#SpeakUp

I usually don’t say anything to people who aren’t disabled but park in disabled parking spaces anyway.  I dislike confrontations, and it’s just not worth the hassle.  There are rude and tacky people everywhere, and I’ve gotten used to it.  But should I just accept rude behavior?  We all share our public spaces, just like here on the internet, so we should all contribute to what we think acceptable behavior consists of.

Illegal parking is such a small thing… And maybe that person parked illegally because they were in a hurry, on their way to see a sick friend in the hospital before visiting hours were over. Maybe that person was really depressed and decided to make themselves feel better by breaking the law.  (It happens.)  Maybe that person had an operation two days ago, and still feeling weak, decided to use the disabled parking space just this once.

I can make up a hundred excuses for rude behavior, and in my younger days, I even made up excuses for other people’s bad behavior.  My boss yelled at me?  Well, maybe he’s having trouble at home.  Some crazy driver on the roadway scares me to death?  Well, he probably doesn’t drive like that every day.  And in my older days:  All the dog owners in my apartment complex who never pick up after their dogs?  Well, I’ll just learn to step around all those gross and yucky piles (while taking pictures of the trees, birds, and clouds) — you know, work on my coordination.

I’ll never forget the time I witnessed a mother screaming at and belittling her two young kids in the grocery store.  The kids seemed to take it in stride, like it happened all the time, but I was embarrassed and frightened for them.  I tried to think of something to say, something that wouldn’t make the mother even angrier than she already was… but I was struck dumb.  I didn’t know what to say that would make the situation any better, for her or for the kids.

And let me say that if you live in a state that has liberal gun laws, you learn to keep your opinions to yourself.  It’s just the safest thing to do.  But is it the right thing to do?

I hope I would say something if I ever witnessed physical abuse, but why don’t I react the same when I witness verbal abuse?  Is it fear that keeps me quiet?

As a chronic pain patient, I have accepted being bullied, especially by doctors.  It was that first time — that first time I allowed myself to be bullied — which made it so much easier for the next doctor to bully me…

It was Foghorn The IKonoclast’s post about witnessing a rape back in the 70s, and a recent story about silent bystanders of a rape on a college campus, that made me wonder why so many witnesses of these crimes stay silent… turn away.  Would I have done the same thing?

https://stlluna7.wordpress.com/2015/02/13/she-fell-in-love-cant-be-help-responsible/

Back in 1974, I was a kid, only 18 years and probably was witness in some way to a date rape. It sure felt like it because as I was leaving out the dorm that night, guys were pulling a train on a teen girl and some guy asked me if I wanted to have ‘some.’ I said, “no.” And besides, the choice of words haunts me too as well as the whimpering that went along with her disorientation.

I was so naive but a part of my soul has been tortured to this very day. If I knew then what I know now, I might have gone postal because I cannot imagine a crime worse than that. You see, she was drunk and whimpering. Damnit. That really pisses me off. No girl asks for ‘it.’ Not for that.

I didn’t know what “pulling a train on a teen girl” meant, but the Urban Dictionary filled me in.  I suppose these kinds of activities happen in gangs and around athletes, two places I’ve never been. But I find it hard to believe that any girl would happily agree to participate in being a train, no matter how popular she wanted to be.  Or how much in love, because that’s not love.

And I also find it hard to believe that anyone witnessing such an act wouldn’t automatically know they were witnessing a rape, no matter how young or naive they were at the time.  If a dog or cat wandered onto a scene like that, even they would know that someone was suffering.

I hope I can look back at the mistakes I made when confronted with any kind of human or animal abuse and recognize when fear held me back from trying to stop it.  I hope in the future, if I am unlucky enough to witness verbal (or physical) abuse again, I will have the courage to speak up. And that’s all I can ask of anyone else — please speak up.

For it is when we stay silent, when we question ourselves, when we allow fear to overcome our better judgment, that things like rape happen.  Victims and survivors of rape, of the drug war, of addiction, of the war against mental health and pain patients — we all have to speak up.

Thanks for reading.

New Dosages of Old Drugs Are Used to Raise Their Prices

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/11/business/new-dosages-of-old-drugs-used-to-raise-their-prices.html

Doctors say the practice benefits patients because it is convenient and allows physicians to better monitor the patient’s use of medication. Insurers and business groups have long tried to control or eliminate physician dispensing because of its higher costs and because doctors in some states were dispensing large volumes of narcotic painkillers like OxyContin…

He also added that efforts by California lawmakers to rein in the cost of physician dispensing had largely failed, adding that companies and government officials had begun discussing other options to address the practice. “There is interest in moving towards a formulary,” said Mr. Swedlow, referring to a list of drugs that doctors could dispense for specific conditions…

Meanwhile, another recent study by a consulting group, CompPharma, found that doctors treating injured workers were increasingly using compounded medications, such as specially prepared topical creams to treat pain containing various drugs and ingredients. There is little evidence such preparations work, the consulting group reported.

