Friday, September 12, 2008

Update: Thug Who Shot 7-Year Old Alexis Sentenced To 25 Years In Prison

Speaking of heroes, here's a timely update to a story we blogged about in early May. A 7-year old girl had thrown herself in front of her mother as a human shield in order to prevent her mother's enraged former boyfriend from shooting her down in cold blood. The little heroine was hit by several bullets and lost an eye from saving her mother's life.

The creature who chose to fire repeatedly on the mother and child was sentenced today to 25 years in prison, and the judge was so disgusted by the vile character of the man he sentenced that he vowed to personally pay a visit to the parole board in 2033 to argue that he should remain in prison.

"I've seen a lot of evil in this building, perhaps a hundred lifetimes of it, but this one certainly takes the cake," [Judge] Allen said.

Handcuffed and surrounded by deputies in front of a Wayne County Circuit Court judge, Calvin Tillie loudly demanded Friday to be returned to jail rather than face the sentence he had agreed to for shooting a little girl seven times at point blank range when she tried to protect her mother.
"I'm ready to go back to the bullpen. I done spoke my mind and my piece. I don't have nothing more to say," the muscularly-built prisoner in a green jail uniform announced. "Take me back, now. Now!"

After the small demonstration of rage that prosecutors say has fueled Tillie through 15 years of violent criminal behavior, deputies led Tillie, 29, away and Judge David J. Allen issued a rare sentence in absentia.

"He has proven himself as someone who shouldn't be walking among us," Allen said after ordering Tillie to prison for at least 25 years and up to 60.
Tillie's victim, Alexis Goggins, turns 8 later this month. The pain from her wounds has mostly passed. She still suffers complications and occasional hospitalizations. An artificial eye has replaced her right eye that one of Tillie's bullets destroyed. There still is talk about the need for surgery to replace missing bone from the left side of the girl's skull.

It's simply amazing how children can seem to possess such remarkable resilience in the face of daunting challenges, revealing themselves to be not so fragile as we may be tempted to believe. In some ways young people are just not that different from older people: when much is asked, and for a worthy enough cause, then much may be given. It's comforting to know that if we, as adults, should waver in our commitments to carrying the crosses we each have to bear, there exist inspiring examples such as Alexis to teach us what it means to have inner strength:

Psychologically, Alexis has moved on in a way her mother hasn't.
"She's doing fine, wonderful in fact. Better than I ever thought. She's the same wonderful little girl," said [Alexis' mother, Seliethia Parker] ...

Mementos from the recovery are displayed in Parker's china cabinet. Members of the Detroit Pistons visited Alexis in the hospital. She was hailed a hero by the Detroit Police and a church. ...
"We did 'Good Morning America' and a lot of interviews for newspapers and television," Parker said. "A man in the Army sent her one of his medals for bravery." ...

...[A]s long she is well, I am well. I have to live with this. I just wish he was getting life for trying to take my pride and joy from me. She is my little hero."

And mine.

[Go here to see Alexis' appearance on Good Morning America]


truepeers said...

Real maturity is learning how not to "grow up". This child is proof that an open, faithful, love is fundamental to our humanity...

Dag said...

We have a fetish of "Innocent Childhood" that comes party, perhaps most articulately, and therefore essentially from J.J. Rousseau, one of the most damaging creatures in our collective history.

We have to think about the sentimentalization of "childhood," a recent invention, according to Neil Postman, that in the Rousseauean sense is a corruption of emotion and thought, a phoniness that leads us to romanticize a period of life in which people are not fully Human. Children are "minor" people.

Our problem is that we celebrate adult immaturity as if it were an authentic state of Nature as Man is meant to be if not for the corrupting influence of "civilization."

To confuse, as is so often the case, a child's intuition and fearlessness and absolute loyalty to her mother with a sentimentality of utopian nostalgia for a Golden Age of purity is a monstrous defeat of Human life, summed up in Povertarianism, philobarbarism, and the usual Left dhimmi fascism of many in the Modernity we struggle so hard to maintain and spread universally.

None of us here do that, but it is so obvious in the life of, for example, Barka Osama and his crowd, his mob, that one is left to grind ones teeth in anger, shame, and frustration.

Children are sometimes noble, sometimes not. That's neither here nor there, given their state of minority. What must concern us here is Truepeers' point of the closing of the mind in adulthood, the resistance to further Life, the endless till death adult wallowing in narcissistic pleasures. Childish doesn't begin to describe it.

The girl in the story above displays more of what the usual "post-modernist" is missing than any thousand sermons today: Life.

Eowyn said...

"Our problem is that we celebrate adult immaturity as if it were an authentic state of Nature as Man is meant to be if not for the corrupting influence of 'civilization.'"

And use it to justify acting as if we're perpetual 16-year-olds.

What children are is POTENTIAL. They are us, and it is up to us to pave the way for them to realize their potential. We WANT our children's minds to stay as clean and uncontaminated as possible ... but we have the society they must grow up in to mitigate, somehow.

Rousseau may have stayed stuck in Freud's oral phase, or whatever metaphor for the juvenile template exists -- but he was right that the original state of innocence was worth protecting. You'll see it in the growing number of (properly) home-schooled children who excel at academics WITHOUT the baggage of peer pressure.

