Assumption

We’ve all seen the images by now.  Everyone knows who these folks are.

But several days ago, when this story first broke the news, I didn’t see those images.  I saw bits and pieces of headlines, with no images.

I was busy. I just sort of glanced at them.  It was about a day before I actually read an article about it.

What I gleaned from those bits and pieces of headlines was this:

First, the moron in the White House hadn’t bothered to call the surviving family members of the soldiers who died in the incident in Niger.

Second, he was being criticized for not having done so and responded with his usual Twitter-tantrum about how no other presidents ever called anyone either (which of course, as everything he tweets, is not true).

Third, he then finally called one of the family members and insulted them.

Fourth, the conversation was overheard and a congresswoman, whose name I did not recognize, repeated part of it to the media.

Fifth, the president then called the congresswoman a liar.

And that is all I knew for a fact.

Seriously.

All I knew that I had confirmed.

I didn’t know which soldier’s family he had called. I didn’t know the soldier’s name.  I didn’t recognize the congresswoman’s name at all. And I had not seen the images.

But there is something else that I suspected without any kind of confirmation.  I just knew.  I didn’t have to look.  I didn’t have to read it.  I just knew.

I knew that the soldier and the widow and probably the congresswoman were not white.  Not white.  I didn’t know if they were Hispanic, or black, or whatever, but I knew they weren’t white.

This has been followed, of course, by Trump sending one of his flunkies out to clean up his mess.  It’s what he always does, and this time he chose John Kelly for the job.

I know why he did.  Kelly is a sympathetic character. He’s lost a son to war.  He is a former general.  What he says carries weight as a result.

 

John Kelly had the bully pulpit and could have smoothed this ridiculous gaffe over.  He could have stopped it all cold.

He chose instead to sacrifice his own personal integrity to defend an ego-maniac.

It’s a very sad thing to see.  But it’s not the saddest thing.

By the time I saw Kelly’s lying tirade about the whole thing, I had seen photos of Rep. Frederica Wilson.  I knew that she’s a black woman.  I had assumed she was and my assumption was correct.

But had I not seen them, I would have known my assumption was correct.  Kelly’s tone and words confirmed it.

From where I’m sitting, that fact—the fact that I knew just by the behavior and demeanor and tone of the messages sent out by Trump and Kelly that the victims in this story are all minorities—is the saddest part of it all.

The video below is well worth watching.

Mandate

If you want to see the article Nicole links to, it’s here.

It’s a toss-up as to how much of it is true, how much is fabricated or extrapolated, and how much is a blend of both, but it’s, of course, written to incite people to be angry and outraged.

But I don’t care about the link.  I care about what she said.

This is why regular mental health checks should be mandatory for all law enforcement.

You gotta love these wide, expansive pronouncements.

Nicole and 45 have a great deal in common. They are both prone to leaping onto stuff without thinking about the ramifications of what they are saying, and they are also prone to believing everything they see, provided it reinforces their already-determined positions.

The only difference between them is gender and money and position.

This is why regular mental health checks should be mandatory for all law enforcement.

Really?

Why?

I can only think of one reason.

They are armed with deadly weapons.

And Nicole is afraid of those deadly weapons in the hands of those people.  She is afraid that one of them will use his deadly weapon, that is easily available to him, to hurt her for one reason or another.  She is afraid that he will somehow see her as a threat to him and shoot her.

She’s not afraid of his power to arrest her. She’s afraid of his gun.

When Pate came out and took the boys, this is what she snapped at him early in the conversation with him.

Nicole: Because they can, because they have the authority, because you guys are the state, because you guys are the ones with the guns, the ammo, the weapons? Is that why?

She is afraid.

The truth is that all the law enforcement officers in Kentucky, as part of the hiring process, have a mental health evaluation done.  It’s routine and normal.  I suspect it’s routine and normal across the country to require a psychological evaluation along with a physical when law enforcement officers are hired.

But that’s not enough for Nicole, because she is really, really scared. She wants them to have to have one “regularly.”

How regularly?  Once a year?  Once a month?  Once every five years?  Every day?

She doesn’t say.

She is just skeered of them.  Terrified. She is so scared that she posts endless shit about bad things they’ve done (supposedly).  It’s like a virtual Niagara Falls of bad cops that streams down her Facebook page.

But you see, I am afraid of guns too.  I freely admit it. I am scared of them.  I don’t want them around me, ever.  We own one .22 rifle which has no other purpose than to be here in case we need to put down an animal or shoot a predator like a raccoon.  I have no idea where it is right now.  It’s not in the house.  The bullets are not housed anywhere near it, because Dave promised me he would keep them separated.

