Tag Archives: hate

Time for a discussion: Guns, mental health, violence

24 Hours Ago… So much can change in a 24 hour period.

Throughout the world, lives are lost each day due to diseases, wars, drugs, mental and eating disorders, famine, violent crimes and so much more. What makes today different is not only is this happening just after the other recent tragedies in a mall, a theater, hair salon, etc but these were children, teachers a principal and those there to help our children.

They lived in one of the top 10 places to live in America. School should be a safe zone. No hate, violence, bullying or fear of dying due to any senseless act of crime. Mental disorders or not. That is not a reason or excuse for violence.

People live with mental disorders everyday without causing harm. People have guns responsibly. The fact is, not everyone is held accountable. Not everyone is responsible with a gun or keeps it away from the wrong hands.

Not everyone has proper medical diagnosis, care and/or treatment for their mental illness. The discussions and resolutions can’t be avoided. Prayers shouldn’t have to continuously go out for lives lost and communities affected by tragedy.

Prayers and attention need to focus on one thing, SAVING LIVES.

Put the politics aside.

People deserve to live and people deserve proper medical attention.

Side note:

I wanted to post this now but I was working on an article following the recent shooting in Clackamas…then this happened, the shooting at an elementary school. I will follow this up with a further article.

Please share your thoughts on this matter. Worldwide, people have been affected in different ways. 

It is time for a discussion.

Terror in America’s schools and at home

Rats and Bullies Documentary

Would you send your child off to be terrorized everyday at a local prison? Would you let them play with loaded weapons over at their friend’s house? Would you allow them to walk around with something in their pocket that could lead to their death or the death of someone around them?

Up front, most anyone would answer, “No” to all of the above questions. A person with the responsibility of caring for a child would typically have this child’s best interest in mind. They would protect them to the best of their ability, right?

The question is, as parents, community leaders, teachers, administrators and across our nation, are we doing what needs to be done to protect our children, our young people and our future?

Everyday children are going to school across our country and being terrorized by other children and this is absolutely not getting the attention it needs and deserves. Some schools are stepping up, and not only admitting there is a problem but are bringing the students together, opening communications, and learning different ways to treat this epidemic by starting with one of the most important steps, speaking up.

This is more than a “bullying” issue going on. This is something involving all age groups in schools, work places, homes, malls, online, cell phones, etc. This leaves no safe zone, no escape for those constantly being tormented. The threats become relentless. The torture and harassment is leaving our children feeling hopeless and alone.

This is not something that will go away with a few schools taking charge, a petition getting signed or a TV special hoping to speak to anyone who will listen. It will take everyone stepping up getting involved by talking to children and letting them know that being different is okay. It is also means living by example and explaining to a child that talking down to others is never okay.

Often it takes a tragic story to get the attention of national news media or action from lawmakers. In the past it has taken horrific tragedies to have schools look at what could have been done to avoid an event that has already taken place. Losing any child to constant tormenting from others is preventable and each life lost is in part the responsibility of everyone that turned a blind eye or did not do everything possible to protect our most valuable resources, every child. Many children fear going to school each day.

Understand if a child has access to a computer or the Internet via a cell phone, game system (PS2, PS3) many available MP3 devices (which have Internet access), or by simply going to a friend’s house, they are possibly being or taking part in bullying actions. The possibility is there. More than ever, the need for communication and knowledge about online activity as well as personal and online friendships is now more important than ever.

While attending school, children rely on their teachers and the school staff to protect them and parents expect the school to not only be responsible and accountable for this but also rely on this protection as well.

With the diversity of students in our schools as well as the overall social changes within our nation, it is absolutely crucial that our nation’s schools have a plan in place for many situations that can arise during a typical school day or any time of crisis.

Bully free zones should be everywhere!

Dealing with student harassment and ongoing bullying is something the school needs to have the support of parents, the community, local government and laws need to be in place to protect students in need of support but also giving teachers the ability to lend a hand to students in need.

While the legislation process and politics are playing out on the news, parents are talking about this at home. The debates (and their language) are making their way into our schools through our young children who become more confused. Slander and hate that is expressed at school is not something a person is born with. Hate is not a birth trait.

Bullying, and terrorizing of another is an action that the bullying student should be held responsible for. This is something the bully should receive mandatory counseling for.

