People Who Hate

Last week I was out in the smoking area at school, we were having a lively discussion about whether it is appropriate to hit someone if they do a NAZI salute or use racial slurs.   There were a couple of people who said “If they saw someone doing the NAZI salute and saying ‘sieg heil’ or ‘blood and soil’ they would clock them.”   I was trying to explain to them, that if you do through the first punch, you make yourself and others who also find bigotry offensive look almost as bad as the people you are standing up against.  You fan the flames of hatred and it becomes a powerful force against a positive movement.

I know that some might think this attitude is naive or even cowardly.  To me it takes a lot of strength to hold back that anger, when I hear stuff like that, not to just clock the person.  I severely dislike bigotry  and hatred, but I know the moment I give in to my feeling of disgust, I give them power over me.  They want people who think like me to resort to violence to prove their point.  It is like in “Batman The Dark Knight Returns” when the Joker is trying to get Batman to commit murder to bring him down to the Joker’s level.  In this analogy of course the Joker is ultra violent and murderous, where as in the scenario I stated in the first paragraph using speech as a way to bring us down to their level.  Unless the other person who is saying the vial and nasty things actually physically assaults me, I will not lift a finger to harm them physically.

See in the battle of ideas, this is a battle of words and of the mind.  Those with the best ideas will rise to the top as long as they do not resort to violence.  I will argue all day with a racist and try to show them the error of their thinking.  Let’s be honest if i had to argue all day about the subject with that person, there is likely nothing I or anyone would say that could change their mind.  Just like I could not convince this other person that kicking the crap out of a bigot is not the best way to trying to change their mind.  I had help trying to convince the person too about 6 others tried to convince him as well.   Some people just can not be reasoned with.

This is the same issue on a much larger scale that we have had with extremist in the Middle East.  The U.S. has been trying to force our beliefs through violence and regime change.  If we want to bring the region into the 21st century we are going to have to change our approach to the situation.  First off STOP SELLING WEAPONS PERIOD, TO OTHER COUNTRIES!  Second pull all our troops out of the region making sure we collect all the weapons we have brought over there.  Third close down Guantanamo bay and make that if we try anyone there that it is done fairly and due diligence.  For those we release we should try and help make sure that those people are taken care of, if they are innocent, they have been held there for a long time without trial and they deserve some sort of compensation.  Four gradually as the tensions start to die down try and get food and medical supplies to the civilians.  Though it will take a long time to earn the trust of the people in the region.  This would be just the beginning of the healing process.

In order for us to have a lasting peace on this planet we must rise against the violence.  We can not defeat an idea with violence it only strengthens their position eyes of those who would follow them.  As I said before and I will say it again the only way to defeat an idea is with a better one.  If you have to resort to violence to support your idea it probably is not worth a damn.

Watch “NFL Blackout – Time to take a stand #blackout” on YouTube

I for one have never been a fan of football.  I feel it promotes violence and further divides us.  How many time have we heard about fan rioting over the loss of there team?  Football has never united us it has only tried to divide us.  Please share this video and let people know it is time to hit the owners where it hurts them the most.  The Pocket Book.

Diversity in All Things

I found a post on Facebook today that I thought was interesting, though I thought it was some sort of scam at first.  It was about something called and RECs (Renewable Energy Certificates).  I know nothing about it, but it was talking about how it helps to transition the U.S. to a more green sustainable energy system.  I ended up on this video from the EPA.  It talks about how our power grid works and what we can do to help push more green energy.  The way they do this from my understanding is this: we by the certificate and pay the company we bought the certificate from, they in turn put that much energy into the grid and the fossil fuel company gets half the money.  Which means we are getting 50% of our energy from the renewable energy company, but we still pay the same on our bill.  This does show how much cheaper renewable energy has become.  It is half the cost of the old energy sources.  Then the old place we got electricity does not have to produce that energy.

