Posted by: joshjasper | September 6, 2015

Good Intentions Vs. The Truth

jackson park rally

Jackson Park was filled with good intentions today. Hundreds stood together with balloons in hand to remember Nancy Krapfl.  It was just days ago that Nancy was raped and killed on our streets by a young man in our community. I know the organizers of the peace rally had the greatest of intentions.  I believe every person that took the microphone felt like they were saying the right thing.  I know they meant well.   Even the guy that took the mic and promoted his self-defense classes.

I was making my way to the park when I first noticed someone wearing a martial arts uniform.  My stomach sank.  Please tell me she’s just passing through, I thought.  The young woman was handing out flyers.  I took a deep breath and pretended not to see her as she passed by.

“See something, say something.” the organizer repeated throughout the afternoon.  “We need to take our town back,” another exclaimed.  “99% of us are good people.  It’s that 1% that is the problem.”

There was a self-defense demonstration.

self defense class

I wanted to rip my fucking hair out.  I started to get light-headed and hoped as I scanned the sea of white faces that others would be just as disgusted.  Their applause echoed in my ears.

Take a self-defense class.  Be vigilant.  Walk in pairs.  Never walk at night.  Keep a key between your fingers.  Carry pepper spray.  Park under a street light.  Don’t wear anything provocative.  Don’t drink alcohol.

Ask women what they do to “prevent” from being raped and this is what they will tell you.  And more.  A lot more.

Pay attention here.  Please.  That shit is not prevention.  Telling a woman to take a fucking self-defense class is not preventing anything.  All of that stuff is risk reduction, at best.  It all has value, but has NOTHING to do with preventing anything.

If we were truly invested in prevention, we would focus all of our energy in understanding why men are acting out so violently.  I could make your head spin with statistics about men’s violence against women and other men, but it clearly doesn’t matter because you would rather talk about us versus them.  You want to talk about taking your town back.  Do you have any idea how ridiculous that sounds?  Seriously.

You want to rewind the clocks back to the good old days.  Remember those times?  The times in which men and women were equal and our streets were overflowing with respect.  Oh wait, you don’t remember that blissful time?  Yeah, I don’t either because it never existed.

Just be honest.  You want to roll the clocks back to a time in which there were no people of color in our community.  Somehow you think “they” have our community and now it’s your job to take it back.  Come on.  You can’t be that ignorant.

After every rape, murder and school shooting that takes place in our communities we immediately want to discuss mental health, guns, neighborhood watches and surveillance cameras.  And every single time we miss it.  Every. Single Time.

The common denominator in all of this mayhem is men.  We have to talk about this truth.  And when we do, we will FINALLY begin to understand how to realize peace.  We will realize that it has been in front of us forever.  We’ll realize that our silence has been our greatest threat.

Before you drive to my house and accuse me of being anti-male, know that more than 97% of serious crime is committed by men in our country, but the VAST MAJORITY of men are not violent.  Did you catch that?  That is a really important distinction to understand.

In short, a relatively small group of men are acting out violently while the rest of us “good guys” sit back and do nothing to challenge their abusive behavior.  We are teaching men to be disconnected from their emotions and from their community.  Young boys and men are being taught from an early age that they must be powerful, controlling and aggressive without ever giving them the opportunity to explore who they really are without being judged and shamed.

The real problem is the good guys with great intentions that lack the integrity and courage to challenge the norm.  They hurt us the most.  They are in fact killing us.  Those are the guys that through their silence are giving other men permission to act out in harmful ways and are doing nothing to redefine what it means to be a man that includes respect, empathy and equality.

I get it.  You want the easy solution.  You want to point your finger at a group of people and drive them out of our town.  You think if we all take a self-defense class and report crime as it happens that we will somehow change other people’s behavior.

You don’t want to talk about challenging the root of this problem because the root would trace back to you and your behavior.

Rest in peace, Nancy.



  1. What you said about all the white faces in the crowd was the first thing I noticed from pictures. I didn’t go down because us standing in the heat listening to people tell us what to do. Is not the solution to the problem. I think u should have been the one talking.

  2. It’s not often I can find anything online that doesn’t throw the mentally ill under the bus, or tell women to stay indoors if they don’t wanna get raped and killed. Thank you for poignantly hitting the nail on the head.