Too many children are killing themselves! These losses are as tragic as a loss by any other tragedy or disease to those left behind. Most often, these suicides could have been prevented and signs are either noticed too late or had not been taken seriously in the time leading up to the time of death.

Even though there’s typically evidence leading back to the cause of their suicide, the ongoing threats and harassments, most often nothing is legally done. This can be changed if enough people will stand up and demand change.

This is made very evident in a ground breaking, Award Winning documentary “Rats and Bullies” directed by Cassidy McMillan.

Originally, the story of 14 year old Dawn-Marie Wesley was shared on the Oprah Winfrey Show. This young girl took her own life in her family home after having been continuously bullied and threatened. Like too many before her, it reached a point she felt she couldn’t take anymore.

After being shown in schools, feedback from students shows that “Rats and Bullies” validates how many students are feeling with the difficulties of being ridiculed and intimidated. There is also an eye opening part to many watching this film that although the one committing suicide appears to be ending their life, those left behind are beginning a nightmare of living without their loved one, asking questions about what they could have done differently or if it was their fault. This film brings up a lot of points to open communication within schools and communities as well as at home.

The Producer and Director of the film Cassidy McMillan hoped by making “Rats and Bullies” would help prevent any future loss of life. To this point, the significance of response in showings at schools and festivals definitely reveal not only a need for a significant increase in discussions but also an awareness that these situations are not as isolated as many believe them to be.

Cassidy McMillan

McMillan has been receiving emails from students saying they have changed their mind on a planned suicide, how her film has greatly affected them and has validated how they felt. She is very pleased by this outcome.

What can we do to help in the effort to eradicate bullying in our culture?

Everyone must speak out against any form of bullying. It is never okay to torment anyone, ridicule or harass either in person, via email or text. If you are a witness to bullying – Report it. Speak to an adult. If you are being the bully – STOP! Ask for help.

As a community we need to demand that our Senators and Representatives create laws that will protect victims and hold our schools fully accountable for the bullying happening while our children are in school.

Every child should feel safe heading to and from school and be focused on learning not worried about being bullied or having their life threatened. Every child should feel comfortable going to the school administrators to report a problem.

Too often, when a person isn’t directly involved with a given situation they don’t see the need to help fix a problem. I ask Cassidy McMillan why it will take everyone to fix this problem. She said, “When someone dies, we all lose someone.”

We discussed this a bit and the point is we would never know who that person would become, who they could have grown up to become. Could they have grown up to cure cancer? Could they have become president? We will never know.

Having a child with cancer and with the news of Steve Jobs just passing, that puts things into a perspective that many people can and should be able to understand. What if someone like Steve Jobs had not been around to accomplish all he did? None of us would be here if our parents weren’t around to have us.

Everyone should have the opportunity to grow up in a safe environment and this issue, unlike some diseases or natural disasters, is something that is within our grasp and ability to prevent. Let’s put an end to this terror many of our children have to face each and every day.

**To find out more about “Rats and Bullies” and where you can view this Award Winning Documentary, please visit http://ratsandbullies.com

**Visit the Facebook Page for “Rats and Bullies”.

"Rats and Bullies" Awards

Looking back and moving forward on 9/11

It’s a beautiful day, clear skies, sun shining and people walking around just like any other day.

A woman goes into Starbucks and picks up a tall, skinny latte and then heads back out making a quick call back home to remind someone she’ll be home early today because they have guest coming to dinner. “Don’t be late”, she says.

Moments later, she heads into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

At Boston’s Logan International Airport, a man waves bye to the friend dropping him off. In such a rush, he nearly leaves his ticket in the car for American Airlines’ flight #11. It’s a rush to the gate, but he makes his flight.

As a few co-workers are getting some last minute paperwork printed up and start heading out the door to a meeting, one man reminds his assistant, “Bring both of the files off the desk.” They turn around to open the door and…

On September 11, 2001 lives changed. Where were you?

