Racial Apathy or Voyeurism?

I’ve been looking for missing people for a couple years now. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. When it comes to missing persons, young women especially, race matters. I would dearly love to one day finish my degree so I can tell you with certainty why that is, but for now, I only have a couple guesses.

Before I ever actually investigated a case, my interest was piqued by the disappearance of Natalie Holloway. As tragic as it was, I was astounded and equally confounded by the outpouring of interest and emotional response. It was as though this was the first 18 year old from the US ever went missing. Natalie has never been found.

When compared to the disappearance of Rebeca Jose, barely a month prior, the difference in support and outrage is easily quantifiable. I doubt anyone beyond a couple NCMEC junkies and her family could tell you anything about this 17 year old Latina.

The obvious answer is to suggest that predominantly white media and its viewers are racist. When I have a missing black kid, I get pretty close to that conclusion too. What other explanation is there for a white 15 yo’s poster getting 17,000 views in one day, compared to barely a 1000 for a black one? Social scientists have termed this “Missing white woman syndrome.” Conversely, when a black or hispanic kid/adult goes missing, I’ve found myself referring to the underwhelming response as, “Missing brown girl apathy.” But, I think I’m wrong.

When you compare the high profile missing cases, yes, race of the victim plays a roll, but I don’t think it’s sympathy driving the interest. I think it’s voyeurism, a little sadism, and self interest. People like drama. They love to see suffering. And who suffers the most, but someone who hasn’t had to starve, endure stressful police encounters, or choose between an education or a minimum wage job?

Like, I said. I may be completely off base. Considering all my unsolved or unresolved cases involve minority and impoverished females, I have trouble doubting my own opinion. Of the fifty to sixty missing person cases I’ve worked or consulted on, I know for absolute certain that the hardest ones have been minorities.

Take from that, what you will, but I do hope you’ll think about that next time you tune in to Nancy Grace and she parades another blond haired blue eyed victim across your screen. For every one of them, there are hundreds of brown ones still waiting for justice. The media is exploitative and feeds us suffering.


G is for Gullibility

I admit, occasionally, I will paruse comment sections on memes or news articles. I’ve finally learned not to actually comment on them, but I do marvel at the collective absence of fact or critical thinking that fills comment after comment.

“I feel very strongly that…. (insert technically inaccurate statement) is (insert subjective judgement).”

That’s probably the most common one I see. It’s closely followed by a handful of other emotion based, and thoroughly subjective type of statements. Normally, I regard these as “weaponized emotions” because, if anyone fails to validate the statement, this hurts feelings… not the actual topic.

Anyhow, I am beginning to wonder if these people are not just poor debaters, but actually victims of some kind of plot. Like, did they get tricked into this? Are their arguments and beliefs a kind of magic bean that they have been told will transform their lives?

If that is the case, it’s almost more disturbing because Jack wasn’t just gullible, he was kind of a murdering thief. Upon discoving someone different from him, he decided the person was a monster and therefore it was okay to rob and murder him. I never could figure out why that was a happy ending.

But… it does make me think.

F is for Figuroutable

I have this framed in my bedroom next to a quote by Henry Ford. “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.”

These are not the most common motivational quotes, or even the best. That doesn’t stop them from being right, though. In a world of collective helplessness and victimhood, I find solace in these reminders. It gives me hope that I am not alone in a sea of futility. There are other people that see the same problems I do, and are working on them too.

One quote I neglected to frame is from my son’s favorite childhood movie, Robots. If you haven’t seen it, I suggest you do that… now. Big Weld is the proverbial “wizard” in the lead character’s quest to save robotkind. Mr. Weld built an empire of invention and charity with a single philosophy. “See a need, fill a need.”

Perhaps, today, we can all go find a problem or a need and choose to be part of the solution?

Useful Idiots

I am not really a name caller…. maybe I am. I dunno. Anyhow, this term popped in my head and I couldn’t help but feel like, “this needs attention!”

Who are useful idiots today? If you’re a Democrat, it’s a whirlwind tour of campuses. A few bits on MTV, mumble about student loans and bodily autonomy and you’re in like Flint… or not Flint, is that offensive now? If you’re a Republican, you can shake your saber, say “God” a lot, and seal the deal with some borderline illegal threats towards other countries.

If you hate America and want to see it succumb to civil war, you can count on the undereducated and victimhood class to rally to your cause. Blindly and well intentioned, of course. No one here actually wants that. They’re idiots, not monsters.

I find that the more I read/see, the more convinced I am, than ever before, that both major parties and their various socialist, libertarian, green, and independent offshoots are all in cahoots.  As long as we spend all day and night worrying about eachother, we won’t notice that we’re pawns in a long running scam controlled by a multi-billion dollar lobbying industry, impossibly large phamatech, and a trillion dollar media industry.

Yeah, I sound like an Info Wars reject.  You should hear my speil on how Jade Helm was the ground work for a shadow government seeking to enslave half of us and kill the other half…. Another time. If we persist in being these useful idiots, by clicking, sharing, bitching, and boycotting, they will keep getting rich while our children are sold to slavers, our cancers treated with poison, and our futures mortgaged to the hilt.

