Monday, August 25, 2014

Ferguson Commentary

The media is all abuzz these past few weeks due to the shooting of an unarmed boy in Missouri. It is a terrible thing when any one is killed, and even more so when it is a young person. What makes it such a headline worthy thing is that it is yet another black youth being shot by a white officer, however there is nothing rare about it in the public's eye and the media makes it out to be a common occurrence with completely racial motivation rather than what the real truth is; the "victim" got exactly what he deserved and it was unfortunately a white officer that gave it to him. Here is where many people who could be reading this post would get very angry and possibly wish me harm. Thankfully, very few people actually read my blog.
  Let me begin by explaining a few things about myself and my point of view to you so that you may understand where I am coming from and why my "unpopular" opinion is what it is. This police shooting occurred in Missouri, the Mid-West, and perhaps you are new to the United States, but the Mid-West is a predominantly white part of the country. However, since there are minorities everywhere, the white population that perhaps grew up with more benefits and a chance at a better life than their minority counterparts will have the occasional run in with each other and most times the law side will outgun the criminal element. As I stated a minute ago, the legal element will generally tend to be predominantly white compared to the criminal element, and although people may view this as an unfair balance of power, this is just the way it is. When the criminal element puts the law element in a position of possible danger, the law is going to do what they are trained to do and they are going to "put down" the threat. As a former law enforcement official, I can inform you of two things without a doubt: 1) you make me feel as though I am in immediate danger of life or limb, I am going to kill you, and 2) chances are likely that you and I are going to be different races. I am an Italian man, which is actually not white, and chances are that you are going to be some race that also does not consider themselves white. Personally, I never gave a shit as to whether the "perp" was white, black, yellow, green, blue, or purple with polka dot stripes, if you put me in the perception of danger, I will have absolutely no problem sending you onto the next phase of your metaphysical plane.
  If you are approached by a police officer, cooperate. End of statement. You come and act like you are being harassed, and most likely that interaction will escalate  from something small and easily remedied to something that  could be perceived as harassing or defamatory. I have been reading statement after statement in article after article about how Michael Brown was a regular average teenager who did nothing wrong other than stealing from a store, smoke marijuana, listen to and "sing" hardcore rap lyrics advocating the "thug" lifestyle and violence and that the ONLY reason he was shot and killed was because the officer was racist. Hmmm...Ok, let's evaluate this for a moment shall we.
  I was a teenager once, and unless you are the result of super advanced successful human cloning, you were one once too. This means that you have experienced emotional instability and emotional confusion, acne, clumsiness, the desire and need to fit in, experimentation with many different things including possibly drugs, alcohol, and music, and other personality traits that may or may not have stuck with you and developed as you matured. Did you have any run-ins with law enforcement of any type? Chances are good that at some point during your formative teen years you were in a place at a time when law enforcement may have been called to assist or intervene with some type of behavior that you or someone you were with was doing and thus you were involved in a situation where you had direct or indirect involvement with law enforcement. Now, with that being put out there for you to relive and remember, you obviously survived up to this point in your life and survived being a teenager in The United States of Racism. I am willing to bet my life and the lives of my children that every single person who is alive right now as a fully grown adult is not white. We are not a completely white world and there are currently 313.9million (2012 census figure) people in America alone. It makes me wonder how 313 million people were able to survive through their teens without all of the racist white police officers out there killing them as they walked through this world.
  My hypothesis is fairly simple, and that is that when you had an encounter with the police you did not decide to test your luck and awesome skills by trying to attack or intimidate the police officers you were having an encounter with. I can speak for myself personally and state that the several interactions I had with law enforcement when I was in my teens in no way shape or form resulted in a weapon being drawn on me nor even a remote chance of being shot by said officials. Why you ask? Well, if you listen to or base this fact off of mass media and the Michael Brown and Treyvon Martin families, my survival is SOLELY because I am fraught with WHITE PRIVILEGE. I mean, how else can you explain it? After all, these two people did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG other than being black and running into law enforcement, right? They were the victims of being teenagers targeted by white racist officers who figured that they would be able to get away with killing young unarmed black teenagers. After all, we all think that we can kill other people and no one will notice, right?