This is Joe Naugler.  He is not a cop.  He’s just a regular guy. The only time I have ever met him face-to-face, he came barreling out of the weeds into a public road yelling at me and my companions for taking pictures of his family (which we were not doing). He has lied about that whole event.

He lies regularly about me and my family.  He has a menacing conviction and served four days in jail for it, and the offense involved threatening an older woman with a gun.

He is carrying a pistol while at some friend’s house who has bees.  He has on a hat with a bee net.  They had all the children there with them, along with the friend’s children.  So there were several adults and about a dozen children present.

What was he armed for?  Why?  Did he think that he might have to shoot at the bees?  Did he worry about about bears?  No self-respecting bear would come within a mile of all that activity. Was he afraid of honey thieves?

Why was he armed?

If Nicole’s fear is centered around the gun that police officers carry, what about my fear of that gun pictured on Joe’s side?

I am afraid of Joe Naugler carrying a gun.

He has already threatened to kill me.

Nicole has threatened to kill me.

I am afraid.

This is why regular mental health checks should be mandatory for all law enforcement.

What about gun owners?

What about Joe Naugler?

 

 

Deletion

One observation here before I get to the main subject.

Nobody shared anything from Nicole’s pages.  Lisa posted a copy of the bogus, silly “cease-and-desist” nonsense that Nicole sent me a year or more ago.  She got it from me.

Nicole only saw it because she went looking for stuff.

So much for the whole I-get-notifications excuse Nicole uses. She hunts for shit. She loves it.

There you have at. We are welcome to share her posts. That’s why they are public.  So I am.

Nobody is stalking her.  Nobody gives a SHIT about her precious family, or her precious dog-butt-washing business.

Nicole, you fuck-wit, please list the lies.  List them.  I want a fucking list. Please show me where either I or Lisa have one time, ever, said a word that would “instigate aggression.”  Do it.  Just show me.

Going back to the top post of Nicole’s, this is the conversation that ensued, involving Nicole and leghumpers.

I want to call attention to one phrase.

. . . if you mean delete them from the human race well I can’t do that just yet.

. . .I can’t do that just yet.

. . .just yet.

Exactly who is instigating aggression, Nicole?  Who is trying to get people to hurt me or Lisa or both of us?  Who?

The other day, Joe threatened to kill me.

There is no other way to interpret “deadly force” except killing.

And now you’re saying that you can’t kill me. . . yet.

So when?  When are you gonna attempt to kill me, Nicole?

 

Lucky

My initial reaction to reading this was “Good golly, is it possible to mangle the English language any more than that?” and “Would somebody please give Joe some tutoring in the use of prepositional phrases?”

My second reaction was “Well, there’s another threat of bodily harm.”  So I’m putting it here because that’s what it is.  A threat to hurt me, physically hurt me.  Joe wants to hurt me physically because I said mean things on the internet.   I’m sure I called him a “pussy” and a “coward” and therefore he is going to kill me.  That’s what deadly force means.

But then I caught the whole “their (sic) fucking lucky” stuff.

And yes, I am fucking lucky.

Out of all the times and places where I could have been born, I was born in the United States in the twentieth century and I was born white (white privilege is morally wrong but it is real).  I was born to parents who had flaws, for sure, but who believed strongly in providing me with a decent home, good nutrition, medical care when necessary and a good education.

I had to pay for my college education myself, but at no point in my early years did I ever once consider not going.  It was unthinkable.  That would have been like thinking that I might not brush my teeth, or that I might rob a bank.

I am lucky because I managed to ditch Boyfriend A and Boyfriend B, be ditched by Boyfriend C, and then hit the jackpot in the marriage lottery.

I am lucky because Dave and I both have enjoyed good health all our lives thus far. Even if we developed some dire problem now, we’ve spent decades as healthy adults.

I am lucky because my husband has a super-strong work ethic, and was reared by a mother who countenanced no nonsense when it came to pulling your own weight.

I am lucky because we have spent 46 (soon to be 47) years as a partnership of equals, one where my desires and goals and dreams have carried just as much weight as his do.

I am lucky because even though we were only able to produce one child, he was a genius.

I am lucky because even though our one child has died, he was our best friend. He loved us enough to want to spend time with us, and he knew that he was loved in return.

I am lucky because Nathan chose his friends well and they have been beyond good to us in the wake of his death.

I am lucky because Dave and I were able to both retire at a young age, and we face our sunset years with a reasonable level of financial security, thanks in part to the US government (Social Security) and the US economy (our own investments).

