NEWTOWN SHOOTING vs PARKLAND SHOOTING: Adam Lanza vs Nikolas Cruz

I don’t like to compare tragedies like these because I feel every experience deserves its own coverage without all the fluff of other stories.  However, I would like to talk about mental illness for a moment.  It always amazes me how mental illness is treated and how the sick respond to that treatment.

Nikolas Cruz went into a school in Parkland, Florida on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 and shot up a school that he used to attend.  He killed 17 and wounded 14 others.  He rode in an Uber to the school and went into the school; pulled the fire alarm so that the students would start rushing out into the hall; and started firing.  The Mayor of Broward County Florida said that Cruz was dealing with mental health issues, but he wouldn’t elaborate any further, except to say he received treatment and stopped.  The family he lived with was under the impression that the only issues he was dealing with was depression because he never showed any anger.  However, he had been in trouble at school on numerous occasions for fighting.

Adam Lanza went into a school where his mother worked in Newtown on December 14,2012 and killed 26 and wounded 2 (counting only students and staff … not counting his mother at home that he killed before leaving the house and his suicide after the shooting).  In the aftermath, they learned that Lanza suffered from Depression, Anxiety, Asperger’s syndrome, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (all of which are controllable with proper medication).

The problem in the nation today is not gun control … it is how we deal with mental illness.  Trump, right out of the gate on this last shooting starting preaching (every speech he gives sounds more like preaching to me) that it wasn’t guns, it was mental illness.  To a point, he is right, but what has he done to help this situation?  Obama would also speak about mental illness in the midst of tragedies such as this … again, what did he do about it?  Please understand, I am not saying we need more background checks on mental illness to purchase guns … as a matter of fact, I am not even referring to gun control or any aspect of it.  My focus is on mental illness and that solitary aspect of one’s life.

We all must deal with mental illness today.  We have war vets coming home with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder); we have family members and friends that are addicted to drugs and alcohol; and we have older loved ones being diagnosed with dementia.  It’s out there people and whether you admit you are dealing with it or not, you are … or you’re not, and in that case, you are one of the ones in the tragedies merely waiting for the next catastrophe.

Let me give you a small history lesson.  Mary Ann Todd Lincoln, wife to President Abraham Lincoln, suffered from a mental illness all her life that was diagnosed as a cerebral palsy after her death (but this was back between 1818-1882, medical knowledge wasn’t that advanced yet).  She was a very unpopular first lady; but I imagine that was because of the mental illness (which was really Cerebral Palsy) she suffered from.  People also probably shunned her because of her use of over the counter drugs that contained opioids and alcohol (which is a very common form of treating mental illness in the 19th century).  How quick people back then were to judge.

I have another one for you, what about Albert Einstein?  He was an absolutely genius … but everyone around him thought he was mental retarded.  He too was shunned (which is probably good, because he had plenty of time to come up with the theory of relativity and focus on philosophical science).

My point is this, they shunned Mary Ann Todd Lincoln in the 1800’s and they shunned Einstein in the early 1900’s.  Still today, in the 21st century, we are afraid to deal with people who are mentally ill.  It is almost like we are going to catch what is wrong with them if we get to close to them.  How we deal with them is so vitally important to the outcome.  Lincoln went on to marry a President.  Einstein went on to discover the Theory of Relativity.  What was the difference?  Could it be that they had more support than the mentally ill today?  Maybe the 18th and 19th Centuries weren’t “throw-a-way societies”, where everything and everyone is disposable.

Rosalyn Carter is the only First Lady that has every tried to get something done about mental illness while her husband, Jimmy Carter, was in office and beyond.  We need more people to stand up and change how we deal with them.  This is one part of the system that needs a major overhaul of reform.  We need more beds available.  We need the police to be willing to haul people to the hospital when a loved one calls the police and says, “Please take them to the hospital, they are sick, they need help”.  Instead, right now, if you call the police on a loved one that is acting “crazy”, most likely, that person will spend that night and possibly more in jail.  The police will charge them with unruly conduct or whatever; just to get them out of everyone’s way at that particular moment.  Why not take them to the hospital first and have a 10-13 done on them?  Why not find out what the problem is and search for a solution?  Because, that would take too long and no one has any time for that.