For some reason this made me think of how we as citizens need to be able to diversify our knowledge base.  Gone are the times of one job or career for the rest of our lives, like our parents and grandparents.  The economy is always changing know.  So, we need to be able to change with it not only that, but with longer lifespans we will start to need a change every once in awhile.   This is why we need college for all and stop calling it a liberal education then start calling it a diversified education.  The people on Wall Street should be able to understand that.  One of the things I have heard about from the stock company commercials is that  we should diversify our portfolios.  If we diversify our knowledge about the world we can transition into different fields easier and explore other careers that we might not have that of.  This helps to stabilize the economy and helps us to work toward that goal in the constitution of happiness.

Hell, I think there should be diversity in all things.  Without it our species would die off for sure.  I could never understand the premises of White Power.  If we only had white people in the world or any color or nationality.  Eventually there would be too much inbreeding in the genes.    That kind of explains the people who want their own people only.  Could you imagine a world with only white, black, asian or hispanic people.  It would be pretty boring.  We would see similar faces all the time.  The other day a guy came into the student store he was Somalian and he had the same facial structure as and old friend of mine who is white.  To me this seems like there are limited amount amounts of faces that mother nature has and reuses them in other races.  Kind of blows my mind.  Now that I said that being said imagine duplicate people of the same ethnicity all over the place.  Pretty unremarkable is it.

My Thoughts on Thirteen Reasons Why

So I just finished the series Thirteen Reasons Why on Netflix.  It was overwhelming to me even though I am a 41 year old male.  I sat through every episode in the past 2 days.  I thought it would be one of those shows I watch and end up turning it off within the first 10 minutes.  The story and the themes involved were so compelling I had to keep going.  I force myself to turn it off being I watched it alone, which I do not recommend.  Watch this show with people you love and trust.  Being someone who has been dealing with depression for 20+ years I feel for the characters.

This brought forth ideas I have been thinking about a lot lately given the suicides of both Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell.  It brought me back to when I first attempted suicide in the Army.  I am glad I did not because of what I am trying to do with my life know.  I was lost for a long time, no one understood me it seemed.  I was lucky though I was young and stupid the way I tried to do it.

I had only left home twice before one was to go to Boy Scout camp the other was to go work on a hog farm for 2 weeks.  I had a fuck of a hard time in basic training.  I was one of the weakest in my platoon, always getting the platoon punished for my screw ups, always being screamed at and being called names buy the Drill Sergeants and other members.   Though, my Drill Sergeant Terrance did pull me a side one time and gave me a little hope saying it would not be this way in permanent duty.  I joined to get away from bullies ironic right maybe get to travel and earn money for college.  I made it through my Advanced Individualized Training just barely there.  Granted I had achilles tendonitis for the last 6 weeks and I was held over till I could pass the physical fitness test.

When I made it to my duty station in Fort Lewis, Washington I still felt alone.  I met a guy who invited me to his church group.  When I got there I was so out of place it was an Episcopal Church I think, they were dancing around speaking in tongues.  I could not deal with that I left after the service and never returned.  It was too strange even for me I was and an odd ball amongst a completely different type of odd ball.

I did meet one man who took me under his wing Staff Sergeant Bill Lester.  He had been in for about 20 years and was kind of a loner himself in ways.  He stayed in the barracks during the week and went back to his home in Yakima on the weekends.  He even took me to meet his family a couple of times and celebrated my nineteenth birthday with me.  I felt good when he was there.   When he retired that is when I started having issues.  Some of the other guys in the barracks I did hang out with we even played D&D and Vampire the Masquerade a few times.  The issue I had was when I got back from doing a temporary tour of duty down in California.

Two new guys had just been Dwight and Tom.  I did not have many issues with them so much as with the other guys in the barracks we had all gone out to see Rancid at an underground club where we met a woman named Velvet.  I was not interested in here but two of the other guys were.  Tom and I forgot the other guys name he was a real piece of work though.  Velvet was not in to the other guy who we will call Sam, she was in to  Tom.  Sam and the other guys said she was Sam’s.  This caused a rift in the barracks.  All the other guys were pissed at Tom because they had thought he had stole Velvet.  I was not on either side I was with Velvets choice which was Tom.  I was caught in the middle of it all.  I hated it Tom And D were not trying to make me choose sides.  I still felt like I was being pulled from both sides though.  Till one day I tried to overdose on about 8000 mg of motrin.  I knew nothing about drugs at this time except for what I learned from the DARE Program and what some of the guys in the barracks told me.

