Murder Ball

By Kayden Kross

I got invited to a Thai barbeque awhile back by a friend who was going to be in town for it and didn’t want to go alone. I couldn’t imagine why one would fly in for a barbeque but I didn’t ask, and frankly I just relished the idea of home made Thai food cooked to order right in front of me by a real live Thai woman. That was weeks ago and today I had my barbeque.

OK. So there was a barbeque and a Thai woman. The problem was she was cooking steak and potato salad and I wanted Pad Thai and chicken satay. What made up for it was the nature of the barbeque. This friend works with special interest groups in Sacramento and it turns out this was a work function for him and a reunion for the rest of the attendees. What did they all have in common? They had served time as “lifers”. I was at an annual murderer’s reunion.

You wouldn’t have known it from the outside and only barely from the inside, not that there is a standard way of picking murderer’s reunions out of a mix. There was a blow up bounce house powered by generator on the front lawn. Little girls in pigtails and boys in striped shirts with primary colors were squealing and shouting and chasing each other in circles with exaggerated astronaut jumps. Couples came in two by two with fruit pies and salads and you could hear the sound of a guitar drifting from somewhere behind the house. It was a two story with a two-car garage in suburbia, USA.

What gave it away in the backyard was that people were segregated like a prison yard with one race in each corner except near the grill with the Thai woman who wasn’t serving Thai. There were a lot of cowboy hats and ankle monitors and faded tattoos but these things together or apart don’t say murderer. Nothing said murderer. These are people who say hi to you at crosswalks and leave their change in tip jars and lean down to pet your dog and ask his name or give him a treat. They were nice. They introduced me to their wives and friends and kids and offered me more steak more chicken and more pie. “Eat!” they said. As I stood there sipping on a wine cooler and denying myself cake a rabbit hopped out of the bushes and started soliciting treats from strangers. Wives went crazy and took pictures and more kids squealed. The lady next to me told me the story of ‘Rodent’ the rabbit. Rodent had been found half alive on the side of a running trail by one of the murderers. That was four years ago. Ok so I had one common interest with the host of the party, a man who had put a hit out on his wife and served 24 years. We both like taking home stray rabbits. Perhaps it’s as emotionally extreme to take a life as it is to save one. Or maybe we’re all just trying to make amends.

There are things that politicians can rely on. The first is that they can never appear too tough on crime. It’s bad business for an opponent to argue against it. Same with porn. You can never make America too safe ‘for the children’. There is a small group of people though who have recognized that politicians use their tough crime stance to ride into office at the expense of the rights of people who have admittedly fucked up in a big way but have put in their time with no end in sight. Take the reverend, for example, who came home to find his wife in bed with not one, but two other men. He shot her. And him. And him. Crimes of passion, mostly against spouses. That’s what the majority of these guys were in for. Something snapped and they’ll pay for it for the rest of their lives. On the way in I asked how I would know who was a murderer and who was an advocate. He told me to look for the guys with the biggest egos and a strong sense of entitlement. I read that in a text book somewhere once before.

What you don’t read in textbooks is how remarkable it is to be in the presence of someone who is externally grateful just to be. To be eating steak off a barbeque (even if it’s not Thai steak). To be catching up with friends. There was a certain sincerity in introductions that you don’t see very often. It was not just a formality and the jokes were not made for show. And the chivalry. These lifers presented their wives to me like they were unveiling masterpieces. “This is my beautiful wife so-and-so.” They said it as if they almost didn’t believe it themselves. “This is my second chance.”

They talked politics mostly, about the uneven handling of cases and parole hearings that are held or not held in contempt of court. I picked up a publication that they run called the “California Lifer Newsletter”. It’s a long list of status reports on cases they’re trying to help fight from the outside as well as a rundown of corrupt activity within the system- commissioners who they’ve successfully forced out for unethical behavior, guards misfiring grenades, wardens in direct violation of various anti-restraint policies and finally a grim warning to stop buying cell phones off guards if you ever expect to make it out. Then there was a chart showing the ratio of parole hearings to grants. Some years it’s zero. Or 6 out of 296 cases heard. Or 12 out of 469. They print a table for individual prisons. These men are passionate about their cause. I just showed up for some spicy food but they’re here because they see how they can help the people who still haven’t made it out of a system that is stacked against them. At the end of the day they lined up for a group photo with their cowboy hats and ankle monitors and tattoos and freedom and smiled to the word cheese while their family and friends and supporters looked on. They take this picture every year and send it out to the prisons. The man sitting in front row center seat holds a hand printed sign that offers a “toast and a prayer from all of us lifers on the outside to all of those we left behind.”

