George Zimmerman Versus Trayvon Martin

Ah, the talk of the day.  Zimmerman vs. Martin.  One can not escape it, it is on the television, on the radio, and being talked about everywhere.

But even with the verdict of NOT GUILTY, people are still saying he is.  Which I find amazing.  Because you can not say that.  Show me the evidence that he is.  The State of Florida could not do that, and neither can you.

Nobody likes to hear of a senseless death, more so a senseless death of a child.  Trevon Martin was not seventeen, as the press keeps saying.  He was sixteen at the time he was killed.  But it is what it is.  Shit happens and this was shit.

When I was in my late twenties, I was beat up by a group of three Hispanics in downtown Orlando.  At least according to witnesses because I never saw them.  I did not have a chance to see them.

Such a stupid story too.  I was walking home from a bar on a major road in Orlando with heavy traffic.  It was a three lane highway, meaning each side had three lanes.  However, it was in downtown Orlando, so do not get the impression that it was some major highway with cars zooming by at 70 miles per hour.  The speed limit there is 35 miles per hour.

Anyway, the stupid part.  I am walking on the sidewalk, a truck comes by and blats its horn at a car.  Scared the crap out of me.  I jumped three feet in the air and purely out of instinct said ‘fuck you’, in the direction of the sound.

Well, the direction of the sound was in fact I guess three Hispanic kids, who pulled over and chased after ignorant me, who had no idea that they were coming up behind me and was continuing merrily down the sidewalk.

The first strike must have been a full body BUMP from behind.  I went flying at least three feet in the air and landed skidding on my face and elbows and knees, breaking one of my knee caps.

What came next is kind of amazing to me, since this was a heavily trafficked road at 35 miles per hour.  For the next 30 seconds I was kicked or punched in the head as I lay dazed on the sidewalk.  Then I was dragged into the street, and the kids ran off.

A witness, who almost ran over me, stopped his car and pulled me out of the road, and an ambulance was called.  I had road rash on my face, all down my arms, a sprained arm, a broken knee cap, and a possible concussion.  The State of Florida actually paid my medical bills, under their Victim Impact program, which is a great program we have that helps victim’s of crime.

When the guy pulled me out of the street, I had absolutely no idea what happened to me.  I mean, I never had a chance to know, but beyond that, I was having trouble even thinking.

So I can attest a little bit about George Zimmerman’s state of mind when his head was being bashed.  If someone is waling on your head, you can not think straight.  You just can not.  Ask anybody in a similar situation, and they will tell you the same.  It knocks you for a loop.  You are completely dazed.  So actually, I find it amazing that the guy was even able to pull his gun.  Anybody that suggests that this guy calculatedly said ‘I have had enough’ and pulled his gun, aimed it directly at his heart where he knew it would do the most damage, and cold hearted shot the kid dead, is an idiot.

In fact, having been there, I know that what happened was the guy somehow managed to get his gun out, did not aim at anything but the general direction of the assailant and shot the assailant in the hopes of stopping him from beating the shit out of him.  It just happened to go to the heart and kill him.

And honestly, having been there, I absolutely amazed he was able to do that.  Because after a couple of heavy blows to the head, of which we saw the bruises, it was not just cuts to the back of the head, his head was bashed in the back, and both sides, and nose punched, but after a couple blows like that, you start fading out.  It completely takes you out.  You start losing your ability to think, moving towards unconsciousness.  So at that point, based on the evidence, George Zimmerman, luckily, did the only thing he could do to stop this kid, and Trevon Martin got what he deserved.  Because while the kid was just walking from the store after buying goodies, and he was unarmed, just talking on the phone, he spent 4 minutes circling around with the intent of ambushing George and attacked him.

Was George stupid to follow him in the first place?  No.  No he was not.  He was the neighborhood watch.  That is what they do.  And he was being asked first to provide Emergency a narrative of what Trevon Martin was doing and where he was heading.

I’ve done this.  My neighbor’s have done this.  We watch out for each other, and if we hear something outside, we look out the window, and if we see someone acting suspiciously, we call the police, and we go outside, and we watch what they are doing.  We have done this on numerous occasions.  And that was what George Zimmerman was doing.  He was not stalking him.  He did not confront him.  He was watching him, he lost him, he continued to look for him,  in the meantime the kid was circling around behind him and then the KID confronted him.  So sorry, I see nothing wrong with George Zimmerman following him.

Did George Zimmerman racially profile him?  I have to admit, he did profile him as a possible criminal.  He did identify him as African-American.  However, he also knew that all the previous numerous home invasion’s were identified as being carried out by young African-Americans. Which was why he was suspicious of him in the first place.   Trevon Martin was dawdling his way to where he was visiting, maybe stopping along the way, maybe walking in circles, because he was on the phone, and it just looked odd to George, since it was pitch black and raining.  The perception was ‘Why is this guy hanging out in the pitch black in the rain?’

