Jan 31 2007

Freedom’s just another word for nothin left to lose

Sommer failing to gaze adoringly at husband. CBS News photo.

It’s no secret that living “like a woman set free” — as opposed to living like a proper woman, a subordinate enslaved and subdued by socioeconomic, ideological, biological and cultural forces — is an offense against human decency. Since the dawn of time, free-wheelinosity in women has been punishable by imprisonment, and it still is.

Take the case of Cynthia Sommer. Instead of clapping a delicate wrist to her pale brow and taking to her bed following the sudden death of her military husband, Sommer threw “loud parties,” got a boob job, went on “shopping sprees”, and — most heinous of all — had “casual sex with multiple partners.” In lieu of any actual evidence, San Diego prosecutors convinced a jury that La Sommer’s post-mortem laissez-les-bons-temps-roulent demeanor was as good as a signed confession that she murdered her husband with arsenic for the insurance money.

Now, I have no idea whether she dunnit or not. The point is that it turns out that ‘failure to pine’ is not just a Victorian literary device, it’s legitimate evidence in a 21st century American court of law. No joke, here’s how the DA summed up the prosecution’s case:

“We have somebody in the end who was not acting aggrieved at the death of her husband.”

Sommer had not read the manual, despite its wide availability on Oprah, the Lifetime Channel, and Court TV, entitled Socially-Mandated Stereotypical Conduct For Young Honky Wives Following Untimely Deaths of Husbands. She mighta saved herself a world-o-hurt if she had just followed this simple plan:

Prior to Husband’s Demise

— Maintain virginity until marriage
— Keep house, kids, and self spotless
— Go to church regular
— Keep husband’s drinking/gambling/sex/porn addiction a closely guarded secret
— Send casual emails to friends and family passing along latest list of Hillary jokes, adding how much you love husband and would never kill him
— Contrive to have photographs taken of self gazing piously at husband for later use on TV true crime shows; make sure they don’t make you look too slutty

Immediately After Husband’s Death

— Contrive to have local TV cameras videotape you weeping uncontrollably in front of your modest bungalow for a few seconds; then have family members help you into the car.
— At graveside either faint or collapse in a fit on top of the casket
— Wear just enough mascara so that it’ll run when you weep, but not so much that you look too slutty

From Here On Out:

— Never look too slutty
— Wear only greyish burlap sacks
— Never smile
— Never have sex
— Suck up to your in-laws: move in with them to cook and clean, and freely offer them custody of the kids
— Give the insurance money to the church
— Enter a slow decline
— After six months, get treated for depression, but be careful not to enjoy any drugs prescribed
— Attempt suicide, find religion
— Enter a nunnery, where you die of consumption

[Thanks, Sean]


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  1. megan

    Do these sorts of stories even count as ‘news’ anymore?

    Japan’s Health Minister refers to women as ‘birthing machines’

  2. Bitey

    Kinda like Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour.” Maybe “Story of a Couple Years, but also with a Sad Ending.”


  3. ChapstickAddict


    That will always be one of my favorite short stories. Especially the last line, where she died of “the joy that kills.”

  4. Ebba

    Here’s a recent appalling example of Patriarchy-approved wifely behaviour:


    Wife induces labor to husband can go to the game without running the risk of his wife being all inconvenient and giving birth and stuff. Because, as she says, “It’s a once in a lifetime thing for him.”


  5. goslingblogger

    This reminds me of a “My Turn” piece I read in Newsweek recently:
    The Stage of Grief No One Admits To: Relief
    When my husband was killed in an accident, I refused to let society dictate how I should grieve.

    Doctor’s wife though. As opposed to enlisted guy’s wife. Class *might* have something to do with the difference in their circumstances (penal and otherwise) I suppose…

  6. MikeWC

    Prosecution for failure to grieve. The Stranger, anyone?

    Or is that story not relevant because it’s about a man? God forbid we admit that failure to conform is rejected in anyone, not just women.

  7. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    I call bullshit on government-mandated grief manifestation.

  8. norbizness

    To be fair, Ebba, with the vicissitudes of free agency and the prospect of season-ending injuries, who’s to say whether the Bears get back there in our lifetime? Ditka’s ’85 Bears looked nigh-unstoppable, but only made one appearance, even with Richard Dent, Walter Payton, et al.

    As for the post at hand, there is an escape clause for the media-approved grieving routine: don’t be white.

  9. speedbudget

    But, Mike, in _The Stranger_, the protagonist willfully and coldly killed a man just for the hell of it; just to test his own existence. How do we even know this woman killed her husband? Might he not have died of something caught on the war?

