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.

Monday, August 11, 2014

POST NUMBER 400 - MISH MASH

Well I was just looking at some of the stats on this blog and how it has been doing since I quit writing in it regularly.  People are still reading it from around the world so I must be connecting with some people out there.  The United States still garners some readers but not as much as it use to.  The big surprise as I looked at the stats was the number of readers in Russia.

This set me back a bit.  As most of you know I am not a great fan of Vladamir Putin but I can't help but be amazed at the agenda he has worked through the halls of the Kremlin as he asserts his power not only there, but around the world.  Unfortunately, in my mind anyway, The United States has not had a leader recently that will, or could, stand up to the challenge of Putin.  Putin carries no respect for us Americans and I don't really blame him.  We have become a weakened power over the last several years.  We have a leader who talks big and then does nothing.  The current President in my mind is the real "wimp President", the moniker they hung on President Bush #41.  At any rate, Mr. Putin, I tip my hat to you.  In my eyes you have worked yourself into being the true leader in this world and you have brought Russia back to the forefront by using an aggressive foreign policy while the United States sits on our hands with what seems to be no idea of what foreign policy is.

Another stat that jumped out at me was that the last post I had written on here was my 399th post.  I am just OCD enough that the fact that it wasn't an even 400 started to really bother me.  So for my own sanity, of which there is little left, I give you post #400.

I couldn't figure out what to write about on this occasion.   Today marks the birthday of my late Uncle Melvin and my Aunt Sue.  It is also the day that the world entered the atomic age when the Enola Gay dropped that bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.  As horrible as that day in 1945 was, and as many lives that were lost, I still agree with President Truman's decision to take an aggressive step to end that War that had cost so many lives all over the world.  Take note those who see me as some sort of "noe-conservative" whatever that may be, that I just agreed with a Democratic President.   Of course that President WAS from the great State of Missouri, so take it as you will.

New day, continue writing on this, just so that you will know that I know that August 6th was the entering of the atomic age.  It is now August 7th as I write.  So to continue.....

Speaking of Missouri, I find myself with this inner distaste of Kansas.  I can't help it, I was influenced greatly by my grandfather on the matter.  The thing with Kansas is mainly one of collegiate athletics, i.e. KU vs MU.  It isn't like it use to be though.  Mizzou has joined the SEC while Kansas still calls the Big 12 home.  They don't confront each other on a regular basis anymore like they use to.  It was always the highlight of every athletic season be it football, basketball, baseball, softball, wrestling, track and field or frisbee golf, whatever the sport, if it was KU vs. MU emotions ran high on both sides of the State Line.  I live in Kansas City, MISSOURI (not Kansas) and not far enough away from the imaginary line that is known as the border between the two states.  I can leave my house and be in Kansas in about 10 minutes or so.   That is far too close for me.  Kansas City is pretty well divided between proud Tigers and rascally Jayhawks.  As you drive around the city you see cars everywhere you go extolling the virtues of one or the other institution.

Yes, I am a proud Missourian.  A true "Show Me" kid.  I believe in keeping my business and therefore my money in Missouri as much as I can.  There are times when I am forced to cross the border but only in extreme circumstances.  My grandfather use to say, and say it a lot, that "nothing good ever came out of Kansas".  I pretty much stick to that philosophy, although my grandfather's last born child was BORN in Kansas, we make an exception for my Aunt Sue.  If anything good ever DID come out of Kansas, well it had to be Sue.  Other than that, nothing good ever came out of Kansas.  Now it isn't only me that feels this way as there are plenty of Kansans that feel the same way about Missouri.  It goes back to pre-Civil War days and the actual war itself.  Missouri, while never succeeding from the Union did carry a strong support for the Confederate forces while Kansas, of course, had to do exactly the opposite of Missouri and support the Union.  I mean, Kansas wasn't even a state yet, just a territory out there beyond the civilized world of the United States, who at this time weren't so united.  Anyway, Missouri and Kansas fought our own little Civil War out here while the rest of the country was fighting back east with all the great battles and history making events.  It was okay with us.  It was a back and forth thing.  Some Jayhawkers would make a raid on Missouri destroying property and crops and do a little killing, then the next week some Missouri Ruffians would cross over and do a return raid in Kansas, doing some looting and destroying of property and a little killing.  The proudest moment as far as the Misourians were concerned was when they burned the town of Lawrence, Kansas to the ground.  Kansas got revenge by making the rebuilt Lawrence home of the KU Jayhawks.  Well played my Kansas neighbors ... well played.

