I made the “mistake” on Friday night of trying to remind people (on the WHNT Facebook page, of course) that the Boston bombing suspect was a person and had certain rights. This led to my being called evil, a supporter of terrorism, an idiot, a confused individual, someone who doesn’t know right from wrong, anti-American, a reason that militias exist, a reason terrorist/hate groups exist, etc. Seriously? What the fuck?
I know that it is unpopular to remind people that someone who did a bad thing is still a person, that he has not been convicted of the crimes he is accused of, and, because he was wounded, that he deserves to have medical treatment. Still, I didn’t expect to be accused of supporting terrorism or being evil or any of that. I don’t know why I didn’t expect it. After all, this is a page where people from North Alabama and Southern Middle Tennessee congregate to share crap, and it is not uncommon for them to say that kind of crap about any person who disagrees with them.
It bugs me that it is anti-American to support a person’s Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. How can it be anti-American to support something guaranteed by the Constitution? I get that people are pissed off and scared about what happened up in Boston, but we have rights for a reason. Bad guys have just as much right to a fair trial, proper medical treatment, being treated like a human being, etc. as the good guys. If the rights only applied to people who weren’t accused of crimes or doing something against the country, then they probably wouldn’t exist in the first place. Let’s face it, the amendments are there to protect everyone here, not just law-abiding citizens. And any person who wants to restrict these rights is acting hypocritical when they claim that a person advocating for those rights to be protected is being anti-American.
I saw people going on and on about an eye for an eye or how it was okay to judge the suspect, but forgetting that Jesus said to turn the other cheek and that we shouldn’t judge others. When I pointed that out, I was accused of being evil, brainwashed, and anti-God. I’m sorry, but how is it anti-God or evil to argue against their angry posts with teachings that are attributed to Jesus? Isn’t he supposed to be kind of a big deal to Christians? Or is that belief discarded when people get angry?
And there were people who were blaming things like tolerance for terrorism, militias, and hate groups. I’m pretty sure that hate, intolerance, and discrimination are bigger factors in the increase in those things.
I just don’t get the logic of some people. I understand anger, fear, frustration, panic, and sadness. I even understand wanting vengeance. I don’t get why its unacceptable to not want it, though. Why should I have to want this nineteen year old kid dead or in pain or forced to bleed out in order to be considered a good American or an ethical person? Why is it “evil” for me to have compassion for another human being? What is that about?
Yesterday after the bombings in Boston, it seemed like some people thought the best people to blame (or issue death threats again, in a few cases) were Muslims. One girl on Twitter (whose parents share the same ideas) even justified this by saying that Muslims were the only ones to ever use bombs against American targets. Seriously? Has she been skipping History class? I’m pretty sure that Eric Robert Rudolph and Timothy McVeigh weren’t Muslims. Theodore Kaczynski (the Unabomber) wasn’t a Muslim either, nor was George Metesky (the Mad Bomber). The 1958 bombing of the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation Temple in Atlanta wasn’t carried out by Muslims. The Wall Street bombing in 1920 wasn’t carried out by Muslims, nor were the Black Tom Explosion in 1916, the LA Times bombing in 1910, the Bath School disaster in 1927, the firebombing of Vernon Dahmer in 1966, the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing in Birmingham in 1963, and the bombing of the home of Harry T. Moore and his wife in Mims, Florida in 1951 are all examples of bombings that were not carried out by Muslims. In fact, the ones that I’ve listed were carried out by white people.
I don’t understand why people think that the only crimes in this country that occur are carried out by persons of color* or people from certain religious backgrounds. Actually, I do. It’s because we have a very racist mentality that is fed by the fear-mongering that goes on from politicians and pundits and even the media. People justify this bigotry by focusing on the stories that confirm their hatred (i.e. 9/11) and forgetting that there are a hell of a lot of crimes that happen every day that are carried out by non-Muslims and non-POCs.
Most people in this world are not dangerous. Most Muslims are not dangerous. Terrorists, members of hate groups, people who commit violent crimes, etc. do not make up the majority of the population, and they do not make up the majority (or even a significant portion) of different cultural groups, religions, and races. This is why groups and individuals that commit this sort of thing are generally labeled ”extremists”, because they are in the extreme. They aren’t the norm and they shouldn’t be treated like they are. This hatred of anyone that we choose to label as being “bad” or “evil” because of their religion, race, culture, sexual orientation, gender, sex, or any other difference is sickening. This bigotry that so many carry is truly messed up and it needs to stop. All the bigotry does is increase the amount of hate that exists in the world, which increases the likelihood of someone acting out in a violent manner.