  10. Twisty

    The Stranger isn’t relevant because this is not a discussion about fictional dude murderers in 20th century French absurdist novels. It is not really even relevant whether Cynthia Sommer is guilty. The point of the post is to demonstrate the power of the stereotype of the grieving widow. This stereotype is different in every appreciable way from the expectation that a dude murderer show remorse.

  11. Clio Bluestocking

    Not everyone grieves in the same way. Plus, nobody mentioned if the husband was an asshole. I had a friend who was abused by her father. When he died, she was happy. We all probably have someone in our past, whom we were supposed to love, over whom we might want to erect a combination gravestone-dancefloor-urinal. That doesn’t prove that we actually killed them. Evidence does.

  12. t. comfyshoes

    Well, arsenic is used in a number of chemical weapons (now considered obsolete, but that doesn’t mean they’re not around) so it’s possible he had some exposure to arsenic over his military career.

  13. SingOut

    My friend’s husband was killed in the World Trade Center on September 11, six days before she gave birth to their son. Months later, any appearance in public was simultaneously met with both, “Cheer up! You’ll meet someone else!” and judgemental looks of “Why is the young widow laughing?”.

  14. teffie-phd

    I suppose this means if I do want to murder my husband, I might get away with it if I look the part.

    Somehow I’m not surprised, and I totally blame the patriarchy.

  15. LL

    When my father died, it was after a long, difficult battle with cancer. We were all thrilled to pieces that my stepmother DIDN’T sit around pining and crying. Does this mean we were all complicit in his disease??

  16. maribelle

    The grieving widow syndrome also applies to grieving mothers. Darlie Routier’s character was destroyed by the prosecution with such hard evidence as the “fact” that she was shallow, vain, had a boob job, and was materialistic.

    The prosecution showed a severely edited tape of her at the funeral of her dead son, shooting Silly String and acting like it was a party. Nevermind that they didn’t show the 2 hour service beforehand, with Darlie sobbing, or her mother admonishing her to “put on a happy face” when the child’s friends arrived, or that her sister brought the Silly String. Her husband, btw, participated in all of the above (including so called vanity and materialism) and was never once suspected. She sits on Death Row in Texas, even though there are major questions about the evidence and trial.

    The jury asked to replay the Silly String video 17 times.

  17. Shannon

    I call super-double-triple-quadruple bullshit on government-mandated grief manifestation.

    There’s a relative I can envision throwing a party for when death shows up (sooner rather than later, but not soon enough, if you ask me). What? Are they going to lock me up for openly stating I hate her guts AND dancing around? Guess we’ll see…

  18. whyme63

    Did anyone catch the utterly horrifying yet unsurprising link within the link?


  19. Sylvanite

    I knew someone whose viciously abusive boyfriend was killed in a motorcycle accident. The only emotion she showed was relief. Though at the time she was with someone who seemed emotionally abusive, so I guess she didn’t learn to stay away from the menfolk.

  20. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    My eldest sister’s ex-husband passed away of heart disease at 56, giving lie to the idea that only the good die young. As you said, Shannon, not soon enough if you ask me. He requested the status plate from his auto be attached to his coffin. As luck would have it, the license plate fouled the mechanism as his coffin was being lowered into the ground, causing it to tip in a most ungainly if hilarious fashion. I beat a speedy, strategic retreat to my car before my sister could hear me hee-hawing away like a jackass.

    So yeah, by some standards, I suppose I was complicit in the guy’s death.

  21. MikeWC

    But, Mike, in _The Stranger_, the protagonist willfully and coldly killed a man just for the hell of it; just to test his own existence. How do we even know this woman killed her husband? Might he not have died of something caught on the war?

    Mersault was a French man killing an Algerian Arab. That’s about the same as a white man killing a black man in the pre-civil rights deep south. He wasn’t convicted because he “willfully and coldly killed a man,” he was convicted for the exact same reason that you’re suggesting this woman might be convicted for. Failure to do the “right thing,” meaning he didn’t properly grieve for his mother.

  22. yankee transplant

    You know who I blame for this total bullshit.

  23. pyramus

    I suppose I will be roundly castigated for pointing out that if a man’s wife died suddenly and he reacted by buying a Ferrari with the suspiciously large quantity of insurance money, throwing loud parties, and sleeping with every woman who’d have him, he would naturally enough be suspected of having offed her for the dough. Well, castigate away. As far as I can see, it’s not that Sommer hasn’t entered a nunnery: it’s that she’s acted exactly like someone who killed for the double indemnity would act.

    This does not, of course, negate the fact that Twisty’s right. In general. But not about this particular case, I’m betting.

