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Never Confuse Activity With Accomplishment . . .

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Smith Publicity

Never confuse activity, with accomplishment, is an edict that I have often preached in my managerial career. It is the litmus test, which when used, determines the overall success of any goal or plan. It is the definitive indication of whether an objective was achieved or not.

Not everyone prescribes to this philosophy, choosing to focus instead on the myriad of activities, and unwittingly deluding themselves that the bustle is really an indication, that they are accomplishing something.

It has been said that experience is the best teacher, but it is always learned at the expense of someone else. Much to my chagrin, this lesson, which should have easily been avoided, finds me added to the list, as an unwilling statistic.

I am the author of an emotional and intriguing novel entitled, “I Apologize”. After have a modicum of success promoting the book on my own, I decided to enlist the help of a public relations firm.

After doing an extensive and exhaustive research, I chose Smith Publicity, based on their reputation, to assist me in my marketing endeavors.

Before going any further, let me state that my intention is not to sully their reputation, they are quite capable of doing that on their own, but to dissuade anyone seeking publicity, not to make the same mistake as I did.

Although, there were telltale signs of Smith Publicity staff’s ineptness, such as emailing me someone else’s contract to sign, blinded by my eagerness to promote the novel, I chose to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Fortuitous for me, Marissa Madill, my account representative, had suggested a six weeks promotion, to gauge the media’s interest; otherwise, I would have been fleeced for $10,000, which was the cost of a three-month campaign.

“A fool and his money are soon parted,” would aptly describe the situation at the end of my six weeks campaign.

I wish I could expound on what results, Smith Publicity achieved for my novel, but as they were quick to point out on numerous conference calls, while they tried in earnest to justified the work they did, the contract clearly stated, they do not guarantee, and are not responsible for any.

Worse, my assigned publicist, Jennifer Tucker sent me a hit list, and indicated that I should use the names and email addresses to “follow up” on her efforts to secure media coverage for my novel.

The list contained over 30 unreachable contacts. When I questioned how Ms. Tucker could have followed up, the office manager, Ms. Knapp, on a subsequent conference call, intimated that something must be wrong with my computer, and I should try reaching out to those contacts again.

Attempts to reach the founder, Dan Smith, to resolve this matter, have proven futile.

I received a call from the president of Smith Publicity, Sandra Poirier Diaz, in which she tried to defend the handling of my unsuccessful campaign. She offered to look at my spreadsheet of unreachable contacts, and returned to me, a revised list with 14 new names and email addresses.

Based on the preceding facts alone, I am quite sure you can fully understand my disdain and sheer contempt, for what I considered an ineffective and disastrous campaign, especially from a supposedly reputable public relations firm.

Heed the warning of a dispirited, and disillusioned purchaser of Smith Publicity’s services . . .

It cost me $5,000 to learn something I knew already . . . when the final ledger is tallied, accomplishment, (the achievement of a desired outcome or objective), can and should never be confused with activity (the appearance of being busy).

In the case of Smith Publicity, the latter is what you get, and they have a binding contract that clearly states as much.

If you choose to ignore this warning, the only advice that I can give you is, learn from my experience, and proceed at your own peril.

Bradley Booth

 

Running Away With Murder . . .

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Valentine’s Day, when most women were being showered with adoration, affection and endearment, Reeva Steenkamp crouched behind a locked bathroom door, seeking refuge from the man, whom professed to love her, as he fired four shots at it.

The bullets from Oscar Pistorius’s unlicensed gun tore through the door fatally wounding Steenkamp as she sustained injuries to her head, hips and arm.

The double amputee South African Paralympian sprinter has received international acclaim for his prowess on the racetrack, but his celebrity status will no doubt be tarnished, for his incredulous account of the events that led to Steenkamp’s death.

In a sworn affidavit, Pistorious states that his girlfriend’s death was a tragic accident.

Pistorious would have us believe that fearing for his life, he fired in the dark, at what he mistakenly thought was a burglar hiding in the bathroom.

Steenkamp’s family are still searching for answers to make sense of their tragic loss, but perhaps the truth of what really happened on that ill-fated Valentine’s Day morning will never be known  . . .

Will justice prevail in Steenkamp’s death or will Pistorious, national hero status, allow him to run free?

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

Let The Punishment Fit The Crime . . .

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The outpouring comments calling for a public lynching, to metering out the same cold-blooded execution, in order to save taxpayers the expense of housing two teenagers, who brazenly shot to death a 13-month-old baby, is a very fiery and divisive topic.

One cannot argue that the crime committed by these two teenagers is not heinous, and that the punishment administered should be of equal measure, but our system is one of due process, where an individual is considered innocent until proven guilty.

If we are to subjugate thoughts of retribution, we need to let our justice system, no matter how imperfect we think it to be, run its course, and after all the facts have been presented and examined, whatever verdict and punishment is rendered by the court, is what the accused should have to contend with.

