Murder and Mental Illness…and other things.

I live in the Columbine Generation.  I’ve seen so many mass shootings in my life that they have sadly become commonplace.  Every several months, and I fully realize how fucked up this is to say, but every few months they occur in a near predictable way.  With few exceptions, the perpetrator is generally a straight, white, male.  Also generally upper or upper-middle class.

We naturally look for an explanation when these things occur.  We look at these individuals’ backgrounds, their families, their social groups, etc.  We conclude that they were isolated, struggled to connect with people, depressed, clearly suffering from severe mental illness.

And that’s where I stop.  I stop for so many reasons.  Unqualified talking heads making judgments about mental illness with absolutely no understanding of what they’re saying.  Almost never do they invite a qualified psychologist to speak on the subject.   Pundits then go into this long history of what warning signs should have been seen and by who and subtly trying to place blame, but placing blame is apparently outdated so they talk about “faults in the system.”  Then they go into gun control, because that dead horse is apparently still worth beating.

But why do we always look to mental illness for these shootings?  These privileged men had to have been missing something.  They must have been on the fringe in some way.  One of the “out group” in some way.  Because the man that murdered so many innocents can’t be the same as the man that judges him on the television.  So what minority can we shove him in?  Because he can’t be “one of us.”  So we smack on the “mentally ill” label, and we feel better.  We are once again secure in knowing that the shooter is “one of them.”  Different.  Not us.

Beyond being a member of the Columbine Generation, I also live in Chicago.  I live in a city where murders occur practically every day.  And yet, we don’t talk about mental illness.  In fact, we close down mental health facilities and talk about gangs and “urban crime.”  We ignore the fact of trauma and trauma-related disorders because we have something more convenient already.

I’m not saying that these spree killers didn’t have mental illnesses, but I wouldn’t be stupid enough to open my mouth and say that they did without evidence either.  I do agree with the plethora of articles out there that talk about the impact of privilege on spree killers.

I’m a systemic person.  I need to just get a Bronfenbrenner tattoo because it would save me time in explaining this fucking circle.

Let us look again at how each layer of influence and how it might contribute to Affluena.

I’m so over trying to explain this shit.

But really, we need to stop looking for the quick explanation in mass murders.  I don’t like being the Columbine Generation.  I don’t like that I can name over a dozen mass killings off the top of my head.  But if we want them to actually stop, we need to look at it systemically and stop screaming “Mental Illness!” at each other.  Because clearly this does nothing.  And it ignores the murders that occur on the streets every day (kinda like the news).

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Benedict Cumberbatch and Cillian Murphy on the Government Shutdown

Weeks have been leading up to the new Government Shut down.

This is progress of emotions that pretty much all of us went through who were following this because it has a major effect on us, as represented in Gif form (I’m calling on both of my favorite men for this):

Sitting around last night trying to figure out what was going on with our jobs:

crazycillian

We thought a drink would calm us down.

drinking

But eventually we were all like:

smash

Because, actually, if someone asked us what the hell was going on over in Washington and why this was a thing, we could only respond with:

martin

And thinking about it too hard, like trying to understand the minds of politicians, makes us go all like this:

tyra

So instead we wait.  With the false hope that the Government wouldn’t actually put 800,000 people out of work.

cumby

So we all tried to go to bed and wake up to a new day.

sleepign

Meanwhile Congress was all like:

him

And when we woke up, we turned on the news and:

what

And then we were all like:

fuck you

And then we were like:

angrycillian

And Washington was all like:

chicken_regret_nothing

And we all gave up.   And we said “Fuck it.  I got the day off.”

dancingcumberbatch

Thank you.

I can’t even get past being disgusted to get angry.

Fucking Disgusting.

Those are the only words I can even come up with to describe my feelings about the George Zimmerman verdict.

I don’t have the neurons to process and make sense of this.  I got ill when I saw the CNN headline.

What?  What is the reasoning behind this?  Someone has to tell me because I couldn’t read any of the news without becoming nauseous.

Seriously.  How does a man walk out of his house, after being advised to stay inside by a 911 dispatcher, with a loaded gun, chase down and provoke an unarmed kid, shoot him, and not be found guilty?  There is no logic behind that!

