MASS SHOOTINGS IN AMERICA, and WHY MEN KEEP DOING THIS

I originally posted this to my blog on February 17, 2018

August 18, 2018

2457 Words 10 minute 5 second read

Last night while I was writing a post to give another perspective, I looked back, and this post had blown away.

I struggled for quite a while to find it again. I am not sure where I did I was getting pretty frantic by that time.

It is an excellent article and since I don’t want it to disappear again, I will type this piece in its entirety.

I hope Mr. Charlie Hoehn doesn’t mind.

I will type in his style, not mine (which will be an improvement I assure you).

He posted this article on October 3, 2017.

HIS WORDS

I’ll never forget April 20th, 1999.

I was 12 years old, sitting in art class in middle school. We were playing with clay and making sculptures.

Suddenly, our principal came on over the PA. Her voice trembled.

“I have an important announcement to make. All teachers and students need to hear this. I will wait 60 seconds for everyone to be completely silent.”

The next minute was eerie. My friends and I exchanged confused looks and nervously laughed. Our teach held her finger to her lips. Silence.

The principal’s voice came back onto the PA:

“There is a shooting at Columbine high school. All students are to go home immediately.”

Columbine was 15 minutes away from us.

I remember taking the bus home and walking into my house. My mom turned on the news. I recognized that fence. We’ve driven by that fence.

My mom knew the teacher. Dave Sanders. She’d substituted with him at Columbine.

In the last 18 years, we Americans have experienced too many of these shootings. And I want to share a few of my thoughts on why I think they keep happening.

By the way, this isn’t a political post about guns or the media. It’s a post about men and their emotional health.

Over the past few years, I’ve found myself in the mental health space. I’ve learned a lot. Particularly that men in the United States REALLY struggle in this realm and have very little social or emotional support. This affects men of every race and socioeconomic background.

I was watching Jimmy Kimmel’s impassioned, raw speech last night about the Vegas shootings. Like Jimmy, I felt sick and heartbroken by the tragedy. But something he said stood out to me:

“There’s probably no way to ever know why a human being could do something like this to other human beings.”

Sadly researchers know a lot about why human beings—particularly men-do things like this.

WHY MASS SHOOTINGS KEEP HAPPENING

It’s tempting to say the mass shooter’s motive was simply “pure evil”, or to blame the media or guns, but that absolves us of looking deeply at what each of us -as individuals, family members, friends, and community members might be missing.

Now, I’m not a psychiatrist. And I don’t know much about the Vegas shooter, I’m just a guy who studies mental health.

Again, this is not a political post about guns, for the same reason, it’s not a political post about weaponized cars. Easy access to guns is a part of the problem, but I’m not interested in the tool as I am in what causes a man to use it so destructively.

Nor is this a post in defense of the shooter, or to make him sound like a victim in any way. What he did was a horrific act. He is a murderer, and he is not excused from this by any stretch (though I truly feel sympathy for the shooter’s brother, who seemed to be totally caught off guard by this behavior, and now he has to deal with the aftermath for the rest of his life).

The goal of this post is simply to shine a light on what’s eroding men’s emotional health.

1 MEN IN THE UNITED STATES ARE CHRONICALLY LONELY

Boys in the United States-just like all human beings-need touch, caring, warmth, empathy, and close relationships. But as we grow up most of us lose those essential components of our humanity.

What’s worse: we have no idea how to ask for those things or admit we need them, because we’re afraid it will make us look weak.

As a man, you might be thinking, “Not me, I’ve got drinking buddies. I play poker with the guys. I’ve got friends.”

But do you have confidants? Do you have male friends who you can actually be vulnerable with? Do you have friends whom you can confide in, by 100% yourself around, that you can hug without saying “No home,” be without feeling tense or uncomfortable while you’re doing it?

For many men, the answer is “no”. So, we spend our time posturing instead.

From an early age, we have an unhealthy, ideal of masculinity that we try to live up to. Part of the ideal tells us the REAL MEN DO EVERYTHING ON THEIR OWN. REAL MEN DON’T CRY. REAL MEN EXPRESS ANGER TROUGH VIOLENCE.

The byproduct is isolation. Most men spend most of their adult lives without deeper friendships or any real sense of community. Not to mention a complete inability to release anger or sadness in a healthy way.

There is a fantastic documentary called “The Mask You Live in”, which explains how boys in our society are ultimately shaped into mentally unstable adults. My friend Ryan recommend this film to me, after confiding that he cried throughout the entire thing. I cried, as well.

Simon Sinek echoed similar insights on Glenn Beck’s show:

“We’re seeing a rise of loneliness and isolation. NO one kills themselves when they’re hungry; we kill ourselves when we’re lonely. And we act out as well.

In the 1960s, there was one school shooting.

In the 1980s there were 27.

In the 1990s there were 58.

In the past decade, there have been over 120.

IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH GUNS, IT HAS TO DO WITH PEOPLE FEELING LONELY.

