What Are You So Mad About?

I haven’t posted a blog entry since all of the chaos started in the country. I didn’t (and honestly still don’t) have the words to truly express all of the things that it has made me feel. I’ve been spending a lot of time on Twitter though, basically in astonishment at how many people are willfully ignorant, blatantly lying, or a combination of both… and from all sides of the issue. Emotions and tensions are higher than I’ve ever seen in my lifetime, so I understand that people will initially be speaking mostly with their anger. But anger can’t be an indefinite excuse for spreading false information, false narratives, and generally trying to make things worse rather than better.

My frustration comes from most people digging their feet in when it comes to their own personal take, and they won’t even listen to anything that doesn’t fit their narrative, let alone acknowledge and learn from any of it. It would be one thing if it was just random Twitter assholes, but I’m also talking about politicians and people in power who are acting the same way. Tom Cotton says “The riots have nothing to do with the death of George Floyd.”Β It doesn’t seem like the best idea to dismiss the pain and rage of those rioters who have obviously gone too far, but who are still upset with police abuse.

It’s amazing to see how many people who don’t want to be generalized or lumped together into one group, how they feel totally justified in doing that to people who aren’t on their side. “All cops are corrupt, murderous assholes!” “All protesters are violent, thieving arsonists!” Many people can’t or won’t admit that there are differences between peaceful protesters, the rowdy-but-non-criminal activists, the looters, the vandals, the people causing physical harm. It’s just easier for people to label them all as rioters so they can dismiss them as not worthy of being heard.

And then of course there’s a huge amount of people on the opposite side who can’t or won’t acknowledge that there are many different types of cops within law enforcement, including naive / optimistic officers seeking change, cops that just see it as a 9 to 5 job, officers who are on a power trip, ones who absolutely abuse their power, and then ones that can calmly kill detained suspects. And I’d think the one thing that both “sides” could agree on, is that we’re seeing far too many examples of the worst at both ends of the spectrum – and all it does is damage the message that they want to be heard. Yeah, everyone is mad, but if you take it too far then people are just gonna roll their eyes.

The second most widely spread bullshit take when it comes to this stuff, is that “If you aren’t breaking the law then you don’t have anything to worry about.” First of all, this is demonstrably untrue… and even if someone is breaking a law, are we as a society ready for law enforcement to commit physical violence in realtime for those offenses? What would those people think is a “fair punishment” for crimes such as stepping off of a sidewalk, being out 15 minutes past curfew, walking near people who are causing a disturbance, flipping off or cussing out a cop? Do we really want law enforcement to be able to kick, punch, drag, or choke people for those things? How about tear gas, rubber bullets, flash bang grenades, pepper spray projectiles? All of that is fine? If you’re only gonna watch one video on this page, make it this one – and put yourself or one of your children in the place of any of the folks who are taking the abuse…

And on Twitter, some chuckle fuck would immediately reply with “Well it wouldn’t be me or my kids in their shoes because we wouldn’t be participating in that!” And to that, I say… participating in what? Exercising your first amendment rights because you’re angry that police keep killing people without consequence? How about the people that are simply walking near someone who’s causing trouble? You could never be one of those people either? Those folks need to spare us all from their bullshit “it could never be me” crap.

One of the worst things that I’ve seen was in Austin TX. A college kid was shot in the back of the head with a “non lethal” projectile while cracked his skull and caused brain damage. The cops wouldn’t help him “in the street” and told people to take him to the police station. And when those people carried that critically injured man to the police department, they were immediately shot multiple times with pepper spray balls. And yeah, I’m being more hard on the police in this blog entry… because we should be able to expect more from the police. The people who vandalize, loot, start fires, etc… of course they should be arrested, charged, and prosecuted. But when cops act like criminals, that’s when “all” starts to get lost.

President Obama gave a wonderful speech yesterday, and among the things he said – he sent out a message to the mayors of every city across our nation, challenging them to review their “use of force” policies when it comes to the police departments and other law enforcement that they’re in control of. But then Donald Trump almost immediately issued a statement on Twitter, distancing himself from the idea of law enforcement reform – and instead saying the only thing he has in common with Obama is that they both fired the same army general. (Because Trump was being salty about being called out by that general, and that’s more important than the safety of every citizen in the country.)

