Kentucky, politicians, politics, rants, slut shamers, Texas, true crime

Grateful to be a Texas voter who doesn’t have to live in Texas (or Kentucky)…

This is a pretty angry rant, so if you don’t like coarse language or rage, you might want to keep scrolling.

This week, I’ve been following the tragic story of 31 year old married mother of two, Kate Cox, and her request to be allowed to have an abortion. Cox, who lives near Dallas, Texas, and is currently about 20 weeks pregnant, learned that her unborn daughter has Trisomy 18, otherwise known as Edwards Syndrome. Cox’s doctors have told her that her pregnancy is non-viable, and that she is likely to either miscarry, or the baby will die during, or soon after, her birth. Additionally, Cox’s fertility may also be at risk if she continues her pregnancy.

A couple of years ago, Cox likely could have terminated her pregnancy without any interference from politicians, lawyers, or judges. It would not have been anyone’s business but hers, her doctor’s, and her family’s, if she chose to include them. But now, thanks to the cruel and misogynistic turn taken by Republican assholes in power, Kate Cox has not been allowed to make this very private and personal decision. This week, she went to court to request permission to have an abortion. On Thursday, she was given that permission by a compassionate judge who has common sense and decency. Judge Maya Guerra Gamble, an elected Democrat, granted a temporary restraining order that would allow Cox to safely terminate her pregnancy without fear of legal repercussions.

Immediately after Judge Maya Guerra Gamble’s favorable decision was handed down, Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, leapt into action. He sent letters to the Houston area hospitals where Cox could have had the abortion procedure done, threatening doctors with legal consequences if they carried out the treatment Cox seeks. Then he petitioned the Texas Supreme Court for a stay, which halted Judge Guerra Gamble’s order, and forces Kate Cox to endure her doomed pregnancy even longer.

FUCK YOU, KEN PAXTON!

I’ve been reading the reactions to this case. Most people seem to think Ken Paxton is absolutely wrong in his decision to interfere in this case. However, I’ve seen a lot of comments from MEN who think it’s right to force Kate Cox to deliver this baby and watch her die. I am convinced that these men– most of whom truly don’t give a shit about the welfare of already born people– just want to control women. And every time I read their feeble minded diatribes about the so-called “sanctity of life”, I become enraged anew. How dare they?!

I have never met Ken Paxton, but I hate his guts. He needs to go straight to Hell.

Anyway… I am a Texas voter, even though I live in Germany. I maintain the right and responsibility to vote in Texas, although it feels a bit like pissing in the wind. I will continue to do my part in trying to oust extremist Republican misogynistic thugs like Paxton out of office. And while I won’t write or say out loud what I hope happens to him, you can bet I’m calling on my higher power, too. I am infuriated and disgusted by this case, as I know a lot of other sensible, decent, kind people with functioning brains are, too. Abortion is necessary healthcare for some pregnant people, and I know this is an issue that people will fight over for the rest of my life. I no longer have skin in the game, since I’m pretty sure I’m menopausal now, but on behalf of all women, I am outraged by Ken Paxton and his anti-woman ilk. I hope Ken Paxton goes straight to Hell, and I pray the women of Texas wise up and get the hell out of that godforsaken state, and take all of the OB-GYNs with them.

Last night, I also read about an outrageous case out of Kentucky. I actually found out about it because I saw a headline about a woman who is eight weeks pregnant and wants to have an abortion. Kentucky, like Texas, has banned most abortions, so this Jane Doe has filed a lawsuit. Good for her for doing that. But, as I was looking for news on that case, I ran across another story about a young woman in Kentucky who was instrumental in getting Democratic Governor Andy Beshear re-elected (link is temporarily unlocked).

Hadley Duvall, age 21, got pregnant by her stepfather when she was 12 years old. Duvall’s stepfather, Jeremy Whitledge, had started sexually abusing her when she was five years old. At first, he made it seem like what he was doing was a normal thing. When she got older, and realized her stepfather was hurting her, he started to hold her down. Later, it became a punishment when she was “bad”. Her brother got spankings. Hadley got sexually molested by a man she’d considered her dad. Her mother and stepfather presented the image of a “perfect family”, even if Whitledge was treating his stepdaughter with the lowest form of contempt.

