Where is the Justice for the Homeless Around Here? Part II

In the first part of this entry, I talked about how the oil boom and the economic upswing in the area has affected those on low and/or fixed incomes. I am now going to add two links that will put a human face on this problem for you.  One family lives in a storage room and an elderly mother and daughter live in their van.

http://www.kwes.com/story/19579272/extreme-measure-mother-and-daughter-have-taken-to-have-a-roof-over-their-heads

http://www.newswest9.com/story/18850195/drastic-measures-o?hpt=us_bn8

There are many, many more out there who are affected by this price-gouging.  That is exactly what this has come to.   Even hotels/motels are over-priced in this area and if  you don’t believe me, check out the rates for them–and if you’re planning to travel to the East via I-20, go to places like Big Spring, Colorado City, Sweetwater and Abilene to spend the night. It will blow your mind how much cheaper the fees run in those towns for the same chains, that’s for sure.

It is bad enough that FEMA is bringing trailers in.  Seriously people, how much worse does it need to get before this nation enacts laws that prevent this type of behavior? I’m sure if the books were audited, they’d find that many aren’t even reporting the actual earnings from this price gouging as well.  I think a special investigator needs to be brought in on this with regard to the rental management practices of the two companies that own all the apartments in the area.

This problem has affected single parent families, minorities, women and the elderly and if that is not reason enough for the federal government to step in and stop this form of housing discrimination in its tracks, I do not know what is.  Most people affected by this make $35K (working families with children)  or are on a fixed income. They should be able to afford the rent, but cannot.

An actor pointed out to me  that most countries in the civilized world have enacted laws to prevent this type of behavior. Well why haven’t we?  This is not an issue for politicians to come here to make empty promises to people who are in desperate need either. We don’t need more of that.  We need leaders who will take up the mantle and force those who are doing this to these people to do the right thing.  Winter is coming and I can assure you that the emergency rooms will  be full of patients with all kinds of illnesses thanks to these profiteers.

To the ACLU:  Where are you?  To the U.S. Attorney General’s Office:  Where are you?  To those who should be leaders heralding the march to do the right thing: WHERE ARE YOU?  To the International Media: WHERE ARE YOU?

Where is the Justice for the Homeless Around Here?

In West Texas there is a crisis going on, but before I get to that,  I have told my sons we have to find ways to conserve on electricity around here.  I get emails on the usage and this month’s electric bill is already sitting at $197.00.   I think someone is gouging…Sorry.  Every time there is an oil boom the price of everything goes sky-high.

In Midland, TX there are families that have jobs making $35K a year living in tents and on the streets because when the oil field workers began to arrive, landlords raised the rents up astronomically.  I can’t believe the Attorney General hasn’t stepped on some toes here over it.  The motels all went up to $189+ per night–and even Motel 6 has jacked up their rates in the area.  The hotels are also trying to charge a “county tax” which is ILLEGAL. There IS NO SUCH TAX. The taxes they pay are to be included in their prices–otherwise they are breaking the law.  They are stealing–pure and simple. Whether due to a disaster or a boom, it is price gouging.  The electric company is doing the same thing. They say the price of oil is the reason that goes up…I don’t buy it.  It never happens until there is being money pumped into a place.

These people pushing families into the streets to make an extra buck need to be addressed.  Half of the landlords do not even repair housing and such and scoff at their tenants who need something as simple as a water heater fixed. They are getting away with this behavior because they are being ALLOWED to get away with it and if the City of Midland isn’t going to do something about it, then the Attorney General’s office should be–as well as the Texas Board of Realtors.  I am waiting for the first class action suit to hit the fan out here. It will eventually happen. Even many of the oil field workers cannot afford the rent so there are FEMA trailers being brought into the yards they go out to work from for them to stay in.

This is NOT California and Midland is NOT New York City. In those two places the fees are genuine and pertain to the cost of living there.  That is not the case here. It is all an artificial increase.  It’s time for the people to stand up and address these con artists and thieves for what they are.  If necessary,  rent controls need to be put  into  place via the powers that be in Austin since the City of Midland is not addressing this–and neither is the county.  There is no reason why these families should be on the street–many of them losing their apartments and such after being faithful tenants for years and are INELIGIBLE for any type of help because they are WORKING…Where is the outrage?  Where is the call for justice?  If there ever was a justification for the mantra of “social justice” permeating the air–it lies in Midland, Texas.  Better yet, where in the bloody hell is the media at?

