PSA: Don’t Set Yourself On Fire

According to the Blogess, there are kids setting themselves on fire for YouTube. And that source of all knowledge and term papers, Wikipedia confirms that is in fact a thing.

Um…

Don’t set yourself on fire.

Because apparently some people need to be told that.

Or maybe I should say, if you’re stupid enough to set yourself on fire, stay away from other flammable things and thank you for culling the gene pool.

Slow, Painful Death for Looters

No, I’m not talking about Ferguson. I’m talking about Liberia

Liberian officials fear Ebola could soon spread through the capital’s largest slum after residents raided a quarantine center for suspected patients and took items including bloody sheets and mattresses.

Um, guys? I get that you’re angry that potentially infected people were brought into your community, but I’m thinking you didn’t really consider the ramifications of you actions. I mean, your stated goal of “No Ebola in West Point” was a rational one. Looting infectious materials and spreading them around the community seems rather contrary.

But then again, I never really understood how looting and rioting ever solved anything or got anyone closer to their goals. Regardless of whether or not the cause is just. I suppose if your goal was “Ebola for Everyone!” this would be an excellent way to achieve it. Personally, I think I’m staying the hell away from Liberia for the foreseeable future. Not that I was planning a trip anyway, but you never know. I could wake up tomorrow and decide that bleeding out my eyes would be an excellent experience to have.

*checks bucket list*

Nope, it’s not on there anywhere. In fact, it’s listed over there in the ‘Nope’ column. Right after ‘drowning’ and before ‘fire, death by’.

Is it just me, or is someone running through the streets trailing bedding infected with Ebola darn near close to a zombie problem?

You Are Not Alone

I’m no stranger to depression, and I’m glad everyone is talking about it. As I said elsewhere

I, for one, am glad we’re talking about this. Depression lies and not even fame and fortune can drown it out. Of course, his decision wasn’t right, but he apparently felt like it is all he had. And the very fact that so many were touched by his life and feeling the loss proves that he was wrong. Proves that he did mean something to so many people. Maybe someone else that is feeling so alone can hear that message and make a better choice. Calling it selfish is cruel over-simplification. Instead, lets point out the ripples of heartache and pain. Focus on the brilliance and the gifts bestowed on all of us. The tragedy of it all is that he forgot. Depression’s lies drowned out everything else for him. 
There are many of us out there that fight with depression on a regular basis. The extroverts among us usually hide it pretty well. To see someone that seemed to be winning that battle lose it after so many years is rough. I haven’t seen anyone celebrating or glorifying his death, instead pointing out the tragedy of a life ended too soon.

The pain of depression is very, very real. The desire to end it all to make it go away is strong. Don’t. Even if you escape your demons in the end, you leave them for someone else. Someone you love will find you and they will have to deal with not only your remains but the very demons you hoped to silence. And some new ones as well.

When it feels like it is too much, get help. It probably is too heavy for you to lift alone. One man couldn’t lift a train, but it was nothing when the burden was shared. Your load is no different, and you will be amazed at how many will volunteer to lift it.

Depression lies. Depression tells you that you are alone and that you don’t matter. It tells you that no one cares. Depression kills but only if you let it. Only if you listen. Depression speaks with the devil’s tongue.

You, the real you-the one behind the mask, matter. Peek around that wall. You are not alone. Your spark is precious.

Yesterday, depression lied to 22 veterans and 1 Robin Williams. The monkey stopped dancing, and I’m not laughing. Tomorrow it will lie to more people. We need to keep talking about it. Maybe if we do, we’ll start to drown out the lies.

Jenny, the Blogess, linked a piece she wrote earlier this year that deserves re-reading. I’ll just leave you with her words.

Tell someone that you love them, or that they’re important.  And tell yourself.  Because it’s true.