There are some really exciting developments going on, home-schooling-wise, online. Really good academics, at a Montessori-inspired, individual-centered pace. Home-schooled children are a real beacon of hope.

But, my point remains -- cleanliness of mind, body and spirit should be protected in our children at all costs. It's the only way forward to a community of openness to living spiritually. (If that makes sense.)

Dag said...

I think of my time as a cub scout and later as a boy scout, and that that was a time of learning about growing up to be a better man. The things I learned. or should have learned, were things about childhood as preparation for adulthood, childhood's eternal lessons, things one brings from childhood into adulthood for the sake of being a better adult.

Rousseau writes that it is adulthood itself that is a bad thing, that we shouldn't learn the childhood lessons to prepare for adulthood, that we should remain children all our lives, in some perpetually nasty way, according to me, without an understanding of rules of civilized behaviour or intellectual concepts such as reason or rationality. Those are ways of being in the world that Rousseau writes that he hates. Rousseau extols the virtues of Povertarianism, of philobarbrism, of sentimentalized primitivism and utopian animal life, a life of ferality and savagery. He is a disturbing and disgusting thinker who is likely unread these days if not known and unread in his own time. As a stylist he sucks, and as a thinker even Voltaire despaired of him. But today, among those who probably know him only second-hand at best, he is the hippie idol of perfection. Hence, Barka Osama, among others.

Time for us to cash him in and for us to look to Marcus Aurelius, for example, as a better model of adulthood.

Home schooling shouldn't end with childhood, now that the issue arises: we discuss often at our meetings, the need for continuing adult home-schooling, given the nature of our universities these days. What a nightmare they are.

truepeers said...

Postman follows a lot of more or less Marxist historians who argue that the rise of the modern middle class led to the invention of childhood. I don't think it's entirely true (first of all because they don't understand the generativity of culture: it is more the case that the invention of childhood leads to the modern middle class...) because something that has always been fundamental to human culture (until perhaps very recently) has been the waiting of the child to be fully initiated into the rites and responsibilities of adult life. Indeed most of culture is concerned with that initiation, as any look at Hollywood movies, for example, will illustrate. What is new in the modern age is a drawn out and individualized process of initiation; but the problem of initiation has always been fundamentally human.

Dag might recognize that he too is something of a romantic, however much he is at war with Rousseau. Just because he is fascinated with left romanticism he becomes a sign of a more conservative romanticism. He is not content simply to become an "adult", i.e. someone initiated into a specific task or role that occupies his mind and time and who does not spend much thought on large political questions. No, Dag, like every modern intellectual, strives to remain in touch with that moment when the choices of childhood remained open to pretty much any possibility.

That is what really distinguishes the modern age: knowing in childhood that you can grow up to be something different from your mother or father: "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Dream, dream... It explains why people once initiated into their banal or mediocre adulthood remain unsatisfied and continue to dream, dream, often about leftist politics.

And they have a point, in as much as we shouldn't become too satisfied with our "maturity". Indeed, we see that acting all mature requires us to take on the anachronistic appearance of the primitive man who thinks he speaks with divine authority once he has been duly initiated into the central rites of his tribe. Indeed, intellectual openness, reason itself, requires us to remain open, to recognize that maturity is not a state we ever reach but a horizon we must ever follow, as if real thinking were something that makes us forever young.

There is much truth in the romantic world view, however much wrong also in it. In any case, modernity as a whole cannot be imagined without romanticism which is entirely central to how we all think. War with Rousseau, but know the truth of Rene Girard, author of the paradoxical "Mensonge Romantique et verite romanesque", the truth that the more you enter into rivalry with someone, the more you become like him. And that's why the romantic who imagines himself a unique and unprecedented page in the book of history, isn't. Still, in imagining the "romantic lie", he can make himself potentially more productive as he defers his initiation into modern society, hopefully learning what will eventually lead to some limited, never complete, success in the process.

truepeers said...

Rousseau, however inevitably unsatisfactory his intent, should be remembered because he had the genius to go first in attempting to articulate the nascent romantic world view, because he realized that we can't live in modernity without something like it, that we can't just act like the old tribesmen: unquestioningly awaiting and accepting our initiation into "adult" roles.

Of course, Rousseau did not simply invent the wheel. What he is involved in is some kind of secularization/heresy of ideas more or less latent for centuries in Christianity, in the call to imitate Jesus. The paradox that we cannot be simply divine in the modern world, however much we need to remain "romantic", focussed on the divine, is what concerns us. We don't want to replicate the Utopian left but we don't want to become their image of mindlessly ritualistic conservatives either.

truepeers said...

Final thought for now: We don't want to replicate the Utopian left but we don't want to become their image of mindlessly ritualistic conservatives either.

-the key to moving beyond this paradox being recognition that orthodox Western culture, like Orthodox Christianity is not what the left imagine: mindlessly ritualistic conservatives. Orthodox Christianity is unlike any other religion (even Judaism) in being at once disorderly, historically aggressive in great degree, and still capable of building and defending order.