So I can see how it happened.  He profiled him, and he was wrong.  That is alright to me.  In a normal world, the cops would have gotten there faster, questioned him, Trevon would have been insulted perhaps, but whatever.  He would have gone on his way.  He certainly was not doing anything wrong, other than gabbing on the phone.  Not the best circumstances to have conversation, but kids love to gab on the phone.

His mistake was to ambush and attack George.  He spent four minutes circling around George, calculating a confrontation, which was just plain stupid.  I mean, if I am worried someone is following me with possible bad intentions, I certainly would not stay where it is happening and I certainly would not confront the person either, let alone attack him.  I would go home and call the police.  So unfortunately, he got what he deserved.  He was not some innocent child walking home from the store being stalked in the dark.  Yes, he was doing nothing wrong at that point.  But he committed a crime, however, when he decided to ambush and attack George.  Because that is not what one does in his situation.  You go home and call the police.  The state says, well maybe he was afraid to go home to where his 12 year old step-brother was waiting for him.  But in fact, he had his cell phone on him.  He was ON it.  Did he call 911 and say ‘Hey, some strange guy is following me in the dark’?  Hell, I would have.  In a heart beat.

So the ill will, like it or not, belongs to Trevon Martin, who rather that call the police or go home, decided to ambush and attack George Zimmerman.

And its clear as day.  The only reason George Zimmerman was arrested is because so many people were screaming it was because he was African-American.  Which is wrong.

I am well aware there are racists out there.  I hate them.  They infuriate me.  Nobody has the right to condemn a person based on skin color, sexual preference, or anything else.  Just because they are ignorant, is no excuse for this.

Unfortunately, ignorant people exist, and we gotta live with it whether we like it or not.  BUT, each time that one says another did this or that due to racial bias, when in fact that is not true, it diminishes the crime of bias, and pretty soon people stop paying attention and do not care anymore about it.  They say, ‘Oh, here we go again, someone called someone something or other, someone did this or that to another because they were gay or black’.

I saw on CNN today how the NAACP is considering filing a lawsuit against George Zimmerman on the grounds that Trevon Martin was racially profiled.  And you know what I thought?  I thought, ‘Here we go again‘.

Lets all take a moment and think about this.  There are real instances of racially motivated crimes out there.  This is not one of them.  To pursue it as such will only strengthen those that commit these crimes.  Is that what we want to do?

I call for everybody to reflect a bit on this.  Because, as Don West said, like it or not, we do not need this to go from tragedy to travesty.  As a gay man, I understand the hurt of bias, trust me.  If you misunderstand what happened here, and listen to those that want to say this is racially motivated, for what ever self-gaining purposes or because they are just plain ignorant or uneducated, your probably really hurting, and pissed.  Do not do this to yourself.  Racial motivation is not what this was about.  It was about self defense, and nobody is going to throw someone in jail and ruin their lives because the issue is misunderstood and people are being misled to where they are really hurting over it.

Think.  Lets keep the issue of discrimination, racially or otherwise, clearly defined.  It exists.  We have to fight it.  But we have to do it correctly.

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Do You Support a Gay Straight Alliance For Middle School Kids?

I was glad to hear of the recent decision by the Lake County School Board here in Central Florida to allow the kids to form a Gay/Straight Alliance Club at one of their middle schools. The decision was made very reluctantly, after a threat by the ACLU to sue on grounds of freedom of speech and equal access. The decision to allow was a temporary one until the end of the school year next month, at which time it is to be ‘further reviewed’ for upcoming school years.

Not two weeks after this decision was made, I saw on the local news that the decision to allow the kids their club is possibly being tabled again, on the grounds that school clubs must be in support of critical thinking and school curriculum.

So I’m thinking of writing a letter to like everyone under the sun about this. Because it is fucked up. Hell, the world is fucked up. But if people don’t start getting it, its going to stay fucked up.

My letter would go something like this:

Ok, I understand that, in this day and age, there are still people out there that just can’t get the whole gay thing. The ones that constantly continue to argue that being gay or straight is a personal choice, and if kids are steered in the wrong direction, they will make the wrong choice. The ones that see the gay people on TV acting out, or being promiscuous, and are so appalled by it that they just can’t fathom supporting a minor in their early to middle teens in coming to terms with their sexual preference, let alone openly talking with them about it and allowing their gay or straight child join a club that supports homosexuality.