How we combat the loneliness that kids are feeling? All of them attacked people in their own community, and all of them attack people they blamed for their own loneliness.”

This loneliness compounds as men grow older.

Without deeper friendships or a strong sense of community, the isolation is soul-deadening and maddening. You are alone.

Any slight from someone you care about can feel emotionally traumatizing. After enough rejections and feeling like an outcast, you begin to believe that people are just cruel and not worth the effort. You perceive people as threats.

And the effects on our health are devastating. Here is Dr. Dean Ornish, the founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, on the effects of loneliness:

“I am not aware of any other factor- not diet, not smoking, not exercise, not stress, not genetics, not drugs, not surgery- that has a greater impact on our incidence of illness, and [chance of] premature death”.

Before we ask, “How could he do such a thing?” we have to understand how that person felt on a daily basis, and how those feelings grew over the years.

2 MEN IN THE UNITED STATES ARE DEPRIVED OF PLAY OPPORTUNITIES.

You might be offended by this suggestion.

How could this guy talk about play after a shooting?!” Play is for kids!

Wrong.

Homo sapiens play more than any other species. It’s impossible to prevent a human from playing. We play shortly after we are born, and the healthiest (and least stressed) humans tend to play for their entire lives.

Play may be God’s greatest gift to mankind. It’s how we form friendships, and learn skills, and master difficult things that help us survive. Play is a release valve for stress and an outlet for creativity. Play brings us music, comedy, dance, and everything we value.

Above all, play is how we bond with each other-it’s how we communicate “I am safe to be around, I am not a threat.” Play is how we form connections with other humans.

The irony is that loneliness would not be a problem if we all got ample time to play. Not only would we have deeper friendships, we’d also have better relationships with ourselves, Play allows us to enjoy our own company.

THERE IS A STRONG CORRELATION WITH PLAY DEPRIVATION AND MENTAL ILLNESS.

When you deprive mammals of play, it leads to chronic depression. When you deprived a human child of play, their mental and emotional health deteriorated. Play suppression has enormous health consequences.

“But the Vegas shooter loved to gamble. He went on cruises!”

That’s not the type of play I’m talking about.

To better understand this dynamic, we need to look at the background of another mass shooter.

In 1966, Charles Whitman shot his wife and mother. The, he climbed up the tower at the University of Texas in Austin and shot 46 people. In total, he murdered 16 people. At the time, this was the biggest mass shooting of its kind in United States history.

Dr. Stuart Brown and his team of researchers were commissioned to find out what “The Texas Sniper” had in common with other mass murderers.

They gained a key insight when they examined their childhoods.

Brown recalls:

“None of them engaged in healthy rough-and-tumble play. The linkages that lead to Charles Whitman producing this crime was an unbelievable suppression of play behavior throughout his life by a very overbearing, very disturbed father.

Healthy and joyful play must be had in order to thrive. Boys need to wrestle with their dads, and they need to roughhouse with other boys. Parent and teacher need to play with their boys.

But more importantly, they need to encourage those boys to go out and play. And then, let them be.

IT’S 10 O’clock. DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR KIDS ARE?”

Ever since that famous ad aired, parents have shamed each other into watching their kids like a hawk.

If you let your kid walk up the street alone, you’ll either get a call from another parent, or the cops will pick them up. Our kids are stripped of their right to experience life on their own terms.

In an effort to improve our kids’ test and beef up their future resumes, we’ve stripped away nearly all of their free play opportunities. Recess has been sacrificed in the name of Scantrons, and pills are prescribed to the kids whose bodies and minds cry out for play.

The result: A generation of the most anxious, depressed, and suicidal American children on record.

This alignment with Dr. Peter Gray’s research, who studied the epidemics of mental illness and the decline in play:

“Over the past half century, in the United States and other developed nations, childrens’ free play with other children has declined sharply. Over the same period, anxiety, depression, suicide, feelings of helplessness, and narcissism have increased sharply in children, adolescents, and your adults…The decline in play has contributed to the rise of the psychopathology of young people.

This why I believe that mental illness may be the biggest health crisis of our lifetimes. Because those kids will grow up into isolated adults who don’t know how to play or seek out their friends when they are lonely. They have no emotional support.

They are alone.

3 MEN IN THE UNITED STATES ARE ASHAMED OF THEIR EMOTIONAL TRAUMAS.

In the most memorable chapter of “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed”, the author describes the research of James Gilligan, a young psychiatrist at the Harvard Medical School in the 1970s.

Gilligan was invited to makes sense of the Massachusetts’s prisons and mental hospital, where she interviewed murderous inmates. He included in his notebook this heartbreaking observation:

“They would all say that they themselves had died before they started killing other people… They felt dead inside. They had no capacity for feelings. No emotional feelings, Or even physical feelings.

Universal among the violent criminals was the fact that they were keeping a secret. A central secret. And that secret was that they felt ashamed- deeply ashamed, chronically ashamed, acutely ashamed.