28650cookie-checkMurder Ball

Murder Ball

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24 Responses

  1. My sympathy for these folks is tempered with the thought that while they are getting a second chance, the person (or persons) they killed never will.

  2. So…just for clarity, are you saying your friend was a convicted murderer…or just a very dedicated advocate willing to travel for non-Thai Thai food?
    I knew a guy who is now going to spend his retirement at Pellican Bay. He made a great Thanksgiving dinner, and he would give you the shirt off his back if you were on his good side and had earned his respect. He was a great guy 99.9% of the time…but its how he handled the .01% that made all the difference. We have all been in positions where we have felt justified that someone else should be removed permanently from the human race, the only difference is that they were not able to talk themselves out of pulling the trigger during the moment of truth (and in a few cases, maybe the world is a better place because of their actions at that time, it’s hard to say.) Until the next moment of truth arises for them, and it could be months or years down the road if ever, there’s no way to know if they would make a different decision under the same circumstances. Some will pass and some will fail. Just make sure you don’t find yourself on the wrong side of the barrel if their next moment of truth presents itself. I’m sure Mike would never want to have to write that Blog.

  3. When I read this I too kind of understood where Kayden is coming from. I have a friend who did time for conspiracy to commit murder, he was as you would say “mobbed up”. he is a super nice guy, one I would trust with my life, and I justify it by saying his crimes were against “bad guys”, and he did his time (he did).

    If I had never gotten to know the guy I’d probably feel differently about him.

    I have never met any of the guys that Kayden did but I believe I am less likely to feel any empathy for them, they killed their lovers for the most part if I read this correctly. These are guys that “snapped” and took a life, the underlying question will always be will they snap again? I know age tends to give you the wisdom to have a better grip on these things and most of these guys have probably done their 25 year minimum and as such have done their time and paid their debt to society.

    But still, there is presumably a relatively innocent person who is no longer here because of these guys. What if she were your sister or mother?

    It’s a complex question, to be sure, but In a way I envy Kayden for having had the opportunity to meet and talk to these people in this type of environment. It’s an invitation I’d have jumped all over as well.

  4. There was one other thing I feel compelled to mention about this article, and it isn’t meant as a reflection upon Ms. Kross…unless she truly is “Crazy in Love.” More so to point out the potential outcome if someone is crazy in love with you:

    “And the chivalry. These lifers presented their wives to me like they were unveiling masterpieces. “This is my beautiful wife so-and-so.” They said it as if they almost didn’t believe it themselves.”

    This is stated almost like it is intended to show how they have changed, when in fact this is most likely the personality trait they have always had. This mentality, in its extreme, is exactly what leads to most crimes of passion. If you build a foundation of your identity and self worth around the relationship you have with another human being, what do you think is going to happen when that other person leaves the relationship and tries to take their identity of self away from them? A very passionate moment indeed! It looks like they may once again be putting their self worth and now “second chance” at life in the hands of another human being. There is a big difference between chivalry and dependence.

    Be weary of those who can’t believe they have you, who’s world revolves around you and who says they can’t go on with life without you…they may be telling the truth! Though it may appear like it on the surface, that just isn’t chivalry.

  5. Now that the novelty has worn off, and you’re used to the standard and style of living being in porn involves, yet you’re still unfulfilled, you’re searching for substance. You, earlier than most in your profession, have been aware that this would happen – but this is a new low for you. I guess you’re catching up with your counterparts in the crassness of your nihilism. As I’ve said here a few times before, a person cannot maintain a contradiction forever. Eventually they have to consciously identify the premise which reflects their subconscious view of the world – and thereby reject fully the premise which conflicts with it – or they will have no other choice but to let the conflicting premise take over their consciousness fully; thereby reshaping their character.

