Tuesday, August 19, 2014

FERGUSON, MISSOURI

Missouri is not use to what is happening in a suburb of St. Louis over the last couple of weeks.  We are usually the ones reading about such events from other states in the union and being thankful that Missouri does not have to deal with situations like we have now.  This is not normal for Missouri.

No one really knows what went down in Ferguson.  There are witnesses who give testimony to the events but a lot of the testimony does not agree with the other testimonies.  What we do know is that a police officer, who was Caucasian, shot and killed a young African American young man and I think we can put to fact that the young man was not armed.  As of this writing this is what we know as facts.  The rest of it is rather hazy.

New "facts" that have not been verified come out almost everyday.  They include that the policeman shot the young man at least six times bringing about his death.  Another "fact" that has come to light is that the young man had just been involved with the robbery of a convenience store just a little bit before the shooting.  At first the city officials said that the officer did not know that the suspect had been involved in the robbery, then a couple of days later they said that the officer was aware of the tie in of the robbery with the man.  This was an unfortunate turn of events.  Now the latest that I have heard was that the policeman ordered the young man to stop and the suspect started charging at the officer making threats and coming fast explaining why the officer took the shots.

That event I just described is disturbing enough, but it is what happened after the shooting that is really the bad part of the situation.

Soon after the shooting, word spread through the community of what had just happened.  The members of the suburb were understandably upset and came out to see for themselves what was going on.  They set up a small protest that was peaceful yet aggressive in getting their message across.  If it had been left at that we probably would have more facts by now and the move towards justice would be a lot further along down the road than it is now.  Agitators were on there way to Missouri though, and the somewhat peaceful, although angry, demonstrations and protest would turn into a scene from Los Angeles or Detroit.

Arriving in Missouri was the Reverend Al Sharpton who brought his special brand of preaching to the crowd in Ferguson.  His special brand is one that, in my opinion, smacks of a racist philosophy.  The good Reverend does not get involved in anything much unless it is a situation of black against white, or more accurate, a situation in which a white is involved in an unlawful act against a black.  You never see him when the situation is turned around or if it is black on black crime.  He only shows up when a white person has injured a member of the black community.  Sharpton's goal is to rile up the community until they are more than angry.  He organizes marches and makes speeches from courthouse steps about the evil of the white man and how whites seem to get away with everything as long as it is against a black.  Other than the view that Sharpton throws out about racial inequality, his message is not exactly true.  The justice system we have works better than any system in the world and is treats everyone the same ... innocent until proven guilty.

From what I have observed over the years is that in cases like what happened in Ferguson, Sharpton does not hold to the philosophy of innocent until proven guilty.  He is charismatic and whips his listeners into an angry frenzy that leads to actions being taken by the citizens that are violent and unlawful and soon the streets are not safe.  What was once a not too bad neighborhood is suddenly a war zone.

The good people of Ferguson seem to have let their anger out and are back to just protesting and not causing much trouble at all.  Unfortunately Reverend Sharpton's damage had been done as hundreds of his followers flooded into Ferguson to keep the fires burning ... literally.   While the citizens of Ferguson want their community to come back to some semblance of order and safety, the outsiders that not only came from other cities in Missouri but came from other states as well ot riot on a nightly basis.  The people of Ferguson are seeing their suburb burned to the ground.  They are seeing local business being looted and are hearing gunshots coming from the site of the riots constantly.  They are seeing their community slowly being destroyed by people who do not have any stake in getting things calmed down and start to sort out what the facts are about what happened on that fateful day when the situation occurred.

This is not Missouri.  This is not how the citizens of Missouri react to situations.  I firmly believe that the people of Ferguson and the surrounding suburbs as well as St. Louis itself wants to get things settled down and find out and sort out the facts about what happened so they can move along with the justice system doing what it is meant to do.

My request is simple.  Reverend Sharpton ... wait until the facts are out before reacting in an imature way that causes loss of property and safety in an area where you do not have to come home to everyday and where your future is not dependent upon.  If you can't wait until you have some facts, please stay out of Missouri.

