel about the cutest crabs to ever start a revolution (The March of the Crabs). And we’ve only just begun. But this movement isn’t just about BOOM!, it’s about all of us. We’ll be devoting a ton of our time and energy in 2015 to work with the press, conventions, and social media channels to keep the conversation going.

If you know me, you know I’m the “Challenge Accepted!” guy. If there’s a problem that hasn’t been solved or a project that seems insurmountable, I’m the first one to jump in. This is a big challenge, but I want you to join me in taking it on.

No one thought comics targeted at All Ages was viable until KaBOOM!. Now it’s the norm. No one thought an all-female cast of characters with an all-female creative team had a shot in the Direct Market—until Lumberjanes. And who would have guessed that an oversized limited series like Memetic, starring a hearing-impaired, gay college student and a blind, African-American general about a meme-induced apocalypse, would garner rave reviews? We did.

If you believe comics are great just the way they are, this isn’t for you. If you think superheroes are the only kinds of stories worth telling in comics, this isn’t for you. But if you want to see everyone reading comics—your aunt, your co-workers, your niece, your boyfriend, that kid down the street—let’s Push #ComicsForward in 2015.



Founder & CEO

BOOM! Studios

This is the type of thing I want to see more of, and not just from the comic book industry. Not just from Hollywood. I want to see greater diversity everywhere. Not just for me, as a gay, black male. I want to see women represented better in society. I want to see Asian-Americans granted more prominence. I want to see the lives of Latinos treated as if they have value. As if they matter. I want to see trans people recognized as human beings with rights, and I damn sure want to see greater representation of them. Everywhere. Because they matter. That’s the lesson to be learned. Everyone matters. Not just male, European-American, cisgender, heterosexuals.

Pushing forward

I could never become this upset about not getting my dream home

When I think of Craigslist, I tend to think of one thing: a place I can go to find jobs. I certainly spent my fair share of time searching through the job openings on Craigslist during my four months of unemployment last year (I found my current job through the site).  I know you can seek dates on there. I know there are communities for people who share the same hobbies. I know you can sell everything from refrigerators to dryers, from furniture to cars on Craigslist (you can even sell comic books, though I wasn’t successful when I tried that). One thing that I’d never think to use Craigslist for? Putting up ads to get a homeowner raped because I was outbid:

A bitter woman who put out Craigslist ads to get a homeowner raped after she outbid her on her dream home in San Diego has been sentenced to house arrest.

Kathy J. Rowe, 53, was sentenced on Friday to a year of house arrest and five years of probation stemming from the case where she tormented couple Jerry Rice, 40, and Janice Ruhter, 37, for months after they purchased the Carmel Valley home that she badly wanted back in 2011, according to PEOPLE. She’s also ordered to stay away from the couple for 10 years.

That’s not only bitter, that’s utterly contemptible. “I couldn’t get my dream home, so I’m going to send people to your home hoping they’ll rape you”?! Whatever happened to this woman’s moral compass I don’t know, but she needs to get it fixed. ASAP.

Rowe, who won a San Diego “Mother of the Year” award in 2006 for her dedication in taking care of her mentally handicapped daughter, had a laundry list of egregious things she did to the couple to make their lives a living hell.

It’s more than possible for a human being to perform admirable deeds while also engaging in vile activities. Even though I know this in my head, it’s still hard to reconcile the apparent contradiction of a woman who won a ‘Mother of the Year’ award while being the kind of person who would try to get someone raped. It’s just so fucking horrible.

What started off as lame pranks—like sending the couple a $1,000-worth of magazine subscriptions they hadn’t ordered to having their mail stop getting sent to them—grew into more disturbing acts as the months wore on. There was that furious neighbor who demanded to know from Rice why he was sending his wife a Valentine’s Day card. It turned out that the neighbor wasn’t the only one upset—eight other wives in the area received similar romantic cards that Rowe sent out posing as Rice.

If she’d stopped there, I’d still think her actions were problematic (and in the case of interfering with their mail, criminal). She was trying to continuously and deliberately annoy the couple, but at least she wasn’t actively trying to harm them. But this, this is beyond the pale:

Then there were the Craigslist sex ads Rice found online—with one of them titled “Carmel Valley Freak Show”—that encouraged strangers to swing by the couple’s home and surprise Ruhter while the husband wasn’t home, reported U-T San Diego. Rowe pretended to be Ruhter while writing responses to these men, one of which read, “I love to be surprised and have a man just show up at my door and force his way in the door and on me, totally taking me while I say no.”

She was trying to weaponize rape.  That’s so fucking disgusting. She actively wanted someone in that household to get raped…to have their consent violated…to have their bodily autonomy completely ignored. This is someone who doesn’t value the rights of others. The awfulness doesn’t stop there, as her attempts to get the couple raped came close to succeeding:

The couple says that one man responded to one of the ads and showed up unannounced at their door twice.

I hope he never tried to enter the home and fuck both him and Kathy Rowe, but hey, she says this isn’t representative of the kind of person she is, so I guess it’s all good:

Rowe was arrested in 2012, and although she was originally charged with solicitation of rape and sodomy, and harassment, she pleaded guilty last November to a stalking charge.