This feels like an instance where the child was put on trial for fighting back.  Sound familiar?  If you are at all even approaching the minority status, you are expected to take what is thrown at you, even if it is the butt of a gun apparently.

Ugh ack,  the shitty, racist facebook feeds are coming in!  Saying Zimmerman was “only defending himself.”  Go fuck yourself.  It’s not self-defense when you’re the one with a gun that incited the incident.  If not for Zimmerman, I would be sitting here analyzing the gender typing in Pacific Rim for you.   Not experiencing and elevated heart rate and rage typing over a dead kid.  Now I’m being called a stupid bitch on facebook.  What’s new?

Why does this bother me so much?  Because Trayvon is like so many of the kids that I have worked with in the past.  I can see in my mind how this could happen to just about any of the teens I have worked with.  It’s sad.  It’s disgusting.  I don’t really have any even remotely critical thoughts about this other than the visceral “fuck this culture” response and the rising vomit in my throat.

Having to respond to facebook comments from people that apparently think “justice was served” makes me want to throw my laptop across the room and move to Canada.  I don’t care that Zimmerman’s guns were legally registered.  I don’t care whose cries were on that phone.  I care that an adult man took a gun and chased after a kid with it.  I care that this should not have ever happened and it only happened because of a trigger happy racist piece of shit ran after a boy in  a hoodie.

Go fuck yourself, ‘Murika.

amurika_fb_415468

Fucking Pundits–my reaction to the Newtown coverage.

The news is all still a flutter about the Newton tragedy.  As, I suppose, it should be.  Lucky for all of us with any intelligence level, the conversation has moved away from violence in video games and the media to something substantial, mental health.  Unfortunately, the conversation about mental health, causes of mental illness, and access to mental healthcare has been disgustingly shallow.

When I turn on the TV and find myself watching any news about this event, I begin to hear about how we need to address the “causes of mental illness” and “increase access to mental healthcare.”  My issue with this is how flippantly it is said by people with no understanding of mental illness and no understanding of how difficult it can be to get mental health care, or even what mental healthcare entails.

download

What causes mental illness?  Truth is, a million things…we think.  Trauma, genetic abnormalities, poor social structure, inherited diseases, poor models of behavior, neglect, abuse, malnutrition, neural abnormalities, lack of concrete resources such as food, neighborhood violence, drugs, in utero toxins, anything…bad luck.  I’m sure every psychologist,social worker, etc. can think of more.  I would love to see how Congress and the powers that be would address each of these and more.  Short of eugenics and parenting licenses, you can truly prevent all mental illnesses.  And as a big believer in Positive Psychology, Resilience, and Prevention, that takes a lot for me to say.  There will always be mental illness, no matter how hard we work.  There are things that we can do to prevent or lessen the impact of mental illness.  We can give families, school, and communities more education and resources to understand how to respond and live with mental illness.  We can fund better research to understand the origins, process, outcomes, and interventions (community-wide) to address all different disorders.  We can make it easier for mental health professionals to practice, by which I mean lessening their load of bureaucracy so they can focus on the treatment aspect and not on checking off the right boxes.  We stop closing mental health facilities.  We can make real services available in schools, rather than the shit they get right now.  We can recognize the effect of neighborhood trauma on children and intervene.  We can build more community mental health centers to prevent 6 months wait lists.  We can do more than medicate people.  Again, I’m pretty sure everyone that reads this can think of more things.

20367642_BG1

My point is, every time I hear pundits talking about “we need to address the causes of mental illness” “we need to address the issue of mental illness” “we need to asl;dfalkdfjla!”  I want to throw the TV across the room because they have no idea what they are talking about.  I want to strangle everyone from the NRA president to Rachel Maddow.  You can’t make mental illness a sexy issue like media violence.  So stop.  Fuck off.  Get out of my field.  Or at least talk to someone with some fucking intelligence and background in the area.

**Oh, and BTWs, lack of god in school does not cause mental illness.  Fuck yourself., Huckabee.

What neither candidate (or the mainstream media) gets about women and equality

Obama:  We know about the struggles of our mothers and grandmothers.  We don’t need it reiterated.  Tell us how you will demolish that path.  Equal pay is great.  Equal hiring would be awesome.

