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Rejection.

Rejection

I reject your ideas as normal
The likes of me
And everything formal

I reject your values as sacred
Founded on greed
And dollars being created

I reject your morals as standard
Shaking hands with kings
While kicking the bastard

I reject your humanity as peace
Celebrating the victory
And the warriors you fleece

I reject your message of hope
Laced with profit and tears
Keeping society in your scope

I reject your lies as convention
Using plastic words
And cellophane intentions

I reject your leaders as loyal
To anything but each other
And a title that’s royal

I reject this institution
Because the land I stand on
Is my sovereign nation

So take your flags and clones
Back to your marble mansions
And leave the free to roam

We reject your dreams as humane
For anyone outside your circle
Of jerks justifying the insane

We are no longer yours to exploit
Our minds are wandering
To places you’ll never be welcome.

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Free or Safe!!!!

You ever wonder what subliminal messages are being sent through the airways? You know, the hidden messages supporting the patriotic movements during the world wars, the cultural messages sent through drive in movie screens during the 60’s, even the messages sent through billboards you hardly notice as you navigate your daily grind; everything sends a message whether we acknowledge it or not.

I was thinking about this lately due to the latest issues surrounding law enforcement and communities. What messages are sent that we are unaware of that put the folks who are supposed to protect and serve at odds with their citizens.

The militaristic nature of policing is obvious; armored vests, military style weapons, and vehicles with bars on the front designed make the vehicle a weapon. This makes a bold statement of authority and superiority.

This still doesn’t explain the distance that has developed between the two groups completely. Even soldiers in tanks driving through foreign communities making acquaintances with the” locals”. There are numerous factors of course, but I observed one factor that fascinated me for a minute, architecture, and the fact that soldiers are usually out on the street meeting the locals

I know, you’re like, “What in the $&@? is he talking about?”. Well think about this. Most of these shootings occurred in lower socio economic areas of inner cities. Not just the famous events that have blasted the airways time and again, but the other shootings that may or may not have resulted in the death of a citizen or officer.

These are areas that were built in a time where community was at its height. Every house had a porch, or some form of welcoming structure built on the front of the house. Sidewalks lined each street.

If you look at old photos of these areas you see folks on the front porch, children in the streets, and actively engaged expressions on everyone’s face. Folks didn’t stay in the house.

This has to be odd for those officers patrolling the streets. Many of them come from areas where you drive down the street and see nothing but doorways and shrubbery, sidewalks don’t exist The activity in a neighborhood built in the last 15 or 20 years is in the back yard with decks and patios. The streets are empty, so much so that a car parked on the side of the road must mean trouble.

They don’t build houses to facilitate community anymore. No front porches or stoops to sit on and get to know the neighbors. No cars on the street to know if someone’s home, they’re in the garage with the door down. The layout of streets, distance between homes, and design of the house are private, withdrawn from a public concept, not a sidewalk around to record your childhood adventures in colored chalk.

So how does this architectural encampment approach to planning and construction effect our views of community or security ? Cops don’t walk “beats” anymore, there are no “beats” anymore. No one is “out front” or “on the street” anymore in modern neighborhoods where the street is just a path to isolation. So why would police walk a neighborhood where no one is outside?

Conversely if you grew up in one of these modern neighborhoods and commuted to work as a police officer to a neighborhood where all the activity was on the street or porch, what would your frame of mind be? Your frame of reference is the opposite of your work environment.

Church and school are probably the last bastion of community, and they have been under siege for years. Schools are somewhere between a jail and a psyche ward. Churches have locks and committees to oversee security. In reality our “freedom” has been slowly choked to a point where we no longer trust anyone.

Our rights and freedoms aren’t just attacked in those sessions where detached idiots make rules, laws, and opinions designed to “shape” what they call society, they are attacked in ways that unknowingly put us at odds with anyone outside our tiny circles. The “Stranger” has been created. Funny though, cause when you hear someone talk about a great guy who has passed they don’t say he stayed away from anyone he didn’t know, they say “He never knew a stranger!”

Many ordinary folks benefitted from the building boom. They built millions of homes that would eventually isolate the owners and renters from the rest of the world that used to be called neighbor. In some cases they built their own tombs.