  Plain and simple folks, these two people were killed because they were arrogant, rude, misbehaving, self-entitled, and violent towards others. They made the decision that they could do and have done nothing wrong and were being unfairly targeted because of their skin color/neighborhood/time of day, etc and due to this they decided that they would strike back at those attempting to correct their behavior and didn't account for the fact that they were out gunned and that when a person is in reasonable fear of injury or death they will do whatever is necessary to stay alive. For those people who are in law enforcement, this means that most likely they will use the firearm that they are required to carry whilst they are on duty and this will result in you being shot. Why people don't seem to understand after 100(+) years of police officers being around, and almost as many years of them being armed and trained in self defense, that police officers are trained to kill and not to merely injure. Yet, every single time there is a police shooting, right around the time the race card is pulled, and before the report indicates how many bullets made contact with the "victim," the family/friends/associates of the "victim" scream wanting to know why the officer(s) couldn't have shot the person in the leg. Small thing to consider also, there are major arteries that are throughout the body that can still result in death (slower and often times more painful) if they are hit with a speeding bullet that was fired into the body in a location chosen by the officer to injure rather than kill.
  I know that this entire article will be unpopular with many people, and many others may feel that I am blaming the entire situation of Mr Brown's death on race and thinking that I would not be saying any of this if he were a white teenager. Well, let me assure you that if Mr Brown had been white, yellow, orange, or green, I firmly believe that he got what he had coming to him. You attack a police officer, or make him feel as though impending danger and injury may soon be inflicted upon his/her person by you, you deserve anything that happens to you at the hands of said police officer. If a multi-millionaire white person had been attacking a police officer of ANY race or ethnic origin, I would still stand behind that officer 100% if they used deadly force to neutralize the perceived threat. This is what those who are making the situation in Ferguson, MO out to be a racial powder keg are not even remotely considering. They are people who feel as though they identify with Mr Brown based upon his social status, racial affiliation, ethnic background, religious upbringing, or some other type of absurd connection that they feel they are a part of. They were not there when the incident happened and can not make any logical speech about it to justify either side involved. I am honestly no different. I was not there, and all of my writing here is based on certain facts that are undeniable with inference made based upon the situational facts available to the public. I was not the officer who fired on Mr Brown and obviously I was not Mr Brown and thus I am unable to make any absolute factual statement regarding what transpired between these two people. What I can say I already have within this article and leave you to make a decision about this situation with a little more logic and opinion involved than what I have been reading lately. Hopefully, you will see the reasoning behind my words and not pass them off as just another racist prick who had to put in his two cents. I wrote this merely for the fact that I share no feelings towards any one race over the other, or any demographic group verses another. I just felt the need to say what it seems like others are afraid to say.
  Bottom line, if you behave like a jerk, don't be upset when you get treated like a jerk. Act like a disobedient bad-ass thug, don't be surprised when you get treated like one. Attack someone physically and put them in a position to perceive their life as being in danger, don't be surprised when they kick your ass or worse. If you are not absolutely sure that you can safely win a fight, then perhaps you should be smart enough not to start it in the first place. But, when the other person strikes back and you are left bloodied or worse, don't blame the person's response on anything other than the fact that you gave them no choice but to respond in the manner that they did.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wow, how time flies when you can't remember it.

  I have not written my blog in several months and I feel bad about that. Now it is time to catch everyone up on what has been going on here in my little part of the MS world. To be completely honest, very little. Summer has arrived which means that I have been home with the kids trying to come up with daily activities to keep everyone busy. Unfortunately, as I am still awaiting the SSA to decide if I am too disabled to work and my wife has been working her ass off to keep the roof over our head and food in every one's belly, there is little money left over to arrange activities for the kids and afford the gas to get them there. We have been able to arrange a few things.
  A few months ago I came across a set of golf clubs at the Salvation Army Thrift Store. I grew up in a golfing family even though I was the black sheep (still am) that never really took up the game. Granted, when I was much much younger, my father would take me to the driving range on occasion to hit some balls. Most of these trips were me watching him hit the balls since he has the ability to pretty accurately hit anywhere he wants to with amazing skills whereas I could occasionally hit them to a marking yardage spot. When I got this set of clubs (granted they were woman's clubs) I discovered that my youngest children seemed to show a keen interest in using them and learning the game of golf. This made me swell with happiness as I have recently (past several years) felt the desire to involve myself more and more into the world of recreational golf. The funniest part of this is that golf is very common amongst us in the fire/rescue world. It seems like whenever a firefighter gets ill (cancer) or dies in the line of duty, they get a golf tournament named in their honor. The last one I played in before my retirement was for my friend Z who I worked with in the City of Manassas Fire and Rescue Department. He discovered he was ill in February and was dead by June. Myself and a few of the other Chief's in the area had a large tournament to benefit his family shortly after he passed. To say the absolute least, I played horribly.