“I have yet to see a serious act of violence that was not provoked by the experience of feeling shamed or humiliated, disrespected and ridiculed.”

ALL OF US will face difficult times in our lives where we will experience shame, humiliation, disrespect, and ridicule.

Do you know what gets us through those hard times?

FRIENDSHIP: THE LOVE AND SUPPORT YOU GET, FROM THE PEOPLE YOU PLAY WITH.

Whatever the case, these factors about mass shooters are often true:

  1. THEY ARE DEEPLY LONELY. They have no significant friendships or meaningful relationships to rely on, and very few quality people to confide in or lean on.
  2. THEY EXPERIENCED ONGOING PLAY DEPRIVATION: Their innate ability was crippled, and they struggle to maintain a healthy emotional connection with themselves and others.
  3. THEY ARE DEEPLY ASHAMED. They experienced extreme ridicule, rejection, humiliation, or abuse.

Are there other factors at play here?

Absolutely. Mass shootings are complex, and so are people. They don’t fit perfectly into our narratives.

Do the above three factors always lead to murderous behavior:

Of course not. But over time, they shatter an individual’s emotional health. And that’s the point.

We’ve created a culture where the first two factors- loneliness and play deprivation- affect EVERYONE. And because friendship struggles to take root in this environment, we are more likely to be struck by the third factor-shame.

We cannot recover from emotional trauma without support from our friends, our community, our tribe. Without their help, we stay wounded and lost in the darkness.

Although we’re in the safest period in the history of civilization, these shootings will keep happening in America. They happen every single day. Guns are part of the problem, and so is the media. But there is a bigger problem:

WE LIVE IN A CULTURE THAT CONTINUALLY NEGLECTS EMOTIONAL HEALTH OUR BOYS AND OUR MEN.

The good news is that we-the men and boys of America- can save each other.

Reach out to someone who you think could be lonely or hurting and invite them to do something fun together. Keep inviting them. Build trust and confide in each other. Set the example by being a safe, supportive, and compassionate friend that they can be around.

If you’ve noticed their personality has drastically changed, invite them ours for several hours. Be there wit6h them. You could save their life.

CHARLIE HOEHN IS THE AUTHOR OF PLAY IT AWAY. HE HAS SPOKEN ON THE TOPIC OF MENTAL HEALTH AT THE PENTAGON, U.S. MILITARY BASES, STANFORD, AND TEDX.

You can get his books for free at CHARLIEHOEHN.COM.

Thanks for stopping.

Craig

BLUE ROSE ON ANGLE labled

 

 

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Anger not Mental Illness

Date: February 18, 2018

Image of Sgt. Ivan Lopez his in helicopter. Sgt. Lopez killed three people at Ft Hood Army Base on April 2 2014. He then killed himself. Image by Puetro Rico National Guard via Reuters
Image of Sgt. Ivan Lopez his in a helicopter. Sgt. Lopez killed three people at Ft Hood Army Base on April 2, 2014. He then killed himself.

This is another great article on how not to rush to judgment.

People rush to condemn mass murders, especially of children in school as ‘Mentally Ill’. This disputes that knee-jerk reaction and is in addition to the article on the Las Vegas, Mandalay Bay.

The article appeared in Slate.com titled: “How to Stop Violence Mentally Ill People Aren’t Killers. Angry People Are.”  How to Stop Violence.

The article is by Laura L. Hayes Ph.D., a psychologist in Bethesda, Maryland. She works with adults, couples, and teens integrating mindfulness with traditional therapies.

New Things Brewing Old Things Stewing

Date February 14, 2018

I am glad you could stop by. New things are here. I have consolidated three blogs into one. Dabbleduckbutts.com now also has the posts from newboldessential.com and lodestarandyou.com. In May of 2018, deepeducationweb.com will also reside in dabblerduckbutts.com. Of course, I still have my Blogger blogs: Minecrjm.blogspot.com and MNNoreaster.com.

I was projecting the costs of maintaining four blogs and it was getting to be a lot more expensive than what a retired old fart had to spend. In addition, it was beginning to look like I didn’t pay attention to these sites other than deepeducationweb.com.

I had already started to use bulleted points for some items to speed reading and posting. Since I am keeping all posts in one blog, I can enter a bullet point into a post and then finish the full point in a later article. Hopefully, major events will be posted closer to real time to it doesn’t appear that I am ignoring them.

So we begin the new and mighty dabblerduckbutts.com.

There is so much divisiveness afoot in today’s United States it almost seems as if ‘United’ doesn’t belong anymore. I think one thing that keeps the division roiled are the labels. People see “Republican” and assume somethings. People see “Democrat” and assume some things.