I understand because, as a 49 year old, childless, relationship-less, homosexual man, I lived through the discrimination and the shame of being homosexual in a time when it simply was not discussed at all with minors. In fact, unless you were openly gay, it was not discussed at all.

Let me tell you about my childhood, with emphasis on how it shaped and formed who I am today.

I grew up in a family of eight. My parents had three girls and three boys. Mom is an incredibly strong woman who to this day has never had a drink or drug in her life other than prescribed. Dad served in the Korean War and was honorably discharged around the time I was born or shortly beforehand. We would joke that we were the dysfunctional Brady Family.

My earliest memories of attraction to the opposite sex are when I was six years old. Since two of my sisters and two of my brothers were older than me, they had their own teen idols that they worshiped. Posters on the wall, the whole works. I had a crush on my sisters’ then current teen idol (ok, if you must know – it was Bobby Sherman, lol. I look at him now as he was then and I am like, ‘ugh!’. But he sure was the bomb when I was six!).

Way back then I knew I was not like my other sisters and brothers. It was a deep secret that I shared only with my younger sister, who is a year younger than me.

School was difficult for me. I didn’t like being different from other kids and tried so hard to hide it. I could fool the adults, but kids just KNOW, and they figured it out and harassed me about it pretty bad. In fact, it was so bad that by the time I was in middle school, and note that I said middle school, I was sneaking away from the bus stop, waiting for my parents to go to work, then going back home to spend the day alone by myself. I did this for nearly the whole school year. The school actually thought we had moved, and finally caught on and contacted my parents at work.

My parents freaked out. I had missed nearly all of seventh grade. I told them it was because I was being bullied. They made me go back to school, and my father argued with them to not leave me behind, I would make up the work, which I did. I was an extremely bright kid. But when you slam nearly a whole school year into two months of learning, its not going to stick, and it didn’t.

After that lovely year, my parents moved us from the country to a cheaper house in the city. I finished the final year in middle school ok, then went off to start high school.

High school was a disaster. If I thought the kids were mean in the country, it was awful in the city. It was so obvious that I was gay, all of my mannerisms leaned that way. I mean I was what I was. I didn’t walk around talking like thisssssssssss, that’s just gay people acting out. But I was different. I shied away from other kids. If there were kids like me, I didn’t know them. I didn’t like sports and hated gym class because I would have to undress with other boys in the changing room.

My studies are what most suffered. It was all I could do to deal with being so different from everyone and trying to understand that. And getting thru the day with out being harassed. Back in the day the school bus drivers would turn their backs and allow the kids to smoke cigarettes on the bus on the way home. One day a kid ground his cigarette out in my arm. To this day I still have that scar. The harassment and bullying were just awful.

My school was a good 8 miles from my house. I started to purposely miss the bus after school and walk home. It took hours to get home and in the winter my hands would get so cold they would crack open. But I did this rather than endure the bus ride home.

By the 11th grade, I would ride in on the bus in the morning and immediately upon arrival at school leave the school grounds and rather than walking, now I started hitchhiking home. My parents never knew. As a child in my middle teens, I was molested at least three times by older guys who picked me up when I hitchhiked. I’m not ashamed to say I wasn’t against it either. I was a fifteen going on sixteen year old kid whose hormones were raging and I had literally no release. I didn’t even have anyone to talk to about it in a normal fashion without feeling ashamed. However, when I look back, I will call it molested. These were older men who in this day and age would be in jail for what they did. This was not normal sexual development and experimentation with kids my own age.

By the end of the 11th grade, I left school and ran away from home. I was ‘adopted’ by the family of a girl I knew from church back in my old town in the country. They were a nice normal family who took me in thinking the girl and I had something going relationship wise. The girl did too. I would just pretend and tell her I was old fashioned when it came to sex, and we never so much as experimented in the three years I was a part of that family. I got a job at a local bakery and was so good at it I became highly sought after. At that time I ended it with the girl, and her family. It broke my heart because they were so nice. It also broke my heart because I had a huge crush on both of her brothers.

By the way, she got married not 6 months later and is still happily married to this day.

I continued to work for the chain of bakeries for 25 years. I was very good in the bakery and enjoyed a good paycheck and bought a modest home. They eventually were bought out and my position was automated, making my job as a bakery chef with them obsolete. Since the job was so physical, with me working 65-70 hours a week, often all night long, 6 days a week, I decided to go back to school and obtained a high school diploma and an associates degree at a local community college, which I did. My math skills were terrible. I literally had to start at the bottom and work my way up through college algebra and trig. I attempted to further my education to a bachelors at a local state college, but by this time I was in my late thirties and, unable to afford an adult college, gave up rather than continue the embarrassment of going to school with the young kids.