“A home should be a place of safety and sanctuary, but I never truly felt this way in our house,” Ruhter said in court on Friday. “I felt most secure away from my home. The house became my prison.”

Rowe had told prosecutors that she was “devastated” that she lost the home to the couple because it was the perfect one-story house with a pool and yard for her family; she was taking care of her disabled daughter and husband who was recovering from a heart attack, according to ABC News.

“I just want to say how humiliated I am for my behavior,” Rowe said in court. “This is not representative of who I am. I’ve never behaved like this. How much I wish I could go back and take all this away. … All the things I put them through, the stress, the lack of privacy, I’m just very sorry.”

Yes, I’m sympathetic to what was going on in her life. I’m sure she was under a lot of stress. None of that excuses her actions though. Given that she was trying weaponize rape, I wonder if she understands how horrible rape is. I’m guessing no. And I hope she never has to find out, because rape is, IMO, the ultimate violation of a human being and the complete denial of our rights and our dignity.

I could never become this upset about not getting my dream home

How many allegations will it take for people to believe Bill Cosby is a rapist?

“O you who believe, if you borrow until a delayed period then you will write it amongst you, and let he who is an official record keeper write between you, and let him not refuse to write as God has commanded it. And when he writes, let he who has borrowed give the details of the transaction and he shall fear his Lord God and not omit anything. If the one who has borrowed is not fit, or if he is weak, or if he can’t complete the information; then let he who is responsible for him fill-in on his behalf. And you shall have TWO witnesses from your men, and if they are not two men then let them be ONE man and TWO women from those whose testimony you accept, so if one of them is misguided , then one will remind the other…..” (2/282)

As you can see from this excerpt from the Islamic holy book, the Quran, it takes two women to equal the testimony of one man. Yeah, that’s sexist as all get out, but compared to Bill Cosby’s rape allegation deniers, that’s downright enlightened. In the comments sections of article after article, you can find Cosby’s defenders vehemently denying the accusations against him. There’s even a Facebook page titled ‘Bill Cosby is innocent until proven guilty’ (yeah, these people, like many USAmericans do not understand that ‘innocent til proven guilty’ only applies to the inside of a courtroom). None of them has a shred of evidence to support their opinion. I suspect they’re basing their opinion on Cosby’s body of work as if his portrayal of Cliff Huxtable or his comedic skills somehow means he can’t be a rapist.  Just because he is/was a successful comedian…just because he portrayed a warm, loving father on the Cosby Show, that makes him NOT a rapist?  Uh-uh. That’s not how that works. In fact, his body of work has nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not he raped anyone. The flip side of these views, of course, is that all those women and their allegations? They’re lying liars who lie. No, we don’t live in a rape culture where people automatically assume women are lying when they claim they were raped. Le sigh.

Random commenters on the Internet are not the only people leaping to the defense of Cosby.  Some of his former co-workers and other celebrities have also jumped to his defense.  Phylicia Rashad (who played Claire Huxtable on the Cosby Show) recently broke her silence on the subject:

She stands defiantly behind him. She told me that in the years she’s known him, she has never seen the behavior alleged by the women who say they were drugged and raped, or sexually harassed.

Why would she expect to see such behavior? In virtually all the cases, the assaults happened with no witnesses. Of course she wouldn’t have seen any such behavior! He drugged and assaulted these women in private.

Rashad said:  “What you’re seeing is the destruction of a legacy. And I think it’s orchestrated. I don’t know why or who’s doing it, but it’s the legacy. And it’s a legacy that is so important to the culture.”

No, what you’re seeing is women who have decided to remain silent no longer. They’ve been harmed by him, and kept quiet, sometimes for decades. As more women spoke up, those who were silent found the courage to speak up, despite the inevitable backlash from Cosby’s fans.

Rashad dismisses claims from both Beverly Johnson and Janice Dickinson. “Oh, please,” she said when their names came up. She also is quick to defend Camille Cosby. “This is a tough woman, a smart woman,” she told me. “She’s no pushover.” There is no question, Rashad said, that Camille Cosby has not been complicit or looked the other way as her husband terrorized women for the last 50 years.

“Oh please”? Well, I guess that is all that is needed to refute Johnson and Dickinson. Oh, wait. No. It’s fucking not. I’m so tired of people automatically assuming women are lying when they allege that they were raped. This is one of the reasons so many women don’t speak up, because people assume they’re lying. If no one is going to believe you, then why speak up? What justice can be had if you’re treated as a liar?

She said, “Someone is determined to keep Bill Cosby off TV,” alluding to people other than the women. “And it’s worked. All his contracts have been cancelled.”

Good. Rapists should not get their own television shows.

We talked more about the legacy of The Cosby Show. “This show represented America to the outside world. This was the American family. And now you’re seeing it being destroyed. Why?”

The ‘Cosby Show’ has not been destroyed. It still exists. It still had a tremendous impact on how African-Americans are viewed in this country. It’s still a landmark series that helped show that Black people were just as diverse as white people, and I’m sure it helped chip away at some of the prejudices held by many USAmericans.

