Monday, December 29, 2008

The Ashley Sparks murder - both sides of the story

Two women were murdered in Salt Lake and Davis counties in the past few days. One was white, the other of Latin heritage. It didn't take long for a few of the KSL.com nutties to declare Ashley Sparks' death a tragedy, and Noemi Rodriguez's death basically what she gets for having a boyfriend who was undoubtedly Mexican and (therefore) illegal.

It's not the fact that people make assumptions that amazes us (we all do that); it's that their assumptions are so blatantly racist. Neither woman deserved what happened to her, and we hope the perpetrators are caught and severely punished. But how about making assumptions based on something other than whether a victim is wearing a cute Santa hat in her photo?

From a reliable source, we know that a few months ago, Sparks and two others stole a car and went to a county rec facility. Pretending to be a patron, Sparks went into the locker room, where a group of senior women in a swimming class had changed clothes. Sparks changed clothes, but instead of working out, she instead went through all the purses and bags that she could find. Finding a set of electronic car keys, Sparks walked out with them, located the car via the flashing lights, and she and her companions stole the car. Sparks then changed clothes again and went to a bank, where she attempted to cash an $800 check on the senior's account. Fortunately, the victim had already called the bank, and Sparks was arrested. She also had drugs on her.

This wasn't Sparks' first rodeo. What happened to her was horrible, but please, KSL.commenters, no more "From her picture, she seems so innocent" comments.


25 comments:

JM Bell said...

The KSL message boards are, for the most part, the dregs of Utah society. Unfortunately, it seems that the dregs constitute the majority in this state.

Anonymous said...

So despite the path some young girl chose we should not care for her death? I knew Ashley, we went to school together. Before she got stuck in the drug scene and she's an amazing girl and will be missed. You should be ashamed for playing so lightly on ANYONEs murder. Despite their lifestyle.

Voice of Utah said...

I don't know where you get the "We shouldn't care about her death" angle, because it's not from my post. My point is that certain people make assumptions about victims based on their skin color and/or physical appearance. Assuming that Ashley was an innocent young woman based on the fact that she was blonde and/or a young mother, while not affording the same benefit of the doubt to the other murder victim, is racist, in my view.

Bill said...

Dear Author, you leap to racism is absurd. Why is it there's always some nut raising this flag. She was an adorable young mom that made some mistakes. The story is the ruthless thugs that executed her. Your blinders are so insulting to anyone intelligent. We're sick of clowns like you throwing this racism card. Go camping with Al Sharpton.

Voice of Utah said...

"An adorable young mom who made some mistakes?" Stealing from grandmothers doesn't quite fit that definition with me (I think the actual word is "felony"). Ironically, however, I agree with you that people should not judge others harshly without knowing all the facts. I just don't see that standard applied evenly. The people on KSL made assumptions about Ashley because she was an "adorable" white woman, but made different assumptions about the other murder victim based on apparently nothing but a Latin surname. If that isn't racism, I don't know what else to call it.

Anonymous said...

As a Hispanic person and having lived outside this country I wanted to post my comment on this. I knew ashley in high school and saw her sparingly after graduation. Never in my life would i have suspected her in such dealings as the ones i've been reading about in the tribunes. That being said i've noticed that people are very "sensitive" about choice words being mentioned on people. Adorable, classy, innocent and as soon as they throw the race into the equation. All hell seems to break loose. I'm very sure that a lot of people even "white" people know of white trash men and women who hang out with degenerates and so do hispanic and black people! I understand the issue here, the words announced by ksl brought up some harsh feelings and made you think "racist!" When in fact no one knows anything and people are very quick to judge. What a great country we live in where we can express our opinions and beliefs but I HIGHLY disagree with the notion of KSL being racist on your topic. Ignorance is a reality more so than actual racism.

Voice of Utah said...

2nd anonymous: My conclusion that the KSL posters were being racist by making different assumptions about two women with nothing to go on besides their physical appearance was primarily due to years of reading KSL.comment boards. It is disturbing, but there is a segment there who consistently make rude assumptions about anyone whose picture or name suggests they are Hispanic. There was nothing in the Rodriguez story that suggested she was anything other than a normal woman, but this segment assumed she and/or the killer were illegal immigrants, etc. It's the disparity of treatment I was commenting on, with that background.

Bill said...

Unfortunately, the race card is used too often - even abused, as in your position.
Am I racist for saying Nigger, or Honkey? No, not really. However, a sect of society deemed it so because these words have been associated with hate (of course except when punk rapsters and thug gangsters use the terms).
A racist is someone that discriminates against people of a particular race, other than their own, for no other reason. It's a solid fact that few people of another race do not categorize without prejudice - it's been going on since the beginning of time. It's when they actually discriminate opportunity or cause harm that it becomes an issue.
I'm one of many who are fed up with the racist card being played when a minority is in the mix against a white. Political Correctness is a disease that's killing America. The issues other than just race are what matter.
Just because the white girl was "cuter" and touched people's hearts more than the other girl, you're throwing the race card? This psychology borders more on similar elements of a racist.
Do you mind explaining your lack of sensitivity to the White girl's situation? She was cursed with a curable disease that's killing all of our youth - black, white, Asian, Hispanic alike! Instead, you're throwing the race card because people "felt" pity for her situation. Pathetic, simply pathetic.

Voice of Utah said...

