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I Had Dinner With A Murderer, And Didn’t Even Know It

This is a true story, based on actual events in Manatee County Florida.

Update: A year later, Avalos is facing another Murder charge for attempting to kill an inmate in prison.

Imagine you are at a dinner party. You are at your friends house but you only know a few of the more than thirty people that fill the room. Look to your right, now to your left. Three days from now, one of these faces is going to kill three people. Who will it be? Could it be you? Could it be me?

It’s like a scene out of a movie, something you’d never expect to experience in real life. You never image you’ll get a call telling you to turn on the news because one of the guys you were at dinner with a few nights before is accused of going on a murderous rampage.

It is not something you think about while sitting at dinner with friends and great food enjoying the camaraderie of a family birthday celebration. But this particular party would quickly be overshadowed by the actions of one young man.

He wasn’t a murderer at the time, but a few days later Andres Avalos Jr. would murder his wife, a neighbor, and the pastor of a local church they attended.

He left his 6 children without a mother, 2 more wthout a father, a church without their pastor, friends without friends and family without family. And after confessing, he will probably spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Andres-Avalos-Jr-with tattoo

Image credit – Bradenton Herald – http://www.bradenton.com/2014/12/07/5517903_andres-avalos-jr-has-first-appearance.html?rh=1

At one point, he was trying to convince me that Mexican hip hop was better than American hip hop, but that argument was settled quickly as the crowd decided that the music coming from another friends phone was more worthy of being plugged into the small set of speakers that were sitting on the countertop in front of him.

He had a tattoo on his neck, coming up from underneath his shirt, something that looked like a cross with a name on it, but hey, lots of people have tattoos.

I never got a warm and fuzzy feeling while talking to Andres but I didn’t get a bad vibe from him either. He was just another guy in the room.

I could tell he was street savvy because of the way he talked and carried himself but I have a varied past myself so I try not to judge anyone based on first appearance.

Most of the nights conversations were centered around the home made Thai food that was being prepared in the kitchen and outside on the grill. It was delicious and there seemed to be so much love in the room.

I guess that’s what makes this all so hard to take in, what makes it all so difficult to comprehend. How can the same guy, who sat there talking to me about lettuce wraps and bad beer, be the same guy who just ripped the lives of three families to shreds?

I don’t know the guy other than the few hours we spent hanging out that night so I am not going to assume to know what was going through his head, but if you ask me it was not murder. Not that night, not in that moment.

So what causes a person to snap like that? What causes someone to gun down three people in cold blood? Could anyone else in that room have snapped like he did or was it his destiny to be a murderer? Was there something in the stars that said it was his time to go, or was this simply the hand of someone’s god?

Does that mean that I am capable of murder? Does this mean that we are all one missed step away from fatally falling apart?

How is it that we can seem so normal on the surface but be falling apart inside? Why are humans so good at hiding their pain? How come we wait until it’s too late before we let someone know that we are about to blow?

There have been no reports on a motive, but what motive can there be for a crime so heinous other than self hate? And if you have so much hate that you are willing to kill, then why not kill yourself instead? Why not end your own pain as opposed to spreading it like a plague by killing those you love?

I’m not one to advocate for suicide, but if it means saving the lives of innocent people, at the expense of assholes who can’t express anger, other than through the barrel of a gun, then I say go ahead and blow your fucking brains out.

Because no one’s life should ever be cut short by the actions of another man. That’s the one gift that no one should ever want to give. We have no ability to create life and should therefore think twice about taking it. Shit, you should think three, four, five or even more times about doing something so stupid. And once you think you’ve thought it through, then write about it and think about it some more. Tell a friend about it. Do something to get it out in the open and please, give someone a chance to stop you before it’s too late.

You might just learn to understand and love the dark parts of your soul. And you might just save someone’s life in the process. Maybe even your own!

By the way, this is a real story, and you can help support the families of those involved by clicking the link below and donating to their GoFundMe campaign.

 

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Is It Time to Say Yes to Steroids in Professional Sports?

In a world where genetic modification is on its way to becoming the norm, are we really going to sit and scream at the TV because a guy gave into the temptation to do everything possible to become the god that we all propped him up to be?

“He’s Out!”

Alex Rodriguez finally admits to using steroids.

Yet another major headline from the professional sporting world. Another news cycle spent talking about the use of performance enhancing drugs instead of the real issues that ail our country. But let’s be honest. Do we really even care anymore?

After all, we are talking about the business of entertaining masses? The “purity of sport” argument has long since passed (at least in the professional arena) and now, all we are left with are large corporate machines that only care about selling tickets, driving advertising revenue, and presenting the allure of exclusivity.

Sure the athletes need training and talent, but if a technology exists that can make you better at what you do, then why wouldn’t you use it?