I am not a Democrat or Republican and this is not a political brownie point plank for some politician to jump on.  The problem needs to be addressed and fixed NOW. Winter is coming.  By then these families should be either back in their apartments that were WRONGFULLY taken from them at the rents they had before, or there should be suitable housing provided. If nothing else FEMA should come in and build mobile home parks because this is an emergency…

Natural disasters aren’t the only problem plaguing this state and/or nation. Greed is another one right now–especially here. Shame on these people who are doing this!  I do not think it is only happening here. I think other places experiencing a boom are going through the same thing–but SOMEONE needs investigate this and strongly address it.  Only ONE news channel has covered this so far that I know of, and that was Channel 7. Shame on the media…They are too busy talking about politics and such to address the issues that really do matter. There is a huge responsibility for journalists to cover such things and they aren’t (for the most part)…Shame on them.

//

You Just Had to Ask Me…

Note: While I am on my “hiatus” of sorts from discussing certain things  on the blog, I hope you enjoy this interlude of a different story while I keep working on part 6 of “Centuries Under the Moon”–Kadja

The older man came to her and sat next to her…’Wanna dance?”  he asked, brushing back his salt and pepper hair from his face, which had just enough lines to reveal that he was a hard-working man with some determination.

“No. I don’t dance.” she said as she was trying to listen to the band, brushing her black bangs from her eyes.

“You don’t dance? Seriously?” he asked her.

“No. I don’t.  What part don’t you get?” she said firmly as smoke continued to fill the air–and he continued to invade her space…

“Wanna take a walk outside?” he asked.

“No.” she said again.

She had seen the wedding band and knew this guy’s drill.  She already knew there was no common ground with him, so she put her barrier between them quickly.  He was one of many that she had no use for–let alone a desire to get acquainted with.  She kept to herself–until she walked onto stage. Then she let it out.  All that angst–and the power to release it ignited her defiant soul more than ever as she shook her head to one side, her black hair moving away from her green eyes as she took that microphone into her hand.

She then went back to her booth, where a reporter she was expecting had been waiting.  He was a young man, close to her age.  Very good-looking, and he knew she was a tough one to interview. His editor had warned him about how she can be. Yet there she was–all 5’5″ of her.  He stood 6’1″.  When his brown eyes locked on her, he knew this woman was different from the others he’d had dealt with before and he knew that he’d better tread lightly.  Her bottle of Patron and a lit candle were waiting for her, along with two glasses.  She offered him a drink, which he accepted.  She noticed that the sandy colored locks this reporter had were a sharp contrast to Michael Redding’s well-kept black hair. She also liked it that he showed up in jeans and a T-shirt, and appeared to have not shaven in two days as opposed to Michael’s “everything has to be perfect” look.

“You have no one in your life?” he asked after they conversed for some time, talking about her upbringing in Oregon and her family–which she didn’t say much about–YET.

What difference does it make? I have plenty of people who support what I do and I don’t have time to limit myself in any way.  No man has ever loved me for the creature that I am so I fly solo and I sleep solo.” she responded.

“Even though Michael Redding is telling all who will hear him that he wants a relationship beyond friendship?” the reporter asked.

“As I said, what difference does it make?” she asked.

“He seems like a nice enough guy–”

“Which is why I’m doing him a favor by avoiding him this week since that is the public perception.” she mused.

“He’s heir to the Biotechna fortune.” the reporter said, puzzled that she would say such a thing when they seemed to be so close.

“And?”

“But you two seem to go very well together in public–”

“That’s what he tells me.”  she said.

“You’re not going to tell me if you two are in a relationship, are you?” he asked.

“IF we were, I wouldn’t be interviewing with you alone in a darkened booth in a friggin’ bar.” she grinned, as shafts of light flashing into the booth revealed her dark red lips and pale skin.

