Sometimes I Can Sense Future Events, but Only Dimly

March 16, 2008

I sometimes have a premonition that some event-usually bad-is going to happen before it happens.

This sensitivity to the future is not based on the “extrasensory power ” known in science fiction as precognition.

My awareness of the future is not based on the psychic power known to mystical nutcases as divination.

It is based a bit on intuition. It is based a bit on a lot of experience, usually with bad things happening.

It is not very precise. I gain no benefit from this non-power power.

For example, I once picked up the Portland Oregonian and read about a person on trial for murder. The accused was a former student of mine, Mindi Rahier. I did not know in advance that Mindi would turn out to be a murderess, but I was not surprised.

I had two thoughts as I read the story: Mindi always was a sociopath and Mindi always was a lazy, sloppy student who never did an assignment correctly.

I then had two more thoughts If I had been a better teacher, Mindi might have done a better job of getting her boyfriend to murder her husband and Maybe it was a good thing that I wasn’t that good a high school teacher.

Talking about the crime on the telephone with her boyfriend after the deed was just the kind of careless dumb blunder Mindi would do. As if it didn’t occur to her that the Portland police would get a warrant to tap her phone.

This is all true. I am not making any of this up. As David Rochester wrote recently, some stories would never work as fiction.

Mindi had been a student in an alternative school half-day program called Alternative Futures, based around futurology and environmentalism. We (the three teachers) tried to inspire our students to become activists and to make a positive difference in the world and to fulfill their potential. Some students who usually didn’t like high school thrived in our unconventional educational environment.

Some students didn’t thrive at all. Although the students had a lot of freedom, they also had to provide some internal self-discipline and an ability to structure their own lives and make reasonable choices.

Some were not suited for the freedom we offered. Mindi was one of the students who could only reach her potential with a lot of external structure around her. She did very poorly in Alternative Futures.

Mindi was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder and sent to the Salem (Oregon) State Prison for women. (This is one reason I am using her real name, a departure from my usual policy of either making up false names or just using initials. I doubt Mindi is going to come looking for me with revenge in mind or is going to sue me for libel. I don’t know if she has access to a computer or gets to blog.)

There is a “rest of the story” footnote. A year or two after she was sentenced and started serving her term, I read one more newspaper story about Mindi. Many of the prisoners in the woman’s state prison were poor and illiterate. Mindi, the story said, was occupying herself in prison by teaching some of her fellow prisoners to read.

I had one last thought about the experience:

Maybe I hadn’t been such a bad teacher after all. Maybe I had inspired Mindi a bit. Mindi just needed a structured environment to fulfill her potential.

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18 Responses to “Sometimes I Can Sense Future Events, but Only Dimly”

  1. pandemonic Says:

    Oh, my.

    I guess you were a great teacher after all.


  2. If I had been a better teacher, Mindi might have done a better job of getting her boyfriend to murder her husband

    Oh my (atheist’s equivalent of) God, that was funny.

    I don’t know whether to be impressed or disconcerted by Mindi’s prison literacy efforts. I guess I’ll be impressively disconcerted.

  3. modestypress Says:

    David, I sometimes wonder what it would have been like if as a high school student you had been a student in Alternative Futures.

    I don’t really know. But I remember one student who was very sensitive and very odd. He was more into movies though then music. He was very talented, but all over the map. It didn’t work out that well for him in our program, though as far as I know he never killed anybody. (He was more likely to get killed than to kill, think.) I think he was hetero, though his sexual identity struck me as quite peculiar.

    However, I really do believe you when you describe yourself as unique. So I really don’t know the answer to this hypothetical question. I’ll send it out to live in the desert with the sphinx.

  4. modestypress Says:

    When I thought about Mindi’s later good deed activism in prison, I too suffered from a serious case of irony poisoning.

  5. cheles Says:

    O.k. That was a bit creepy Random. Never say never hey? Wow…..

  6. psychic work Says:

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  7. Jack Says:

    As a person that knows a bit about Mindi I couldn’t help but comment.