No Labels

I want to focus on what is changing, for good or ill, and not be hampered by stupid labels. People need to get beyond ‘Republican’ and beyond ‘Democrat’ to see what is really taking place. So I am dispensing with those labels and I am going to use Party ‘X’ and Party ‘O’. I will change labels so one week Party X will mean something and the next it will mean something else or maybe even within the same post. You can try to make your determinations on what is what and who is who. I am not going to try to stop you. Actually, I think it could be a good exercise to understand what is going on beneath the labels.

Let’s see if it will work.

Immigration, Visas, Tariffs

I believe that the policy of denigrating and ostracising immigrants is deplorable. This country was founded by immigrants. That is easy to say and is a bit of a cop-out. That was a few centuries ago right? Google was founded by Sergey Brin. His family immigrated from Russia when he was about 6 years old. eBay was founded by Pierre Omidyar. He was born in Paris to Iranian parents. Apple was founded by Steve Jobs. He was adopted by American parents and his biological father was a Syrian-born immigrant.

America was founded by immigrants and needs immigrants to keep fostering new growth and new thinking. Why?

I did an article on the manufacturing jobs in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. It was focused on those two states to show what is happening in America and I used examples from those states.

One father didn’t want his son to work as hard as he had so he dissuaded him from going into manufacturing. Another was a mother who encouraged her daughter to look to a career in an office environment rather than work split shifts and wear steel-toed shoes as she had.

Trump kicked out the immigrants. The result? Crops don’t get brought in on time and they die and wither in the fields. Agriculture will suffer from such short-sightedness. Prices will increase for products Americans consume.

In my examples above, the companies that fed the growth of these two people are gone. There were no American young people who wanted to learn the processes of manufacturing those items so the companies were bought out or had to move out.

Trump is aggressively banning the hiring of H1B visa students (except for his family’s vineyards). These visas are meant to bring the best and brightest from around the world to America where our companies can use their talents to create brilliant, jaw-dropping products that will be the future. The result? These bright students, often trained in engineering will stay in their own countries. The United States companies will still need their intellects so they will ‘farm out’ the work to the countries where the students are. The result? By sending our work to them, in their countries,  the US not only loses the tax and the social benefits we will be developing the competition for our future.

How smart are these policies?

Trump is putting a tariff on solar panels manufactured in China. Tariffs only create bottlenecks and man-made hurdles. A company that makes these panels in China will be opening a plant in the United States to make panels to be sold here. The result? The panels will no doubt cost more than those made in China but will be of the same quality. Higher prices without an accompanying increase in value only create a higher priced product. Money from the sales will still go to China (only a minimum kept here to pay taxes) and this country will supply panels at higher prices without an increase in value until the first major ‘market correction’. Inefficient and illogical pricing will take a hit and the panels along with the company will be gone.

Simplistic yes but these same lessons have been learned over and over again.

Treasury of Immigrants, More than Just Dollars

Let’s go back to immigrants. One estimate says that 40% of Fortune 500 companies have been founded by immigrants or their children. Immigrants do not only go with the big companies, they are twice as likely as native-born Americans to start a small business. Since these entrepreneur’s companies generate approximately $65.5 billion in income (2014) why do we want to kick them out and stop more from coming in?

These anti-immigrant actions are very short-term that will have long-term consequences for this country. The face of this country is changing so rapidly, that the consequences will not have had time to manifest themselves before the results strike. But look at what has happened in one year.

Current Status by the Numbers

The United States has gone from being the country most looked up to in the world to number 30, one step above China. If the United States is not the standard bearer for the rights of every person, other countries will follow our lead and start to lower their standards for what is fair, what is right, what is just. This erosion of rights in other countries has already begun.

At the end of Obama’s presidency, 64% of the countries admired the United States. Now that number is 49%. Only 22% have confidence in Trump to do the right thing in international affairs.

Additionally, all Trump’s gyrations are having a marked effect on our economy. David Reibstein marketing professor with the Wharton School studied the effects two years ago and found that the US was ranked as the fourth-best brand. He measured it again right after the election and the rank had fallen to number seven. We are now number eight in the world. So the ‘#Make America Great Again’ is another of Trump’s fiascos.

People leaning towards Party X and those towards Party O have political values that are now 36% different from each other. The gap used to be 15% points. Faster and faster we are headed for a major division which will disrupt the fabric of what this country stands for and what it will accomplish in the future. In other words, this country was once the leader of the free world and will soon become no better than a third rate country. Why? Because we have stopped doing the actions, believing in the values that made us great. We are navel-gazing. We are more interested in making a buck than in making sure that the buck was made with honesty and integrity.

Just this week, the Senate proved that they can not lead. They can’t get a sensible immigration bill passed. They can’t accommodate people that have lived here all their lives but now will go to a country that they know nothing about. The Supreme Court let  Trump’s immigration ban stand temporarily but a Court of Appeals has again ruled that it is illegal. This ruling has to be held up until the Supreme Court finally rules.