“Do you have a hard time in relationships?” he asked out of curiosity.

“No because I never enter into arrangements with anyone. I don’t believe in it. If I want to play house, I’ll hire a gigolo.” she said sarcastically as a sheepish grin came across her face.

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“People in this town hook up to find convenient arrangements for combining resources and such.  You will find that many couples in this business aren’t in love but they only stay together because they can tolerate each other.  In other words, they play house.  I know four couples right now who cannot say “I love you” to each other, which sucks because two of those couples brought kids into this bitch we refer to as our world.  Their teen children are screwed up because they know why their parents are together–just like mine were back in the heyday of this town.  No thank you.  Men who want that do not interest me. I’m not an investment or a breeding mare.”  she said.

“So you plan to avoid romance altogether? That seems rather sad.”  the reporter said.

“There is no such thing as romance–especially here. It’s all about appearances.  I don’t believe in romantic love anymore. Everyone in this town is about getting into an arrangement.  If they weren’t, you wouldn’t find so many of them screwing around on each other like my own parents did.” she said.

“You have been at odds with your parents for years.  Do you speak to them now?” he asked.

“Not very often.” she said.

“Why?  They seem like nice people–”

“My stepfather is one of the coolest people on the planet.  So is my dad. I cannot say the same about my mother or that bitch my father sleeps with and calls a wife.  I don’t care if you print that or not Mr. Jacobson.  I talk to neither of my parents since I had to go to court to get their hands off of my bank accounts.” she said.

“This is what the feud is over?  Money?” he asked.

“That’s what they WANT to think.  It’s not. It’s about their inability to live their own sick lives through their daughter and son.  They did the same to my younger brother.” she said.

“He committed suicide.” the man said.

“Yes.  AFTER dear old MOM cleared out his funds.  Then she sent part of it to dad via the stepmom and he says he never saw a dime of it although she admits she had it.”  she mused.

“Will you ever make amends with them? They seem to be reaching out to you now–”

“For more money. Here! I’ll prove it.” she grinned as she turned on her speaker phone.

“What’s up Ce Ce?” she asked her stepmother.

“Is this for another one of your business schemes–like the one that broke dad’s company?” she asked.

“No! It’s for your father’s eye surgery and I have no time for–”

“Well, if it weren’t for the lasik I’d send it but I know how you operate. You’d use it elsewhere.”  she said flatly.

“Come on! Reese, what is $15,000 to you?  We are your family–”

“Dad is my family. You are nothing.  He told me he was scrapping the lasik thing last week. Nice try, CeCe.” she said as she hung up.

“Mr. Whatever your name is–THAT is how my family is. Always with a hand out. Always a new lie.  She’s not half as bad as my mother is.  I’m surprised my step dad hasn’t left her ass.   She’s still paying back money she robbed from me.”  she said to him.

“So you’ve been robbed of your childhood, robbed of part of your fortune and robbed of what good in life you can have out of fear of being used?”  the reporter asked.

‘I am a corporation, am I not? I am used every day. Even Mr. Redding will tell  you that much.  I’m not marrying or moving in with him either–and you can print that in the papers, the book, I don’t care…  I like my space.  He asked me to marry him four times in three months, but when he sees my prenup he tries to skirt it so I don’t see him any longer.” she said.

“I just think it is sad that you can trust no one.  Off the record.  Why did you let me interview you?” he asked her.

“You just had to ask me.” she mused.

“I really want to know.” he said.

“Your name is Stephen Robinson and you work for the Herald, correct?” she asked.

“Yes.”

“Then I chose you because you don’t bullshit. I like that.  I like that article you did on Tibet too.” she said.

“Why do I get the sense that this may head elsewhere?” he asked.

“I’m hiring you to write my biography.  Didn’t your boss tell you that?  IF you decide to do it, you’ll have the exclusive.  You’ll be traveling with me and my band mates–IF I decide to regroup.  You’ll see the good, the bad and the ugly–and the fugly too. ” she grinned.

“Is there anything about the “fugly” I need to know about?”  he asked.