 Once I mentioned to my father that the children were becoming interested in learning the game, he made a surprise visit to our house one Sunday (my wife's birthday to be exact) to bring down a set of children's golf clubs for my daughter as I had found a set of children's clubs from the Salvation Army store the weekend before for my son. That same day I found myself a new set of clubs that fit me a lot better than the set I had and these ones were for a male, so now my wife had a set of clubs. Everyone now had their own clubs making things so much easier when it came time to drive balls.
  My father's visit was not merely for him to bring down golf clubs for the kids, but apparently whilst going through his paperwork he found a whole life insurance policy that had been taken out on me when I was 8 years old which would now be worth somewhere between 150-200k dollars. Since he knew that we had the opportunity to purchase a property from our landlord for $50k less than asking price to include a rental property bringing in $600/month with perfect tenants as well as a 5 bedroom house all on 4.5 acres of land, he figured that this policy would be able to provide the capital we needed to finally purchase the house. Unfortunately, he forgot that he had cashed out the policy in 1998 and thus rendering the paperwork that I was holding in my hand completely useless. It's the thought that counts I guess. Unfortunately, we lost the opportunity to purchase the property and are still staying in the tiny little 2 bedroom rental that we have been in for almost 2 years. Not great, but at least it is a home.
  That same weekend that my father came for a visit I also stepped on the door to the deceased rabbit cage that we have been using as the "cat penalty box" to housebreak the cats that refuse to use the litter box. Me being the macho guy that I am (when I need to be) cleaned it up a bit and put a 4x4 gauze pad on it and secured it with medical tape. Of course, after my father left on Sunday evening, I was forced by my wife to go the the ER and have it checked out to ensure that it was clean and nothing foreign was left in it. Two weeks later I thought that it had been healing pretty well and went Geocaching with my wife and son (they are BIG into this hobby now). Unfortunately this particular cache was in the woods and I must have stepped wrong as immediately afterwards my foot with the gash in it was throbbing and the pain was quickly becoming unbearable. Still, two nights later I was still able to stand, albeit on one leg, whilst cooking a massively delicious dinner for my family. After dinner, my wife assisted me with cleaning the wound and we discovered based upon it's appearance and years of medical training that it was severely affected. YAY! Another trip to the ER.
  Upon arrival at the ER, my assigned PA happened to be a member of our church. When things like this happen it ALWAYS makes things ten times more interesting than they would have been otherwise. For instance, I have a tendency of not always being politically correct nor using language that is acceptable for all those in attendance. I have found that my linguistic skills become more unpopular when severe pain is involved. One big problem I have is that I am allergic to anesthetic medications (ie. Novacaine, Lidocaine, Betacaine, Cocaine, etc.) which means that local anesthetics to dull the pain that I will be feeling when the PA takes a scalpel and cuts open the infected wound on my foot to drain out the infection will not be used and will allow me to fully experience ALL the pain and fun. Before the lancing of the wound began, a high dose of antibiotics was going to be administed at my suggestion to the doctor. Rocephen was to be the antibiotic de jour and was to be administed in a large muscle for maximum effectiveness and since all medical paths seem to lead to the ass being the muscle of choice, I prepared for the painful injection. The nurse wanted to be a nice person and make the injection a little less painful by mixing in some lidocaine. Thankfully, after she had made the mixture and before injecting it she asked me again about any allergies I might have. At this point she practically ran out of the room with the needle to dispose of it and hide her complete embarrassment. My wife and I took this as an opportunity to laugh hysterically at how close I had come to death all because of a little cut on my foot. We also laughed about how the insurance policy that we just found out was no longer in force almost would have been a really good thing to have at that moment.
  Several weeks have passed since that ER experience, and I am able to happily able to report that my foot is 99% healed with no further medical intervention necessary. I can also report that I have not really experienced any further medical complications due to the MS. I have also finally scheduled an appointment with my neurologist to touch base on my progression and to re-evaluate my medicine since it is probably overdue. We will also most likely order a new MRI to see what the internal progression of the disease is. To say that least I have been slacking. However, since MS affects my memory terribly, I blame my slacking on MS not allowing me to remember all of the things that I should do. Thankfully, today, MS allowed me to remember to write my blog. Unfortunately it is a few months overdue, but hey, my 2 readers didn't miss much.
  On that note boys and girls, I shall end this blog for tonight and perhaps consider laying down in bed and hope that sleep will eventually come. I will listed to my sugar gliders prance and dance around all night and most likely bark at each other into the early hours of the morning. Goodnight (or good morning if you are reading this when the sun is up) and I look forward to any correspondence that you may wish to write. After all, this may not be your life, but it might be something like it....