If your goal is to be the strongest, fastest, most home run hitting dude in the world then why wouldn’t you find every tool known to man to make that a reality.

Alex-rodriguez-busted-for-steroidsAfter all…

the steroids didn’t make him a great ball player, they just amplified the skills he already had. I could take all the steroids in the world but if you put me at the plate and throw me a 90mph fast ball, the only thing I’m going to do is get the hell out of the way.

These athletes already have such an advantage in training, equipment, medical care, etc that the concept of restricting their access to a performance enhancing drug is like telling a diabetic that they can use insulin but not the pump that automatically regulates its flow into the body.

We let these athletes use injections to limit swelling and speed up the recovery process, even in the middle of a game. They study themselves in labs to focus on heart rates, breathing, and perfecting their techniques. Peak performance is presented as the only acceptable outcome and then we have the audacity to get mad when someone finds a shortcut to better performance.

How hypocritical of all of us.

Who among us is not looking for an advantage to do better in this game called life right now? We have become a society of cheaters, and as much as we want to pretend that we’re all goody two-shoes and living a perfect life, we are all guilty of looking for shortcuts at one point or another. We actually glorify it in business, politics and education, but god forbid we see it in sports.

alex-rodriguez-shaking hands-steroids-attorneysIn a world where genetic modification is on its way to becoming the norm, are we really going to sit and scream at the TV because a guy gave into the temptation to do everything possible to become the god that we all propped him up to be?

At the very least, we should be willing to be honest with ourselves about the hypocrisy of all of it.

Imagine if…

We told Hollywood actors that they were no longer allowed to be in another movie if they have undergone plastic surgery. Or what if we told all the magazine publishers that they are no longer allowed to Photoshop the images that they use inside of their publications.

Maybe next we’ll try to tell college kids who take Adderall that their test scores are invalid or the pregnant mother that she has to suffer through the pain of child birth because the epidural would artificially dull the pain. I know, let’s tell the banks that they can no longer lend money to anyone who doesn’t already have the same amount sitting in the bank as collateral. That way no one can gain an unfair financial advantage in the world.

It would be absurd to present any of these arguments on a massive scale and you might even get laughed off the map for doing so, but every one of these things is an artificial enhancement to our ability to perform . Not all narcotics but each of them important drugs on which our society is wholly dependent.

We love drugs. Especially the ones we’re not allowed to have.

We love the erotic drugs of pornography and hedonism, and we spend more money on legal drugs (coffee, cigarettes and prescriptions etc.) than any other country on the planet. We have statewide battles to legalize drugs from plants that grow naturally all around us and everywhere you look, people are gorging on something that is intended to either make them perform better or at the very least, feel better about themselves.

We live in a world where superficial is really all that matters to most of us, so why should we get upset when someone skirts the system to bring the best version of themselves to the surface?

Aren’t we all addicted to something?

Whether it’s technology, relationships, food, alcohol, or any of the other things we rely on to distract us from ourselves. We love it when our performance is enhanced. We love things that make us faster and allow us to do more with less.

Isn’t that the holy grail of life? Business? To gain a competitive advantage? To find something to set yourself apart from everyone else? Something that makes you better, more appealing and ultimately gives you some level of power over others.

mlb-steroid-investigation-baseballWhy then do we all pretend to be so outraged when we find out that one of our heroes is just like us? That he too is human and that in spite of everything we made him out to be, he turned out to be just another man.

Is it that we are disappointed to find out that even our heroes are fallible?

Are we incapable of admitting to ourselves that when we turn on the TV to watch a professional sporting event, we are tuning into the modern day version of the Roman Coliseum? Are we scared to admit that we have an unhealthy dependence on this drug called entertainment?

Furthermore, if we’re going to keep living with this societal addiction, then why not give in and let it be the best of all addictions? Why not lift the ban and watch someone hit a 700 foot home run? Why not let them run faster, jump higher, hit each other harder and score more points? Wouldn’t that be ultimately more entertaining?

In closing

I say go ahead, show me your surgically modified, genetically altered, steroid injected, best version of yourself. Why not hide the parts of your that are real? Why wouldn’t you show off the parts that you make perfect for public consumption. After all, the cool kids are already doing it.

And if we’re all going to keep pretending to be better than we actually are, then why shouldn’t everyone else have the same opportunity? Even a professional athlete.

Image credit and read more about the A-Rod news here.

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Robin Williams Dead: Why I Don’t Care And Neither Should You

Beloved actor Robin Williams was found dead on Monday, police reported. He was 63. The apparent cause of death was suicide by asphyxiation Read more

So now you know, but should you care?

I did not know Robin Williams and I would venture to guess that many of you didn’t either. Not outside of his movies that is.

