Monday, January 15, 2018

Light Runs From Me

The sun is free, shadowed by trees;
I see the light running from me.
My skin is cold, my soul is torn;
Sunlight kiss me, but never warms.
Thoughts are black, my mind plays games;
Compassions gone, staggering pain.
Blindly run, lost, losing track of time;
Thoughts are bleak, they break my mind.

Something missing, soon to break;
Mistake, mistake, mistake after mistake.
I feel the ache, pain to my bones;
Will I see home, die alone I groan.
The sun stares blankly, run light run;
Angry soul, heavy heart, it's just not done.
Wake up, fake smile, fake I'm okay;
And again the light fades, fades away.

Sky is clear, sunny day, life abound;
Broken down, no sound, brains wound.
Times up, challenges I don't accept;
Inept I wept, expect promises unkept.
Again the sun fades with sun shades;
Brigades of grenades, tired of charades.
Sun cascades but misses me, blockades;
Decades avoiding parades and crusades.

The light running from me, without remorse;
Of course I try to find the source by force.
Drawn to light and intercourse, denied;
Cried wide eyed, pride slides from inside.
Fears unclear, light hits the atmosphere;
Bounces off the new year and disappears.
Again suns free, but shadowed by trees;
All I can see is light running from me.

Monday, June 19, 2017

We Can't Win The Middle East

Dear President,

Quick history. The Sunni and Shia had a problem. The rightful heir after the death of the prophet Muhammad died. They didn't agree on the successor, the true Caliph. Then, since the mid 7th century or so (do your own research), war.

Fast forward, ummm, 1500 years, and you have Muslims throughout the world. Most, approximately 80%,are sunni, possibly beyond 90%. That doesn't mean there aren't that many Shia, but they're a little outnumbered. However, they have, and have had power in the middle east. The Sunni don't like that, so more war, genocide, civil war in Syria, etc.

These guys hate each other already. Then comes the cold war and another event, the “big game”. This was a land grab in the middle east by any nation with money.

It's not a coincidence that the Afghans have Russian weapons. The Soviets gave them aid and weapons in the 50’s. Yada Yada Yada, the soviets attack. They want a buffer area, and they, like us, wanted oil from Iraq. The US denied the Afghans pleas for aid, before the war, a war that will last 9 years, with approximately 2 million people, mostly innocent, dead. The US funded Afghanistan.

But not too much, Jimmy Carter was afraid of US-Russian relations, obviously. Then Reagan provides more support. With some financial aid and diplomacy, the Geneva Accord managed to have Russia leave Afghanistan. Russia and Pakistan claim they were restoring peace, as Al Queda we're supporting terrorists and claiming Jihad. Arguing about the reason is pointless for me. As regular citizens, we will never know everything.

None of that matters now anyways, although everything culminated in a war torn country with many refugees fleeing the country. The fighters, however, stay. And we ignored them. They were angry, armed, rugged killers. The Soviet Union collapsed, and, Bin Laden claims victory for God. Jihad continues, which include America. We know the rest.

Still, we will not win the Middle East with war, but strong diplomacy. They don't care if they die, but our soldiers do, and si do we. We keep bombing them, rinse and repeat, currently attacking 7 countries. It doesn't work, this isn't the Gulf War where we stopped and invasion then proceeded to Baghdad. This is a war of Sunni and Shia, Jihad and the Islamic State.

So our choices are to continue killing every bad Muslims or negotiate with them, help them rebuild and get that oil through diplomacy. So, either way, we can't win the Middle East, but we can let things go and buy the oil.

At this point, I really don't care what we do as long as we have a good energy policy. Keep the drones going, hundred of attacks a month, kill bad guys and their wives amd neighbors because, America. During that time, more and more Muslim extremist begin us. Or, let them kill each other, but in a way to get that oil.

Basically we're screwed if we do, damned if we don't. Although I gave the very brief, incomplete version of events, but get the hell out and spend money on us like health care, education, infrastructure and all the other things that actually help us.

Many Thanks,
Anonymous American

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Political Divide

THE CHASM

I've been reading the news and Twitter a lot lately. I'm 39, so I've been around a little bit, and for the first time, I'm truly afraid we're at a political breaking point.

My focus for school was economics. I read about business, the economy, finance and government spending. For the first time, I'm afraid of an economic crisis that will make 2008 look frighteningly minor. Enough of that, we need to understand something first:

THE PROBLEM

This is my opinion, backed by sound logic and studying. It began with Ronald Reagan and “trickle down” economics. At that moment, the rich won, period. With all that extra capital, the invested and grew massive. The killer for the rest of us? Citizens United. Period.

So here we are, controlled by a minority who want to keep us down. Democrats and Republicans alike are for sale. But, we have two very fundamental yet extremely different economic views. On the right, small government, less spending, tax breaks to grow the economy and states rights. The left, a socialized democracy. Tax, with rates increasing with money, and spend. In a perfect world, a socialized, yet capitalistic society is easily the best way. Period.

How am I so convinced that, in a perfect world, the left is right? Because your money payed to a perfect government, would be used to solely protect you. Agencies for your security and safety. Money for education expenses. Smaller military budget. Free health care so you life expectancy doesn't depend on your wallet. The list goes on. Including, most importantly, money to states to help grow our nation.