You have to live a very different life today to keep your mind and body free in America. It’s still possible of course, it just ain’t a given anymore. Take a look around you one day and objectively evaluate how free you are.

Start by stepping outside and looking around, then get in your vehicle where you have rules. Look around the streets as you drive to work and objectively look at the messages and the buildings. The buildings are designed to get you inside. At work it’s obvious you’ll have rules, but look at your work space and how it relates to co workers and management.

When you return home and step in the door take a fresh look at your compartmentalized caccoon and identify how you feel, safe or free!!!

Now

Life’s a trip, it’s like one big visit and suddenly we find ourselves over the euphoric optimism of times and places unknown, longing for the familiar smell and touch of home.

Understanding this I need to soak in every moment of a person, place, and time along this journey. That’s most likely the reason why we don’t know what’s on the “other side”. God is giving us a hint at the value of now.

It’s surreal to think that forever is out there, before us and after us, and that now is our life. Everything else is forever and only has echoes of us as a wisp on the tongues of those we impacted. The ones who grasped now the most are not the breeze, there the wind carried across the memories of many.

I know no more than the next guy about “after life”; but it seems the real value of the mystery is that it reveals the gift of now and the short temporary nature of life. This doesn’t have to be a religious statement, it’s a reality for all of us regardless of our faith. No matter what our faith, ethnicity, or social status we all are destined for a new birth into a tomorrow we can’t comprehend.

Folks speculate about reincarnation, a sort of do over type situation where we return through another birth as a new being. Sometimes as a human, or sometimes as an animal.

For some folks it’s more static and we go to permanent places like heaven or hell and live out whatever eternity is in bliss or agony.

There are some who believe we are no different biologically than a plant or fish. We just die! No “after life” or new chance; we just become compost. For some that’s a gloomy perspective, who knows.

I think I’ll just start with an “after life” thesis. Clinging to this belief will at least remind me that now is not a second, it’s our life. I’m gonna grasp each person, place, or thing and enjoy the emotional roller coaster knowing its a short ride, I’m gonna raise my hands in the air, let the wind blow through my hair, and scream with joy as loud as I can enjoying this moment we call life. It’s way to short for me to close my eyes for even a moment.

Failure

In a backwards world we embrace success and shy away from failure. Reality is that we should embrace failure and enjoy the temporary nature of success. Learning is not success, it’s the culmination of failures resulting in the finality of a success. If someone claims to be successful, their only telling part of the story; and probably the part that they imagine their greatness to be within; when really their beauty is in the struggle.
In so many facets of our “high stakes” national ideal this is a dangerous reality. Parents are on line with their first child tracking “milestones” before the fetus is even 8 weeks old. Teachers expect students to show up in class looking neat and write their name neatly at the top of every page.
Managers are constantly interrupted by employees with problems that interfere with their 9 to 5 schedule. Even some of our religious leaders are forgetting the value of Christ’s death on the cross and how it relates to sin.
It’s up to families, neighborhoods, and cultures to understand that the greatest failures can result in a great success, and that success is temporary in a life worth living. We don’t achieve a dream then sit on a couch the rest of our lives watching the rest of the world live life to the fullest.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met people who are miserable, or too old, or handicapped by failure. They are content to watch TV and family deteriorate right in front of their eyes while they gloat on a sagging cloth couch. Really!!!
Failure is a colorful part of who each of us are. Just like we can’t go around smiling all day through euphoric or tragic moments, we can’t share our successes without sharing our failures. This is how friendships with trust that goes beyond life’s moments develop.
I would love to have a circle where friends say “Man, I really screwed that one up!”, as enthusiastically and proud as they say “I nailed that one!” I love to work with wood, hence the “screwed” and “nailed” metaphors.
Take a look some time about the psychological processes involved with learning. Evaluate your own successes honestly. Then go out and look at the world in a whole new light. I promise your circle of friends and family will become so much more interesting and honest. Look past suits and ties, dresses and shoes, and look into the heart of others to really see the color of life.
The old bible saying about treating others as you wish to be treated rings true across time. Hide who you are as a human being and you’ll have lots of friends who hide who they are also.
Then Ya,all can go shopping and pretend because the clothes you buy to create the person you’re not, and the TV shows you both enjoy living vicariously through to justify your dysfunctional relationships, are all part of some normal existence. The truth is in the lies!!!

