condescending twatbags, controversies, politicians, politics, stupid people

Ron DeSadist’s Martha’s Vineyard migrant stunt reveals a lack of compassion and common sense…

This morning, I read an article shared by the Military Times about the asylum seeking migrants who were basically kidnapped from Texas by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, routed through Florida, and dumped on Martha’s Vineyard. They have been moved to Joint Base Cape Cod, where they are receiving temporary housing and other humanitarian assistance.

Naturally, this move had to be done, as Martha’s Vineyard doesn’t have the facilities to take care of migrants. In fact, I recently read an article about how even locals can’t find affordable year round housing there. That’s right– doctors, nurses, teachers, even the lady who runs the food bank, are all struggling with finding a place to live. So, of course Martha’s Vineyard can’t accommodate a group of fifty migrants who need social services. I’ve run out of gift articles this month, but here’s part of the Washington Post article I read last week about the housing crisis on the island.

This is the part of Martha’s Vineyard most people never see. An island known for its opulence and natural beauty, a playground for presidents and celebrities, it is kept afloat by workers for whom America’s housing crisis is not an eventuality. It’s here.

Even before Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) this week made a political statement by sending two planes full of asylum seekers to the summer haven, the dearth of affordable housing on the Vineyard had pushed its year-round community to a breaking point.

Schools have struggled to staff classrooms. Indigenous people whose families have lived on the island for centuries have been forced to leave their homeland. Firefighters and government workers can’t afford to stay in the communities they serve. People juggling two, three, even four service-industry jobs say they live each month knowing they are one rent hike away from moving into their cars or tents or onto a friend’s couch.

Considering that not even the locals can secure housing, how does anyone expect fifty migrants to be accommodated on Martha’s Vineyard? Even if DeSantis just wanted to prove a point, why couldn’t he send these folks to a place where burgers don’t sell for $26 each? One migrant said that $26 was about what he made in a month in Venezuela. I’ll bet a lot of the idiots hanging out on Military Times have no clue how very little people get paid in other places around the world.

There are also logistical considerations to keeping the migrants on Martha’s Vineyard. Martha’s Vineyard is a small island, and can only be accessed by boat or airplane. Space is at a premium because– IT’S A 96 SQUARE MILE ISLAND! There’s only so much space on an island. There’s nowhere to erect accommodations for people who need assistance. Again, even people who work on Martha’s Vineyard are renting housing by the week, and some are seeing their rents double within that time frame. And we’re not talking about rents that are a few hundred bucks. According to the article I linked, one nurse saw her rent go from $3000 to $6000 a month. This was for a one bedroom apartment!

A news piece about moving the migrants to more appropriate accommodations.

So yes, of course, the migrants had to be moved elsewhere. But try to tell that to the MAGA idiots commenting on the Military Times article about this. Below is a sampling of what they had to say about the migrants being moved…

I don’t generally like to name call… and I don’t like to generalize, but these comments don’t exactly paint veterans in the best light. Moreover, I wonder how many of them consider how many government benefits they get?

Are these people insane? Do they not read at all? Do they have a functioning brain cell among themselves? Obviously they do watch Fox News, don’t they? Because this is the kind of bullshit I’ve heard from that network. What Ron DeSantis did was absolutely criminal, by the way, and I hope he gets his ass handed to him for doing it. He had no right to use these asylum seekers to promote his own political bullshit. It was totally inhumane– basically trafficking people who are already in need of help so that he can further his own political ambitions. I am so SICK and tired of reading and hearing about these politicians who use the disenfranchised to further their own agendas.

I think it’s sad that people commenting on the Military Times article– some of whom probably have some experience with needing help and being poor– are cheering on what Ron DeSantis did with these human beings who are simply looking for a better, safer life for themselves. Moreover, what right did DeSantis have, taking these migrants from Texas, anyway? DeSantis and his minions say that the people were taken in an attempt to get them to “sanctuary destinations”. However, the victims and their representatives have said that they were lured to Martha’s Vineyard under false pretenses. In other words, they were LIED to and USED, just so Ron DeSantis can appeal to heartless conservatives who have little empathy and even less education. According to the Military Times:

The migrants were allegedly promised that after being flown to Martha’s Vineyard, a wealthy vacation spot for many New York and Boston elite, they would be taken to Boston, Julio Henriquez, an attorney who met with several migrants, told the Associated Press.

“They had no idea of where they were going or where they were,” he said.

Henriquez said that after the migrants’ initial arrival at a city-run shelter in San Antonio, a woman approached them and moved them into a nearby La Quinta Inn, where she reportedly made daily food runs. She allegedly promised the migrants jobs and three months of housing in Washington, New York, Philadelphia and Boston.

Many of the migrants are asylum-seekers, having fled the authoritarian regime in Venezuela, and while asylum seekers in the U.S. have limited rights compared to full citizens, the U.S. Constitution does protect them from improper treatment by the government and from discrimination based on race or national origin.

Seems to me that a decent person wanting to send migrants to a “sanctuary destination” would do so with the migrants’ well-being in mind. You don’t want so many of them in the border states? Okay, then broker a deal to share the burden with other states, particularly the ones who are open to helping them. You don’t just round them up and dump them in a place that clearly can’t accommodate them!