I’ve read various comments from pain patients about the effectiveness of some cannabis balms, but I haven’t read anything about the benefits of prescription topical creams.  Because I’ve tried everything, I once asked for and was prescribed a topical cream compounded from Soma. Surprise, it didn’t work.  (I couldn’t afford the cannabis cream.)

The NIDA on social media

Top Fed Cites ‘Barriers’ to Marijuana Research, Says No to Incarceration

http://news.marijuana.com/news/2015/02/top-fed-cites-barriers-to-marijuana-research-says-no-to-incarceration/

Researchers have also complained about the quality of marijuana available for research from the only approved supplier, a farm at the University of Mississippi, which operates under a NIDA contract…

This woman is not only awesome, she looks awesome too

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Isn’t Giving Up Her Fight for Women’s Rights

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2015-02-12/ruth-bader-ginsburg-isn-t-giving-up-her-fight-for-women-s-rights

She did just that in 2013, when a 5-4 court threw out a core part of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, citing reduced incidents of discrimination as a reason. Ginsburg said the majority’s approach was “like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”

Reminds me of the people fighting the drug war, and the lack of healthcare services for anyone not making $100K/year.

Not everyone is so enamored. Ginsburg has taken “a very political approach to the role of judging,” said Carrie Severino, chief counsel of the Judicial Crisis Network, a Washington-based group that began as an effort to win confirmation for Republican-appointed judges.

Perhaps Carrie doesn’t know that almost everything in life is political (or about the influential friends of other justices on the court, like the Koch brothers).

“Yes, there are blind spots,” Ginsburg said, “but in time they will go.”

Ah, another optimist 🙂

Voices of wisdom

Under comments:

Nicole Dunphy: I think there are times when it is ok to kill oneself, Death With Dignity!

God: True. I just talk to a lot of people who want to do it because they’re sad and well, I try to help them.

Eric Gudzinas:  I worked in a funeral home for over a year, and in that time of seeing hundreds of suicides there was only One I respected. There was no self destruction, he simply cut a vien in his arm and bled into bucket.

This Couple Is Crowdfunding to Stay Together Because the UK’s Minimum Visa Income Is Too High

http://www.vice.com/read/crowd-fund-couple

As well as asking people to contribute to Brandon’s legal advice costs, the crowd-funding appeal is explicitly asking anyone in Wales with a full time, reliable job going to give Brandon a chance at working it. If nobody steps forward and Brandon doesn’t find work, it’s likely he’ll be deported. Because Brandon’s wife’s mental health condition would immediately disqualify her from being eligible for a US visa—according to Brandon, “They don’t want anyone that’s a bit off, they only want super people,”—the couple would be separated, and Brandon would be unable to offer his wife the day-to-day support she needs…

Experts Agree: America’s Prison-Industrial Complex Is Broken

http://www.vice.com/read/experts-agree-americas-prison-industrial-complex-is-broken-212

In the 2000s, 14 states managed to reverse the mass incarceration trend, cutting their prison populations while also managing to continue to reduce crime. In New York, where that trend is most dramatic, the state reduced imprisonment by 26 percent at the same time that property crimes dropped by 28 percent…

The Vera report found that there were 11.7 million admissions to US jails in 2013—more than the population of Los Angeles. Even as violent and property crime rates began to decline in the 90s, the jail intake continued to surge, nearly doubling over the last 30 years. Much of that growth is attributable to an increase in the number of defendants jailed on drug charges as the war on drugs accelerated. But the report also highlights the overwhelming rate at which people with mental illness are being warehoused in jails…

Comcast improperly cashes woman’s rent check

http://krqe.com/2015/02/11/comcast-improperly-cashes-womans-rent-check/

The company was able to cash the check, even though it wasn’t made out to Comcast.

Under comments:

mugg$ • 13 hours ago
Oh yeah. I worked customer service for DirecTv, poor guy sent us a 420. truck payment by mistake. He was livid! Our automated system cashed the check, and poor me had to “apologize to the customer and tell him that his payment is a credit to his account” can you imagine? This guy was in a panic- telling me he will LOSE his truck! I was told to tell the guy the soonest he could get cut a check, IF one WAS cut, was 14 *business days*. I quit that soul-less job. Call centers are nothing more than depositories for human souls….

Similar thing happened to me, only with my apartment complex cashing a check that was made out to someone else.  (And they can’t blame it on an automated system.)  I didn’t find out about it for months, and I still haven’t been able to pay off the bill that check was supposed to cover.