When Hadley Duvall was 8 years old, she learned about sexual abuse in school. She’d even learned a special song. She asked Whitledge about it, realizing that he was doing things to her that she’d learned were abusive and wrong. Whitledge, by then had been abusing his stepdaughter for years; first with anal penetration, then later vaginal and oral, according to police reports. Her abuser’s outrageously disgusting response was:

“Those rules are for strangers,” Duvall remembers him saying. “Not for your family.”

When Hadley was twelve, she started having menstrual periods. She’d only had a few when she realized that she hadn’t had one in awhile. She told Whitledge, and he told her to “fake being sick”, so she could stay home and take a pregnancy test. I don’t know why she’d need to fake being sick for that, since pregnancy tests only take a few minutes. But she did as she was told, and the test was positive. She was pregnant with Whitledge’s baby, at just twelve years old.

While they were waiting for the test results, Whitledge told Hadley that she could “sneak” a boy from the neighborhood into the house and claim it was his baby (OMG), or they could go to Louisville and she could have an abortion. Hadley didn’t even know what an abortion was at that point in her life. Two weeks later, by the grace of God, she had a miscarriage. But she didn’t know what a miscarriage was, either. She assumed she was just having a very heavy period.

As I read this story, my blood was boiling. I am outraged by people who want to force women to give birth at all costs. I think their attitudes show that they HATE women, and they care more about the well being of a potential person than the welfare of the woman whose body is being used to generate that life. I see a lot of shaming, cruelty, and outright contempt for pregnant people who shouldn’t be pregnant for health or maturity reasons, or don’t want to be pregnant for other reasons. It makes me feel rage on their behalf.

But then I continued reading about Hadley Duvall and saw this comment from her abuser, that made me feel even more disgusted…

In September 2019, Whitledge sent a letter to [Hadley’s mother, Jennifer Adkins Miller] acknowledging the abuse, writing, “Because of my weakness I failed as her father. I failed as her protector.”

JEREMY WHITLEDGE WAS NEVER HADLEY DUVALL’S FATHER, AND HE WAS CERTAINLY NEVER HER “PROTECTOR”!!!!!

He is a vile, despicable, sadistic, disgusting, loathsome piece of shit! I hope he joins Ken Paxton in Hell!

I don’t know how Hadley’s mother didn’t know what was happening in her house. The article explains that her mother was addicted to drugs for years, but finally got sober after a year in rehab. Hadley was astute enough to see that her mother would struggle if Whitledge was out of their lives. She realized that if she told her mom what he was doing to her, Whitledge would go to prison. But finally, in the spring of 2017, Hadley decided she had to tell her mother about the abuse. She texted her mom from school and told her she had something important to tell her. While they were in the car, Jennifer Adkins Miller pressed her daughter for answers… and finally, she heard the truth about her worthless husband. She slammed on the brakes, vomited, and went to the police.

Jeremy Whitledge is now serving twenty years in prison. And Hadley Duvall made the very brave ad for Andy Beshear, to help girls and young women have the option of terminating their pregnancies. Duvall goes to a Christian university and says she thinks there should be limits on abortions. I wonder, though, if she really thinks women have later term abortions for fun, and it needs to be regulated by law. First of all, late term abortions are rarely performed in any case. It’s hard to find providers willing to do them; they are very expensive and painful; and they are typically not covered by health insurance. And secondly, those who want to have an abortion for convenience sake would almost certainly have them early, if they were left to their own devices. It’s much cheaper, less painful, and easier to do it that way.

I think it shows a profound distrust in women as a whole, to say that politicians need to pass laws that limit or restrict access to abortions– especially when they disingenuously claim to be doing it for the women’s health. I don’t know of anyone who is “pro-abortion”. It’s not something anyone does for a good time. It’s a healthcare procedure that some women need for their own well-being. And it’s no one else’s business if a woman wants or needs to have one. No one should ever be compelled to explain it to anyone else.

The fact that the United States has backslid in this way is just mortifying. Sadistic, perverted, misogynistic creeps like Ken Paxton and his ilk are determined to ruin or end many women’s lives with these extremist laws that force women to forgo crucial healthcare for the sake of a developing fetus. It makes me sick that people like Paxton are in power.