After reading hundreds of comments (and, frankly, as confirmed by the level of vitriol reflected in your comments), no reason was articulated for the disparate treatment of the two murder victim, other than immeidate disparagement of "Mexicans" with respect to Noemi Rodriguez (who, as far as we know, had no criminal record) and "adorable" with respect to Ashley (who had an extensive and recent criminal record, including stealing from senior citizens). How do you explain instant references to "Mexican/illegal" as anything other than racially based?

Also, I have been reading the boards for years, and have rarely, if ever, seen pleas for forgiveness for extensive criminal activity when the crimes have been committed by minorities with drug problems. Instead, all I ever see -- ever -- is a kneejerk "deport the scum!" without consideration of the underlying drug problems. Ironically, Ashley Sparks' situation (i.e., a "cute" white victim) may be the impetus we need to finally get effective drug abuse prevention in this state. Meanwhile, neither woman deserved what happened to them. Both had kids. Both murders were equally horrific. All we want is for them to be treated equally on the KSL.comment board. But let's face it, it will never happen as long as one of them is named "Rodriguez".

Rememberance said...

I don't get how all of you can just toggle back and forth on someone you don't even know, Ashley was my X, i am the father to our child. We were together for four years until July 4th 2008. I learned of Ashley committing felony's with some gang thugs after i left her and knew she was not herself, I WAS BLOWN AWAY! Ashley was a sweet, kind, caring mother. And it is truly tragic to what happened. Instead of thinking about the two murders race, send your hearts out to both family's through prayer or donation. We don't have much and are really struggling with this loss. Her son is in good hands with my family and is being very well taken care of. I just want everyone to remember Ashley for Ashley and not as a felon. She was caught up with the wrong group. "Wrong Place Wrong Time." She was eligible for drug court on the 19th due to it being her first real crime, she was cleaning up her life and getting back on track, her life came to a sudden halt because some little 19 year old crotch grabbing, wanna be Thug pulled a trigger on a 9MM. Rest in peace Ash, we will miss you. xoxo

Voice of Utah said...

My point was that readers of the stories were drawing completely different conclusions about two murdered women based, rather explicitly in my view, on their race and/or physical appearance. Why didn't Noemi Rodriguez, who (as far as we know) did not have a criminal record, deserve the same benefit of the doubt that these strangers gave to Ashley? I am very sorry for what you and Ashley's family are going through, but I am still concerned about the double standard that was applied to Noemi Rodriguez. None of the commenters here have addressed that fundamental dichotomy, which was the point of my post.

Anonymous said...

Just because Ashley had gotten in trouble it gives those boys (and yes I use the term boys because they have no right to be called men) no right to take a life. Plain and simple!

Ashley and Rachel said...

Wow...It never seems to amaze me the crap people actually write about. My name is Ashley and I am sitting here with my friend Rachel. We are two of ashley's best friends sense childhood up until the end. Technically the last 8 months of her life was her "first rodeo" She had never been in trouble til' she met the scum of the earth. Her troubles in her life were severe in these months, and led to her death. She loved her family and her son. This has nothing to do with race, just another thing for people to drag out and cause BS about. A woman died and a little boy will never know his mom. The other woman who died is a very tragic case too...but by dragging down ashley does nothing but add too the hatred.She was hurting deeply and was lost...she had wrote a poem saying sorry to those she hurt and applied for drug rehab and was accepted...but was never told...because a immature little wanna be gangbanger took her life!! So we ask whoever wrote this article...to leave it alone. She has hurt enough, and people still wanna try and hurt her even when she is gone. Especially people who never met ashley and knew the real her. No one is perfect and she knew what she did was wrong...and by trying to make it right her life was taken. But people can think as they want...those of us who knew and loved her always will.

Anonymous said...

ashly you got someone fighting for you, the whole story is yet to be told! but i am going to make sure it is heard by everybody, im sorry i didnt make them listen then... mac-v

Anonymous said...

ashly june 18 thats when the truth shall be unfolded, im so sorry i didnt make them listen when you first came to me, mac-v

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Anonymous said...

I agree with the person who wrote this.. Yea she may not have deserved to die and it may have been a bad place and a wrong time but what is said when someone who is not white is brutally murdered.. They use racial name calling and judge them because of their race.. And its not playing the race card but simply stating fact that people are racist.. Its sad to hear about ashleys death and yes she may have been trying to get straight but really you should know both stories.. Drugs change people and she may have been one person to family and friends close to her but she was completely different to the people in the drug world,, so i was told.. But did i think she deserved it no.. But a hispanic woman that had none of these problems,, she gets called every dirty name in the book.. If you cant see racism in that then you are blind as far as i can say because it is just uncalled for.. They should be looked at the same way,, both brutally murdered over decisions made in their life no matter how different the decisions were,, they were both mothers,, they were both loved by people who knew them and both of them deserve to be alive today.. Nobody is pickin on Ashley it is just in someones opinion on how people can be cruel and blind to people of different races.. My prayers go out to both families especially their children they left behind because they are going to grow up without their mother,, sympathy should be shown to both women because they both deserve it..

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This is racists my friend Noemi died to do she didnt know how to escape from a bad relationship not because he was hispanic and not only hispanic kill ok she left 3 young kids one was this monster child dont talk shit of someone you dont know this is for you ever wrote the main post