art by Caldwell Easley
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The Unites States averages one mass shooting every day (i.e., 1 shooter, 4 or more victims).
It takes too damn long for the sci-fi / comics / gamer / geek communities to recognize predators in their midst and do something about it.
Now word is out of a new problem, this one associated with Aki Con, a cosplay / anime con operating out of Seattle.
Mr. Shotwell is a convicted sex offender. He has served 4 years of a 6 year sentence for sexual conduct with a minor, attempt to commit a sexual act with a minor, and dangerous crimes against children. He has been paroled and has been working since his release from prison.
People, even convicted sex offenders, have a right to rebuild their lives after they have paid their debt to society, but there are reasonable limits that should be placed on them to protect society at large.
Just as a person convicted of causing an accident while driving under the influence should not be employed as a commercial driver, neither should a person convicted of sexual crimes against children be put in a job that enables them to have access to young people.
Aki Con, despite being informed of Mr. Shotwell’s record,
has repeatedly hired him as a DJ for their costume raves.
Recently a young woman attending Aki Con awoke after the rave to find herself in Mr. Shotwell’s room and in a dazed and confused state. She contacted Aki Con’s guest liaison who stayed with her until friends showed up. The young woman then went to the police where she filed a report against Mr. Shotwell and had herself tested for drugs.
Flunitrazepam a.k.a. Rohypnol a.k.a. roofies a.k.a. the date rape drug was found in her system.
Now, it needs to be pointed out that Mr. Shotwell, despite refusing to register as a sex offender as required by law, has not been charged with any crime yet related to this incident at Aki Con. And it needs to be pointed out that Mr. Shotwell is to be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
But it also needs to be pointed out that business and organizations that deal with the public should not put that public at risk by employing people who are known predators against that public.
Be aware if this. Be aware of Mr. Shotwell and of the staff of Aki Con.
Spread the word around the campfire.
Lou, at the urging of the late Arthur Nadel Jr, was the first producer to hire me, the first one to put me on staff as a writer, and the first one to regret that decision, I’m sure. At one time Lou had me, Sam Simon, and John Dorman working for him simultaneously.
A lesser man would have snapped.
But Lou was made of sterner stuff as a brief look at the history of Filmation Studios will tell you. Filmation was my introduction to animation, my boot camp, my finishing school, my crucible. Thanx to him & the wonderful, wonderful staff he recruited I learned more in 8 months about writing & creativity & film making than I could have learned in 48 months in a class room.
I’ve described Lou as a gent and a class act and he was. He was also a mensch and when others were shipping jobs overseas to line their pockets, he was squeezing each nickel so hard the friggin’ buffalo would fart…but he kept those jobs in the US of A.
A tough old bird, fiercely independent, full of piss and vinegar.
God, how we loved her.
My aunt Bidney was simultaneously one of the most compassionate & generous people I’ve ever met and one of the most cantankerous ones as well. She lived — and died — on her own terms. When my daughter Heather found her, she was in her favorite comfy arm chair, watching TV, taking a break before doing the dishes, her Halloween decorations already set out.
From what was found in her apartment, that day she had already done her laundry (the machines were located one floor below, accessible only by stairs), vacuumed the carpet, and had bundled up the trash to take out.
Knowing her I can guarantee her cat Jeffery had been fed and watered and given a few treats before she settled in her chair.
She was 88.
As Heather points out, Bidney was a feminist long before the term was coined. She supported not only herself but her mother most of her adult life, and stayed deeply involved in family affairs (sometimes too deeply, we’d think, but hey, she’d earned that privilege).
It seems almost a sacrilege to mention she never married — a source of endless speculation on our parts and a sharp “None of your business!” on hers.
Bidney needed a man the same way most fish need bicycles.
She had a long lifetime of accomplishments (she was the 1977 Woman Of The Year for the Dolly Madison Chapter of the American Business Women Association), worked as an employee for the Boy Scouts but served as a volunteer for the Girl Scouts, the First Baptist Church of Greensboro, a funeral home, an industrial motion picture production company, and finally a spell at See’s Candy where customers often thought she was Mrs. See!
She loved her grand-nieces, Heather and Yang-mi, and she loved her nephews (inc. yrs trly), planning & taking us on grand trips to big cities, world’s fairs, foreign lands, and natural wonders.
One of her biggest regrets late in life was that she no longer felt up to the rigors of travel, though she did pour over European river cruise brochures, trying to figure out where she would go if she should win the lottery.
She was tough. Did I mention tough? I mean tough.
Really, really, REALLY tough.
Coming home from shopping one day
she tripped and broke her arm.
Picked herself up.
Finished walking home.
Fed and watered her cat,
so he wouldn’t be hungry
or thirsty while she was out.
Put on a fresh clean blouse.
Walked a block to the hospital.
Only after she was treated and her arm in a cast did she bother to call any family member.
Age 82 at the time…
The love and attention she showed to her cat she showered on human beings as well. She donated generously of her time and income to charities. She took care of her infirm mother until she died at age 101 (in their own home, in her own bed, with Bidney looking after her, not in a nursing home or a hospice). She funded poor children overseas. She was always quick to volunteer to help when someone needed a babysitter or a petsitter or a sympathetic ear.
The people in her apartment complex loved her. We were happy to learn that the day before she died she was in contact with almost all of them, and they saw her healthy and happy and whole, full of
piss and vinegar life.
Bidney would strike up a conversation with anyone and everyone. A genteel S’uth’n gal, she would befriend anybody from any background, group, ethnicity, orientation, or affiliation.
The neighborhood she lived in is a hotbed for Mexican gang activity. One of the local gang leaders used to live a block or so up the street from her. On her way to the market she’d pass his garage where he held court during the day, and rather than scurry by she would nod and say hello to him. Soon the hellos became an exchange of pleasantries, and then the pleasantries blossomed into chats and the chats into conversations. The two became friends
One day she mentioned she would have to save up money for a new TV; her old one was going on the fritz. Two days later the gang leader showed up with a brand new TV. “My cousin, he…uh…he had an extra TV so we decided to give this to you.”
Bidney, of course, refused to accept such a gift.
She insisted on paying for it.
The gang leader reluctantly accepted $20.
When she told me this, I said, “You realize your name and photo are now probably on file with the LAPD as a known gang associate.”
Like I said, tough, tough, tough old bird.
We had a lot of friction points over the years, but we always had a lot more love. Soon-ok and I were off on a vacation when Bidney died; had I been home I would have probably taken her shopping on that morning. We always went shopping on Thursdays (though in recent months the trips were growing shorter and shorter, no longer hitting as many stores as we usually did).
Anybody eavesdropping on our conversation as we walked up and down the aisles at Costco would think they’d stumbled onto an old vaudeville routine. We had a teasing banter because she didn’t like to be overly demonstrative with anyone who successfully reached adulthood: Kids she would hug and kiss with abandon, but grown ups had to fend for themselves.
She let me give her a hug and a kiss on the head when we said good-bye two weeks before she died. The next day we were on a plane bound for Europe. I sent her regular e-mails describing our travels, and others told me she shared those e-mails with them and asked them questions about the places we were visiting.
I’m still in a bit of shock right now; unlike my father (her brother) or my mother (who shared her birthday) we had no forewarning the end was approaching.
I mean, we knew it would happen sooner or later…
…but we really did expect it to be later.
We love you and miss you.
I have just learned of the death of Richard E. Geis back in February of this year.
I am saddened to learn it, though not surprised, and certainly not surprised to have taken this long to become aware of it.
Dick was a loner, a recluse, a person more at home behind the keys of his typewriter than in face to face conversation.
I never met him,
but we were friends
for over 40 years.