Author, Ray Gleason, to Hold a Reception Announcing the Release of The Violent Season in Paperback.

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Plymouth, Indiana USA – 11 May 2015 – Ray Gleason will host a reception to announce the release in paperback of his novel, The Violent Season, 6:00 PM EDT , Saturday, 23 May 2015, at It’s You Gallery, 101 South Main Street, Culver, Indiana.

 The Violent Season is a coming of age story of three young men whose lives are changed irrevocably by the Vietnam War. The story travels over a wide landscape from the peaceful river valleys of upstate New York to the war-torn mountains of Vietnam. The narrative transcends the “good guys vs. bad guys” cliché to portray good people, American and Vietnamese, caught up in unthinkably grim and violent circumstances.

Ray Gleason is a retired Infantry officer, writer, and educator. During the Vietnam War, he served three combat tours as an infantryman and a ranger. Recently, he taught leadership ethics at the Culver Academies. Gleason lectures in Medieval Literature at Northwestern University, teaches academic writing at Purdue, serves as a reserve police officer in Bourbon, and coaches baseball at Triton High School.

Gleason will also be introducing his latest novel, The Gabinian Affair, the first installment of the Gaius Marius Chronicle, which will be released in Fall, 2015 by Morgan James Publishers of New York. The Gaius Marius Chronicle is the memoir of a retired Roman officer who served Caesar and eventually his son, Octavius, throughout the Gallic campaigns and the Roman civil wars.

The reception for the release of The Violent Season will offer readings, refreshments, literature, and fine art in Culver’s stylish new art gallery, “It’s You!” Signed copies of The Violent Season and Gleason’s A Grunt Speaks will be available at the reception.

Gleason’s books are available locally at “It’s You!” and the Culver Coffee Company, 634 East Lakeshore Drive, Culver. They are also available on-line through Amazon or directly from the website of the publisher, Unlimited Publishing, LLC of Indianapolis.

The Gabinian Affair is available for pre-order on Amazon.

Indiana Governor Pence and Religious Freedom Gains an Unexpected Supporter

Embattled Indiana Governor, Mike Pence, received unexpected support today for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Nation of Islam (NOI).

NOI (2)A spokesperson for NOI, speaking from Temple #3.14257 in Indianapolis, stated, “The Nation of Islam embraces and applauds the religious freedom legislation recently signed by the white-devil governor Pence, since it validates under law the religious teachings of the Profit Elijah Muhammad, blessings on his name, that the black race must demand and achieve by force if necessary complete separation from the white devils in a state or territory of our own.”

This announcement came as a complete surprise for many.

Since its passage, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act has been branded as anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, despite its having been modeled on similar Federal Legislation in place since the Clinton administration. Critics claim for example that the new law would allow merchants to refuse to service gay weddings based on religious beliefs.LGBT Protest (2)

Opposition to the bill has been fueled by stridently negative media coverage, snarky late-night talk-show hosts, the NCAA, who are looking for an excuse to leave Indianapolis, and a veritable social-media storm of “sight bites” with sarcastic captions.

Supporters of religious freedom legislation claim its focus is winning ways for underrepresented minority religions to freely exercise their beliefs around laws that were created without considering their faiths.

For example, in Minnesota, a state law would have required Amish buggies to use bright fluorescent signs to be seen on the roads. Applying the concepts of RFRA, a court decided public safety represented a compelling interest, but that could be accomplished with a less restrictive means of burdening the simple lifestyle of the Amish faith. The compromise: silver reflective tape and kerosene lanterns.

“What’s gone wrong socially with RFRA,” said an academic, who wishes to remain anonymous in order not to beAnti LGBT Protest (2) denied tenure, “is that it is trapped between two walls of social paranoia. Some religious believers are still freaking out over same-sex marriages, while the LGBT community see it as another attempt to suppress their newly won-right to marry. Both sides seem equally reactive, uncompromising and loud at this point.”

So, this unexpected announcement by NOI shocked everyone.

The Nation of Islam teaches that black people are the original people that God created; all other races come from them. White people are a race of “devils” created by an evil scientist named Yakub on the Greek island of Patmos. Whites are devils because they were fostered in Yakub’s culture of lies and murder. When the white race emigrated from Patmos, they started making trouble among the righteous people of the earth, telling lies, buying merchandise at retail,  inventing plaid Bermuda shorts, and causing confusion and mischief.

When asked what practices the religious freedom act validates, the NOI spokesperson was as evasive as Governor Pence when interviewed about the potential effects of the religious freedom act on LGBT community.

The NOI spokesperson did state, “If we could not get along in peace, after giving America four hundred years of servitude, sweat and labor, separation would be our only solution. We renew our demand for complete separation in a state or territory of our own and now, with the religious freedom act, any means we would take to achieve this goal would be protected by law.”

Pense Stressed (2)A spokesman for Indiana governor Pence stated that the governor may or may not have a comment on this latest development. However, a reliable source close to someone, who claims to be close to the governor’s cousin, states that, after hearing the news, the governor blurted, “Doesn’t anyone actually read these bills anymore? The damned thing’s only three pages long!”

In a related development, Al-Qaeda of Indiana (AQI) is expected to make an announcement from its secret cave Cartoon Jihad (2)somewhere along the the Ohio River near Cincinnati, connecting the religious freedom bill and the practice of Jihad.

 

In Memoriam – Lisa Bianco

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I’m naïve!

After growing up hard scrabble in New York City, serving over twenty years in the Rangers and in the Infantry, pulling three combat tours in Nam, I thought I never say that about myself… I’m naïve!