Today, I am a virtual CSR rep for a local call center. I make under 20 grand a year and am losing my little house I bought. I know that I will be able to make it thru retirement with some subsidized housing somewhere, and strategic spending, but my retirement is not looking all that bright. In fact, it looks damb grim. Not that I am complaining. I know I will make it as I am skilled at least on the computer, and have time to maybe get certified in something to supplement my retirement money from the government when the time comes. But it could be better, if only I had a little support when I needed it back in the day.

I have never had a deep relationship with anybody, male or female. Female for obvious reasons, male because what I suffered through when I was young and in school never left me. I was and am a loner. Even in this day and age, I find it difficult to discuss my sexual preference with people, let alone opening myself up to form a relationship with someone. In fact, I even have trouble making FRIENDS with people, and at this time can honestly say I HAVE no close friends. Acquaintances yes, and people like me too, usually, although I can be a hard ass at times. But I open up to no one.

The point I’m trying to make to you is: do you want your kid to be like me? I may open up to no one, but on this I’m taking a stand.

Being gay is not something you control. It is instinctual. It is the instinctual attraction to another human being. You cannot change it any more than you can change say, the fight or flight reaction. At least understand that much.

And understand when you see gay people being promiscuous or camping it up, they are acting out. Acting out because of the ignorance in the world regarding homosexuality they have had to endure.

Here‘s the deal. Kids need support, all the support you can give them and then some. Straight kids in high school will talk about sex, and experiment. It is normal. Gay kids will too, if you let them. Or you can force them to do it the way I had to do it and be molested. Your choice. Do a sexual predator search on the internet. I think you will agree that there is plenty of opportunity out there for a kid that wants to know about sex, gay or straight.

It is hard enough in middle school and high school to get thru your studies while at the same time your hormones are racing and you are developing into an adult person. As the parent of a straight child, you are responsible for that child to identify with ALL people and respect them just as they would themselves prefer to be respected. Together we stand and all that. This leads to success.

As the parent of a gay child, you are responsible to ensure that your child has support and understanding to the very best of your abilities so that your child can develop into a person who respects him or her self and has as much opportunity as any other child to make it in this increasingly difficult and challenging world.

As a school board, it your responsibility to make sure that ALL children have support, understanding, and opportunities provided to them by a good education so they can grow into mature, responsible human beings that are comfortable with who they are, respect and have compassion for other people different from them, and contribute to the common good of everyone in order to lead a happy and productive life. Are you thinking of what is best for the kids? Or are you thinking of yourselves and what you or a parent are comfortable with doing? Because its not about you at all.  Its about doing right for the kids. 

I’m asking you today to consider my story, and not deprive these children the right to self identify.  To feel equally accepted even if they are different.  To understand those that are different.  To allow them to concentrate on their studies and not worry about themselves, that at the end of the day we are all the same, to know we love them, and we will not fail them. 

What do ya think, my very, very, very, very, very, occasional stumpleaponmyblog person? Definitely needs work I know, but hey it’s the middle of the night. But I would like your opinion. Feel free to leave a comment if you would like. You can also check it out on the local news website, here.

PS  –  I actually tried to email the thing to the email contact listed at Lake County School Board – it was rejected by their email server and sent back  – reason banned content!!  How depressing lol.  And annoying.  Makes me want to plaster this all over town hahahaha.  I guess they are blocking the email due to high volume of public response.  Poor kids.

 

 

 

 

 

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Herb Alpert

Ok, I know I’m not one hundred years old, and I know this is a blog and not twitter, lol.  But I just had to post how much I just love Herb Alpert.  He is just awesome.  So funny, but I am so in love with his music.  Take a listen for a while, and tell me if I’m wrong to be so.

I’m particularly partial to his music during the Tijuana Brass years.  He actually played incorrectly during this time, damaging his lips.  But for some reason I love his younger stuff more.  Take a listen here.  I can blast A Taste Of Honey for hours, just love it.

Love this, ‘It Was A Very Good Year’.  Gotta be one of the most romantic tracks ever.  And this is a great favorite as well, ‘Plucky‘.  Also love to absolutely blast THIS.  Really loud and it is so great!!

Is he not adorable?  Love this too, ‘What Now My Love?’

Dont melt when you watch this, lol.   And by the way, he is introduced by non other than the Carpenters, who, yup, got their first break from him.

This has been great.  I think I am going to throw a Tijuana Party this summer, this older stuff is so awsome, there is simple nothing like it.

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Sick

Ok, morning time and as I meander my way thru my 7 million email accounts and blogs and the million things I check because my work is virtual, I’m noticing how ANNOYING it is that I can’t swear at this computer.

For the first time in 13 years, I have a cold and no voice.