For all of the snarking and laughing going on about this stunt, I do want to state that everything I’ve read indicates that Martha’s Vineyard officials and activists treated the migrants decently and offered what assistance they could before relocating them. I even read that some of the locals bonded with the migrants and were left forever changed by the 44 hour encounter before more appropriate help could be arranged for them. So kudos to the locals for that. And shame on the MAGA morons for not taking the time to understand why the migrants had to be relocated to more suitable locations. I’m glad to read that the victims of this crime are SUING Ron DeSantis for pulling this shit. And the sheriff of Bexar County– where I cast my votes– is also looking into criminal charges against DeSantis. I say, LOCK HIM UP… and change his name to Ron DeSadist.

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complaints, controversies, LDS, mental health, narcissists, social media, YouTube

Self-preservation and the “gift of fear”, rather than bigotry…

I kind of don’t really want to write this post, because I have a bad feeling that it might be controversial… But I saw something yesterday that annoyed me a bit, and since it’s been kind of a difficult week anyway, I figure I might as well post about it.

Some time ago, someone out there in Facebook Land encouraged me to follow Father Nathan Monk. I think it might have been someone in the Duggar Family News group. According to his “about section”, Father Nathan Monk is a best selling author, “depressive humorist”, and former priest. He often posts things that are wise, funny, and insightful. However, there are times when he’s a little too “woke” for me, and I get annoyed. I know at least one time, I unfollowed for awhile. I think last month it happened, and I took a break for a month. Recently, his posts started popping up on my feed again. I mostly enjoyed them, until I saw the one below…

Naturally, he got many comments from people who completely agreed with his take on why so many people don’t like Meghan Markle. Lots of people were jumping on the bandwagon that people “hate” Meghan just because she’s “black”. I noticed that anyone who disagreed with any part of Father Nathan Monk’s post was immediately piled upon by other posters, seemingly eager to shut up the lone dissenter. People were calling the guy a bigot and a misogynist. Granted, he did turn out to be a Trump supporter from Britain, but even that doesn’t necessarily make him a bigot. I thought his comments regarding Meghan made a lot of sense, his political preferences notwithstanding. To me, it just proves that not all Trump supporters are necessarily crazy or stupid. They just haven’t reached the conclusions that I have, for whatever reason. Like the guy posted, “it’s okay to disagree.” I don’t know why he can easily see Meghan Markle’s issues and not see Trump’s, but then, I don’t know anything about him. Maybe he’s right about Trump and I’m wrong, although I doubt it. I suspect he just cares more about money than I do.

Now, if you’re a regular reader of my blog, you might know that I’m not one of Meghan Markle’s fans. My dislike of Meghan Markle has absolutely NOTHING at all to do with her racial makeup. I couldn’t care less about that. I don’t care that she’s an American who had the audacity to marry a British prince, either. I think people should be allowed to love and marry whomever they choose. And I also think that Harry should have been allowed to chart his own course in life, as we all should. I watched the interview Meghan and Harry had with Oprah Winfrey, and a lot of what Harry said made sense to me. I’ve always liked him, and when he and Meghan first got together, I was genuinely happy for both of them. I cried when I watched their wedding, especially at this part…

The man who sings the solo never fails to bring me to tears. This is just beautiful. I was even inspired to make my own version of this song based on this interpretation, which is one of so many over the years.

Here’s proof that I watched and loved their wedding, and this song…

When I heard this and watched the wedding, I had high hopes for this union.

What surprises me is looking at the congregation and not seeing that much emotion… but it is Britain. If I had been there in person, I would have been sobbing. That rendition is– indeed– glorious!

Below is what I had to say in late November 2017, when Harry and Meghan’s engagement was announced…

A screenshot from my original blog in an entry posted on November 29, 2017, so you can see that I’m not making this up… On another, unrelated point, I see that the post in question was about 85% about a certain lurker from Colorado. And given that it was late 2017, when we were having serious issues with our ex landlady, I now know it was the former tenant, spying on me and reporting her findings. I had titled the post “Snoopin’ and poopin’,” and that was definitely what she was doing. Sorry… I know I should forget about this, given what happened to former tenant, but it still really pisses me off.

As you can see, I had nothing bad to say about Meghan in 2017. I thought she was pretty, and Harry seemed happy. I did not give a shit about her race, and in fact, the two people I posted about her resembling are famous and beautiful WHITE people. But even if they were Black, it wouldn’t matter to me.

In May 2018, a few days after Harry’s and Meghan’s nuptials, I posted this :

See? Nothing derisive here about Meghan’s skin color.

Also from May 2018, I had written a post about gun violence in the USA, and added some comments about the royal wedding between Harry and Meghan. Again, totally positive and hopeful comments from yours truly.

Are these comments racist?

And finally, two more comments from October 2018, when Meghan announced her pregnancy… Nothing negative or racist here, either. And here’s a link to my post about Harry’s interview with Oprah last year. I had sympathy then, too, even if, by that point, I was liking Meghan less.