I ended up in the hospital in the mental ward for a night and had to do counseling sessions for like a week.  Eventually things calmed down though the barracks still felt divided.  I would hide in my room when I was not working watching movies and smoking cigarettes sometimes going over to Tom and D’s room to play some Playstation.  D is a good guy and he did encourage me to come over and hang out with them until I was released from the army due to physical fitness test failure.  I had failed one prior and I had to pass this one too stay in.  The NBC Sergeant who was one of my NCOIC’s (Noncommissioned officer in charge had dusted me the night before the test.  I had to continually hold a gallon bottle of pine oil in my hands while my palms were turned up having my back against the wall in a open sitting position.  Then he would have me switch to holding 2 bottles while standing and keeping my arms parallel to the ground.  this went on for about 2 hours switching positions about every 2 minutes or so.  Even though I had been through all that the night before I still tried my hardest to pass the test, I missed it by 2 pushups and 2 minutes in the 2 mile run.

After is when I started using Marijuana it was on the bus ride home in Fargo, North Dakota.  I did not give a shit at this point and I was feeling rebellious and wanted in my mind it was a big fuck you to the army.  I ended up getting involved with a dude Named Mike Welsh.  He had started a group called R.A.I.D. (Revolution Against an Indecent Democracy).  I found out the guy only actually started the group to get laid and he tried to have his way with my sister who is younger than me.  After that I left the group and found out later that R.A.I.D. had fallen apart after I left.  That was the last time I followed politics for many years after.

I did hang out and live with a few friends that I had met through Mike: Tony, Jesse, and Adam. Previously I had been diagnosed with depression after I had all this shit went down with Mike.  Then Kurt Cobain committed suicide and I was living with Tony we were talking about it.  I was not a big Nirvana fan till after his death I think it was because it was then I understood his music having tried to commit suicide myself.  When we were talking about it Tony had made it clear about his point of view on people who commit suicide.  He was of the mind set that anyone who did that was a coward and the he would not go to anyone’s funeral who did.  This is when I started to learn to hide my feeling and who I actually was.  I did not want to lose the few friends I had.  I started to live for them and not myself I was using Marijuana a lot and I was experimenting with other drugs as well like: LSD, Mushrooms, Opium and one time I tried Crack.  I remained friends with the guys till about a few of years ago when I had lost my job, wife, two hernia surgeries.  Once again I was lost this time I felt completely alone even when I was with people.  Tony had let me stay with him and his new wife.  Both good people I just was trying to find my way again every weekend I was getting drunk till one night I got so drunk I puked all over their floor while trying to make it to the bathroom.  I moved out shortly thereafter.

In my new place I started pushing people away.  I was going through major changes and looking for reasons to stay alive.  I realized after a couple of years I needed to get help thanks to the story of Malala Yousefzai.  I was looking at my life in a whole new way.  Here was a young woman who had stood up to the Taliban and here I was battling the demons within my own head.  It was then that I decided that I was going to better myself but not for me.  I wanted to better myself to help build a better society for everyone.  From that point on word I have been battling those demons  going to the V.A. for psychological help and get back into school to become a teacher.  I am now almost done with my A.A. and doing it well.

Basically the moral of this story is I know it is hard and things never seem like they are going to get better.  The thing is that you never know when something or someone is going to inspire you.  Things can and will get better.  If you are feeling lonely talk to someone anyone.  Society for now is tough but there are people out there trying to make this a better place for you.  Maybe they can help to inspire you to live and be better because life is not about trying to be perfect or living up to other peoples standards, it is about trying to make ourselves better and making the world somewhere we can all accepted.

Whats Going On

Well I have finished my first draft of my first assignment last nite.  I just now finished the analysis of the stories I had to read.  They are both due tonight at 11:59.  My first story is the one about my time down in California when I was in the Army.  I was hesitant about doing this piece because it delves into some really personal details I felt needed to be explored.  I wrote about drunken stupers where I could not remember anything, what I consider the my official loss of virginity and explain why I use the term Official.  The road trip I took with sort of friend Sam and the woman I want to get with Angel.