Once we allow ourselves to entertain the notion of dispelling due process and exacting revenge for nefarious acts of violence, are we any better than the perpetrators, when in the guise of being law-abiding citizens, we trample and ignore their rights?

Sherry West was pushing her baby Antonio in his stroller when two teenagers accosted her and demanded money. When she refused and insisted she had no money to give them, the elder of the two, whom she later identified as De’Marquis Elkins, threatened to shoot her, and her baby as well.

West wrestled with her two assailants. Neither could snatch her purse. Miffed by their futile struggle, Elkins allegedly carried out his threat. He shot West in the leg; another bullet grazed her head, and then with depraved indifference shot her baby between the eyes.

Would the outcome have been different if West had just given Elkins and his 15-year-old accomplice, Dominique Lane, her purse?

The coastal city of Brunswick, Georgia is appalled that such a ghastly incident could have occurred in their small close-knit community. Witnesses tipped police that Lane was seen in the backseat of a car driving away from the scene of the shooting.

Police using West’s description that her attackers were African-American teenagers, concentrated their investigation on the surrounding schools’ absentee records, and by going door to door. West identified a mug shot of Elkins out of the twenty-four she looked at, unbeknownst that the police already had him in custody.

Although his aunt, Katrina Elkins, stated that he dined with her at breakfast, which was an hour before the shooting occurred, Brunswick police spokesman, Todd Rhodes, says authorities have sufficient reasons to charge Elkins.

Verdell Hunter characterized her grandson, Lane, as a baby himself, not a baby killer.

West’s mournful depiction of what happened to her and Antonio will no doubt sway public sentiment that our judicial system should be abolished in this particular case.

Derisive comments querying if President Barack Obama had a son, would he likely to be of the same temperament as Elkins, only serves to fuel hatred and propagate racial discord.

There will be no winners in this case.

The parents of Antonio Santiago demand justice. West’s says she can never forgive her baby’s killer. “I hope the shooter dies,” she cried. “A life for a life.”

One can only hope that justice will truly be served.

A long drawn out battle is brewing, with Elkins’ lawyer proclaiming his client’s innocence. Lane’s mother, Brenda Moses, claims that her son is a victim and doesn’t know Elkins.

In the end we should not rush to judgment, but ensure that these are the individuals, who tried to rob a mother and ended up killing her 13-month-old son.

When these allegations are proven in the court of law, and not by the court of public opinion, then by all means let the punishment fit the crime.

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

Affairs of the Heart . . .

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Affairs of the heart, which leads to uncontrollable crimes of passion, can happen anywhere and at anytime.

The insatiable desire to exact a measure of revenge when another suitor has captured your lover’s affections is a testament to the destructive force that drives relatively sane individuals to commit murder.

Although Marine officials have not released an official statement, one can only surmise that when their investigation has concluded, the facts will reveal that there had been a romantic entanglement that destroyed the careers and lives of three promising young Marines.

Why else would Marine Sgt. Eusebio Lopez, 25, of Pacifica, California, throw away such a promising military career by murdering two of his comrades and then killing himself?

The bodies of Lance Cpl. Sara Castromata, 19, of Oakley, California, and Cpl. Jacob Wooley, 23, of Guntown, Mississippi, were discovered together on Thursday night, in a room at the Taylor Halls barracks at Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia.

Sgt. Lopez body was discovered in the same hall, but in a different location than those of his two colleagues.

What drove him to commit such a horrific act?

The Marine Corps will no doubt keep claiming that the investigation is ongoing and they do not know the motive for the double murders/suicide. Everyone else will speculate and arrive at the same conclusion.

A love triangle ensnared them all, and Sgt. Lopez, perhaps not knowing how to control his emotions and no one to confide in, took matters into his own hands.

Quantico Base is known as the crossroads of the Marine Corps, where officers receive their basic training, but in the case of these three decorated Marines, perhaps another lesson would have been more suitable.

Affairs of the heart that goes awry ultimately have a very disastrous ending.

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

Have You Seen Her?

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Toni Enclade cannot bring herself to think that her daughter is dead.

Although almost three weeks have passed since Terrilynn Monette disappeared in New Orleans, her despondent mother still clings to hope that somehow her daughter is still alive.

The 26-year-old elementary teacher was last seen leaving a parking lot near the Lakeview neighborhood bar, Parlay’s, where she had been celebrating her nomination for teacher of the year with a group of friends.

If the accounts of what happened on that ill-fated night are true, then Monette should have never been allowed to get behind the wheel.

Monette allegedly was so inebriated that the bartender felt compelled to cut off her alcohol consumption. Furthermore she told friends that she was going to sleep in her car because she knew she was too intoxicated to drive home.

This is where I am completely baffled.