Cops & Robbers

When we discuss fast food and obesity, we talk about the quality and greed of the fast food industry; and the discipline and lifestyle of the obese person. When we talk about addiction we sometimes talk about the greed and quantity of medication marketed by the pharmaceutical industry and the weakness of folks who make the mistake of getting involved with drugs. When we discuss education we discuss how parents aren’t doing enough at home and teachers aren’t producing “test scores” that reflect the education industries goals. When we hear about healthcare we hear about doctors and patient greed. This ignorance of our current “industrial revolution confounds me!

I know I’m not on an island here. Many folks understand this era we are living in is the “real industrial revolution”. We’ve industrialized every facet of life in America. The rubric is so obvious it’s invisible. There is a neat, (safe) structure to our function and dysfunction as citizens, we can generate profit from everything in America from misbehaving children to criminal investing of corporate finances.

The healthcare/medical industries benefit immensely; we’re born in a hospital, return throughout our lives, and eventually we end up in the dirt with a stone over our head. I’ll stop there for brevities sake, but in reality there is a post existence industry developing as we breathe; that’s just who we are.

So observing this I am confounded we don’t put policing, or justice, in the same vein. Crime makes as much money as all these other industries. The shows on TV and the internet depict some wannabe gangster with a bandana over his face cooking the latest version of his pharmaceutical counterparts answer to everyone’s problem. What they don’t depict is the untraceable amount of money the police industry receives to militarize its forces and play cops and robbers. Both sides are part of the industry.

As responsible citizens we failed to step forward and thwart the governments quick answer to fighting rising crime rates; getting bigger guns, cooler vehicles, and military armor was never going to solve the rising crime problem, it just raised the stakes. Some smart folks in California knew this years ago when a couple crooks got their own body armor and walked down the street taking shots like Soldiers in an urban nightmare. The police and the criminals are all part of the game and as citizens we have to “Police” both. No “Player” in the game of crime is exempt from responsible oversight if we want to have a peaceful existence as American citizens.

We are never gonna eliminate crime. It cannot happen. Understanding this as the premise for our approach is fundamental in demilitarizing our police industry. We need law enforcement folks who are trained first. That’s the one one military principal the law enforcement industry must have cut funds. If you want to have a “Para Military” police force, you should protect the Officer and the citizens through training or else folks will end up dead, as we’ve seen. Training could have prevented these latest tragedies.

The shootings resulting in deaths are obvious training shortfalls, and I’m not blaming the officer, it’s the leadership that is responsible for the guy with “boots on the ground”. Firing multiple shots at an unarmed citizen is a sign of fear and unfamiliarity with the weapon you have and it’s capability. Choking someone out is what some young kids watching UFC too much do in their back yard when their bored. Any respectable “trained fighter” knows that it takes less force and effort to incapacitate someone through joint manipulation or pressure points than it does to choke someone out. That officer was untrained in “Martial Arts”, or at best improperly trained. He was acting like a bored teenager who just watched a UFC fight night and applied his favorite “move” on the weakest friend in the crowd.

All the leadership seems to do is hide behind news commentary and social problems. The leadership in the law enforcement industry failed us as citizens, and unfortunately just failed two Officers and their families; and now their hiding behind attacks on controversial figures and news commentary to hide the real fact that they changed the policing philosophy and didn’t understand the dynamics behind their approach; they just sat around in awe of the new budgets and enjoyed the spending at the expense of the Officers on the ground and the citizens they policed.

The reason there’s no clear solution is because the real problem is hiding behind mahogany doors and neatly organized pieces of paper lined with numbers and dollar signs. There are plenty of conversations around water coolers about political figures leading law enforcement as a statement of there strength when the real “Officers” with “Policing” experience are left out of the conversation because the reality of what works in policing isn’t popular and won’t further the cause of the careers of many political figures. If we “De-politicize” the nature of American police forces we would see a “De-militarization” of the way our criminals are going about their business, because the “Officers” who’ve been dealing with criminals for years know that “sticking your chest out” to folks who ain’t thinking straight to begin with ain’t gonna result in nothing but a fight, we have to be the bigger man sometimes and that’s what “Cops” do.