    You might wonder what this has to do with your sympathy for murderers. You don’t experience what is happening to you directly. Describing it theoretically as I am doing is as close as one gets. Instead, life is lived one experience at a time. Just as whatever in your childhood and adolesence gave you the rational, legitimate desire to be desired sexually by men was never fully identified and thereby used for it’s only proper purpose, neither have you identified the idea that is making you want to associate with murderers, and to elevate them in your own mind to a level almost equivalent to everyone else. Something made you believe that your beauty was good, that it was good to share it, that others could and would appreciate it just as you did. Something also made you willing to put it above all of your other characteristics – to regard it as something other than a non-negotiable end in itself. You want to believe that that something lies on the side which makes you different from murderers. I say it lies on the other.

    You have made a nice little life for yourself by capitalizing on the legitimate desire of others to reach the state of exhaltation which sleeping with someone who looks like you would prove they’d attained. Just like you are now willing to pretend to yourself that you are in fact that woman simply because men who resemble those who you used to want, they also now only want someone you resemble. You all came to believe it wasn’t a real, viable goal. You acted upon that belief, became dependent upon that belief, and most of the time think you have beaten anything which threatens to remind you that it’s only a belief. But it still persists in making itself known now and then. Those less invested, or never invested, in maintaining it keep doing things which get in the way of your efforts to do so.

    So what’s the next logical step? To cast your net as widly as possible. A preemptive strike, if you will. Go for an issue which is so fundemental that once it’s decided, the rest will fall into place as a matter of course. If you can convince yourself that what makes a murderer different than an innocent man is something small and incidental, then you can convince yourself of just about anything. You can convince yourself that what makes a man genuinely the kind who you wanted to want to you before you got into this business is just his ability to suppress what those men you want now could not, then you can excuse yourself for surrendering your original desire. You can excuse yourself for the decisions you’ve made since it allows you to believe that all women wanted to do what you did, but that you were the only one honest enough to do so. Or, at worst, that it’s not a big deal. It never occurs to you that what keeps a man from murdering, or what keeps a beautiful woman out of porn, has nothing to do with the suppression of something evil, and everything to do with the expression of something good. A good you no longer have any inkling of.

    So you go out of your way to find places where you know you won’t find it. Places where you know that your belief will be reinforced. It’s bad enough that otherwise decent men have to learn this about you by looking at you naked – not as a result of a rare priviledge granted to a rare man of virture – but as a result of a mouse click. But to be willing to spit in the face of such a fundamental guage of a man as his respect for the santity of life itself by making it out to be just about impulse control? Where do you expect this game you’re playing with yourself to end? What do you think will happen to decent men – those who can control their desire to murder and those who are the only buffer between you and who you really are – when they are told that that counts for nothing and signifies nothing? In order to hide from yourself the nature of what you’ve damned yourself to, you’re quickly becoming willing to deface every bit of decency you may ever encounter.

  6. Methinks Goodwill is staring way too deeply into the abyss.

    I didnt detect any sympathy in her piece, a little empathy maybe but I have been there it’s hard to be around people who are happy and nice and not be empathetic to some degree.

    The way I read it I think Kayden took an oppotunity to do something unique but really had mixed emotions about it. She never said how she felt, she only hinted that she found some common ground.

    I have to agree with Cocain Inc, I caught the same thing he did and obviously so did Kayden…The way they presented their wives is telling and the fact that Kayden insticntively knew that was important to the story is a credit to her perception, whether she knew why or not.

    I thought this was very interesting and I think Kayden went out of her way to be objective on it…maybe too much so.

    It may have been interesting to know her personal observations and thoughts.

    Unlike goodwill I know Kayden very well, I don’t think that she is compensating for any deep seated hatred of herself or feelings of guilt or whatever, she is young, smart and inquisitive and she is sharing some of her life experiences with us.

    When I took the glider flight Kayden told me I was “Fucking Crazy”

    Well that may be but she also knew I wasn’t doing it to compensate for some feeling of inadequacy because I dont have wings….

