liveonearth: (Default)
I read this morning about a doctor who went mad and shot people in a hospital. As a doctor myself, I know that docs have terrible stresses trying to deal with a corrupt medical-industrial system that impairs our ability to help people regain their health. Then I went to look at the NY times article, here: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/30/nyregion/bronx-hospital-shooting.html. He's richly melanated, that is to say, he has lived a life of fear because of his skin color. I infer from his violence that he may have been guilty of the accusation--sexual misconduct. He was a man, and he was angry enough to shoot others and hopeless enough to set himself on fire and shoot himself. He did not see any way out. He knew he would not receive compassion.

What people forget when they demonize any group of humans is that they are human. Dark skinned people. Doctors. Men. Gun owners. Murderers. Whatever group. All humans share the same basic needs. When those needs are not met, we have the same basic emotions. Driven hard enough, any of us could become dangerous. Hitler had reasons. The Arabs that flew airplanes into buildings had reasons. No one is pure evil, we are simply human and if tortured we can lash out, or become cunning.

My hope that that everyone who reads this will take a deep breath or three and think about the kind of pain that drives a person to such horrors. My hope is that compassion will rise in spite of the poisonous atmosphere of shame and blame that dominates our political world. We all deserve an opportunity to be free from fear, long enough to find our centers and our hearts and reach out into the world from that place. It will take a lot of us finding compassion to heal these wounds.
liveonearth: (Default)
The uglification of which I speak didn't exactly start with Ailes (Fox), but he certainly boosted it. One of the hats that I wear is at a natural products pharmacy; we dispense herbs and supplements and a few hormonal products. I spend some time sitting behind the counter simply helping the next person who comes to the window. Most people are decent, kind, and even patient. But lately I've noticed a trend. The proportion of cranky, mean and abusive people is increasing.

Today it was a lady by the name of Hammer. What's in a name, I ask? Did your name make you into a prosecutor in the pharmacy line? How many hammering questions does one have to tolerate before you are satisfied? Is there an inkling of generosity in you? A morsel of patience? An ounce of kindness? I saw none. I experienced questions hammering in faster than they could be answered, demands stacked up while I was trying to answer the questions, topped with an insult. Ms Hammer is just the most recent experience of this sort. There was one yesterday, and the day before more than one. Too bad it's nice people who get cancer and not the bitches.

This is Oregon. People in general are nice here. But not the raving maniac that stabbed two men to death the other day trying to get to some young women who were a different color than him. This disease of condemnation and hatred is seeping deeper and deeper into our culture, and leaking out in more settings all the time. I do not know how to fix it. I don't believe in phony niceness, but I also don't believe in punishing people just because you can. I am sensitive and not cut out to tolerate verbal abuse in the course of my work. I try to contain my anguish until I am in private. Then I weep. I try to be kind to the people that I meet. And I may have to find a way to not serve the public any more.

In Japan they have a name for it. Hikikomori. It's a sociological phenomenon in which people simply stop participating in society. If society is ugly, then decent people will not show up. If decent people do not show up, society will uglify even more. If we all retreat into our tiny little bubbles even more than we already have, the fractures in our supposed union of states and free people becomes null and void. This culture is headed for the bloodbath.
liveonearth: (moon)
Suicidality is directly linked to a feeling of powerlessness.  When there's nothing you or anyone else can do about it, it's easy to lose hope, get angry, place blame, become resentful or even violent.  Arson is violence, like rape.  The fires in Israel and Palestine, set by both individuals with both alliegances, reflect the same spirit seen in Brexit, and the election of Trump, and the fires that have been burning in the southeastern US.  I think there's some sour grapes in there too.  If I can't have my fair share, you can't have any either.  Arson is a quick and dirty way of gaining some power.   People of planet earth are angry and frustrated, and rattling the bars of their cages.  Unfortunately the actions taken are usually more emotional than rational, and the end result is a worsening of the situation that caused the loss of power in the first place.  Don't like being poor?  Electing a millionaire won't do you any good.  Don't like living in a depressed place?  Burning down the forests probably won't help.