  24. Bitey

    I think, pyramus, that while the man might be suspected, it seems extremely unlikely that he would be convicted of her murder with only this behavior as evidence.

  25. j

    Mike, I think you’re missing a very important point. The Stranger is fiction. Fiction. That means it’s not real.

  26. Twisty

    whyme63, thanks for pointing that out. If I weren’t all out of steam for the day I’d ream that sucka, too. Maybe with my breakfast martini tomorrow.

  27. thebewilderness

    Molly Ivins died today. I’m crying.

  28. Tony Lawless

    Hi Folks!

    You guys obviously don’t follow US TV, and the name “Scott Peterson” wouldn’t ring any bells, would it? Here was a guy who was convicted of murdering his pregnant wife. The main initial evidence was: his failure to grieve.

    People like Nancy Grace, the well-known right wing loud mouth, convicted him on this basis. She even injected some reach-me-down feminism into her argument: these bastard murderin’ men are all the same. In this case, it appears she was right: Scott’s lizard-like behaviour after his wife disappeared was the attitude of a cold-blooded killer.

  29. maribelle

    RE: Pyramus–the difference for me is that men kill their wives and girlfriends at *dramatically* greater percentages than women kill their husbands and boyfriends–and the vast majority of the latter homicides are self-defense. (Exact statistics and a fascinating social history of the different treatment of female and male murderers throughout history in the book Women Who Kill by Ann Jones.)


    Thus statistically, it would be highly unlikely the women had killed her husband (though not impossible).

    it’s that she’s acted exactly like someone who killed for the double indemnity would act.

    She also acted liked an innocent woman might act after the natural death of a husband–crazed, wild, impetuous.

  30. kate

    Women do kill their husbands, but obviously not as often as men beat and bludgeon women for good ole fun and games. Women, when they do commit a grave act, usually poison or do by other passive-aggressive means.

    More than likely his life insurance company sent called the whistle out as they more often than not will refuse to pay out and forward over for further investigation any death that seems out of the ordinary. Oftentimes, law enforcement doesn’t catch it and oftentimes, innocent people get fingers pointed at them because insurance companies aren’t really in the payout biz.

    That said, you gotta really be tipped out of plumb, so to speak, to off someone intentionally, even in cases of abuse, which of course is the basis for the defense of battered women’s syndrome. I am always surprised at how people can’t seem to understand that living under constant threat of harm and with experience of physical/mental harm shouldn’t effect one’s mental health.

    As for the link wyme63: The women is a college student and probably has a support system of family and others and also probably a little class entitlement (how dare they do this to me — knowing one’s rights). I’ve heard stories like this from people among the poor all the time (in context of abuse of power, not exactly like this one) and they have no where or no one to turn to for help, don’t have a good concept of their rights as opposed to the law’s powers, so they just take it and fall another fifteen steps behind.

  31. kate

    My writing on that last comment sucked. It seems blasphemous for this blog and I offer sincere apologies to those who drove down that very bumpy, unedited road.

  32. roamaround

    I, too, am mourning Molly Ivins. I found out here. May her wisdom live long and prosper.

    In her honor and the interest of widows’ liberation, I have to suggest this film to everyone who hasn’t seen it: “Water” by Deepa Mehta. “After losing her husband to illness, 8-year-old Chuyia is forced to live out the rest of her days in a temple for Hindu widows…”

    But in case any Westerner decides to cluck cluck about the treatment of women by the Oriental, a good antidote would be “The Magdalene Sisters” as well as the Cynthia Sommer case Twisty critiques here.

  33. Bitey

    “The main initial evidence was: his failure to grieve. . . . People like Nancy Grace, the well-known right wing loud mouth, convicted him on this basis.”

    Yeah, in Sommer’s case, it was a *jury* that convicted her, and on that evidence *alone*.


  34. Bitey

    Yikes! I would also like to preemptively defend my use of the dreaded ellipsis as the proper mark to indicate an elision in quoted material: in this case, a paragraph break.

  35. smmo

    Reminds me of when Kurt Cobain offed himself and inspired a long-running (probably still active) smear campaign against Courtney Love accusing her of everything up to and including murdering him. Because she didn’t throw herself on his funeral pyre. Because she didn’t swear off sex or her career. Because she didn’t grieve properly. Because, of course, she is a woman, a loud one.

  36. edith

    Reminds me of Kate Chopin’s Story of an Hour. Y’all know the one.

  37. Margaret

    Hi. My husband died two months ago. We were happy together. We had been together just over a year and were married only two months. He had been sick for six months. Want to bet the family resents the hell out of my inheritance?