I will be posting this story along with other writing projects I am putting in my portfolio in mid-July.  I do not want to do it now because I don’t want to plagiarize myself and this way I will be forced to take my time to rewrite it as well.

I will be getting out of my house this weekend with my camera to take photos.  I am thinking of starting a survey of the week.  This would be a way for my followers to help keep me on the ball here on my blog.  It would also be a way for me to explore Minnesota to broaden my horizons a bit.  I would look up four different places to go shoot and have you all vote on where you would like to seem my point of view.

By July I should hopefully have my crowdfunding campaign set up for a study abroad trip I was invited to go on.  I have a choice of South Africa or China.  This class is for people going into the Social Sciences, studying diplomacy.  I have never traveled out of the country before except to head up to Vancouver, British Columbia for a weekend.  I was planning on trying to use my scholarship money to take a trip to Australia this past May.  But, as always life likes to kick me in the ballsack and I had to cancel the trip.  I will get to travel to different places around the world though.  This is something I have wanted to do as a kid, though my family could not afford it at the time.  Back then it was Germany I wanted to go to for class.  Now, I that I am in my forties, I want to see the world.

If anyone knows how to set one up a crowdfunding campaign and could help me it would be much appreciated.  I have an idea of what to write and maybe a video for it.  The Issue I have is I have no idea what I could give people as a reward for donating at different levels.  What can a poor man give to those willing to help him achieve a dream?  Please leave a message in the comment if you have any ideas.

Peace be with you my friends.

First Week of Summer Semester

Today is my first day of summer semester at Normandale Community College.  I have one class now, which is Introduction to Creative Writing.  I have another College First Aid and CPR starting in July.  Looking over the syllabus Creative Writing seems like it will be a bit daunting for me.  Time management is something I do need to work on, this class is definitely going to push me to do better.  I will not have this class hurt my GPA, I have yet to get anything less than a B, so far. I will just have to go at this class a bit harder than the others.  This instructor is asking us to open up and push my limits.  This is going to be hard for me, even though on my blog here I am fairly open, I hold myself back.   It has been kind of drilled into me “you have to watch everything you say.  You may offend someone.”  Especially since I want to become a teacher.  So, I never really let loose.

I am always the nice guy, the safe guy.   I do not not want to hurt people’s feelings, therefore I stifle myself.  If I tell a story I don’t want some people getting angry or embarrassed because I share how I remember event.  So, I change their names, of course I do that if I can not remember their names as well, I am horrible with names.

In the first week we have to come up with three options for a creative nonfiction piece.  I was finally able to come up the third this afternoon.   The first one is of my time down at Camp Roberts, California.  This story takes place in the central desert in California, right smack dab in between San Francisco and L.A..  This was basically a coming of age story where I am finding myself, filled with alcohol, sex and an orange Chevy Nova.

The second was about the crazy relationship between me and my ex-wife Liz.  It would go through how we met the issues we had with her family.  The add issue of being a stepfather and dealing with the father of my step daughter.  Also, the good times with the parks we went to and the way we tried to make due in a lower middle class lifestyle.

The third is the is The Morels and Ethics of an Atheist.  This one will be a sort of build off of Me and Religion. This piece explains my personal moral and ethical beliefs and how I came up with them.  This helps my goal show people that Atheists are the same as everyone else we just do not need to believe in a god to be a good person.  Next assignment is due on the 6th.  I should not have a problem getting it done.

Peace Be With You

Normandale TRIO SSS End Of Year Celebration

Tonight was the end of year Celebrations for TRIO SSS at Normandale Community College.  TRIO SSS is for people who are first generation, persons with disabilities and low income students, if you were wondering.  This was our second annual banquet to celebrate the accomplishments of all the awesome people in the program.  We started with dinner and good conversation with our peers.  I just happened to be sitting next to the President of the school Joyce Ester.  She showed us the new motor scooter she had bought, it looked pretty cool, It looked more like a motorcycle than a scooter though.