“I have maybe a year to live and I want the truth out.  I’m making my will tomorrow.  I refuse medical treatment as my younger sister died of this particular blood disorder I have.  Here is the reality.  I will never have a normal life. I will never get married or be a mother…In short, you get to write about how f**ked up my life and my family really is.  I know you can bring it out the way it needs to be brought out.  You’ll also be there at the end.  My band knows nothing and neither does my family, my agent or my manager.  I don’t fear dying either. It is the only release I’ll have from the ongoing bullshit in my family anyway.” she said.

“This is a joke, right?” he asked.  Then he noticed as a faint shaft of light came across her face.  A tear had rolled down her cheek.

“I wish it were one of my f***ing jokes.  I would be laughing hysterically if it were.  However, I will leave them nothing. Absolutely nothing.  At the same time, I want to learn how to really live.  Does that make sense?”  she asked as her tone became more resolute and she wiped the tear from her cheek with the sleeve of her blouse.

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“I want to do what I have always been afraid to do–starting with bungee jumping. Go with me.” she said.

“Bungee jumping?” he asked.

“Bungee Jumping…Right after I get my will signed.  By the way, you are getting a hefty check for all of this shit.” she told him.

“What if you chicken out of the jump?” he asked.

“That’s what YOU’RE there for…To make sure I don’t, dammit.” she said.

“Oh so I’m a personal assistant to you now?  I am sorry but I don’t know how to–”

“Just bring whatever you need to write.  Don’t be anything less than honest either.  That is all I ask of you.” she said as she downed a shot of tequila.

“Look, Miss Harrison–”

“Look at it this way.  Either you write it or nobody else will.” she said flatly.

“I need to think this over and talk with my editor–”

“You’re getting exclusive rights to the story.  I’m paying you $150,000 to write it, plus 50% royalties in any film rights and such,  with a $50,000 advance  for your time.  He knows that.  Besides, you free-lance anyway. IF you want it in writing–”

“Miss Harrison, this is a huge assignment for me.  I need to think about it.  I was going to go to Nepal–”

“Which you’ll have plenty of time to do later because if it’s about the orphanage, I am part of that benefit taking place there.  All I am asking for is part of your time–not 24/7–unless you want to get the whole deal.” she said.

He didn’t have to think beyond 48 hours.  $150K for a year…Not bad and it’s not exactly chump change given the fact that other writers, at least in his mind, were superior to him.  Stephen Robinson knew this assignment would be life changing–but he had no idea how much.  He went to her house in Beverly Hills 2 days later.  When her maid answered the door, Reese was pouting on the stair case.

“TWO days…It took you two days to make up your mind?  I didn’t go bungee jumping either. Thanks for nothing.” she pouted.

“You didn’t need to do that right away anyhow.  Besides, I had loose ends to tie up.” he said.

“Whatever.” she mused as she stood up and went into her conservatory.  While the maid, Abigail, showed him to his room, she told him, “Mr.  Robinson, she is really mad about you taking two days.  She only goes in the conservatory and composes like this when she is angry. Just let her be for a couple of hours and she’ll be fine.  She’s furious with Mr. Redding too.” she warned him.

He was amazed by her choice of decor.  She stayed true to the history of the house, which was built during the early 1900’s.  There was an ornate fireplace in her den, another living area with a smaller one and huge bay windows that had a view of the pool. He noticed the bar and made particular note that everything in the rooms had solid colors–no patterns.  Abigail explained that she did the main rooms of the house in this fashion due to her sister’s epilepsy when she came to visit.  According to Abigail, almost any extreme pattern or something as simple as a flashing light could cause a seizure, so Reese was taking extra precautions.  She did have hanging crystals in her conservatory though and there was some pattern to that.

He loved the deep blue and silver accents and the  fabric adorned it.  There was no straying from the color scheme except to add grey throws to the chairs.  He was also keen to the scent of enchiladas cooking.

“Why? He’s crazy about her–”

“That’s what he wants her to think but she caught him two timing her a few months back when they was together.  He hit her when she refused to take him back. Now he wants her back again and she said very nasty things to him and told him to get out of her life–only she used more curse words.  She really fears him, Sir.” she said.