I didn't say a perfect government twice, however, on accident. Because of actions over the last thirty years, our government cannot pass anything without approval from lobbies.

The consequences are simple, you won't get re-elected if you disagree with the powers that be, in many cases. Lobbyists do not need to convince them all, just enough. The result is a masterpiece created by the wealthy, where money makes money and capital is king.

Now comes the rise of social media. If your friend sends an article, it must be true. Then, the media isn't informing the nation. The real reporters are competing with a massive social media attack on our very foundation, our democracy and our safety. This had lead to:

HATE and IGNORANCE

That's the source of the problem. I'm not saying ignorance because of a lack of intelligence. It's was a subtle beginning when Obama became president. As a liberal who thinks Obama was a great leader, Check him out. The hatred from the left spilled over. Fox News and other even further left outlets bashed him daily. People who watch these, by and large bought it. However, he had over 400 accomplishments of which many affect you in a good way.

But the chasm grew. Our Congress was divided along party lines. The left and right medias begin to step up the hate. Both sides spreading misinformation, or ignorance, at a feverish pace. Politics have always been divided, but not like this.

Before, there was nightly news. Unbiased, fact based news. The paper, with op-eds for both sides, but actually news. Sources were confirmed, experts were involved and our media simply informative.

Now, with misinformation flying, no one believes the other side. New York Times, The Washington Post and other major publications began searching for clicks. There's no money without them. The right, influenced by Fox News and other right leaning media outlets, didn't trust other, leftist, elitist news. The left clinged to it. MSNBC, the Fox News for the left, fueled their hatred, constantly attacking the right. And the war grew, and grew. A clash for the ages begins:

HILLARY v TRUMP

And here we are. Trump promised the world, Hillary wasn't ready to promise that. She was pragmatic, and she was under attack, under investigation, and she represented the elite, even though her life was dedicated to the underprivileged.

Trump, however, was not a politician, he was going to end the wars, destroy ISIS, fix health care, bring back jobs, and that's just his first week. He thrived because the media had made people hate the government, because he didn't talk or act like a politician, who have let us down, time and time again. We needed someone to shake it up. And he certainly is.

On a liberal note, andI would love to be wrong, but I challenge anyone to find an Executive Order or a bill passed that has helped you. Not a coal miner, not a factory worker, but you? I've read them all, looking at each one to find one good thing, but I simply couldn't. The only good ones carry no money, therefore, worthless words.

I truly wanted to find something good. It's just not there. It's June 19th, hundreds of important government jobs are missing. He blames the media, the democrats, Mexico, China and Obama. Always someone or something to blame. And nothing has been done, not really
More an illusion of accomplishments than actual accomplishments. But please, prove me wrong. Maybe I am too blinded by bias.

He continues to blame Obama for his pathetic 8 years, but Obama came in with our country bleeding money, yet he didn't blame anyone, he went to work. Obama Care has helped millions, but it was never perfect. It needs to be fixed, not replaced. It won't get it, and it will die along with people. Actual people will actually die or go into financial ruin. The rich? They get more.

The hatred now has already turned violent, on both sides. Trump supporters being beaten over a bumper sticker. Liberals being punched at a rally, with our President egging him on. ANTIFA trying to bring a message, I think, but are only bringing and inciting violence. A right wing politician, gunned down by a liberal at a softball game. Trump attacking our media, the White House saying one thing, Trump tweeting another. And so the final step for the rich and powerful is complete:

GENERALIZATION

The media war tells us that every liberal who doesn't like Trump is a snowflake. How dare you not support our President? We lived through 8 years of Obama, Satan himself, and we still stood by him as our President.

Their selective memory, though, is encouraged by our news cycle and media attacks, but is very frustrating for the left who remember how Republicans treated Obama. He couldn't do anything right. Killing Bin Ladin, the mastermind behind 9/11 wasn't enough, so I'm not sure how he have could please you. The right, increasingly ignorant due to the misinformation war over the past decade, and the left, increasingly angry at Trump, Congress and their inaction and spite.

What I just stated is what's going on, right now. Generalization, period. Now it's right v left. If you're right, you're a nationalistic, red blooded American, Trump loving, gun loving, idiotic fool who allowed Trump to con you and believe we need to make America great again, as if we were so awesome for so long and the damn liberals ruined it. If you're left, however, you're a pussy, gun hating, socialist, America hating, tree hugging, elitist, city living, precious little snowflake. So fragile, so anti-american that we can't wait to gain back power and destroy your freedom.

The truth isn't that easy. The truth is how it's always been. Most of us lean left or right, where we can talk about politics and come to some sort of agreement. On the fringes, are the far left and right, out of sight due to online anonymity. Spewing hate and generalizing the other side.

Normal people just want to live a good life. We can agree on some things, even now. We want a government that works for us. We want good opportunities to make money. We want to be proud of our country. We want people to be kind. We want a thriving economy. We want easy access to food, clean water, shelter and the basic needs. We want justice. We want safety and security, but also privacy, an increasingly difficult task with modern technology. And we want all this and complete freedom. We want this, but we don't want to pay taxes.