Why on earth would they need to prove some masculine principal to some dude who has been suffering from a twisted view of “being tough” cause he never had a male figure in his life that taught him how to be a man, and the woman around him taught him he was the “Man of the House” while he was telling an adult what to do. Just an example, we don’t have time for that conversation!

If your writing about any of these latest incidents and you claim the title of “Writer”. “Commentator”, “Journalist”, etc.. “Man Up”! Those titles indicate your a thinker. If you’re out there looking for a headline to further your status, go for it! Just know we who do think see right through you and your false sentiment about the folks involved. Or you can criticize my style and grammar as a reason to not write the truth, that’s another popular approach. That’s cool though, I don’t aspire to be part of your group anyway, I’m a criminal, patriot, American, leader, etc… Most of all I’m human and pissed at the deceit surrounding these incidents.

Everyone has to “Protect and Serve” bitch. This whole ongoing “Fiasco” is proof of how a responsible free press can help or hinder “American Citizens”. So maybe cops, robbers, politicians, and writers should all spend a few minutes with their “Hands Up”, at least no one would hurt or killed for a few minutes!

Temptation

You can say what you want about Christianity, believe what you want about faith, or deny any morality that conflicts with your desires; but in today’s America, you better follow the premise of steering clear of temptation.

In “the old days”, not biblical old, but era old. Like up till around the mid 70’s you could escape the old “guilt by association” trap. Your friend picks you up to take you to work and he has a roach in the ashtray and you get pulled over for a brake light out, he claims the roach and gets a lecture while you stare out the window, or he goes to jail for a misdemeanor and you drive his car home. Not today.

Today your both violently extracted from the car and thrown to the ground face down like someone off “America’s Most Wanted”. Then you lay there like you are a hardened criminal until dogs come to sniff every inch of you and the vehicle.

Finally your both told your under arrest for community possession and your car is hauled away simultaneously with you’re headed to the tank. So before you get a lawyer you’re already $150.00 in the hole for a .50c roach.

I ain’t no “smoker” and the “roach” example ain’t the end to the chances your life can go south. You may be the guy who stops at your buddies house on the way home from work on Friday to pick up a tool to finish building your boys playhouse. Your friend got off at noon, so he’s already barbecuing and 4 beers into a six pack.

There’s 2 left so he offers you one. You drink the beer and “shoot the breeze” for a half hour then drive the two miles up the road to your house.

On the way the drill you borrowed falls to the floor and you reach down to get it from the floorboard and swerve a bit. Police see the truck swerve and pull you over. There’s a slight hint of beer on your breath.

Although your talking and acting normal, your probably gonna get out of the car and blow into a tube. If your lucky you won’t be cuffed and sat on the side of the road or the back of the car while the officer calls in your license, insurance, and registration, all the while checking you out for priors.

If all that ends well you may get the benefit of the doubt; or you’re most likely gonna get some level of driving impaired citation. If you’re really lucky you won’t have to go downtown while your car goes uptown to the impound yard. That $1.00 beer could cost you thousands if it goes south for you.

I ain’t done yet, I got lots of examples of how you ain’t free in America to make a mistake. You may get a call at work from your wife telling you she’s been placed in jail for community possession of a controlled substance.

Considering you thought she was at your child’s school making “ginger bread” houses for the last day of school before “Christmas Break”; you find yourself in a surreal moment where your life is turned upside down.

After bailing your beloved out you find out she gave one of the classroom moms a ride home. On the way home your beloved was pushing the limits of the old 10 miles per hour over the limit” myth. When the police pulled her over he asked for ID from both moms.

Well mom who needed a ride dropped her prescription on the floor while going through her purse. Unfortunately she was one of those moms who carries a couple different medications in one bottle. When the police ask to see the bottle and the pills all hell breaks loose.