So I’m gonna do it here. If you don’t like language, don’t read it.

Fuck you google, fix your retarded password reset thing.

No, I don’t want fucking IE9, my work don’t support it, leave me alone asshole.

What the fuck is this program on my computer that came out of nowhere?

And now, having tossed out a calling in sick for several days email to my work, I’m going to go crawl back into bed. Lets see if I can post this without swearing, cause if I can’t we are gonna be here all day.

Okay, where the fuck is the dashboard. LOL.

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Lost In A Giant Closet World

Ok, I truly don’t think I can stand cleaning out this closet anymore.  My heart is gonna give out.  You may already be somewhat familiar with my determination to get it cleaned out from my recent post with the shoes, but now I have run across boxes of Mom and Dad’s records from the 40’s and 50’s.  I mean oldies, like when records weren’t vinyl but some kind of thick plastic and weighed like five pounds an album.

Wow.  Here is a record made of Mom’s high school choir in Lodi, New Jersey, doing some play or musical, something called ‘The Desert Song’.  Like 1949!  Her choir director had them made for each person, at a hefty price too I’m sure.  Mom’s almost eighty.  I pulled out of the closet this dusty old record player from the 70’s and played it for her.  It brought tears to my eyes to see her just mesmerized, hanging over the record player, listening to every word and remembering it all, 60 years later.  Wow.

What a wonderful thing.  These records include all the Christmas music we played when I was just a baby back in the late 60’s.  Old Frank Sinatra records.  Herb Alpert, I just love him.  Look!!  Here is that old Petula Clark album I used to get into and play over and over again when I was what?  Eight years old?  It is the album ‘Downtown’.  This was my eight year-old favorite.  Here it is, the exact album and the song Downtown.  Isn’t it wonderful?

This here just leaves me bawling like a baby.

This one I like cause the crowd is going nuts for her.

This one I like cause it shows her spirit.

I can go on and on.  Petula Clark is too cool.  I love all her songs to this day, forty-plus years later.  Don’t matter how old she is or what song it is, its always awesome.  And check this out: she’s now almost 80 and just came out with an album and new hit single.  Here it is: ‘Cut, Copy Me’.  As usual, I love it.  Yea, her voice I would imagine is majorly processed, but the song has her mysterious style.  Who couldn’t love Petula Clark?

Here she is talking about her new album to be release this month, if it isn’t already.

Here she is singing her version of ‘Crazy’.  Can’t beleive it.  Yea, her voice is a little shaky, she’s 81!!!  Shaky or not, she does a kick-ass version.  No need to process that voice at all.

Can’t call her a national treasure.  She is famous worldwide, with albums also in French, I believe.  No, she is a world-wide treasure.  A multi-national treasure, if you may.  If you look at all she has done in her life, its almost scary.

Wowww.  Petula Clark.  What a nice trip this has been.

When I die and go to heaven, here’s hoping she is my next door neighbor.  Her on one side and Lucy Ball on the other.  And Barbara Hutton across the street (yea, soft on her too, lol).

  Petula, you will always be number one to me!!

Geez, what adventure is next in this saga of the giant closet?  Hope its as magical as C.S.  Lewis’ ‘The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe’!  Come to think of it, thats about all that could outshine this latest trip.

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Amazing Announcement: Are You Ready?

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It’s true!! I have an amazing announcement to make, one that I hope will fill you wonder and leave you as awestruck as the day you hit puberty.

So, having turned the big four-nine recently, I decided after so many years maybe its time to clean out that gigantic closet they put in this place when they built it. I mean, who needs an attic when the closet is the size of an bedroom?

There is a ton of stuff in there, from an old picture tube style 40 inch TV, to old exercise equipment from when my joints actually had some cartilage, my bazillion National Geographic collection, dearly departed Dad’s old camera equipment from the 50’s in absolutely immaculate condition.

Tons of pictures from back in the day where you actually printed out pictures from film. Old Christmas presents from people I didn’t like and never opened. Ten years worth of old computers. A kite I bought for the beach and never even took out of the bag. Just a jumbled-up medley of everything you can think of that I have collected over the years.

I decided to start with old clothes. There were five boxes of them in there.

Wow, what fun that was. Some stuff I just couldn’t part with, even though they no longer fit. Like my old Pink Floyd shirt from their last concert back in the 80’s. Or my old paisley shirts.

But most of it went into the Goodwill box. I found fifteen pairs of really nice jeans that I would kill to keep, especially my old Sergio’s that have seen more cruising than my eighteen-year-old Nissan Pickup. TONS of old shirts, sweaters, sweats, and jackets. Nice stuff too, one suede jacket alone was probably worth about 500 bucks and woefully, impossibly too small.

