Category Archives: Happening in the World

Mercy for a Judge Who Showed None

http://www.africanamerica.org/topic/pa-judge-sentenced-to-28-years-for-selling-black-teens-to-prison

This article states the defense attorneys asked for mercy for ‘he will forever be unjustly branded as the ‘Kids for Cash’ judge’

Unjustly branded? The man was convicted.  He did take money and send kids to prison. He paying for his actions by going to prison himself.

Which he didn’t show to the youth of his community when he passed judgement on them.

If this leader of the community wanted to be remembered for something other than profiting from his position, he should have made other choices.

People, when and if you are ever tempted to do something in secret, behind closed doors, think about what will happen if this action comes to light and the doors are opened wide for all to see.

Or you too will be asking your defense attorneys to request mercy on crimes you have committed.

 

 

The Airbag in My Car

I don’t remember exactly when I got the first notice that my 2010 Honda Fit contains defective Takata airbag on the drivers side.  The passenger side has been disconnected.  I also don’t know when that took place.

I do know that I called earlier this year to find out when I could get the airbag replaced.  It should be August. In the meantime, Honda would be happy to provide me a rental car but I’ll have to park my car somewhere and not drive it more than 2 miles.  With no dealership closer to me than that, I decided I could wait until August and be very, very careful when driving.

Oh, and when I asked if we could just disconnect the airbag like the other one.  No, too complicated, blah blah blah.

Because you know that if the airbag does deploy regardless of the shrapnel danger, I will most likely be injured.  I’m 5’3″ and wear glasses.  I sit very close to the steering wheel so I can reach it.

I would be turning off the airbag or adjusting the pressure it deploys if I could.  But I can’t.

My plan has been to pay off the car in November and put the car payment towards my student loans as well as build up savings.  I really don’t want to take on new debt.

I like my car. I’m the second owner and both of us have taken good care of it.  It only has 78,xxx miles and don’t see why I couldn’t put another 300,000 or so on it before wanting to purchase another car.

I have been getting letters that different dealers have people wanting to buy 2010 Fits.  Really?!?! Who wants to buy a recall car? It wasn’t until one of them wanted to offer ‘up to’ $8,000, that I made a phone call.  Even if I got that much for the car, I’d be putting myself under about $10,000 worth of debt.

But I called a few dealerships last week about getting the replacement.  No, it won’t be until October now. What about if I trade in my car? Won’t the new owners have to deal with the recall?

No, the car would be fixed before leaving the dealership.

OK, now I am ready for a rental car.

One dealership routed me to a voice message that the person was out today and would call tomorrow.  Then it hung up before I could give my information.

The second dealership I called, the one I bought the car from just told me to show up to get a rental car.  After I got off the phone I knew that isn’t true.  I’ve rented a car before.  You don’t just show up. Even if you schedule a car, you may stand in line for a long time.

The third dealership acted like they were working with me.  Let me put you on hold and talk to my service manager.  Yes, we can do it but the rental car places are closed now, so it will have to be tomorrow.  I’ll call you after I talk to them.

Nope, it’s almost been a week and nothing.

Oh, I’m not done.  I’ll be calling and scheduling someone to drop me off and pick up a rental car.

In the mean time, I’ve been doing some research.  There are now 2015 cars on the recall.

Let me say that again.  THERE ARE NEW CARS ON THE RECALL LIST.

But they don’t have to be recalled until 2018.  More specifically they have to be recalled by 2018.

So if you buy a 2015 vehicle, you might be getting a letter in a couple of years telling you, your car has a dangerous defective part, that could kill you if you were in collision.

Why are new cars being rolled out in the first place when there are millions. And if this keeps up billions of cars on the road with life threatening parts in them.

No, I don’t want a new car, I want my car to be as good as car you would want your loved one to drive.

Has any of the 14 different car makers halted production of new cars until this is fixed?  I don’t think so. Otherwise, how are there 2015 cars now on the recall list?

Where is the integrity of any of the involved companies?