  38. Christopher

    Well, given that the central conciet of The Stranger is that Mersault was convicted not because of the underlying action, but because he failed to grieve “properly” after the death of his mother I think it’s a bit much to say that there are “no” similarites that might make it relevant to the Sommer case.

    It just sort of seems like hearing a case where a woman is convicted of murder because of failure to show “proper” grief might validly remind you of a story where where a man is convicted of murder for failing to show “proper” grief.

    I mean, both The Stranger and the The Story of the Hour seem to me to deal with different aspects of the social attitudes that lead to this case going the way it did; both are, partly, explorations of how thouroughly inadequate our ability to usefully extrapolate intention from emotional cues is, and how our perverse insitance at acting as though we CAN do that conistantly leads to tragedy.

    I mean, clearly the OTHER parts of the stories contrast in numerous very important ways, but I think it’s fairly weird to say The Stranger has absolutely no relevence whatsoever.

    As for them being fiction, i think in some ways that’s why we think of them so readily. I mean, as humans we tend to use narratives to organize our thoughts about the world.

    And besides that, both stories are old, and rather well-known. The fact that people have been warning against exactly what happened here for centuries, and yet NOBODY on the Jury managed to internalise the message is profoundly depressing.

  39. Joolya

    What’s the right length for widow’s weeds these days when one’s heart is in the grave?

  40. Twisty

    Yes, Christopher, I was perhaps overly hasty in my effort to deflect a potential “what about the men?” argument; I concede that grief management is a theme in The Stranger.

    You know, this is all fiction. Even Cynthia Sommer, as she appears in this discussion, is a fictional character.

  41. FemiMom

    Because I am writing my dissertation, and bein’ all intellectual and stuff is tiresome, I have to take a mid-day T.V. garbage break. Tuesday, I watched “Snapped” on Oxygen (the patriarchal channel for wimmin who know their place). I thought I would get a heapin’ helpin’ of gals striking back at their oppressors. A lovely accompaniment to a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato and avocado.
    No such luck!
    What I watched was a show featuring stories about women who were convicted based on sluttiness, shopping, “inappropriate” grief, sluttiness, the testimony of hubby’s drug dealer, and – oh – sluttiness. Nevermind lack of physical evidence or not being at the scene of the crime. If your babies don’t have the same daddy, off to prison with you.
    I “Snapped”.
    Please, some Blaimer needs to use this program in a Women’s Studies class. It is evidence that we still have so much Blaiming to do.

  42. saltyC

    In The Stranger, he actually did murder the Arab. The book was racist in that its underlying premise was that he was unjustly convicted.

  43. saltyC

    But just look at the asshole in the picture. I’d party if he died too. I’m sorry those kids are deprived of their mother, and pray somehow she gets out. Convicted without evidence? Sick.

  44. antiprincess

    margaret – I am sorry for your loss.

  45. S.C.U.M

    Even if she did kill him, so what? It’s one more dead Marine that didn’t get the chance to go and kill innocent women and children in the name of big oil and racist military oppression. Just think if all those little housewife’s offed their aggressive, rapist Marine husbands, before they left port, there wouldn’t be 655,000 dead Iraqis. Strike first and destroy all war mongering abusers. Fuck them up before they have a chance to destroy the world. Strike first!

  46. Come the Revolution

    Offering Susan Glaspell’s “Trifles” (drama) aka “Jury of Her Peers” (short story), circa 1916, as literary condiments for the Sommer feeding frenzy.

  47. Edith

    Brava, S.C.U.M. Incidentally, I really need to read the comments more carefully before I come in with my astute all-ready-mentioned Chopin reference. Way to be an asshole, me. Seriously though, go read it if you haven’t. It’s way good. And very anti-dude.

  48. Come the Revolution

    Both versions of Glaspell are available online:



  49. tinfoil hattie

    Margaret, I am very sorry for your loss. I’m glad you were able to be there for your husband throughout his illness.

  50. Twisty

    While I advocate excercising a healthy caution around male members of the warrior class, S.C.U.M., statistically they can’t all be rapists. Also, I don’t believe it ought to be incumbent on the military wives of America to murder their husbands. It might be expedient, but hardly fair.

    I must also take issue with the phrase “innocent women and children.”

  51. S.C.U.M.

    Expedient to murder, yes. Fair? What’s fair in patriarchy? You said it yourself, brilliant sister! Certainly not raining cluster bombs on neighborhoods of civilians. If those killed aren’t “innocent” I question who is. They happened to simply be in the way of the military machine intent on “liberating” their natural resources.

