Matthew 8:19–20 Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
It occurred to me after I wrote Chapter 7: Inward Approach to the Law for Beginners, that the rape prosecution I successfully defended in the early 1970s, with the help of an inexperienced judge and an inexperienced assistant prosecutor, perhaps came back around in the late fall of 2015, in Key West.
Most, but not, all of what follows, was reported on my blog, goodmorningkeywest.com, which died and went to heaven, or somewhere, in early 2017, and was replaced by afoolsworkenverends.blogspot.com.
Riding my bicycle through Bayview Park one morning, I noticed an attractive fifty-ish woman sitting on a towel on the ground against the chain link fence that enclosed part of the basketball court. She had a daypack. I had not seen her before. She looked homeless. I kept going.
The next day, she was there again. I stopped, told her my name. She told me her name. Kari Dangler. I asked how long she’d been homeless? She asked why I thought she was homeless? I said I had been homeless in Key West and I knew what homeless people look like. She said she hadn’t been homeless long. I said she wasn’t supposed to be homeless, something was wrong.
I was renting a room in the home of a friend and was running out of money, again, and was eating at the local soup kitchen each afternoon to save money. That same afternoon, I saw Kari at the soup kitchen sitting at a picnic table with a few other homeless people. There was an empty seat at the table and I asked if I could join them? Kari said, yes. That became a daily ritual.
at Key West soup kitchen
One day at the soup kitchen, a homeless man started frothing at the mouth and went into convulsions and fell to the ground writhing. Kari and the other homeless people at the picnic table said the fellow had taken “spice”. I asked what that was? They said it was making the rounds in Key West, and not just among homeless people, and was very dangerous.
Kari said she’d never used spice and her drug of choice was vodka. She smoked cigarettes. My mother smoked two packs of Pall Malls a day since age 15, to rebel against her Puritan parents, she told me. She got up each morning drinking screwdrivers - orange juice and vodka - and went to bed drinking them. My father, too.
My mother cured me of smoking even one cigarette. She died of lung cancer during my 2nd year of law school. By the time I met Kari, I was intolerant to any form of alcoholic beverage. One glass of red wine at dinner caused my gut to scream in a few hours and my liver to scream even louder the next day.
Eventually, I would wonder if Kari was a chance for me to work through unresolved issues with my mother, especially? Before that crystal ball arrived, I found myself attracted to her.
Kari could be funny as hell.
She had been around, clearly. I had no clue just how much around.
Walking to our bicycles after lunch at the soup kitchen one afternoon, I said that I wondered what it would be like to be in a bed with her?
Kari said she once had a nickname for a job - Cowgirl.
Yes, an escort
Kari said it was the idea of the fellow she had lived with on Key Largo. She had business cards made with her name, Cowgirl, and phone number. They put the word out. Lonely older men on Key Largo and down to the middle Florida Keys called and her boyfriend drove her to their home, since Kari usually was too full of vodka to drive. Kari said the older, lonely men wanted to pay her $1,000 to talk, and when she offered to take off her clothes, they said they just wanted someone to talk with.
A call came when Kari’s boyfriend had something else to do, and Kari drove herself to the client’s home in Islamorada. (My father had owned a home in Islamorada from 1963-2001.) Kari got there, hung out with the client for a few hours, got paid, then drove back to Key Largo home and got arrested for D.U.I. by a sheriff deputy. Kari was taken to the jail on Plantation Key. Some of her Cowgirl cards were on the car console and one was mailed to her mother by someone. Kari lost her driver’s license.
Kari told me a lot about her growing up in Missouri, and afterward. For the first few years of her life, she thought her grandparents were her parents and her mother was her older sister. Her grandmother told her she was distantly descended from Jesse James.
At age five, Kari was kicked in the face by a horse in their pasture, and somehow survived that.
When Kari was eleven, she baby sat some neighbors' small child, whose older brother took off Kari's clothes and licked her private parts. Just afterward, the parents returned home. The father wrote Kari a $5,000 check to say nothing. She declined the check and fled home and told no one.