At least national sentiment does seem to be finally turning against Donald Trump. He has never acknowledged the reason that people are protesting, and instead keeps doubling down with increased law enforcement presence, calling in military troops and vehicles, and threatening to send them to every state in order to “dominate” with force. Talk about lack of self-awareness. Hundreds of thousands of people are protesting against abusive law enforcement, and Trump’s response is essentially… “You wanna see abusive law enforcement?” I mean, his troops were using violence and pepper spray to clear the streets of humans as Donald Trump was giving a speech just yards away, claiming to be this amazing ally to peaceful protesters.

He knows that everyone knows he’s full of shit. He also knows that while plenty of people will call him out and be rightfully upset by his actions, he knows that there’s a massive number of people who simply won’t care that he’s a violent, self-serving liar, threatening the country with his military dominance. (I’d swear that a lot of people want to be him in that instance.) The same vibe that the abusive cops give… DO AS I SAY OR FACE THE CONSEQUENCES, NO MATTER WHAT YOU’VE ACTUALLY DONE OR NOT DONE IN REGARDS TO THE LAW.

Okay, I better start wrapping it up, because I could obviously go on and on and on about it. But my take on this doesn’t feel like it should be controversial or objectionable, but boy is it to a lot of folks. George Floyd was murdered by those cops, and they should be charged and prosecuted accordingly. I absolutely support the protests. Everyone should be outraged, not just POC or people who are more likely to experience police brutality. I’m not even upset when those protesters break curfew, block roads, or protest in “scary voices” right in the face of law enforcement. If cops react to those actions with violence instead of simply arresting folks, then it just makes it that much easier to see which ones are the bad ones, and which ones will stand by and do nothing as the bad ones inflict pain and suffering on US citizens.

Yeah, I’m fucking heated about this stuff… and for the same reason as a million other people. The folks in power know what the protests are about, but they’d rather dismiss everyone as vandals, trouble makers, criminals – so that way they don’t have to acknowledge the problem of law enforcement abusing their power. The way the cops seem to be increasing their abuse, it appears that they’re scared of losing that power. Same thing with the political leaders. If law enforcement no longer has its knee on the neck of society, that makes the sketchy people in power really fucking nervous.

Politicians, police unions, etc have been praising many police departments for the way they’ve “shown amazing restraint” during all of this. And yeah, in a lot of instances that’s probably true. Shooting people “only” with rubber bullets, knee knockers, pepper balls, tear gas canisters… instead of live ammunition. But I hope the people offering that praise to the cops… I hope they realize that the people on the other side have been showing remarkable restraint as well. How many days in a row will our society watch innocent people getting the shit kicked out of them by out of control law enforcement officers? How long will they be okay with Donald Trump unilaterally deploying the United States fucking military into the streets to control us all? Yeah, there’s a lot of restraint all around, but I wouldn’t count on that lasting a whole lot longer…

I’m Ready

It’s approaching midnight on Friday, and I think that I’m finally ready to face this week. So, these next couple of hours better watch out, because I’m not feeling too bad at the moment. 😏 Heh… but seriously, this week has felt more “challenging” than usual. Although, as I’m sitting here trying to explain why, I can’t even really think of anything specific that should have made it feel that way. πŸ€”πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I dunno… I think all the “get ready, we’re opening” talk / news has just made my brain tired and my sleep shitty, which made every other small or “normal” thing feel that much more laborious. (I still got some chores done and got out of the house once or twice.)

But I’m not gonna sit here and try to remember all of the things from the past week that made it suck, ‘cuz I might end up damaging my calm. But yeah, this week… it definitely took me the entire week to be ready for whatever comes – and for the most part, nothing came. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ So now that the weekend is here I’m much more prepared for it than I was the current week. πŸ€“ Hopefully that makes sense.

Ahh, I do know one thing that has improved my mood over the week… getting my two cats to tolerate each other. 😏 Yeah, I’ve officially adopted Maggie – a cat that I was formerly just babysitting – so it’s been a week of anxiously hoping that her and Maven didn’t feel the need to murder each other. πŸ˜ΎπŸ˜…πŸ™πŸ»πŸ˜Ύ Thankfully, possibly because they’re both too old to be bothered with such things, they don’t seem to have any desire to fight or be a pain in each other’s asses. (Although Maven does grump at her every now and then.)

They’re not even close to being buddy buddy, but they at least tolerate each other. In fact, I think they both actually like that there’s one “other critter” around, even if they don’t necessarily want to interact with that other critter. 😏 I have a short video of them simply sitting upright next to each other, no more than a foot apart, but neither one of them wanting to look at or acknowledge the other… 😁 … but both of them seeming to enjoy the moment in some way. (Purposely “ignoring” each other while making sure the other noticed.)

