Child Abuse Will Never Be Acceptable

cropped-being-silly.jpgHappy Monday to you all.  Get yourselves comfortable; I’ll have snacks passed around shortly.  You’ll need the fortification of a good snack because today’s subject is not a pleasant one.

I have written often about child abuse. To me, and this is purely a subjective opinion, child abuse is the worst of all crimes.  To take a defenseless child and shatter all trust, to shatter all hopes, to shatter all dreams…..there is no justification in my mind.  I will continue to speak out..I will continue to use my powers as a writer to raise awareness…because if I don’t do it, who will?

I wrote an article once about sex trafficking in Portland, Oregon.   You can find it on my Hubpages site if you are interested. The point being that Portland is either the number one or number two city in America for sex trafficking volume, and as of last year there were only two police detectives assigned full-time to that heinous crime.  I do not understand society’s priorities.

I have also written about child abuse on two Native American Reservations, the Spirit Lake Nation of North Dakota and Leech Lake Reservation in Minnesota. I have received many emails from irate Native Americans, telling me that white men should stay out of the affairs of Indians, that how dare I tell them how to live their lives.

I do not understand society’s priorities.

Children are defenseless.  This is not a race issue. This is not someone else’s problem.  If a child is being abused it is my issue and my problem.

Child abuse is a classic example of dysfunctional behavior. I leave it to the psychologists to figure out why it occurs.  I leave it to me, as a writer and a member of the human race, to speak out against it.

And quite frankly I don’t know why more writers don’t do the same thing.


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The One Finger Salute To Random Violence

cropped-being-silly.jpgWelcome back to our little getaway playhouse, safe from the madness that surrounds us.  Pull up a bean bag chair and get comfy.

I’m not done talking about random violence, so I will hopefully get it out of my system today.

I was raised by a no-nonsense father who believed that a man should never pick a fight, but also that a man should never run away from one.  We get into pretty murky territory with that directive, but I understood what he was saying while I grew up, and I can honestly say I have never started a fight with another person.  I don’t enjoy fighting. I’ve done my fair share of it growing up but I really can’t say it is something I look forward to doing.  I have always believed that man should be intelligent enough to find an alternative to fighting, and one only fights when it is absolutely necessary and there are no alternatives.

That’s why these random acts of violence are so foreign to me.  I can’t wrap my brain around them at all.

When I was a teen and someone cut you off in traffic, you gave them the one-finger salute and went on your way. Today you give the finger salute and the other driver shoots at your car.  What has happened over the past fifty years? How has this type of random violence become the norm rather than the exception?

There is no easy answer to that question.  Somehow, over time, the United States has become a very violent nation.  Blame it on parents…blame it on the media…blame it on whatever…the change is noticeable and as a nation we have to address it.

Stricter gun laws will not solve the problem.  People with violent tendencies really could care less what the law states…they get angry and they lash out at someone.  End of story, and no law is going to change that.  No, we have to find a way to identify anger problems and deal with them before they result in a  death.  Again, no easy answer or solution.

I don’t understand that kind of anger. I never will.


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Jordan Davis and Dysfunction In America

cropped-being-silly.jpgLike many others I was drawn to the Florida verdict in the shooting of Jordan Davis.  It occurs to me that this case is so much about dysfunctional behavior.

In a bare outline, this is what happened:

  • Man pulls into a parking lot next to a car full of teens who are playing loud music
  • Man get into argument with teens about music
  • Man opens fire at car, killing one teen
  • Man says he felt threatened.
  • Jury does not convict on murder one but does convict on four other counts

Let’s set aside the verdict and concentrate for a moment on what happened leading up to the shooting death.

A man was driving around with a loaded gun in his car.

A man becomes incensed over loud music.

A man shoots people because of an argument.

Welcome to the Dysfunctional Playhouse!

I am in no way making light of this situation.  I don’t even know where to start in listing all the things that bother me in this story.

I have made it alive through sixty-five years without ever once having a loaded gun in my car. Where does that need come from? Why do people feel they need to carry deadly force wherever they go?

I have been angry in my life but not once….not once….have I felt so angry that I felt that shooting someone was the solution.  Where does that gut reaction come from?  Are there not several other steps that could have been taken before killing someone?

If this were an isolated incident in this country I might not have too much concern, but this happens far too often in the United States.  Violence is the first reaction in many altercations.  Set aside the issue of race for a moment because I don’t want this clouded by the race card… is not alright to settle disputes by killing someone.  Hell, for that matter, if you don’t like loud music, park somewhere else rather than deliberately start an argument over it.

I don’t understand this kind of dysfunctional behavior. I did not grow up around it; I have never been a part of it; and I will never be able to condone it or justify it.