Kari's mother and her stepfather she came to view as her father, raised quarter horses and competed in rodeos and won often. Kari became a high school rodeo champion. She was a star on her high school basketball team. She was president of her high school student body.
After one rodeo, a Native American elder approached Kari and said he was impressed at how she and her horse were one. He told her he was a shaman, and they met some times and he told her what it was like to be a shaman, including he was celibate. He taught her some shaman rituals.
Kari got caught smoking cigarettes and was kicked off the high school basketball team. She got caught drinking liquor and lost her college scholarship.
Kari ran with cowboys and cowgirls. She had sex with some cowboys.
Kari started dating a proper fellow and they didn’t have sex because they wanted to save it for when they got married. There was a big wedding, bridesmaids, etc. They went to his home afterward and got undressed and that’s when she learned he had a defective penis and could not have sexual intercourse with her, despite them trying for several years.
The inevitable infidelity and divorce came.
Kari took up with a back US Army combat veteran, whom she loved. She got pregnant. Pressured by her parents, she got an abortion and took it very hard.
Kari took art courses in a local college and drew people’s portraits and made a living at that. She saw her subjects’ auras. She sometimes saw things in the auras that disturbed her.
Kari saw in the aura of a good friend she was drawing, that the friend was really sick and needed to see a doctor. Kari did not tell her friend, who soon died. Kari was freaked out and gave up her art.
Kari met a fellow named David Dangler, passing through in a motorhome. He told her about his nice home in Orlando and his Mercedes.
Kari’s parents liked the motor home. David asked them how much cash they had to spare? They said something like $35,000. He sold it to them for that sum. Soon after, the motorhome fell apart.
By then, Kari had moved to Orlando with David, whose Mercedes was quite old and his nice home was in the low rent district. But she loved him, and she liked Florida a lot better than she liked Missouri.
Kari was David's trophy wife. They went out drinking a lot. David traveled a lot to disaster areas, getting paid by FEMA to help provide housing for disaster victims.
Kari got pregnant. Baby girl Loni arrived when David was working in California. Kari was very sick from a rough delivery. She was not producing breast milk. She was too weak to get out of bed and get to Loni's crib.
Kari’s mother was en route to see her new granddaughter. She couldn’t get anyone to come to the door. She got help, they broke in and found Kari and Loni just in the nick of time to save them both. Kari’s father wanted to kill David.
Kari then got a sense that David was ripping off FEMA and said something to him about that. David drove Kari to Key Largo and dumped her on US 1 with a few dollars, and left.
Perhaps an angel had a man meet Kari and take her to his home, where she would become his girlfriend and look after him and his crippled son? That is not a ridiculous query. When I knew Kari in Key West, she reported quite a few times that angels just showed up in front of her and told her something about herself.
David Dangler went for full custody of Loni, based on Kari’s drinking. A child therapist testified in the Plantation Key courthouse thata Loni had used anatomical dolls to show what David was doing with her when they took showers together. The Plantation Key judge gave David full custody. (In Alabama, a judge would have given Loni to Family Services.)
Kari went to rehab, dried out, and then attended AA meetings on Key Largo. In time, she was leading AA meetings.
Kari had supervised visitation with Loni, it was a long drive to central Florida.
David disappeared with Loni, to where Kari knew not.
Losing Loni unhinged Kari, she started drinking, again.
It got in the news that David was charged with ripping FEMA off for more than $30 million, after Hurricane Katrina smacked New Orleans. It was thought David fled to Honduras, where he eventually died. Kari heard David was killed. She heard he committed suicide. Kari felt cheated, David was the only person she ever wanted to shoot.
Kari and her Key Largo boyfriend took in a local fisherman, who had lost his son and was having a very rough go. He was supposed to pay rent with fresh fish, but he seldom did and he drank a lot.
One evening, the fisherman hid Kari’s bottle of vodka, which really got her worked up. He got into it, arguing with Kari’s boyfriend in the kitchen, and yanked the refrigerator door nearly off its hinges.
