Rest in Peace and Love, Dear Gynnya Hope McMillen


In another heart-breaking tragedy, Gynnya died during her overnight custody at a state-run juvenile detention center in Hardin County, Kentucky. She was sixteen, and was found dead on January 11.

There have of course been many protests, petitions for ‘justice’ in her name, and media reports asking what caused her death, and describing the abysmal and cavalier ways that Lincoln Village personnel allowed her to become yet another #hashtag killed by police/security agents, no life-checks as required, though cameras had shown no movement, no responses from her for hours.  So far, there’ve been no answers, given that the coroner found no physical evidence of cause, thus suspecting ‘no foul play’.  Tox screens are pending, as is reported DNA testing to be performed by the Mayo Clinic;  to what end, sources can’t say.

When two or three days ago I came upon this (it also has the timeline of her hideous time at the center) inquiry into Gynnya’s life and family history, I was not only caught off-guard, but have been haunted by her story, which prompted an old Gary Jules song to keeping playing in my mind.

Gynnya grew up in more than challenging circumstances, and had been in out-of-home placements several times, most recently since July, 2016, at Louisville’s Maryhurst Family Treatment Center in Louisville, ‘the state’s oldest child-welfare agency, whose programs include residential treatment, two community-based therapeutic group homes and foster care’.

She and her mother, Michelle McMillen had received some counseling sessions, and Gwynnya was about to be released to return to her family. In preparation for that time, she made the last, as it turned out,  overnight visit in a series with her mother on January 10.  That was when things went haywire.  She allegedly had attacked her mother, pulled her hair, and scratched her face.  ‘Mother’ called the police, and during the five-minutes of the recorded 911 call,  the disgusting invective her mother aimed at her daughter provided a window into what Gynnya’s life with her must have been like.  It was said that Gynnya could be wailing ‘No, I didn’t,’ in the background.  When the police arrived, she was outside, and was taken to Lincoln (it takes a) ‘Village’ at the ‘detainment’ order of a local judge.

Now she had lived for some unspecified time with her father, and no descriptions of what her life with him have surfaced.  But he had died in 2014; public records indicate that her older sister, now 27, had been convicted of arson in 2011.  Yes, all of it adds up to Gynnya’s having lived in an extremely dysfunctional family environment, and who knows how many traumatic events she’d experienced. The amount of fear she must have experienced haunts me, as well as how little security she must ever have felt.  What did she dream at night?

This is her sister’s Justice for Gynnya Facebook page.  By all accounts, she was a charming girl, despite such heavy odds.  She liked to dance, and must have loved whimsy: look at her Marilyn Monroe with a belly tat shirt; how fun, no?KeeganStephan had Tweeted the facts that protestors in NYC had put on posters recently.

It may occur to you that the song resonates for me so personally due to my own life’s story, and I expect you’d be right.  It makes me cry, especially when I hear ‘the dreams where I am dying’ lyrics, so I am possibly projecting it onto Gynnya. Many of us carry wounds from our childhoods, and many have worked at becoming our more authentic, born wonderful, selves.  But given that her life would have been far more impacted by her dysfunctional family even than my own, I can easily imagine that she sometimes succumbed to seeing the world as the sort of ‘mad’ on display here:

mad world (the lyrics)

Children waiting for the day they feel good
Happy birthday, happy birthday
And to feel the way that every child should
Sit and listen, sit and listen

Went to school and I was very nervous
No one knew me, no one knew me
Hello teacher tell me, what’s my lesson?
Look right through me, look right through me…

My wish and prayers for Gynnya is that in the afterlife, she knows that she is one of the Superheroes Antonio Ramos (Rest in Peace and Paint) painted so inspirationally in Oakland.

antonio ramos 2


In other police state news:

‘Feds Won’t Charge NYPD Officer in Fatal 2012 Shooting of Ramarley Graham’ (he was unarmed, killed by the nypd),

‘Freddie Gray case: Maryland high court says Officer Porter must testify against all five co-defendants’, Baltimore Sun, March 8

18 responses to “Rest in Peace and Love, Dear Gynnya Hope McMillen

  1. hard to even find words strong enough to indict this; RIP melvin stubbs and miz stubbs:

  2. The pandemic continues. Cops are not family counselors; even family counselors appear not to be family counselors. So much despair and failure of public support that even motivated psychological and social workers eventually burn out and just go through the motions and fill out the paperwork. Why some areas continue to have dysfunctional families and dysfunctional politics.