Missouri was sympathetic to the south in the war for a reason.  Missouri was a slave state.  Not really proud of that part of my state's history, but it is a fact none the less.  There is a reason for this as the southeast corner of the state, known as the "boot heel" was and still is a huge producer of cotton.  The whole slave idea started down there and was taken up by the rest of the state because I guess they thought it sounded like a good idea.  The strange thing is, Iowa, Nebraska, Arkansas or Illinois doesn't really get the attention from Missouri like Kansas does.  It is Kansas and Missouri and even though the universities are no longer in the same conference and do not play each other on a regular basis, that little hitch will always be there I suppose.  It isn't the same since Missouri left the Big 12.  We don't have that rivalry that gets your juices flowing like we had with Kansas.  I mean, it is really hard to work up a dislike for Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Arkansas, Louisiana, or South Carolina.  You just kind of, well, you kind of feel sorry for them being stuck in the south all these years, being the butt of a whole nation's jokes .... it really is kind of sad.  SO the SEC went out and recruited Missouri to the conference to try to give it some class.  Well, we do as much as we can for them, but there is only so much your shoulders can carry, and that is a lot of history that they are trying to class up by bringing Missouri into the fold.  An example of how we are trying to class up the southeastern United States in college athletics is this.  Louisiana State University has as their mascot the Tiger.  They have been the LSU Tigers forever and also forever, their colors have been purple and gold.  Then there is Auburn University in the state of Alabama.  They also use the Tiger as their mascot.  Auburn colors"  ORANGE and BLUE.  (as an aside, Auburn is even worse off then LSU as their battle cry is a hearty "WAR EAGLE".  I haven't made the connection yet between the eagle and the tiger, but .. well ... Alabama is all that needs to be said).  THIS is why they need Missouri University in that prestigious conference.  Mizzou also has the Tiger as our mascot.  THREE tigers in one conference, but you'll see why they needed the third tiger in the next sentence.  Mizzou colors?  BLACK AND GOLD people.  Kind of like a real Tiger is.  Who has EVER seen a purple Tiger or even worse, an orange and blue tiger?  A lot less people then have seen a black and yellow tiger, I can tell you that.  So really, bringing Mizzou into the SEC served as a sort of lesson, to show them what reality is.

(As an aside ... I am not really sure what a Jayhawk is.  Some fictitious  cartoon bird of sorts that someone made up while high on hemp and probably in a Lawrence dorm room.)

While we are on the subject of the southeastern United States, There is one thing I want to make perfectly clear.  It is truly beautiful country down there.  The southeastern United States has been blessed with lots of forest land, rolling hills to small mountains and coast lines that rival the Oregon Coast in my opinion.  I know that every part of the country is beautiful in it's own way and for different reasons (even Kansas has a beauty about it.  You have to look and drive for many miles before you stumble on it, but it is out there, or so I am told) but the southeast is really special.  Atlanta looks more the Emerald City in the OZ books than anything in Kansas does.  They also have a rich culture that continues to endure through the ages and all the changes that come with the passing of time.  The people who live in the southeast are among the friendliest people you will come across.  At the same time they are a very proud citizenry who are not afraid of speaking their minds about any subject.  For example, I discovered after I began to travel to the south with some regularity, that the Confederacy actual won the Civil War!  It is true.  They told me so.  After whipping the Union and teaching the northern states a lesson in how to whup-ass, they decided to let the union rejoin them.  As far as the south was concerned, mission accomplished.  All they required was that the south be able to return to the White House every once in awhile to keep things on the up and up, you know, make the war worthwhile.  So we got Presidents like Johnson, Carter, Clinton and daddy Bush and sonny Bush to keep things right.  They tried to get George Wallace in there but that was going a little too far for the northern states to agree with.  The southerners that they did send to the White House are not your typical southern politicians.  If you want an idea of a typical southern politician, look up George Wallace or Lester Maddox.  You'll get the point I am sure.  Actually now that I think about it, President Clinton was about the closest thing they came to as far as putting a real southern politician in the White House and he was from Arkansas, which isn't the heart of Dixie, so in some minds, he doesn't count as a southerner but then again, they don't claim Johnson or the Bush boys either.  It is what ti is.  President Clinton can understand what that phrase means now that he has had the definition of "is" explained to him during his Grand Jury testimony.

Upon entering my third day on this entry, I have decided that it will be the longest post in the blog.  It could have already reached that point but I want to make sure.