After all that, I decided to go through my current clothes and include stuff I haven’t worn in at least 3 years. I went thru all my drawers (yup, you guessed it – three bureaus. I need to do some serious downsizing here). I went thru all the stuff hanging in my closet too.

Well, I’m embarrassed to say that that included most everything I owned. Having worked at-home doing Virtual Customer Support for various different companies, I never went anywhere. In addition, my recent DUI also sort of stopped me from socializing; I just had better things to do with 50 bucks than spend it on taxi’s to go out to the clubs.

Good news was that I don’t really go anywhere, so being reduced to sweats and old t-shirts and shorts isn’t all that bad a thing, as that’s all I ever wore.

Bad news was that for the past three years or so, that’s all I ever wore.

So yea, I’m clothes shopping. I’m taking my time, and I have quit smoking as well for the money. I’m a month and a half nicotine free now. And ten pounds heavier. So far.

I’ve hit one store, Belz Factory Outlet, so far. All the outcast clothes, really cheap. Sometimes you can get really good stuff. I found a nice pair of shorts that I liked so much I bought three of them (only problem with that is people tend to wonder why I am wearing the same pair of shorts every day).

And then I made the most amazing discovery! I was like, ‘I can’t believe it, get OUT!’. I actually found myself a pair of ….

BLUE SUEDE SHOES!!

Instantly, I had to have them. Never in my life had I seen such a thing, in fact I honestly thought it was just a Valium-induced figment of Elvis’ imagination. But there they were.

And pricey indeed. They were almost seventy-five bucks. No way, not on my old phone-whore paycheck (sorry Mom). Sadly I returned them to the shelf.

I returned a couple of times thereafter and always went looking for them, just to see if they were still there. On one visit I noticed they had been reduced to thirty-five bucks. I was so excited, surely I had that to spend.

But I didn’t. Not being used to buying clothes, I was spending it faster than I had it. And woefully, back to the shelf they went.

My last visit to the store I went and looked for them, having saved the 35 bucks, and couldn’t find them. The box was gone. Darn. But while there I decided to look at cheap shoes to see what I could find.

And there they were!! Get OUT! The box was gone, and they were on the wall of stuff that never sells and thus discounted to nothing. And as an added bonus, when I got them to the register, I found they had been discounted again! With tax, I paid a whopping eight dollars and ninety-three cents.

I mean, can you believe? As I stood in line, I bragged to the person behind me. I bragged to the person in front of me. I bragged to the lady who rung me up who was so impressed with my enthusiasm over these blue suede shoes she gave me an additional discount.

I hurried out to my old pick-up and threw off my shoes and put on my new blue suede shoes. Blue suede shoes. Don’t you love just saying it?

I immediately had to show them off. I stopped in the library and showed them to the librarian, who was duly impressed. I went to Krystals for a hamburger or seven. I said to the manager, whom I didn’t even know, ‘I’ve got something to show you. Are you ready for this?’

He looked at me curiously. I stepped back and did a little tap dance and with a wave of my hand, ‘Blue. Suede. …

– SHOES!!’

He was duly impressed, and whipped out his Iphone and took a picture for his ‘facebook page’.

These particular blue suede shoes go quite well with blue jeans of a lighter color. I’m just thrilled with them and, while maybe they are not all that much to most people, it seems my enthusiasm for them leaves most people drooling with envy for a pair. And guess what? I have the only PAIR!! Just thinking of it gets me so excited I want to go out and show them off some more.

And thus I guess you really wanna see ‘em, don’t you?

Hmmm. Weyllll, …

– okay.

Are you ready?

I’m sorry I didn’t hear that. I SAID, ‘Are you READY?’:

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Viola!!! Blue. …    Suede……..

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SHOES!!!!

 

 

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Gun Control In America: For Or Against

So the latest tragedy here in America is the Connecticut school shooting, where 20 little kids were shot to death by a mentally ill young man whose Mom liked to collect and play with guns and did not secure them. It completely broke the hearts of most Americans, and has led to the President of the United States vowing to reform gun control laws, with most of the country agreeing yea, maybe its time to do something about it. I mean, this latest shooting was so horrific, people just don’t have any fight in them anymore. While there is always going to be the idiot who wants to argue, who can stand up and defend the right to bear arms in the face of 20 mostly 6-year-olds being plowed down in a classroom in a public school?

Before I even go on, I need to say I am so very proud of our President Barack Obama. His tearful announcement of the school shooting demonstrates his compassion and empathy for the American People, and I have learned that when this man says something, he means what he says. So when he also announced gun control reform, he meant it, and he will do everything in his power to make it happen. How much happens, however, is ultimately going to be up to us.