 

Labeling Food and Drugs

When I was in Junior High, I was invited to a friend’s mother’s group.  They had a guest speaker, a police officer come and talk about drugs. The main thing I came away from that evening is because the drugs are illegal, you don’t know what you are taking.

Many times the seller will take some of the stash for themselves and to make up the difference, cut in something else. That something else may or may not be good for you.  It could make you sick or even kill you.

So I don’t do illegal drugs.

When I was in my early 20’s, I was at a friend’s house when she received a call.  Another friend was at the hospital because her nephew had smoked marijuana that was laced with something and he was dying. So we went to pray.

Sometime around the same time, the government agreed and made food manufacturers label the food they sell.  I even went to information sessions to learn how to read the labels.

I work part time at a grocery store and sometimes because of allergies I get asked is that in the product. For example someone was allergic to marjoram. The label only said spices. Ummmm, OK, I guess due to proprietary reasons, the individual spices weren’t listed.  This customer couldn’t buy it without risking a reaction.Texas Wild Hunt County Tomato

Reactions to allergies vary. My mother would get migraine headaches that put her down for days. Another woman I know had to go to the hospital because her throat closed and she couldn’t breathe. Some allergies are so severe, the person has to carry an epi pen. And sometimes, that doesn’t help and the result is death.

It is important to know what you put into your body.  So I don’t understand that consumer’s are having to fight so hard to obtain the information they want to have put on the food they consume.

 

PTSD is the New Shell Shocked

Just because you give something a new name, doesn’t mean it’s a new thing.  Soldiers have been dealing with the after affects of war for generations.

Lives have been ripped apart, destroyed.

Men and women trained for weeks to become part of the war machine but the military does not have training in place to return these same men and women to civilian life.

Still.

We just give the effects a new name, new research and what seems to be a band-aid.

If there is a way to take civilians and train them for the ways of war, surely there is a way to take trained military personnel and prepare them to become a member of society at large.

Why aren’t we? Why are we doing the easy thing instead of the right thing?

The Way to Peace is Through Peace

I am saddened by events that have happened earlier in the week and most recently last night in Dallas, where I live.  My words cannot fully express the horror and grief for all the lives that have been lost.

My heart, thoughts and prayers go out to those who have died or been injured and their families. Know that others grieve with you as you walk this new path, one most of you did not choose.

I was waiting for new tires to be put on my car when I heard of the first shooting yesterday.  I felt ineffectual as I sat there.  The event had already taken place.  Nothing I could do.  I wasn’t even sure how to express myself.  Can one grieve in a tire shop?

Later that night, I drove to Denton to see my daughter.  I wasn’t even aware there was a rally in Dallas.  I left around 10pm and my daughter called.  I knew I hadn’t left anything behind and I was already on the highway.  I answered the phone anyway.  She told me there had been a shooting and not to go through downtown.

Violence is swift and strong.  It appears to have the upper hand but that is a false illusion.  Violence begets more violence.  It solves nothing and escalates situations that didn’t need to be. Creating a never ending tit for tat. Where does it stop?

Someone has to say, “Enough, it stops here.” Even knowing that someone may still choose violence. Standing up for peace is the way to have peace.

Peace is quieter and takes time and creates more peace.  Peace is the only way to combat violence.  It may look like the weaker way but that too is an illusion.

In 1986, my husband moved us to Arizona.  He was delighted to discover he could carry a weapon.  And did so.  He would urge me to put a pistol in my purse when I went to the grocery store.  I refused.

I was not saying there wouldn’t be a confrontation.  For in the news a homeless man attacked a woman in a grocery store parking lot because she told him she would give him money, then realized she didn’t have any.  Or maybe she didn’t have the amount he wanted. I don’t remember exactly.

I didn’t think having a firearm would be the help my husband thought it would.

First, the thing you want the most in your purse is at the bottom.  Always.  I am always digging around and having to pull a bunch of stuff out before I get to what I want.

I saw myself having to say, “hold on, I know it’s here somewhere.” And in reality an assailant isn’t going to ‘hold on’.