She said Cosby himself is probably too proud to raise a defense. I countered that his silence reminded me of how Jerry Lewis reacted whe, after 50 years. the Muscular Dystrophy Association treated him like dirt. He refused to fight back. To quote a popular song from the 70s: “If you don’t know me by now, you will never never know me.”

Cosby has mounted a defense, via his legal team. That defense has consisted of exactly the same shit Rashad has said: those women are lying.

So what to do about Cosby’s accusers? Rashad feels strongly that some other force is at play– for some reason, Cosby’s great strides in education, as well as show business, are being ruined so that new generations will only remember him by this scandal. And what about a defense from the man himself? “If he spoke now, what do you think the media would do with it?” Rashad asked. And let’s face it, she’s right about that.

This is so damn sad. It’s easier to believe in a far-reaching, vast conspiracy spanning decades and involving over 30 women than it is to believe that Bill Cosby is a serial rapist.  Uh huh.

Artist Jill Scott has also defended the comedian:

It’s great that you know him, buuuuuuuut…I hate to break this to you, rapes are often committed by people the victim knows. According to RAINN:

Approximately 2/3 of rapes were committed by someone known to the victim.
73% of sexual assaults were perpetrated by a non-stranger.
38% of rapists are a friend or acquaintance.
28% are an intimate.
7% are a relative.

So this “I knew him and you didn’t, therefore he’s not a rapist” is naught but bullshit.

Camille and Evin Cosby (wife and daughter of the comedian) also defended him, saying:

“He is a kind man, a generous man, a funny man,” Cosby’s wife Camille said in a statement first reported by CBS on Monday. “A different man has been portrayed in the media over the last two months. It is the portrait of a man I do not know.”

Cosby’s youngest daughter, Evin, followed up by praising her parents in a lengthy Facebook post.

Then, in a statement obtained by Access Hollywood on Tuesday, Evin said this:

“He is the father you thought you knew. The Cosby Show was my today’s TV reality show. Thank you. That’s all I would like to say :)”

I fully understand why family members would be in denial. But for all that they love, respect, and trust him…well, I’d point to those RAINN statistics again. I’m sure he has been loving and respectful to his family, but he’s also been a serial rapist.

While Cosby’s defenders are busy denying the allegations against him, the number of victims has continued to rise (33 named women have spoken up). Cindra Ladd is the latest woman to publicly accuse Cosby of rape:

In 1969 I met Bill Cosby while working in New York for the late film producer Ray Stark. I was a 21-year-old single woman in the world’s most exciting city. He was a 32-year-old internationally known comedian and television star, one of the most likeable and popular entertainers in the business. He asked for my number and I gave it to him.

We began hanging out, took in a movie, watched television and ate pizza and hot dogs in my apartment with my roommate. He was married to his current wife and he acted like a perfect gentleman who didn’t come on to either of us, which, I have to admit, made me wonder what his objective was.

One night we were going out to a movie. We agreed to meet at an apartment that he said belonged to a friend of his. I had a terrible headache but didn’t want to cancel the evening. He told me he had a miracle cure his doctor had given him that would get rid of the headache. He went into another room and came back with a capsule. I asked a couple of times what it was. Each time he reassured me, asking, “Don’t you trust me?” Of course I did. This was Bill Cosby.

For more than 45 years I have tried to recall exactly what happened that night. To this day it remains a blur. I have a vague recollection of feeling like I was floating while walking through Times Square and watching some kind of Japanese samurai movie with him. I don’t remember where the theater was nor very much of the evening.

What I do recall, vividly and clearly, is waking up the next morning nude in the bed of his friend’s apartment and seeing Cosby wearing a white terrycloth bathrobe and acting as if there was nothing unusual. It was obvious to me that he had had sex with me. I was horrified, embarrassed and ashamed. There was a mirror above the bed, which shocked me further.

To Cosby’s defenders, Ladd is lying. She has an agenda. She is part of a vast conspiracy to keep Cosby off of television. To me, she is a brave woman who spoke up about being drugged and raped by a man whom many people continue to hold up as an icon.

I have to wonder, how long will people continue to think he’s a great man? Can you watch this clip and still think of Cosby as a good man who would never violate the boundaries of women and ignore their consent?


As Jay Leno said when he spoke about the allegations surrounding Billy Cosby, why is it so hard to believe women?

For a no-holds-barred skewering of Cosby, check out the second episode of Larry Willmore’s Nightly Show.

How many allegations will it take for people to believe Bill Cosby is a rapist?

Police Behaving Badly 1.29.15

Body camera captures Oklahoma cop fatally shooting man outside church wedding

In the video, Officer Chansey McMillin — who was responding to call that a man outside the Old Agency Baptist Church was telling people his ex-girlfriend “had a bullet with her name on it” — approaches 21-year-old Terence Walker and tells him he is going to pat him down for weapons.

“Just relax for me,” McMillin says as he pats Walker down. “What are you shaking for?”

At that point, Walker takes off running with McMillin in pursuit. After a few seconds, Walker bends down to pick an item he dropped and briefly turns toward McMillin with the item pointing towards him.

Officer McMillin fires six shots at Walker, striking him three times.

