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Category Archives: Violence

Lost Among Us~

Mentalillness
Mental Illness
Picture credit: Chitrapa

 

Once again, splashed repeatedly all over every News Channel, is a story about a person with a mental illness, who has attacked innocent strangers in a public place and then lost their own life.

This latest tragedy was done by a homeless person who has been in and out of places where he should have been kept, safe.

Safe for him, safe for the rest of us.

He was diagnosed with schizophrenia and should never have been released into an unsuspecting community, who could neither help, nor understand his pain and anguish, nor his propensity for uncontrollable or violent outbursts.

The last two places that I have lived, California and Connecticut, have for all intents and purposes, shut down and/or closed nearly all of their outpatient, or public mental facilities.

Access to good Psychiatric treatment has been greatly reduced around the Country, but for the indigent, it basically no longer exists.

Persons who are unable to cope, or deal with the everyday challenges of life outside of a safe facility, are now being put out onto the streets, where they have no clue as to what to do.

These mentally ill people are admitted, kept for a short time and then because of budget cuts across the United States, released back out onto the streets to fend for themselves.

This is difficult enough to do with normal brain function, but for one that is nearly incapacitated, or badly impaired, as well as homeless, they are left to just wander around among us, lost and not understanding what is happening to them, or why.

We have endless money to send a huge military force all over this planet and spend billions on War, and all that is connected to it, but when it comes to those who are poor or afflicted, we often show little compassion or concern.

We must take care of our sick and desperate people, or there will continue to be tragedies in Theatres and Schools and the Workplace.

These wretched souls quite often cannot ask for help, as many of them do not understand that they are ill.

What they need is care, medications, kindness and a safe place to live in.

At any given moment, ” There but for the Grace of God, go you or I.”

Any one of us could be just one devastating accident, illness or mugging away from an impaired mental state, or permanently diminished capacity.

We should know better and do better, for them, for us.

No one should be alone and lost among us.

 

Places to learn more:

 
Schizophrenia

Police: Assailant in latest movie theater attack was homeless, had psychological issues

Police Kill Suspect in Theater Attack in Nashville

Antioch Movie Theater Shooting in Nashville a ‘Suicide by Police’?

911 call describes Tennessee theater attack: ‘He pulled out a gun and we all ran’

 

 

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Not Working

Wattsriots-burning
The Watts Riots in LA in 1965
Picture credit: Wikipedia

 

I have been watching the News for the past week with a very heavy heart,  as each day, as the events unfold in Ferguson, painful, ugly and difficult memories are brought back.

What is happening there,  is in many ways quite similar to what we in LA and the surrounding areas experienced with Rodney King, in the 1990’s.

And both of these are entirely too much like the LA Riots in Watts in the 1960’s.

Then there was the Trayvon Martin murder, here in Orlando and the Trial and the verdict that once again met with violent public reaction and out cries everywhere.

All of these tragic events, these sad places,  have touched my life, none in a good way.

That  week in  August of 1965 during the Watts Riots,  was a time of total violence and great turmoil and no one liked what was happening.

Few were sure, including the law enforcement, as to how to find a solution before the City was left in ashes.

In time, it did stop, but not before the deep scars were in place and bitter memories that would last for many, a lifetime.

Next came Rodney King, only this time it was brought right to my own front yard.

The Trial for those who brutalized King was held in my town of Simi Valley.

It was all such an ugly time for a tiny peaceful place.

It seemed to drag on forever and then the verdict came, that no one was prepared to handle, especially the Police.

I left West LA that day and drove towards home, wondering what may lie ahead.

I could not have been prepared for what came next.

As I tried to get off of the Freeway at my Exit, which was for the time of day that it was, unusually backed up onto the Freeway.

When I finally got to the bottom of the ramp, I saw why.

Every single car there was being stopped and examined by a uniformed patrolman, who asked to see ID proving that the person driving did indeed, live in this particular neighborhood.

This was a disturbing, frightening and very unpleasant experience.