We just can't agree on how to get there. What's different now is that we're blaming citizens, holding them accountable for the actions of the elected. We're also blaming citizens for believing the biased media, on both sides. Anything sound wrong about those statement? Which finally leads to:

THE END

We are going to continue to generalize. Violence breeds more violence. Government corruption continues to propagate content. A nation at war, right vs left vs the rest of the world. Economic collapse. Climate disaster. Energy crisis. We simply want too much, and the hatred grows. It's not about Trump, it's about us. But that has been long lost, lost because of corporate greed and a misinformation war. It can go several ways. Civil War, martial law, a military coup? Nothing at all and life continues as-is?

I can't see the future, but I am watching the present and study the past. There's something different brewing in America, but it's all too familiar throughout mankind's existence, whether created by a God, or through evolution. Money and power accumulate at the top. The top begins to control the masses, either by corrupting a government or simply by force. The only difference now is technology.

Unfortunately, technology never saved past empires. The masses cannot be controlled and used by the few for long. Have we reached that point. Absolutely. The masses are pissed, tired of being held down. Tired of electing people with good intentions, only to see them break down by a broken system. What happens next could become history, the legend of the greatest country to date, lost to the books and the ages.

I hope I'm wrong!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Trumponomics

Trump’s budget was outright scary. In order to pay for increasing our military spending, he wants to cut everything. As someone who wants to create jobs, he seems to forget about the massive amounts of federal employees that will lose their jibs due to the cuts.

On top of that, he argues that we have less ships than we did in the 90’s and our planes are old. I don’t even know where to start. In the 90’s, we began to decommission WWII era ships, as they had a 50 year lifespan and had outlived their purpose. A single Aircraft Carrier group could destroy most of the world’s Navy’s. Our submarines are country destroying machines. Our destroyers are just that and our carriers are not only better than any carrier on Earth, but the number of them are greater than all countries combined.

As for our planes, aside from the F-22 Raptor, and the F-35 joint strike jets that will come online soon, yes, our planes are “old”. The F-16 has been in service for decades, but is still one of the most reliable and impressive aircraft around. Not to mention that it is constantly geting upgraded. Our B-2 Spirit can destroy air defense systems and infrastructure allowing non stealth attacks, and return home without being seen. It can carry 80 conventional 500 pound bombs, or 16 2400 pound thermal nuclear bombs. That’s not even mentioning our B-52, B-1 and the B-21 which is expected to be in service by 2020.

My point, our military is just fine and the proposed cuts will hurt everyone. Our EPA is going to be gutted; even Meals on Wheels, which takes up such a small part of our GDP.

Then you have the attack on illegal immigrants and on our trade deficit. His focus on coal and manufacturing jobs is perplexing as we have moved to a service country for a reason. Those jobs are higher paying and better jobs. Who wants to make iPhones over selling and servicing them?

By deporting illegal immigrants, rather than giving them a pathway to citizenship is another head scratcher as they benefit our economy greatly. So does trade, and we have a trade deficit for a reason. We consume more than we can produce, and we benefit from trading with China and other nations. His proposed 30-40 percent tariff is a tax that we will pay for. If companies have to move back to the US, the cost of that will be paid for by us as well. None of it makes economic sense.

Trump’s plan, if approved, will destroy our economy. Things will cost to much, people will buy less, unemployment will rise leading to less purchases and so on. There is no upside to his plan and only ignorant people think everything should be made on the USA and we need more manufacturing jobs. Although with Betsy Devos, our children will probably only be able to get unskilled jobs anyways, maybe that’s his plan. The only people who will benefit from his plans and deregulations are his friends. He even said as much, saying that his friends can’t borrow money like they used too. His friends are doing fine, it’s everyone else that needs help.

Humans have traded commodities since before civilization when one clan realized that they develop one thing really well and another clan develops something else. It’s called specialization, and Trump with his nationalistic point of view can destroy that tradition. We cannot let that happen.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Trump is Great

He is great at many things. He's great at tapping into white rage (whether real or imagined), he's great at deflection, he's great at speaking for hours without saying a word and he's great at name brand recognition. Love him or hate him, his name is synonymous with luxury and success the world over. We'll never know how successful he really is, the last tax returns we know of shows a loss of 900 million dollars!

However, he is our President. It's time to start hoping he succeeds, not fails. For his failures affect us, not him. While his cabinet picks are scary and he vows to put a pro-lifer in the Supreme Court, never forget that he isn't a King, he answers to us.

Our Congress, as worthless as they might be, will be the only check on his power, but it is a major check. He will not be able to put a 35% tariff on imports without Congress. He will not be able to build a walk without Congress. While he can sign executive orders, they are limited in power. Any real changes to our laws must go through Congress with a super majority, and that is where we can make our voices heard. Call your elected officials, and call them often. They are our representatives because they represent us, not special interests and they certainly don't work for Trump.

One another note, let's also not forget to remember that Trump is also good at negotiating, a skill that is vital to the Presidency. Perhaps he can negotiate better trade deals, perhaps his ego will not allow him to fail. Perhaps he will fail (most likely), but wishing for that is wishing for your own failure.