If I am in the company of friends, and I see that one of them has drunk themselves into stupor, would it not be incumbent on me to make sure they get home safely?

Yet in the case of Monette, no one offered. Not the bartender, who clearly could have called her a cab, and not her friends, who readily accepted the fact that she would try to sleep it off in her car.

This act of concern for Monette’s well-being would have surely made the outcome of that night on March 2nd entirely different.  What their inactions have caused is a mother’s mournful plea that someone would come forth with any information that could shed a modicum of light on her daughter’s whereabouts.

Although the investigation is still ongoing, as each day passes, the prospect of finding the Long Beach, California native grows dim.

Equusearch, the rescue organization headquartered in Dickinson Texas, have suspended their efforts after an intensive and exhaustive search of the bayous failed to produce Monette or the 2012 black Honda Accord she was driving.

Enclade does not believe the accounts of what happened that night. She claims her daughter would never sleep in her car. She steadfastly believes that her daughter was abducted, although surveillance cameras show her driving out of the parking lot alone.

“Where is my daughter,” she cries. “Where is her car?”

Police have questioned a man last seen talking to Monette in the parking lot, but for now he is not a suspect.

What has happened to Monette? Have you seen her?

Terrilynn Monette

If so please reach out to the New Orleans Police Dept at  (504) 821-2222 or to Texas EquuSearch at (281) 309-9500.

Whatever information you have, no matter how inconsequential it may seem, may help solve the mystery of this beloved teacher’s disappearance.

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

An Act of Cowardice . . .

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Self-preservation is the core of humanity’s existence. It is this natural instinct that allows us to flee whenever we perceive danger.

There is however an unnatural trait, in which we sacrifice our own safety for the sake of another.

Whether this trait is learned or overtakes us instinctually is subject to debate, but one thing is abundantly apparent, those who possess this redeeming quality are labeled as “heroes”.

This is not the case of the person, who convinced or was swayed to partake in a lascivious encounter in the bushes.

Sharai Mawera and her boyfriend were copulating in the village of Kariba, near Mahombekombe primary school in Zimbabwe when a lion approached them. The unidentified fisherman realizing the lion’s presence ran off leaving his girlfriend behind.

He turned around long enough to witnessed Mawera being mauled. No one heeded is impassionate plea for help. Most thought he was deranged since he was attired with only a condom.

He was finally able to convince local authorities about what happened. When they returned to the place where he and his girlfriend had been having their sexual encounter, all that remain was Mawera mauled body.

Mawera is dead because the person she gave herself to cared more about saving himself, rather than dying with honor as he fought to protect her.

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

Human Error . . .

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Whenever and wherever a tragic accident has occurred, more often than not when the investigation is concluded, the underlying cause is on account of human error.

This simple yet confusing premise is at the heart of so many unnecessary, regrettable, and grievous mishaps.

By all accounts Dianna Hanson was very knowledgeable about exotic big cats, and yet she was all alone cleaning out an enclosure pen, when a 4-year-old African lion named, Cous Cous, killed her.

Her father, Paul, characterized his daughter as a “fearless” lover of big cats.

Was it this fearlessness that led to her death?

Hanson was a two-month intern at Cat Haven in Dunlap, California. She began working at the wild cats sanctuary in January, and hoped and dreamed this would be a stepping-stone to her ultimate goal of working in a big California zoo.

What is inexplicable is why would she have been in the enclosure alone?

A coworker claimed to have been speaking with her moments before the fatal attack. Their communication abruptly ended and when contact with her could not be reestablished, the coworker decided to see what had happened.

By the time the employee arrived, Cous Cous had already mauled the 24-year-old intern.

Cous Cous was shot and killed when attempts to lure the 500-pound lion away from Hanson were unsuccessful.

The coroner at the conclusion of his autopsy determined that Hanson died from a fractured neck. His supposition is that the animal may have blindsided the young intern and swiped her neck with its paw, killing her instantly.

What were the real circumstances that led to her death?

While the authorities investigate what caused this unfortunate and tragic event, there are still puzzling questions that may never be truly answered:

  1. Was the lock to the gate faulty or was it inadvertently left partially unlocked.
  2. What was Cat Haven’s founder Dale Anderson’s great rush to reopen the sanctuary? Hanson died on March 6, and yet the park reopened on Sunday March 10.
  3. Was it proper protocol for a young intern, only two months on the job, to be in a lion enclosure by herself?
  4. Did Hanson’s coworker distract her when they communicated via walkie-talkie? Although other reports claimed she was talking on her cell phone.
  5. What is the outcome of the necropsy on Cous Cous?
  6. Has Cat Haven taken the necessary steps to ensure the safety of the public and its employees as well?

This disastrous incident when looked upon in its simplest form is one of human error . . .  Someone just got too close to a lion.

 

Bradley Booth/Freelance Commercial Writer/Author

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