I propose one alternative: insist on solution based discussion and action. Break free from the herd.

Ron Paul can kiss my ass.


“Chris Kyle’s death seems to confirm that ‘he who lives by the sword dies by the sword.’ Treating PTSD at a gun range doesn’t make sense,” former Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul”

To suggest that a war hero who chose to use his title and not inconsiderable knowledge for charity and good deeds somehow deserves to die because that title was earned behind a scope is appalling.  Ignorance of a subject does not give you license to dismiss the loss of an American patriot that, if my own father’s struggles as a Marine Scout Sniper were any indication, likely shut out a good portion of his soul for his duty.

In sniper training they don’t teach you to hate the enemy.  They don’t teach you to relish the adrenaline rush after the shot and returning “thup!” as the round hits the target.  They don’t teach you to kill.  They teach you how to eliminate threats, secure perimeters, read body language, assess hostiles, and save lives.  The washout rate is high.  The repercussions of unsuccessful training are scary.  The success of training is even scarier.  They produce a man that can give and take life on a single exhale and be ready to do it again a breath later.  They produce a man that eats well and sleeps like a baby.  They produce a man that is so compartmentalized and hyper rational, that he may never be capable of functioning like a normal dysfunctional dude, ever again, and yet he can empathize, love, hate, and care. Those traits that were taught to him will be second nature to the children modeled after him.

I may not have agreed 100% with how Chris Kyle chose to use the technicality of his title to sell books, but there is no doubt whatsoever that his actions after leaving the Navy were in service to veterans.  The VA just released numbers stating that in 2010 (damn the government for counting so slow) veterans were committing suicide at a rate of 22 souls a day, or more than 8,000 a year.  That’s a quarter of US suicides if anyone is following.  Last year, the military’s active duty suicide rate outpaced deaths in hostile actions. Then the brain trust at the Pentagon released the findings of a several yearlong study, the summary read something like, “The leading cause of suicide is depression.”

With that kind of genius at the helm, it’s real hard to hold one’s breath and hope that the big February 15th reveal from the Army is something more effective than another week of marches, rallies, power points, and rat on your buddy chats.  I can only imagine how tedious the other services are planning on making their next round of superficial fixes.

With active and veteran suicide climbing, reports of PTSD and depression overwhelming VA centers, and an unstable government this is not a time to bemoan guns or tout rhetoric, this is a time when we should all reflect on why the actions at that gun range happened, what warnings were there, and what could have been done differently.

It’s a blessing to find folks that the vets will listen to.  It’s a blessing to find someone who is willing to do more than the minimum of placating and drugging; instead working towards healing.  If that is on a range, so be it. Rape victims that fear public places aren’t encouraged to be shut-ins, they desensitized slowly  with varying kinds of stimuli.  People with phobias aren’t permanently shut off from their fears, they’re desensitized and introduced.  Certain aspects of PTSD are perfectly reasonable to work through on a gun range; provided the people working on them know everything they need to.  In this instance, that didn’t happen.  And that needs to be answered.

No, Mr. Paul, a man that lived by the sword did not die by the sword.  A man that wielded a sword for his country, died at the hands of a sick man that was let down by his.  It’s not as quippy when you’re part of the problem is it?

“Get shot or go home!” The democratic tagline of 2013.

Ms. Feinstein says that 350 people have been killed by assault rifles in the last 9 years. That’s roughly 39 a year or 3 a month. Her legislation is expected to prevent 6.7% of deaths caused by these “military looking weapons of war.” That’s 2 or 3 folks a year that will be saved from the fate of dying at the end of a rifle. This is the immediate life saving action that needs to happen?

She boldly includes twenty dead children as supporters of her bill, but statistically, only one would have been saved. She also sites a study from 1998-2001 of Police deaths and found that 1 out of 5 died at the end of a “military style or high capacity weapon”… during the ban… and it doesn’t differentiate types) I’ve checked and there’s not been a single piece of legislation related to Sandyhook or otherwise to increase spending for mental health, to improve facilities, buy more beds, train more professionals, or cut red tape for parents with needy children. There’s a vague one about forcing states to follow an existing federal law (that already applies to them) requiring they submit names of mental defectives and anyone deemed unfit to own a gun and felons. States do submit as much as they can however it is illegal to post a person’s medical information.

She falsely claims that by 2004, “assault rifle” deaths were down by 70%… technically, yeah ish… by then, they weren’t recording specific weapons used (Thanks NRA), just handgun or long gun. Additionally, handgun deaths skyrocketed during this period, and overall death by any gun was at an all time high.

She says the single factor in common with all mass shootings is the presence of a gun. Captain Obvious fails to point out that there are three leading contributors to (any) gun violence. 1)Gangs 2)Mental Instability 3)Domestic Abuse. They also happen to be leading contributors to ALL fatal violence.