  7. Goodwill, While I can actually follow and understand what you are trying to say so uneloquently in what will probably appear to most to be psycho-babble, you’re still just an asshole with bad intentions!
    If you want to change people’s actions or beliefs, give them clearly written facts to help pursuade them or some insight to help guide their thought, instead of just pure condemnation. You could have made a couple worthwhile points of discussion here, if the points hadn’t been at the end of daggers.
    All you are doing is trying to make yourself look smart and pristine, while making others look stupid and dirty.
    You need to brush up on the psychology which you are trying to convince people you are a master of, hopefully while getting therapy (seriously), and then come back and provide something useful to the world if you really want to sway their beliefs. At this point, your actions are far closer to an expression of evil than anything I’ve ever seen come out of porn.

  8. Hmmm… Goodwill has time to write again? I guess the 5 year old swimsuit competition is over with.

    Wonderful piece of honest and objective work, Kayden. I enjoyed it, as I do most all your articles.

  9. Here’s a guaranteed way to not have to feel empathy for murderers when they’re being happy and nice: don’t be around them. It’s not exactly news that murderers are human beings – not raging monsters 24/7.

    Of course she took the opportunity to do something unique. I explained why she took it. It’s not like she is in training to work in a prison.

    You may not have been trying to compensate for not having wings any more than “Kayden” was trying to fulfill a wish to be murdered, but you were trying to give yourself the impression that while you may not be normal in one particular way, at least you’re normal in all of these others. It’s just the flip side of of telling yourself that while you may not be normal in one particular way, no one else is either – they just haven’t acted upon it yet.

    To compare wanting to fly in a glider to wanting to experience just how outwardly normal people who shouldn’t ever be out of prison anyways can be most of the time? Like I said, raising everything up in order to be okay with bringing everything down.

  10. Cocaine,

    What makes you think I’m trying to change anyone’s mind? As I’ve said before, I don’t consider them changeable. They’ll just think to themselves something similar to what you just wrote.

    It’s just simply easier to read a porn-stars blog, when they make it so easy, than it is to retain it and apply it to every time I waste my time looking at porn.

    I only post it up here so I can find it again if I want to. It’s not worth space on my harddrive.

  11. Goodwill…My underlying point, as always towards your attacking comments, is that using the name Goodwill while knowing your intent of coming to this blog is to intimidate people, is not a clever Oxymoron, it’s a mentally disturbed moron.

  12. I agree with you, Cocaine. If ill will actually tried to express herself/himself clearly, I would be very interested in any kind of point. I guess that is not possible… Too bad.
    And, of course, I can’t direct any dialogue this person’s way because I’m not worthy of conversation – according to her/his comment under the Child Pageantry blog. What pointless weirdness is this?… We need a psychiatrist up in here!

  13. lol, grasping at straws are we? My username is what it is because it’s easy to remember. it’s part of the throw away email account i have that’s associated with my account here.

  14. And you have a “throw away” email account which includes “goodwill” for the purpose of what exactly?

    You want to say more things that prove my point before clearly thinking them through? I certainly don’t need to grasp for anything!

    How about, “Why am I enabling you by continuing to respond?” And I’d probably think…”that’s finally a damn good point.”

  15. Here’s what’s happened so far:

    I made a few points, you saw that they were true – so true that you couldn’t outright confront them and deny them – so you granted me that much, but then just said that I should have been nicer when I made them.

    I pointed out that it wasn’t my intention to get anyone to agree with my points. If anything, to just know that they exist, and to have less confidence as a result. But that doesn’t really matter anyways since my real point in writing them is so that I have them for my reference.

    You were left with literally nothing, so all you did was more crudely state your original point.

    I shot that down by pointing out that my username here isn’t some intentional bit of irony, but merely convenient for me to remember.

    You still won’t accept what’s going on, so now you’re actually trying to make the case that it’s never, for any reason, appropriate to have the term “goodwill” as one’s username?

    I give plenty of goodwill to those who deserve it. To those who don’t, I don’t. Being friendly doesn’t qualify one as deserving it.

    if that were the case, then murderers would deserve it. which brings me full circle…

  16. “And, of course, I can’t direct any dialogue this person’s way because I’m not worthy of conversation”

    Ya know, come to think of it, you’re a hell of a lot more worthy of conversation than he is.