The pastor from a nearby church who initially called the police then rushes up to Walker’s body, which had half-fallen into the ditch. “I’m the pastor, let me check on him” he tells McMillin, who yells at him to “Get back! Get back! Sir, get back, he has a gun!”

Other police are on the scene within minutes. “I was in a bad spot,” McMillin tells them.

As they search Walker’s body, police find what they claim to be a loaded handgun on it. A few minutes later, the pastor who had implored Officer McMillin to allow him to render Walker aid can be heard telling other officers on the scene that Walker “resisted him.”

McMillin, the pastor says, “did everything by procedure. [Walker] resisted him, he resisted him. I’m the pastor who called it in. He asked him,” the pastor says, pointing at Officer McMillin, “‘do you have a weapon on you?’ then he jumped off him and jumped off running.”

After hearing that, McMillin leans against his car and asks, “Why did [Walker] have to do that?”

Officer McMillin has been placed on mandatory administrative leave after the shooting, as this was the second one he has been involved with in the last six months. In July, he shot — but did not kill — Angel Cerda, who had allegedly attacked a man with a knife and was advancing toward McMillin with a knife raised.

McMillin was praised by Police Chief Rex Eskridge for his use of non-lethal force in that shooting.

Yes, let’s offer our thanks that the white man didn’t shoot and kill the black man. ::Dons hat of respectability::  “Thank you my good man for making the honorable choice to shoot to wound instead of shooting to kill. I really appreciate that you think Black Lives Partially Matter.”  ::Burns hat of respectability::

While offering such praise, perhaps they could examine why so many cops assume black suspects are in possession of a gun.

* * * *

Police Chief:  Force ‘unreasonable’ in NSU student arrest

The Norfolk Branch of the NAACP is investigating claims by the NSU student that she was attacked by a Norfolk police K-9 early Sunday morning. According to a NAACP Spokesman, Army Reservist London Colvin was leaving an off-campus party when she was approached by officers.

The story of Colvin’s arrest has been circulating social media and was talked about on a national radio program and a news organization that focuses on historically black colleges. The account presented by those outlets claims Colvin was held down by police while a K-9 bit her. A picture is also being circulated. It shows a large gash in what is Colvin’s leg.

Colvin’s father, Norman, shared more photos with WAVY.com. He said they show wounds to his daughter’s legs after a police dog attacked her. The pictures are shocking.

“There were two gaping wounds, one they barely could close, the other they couldn’t and it’s still open right now, but wrapped,” Mr. Colvin said. “I was hurt, I was angry and I was in complete disbelief that something like this could happen to my child.”

Three days after the attack, Goldsmith made a statement Wednesday evening. He said emergency communications got a 911 call around 2 a.m. Sunday about a loud party in the 2900 block of Bayne Avenue. Then, 15 minutes later, he said a 911 call came in about an assault in progress a few blocks away, in the 1200 block of Godfrey Avenue.

“The caller stated that there were approximately 35 people in the street fighting,” Goldsmith said. “The caller also told dispatchers that the fight had gone on for some time.”

Goldsmith said Colvin was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

WAVY News 10 spoke to student witness Carman Chatman, who said she and a group of friends were leaving the party on Bayne Avenue when two of them were unknowingly punched by other people. Chatman said Norfolk police tried asking Colvin questions about that altercation, but she refused to answer and started walking away.

What happened next is unclear because police have not released details of the incident. Chatman admits she doesn’t know what led to her friend being put on the ground, but in the midst of the commotion, she saw Colvin there surrounded by several officers.

“She was laying down on the ground with her arms under her body like this, flat down, her face down to the ground,” Chatman said. “Her arms under her chest and her body flat down, the police officer was directly on top of her holding her down.”

Chatman said she heard officers yelling and a police K-9 dog barking, but doesn’t know what ultimately led to the dog attack.

“I heard someone yell ‘she got bit by a dog’ or ‘the dog is biting her.’ I looked over to see the dog was latched to her leg,” she said. “Her being bit was really unjustifiable.”

Rick James, part of the Norfolk NAACP legal team and a retired Norfolk police officer, said the NAACP’s investigation began Monday.

“The question is: did this young lady commit any crimes for the police to even take her into custody? If that’s the case, was the force used excessive, in terms of using the dog?” said Norfolk NAACP spokesman Rick James.

Even if she had committed a crime, she was laying on the ground face down, with her hands underneath her. Plus a police officer was holding her down.  That doesn’t sound like much of a threat. Certainly not one that calls for an attack dog. Here is what the Police Chief had to say about the use of force:

Since January 25th, my department has been investigating the arrest of London Colvin. While we continue to wrap up the final few interviews with witnesses and officers, I feel I have enough information to determine the use of force in Ms. Colvin’s arrest was unreasonable.

I will address my officers’ actions through our disciplinary process.

My review of the policies governing the use of police canines continue. This review will ensure that Norfolk canines are used appropriately in all circumstances. As Chief, I am responsible for the policies and procedures that govern my officers’ actions. While I expect my officers to make the best judgment in all circumstances, if the policy doesn’t support the outcomes I expect, I have failed them. I am committed to having the best trained department and I will make this right.

I will make the revised policy available once I have completed my review.