Folks, I’ll be honest. I struggle with depression and anxiety, and there are a lot of days when I just wish I could be beamed out of this world so I don’t have to think about this horror show we’re in now. Depression and anxiety are two reasons why I’m sitting here with vague pain and pressure in my stomach and doing nothing about it. The prospect of Trump in office again makes me even more depressed. And that feeling of despair is mixed with rage and despondency when I read stories like Kate Cox’s and Hadley Duvall’s… although at least they fought back. I have great respect for the women who are not accepting these bans without a huge fight, even as moronic, hateful, anti-women dipshits in red states keep voting in these fantastically misogynistic fuckwads, who make terrible, dangerous laws that affect us all and place the well-being of an embryo or a fetus over already born people. All I can do is continue to write about it… and rage as I read about it, as my gentle, sweet, loving husband sits by and listens. Thank God for Bill, at least.

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celebrities, condescending twatbags, mental health, rants, sex

People hate the successful…

I’m happy to report that I’m feeling somewhat well this morning. Over the past few days, my stomach and, I suspect, my gallbladder, have been giving me issues. Add in the residual cough from my recent cold/acid reflux, and you have someone who isn’t super sick, but has been feeling pretty crappy lately. It got bad enough the other day that I actually started looking at hospitals in Yerevan, not because I want to seek medical treatment there, but because I figured I might need emergency gallbladder surgery.

To be clear, I don’t WANT to have surgery in Armenia, or anywhere else, for that matter. I just wanted to see if the facilities had improved since I lived there in the 90s. I did once visit a friend who was in the hospital in Armenia in 1996, and it was definitely a “rustic” experience for her. I think the hospitals are probably markedly better now, but I’d still rather have any medical procedures done in Germany or somewhere similarly first world. This isn’t even to say that there aren’t good doctors in Armenia. I know there are. But I’d still much rather have surgery in Germany, if I can help it.

This morning, I’m feeling like I can put off surgery. I got a relatively good night’s sleep after I took some NyQuil, and my stomach is feeling a lot better. The nagging pressure and vague pain have mostly disappeared. I will probably need to have my gallbladder taken out at some point pretty soon, but it no longer feels like it has to be this week. I haven’t been eating dinner since Bill left on Sunday, since I can’t be bothered to cook. I’ve also been teetotaling. If I manage to stay off the sauce until next week, maybe I’ll feel like a teenager again. That, of course, is a joke… 😉 Also, it’s entirely possible that I need medication, instead of surgery.

I do think I have gallstones, though, because I’ve infrequently been having the classic symptoms for about twenty years. Plus, my dad had to have his gallbladder removed, and these things can run in families… Or, he had it removed because it was inflamed and he was in pain. Unfortunately, he never recovered from the surgery and died shortly after he had his gallbladder excised. I don’t expect that would happen to me, since I’m a lot younger than he was when he had his out, and I don’t have Lewy Body Dementia. Pity… 😉 (sorry, a little black humor creeping in there)

Since I do feel much better today, I want to write about something I’ve noticed in the wake of Britney Spears’ new tell all book hitting the market. People really hate the successful, don’t they? Poor Britney can’t catch a break anywhere, especially from empathy challenged men, and their equally tone deaf female counterparts.

In her book, The Woman in Me, Britney Spears disclosed that she had an abortion when she was dating Justin Timberlake. She explained that she hadn’t wanted to have the abortion, but Justin was adamant that he didn’t want to be a father at that time in his life. They were too young. At the time of Britney’s unplanned pregnancy, Justin and Britney were just barely legal adults. Both had extremely successful careers going. While I think it’s likely Britney could have chosen differently, she decided to defer to Justin and terminate the pregnancy.

Britney took pills to end her pregnancy while she was at home, so no one would ever know about her decision. Justin and an assistant were there as she did it. She wrote that he strummed the guitar in an effort to help her feel better, and that the abortion was “excruciating”. Below is a passage from The Woman in Me regarding how she decided to have an abortion…

Well, Justin was right that they were too young… It was very pragmatic thinking. Too bad they weren’t practical enough to either use birth control or abstain.
Poor Britney… Her description of this scenario is one reason why I don’t think men have any right to have a say at all in abortion decisions. They aren’t the ones who will be physically hurting.
She may have loved him, but he sure as hell never loved her. But at least she doesn’t have to maintain ties to him today.

Justin Timberlake is now getting a ration of shit because of Britney’s book. It was so bad that he turned off comments on his Instagram. Now, people are flooding Jessica Biel’s Instagram to vent about this. Jessica Biel, for your information, is Justin Timberlake’s wife. They have children together.