Romney:  Our concern is not really go get home in time to make you dinner.  Fuck you.  That answer was insulting.

Aside:
I’m watching Morning Joe, cause today is my late day at work/school, where I get to enjoy my coffee and my dog cuddles next to me.  This rejected ovary they invited on keeps insulting Mika for things she’s not even saying.  Mika is attempting to point out the fact that Romney shared a completely made up story about his hiring practices for women, the fact that an outside agency had to point out his lack of women and that is why he began to seek them out.  This sac is like “get over the binder thing!”  “Not all women have abortion at the forefront of their mind!”  I like Mika, but I wish she would raise her voice  a little more.  I constantly watch her seething while the others talk but rarely interrupts them the way they do to her.  Raise your voice Girl!  She did come back with an excellent response to a comment about women “needing” flex hours, “Well it’s great we can get a lower number of hours since we’re paid less.”  Oh shit!  And another killer one as I am typing.  Joe and the other sacs are clearly chastising her and she comes back with “you know, I have to go soon, I have to get home to make dinner.”  Rock it girl. (Just a little louder next time, these guys are lame as shit.)

When talking about equal pay, we are ignoring the lack of equal hiring.  Women are passed up for promotions, jobs, and such because it is assumed that they need to be home for their children (whether they have them or not, whether they are the primary caretakers or not).  A friend from school was applying to internships while she was visibly pregnant.  On every interview she was asked how she planned to balance these responsibilities.  I don’t know what she answered, she didn’t share.  But she did share that she wanted so badly to tell them their question was inappropriate and if they asked this to married men.  My school, and I’m sure others, has a history of putting women on Academic Development Plans (pretty much a scarlet letter on your transcript that most internships see and throw away your application without looking into) when they become pregnant.   Now, when you go on an ADP, you have to write and create a plan about “how did this happen” and “what is your plan to prevent this from happening again.  These things are written for people that like fail classes or display obvious lack of professionalism.   Becoming pregnant is not a failure or lack of professionalism.  It really has nothing to do with anything in your professional life if you don’t want it to.  It is so fucking unethical, and I’m pretty sure illegal to do something like this.

So what is wrong with women and work, in my opinion?  The fact that they are perceived so differently, that we assume their needs are so different.  We assume women have aspirations of parenthood.  We assume they will drop out of the workforce when they become parents.  Even further, we assume they WANT to drop out of the work force.  We assume they are the primary caregivers that need to be at home.

We have worked very hard to get away from the idea that women are less capable, less intelligent, less able, and less driven.  But, to my shock and disappointment, that has been replaced by the idea that women are “still just women,” who want and need to be mothers.   That women will always be caregivers at the heart.  Fuck that.  Some women are this way and more power to them.  Some men are fathers and caregivers at the heart, and more power to them.  We really have to get over this fucking idea that men are women are fundamentally different.  If so, I guess that makes me and boyfriend fucking mutants, what with our agreement that if kids happen he will be the primary caregiver and I will be the worker bee (after he learns to cook, lol).  At some point, the media, employers, and politicians, I can only hope, will get this point that both men and women can be equal at home and at work.  That they can share equal responsibilities.  If women “need” flex hours to fulfill their responsibilities at home, men do to.  If women are assumed to leave the workforce after becoming mothers, so should men when they become fathers.  Friends, this is equality.  I could put it in more positive terms, but people don’t seem to really recognize difference when it is put in positive terms.  When I hear this argument applied equally to men and women, I will believe it.

The State of Mental Healthcare


I currently work in the community mental health setting.  A setting that is primarily funded by state and federal dollars and primarily serves low income, high need clients.   Clients that seek community mental health are usually those that are ill to the point their disorders and symptoms interfere with their ability to function in a work or school setting, many with a history of incarceration or hospitalization (in my experience there is little difference between these two, both revolving doors of shitting care and overmedication), but with regular care and appropriate support would be able to live like “normal” people.  Unfortunately, rarely is this care ever provided consistently or appropriately.