We don’t know who committed the bombings. It could be an Islamic extremist group. It could be a group of white supremacists. It could be anyone. Whoever it was did a bad thing, but their actions do not have to define anyone else and their actions do not have to inspire others to blame or hate anyone else.
* = I’ve seen a lot of people call for executions, deportations, and torture of Hispanics, Asians, Blacks, etc. any time a POC is accused of a crime–even minor acts of vandalism.
The Supreme Court is hearing arguments on whether or not to strike down a key part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The part is Section 5, which requires states, counties, cities, townships, etc. get permission from the Justice Department or a federal court in Washington before changing any voting procedures, no matter how small they seem. That might not seem like a big deal, but, trust me, it is.
I’m from one of the nine states where this is a requirement. I’m from a state that has a history of racist ideas and, though Shelby County claims that my state is no longer racist, I can assure you that the state of Alabama is still full of bigots. We need that section of the law because we cannot be trusted. I don’t think we’ll ever be able to be trusted, and I know that that is pessimistic, but it is honest.
The only reason that the state does not continue to get in trouble for blatant voter intimidation is that we have this law that helps to prevent it. Even with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in place, the state and local governments manage to find ways to disenfranchise minority populations by manipulating districts so that they do receive the representation that they should be guaranteed in this country. In arguments, Justice Elena Kagan said that Section 5 is working well, and that under another part (Section 2–which bans voting procedures that discriminate based on basis of race, color, or membership and applies to all fifty states) the state of Alabama still violates the law more than any other state in the nation. Her exact words were, “If Congress were to write a formula that looked to the number of successful Section 2 suits per million residents, Alabama would be the number one state on the list.” I shudder to think what will happen if this Section ends up being struck down.
I know that many of the members of the Supreme Court are leaning toward the side of Shelby County, but these are justices who are not from my state. These are justices who don’t see, on a daily basis, the blatant acts of ignorance and hatred perpetrated on any minority. I do. This state cannot be trusted, and I have a feeling that many of the other states have yet to prove that they can be trusted.
I would love to be able to say that this state could have Section 5 struck down and nothing bad would happen, but that isn’t the case. Things will get worse here. People would see the law being struck down as a way to legitimize their hate. People would justify racism and hate crimes on the fact that the federal government said it was okay. That is not the kind of message that needs to be sent to these people.
John Roberts argued that because the southern states involved in Section 5 have a higher rate of voting by minorities than states like Massachusetts, we don’t need the law anymore. I have a feeling that if there were no guarantees from Section 5, Alabama would see a decrease in the number of minorities voting and registering to vote. When a person no longer has his or her safety and rights protected properly, that person might choose to no longer exercise his or her rights. By striking down the law, the Supreme Court would essentially be infringing upon the rights and protections of minorities.
On Thursday, I had a to-do list. Call the doctor. Call the charity. Get the permit renewed. So, how did accomplishing everything on said to-do-list go? Well, let’s see…
I called the doctor on Thursday, around the time that my ears started popping and breathing became more of a struggle. The receptionist double-booked me with some other poor, unfortunate person and I ended up seeing the doctor yesterday (Friday) at 8:15. Getting my dad to agree to that early of an appointment wasn’t exactly pleasant. (He prefers appointments that occur in the afternoon, or at least after 11 am.)
Anyway, the doctor said I had a sinus infection. He was going to prescribe some antibiotics, but when I brought up that the number of antibiotics I can actually take is in the truly single digits (as in, one), he changed his mind. He said that he would hate to give me antibiotics and end up causing the sinus bacteria stuff to get resistant, leaving me with no real option for fighting off the infection. He did prescribe some Flonase spray, which helps some with the swelling. He also sent me for an x-ray. When I told him that I had had the FESS a few years ago due to the multiple sinuses being blocked, he said that it was possible that my sinus cavities had begun accumulating fluid and that if that was the case that I might be on my way to a new set of blockages.