The boyfriend was unable to get the fisherman to behave and went somewhere else in the house. Kari went into her and her boyfriend’s bedroom and got his Colt Python revolver, which was not loaded. She called 911, but when the dispatcher came on the line, Kari hung up.
Keri went to the kitchen and waved the gun at the fisherman and told him to leave the house. He went outside and Kari saw a sheriff cruiser coming and she went back inside.
Two deputies heard the fisherman’s story about being threatened with a gun. They asked Kari’s boyfriend if he knew anything about that? He said, no. They went with him to the bedroom to get the gun, where Kari had returned it.
The deputies asked Kari if she had threatened the fisherman with the gun? She said she had waved it at him, because he was drunk out of control, had argued violently with her boyfriend, and had wrecked the refrigerator door.
(In Alabama, people could use lethal force to defend where they live. In another part of Florida, a white guy named George Zimmerman had shot and killed a black kid he was stalking, after the black kid jumped Zimmerman and he suddenly feared for his life and shot in self defense and was acquitted by a jury.)
The deputies told Kari there was an empty shell in the gun. Kari said she had used the gun some time before to shoot at a loud frog in the swimming pool behind the house.
The deputies told the drunk tenant to sleep it off that night in his car in the home's driveway, and to leave and come back to the house to pick up his belongings only after making arrangements with the house owner.
The deputies charged Kari with aggravated assault, while intoxicated, and with discharging a firearm in the city limits. They took Kari to the Plantation Key jail, from which she was transported to the sheriff’s very large main jail on Stock Island, the next island above Key West.
mug shot after attempting to defend boyfriend's home
Shortly afterward, Kari’s boyfriend and his crippled son died about a week or two apart. Kari had no home. She was homeless.
Kari was appointed an assistant public defender based on Plantation Key, who himself had gotten outed in the local newspapers for getting drunk at a party and getting in his car and driving it on US 1 and losing control and plunging into the mangroves and the ocean. His lawyers were using every trick in the book to stall and get him off. Kari was apprised of that by her mother, who had googled the assistant public defender online.
The assistant public defender leaned hard on Kari to plead guilty and get put on probation, when he himself should have been prosecuted for wantonly driving his car on US 1 and putting everyone else on the road at mortal risk - aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Kari took a plea and was put on probation. A condition of her probation was that she not drink alcohol. She was released from the jail on Stock Island, to be homeless in Key West. She slept nights in the homeless shelter next to the Sheriff’s jail.
She did volunteer work at the shelter, washing towels and sheets. Then, she was banned from the shelter for life. Right after that, I met her in Bayview Park. She was sleeping nights on the ground somewhere she hoped city police would not find her. Homeless people called where they slept nights outside, their hidey hole, and they didn't tell anyone where it was.
Kari told me she had caught scabies from towels or sheets at the shelter and she was given a cream containing ivermectin to treat it. Kari said the shelter didn't want to impose social distancing. Nor did the shelter want publicity about scabies.
Kari and I spent a few nights in a motel.
Kari's probation was violated by her probation officer, because she was drinking vodka and failed a pee test.
I started itching all over my body and went to a dermatologist who diagnosed scabies and prescribed me the same ivermectin cream, which would take care of it in time. The doctor told me Kari had scabies, too, and the jail should treat her for it. Kari was in the jail infirmary and heard medical staff and the infirmary doctor decide not to treat her for scabies, because if they did, I would report it on my blog. I reported all of that on my blog.
Kari often reported thinking about me and suddenly having an orgasm while she was surrounded by female inmates. Kari reported dreaming nearly every night of she and I having mad passionate sex. That would continue for as long as I knew her. As would her having dreams about me, which helped me navigate the really weird dramas I seemed to attract like a powerful magnet.
I visited Kari about 5 days a week in the jail. By then, I was sleeping nights in the homeless shelter, which had been built some years before, because my Key West lawyer and friend Sam Kaufman (now a city commissioner) and I had threatened to put the city in federal court, if its police did not stop arresting homeless people for sleeping outside at night.