One thing I thought was interesting when comparing Newtown and Parkland, was how the shooter carried out his rampage.  Adam Lanza in Newtown started at home with his mother, the only person he lived with.  Nikolas Cruz started and finished at the school, and he saw everyone he lived with that day: his host Mom, host Dad, and host brother.  Lanza was in mental health treatment since he was a young child; whereas, Cruz only dabbled in mental health treatment.  Adam Lanza committed suicide after the attacks; whereas, Cruz was caught an hour later and confessed to the shootings.

Could it be, Lanza felt like his mother was judging him?  Were there things that she done or said to him that made him kill her first?  His mother worked at the school where the shooting took place, is it possible she showed more love and concern for those kids to Lanza, than her own son who needed her?  I’m not victim blaming, but I don’t think all crime is a crime of evil … sometimes, I think a person is pushed to their wits end and society as a whole must suffer the consequences.  Is it possible, that he wanted to save her from all the heartache of what he was about to do?  Unfortunately, we will never know, but there might be things we can carry away from this.

Nikolas Cruz went straight to the school to start shooting people.  Witnesses say that he kept asking people where his host brother was or had anyone seen him.  The law community believes that it was because he wanted to make sure he didn’t get caught up in the cross fire.  That is how much Cruz cared about the people that took him in when no one else could handle him.  What did they do differently?  Was it the fact that he felt accepted for who he was when he was at home?  He didn’t feel judged and was given free reign to feel the way he was feeling at any given time.  There has to be a difference here and I have to believe that that difference is what will prevent future catastrophes from happening.  Cruz stayed in trouble at school.  He was getting into fights and getting suspended and expelled.  The student body thought he was a “odd”.  In a lot of the news reports, you can see where someone in this environment might have felt judged … almost bullied.

Have we became a society that doesn’t have any time for anyone else? We don’t care how you are feeling today … “speak your business and please move politely to the left or right out of my way.”   How many more mass shootings, school shootings, will we have if this kind of attitude keeps up?  The song group 4HIM sings a song called, Back to The Basics Of Life.  In that song, they talk about getting back to God and getting closer to HIM.  Personally, I am agnostic, but I can see the message they have.  Years ago people didn’t fire guns unless they felt threatened or harmed.  Today, we live in a society where the only one we are concerned about is ourselves.  No one in life matters any more.  We have mothers walking through grocery stores with earphones in, music blasting, and a kid pulling on their pant leg trying to get their attention.  We have teens, and adults in some cases, that need someone to be there for them, and when they look around, there is no one there.  I am a tough person and I have said many times, I don’t need anyone … but what if one day I did.  Oh, I have plenty of people around me that would in a heartbeat be there for me … I really don’t know what I would be capable of doing if I felt all alone … and then judged for how I was feeling.  If you are honest with yourself, you too know what I am talking about.

It is all in how we make the mentally ill feel that could be all the difference.  For the ones that truly need help, we need to get them a hospital where they and people around them can be safe.  There are not enough beds for the mentally ill today … no funding to put them in those beds … and the ones that are available, are to expensive (let’s face it, not a lot of mentally ill people are able to work … why, because they feel judged … thus the phrase, “going postal”).  So, you sit there on your social media, on your phone to your congressmen and senators, and you just yell it from the roof tops if you want to that these guns are killing people … in the meantime, I will be sitting here on my social media, on my phone with my congressmen and senators, and yelling it from the roof tops we need reform.  Let’s see who gets what done first.  Most likely, to pacify your request they will make another small minute change to the gun control and within a very short few months, another catastrophe is bound to happen.  Why?  Because we will still have people treating people the wrong way and people feeling cornered with no where else to turn.  Whereas, if they were to pacify me and my rantings, we might squelch one attempt at a mass shooting by nipping it in the bud.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog.  It has taken me longer to write this one than anything I have written so far, but then again, I feel very compassionate about this subject.