    And statistically about those military rapists, I doubt they all rape in the course of war, yes, but the scenario in basic training is to beat down a recruit and “strip him” of his identity, coupled with extreme homophobic and sexist language and dehumanizing behavior so severe, that the atmosphere of the military basically breeds rape, both of civilians they encounter in occupation and their fellow soldiers. There are currently detailed reports coming out that most female recruits are reporting their fear of using the bathroom in the middle of the night to avoid being raped by their fellow enlisted officers.

  52. vic alles

    Hi , as a Female suprenmacist and a San diegan, (are any y of You?), this is appallng!

    ajury had no qulms about convicting her, do not degrade the feminist cuase by includingtheis nmurderess in your psseee of riends.

    This aint vilage Ireland, divorce the bastard.

    the only thing saddr tha nthis, is your colectiv efailur eot denoucn eSCUM for his idiocy.

    Bring them home, ere they do more affronts to ideals, but wrath unto youif equate the fool’s errand of the GI with the evil manipulations of his eldes, whoought ot behis betters bu tare not!

  53. Twisty

    vic alles, your otherworldly typing skills interest me strangely.

    S.C.U.M. may seriously be in favor of murdering entire classes of people for political purposes, but before some outraged citizen from Feministe decides to put it around that Twisty Faster and Everyone Who Comments On Her Blog Celebrate Class-Based Genocide, allow me to elucidate, for the benefit of the satirically-challenged, my position on women murdering the entire military. My position is this: I am against it.

    There are better, much less gross ways of preventing Marines from killing Iraqis, such as removing them from Iraq. I would also suggest hard-core de-programming. Nobody is innocent, but let’s face it: the cluster bombs and psychotic brainwashings to which S.C.U.M. alludes do not originate with the minions themselves.

  54. Keith

    I truly can’t decide if this is a comedy blog or what. Either way, I think (not that you care) that your opinion of how Cynthia Sommer was treated was biased, stupid and clodish.

    No one anywhere said women have to attain to some “Victorian” mourning plan but as the saying goes, “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and wuacks like a duck, then it’s a duck.”

    Well that’s the case here. I guess it would be hard for you to understand, seeing as how you obviously not only have never loved but have never been loved, that there is a proper way to mourn someone’s passing provided you cared for them.

    One would assume, in this day and age, that wife or husband would fall into the “loved” category. Again, you’ve never, nor have you ever been, loved so it’s easy for you to make that mistake.

    Cynthia acted as someone who most certainly did not love their husband and if the modern day news media empire has taught us anything, there are some people out there who are capable of doing just about anything.

    As for SCUM, this person is a total tool. The Marines are not responsbile for the 655,000 dead Iraqis this delusionsl fool claims have died. Regardless of that, this childish and reality-deprived individual needs to seriously re-read their history books to see what miracles the USMC have wrought, the US of A being cheif amoung them.

    I find it so disgustingly duplicitious when morons like SCUM piss and moan about Marines being “rapists and murderers”. Essentially they are painting the entire Corp with the same paintbrush. Additionally, they never give these selfless individuals the honorable mention when they do work such as helping with the relief efforts of the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia.

    Huh. So I guess that means that I can use Pam Anderson or Jenna Jameson as my model for the typical woman instead of women like Mary Dixon Kies or Katherine Blodgett.

    What’s even sadder is that despite this being a supposed “feminist” site I’m more than comfortable in stating that all you “femi-Nazi’s” certainly know the former two ladies I mentioned yet have no clue who the latter two are.

    Only those with no hearts would advocate the murder of people they disagree with. Just like Saddam did when he used chemical weapons to murder innocent Kurds. I’m glad that you approve of that behavior.

    You all sicken me.

  55. Keith

    I can’t believe I”m doing this again but SCUM seriously has me pissed now. True, as soon as I navigate away from this page SCUM will fall to irrelevance but for now?

    Let’s have at it.

    SCUM says:
    “Expedient to murder, yes. Fair? What’s fair in patriarchy? You said it yourself, brilliant sister! Certainly not raining cluster bombs on neighborhoods of civilians. If those killed aren’t “innocent” I question who is. They happened to simply be in the way of the military machine intent on “liberating” their natural resources.

    And statistically about those military rapists, I doubt they all rape in the course of war, yes, but the scenario in basic training is to beat down a recruit and “strip him” of his identity, coupled with extreme homophobic and sexist language and dehumanizing behavior so severe, that the atmosphere of the military basically breeds rape, both of civilians they encounter in occupation and their fellow soldiers. There are currently detailed reports coming out that most female recruits are reporting their fear of using the bathroom in the middle of the night to avoid being raped by their fellow enlisted officers.”