    Tragic. Wilfully tragic

    • it really is heart-breaking, and is becoming rather common-place, tragically. in a related matter, this horrid news, an ugly political choice all the way:

      Texas to license family immigrant detention centers

      we’ve seen social services, treatment centers, and counselors too up close and personal to have much faith that many know what they’re doing, whether training, burnout, or hubris, i dunno. the whiff at the center that one anonymous counselor thought re-integrating with her family might not work out for gynnya was interesting, wasn’t it? bless her darling heart.

  3. The “criminality” of society, both petty (like traffic stops) and otherwise (drug felonies), are revenue streams of all levels of gov’t. As WSWS reports today, this is true on a global scale, w/top ISIS commanders having been trained by US Special Forces.

    somewhat OT from the victims of the prison state, but RT had a doc on some Syrian, Iraqi, etc., refugees who had made it to Sweden. Obviously life hadn’t suddenly become all hunky dory but the grim relief of not hearing bombs at night, etc. Anyway, one of the guys from Syria said the hardest part of his exile was the boat crossing from Turkey to Greece. Scores of people in the night w/no light packed onto a makeshift boat. Many of them had never seen the ocean before. They were all terrified. The young man in the interview said they all knew they were going to die at sea.

  4. “…the Ferryman the poets write of…” perfect, jason. and the thing of it is that none of this has to be happening. if miss kinneman in freshman english had played gielgud, we all might have enjoyed shakespeare a hella lot. what power!

    US special forces trained ISIS commanders? not sure i can stand knowing, but in lybia before they went to iraq, then syria, or where and when?

    have you read anywhere about what the NATO ships are actually doing in the aegean sea? is there mission really about ‘preventing human trafficking’ (whatever that really means)? i’ve just had to stay off that #Enough! on twitter in some small measure of self-defense.

    nice to see you, stranger.

    on edit: #enough is all-electoral politics now; this is #RefugeeCrisis. nope, can’t bring any tweets.

  5. been busy on an important question of romance….i wish. i can’t answer on NATO. I’d heard that NATO had been tasked to blow up boats before they leave shore if necessary, but apparently that hasn’t happened yet. But the Lakoffian framing that the refugees are the products of unscrupulous human traffickers…well, it’s only a matter of time that these traders in & traitors to human flesh just dispose of the surplus. it’s inevitable (w/o some serious mass revolt, that is.)

    The waters closed in over me,
    the deep was round about me;
    seaweeds were wrapped about my head
    at the roots of the mountains.
    I went down to the land
    whose bars closed upon me for ever-from Jonah 2

    the grim ferryman indeed.

    • i do appreciate the poet in you, amigo. and that you have some reservations about nato’s actual mission in the aegean. i wish i could remember where on earth i saw the (ahem) counter-evidence alleged.

      the jonah 2: without attribution, i might have imaged it from melville, really, and in a way, this mission is the Empire and its client states White Whale, as are ‘defeating isis’ and the never-ending war-on-terra.

      i left some links for you in the roosia diary; some are good, and a good discussion developed over some of the anti-capitalist essays i’ve been reading at roar magazine. i found a cool movement in greece that touches some of the advised themes, too.

  6. revenge upon nature…love melville, MD is the best. those 2 passages i posted are the nightmarish dreams of guilty parties (Clarence is at least twice a murderer), quite unlike the occupants on treacherous boats fleeing NATO’s wars. I couldn’t stop thinking about the young man on the RT interview saying they all knew they were going to die, as many have. how to convey that horror.

    more later. thanks.

    • haunting voices and images i certainly understand, jason, and yes, moby dick is even better the eleventh time, yes?