However, his nationalistic views are very scary, as is his temperament. We rely on global trade to feed our ever growing consumer culture. Without it, the cost of goods would skyrocket. Like taxes, the costs of tariffs are passed to the consumers. This is economics 101.

Let's pretend he does pass a 35% tariff. Then what? Will companies bring back those manufacturing jobs, the call center jobs? Those jobs we lost to China, India and other nations are not jobs we want back. Ask yourself, would you rathed make an iPhone or would you rather design it, market it, sell it and service it?  Not to mention that manufacturing production in the US is at an all time high, but that's due to robotics. Never forget, though, that those robots need to be maintained, designed and built. These are the jobs that you want. So are the management and administrative jobs, but they require education, and that is where our country is struggling.

We are, and have been for years, primarily a financially centered and service country. These jobs require skills and education that so many are lacking, mostly to no fault of their own. Instead of trying to bring back horrible, low paying manufacturing jobs, we must focus on high paying skilled labor jobs. We must focus on high quality education, trade schools and making it easier to go to college. Doing so will naturally increase growth and opportunities.

We are near the natural unemployment rate with less than a quarter million people actively looking for work who can't find one. This is the lowest rate since the 70's meaning Trump has inherited a country with a strong economy, strong markets and low unemployment. Trump can easily destroy that, but my hopes are that his own ego won't allow that to happen. Of course, you have to actually read the economic reports and not think they're a comunistic plot against him, but I have to believe he will.

Instead of continuing the partisanship, we should unite, proving that we are better than they are. Peaceful protests are great, but the destruction of property and the assaulting of Trump supporters has to end. It's disgusting and it helps no one. No one should be persecuted in this country for any reason, especially just because they voted for and support someone you don't like. Grow up! You're making us all look like whiney little bitches, which most of us are not. Remember, pick up the phone and call your congressional leaders. That is by far the best approach to enacting real change. They work for us, and it is up to us to hold them to account.

Trump can attempt to silence the media, but he will fail as they are protected under the constitution that the Republicans hold so dear. He also cannot silence us, no matter how hard he tries. But so many protesters are acting like fools. This isn't good for anyone and only proves his point. It only takes a few of you to make us all look bad, and that's exactly what you are doing.

I'm a liberal. I'm afraid Trump is nowhere near qualified for office. I'm afraid of our congress. I'm afraid that he might pick up to 3 justices. But he is your President, like it or not. So start acting like an adult and deal with it like an adult would. Not through destruction, but through constant phone calls. You voice won't be heard on Facebook or Twitter, but they have to answer the phone. Inconvenience them to no end.

It is true though that so many Americans have lost everything due to globalization. The rust belt is real, and our government left them in the cold. We subsidize everything, but we couldn't help those who lost their lives due to plant closures. This has been the worst failure of the government I can think of, a government whose job it is to protect the citizens, whether it is from terrorism or economic crisis. They have dailed at the latter.

Most importantly, you can hate Trump, but denying that he is you President doesn't help. He is, and he works for us. Don't let him forget that.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

A Story of Tragedy and Time for Introspection

The Scene: A wonderful Fourth of July weekend in the large backyard of a friend. That Saturday was perfect. Great weather; the sun was out with a perfect breeze. Great food and even better company, including my wife. By evening, the fire was roaring, along with the conversation.

Then, out of nowhere; the all to familiar sound of metal being crushed. This was different from accidents I’ve heard, whether in real life or on T.V. This was loud, this was close and this was very, very bad. Someone was in bad shape.

My friend, who had grown up there, began to run along with others. She knew exactly where to go. My wife and I grabbed the car for more light. I lost them and initially went the wrong way. After a little confusion, we finally arrived on scene. My friend ran to the car; I’ve never seen such terror and sadness in anyone’s face before. She described a horrific spectacle, one that I will get to.

The most important thing she said was a man had hit a tree and was lying dead. My wife is in the medical profession, although she works in the lab. She is trained in CPR, but fortunately she never had to use it; until now. She ran to the body to perform Chest Only Compressions. A well known procedure that will double your odds of survival. A man who had “done CPR for 35 years” had already assessed the body, simply saying he had no pulse, don’t touch him. My wife ignored his ignorant advice, knowing the odds were slim, but also knowing this man’s life was worth trying, who gives a shit about the odds. I was just there for moral support, with several people watching and more showing up.

My wife was yelling if anyone is on the phone with 911; no answer. She still yells out what she is doing, “beginning compressions”, falling on deaf ears but mine.

This is not a story about the other people though, this was a horrible event for everyone involved. It is simply my story, and what I saw and felt that night. Mostly a story of my beautiful wife doing everything she could in such an extraordinary event.

The man, likely thinking my wife was tired (I hope, but doubt) or doing it wrong (CPR has changed a lot in 35 years), took over. He began 10 slow compressions and asked my poor wife to begin mouth-to-mouth; a completely unnecessary procedure in this situation.

Again though, while this isn’t a story of him, I just don’t understand how anyone with knowledge of CPR could stand there telling people to not touch him. Then getting in and telling my wife to do mouth-to-mouth when she knew it wasn’t going to help. She yells for a shirt to support his head, I take mine off and give it to her. His neck was a large reason for not doing mouth-to-mouth. After thick, foaming and bloody fluid began pouring out of his mouth, we knew there was no chance.