    Hi Julie, love reading your thought-provoking postings!!! Keep it up. Oh, and also enjoyed the vids (in the car, and the tribute to Freddie Mercury) on your blog. “Don’t break my ART”… very cool name.

  17. I did not see that all your points were true as most were not, you are projecting that out of your own arrogance. So many of your assumptions about Kayden’s motivations were clearly so far off target, there was really nothing tangible to respond to. I granted you nothing with my lack of comment regarding that. I did, however, quite clearly say that you would be bringing up some valid points for discussion if you had stated them clearly and in a less confrontational manner and scribed them such that the readers could understand the point you were trying to make.

    For instance, you state “Of course she took the opportunity to do something unique. I explained why she took it. It’s not like she is in training to work in a prison.” to describe most of your initial posting’s psychological opinions of Kayden, but Kayden clearly stated “I couldn’t imagine why one would fly in for a barbeque but I didn’t ask.” So where Kayden is clearly stating that she had no idea what the barbeque was for (murderers) in advance of agreeing to accompany her friend, you went on a long tangent about why she agreed to the opportunity to go to a “murderer’s ball because of her psychological problems. Your entire psychological evaluation was irrelevant to the stated facts in her blog…plain and simple. You read what you wanted to read. I could write for an hour dissecting your misguided rantings.

    As far as “you’re actually trying to make the case that it’s never, for any reason, appropriate to have the term “goodwill” as one’s username.” No, I clearly did not suggest that. I’m saying anyone having a disposable email they can walk away from is beyond the purposes of anonymity, it most likely stems from the need to be temporarily deceitful, which is why it is a “throw away” email and not just an anonymous one that you keep around for privacy purposes. Using “goodwill” when your purposes are clearly not, is intentionally deceiving. Your interpretation, once again, was fallacious and off target. The stated facts did not support your conclusion.

    So I guess you feel you are the omniscient and omnipotent god that decides who deserves goodwill, and in these recent instances not only deciding who doesn’t deserve it, but who actually deserves malicious will…which is actually one step further than “I give plenty of goodwill to those who deserve it. To those who don’t, I don’t.”

    YOU clearly have no idea what happened so far. You come to a blog with a porn topic because you think you are going to be smarter than everyone else, with the intention of intimidating people (your words.) You are clearly projecting your personal issues into the blogs you read and projecting your psychosis into other people’s actions, your excuse is some bullshit about wanting to document your rantings other than on your harddrive. The facts and evaluations you claim stem from invalid arguments and fallacy…add a logic class to your much needed psychology courses. And quite frankly, your just not as smart or clever as you think you are. An IQ of 120 here is an IQ of 120 no matter where you go. Attacking people on a porn site doesn’t raise you up any higher, while you bring everybody else down…to use your own terminology. You are far from being in the tail of the bell curve, no matter where you go Goodwill. If you aren’t going to provide something worthwhile to this website, why not just leave these people alone and move on? Terabyte drives are fucking cheap these days!

  18. And yes, I am quite aware that there is ONE justifiable reason for your screen name, but was trying not to state that for your benefit….and it would be a true Oxymoron. Since you seem to take what someone doesn’t say as a displaying a lack of knowledge, I thought I should go ahead and throw that out there now.

  19. I didn’t say that you thought that all of my points were valid. I said that you thought – and still do – that some of them were. You’re only now addressing them because you’ve run out of ways to avoid doing so. None of them worked on me. As for what you think of them:

    1) “Kayden” stayed at the barbeque. So that bit is irrelevant.

    2) I use that email address for other things besides writing comments on this blog. It existed before I signed up here. You’re making unwarranted assumptions.

    3) To demand omnicience, omnipotence, and divinity in order to judge something or someone is just a way of insulating yourself from the only valid of judgement there is: that from a rational human being.

    4) of course I am projecting my personal issues onto the people who write this blog. The products they create facilitated them coming into being. I am determined to fix them, and this is part of the process. They depend on me not doing so. Too bad. I’m not a believer in turning the other cheek. Bad people deserve scorn just as much as good people deserve praise. Also, This has nothing to do with IQ. If Make, “Kayden”, et al had low IQs I could almost forgive them. That they don’t makes what they do that much worse.

