I have 100 followers! TADA!
It only took me 6 years to do that…
I have 100 followers! TADA!
It only took me 6 years to do that…
Did you know?
Every peak in the corona new cases report is either on a Thursday or a Friday? Every peak in the corona new deaths report is either on a Tuesday or Wednesday? Can conclusions be drawn? Inferences made? Hypotheses tested? Hmmmm.
It’s not a good idea to start binge-watching on an old series. I’m watching JAG which is from 1995-2005. It’s like all the rest of the procedurals like NCIS, CSI, and Criminal Minds, but it sends Lawyers into Harm’s Way. (This is a wordplay. The main character’s name is Harmon–Harm)
In one episode, a decorated sniper is detested by his new CO and with just 3 years to go to retirement is assigned to Bosnia. The guy has 163 kills in his book. Would you want to piss off someone like that? He had made an agreement that he’d serve out his time training new snipers rather than go back into the field, and the new CO didn’t recognize the agreement as binding, and then he drives off in his jeep. Sniper takes a rifle and aims at the retreating jeep and from over 1000 yards, breaks the guy’s rearview mirror. He then heads for the hills.
Dumb CO sends in at least 15 guys, trained snipers (!) in Gilly suits to bring him down. Sniper has trained all these guys and has decades more experience in combat situations. He warns them to leave him alone, but of course, they don’t. His JAG lawyer goes in with the snipers and when they land, they deploy and he hangs back. Sniper sends the rest of the guys home naked and missing their guns. JAG lawyer is not among them. He finds the sniper! Then the CO sends in MORE guys and the JAG lawyer acts as the sniper’s spotter. Sniper drops a hornet’s nest on one of the teams. Ow Ow Ow!
So the deal is, this experienced sniper who can defeat 2 incursions by guys he trained gets found by a JAG lawyer. How embarrassing. He wants to prove that he wasn’t trying to kill the CO by recreating the shot with the JAG lawyer driving, which he does.
JAG is supposed to be the legal arm of the Navy defending or prosecuting members of the Navy in legal matters. They aren’t field officers, they are not investigators. Even Perry Mason had a Private Detective–Paul Drake, to do the investigating and leg work. Mason worked with the client and did the courtroom work. If Mason was ever in a live-fire situation, I don’t recall it. After nearly a whole season of the show, I’ve only seen them in court three times? How did they think that JAG would spend all that time in the field?
I can just see everyone’s orientation speech. “You better be dam* good at your job! Don’t assume anything! And if somehow, or someway a Navy JAG officer who also is a pilot gets assigned to whatever you’re working on, assume he will make a fool of you.
For some reason, everyone is incompetent when this JAG officer is around.
*dam~backed up with horrible consequences
Late? No, NEVER CAME!
But, I’m worried.
My friend, Chris, is a pizza delivery guy. He also works part-time at the same company I do. I see him weekly. He’s a sweetheart. He didn’t show up for training today. He very rarely misses training.
Our RVP announced that Chris has died.
Some dumb kids lured him into a vacant apartment and stabbed him and robbed him. He died on the sidewalk. Chris was the kind of person that had someone asked him for the $50, he would have given it to them. He wasn’t a very big guy…5’4 or less. Most delivery personnel are trained that if someone wants to rob you, just give them the money.
When my fast food restaurant was robbed, the robber ran out with the whole change machine! It was late, so it was mostly empty. The machine is attached to the wall electronically so when the cash register (which is bolted to the counter–yes he tried to take that first) determines the coinage that needs to be distributed to the customer, the coin machine automatically issues the change. There is a tray with a handle that allows you to fill it and empty it. He could have just taken the tray, but no… We didn’t tackle him in the parking lot. In fact, the guy working the cash register ran after him and asked if he wanted fries with his order. He got away with less than $20 of change and a $2300 machine that he couldn’t use. In addition, he didn’t figure out how to take the tray out of the machine and destroyed it to get the quarters.
I’m pretty sure that if they’d just asked Chris for the money, he wouldn’t have fought them. Instead, they stabbed him twice and left him to die, all alone.