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Harming Ourselves For Pleasure

cropped-being-silly.jpgI’m back and ready to discuss in more depth this phenomenon of people ingesting, drinking and smoking things that are obviously bad for them.

Good morning by the way. We are having only our second cold spell of the winter here in Olympia.  For all of my friends in the north and east I know that sounds unbelievable considering the winter you have had, but it is true. We have had two inches of snow all winter here….let me say that again…two inches.

My last post raised the question why people buy GMO foods knowing that they are bad for them….but we can take that a step further, can’t we?  Why do people smoke?  There can be no doubt, can there, that everyone knows that smoking can cause cancer?  And yet people ignore that and start the addiction and go on for years.  Where is the logic?

The same can be said for drugs and alcohol?  The statistics of crime and accidents and death caused by alcohol and drugs are staggering, and yet people take them.

Now I am an alcoholic. I don’t know my family’s history with regards to addiction, so I was flying blind when I took my first drink. By the time I realized I had a drinking problem I was addicted….and once addiction enters the picture all logic is gone…..but…..

Is there any doubt that meth is bad for you? How about cocaine?  Heroin?  Knowing that something might kill you and still taking it….are we not talking about dysfunction?

We humans are fascinating creatures.  We have such complex and analytical brains, and yet at times the simplest truth escapes us.


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Dysfunction At The Grocery Store

cropped-being-silly.jpgAnd a very Happy Wednesday to you all.  It’s chilly here in Olympia and we might just get our first real snow of the winter on Saturday.  Crossing my fingers that it happens. I need to get out and do some snowshoeing soon or I’ll got nutso….but then I’m in the dysfunctional playhouse, so nutso is a very normal reaction here. J

What shall we talk about today?

Oh heck, let’s talk about GMO food.  Now I’m sure you’re asking yourself what that has to do with dysfunctional behavior, aren’t you?  Well hang in there; I promise to make the connection.

By now we all know about genetically modified food, right?  And hopefully everyone is aware that GMO food is bad for us, right?  I mean, the scientific data is piling up and it all points to some rather disturbing problems with the products being made by Monsanto and others; is there anyone who still believes that GMO food is good for our health?

So that leads me to this question: if we know it is bad for us, then why do we buy it?  The number one answer to that question seems to be an economic one; GMO food is cheaper than organic food, and Lord knows price is important.  But isn’t our health more important?

If a person has a little child, and it has been proven that the food one feeds that child is harmful, then isn’t it an act of dysfunction to continue to feed that food to the child?  What am I missing here?  How can anyone justify feeding poison to their child simply because it is cheaper than healthy food?

There really is no justification for it; there are only unanswered questions.


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Philip Seymour Hoffman and the Dysfunction of Addiction

cropped-being-silly.jpgPhilip Seymour Hoffman….RIP!

Welcome back to the Dysfunctional Playhouse, and today I guess we’ll take a few minutes to discuss this untimely death.

I do not idolize actors or sports stars.  Those days of wide-eyed innocence are long past.  This blog post is about human beings and not stars.

I am an alcoholic and I move about at times in the world of addiction. I regularly attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and have quite a few friends who are addicts and alcoholics.  Rarely does a month go by that I don’t lose a friend to addiction.  Relapse is a reality that I am quite familiar with, as is the death of friends.

I have no words of wisdom about the death of Hoffman.  I see it far too often and I still have no deep insights into addiction.  It is a killing disease, whether your drug of choice is heroin, alcohol, cocaine or whatever else alters reality.  Addicts know the risks of continual use; they are fully aware that they might die….and still they use, as I did at one time.

I do not mourn the loss of Hoffman any more or less than I mourn the loss of my friends each month….it is a senseless waste that will forever beg the question…..why?


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Justin Bieber Belongs In The Dysfunctional Playhouse

cropped-being-silly.jpgHappy Thursday to you all!

Okay, let’s get right to it.  Am I the only one who is a little bit tired of Justin Bieber and his antics?  There is a nineteen year old who badly needs a spanking.  I saw his father was in attendance during his drag racing stunt that got him arrested…..welcome to the dysfunctional playhouse!

Then I saw a fascinating article online today. It seems a petition was started that garnered over 103,000 signatures.  Because it reached that goal the petition must be turned over to the White House for the President to look at.  What was the petition you ask?

It was a formal declaration by people stating that they think Bieber should be deported back to Canada because he is endangering lives and is a poor role model for the youth of today.

Welcome to the dysfunctional playhouse!

Where do I begin?  Okay, I’m not a big Bieber fan. I think the kid is a train wreck waiting to happen. I don’t know him personally of course, but what I see on the media puts him low on my list of people I would like to meet.