    Okay, first impression? SCUM is a moron. Secondly, the US is not doing this to take over “natural resources” you idiot! Iraq provided less thant 8% of the US oil supply. If we were hell bent on invading a nation in order to take their oil supply (something Saddam did in 1991) then we would look a tad closer to home, no? Perhaps Venezula which supplies us with almost 20% of our oil?

    As for saying that “the military basically breeds rape” again, you are a fool. I would love to see you link to sone single, solitary AND VALID report of any female recruit anywhere every saying that she feared any form os systemic rape scenarios by their fellow enlisted officer cause I ain’t seen diddly.

    Yes, there are rare occurances that there are some bad apples but if it’s okay for you to paint all Marines with the “rapist and murderer” paint brush on the actions of a small minority then I am more than free to consider all women whores or murderes based on the actions of Jenna Jameson or Helene Jegado.

    SCUM seems to think that there is no need for war and no need for violence and no need for this or that and we should all holds hands as we merrily skip down the primrose path.

    How anyone can survive in the world thinking like that excapes me.

  56. Twisty

    Keith, the “I have come to your blog to enlighten you that you are all dumbasses” gambit is not permitted on the grounds that only a dumbass does something that dumb. See the FAQ. Adios.

  57. thebewilderness

    While I dearly love several former military persons, I cannot help but wonder what sort of person takes a job that requires them to kill strangers on command. The question answers itself. Young and ignorant people sign up to defend their country and end up killing strangers on command. Obviously I consider standing armies a detriment to peace. I you’ve got them you are surely going to use them. I’m with Molly, not so much anti gun aa pro knife.
    I think that Keith is one of those people who thinks if he is not aware of it, it didn’t happen. The stories of women in the military becoming ill from dehydration because of so many rapes on the way to the latrine was all over the blogs and the news.
    I also think that keith and scum need to consider the condition of their humanity and ask themselves a few questions.

    I am extremely proficient at math I used to do it for a living. I think the spamulator hates me on general non mathmatical principles.

  58. maribelle

    Strike first and destroy all war mongering abusers

    That’s an oxymoron. It’s also the Bush Doctrine.

    Anyone else wonder if SCUM and Keith are the same two headed troll?

    RE: Twisty’s position on murdering the entire military.

    Define “entire.”*

    *No military men were harmed in the making of this comment.

  59. ginmar

    Tony, dear, there was actual evidence that Scott Petersen killed his wife, but by all means, cling to your denial. It’s so much more amusing.

  60. saltyC

    I never heard, even in the most patriarchal systems, that not being in love with a spouse is any kind of crime. Sorry for feeding the troll.

    PS the lancet study which estimates 665,oo Iraqi deaths also said most of the deaths were from US bombs, shooting and mortar. Ask any soldier: you get fire, you return fire. Meaning, someone shoots at you from an apartment complex, you mow it down. Result: Iraqi children dead in their beds.

  61. S.C.U.M.

    Perhaps I was too harsh in advocating every wife of a military man kill her brutish moronic husband but after reading Keith’s comments, maybe I really stopped short of what mass genocide could do for this once beautiful country. Just think about that piece of property your ass sits on now, dear Keith. Who used to sit there before you? Some Native American who had more sense in his or her right toe then you or your entire swirling ball sack of stupidity could ever manage. As you eat your corporate death burger and drive your giant SUV (how you going to get that oil from Venezuela? Mass genocide? Sounds great!!) and slowly destroy your colon and the planet in general, I wonder perhaps sudden death of morons like you wouldn’t really be a solid solution to America’s mis management of resources. Because at the end of the day, aren’t you just another angry, ugly, white man, who hates us ladies and brown people oh so much, and what are your really contributing to the planet, oh great former fast food worker Marine? And by the way, IRONY is also a fun way to express ones murderous and entirely fictional requests.

  62. S.C.U.M.

    Who did kill the 655,000 Iraqi’s? Santa Claus? Or how about that dreaded Easter Bunny? That’s the number reported by The John Hopkins Institute. Not some “crazy” Arab media, but by social scientists who counted the coroner’s records of each and every town in Iraq. Not pretty, but true. As far as Iraq’s resources, they are rated as the third largest untapped oil reserves in the world. Check out the research. As far as our intention as to us going in, well, it’s hard to believe anybody would actually buy the retarded rhetoric of the administration at this point in the game, but really, we didn’t do it to “liberate” the people of Iraq.

    In the spring of 1992 a document was produced, called Defense Policy Guidance, which was stunning in the clarity and ambition of its vision of a new US foreign and military policy. It called for US dominance by preventing the rise of any potentially hostile power, and for a policy of pre-emptive military action against states suspected of developing weapons of mass destruction. The document was written by two relatively unknown functionaries in the Pentagon’s policy department. They were Paul Wolfowitz and Lewis Libby; their boss at the time was Dick Cheney, then Secretary for Defense. All three are now prominent members of the Bush Administration.