Since I started working in my field, I’ve pretty much rotated between working in schools (alternative and traditional) and community care.  But my disgust at how the system fucks some of, not only the most needy clients, but some that could have massive potential if they were given proper care.  Children with learning, behavior, and sensory integration disorders are routinely put on the back burner in schools, not receiving proper assessments or interventions.  They fall behind a little bit more every year until they are failing, their sense of self and identity become defined by failure.  The risk factors add up, one after another until they become absorbed by the mental health and education systems that failed them in the first place.

For individuals with chronic mental illness, thought disorders, personality disorders, severe emotional disorders, or developmental disabilities the bureaucracy  that is mental health is worse.  Wait lists of many community mental health centers number in the hundreds.  Social workers, whose caseloads should be no larger than about 20 in order for them to actually help the individuals they serve, are usually closer to 50-60.  Psychiatric hospitals deal with overcrowding by over-dosing clients on sedatives.  Hospitals rarely provide treatment, instead the have settled for assessment, stabilization, and providing guardians/family with a list of recommendations so vague they can hardly be followed.  That list usually includes a recommendation for individual therapy, psychiatric medication consultation, and case management….at those community mental health centers with the hundred person wait list.  This leaves a 3-6 month gap in treatment in which clients are left to their own devices.  Some, depending on the severity of their symptoms and the level of dedication of their support systems, can manage to go back to some semblance of a life, perhaps a job or school.  Others, however, cannot.  They will cycle in and out of crisis care and hospitalization, most end up in prison.  Millions self-medicate with street drugs, leading to addictions and worsening of the core symptoms.

Then you get to the systemic problems caused by this failed system.  Families are effected, parents, children, siblings, grandparents.  Because lack of treatment leaves them so ill they cannot hold a job, they are forced to go on disability.  Not only does that have an economic impact, but it leads to boredom and decreased motivation to get better.  Mentally ill individuals are viewed by others as lazy, dangerous, or stupid, which has an impact on their own self-image and sense that they can do something more with their lives.  Constant failed attempts at getting help lead many to give up.  Institutions and psychiatric hospitals that could have provided treatment (the level and kind of treatment provided is a completely separate issue) have been replaced by prisons.  Most mentally ill are still placed in general population, provided little to no treatment outside of medication, and eventually released with no resources.    Again, we cycle back to economic and family impacts.  The cycle repeats year after year.

Our culture likes to put mental health on the back burner.  As a society, we think the mentally ill are mentally ill.  They cannot be helped.  We think this because it is what we see.  Chronic mental illness equates to stupidity, laziness, and criminality.  But this comes from what the system has done to mental health care.  And it is also self-perpetuating.  If we think about the mentally ill as dirty, stupid, homeless criminals, we can accept their lack of care.  They are the “other.”  They’re not like us and they don’t deserve our federal dollars because they will always be that stupid, gross, crazy person.  So, it become easier for us to ignore or be okay with the lack of mental health care.  The media’s portayal of the shooter from the Colorado spree is perfect.  He was crazy, therefore he was dangerous and must be locked up.  This must also apply to all other crazy people.

There are thousands of trained therapists and social workers dying for work.  People go into this field wanting to help.  They have ideas and dedication, they just need the funding.  Every time I see a mental health center or service be closed down, funding cut, etc, I go a little crazy inside.  Where do politicians think this will save money?  They are leaving high need adults and children without care and vulnerable to everything I already talked about.  Funding cuts for mental health will lead to an increase in crime and dependence on federal disability money.  Many of the clients they put out want to work and want to contribute to society, but they need continuous support to be able to function.  With that support, they can do amazing things.

So, fuck you bureaucracy.  And shitty run around that causes crime and death.

The Low Expectations of Millennial (for themselves)

So every few days I read an article or hear something somewhere about how my generation–the Milennials, those born between 1980 and 2000–are lazy, demanding of immediate gratification, expect everything without work, think we should be having high paying salaries, etc., etc.  But, from the people I know and talk to in my age group (and this is obviously biased because I don’t exactly have a random or representative sampling of friends, it’s convenience), we have really low expectations for our futures.  No one I know, for fucking realz, expects to make more than 50,000-60,000 a year.  Like, ever.  None of us feel the need to buy a house.  Or raise a gaggle of demanding, expensive, oozing out of every orifice children.  Or have fancy things.  For the most part, the people in my age group that I know want these simple things: to not panic about bills, to not have full blown anxiety attacks over student loan bills, to have a decent apartment in which we have enough space to showcase ours and our partner’s book and movie collections, and perhaps a pet or two.  The point at which we believe we are living the dream?  Ownership of a washer and dryer, a small yard (in which we can tether our pets and allow them to chase squirrels), and the disposable income to enjoy a few decent (not PBR) beers at a bar on the weekends.