“Well, thanks for the heads up.” he told her.

“You seem like a nicer guy than he was.  I hope she takes a likin’ to ya!  She deserves some happiness after her mother pulled that stunt last week on her.”  she said.

“What stunt was that?” he asked.

“She tried to get control of her money again but the judge threw it out.  She’s 28 now and she can do what she wants and it just ticks her mama off.  She seems so sad lately though.  She doesn’t joke around much any more.  I’ve known her since she was 12.  Something is not right about her.”  Abigail said.

“Well I’ll see what I can do.” he said as he scratched his head.

When he unpacked, showered and shaved, Abigail was knocking at his door frantically…”Mr. Robinson please come!”

“What’s the matter, Abigail?” he asked as he opened his door after hastily putting on jeans and a T-Shirt. Then he heard the sound of crashing glass.

“She’s in a bad way again, Mr. Robinson–Mr. Redding made her mad again! They are down there arguing and I’m afraid he will slug her like he did before when they were together!”

As he entered the den she threw another vase at Michael yelling, “I told you to get the f**k out of my life and stay out! I meant it then and I damned well mean it now!”

“Look, Reese…I’m sorry you got hurt.  She means nothing to me,” he told her as he tried to get close to her.  She then pulled a letter opener out, “Don’t you dare come near me!” she yelled.

“Reese, you know you aren’t going to do that.  Put it down–”

“Back off dammit!” she yelled.

“I’m not going to hurt you again, Reese–”

“I think you’d better get the hell out of here.” Stephen said firmly to him.

“Oh…And who might you be? I think you’re the one who had better learn your place around me–”

“Anytime you feel lucky, bring it.,” Stephen told him, “But you will not bother her again.  I mean it.”  He saw that Reese still had the letter opener in her hand and she was shaking.

“You work for her?  Gee…Wait until you see how idiotic she is!  She thinks anyone who is with her has to be f***ing perfect! I screwed around on her one time and she  acts like she’s holier than thou! Maybe if she f***ing knew how to put out to a man, she’d be able to keep one–”

“Maybe if you were a man, I’d have stayed with your ass.” she mused.

“Don’t you talk to me like that! You’re the one who goes on tour after tour–”

“And bailed your ass out of a $7 million dollar debt.  We are done now get out!” she hissed.

He stormed toward the front door, “Reese, I’ll be back when you calm down.  We need to talk about this more–”

“I’m getting a restraining order. Abigail, call the police.” she said.

“Yes ma’am!” Abigail said as she went into another room and called them.

“So that’s the way you want it?” Michael asked her.

“For a long time now. Leave me alone!” she said.

“Fine! Don’t come crying to me when you can’t handle the pressure and shit!” he said.

“Oh I won’t. Believe me.” she said icily.

When Michael left, she sat down shaking as Abigail rushed over to her…

“Are you alright–”

“I am now that he’s gone.  I’ll get the restraining order. I’ve had it.” she said.

“I never would have thought him to be violent.” Stephen said.

“Welcome to just one aspect of my fugly world.” Reese said as she looked up into his eyes. It was then he saw the red mark on her cheek.

“Well, it shouldn’t be like that.” he said as he waited for the police to arrive in the foyer.  When they arrived, they wrote out a criminal trespass for Michael and took her statement.  She filed harassment and assault charges since Abigail saw Redding strike her.

“Well, it’s a good thing the media is already here because those reporters he has in his camp are going to make out like he’s just a friggin’ love-sick victim.”  Reese said.

“Good thing I am here, then. I’ll save it for the book though.”  Stephen said.

“Thank you. I appreciate that more than you know.  It’ll die down in a few days.” she said.

Within a few weeks, Stephen saw how she went about her daily routine.  Her songwriting habits and the various chew out sessions with her management and various band members often perplexed him but at times he laughed.  He found some of it to be rather amusing, and was becoming more drawn to her as she undertook charitable work.  They traveled to Nepal and to Costa Rica together where she saw the wildlife refuge and went bungee jumping with Stephen.