It would be too much to explain here in the blog, how I ended up with Maggie, but basically I was watching her while her previous owner was moving – but with things not going as planned there, the environment wouldn’t have been great for a kitty who’s already anxious and nervous all of the time. 😳😬 On her first day upstairs she went around the house looking for her former roommates, but once she realized they weren’t here – it’s almost like she felt relieved, because she started actually acting like a cat again rather than just hiding all the time and trying to avoid anything and anyone. πŸ₯ΊπŸ˜Š

Maven and I lead a pretty tame life here in the house, and that’s exactly the kind of life that Maggie needs right now… so it just made sense for me to adopt her officially. It all depended on Maven being okay with it though, and since she hasn’t really done anything to indicate that she objects – it looks like this is a done deal. πŸ™‚ See, just typing about the situation has made me smile… so hopefully I’ll hang on to that feeling through the weekend too. (As long as these two buttholes continue to play nice.)

Not Yet

It’s a deceptively beautiful day outside so far today, but I don’t think I’m ready to make a trip to the store like I was considering quite yet. My brain hasn’t really made it out of “weekend” mode, and after a night of bad dreams and waking up in a cold sweat a few times – I’m finding it easier to kinda just sit here with the doors open, trying to absorb some of the “nice” while I plan a few things I need to work on later this afternoon.

I think, lingering in the background processes of my brain, the way that a lot of the country is planning to “re-open” is filling me with an ominous feeling. 😳 Since not every state practiced a well-thought, simultaneous “shelter at home” order along with every other state – the effectiveness of such precautions has already been damaged. Sure, your state will have lower numbers while they individually practice such restrictions, but if surrounding states aren’t being as careful and allow their infection numbers to grow, what do you think’s gonna happen when your state decides to relax their rules?

You may have seen the videos on Twitter or the news… where, just because rules have been relaxed, hundreds of people decided to pour into the streets, the parks, the sidewalks, the beaches… basically just because they haven’t been allowed to for so long, and now they can. Good for them? πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ˜Ÿ And when reporters ask them why they’re out and mingling with others, it’s almost always a “Because I can!” / “Because it’s our right as ‘murricans!” type of answer. Awesome. 😐 Way to prove a point. 😐 Job well done. 😐

If you look at the actual numbers though, you’ll see that we’re getting ready to open back up right at the time when people should be recognizing that the isolation is making a difference, and that if all states keep/start doing it, the downward trends should continue. But no, politicians are obviously gung-ho about opening up, the citizens hear the optimism, and far too many of them are now thinking and acting like the danger has passed and there’s less (or no) need for precautions. 😞 And in a further display of stupidity, our governor was going to mandate that for the time being – employees of stores and their customers must all wear masks. Sounds like a responsible idea, right? Well, he had to go back on that because of public outcry, of people being that vocal that they shouldn’t have to wear a mask, and so he not only backtracked on that – but essentially apologized for it by saying that they “went too far” with that rule.

It’s just amazing to me that there are that many people bitching about having to wear a mask. Something to protect them. Something to protect employees. Something to protect everyone by lowering the transmission rate. Who are these angry people? Who could be so selfish to angrily protest such a rule, others be damned? ☹️ It blows my mind…

So, yeah, I was originally gonna go out today and get pop for me and Dad, along with some other stuff, but obviously with all of that stuff swirling around in my thoughts, today isn’t the day for me to go out and do that. Especially since it’s likely that there will be a lot more folks out today than before. It’s just a creepy feeling to live in a state where so many people are vocally and angrily opposed to cooperating with a very simple precaution. 😟 Yeah, that’s not most people, but it doesn’t take many careless or indifferent infected people to cough or smear their cooties all over the place and ruin it for everyone else.

If anything, the state starting to “open up” is more likely to make me stay at home. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ It’s like if you’re at the beach and there’s been a shark warning – but the lifeguard says it’s all clear now, and people can return to the water if they want. 😧 You’ll have plenty of people who go running in, neck-deep… meanwhile, my ass would stay planted in the sand as I watched the water to see what happened. πŸ˜ŸπŸ€” That’s what right now feels like to me… the time to watch from the safety of my living room for a while, to see what’s gonna happen. πŸ₯Ί And if this virus is anything like what most doctors are saying, “what happens” ain’t gonna be good.