How most of us feel about our job prospects:

And our living conditions:
(Mad props to The Daily Northwestern for this comic, Millennials)

Now, compared to what I hear about my generation (yes, The Who is totally playing in my head as I write this) this is painfully modest. Last I read, we walked into jobs demanding top paying positions.  We didn’t feel we had to prove ourselves.  We thought shit was simply granted to us.  I NEED TO KNOW WHERE THESE PEOPLE LIVE AND BECOME ONE OF THEM!

The people I know of my age group are willing to put up with low prestige jobs, simply because they give us the ability to live normal lives and enjoy those simple lives.  So long as our bills are paid and we can meet up with friends at a bar, we’re pretty fucking happy.  We don’t mind working hard.  We want to enjoy our jobs, even if we’re overqualified for them.  Many, many people I know are working jobs they are overqualified for for one of two reasons.  1) They like the job and it pays the bills.  Isn’t this what everyone wants?  or 2) They’re trying to ride out the recession.  No better jobs are available; they are willing to suffer so long as they have something resembling income.

And I would really like to understand the stereotype that Millennial aren’t willing to work hard.  Myself and those around me have all worked multiple jobs at some point in their lives, or worked while attending college.  That shit is fucking exhausting!  It sucks! It’s insulting to hear the stereotypes applied to my age group that say we don’t work hard.  Especially when the truth is, or feels like, we get less for working harder.  There is no possible way at this point to “work your way through school.”  No matter how hard you work, you can never pay tuition with a part-time job.  You can never pay for a house as a working-class citizen, not matter how frugal you are.  Perhaps we are simply too beaten down to care about the bigger dreams of home-ownership.

Again, I need to meet these supposed “Millennials” that refuse to work and are so entitled.  I have no doubt they are out there, but I also refuse to believe they are the majority.  The majority of us work our asses off and get nothing for it.  We do not choose to live with parents or carry large amounts of debt.  That is how the world works now.  It fucking sucks.  We work well over 40 hours a week–fuck, the 40-hour work week is a long-forgotten myth to most of us–simply to pay the interest on our student loans because our high schools and parents told us that education was the key to success.  Well, that’s bullshit.  Fucking boyfriend (who I love to death) avoided college and now makes more money than myself (a doctoral student) or any of my friends with Master’s degrees fields varying from fine arts to business.  Granted, it is still no where near what would be needed for us to reach our dream of a 2-bedroom townhouse with a washer and dryer, but still.

The moral of the story:  Unless your parents are rich, you’re fucked.  And the rest of us have to pick up the slack while we wear the labels of your spoiled-ness.

The War on Kids–it’s brutal.

Another Documentary Review!!!  But this one is a bit more positive. (I wish this was my big kid job!)

I’m watching it as I read this, so it might take a turn for the worst, but it’s so good.  The War on Kids.  Oh, so good.  I’m biased, because of the work I do and my love for the work I do and my little soapbox, that I try to keep myself off of, because I know how annoying soapboxes can be.

(http://www.thewaronkids.com/)

The doc briefly covers a number of topics, (so many and so briefly that I would like to see the doc turned into a series) including Zero Tolerance Policies (for violence and drugs), the School to Prison Pipeline (http://www.aclu.org/racial-justice/school-prison-pipeline-talking-points), the psychological effects of school surveillance, education and corporate curriculum, diagnosis/psychiatric medication for children, teacher/faculty bullying of children, and several more.  The doc interviews individuals from various child-centered professions, including teachers, pediatricians, and school board members.