The Intersection of Sports and Politics

I grew up as a not-exactly-white girl in Oklahoma, so naturally it was always assumed I must be Native American. No seriously, I had to explain to my second grade teacher** that Filipino* is, in fact, not a tribe. Still, I was assigned to wear the feathers in the school plays. They were very authentic, you know. Dark hair, olive complexion, kinda slanted eyes, no nose bridge-totally pass for one of them Red Men that call this state home. *eye roll*

The only thing worse than terrible stereotypes is being incorrectly cast as a pawn for someone else’s terrible stereotype. Close enough, right? Terrible stereotypes aside, they were at least making some effort at paying respect to the culture. I suppose it’s the thought that counts.

Don’t feel sorry for me here. I got to be on stage***. I wasn’t feeling especially ‘discriminated against’ at the time. The attention! It’s Mine! Precious….

Where was I going again?

Oh right! I was meandering around to find a tie into LabRat’s excellent piece on the brouhaha over some sportball team and their lamentable name and mascot. (And I got an excuse to work ‘brouhaha’ into a blog post.) She’s absolutely right, and I agree with every word. You’re going to have to go over there to read them for yourself.

No, there is no ‘white guilt’ at play here. Just an expectation that although people should have every right to be assholes, more would choose not to be.

*Yes, I do have a very little Native American heritage mixed into my proudly mutt pedigree, but it is far less than my red-haired, pale-skinned hubby has in his.

**She gave me a packet for my parents to fill out so I could ‘get on the rolls’ . 

***I also once played a squirrel with a speaking part. I said, “Look! Here come the ducks!” I lacked shame from an early age.

Men Don’t Rape

Rapists rape. Some rapists happen to be male and others happen to be female. Most of them understand that what they are doing is wrong. They’ve been told that they have no right to another person’s body and they don’t care. They are beyond education.

Treating men as if they are all rapists is disgusting and wrong. The vast majority of men don’t need to be taught not to rape because they aren’t rapists. And rapists can’t be taught.

Rapists can only be avoided, resisted, and punished. That is not blaming the victim. Doing otherwise is enabling the perpetrator.

You want to teach rapists not to rape? Great! Let’s start by promoting an environment where we respect each other as autonomous human beings with rights and privileges to our own bodies. Oh but you can’t stop there. Let’s talk about consent and how it’s not really consent where there is coercion. See? No victim blaming here. For the vast majority of people, we’re done. In a perfect world, that’s all we’d need.

You’re right, I should be able to take a nap in a dark alley while naked. It’s not fair that I can’t and it’s not my fault either. But that’s not the world we will in. We share our lives with a subset of monsters. Not the kind we imagine live under the bed, but those that look just like the rest of us. Why not go chat with Peter about rape culture? Hmm

So let’s continue our education of the rapists, shall we?

Now, let’s teach them that there are dire consequences for violating another human being. Consequences up to and including death to the perpetrator of such actions.

Court systems and law enforcement can only play a small role here. No, the consequences must happen as an immediate effect when warranted. In order to do that, people must be willing and able to protect their own body autonomy with force sufficient to overwhelm the attacker. The rapist has already failed to learn the lesson of respect for their fellow human beings so let’s appeal to a more primitive drive: fear.

I don’t want to live in fear of rapists. I want them to live in fear of a victim that will fight back and deliver swift justice for their crimes. I want them afraid for their very lives.

And here ends the lesson.

Michael Z Williamson has an excellent piece on the matter.

70 Years

When the doctor asked my granddad what he did in the war he told them he walked. Since he was an infantry man, I’m sure that’s pretty accurate. The war wasn’t a thing he talked about much. Sure, he had plenty of stories, but they were about the down time, not the fighting. He had lots of stories about guarding the POW camp in Paris.

Until it was time. Only once did I see the young man’s fear and sorrow in my granddad’s eyes and that’s when he told me that it was never easy to kill another man. After all those years, the memory was still fresh. The burden still heavy.

I don’t know, but I think he would have loved to see Jim “Pee-Wee” Martin parachute into Normandy for the second time. This time without fear since he was met with cheers instead of bullets.

These men carry their memories with humility and grace. Without them, the world would be a different place, indeed. They did what had to be done and far too many never came home and few remain of those that did.