A petition to have him deported? My goodness, the President better get busy, because if obnoxious behavior, poor judgment and endangering lives is the criteria for deportation, then the border guards better get ready for a mass exodus from this country.  Also, the same people who signed that petition….I wonder if they ever got drunk or high on pot? I wonder if they ever drag-raced down a street? I know I have….I’m willing to bet they have too.

Here’s the thing: I hate hypocrisy.  Just because someone is a celebrity doesn’t mean the same rules don’t apply to them.  Do I like Bieber? Not at all!  Do I think he should be judged differently simply because he is a celebrity?  Not at all!

Just trying to make sure equal rights for all means equal rights for all. J


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False Heroes In A Dysfunctional Society

cropped-being-silly.jpgHappy Friday to you all, whether you are “normal” or dysfunctional.  There is enough room for all of you so grab a chair or a beanbag and get comfortable.

I was just reading the latest article about Alex Rodriguez, the professional baseball player currently suspended for using performance-enhancement drugs.  What a circus that has turned into.  Listen, I am a baseball purist, so naturally I am all for the suspension….but….here’s the thing.  In today’s society, this sort of thing seems to happen all the time, and I’m not just talking about sports.

We constantly see people stretch the moral limits to gain an advantage.  Business is filled with examples of this type of behavior.  We heap praise on those who succeed.  We idolize those who reach the peak of their profession.  We give tacit approval for success, no matter what the cost of that success.  We have our false heroes and we place them on pedestals and then we recoil in horror when we find out they are only human.

Instead of our daily witch hunts in the media, perhaps society needs to look in the mirror and ask why we demand perfection from others when we are incapable of giving it ourselves.

I know for a fact that I have been guilty of this in the past. I have stretched rules and cut corners to give myself an advantage over the competition.  I don’t think I am alone in saying that.  Does that make me normal or dysfunctional?

Just something to think about.  Have a great weekend.


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The Dysfunction of Child Abuse

cropped-being-silly.jpgHappy Hump Day to you all.

I wrote an article yesterday about the Leech Lake Indian Reservation in Minnesota.  Actually, it was in response to comments I received from the first article I wrote about that reservation in which I stated that there was widespread child abuse there.

Needless to say the reaction was interesting.  First, it took about a year for the first article to be noticed by the residents of Leech Lake, but once they noticed it all hell broke loose.  I was accused of being racist; I was accused of being myopic; I was accused of being a liar; interestingly, though, nobody denied that the abuse was happening there.  The best defense they could devise, other than to call me a sonofabitch, was to say that abuse happens everywhere and why was I picking on their reservation.

Welcome to the dysfunctional playhouse.

Why all the defensive behavior?  Why all the claims of racism?  Why all the name calling?  If someone told me that there was child abuse in my hometown of Olympia I would first say yes, and second I would want to do something to end it if at all possible.  That didn’t happen with the residents of Leech Lake….it was almost overwhelmingly a collective response of anger at me for having the audacity to bring this subject to light.

Welcome to the dysfunctional playhouse.

I’ve lived quite a long time now, and I can say without hesitation that this type of behavior is not limited to reservations.  I have seen it in my own family, the denial, the refusal to even speak of such horrors, and the resentment of anyone who dares to speak about it.

A mentor of mine once told me that I am only as sick as the number of secrets I keep.  I believe that.  Pushing problems into a closet is not a solution.  Enabling others is not a solution.  Only the truth has any hope of solving problems like abuse.


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A Dysfunctional Family The Size Of The United States


014I was thinking of the United States of America and how it resembles, in so many ways, one large dysfunctional family.  In fact, I’ll probably write an article about it since I don’t want to ramble on too long in this post.

Think about it, though:  the definition of a dysfunctional family is one “where conflict, misbehaviour and abuse of varying degrees and types takes place on a continuing basis but because the children are usually born into it, they live with the conception that they are a normal family. Family dysfunction can be any circumstance that interferes with healthy family functioning. Dysfunctional family members have common symptoms and behavior patterns as a result of their common experiences within the family structure.”

Give that definition some thought and tell me if you do agree or don’t agree that the United States fits that definition.

I keep thinking of the phrase “united we stand.”  When was the last time this country was really united on an issue?  Probably 9/11, right?  Before that I would have to say right after the end of World War 2.  We certainly were not united for the Korean War, and without a doubt there was no unity during Vietnam.  Any other conflict since then has had major opposition.  Then we have the societal issues….race, religion, gun control, abortion….no unity there.

We snipe at each other constantly.  Political parties spend so much time attacking each other that they have very little time attacking issues that this nation faces, issues that are crippling us.  Instead of compromising and making headway on issues we yell and shout, an exclusionary approach that is doomed for failure.  Our leaders do it, we do it, and our children will do it in the future.

I wonder when we will learn from the past?  Hopefully before it is too late.


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