I’m not going to claim that there aren’t a lot of racists out there who don’t like Meghan Markle only because of her skin tone. I’m sure there are plenty of small-minded people who think she had no business marrying a British prince simply due to her being a biracial American woman with middle class roots. My point is that not all of us dislike her for those reasons. And just as it’s not right for people to make assumptions about others due to things they can’t help, like their skin color, it’s also wrong to assume that people are racist just because they’ve come to conclusions that you haven’t. I would gather that coming to that conclusion, even if it’s just for well-intentioned “woke” purposes, is just as wrong as stereotyping people due to their skin color is. In other words, people who instantly cry “RACISM” when someone says something disapproving of Meghan Markle are really not much better than the gossip mongers.

H.G. Tudor, who has been notably relentless and snarky in his observations of Meghan Markle’s behavior, put out what I think is a pretty good video. The main idea is that no, we don’t know her… but people who DO know her have spoken about her behavior. How many more people need to speak up before people realize that not everyone dislikes her due to her skin color?

I don’t like Meghan Markle because I don’t like her behavior. She makes my “cluster B” chimes go off. I’m not the only one who feels this way. And we’re not wrong to have these feelings, because we have had exposure to narcissists, and experience has taught us that these types give off signals that are triggering. Once you’ve been around that type of person, you can pick up on the vibes. Even though I get those vibes– mainly those of hypocrisy, fakeness, and self-centeredness– I totally get that I could be misinterpreting. Experience has told me that I’m pretty perceptive, and my perceptions are often right on target.

There’s a reason that people have this “sixth sense”, by the way. It’s part of self-preservation. Back in 2010, in my old blog, I posted about a book I read called The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. It was recommended by a YouTuber who called himself Lithodid Man. I blogged about the video by Lithodid Man, and he eventually found the post and left me a comment. Below is his video, which is now twelve years old…

Lithodid Man, who is an atheist, talks about being approached by a very insistent evangelical proselytizer who was trying to wear him down and get access to his minor son. He explains that he had read de Becker’s book, and it opened his eyes to the manipulative techniques the guy was using to get Lithodid Man to agree to let his son go to a church group.
An excerpt of my 2010 post about The Gift of Fear.

Gavin de Becker’s book is about recognizing when your senses are telling you of a threat, and acting accordingly, and in your own best interests, to protect yourself from harm. Our culture often pushes us, through peer pressure, to think one way or the other, to be agreeable and not make a fuss, to not be a “Karen”, to always cooperate and not make any waves… And people who are manipulative, narcissistic, or otherwise up to no good, are only too happy to exploit those pressures we live under to be nice at all costs.

Being nice is not a bad thing, but one shouldn’t be nice simply because it’s the path of least resistance. Sometimes, those instincts are DEAD ON… and tragically, we don’t realize until something heartbreaking has happened. For more on this, read any of my posts about Bill’s ex wife, and what has happened because he was “too nice” and too afraid to upset other people. Granted, it hasn’t been all bad. If he hadn’t married Ex, we might not have gotten married. Some other woman would have almost certainly treated him a lot better and he probably would have stayed married to her, even if the match wasn’t as compatible as ours is. But a lot of people were hurt because Bill ignored “the gift of fear” and didn’t listen to his instincts. He has told me on many occasions that on his wedding day to Ex, he had a voice telling him not to do it. He ignored that voice and suffered the consequences– kind of like Diana, former Princess of Wales, did. He learned a lot of tough lessons. Some of them have rubbed off on me.

Here’s another example. For years, I was quite vocal about how much I dislike Mormonism. I still dislike it, but feel less compelled to speak out about it these days, mainly because Bill’s younger daughter, who is LDS, now talks to him. I know that there are really good people in Mormonism. I knew that, even when I was more outspoken about Mormonism. My disdain for the church had NOTHING to do with the people within it. I don’t dislike people simply due to their religious beliefs. If that were the case, I never would have married Bill, who was still LDS on our wedding day. It was the institution and doctrine itself that I saw as damaging, because it was used as a tool to separate my husband from his daughters. He wasn’t “worthy” to be their father or baptise them, according to Ex and the church itself. He didn’t believe in the church’s teachings, so he was less fit. This, even though Ex was the one who was abusing and neglecting their children, and Bill himself.

So I determined that I don’t like Mormonism for that reason, not because I’m overall a religious bigot. And I also know that the Mormons aren’t the only ones who pull that shit… they just happen to be the ones who have affected us directly. I don’t like the other religions where those kinds of divisive practices prevail, either. In fact, I’m not that big on religion as a whole, but I especially dislike really restrictive, controlling ones where everyone has to believe and think the same way, and criticism isn’t allowed. Does that automatically make me a bigot? I don’t think so. But some people insisted that I am one, no matter how much I tried to explain my reasoning to them. Thankfully, most of them are now out of my life. Likewise, my disdain for Meghan Markle has nothing to do with her skin color or race. It’s because I recognize problematic behaviors that I think are toxic.

It annoys me to read posts like Father Nathan Monk’s, that presume to lecture everyone about being “racist” against Meghan Markle and discounting why people might not like her. First of all, she is a very public figure. She chose to be a public figure. One could argue that making that choice, in and of itself, is kind of a narcissistic thing to do. Yes, there are famous people out there who aren’t really all that “public”. I’ve read and heard about Meghan Markle’s desire for “privacy”, and yet she’s still everywhere.