Again, this isn’t really about the strangers, but something is bothering both my wife and I about that man. My wife was doing just fine while he was doing nothing, compression only CPR is very common, and in this case, the right thing to do. I guess it wasn’t up to his standards, after all, he already pronounced he was dead (which is when you do CPR), who was this woman going against his word, tying to save this man’s life. You don’t manipulate a person’s head who likely has a broken neck. You certainly don’t ask someone else to. Who the fuck do you think you are.

The New Scene: Let’s get away from that. I can’t keep feeling angry with that man, but I am, and will be for some time. So I step back, trying to comprehend what the fuck had just happened. A car, sandwiched between two trees. One tree ripped the driver side to shreds. It was the other tree that was hit head-on. The car was like nothing I’ve seen. Looking at the trunk was the only way to tell what kind of car it was; a Dodge Charger, maybe 2008. The wreckage was strewn across 50 yards, maybe farther. A moon roof in the grass, the driveshaft under it. The passenger front wheel assembly was 150 feet away where it had hit a truck, damaging the door. It looked like the wreckage of a small airplane. The man was ejected about 25 feet into a third tree. His body was unnaturally contorted, broken legs, arms; basically everything.

The Next Day: After a long night, where all of us talked about it in our own way; my friend and I went to the store, passing the site on the way there and back. It was the trip back when it all became clear. A long straight stretch of road and a nasty turn. There were no tire makes, no indication that he even tried to stop and the tree he ended up lying next to was straight ahead. He didn’t stop, he didn’t turn and fortunately, he likely didn’t know what hit him. He was killed instantly.

There is much more and I could go on for hours, it was simply a tragedy, one that everyone involved will carry with them for life. Any empathetic human can’t forget a situation like that, not to mention the fear that someone else may have been in the car. In particular, a child as there was a lunchbox and backpack visible. A small concession in this terrible catastrophe is that he was alone and he died instantly. Small, but still meaningful.

My Wife: Our 16th anniversary was that Sunday. Since this happened late at night ,we actually kicked off our “celebration” with this calamity. What I feel for my wife has profoundly changed. I see not only my beautiful, extraordinary wife; I see a woman with compassion that overflows. An amazing, empathetic woman who can overcome any adversity thrown her way. But also a woman I am so worried about because she is carrying the weight of this man’s life on her shoulders.

I don’t know what to do, but I start by showing her just how proud I am of her, to be there for her and try and ease that burden from her. If I could take it from her, I would carry that weight, but I can’t. All I can do is love her, tell her how much she means to me and give her a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen with. Give her words of encouragement as often as I can repeat to her that she did the right thing and that she gave this man a chance, and he was worth it. CPR might double your odds, but his odds were very slim. That doesn’t mean you don’t try, I hope someone with her courage will be there for me if I ever need it.

My love for her has never been stronger, my appreciation has never been deeper and my respect has never been more evident.

Adverse Emotional Overload: The first emotions I felt after hearing the crash were fear and worry. While driving to the scene, it was arrant chaos. After arriving at the scene, when my friends expression said it all, it was disbelief, sadness and angst. Then adrenalin kicked in. During this brief time, there was only a flurry of commotion.

Things moved slowly, sounds were acutely discernable. There were a few moments of hope as well. Someone said his eyes opened. I was looking at him, and I didn’t notice any sign of life, yet hearing that still provided some feeling of optimism, however brief it was. Then sheer anger. The anger began when the man told my wife to do mouth-to-mouth. But that wasn’t the end. My wife began to say things like “come on buddy” which was repeated by a couple people, including myself. Then the man said “he’s not waking up, leave him alone”. Again, who the fuck is this man to tell us to give up hope. Sure, we knew he was probably right, but what is wrong with optimism in a time like this. Even if it’s just to make us feel better. Fuck you, you contemptuous piece of shit.

After the fluids, when everyone gave up (emergency responders were still not on site, more on that later), I believe I was in shock. I wasn’t really feeling much of anything, and there was a disconnect between my feelings and reality. I saw the same look in everyone’s eyes. A look of total disbelief, fear and sadness.

I was numb, even while my wife gave statements, even when we got back to our fire, and even while everyone but me began to drink heavily. I was not drinking because I wanted to make sure that if my wife was ready to go home, she could. I wanted her to drink, she needed to feel numb.

Then the emotions slowly began to hit me as reality started sinking in as I was staring into the fire. Images of the scene, the disturbing thoughts of how mangled the car was, then the thoughts of how that poor young man was Just as mangled. The images of emergency personnel going through his pockets. The images of my wife giving mouth-to-mouth. The images of her covered in blood. All those emotions that I was numb for at the time came flooding in, and I couldn’t stop it. But my main focus was on the anger towards that man and the trauma he put my wife through. Everyone began to have a good time again, as I just stared at the fire. I was happy my wife had drank enough to be content, if even for the moment, but I knew it was temporary. My biggest concern was her.

Sure, I was sad about the man who died, disturbed by the whole event, I was worried about my friends and their children in the house who were having a very hard time. They thought there was an explosion out back, and they were very traumatized. But nothing compared to how worried I was about my wife and how she was going to cope with this. This was when my emotions began to overload.