So let's talk tattoos.  The world has gone tattoo crazy.  I guess that all of the strange piercings in various body parts have lost the shock value so now people are turning to trying to squeeze as many tattoos on their bodies as possible.  When I was growing up seeing a tattoo was something that didn't come along very often.  You could easily assume that the man, and yes I do mean "man" as you never saw a woman with a tattoo, was one of three things.  He was either in the military, an ex-con ( or current one), or a biker or other gang member.  Even then the tattoos were not over done.  You could see see skin between them.  One or two tats on the arm and shoulder, maybe on on the chest.  That was about it.  I don't know what the situation is for my Russian readers, but here in the United States it is just about as far out of control as it can get.hae

I do not approach the subject of tattoos from a holier than thou position as I sport a tattoo myself.  Granted it isn't much of a tattoo.  I got it when I was in the seventh grade of school.  I gave it to myself, which I must say today's kids probably don't have the guts to do.  I wrote an entry on this blog about my tattoo.  It was an accidental tattoo.  I was in science class and somehow stuck my blue ink pen into the palm of my hand.  I am not sure quite Why or how I did it, but it got me a trip to the nurses office.  The tat still resides in the palm of my left hand.  It is a tiny tiny blue dot.  I would have to look for it and then point it out to you if you wanted to see it.

Today people walk around looking like human coloring books or comic books.  I just don't get it.  Okay a small tat in a not so obvious place, maybe an inch or two square, to make a statement about yourself or something you believe in, fine.  A friend of mine who's daughter died when she was fourteen years old had her name tattoo'd on his forearm.  Totally understandable to me.  This covering as much of yourself as you can and keep adding to it by getting even more tattoos to cover even more of your body seems to me to be saying something about ones self esteem issues.  That is just my personal opinion.  It seems that if you are hiding as much of yourself so that you can look like a coloring or comic book instead of who you really are, you may not think too highly of yourself.  Just throwing that out there.

Let's see now ... next quick topic....OH ... ok The Westboro Baptist Church.  Of all the hate filled churches or religions, Westboro has to be listed towards the top of the list.  According to their beliefs everyone is going to hell who is not a member of their church.  Not only your standard list of heathens that religion typical go after, like homosexuals, devil worshipers and Catholics, but everyone and anyone.  Members of the United States Military are certainly going to hell along with artists, movie makers, and virtually anyone else.

The leader of the church died earlier this year.  Fred Phelps was the driving force behind the church.  The vast majority of church members were members of the Phelps family.  It was like they would have heaven all to themselves.  Who better to spend eternity with than a bunch of hate filled holier than thou people who are all related.

After Phelps died, I wrote a blog entry on where the church would be going now that their leader was dead.  So far his death has been a good thing.  Third generation members of the family have left the fold, condemning themselves to hell of course.  I wonder how they feel not having to hold that hate in their lives on a 24/7 basis.  The church has been pretty quiet and I can't recall but one or two protests they have done since Fred Phelps' death.  The days of Westboro may be finally over.  We can only hope so.

Now a little bonus on baseball.  Not only on baseball but on two situations going on  in baseball right now.  First case: the Kansas City Royals.  While I am a huge fan of the Chicago Cubs, I am just as huge of a fan of the Royals.  It has been 29 years since that great World Series in which the Royals beat St. Louis in seven.  That year, 1985, also marked the beginning of the downfall of the Royals as a consistent contender.  Now after 29 years, it is mid-August and the Kansas City Royals hold a play off spot for right now AND they are only ONE GAME OUT OF FIRST PLACE in the American League Central.  Mid-August and one game out.  They have to hold it together for just a month and half to be in the play offs once again.  To once again take that proud organization into the realm of being a contender.  No one really saw this coming but no one in Kansas City is complaining either.

The second situation: The Little League Regionals have begun.  This is a bunch of 12 year old kids who play for the right to make it to the Little League World Series.  If you love kids or if you love baseball, do your best to try to tune in and watch these kids play ball.  It has always been one of my favorite porting events.  These kids are GOOD.  Kids don't hide their emotions as well as the major league players do and so you get to see the true love of the sport on these kids faces when something goes good, or when things go horribly wrong.  Just take my advice and catch a game or two.  I promise you will be hooked on it and watch it through to the end of the series when a group of 12 year olds will be named the best in the world.  It is extremely exciting.

Well I think I am finally going to wrap up this 400th post.  I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did writing it.  Post number 401 won't be far behind.  I am taking a year off from writing in this blog to devote myself to another blog which covers something I have been wanting to do for a long time.  In the other blog, I am posting the lyrics to a song every day for a year.  The idea is for you as well as myself to understand what some of these songs are about, without being influenced by the melody or the name of the artists who do the performing.  It is just the words and in many songs, the words are very meaningful but we miss that meaning by getting caught up in the melodies or the talent of the singers and musicians.  It is out chance to find the deeper meaning of songs that we probably all know by heart, but never take the time to think of the words.

You can find the other blog at the following address:  http://wm-clark1.blogspot.com/  .

I do hope you will visit it and read some of the songs that have filled all of our lives over the years.

Take care readers ... especially my Russian readers.  Really glad to have y'all along for the ride.

Later.

WHC