  3. Wow!!! Thank you!!!

  4. My only problem with the mentioning of race is the fact that this event was voluntary for EVERYONE and ALL were encouraged to attend.
    Where is the support from all of our brothers and sisters in the community?
    The more diverse our city is, the more it is necessary for every person from every walk of life and nationality to participate in community activities. Only when all people participate will we be able to realistically unify.
    There is not just ONE answer to this complex problem. And this problem of violence is not a new one. I remember block fights on the corner of where I grew up involving 30+ people. I remember being 13 and seeing a woman beating up a man because she thought he was cheating….and people laughed. I have read of women stabbing and killing a pregnant woman, a man shooting his ex-gf’s new lover and then himself, and read of men and women young and old commiting crimes and ending up on the sex abuse registry.
    In the modern days of the expansion of technology and social media, there seems to be more awareness of events and more participating outcries, however there are MANY pieces to this puzzle.
    Mitigation of risk is a legitimate part of our responsibility as citizens. It is a responsible action to do when there are real dangers to us. It doesn’t solve the problem, but it is necessary. Understanding how to reduce the chances that you may become a vicitim is as vital as a motorcycle rider wearing a helmet “just in case.”
    I applaud our community for doing SOMETHING, when many times in the past people have sat around and did NOTHING.

  5. Thanks all for the comments. Sarah-I agree with what you are saying and please know that I too applaud our community for doing something, anything. I just want more. Like you. I get where you are coming from regarding this was an event for everyone to attend and “everyone” wasn’t there. I can’t speak for the people that didn’t attend, but I wonder if some of that has to do with not feeling welcome. I try to put myself in the shoes of “them.” More specifically, if I’m a black dude living in Dubuque for the past 10 years and all I ever hear is about how “those people” should go back to Chicago and Milwaukee, I wonder how comfortable I would be attending a community event. I know me. I would become resentful. I would know that you don’t know me and would reach a point in which I would stop trying to prove myself to others.

  6. This is the dumbest blog I’ve ever seen…. you apparently don’t understand that this is beginning of how you do the right thing…. there were thousands of dollars raised for this woman’s family to help pay for expenses… I think looking at the crowd it’s apparent as well that yes a majority were white….. so what… EVERYONE was invited! Black white Hispanic islanders Asians, it didn’t matter! Can’t force people to attend a good cause! Like I said this blog blows!

  7. Thanks for the note, Douglas. At what point do we move past “the beginning”? I’ve been to too many vigils in Dubuque for raped and killed women, children and men. To be clear, I think it is wonderful that money was raised for the family and the community was able to come out and pay their respects and have a conversation about next steps. I just want the next steps to be the right ones. As for your point about certain people not being in attendance, please see my previous comment.

  8. I enjoyed your article. I think it’s great the community came together. I also agree with most of the points you made. I just hated the balloon release. I can’t stand the fact that those balloons are going to fly off and kill off some wild life somewhere. It’s a terrible irony. Honor the dead by letting go of balloons to unintentionally kill some animals elsewhere. This makes no sense to me.

  9. I agree this is the beginning of solving this complex and ongoing problem. I also agree that staying silent about crime makes the situation worse. I also believe the martial arts is a great reducer of crimes like rape. I say this because I was taught “Self Defense” in high school many years ago.

    Thankfully I never had to use it until about a year ago.

    I had my keys on me, but in my pocket. It was daylight but getting dark on a street that was well lit. There green cabs on the block all parked withtheir drivers inside. I lived on this same block but the enterance to my appartment was around the corner.

    I had not even walked 1/2 a block when the hair on the back of my neck stood up. I glanced over my right shoulder and saw a man coming up on me fast. I stopped and pivoted so my back was against the wall. He stopped also. I took 2 steps and he followed.

    I then made up my mind this guy wasn’t going to get the chance to do anything. I did what I was taught….I engaged the man in conversation as I kept my distance. Placing my hand in my pocket with my keys at the ready. The man did NOT want to talk because I would hear his voice. By engaging him in conversation I let him know I knew what he looked like, what he was wearing, and what he was up to. I then made a comment that the green cabs were there and that it was unusual.

    The man walked across the street, hopped in his car and left the area.

    I still know what this man looked like and what car he drove. I didn’t have my glasses on so I couldn’t read his plates. (I can’t see far away!) I have seen this man one other time since in the same area. At that time I didn’t report it because I didn’t want to bother the police.