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DIRTY COPS

In February 2013, Atlanta done a round-up of “dirty Cops”.  These cops were charged with protecting drug dealers while they done their drug deals.  What were they protecting the drug dealers from … REAL COPS.  They were protecting these scum bags in the event that an officer came down their street they were selling drugs on … they were paid to make sure that the real officers didn’t arrest them.

I was so elated when I first heard this story in the news.  Even now, 5 years later, I grit my teeth while writing about this story because of how mad it makes me.  It upsets me any time I hear an officer taking his oath for granted; but these officer push me so far beyond mad.

Between January 2006 and September 2006, I was addicted to Crack Cocaine and I only purchased my drugs in Atlanta on Freedom Parkway (the drug dealers called it “the Boulevard”).  This was exactly 42 minutes away from my home.  I done it this way because too many people in Douglasville knew me and as big as Douglasville is, it is a very small town when people talk.

One night, I went down to the Boulevard to buy some Crack and there was a cop coming down the road in the opposite direction while I was talking to the drug man.  I told the drug man to get away from my door because a cop was coming and he looked up and went back to doing business and said not to worry about it because he paid his rent that night.  Eleven years later and that remark still haunts me.   “Don’t worry about it, I paid my rent tonight”.  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  But even more devastating was what I saw.  The officer drove right past a black drug dealer at the window of a car with a white lady buying Crack Cocaine without so much as slowing down.  The drug dealer and cop nodded as he passed.  I realize that some people are reading this blog and thinking I am exaggerating when I tell you this story; but I assure you, I am not.

In August 2006, I moved to Florida and started doing my drugs there.  From September 2006 until March 2007 I lived in Florida and became even more of an addict than I was in Georgia.  In March 2007, I moved back to Georgia while my kids were on spring break from school.  I wasn’t in Georgia a week when I got arrested by a Douglas County Sheriff’s Office deputy while out searching for some drugs.  I was in jail for 29 days before going to court and being sentenced to 6-years- probation.   I tell you this for one simple reason:  if it wasn’t for being arrested, I honestly believe that I would be an addict today.  It took being arrested and losing my liberties for me to get clean and stay clean.

The whole time I was in jail, I kept thinking about that cop that drove past me doing business that night in Atlanta the year before.  I wonder if he knew what he had done that night?  I wonder if he knew how many kids he could have saved from a drug hell if he followed protocol with his job.  I knew he didn’t know about my 2 boys or me.  There was no way he could know.  Once I got sober and clean in May of 2007, I often thought about going to Atlanta and trying to figure out who that officer was and tell him what he was doing by not following protocol … but I promised myself I would never step foot where I stepped between 2006 and 2007 … I never went to try to find him.

Then I heard about this story in February 2013, 10 officers arrested for taking payoffs.  To this day I don’t know if he was one of the officers tied up in that; but I surely would like to know.  Most of these officers are still in Federal Prisons today for the crimes they committed.  They were charged with assisting in Drug Trafficking, receiving illegal payoffs, and carrying a gun in the commission of crimes.  You know what they aren’t charged with?  They aren’t charged with enabling a drug addict to remain in her drug induced hell for another year.  You know what they aren’t charged with?  They aren’t charged with causing 2 young boys to live in a drug induced abusive home for another year.  These are crimes they can’t be charged with because there are no such crimes in the books.  How do you put a price tag or a prison term on someone’s suffering of that sort?  What would that price be if you could?