This has led me to investigate our Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Just some browsing, mind you. I am not a lawyer nor do I possess a willingness to argue law. But I felt a responsibility as an American Citizen to at least weigh the pros and cons of the matter in my own limited way. To come up with some arguments for both sides, and choose where I want to stand. And I think every American needs to do this, at the very least to protect our children.

So here are my arguments, be they what they may be, and as you read don’t forget my disclaimer that I, like most Americans, am not a lawyer, and am not going to read or even try to interpret law. That said, its unnecessary. There is law, and there is common sense. Consider this the common sense approach, as much as I may possess it. Yup, that’s another disclaimer!

So what I did not like about what our President said is the ‘take a look at mental health in America and make sure care is there for those who need it’ thing. I do feel that Americans need to be made aware of mental health issues. Mental issues are very real, and they don’t affect just some people. At some point in our lives, we all are going to experience mental problems, whether it is dealing with stress, depression, anxiety, whatever, everybody has an issue at some point in their lives.

A case in point is myself. For some reason, I developed a fear of driving over bridges. It was terrible. I would approach a bridge in the car and my heart would start racing and I would break out in a sweat and I would clamp down on the steering wheel as hard as I could and just fight the urge right before the bridge to pull over and consider, ‘Do I really want to do this?’ This then led to avoiding certain activities because I couldn’t get to them.

I felt so stupid.

Then it progressed to just regular driving. When people passed me up, it freaked me out. Why were they driving so friggin fast?

Then I started freaking out in large groups of people. At the time, I was in college, and I would sit there in a lecture of anywhere from 50-350 other students and just start freaking out inside. My heart would race, and I would start sweating, and I wouldn’t turn my head for fear I would get dizzy and pass out.

Then it started happening everywhere at unexpected times. In the supermarket. In the mall. Walking in the park I would be hunched over swaying down the sidewalk like a drunk thinking the sky was falling. It was totally bizarre.

When I failed a whole semester of classes at college, I decided to see a doctor. I honestly thought there was something physically wrong with me. Maybe an inner ear infection or something. Maybe something neurological. I told him I would get dizzy while I drive or was in a classroom and it would freak me out and make me anxious, which seemed to make it even worse.

He very frankly told me that I was suffering from anxiety, suggested that I exam the way I was eating and cut back on the caffeine and prescribed me some anti-anxiety pills which I took for almost a year. And viola, I am normal me again.

Smart man. He had me see a nutritionist, and advised me to exam my life and lower my stress level. Which meant no more 8 course semesters and trying to work full time as well.

Just an example for you that mental problems are real and just because you may think you are doing fine, doesn’t mean that you are not susceptible to affliction. In some instances, sometimes as we age chemical imbalances occur, resulting in temporary or even permanent mental issues. But most mental issues are treatable, and I agree the public needs to be educated that it can happen to them, in fact something may be happening right now, and that in most cases it is treatable either on a temporary or permanent basis depending on what the actual problem is.

People tend to look at mental issues as you either have one or don’t. Its not like that. Look at it more in a physical sense, like catching a cold. You can catch a cold, and most likely will catch a germ here and there, but its not the end of the world nor does it mean it can’t be fixed. Having a mental problem is as common as catching a cold. Sometimes we can nurse ourselves back, sometimes we need help. Realize this and your on your way to being self aware of your own mental well being.

So all of this said, why do I say I didn’t like the whole ‘lets examine mental health in America’ statement made by the President? I didn’t like it because, while I agree if Adam Lanza received the mental care he needed the whole thing never would have happened, there are other issues to examine. Why did his Mom have the type of weapons she had, and why were they not secured? Does a fondness for collecting different types of guns fit into the description of a right to bear arms as expressed in the Second Amendment? What brought about the right to bear arms issue in the first place?

Lets take a look. The second amendment states, according to Wikipedia, ‘A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed’.

Consider militia’s. Militia’s were an old time form of military. Most European countries had them. Back in the day, England required all able bodied males to serve in one of two militia’s they had if called upon to do so. One was for the apprehension of criminals, the other to keep order within the country and for the defense of the country against invasion. They were made up of armed citizens with formal training provided if one was called upon to serve.

The French were the first to settle in America. The French Colonists were then invaded by Spaniards. Somewhere along the way there was a war and England took control, and that is how the first English pioneers started here in America. Or basically like that. I tried to research it, and it turned into a vast historical view of Europe that I was not willing to get lost in. Whether the first pioneers were French, Spanish, and English peoples all under control of England or whether it was just English pioneers, the general point is that the pioneers here were considered citizens of England living in newly conquered English territory, and thus controlled by England and the English Militia.