But the thing is, is sure does feel good.  It is immensely satisfying to last out, to burn something, to smash something to smithereens.  When you are angry, such outbursts are therapeutic.  I personally just LOVE to take the glass recycling somewhere that I can smash it bottle by bottle.  I am praying (atheist prayers) that all the angry people of the world are ready to study and get clear about their true objectives.  I am praying that the angry people will organize and do something productive, now that catharsis has been achieved at least in some places.
liveonearth: (moon)
I think this may be part of the reason that so many people have defaulted to supporting tRump.  At a gut level he gets it, that somehow the religion of Islam is motivating some people to kill bunches of hedonistic rich oblivious Americans.  We are The Great Satan, after all.  Our women roam around half naked.  We drink alcohol and eat so much that we can't get out of our chairs.  The Muslims who hate us find plenty to hate.  And the teachings of the religion are harsh.  Unforgiving.  Granted, most religions have some myths and stories that motivate hateful actions.  Most religions have a few fundamentalists whose simplistic interpretations lead them to extreme beliefs and behaviors.  Islam has a lot of people like that.  I am certain that the followers of ISIL think that American Muslims who don't help their cause are apostates, no better than the rest of us.  So given that there are quite a few Muslims who think we all deserve to die, and several at least who've been successful at violently killing Americans, being afraid of Muslims sounds kind of reasonable.  If the Dems don't admit to this, and begin teaching Americans about how they've been attempting to quell the fears of peaceable Muslims in order to prevent religious based warfare, they are missing the boat.  Blaming the Pulse shooting solely on easy access to guns is missing the very important point that currently there are a lot of people with this religious background who are motivated to kill.  We need to study them, to understand them.  They are not necessarily insane, they simply live in a different reality dictated by a different culture.  There are also a lot of Americans who are not Muslim who share their distaste for gays, their disrespect for loose women, and their instinctive hatred of other races.  Maybe you should be afraid.
liveonearth: (TommyLeeJones_skeptical)

Even if

every gun in the world

suddenly disappeared,

there would still be gun violence

--Ben Carson, retired neurosurgeon and Republican candidate for president

liveonearth: (kiss kiss bang bang)

Source: Rick Ungar "from the left" at Forbes Magazine
http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2013/01/16/here-are-the-23-executive-orders-on-gun-safety-signed-today-by-the-president/

President Obama has signed 23 executive orders designed to address the problem of gun violence in America. The following are the items addressed:

Gun Violence Reduction Executive Actions:

1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.

2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.

3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.

4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.

5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.

6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.

7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.

8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).

9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.

10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make itwidely available to law enforcement.

11. Nominate an ATF director.

12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.

13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.

14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.

15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effectiveuse of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to developinnovative technologies.

16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.

17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.

18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.

19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.

20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.

21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.

22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.

23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.

It does not appear that any of the executive orders would have any impact on the guns people currently own-or would like to purchase- and that all proposals regarding limiting the availability of assault weapons or large ammunition magazines will be proposed for Congressional action. As such, any potential effort to create a constitutional crisis—or the leveling of charges that the White House has overstepped its executive authority—would hold no validity.

liveonearth: (moon)

It's an old western with Lee Marvin, really a wonderful movie about a cowboy who looses everything but maintains his center, his calm and his kindness.  It seems to be about the end of the Wild West.  There's a fantastic and long riding scene in which the cowboy named Monte "rides the grey down".  Humorous too.  I liked it.  My mom complains that it was slow.  She already deleted it from her direct tv.

liveonearth: (critter 2)

Don't forget: We live during the least violent time in all of recorded human history. We have done this by abandoning tribalism and embracing the, cosmically speaking, very new ideas of compassion and empathy. What we are seeing are the death throws of an old morality, where honor and vengeance and the death you could inflict were how you judged yourself as a person.

So the proper response to a terrorist attack shouldn't be hate or bloodlust, but pity; pity for a group actively choosing to be forgotten and disregarded by the long eye of history.

--Keegan Blackler

liveonearth: (moon)
Check out the photo of this convicted rapist who did it again and got convicted again.
Handsome, eh?


What does it tell you?
What it tells me )
liveonearth: (life is a killer (smoking))
This hypothesis may not be as well supported as evolution but there has been a lot of research since the 1970's that supports it.

DONOHUE-LEVITT HYPOTHESIS = The theory that legal abortion reduces crime by reducing the number of unwanted births, neglected and abused youth. As the theory goes, those troubled children grow up to be the next generation of criminals. Research shows that children of women denied an abortion require more public assistance including psychiatric services and foster homes, and engage in more criminal and antisocial behavior than their wanted counterparts.

Most crimes are committed by males aged 18-24. Roe versus Wade (legalizing abortion) was passed by SCOTUS in 1973, and 18 years later the country experienced a significant decrease in crime. One of the justices had offered the rationale that a family unready to support a child should not be required to have one. States that had already legalized abortion had earlier reductions in crime, and higher abortion rates correlated with greater reductions in crime. Australian and Canadian studies have detected a correlation between legalized abortion and reduced crime overall. Of course all of these interpretations have been challenged, and more research is needed. Among other possible contributors to decreasing crime is the removal of lead from gasoline in the same year as Roe vs Wade. Lead ingestion lowers intelligence and increases impulsivity and aggressive behavior.
liveonearth: (moon)
I'm happy to read that California colleges are adopting this new standard which says that in order to not be rape, sexual interaction may occur when both partners are conscious and actively consenting. I hope that this new standard is widely adopted and eventually becomes law for the nation, not just a few colleges.

