Saturday, 29 November 2014

Michael Brown, Ferguson and Darren Wilson Part 2

Here's my second post regarding the death of Michael Brown. I realised after I posted the first one that I had a lot more to write and a lot more information surrounding the suspicious circumstances of the case. I took screen shots to show what was actually said. I should have done that with the first post but it didn't even cross my mind, sorry!

First of all, the forensic photographer didn't take photographs of the crime scene - they relied on photographs taken by the police.
The battery in his camera died..... what? A trained forensic photographer does not carry spare batteries or does not think it necessary to go and get some spare batteries so he can actually do his job and take photographs of the crime scene for evidence?

Secondly, with regards to the 'threat' posed to Darren Wilson - I have some thoughts on that.
He says he felt like a 5 year old fighting with Hulk Hogan, however....

They are both the same height. Both Michael Brown and Darren Wilson are 6'4''. And the difference in their weight is only about 30Lbs. Do you really think that a grown man, an armed police officer, would really feel like a 5 year old compared to a 19 year old of the same height and roughly the same weight? I personally think that there is some exaggeration going on there. 
Also, he states that he was hit so hard that another blow would be "fatal".
You'd think punches of such force would leave some pretty serious injuries, wouldn't you?
That is the extent of his injuries. That is it. A small bruise on the right side of his face. It was so minimal that even the police officers had to ask him where his injuries were.
Hospital records for Darren Wilson state that he was "well-appearing, well-nourished, in no apparent distress" and he had "no bleeding, no laceration, no ecchymosis [bruises]". Doesn't really fit the description that he gave of what happened. In Tennessee v. Gardner it was stated that the use of deadly force is justified only under conditions of extreme necessity as a last resort, when all lesser means have failed or cannot reasonably be employed, such as when an officer is at risk of serious bodily harm or death. Even by previous US case law, Darren Wilson's use of lethal force shouldn't have been allowed! As shown by his injuries (or lack of), I genuinely don't believe that Darren Wilson was under enough of a threat to warrent him shooting Michael Brown enough times to ensure his death.
Also, I don't really understand how Brown was able to hit Wilson on the right side of his face, with his right hand, from standing on his left. For those of you who don't know, the drivers set in American cars is on the left hand side. So Brown is standing on the left of Darren Wilson but manages to use his right hand, to hit Wilson on the right side of his face. I don't really understand how that can happen? It seems like a very awkward angle to me.
Furthermore, Wilson states that Brown twists the gun that Wilson is holding back into his pelvis and yet he has no wrist injuries.
I think that if I was holding something and someone twisted my hand so that it was pointing back at myself I would have some injuries or bruising around my wrist, but apparently not in this case. Also, I cannot find any evidence saying that Brown's fingerprints were found on the gun.

Lastly, I have some points about the way the evidence was handled.
He drives himself back to the police station. For someone who has just killed someone and is therefore under investigation, he should not be left alone to drive himself back to the station. Secondly, 
He washes the blood from his hands!! A trained police officer, taught about preserving evidence washed some of the most crucial evidence off his hands.... How is no one finding this strange?
And lastly, he bags his own gun.
I don't think normal people under investigation are allowed to handle their own evidence so why was Darren Wilson?

After all this evidence, its even more shocking how they managed not to indict him. Its crazy. I just don't understand it. 

I hope that these posts have informed people if they hadn't heard about what was going on or didn't know much about it. But don't just take my word for it, go and do your own research if you want to!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Michael Brown, Ferguson and Darren Wilson

Welcome to America, the land of the free. More like - Welcome to America, where a woman who aborts a fetus is considered a murderer but a white man who shoots an unarmed black child is not.

After the disappointing verdict by the Grand Jury not to indict Darren Wilson over his murder of Michael Brown, I read the full grand jury report including all the witness statements, autopsy report, toxicology report etc. After having read all that I'm even more confused by how they managed to come to the verdict that Darren Wilson was innocent.

I'm not wanting to offend anyone by this post and I know that not everyone will agree with me on my views but this is my opinion and the conclusion that I have come to after reading all the facts of the case and I just wanted to share it as I, among many others, am outraged at the judgment of the court.

First of all, the medical examiner on the case wrote a letter to the assistant prosecutor stating that "I have not yet been permitted to have access to requested police crime scene photographs and reports, to the results of the forensic examination of the patrol car, to the Christian Hospital EMS report of Mr. Brown and the emergency room examination of Officer Wilson, to the ballistics information, to the results of the autopsy hand swabs and fingernail clipping examinations, and to witness statements..... the above requested information is the usual information obtained to be able to correlate the autopsy findings with other information that is neccessary to permit full medical evaluation of deaths such as that of Mr. Brown." How is it possible that the grand jury managed to even reach a conclusion, let alone a decision not to indict, without even having a full medical evaluation taken place? Does it not seem strange that all this information was barred from reaching the medical examiner?