My house was about a mile from the freeway and the troubled exit, but only two blocks from the hysterical scene that was happening at the Court House.

It looked like a war zone, or a movie set.

There were huge crowds of onlookers, countless TV crews, Police cars, SWAT crews, my God it was all just terrifying.

But our small town’s terror was about to be unleashed on all of the City, as the turmoil that day in Simi, quickly spread to all of LA and once again, as in the 60’s with Watts, the violence, looting, shootings and arrests, were soon out of control.

When it thankfully began to calm down many days later, we all wondered how and why this could just keep happening.

Why was it always black and white, white police, black victims?

Now once again, in Ferguson, this Country is experiencing another Racially inspired reaction, to what is now being called a racially motivated murder and the results are, as before, violent, dangerous, out of control crowds, venting their frustrations and setting the stage once again, for probably another ugly Trial.

God help us, why can’t we stop this pattern?

Why don’t we learn?

What will it take for this Country to mend our Racial wounds, to stop the Violence and to stop the Hate?

Why are so many, who should know better, doing all of the wrong things?

Governors, Police Chiefs, Judges, Lawyers,  everyone who should and could be using their years of wisdom and experience to calm things, seem to only be pouring fuel onto the already out of control fires.

For the lack of a better explanation, it seems that too often, these people care more about their political careers and futures, than doing what is right, or best, for what is happening right now.

Perhaps it is time for an uninvolved neutral, or third-party, to get involved in these kinds of tragedies because those who should know better and behave better, really could use some better ideas.

The ones they are using now, are just not working.

 

Places to learn more:

Watts Riot

Rodney King trial verdict announced

Shooting of Trayvon Martin

Governor Nixon orders National Guard to Ferguson

 

 

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Violence Against Women

Violenceagainstwoman
Picture credit:  World Health Organization

 

Writing today had not been on my agenda, until while scanning some of the reader comments from yesterday, I noticed that one was from an unfamiliar person.

Being of a curious nature,  I went to his site, and on the right side, was a list of the Blogs that he followed.

I saw a name that intrigued me and clicked on it.

As the page appeared, the very first image that came up,  delivered an instant sickening memory, one that will burn in my mind, in my heart forever.

I knew that I would indeed be writing today.

Neither the horrific image, nor the page, will be shown here, if you look around, it is out there.

It is a picture of two young girls in India who,  they say,  were gang raped and then hung.

Please read that sentence again, will you?

Then try for one moment  to remember what year it is,  this is 2014.

How is it possible, conceivable,  that this kind of abhorrence is still being inflicted on females anywhere?

Yet, it most assuredly is, and  in many places apparently.

The word rape is personal to me, a best friend,  the best friend of my then young son and two close relatives, were all raped.

Men for the most part, can never truly appreciate the fear that is associated with this evil word.

Unless of course they become incarcerated, then …………

But for us, for women, this is a word that we know all too well.

Some better than others.

Rape, whether we admit it or not, is always in the back of our minds.

Will it happen to me?

For women, the world around us has now become so violent, that simply going to the grocery store, can put any one of us at great risk of becoming the victim of a violent act.

Where we live near Orlando, the violent acts against women and children, have now become an ugly, daily occurrence on our local News.

Women and young girls are beaten, raped, car jacked and murdered here on a regular, horrifying basis.

It seems that we/they are not safe anywhere, anymore, not even at home.

All of this brutality, this violence against women, is happening in a State that still has not passed  the ERA, like several other mostly, Southern States.

Does this have any bearing on the outrageous brutality towards women here, maybe.

Although not familiar with the statistics in other states at this time, it has been said repeatedly on our news here, that Florida leads the Nation in violence against women, children and animals.

Sounds like we have a BIG problem here doesn’t it?

But, it is not just here, not just in Florida, not just in America, it is GLOBAL.

The very long list of types of violent acts against women is simply staggering.

And, it has been going on since the beginning of time.