I did enjoy his work and he had a major impact on the entertainment industry to be sure but what difference did he make in your life for you to run around crying like you care for any reason other than a few more likes on your Facebook wall?

Of course his family and friends should mourn his loss. And honestly, if you want to light a candle or say a prayer for him and his family then by all means, go ahead. I just think that the attention we spend as a society focusing on issues like this are symptoms of a larger problem that we face as a people.

The questions you should be asking.

When will we start paying attention to what matters?

When will we stop glorifying the people who’s jobs it is to entertain us, while ignoring the major facts that underlie these viral explosions of grief. When have you cared about the fact that tens of thousands of people commit suicide each year or that depression affects more than just celebrities?

When will we stop ignoring the fact that entertainment and most media for that matter is designed to distract us from the bigger picture. That we have allowed pop-culture to fracture our society by enthralling us with stories about one or two individuals that we have never met as opposed to connecting with the people in our lives that really matter.

How many of you are reading this story while sitting next to someone who you call a friend? What if they died tomorrow? How would you feel about having spent this final moment with them on your phone as opposed to getting to know a little more about them?

When was the last time you spilled a tear for the death of a soldier?  A teacher or policeman? Aren’t those the political heart strings that are usually pulled in situations where the media is trying to make a point?

How many news organizations are flooding their front pages with this “breaking news” while burying the information about our pending economic collapse somewhere below the fold; in section E 12.

What does it say about us as a people that we are more interested in the death of a comedic celebrity than the death of a US Army General, a Death and Cover up of a US Ambassador, an IRS that is arbitrarily spying on its citizens or any other number of stories that might have you thinking you were reading a political fiction novel.

I do not mean to be insensitive, but give me a freaking break. My heart goes out to people who have had to or are dealing with any death, especially suicide. Having been close to the edge myself I know the thoughts that must be running through most peoples heads right now but please take a step back and think about why you really care.

If you can tell me that it is because you really loved him and it is breaking your heart then by all means, enjoy your grief. This is after all, still (for now) America.

I just think that most people are using this as an opportunity to suck up another moment in social media glory and to drive page views. Heck, that’s the only reason I am writing this article at 3:00 am instead of working on my book or sleeping, which is what I should be doing.

In closing

If I had my way, no one would care whether Rhianna and whoever she is currently sleeping with break up, or whether another comedian dies today or even tomorrow. Not in the grand scheme of things that is.

Maybe that makes me callous and cruel. Maybe that means that I will have a lonely funeral, but I think we should be spending our time and media resources caring about the health of our country because it is also dying.

We should be worried that our entire society is on life support.

We should care that we are completely incapable as an entire country of giving a shit about anything that doesn’t come with sparkles, sex or sporting equipment.

So, I will gladly pour one out for my fellow depression sufferers, but I will not sulk over this celebrities passing in any context other than that. And honestly, neither should you.

Did I get it wrong? Leave your comments below.

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Raymmar.com Gets A Face-lift

I did it all for you…

So take some time and explore the new site or I will send cyborg chipmunks to chew off your toes.

But seriously…

Over the last few months we have seen some explosive growth on Raymmar.com and I have been trying to make it easier for people to find the content they want.

With our new pod-casts becoming popular and having so many different outlets for all of our content it was important for me to make the site easier to navigate and shift the focus of the site towards the content and away from my personal portfolio.

I thought this was an important step in the evolution of the website as I aim to transition Raymmar.com away from a personal website and more to a content engine.

That being said, there are now 5 main sections on Raymmar.com –

Grow

Grow: These are articles about improving your life. Whether professionally or personally, you can find stories that help you be the best version of you possible. Explore the Grow circle


Listen

Listen: A few weeks ago we launched our pod-casts and now that we have the equipment, we will be making more of our articles multimedia friendly by allowing you to listen as well as read any of our content. This section is full of auditory enjoyment. Explore the Listen circle


ReadRead: This is the basic blog roll. All articles on Raymmar.com can be found here. Since most videos, podcasts, etc come with accompanying articles you can find them all here. This is the most diverse of all the circles. Explore the Read circle

 

WatchWatch: In this circle you will find all of the videos I have produced as well as the videos from other content contributors on Raymmar.com. Videos and only videos in this circle. Explore the Watch circle 

 

ThinkThink: Exercise your brain muscles. Start questioning the world around you and think for yourself. These articles may include multimedia posts so there may be some overlap from the other sections but these are our most thought provoking articles. Get your think on

I am always trying to improve the website and find ways to increase our viewership. We are getting hundreds of thousands of views per month across all of our different platforms so I am overwhelmed and humbled by your support. Thanks for sticking around and hang on, this ride is just getting started.

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