Last night I ordered a pizza because I had students until 6:00, and a meeting that went from 6:00-8:00. During the break in the Zoom meeting, I ordered $50-worth of pizza and pop. This was 7:00 pm, and I expected it about 8:00 when my meetings would be over. 8:15 came and went and the tracking service said the pizza order had been received, but not made yet. ?? That never happens. I called them about 8:30. The manager asked if I had ordered the pizza and I said yes, and the time on the receipt was 6:58. (Managers can look up order histories by time and by order.) She apologized and said she would send an extra pizza. About 8:45, my tracker switched from “received” to cooked to delivering. YAY! 9:55, I called them again wondering where my pizza was. “We’re closed!” the lady that answered the phone said, and then almost hung up. I blurted out “I still haven’t got my pizza!” “Oh, I’ll call her and see where she is.” Then she hung up. I went to bed at about 11:30.
I don’t want to be a Karen, but I am calling the store today to see if my delivery person is ok.
6/12/2020 10:45 AM Update 1
I called them and told the manager what happened. He said my pizza HAD been delivered. I told him to check his receipts. I did not sign for a pizza last night. He said he’d have to check with his workers. ?? I have been a manager, I check the paperwork first, then I ask my workers. This was not the same manager that was on last night. This one was a man, the one last night was a woman. If you cannot find the appropriate paperwork, the customer gets the benefit of the doubt. You cannot do a he said-she said with customers. I guess I have to pay cash from now on. No more ordering online. Or, how about no more buying pizza?
6/12/2020 1:05 PM Update 2
Called again, and manager is going to send the order at 5:00 tonight. Offered to give me my money back, but I said I’d rather have the pizza. He was happy to comply. We’ll see.
6/12/2020 4:56 PM Update 3
I GOT MY PIZZAS! Yay!
Whatever happened to basic human decency? Neighbors caring for neighbors? People helping out in causes bigger than themselves?
News flash! Oh wait, we don’t trust the news. Instagram flash! Oh drat. Check the source. Minions bearing a large “Illumination” sign. That’s the ticket… HUMAN DECENCY IS NOT BASIC! If good behavior wasn’t unusual, would it be news?
So now we have people stuck in their houses with their families. At the 2-month mark, we’ve discovered that many people don’t even LIKE their families. They don’t like being cooped up with them, working from home with distractions, schooling them at home, entertaining them at home! But we don’t want to get sick. However, there comes a point where the need to escape becomes more urgent than the need for safety. We can’t just go bowling. What would get people out on the street that would make plausible sense? OOOH! Protest marching! We used to do that in the 60s. What can we protest? Um. Something involving freedom? Sure! “You can’t make us wear masks! You can’t make us stay home!” That doesn’t get enough people into the street. TADAAA! We have an injustice we can protest. We have global support! The French in Paris are supporting this cause of cops versus black people in Minnesota. Now let me ask you. If you knew that the French police were targeting a group of people for trumped-up charges and murdering innocents, would you protest in the streets? I wouldn’t. What is this protest supposed to accomplish? Being Shamed by the French, albeit embarrassing, is not something to be taken seriously.
So now we have a legit reason for leaving the house and congregating in large crowds of people we don’t know, some of whom might have contracted the virus and are asymptomatic. Are you ready for Round Two in the pandemic?
Now there are more potential carriers in public. You don’t know that the people that you deal with don’t know who of their friends were in that protest. They don’t know that someone that was negative for corona yesterday is positive today. But we all enjoyed that little vacation from isolation, didn’t we. Open up the country! Re-open the businesses! Open the bars and restaurants and movie theaters! It’s safe now! Is it? Are you ready for another 2-4 months stuck with your crazy family?
If you want to destroy a society, you break down the family unit. (What better way to do that than to make them stay at home with them for 6 months?!) We’ve already made the word “family” ambiguous. This is a good thing! It has allowed people to be in “family groups” that are outside the norm and family ties are still fairly strong. We can have 2 moms or 2 dads, or 2 sets of parents including the step-parents in addition to the nuclear family. And with the advent of basement kids, the family is now including live-in grandparents, much like what life was before the nuclear families we grew up with.
The problem we’re facing is legislative definitions of families, and agencies that determine if the home is suitable for families can split families apart instead. We’re also facing domestic abuse on a much larger scale than was previously thought. This is a morale problem, not a moral problem. Hope and optimism are taking hits every day. Unemployment and underemployment take parents out of the house in order to make enough money to survive on. Children are getting socially trained by people who are paid to be surrogate parents. They may not care as much about the children’s development as the parents would. Our religious groups are by default considered houses of propaganda and ridiculed as narrow-minded and inflexible. Without spiritual training, how can we best discuss and adopt a perspective on good personal behavior and personal relationships? Yes, it can be done without religion, but when you think about it, where better to practice than a place where everyone is an active example of the best behavior and attitude?