After pulling the two moms out of the car, they pull to two little beauties out of their car seats and now their under police care. The car gets searched after the dogs are brought out. A couple of her Vicodin fell under the seat and unfortunately the label on the bottle is for Xanax.

Now I ain’t making no judgements, I’m the type who doesn’t want to get into other folks business. Sometimes “skirting” the edge of morality can get you wrapped up real tight.

Some folks like to look at pornography on their computers. I ain’t judging folks who like that sort of thing , but if that’s you , you’re putting yourself in great danger , remember the temptation trap.

Say you are sitting around your house minding your own business and a friend sends you some pornography, or a link to his favorite site. The ad page shows woman in selected poses scantily dressed. It’s Friday, so why not?

You go on to fill the empty moments of your weekend in your study perusing the photos. You send a message back to your buddy thanking him for the porn and Monday morning ya’all laugh and joke about your favorite photos and critique the less desirable shots.

Friday comes around again and you anxiously await 5:00pm and the freedom to see what’s in the mail on the computer. Then you notice two guys walking towards your cubicle looking real stern. Sweat breaks out on your neck as they escort you to the break room.

So now, while your taking an unscheduled break with your two new friends; your hard drive from your work computer is being removed under the watchful eye of your boss and your nosy co workers.

This is just the beginning of your embarrassment, cause you’re fixin to be marched out of your workplace with some new bracelets. Then you’ll be famous because your photo, address, vehicle tag, age, etc…, will be public information.

It doesn’t matter that you didn’t know that scattered within those photos you were enjoying were 12 year old European girls forced into the “sex trade”. It doesn’t matter that someone put a lot of effort into making the older woman look younger and the younger girls look older. It matters you had child pornography on your computers.

Now your gonna plea bargain to get less time because you are technically guilty, but you didn’t know. You’ll get some leniency. However, your gonna do a few years incarcerated, your also gonna do many years on probation or parole followed by annual visits to the Sheriffs office to update your photo. You won’t have a career, and your family may not survive. The good news is you’ll find out who your friends were.

These are all situations that are true. They happened to folks I’ve came into contact with over the last 10 years. I’m not judging anyone who does anything in the examples aforementioned. These were folks who obeyed the law, but inadvertently put themselves in precarious situations. They all experienced drastic lifestyle changes due to their indiscretion.

The bible tells us to stay away from temptation. Moses, David, and Jesus’s warming in Mathew 4:7 about testing God are a few of the examples used to warn us about the company we keep and the life we live.

The stakes for us might not be as high as our Biblical Fathers. Ill leave it to you to decide if our contemporary consequences are worth the risk. Persecution comes in many forms.

I don’t think we need to run out and dawn robes or join a movement. It’s probably best just evaluate our surroundings and do an honest assessment of the risks posed by our acquaintances and habits. One thing for sure; there will be no understanding or forgiveness once you cross the legal line of behavior wether you’re a good person or not.

You will be persecuted for your indiscretions to some extent of the law. The days of the local officer sending you home for having an opened beer can in the truck are gone. Ignorance is not a defense that will be taken seriously. Policing is part of the “justice industry” and every level has to produce so it can stay alive at its current enormity.

Don’t make the mistake of “risky behavior”, move on to something more constructive than a lonely life of humiliation and regret. Freedom has caveats in America nowadays. Whether you think forced morality is a good thing or not, it’s a legal reality in America today so stay on the right side of the gray line, and remember if your not careful you’ll be regretful. Do the right thing for the right reasons and you may be ok!!!

Our Hood

No religion to separate my faith
Dividing people over positions
For a higher seat that hangs
High over reality and life

No state to oppress my thoughts
With plastic beliefs in symbols
Made of heart strings dangling
In the wind attached to air

No government to control
My culture for their existence
Like a pariah sucking the life
From its host for survival

No healthcare to selectively
Cur the heard with chemicals
And policies that cards and dollars
Trump for the wealthy bigots heart

No society to judge my culture
For its values and vices
To lift their transparent ideals
Of normalcy like neon billboards

Freedom is where we live
Void of you and your false hopes
Built on grand ideas tarnished
With the tears of poverty and shame