Chief Michael Goldsmith

* * * *

 Cop arrests and detains defense attorney so he can illegally question her client

A San Francisco police officer literally took away a defendant’s right to an attorney in the middle of a courthouse when he handcuffed and detained a public defender so he could interrogate her client.

As she was standing just outside of a courtroom on Tuesday, Deputy Public Defender Jami Tillotson found her client being questioned and photographed by San Francisco Police Inspector Brian Stansbury. As a defense attorney, Tillotson knows that this is a violation of her client’s constitutional rights, so she immediately stopped the interaction by inserting herself between police and her client.

But instead of backing off, Stansbury threatened to arrest Tillotson on a trumped up charge of resisting arrest if she didn’t allow him to interrogate and harass her client at will without her being present. Tillotson refused, insisting that she has a duty to represent her client. Stansbury then handcuffed Tillotson and hauled her to a jail cell while officers continued to blatantly disregard her client’s rights. She remained there cuffed to a wall for an hour.

* * * *

11-year-old asks public safety officer what a taser feels like, so he tased him

An Alaskan public safety officer reportedly shocked an 11-year-old boy with a taser because he was asking about the device. According to the boy’s mother, he was tased by the officer after asking him what it felt like to get shocked. The officer then apparently gave the boy a live demonstration, hitting him in the arm with the barbs of the taser.

“They were talking about being Tased, and my son did ask to be Tased,” the boy’s mother, Terrie Ward, Juneau Empire newspaper.

Public safety officers are basically cops in every way aside from the fact that they are not sworn in and are not allowed to carry firearms while on duty. Public safety officers are used by police departments to patrol remote areas that they cant afford to staff with better paid officers.

Alaska’s Public Safety spokeswoman Megan Peters told reporters that investigators were working to determine “whether a crime was committed” or whether it was an “administrative matter for the tribal government.”

The mother was out of town at the time and was not even informed about the incident from police, instead she had to hear about it later from a neighbor who asked how the child was doing. The boy apparently did not tell his parents about his encounter with the officer because he was afraid that he would get in trouble.

“She was asking me how my son was doing after the incident, and I was like, ‘What is she talking about?’ I was in shock because, I mean, I did not hear of it. I did not know about it,” Ward said, recalling the conversation when she had learned of the attack.

* * * *
Wrongfully arrested musician suing NYPD, vows to give any money won back to the community

In the early morning of October 18th, musician Andrew Kalleen was assaulted and arrested by the NYPD for simply playing a song, even after the officer read the law out loud and verified Kalleen was not breaking any laws.

In the video, which quickly went viral, Kalleen cites the exact law the officer needs to look up to prove he was well within his rights.  Kalleen has become well versed with this law, as he informed us that this is at least the 6th time he has been asked to stop.  The officer reads the law out loud, but is unphased and continues his harassment.

Kalleen was ultimately arrested, and screams of “f*ck the police” echoed through the platform as he was dragged away.

Since the incident, the NYPD have repeatedly lied in statements about the arrest.

“This incident has also exposed a lack of integrity in the NYPD extending above the streets. When the Gothamist first broke the story, they quoted an NYPD saying I was “a ‘transit recidivist,’ which the spokesperson explained as someone having an open ticket or warrant, perhaps related to turnstile jumping or a similar offense.” However, I was released with a DAT, which can only happen after they’ve sent my information to Albany, making sure I have no open warrants in the entire country. And when the story made national news a few days after the incident, CBS quoted the NYPD as saying the charges had been dropped. I’ve been to the court house four times now. The first two times I was called in for my hearing, only to be told my paperwork had not been filed by the police. I’ve gone in twice since to check the status and mailed a letter to the DA. The charges have not been dropped; they just won’t file the paperwork for some reason, and I have to keep checking in with it to make sure it doesn’t eventually get filed and I end up with a warrant for my arrest. So in both these cases the NYPD is clearly giving false information, demonstrating their concern is for how they are perceived, not for actually doing right by someone they’ve wronged.” Kalleen wrote.

Now, several months later, the musician has put out a video to announce he will be filing a lawsuit against the department.  He has also vowed to donate any money he receives back into the community.

“It is for this reason that I have decided to donate any money I receive through litigation for this incident. I will be filing a lawsuit, and the lawyers I’ve talked to have said that with such clear video evidence for my case, it’s likely I’ll be getting not a huge amount, but in the thousands and potentially tens of thousands of dollars for the assault, wrongful arrest, and jail time. I want to put it back into Bed-Stuy. This community has felt the brunt of police misconduct in ways I doubt I’ll ever be able to fully appreciate. And if money is being doled out for misconduct it feels best to me that it goes towards vitalizing this community. When the case is over I’ll make an announcement of how much and where the money will go. At this time I’m leaning towards Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration.” Kalleen wrote in a written statement accompanying the video.

Police Behaving Badly 1.29.15

Advice for black people

In the days, weeks, and months following the extrajudicial execution of Michael Brown, Jr at the hands of ex-police officer Darren Wilson, one of the common refrains I’ve heard from people (predominately white people) is that if African-Americans would listen to the police, bad things wouldn’t happen to them.