The pioneers felt ignored by England, even though they paid the same taxes as people in England and other English-controlled territories. They created their own militia’s called the Patriots and revolted, gaining independence from English rule. The pioneer militia’s later evolved into police, and much later modern military and law enforcement as we know it, with lots of trial and error and corruption along the way.

The Second Amendment was created to protect the right to bear arms because it was a real necessity. No longer was England keeping order, and the Patriots, made up of everyday pioneers with no formal training, needed weaponry to keep order within their ranks and to ensure protection from English invasion. Weapons were also needed to protect against native Americans strongly apposed their land being taken, to hunt, raise domestic farm animals, and for protection from wild beasts. They were absolutely essential to survival and thus you had to have the right to bear arms.

So arriving back here to modern times, guns are still used for protection against invading countries by our military and also used by our law enforcement personnel to keep order. The right to bear arms by a private citizen is still a part of our Constitution of the United States, and we are reluctant to mess with it. I mean, these are our rights, correct? Our freedoms. They are sacred to us.

But is it applicable to today’s everyday citizen? The United States possesses the most powerful military in the world. While I admit I do feel a certain amount of security and pride knowing that every American out there would fight tooth and nail against invaders and be armed doing so, is it really necessary? Who on earth would invade us? Our military would stop it cold. Besides, nobody is going to invade and plunder in this day and age when they can just bomb a country into oblivion. Lets be real.

Guns are no longer needed for survival either. If anybody still hunts their own food, raises their own cattle, and has to worry about wild animals solely for their own personal survival, I would be hard pressed to find them. Natives are assimilated. I can see the need for guns in raising cattle for meat products, but even that has been commercialized and is done as a profession, not for survival. We eat factory meat.

Maybe in the meat factory there is someone standing their with a gun solely to shoot livestock, but somehow that doesn’t strike me as likely. Modern agriculturists may need to use guns for control of wild animals invading crops, but even that is getting pretty rare, with most wild animals actually being considered extinct with laws protecting them from harm.

Guns are not needed for tyranny of the Government either. If we don’t like the Government, we fire them. Some would argue what if the Government gets so big we can’t just fire them anymore, and need to use force? Come on, really? In this day and age? I think our system works just fine.

So the modern argument of the day is protection of life and property. And I am hard pressed on this. Because home invasions happen and locked doors don’t stop them.

Addressing mental illness will not make us safe. Besides, as I explained earlier, mental illness in many cases evolves. It can be mild or severe, permanent or temporary, involve murderous illusional intent or not. One can be perfectly sane when purchasing a gun and later be a murderous mental maniac. But providing more mental health awareness and care is not going to stop it simply because not everybody will seek mental care in a crisis, regardless of how much it is available. Not everybody will realize there is a problem.

Another consideration is the fact that protecting your home against invasion has been turned around to include just plain carrying anywhere you go. Protection against muggers and purse snatchers. ATM bandits. Stalkers and rapists. You name it.

I can definitely see the need for that. I myself have been attacked twice in my life, mugged in my late teens in New Jersey and jumped by a gang in Florida in my late twenties, in which I was hospitalized. It’s no fun. But in both instances I never saw my assailants, and if I had had a gun I wouldn’t have had a chance to use it. But they may have.

Also, while I can see the need to carry, people don’t just carry. They leave it on their car seat, or its floating around in some ladies purse with the safety off, or laying around the house. They don’t use the thing, and lose complete respect of the fact that it is a weapon. People end of getting hurt.

And consider the gun collectors, especially the ones that just collect different modern day weapons. They have assault weapons, regular handguns, rifles, etc. Once again, for show, not for use. Is locking them up by traditional methods effective? Even banks can get robbed.

So what’s my stance? What’s my decision? Am I for allowing possession or against?

Look, to this day I don’t carry a gun. Because I am afraid I will hurt somebody by accident, even if I thought it was self protection at the time. And I have survived.

At the same time, the Second Amendment has saved lives. Proven fact.

But has cost lives too. Proven fact.

It really is a tough choice.

How would you feel if your elderly Mom or Dad was gunned down in the supermarket? How would you feel if your elderly Mom or Dad had a gun?

How would you feel if your kid was gunned down in school? How would you feel if the teacher carried in a class full of little kids?

How would you feel if someone broke into your house under the influence of drugs and threatened you with a gun? How would you feel if you shot and killed that someone and it is a 14 year old kid with a water gun?

How would you feel if you enjoyed collecting all kinds of weapons and thought you were responsible and kept them safely locked up and your kid in a bout of mental illness found your key and went and shot a whole classroom of 6 year old kids, a whole fucking town full of people’s babies?

Oh shit. Shit, shit, shit.

For gun control, against allowing possession of guns in America. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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