I checked out that claim and found that most people who have the surgery don’t end up having to have it again. The ones who do have the blockages return and end up having the surgery over are people have persistent infections because, much like with the iron infusions helping keep the blood pumped full of iron but not really treating what causes the anemia, the surgery is basically just a bandaid for whatever caused the blockages in the first place. In some cases, it’s acid reflux. (Got that.) Sometimes, it has to do with asthma. (That one, too.) Sometimes it has to do with subpar surgery. (I hope that isn’t true.) In other cases, the person has an immunodeficiency. (That’s been suggested in the past, but never really studied.) And there are still other causes, like the people who have fungal sinus infections or just have a really persistent bacterial infections. All of it is basically a lot of epic suckiness.
So now I wait to find out if anything showed up on the x-ray. Chances are that even if something did, UAB won’t manage to call to tell me until the Earth spins around the moon and the sky catches fire. They’re just that good about keeping patients informed.
My mom was the one who called the charity. She and my dad have to go next week to sign up to get appliances. Maybe sometime soon we will actually have a fully functioning kitchen again. Yay. It will be nice to have more than the stovetop, fridge, a thirty-year old microwave, and teeny-tiny convection/toaster oven. It will be nice to be able to wash dishes without having do the manual labor of washing them. (Yeah, we don’t have dishes and, even if we did, I’m not exactly a fan of washing them by hand. Getting my hands [or any body part] wet is one of those weird things that causes high anxiety for me.) I want to be able to use the oven as an oven and not as a make-shift pantry. (Yep, that’s how we use it now.)
As for the permit, I have to take the written test again in order to get a new permit. Apparently, each permit can only be renewed once, which I think is stupid. Just because I don’t want to have a full-on license, because it would do me no good as I only drive when I absolutely have to (in an emergency) and I’m always with a licensed driver over the age of 21 when that happens. So I have to study for something so I can be prepared in case something shitty happens, which, knowing my life, will inevitably happen. My mom suggested I just get a new non-Driver ID, but I’m not so certain that my dad approves of that idea.
And now for the not-on-the-list stuff:
Oh, dad brought some stuff home yesterday from the church dude’s storage unit. Most of my part of it is clothes that I haven’t been able to wear since the time between losing all the post-gastric bypass weight and gaining it back. I haven’t told him that because I don’t really want to have him get pissed.
I’ve been a little frustrated recently because everywhere I seem to turn, someone who is undoubtably mentally ill/disturbed/broken is being called evil or a monster or something. Whether it’s Jeffrey Franklin, Adam Lanza, Jared Lee Loughner, kids and adults with an Autism-spectrum disorder who get a bad rep, or patients of some psychiatrist who happen to have personality disorders, everyone seems to classify people who don’t process or react to the world in the right way as “evil”. I don’t see them as evil. What they did could be seen as a bad act, but that doesn’t mean that they were evil. It just means that on some level their brain (and possibly other parts of their “wiring”) didn’t work right. Whether it’s a chemical or biological issue or a reaction to be abused the majority of their life (that’s often the case of the more sociopath-like personality disorders), they usually end up doing something because their brains have gotten fucked up by something. And I hate that people are so quick to just write them off as demonic or devilish or something equally bad. They’re just sick. And I know that makes people uncomfortable to admit, but it’s true.
Anyway, I’ve been reading sad books by John Green and sobbing about Gretchen, which is great for my sinus congestion and for my plan to have a more positive year this year. I think that this loss will be easier, not because I loved Gretchen any less, but because on some level I already knew that they had euthanized her. (I wanted to say executed, which is sort of what it seems like they did. But euthanasia’s all in a day’s work for them.) More people seriously need to start adopting pets from high-kill shelters.
The guns and the bombs, the rockets and the warships, are all symbols of human failure. — Lyndon B. Johnson
To say that I don’t like guns is an understatement. Hell, to say that I loathe or despise them might even be an understatement. I don’t ever remember liking them or feeling good about them, but maybe that makes sense. I did spend 7 of the first 8 years of my life in a neighborhood plagued by violence–across the street from one of the many drug dealers that lived there, at the corner where all the gangs of that area liked to come to play, etc. Then, when my parents could no longer afford to live in that house and we moved in with Dadada, I got to experience life with an ex-convict (car theft; he’d also called in a threat to radio or tv station once) who had an affinity for guns and bombs. His affinity meant that we found guns and gun parts all over the house. I saw one when I was 8, out in the open, and it scared me. I saw another when we were cleaning the house up after it was condemned. My mom has not only seen them through the years we’ve been here, she got to experience one being put at her back when he walked into the kitchen once and decided to scare her.