In India, wives died in their husband’s  funeral pyres in a practice known as  sati.

Young girls are still suffering right now with female  genital mutilation.

A shock today was learning that  Ethiopia has the highest incidence of violence against women.

But when you consider the absolute, abject poverty there, is it really so surprising after all?

It appears that violence against others is much more prevalent where there is great poverty.

This makes perfect sense in a way.

If a person, assuming the perpetrator of the violent act is a male, is out of work, perhaps for a very long time, desperate and suffering from extreme low self-esteem, any one could then potentially become the target of a violent act.

A wife, a child, a pet could become the victim of violent, out of control, rage.

Regardless of the triggering point, this is absolutely not acceptable behavior under any conditions.

But, back to the point.

We on this Planet have a very serious problem with violence against women.

America has just finally passed, for all of the good it has apparently done, the VAW ACT.

Yet every single day, here and all across this country and the world, women and children become victims, another statistic, while waiting for this VAW  ACT, the judicial system that continues to fail them and yes all of us too, to save their lives.

Women go to court trying to get legal protection, in the form of a piece of useless paper, called a restraining order, and are murdered anyway.

So, what is the solution?

Well, if we wait for a legal solution, I truly don’t believe that it can or will, ever be the answer.

The answer I believe, is within ourselves.

We must change our basic nature, we must get to the roots of all humans and their eons old, errant thinking.

We must all, each and every one of us, be taught from birth, from our Mother’s, yes and most importantly from our Father’s knee, that each of us is valuable, each of us is worthy of being loved and each of us is important.

Once we as a species, begin to feel good, or at least not bad,  about who and what we are, only then can we truly accept and love each other and stop the violence against women.

 

Places to learn more:

The Violence Against Women Act

International Violence Against Women Act

Violence Against Women

Violence Against Women Laws

Women Against Abuse

Domestic Violence – Legal Protection From Abuse 

 

 

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Rape on the Reservations

UNiTE_Poster

Picture credit: The United Nations End Violence Against Women Campaign

 

As many of you know, my partner for the past 15 years is Walkingfox, who is a Mohegan from Connecticut.

This morning while posting his weekly Blog on his website, the story left me both sad and disgusted.

It was about the many rapes and lack of punishment of Native American Women on Reservations.

Here are statistics from the National Native American Bar Association of some very disturbing numbers for Crimes committed against Native Women:    Violence Against Native Women

So, as this is still Women’s History month, I would like to offer you more about this very serious, ongoing problem that is happening to so many Women, but is out of the mainstream American News and you may not know anything about it at all.

Indeed, these are the kinds of stories that will most likely not ever be shown on your, local news, unless you live on a Reservation.

If these hideous crimes were being committed in other Countries, we would,  as a Nation,  be filled with rage, up in arms, you only need recall when a woman  in India was gang raped on a Bus last year,  there was an instant rush, an avalanche of rage here over this brutal rape.

So, where is the rage for Native Women in this Country?

Kathryn Rice, of the Pawnee Nation,  who spoke recently at UCA about Sex Crimes Against Native American Women in America,  stated that Native Women living on Reservations face these brutal statistics:
one in three will be raped in their lifetime.”

And, if you are wondering how that number compares with Non Native Women, their number is, 1 in 6.

Another stunning quote from the  recent speech by Kathryn Rice:
“Indian women are 2.5 times more likely to suffer from sexual abuse than any minority group. ”

If you are interested, here are some numbers for Global rape statistics:  Rape Statistics

You will notice, that Native American Women were not included on this website page, and  yes I sent them off a little note asking them why?

So, now for some conclusions.

After reading countless stories, one particular fact was often repeated, the victims were usually raped by off Reservation people, making the chance of any conviction all but impossible, as only the  US Government can prosecute the criminal.

This well-known fact may be the primary reason so many non natives commit this crime, they know full well, that they will never be put in jail or brought to justice.