Second, my husband was 6’3″ and I’m 5’3″. With his height, he is already at an advantage of looking formidable. I on the other hand look easy to take.  If I pulled out a gun, it would be easy to laugh me off and feel like you could step in and take it from me. And then I’d have a gun pointed at me.  And even used against me.

Not something I’d want.

I still don’t carry a weapon.  Not one of violence anyway.

I carry and use the weapons of peace.  I pray. I practice loving everyone. I do what I can to make the space I am in a better place. I find peace within myself and then extend it, share it, and spread it to as many people as I can.

And you can, as well.  Will you?

A Man with a Cross Tattoo

The tattoo was tiny.  I could have covered it with the tip of my pinkie.  I say could have because I did not get that close to the man.

I had gone to a different church for Sunday Lenten service, on the north side of town and stopped on the way to the garden afterwards because I was running on empty.  I don’t like getting gas.  It’s one of the places I feel the most vulnerable.  The most exposed and subject to the whims of others.

I don’t know what I was thinking about but I was a million miles away from where I was. I had seen the man when I first pulled in but he was 3 bays over and quickly forgot about him.

I hear someone talking, I jump and see him standing by the trash can between the pumps. He asks for spare change.  I shake my head and tell him I don’t have any cash on me.  He apologizes for scaring me. I reply it is OK, I was in my head.  He said something about NPR and I laughed.

At some point in the exchange I noticed the tiny blue cross between his eyebrows.  There were other tiny blue markings on his face but I couldn’t tell you what they were.

I finished pumping the gas, thinking about lunch and thought maybe the man was hungry.  I screwed the cap on the tank and walked across the parking lot, looking for the man.  When I did, I pointed to the store and asked him if he was hungry, I could use my card.

He waved his hand no and backed away. He even crossed the street. I do not know why he said no. He hadn’t said why he wanted the money. Maybe he wasn’t hungry.  Maybe he had been told he could not go into the store.

It is illegal for people to pan handle in Dallas and there have been emails warning that some are criminals with violent backgrounds. Hence my distaste for stopping to get gas.  I am fully aware of the dangers of talking to people in the gas station parking lot.

I am also aware given a different set of circumstances, I could be the one asking for change at the gas station.  I just haven’t been hungry or desperate enough to do so.

So if someone talks to me, I will treat that person like a human being. In my response, I will do my best to bring God to the conversation.  I am glad there was a tiny blue cross to remind me to do so.

A Bail Out Buddy

Talking about affluenza at the community garden Tuesday led the conversation to having a bail out buddy.

I told my kids when they were younger to get a bail out buddy, for I would not bail them out if they went to jail.  They could come home but I would not go get them.

When my second husband’s started drinking and driving, I told him as well that I would not bail him out from jail.  He was not happy with that so I assured him that if I ever went to jail, I would call someone else to bail me out.

On Tuesday, I realized I don’t have a bail out buddy any longer! And the rules in Texas are changing to the point, I may find myself needing one.  An example is the 2013 raid on a community garden in Arlington where members were handcuffed for 10 hours.

As I was asking who would like to be my bail out buddy, a member mentioned she had received a ticket earlier in the month and since she didn’t contact the court within the 15 days, she was worried she had a warrant for her arrest.

The best thing to look for in a bail out buddy is they help keep you OUT of jail in the first place.  So I loaded her into my car and we headed to the court building.

Not only did she not have a warrant but because she indicated she wanted to take the class, she saved money!

The old adage, ‘A stitch in time, saves nine’ is very applicable in all areas of life.

It is a shame that affluenza boy’s mother thought running would be the solution to her son’s possible breaking probation.  She has compounded her son’s situation as well as adding to her own.  If he is not viewed as an adult for this incident, he will most assuredly the next time.

Be careful who you choose to be your bail out buddy. Your choice could be the reason you are in or out of jail.

On Loving Affluenza Boys and Girls

I was serious when I decided to love everyone.  It isn’t an easy thing to do.  There are a lot of people doing and saying things that make it hard to love them. Some I come in direct contact and others I only know from hear-say or reported news.