All of the out of state thugs that are rioting without fear of loss of property or loss of the safety of your homes .... go home.

The people in Missouri are more than capable of getting the facts, sorting them out and taking the appropriate measures that need to be taken.

Governor Nixon, let's take Ferguson back from these outsiders and bring the town back to being a good old Missouri town once again where justice is served fairly and quickly.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

ROBIN WILLIAMS - DEPRESSION

I didn't think I would be writing another entry here this soon but I feel I have to after learning of Robin Williams alleged suicide last night.

A lot of people think they deal with depression.  Chances are you don't.  Depression, and mental illness in general, is too often misunderstood and pushed aside.  Depression is one of the worst kind of mental illness.  It is dangerous.  I don't know what Mr. Williams was going through, all I can do is relate what depression is to me.  What true clinical depression is.

I have read people who have written that they have been there ... once in a while.  Once in a while.  Depression does not leave you.  You learn to live with it.  You learn to hide it because people will not understand and will tell you that it will pass, things will get better, pull yourself out of it.  Depression does not heed those words, it doesn't even hear those words.  Depression stays.

Depression stays and drags you down.  Drags you down deep until you don't think you can go any deeper/  It is indeed a dark place but unlike any darkness you have ever known.  You feel totally alone and in a way you are, because nobody knows where you are in that darkness.  They don't see that darkness and so you continue down the road of what they call life all alone and so sad.

Depression grabs a hold of you and won't let go.  There are medicines that can help ease the grip but they don't make the depression go away.  After spending a certain amount of time in this darkness, and getting dragged down as low as you can be dragged, a strange thing begins to happen and this is when depression becomes dangerous.

You get so use to being alone.  You are alone even in a crowd of people.  You are alone even with a group of people who know you well, and care about you, you are alone in your family and they don't have a clue what is going through you mind, what this depression is putting in your mind.  Then things start to change in a way.  The depression starts to bring thoughts into your head and convinces you that these thoughts are logical.  Taking your life is logical.  It makes sense.  It is the right thing to do for everybody around you.

Sometimes it is SO logical you actually think that your friends and family will understand that you did the right thing.  You did what you had to do and they will be happy for you.  This is the danger of depression.  You make plans, you chart out a timeline, and you make preparations to do what is the logical thing to do.

Confusion starts to creep into your head but the depression allows you to justify your thinking.  All of a sudden you feel like you are getting better when in reality, the depression is pulling you down ... down to the end and you think you are right and everyone else isn't thinking the right way, they aren't thinking logically the way you are.

Then, if you are lucky and people pick up on subtle signals that the depression has got you and you have given in to it, they stop you and they put you away.  They lock you up to keep yourself from harming yourself or others until you can get out of the feeling better stage of logic and are brought back up to the level of knowing you were wrong and you find yourself once again in that lonely dark place trying not to fall back into the logical part of depression ... or the part of depression that makes you think you are being logical.

You begin again to fight the depression and you begin to be alone and you start to hide it once again but it is always with you.  You fight to go on, but every single day, EVERY SINGLE DAY you wake up to start the fight anew. and when the day is over and you have survived once again, you fall into a sleep that isn't too restful because you know you have to wage the fight once again the next day.

THAT is depression.  Depression isn't feeling low or blue for a few days or even a week or month.  Depression is there always.  Depression becomes a constant companion and for some that suffer from this horrible disease, depression will win and the logic of taking your own life will take over and no one else will see it coming.  Then the people you know will be dismayed and shocked while all the time, you were doing the right and logical thing.

I know.  I have depression.  I have depression every single day.  IT may ease up at times, but it is always there.

Everytime somebody famous, like Robin Williams, take their own life, people say how horrible depression is.  Unless you live in that darkness, you don't have a clue.

I know.  I have been there.  I am still there.  And I will be fighting my constant companion until the day I die.

Rest in Peace Mr. Williams.  You fought a battle that in many ways is un-winnable.