Societal Failure: As people began gathering, I didn’t think much of it at the time, but so many people were just watching. I can’t blame them, I had no idea of what to do either. I would have helped my friends look through the car, and they put their lives at risk to do so, but my focus was on my wife. As soon as she ran to the body, I ran with her. Again, I certainly don’t blame anyone for not doing more, I blame our society. After doing some research, I found out the staggering amount of people who have died as people stood around doing nothing.

Anyone can do chest compressions, and that simple act can double your chance of survival. But people are scared and uninformed, myself included. How could the “greatest country on Earth” have so many cases of people dying while others watch? How could someone sue another for giving CPR? It’s happened. I understand why this is an issue, but I don’t understand why we can’t fix it. It should be our duty to help those in need, but you could get punished for it. Maybe it’s a lawsuit because you broke their ribs. Maybe it’s a scam to rob you blind. Anyway you look at it, people are afraid to help others, and I can’t blame them.

If you see someone collapse and they don’t have a pulse, call 911 and immediately begin chest compressions. You don’t need special training (although it helps of course), just read and learn how to do it. You never know, you might just save someone’s life. Standing around and waiting for emergency services might be too late.

Speaking of emergency services, another disturbing thing happened that night. No one could get through to 911. The owner of the house the crash took place at was the first to see the wreckage. As my friends were running, they heard him yell “call 911”. She did, and could not get through. It took her 5 times, and others had the same problem. Perhaps too many were calling at once, but this is 2016. How could it he that 911 is so completely inadequate? Is it underfunded? Are the systems out of date? If so, how have we as a nation allowed this to happen? It was the Fourth of July weekend, you would think they would be prepared for high call volume, but obviously not.

While in this case, neither of the aforementioned issues would have made a difference. Someone could have began CPR immediately and the emergency services could have gotten there in seconds, this man was not going to survive. But what if he wasn’t in that bad of shape? People would have stood around trying to get ahold of 911, waiting for them to arrive. It would have been too late, and a preventable death would be the outcome. It happens a lot, every day in every part if the country. People die because bystanders are either afraid to give CPR, don’t know how to or first responders don’t show up in time. Perhaps it’s simply because 911 is not properly equipped. Google knows where I am, why can’t 911 dispatchers?

There is an app for every single occasion, what about an emergency app that dials 911, gives your pinpoint location and tips on what to do in real-time? Why can’t we text 911? Why the fuck is this system so antiquated? The solution seems so simple it’s disgusting, let’s upgrade our most important public safety service, who cares what it costs. I have had a really hard time with this fact after some very simple research. What is the value of human lives? We have unlimited money for wars, but our infrastructure us crumbling, and the 911 service is part of that. No one wants to ever have to use it, but you certainly expect the phone to be answered when you do need it.

I didn’t have that problem in LA when my friend and I stopped to help an old man who was in a minor accident. My problem was trying to tell them where I was. I didn’t know, running to find signs, trying to ask for help. The operator was pissed with me, I finally found a street corner and he asked west or eastbound. I didn’t even know that. I had been there for about a week. But again, Google Maps can show what part of my house I’m in. That is simply fucked beyond comprehension.

What’s more concerning, terrorist attacks that are obviously horrible, but also rare. Or not being able to get ahold of 911, or if you do, them not knowing where you are if you’re on a cell phone? I think the answer is obvious and if you hedge on this question, wake the fuck up! I think we can all agree that no 911 call should go unanswered at the least. At best, 911 should be able to track your location, just like Google Maps can. I don’t even understand why this is an issue in 2016 and the proliferation of cell phones. Refuckingdiculous!

Emergency Personnel: Yes, I knocked 911, but I’m talking about the service, or lack thereof. The people behind the scenes are amazing at what they do. They must be prepared for literally anything, and also have to hear calls that are likely devastating to hear.

Then, there are the first responders, who see tragedies, such as what we saw, on a daily basis. There was a young man, likely a volunteer firefighter in his late teens, early 20’s. He was getting information from anyone who touched the body. He was visibly shaken, the clipboard in his hand revealed this. He was asking simple contact information and forgot to get my wife’s phone number. He too will be traumatized by what he saw that night, yet did his job admirably. As did the others on scene, going through the car with great care to ensure no one else was in it.

It was hard to know, the dashboard was crushed down into the front seats and the car was a fraction of the size of what it was. Doors were ripped off, and like my friends, they put their lives on the line. Although there was no smell present, you just don’t know with a car that was crushed to this extent.

Finally, although not needed in this case, are the emergency room staff. Day after day, night after night, they see tragedy. You can’t save everyone, but they give it their best. They might lose someone one minute only to have to go right back to work on someone else who might be in critical condition.

All these people have one thing in common: they are no stranger to seeing dead bodies or worse, trying to save someone and not being able to. However, the difference between them and us who witnessed this particular tragedy, while they also fail to resuscitate at times, they also have victories, bringing people back from death. Those victories, which was denied to us and, in particular, my wife, are important to ease the grieving process. For those who don’t have victories, only one failure to resuscitate, how can you get past that grief? How do you cope?