As the sunlight shone upon them and the warm tropical breeze embraced their beings, they were having a bit of a heated debate…

“You can’t be serious about doing this! There is plenty of other things to do in Costa Rica than risk our lives!” Stephen said.

“You’re kidding me, right? If the cord breaks and I die, at least I have nothing to lose.” she mused.

“Don’t talk like that! It isn’t funny!” he said to her.

“It is absurd and that is why I said it. I am merely trying to point out to you that there is nothing to be afraid of.  We’re not that high up and the water is 100 ft. deep.” she said.

“Not that high up? Look do—” she pushed him and jumped afterward.

“Shiiiiiiiiiiiiitttttt!” he screamed all the way down as she laughed.

They bounced a bit and he shot her a dirty look once they calmed down.

“Why the hell did you push me?! It’s not funny–” he protested.

“I didn’t have all day to wait on you to make your mind up.  I’ve got other things to cross off my list anyway! Why can’t you just admit that it was kind of fun?  You had to have felt a rush–”

“Oh yeah! The rush of DEATH!” he snapped.

“Exactly,” she beamed, “But if it makes you feel any better, my friend, I’ll never push you off  like that again. I promise!”

Something in her smile was rather infectious.  Something in her assertiveness was addicting.  HE finally cracked a smile at her again.

“Do you MEAN that?” he asked her.

“Not really.” she smiled as she winked at him.

“Oh shit…Whatever.” he said.

Holiday Depression Issues…

I am deeply disturbed at the lack of coverage on this issue.  It seems that at this time of year, especially when people are experiencing difficulty, friends and family seem to not realize that what is going on when people get snappy or unhappy it is due to Holiday Depression.  There is pressure to get and make that perfect dinner–get gifts for Christmas, make the shopping on Nov 25th of this year, etc…Imagine what it could for me having wrecked my car recently, going into debt with 3 birthdays coming up during this time–Eric’s (my oldest is also on Nov 25th (my birthday also), Brian’s is Dec 17th and Kevin’s is Nov 29th…

The running joke is that I am freaking broke from Oct.-Jan!

I am not depressed, though. Far from it. I am grateful that I have a family who is always there for me and for an employer that totally rocks! Yes, I took a pay cut when I quit the Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice in 2010, and have no regrets.  The pay cut was well worth it. I am concerned for someone I know who seems to be sad this time of year and going through so much.  I am also concerned for a family that lost two loved ones in a fire last night.

Look, I’m not here to preach, but if you are worried about finances, the first thing you should do is simply NOT spend money on items for others that you can barely afford, if at all. This marketing ploy drives me nuts every year.  You will find that many relatives and friends love home-made candy and gifts as opposed to the cheap crap that we get into our stores now.  My sister makes us fudge and other candies and we LOVE IT! Nothing can beat that!

Although I don’t have as much since I took that pay cut, I have more than most.  I have my family, my dog, a blog I read faithfully that always inspires me to keep my head out of my backside and keep remembering that doors always open where others close.    Sometimes we end up in a place where we are not happy at the moment, but we have to be there for a reason.  We have to follow our intuition and simply go to where we may fear to tread from time to time.  When we reach that destination we so felt a strong need to go to, sometimes things do not go as planned.  We don’t get that job or the place we want right away–but we must learn to be still and silent.  We must wait.

The latter part of that is the hardest part of all.  It is especially hard when in that stillness we hear the echoes of loved ones telling us things that were so important to them, but seem lost in the time since their passing.  We try to apply this to ourselves, but it is not something that can be forced as much as it can be allowed to enter us and embrace us. I can remember the last conversation I had with my father and grandfather one day before their passing.  Each call ended with “I love you.”  This means so much more to me than people know.  Even today I can hear them say those words to me when I am feeling like a broken china doll, and it calms my spirit.