The massacre at the Florida high school that saw 17 people killed gets the usual ‘thoughts and prayers’ and other assinine platitudes from the party in power. Instead of digging in and solving this severe crisis in this country, the party in power is still trying to attempt to strip Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps and other social safety nets so the non-wealthy will end up with a lot less than they have now. And a result of not being wealthy and having enough to eat?  “When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich.” Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Wealth In Perspective

Some of the remainder of this post discusses wealth. To put the numbers in perspective:

The wealthiest 186 members of the Forbes 400 own as much wealth as the ENTIRE Latino population.

The combined worth of the Forbes 400 is $2.34 TRILLION and is more than the bottom 61 percent of the country or 194 million people.

TWENTY PEOPLE now own as much wealth as HALF OF ALL AMERICANS. This is prior to the massive tax break.

DO NOT MISUNDERSTAND ME! I am firmly a capitalist. Everyone is entitled to however much they can make legally, honestly and with integrity. We must also acknowledge that with ‘great gifts come great responsibilities’. The more you receive the more that is expected of you, is the Bible’s way of expressing it.

Graph of Average Income 1980 to 2007 PEW Research
Graph of Average Income 1980 to 2007

Income has grown by leaps and bounds since 2007 thru 2017.

My Lesson in the Maw of a Gigantic Camera

As I was hemmed in by a gigantic camera during my last hospital stay, I came to a shuddering conclusion. Our ‘leaders’ gave $1.5 trillion of wealth to the already rich that didn’t need it. The corporations did need their gift because they were already doing well in the economy that existed. Now, what will be the result? What will happen when the wealth is used up? The money was not given to the wealth generators – to the working classes. Those are the people that build, that make, that consume, that start up the new businesses that drive the economy.

One political party has a majority (54%) and who believe that a college education is detrimental to the well being of this country. One party believes that media criticism is not healthy even though it keeps political creatures from doing what they shouldn’t be doing.

Just because the president disavows people of the Muslim faith is that going to stop that faith from increasing as a percentage of the population in the world? I think not. What then? We have mistreated them by forcibly removing them from our soil. What will be the future of how they view the United States and what will they teach their children?

A very telling indicator of the future of the United States is that 75% of Americans think that robots and computers will do many of the jobs that humans now do. Yet only 30% believe that their jobs will be affected! A disconnect is at play here!

The Fourth Industrial Revolution Disconnect

I have written articles that spell out that 47% of the jobs in the United States will be lost to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (35% in Great Britain and 21% in Japan). Of course, many new jobs will be created and will be filled by the people that now undertake to improve and upgrade their education so that they can successfully compete for those jobs.

Each year Georgia Tech in Atlanta GA graduates 3,400 highly skilled computer engineers, scientists, and technicians. In 2017 the University of Minnesota enrolled 1,137 students in its computer engineering and science programs. It awarded a total of 284 degrees in those two fields. Hmm, that is just 24.9% which means that 75% of the students that began studying in those fields drop out. Why? I guess it really doesn’t make much difference the reason. What it does is tell me that most students that enter that field of study decide to do something else. Students know what the future holds in the broad sense that robots and artificial intelligence will dominate the economy in a few years. Yet only 25% believe that they can be a winning partner in that economy? The field of mathematics has a 33% rate, statistics has a 68% rate.  A dilemma that I can’t even hazard a guess.

What does the future hold? Party O has people with high and low science knowledge. Regarding climate change, this party shows no significant difference in the opinion as to the cause of climate change.

In Party X those with a high science knowledge say that 93% is due to human activity while those with a low science knowledge 49% say the same thing.

Folks, how can this be? What does it mean? What if the party that sees no difference were in charge of this country? What would the results foreshadow? Could the general population trust them to make the best decisions regarding climate change?

Does Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid have a Future in the U.S.?

Party O seems to still be on the crusade to kill Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

According to ‘The Hill’ published on February 13, 2018, two-thirds of seniors rely on Social Security for most of their income and one-third rely on it for all of their income.

According to the authors, Nancy Altman and Linda Benesch, one party has been trying to destroy Social Security since it began. It seems that it just sticks in the craw of that party, even though they have thrown their deficit ending philosophy to the wind when they approved an increase of $300 billion last week to the budget and created their own shortfall of revenue by giving it to the wealthy in the $1.5 trillion dollar tax give away.

How can they justify this to their own conscience let alone to their constituents? Or don’t they care? So much of this just roils my brain. I don’t understand where a person’s belief system can be so awry in itself.

This party is trying to be sneaky about robbing the Social Security fund and shutting it down. They are going to offer young Americans relief from their crippling student debt if they agree to forfeit some of their future Social Security benefits. Fans of another proposal, Senator Marco Rubio, and Ivanka Trump to name two, are getting behind Kristin Shapiro and Andrew Biggs who proposed a similar plan to fund paid parental leave. They published their proposal in the Wall Street Journal op-ed section.
What is suffocating in these proposals (suffocating because of the stench they generate) is that we are the wealthiest country in the world and at the wealthiest time in our history. The problem is that we don’t ask the wealthy to help pay for the costs of taking care of the people in this country. Hubert Humphrey said, ” The moral test of government is how it treats those in the dawn of life, the young; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy, the unemployed.” HHH also said, “compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism.”