    In July 1996, the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies issued a document entitled “A Clean Break: a New Strategy for Securing the Realm”. The head of the Institute was Richard Perle – for years known as the Prince of Darkness, for his extreme views, and strong support of the Israel lobby. The document called on the then Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to adopt a radical change in policy, starting with a repudiation of the Oslo Accords, and to be followed by a campaign to eliminate Saddam Hussein and destabilize the governments of Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Iran.

    In February 1998, Richard Perle wrote an Open Letter to President Clinton, demanding a full-scale drive for a regime change in Baghdad. It had 25 signatories, including many who are now in the Bush Administration, e.g.: Donald Rumsfeld–now Defense Secretary, and Paul Wolfowitz – now Deputy Defense Secretary.

    The al-Qaeda attack of September 11 provided the opportunity for these policies to be put into practice. The case for a Pax Americana had been set out, and its first stage was implemented in the war against Iraq.

    The treaty goes on (this was all reported in the New York Times, three days after Sept. 11th by the way) to state that by the accounts of the world’s leading geologists that there is only 40 years left of an oil supply. Therefore, it would be in our best interest (America’s) to “occupy” a source in the middle east, whereby putting pressure on the Saudi’s and the entire region. It’s documented and available to anyone that actually wishes to understand the facts.


    Cynthia Sommer did NOT kill her husband.Hopefully she’ll recieve a new trial. For those that believe she isn’t guilty.Please visit her site at http://www.cynthiasommerdenfense.com


    The website address is actually http://www.cynthiasommerdefense.com

  65. Todd Sommer was NOT murdered!

    On February 18, 2002 , Cindy Sommer’s husband, Sgt. Todd Sommer, USMC, died following a brief illness. Cause of death listed on autopsy was cardiac arrhythmia, etiology unknown. His heart was later labeled “morphologically normal”, which is quite plausible in the presence of an arrhythmia.

    NCIS launched an investigation into Todd’s death in May of 2003. Cindy was arrested for murder in 2005.

    Despite: claims by investigators that the tape recorder used in the initial interview with Cindy “broke” and they reconstructed the interview from memory; babysitter testimony that conflicts with that of first responders and telephone records; and countless lab discrepancies including breaks in chain of evidence, no quality controls, and defense expert testimony that the results of the AFIP heavy metals testing were inconsistent with arsenic poisoning; Cindy Sommer was found guilty in January 2007 of murder by arsenic poisoning for financial gain.

    The scientific evidence does not support death by arsenic poisoning. There is no evidence Todd Sommer was murdered.

  66. moda

    SIXTEEN breaks in the chain of custody for those tissue samples from the organs Cindy willingly donated…

    NO LINK between Cindy and arsenic – she didn’t research it, she didn’t discuss it, and she didn’t purchase it…

    NO paper trail.

    The Medical Examiner, Glen Wagner, was baffled by the results of the heavymetals testing, so he contacted his old colleague, Jose Centeno.

    Centeno admitted that he initially had reservations about the test results andconsidered whether the tissues had been contaminated. Centeno said, “I had never seen such high levels of arsenic.”

    In the e-mail he sent to Wagner, Centeno said he was surprised by the highlevels of arsenic found in the liver and kidney, which were inconsistent with the negative results in the blood and urine. He said he had considered, and then rejected the possibility, that the samples could have been contaminated upon collection.

    WHY did he reject that possibility?
    WHY was the Death Certificate Amended?

    This should have never been labeled a murder; and therefore, should have nevermade it to a jury.

    The scientific evidence does not support death by arsenic poisoning. There is no evidence Todd was murdered.

    Todd Sommer was not poisoned. The first mistake was when they labeled this a murder… the second was when they said Cindy did it… Correct the first mistake, and the second one corrects itself.

    Think about it! This could be YOU or somebody you love.

  67. moda


    SAN DIEGO — San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis filed a motion Thursday to dismiss murder charges against a woman who was accused of poisoning her Marine husband.

    Cynthia Sommer was originally convicted of killing Sgt. Todd Sommer, 23, in 2002. He was in top condition when he collapsed and died on Feb. 18 at the couple’s home on the Marine Corps’ Miramar base in San Diego. His death was initially ruled a heart attack. Tests of his liver later found levels of arsenic 1,020 times above normal.

    Dumanis is expected to discuss the decision at a news conference at 5:30 p.m.