Another heavy blog entry… I’ll try to balance it out with something lighter this evening. 🀞🏻 My mood isn’t actually that bad otherwise, it’s just taking me a lot longer to get mentally and physically moving today than I’d prefer. I’ve got workers comp / settlement mail that I’ve yet to read, and then wanna do some typical straightening up around the living room and bedroom… so if I’m hard to reach today, I’m probably just trying to do something to make myself feel productive and normal. πŸ™‚

Longest Ramble In A While…

I’m not gonna link to either of them, but yesterday evening when I was catching up on the news on Twitter, I came across two different things that really bothered me. 😟 Both of them were in Michigan, and both were part of a protest against the physical distancing / stay at home orders that have been put in place due to Michigan being one of the most affected states in regards to coronavirus / COVID-19.

I wanna start by saying that I do get why people are frustrated and want to be heard. πŸ₯Ί In fact, they’re more frustrated than I can even empathize with because they’ve been off work, losing their jobs, their businesses going under, and that’s obviously gonna take a toll on people. πŸ™ I know that I have days where it even gets to me more than I’d expect it to, so when people are unable to pay their bills, their rent, medical bills, etc.

But the first part of the protest that caught my eye were the hundreds of people who forced their way into one of the government buildings. I’m not sure if it was the state house, but it’s where the politicians were trying to do their jobs while protesters were shouting and screaming at law enforcement, banging on doors and walls, demanding that they bet let in. 😳 I think most people would expect a protest like that eventually, but this one went further – because many of the protesters were also dressed up like militia and were carrying loaded semi-automatic rifles. 😧

When you look at the video footage, I hate to say it, but those people looked and acted like you’d expect those kinds of folks to look and act… meaning, people who show up with guns when there’s no apparent reason to do so. πŸ˜’ And the ones who didn’t have guns, it’s not like they were discouraging the ones who did. Common sense says they brought their guns with them so they would be more intimidating, but I want to give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe the only protests they’ve really paid attention to are ones regarding gun control issues, where it would sorta make sense to “bear arms” while protesting… and maybe that made them think that all protests require dozens of armed people. πŸ™„πŸ˜ 

But yeah, you can look it up if you wanna see or read more about it. But with the way tensions were, I think they’re very lucky that there wasn’t even an accidental discharge of a weapon – which would have lit the very short fuse on that powder keg. It’s just sad, the smug look that you could see on some of their faces as they stood with their rifles, in the area above where the politicians worked. πŸ˜” And if their goal was truly to be heard, their stunt backfired… because all that people are talking about are the “white guys with guns” who occupied that building without so much as a ticket for ignoring social distancing rules, and questioning what may have happened if that group had been young black men instead. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

I don’t like doing those “what if” scenarios normally, but the way all those folks chose to act… πŸ˜’ oh, and because of something that I saw in the second topic that caught my eye. For another part of the protest there was a stage set up where people were speaking against the current rules, talking about the damage that it has done… understandable stuff. But then they had a performance by a couple of girls who looked as if they couldn’t have even been teenagers, wearing skimpy little dance outfits and halloween type masks. πŸ€” One of them being of a black man with exaggerated features. (Looks like they could have been Trump & Obama masks.)

They were doing a dance routine to the old song “Candy Man” but it sounded as if the lyrics had been changed to comment on the current situation. That’s unfortunate enough, where children are essentially being used by their parents to make political statements… but as these little girls were dancing, you could hear men and women in the crowd hooting and hollering as if it were some kind of burlesque show – with people even shouting “TAKE IT OFF!” as these poor little kids did their routine. 😧πŸ₯ΊπŸ˜”

It honestly made me sick to my stomach. 😟 Not just because the kids were being used in that manner, or that gross people were shouting sexual things at them, but also because nobody else in the crowd said anything, stuck up for them, or did anything to show their disapproval. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ (At least not in the clips that I saw.) I understand that people can start “thinking as a group” when caught in a moment, but even when it comes to something as disgusting as that? It’s not a good look for whatever message you were trying to send. 😠

If you’d ask a bunch of those first folks why they felt the need to bring rifles to a peaceful protest and dress in camo… the answers would probably be of the “bEcAUsE wE CAn!” variety. 😐 But that display with the girls, I wonder if any protesters would try to defend or normalize that as well. It makes me feel bad for the “normal” citizens of Michigan, because it makes the state look pretty awful – and I know they’ve got to be angry and embarrassed by all of it, the way it makes their citizens look to the rest of the country. πŸ˜”πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

One might ask why I allow myself get caught up in “news” like this. I ask that of myself too, honestly. 😏 But I dunno… I do try to limit my exposure in general, since 99% of what gets reported seems to be negative, but I guess I just feel like everyone should try to keep up on the more important things – especially if they want to have an opinion and have conversations with others about any of it. 🀨 So with things being as wacky as they’ve been over the past four years, even just “normal” news can trigger someone’s anxiety… and stumbling across “extra” stuff on Twitter, like the topics in this entry, is almost unavoidable. πŸ˜•