Hubert H. Humprey, United States Senator, Minnesota's Favorite Son, Vice President of the United States, elder Statesman Google Images
Hubert H. Humprey, United States Senator, Minnesota’s Favorite Son, Vice President of the United States, Elder Statesman

The wealthy seem to want to take and take and take without contributing to the common good. This is the time of the widest wealth gap in US history.

Franklin Roosevelt was even more pointed “Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a president and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country”. Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Franklin Roosevelt, three term President of the United States of America Google Images
Franklin Roosevelt, three-term President of the United States of America

 A Step Back in History

The point of this dissertation? How can the wealthy abdicate their moral compass to join in the welfare of the people and at the same time take so much wealth from the people who generate it? Surely they must see where this will lead.

Lorraine Boissoneault in smithsonian.com published November 16, 2017, describes the events that led to the fall of the Roman Republic. Income inequality and xenophobia (the intense dislike and fear of people from other countries) seem not to have been seared in our collective memory. Men that tried to establish reforms were thwarted by and then murdered by their fellow senators. “Old ways and unwritten codes of conduct ‘mos maiorum’ gave way as senators struggled for power.” Then a general,  Sulla marched his army on Rome in 87 B.C. and started a civil war to prevent his political opponent from remaining in power.”

Ms. Boissoneault quotes Mike Duncan, the writer and podcast host of The History of Rome and Revolutions “most people have been jumping into the story of the Late Republic in the third act, without any real comprehension of what started to go wrong for the Romans in the 130’s and 120s B.C.” Mr. Duncan examines those issues in his new book, The Storm before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic. Ms. Boissoneault interviews him to determine his findings as to what went wrong for the Republic after it conquered Carthage. Rome was wealthier that it had ever thought imaginable. The wealth of the conquest is being concentrated in the senatorial elite, the generals and they think it’s natural that it all accumulates in their hands.

As we know, Rome did not fall overnight. But so many of the symptoms in our country appear to be cracks widening into crevices in our society. Wealth is concentrated in so few people. No attention being paid to the people that actually generate the wealth. We started out as a nation of farmers, the land was owned by the farmers. Now, who owns the land? Who owns the wealth? The farmers? Whatever becomes of small citizens? Do they just cease to exist?

Where does the resentment go that has been building in our country? I will examine the growth of the populist movement in future posts, especially in the black populations of the south. But in the meantime think about where we are going. This is not new territory it is just new to us. History repeats itself. Have the wealthy forgotten that?

I repeat every chance I get Mr. Lincoln advocated revolution. Say what? The founding father of the GOP, the Grand Old Party, espouse revolution when the government does not suit the will of the people? Yes, he did.

Back to the 21st Century

Workers in this country have generated massive increases in productivity in the last 50 years. But only the bosses and owners have benefited from it. The resulting inequality is immoral and destabilizing. “This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it or exercise their revolutionary right to overthrow it.” Abraham Lincoln

 

Portrait of Lincoln. Founding Father of the GOP and revolutionary. Google Images
Portrait of Lincoln. Founding Father of the GOP and revolutionary.

Why do these people not think that a day of reckoning won’t come? The day of reckoning always comes. Some quickly, some later. If a Trump can be elected president and show how the country and its people can be despoiled the pendulum can just as easily swing the other way. It can serve as a backlash to the illegal and immoral acts of the current administration.

Women have flexed their power this year in reaction to the vainglorious men who thought that indecency would not be punished. It will only take a slight breeze to keep the anger rolling into all corner of our lives.

The Vietnam War proved that the 1% can have their way for a while but maybe the time is now for all the pain and sorrow of lost children, of lost sons, of lost daughters, brothers and sisters of that era to be channeled in with the new losses of sons and daughters ignored by the powerful.  Could this be the time of paybacks? I can’t see into the future. I can only look at the past. When the pendulum swings too far in one direction it will always swing back in the other.

Today on Facebook, anger was boiling about the losses of sons and daughters. Of powerful people that won’t even try to solve the problem. Of people extremely wary of any hint of losing their right to bear arms. Of mother’s, of teacher’s all longing for this extreme tragedy to end.

A large part of our population sends their children to school. Yet the Senators, the Representatives, the President all perform according to their script. That script was proved fraudulent last week when they could not solve a years-old problem of immigration. That script was fraudulent after the massacre at Sandy Hook. That script was fraudulent at the Valentine Massacre of 2018.  There is no leadership only the wind stirring useless rhetoric stirring needless flame.