I’ve seen so many awful comments about Britney’s decision to do as Justin demanded. Many people blame her entirely for her choice to have an abortion, rather than ignoring Justin’s wishes and having the baby. I think it’s important to remember how very young Britney Spears was at the time, and how a lot of young women at that age often want to please other people, particularly when they come from small Southern towns. Yes, Britney Spears was a legal adult when she made this choice, but she was also still a teenager… and, I think, much too young and immature to be having sex with anyone.

Britney Spears does also have a long, documented history of mental illness. Having an abortion probably was the most practical decision for Britney to make at that time, which doesn’t mean that it wasn’t an absolutely horrifying experience for her, or anyone else who chooses to have an abortion. I hasten to add, it also doesn’t mean that Britney’s experience with abortion is every woman’s experience with it. I hope Britney’s story doesn’t end up being used as “pro-life/anti-choice” propaganda. I don’t think anyone WANTS to have an abortion for fun. It’s a sad, difficult, and ultimately very personal decision that absolutely should be 100 percent the pregnant woman’s sole decision. It’s still HER body, at least until the fetus is developed enough to safely be born. She’s the one who went through the excruciating cramps and pain as Justin played guitar. I guess I can give him a couple of points for at least hanging around while the deed was done.

This should have been a private matter; but because Britney Spears has been a public commodity since she was a teenager, her abortion is now fodder for public commentary. Predictably, the comments are very judgmental and sometimes pretty cruel. I’ve seen a lot of people complaining about Britney acting like a victim and– horrors!– SELLING her story, instead of donating the proceeds to a charity. How DARE Britney Spears make money off her story! Even though she has had an abusive, alcoholic, asshole of a father dictating her every move for 13 years!

The more I read about Britney’s book, especially after having read it myself, the more I think a lot of people are just plain bitter about Britney Spears and people like her. She happened to be born with formidable talents that could be packaged and sold to the masses. A lot of the decisions made about her destiny were made when she was a just a child. Before she even hit 18 years old, she was a product responsible for the livelihoods of a lot of people. Yes, she was legally an adult who could technically make decisions, but she was also being controlled by family members at a time when her brain wasn’t fully developed. Add in mental health issues and being sheltered and immature, and you have someone who might decide to listen to her boyfriend when he says he wants her to have an abortion– even though it’s HER body, and ultimately her decision!

And then, Britney Spears has a mental health breakdown that is very public, with people ridiculing, shaming, and laughing at her, and that lands her in a very restrictive conservatorship, where she can’t even decide what to eat every day. But she’s well enough to perform, and make money for all of those people handling her career! Now, some people are using her book as “proof” that the conservatorship was a good thing… because how dare Britney write about having an abortion and make money!

I tell you what… my heart goes out to Britney Spears. As a woman– as someone who sings– as someone who had a controlling, alcoholic, abusive father– hell, as someone from the South– I can identify with her predicament. I wish Britney Spears had never had sex with Justin Timberlake, or anyone else who had so little respect for her. I’m glad I waited for marriage, and I’m glad I never had any desire to be a famous pop star, nor did I have parents who knew I could sing when I was still a minor. Of course, I also wasn’t blessed with the kind of raw and natural sex appeal Britney has. Is that a blessing or a curse? Because a lot of the men who are blaming her for getting pregnant as a teenager, probably, would have happily “hit that”, regardless of Britney’s mental health issues. A lot of those men would “hit that” even today, in spite of thinking she’s a victim who “blames everybody” for her problems.

I think people should be a lot less casual about sexual activity. It’s not because I’m a religious prude or anything. I just think it’s the most practical thing to do, especially when you’re very young and still figuring out life. But, I also know that most people will have casual sex, and most of them won’t take every precaution. I don’t know if Justin Timberlake was using a condom when he was having sex with Britney Spears, nor do I know if she was using birth control. My guess is that they weren’t being as careful as they could have been at the time… because they were very young and very horny. Young bodies are made to reproduce, so it makes sense that it happened. It could have been avoided, but again– they were kids, and not quite ready to be having sex with anyone.

Anyway… this is all water under the bridge. It’s been a long time… and I don’t think either Britney or Justin should be harassed for making this decision. The fact that so many people are getting upset enough about it to send hateful comments to either party is just more proof that these two famous people– beautiful, talented, and wealthy– have been reduced to products that perfect strangers feel perfectly free to judge. I guess it gives them something to do before they head off to their perfectly, average, mundane jobs.