I remember going to the ocean in Monterrey, California after my grandfather died.  I felt a release and a comfort there as I said my good-bye to him while allowing the waters of the Pacific Ocean to lap over my feet and feeling the breeze blow through my hair.  It was then I felt that “embrace” (as I call it) and knew that this was meant to be and that he was no longer suffering.  There is a song Carly Simon wrote and sang after losing her mother that seems to sum up a lot of what I feel right now, and I think it will help those who have lost someone close to them also.  It is called “Like a River”…Watch the video here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leQhz8oIYRQ&ob=av2e

I was raised as a Baptist. I don’t go to church, but I do know it says in the bible that when we die, we become as angels.  If that is so, then that explains this…Maybe our loved ones never truly leave us.  Whether we call this simply “the Universe”, “God“, “Ronald McDonald” or whatever, something seems to be embracing us and trying to gently tell us that all will be alright–if we be still, listen and wait–and then trust that this entity will take care of us if we simply trust in it just enough to know that it is not out there to hurt us or make bad things happen–but to help us endure the stuff that comes at us from all directions and drives us mad from time to time.

Sometimes those angels sent to help us are not in our memories and such, but in those around us that we would least  likely expect. Sometimes it helps me just to get out and visit new places and meet new people that I interview.  At other times, like when the sun comes up, I will be on my mountain, allowing whatever meets me there to embrace me and calm my spirit to get through the day once again.  However, lately my angels have come in the form of those whose blogs I read that remind me that life is not something to be taken for granted.

I have also learned to embrace the child I once was, let her go and forgive those who hurt me.  Those who know me know what I am referring to, and it was a long, hard process–and to those who saw it and felt helpless, don’t worry.  I am fine.  I am a new person and once I was able to throw off the baggage, I was fine. I would not trade one second of my life for anyone else’s because I have learned to embrace things as they are and be happy.  As I said, I have much to be thankful for, and will continue to keep those who are feeling so down in my thoughts because I KNOW without a doubt things will turn around for them.

This Holiday Season, no matter what is going around us, even if all we have is a fried chicken from Wal~Mart, instant potatoes, canned green beans and some type of sweet to eat–we should be thankful that we are there together to enjoy each other for another day–another moment.  Sometimes all people have to give one another is the loving hug each morning and those 3 words called “I love you”–but to receive these one more time is greater than any gift in the universe if you stop and think about it.

Money buys turkey, presents, and a lot of other stuff–but it never guarantees love and happiness.  Perhaps that is what confuses me so.  I never really could understand how people can allow themselves to fall into the trap of defining themselves by what they have instead of their inner gifts that the universe gave them–the ability to make someone laugh even if they are having a rough day, a sense of humor to carry them through the rough times (like we have had in Texas with these wildfires all damned year!),   It is funny that those who have the least are the ones who are always ready to give the most, too.

Now go give someone a hug and tell them you love them–even if it’s your dog or cat!  Then dry your eyes and look around you.  It is never as bad as you think it is.  Tomorrow is always a new day and it will get better…Take care and have a great week!  😉

I Hate Politics…Really…Can You Tell?

There are some things in this world I do not understand.  I am not gay, but I don’t care who marries who and who sleeps with who. It is simply not my business.  Now I know the crowd who attends church every Sunday without fail are going to slam me for saying that, but it is true.  It is NOT my business or anyone else’s–not the church’s, not the government’s, etc…WHY does EVERY bleeding thing have to be legislated in this country according to the whims of those who are only trying to control the rest of the population via their leaders and lobbyists? The problem is that people who go out against gay marriage are NOT minding their own business but trying to force their will on another segment of the population.  There are some in that camp that will argue that it is the “left-wing-commie-loving-“whoevers” (their words–not mine)” that are trying to force their agenda on them.

I say that government–instead of taking sides in the issue should shut them all up and simply pass a federal amendment that will require one state to honor another state’s civil laws about marriage and such and then leave it the hell alone.  That way each state can legalize what they want and other states have to honor it.  Here’s the catch:  The legalization of marijuana will need separate attention. I don’t smoke marijuana…In fact I don’t smoke at all, but I am not offended by what others do…Why?  AGAIN:  IT is THEIR business.