Sure, I could give Meghan a pass for attending the Queen’s funeral, and even the Platinum Jubilee, but she’s clearly been trying to monetize her association with the British Royal Family. She still uses that title– the Duchess of Sussex– even as she publicly disdains Harry’s family and disowns her own family. This might be easy to ignore if these folks were regular citizens, but they aren’t. The British Royal Family is extremely public.

While I’m not generally a fan of saying, “you knew what you were getting into”, I do think that Meghan had to know that she wouldn’t be living a private life if she married Harry. It’s not even like she was like Diana. Diana was 19 years old when she got married, and didn’t even have a college degree. Meghan was a divorcee in her late 30s when she and Harry got married. And Meghan is certainly old enough to remember Diana, and what happened to her. Moreover, other people who married into royalty have been harassed– Sarah Ferguson definitely was. Camilla Parker Bowles was. Even Kate Middleton was. So, in that sense, she wasn’t alone… and wasn’t really treated that differently, other than the fact that Meghan is biracial and American. I’m not saying it’s right that the press harassed these ladies. What I am saying is that they were all being pursued and treated similarly poorly by the press. Prince Edward’s wife, Sophie, is the only one I don’t remember being messed with as much by the press. Maybe it’s because she was involved in public relations herself, if memory serves.

I don’t know Meghan Markle personally, and almost surely never will. So, the fact that I see her behavior as obnoxious and don’t like it is irrelevant, anyway. It’s not like I’m sending her hate mail, or even posting a lot of toxic stuff about her. I don’t even hang around with a bunch of girlfriends and giggle as we drink wine and trade catty gossip about her. I just pick up on these toxic vibes that I can’t ignore. I still wish Meghan and Harry luck with their marriage, particularly since there are now children involved. And I even hope that the two of them prove me wrong and have a long, successful, and happy marriage. I would be even happier if Meghan stopped seeming so artificial and tone deaf to me. And yes, I will continue to write about my observations of her behavior as I see fit. But, whether or not people believe me, my feelings have nothing to do with Meghan’s race. And to make that sweeping and insulting judgment about anyone who has criticisms of Meghan Markle is pretty lazy, limited, and disrespectful, in my view. People are going to “do themselves”, though… so for the sake of my sanity, I’ll try to ignore the bullshit and drive on.

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controversies, politicians, politics, Trump

Sarah Palin lost her election, so now Republicans are crying foul… AGAIN!

I was amused this morning when I read a news article about how Republicans are bitching that Sarah Palin lost her bid to re-enter politics in Alaska because of Alaska’s “ranked voting” system. Sarah Palin and fellow Republican, Nick Begich III, faced off against Democrat Mary Peltola, in a congressional special election. Alaska is a famously Republican state, so the GOP apparently felt that one of their candidates would be a “shoo-in” to win. Mary Peltola faced long odds in her efforts to claim the seat of Don Young, who died in March of this year. But Mary did win, and she will be the very first Alaska Native member of Congress, and the very FIRST Democrat to represent Alaska in the House since 1972!

And yet, now Republicans are bitterly COMPLAINING that Alaska’s voting system is a scam! It couldn’t be their candidates lost because people are sick of Republicans’ relentless attacks on freedom, could it? It couldn’t be that the people of Alaska remembered that Sarah Palin, the former governor of the state, QUIT halfway through her term to be a political pundit, could it? It couldn’t be that there are people in Alaska who respect the Constitution enough not to elect a Trump endorsed candidate? And some people have realized that Republicans have ruined their party by affiliating with treasonous, money-grubbing, dictator wannabes like Donald Trump and his criminal gang? No… couldn’t be. Poor Sarah Palin was ROBBED. Not.

All of a sudden, a system that worked FOR Republicans for fifty years, is now a scam, because a DEMOCRAT finally won? What kind of bullshit is that? Sounds like sour grapes, to me.

What an idiot.

It seems like that’s the new mantra for the GOP. When your candidate loses, for good reason, by the way, it must be because the election was rigged. It can’t be because your policies suck for being cruel, anti-freedom, sexist, and ultimately not for the good of ALL people. Alaska’s system worked exactly the way it was supposed to work. Trump backed Palin won against the less famous Begich, who might have been more acceptable to all voters than Palin was. The MAGA assholes voted for Sarah, because they like Trump. But a lot of people, as a whole, do not like Trump. So some people voted for the Democrat candidate instead of flakey Sarah Palin, who abandoned her post as governor and aligned with Trump.

I’ll tell you what. People are going to find out too late that they are on the wrong side of history. If Trump gets back into power, he’s going to ruin the United States. He’s more unhinged now than he ever was, and he’s only getting older and more desperate. Republicans in the know realize how much he’s fucked up their party, and they wish he’d shut up. But he won’t do that, because he’s a grandiose malignant narcissist, and he can’t accept being the loser that he obviously is. So he’ll keep trying to get back in power, and he will not stop until he’s dead or in a coma or something. Meanwhile, the people who cheer him on will refuse to see reality, and when Trump forms his own party, they’ll vote with him. And the Republicans, as a whole, will lose.