My partner points out that it does not remove the possibility of a "he said she said" standoff in court, and this is true. It requires education, so that everyone knows that it is the standard, and support such that all persons feel empowered to say "no" when they want to.

What this standard does, in my mind at least, is raise the bar ever so slightly for aggressors seeking sex. It removes the defense "She didn't say no" from play. I have been appalled to see that a raped woman cannot get justice unless she gets hurt. If she is not injured, and does not have ejaculate on her, then the court could find "no evidence" that she was raped. Requiring that a woman be injured or that there be witnesses who heard her screaming "no" before you believe that she was raped is a terrible baseline, but in practicality it plays out this way. This is why even in our supposedly open culture most raped women do not seek legal recourse. It's not worth it.

I would like to believe that a good lawyer or judge can elicit signs of the truth from a person even when they are trying to hide it. I would like to think that attentive jurors will instinctively know when someone is lying. Perhaps I am too idealistic about our court system, and it malfunctions more than it functions.

There's nothing direct or simple about the way sexuality plays out in our culture and legal system. Messy is more the word for it. Within a relationship that has been sexual in the past, men do take advantage, and women do submit in order to not be hurt. That submission is not consent. For young men who have no partner, the situation is worse. I have read that many young American men today are angry at women because they cannot get the sex they want. One such young man took up a gun to express his anger. Intense desire is normal, but such anger is dangerous. Modern youth partake of online porn that gives them an unrealistic view of sex and does not educate them on the delicacies of dating or seduction. It is an unhealthy situation, and this standard does nothing to resolve it. Who is going to teach the young people how to talk to each other, to be respectful, and to flirt gracefully? I do not know. I only know that the social structures that used to educate us about proper mating behavior have fallen apart, and nothing has taken their place.

At least here raped women are not stoned to death, though I can comprehend how this would be better for the males in a patriarchal system. She can't complain if she's dead. At least in colleges in California, "yes means yes" is an excellent new dividing line between consent and submission or worse.
liveonearth: (kiss kiss bang bang)
If factoids could speak, what would this one say? To me it whispers ominously: "We want to kill and not get caught" and "We are willing to give our personal info to the ATF and pay lots of money for the gadget that will let us do the deed." Silencers often cost more than the guns they quiet.

US sales of silencers went from 285,000 in 2011 to 360,000 in 2012. According to the ATF there's now a 9 month waiting period for registration approval, and applicants must provide the ATF with a photo and fingerprints, and pay a $200 tax.

The assault rifle buying binge provoked by the Newtown shooting has tapered down, and those same people are getting set up with silencers, flashlights, laser scopes, stocks, pistol grips and rail systems for attaching other accessories.

SOURCE
http://money.cnn.com/2014/04/22/news/companies/gun-silencer-sales/
liveonearth: (bipolar_express)
Bruises fade and skin heals, but the mind remembers. Physical punishment is still prevalent among US families. This study found the prevalence of physical punishment without "more severe child maltreatment" was 5.9%. Boys get physically punished more than girls, 59.4% to 40.6%. Blacks get beat more than whites. Asians and Pacific Islanders (including native Hawaiians) were the least likely to get whupped by their own parents.

The harsher the physical (or emotional) punishment was, the higher the odds of an axis I or II diagnosis. Axis I diagnoses include major depression, dysthymia, mania, mood disorders, phobias, anxiety disorders, and drug and alcohol abuse or dependence. Axis II diagnoses include several individual personality disorders and cluster A and B disorder diagnoses. The researchers concluded that 2-7% of all mental disease is attributable to childhood abuse.

SOURCE
http://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/767353?src=cmemp
the stats )
liveonearth: (Madonna kicks Human Nature)

A riot
is the language
of the unheard.

--MLKing, Jr

liveonearth: (Default)
America produces remorseless killers in bulk. One hundred years ago, Jack the Ripper riveted the attention of the Western world by doing away with five people. This culture would barely notice such modest exploits--so many have surpassed the quaintly amateurish Ripper that we cannot remember their names, much less their crimes. Squadrons of soulless assassins do not germinate by chance. These avenging Phoenixes arise from the neural wreckage of what once could have been a healthy human being.
--Lewis, Amini and Lannon, A General Theory of Love, p281

This quote out of context may be a little confusing but let me just say that this book explains why we have so many youth who can and do torture and kill other living beings. Without compunction. It has to do with a lack of proper limbic bonding in infancy, and the ensuing lack of development of the communal and familial mammalian brain. Our current cultural climate has everything to do with a multiple generation emphasis on success in the workplace at the expense of family and community, and it has everything to do with horrific parenting practices such as the (supposedly character-building) neglect espoused by Dr Spok.

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