When “they” throw around numbers they fail to differentiate a few things. The latest available information from the CDC (slow counters) provides that 11,078 people were murdered with firearms in 2010 and 19,392 committed suicide with guns. That’s one gun murder every 47 minutes. That’s one gun suicide every 27 minutes.

But what about everyone else? There is a murder every 32 minutes and suicide every 13 minutes. Do we forsake the fates of 24,153 people because they didn’t have the decency to die in more relevant way? If you were too slow to outrun the knife, hammer, or baseball bat, you deserved it. If you were so distraught that you didn’t even leave a mess, thanks, we’ll ignore you.

But this legislation is projected to curb 6.7% of deaths to a very specific type of weapon that is responsible (by their numbers) for one death every nine days. What other measures are being taken? None. What other steps are being considered? More confabs about television, video games, and music. Studies to follow gun deaths. National databases for mental/medical health records that can be accessed by law enforcement… you know since it’s already gonna be there, why not give passwords to cops?

I’d like to see the testimony from experts in violent crime. Experts on suicide. Experts on human behavior. Experts on gang violence. Experts on gun trafficking. Experts on domestic violence. Experts on criminal behavior. Experts of something relevant… Because really, I’m not seeing how trotting bereaved parents, handicapped survivors, or paid representatives of companies constitutes hearing the facts or compiling data. Death is not an objective thing. It strikes hard and fast and seemingly indiscriminately. However, we must be objective if we truly wish to curb the preventable deaths that are happening at a rate of one every two minutes.

Imagine if they tackled mental health, gangs, and domestic abuse and were able to prevent 6.7% of suicides and murders. That would be 3660 people saved a year. Imagine if it were as successful as state and municipal anti-violence/suicide programs that have seen 10, 20 and even greater percent decreases in suicide and murder. That’s not even the best part. We wouldn’t just be shoring up the flood gates of bad behavior, we’d be offering a different outcome for thousands upon thousands of would be criminals, inmates, cons, felons, and ultimately, victims of a system designed to fail them. How could creating a voting population of success stories and survivors be anything other than our government’s top priority?

Buy insurance while you can!

Lets consider this: if I were inclined, I’d insist on limiting golfers in the number of clubs they can have so as to make it more difficult for the clubs to be abused. It won’t be as much fun but golfers can play a whole round with just a 3 wood. Oh but golf clubs aren’t dangerous? I seem to recall Tiger Woods crashing his truck while trying to escape a 90 pound underwear model with one. Imagine if Fuzzy Zeller had the inclination to break a few skulls. He’d clog up the I-5 with the chaos and havoc his skills afford him.

Point is, we have these guns because we can, practice because it’s fun, and protect them zealously from oversight or controls because we understand that technology and invention have eliminated geography as a deterrent to attack. As children, we were told stories of McCarthyism, the red scare, Hitler, and doomsday from the fresh memories of our elders. We were told that no nation ever outruns the tendrils of tyranny. No government ever examines itself and admits wrong doing, or seeks to correct a mistake at the expense of power. We were told that maybe in ours or our children’s lifetimes, we would be challenged to protect what we hold dear. We were told that it would be subtle and it would be slow, but no matter how it happened it would start by fracturing our resolve. Then eroding our liberty, then disarming our willful. Finally, new laws to save us would seal our fates.

Just as we seek to learn from our past, tyrants can too.  The second amendment has nothing to do with hunting.  It was an insurance policy to protect the people from a government that is too big or too powerful or too slack to protect them.  Law makers act as though history could never repeat itself or that the laws written in the eighteenth century hold no value hundreds of years later.  They write laws that brazenly state their desire to limit the 2nd Amendment. They come up with tacky names for guns, calling them assault rifles, weapons of war, devices of slaughter.  They act as though there is no precedent for citizens to be armed for war.

It was only one hundred and fifty years ago that the nation we live in took up arms and fought a war on our own continent.  More than once we’ve had the enemy living among us planning our destruction.Within the last fifty years, time and again citizens were charged with protecting themselves from rioters, looters, and even the police.   Not even ten years ago, bedlam broke out in the aftermath of a natural disaster.  Armed criminals were targeting the few police officers that had maintained their posts. The solution was not to think critically about what the criminals intended to do once they controlled the city, it was order the disarmament of citizens in their own homes.  However short lived the order may have been, it proves that our leaders are no more equipped today than one hundred and fifty or three hundred and fifty years ago to assume complete control of their citizens and complete responsibility for their safety.

When was the last time a victim of stalking was given a personal body guard?  They’re given a piece of paper, told to learn how to defend themselves, and encouraged to change their entire lives.  When was the last time a battered wife and mother was told that her husband would never ever be able to harm her or her children again?  They’re given a piece of paper and told to come to court repeatedly, forced to share custody with an abuser, and cautioned to not run or face jail time.  When was the last time a land lord cut the crime scene tape away from a house in a dangerous neighborhood and reassured new tenants  that the police would keep it from happening again?

We’re being told to lock our doors and rely on the police and a piece of paper to protect us from the uncontrollable urges of deviants, a growing government, and the undeniable reality that history can and will repeat itself if we allow it to.