Just because some are insulated from the results of their words or actions, does not mean they will never have to face what they have said or done. We teach our children best if the consequence is followed close after the incident.  But that is not always the case.

In cases where the correction was not done quickly, the lesson isn’t learned and the individual will continue to behave in the same manner causing other incidents and opportunities to learn.  It is a shame that the system will deal over harsh with some and under correct in others.

However, my goal is to find some way of loving even these people. I do have compassion that some lessons that are best learned at 2 years of age may not be learned until much later and at a higher cost than a ‘no-no’ and time out, or distraction to a more acceptable behavior.

And if the only way I can find love for these individuals is to ask myself, do I want to be loved and forgiven for the things I have done and said? The answer is yes. I begin by loving each one the way I want to be loved.

Response to Anger, Hate, and Fear

My thoughts, prayers and love go out to all who have been caught up in recent events in Paris. If I could, I would take you in my arms and whisper, “There, there, my dear.” Speaking words of comfort and peace.

Violent acts have always been in the world.  Few are exempt from experiencing it. In large and small ways, from bullies in the school yard, domestic eruptions, and full-blown wars, just to name a few examples.

There is the choice to destroy and there is the choice to build.  And those who make either choice, live and work next to each other.

I live in a dangerous neighborhood, you can find it in the Urban Dictionary.  Some friends and family are concerned on where I live and would like to see me move.  My response is that I have met some of the nicest people in the grove.  I have built a community and would miss them if I left.

I work at a university. Some very violent acts have been committed on campuses across the country in recent years.  Recent laws that take effect next year, may cause campus’ to become more volatile.  The debate goes on and it remains to be seen the results from allowing concealed weapons license holders to bring their weapons.

This past Lenten season, I chose to love everyone. It had a profound effect on me.  When I get upset, those I know and love remind me of my commitment.  I don’t yell as much while commuting in traffic.  Though this loving the drivers around me who drive recklessly will be an ongoing project.

And I will still honk at you to alert you that you are getting too close.  I even honk at the drivers behind me.

For the month of October, I sang “Amazing Grace” to prepare for Dia de los Muertos celebration every day. I tended to focus on my wretchedness and need of grace.  But a month of singing this song has had a profound effect on me.  I continue to sing this song, but now the focus is on what a wonderful gift grace has been and is.

A couple of weeks ago, the house next door was raided.  I was already at work when my daughter called asking what happened.  I didn’t see anything. She thought it was the police, another family member said it was the FBI. Next door.

People will do what they believe they need to do.  I will never understand those who choose, anger, hate, fear, and destruction.  Life is hard enough without pulling down the house.

I am beginning to understand that you will do what you will do.  I must decide and choose what I will do. I will make this choice regardless of what you choose. I choose love, life, laughter and hope and faith. I extend this to the everyone I have decided to love.

So to Paris, I am sorry that someone I love has hurt someone else I love. Oh, that I could embrace you and let you know I care.  For tonight I cry along side you.  The senselessness of what has happened. It did not have to be this way except for the fact there are those who choose hate, anger and fear. To all of you caught up in these events,  I send comfort and peace, my dear.

 

Cecil the Lion and the Dentist

An American went to Zimbabwe to hunt big game.  His expert guides lured an animal from a reserve so the hunter could use his bow and arrow.

The hubris thinking he is better than others because he has trophies of big game from around the world hanging on the walls. He wants people to honor and adore him for his Olympian efforts.

How is parading an animal in front of you to shoot hunting?

I hit a target in front of me when I play darts. And nothing has to die.

This particular lion happened to be collared, and beloved.  The American is sorry now.  He’s not sorry he killed the lion.  He’s sorry people are upset.  So sorry he is not receiving the conquering hero’s welcome home.

Makes me stop and ponder, where is hubris in my life?  In what areas do I think I should receive the conquering hero’s welcome home?  And whether the times have changed and I will be sorry for upsetting people instead.