Secondly, the witness statements completely contradict what Darren Wilson said took place. I'm going to quote sections from the witness statements to give a brief overview of what was said, but I'm going to post the link to the report at the end of this post so everyone can read it themselves and get a full overview and come to their own conclusions. One of the witnesses states that "I see the police care in the middle of the street. And I see a young man standin'.... next to the front of the police door, on the driver's side.... Now the shot was fired out of the window, and then...Michael was runnin' down the street and Darren is chasing him... So, at that point, I turn, go to the next window...And at this time, I heard another shot fired while they were running. After that, he then turn, had his hands in the air, by the time I saw him have his hands in the air, he got shot I heard two shots... And he dropped down... So that's why I did not see him move towards the police at any time."
Another witness (I'm going to paraphrase what was said because there was a lot of back and forth questions and answers and it would be too much to write down, but like I said, I'll post the link below so you can read it for yourself) said that she saw Darren Wilson grab Michael Brown by the shirt and by the neck from his car, and saw Michael Brown struggling to get away and then she saw Darren Wilson point the gun out of the window and shoot. She never saw Brown's hands go into the car (which is what Darren Wilson said happened), and the fact that she saw Wilson point his gun purposefully out of the window goes against his statement that the gun was discharged after Brown tried to grab it. Furthermore, Wilson stated that he was punched in the face repeatedly, but I've seen the pictures of his injuries and he has a slight red mark on the bottom side of his face and that is it. It's barely noticeable. I wouldn't say it looks like the kind of injury you would expect after someone has supposedly been punched repeatedly. Michael Brown then starts to slowly run away because he's already been hit and Darren Wilson starts to chase him. He stops running cause he realises that Darren Wilson is right behind him and he turns around and puts his hands up (something Wilson denies) and is then shot a couple more times and when he is on the floor he is shot from above. I just want to say that with the first witness statement, after he is shot and falls onto the floor she runs to get her phone and runs out of her house to video what is going on so she didn't see him standing over Michael Brown and shooting from above. The autopsy report appears to correlate with this statement as well as one of the bullet entrance routes is through the "vertex of the scalp", meaning that it could only have been done from above as you cannot shoot someone through the top of their head (as in through the top of their scalp) if you're standing opposite them. 

As with all witness acounts, there is the possibility that they could by lying. But then again, there is also the possibility that the defendant is lying. And who has more to lose in this case? The witnesses, neither of whom knew Brown and therefore had no personal connection to him or his family and so it would seem strange that they would lie to bring his killer to justice, or the police officer who is facing a murder charge and is trying to prove his innocence. Furthermore, one of the witnesses has been in trouble with the police before and repeated several times in her statement that she would not risk being taken away from her family and going to jail by lying about what she has seen and that she doesn't even want to be testifying as she knows that they are going to make her out to be a liar, but she thought that she would do the right thing by giving her account.

If what Darren Wilson says is true, that he shot Michael Brown because he was running towards him and he felt threatened, why was it necessary to shoot to kill. He was shot 6 times. If you're shooting someone to stop them, you don't shoot multiple times and then stand over them and shoot them through the head. That is purposefuly shooting to kill. That is not what a police officer is meant to do. Lethal force is supposed to be a last resort.
There's many people saying that Michael Brown was a thief and that Darren Wilson was just doing his duty as a police officer by stopping a criminal. But the last time I checked, the penalty for stealing something was not the death penalty. No matter if he did steal something or not, he did not deserve to die because of it. There are so many 19 year old kids who do stupid stuff like steal cigarette papers from convenience stores, but they don't get killed because of it. I believe this is about race. This is a race issue.

For many people stating that Darren Wilson had no choice, and it was necessary for him to shoot Michael Brown, a 45 year old white man from San Diego was taken into custody alive in September after brandishing a gun and waving it around in a public park which contained many children. The police spent half an hour talking to him before shooting him once to subdue him, and then took him in to custody. That is what police should do. Remain calm and handle the situation in a professional manner and using their gun as a last resort to disable a potential threat, not shooting to kill an unarmed 19 year old who was accused of stealing something worth about $5. The discrepancy between the actions of the police in these two cases is crazy and shows the race problems that are still alive and thriving in the world.