I probably should quit reading comment sections… they always make me realize just how awful so many people are. I just read about Frances Bean Cobain getting married again. There were so many disgusting jokes referencing Kurt Cobain’s suicide. I mean… what prompts people to be so cruel? My guess is that it’s just plain old bitterness and envy. Such a shame.

Well, I think I’ll end today’s post and move on to my next chores… folding laundry, walking Noyzi, cooking a chicken, and practicing guitar. See you all tomorrow.

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condescending twatbags, dogs, rants

Don’t leave your dog out when you aren’t home…

Here’s a very quick post as I recover from the day’s adventures. Yesterday, as Bill and I were on our way to Brno, I happened to read a human interest story that was shared by People.com. It was about a US mail carrier who happened to see a customer’s beagle after she’d been bitten by a copperhead snake. The dog, name of Ginger, had been left outside while her family wasn’t home. The postal carrier was kind enough to take the dog to the vet after leaving her owners a message on their ring camera.

I noticed the couple who owned the dog, name of Kelsey and Aaron Proctor, were understandably relieved when Ginger was helped by the postal worker, Holle Keene Prigmore. And I think Prigmore went above and beyond the call of duty when she helped Ginger, who might not have survived a venomous snake bite. One thing that disturbed me, though was amid the many compliments the Proctors and Prigmore got, there were some people who posted legitimate concern for Ginger. Apparently, it’s a normal thing for her to be left outside while her owners are working.

Now… don’t get me wrong. I grew up in rural Virginia. I know some people let their dogs roam at will, especially out in the country. However, I also know, having had one dog stolen and another hit by a car, that I won’t leave any dog of mine outside unattended. Too many bad things can happen. A snakebite would be bad enough, but I have experienced losing a dog to dognapping, and it was absolutely devastating. That was even worse than my first dog being hit and killed by a car, back in the 80s.

Ginger is a beagle, so she probably likes to hunt. Hopefully, she’s been spayed. It really is a lucky thing that the postal carrier saw her after she was bitten and was willing to help. Things might not have ended so well for Ginger, otherwise. Her owners say she is on the mend.

I noticed that Kelsey Proctor was answering almost everyone who commented on her negligence in leaving her dog outside, unattended. It seemed to me to be very immature behavior, especially when she wrote to one woman that she wasn’t going to let Ginger pee in her house. As someone who has cleaned up a lot of dog pee (and plenty of poop and vomit, too), I’d much rather have a dog have an accident on a rug than have one get very sick or die because I couldn’t be bothered to make sure the dog was safe. Moreover, there are liability issues, too. What if your dog hurts someone or another dog? What if she gets hit by a car and causes damage to a vehicle, or somehow otherwise damages another person’s property? Someone could pick her up thinking she’s a stray, or turn her in to animal control. I just don’t understand taking the risk. And I don’t understand her shitty responses to people who are pointing out the obvious dangers of leaving her dog outside alone.

Kelsey’s response is to tell people she’d love for them to come over and walk Ginger while she’s at work. Maybe, if she can’t properly take care of her dog’s needs while she’s working, she shouldn’t have a dog. It wouldn’t surprise me if Kelsey finds this post and thinks about slamming me for writing my opinion and sharing it with the masses. But, as someone who’s had dogs in my life for over 40 years, I know I’m not wrong about this. Ginger didn’t have to be bitten by a snake. She wouldn’t have been, if she hadn’t been sitting outside alone. Thank God the postal carrier was willing and able to help her before she suffered more than she already had.

I saw that Kelsey also felt that the comments regarding her negligence were “negative”, and the people who wrote them were at fault. No, I’d say Kelsey and her husband were at fault for not securing their dog in a safe place. And yes, people are going to comment on that, and that doesn’t make them “negative”. They are simply advocating for a family member who can’t speak up for herself. I think Kelsey is immature for thinking the only responses she’s due are positive ones… and I think she’s naive if she thinks everyone is going to be “nice” to her after sharing this story. That’s not reality when it comes to the Internet. People on the Internet can be mean, and it doesn’t matter who you are or what you say. It’s part of the experience of having those fifteen minutes of fame.

Anyway, I hope Ginger makes a complete recovery and enjoys a long and happy life. I’m not going to share a photo of the hapless dog. Instead, have a look at our majestic and dearly departed Arran, who was suffering from cancer a year ago, before we lost him in March. Arran was never left outside alone, so he lived to be about 14.