The doc is pretty low quality, but the people interviewed are very passionate and make a lot of good points.  In one section, various teachers and school officials are talking about how their curriculum is given to them by the state, rather than individually created.  This means, that freedom is taken away from teachers as well as students to think for themselves, to find creative solutions, and to ask difficulty questions.  To me, this answers the questions “Why are kids so complicit and so lazy?  Why can’t kids think for themselves?”  Well, because we never teach them to, and even that natural impulse to think creatively is squelched as soon as it begins to develop.  Those neural connections are never made and therefore the skill is never developed.  Soapbox time:  teaching to standardized tests, corporate curricula (sold by Scholastic, or whatever other company has a contact with the school district and state), pushing children through lessons without checking for comprehension, disallowing or shaming students that question what they are being taught are all what make children hate school.  They are not allowed to be creative, to think “outside the box,” to stop the teacher when they don’t understand, to ask about something they learned somewhere else, to point out when things are either inconsistent or flat out lies.

For a brief section, they talk about how this type of education impacts adult lives and the ability to participate in democracy.  One of the individuals in the doc points out how junior and high school school papers, newspapers, and other writings are so highly censored. What they can and cannot say, the opinions expressed are completely regulated.  So, when they get out of school, when they become adults, why would they think this kind of censorship is wrong?  Why wouldn’t they think being told what to think is normal?  In one of the schools I worked with at one point, the Government class was assigned to write a letter to their congressman about a bill that was being presented.  The students were told exactly what side to support and what points to include in the letter.  What the FUUUUCCKKKK!!!!!!! That’s so fucking insulting to these students!!!! That is a horrible assignment!!!!!! Writing a letter to your congressman? Yes, good.  More people should.  But telling them what to say?  Dear teachers, that is brainwashing.  That is not encouraging free thought or critical thinking.  Several students reported they did not feel comfortable with this assignment, but were forced to do it anyway.

In the past, I have encouraged students to question what their teachers taught them, and even pointed them to things that they might find interesting (Howard Zinn, anyone?  Writings on Disobedience is a good primer for teens, and less intimidating than A People’s History).

Main point: every system in place for kids and adolescents is broken.  They are too over controlled.  They’re not allowed to make mistakes because they’re too over-surveilled.  Their curriculum is written by corporations and states, with no wiggle room for individuation or creativity or accommodation for learning styles.   They’re over-medicated and sedated within an inch of their lives.  Bah.  I would hate to be a kid today.  Because they’re not allowed to be people.  They’re forced to be automatons.  And then we, as adults, complain and wonder why they suck at life.  Well, because they’re not taught how to live or how to be individuals.

Don’t be scared! It’s just Political Dissent!

In case anyone is living in a hole and doesn’t already know this, NATO is in my lovely town of Chicago this week!  And, for us citizens of Chicago, that means that downtown is essentially shut down.  There are cops on every street corner.  Surveillance  helicopters EVERYWHERE.  Fighter plane “demonstrations.”  Highway and train shut downs.  Security searches on suburban trains.  Museum and park shutdowns.  And essentially life is hardly allowed to go on so that we can try to convince the world that we are a successful and metropolitan city for the ages!

Yes well.  That’s special.

The shut downs and 10 millions + dollars spent on security has been related to the Occupy Movement and planned protests for this week.

(Credit to 1070 WINA News Radio)

I will be honest.  I am pretty biased here.  I’ve been to Occupy Marches and support the spirit of the movement (I differentiate that from the statements and some of the actual behaviors and such of the movement, but I’ll talk about that later.)  I’m so glad that a new movement has sprung up that questions and pushes the government, something they have not had to do in a long time.

So, back to what I actually wanted to talk about, which is how the protests have been covered in Chicago, reactions I have heard from those around me, what I’ve heard from other protesters, and what I actually saw while I was down there.

The media coverage and the general population’s reaction go pretty much hand in hand.  Everywhere I went, starting in about February/March when things began to fall in place for the NATO Summit, people were talking about how terrible it was going to be, the predicted riots, the shut downs, the arrests, the anarchy.  People living along Michigan and near McCormick Place were encouraged to leave for the week.  They expected the CTA to be, I don’t know, bombed or something.  Up to and during the Summit, the protesters were made to be feared.

-I’ll stop to make yet another aside.  I know, I’m sorry, this is how my mind works; it’s disorganized.  I have to acknowledge Chicago’s rough history with protesters.  I’ll point out the Haymarket Riots, 1968 DNC Convention, the Division Street Riots just to point out a few.  You get the idea.  We really don’t have a good track record.