Although there is a wider issue with this case in terms of the race problems and the actions of the police force, in particular to their actions towards black people, the main thing is that a 19 year old boy lost his life, and a mother lost her child. My thoughts go out to Brown's family and the people of Ferguson.

RIP Michael Brown.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Cheese and Wine Night!

Ashleigh and I were classy students last night and hosted a wine and cheese night at our flat. It was pretty sad how excited we were. We cleaned the flat from top to bottom (well, its only one floor but you know what I mean) in the morning whilst Christmas music was playing and then went to Morrisons and bought £40 worth of cheese... we really did go all out!

We bought loads of different cheese's: edam, cheddar, stilton, wensleydale, wensleydale with cranberries, Dutch smoked cheese, brie, mexicana cheese, boursin... We bought this toffee apple cheese and it tasted identical to caramel. It was so strange but so yummy. And of course we got loads of crackers. Unsurprisingly enough we have quite a bit left over. Lots of cheese and crackers for us over the next week!

There's a snapshot of some of the cheese/crackers. Looks yummy, huh? I also made fondu for the evening and we got breadsticks so everyone could dip them into it. The mozarella that I melted into it made it so gooey and thick, it was so yummy.
Giving the nature of the evening, we of course had to set out the living room to make it look all fancy and cosy and ready for a girly night of wine and cheese.

You can't tell from the picture cause this was before people showed up, but the wine rack was filled with bottles of wine.
It looks so good, doesn't it?! We were pretty proud of ourselves. We were so excited that we got it all ready a good half an hour before people were due to show up so we sat around waiting like someone anxiously waiting for their date to show up and hoping that they wouldn't be stood up.

I also got to burn my cinnamon candle that I got last Christmas so the flat smelt all nice and Christmas-y :)

I highly recommend hosting a wine and cheese evening for you and your friends! It was so much fun to get the flat all cleaned and set up and to have friends over and show them how much effort we put into the night! It lead to a really fun and chilled out night - although the wine probably had quite a lot to do with that!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Christmas Wish List! Missguided and LimeCrime!

I'm feeling so Christmas-y! I woke up this morning and went online to Firebox (best site ever by the way) and bought Christmas presents for everyone. They have such quirky, individual gifts that you wouldn't even have thought about buying and some of them aren't too pricy either! For example, The Artisan Cheese Maker's Kit and it was only £25!

Anyway, I managed to buy a gift for everyone. I'm so organised, I know. It's cause I have exams coming up rapidly and I know I won't be able to go into town and search around for ages for gifts, so its so much easier and quicker to just do it online and I don't need to worry about that anymore so I can focus on my studying!

After buying my gifts for everyone else I moved on to my own Christmas wish list... basically just browsed through Missguided for a while and sent a few links to my mother in the hope that she gets them for me. Fingers crossed!

I thought I would share my wish list with you guys to perhaps give you some ideas of what you want/want to get people and just to show you the kind of clothes that I'm into.

Wenna Floral Plunge Dress in Cream - a 3/4 length sleeve dress in cream with pink floral hues 

Reed Boxy Grid Check Shift Dress in Navy - a really casual but chic dress with its rolled sleeves and big pockets and its only £19

Perrine Jacquard Cable Look Bodycon Dress in Grey - this is a great dress for Glasgow. A really casual, warm winter-looking dress and again, its only £19

Bonnie Chiffon Overlay T-Shirt Dress in Blue/Yellow Check - I am really getting into tartan patterns recently (I'll be posting another blog post soon showing you my red tartan leggings) and I love this dress cause it looks so grungy but chic

Micah Long Sleeve Flippy Skater Dress in Red/Black Check - I love this dress because its fitted with a little feminine flare at the bottom 

Catrin Short Sleeved Shift Dress in an Abstract Multi Print - as well as loving tartan prints at the moment, I'm also loving shift dresses and this dress is amazing because of the pattern. And its only £15!

As well as my multiple Missguided requests, I also really want the Babette Unicorn Lipstick from LimeCrime.
Its a really nice pinky-nude shade and although its pretty pricey at £18, I have a couple of LimeCrime products and they are amazing so they are definitely worth the money.

I am really, really hoping my mum likes these dresses cause if she doesn't she won't get them for me :( So fingers crossed guys!
What are you guys wanting for Christmas? Tell me your ideas!

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Asian Honey Chicken with Flavourful Fried Rice!