For entirely too long in this Country,  Native Women had been considered easy targets of countless, brutal, violent  crimes, primarily because of the way our History has presented and demeaned them.

The ugly past of this Country, has kept Native Women fighting to retain their dignity,  while a living in a world frequently controlled by Non Natives who do not respect them and take their anger out on them with little fear of reprisal, because they can.

Another often repeated term was,  ” An epidemic of sexual violence.”

Well, if this was a viral epidemic, immediate and definite steps would be taken by all affected parties, right?

So then, what is the answer for the ugly crime of  ” Sexual Violence “ against Native Women?

How can Native Women protect themselves and stop this cycle of brutality, this madness?

In my opinion, changing the current  laws must be the first step to stopping this and it is beginning already with the recent new words written into the Violence Against Women Act  (VAWA).

But the law may need to be tweaked again, with even stronger language this time,  further applying to all Reservations and their Tribal Rights and Responsibilities, when it comes to contending with violence against their women and what they can legally do about it.

But it must continue right on to the Reservations as well. Women must collectively have open discussions about what they are going to do for themselves to change this.

All over the world, Indigenous Women are now learning how to demonstrate that they are quite capable of forming all kinds of groups to address problems for a myriad of other cultural Issues,  the time has come and even passed, for rape to be one of them.

When women join together, when they act and speak with one voice, they can conquer any obstacle, I know how strong they/we are.

Now it is time for women to let the rest of the World know too.

 

Here are some places to learn more:

Native American Women and Violence

Speaker Sheds Light On Sex Crimes

Sexual Violence Scars Native American women

For Native American Women, Scourge of Rape, Rare Justice

Rape on Native American Reservations

Rape Cases On Indian Lands Go Uninvestigated

Native American Women and Rape –  An Escalating Crisis on Tribal Lands

 

 

 

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Tibet: A Country, a People, in Crisis

Tibet-claims    People_of_Tibet
Left: Tibet, the Roof of the World
Picture credit : Ran

Right: Kids in the Kham (in a horse festival)
Picture credit: Antoine Taveneaux

 

Tibetans are frequently in the news and the stories are sometimes alarming, as with another who has set themselves on fire in protest, or being brutalized by a member of the Chinese Military.

This act is called,  Self-immolation  and since 2009 more than 125 Tibetans have died this way,  they simply have given up and see no other way of escaping the suffocating Chinese rule.

Please refer to this excellent source for the details on this:   Self-immolation protests in Tibet

Another example of the ongoing tragedies: Tibetan Man Kills Himself to Avoid Arrest in Statue Controversy

Groups protesting in support of the people of Tibet, who are hoping to help them become free of China,  have now become a common occurrence all over the world.

Petition to remove China and others from the UN Human Rights Council: Geneva Summit For Human Rights

This week President Obama welcomed the Dalai Lama to the White House, knowing quite well that he will suffer the full, unmitigated wrath of China for doing so:

Barack Obama risks China’s anger with Dalai Lama visit

Also this week,  a story of selflessness and love of a fellow-creature, as three Tibetan monks were held after saving 300 Yaks from  being slaughtered:

3 Tibetan Monks held after saving 300 Yaks from Chinese Butchers

The Yak is to the Tibetans,  what the Bison/ Buffalo is/was to the Plains Indians in the United States.

These three Tibetan Monks bought the Yaks that were about to be slaughtered, and by doing so have put themselves in harm’s way:

Three Tibetan Monks Detained for Freeing Yaks Headed to Slaughter

 

The Tibetan Yaks

Yak_at_Nam_Tso_Tibet    tibetanyak

Left: Yak at Nam Tso Tibet Picture credit: Paxse

Right: Yak near Yamdrok lake, Tibet. Picture credit: Dennis Jarvis

 

One positive thing that these frequent Global news stories do, even the tragic ones,  is keep the attention of the world on the plight of the Tibetan people.

There are many around the world who understand what they suffering because of China and want to help.

China has been making the lives of Tibetans hell since their invasion and takeover in the 1959 Rebellion.