    In November 2007, San Diego Superior Court Judge Peter Deddeh found that Cynthia Sommer, 34, received ineffective representation from her former defense attorney. Deddeh said the attorney’s errors allowed prosecutors to introduce evidence about Sommer’s wild behavior immediately after her husband’s death. A new trial date was set on Dec. 20.

    Sommer was convicted in January 2007 of first-degree murder with special circumstances counts of poisoning and for financial gain in the death of her husband Todd Sommer in 2002. Shortly after her conviction, she maintained her innocence during an interview, which took place at Las Colinas Women’s Detention Center in Santee.

    On Tuesday, Sommer met with a reporter from “Dateline NBC” and spoke about the night Todd died, saying that she tried to revive him and called 911.

    “Listening to the tape is all I really remember — it’s such a blur,” Sommer said. “I don’t remember where the phone was. I was crying for my daughter, kind of screaming.”

    Sommer told “Dateline” she still believes her husband died of food poisoning. She said he exhibited symptoms including diarrhea and a high fever.

    During her first trial, witnesses testified that Sommer partied hard in the days after her husband’s death. Witnesses said she slept several with different men and exposed her breasts to people at a nightclub in Mexico. When asked about the behavior Tuesday, Sommer said, “I didn’t kill my husband, so I wasn’t doing things to hide anything.”

    Regarding her many sex partners during that period, Sommer said, “I wanted someone to hold me. I wanted my husband back. I missed him. I didn’t have him, and the closest thing I could have were his friends.”

    Check back here for updates on this breaking news story.

    The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil,
    but because of the people who don’t do anything about it. – Albert Einstein

  68. Kathleen

    Cindy is Free. Case was Dismissed. No Arsenic in those tissues.
    She should sue for million. Two Years Four Months, of her life
    BEcause of an overzealous Prosecutor who had issues with her lifesyle and how she chose to grieve. Laura Gunn, you should Resign.
    That day cant come soon enough for me, what a disgrace!!!

    I knew Cindy was innocent and I never waffled on this. Laura Gunn, should be ashamed, and the statements made tonight by her office was nothing but CYOA!!!!! Pitiful.

    Enjoy your life Cindy, one marine lifer to another. We know the deal
    We always did.
    Videos here:


  69. moda

    Cynthia Sommer – Finally Free
    SAN DIEGO, CA, April 17, 2008 – Cynthia Sommer, who was once convicted of killing her Marine husband with arsenic, was cleared Thursday after new tests showed no traces of any poison.

    Todd Sommer was not murdered, yet his widow spent 869 days in jail for a crime that never happened.

    WHAT SHOULD NOT BE FORGOTTEN is that this case is still not over. The District Attorney has stated that she still wants to leave the case in such a manner that she could re-charge Cindy at some point in the future!

    Cindy and her attorney, Allen Bloom, want this case fully dismissed – with prejudice – as soon as possible. Towards that end, a hearing has been set in the Superior Court of San Diego County to determine if the case should be dismissed once and for all time.

    This hearing – currently scheduled for July 18, 2008 – will present extensive evidence as to why Cindy’s case should, because of the evidence in the case and the improper conduct of the District Attorney, be dismissed once and for all.

    DA Bonnie Dumanis and her hand-puppet Laura Gunn should be ashamed of themselves!

    People of San Diego County – be afraid, be very afraid.

    Cynthia Sommer – the Long Road Back to Freedom:

  70. moda

    Court will consider blocking new charges against widow
    Friday, May 30, 2008
    (05-30) 11:23 PDT San Diego, CA (AP) —

    A San Diego judge says he will hear a widow’s request that the court block prosecutors from refiling murder charges against her in the death of her Marine husband.

    Cynthia Sommer spent more than two years in jail on charges that she poisoned the 23-year-old sergeant with arsenic and used his life insurance for breast-enlargement surgery.

    The 34-year-old was cleared of all charges in April after new tests showed no trace of arsenic in her husband’s preserved tissues.

    Prosecutors say they don’t want to rule out future charges if new evidence is found.

    At Friday’s hearing, Superior Court Judge John S. Einhorn found Sommer has the right to ask for her case to be dismissed with prejudice and set a July 18 hearing.

    Cynthia Sommer – the Long Road Back to Freedom:

  1. appletree » Blog Archive » Thursday Links: $2.40 Per Gallon Edition

    […] Sadly, not everyone follows her example. For example, Twisty takes offense because prosecutors in a murder trial have made an issue out of a suspected killer’s behavior, following the poisoning of her husband. Twisty thinks it’s unfair to tell a woman how she should mourn. I say that her lack of grief does constitute weak circumstantial evidence of guilt. And I don’t recall Twisty being upset when prosecutors made an issue of Scott Peterson’s behavior, following the murder of his wife. […]

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