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condescending twatbags, controversies, rants, social media, stupid people, true crime, wingnuts

9/11 conspiracy theorists need to “zip it”…

The featured photo is a screenshot of the Facebook post in the Exploring Virginia group that inspired today’s rant.

As you probably know, yesterday was the 22nd anniversary of September 11th, or “9/11”. That was the horrifying day in 2001 when terrorists attacked the United States using airplanes. Every year, people remember where they were and what they were doing on that dark day in US history. And every year, certain people crawl out from under their rocks and post conspiracy theories about why 9/11 is an elaborate hoax.

Because I am the wife of someone who was actually in the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, I don’t believe the conspiracy theorists. I think their “theories” are 100 percent bullshit. Moreover, I think posting their contemptuous lies, especially on the anniversary of that act of terrorism, is incredibly offensive and distasteful… especially to those who were there to see the horrors of it firsthand.

My husband was in one of the innermost rings of the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. He was there to do his job as a U.S. Soldier, something he was very proud to do for about 30 years of his life, on active duty, as a reservist, and later as a full-time member of the National Guard. He was there to see people who were injured or killed by the jetliner that crashed into his workplace. He heard the screams, the alarms, and cries of people as they rushed out of the building. He later heard the silence when the airports shut down, the metros stopped running, and people were stunned into quiet. He smelled the burning fuel, the destroyed and burned building materials, burning flesh, and spilled blood.

After September 11, 2001, my husband was there to help take care of grieving families who lost their loved ones forever. In his case, it was a family whose beloved matriarch was killed while she was working as a civilian in the Pentagon. He was there to help her family when they all came to Washington, DC for a memorial service to honor the many dead, just from the Pentagon strike. He saw their tears and anguished as they realized that their family member was killed by strangers from faraway lands just for being at work. And those people who carried out their suicide mission also took a couple hundred innocent passengers and crew members with them as they crashed that airplane into the Pentagon.

Yesterday, someone in the Exploring Virginia Facebook group posted a photo of the Pentagon’s 9/11 memorial. I haven’t seen it in person myself, because we left the Northern Virginia area years ago. The post, which was meant to be respectful and reverent, quickly turned into an epic shitstorm as a couple of conspiracy theorists started posting antagonistic comments about how 9/11 was all a hoax and we’d all been “lied to” by the U.S. government. Before I blocked the offenders, I noticed that one of them wrote that it was really a scud missile that hit the Pentagon, not a plane full of people. I’d love to know where that idiot thinks all of those people on the airplane went if they weren’t on the aircraft. Are they all in the witness protection program, living in Roswell, New Mexico? Perhaps the Bermuda Triangle?

This morning, I see an admin in that group had to turn off commenting. I’m sure it was because of the insensitive assholes who felt the need to push their conspiracy theorist bullshit on a day when so many people are still grieving. A few people did take on the conspiracy theorists. One person even outright stated that she felt it was in very poor taste to be pushing that agenda when so many people are still mourning lost loved ones. There are still people whose friends and family members vanished without a trace. They didn’t even have anything left to bury! Even in 2023, 22 years after that day, they’re still identifying the DNA left in the remains. Two more victims were identified just a few days ago; they were the first since 2021. 9/11/01 was just an indescribably terrible day, and for some people, the horror is still evolving.

Yesterday, Bill came home and told me that, for the first time, he’d seen a video of that day. He said he’d wished he’d never seen it, because it showed a man who jumped from one of the World Trade Center’s towers. The man must have realized he had a choice of waiting to die from the fire, smoke inhalation, or the building’s inevitable collapse, or simply jumping from the building and ending it right then and there. He chose to jump. Can you even imagine the absolute horror of that situation? He must have been terrified! And imagine how this man’s family members and friends feel, knowing that’s how he went out of this world!

I realize that not everyone believes the official story about September 11, 2001. I also know all too well that you can’t argue with people who have stubbornly made up their minds. I just wish these folks would give their conspiracy theories a rest on the anniversary. There are 364-365 other days per year to push nonsense conspiracy theories. September 11th should be a day when Americans come together and mourn the people who died on that day, or on a later day, due to illnesses or injuries stemming from that day… or those whose lives were permanently changed for the worse because of that day.