    While I agree with your statements about Mindi as a person I am unsure what to make of this post. Regardless, one interesting tidbit is that Mindi has been out of prison for some time now.

  8. modestypress Says:

    Hello, Jack. I was just thinking about Mindi and then your comment popped up. As I am getting old, I am always questioning if I am in touch with reality, or just fantasizing about stuff that happened a long time ago.

    I was going to contact the Oregonian and the Multnomah County Library and try and find the original newspaper articles to reassure myself that I am in touch with reality. I don’t know if you are reading replies to your comment. I am going to try and contact you by email. I hope that is all right. If you want no further contact, just tell me so.

  9. NothingToSeeHere Says:

    Note: I am not the same person as “Jack”, above. I found this post while searching for the old news articles about this murder incident.

    Mindi’s family lived within a block of my family for a few years (approx. age 7 to 13-ish?).

    When her trial was in the news she was under her married name. I didn’t realize who she was until I read a news story about the guilty verdict, and it mentioned the name of her father. The moment I read that, I felt the same sort of Extra-Sensory Perception ability you mention above.

    A few years later, I was attending a Linfield College graduation ceremony. Mindi was out of prison, and was receiving her Bachelor’s degree.

    I did not seek to renew old acquaintances….

  10. modestypress Says:

    Nothing to see here: Thank you for your comment and additional information. As I am getting old, I was beginning to wonder if I am suffering from dementia and hallucinating about events from my past.

  11. NothingToSeeHere Says:

    Found more info. Her husband, Christopher Lee Tucker, was stabbed to death in 1980. She was convicted in 1985, that conviction was overturned on appeal in 1987, and she was granted a new trial – and convicted again, in 1989.

    Mindy Marie Tucker and Mindy Byers are names I find in partial news articles online.

  12. modestypress Says:

    NTSH: Thank you for commenting again and for providing additional information about the case.

    I was perplexed by something about the events. Most people who are unhappy with a spouse get divorced. I always wondered: why did Mindy (I guess I have been spelling her first name incorrectly) participate in murdering spouse instead of just dumping him? [If you are still reading.]

    I am going to try and email you as well. If you are shy, you have my permission to ignore me. (I will sulk, but only briefly.)

  13. NothingToSeeHere Says:

    Sorry, I am the one who misspelled her name. “Mindi” is correct.

    I can’t answer why she conspired to have her husband murdered. Only 2 years out of high school, she could not have been married very long.

    If money was the motive – she was alleged to have offered to split the life insurance with the killer – it backfired. I’m sure the criminal defense attorneys spent a lot of billable hours on her multiple trials and appeals….

  14. modestypress Says:

    Hello again “Nothing to See Here.” I am getting old. If you keep up these comments at this rate, I am sure you will outlast my ability to keep responding.

    You aren’t one of David’s “alters” seeing how long you can keep me falling for this, are you? Oh, well, as the saying goes…”No good deed…”

  15. Chinookwinds Says:

    I served on the jury at her first trial.

  16. modestypress Says:

    Chinook Winds, thank you for posting your comment. I will try and contact you privately through your email. I have a morbid curiousity about the whole matter, and I would love to talk to you (at my expense), but feel free to refuse.

    • Chinookwinds Says:

      I’ll try to help you with any questions you may have regarding the Tucker case from the point of view as a juror and personal opinion. If it’s any consolation to Mindi or her family, there is a part of me that sincerely wished that I had met her (we were close in age and locality) long before she decided to take the path she chose. I believe she could have used a mentor to help guide her into making better decisions for herself.

      • modestypress Says:

        That makes a lot of sense (that she needed some guiding before she took the path she chose.) Of course, as one of her high school teachers, we tried to guide her as well, but she wasn’t very interested as a young woman in being guided. We have to figure out how to communicate–message box is awkward, and my wife will kill me if I don’t go out an work on the garden and the weeds and the chickens.


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