8:46 A.M. American Airlines Flight #11 crashes into the North Tower of the World Trade Center

8:48 A.M. The first television report is broadcast locally on New York’s WNYW station

8:49 A.M. CNN breaks into a Ditech commercial with live footage and the screen subtitle says,“World Trade Center Disaster”

9:03 A.M. United Flight #175 crashes into the South Tower of the World Trade Center

9:15 A.M. NBC’s Today Program makes unconfirmed statements from employees at United Airlines that an American Airlines aircraft had been hijacked previous to its destruction

9:17 A.M. All NYC area airports closed down

9:18 A.M. CNN makes reference for the first time saying foul play may be involved. FBI is investigating foul play

9:23 A.M. Text message sent to United Flight #93 warning “Beware of cockpit intrusion-Two a/c {aircraft} hit World Trade Center”

9:24 A.M. FAA notifies the Northeast Air Defense Sector about the possible hijacking of American Airlines Flight #77

9:28 A.M. Hijackers storm into cockpit of Flight #93 and take over flight. Takeover is overheard by flight controllers in Cleveland

9:29 A.M. President Bush makes first Public Statement about attacks from Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, FL where he had been visiting with students at the time of the attacks

9:37 A.M. Flight #77 crashes into the western side of the Pentagon

Immediately the Nation becomes aware that these are possibly calculated terrorist and more can continue to happen

9:43 A.M. the White House and Capital are evacuated and closed

9:45 A.M. United States airspace is shutdown. No civilian aircraft can take off and all aircraft flying are told to land immediately at nearest airport. All international flights are directed to land in Canada. Transport Canada, Canada’s transportation also shuts down its airspace

9:57 A.M. Passenger revolt begins against hijackers aboard Flight #93

9:59 A.M. The South Tower of the World Trade Center collapses

10:03 A.M. Flight #93 is crashed in a field in Somerset, Pennsylvania due to hijackers and passengers fighting. Reports indicated passengers had learned of the World Trade Center attacks and planned revolt to resist the hijackers

10:10 A.M. Part of the west side of the Pentagon collapses

10:28 A.M. The North Tower of the World Trade Center collapses

10:50 A.M. Five stories of the Pentagon building collapse

4:00 P.M. National news outlets report that high officials in the federal intelligence community are stating that Osama Bin Laden is suspect number one.

Due to the attacks on September 11, 2001, 2,977 innocent people lost their lives. Their families and their friends lost loved ones. What these people could have brought to the future of the world will never be known but each of them has a name and should always be remembered for who they were and the lives they touched.
September 11, 2001 was caused by the hate of a group of extremist, an Islamist Militant Group and Osama Bin Laden. These attacks were not caused by the countries these individuals are from or the religion they claimed to be fighting for.

This day was a day that would forever change our Country but it shouldn’t tear down our Nation. Our Nation shouldn’t be formed by our history. We should learn from our history and focus on our growth and our future.

To be held back by that horrible day and the events that took place is not honoring those that were lost but it is awarding and remembering those 19 individuals that attacked and is also showing Osama Bin Laden that America can again be broken due to its division.

For America to be strong, its people must be United, showing each other respect, understanding and overall, having the desire to see America move forward.

~Please share your thoughts and comments at the bottom of the page. To receive and email alert when upcoming articles are released, subscribe at the top of this article.

Updated add on:  See article “America is a land of heroes and honor” with a tribute to 9/11 “America Stand Strong”

Intolerance vs. Terrorism

For years now, immigration has been an issue requiring attention. The U.S. borders as well as international airports have been an access point for drugs and weapons and on September 11, 2001, America was attacked in a way many Americans never expected could happen on U.S. soil.

On that day, 2,996 people died including the 19 terrorist, Al Qaeda hijackers. The majority of deaths were civilians, including nationals from over 90 countries.

Very soon after the attacks, the luggage of one of the terrorist, Mohamed Atta, was found which not only identified all 19 male hijackers but also had detailed plans, motives and backgrounds on the men and the attacks. On September 27, 2001, the photos of these 19 terrorists were released on the news and for the first time, people could put faces to the horrible anger and blame they had been feeling about the innocent lives that had suddenly been taken away on that clear and sunny Tuesday morning in New York City.

Many people still had not located loved ones, did not know if they were missing or dead and at the same time, there was still an unimaginable grief and anger throughout the U.S. for this horrible crime. What could have caused someone to do this? What did anyone in these towers, in the Pentagon, on those planes do to anybody? Why were they suddenly gone? Why did New York City look like a war zone? Why did it feel like a war zone?