I never had an issue with conservatives, per se. I’m actually a centrist, myself. I can see why people on the right get irritated by liberals. I find certain liberal beliefs pretty annoying. And they also have their share of obvious narcissists, who push agendas that restrict freedom and scare people. They push agendas that people see as government overreach and restricting their freedoms (although I think abortion bans are about as overreaching as a government can get).

Take, for instance, “cancel culture”. A few years ago, there was a trend of people videoing people behaving badly and putting it on social media, in an attempt to ruin lives. They would get called out for being sexist, racist, etc… or just appearing to be that way. Then their behavior would go viral, and they’d lose their jobs and get death threats and what not. Well, I can see why people on the right side of the spectrum would not like that trend. I don’t like it, either. Not every bad encounter is motivated by racism, and no matter what, it’s not cool to ruin someone’s livelihood simply because of a disagreement. It’s NEVER okay to send someone death threats or invitations to commit suicide. But some folks on the left were doing that, supposedly for the “common good” of stamping out racism or whatever other “ism” was popular for the day. Those tactics are divisive and do more harm than good, in my opinion.

I think Trump appeals to people who respond to charisma and the attitude that they don’t have to take any “woke shit” from the left. They are also people who are motivated by money, and the appearance of having more of it to spend in the way they like. That’s understandable, of course. What some of these folks fail to realize, though, is that Donald Trump, as a narcissist, does not care about them, and ultimately will not do anything for them. And far right candidates who stump for Trump also don’t care about their constituents.

Not all Republicans are MAGAs. Some of them have a sense of decency and functioning brains. So yes, they will vote for a Democrat if it means this MAGA nonsense might someday stop and we can go back to being a more “normal” country, where women aren’t relegated to second class citizenship and denied privacy. It used to be that right wingers would compare liberalism to socialism and communism. But their policies, which are proving to be extremely unpopular to those of us who don’t want politicians regulating things like whether or not to continue a pregnancy, and would rather not have to worry about being shot, are proving to be less appealing than voting blue. Unfortunately, the United States has a lot of folks in it who don’t read or travel, and aren’t big on critical thinking. So they get taken in by Trump’s promises. Sooner or later, they will find out that he’s on the wrong side of history. He’s not a good man.

But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t bad people on the left. I have seen some murmurings about Meghan Markle wanting to become a politician, and if she did, it would no doubt be as a blue candidate. I think that would be a disaster. Fortunately, I also think a lot of people see right through her, even though she keeps trying to play the race card. She doesn’t have Trump’s charisma, either. But she’s an example of someone who is an obvious narcissist and just wants to be on top, as Tyra Banks put it in the theme song for ANTM (America’s Next Top Model). Tyra Banks is another obvious narcissist.

Now is the time for people to vote for people over parties. While I believe that some level of narcissism is necessary to run for public office, and all people have narcissistic traits to some extent, it’s NOT a good thing to elect full blown narcissists to public office. Public office is supposed to be about SERVICE, not getting rich, gaining control of others, or being in power. So we should vote for people who want to serve, not people who are charismatic, well-known, wealthy, or loudmouthed. Politicians should CARE about the people, not having power, money, and control.

Unfortunately, our culture has been trained to give people a chance… even people who obviously don’t merit one. We don’t pay attention to the “gift of fear” and judgment, which are both innate survival tools. We’ve been taught to suppress judgment to our detriment. Bill and I both knew, several years ago when Trump burst onto the political scene, that he was going to fuck up the country. For us, it was like seeing a sign in bright, neon, flashing letters. Why? Because we have been exposed to less powerful narcissists who have wreaked havoc on our lives. Once you’ve had that inoculation, you are mostly immune to narcissistic bullshit. Or, at least you can spot it at a hundred paces. It doesn’t matter what side of the political spectrum they’re on. Narcissists SUCK as leaders. And that is what Trump and a lot of his political minions are. They care more about themselves– money, power, and control– than doing things that make life better for everyone.

Anyway… no, I don’t think Alaska’s election was rigged. That’s nonsense. Republicans need to wake up and realize that MAGA is going out of style. And if something isn’t done about Donald Trump, our country is going to be fucked… and their party will be a shell of what it was. Oh… and Democrats will win… as long as we continue to have free, fair elections, the likes of which I’m feeling less and less optimistic about. But we’ll see. I’m glad I’m 50, and my life is likely at least half over, so I can stop caring about this shit.

By the way… I LIKE Alaska’s voting system. I think it makes a lot of sense. People should be allowed to rank their choices. Maybe if we could do that, we could avoid voting in more terrible people like Trump. Oh, and it’s also high time to allow us all more choices in elections, so we don’t have political contests with two shitty candidates.

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controversies, lessons learned, Police, true crime, YouTube

Maryland cops mimic kindergartner’s temper tantrum with one of their own…

A few days ago, The Washington Post shared an article about two cops in Montgomery County, Maryland, who have just been part of a lawsuit stemming from their actions on January 14, 2020. A five year old boy at East Silver Spring Elementary School had a meltdown shortly after lunch. He became upset and threw a clipboard at a teacher and a fellow student. Then he ran out of the classroom, outside of the school, and toward a congested section of Silver Spring, Maryland. Having been to Silver Spring myself, I know that this is basically a suburb of Washington, DC, and there’s a lot of traffic.