Then there’s the effect of the SmartPhone on the public. The advent of instant communication without filters is breaking down civility. You have seen the rants and the short sound bytes and memes that announce a person’s entire philosophy. Who could communicate a belief system in 7-10 words? And yet… Well, if this is the default communication, how do families relate to each other? We are less and less able to use colorful, descriptive language and our deep thinking is much more shallow. Have you ever read anything by Mark Twain?
“Each of you, for himself or herself, by himself or herself, and on his or her own responsibility, must speak. It is a solemn and weighty responsibility and not lightly to be flung aside at the bullying of pulpit, press, government or politician. Each must decide for himself or herself alone what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn’t. You cannot shirk this and be a man, to decide it against your convictions is to be an unqualified and inexcusable traitor. It is traitorous both against yourself and your country.
Let men label you as they may, if you alone of all the nation decide one way, and that way be the right way by your convictions of the right, you have done your duty by yourself and by your country, hold up your head for you have nothing to be ashamed of.
It doesn’t matter what the press says. It doesn’t matter what the politicians or the mobs say. It doesn’t matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. Republics are founded on one principle above all else: The requirement that we stand up for what we believe in. no matter the odds or consequences.
When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move. Your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth and tell the whole world:
“No, you move.”
The signs of excessive indulgence in this destructive pastime are easily detectable. They are these: A disposition to eat, to drink, to smoke, to meet together convivially, to laugh, to joke, and tell indelicate stories— and mainly, a yearning to paint pictures.
Look at that vocabulary! Can you see pictures in your mind as you listen to these words? We now seek for the shortest, most ineloquent utterances to describe the most banal of events. “Ya, that’s daft.” But in that pursuit, we often sacrifice a deeper meaning to situations and that can cause a problem that repeats itself until someone DOES assign a deeper meaning to the event.
If we then disrupt the family with so little time together; if we allow our children to grow up without our good example; if we don’t foster good relations and better character and don’t seek people of character; if we don’t communicate except by electronic means; then the family as a unit will start to disintegrate. We now have accomplished step 2 in undermining our society.
We aren’t being attacked by a foreign country or inundated by evil forces. We’re doing this to ourselves. Stay tuned to another episode!
When I was young…
You saw Forrest Gump, didn’t you? You remember when he was confronting the Black Panthers? It was pretty much like that.
We were all mad as hell and weren’t going to take it anymore. How could you relegate someone to the back of the bus because they weren’t the right color? What difference did it make what color they were when it came to school? I was a teenager, so I knew the answers to everything. The only blacks I ever saw were on the campus of the university, and they kept to themselves. You hardly ever saw them downtown. Why? Because our town had a very unfortunate reputation.
There was a lynching in the 30s. Apparently, a black man raped a white school teacher. He was being held in the jail and the Sherriff didn’t want to release him to the mob, but they beat him up and dragged the prisoner out of the jail and tied him to the back end of a truck or car or something, and dragged him down the cobblestone streets. It was killing him too quickly, so instead, they tied him to the top of the schoolhouse and burned the schoolhouse down.
All the news on TV was just plain scary. There were these guys with the big afros yelling and threatening people, and then there were the riots at the Chicago Democratic convention in 1968. All whites were “the man” and wanted to put down and destroy the black communities. All the blacks were lawless animals with no more common sense than a gorilla. Neither side trusted the other. Look up the Chicago 7. Bobby Seale was one of the founders of the Black Panther Party. He and 6 others (all white) were part of the anti-war, civil rights protests. Mayor Daley imposed a curfew for people UNDER age 21, cut off traffic, and stopped the sale of weapons and ammunition.
The next day, they had deployed 10,500 police, 6700 National Guard, and over 5000 soldiers from the 1st armored and 5th infantry divisions were ordered into the city by President Johnson. “The general in charge declared that no one was allowed to have gatherings in the riot areas and authorized the use of tear gas. Mayor Richard J. Daley gave police the authority “to shoot to kill any arsonist or anyone with a Molotov cocktail in his hand … and … to shoot to maim or cripple anyone looting any stores in our city,” quoted the Chicago Tribune. Do you see the similarities between the reactions online and the ones they employed in Chicago? And because it was in the middle of the Viet Nam war, the press had discovered it had enormous power over the policies and protocols of the government. Had the press not been present at the riots, we might not have known much about them. But they were there and we saw the police beating on people with batons, and tear gas, and wounded civilians, and looting and arson. The truth was out on display. There was no way to deny what was going on.