I didn’t go around playing “Tap door, run!” like others did either…However instead of it being labeled the harmless prank as it is, many have decided to label it “criminal mischief“…All of  these laws are designed to meet ONE end, folks…That end is to gain revenue.  The fines collected and such would blow your minds. However, we do have to give to the $400K+ retirement package for the presidents when out of office…Then there are those congressmen/women who exempt themselves from legislation they pass wanting to force a medical care package down the throats of Americans as well as tax the hell out of them further.  First off, Congress should pass NO LAWS that they and their families are NOT subject to.  Their families shouldn’t get a college education on MY DIME when others who clearly deserve it cannot get aid to go themselves.    Most only DREAM of going to college because of state cuts.

THAT is a whole new topic for another post.  Both parties are contributing to the problems–they say government can’t run…Yeah right…Pay me only $150,000 a year with a 1 week vacation per year, good health insurance and a decent 401K, and I’LL RUN FOR PREZ in 2012! Don’t pay for my kids college either!  Don’t pay me the $450K a year when out of office either–($70K would be plenty) and definitely do not build a “library” for me.  I need no monument when people are hungry in this country! I’ll pay into SS (which all federal employees should do–including government members)! First piece of legislation I pass will be to return the Black Hills to the Lakota over a 10 year timetable.  Then I’ll  pass a “Mind Your Own Damned Business” law…That will mean people can marry who they want, and BY GOD, I’ll push to legalize marijuana for private use.  People who abuse law enforcement to harass their neighbors will get stiff fines and so will the exes who stalk their former lovers/exes, etc…There will be jail time for claims proven to be false and deliberately made too…How is that for a start?

Also for “crimes” that are really harmful to NOBODY that juveniles would commit–such as “Tap Door, run!”–NO FINES whatsoever…Make ’em do 40 hours of community service and write a 5000 word essay on why they shouldn’t break curfew  if they disturb someone’s beauty sleep! I’ve seen that penalty work on MANY kids.  I hate politics because it is all about the ALMIGHTY BUCK folks! Pure and simple!

Anyone in Corrections Should WATCH THIS FILM!

As a former sergeant at a correctional facility, I struggled constantly with trying to find ways to get through to newer officers (many of them young enough to be my own children) what to watch for in the way of offender behavior.  We showed them state videos and had handouts–which are not that effective as learning tools.  I know this because I am also a certified teacher.  The officers (especially those in the late teens through late 20’s age group) need visuals and things that they can connect to in order to fully contemplate what it is that they should be watching for.

I always recommended one movie to my officers.  That one is “Undisputed II: Last Man Standing“.   In this particular film, Ben Cross plays an offender named Steve Parker.  He plays the part of the offender who is often bullied and such brilliantly, but the part that got my attention the most was the signs he was putting out prior to hanging himself.  This actor pulls every sign off to a “T” and if you don’t believe me, watch it–even if it isn’t the genre you prefer.  This movie is set in a Russian prison, but the corruption and such that it deals with is portrayed so realistically, it can also point out to officers what to watch for in others as well.

The fact that this is a drama that is well acted also makes it interesting enough that the officers can actually take what they learn in training and see everything in a new way.  By recommending this film, you will see that officers are actually grasping what it is you are trying to pound into their head and they will stay awake and listen in your turnouts after watching this.  Honestly, how many of you Lieutenants put your workers to sleep reading those boring  ass handouts and watching the 10 minute fake state videos?  I know in TX it happens A LOT!  That is why it is important to hook them up with something they can connect meaningfully with.

Two of my top officers picked out two offenders they thought were suicidal based on behaviors exhibited by this character in the movie.  They turned out to be right on the money and within 4 weeks, both had to be transported.   It also shows why it is important for officers to be alert to possible issues that should lead them to get an Offender Protection Investigation started–and it is not always due to offenders being sexually assaulted.  This can also tie in to those “Code of Silence” lessons you are trying to pound into their heads when it comes to reporting co-workers for engaging in activities that can endanger other offenders and other officers.   Many offenders  are also extorted and such as well.  There are two advantages to recommending this movie:  First, it is dirt cheap on amazon.com   Secondly, if one life is saved after watching it on your unit, it is worth the buck or whatever the officer spent on it.  Here is a link to the trailer, but the trailer’s focus doesn’t do enough justice to Ben’s character in this film.  He definitely should have gotten recognition for playing this character–a man broken in so many ways–so well.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaWj9b1av1o