School officials called the police, and officers Kevin Christmon and Dionne Holliday arrived on the scene. They quickly located the boy, who was hiding nearby. At first, the cops were pleasant toward the boy, but when he refused to cooperate with him, the police officers became very controlling and, many would say, abusive. Christmon’s voice turns stern as he demands that the boy look at him, then asks why he’s out of school. When the boy doesn’t willingly emerge from his hiding spot, Christmon grabs him by the arm and yanks him toward the other officer. The boy starts screaming “No, no, no, no…” as the police order him into the back of their squad car. By that point, an assistant principal had arrived, and managed to get the boy to calm down enough to get into the car.

Bodycam footage was released on Friday, hence the news article I read. I watched the raw footage, and I was pretty shocked by the way those “peace officers” were berating that child. According to the Washington Post, the following exchange occurred:

“I don’t wanna to go,” [the boy] said, his voice shaking and coughing.

“I don’t care!” the officer replied. “You don’t make that decision for yourself!”

Holliday spoke to the child through an open door. “Does your momma spank you?” she asked, adding, “I’m going to ask her if I can do it.”

Naturally, the harsh words and threats served to upset the boy even more. He screamed and cried. The officers described his behavior as “headstrong” and “defiant”. Christmon said that he felt his actions were justified, because the boy was being “non-compliant.” Holliday said that she threatened him to “get him to shut up.” Both officers screamed at the boy, trying to overpower his screams with their voices. At one point, Holliday “primal screams” a couple of inches from the boy’s face, which only served to cause him to scream louder.

This is a news report from March 2021 from NBC news. It was aired before the outcome of the lawsuit was revealed.

At one point, Officer Christman holds the boy down in the chair for 80 seconds. Later, Christmon puts a handcuff on the boy’s wrist and tells him that handcuffs are what people who don’t want to listen end up wearing. The cops call the boy’s mother, who later comes to the school and complains that she has trouble disciplining the child. She says she fears using corporal punishment, because she doesn’t want child protection services to take him away. Officer Holliday then advises the boy’s mother on the level of corporal punishment that will not result in his being removed from her custody. She tells the mom, “We want you to beat him… All I can tell you is to beat that ass.” At one point, Holliday also made a comment about how “animals should be crated”, adding that that’s what should happen to boys who want to “act like a little beast.” And she referred to the child as “a shepherd for the devil.”

I wasn’t originally planning to write about this case, as I’ve found that a lot of times, people involved in these situations go looking for opinions and then get angry or upset when they disagree with mine. Regular readers might recall that I recently disabled my official Facebook page for this blog because someone contacted me through Facebook with abuse, threats, and insults because they didn’t like an old blog entry I reposted. I have a feeling that this case could inspire similar attempts to berate me, simply for having and sharing an opinion.

However… against my better judgment, I’m going to write about this. My heart broke for that poor kid, even as I have empathy for the adults who were trying to deal with him. I was never as out of control as that boy was, but I do remember being very small and emotionally immature, crying and screaming, and being threatened, bullied, and hit by some of the adults in my life– particularly, my father. I don’t remember anyone ever speaking to me calmly and trying to redirect the tantrum– which is a pretty normal thing for kids to have, by the way. I remember hyperventilating and being terrified. And when I saw and heard that boy’s screams, it took me back to that place, many years in the past.

Not surprisingly, the boy in this story had nightmares in the wee hours of the next morning. He woke up at 3:00am and cried to his mother, saying that he was afraid the police were going to shoot him. The mother filed a complaint with the police department and later sued. Her suit was settled out of court for $275,000, which according to Dr. Todd Grande, who also analyzed this case, the boy will get when he’s an adult.

I liked what Dr. Grande had to say about this case. He’s very astute.

Dr. Grande notes that the police, who are trained to “take control” of a crime situation, lost control in dealing with this child. Cops, as I have observed from watching many Bodycam videos on YouTube, are used to being able to get as physical as they need to with non-compliant adults. But this is a five year old child, so obviously, it would not have been appropriate for them to wrestle him to the ground, put him in handcuffs, and Taser the shit out of him. Instead, they tried to act like “stern adults” and browbeat the child into submission with screaming, yelling, threats, and insults. But, as we can all see, that technique only made things a lot worse.

Christmon later said, having watched the video footage, “Honestly, after looking at this, we should have dropped him off and left,”

I agree. Because it’s clear that these two officers don’t have much expertise in talking to children, and their methods were abusive and inappropriate for a young child. I believe that, even though I have worked with children myself, and I know that dealing with them can be frustrating. Kids don’t have the same situational awareness that adults have, and they often lack self-control. This child, who apparently has a record of acting out in school and at home, needed someone with more experience dealing with troubled children. From what I saw in the video footage, it appeared that the cops weren’t behaving much better than the boy was. However, the boy has his age and maturity level as an excuse.

The two officers did face discipline for the way they handled this case. Officer Christmon was suspended for almost two weeks. Officer Holliday got four weeks’ suspension. Both suspensions occurred without pay. The officers were also administratively charged with a number of infractions, including neglect of duty and failure to be courteous.  The police officers agreed with the punishments, did their penance, and the matter was closed. Both remain employed as police officers today.