This has been a wide-ranging post taking in everything from immigrants to the 1% and their responsibility for living in this country to up to the minute current events. I can’t say there is even a main focus. Well, maybe there is. All people have a right to a fair chance in life. They cannot ethically be taken advantage of by the wealthy. That is what oligarchs do. And we are not Yet in an oligarchal society. We are quickly moving in the direction by there is still time to stop it.

How can this society let people like Carrie Lukas of the Independent Women’s Forum, a leading proponent of the Shapiro-Biggs paid leave plan that I mentioned earlier, act on her opinions that say, “Americans think about Social Security, which has long been the third rail of politics and therefore too painful to touch”. But she plans on changing that  “public opinion will undergo a sea change to embrace personal accounts or other substantial Social Security reforms.” In other words, get rid of Social Security and opt for individual savings plans. Plans which will swell the coffers of the banks and therefore add to the wealth of the 1%. Devious plans are afoot. Plans that seem to make sense on the surface until the lid is pried back and all of pandoras demons fly out.

Someone has to stop them. Stop them before there is no United States left that was envisioned by Abraham Lincoln, Justice Brandeis, Franklin Roosevelt, and Hubert Humphrey.

Instead, there will be a country in the likeness of Trump, Kelly, Nunes, McConnell, and Ryan. Only the wealthy need apply.

Thanks for stopping by.

Craig

“In the frank expression of conflicting opinions lies the greatest promise of wisdom in governmental action.”  Justice Louis Brandeis

Justic Louis Brandeis Google Images
Justice Louis Brandeis
Louis Brandeis with 'We must make our Choice" quote. Google Images
Louis Brandeis with ‘We must make our Choice”
Sea Smoke playing with the Steam Generating Plant in Downtown Duluth December 2017. Image by Rick Rice
Sea Smoke playing with the Steam Generating Plant in Downtown Duluth December 2017. Image by Rick Rice

Newer, Cleaner, Easier to Use

February 23, 2018

For those who have been following I Salute You! I appreciate your concern. I am sitting in my room, thoughts of tomorrow roaring in my mind. I am to undergo an angiogram or heart catheterization to plumb the depths of my quadruple bypass tubes grafted in 17 years ago. Not exciting unless everything comes back A-OK. Of course, as soon as the cardiologist or news from that doctor did not come down to release me yesterday (after the stress test and camera work)  and they put me on no food or water after midnight I knew something was up. More bad news. No procedure today. Try again Saturday. That means the earliest possible release is Sunday and more likely Monday. Since I have an appointment or two on Tuesday at the VA Hospital in St Paul. I am going on three weeks of hospital or rehab related activity. More fun than I anticipated when I went the Superior VA on December first, 2017 for cellulitis on my legs. 

Current Status

What I have been able to do is think thru my numerous blogs and try to plot a future course. Four main blogs are too many to manage, I did anticipate that some culling would be necessary when I started out on this path. It was even more apparent when I implemented the bullet points as changes to keep posts coming faster.

I anticipated the need to cut out one or two blogs to reduce research, planning, typing and proofing time. My decision, however, is to reduce the quantity of blogs from four to one. This means that the topics will remain the same but I will drop three separate websites and blend them into one. I will export the posts from deepeducationweb.com, lodestarandyou.com, and newboldessential.com to dabblerduckbutts.com. Why? I like the picture it portrays, duck butts pointed to the sky as they feed on the bottom of a pond. I think it is the best site to give me the freedom to write about a number of topics. Whether that pans out remains to be seen. Lastly, it will save a lot of money every year.

New Format New Focus

I will continue to post to my blogger accounts mnnoreaster.com and minecrjm.blogspot.com. Mnnoreaster is the blog I use to boost the city of Duluth. The blog spot I use to rail against the political landscape. That one is free so I am not going to make a decision on it just yet.

By concentrating posts into one nominal blog I will direct traffic to just one site and also hopefully force me to focus less on clutter and more substance. If I am stressing out about getting posts published that means I am not enjoying myself. If I’m not enjoying myself why do it?

So let’s try the new format and see what the newly improved dabblerduckbutts.com looks like.

dabblerduckbutts.com will cover topics such as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Veterans Healthcare, new mind-bending advances in Healthcare as they develop and, on occasion, a biography on a person that has demonstrated a strong desire to improve the nation that we call the United States of America. People have gone before us and with great courage, the force of will, and endless perseverance and steadfast promotion of the American ideals, have molded this nation into a light to all nations.

We are Proud of these two Elder Statesmen of the United States of America

hubert humphrey the politics of joy Google Images
Hubert Humphrey The Politics of Joy
humbert h humphrey, Vice President of the United States and Minnesota's Favorite Son Google Images
Humbert H Humprey, Vice President of the United States and Minnesota’s Favorite Son

Hubert H Humphrey said “The moral test of government is how it treats those in the dawn of life, the young; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy, the unemployed” HHH also said “compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism”.