So, starting Thursday and Friday, when the NATO members and ambassadors and dignitaries and all these other important people were coming to Chicago, along with them came riot police, everyone within three states that was in even barely trained in crowd control, surveillance helicopters, Big Brother Boxes, Paddy Wagons lined up for miles.  I hope you’re forming a great picture of all of this.  On the other side of all of the cops were thousands of protesters.  Hanging out with their signs.  Chanting, singing, angry, but excited to be there.

Credit to Time Magazine Newsfeed*

By the end of the day, a few people were arrested and detained.  No major calamities or clusterfucks.  There are always going to be a few people arrested, whether they deserved it or not.  From what I understand, everyone who was detained was let go–I’ll get to the three Bridgeporters who were arrested for “terrorism” *facepalm.

Saturday began with a march on Mayor Rahmmy’s house (I fucking hate him.  I will be completely clear on that.  No gray area.  All hate.) in protest of his massive cuts on Mental Health Care, including shutting down half of the city’s clinics for the most severely disordered.  Fuck.  What was the logic behind this in the first place?  Oh yeah, none ’cause he’s an ass and doesn’t need logic.  From what I saw and heard, this went really well.  I hope he was there and he was so pissed off! lolz.  But no damage done.

From there they kept marching along.  They did really look intimidating.  Thousands of people marching down the street in protest.  Personally, I describe that as beautiful.  Not intimidating.  A beautiful and perfect picture of thousands of people gathering to communicate their discontent with the status quo.  I suppose I understand why that would be intimidating.  But still find it inspiring.

(Credit to the Inquirer news)

On Sunday I spent a good chunk of my morning and afternoon at Grant Park checking out the speeches and seeing what all was going on.   By this time, I was hearing from just about everyone around me about how terrible the protesters were being and how terrified they all were.  I did my best to spread the love and be all “don’t believe everything you hear.”  Because the media was exploding some things (I promise I’m getting to the Bridgeport thing!).  But when I went, honestly, it was mostly all chill.  People were talking, dancing, debating.  Partly because this has turned into a bit of a pop culture thing, partly because most people who jump on the protest bandwagon have no idea what they’re talking about and just want to be counter-culture, there were a ton of people who were just talking nonsense.  I mean, really, people were at the same time preaching anarchy and socialism and I have to this:

But the people were well meaning despite much idiocy.  The overall theme was: fucking government answer our questions, be responsible, check your fucking priorities.  Anytime you get more than 2 people together, the message gets muddled.  When you get several thousand, the message gets super muddled.  I encourage people to look at the big picture of this movement, which is to keep the government in check, use this stage to make a statement that the people are paying attention and demand to be heard.

Like I said, most of the people were under control and happy, openly talking, wanting to be there, and excited to be part of something.  There were, of course, people that wanted more.  People that thought destruction and aggression were better ways to be organized.  Luckily, it looks like (I bit my tongue a bit because it’s not over yet and as I write this it downtown could be exploding.), those people were kept in check.  But they let themselves be known.  Instead of jeans and t-shirts or hippy clothes, they chose to wear full black pants, hoodies, masks, face coverings.  They reminded me of the North Irish during The Troubles in the 70’s.  That’s never a good thing.  They made a spectacle of not wanting to be photographed (ha, sorry ’bout that) and not wanting people in on what they were doing.  They seemed to be looking to make a name for themselves.  But people were easily bored by them.  I mean, would you rather chat politics with theses people:

Or these people:

(yes, my photos from that day.)

But, it seems that all things are really going okay with the NATO protests.  Yes, a few arrests.  Yes, some disorder.  But, overall, it was a happy experience.  Anywhere there is a protest, there will be idiot throwing in half-baked ideologies, violence, and misinformation on level with the mass media.  However, it is important that we recognize the real force behind the protests, the need for change and the need for people’s voices to be recognized.  So, march on bitches!  Tell those fuckers what you think!  And take the stage of the world.  But, also, put on your best face if you want to be taken seriously.

Ok, so I’m not going to talk about the Bridgeport Case. I’m sleepy.  But now you just have something to look forward to later!  I hope you’re just dying to hear my pointless rant on that!

**Forgot to Add the best image of the day!  For you, amatorium.

Human beings are terrible creatures.