We all have different coping skills, but my wife is taking it very personally. She is angry. Angry at the man who forced her to do mouth-to-mouth, while prior to her beginning compressions, he just stood there, announcing he is dead. Yes, he had no pulse, that’s the entire point of CPR. She is angry at all the people standing around, doing nothing but watch as my wife gave CPR while others searched the wreckage for others. No one offered help, they simply watched. She is angry that no one would respond to her when she asked simple questions. She is angry that she has to get tested for bloodborne pathogens for the next 6 months because of mouth-to-mouth on a stranger.

Her anger is justified, because that’s simply how she feels. I am angry with her. While I did very little except give up my shirt, I understand her anger. If that piece of shit hadn’t asked her to do mouth-to-mouth, which he could have done himself with his fucking 35 years of experience, things would be much different, for both of us. The sadness would still be there, but the anger would not. I can’t imagine what she must have felt doing that, and the image of her will never leave me. But she did it, because that’s just the type of person she is.

Why did I not speak up? I’m no expert, but even I knew he was performing 1970 style CPR. Why did I let her do that? Why didn’t I pull her away and tell her she doesn’t need to do that? Why didn’t I call out this man who did nothing to help this young man? These questions will be with me for a very long time. I didn’t protect my love, I guess I was in shock and felt completely useless. That excuse isn’t good enough for me. And my anger extends beyond what I have stated, my anger extends to myself for allowing my wife to be put in that situation.

She is also extremely sad. We don’t even know the mans name. Why there is no record of this accident is beyond me. But she is taking on his burden, a burden that is not hers to carry. That is the burden for his friends and family to carry, but she is just that type of person. I want to help her carry this, but I don’t know how. Again, I’ll simply show her my appreciation, my love, my admiration and my loyalty. I hope that is enough. My solace is knowing that she is such an amazing, strong woman who, together, we will get past this.

She is no hero, she doesn’t want any accolades. Our friends were just as courageous, immediately running to the scene and going through the car. She doesn’t want anything, but I do. I want to free her from the pain she is feeling. I want to be a better husband for her and I need her to know that she is my hero and that I could never put into words how impressed and amazed I am with her reaction and her compassion. The same goes to my friends. It’s a wonderful feeling to know you’re surrounded by such caring, benevolent people.

The Comfort of God: When there was no chance of bringing this man back, someone covered him with a blanket saying “he’s with God now”. How comforting this must be. As an atheist, I don’t have that comfort. Such a simple, convenient thought, he’s in a better place. For me, my better place is here on Earth with my wife, family and friends.

While I completely understand that appeal, that feeling that there is not only more after this life, but it’s a perfect place to spend eternity with all your friends and family. Perhaps he is up in heaven, hanging out with people he may have lost, waiting for his other loved ones to join him. Or maybe he’s not up there, and God judged him to spend eternity suffering in hell. Obviously, I don’t believe in heaven or hell, but find it hard to imagine any God would be so vindictive, cruel and spiteful. If you need hell to motivate you to be good, then I have trouble thinking you’re actually a good person. A good person does good things not to avoid hell, but because they feel good helping others and because they are empathetic humans who actually care about their neighbors and even strangers. However, I get the appeal, it just seems like such a convenient belief.

I view things differently though. This is our life, the only one we have. That man lost his. Maybe he was drunk, maybe he was texting, perhaps he fell asleep or had a medical emergency. Whatever the case, he is gone and will live on. Not in heaven, but in the memories of his loved ones, and now, in the memories of a group of strangers.

What struck me though, was here was a man who likely had every bone in his body broken. Twisted, bloody and yet, he looked completely at peace. Even as fluids began pouring out of his mouth, he wasn’t choking. He had no pain at all. He was in the abyss that we will all enter one day. I can only hope that I go as peacefully as he did.

It’s doubtful he even had time to be afraid. He was gone in an instant, a death so many are not as fortunate to have. For example, had he not been ejected, the dashboard would have cut him in two. Maybe he survives, pinned between the dashboard and the seat with his final moments being intense pain and extreme fear. Instead, it was instant. No different than dying in your sleep.

You don’t know how long you have on this Earth, but eventually, your time is up. We can only hope for a death that is instant, painless and peaceful. I wasn’t thinking about this until much later, but it does give me comfort. He was taken too soon, but he was gone in a bat of the eye.

A Time For Contemplation and Introspection: A recurring dream and little sleep for the first few nights made Introspection impossible. Fortunately, my doctor gave me something to help me sleep. The dream was me, standing over the man’s body, which was even worse than it was in real life. My wife, covered in blood from head to toe takes my shirt frim under the man’s neck as his head twists in a horrific manner. She hands me the shirt, “it’s cold outside” she says, crying. I put it on and it is wet with blood. I can feel the blood dripping, then I wake up. From Saturday until Wednesday, I got very little sleep, making things worse.

After getting some sleeping pills, and finally getting some good sleep, I began to reflect on the situation as well as my life. I wasn’t going to let this man’s death be in vein. I was going to use it to try and better myself. Oddly enough, my fear of death has been greatly diminished. Of course I want to live as long as possible; but that look of peace I spoke of finally made me realize that, while life is precious, death is a release of all the pain, burdens and other scars, emotional and physical, that we all carry with us.