I think I have good reasons to not like guns. I don’t like guns because I know that kids can get ahold of them. I don’t like them because I know that ex-convicts can get them, too. (Many aren’t supposed to, but do anyway.) I don’t like them because I know that there are people who are severely mentally ill that have better access to guns than they do to mental health care. I don’t like guns because I’ve been watching the news since I was young and I’ve seen tragedy after tragedy of people killed by guns.
Tragedies happen so often that it’s always considered improper to discuss gun violence and stricter gun laws. That should tell our society something. If you have enough significant tragedies that occur with a particular weapon that it becomes wrong to discuss that particular weapon, there is a problem. It’s kind of like if you’ve gotten so many times a week that you can’t remember actually being sober, then you would be told that you have a problem. Gun violence is a problem.
Mass shootings are almost normal in America these days. And of the “twenty worst mass shootings” in the world, eleven of them happened in America. Eleven of twenty, or 55%. More than half of the worst shootings in the world happened in one country. Five of those shootings have happened in the last five years.
If you want to argue that people who do commit these acts aren’t getting the weapons legally, then you should know that you’re wrong. In most mass shootings that take place in America, perpetrators of mass shootings are getting their firearms legally. If you want to argue that people who commit acts of gun violence would still do them if there were stricter gun control laws in place, then you would also be wrong. And in states where there are stricter gun laws, gun violence is lower.
This year, there has been a 48% increase in gun purchases, according to Smith and Wesson. That’s not unusual for a year that a Democrat is elected as President. (It’s pretty much the norm, because many people seem to think that guns are going to become more restricted during Democratic presidencies.)
This year, there have also been cuts in the funding of mental health care budgets for 29 of the 50 states. Mentally ill people have lost the ability to get their medications, therapy, hospitalizations, etc. which is dangerous for them and dangerous for society. It is cheaper for them to spend $400-$600 to get a handgun than it is to pay the $660 for a month of Abilify (anti-psychotic), the $400 for an antidepressant, the $100 for therapy, the $200 for a visit to a psychiatrist, and at least the $2000 per day for a trip to a psych ward so that they can transition onto their medicines properly.
It is cheaper in this country for a person to end their life or to end the lives of other people than it is for them to get help. We have put our country, our people, our children in danger because it is more economically feasible to cut mental health care and and politically savvy to allow for less restrictive gun policies. We’ve put a price on the lives of everyone in this country. That is a problem.
I am allergic to caffeine. Unlike my more anaphylactic-style allergies, my allergy to caffeine involves abdomen, jaw, neck, left arm, and chest pain. It also involves a faster heart rate and a pretty bad headache. And it doesn’t take much to trigger it.
In ninth grade, at the holiday party for my dance class, I had a single sip of Dr. Pepper. This was the first time I remember ever feeling the reaction. Within minutes of taking that one sip, I felt like I was dying. Having lost both of my grandfathers to heart disease less than three years earlier, I knew what the symptoms meant. It was scary. I didn’t ask for help because I knew that if I did, people would think I was nuts. Teenagers don’t have heart attacks.
And I wasn’t having one either. I was having angina attacks, which is also rare for teenagers. They aren’t all too rare in my family, though. My father also has this unusual reaction to caffeine. And, like me, he has spent a lot of time trying to get it across to doctors, nurses, and laypeople that he can’t have caffeine.
It’s a hard allergy to have because caffeine is in a lot of products. I have to ask people giving out food samples if there’s caffeine in the products, no matter what product it is. I have to be careful what medicines I take. For example, my old headache doctor decided it would be okay to give me something with ergotamine and caffeine. I tried it once, and it caused a reaction. Another time I tried something with theophylline (an asthma medicine) in it, and it caused the same reaction.
After almost 14 years, I am pretty much used to having this allergy. I worry about people who might have this allergy, but don’t know it. I worry about people who are so sensitive to caffeine that all it takes is a small amount to cause them to have an actual heart attack. I worry about people who have the reaction, but don’t put two and two together and end up dying from taking in too much caffeine.
Even though cardiac reactions to caffeine and other medications are extremely rare, they do happen and they can be very serious. This is why I want energy drinks to be investigated. This is also why I want things that have caffeine in them to have warning labels.