First of all I want to boast about how productive I've been today. Well, I didn't actually start working till about 1 because Ashleigh and I were watching Gogglebox and then Life Story in bed, but after they were over then I was very productive!
My exams start in less than a month (ahhh?!) so I thought it would probably be time for me to sort out my lecture notes for Labour Law because they are a complete mess, and start writing my revision notes. And I managed to get through 3 topics! Yay! I don't feel as overwhelmed by Labour law now after looking through my notes cause I kind of have an idea about what's going on now. Thankfully.

Boasting over. Back to food.

I was majorly craving Chinese food a few days ago and instead of springing for a takeaway I thought, 'why not try making it yourself?' And so I did. I made Asian honey chicken, which is crispy chicken bits in a sweet and sticky sauce, alongside some fried rice. They were both amazing although the fried rice was my favourite, just because of how easy it was to make! Fry some garlic, put some frozen peas and carrots in there, crack some eggs, put some rice in and then a few drops of soy sauce and you're done! The chicken was also delicious but its a bit of a hassle to make on a regular occasion, whereas the rice is totally something I can just whip up one day if I'm hungry and I want something fast and easy.

Ashleigh said the rice tasted just like the fried rice that you normally get from Chinese takeaway places, so job accomplished! It was probably a lot healthier as well!

Asian Honey Chicken Recipe:

Fried Rice Recipe:

Stay tuned for a Christmas Wish List post! A post with all my fashion obsessions at the moment that I'll be subtly dropping hints about to my mum....

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk!

Another blog post, another meal I've made.
As I said on my last post, I'm wanting to get back into a healthier lifestyle and so have been looking at some low calorie meals. And I found this one - a chicken curry made with coconut milk that only comes to 160 calories a serving! And it tastes amazing as well. It smelt wonderful when I was cooking it but sometimes things can smell better than they taste, but no - this tasted as good as it smelt. I was whatsapping people as I was eating it just to let them know how good it was and what they were missing out on. Mean, I know.

I've realised that I don't always post the process of my cooking, I just post the end result so I thought I would show you what it looks like during my cooking process.

 This was at the beginning, when I was cooking the onions and the garlic and cutting the chicken up. The recipe calls for chicken thighs but I just used normal breast meat. You can see in the background there my hot chilli powder and garam masala. I don't have all the spices that you need for this recipe so I had to improvise a bit - basically just added a lot of chilli powder.

 There's an exciting picture of the chicken cooking with the onions and garlic and spices. It was smelling so good at this point. There's nothing better than the smell of cooking onions and garlic but add spices to that and it gives off the greatest aroma.

 And then of course the addition of the coconut milk. A pretty important ingredient seeing as it's in the name of the dish. The recipe called for one large tomato chopped up but I just used a tin of chopped tomatoes to make it easier and also to give it a bit more liquid. I also added more potatoes than the recipe called for because one just didn't look enough to me.

And above is the finished product. It was so good with some naan bread to mop up all the flavours that were in the sauce. And because the chicken and the potatoes cooked in the coconut milk, they just absorbed all that flavour.

So if anyone is looking for a healthy but tasty meal, I definitely recommend this one! It's easy to make as well and everything can be done in one pot so it really helps with the cleaning up process which is always an added bonus.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Work, Work, Work!

So my life recently has pretty much revolved around uni work. I've been so busy and stressed out lately but everything is pretty much done for now so I'm happy! If a little exhausted... 

I was not prepared for the massive increase in work load once I started my third year at uni. For anyone who doesn't know, your first two years in a Scottish uni you just have to pass to get into the next year but in your third and fourth years you start your honours courses which count towards what your final degree will be so it's serious stuff. And there's so much more work to do. For my honours courses, the classes are 2 hours long each and you have to do so much prep work for them because the classes are basically just big group discussions so you're already supposed to know all the information before you go in there. 

On top of all my prep for my seminars and then my tutorials as well (I'm taking two level 2 classes as well to get enough credits) I've had 2 essays to do (a principles of healthcare law formative essay and a labour law sumative essay which counts for 25% of my grade) and an international private law exam to study for in the past 2 weeks so I've been a busy bee.

There's a few pictures of what my life has been like recently. Taking notes and writing essay's on my laptop.
Because I've had so much work to do, going to the gym has kind of been put on the back burner and I feel as though I've put on so much weight... time to get back into it! I'm going to go for a run tomorrow and I might do some yoga tonight. Also, I've found loads of healthy recipes onlines so I'll be posting those soon once I've made them.

Anyone else been struggling with balancing work and being healthy? I find it so hard! I feel like I don't have time to be doing exercise and then when I'm stressed or bored I just eat so it's not really a great combination... Hopefully it's all uphill from here though!