The answer to those questions would come from Osama Bin Laden. He provided the leadership and funding for this group. Initially Bin Laden denied his involvement but later admitted involvement via video tape talking to Khaled al-Harbi. The tape was broadcast on several news networks in December 2001. He stated, “Terrorism against America deserves to be praised because it was a response to injustice, aimed at forcing America to stop its support for Israel, which kills our people.”

Right after the attack, the U.S. responded with the War on Terror, a war that is continuing today in its fight to overthrow al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Here in the U.S. however, right after the attacks, hate crimes began happening against Muslim-Americans, Middle Easterners or other “Middle Eastern-looking” people. There were reports of attacks on Mosque and other religious buildings including a Hindu Temple.

Different people were assaulted and Balbir Singh Sodhi was fatally shot on September 15, 2001 when he was mistaken as a Muslim but was actually Sikh, a follower of Sikhism. Like others, he has been mistaken due to the fact both religions wear head turbans. According to studies done by Ball State University, following the attacks, people perceived to be of Middle Eastern, Arab or Muslim were more likely to be the victims of hate crimes.

Although 19 terrorists hijacked the planes on September 11, 2001 and Osama Bin Laden claimed responsibility for leading and funding the group as well as the knowledge that al Qaeda (a militant Islamist terrorist organization) is the force behind these attacks, many people still focus the attacks on an ethnic group or a religion. What is the reasoning for the lack of tolerance or the outright hate towards Muslims or those practicing Islam? The main reason given is the attacks on 9/11.

Following the attacks on 9/11, a joint statement was released by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Islamic Medical Association of North America, Islamic Circle of North America, Islamic Society of North America, American Muslim Alliance, Muslim Public Affairs Council and others which stated;

“American Muslims utterly condemn the vicious and cowardly acts of terrorism against innocent civilians. We join with all Americans in calling for the swift apprehension and punishment of the perpetrators. No political cause could ever be assisted by such immoral acts.”

The acts of these 19 terrorists did not represent their religion, their culture or their people as a whole.

April 19, 1995 was a regular Wednesday morning for those working in the Alfred P. Murray Federal Building in Oklahoma City until 9:02 a.m.

Timothy McVeigh, an American Militia movement sympathizer detonated an explosive-filled truck parked in front of the building. His co-conspirator, Terry Nichols had helped in the bomb making process which became the most destructive act of terrorism on American soil until the attacks of 9/11/01. That day, 168 people lost their lives, including 19 children. 680 people were injured.

Who was Timothy McVeigh? Where was he from? Timothy McVeigh was a U.S. Army Veteran. He had left the military in 1992. He’d written the local papers complaining about taxes and the government’s mismanagement. He was motivated by his hate for the federal government. In 1993, he drove to Waco, Texas to show support for those at Waco and distributed pro-gun rights literature. After the Oklahoma attacks, he said he was angered by the way the Waco siege was handled. He arranged his attack to coincide with the second anniversary of the deaths at Waco.

On February 18, 2010 employees at an Austin, Texas IRS office say “it felt like a bomb blew off” and that “the ceiling caved in and windows blew in. We got up and ran.”

Joseph stack, a 53 year old software engineer launched a suicide attack by flying a small plane into the IRS building containing 200 employees. Employees in surrounding offices were suddenly looking at images that appeared to be a repeat of 9/11.

Stack had previous issues with the IRS and left a note. “I have had all I can stand,” he wrote. “I choose not to keep looking over my shoulder at ‘big brother’ while he strips my carcass.”

Just in these three cases, to try to have prevented these acts of terrorism would have meant to have been looking for anyone that was of Middle Eastern decent, Muslim-American, American militia affiliated, anti-government and anyone that had really had it with the IRS?

The fact is in every group, in every race, in every religion, there are those that are bad or extreme and those people don’t represent the entire group.

This country would have never moved forward without that understanding. Wars would never truly have ended. Slavery would have never ended. Civil rights and freedoms would not exist. Equal rights cannot truly be something that the U.S. says it gives unless they are there for everyone.

True equal rights cannot be given by picking and choosing or not be given and then not honored.