But I look back on old news articles and broadcasts from when Mom and Dad were young, and I see different protests, via different methods, at different locations, for different reasons… and I can’t remember learning about any of them and thinking, “Good grief… those people were idiots.” πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I’m sure “dumb” protests did happen, so maybe the news was just less interested in covering sensationalism back then? πŸ€” But hell… Today? I don’t think a day passes where I don’t read about or see something that makes me grumble, “Good grief, those people are idiots.” I think they were also lucky back then, getting their news (and only a couple hours each day) from either ABC, NBC, or CBS – and that was it. 😯 Not enough “room” to cover the stupids. Thanks to the internet though, we now have an endless supply that we have to work to avoid.

Blue Angels / Thunderbirds

Looks like they’ve sprung for cameras like the 360 cam I’ve got for each of their cockpits… πŸ˜―πŸ˜ƒπŸ€“

It’s a shame that people on Twitter and on the news had to take something nice / distracting like this and poop all over it though. You’ve got one group of folks that are talking about how much it cost to do the performance, saying how the money should have been spent on PPE for the hospitals and doctors… and then the second group is mad because the mayor of NYC scolded the Jewish folks who held / attended a funeral in which hundreds of people attended, flouting social distancing rules… and the bitchy people complained that the folks who went outside to watch the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds fly over weren’t scolded in the same way for their supposed “gathering” to do so. 😐 Because those two things are apples to apples and definitely make for a perfect comparison. (Note the heavy sarcasm in that last sentence please.)

Quite a video though… those guys / gals are brave / nuts. 😊

Oh, and as for the cost of the show, and the hospitals needing supplies… I can almost guarantee you that not a single hospital or doctor is going to ask for PPE or supplies and be told, “Well, we would have been able to get you that extra ventilator, but we had that airplane show the other day, so…” πŸ™„πŸ˜…πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ I mean, let’s be real. The hospitals and doctors are going to get the help that they get. The Blue Angels / Thunderbirds show isn’t going to reduce whatever help those folks would / are able to get from the government any more than Pence’s trip to the NIH did, or Trump’s flights back and forth to his properties. πŸ˜’ Let the people have some fun. You know how many kids were probably thrilled when they stepped outside and saw that stuff? 😁

See? The grumps even tainted my viewing experience, and I wasn’t even there. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Sunny Sunday

It sure was a beautiful day today. Almost unfair, considering that we’re not really supposed to be out in it… at least not around other folks. 72 degrees, sunny, big poofy clouds, and lots of gusty wind to blow through the house. I ran out of pop last night, so I knew I was gonna have to go somewhere today, and that somewhere ended up being the gas station / quicky mart up the road.

They had the front double doors and the side door propped open, so the wind was blowing through the store just like it was outside. They also had signs that let people know that they only wanted five people at a time in the store, and asked folks to wait outside until someone left if the store was already “full.”

There was only one other customer inside the store when I went in, and she was over in the Subway part of the store. (I can guarantee you that I’m not buying a sub with fresh, cold, been-sitting-out-in-a-bin-all-day toppings on it.) So I grabbed some pop, some pretzels, some smokes, and then hit the road. The fella behind the counter didn’t seem too stressed, even though we both stood back from the counter except for the few moments when it was unavoidable.

But I was so distracted by the amazing weather that I found myself just sitting out on the porch, messing around with the phone to make a crude 3D scan of the houseΒ (works best w/touch interface), taking the cat out to smell the trees and the grass, and generally not doing anything productive the whole day. It really felt like a weekend day.

Oh, I did watch the iRacing NASCAR 125 race from “virtual” Texas in the afternoon, and it was pretty darn good like last weekend’s was. The race even had a sponsor, although I can’t remember who it was, and it looked like drivers and teams had some sponsorship deals going on as well. Looks like it might be sticking around for a while.

So yeah, it was nice to “waste” a day when it was as nice as it was, and when there was good stuff on the TV to distract. Getting ready to watch “Bad Boys for Life” here in a few, and then I’ll gather up all my mail and bills and shit so it’ll be ready for me sometime tomorrow after the grumpy from waking up wears off. I hope y’all were able to have a decent day as well.

The “Anxiety Light” Version

Legal Eagle spells it out much better than I could… and with 99% less emotional exhaustion. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