Many people seemed to think that these two cops should be fired for their bad conduct, especially since it’s cost the county $275,000. I’m not quite sure how I feel about it. It does sound to me like the officers recognize that they did wrong, and handled the situation poorly. They seem amenable to learning from the incident and doing a better job in the future. I’m not a big fan of canceling people’s livelihoods for one mistake, even when it’s a whopper like this one. In this case, the boy suffered significant mental distress that he’ll probably remember from now on. But no one was physically injured or killed, and it does sound like some learning happened.

I am not a fan of “beating children”, as most of my regular readers probably know. I had a teacher in the 80s who employed corporal punishment. He once carried it out on me, in front of my entire class of peers. Forty plus years later, I still haven’t forgotten it, and it still really pisses me off to think about it. That punishment was inappropriate. I also had a father whose methods of discipline involved force, yelling, insults, and physical abuse. He’s been dead for eight years, and I still have bad feelings toward him. That kind of “discipline” doesn’t teach anything but fear, and tends to make things much worse. Sadly, some school districts in the United States still use corporal punishment. At this writing, 19 states still allow corporal punishment in schools, although happily, my home state of Virginia no longer does. The state of Missouri has just now brought the method back to schools, reportedly at the request of some parents. 

I understand that inflicting physical pain on someone who is out of control with emotion can sometimes “shock” them into compliance, especially when they are young children. However, in my experience, relying on that method of discipline leads to laziness on the part of the adult, and is ultimately disrespectful to the child, who is a human being and worthy of basic respect. We would never advocate for a husband slapping or spanking his wife when he became angry with or frustrated by her behavior. Many people would consider that “domestic violence.” And yet, a lot of people think it’s perfectly fine for a much larger human being to terrorize a child with threats of being hit or beaten, personal insults and comparisons to animals, and screaming and yelling. I promise, yelling and screaming at children doesn’t tend to inspire them to calm down and be quiet.

Police officers have a very difficult job, dealing with dangerous people who carry weapons. This was a case of a small child, obviously unarmed, and clearly much smaller and weaker than the cops were. The level of control the officers tried to inflict on the child was inappropriate, and clearly, very abusive. The boy wasn’t a threat to them. He was simply having a tantrum, which young kids often do. It seems to me the appropriate thing for the cops to do in this case was simply to see that the boy got back to school safely. And then, they should have allowed a professional who has much more experience working with children handle the boy’s meltdown. I don’t know if either of these cops have children, but their conduct offers a glimpse at how their children could be disciplined. It’s disturbing that one of the officers advocated for “beating” the child, even if she meant it in the vernacular. It’s really not a good look.

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controversies, politicians, politics, work, YouTube

So-called useless, worthless, overpriced college degrees for the “woke”…

In the wake of Joe Biden’s announcement that he plans to forgive some student loan debts for some borrowers, there’s been a lot of talk about so-called unmarketable, “useless”, college degrees. I saw an article yesterday about how some people who have high debt loads “regret” studying subjects that lead to jobs in low paying fields. They wish they’d studied business or a STEM subject– science, technology, engineering, or math. Why? Because they can’t make any money, and they are drowning in debt.

Meanwhile, many Republicans are loudly complaining about people who get degrees in “underwater basket weaving” or “lesbian dance studies”, and then act surprised that they can’t find work and repay their student loans. On the surface, that does sound like a valid complaint. Many conservatives think that a degree in “women’s studies” serves no purpose whatsoever. Ditto to “gender studies”, or any other new-fangled major that explores the issues that affect the disenfranchised. According to them, everyone needs to be studying a field that will lead to MONEY.

Henry Winkler asks… “Who is studying ‘underwater basket weaving’?” And why is a Trump thinking he is qualified to talk about it? It’s not like his father made his own money, right?

It always distresses me to hear people express disrespect for liberal arts education. It also bothers me that so many people seem to be “triggered” or offended that someone would put value in learning about gender theories. Why does going to college only have to be a pathway to a well-paying job? As many people might have realized, that’s not how it worked out for me. But I still see the value in my education. Yes, I have a degree in English, which was very helpful when I went to graduate school and could write coherent papers. More than one professor actually thanked me for being able to write competently and spell properly. I got minors in speech and communications, because I think public speaking is important, and a lot of people are terrible at it and actually fear doing it. Communication is also important, as it helps people effectively share information in a clear way.

I got master’s degrees in more specific fields. One was in social work– macro focus– which means I learned how to manage people, engage in community development, and do research. I have found that most people don’t even know what social work is, and assume it’s a specific job title. It’s not. Social work is a field of study that can be applied very broadly. It’s about helping humans achieve self-determination, and changing environments to suit people’s needs. It’s NOT just about helping poor people, facilitating adoptions, or taking children away from abusive families. And those are not things we learn in social work education, even if those areas are where a lot of social work graduates can be found working. Sadly, a lot of people who studied other fields are also often in those jobs… but they get labeled as “social workers”, when they shouldn’t be. Incidentally, a man who is now gone from my social media used to tell me “you don’t have to have a degree to work with the poor.” Ah… but you DO need a degree to be a social worker. And social workers DON’T just work with poor people. If he had gone to college himself, he might know that.