The danger doesn’t come to America by those who appear to be different or come from a different culture or background. Danger comes when America fails to recognize humanity for each individual or when Americans are withholding opportunities from a select group that many are just taking for granted.

One religion can’t condemn another religion in a country that is based on “Freedom of Religion”.

There are those using the argument that the Islamic religion is based on extremism and saying that those wanting to build a mosque are doing so to convert others to their belief and lifestyle. There are two points that need to be pointed out here. First, when any church, synagogue or temple is built, it is done so to bring in new followers and also to give their present church goers a new and better place to worship. Second, in most recent news the violence happening is being done toward the Muslims and their proposed Mosque and toward their religion in the U.S., not by them.

There is a planned burning of the Qur’an on 9/11 at the Dove World Outreach Center and whether or not you agree with a person’s belief or not, to burn their religious book is just unacceptable. How would anyone feel if someone was burning Bibles? How would anyone feel if any group was holding a burning of any kind of books?

What if anytime a crime was done by a member of a family, the entire family was held accountable?

What if anytime a catholic priest was caught doing anything questionable, all priest were suddenly seen as suspicious?

What if one employee was caught stealing and suddenly everybody was being searched each day coming to work?

What if one person at a workplace says you made them feel uncomfortable and suddenly you are transferred, cut back on hours or let go of. Not because you did anything but just because someone said something, thought something or judged you.

What if another religion was suddenly the target of intolerance or hate crimes? Mormonism? Catholicism? Christianity? Would people turn their backs on the followers of this religion, join in the fight against the religion, just not do anything and remain silent or stand up for freedom of religion? What is the right thing to do in America? What is really behind the intolerance toward the Muslims, their faith and their desire to build new places to worship?

What will it take to end hate?

The more often a story plays on the news or is written in the papers about discrimination, hate crimes, intolerance against others for numerous reasons, it should be opening the doors to more mature communications and closing the gaps of miscommunication.



It seems even though more people are talking and talking that less people are really listening. It appears to actually be fueling more hate and more intolerance. Why is that the case? Why is there so much division within the “United” States of America? Something has to be fueling the continued division and causing this to not only grow, but to become such an issue that even when the country is in such turmoil economically and suffering from tremendous job losses and countless crisis that needs attention.

Is this a political issue or an agenda of politicians? Does it lean from one party to another? Does the possibility of so much intolerance towards one another benefit one party over another to the point that this would be beneficial in the long run? That wouldn’t really make sense. Maybe in some illogical concept one could see it but in the long term, any time there is a period of hatred it will bring the downfall of any government or society.

 

Is this centered completely around typical discrimination? In many ways, almost everyone has some sort of discrimination in them. It may not be racial or towards another person’s religion. It may not focus on a person’s sexual orientation or whether they are rich or poor but there are many ways to discriminate against people by judging them before you actually know them. The more often a person draws conclusions, the easier and more acceptable it seems to be.

 

Intolerance is the unwillingness or refusal to accept people who are different from you, or views, beliefs, or lifestyles that differ from your own. Nowhere in the definition does is say a person has the inability to have tolerance to accept people. It says they are unwilling or they refuse to accept the person’s differences. Everyone can choose to become tolerant.

 

At this point, the U.S. is in a crisis. The crisis is not just economic or jobs. The major crisis is within America. Americans need to find the ability to work on these inner issues of discrimination, intolerance and hate. Without fixing the inner issues, the economy and job crisis, the educational issues and the energy crisis cannot to move forward. America is only as strong as its weakest links.

Americans vote for the leaders that represent them in each state and in Washington D.C. Americans vote for the President. Americans vote for a great number of things. These votes represent what each voter is saying they want to see done and who they choose to represent them.

 

However, for this to work, each voter has to start by taking responsibility for themselves in their everyday life. Each person has to take responsibility for their everyday activity and how they treat every other person they encounter. Everyone has to expect that from the leaders they chose when they are in their home state and when they are in Washington, willing to work together for the good of their state and for the good of their country. Unless someone is working for the good of others, nothing will move forward.

 

Hate, discrimination, intolerance and waiting for someone else to start the process to end these problems is just not going to work. It takes each of us starting the process to end this and end this now, right away.

 

“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.” Samuel Johnson