Great advice, that. I’m sure no Black parent in the history of Black parenting has ever told their child to listen to the police to avoid horrible things happening to them. Nope, we needed a white savior to swoop in and give us this piece of advice from the ‘How to survive as a Black person in the US’ handbook. Thanks ever so much.

Now, what’s your advice on how to survive as a Black person in the US when you haven’t done a damn thing wrong? What do you say to the Black people walking around outside, in the cold weather, with their hands in the pockets?

Video of the incident, which has been making the rounds across social media, shows the cop, who also recorded the incident, explaining to the man that his walking around was “making people nervous. They said you had your hands in your pockets.”

“Wow, walking by having your hands in your pockets makes people nervous [enough] to call the police, when it’s snowing outside?” the unidentified man says. “There’s 10,000 people in Pontiac right now with their hands in their pockets.”

The Pontiac police officer acknowledges that the man is right but notes that “we do have a lot of robberies, so just checking on you. You’re fine, you’re good?” he asks.

No, the man wasn’t arrested. Nor was he shot. He was, in my opinion, profiled, and racial profiling is a bad thing that happens to Black people. All. The. Damn. Time. Racial profiling is based on the idea that a particular race has a propensity for criminality. In the United States, that means African-Americans (and Latinos and American Indians) are often treated by law enforcement (and civilians) as if they’re criminals. In this case, a man was treated as a potential criminal for the crime of walking around in the cold weather with his hands in his pockets. As he said, there are thousands of people in Pontiac that likely had their hands in their pockets. Was the officer going to stop all of them on suspicion of being robbers? Or was he only going after this one Black man?  If so, why?  And is this advice given to white people as well? What’s the advice from white people on this one?  “Don’t walk around in the cold weather with your hands in your pockets”? I guess it’s a good thing there were no cops around to watch me walk to the store yesterday–with my hands in my pockets because it was cold. I might have been racially profiled and stopped by police. Or worse, like the next example, where a man got tasered and arrested by the police while walking down the street:

An innocent 34-year-old autistic man was tasered and arrested by police on Christmas eve because he was walking down the street at night.

Greenville City Police were in the area responding to reports of gunshots when they came across Tario Anderson and shined a spotlight in the innocent man’s face. Anderson reacted by walking away from this stressful sensory overload.

“When they put their spotlight on him, he immediately put his head down, put his hands in his pockets and began to walk away from him,” Officer Johnathan Bragg with Greenville Police said. “They then got out of the vehicle and approached him and ordered him to stop at which point he did flee from the officers and they pursued him.”

Anderson had committed no crime but since he did not immediately bow down to the police, he was tasered and cops piled on top of him.

His mother, Carolyn Anderson, said he has severe autism, does not understand much and did not need to be arrested or shocked with a Taser.

“Tario can say yes or no, he might ask for a thing or two, but just verbal, no,” Carolyn Anderson said.

According to WYFF, Carolyn Anderson said the family has lived on Sullivan St. her entire life and he often walks most nights to other relatives’ homes on the street. When neighbors saw Tario shocked with the Taser, Carolyn Anderson said they called her to come outside, but officers would not let her near her son.

“If you had seen my baby was out there, laying on that sidewalk and every time he reached for me, I reached for him- [they’d say] ‘Get back, we gonna Tase you,’” Carolyn Anderson said. “I was trying to make them take me to jail. I curse everything, ‘Take me! I’m the one causing trouble! Take me. He’s not doing nothing.’ No matter what I said, it didn’t make no difference to them.”

Bragg callously stated that Tario Anderson deserved the force he received from officers. He said the officers were not aware that Anderson has a mental handicap, and because he broke the law by running and resisting arrest, they arrested him.

I wasn’t aware that it’s against the law to run from the police when you haven’t done a fucking thing wrong! In this case, the advice from white people would probably sound like “Don’t walk down the street and for heaven’s sake, don’t run from the cops. Even if you’ve done nothing wrong. Even if they scare you because you have a mental disability.” But what about when you’re walking down the street, doing nothing but talking on your cell phone, and you’re sprayed with pepper spray?

Garfield High School teacher Jesse Hagopian will file a tort claim this afternoon against the City of Seattle and the Seattle Police Department, according to his lawyer, former Seattle NAACP President James Bible, over the way he was pepper sprayed during demonstrations on Martin Luther King Day this year.

As you can see in the video, Hagopian is merely walking and talking on his cellphone when the female police officer douses him with pepper spray. Why?  It’s not evident. It’s not like he was violent. It’s not like he was a danger to the police or anyone else.  So what’s the white savior advice for this situation? Don’t have the audacity to engage in those mundane activities that white people do every day and expect to get away with it? That’s pretty much the advice being offered in all the above examples, and many, many more. It’s not useful advice either, bc Blacks are only trying to live their lives on their own terms. That means doing mundane things like warming your cold hands in your pockets, walking down the street, and talking on a cell phone. If we can’t even perform such mundane tasks without the threat of police harassment and brutality, what recourse is there? Stop existing?

Advice for black people

Comics, from the big-screen to the small-screen

“Look. Up in the sky.”

“It’s a bird.”

“No. It’s a plane.”

“No. It’s…

Melissa Benoist!”