      Rt: Rescuing refugees from drowning will be ‘criminalized’ under new EU law – activists’

      this wasn’t the original site reporting this, but if it’s true, it may be a cover story by nato commanders. register with the police so you’re not classified a ‘human trafficker’?

      one report said nato would be working with turkish and greek coast guards, but this is marked as turkish coast guard’.

      • haven’t more than glanced at your flint post!

        speechless about this refugee thing. i suspect that maybe NATO/EU has made a deal w/Turkey to look the other way at Turkey’s antics vis a vis “the Kurds” while Turkey acts as the buffer & does the heavy lifting on refugees fleeing to Europe. I know, Turkey is part of NATO and “the Kurds” is a big issue that the gov’t can use to do all kinds of nasty stuff, as they are already well-versed in doing.

        • ah, don’t worry about it; i’ve barely glanced it it myownself. i just put it up as a public service, and tried to note how many more flints there are, and how so many induns have been living without safe water for half of forever. but hell, they’re only induns, right?

          good guesses, and oy: the davos folks have weighed in on the ‘limitations of the plan’ on the twit account. load of ‘charitable organizations’ are asking for contributions, and you know how little of those monies ever get to the intended recipients. :but administrative costs!”

          so putin is pulling planes out of syria and the world wonders why. but really whats important is the U presidential race…10 bloody months away, yanno?

          oh: roosia.

          • is it good news or bad news that 1/2 of amerkuns could care less about this election? “Americans are so apolitical!” yeah, and so overworked, too…and voting=being political since when? this election campaign is itself a psy-op. one party patting itself on the back about how smart they are cuz they just say no to FOX, yet they couldn’t tell you one more truthful thing about Ukraine than the FOX troglodytes except maybe what the capital of Ukraine is. BAR reports today (or I read today) that as Obama flashes eyelashes at Cuba, he’s trying, has been since day one, to baton & mace & taze & shotgun the gov’t of Venezuela to death. Foreign policy is not up for debate in the election, though some patriotic squeaks about “$15/hr” and “holding banks accountable” are grudgingly allowed, along w/unceasing jingo chauvinism, penis brandishing and howling about how great a fort we are going to turn the USA into.

            Gawd, Cuba…i’m afraid we are going to look back fondly on the Cuba from after…uh…’63 or so till now as this functioning society whose water & culture & everything hadn’t been totally fucked by Starbucks, Monsanto, Honda, RJ Reynolds (do they exist?), BP, Gorton’s, and Hilton.

            russia…i haven’t looked at your roosia diary yet. i will before commenting further.

            • what a polemical treat you are. ;-)

              yeah, O has increased sanctions against VZ, and the ‘humanitarian’ ngo’s are on the case. of course bolivarism (even the curent rather neoliberal version is “a national threat to amerikka”. on telesur english maduro ‘the cab driver’ says: “look to your own nation ya pendejo!” (okay, less graphically than that).

              ooof, BAR’s newsletter comes only sporadically these days, but you mean: we’ll remember (and cuba will) the hemingway days more fondly? is c-u in c.u.b.a. open for bidness like haiti?

              nah, you were on the roosia diary; it just had some good links in the comment thread is all…

              er…is the capital of ukraine ‘yats’ or ‘the kyiv post‘?

              ha ha ho ho hee hee… (h/t ‘the chink, ‘even cowgirls get the blues’

      • what’s your roosia diary?

        • i swear i’d seen via email you comment about indun oppression, but i can’t find it on the comment stream….

          yeah, we live on the edge of indun country, so maybe we notice more of their immisseration? ute mtn. utes finally got running water mebbe two decades ago, most pueblos still ain’t got any, afaik. uranium mines all over the four corners, disease inc.. same for the lakota, everything’s toxic (the film i gave you, ‘thunderheart’, i dunno…but flint got the juice, and yes, black oppression’s in the news, good on that. but buffy said it right: “third-worlders see it first”…and my thang is that we all are seeing it increasingly, and need to wake the fook up and fight back.

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