I am lucky because due to that early retirement, we have been able to travel a lot, not only all over North America, but also to many foreign countries.

I am lucky because even though I was immersed in a lunatic religion as a youngster, I was able to escape.  Not many people are able to do that. Most remain imprisoned for life.

I am lucky because Dave joined me in the escape from religion.  Many people who leave are faced with the loss of their most precious relationships as a result.

I am lucky because when I come up with hair-brained schemes (“let’s move to Alaska” or “let’s buy a small farm with a milk cow” or “let’s go on four cruises back-to-back”), Dave will join in enthusiastically unless I’ve gone completely off the rails (“let’s go to Atlanta and demonstrate and get put in jail” – I didn’t do that one).  And when he has his own plans (“let’s get a new tractor” or “let’s buy a Freightliner to pull our RV”), I’ve embraced those as well.

I am lucky because both Dave and I were encouraged all our lives to do new things, to cut new paths, to gain knowledge and put it to use, and we did just that.

I am lucky because we get to serve the finest cow in North America.

Some of this luck was of our own creation. But a whole lot of it, probably the majority, came about because we were incredibly fortunate and were simply born to the right people at the right place at the right time.

Yes, I am lucky. So are you.  What is sad is to be born with such fabulous advantages and throw them all away because you refuse to work, refuse to learn, refuse to listen to anyone else, and refuse to progress even slightly, and instead spend your entire precious life looking around for somebody to blame for all your own failings.

Not long after Nathan died, Dave and I went to Washington, DC to a convention of atheists. We, again, were incredibly lucky, because four men were in attendance during that week and they would never get the opportunity to engage personally together again.  Called the “Four Horsemen,” they were Dan Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens.

I am lucky because one night there was a cocktail party which included just a few people and Dave and I were in that bunch, which means that we got to meet those four men and have a bit of a conversation with them.

That’s me with Daniel Dennett, who is a very nice guy as well as a very smart one.

Imagine, if you will, the four people on earth who you admire the most, or maybe the four rock bands you adore, or your most loved ball team, and imagine that you get to go meet them personally.  That’s what this was like for me.

I am lucky because during that convention, Richard Dawkins read a much-loved quote from one of his books. I have a copy of the book, and have worn out the page where that quote appears.  The passage gave me comfort in those awful months right after we lost Nate. When Dawkins got up and began to read, I had to put on my sunglasses so people wouldn’t see me crying.

The quote is on the side bar of this blog, but here it is again, because it’s about being lucky.

We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here. We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority have never stirred?

Richard Dawkins, from Unweaving the Rainbow

Homestead Hunting

Here’s a link to the blog referenced above.

Interesting stuff here and I recommend reading the whole article, but I wanted to focus here on the first three children.  They all died in October, 1896.

Wonder why?

Diphtheria.

There was an epidemic in 1896-1897 in that area.  Dora Ann, Ammon Leroy, and their parents somehow survived, but their siblings all died.

Devastating.  Terribly sad.

But not as sad as this.

The Kershaw family were the neighbors of the Stephens family.  Mrs. Kershaw had a baby girl in 1878 who lived for less than two years.

She then went on to have eight more happy, healthy children.

They homesteaded. I’m sure they were all crunchy, back-t0-the-land folks who unschooled and raised some livestocks and probably hens along with their roosters.  I’m sure all that wonderful homesteady living meant that they all had wonderful robust immune systems, right?  I mean, you just let children play at will and get in the dirt and they’ll be fine.  Right?

But then, diphtheria came calling, and Mr. and Mrs. Kershaw watched in horror in late February, 1897, as their son Edmund (7 years old) got sick and then died.  Five days later, William (9) and Joseph (12) died.

Maybe at that point they thought it was over.  They probably buried their children, and then realized that George (14) was sick. On March 4, George died.

Two days later, on March 6, Lillie (a month shy of her 5th birthday)  and Francis (a little over 2) followed their siblings. Baby Frederick (11 months) succumbed on March 9.  And finally, the oldest, Harriet (16) was the last to die.  How much you want to bet that poor Harriet was exposed over and over again taking care of her younger brothers and sisters as they died?

They lost all their children.  Every last one of them.   That couple watched their eight children die one after another in less than two weeks from diphtheria.

The Kershaws went on to have two more children.  One was either stillborn or died shortly after birth (birth and death date are the same day).  The other one didn’t make it to be two years old.

All their children died before they did.  All of them.  Mrs. Kershaw lived until 1929 and her husband until 1941.

The saddest part of all this, for me, is embodied in this.

From Wikipedia

Are we sure that reverting to living like it’s the nineteenth century on the prairie is a good idea?