Once she was one of the female leads on the FOX show Glee. Now, thanks to a recent deal with CBS, Melissa Benoist’s career is looking up, up, and away (yes, I’m aware that I’m stretching said catchphrase darn near the breaking point…sue me), as the actress has been cast in the lead role for the Supergirl pilot:

Based on the characters from DC Comics, the project, from Warner Bros. TV and studio-based Berlanti Prods., centers on Kara Zor-El (Benoist). Born on the planet Krypton, Kara Zor-El escaped amid its destruction years ago. Since arriving on Earth, she’s been hiding the powers she shares with her famous cousin, Superman. But now at age 24, she decides to embrace her superhuman abilities and be the hero she was always meant to be.

Written by Greg Berlanti and Ali Adler, the project went through an extensive casting process, with several young actresses testing for the lead. Benoist had been consistently in the mix, first alongside Claire Holt and more recently considered along with Elizabeth Lail.

* * * *

In yet another Shoop-approved example of racebending, Mehcad Brooks has been cast as Jimmy Olsen in CBS’ in-development Supergirl series.  Like the racebending of Iris West in the CW’s The Flash (in the comics she was white), Olsen will be the love interest for the title character, though it’s unknown if he’ll be pursuing Supergirl in her superhero identity or in her secret identity.

It looks like the new TV Olsen will retain the character’s status as a photographer — here’s the description from Variety: “Jimmy, based on the DC Comics character, is an attractive photographer at CatCo, the media company where Kara Zor-El works, as an assistant to Cat Grant, (yet to be casted). Recently, Jimmy has been living and working in National City, though the reason is still a secret.”

Created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Jimmy Olsen is one of the most iconic and enduring supporting characters in comic books, and has been a part of other media adaptations of the Superman mythos from the beginning — the character was introduced in the radio show “The Adventures of Superman” in 1940, and debuted in comics a year later. Jimmy Olsen has been portrayed numerous times in film, television and animation, and has headlined his own comic on multiple occasions, most famously the “Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen” series that ran from 1954 to 1974.

* * * *

Wave bye bye to Halle Berry, James Marsden, and Famke Janssen as Storm, Cyclops, and Jean Grey in FOX’s popular X-Men franchise.  Say hello to Alexandra Shipp:

Shipp will play the weather manipulating mutant Storm.

Tye Sheridan

Sheridan is set to play the optic blast wielding field leader of the X-Men, Cyclops.

and Sophie Turner!

Turner will play Jean Grey, an Omega-level mutant with powerful telepathic and telekinetic abilities.

The three new actors are set to star in the next installment of the popular franchise, X-Men: Apocalypse. Due in 2016, the movie also stars Oscar Isaac as the main villain, Apocalypse (somehow, I don’t think he’s going to look like this).

* * * *

Going back to the source material, director of ‘The Crow’ remake plans a brutal and emotional film

“It’s still early days on that, but what I can say for now is that I’m a huge, huge fan of both the first film and James O’Barr’s graphic novel,” Hardy said. “I was obsessed with The Crowwhen I was growing up. When I heard about the remake, what I thought could be very interesting today, 20 years later, especially with this whole Marvel Universe that’s happened, is that the Crow always stood as an outsider to me. I kind of felt he would be the right character for me if I got the chance to do it. And now that I have gotten the chance to do it, I’m very much going back to the graphic novel, particularly looking into the illustrations themselves as much as the story, and picking out all those beautiful ideas and details that haven’t really been used yet.”

Hardy also intends to create a tone with the film that reflects the original movie and comic as well as the current comic-based movie marketplace.

“I also want to open the story up in such a way that the Crow is now part of a world where there are the Marvel movies and the Dark Knight movies,” the director said. “I intend it to be incredibly emotional and brutal, and all the things you’d want from a Crow film. I want to make a movie that I would have wanted to see, as a huge fan of The Crow.”

* * * *

FOX wants a small-screen X-Men series

EXCLUSIVE: Earlier this month, Fox entertainment chairmen Gary Newman and Dana Walden told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour that they were hoping to revive The X-Files and 24. Now, for the first time, the network is also confirming that it’s kicking another popular franchise to bring to primetime: X-Men.

Newman tells us that negotiations are under way to develop an X-Men series, inspired by the comic book series first published in 1963 and subsequent mega-hit film franchise (which has included seven movies, starting with X-Men in 2000.)

But here’s the slight complication: While sister production company 20th Century Fox controls the film rights to the X-Men characters, the comic itself is owned by Marvel, which is based at rival Disney. A live-action TV series requires Marvel’s blessing – and that has led to some delicate talks.

“It’s in negotiations,” Newman confirms. “We’re cautiously optimistic, we had a good meeting with them. That will not be on a fast track creatively. This is just the deal, now we have to find the creative.”

Because they’re focusing on deal points first, there’s no writer and no firm concept yet (although there’s been online speculation that it might revolve around the X-Men spinoff comic series X-Factor.) Because it will take time to develop, Newman doesn’t think a show would be ready before the 2016-2017 TV season.

Any deal for 20th Century Fox TV to wade into the Marvel waters will require deft negotiating because Marvel is busy ramping up its own TV presence, starting with ABC’s current seriesAgents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter. Next up, Marvel is producing the four Netflix seriesDaredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage, plus the miniseries The Defenders.