    I did say something about a week later. The officer said, “If you see something, say something!”

    So Josh, don’t say it doesn’t do any good to use martial arts. They at least offered an avenue of support to people when they needed it. People can only do so much to help others by the way in which they know how. I didn’t get the chance to go to the vigil because I had prior things to do. I didn’t know Nancy but I pray for her family and friends. I speak up when needed. Before we badmouth the efforts of others, maybe we should first figure out what more we can do to help the cause. Its like one of our great presidents said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country!” This quote can be taken into more situations than a military life. It can be taken up MANY aspects of life.

    What happened to Nancy was not a racial issue so don’t bring it into the conversation. I have friends and am acquainted of people of many nationalities. A part of the problem trying to rally people together has nothing to do with race, it has to do with being taught, ” If it doesn’t happen to you, shut up and stay out of it!” or “If you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you!”

    I personally go out of my way many times to wave at the neighbor’s across the street. It lets them know I belong and so do they.

    Yes I remember a time where you didn’t have to lock your doors at night in this city. Many of my high school friends and their parents didn’t lock their doors. We didn’t have to worry about who walked in. And we had many nationalities in the city even then.

    We are not fighting a fight against people of one race or another, we are fighting against crime like what happened to Nancy. Senseless horrible crime.

    So if it bothers you as to how people go about doing that, then I suggest you get off the “high horse” you’re on and help in some way or another. That doesn’t mean you complain…it means do something! Teach people!

  10. Thanks for the note, Jean and for proving my point. To be clear, I never stated that martial arts isn’t good to use. I simply shared that it is not violence prevention. Prevention would be focusing on the behavior of a would be attacker. As in your case, that man will simply find a different person to attack. His behavior/attitudes/thoughts toward women didn’t change. You reduced your risk by being prepared. Which again, is a good thing. A great thing.

    I also never stated that what happened to Nancy was a race issue. But it becomes a race issue when many suggest that we should send all individuals of his particular race/culture “back to where they came from” most certainly makes it a race issue.

    You say we are not fighting against one race or another and yeah, I agree. That’s really my whole point. We are not really doing anything. I worry when we talk about “fighting crime” as if crime is not the actions of an individual. My point throughout the blog post is to just have a conversation about the prevalence of men’s violence against women and how more men….and women must challenge abusive behaviors and attitudes.

    I’ll leave your “high horse” comment alone. It doesn’t seem real constructive to respond.

  11. In my flyer it States that we talk about avoiding being assaulted or bothered to seeing trouble ahead discouraging an attack by your demeanor

  12. Everyone says this is a step towards our community coming together. BULLSHIT. ..take my word this will not last. Yes I agree that we should call 911 if we see anything going on that should not be going on. Speakers say to leave your name when you call. They must not understand that will only cause retaliation. You should be able to report things discreetly. More things will be reported. Later last night I read facebook statuses from some people that want to turn this into a race issue. Saying there wasn’t a vigil for the young woman who was killed by her boyfriend on Arlington. Anyone can hold a vigil. I don’t think the thing at Jackson Park was necessarily a vigil. I went and expected to hear about Nancy life and show my respect to her and her horrible death. I assumed it would be like a memorial service. At least her obituary read or something. Afterwards I walked to the crime scene. That’s where the real vigil occured. I woman stood on the hill and said a prayer for Nancy. That’s what it was supposed to be all about. Sorry my comments are all over but you get the picture

  13. This post makes me very sad and angry. Now every time I see one of your orange shirts my stomach is going to hurt. I will think about rich white people like you, who don’t even live in Dubuque, who think that they can be unkind in the name of “truth.” Do you really care about getting to the root of the problem in our community, or do you just care about promoting yourself and your agenda? How many people from my neighborhood have you invited over to your house? Would you even come over to my house to have a beer with me if I asked you? I noticed you didn’t bring your kids along to play on the playground with my kids. You are bashing those martial arts people, but they are the ones who are taking the time to teach my kids self-defense, and they are doing it for free. They aren’t afraid to touch my kids, to interact with them, to show them how to be good citizens. And all you are doing is using bad language and trying to divide us up against each other. Why are you stirring up controversy and division when the rest of the community is trying to pull together? Even if we aren’t doing it perfectly, we are trying.

  14. I wonder if you stood up and shared some of your opinions or just went home and wrote a blog? Bashing people for handling it differently via the Internet also seems to separate people and maybe promote yourself?!