A federal case, Pottinger v. City of Miami, had held that Miami could not deny its homeless people essential life functions, such as cooking food, using the toilet and sleeping, to try to make them leave Miami. The same federal court had jurisdiction of Key West and there was a federal courthouse in Key West.
While living at the shelter, I made a public information request to see Kari’s file at the shelter. After a lot of runaround, I finally was shown two thin files. There was nothing in either file explaining what Kari did to get banned for life, nor was there anything in either file saying she was banned for life. There was nothing in her file about her having caught scabies there.
I reported all of that on my blog, and I described unpleasant stuff going on at the shelter. I published several times that homeless people, who kept drinking and/or drugging, would be better off dead, than to continue living that way. I was accused of threatening to kill homeless people, and was banned from the shelter for life.
I found Loni on Facebook and started private messaging her links to my blog posts about Kari. By and by, Loni messaged me, said she had read every post about Kari. She was coming to Fort Lauderdale with her boyfriend to attend one of her best friend's funerals. She wanted to drive down to the jail afterward to visit Kari. It was all set. Then, Loni changed her mind. I begged her to reconsider, to no avail.
After Kari was released from jail, she started applying ivermectin cream to her body, which was prescribed by the local indigent medical clinic. The creme was too weak to treat her feet, which were swollen, crusted over, and looked sort of like horse hooves.
A friend of mine ordered veterinary level liquid ivermectin online. I got a gallon bucket and filled it with water and poured chlorine bleach in it, and Kari soaked each foot in that for half an hour. The next day, we used ivermectin and water for the foot soak. And the next day, and the next day. Kari's feet began to heal. After about a month, her feet looked like feet. I reported all of that on my blog.
Kari was harassed continually by city police for trespassing in shopping centers, sleeping outside at night, and for camping, sitting on a towel on the ground. The towel made it camping. She was jailed a few times, and a judge gave her time served, until the next time he saw her.
I had telephone conversations with Kari’s probation officer, who came to like me. In time, she said probation was not working, because Kari would not stop drinking vodka, and that was costing the probation office, the local criminal justice system, and the courts a lot of time and money.
I lobbied the assistant state attorney on Plantation Key, where Kari’s felony case lay, to ask the judge there to terminate Kari’s probation at the recommendation of her probation officer.
The assistant public defender didn’t want any more to do with Kari, and the Public Defender asked the State of Florida to appoint Kari a special counsel, which the State did. I explained the probation termination solution to the special counsel.
Kari and I rode the Key West shuttle bus up US 1 to Marathon, and then another shuttle bus to the Plantation Key courthouse. The probation officer there did not know what was going on. I told her and she went back to her office and got Kari’s file and came back to the courthouse.
The probation officer told the judge why the Probation Office wanted Kari’s probation terminated. The special counsel made the same argument. The assistant state attorney made the same argument. The judge was irked, said he was being asked to reward Kari for bad behavior, but he terminated her probation. (The same judge had given David Dangler full custody of Loni.)
Now, Kari could drink without fear of being put in jail.
Key West had an open container ordinance, which was only enforced against homeless people. The sheriff’s jail was the city’s de facto homeless shelter/drunk tank. I published that on my blog, and if there was no booze in Key West, the city's economy would crash.
Yet, how many times had I upset homeless people by declining to file a lawsuit for them against Key West for selective enforcement of the open container ordinance? When I first met Sam Kaufman in 2001, he was looking at filing such a lawsuit and asked me what I thought? I said I could not bring myself to ask a judge to make it legal for homeless people to drink themselves to death. Sam didn't file the lawsuit.
The Key West police department was not thrilled with what I was reporting at my blog about what all was happening between their police officers and Kari.
Kari reported one incident when she was not arrested but threatened physically and verbally. I made a public information request for the body cams and was told by the police department's public spokesperson that it was coming, only to have her quite distressed tell me the cams were destroyed by the officers and they were receiving counseling.