Conspiracy theorists need to “zip it”, but especially on the anniversary of September 11, 2001. Have some respect for those who really lost something on that day… there were so many of them! And I’ll bet not a single one of the people who experienced such profound losses gives a single shit about the preposterous theories some of these tin foil hat wearing morons are pushing. The theories they push don’t change anything. All they do is frustrate, annoy, and anger people who have already been through enough because of that day. Give it a rest, please. For America.

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complaints, healthcare, politics, rants, social media

I get angry when people use the anger emoji inappropriately…

Apologies in advance for this post, because it may be upsetting to some readers. I don’t mean to upset people. This post is meant more of a reminder to be considerate.

Earlier this year, I found out that some people take what I write much more seriously than I ever realized. It was funny how it happened, too. This person reacted inappropriately to one of my posts. I shared a viral photo of someone and she said I looked “great”, mistaking me for the person in the picture. I probably should have just laughed it off. That’s the (unsolicited) advice people usually give me in such cases. Unsolicited advice also tends to piss me off. 😉

I ended up venting about that incident in this blog. My former Facebook friend (also a relative by marriage), who had been so complimentary of a picture that wasn’t of me, read the post, got offended about my vent, and blocked me. It’s not a big deal. I don’t miss her, since she pretty much proved to me that she’s not a real friend, anyway. What I feel is more disappointment than anything else.

What puzzled and upset me most about that exchange is that it started out perfectly innocently. With no malice whatsoever, I shared something I liked, and thought was important. My former friend reacted inappropriately and mistook the person in the photo for me. Instead of excusing herself, she just “laughed” it off… which made me feel belittled and disrespected. After a lifetime of that kind of thoughtless treatment from so-called loved ones, I got kind of mad about it, so I processed the disrespect by writing about it my blog. I naively figured that was better than telling her off on Facebook. She read my post; and the next thing I know, I’m an even bigger asshole to her. Oh well. I guess our family reunions will be more awkward from now on. 😉

At the risk of sounding like an asshole again, I’m going to write a similar post today. Once again, I’m feeling kind of disrespected and need to unpack it this blog. If you see yourself in today’s post and feel offended, please know that I do feel your pain. But I’m writing this because I was offended, and my feelings count, too. This is just my way of processing stuff. It helps keep me sane. The alternative is me either bottling up my feelings or ripping someone a new asshole in a more public setting. So I’m warning you now… don’t keep reading unless you can handle the truth.

Still with me? Okay… here goes.

A few months ago, a college friend of mine was in a really terrible car accident. She was very badly hurt. Her mom and a cousin posted a little bit about the wreck when it happened, but they never really followed up on my friend’s progress after that. They kind of left us hanging about her well-being. I kept checking my friend’s Facebook page over the summer, wondering how she was doing, but there was never an update.

Yesterday, two of my friend’s family members shared a crowdfunding post on her behalf. With their post, they included a rather disturbing picture of her right after the accident, which I’m sure was shared as a way of provoking shock, sympathy, and emotion. Personally, I’m not a big fan of taking photos of unconscious, intubated people who are hospitalized in intensive care units, and then sharing them publicly. But, under the circumstances, I guess I can understand why my friend’s family did it that way. They really need financial help, hence the GoFundMe post. A dramatic photo of someone who is grievously injured, hospitalized, and on the brink of death, is much more effective for fundraising, than a photo of someone who is conscious, somewhat healed, dressed, and sitting in a wheelchair.

I decided to donate some money. I know that people who are dealing with medical crises need financial assistance, and at this point in my life, I’m in a position to help. There was a time in my life when I had no money and people helped me. This is my way of paying it forward, and I do it with Bill’s blessing.

Although it kind of made me cringe to do so (mainly because of the scary, dramatic photo), I also shared the GoFundMe post on my Facebook page, because my college friend and I have mutual friends who might also want to help her. I know sometimes people stop following other people on social media, but still think of them as friends. It’s happened to me a few times. 😉 Maybe some of our mutual friends still follow me, but don’t follow her anymore. That’s probably unlikely, though, since she has never been a particularly frequent poster on Facebook and probably annoys people less often than I do.

Minutes after I posted the GoFundMe, I got an “angry” emoji reaction from someone who doesn’t even know my friend. This person didn’t explain why they were angry, so I was left to wonder about it. Were they angry at my friend’s family for asking for money? Is it because her insurance has run out and she’s being “kicked out” of the rehab hospital? Were they angry because she got t-boned by a 19 year old who broadsided her? Or were they angry at me for sharing the post and messing up their feed? I really don’t know, because they never explained.