But talk of a potential X-Men series has been swirling for some time. Simon Kinberg, who wrote the 2014 film X-Men: Days of Future Past, told Collider last April that he thought an X-Men TV franchise was inevitable: “We’re still in this place of figuring out what the future of the franchise will be, but when you look at S.H.I.E.L.D. to some extent and what Marvel is doing now withDaredevil and other shows on Netflix, it makes sense to tell some of these stories in TV.”

Last fall the website Bleeding Cool revealed that the X-Men development was real. But this is the first time Fox has confirmed that it is pursuing a deal for the show, and that indeed it would be for its own network.

This would actually mark a return of the X-Men to Fox: The network’s now-defunct Fox Kids block aired an animated X-Men series from 1992 to 1997.

20th Century Fox first acquired the film rights to the X-Men franchise in 1994; the studio also holds the rights to Marvel’s Fantastic Four. Other studios with rights to Marvel properties include Sony, which remains the home to Spider-Man. But under Disney, Marvel has been reacquiring film rights to many of its characters, including Daredevil, which was previously at 20th.

It’s no surprise that Fox would be interested in bringing the X-Men to television. The network has found success this season with Gotham, a Batman origins series from DC Comics and Warner Bros. TV. As programmers contend with more competition, pre-sold titles are seen as having a marketing leg up. And there’s no question audiences love the X-Men: According to Box OfficeMojo, the seven X-Men movies have collectively grossed over $1 billion in theaters. Contributing to that draw has been Hugh Jackman, who stars in most of the films as Wolverine (a.k.a. James “Logan” Howlett).

Comics, from the big-screen to the small-screen

7 Tactics of Highly Effective Harassers: How A Voice for Men’s Internet Hate Machine works

Grab yer popcorn and sit down for Dave Futrelle’s latest evisceration of Men’s Rights bullshit.

7 Tactics of Highly Effective Harassers: How A Voice for Men’s Internet Hate Machine works

7 Tactics of Highly Effective Harassers: How A Voice for Men's Internet Hate Machine works

Grab yer popcorn and sit down for Dave Futrelle’s latest evisceration of Men’s Rights bullshit.

7 Tactics of Highly Effective Harassers: How A Voice for Men's Internet Hate Machine works

The United States is an Entitlement Nation

For this post, I’ll be donning my most favoritest hat of all time.

I’m about to say something that will shock readers. No, I’m not going to put up a trigger warning because those things are stupid. Trigger warnings are a creation of politically correct leftist liberal feminist communist marxists who whine and cry about any little thing. Who cares if a post about sexual assault triggers horrific memories in readers? Why does it matter if someone is made uncomfortable because a discussion of childhood abuse brings back awful memories? By God, this is still a free country and I’m tired of my rights being infringed. The First Amendment guarantees me the right to say what I want, when I want, and where I want, even if the things I say might trigger those who have been victimized. And don’t even think about criticizing me, because I’m within my rights as a citizen of this country!

Now, that shocking thing I was going to say?

This country has become an entitlement nation. We have become a nation of people looking for handouts from the government. The free housing was bad enough, but many of these moochers also get free food and the Nanny State liberal supporters are ok with this! Instead of people having a strong work ethic like they did back in the glory days of yesteryear-before the Civil Rights Movement, the Gay Rights Movement, and Women’s Liberation ruined this country with their pursuit of “equality”–people just want shit handed to them on a platter. As if we all have a right to housing. Or food. What’s more, our tax dollars support this! Mine, and yours, yours, and yours too. Our money, that we work hard for, is being used to assist people who have been fired or laid off from a job, or those people who have disabilities that prevent them from working.  With the release of a new Census Bureau survey, I’ve found another group that conservatives ought to direct their ire toward:

Continue reading “The United States is an Entitlement Nation”

The United States is an Entitlement Nation

Watts’ best friend

That’s an image of travel writer Lauren Fern Watt and her 160-lb English Mastiff, Gizelle. When Gizelle was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer, Watt decided to spend her last days with Gizelle in a unique way:

Determined to stay strong for the sake of her dog, who didn’t like to see her cry, Watt decided to make the most of the rest of their time together by embarking on an extraordinary bucket list adventure of everything they wanted to do before Gizelle died.

“It was my mission for us to indulge and explore life’s joys,” Watt says. Together, the pair went on a journey that took them around New York City, across New England, and even to coastal Maine. They experienced new things side by side, like riding in a canoe and going on a road trip, but also made sure to save time for familiar cuddles and quiet reflection. With so little time left, Watt found a touching way to cope with her grief while creating wonderful memories and beautiful last moments for her best friend.

“Doing a bucket list for Gizelle not only helped me cope with losing her, it was also one wild ride,” Watt wrote in her essay on Yahoo! Travel. “It helped me live in the present and see life for what it truly is: a sweet, simple, precious adventure.”

Watts’ novel idea saw the two of them visit Times Square, go on a road trip, eat ice cream on a dock, and find the best donut in the world:

Head over to My Modern Metropolis for more images.

Watts’ best friend