We were scared of those angry black people, and we were shocked and embarrassed and furious at the police, and distrustful of the government, and helpless. The Chicago riots happened the day after the assassination of Martin Luther King. The unrest and protests were centered mainly on college campuses around the nation. Since my folks worked at the University, they were on the front lines. But in 1968, my dad was studying for his doctorate at Columbia University in New York City. He got a street-level view of what was happening. The press in NY was out to get the best stories, even if they had to create them. When there was a protest outside of Columbia, the press showed up and people were just standing around. One of the members of the press suggested that someone throw a brick or a bottle and push each other around so they could get pictures. So they did. Then the press packed up and left and the protesters went back to just standing around. This was not what happened in Chicago, or Watts or Harlem.
When my dad got back in 1969, in addition to Viet Nam protests and Civil Rights protests, there was a huge spike in drugs on campuses as well. Heroin, Cocaine, LSD, Pot, and various uppers and downers were widespread and in heavy use. During the riots, you could hear explosions followed by giggling. Some of the rioters would experience bad trips and set off another series of violent acts and panic. Most white people in my home town basically stayed home, and the black students hid. When I started college in 1973, the race relations were very much improved among students on the campus, but not in the communities. When “Roots” came out, since I didn’t have my own TV, I went to the student lounge to watch. 30 people in the room, and I was the only white person. I couldn’t miss any of it and I became less and less noticed. I was like furniture. But who talks to furniture? I made no friends in those gatherings.
The comics, Richard Pryor, Flip Wilson, Red Fox, and Bill Cosby were becoming mainstream, and newer black comics were starting to become more commonplace. My dad even had a few records by Bill Cosby. Bill never did the race jokes, but the others did, especially Richard Pryor. He made the white people in the clubs where he did stand-up very nervous, but when he was on television, the white people at home felt safe and could let a part of his message sink in. But blacks were still fighting for the same considerations that we took for granted. Many of the whites were saying that the laws were passed, so now discrimination was over. It wasn’t.
I think the race situation seemed strange to me because we were musicians. Which musicians did you think of when you played jazz? Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Oscar Pederson, Sarah Vaughan, Cab Calloway, Sammy Davis, Jr. This is what we listened to at home. Dizzy Gillispie and that wild trumpet of his was not a black man playing trumpet, he was a man playing a wild trumpet. Why? Because we never WATCHED them perform, we just heard them. I knew Dizzy played a weird trumpet because my dad described the trumpet to me. In fact, until I saw Al Hirt’s picture, I thought he was probably black because he played Dixieland jazz, and that was in New Orleans. It wasn’t until I saw Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald on TV that I knew they were black, and it didn’t seem weird at all that they were a different color. My mom described race to me with apples. She said, “Here taste this. What is it?” “It’s an apple.” “But what color apple?” “I can’t tell, it’s peeled.” “So it doesn’t matter what color it is?” “Nah, it’s still an apple.” “Well, there ya go.”
Here’s the thing: after the assassination of MLK in 1968 and the riots and protests, 9 years later, the blacks still had to fight for equal treatment. And here we are, over 50 years later and WE’RE STILL FACING THE SAME PROBLEMS! The riots don’t change the right things, the legislation doesn’t change the right things, the protests and the social media and the news don’t change the right things. What does? Only if the hearts change do people change. Only when we open our minds with our hearts will people be treated alike, because the heart is blind.
If you wanted to undermine a society, what types of things would you have to curtail?
First of all, you’d have to disrupt communication. That doesn’t mean closing news stations and banning magazines and newspapers. That would be too obvious. But if the news doesn’t agree across the board, then you have several different VERSIONS of the news. We’re not talking editorializing as part of the news, we’re talking presenting completely differing facts.
You introduce a plague that disrupts communication by shifting the main method from verbal face-to-face to virtual. The phone is not a major means of discussion, it’s social media, and that provides anonymity. Why rant into a phone or on a Zoom platform when you can hit all your 1000s of followers on social media at once? Anonymity provides courage for some people to express things they would never say in a physical venue. There is no “sarcasm” button when you’re posting something. That’s the outbound communication.
Inbound communication, where we get our information, is relegated to outside news sources. When the pandemic hit, we knew about it in China. We took no action specifically to combat an epidemic that would affect our country. We never actually got facts, we got opinions of the facts. We needed to curtail exposure to the dread disease so we had to self isolate. If everyone had done that immediately, the threat would have extinguished itself within about 4 weeks. But it didn’t happen. Because the symptoms don’t show up until 4 days after you have contracted the disease, and is contagious before symptoms show up, you don’t know to whom the disease has been spread. So, are you sick? You don’t know. If you get it, there’s a 10-15% chance you could die from it.