  20. goodwill-
    I laughed out loud when I read that you post from a throw away email address after the comment you left on my own blog about how you’re absolutely not anonymous and therefore not a coward like I claim anonymous hecklers are. You posted that under the name grant, and you also used to post here under the name grantsinmypants. No matter who you claim to be it’s always the same crap and as far as I’m concerned you’re in the same category as the woman who stands on the corner of 5th and Broadway with signs strapped to her back telling us all to repent. Just because you don’t tie your beliefs to a deity doesn’t mean you’re not a religious fanatic.

    We emailed a few times from one of the posts I put up here awhile back. I told you then that I was not a staunch objectivist and had no aspirations to be. I told you I thought it was an extremely cold way to live. I don’t want to be martyr I just like that Rand encourages people to take responsibility for themselves. You agreed that it was cold and then admitted that you didn’t even have a job because you couldn’t find a boss who was morally upstanding enough to deserve you. At least the fanatics who think they have a god also think they get rewards in heaven when they practice martyrdom. What do you get out of it besides a long arm to pat yourself on the back with after you stroke your dick to me at night? You keep hinting that you do all of this for a reason but we’re clearly too stupid over here to understand your higher calling so please, enlighten us.

  21. “Kayden”-

    I don’t see how I’m a hypocrite. I know you know who I am. I’m sure Mike pieced it together aswell. Had you read the entire string of posts here, you would see that all I was doing was explaining to Cocaine_Incorporated that my current username here isn’t an added bit of malicious irony. It is what it is solely for my own convenience. Completely coincidental.

    Why do I do all of this? To get you to do what you just did here. To get under your skin. To remind myself that I can. That no matter how many things your easy money and popularity allows you to do in your life, you’re still required by the fact you’re a human to consider the issues I raise – and to do a terrible job at it.

    Caring about one’s moral perfection (which I know you’ll immediately think is a religious term – rather than a term stolen and perverted by religion) is a lonely gig. It’s very, very easy to be where I am in my life and conclude that it’s because of some fault on my part when in fact so much of it is the fault of others (again, I know that you’ll roll your eyes at that one too – I’ll address it in a minute). I do it frequently. I’m not under any impression that pornography is the main culprit, but since it does happen have humanity’s most fundamental emotional and intellectual expression as it’s stock and trade, it’s a good place to see just how deep the divisions between myself and the cultural status quo run. Arguing with liberals about Obamacare, or with Christians about abortion is boring, and tracing the steps down to their nihilism is too much work.

    So you like Ayn Rand because she says that people should take responsibility for themselves, huh? I can’t figure out why. You would be just another college girl working at the Gap if that were the case. You depend upon people being out of whack and irresponsible. As I said about Mike last week, I know you’d all like to think that your products are used only in the most appropriate of circumstances, but you know they’re not. You wouldn’t produce them if they were. Is thinking so really any different than a liberal, or a conservative Christian, or any other amoral pragmatist appeaser who says that communism is good in theory, but bad in practice?

    I say bullocks and that you’re all weak little liars in fear of the omnipotence of other people and scared to live your own lives by your own rational judgement and effort. To live the best life you can. To truly experience “a state of non-contradictory joy. A joy without penalty or guilt. A joy that does not clash with any of your values and does not work for your own destruction, not the joy of escaping from your mind, but of using your mind’s fullest power, not the joy of faking reality [for yourself or for anyone else], but of achieving values that are real.”

    Communism is bad in practice because it’s bad in theory. It’s a vicious and evil theory to start with. I also say that about 99.9% of porn consumption/production. It’s not a good thing to warp your mind at it’s most basic level, it’s not a good idea to try to warp the minds of your countrymen, and it’s not a good idea to contemplate doing either. It’s vicious and evil – no matter how well it’s dressed up in sexual-liberating nicities or insulated from criticism by relativism masquerading as individualism.

    In closing, I’m not going to address your claim that Objectivism is tantamount to a religion because it’s just so elementary, and betrays your ignorance of the thing which you say you reject (even though you list it’s seminal works as your favorite books in numerous places on the internet), that all I feel like doing is suggesting that you go to and looking up “package dealing.”

    Oh, and I stopped jerking off to you just about the time that you and I did have our little argument about Objectivism. I care too much about my life on this earth to do that.

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