Those who were able to escape,  found  freedom in Dharamsala, India, including the Dalia Lama.

But many Tibetans do not wish to live out of their country, they want to go home and they want their Spiritual leader back in place.

As the Chinese have repeatedly demonstrated that they have absolutely no intention of leaving, the prospects for this ever happening are slim.

It is tragic that a place of such breathtaking beauty, with one of the world’ most unique people and distinctive cultures, is being held hostage and remains at the mercy of one the planet’s biggest Bullies.

China has a strangle hold on millions of people, not just those in Tibet and they show no signs of slowing down or backing off, so those in their tight grip, will continue to suffer.

A new trend in political controls is happening now across this country, some of our most prestigious schools are teaching Chinese propaganda and many students do not know what the truth is any more. Some schools are now even turning away American students, while accepting wealthy Communist ones. Please do read this, these students who are being educated here, are then going back to China,  better armed to help defeat us around the world:   Stanford University Welcomes Chinese Regime

Even if the whole world were to attempt to unite against China, which is highly unlikely, they could not break these chains, China has simply become an undeniably dominant force on the Earth.

 

These are several places to learn more about Tibet:

The official Tibet Source:  Central Tibetan Administration

A good place to learn about Tibet’s struggles:   The History of Tibet from 1950 to present

Please visit this very informative website if you wish to learn more about Tibet:  Free Tibet

A timeline in the tumultuous History of Tibet:   Tibet’s History

Another excellent source of information:  Radio Free Asia – Tibet

 

A look at Tibetan Culture, the places and faces of Tibet

Potala_palaceThe Potala Palace — A Buddhist temple complex in Lhasa, Tibet.
Picture credit: Antoine Taveneaux

 

Ranjana_prayer_wheels

Prayer wheels at Swayambhu, Kathmandu depicting three Sanskrit mantras in Ranjana script
Picture credit: Kamal Ratna Tuladhar

 

PrayerflagsNepal

Lung ta prayer flags hang along a mountain path in Nepal.
Picture credit: public domain

 

The Monks and their daily lives

Tibetan Monks are called Bhikkhu.

Lamas_Rumtek    Kalachakra

Left: Tibetan Monks attending the 2003 Kalachakra in Bodhgaya, India.
Picture credit:  Morrisjm

Middle: Lamas at the Rumtek monastery in Sikkim.
Picture credit: Amar

The lives that the Monks lead are called the patimokkha.

Sakya_Monastery,_Sakya,_Tibet    Tibetan_monk_in_Tashilhunpo_Monastery

Left: Sakya Monastery, Sakya Tibet
Picture credit: Moszczynski

Right: Tibetan monk in Tashilhunpo Monastery, Shigatse, Tibet Autonomous Region, China
Picture credit:  B_cool

 

 

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Afghan Faces

Afghanistan Female_soldier_tries_to_reach_out_to_Afghan_women_during_Eid

Top Picture credit: Davric

Bottom Picture credit:  Master Corporal Angela Abbey, Canadian Forces Combat

 

These are the faces of women from half way around the world who are afraid.

And, unless you have been there, it is unlikely that you may know what is happening to them.

As this is a new Blog,  my intention is not to begin with alarming or shocking information.

This story was in my email several days ago and I held off writing about it for a bit.

Now that this Blog has been initiated, I feel that the time is right to share this.

How do  you feel about this?

Let’s talk.

It appears that a new law has recently been passed  in Afghanistan that would allow,
or at least not punish men, for abusing their wives, children or sisters.

It is very difficult living in this country,  to even imagine that this can still be happening,
anywhere, but it is.

I feel only slightly embarrassed to be continually whining about the fact that the ERA still
has not passed here in Florida after learning about this.

So, here are the stories, and they have been written about in many, many publications.

Please tell me what your feelings are about this?

New Afghanistan law to silence victims of violence against women

Afghanistan: Reject New Law Protecting Abusers of Women       

 

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