What led me to this realization in general is my training in the the Kosciusko County (Indiana) Reserve Academy.

This is a training academy for men and women who have volunteered to serve their communities as reserved police officers… in other words, taking the same risks as a full-time police officers but serving on their own time and often without pay.

The academy itself is conducted by dedicated, veteran police officers, who are state-certified law-enforcement trainers, and who conduct the academy on their own time.

You might ask why these reserve officers do this. Or, why the full-time officers dedicate hours to training when they could be spending it with their own families.

If you were to ask, you might receive many different answers. But, I believe one answer would be common to all these dedicated men and women… to keep their communities safe.

If you were to ask further, “Safe from what?” you would be suffering from the same degree of naiveté that I was, when I started this journey.

For years, I have been functioning in my community… commuting to work, going to school, going to the movies and restaurants… you can fill in your own blanks. For the most part, crime was invisible to me… never been assaulted… never witnessed a robbery… someone tried to mug me in Cincinnati once, but that didn’t work out too well for the poor SOB.

I have never had to obsess about my safety or that of my family… except of course on Chicago roads.

I guess, after a while, one can go into denial about the existence of a very real evil that hovers around all of us. What affords us that luxury, are the men and women serving our communities as police officers. Their very presence on our streets dissuades criminals from attacking. Fear of arrest and punishment reduces crime.

So, as I stated earlier, thanks to the dedication of the police, I have never had to live in fear of the evil that exists in and preys on our society.

An ironic aspect about police work is, a sign of success is when nothing seems to happen! Law enforcement is most effective when it’s invisible. Everyone is free to enjoy their lives without criminal, and often tragic, interruption.

That was the general basis of my naiveté.

lisa bianco statement (2)This weekend, the reserve academy was conducting domestic and family violence training. As part of the lesson, the students watched the statement of Lisa Bianco to the police describing what her husband, Alan Matheney, had inflicted on her.

Watching this young woman’s testimony was worse than any Hollywood slasher-horror-murder movie you have ever seen. First, what she described was appalling – her often tearful recounting of beatings, strangulation, rape, confinement, kidnapping – the horrors that Matheney inflicted on this young woman seemed endless.

Secondly, every one of these atrocious acts were real. There was no room for denial here… no tension building up to some dramatic catharsis… “Thank God, this isn’t real!”

It was!

Matheney beat and raped this poor young woman and finally, to the shame of all of us, murdered her -beat her to death-in broad daylight in the middle of a peaceful Midwest community!

Had I not seen this, I could have hardly believed it!

Before hearing Lisa Bianco’s heartbreaking testimony, I would not have accepted that any human being could act as Matheney did.

That is one of many specific examples of my naiveté.

That is also a specific reason why I serve as a reserve police officer in my community.

The story of domestic violence in our community can be told through the tragedy of Lisa Bianco.

It’s still happening!

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The following is the story of Lisa Bianco based on a 1989 New York Times article recounting her tragic death at the hands of Alan Matheney.

 

Lisa Bianco, 29 years old, fought Alan Matheney’s jealous attempts to control her. She read up on domestic-violence law, divorced him in 1985 and pursued every option available, from seeking protective orders and filing formal complaints to going into hiding and wearing wigs to disguise herself. Bianco, who was about a foot shorter than the six-foot-tall Matheney, endured hundreds.

“She lived in terror, looking over her shoulder for ten years,” said a friend, Patricia Vandermee. “She never felt safe. She hated to pick up the phone. That fear never stopped.”

The beatings continued after the divorce, friends say. “The harder she tried to get away from him, the more abuse she’d be subjected to,” said Theresa Hans, who grew up with Bianco. Matheney would terrorize Ms. Bianco, be arrested, post bond and return to abuse her again.

Shortly after the divorce, Matheney kidnapped his daughters, Brooke, now ten, and Amber, now six. Bianco filed a complaint against him, and he was arrested in North Carolina several weeks later. While out on bond for the kidnapping, Matheney accosted Bianco, bound her, raped and beat her in an effort to get her to drop the charges.

The next month, while out on bond for that attack, Matheney broke into her house, beat her and tried to strangle her. It was not until that attack, in February 1987, that his bond was revoked and he was confined to the St. Joseph County Jail.

In a plea agreement, the rape and assault charges were reduced to a single count of battery, while the kidnapping charge stood and Matheney was sentenced to eight years in prison, three of them suspended. He was to be released in August 1990.

Bianco planned to leave town and take another identity by then.

“She knew he would kill her,” Hans said. “There was no doubt in her mind.”

Bianco’s fears intensified in early January, when Matheney requested a pass to leave the prison for several hours in his mother’s custody. That pass was denied after Bianco, hearing of the request from his mother, asked the county prosecutor to intervene. Martha Matheney, reacting to her own son’s intimidation, did not warn Bianco of his second request.

Her nightmare came true March 4, officials say, when Alan Matheney got an eight-hour pass from a state prison near Indianapolis. His mother drove him to a small town near the Michigan border, where he broke into his former wife’s house.

He then chased Bianco into the street and, in front of the couple’s two young daughters and horrified neighbors, beat her to death with the butt of a shotgun as she pounded on a neighbor’s door for help.

(From “Inmate on Leave Held in Death of His Ex-Wife.” The New York Times. 12 March 1989. Web. <http://www.nytimes.com/1989/03/12/us/inmate-on-leave-held-in-death-of-his-ex-wife.html>.)

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Lisa Bianco’s death diminishes us, for we are part of mankind. Therefore, do not ask for whom her funeral bell tolls. It tolls for us. (based on John Donne, Meditation 17)