Confession:  I am a documentary junkie.

I don’t really know if that’s a confession since everyone in my life pretty much already knows it.  But!  I found the Holy Grail.  The most stomach churning documentary ever!  And it’s not what you might think from the chick who sat through (and thoroughly enjoyed!) Human Centipede 2.

Oh no!  This is so much more disgusting.  What is it you might ask?

NURSERY UNIVERSITY

A documentary about New Yorkers–primarily upper-crest Manhattanites–trying to get their 2 and 3 year-olds into the most competitive pre-schools in the city.  Yes, pre-schools.  Those places you go to finger paint and learn to not shove other kids when they wipe boogers on you.  Oh dear lord.  Education should not be this disgusting.  I understand there is some apparent lack of good pre-schools in New York.  However, from what this documentary showed me, unless you are super rich and can both afford to send your kids to these ridiculous schools and have a connection to get your kids into them, your kid gets no early education or very poor early education.

I’ll start off with what, to me, is the most important issue here.  What the fuck New York?  Education is not a limited resource.  Why is it difficult to build more pre-schools, especially when parents will obviously pay a great deal to get their kids into anything.  The doc starts off with the statistic that for every 1 spot they have in these private pre-schools 15 children will apply.  Obviously some parents are applying to multiple schools for their kids, thus skewing the stat some–who knows how much. But for fucking real, New York.  I’m stressing this point here: You can build more schools and hire more pre-school teachers!  It is not difficult!  I refuse to accept the idea that it is impossible to educate each and every child.  I don’t know what New York’s public schools are like, but if they are like Chicago’s or Detroit’s they are probably terrible.  Overcrowded, underfunded, and run by apathetic administrators.  So I understand the want for private schools and pre-schools.  But at this earliest stage of life, when education and exposure is most important and when more and more parents are forced to make the decision to work or stay home solely on economic basis, I’m struggling to understand why creating more schools is so difficult.  More schools=more jobs across the board.  And it has a long-term positive effect of education.  The lack of schools has across the board negative effects that fucking hurt my soul.

Okay, now that  that is out of my system.  Let’s talk about these shitty fucking schools, then we’ll talk about these shitty parents.  Some of the highlights that scroll past my eyes include administrators rejecting “shy” children, rejecting children who show any kind of separation anxiety during the “group interview”–okay, stop.  Fuck.  They would reject the 25 year old me! I just need to make that point.–talk about “legacies” (what the fuck?  Legacies are bullshit no matter what the level of education), ranking preferable races of children, criticizing freeplay, denying any child that cried or is “developmentally young” or had a temper tantrum (because that’s not what toddlers do), talking about preparing these children for their first job at Goldman Sachs, and forcing children to complete puzzles during this interview process.  I would love to learn the philosophy that actually drives the philosophy behind these schools.  They describe each days as being so over-scheduled, with first yoga, then Spanish class, then reading, then blah and blah.  For real.  And they don’t see the benefit of free play? What?  Do they know anything about child development?  God, the Goldman Sachs comment made my fucking stomach churn.  Is this really how rich people think?

Okay, now the parents.  Again, I totally understand that these parents are overly stressed due to the lack of good early education opportunities.  But, they sit around and write essays for their children, they step on one another to get the last spot in a good school, they make massive “donations” to the school to inflate their chances, they kiss so much ass because that is what they feel they have to do.  I’m sure their is an even seedier side of this; the documentary mentioned–in not as much detail as I would have loved to have heard–an incident in the early 90s (I may be a bit off on that) when a stock trader inflated the stocks of the head of this school in order to get his child in.  That’s fucking hard core.  It’s like applying to Yale for a 2 year old.  It’s so wrong.  Parents should not have to do this for their child just to get their child into pre-school.  And then the parents who don’t get what they want complain.  One woman ends by saying “We’re not used to not getting what we want.  I thought we could pay like $20,000, $30,000 and get what we want.  I don’t know what we’re going to do.”

And all these little toddlers want is some fucking play doh!  Come to me children, away from your creepy parents!  I have play doh that you can stick in your nose or throw in each other’s hair!  I hope all these children, in their coming years, leave all kinds of tiny legos around the house for their parents to step on!