Consciousness is a capricious bitch. Ever changing, always there. We have all seen roadkill, the mangled corpse of an animal, a bag of blood, organs and bones. We’re no different. Our bodies are just as feeble, if not more so than many of life’s marvelous creatures. Our brain is what separates us from animals, but we too are simply bags of blood, organs and bones. A perfect system when everything is working properly. But it is so delicate. Our bones break, our organs fail and we are aware of this. We are aware of our own mortality. This is the burden of self-awareness. Animals feel pain, but we comprehend it. Animals have fear, but it is simply an instinct. We recognize fear and often we are unable to control it. We feel sadness, anger, hate, fear, loss, anxiety, depression, jealousy, grief, sorrow, shame, insecurity, physical and emotional pain and so many other negative emotions.

However, we also feel positive emotions such as happiness, laughter, excitement, joy, pleasure, hope, serenity, passion, satisfaction, bliss, trust, understanding, empathy, pride, friendship among so many others. But most importantly, we feel love. A bond with other people and our pets that many writers and poets have tried to put into words, a nearly impossible task.

Without love, life would simply not be worth living. For me, this incident has strengthened my love, along with other positive feelings. Of course, it has also brought about many negative emotions, but those feelings are natural and can be dealt with over time.

Most importantly, I have a new found love and appreciation for my friend’s, but mostly for my wife. After being together for 22 years, married for 16, it is so easy to become complacent. It is so easy to take them for granted.

However, I feel that if I don’t try to take something positive out of such a negative situation, then I am wasting an opportunity to enhance our relationship, to grow it through mutual admiration and an indescribable love that I have for her. All I know is that if I simply focus on the bad, then I am wasting an opportunity. An opportunity that someone paid the ultimate price to provide. An opportunity that I must embrace, to take full advantage of the life we have left.

Sure, we are fragile creatures. But our emotions are a blessing and a curse. We have all lost loved ones and know that pain. Even the loss of a pet is traumatic. But seeing what we saw brings a new perspective on my life. A new appreciation for being part of this crazy world and a new appreciation for the love of my life.

With so much death and suffering in this fucked up world, there is even more love and pleasure. I intend to make the most of the limited time I have left, and I couldn’t imagine spending that remaining time without my cherished friends, my treasured family, my precious kitties and, most importantly, my wonderful, beloved wife.

Monday, July 21, 2014

My First Post

I am a managerial economics major at Oregon State University. I don't have a goal for this blog except that I enjoy to write, it keeps my mind sharp. My views and opinions are just that, opinions. I don't believe in God, but do believe in the right to worship how you chose, whether you are Christian, Jewish or, dare I say it, Muslim. You can worship the devil for all I care, but when you religion hurts others, then it is a problem. However, just because some Muslims extremists hurt people does not give anyone the right to condemn the entire religion. I can name many cases where Christians have hurt people, so no religion can say it doesn't have crazy people. With so much death in the world, all religions are guilty of crimes against humanity, but that does not mean I condemn all religions.

As I said, I am basically writing for me. If no one reads these posts I really don't care. I am not trying to build a brand for myself and I am not worried about future employers finding out that I am an atheist democrat. If they don't want to hire me for those reasons, I don't want to work for them anyways. My goal is to get thoughts out of my mind and onto a forum that people can read. Many might disagree with my views just as I disagree with many of your views, but that is what makes this world such a wonderful place to live in. This country was founded to escape religious persecution, something we are seeing more and more each year. Muslims being persecuted because of some fanatics that they don't even know or agree with. Each year there is apparently a war on Christmas fabricated by Fox News. Atheists are persecuted as well, treated as if we are insane. There is a saying that Christians love, "if I am wrong, I will die and nothing happens, but if you are wrong, you will burn in hell." I see it another way though, I see it as you are living your life in servitude of a stranger, not being able to enjoy the freedom that I feel. I am not bound by an ancient book, however I am bound by my morals. I don't pray to God to protect my family and thank him for the food I am eating. That food was bought by my family and I will protect them.

I started this blog with a religious tone, but this is not what it is about. It is simply the mood I am in today. Tomorrow, perhaps I will talk about the economic state of this nation, the environmental disaster we have created on this Earth, maybe about democracy and how it has been distorted into some sick joke in this county. Perhaps I'll talk about education and how we are failing our children and condemning millions to a life of perpetual poverty. Those trillions we are spending destroying the Middle East could go a long way to help teach our kids how to thrive in a changing world. Who knows how I will feel the next time I post. Feel free to say what you want. I enjoy a debate, but I will not respond to ignorant people. If you want to cuss me out, then go for it, but don't expect to hurt my feelings or ignite some sort of ridiculous flame war. Although, I have a feeling not many will read this as I am doing nothing to promote it. However, I have enjoyed writing it, so I hope some may enjoy reading it.

I'll leave you with this. Put aside your differences, because we will always be different. No one will convince me to become religious or Republican, and I am not trying to convince you to become atheist and a Democrat. However, together, you might be surprised what we could accomplish. Both sides have great ideas. Helping those in need is a great thing, but trying to build a free market, for the most part, is also important. The way things are going now though, we will be screwed if we don't reach out to each other, embrace the differences and come to an agreement. The future of the entire world depends on it.