The police department was not happy, either, that I was sleeping nights in its front lobby, because I had nowhere else to sleep at night. That was reported in the Key West Citizen, and the spokesperson was quoted as saying I had to be allowed to sleep somewhere, if I was not allowed to sleep at the homeless shelter.
Kari didn't trust law enforcement and refused to sleep nights in the police station. She slept nights on the ground somewhere she hoped city police would not find her.
Kari had a Metro cell phone and we talked often in that way, and we visited when she still had the energy to pedal her bicycle somewhere we could be without being harassed by city police, or I pedaled my bicycle to where she was and we had a modest meal at a local restaurant.
City police officers kept arresting Kari for camping, or trespass, or open container, and putting her in jail. I kept writing about that on my blog. Sam Kaufman helped Kari in some of her cases, but he did not do anything as a city commissioner to try to stop city police from harassing and jailing Kari for being homeless.
An unauthorized practice of law complaint was filed against me with the Florida State Bar. Posts about Kari from afoolworkneverends.blogspot.com were cited as evidence I was practicing law in Florida without a license.
A Bar investigator attorney contacted me, asked if I was practicing law in Key West? I said, no. Was I giving people legal advice? I said lay people give people legal advice all the time; President Trump gives people legal advice. Was I charging money for advising people? I said, no. The investigator attorney closed the file.
I don't remember if I told the investigator attorney that I practiced law ongoing in God's Courtroom, where I and everyone else involved was on trial.
Quite a few times I wrote at my blog, in God's eyes, we're all homeless.
In late August 2017, Hurricane Irma charged from Africa straight at Key West. My older daughter and her mother conspired to get me out of Key West to Alabama. Kari did not have such guardian angels.
Kari called me one morning and said when she woke up around dawn, she saw two huge arms and hands come down from the sky and nudge Irma slightly eastward.
Just before Irma hammered Key West and likely killed Kari, who was trapped there, and lots of other people, Irma turned slightly eastward and presented only her clean (weak) side to Key West. 20 miles up US 1 through Islamorada were devastated by Irma.
Kari had found shelter - miraculously - in an open bathroom in the breezeway of an evacuated motel on North Roosevelt Boulevard. The door opened outward. While the strong winds howled and a 3-foot tidal surge covered that part of Key West, Kari was safe in the bathroom.
I published that at my blog, and that an angel steered Irma slightly eastward to save Kari Dangler’s life. If she was not there, Irma would have wrecked Key West.
I wrote at my blog that the City of Key West should thank God by giving Kari a free apartment, a monthly stipend, and a key to the city.
Instead, city police kept harassing Kari and putting her in the sheriff’s jail on Stock Island.
Covid-19 came. Kari was holed up with a man friend in a Florida City motel. Only essential service providers could get into the Florida Keys through the sheriff’s roadblock. Kari told me of her and the man getting really sick. Respiratory, they could hardly breathe and move. It sounded like Covid-19. It lasted a couple of weeks. Then, they took covid tests offered by a traveling ambulance and were negative.
The man got upset with Kari because she didn’t want to have sex with him. He gave her a deadline to leave. I told the sheriff about Kari's dilemma. He said Kari could not return to the Keys, she might be infected. A Key West homeless friend with a car bearing Key West license tags drove to the motel and picked up Kari and sheriff deputies allowed them into the Keys.
Kari returned to where she had hung out on North Roosevelt Boulevard. She wore a mask everywhere, as per city covid-rules. City police kept harassing her and putting her in jail, which had a covid epidemic.
Last fall, Kari’s father died. Her mother asked her to come home. Kari’s Greyhound bus came through Birmingham and we visited about 15 minutes in the bus terminal.
It was not easy for Kari or her mother. Kari’s drinking did not help. Her mother tried to get me to have Kari live with me. I knew that would not work, and my dreams strongly agreed.
Kari kept reporting her and me having passionate sex in her night dreams.
Kari kept reporting her dreams about me, which helped me navigate the very strange experiences I seemed to attract like a giant magnet.