I asked what was wrong. I didn’t get a timely response, so I deleted the post. Or, at least I thought I deleted the post. Then I made a new post, this time with a little more information about my friend.

Later, I got another “angry” emoji on that post. It was someone else who doesn’t know my friend, but works in the healthcare field. This person decided to leave a rant about how “greedy” rehab hospitals are, and how they can’t just kick her out if she has nowhere to go. That may be the truth, and as someone with a background in social work and public health, I certainly do know there are people who are trained to assist in these situations. But that post wasn’t the place for her rant.

I was also irritated that she had left an angry reaction on a post I thought I’d deleted and reposted, as a means of getting rid of the first angry reaction. But looking at it more closely, I realized that she had commented on the first post, which evidently wasn’t deleted after all. So now there were two inappropriate angry emojis. I started to respond to the rant, but then decided to try to delete the post again.

Imagine my unpleasant surprise this morning, when I woke up to two more angry reactions on the first post, which I thought I had deleted but clearly it hadn’t disappeared from my timeline. One person left a comment that I didn’t read, because I was further pissed that–

1. People were not keeping in the spirit of the post, which was simply asking for help for someone who really needs it.

2. There were a bunch of aggressive orange emojis staring back at me, when all I was doing was trying to help a friend… someone I actually know offline.

3. Twice, I had tried to delete the post, but people were still inappropriately responding to it.

Meanwhile, the new post I put up, edited with a request not to leave rants about the healthcare system, went completely ignored. I wondered if anyone could even see it. In fact, I just took it down, because I don’t like looking at that frightening photo of my friend, and I can see that other people have donated. I don’t want to feel angry today, especially while looking at people’s orange emojis on a post that was meant to do something good for someone else.

I wish Facebook would allow people to disable things like reaction emojis, comments, and gifs on serious posts. Far too many people are careless, situationally unaware, or just enjoy being trolls. Then they leave reactions that cause negative reactions in me. And, while I totally agree that the healthcare system sucks, and my old friend shouldn’t be threatened with being “kicked out” of rehab due to losing her insurance coverage, that post was NOT the place for a soapbox rant.

I should also mention that I’m not aware of the specifics of her case or the local laws where she is, nor do I know what type of facility she’s in. As I mentioned before, her family wasn’t very forthcoming with information in the weeks that followed the accident, not that it was anyone else’s business. But, because I don’t know the specifics, I can’t really speak to whether or not what the rehab hospital is allegedly doing is “legal” or standard.

However, I DO know, from being a social worker with a health administration background, that people in my friend’s situation pretty much always need financial support, regardless of what kind of insurance coverage they have, or what the official “rules” are. And that was the spirit I had when I initially shared the post for people who know and care about her.

If you can’t or aren’t interested in helping, just keep scrolling. It’s not that difficult. Leaving inappropriate angry reactions and rants isn’t useful to anyone. And leaving the first angry reaction is basically an invitation to other people to follow your lead, which is obviously what happened in this case.

I don’t want to tell people what to do… and God knows, I don’t want to tell anyone to “refrain” (hate that word) from doing anything. But I do wish people would be more thoughtful and considerate, and not make things about themselves. I’d love it if Facebook would let us just share things without allowing reactions or comments, so this kind of thing doesn’t happen.

On a side note… I noticed that my friend and her family members are folks who wholeheartedly support(ed) the orange overlord who is about to be booked in Fulton County Jail this week. I wonder if this situation might help them realize that everyone needs access to affordable healthcare, and that asking your friends and loved ones to send financial support is kind of akin to taking welfare– only instead of applying for government assistance, you’re playing on people’s emotions and hoping they’ll be kind and open their hearts and wallets.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind helping my friends when I can. But we all need access to healthcare that doesn’t break people financially and put their loved ones’ livelihoods in jeopardy. It really is for the public’s good that decent, affordable healthcare be a human right. I know my friend never thought she’d be in a horrific car accident right after she took a vacation to Hawaii. Now, according to her family, she’s homeless and about to discharged from a rehab hospital she evidently still needs. That shouldn’t happen in the United States in 2o23.

So ends today’s rant. If you feel like blocking me because of it, have at it. I just hope it inspires some consideration in a few people.

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