I want you to know, I don’t blame this officer for my addiction.  I don’t even blame the person who introduced me to drugs for my addiction.  My addiction was my fault … no one tied my hands behind my back and forced me into an addiction … no one held a gun to my head and made me do drugs … I walked into that hellish nightmare all on my own, knowing full well what drugs can and would do to someone.  But these officers need to be held responsible for their part in this epidemic.  I plan to write each and every one of these people a letter and let them know my story.  Only they know if they were that officer on that street that night.  If they weren’t, I want them to know what they caused for someone else.  I will update this blog as I get responses … if I get any responses.

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Time To Deal With North Korea

I apologize for the long break in blog posts; I hope this one makes up for it.  In the news the past couple days has been Otto Warmbier; a college student that was enticed to go to North Korea “for an experience of a lifetime”.  That was a direct quote from his Dad that gave a statement to the news agencies on Thursday.  The parents are extremely upset at North Korea and our government for what happened to their son.

 

Warmbier went to North Korea because there was a travel agency that lures young adults to other countries and then they are mistreated.  As Otto Warmbier was boarding the plane to leave the country when the North Korean government apprehended him and charged him with the “war crime” of stealing a banner from a church.  He was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for that crime.

Warmbier arrived home 3 days ago in a coma.  According to the North Korean government, Warbier went into this coma soon after being sentenced.  Not one time was he allowed to go home for medical reasons.  The government nor the penial institution would inform his family of his medical state.  His family found out last week the condition that he was in.  Warmbier has been in a coma for 15 months and no one bothered to inform the family.

Our government was telling the parents to “lay low” and “be quiet” because “we don’t want to upset the North Korean government.

Ok, I have a problem with this!!!  “LAY LOW” “BE QUIET” “DON’T UPSET NORTH KOREA”!!!  Really? If this was the only thing that North Korea was doing that might need addressing, then that would be one thing … but it isn’t.  It is time that the American Government and People start taking a stand and letting North Korea know that we are not going to tolerate any more of their shenanigans.

In 2017 alone, North Korea has shot off 16 missiles that we know of.  In 2016, the year that Warmbier was arrested and sentenced, they shot off 8 missiles.  Over and over again, if you Google it, the America has warned North Korea to stop setting off missiles and yet they keep doing it.  Warmbier was arrested in March 2016 and in August 2016 North Korea set of a missile that could have reached the US if they so wanted.  Could this be why Warmbier’s family needed to “LAY LOW” or “BE QUIET”?  Why was this necessary.  If we were making moves to turn this around and bring Warmbier home, then I could understand such actions.  However, I don’t think that was it at all.  I think they needed to be quiet because we were likely to get bombed by them.  I know, listen, my family and I live here too.  I don’t want to be bombed any more than the next person, but when one of our people are captured, we don’t “lay low” either.  We go in as one to get them.

Grant it, we finally got Warmbier home, but I would like to know exactly who brought him home and how long did they actually work on doing so?  I agree with Warmbier’s Dad, “North Korea does nothing out of the goodness of their hearts”.  With that being known, it had to be someone else who convinced them to let him go.  With North Korea doing nothing good at any time, that means someone had to be talking to them.  I want to know how many times they were talked to and I want to know the extent of the conversation.  I want to know when those conversations started and how long they lasted and in what form they were in?  Is this too nosey?  I don’t think so.  We are talking about a country that has repeatedly refused to adhere to our warnings to stop firing missiles and I know they got those warnings because the news was always so proud to report when they launched one and what our response was … which usually amounted to nothing more than a hand over our mouth while saying “oh no you didn’t”.  It was time to act then and it has been time to act for a while.  When do we take our country serious again?  When do we do like Toby Keith says and “fight when you rattle our cage”.

Shout out to Trump, you want to make “America Great Again”, start with North Korea and get your mind of the Russian Probe … “matter”.  Isn’t that what you want it to be called … a matter?  Well, get off the “matter” and start focusing on real President stuff.  Yes, I hope you are impeached at the end, but for now, you are all we have that can take care of North Korea.  Show us your muscle and quit talking about it.