Kari reported many dreams and visions of her earlier life experiences and people she had known. Some flashbacks were pleasant, some disturbed her greatly. I told her she was having a life review, and to the extent she completed it, she would not have it in the afterlife.
Kari’s mother started pushing Kari to leave, even though Kari had no place to go, but to live on the streets of Key West.
Kari told me of a dream in which I was speaking to a large audience of rabbits, whose ears were tilted toward me.
Then, Kari reported a dream in which I was on a black horse, shooting rabbits.
I didn't hear from Kari for two days,
Kari' s mother texted me that Kari had a massive seizure and died (because going back to Key West would be oblivion).
Kari left without seeing Loni and her children.
A friend of mine, who had gotten to know Kari somewhat on the telephone, sent me this email:
I'm sitting, with my friend Kari, at a small table on a patio just outside of a door on the side of a charmingly beautiful small cottage. There are flowers all around - some in pots, some planted. The patio is made of large irregularly shaped, attractive, paving stones. I comment on the loveliness of the patio and the house and ask her "How did you find this wonderful place"? Kari replies, "I had to leave where I was." With her comment, I find myself suddenly stark awake.
Not bad heavenly digs for a convicted felon, vodka addict, street person, who had not attended church in a very long time.
Just me thinking. If I lived in Key West, I would be worried about the next big one not being nudged slightly eastward.
I would be worried, not only because Kari clearly was very special to God, but also because, many years before I met Kari, the Key West City Commission made “We are all created equal members of One Human Family” its official philosophy - unless we are homeless.
I would be worried, because Kari told me of several shaman rituals she performed while she was in Key West, and I saw the effect, pleasant or not, those rituals had on the situations involved.
I would be worried, because the citizens of Key West chipped in and built an $18,000,000 Taj Mahal homeless animal shelter, but the city did not build a city commission-approved decent shelter for its homeless people, to replace the rat trap shelter the city built in 2004 after my lawyer friend Sam Kaufman and I threatened to put the city into federal court for not letting homeless people sleep outside.
After reading the above, the friend who told me of her dream about Kari in the afterlife, emailed:
Sloan, this is somehow beautiful. Regardless of the challenges and horrors Kari faced in life, she was a delightful, strong, beautiful, and courageous Old Soul. I wish she could have come to terms with and acceptance of her gifts as a Seer. Through our many discussions of the multitude of ways intuition and "knowing" present, and that in my opinion, such knowing, visions, messages and intuitions are a gift and a blessing I would never want to be without, she just could not seem to become comfortable with the idea. So many questions she had. I believe all of that is at least partially responsible for her reliance on vodka. An attempt to tone down and quiet what she encountered intuitively and anomalously without vodka muting the full bore experience.I miss her terribly and our often deep thoughtful discussions. She accepted life as it came at her in a manner and with resilience that amazed me, and opened me to viewing the world differently.I hope and believe she is at peace and perhaps thriving in another realm of being finally. The dream meeting with her I believe confirms that.
I called my friend and told her that I thought all along that two things in Kari's youth derailed her.
The first was not telling her parents what the neighbor's son did to her when she babysat his younger sister. After that, Kari had a habit of folding when she should speak out.
The second thing was what my friend wrote above. After Kari turned away from the gift God gave her, doors to hell opened in her life.
Yet, if those doors had not opened, I would not have met Kari and seven years of my life would have been really boring, and I would be a lot poorer in the soul sense.
That night, Good Friday, a huge electrical storm came into Birmingham and there was lightning and thunder for several hours. Historically, such storms heralded major change coming my way.
The next night, a woman told me in a dream that I was operating very shallow. Then, Kari told her that I had "more noise to make".
Then my heart was seized and began heaving, and I bawled my eyes, heart and guts out. That had happened twice before, when it looked like I had lost Kari and was trying to get on with my life without her.
I considered naming this chapter, "The Reluctant Shaman Kari Dangler."
This chapter is completed on Easter Sunday, 2022.