After dinner the ceremony  started another one of my friends Dee Parker was one of the speakers.  Dee is another really inspirational people who moved up here from New Orleans after Katrina.  We went through the Academic recognitions for the semester.  The categories are as follows:

Roaring Red: 3.0 – 3.49

Roaring Lion: 3.5- 3.99

Lion’s Club: 4.0

I happened to be in the Roaring Lion category for a 3.73 GPA for the semester.  My goal with the VA is to keep a 2.5 or better, My personal goal is to keep a 3.0.  I just keep on surpassing it.  In the fall I was admitted to Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society for 2 year colleges.

The Next Speaker was Ushna Altaf a really funny and crazy Pakistani woman who is full of life and loves to crack jokes with everyone, this was her last semester at Normandale and she will be missed.

Next we had a musical performance of John Lennon’s”Imagine” sung by Sam Dylia.  Even though I have the words to this song memorized, I do not think I could get up and sing it in front of a group of people and he should be commended for  the job he did.

The awards came up directly after the performance, this is where I was filled with shock and amazement. The first three awards were the partner, Champion and Game awards These were given to faculty and staff.  Then we got to the Most Active scholar which was won by Ushna Utaf, her fellow nominees were Yuanyuan Cui and Jackson Code.  The next was the most Persistent Scholar which was won by Jenny Steck.  Her fellow nominees were Chamab Nhel, Dee Parker and Amber Branch.  The Last of the awards was Scholar of the Year won by yours truly JJ ODonnell with my fellow Nominees Amber Branch and Ella Komianvi.  This was a shock to me, I knew I had been nominated for the award but I never thought I would win.  In fact I was actually rooting for Amber or Ella, both of these women are strong, good students and have fought through their share of adversity.  This is not to say I have not; I just thought that one of them should be the winner.  Amber I know the most about she was my peer mentor and is my friend and just a kick ass chick.  Ella I know in passing from when I worked in the diversity center, she was always so cool and very courteous.  She is also the President of the BSA (Black Student Alliance) and participate in numerous other groups and activities.   I was just honored to be nominated.  I was not looking for anything else.

The last performance was by Joe Charley who spoke a riveting poem about being more than just what people see and encouraging people to dive deeper to get to know others of different races and cultures.  It was astounding.

The Keynote Speaker was President Ester who kept her speech short and to the point.  She was also still reeling from the previous speaker.

The closing words were spoken by the Head of Normandale’s chapter of TRIO Frederick MacDonald-Denis, coincidentally he is my advisor till mine gets back from paternity leave, James.

All in All this was a very interesting night for me.  It was a shock to my system I am glad to share some of it with you all.

Peace Be With you all.

Me and Religion

I grew up loosely Catholic.  My parents had me go to my first communion and confession, other than that the only time we went to a church it was for weddings and funerals.  I hated going to church every time I went in one I felt I had done something wrong and they were always so cold.  This was a problem when I was in the Boy Scouts.  If you have been in the scouts you know the laws.  I could follow just about everyone of them except one.

Trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, Obedient ( at the time yes, not anymore), Cheerful (I did my best), thrifty, brave and clean were not such a big deal.  The one I had problems with was Reverent.  I got picked on alot when after camp at Tomahawk and did not go to church there.  I left the troop I think it was the fall of 1987.  After that I started looking into other religions the Greek myths, a little Buddhism and cults.   I actually did a paper for myself on the Children Of God cult in South America in the 7th grade.  That was one sick group they allowed for the rape and molestation of children.  I will be honest it this was when I really started to wonder if I believed in a god.  The clincher was when I actually read the Bible for the first time, but that was not until years later.  To this day I still do not know if I actually ever believed in the Christian god or if I was just believing what friends and family wanted to believe.

In 1994 I joined the Army, on my dog tags I had them list my religion as Agnostic.  In Basic training I realized the military was not the life for me.  During the initial dusting my glasses fell off and a drill sergeant, who looked like Sergeant Slaughter, crushed them under his foot as I was doing push-ups.  I had to wait about a week before I could get my “birth control glasses”, these were so named because if you were wearing them you were guaranteed not to get laid.  During the waiting period I could not make things out more than anything more than 30 feet in front of me.  That Sunday morning, which was the only free time we had other than sleep, I went to the Protestant Chapel, I wanted to take comfort from something, I wanted to believe in god at that time.  That was the only time I went to Church in Basic Training.  I did not enter another church until I was in active duty.