  15. Thanks again everyone for the comments. This dialogue is where change begins. Eric & Annie-It would be easy for me to get defensive what you wrote, but I’m not going to do it. You don’t know me but I would love the opportunity for to you to get know me and vice versa. Let’s get together. Let’s talk about these issues. I certainly don’t have all the answers. I simply want things to change.

  16. Josh that is a good idea and I think you should act on it. These people make very valid points.

  17. Who wants to help me put on a truth rally? Its a good thing all these white Dubuque’s showed up to fight the good fight. We are fighting against non whites being violent right??
    MEN are killing people in Dubuque!! Not the “blacks” shooting people (eye cross). Murder after murder after murder, girl after girl after girl!!!! Why is nobody talking about all the girls who fought for their lives against the person that “loves” them. Attention @thonline what about writing an article detailing every murder in Dubuque. Let’s figure out who the threat is OR just continue on blaming them damn “blacks” and guns.

  18. You’re right, Josh. Dubuque has an inclusion problem. It’s not just about race or skin color either. I’ve lived in the tristates for several years and I’m still made to feel like an outsider despite being a working class white man. The community is very insular and hostile to new or different ideas. It’s frightening even to someone who can “blend in” most of the time. I can only imagine what it must be like for others who can’t.

  19. You should give serious consideration to getting a title that reflects the topic of the story!

    They met to put pressure on the public officials to start to doing something about Crime!

    This article is part of the problem with Society! When people Talk “lets take our city back” they mean from the Criminal part of Society! Make the streets safer than they are. Unless you go to a police state to get ride of crime and even then not all its to reduce crime. Don’t be a race baiter we need people to get others to come together! For a change have something positive to say!

    Try using less profanity it does not make you look Intelligent, relatable, level headed, or non bias!

  20. I can’t help but think “wow this is an Angry white man” as I read this blog! So are you one of “the men” you speak of? AND unfortunately society has changed A LOT. so, as sad as it is, knowing how to protect yourself isn’t really that bad of an idea. I don’t think cursing about self defence class is a real mature thing to do! I agree getting “our town” back sounds ridiculous and is never going to happen. We live in a world that children are playing video games of killing people, stealing cars, and swearing. What do we expect them to be like as adults? Let’s face the facts that we do have to do whatever it takes, no matter where we live to protect our self. I read that the man who did this awful act, has assaulted in one way or another quite a few times. So who do we blame for that? Aaaa the blame game! So, while some of your points seem pretty reasonable, most aboutwfulnotherrerere about as vulgar as your words!

  21. So glad you opened up and voiced your opinion. I wish more people would share their half-baked thoughts online. Im enjoying this view into this idealistic and overly generalized world you live in. I never knew racism was bad or that we should solve problems at the root of the issue. You took a proud step in explaining the statistics that 97% of serious crimes are commited by men. Let’s see how you deal with taking one more confident step and explain the relation of serious crimes to ethnicity. Some “truths” aren’t as attractive are they?

  22. So Josh Jasper…..that is your solution? To ask males to be introspective?

    How do we go about doing this and changing this culture of hate and killing? Please advise.

  23. You do know that the perp was not “black” but from the Marshall Islands.

  24. Thank You for pointing out the elephant in the room. I shouldn’t have to walk in public in fear with a key between my fingers or worry if my clothes are too provocative (which is completely subjective, by the way). What are the underlying systems that are creating people so disconnected that they are capable of such terribly overt violence against other humans? Let’s fix that. Please.

  25. Thanks for your thoughtful post.
    My thoughts on the larger picture…
    Until humans get over expecting the quick fix, and begin to consistently put enormous resources into early childhood education, parent training and nutritional counseling, anger management and mindfulness for preteens and teens and post teens, we will see little or no change in a societal scale.
    Until then, we can make a difference by “being the change we hope to see”.
    It’s not other people who can change today, it’s me, we, us, ourselves…
    A tragedy is awful. Yes.
    Yet it is also inevitable. Humans have not yet mastered our irrational passions, nor our addictions. We judge others for their failure, but forget to see our own.
    Every step towards peace comes from one person committing to loving-kindness and empathy.
    We will never be free of the random psychopath or dysempath. They are somehow rotten in their cores, and may be beyond hope. Maybe they are meant to challenge the rest of us to learn the strength of cooperation…

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