How did we respond? We bought every single roll of toilet paper in every store.
“You need masks,” so all the masks disappeared off the shelves.
“You need hand sanitizer,” so all of THAT disappeared off the shelves.
“You need to stay home,”
“What? Then how do I get masks and hand sanitizer and toilet paper? I have to leave the house because I have an essential job! I work at a fast-food restaurant. I stock the shelves with toilet paper. I’m the janitor at the hospital. Life will grind to a halt if I don’t deliver products with my truck!” And they’re all correct. WE CANNOT stop everything for a month. But we have greatly curtailed the people going to work and shifted the work environment from a cube farm to a house. We have closed restaurants so people are buying more groceries and cooking at home. We have closed all the entertainment venues and canceled graduations and sports events.
This was the first chink in the armor. We didn’t know which “facts” to believe about the virus. We had no definitive action to take. We didn’t have an acknowledged expert to give us direction. We were adrift and having to cobble together something that would work. All of the misinformation and missed information made these workarounds temporary at best. We distrusted the news, we distrusted the experts because they gave us conflicting information. We distrusted our government. We increased the distrust we already had in the disparity between classes. We had now reached the first level of confusion and loss of confidence in everything we had previously trusted. We’ve accomplished the objective of isolating the citizens from each other.
What is the second step? Increase violence to further isolate the population.
Let’s take the George Floyd incident. If both had been white, or both had been black, would it have made the news? It might have. It was the murder of a subdued subject by a cop. No, more than that… It was the murder of a subdued subject by a cop, on camera, with other cops and bystanders that should have intervened. Did you know that both the victim and the cop knew each other? That they worked together? If you take the uniforms out of the equation, do you end up with a completely different outcome? The guy with the uniform, gun, and badge obviously has institutional power over the civilian. The victim had no choice but to submit to the person in the uniform and allow himself to be cuffed. This is obviously a huge disadvantage! The point of getting a person into the facedown position with the knee to the upper back (Not the neck you doofus!) is to position the man’s hands to be cuffed. It doesn’t take that long to cuff a person. After the person is cuffed, it is very difficult for him to resist arrest. Why, then, was the victim held in this position for over 5 minutes? over 3 minutes? Why was he held on the ground at all if the man was already cuffed when he went down? This was a personal assault and one of the people just happened to be a cop.
What happens when the assault and subsequent murder hit the news? We don’t trust the institution of the police who are supposed to protect and serve. We don’t trust people who are a different race than we are because they’re obviously violent. There are statistics at the Bureau of Justice that can give you insight into this behavior. We don’t trust the news because it’s not just facts, it’s a political agenda driven by money and power.
When you disrupt communication and cause distrust in what was once considered the most trustworthy of institutions, both the news and the police, you upset people’s support network. Who can they trust now? Just the conspiracy theorists on FaceBook? Cousin Bob’s wife’s hairdresser’s best friend’s neighbor knows the true story behind events. Why not just take the short cut and ask Kevin Bacon directly? You have effectively isolated the whole population.
But you can’t keep a good mob down. No, they showed up in droves to protest their masks and the self-quarantines and of course, the COVID 19 cases shot up proportionately. Then they showed up in droves to protest
Riots in Omaha, San Antonio, and all across the country, ended up destroying businesses and causing injuries or death and did not promote a change in behavior for the parties they were purporting to support. Did it panic people? Yes. Did it get people off the street? Law-abiding, passive, fearful people stayed home. Incensed, mad, frustrated people went out to protest this injustice. Where was I? Safe at home posting angry comments. I know my actions will not change the behavior of those responsible for this injustice, but I also know breaking windows and attacking bystanders won’t either. The protesters weren’t out to burn down the cities, there were instigators onsite. Looters and anarchists were there to cause damage unrelated to the protests. So they hid in plain sight among the protesters and did what they do: destroy and obscure the purpose of the protest. And of course, since we cannot discern between well-crafted narrative and true events, the facts are obscured and we only get a version of the truth. Sooo, with incomplete information and a skewed sense of what is true and what isn’t, the bottom line is that we will have MORE violence and MORE cases of the virus. The problem isn’t getting solved, it is getting inflamed.
The more I write, the more insidious this sounds. I may have to continue this tomorrow!