My other master’s degree might, marginally, be in more of a STEM type area. It’s in public health. I took a health administration focus, because I had to for the dual program I was in. Since I graduated, more dual programs have been developed, and if I had to do it over, I probably would have chosen one of those. But in that program, I learned about management, research, and core public health principles, as well as finance. When I graduated, I felt prepared to work. Then life intervened, and I met and married Bill… and became a globetrotting Army wife. 😉

My point is, though… you can get a good education doing most things, and in almost any field. Too many of us focus on what a person’s major was in college, when we should be focusing on their individual skills as a person. A person who majors in women’s studies can certainly learn transferable skills. I presume women’s studies majors have to write papers, learn how to research, read books, take tests, and work in groups, right? Aren’t those valuable skills? Can’t some of those skills translate to work? Hell, the Peace Corps accepts people with a broad variety of degrees. I learned a hell of a lot in two years of Peace Corps work, even if it didn’t land me a dream job with the State Department or an NGO.

I know that going to college is challenging. Come to think of it, so is working at McDonald’s. Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting By in America, just died yesterday. I read her book in 2000, when it first came out. I read it for pleasure, but I think it would have been a great book for anyone in my grad school program. She showed that: 1. there is NO such thing as “unskilled labor” and 2. Nobody can get by in America on “minimum wage”.

I like what Beau had to say about Ted Cruz and his offensive comments about “slacker baristas”.

In the above video, Beau laments Ted Cruz and his unfortunate and OFFENSIVE comments about “slacker baristas”, who have “worthless” degrees and “wasted” seven years in college studying what he deems useless things and now can’t get a job. But, as Beau points out, the reason why Starbucks makes big bucks is because of the baristas, who make coffee drinks that people want to buy. It’s not because of the bean counters or the managers. And it does take effort and skill to learn how to make good coffee drinks. I know. I’ve done it myself– not at Starbucks, but in a fancy restaurant, where I waited tables (the hardest job I’ve ever had, by the way), and at a chocolatier shop that sold pastries. It’s also a good look when the barista speaks proper English, knows how to behave in a businesslike manner, and is professional.

No, you don’t have to go to college to learn those things, but it is one place where those soft skills are taught. And you can also grow from friendships, experiences, and the opportunities to take courses in other fields. I’m living proof of that one. It was in college where I discovered my ability to sing, a talent that I was able to develop in college. I have used that talent in countries around the world. Does it make me money? Not really, but it makes me a better, more well-rounded, more interesting person, and it improves my life immeasurably.

Too true.

Another point I’d like to make is this… Not everyone can succeed in business or as a STEM major. I SUCK at math. I don’t have a head for it. I don’t enjoy it. Even if I somehow got through a math major at a university, I would be completely mediocre in the field. And if everyone decided to major in business, the worth of that education would plummet.

I do have master’s degrees in public health and social work, which are technically healthcare related fields, but I would be absolutely awful as a nurse. I don’t think I have the right temperament for it. I’m not good at math. I don’t like the idea of giving people shots or inserting IVs or Foley catheters. However, I probably would be good at writing for a Web site like WebMD, or hospital newsletters. I would be good at writing patient instructions or other literature that provides valuable communication with the public. My English degree helps immensely with achieving that job.

If I had gone to college to study a so-called “in demand” field, it truly would have been a waste of time and money. I don’t think I could succeed in those fields. My talents are in the arts. And God knows, we value the arts, don’t we? We like to be entertained. We like being stimulated to think about things. What would the world be like if everyone studied hard sciences and business? Who would write the scripts for shows like The Handmaid’s Tale, or any of the other famous TV shows that people can’t miss? Who would make the music that helps make life easier to bear? Who would take care of the impoverished who need help, or the children who need to be taught life skills?

I think we all need a collective change in attitude. I think Americans should broaden their perspectives a bit. There is value in almost any field of study. Do people need to be spending six figures for a bachelor’s degree? I don’t think so. But that has a lot to do with what our universities are charging, and a lot of what they are charging cover things like athletics, alumni events, renovated dorms and other facilities, and technology. And also, the fact that people don’t want to pay more taxes to support those institutions.

I do think it’s true that there are a lot people who shouldn’t go to college. Maybe they aren’t intellectually cut out for the work. Maybe they lack discipline or skill. Some people really should go to a trade school, or learn something on the job. But I do think that college has value, and most fields– even the so-called worthless ones– have something to offer. We just don’t value education the way we should, and we don’t want to invest in the community or each other. I see community in Germany. Last night, one of my neighbors told me that she has no student debt, and she looks to be in her 20s or so. But then, not everyone in Germany can go to college. In America, almost anyone can go to college, if they can pay for it or get loans. That mindset probably ought to change… and we ought to get rid of most of the “for profit” colleges.

But really, I think people like any one of the Trumps (except maybe Mary Trump) or Ted Cruz need to get down off their high horses… and people need to stop looking up to them. They certainly don’t understand regular people. And they obviously value those “slacker baristas”, too… who make them their fancy coffee drinks. Those baristas make the money for Starbucks. I hope more of them will vote, too… especially if they are college educated.

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