Senator John McCain stated on occasion of receiving the Liberty Medal ” We are blessed, and we are a blessing to humanity in turn. The international order we helped build from the ashes of world war, and we defend to this day, has liberated more people from tyranny and poverty than ever before in history. This wondrous land has shared its treasures and ideals and shed the blood of its finest patriots to help make a new, better world.  To fear the world we organized and led for three quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain ‘the last hope of the earth’ for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems are as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.”

Senator John McCain Statesman Google Images
Senator John McCain, Statesman
John McCain Senator R AZ
John McCain, Senator R Az

 

 

 

Thanks for stopping by.

Craig

 

Motor vessel of the American Steamship Co preparing to enter the Port of Duluth MN thru Lake Superior's Sea Smoke Image by Rick Rice
Motor vessel of the American Steamship Co preparing to enter the Port of Duluth MN thru Lake Superior’s Sea Smoke Image by Rick Rice
M/V St Clair manuevering to her berth in the Port of Duluth MN. Image by Rick Rice
M/V St Clair maneuvering to her berth in the Port of Duluth MN. Image by Rick Rice

A Stay on the Duluth Waterfront Part Two

 

 

 

February 3, 2018

You may want to read my first post on this subject “A Stay on the Duluth Waterfront (Almost).

I am sitting in a room at St Mary’s/Essentia again. I had a six-day break while I was at Ecumen rehab and a less than full day at home.

This visit will tone down my effusive praise for this facility. I don’t mean to denigrate the facility because the issue is really with the healthcare system.

However, I can only tag the effects of the references to my stays in this hospital.

Men of a Heavyset Form Factor

A few caveats for men over 280 pounds.

The commodes for use at the bedside are too small. The hospital has at least one powered commode that appeared on my last day.

I didn’t get a chance to use it.

Also, risers that fit over the top of a toilet are available but they too are a bit small for my size.

You will also need a bariatric walker. Yes, the smaller aluminum ones work but you will be immensely more comfortable using the heftier one.

The Problem

Now the crux of this post. It is not specific to St Mary’s but it is a glaring screwup in the health care system.

After the initial hectic craziness of the Emergency Room or Urgent Care, YOU need to take the initiative and ask if you are being admitted to the hospital as a patient or just being admitted  ‘for observation’.

Observation is a fast way to perdition.

If you are in for observation your insurance company will probably not cover the cost of your medication.

An example: I went to the emergency room with a problem with my legs.
I was in the hospital. But I found out later I was NOT IN the hospital. I was only there for ‘OBSERVATION’.
I found out later from my insurance company in such a situation your hospital pharmacy is considered ‘OUT OF NETWORK’.
In which case they cover only a MINIMAL amount of expenses.
In my case, the bill for one day’s medication was $890. The insurance company was covering only about $120. So I am on the hook for almost $800 of medical expenses!
When I was talking with an account representative I admonished her that I should have been up told ahead of time.
If I had known I would have brought my drugs from home. “ON NO YOU CAN’T DO THAT!  We don’t allow you to bring drugs from home!

To Add insult to injury:

Before the insurance company will reimburse you; YOU HAVE TO PAY THE TOTAL AMOUNT UPFRONT.

Only then will they send you the 80% or whatever your policy stipulates@

Solution

What is a person to do? I don’t have the answer. It is up to each individual to answer that. In my case, Essentia sent me to a collection agency.
What is a person to do?
Thanks for stopping by.
Craig

A very wise and caring nurse explained that patients were bringing medications that were not in their original containers.

That leads to a very dangerous situation because the hospital does not REALLY KNOW what you take, the quantity and the dose.

I keep trying to figure out how to keep the good features of St Mary’s at the forefront of this article.
I keep coming back to its people.

To say that it’s staff is younger is to imply age discrimination which is probably not true.

But I queried almost every team member as to how long they have been at St Mary’s and there was only one that has been there for seven years.

The RN’s are predominantly young women that have been with St Mary’s for five years but most two or three.

CNA’s even less.

Most CNA‘s have longevity in the two to three-year range.

Many are studying for their nursing degree.

They are articulate, knowledgeable, confident, and smart.

Management has done a good job in hiring and training their staff.

An example of the staff’s exceptionalism occurred last evening.

I was scheduled to be No Foods after midnight (including water!).

So I ordered breakfast to come by 7 PM since the kitchen closed at 7.

This was the only major, major screw up by the kitchen staff.

My ‘breakfast didn’t show up.

The staff was well aware that my last meal would have to last at least 17 or so hours.

A young CNA graduating in May as an RN went today to a cafe and bought me a bacon cheeseburger and fries. OUT OF HIS OWN POCKET.

His name was Zach.

I hope many people read this blog so he gets the recognition he deserves.

 

 

Thanks for stopping.
Craig
A dear friend (even though he may not know that, has given me permission to use his images in my posts). Thank you Rick Rice Duluth MN.

A larger display of his talent and God-given gift is on display on a separate website.

As he makes more images I add them to that site several times a year.

fc084-rick2brice2bship2bprescue2bisland