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Spinach, Tomato and Tortellini Soup!

It's that time of year where you start to crave soup. Seeing as it's starting to get freezing outside (really, there was no warning - one day it was pretty hot and then the next day I needed a jumper, a scarf, a coat and gloves), there is no better thought then going home to make a hot, hearty bowl of soup.

I've been needing some extra warmth in my life seeing as the start of the cold weather just happened to coincide with the pressure in our boiler dropping which meant no hot water or heating. Yay... Fortunately it was only like this for a couple of days and then Ashleigh's boyfriend managed to fix it so yay!
It was so unfortunate though. I went to the gym because I thought 'oh this will be great, I'll get to use the showers there and I guess I should probably go for a run as well...' and what did I see when I got there? A sign outside the girl's changing rooms saying 'no hot water in the level 4 girl's changing rooms'. I almost burst into tears right there. Joking... but it was pretty annoying! Thankfully though I went upstairs to the next level (totally didn't know that existed...) and had a hot shower in the changing rooms there so it all worked out.

Anyway, I digress. This post is meant to be about soup, not my shower troubles. Ashleigh's parents have been over for the past few days which have meant dinners out and the consumption of a lot of food... as a result I really wanted a meal that was relatively healthy. But at the same time I wanted some filling, hearty soup. Well, a recipe which incorporates spinach (which is well known for its nutritional value and low calorie levels) into it must be good for you.
Therefore.... I made spinach, tomato and tortellini soup!

Look at my fancy overlapping pictures. Impressive right? I've started using Photo Grid to put multiple pictures up on Instagram at once instead of uploading numerous selfies... A post about that another time!
Anyway, because the soup feeds 4 people I knew it wouldn't fit into our saucepans so I had to use the wok to make it in. It is probably the easiest soup recipe ever. You literally just put everything into the wok and bring it to a boil and ta-da, you're done! You're supposed to cook some onions first and I did do that but I wasn't really impressed with their addition to the meal... Maybe because I didn't chop them small enough but I really didn't think they were necessary at all and the soup probably would have been better without them. And it would have removed that small first step, making it even easier to make!

This is a great soup recipe and a great way to add spinach into your diet!
Here's the recipe if anyone wants to make this yummy meal:

Monday, 3 November 2014

Halloween and Ed Sheeran!

So whilst everyone one else was dressed up and attending Halloween parties on Halloween, I was out at the Hydro with Ashleigh seeing... Ed Sheeran!!
It was amazing. It was the best concert I've been to. He was just incredible. I think I'm still on a high from it to be honest!

Amazingly it was just him on stage with his guitar. No one else and nothing else apart from the screen behind him. I've never been to a concert like that. Normally there are big set pieces and costume changes and dancers and backup singers and all that jazz but none of that was needed at this concert. He totally owned the stage. It was just him singing his songs and killing it on the guitar and rapping so insanely fast. He had a loop pedal as well so that he recorded his voice and played it back and went between playing back different parts of it whilst he was singing and playing guitar. I have no idea how he did it! He is just so talented.
It was also the most energetic concert I've ever been to. He didn't stop inbetween songs he just kept going for 2 hours straight, one song straight after the other. It was incredible. I was tired out and I wasn't even doing anything!
And seeing as it was Halloween he came on stage dressed up in an Austin Powers costume which was pretty awesome. 
Because he just released his new CD I thought it would be all of his new songs so I was kind of disappointed because I didn't think he'd play Give Me Love, one of his songs from his old CD, and my favourite song of his but surprise surprise.. he closed on it! Well, before the encore songs where he pretended to go off stage and we cheered for a while before he came back on. It was amazing. It was my go-to-song when I was going through my rubbish period 2 summers ago and it's one of my favourite songs and to hear it being performed live and to hear thousands of people, myself included, singing along to it.. it was just amazing. I welled up.

 Seeing as the Ed Sheeran concert was on the actual night of Halloween, we had our obligatory Halloween party the next night, on the 1st November. We had the same last year as well so I think it's kind of becoming our tradition. I was Zombie Daphne from Scooby-Doo last year and I was thinking about just being that again this year but decided to go for something different.. So I dressed up as Anna from Van Helsing! As you can see from the picture below....

Corsets really aren't the most comfortable things in the world to wear. I don't know how women used to wear them all the time.. Unfortunately this party turned out to be more of a small get-together. Hardly anyone showed up which was a bit of a let down but I still had fun! The copious amounts of malibu and coke I had probably helped with that....

What did everyone else do for Halloween? I would love to hear from people!