Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover – Part I

How many times have you heard that saying? If you’ve heard it half as much as I have, you’ve heard it a lot! And I do mean a lot! But how many times have you had the opportunity to head this colloquialism and found yourself better for it?

Not often do I notice a pattern or theme in my life, but when I do, I find a sort of spiritual awakening and renewing by taking the time to reflect on the theme and allow it to soak in and water my spirit. The title of this article, Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover, revealed itself as the theme for this weekend through three events or occurrences; Zimmerman was acquitted of all charges in the killing of Trayvon Martin, I hung out with the Mongols at their event in Palm Springs, and pastor preached about loving one another, as one of the pillars to Christian living in today’s world. Indulge me, if you will, as I share this theme and how these three occurrences have each had an impact on my spirit.

The first occurrence, Zimmerman being acquitted of all charges in the killing of Trayvon Martin, is a blinding notice of how pre-judging someone on their appearance (in this case, Martin’s clothing and race) can lead to irreversible consequences (in this case, the loss of a young life). The facts:

  • Zimmerman was out watching his neighborhood with a loaded weapon
  • Zimmerman was aware that several break-ins had been occurring, perpetrated by black men
  • Zimmerman saw Trayvon:
  • didn’t recognize Trayvon
    • thought Trayvon’s actions were suspicious (In Zimmerman’s call to the police he stated that he thought that this unknown person was up to something.)
    • then proceeded to follow Martin, despite being told my local police not to pursue
  • A struggle ensued between Zimmerman and Martin.
  • Zimmerman claims that Martin attacked him, he fought back, and killed Martin.

Now, with Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” Law in mind, one could have seen Zimmerman as the attacker, as he was the one out with the gun and subsequently became the one in pursuit of Martin. One could argue that Martin was standing his ground. After all, he was the one being followed. But getting back on topic, had Zimmerman not been judging Martin by his cover of black skin, it could easily be argued that this tragedy never would have happened. Recall Zimmerman’s knowledge of the break-ins, which were allegedly being perpetuated by black males, and Martin being a black male. Had Zimmerman not made assumptions, stopped his actions, or at least went about it in a different manner, say straight forward approached Martin and said, “Are you lost? Do you need some help?” perhaps things would have turned out drastically different.

The second occurrence of the weekend, I hung out with members of the biker club the Mongols. After a friend and I attended a concert, we decided to go out, hear some music, and experience a new cultural environment. We found ourselves at the Hyatt where the Mongols had assembled for an event. Upon parking and exiting our vehicle, their presence was firmly established. Their motorcycles occupied a lot of the parking areas and they were seen patrolling the parking lot, mingling in the lobby, and after we entered the courtyard of the Hyatt, they were the sole guest hanging out in and around the pool. That is until my friend and I arrived. Unsure whether or not we would be welcomed, we asked a Prospect who happened to be walking past us. I’m often nominated as the spokesperson for my social groups, because I am adventurous and seem to bloom where I’m planted. “Excuse me,” I said, “Do you think it would be alright if we hung out here with you all?” I’m straight forward.

Stay tuned for Part II & III

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Nameless by Joe Conlan – Book Review

Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Psycho-drama

ISBN: 0989038009

Number of Pages: 364

Purchase Link: Amazon

Book Description: Chilling and taut, NAMELESS, introduces a fresh and exciting twist on the deadly game of cat and mouse. By virtue of one impulsive and deeply human, but all too grave mistake, a good and decent man finds himself pitted against the embodiment of evil and threatened with losing everything and everyone he loves and values; including the pristine reputation he has endeavored all his adult life to establish.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Daniel Falcone unwittingly steps onto course for a head-on collision with a frighteningly brilliant psychotic serial killer, whose harrowing childhood abuse and neglect left him devoid of humanity and salivating for revenge. Framed for a brutal murder on a commercial cruise ship, and fighting for the right to raise his sons and clear his name, Falcone races against the clock and struggles to keep his eyes on the prize, even while his profound guilt and self-loathing threaten to destroy him faster than his maniacal adversary.

Excerpt: In the entirety of Shem’s life, there was only one other instance when he felt any sense of desire for closeness to another human being. It happened upon his very first opportunity to venture outside of his mother’s apartment when he was nine years old. In a drugged and drunken stupor, Cherie Tucker forgot to lock the door when she left the apartment to meet with her crack dealer. The boy, aware of his mother’s mistake, took full advantage of his opportunity, though not without trepidation. He felt a nervous excitement as he opened the door and walked out into the dark, dank hallway of the seventy-year-old building. When he encountered the staircase, he almost turned back. Instead, his curiosity got the best of him and he descended the steps in a deliberate manner, keeping a firm grip on the banister, taking excessive care not to fall.

About the Author: Joe Conlan is a retired lawyer. He was born in Nassau County, Long Island, New York. He has lived most of his life in Florida, the great majority in the Fort Lauderdale area. He received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Florida and practiced law as a trial attorney for 15 years. Three of those years were spent as a prosecutor in the Broward County State Attorney’s Office.

He now lives in Jacksonville, Florida. He has two grown children. When he is not writing, he enjoys reading, traveling and spending time with his two female Rhodesian Ridgebacks.


Book Review: 5/5

Wow!!! Where do I start? First, if you have a low tolerance for violence, graphically described murders and murder scenes, this book is not for you. However, if you desire to read a murder mystery in which you already know who the killer is and you enjoy reading third party omniscient tales where everything is described for you in full details that will definitely allow you to engross yourself in the scenery, then you should read Nameless!

The third party omniscient perspective of this psychopathic murder mystery allows the reader to see into the minds of all the characters as you watch the puzzle pieces that consist of the maniacal killer, FBI, local law enforcement, and the victims be strategically moved about and placed where the author intends. Third party omniscience is a tough perspective to pull of expertly, and Conlan delivers with perfection.

From a psychological standpoint, the reader is allowed to see the effects of nature and nurture upon Shem. He didn’t stand a chance, and you will know exactly why. From the audience perspective, you almost feel bad for all he has had to endure and the fact that he managed to survive. But your sympathy doesn’t last long as the author allows you through omniscient perspective to enter the mind of Shem as his victims look into his cold and lifeless eyes. If you can stomach the graphic nature of murder scenes, you will not be disappointed as you will see with dramatic and detailed imagery each of Shem’s victims last moments and breaths.

Since murder mysteries are not my go-to for reading material, it took me a little longer to adapt to imagery of the book and immerse myself, but this is of no fault to the author. Conlan does a fantastic job and by the second chapter, it was hard to put the book down. By the last three or four chapters, I was dreaded having to leave the fictional world Conlan had spun in order to deal with the callings of life.

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Did you know that I am an author of Christian Romance novels? View Books by Valcine