This is when I met someone who invited me to their Episcopal Church at Fort Lewis, Washington.  That was an experience to say the least. The Church was off base in what looked like a wooden house painted brown on the outside.  Inside the walls had brown wooden paneling with a pulpit and chairs in two columns and four rows in the front room and a open room on the side.  It seemed like a normal sermon at first then they started speaking in tongues.  They encouraged me to join in and I tried, but I guess i just could not feel the Holy Spirit.  That was so weird to me, I did not understand a single thing going on I just went with it till I got a ride back to the barracks.  This was also about the time I started to realize I was an Atheist, though I stuck with Agnostic because I was worried how others may view me.  I did not enter a church again until my Uncle Butchie’s Funeral in 2001.  I did however read the Bible in between these two church outings.

When I was first starting to read the Bible I saw contradictions within the first two chapters of Genesis, Specifically the order in which the animals and the first man were created.  In Chapter one the animals came first then man, then in chapter two it said that man came first then the animals. Back then this was confusing as hell to me.  Now I understand that the old testament is a bastardization of a multitude of other religions, specifically the Torah of the Jewish faith.  I was able to make it through Genesis just barely with all the who begot who and other stuff.  I eventually made it through it took a long time though.  There is one part in revelations that I used to try and de convert a couple of Mormon Missionaries when they stopped by my dad’s mobile home one day, I was confused on how they were able to justify the book of Mormon when in the Book of Revelations states  in Chapter 22 Verses 18-19 that “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” This did not work but I got to test my knowledge and gave my dad a laugh in the process.  He was in his bedroom when they came over and heard me talking to them for about hour.  He just sat back there watching T.V. and heard me trying to convince them to give up their faith in a polite way.  That was fun.

I remember my uncle because I was homeless living with my ex girlfriend at the time and her parents in their camper, this was also before 9/11 like about a week or so.  A couple of days before I had just gotten off work and sitting in her driveway behind her house and smoking a bowl of some decent pot, I said to myself ” this hit is for you Butchy.” I knew he was not doing well and my cousin b got him some weed so he could eat, his liver was failing and he wanted to eat his favorite food Pizza again before he passed.  The next day after my little salute to my uncle my best friend had taken a message for me that my uncle had died that night.  He had wanted me to be a pallbearer at his funeral, how could I say no to one of my uncle’s dying requests.  So, that weekend I was in the St. Paul Cathedral, I felt awkward as hell going in there even if it was for family, I felt cold shivers down my spine on top of mourning the loss of my uncle.  I made it through though. The next time I would step into a church was when I met my ex wife after chatting with her on line.

We actually met a couple days before that,  Liz (my ex wife) was stuck near me and needed a ride home.  I told her I would help and picked her up and we talked a bit till I got her home.  I agreed to meet her again at her church right down the street from me in Sanford, FL.  I had told her I was “Agnostic and that I normally would not meet at a church”, but I figured I would try the religion thing again.  I went with here a few times when we were dating, I even went as far as almost signing up to the church.  Then I went to the house of the pastor for an introductory meeting.  When I saw this place I could not believe my eyes.  Here this guy is preaching to people who are living modest lives while he and his family were living in a house worth, I would say from $500,000 to $750,000.  This was a beautiful home Beige on the outside with a couple of columns at the front door and a three car garage.  You walk into the house this place had 20 ft vaulted ceilings all 3 kids had their own rooms plus the master.  There was a 10 ft. patio door that you could look out into the backyard, which was not that huge but had a nice view of a pond.  Oh, did I mention this was in I think it was Altamonte Springs, FL in a really nice neighborhood, I guess that goes without saying.  Since then I have not stepped foot in a Christian place of worship.

About 4 years ago I came out as an Atheist to my friends and family on Facebook.  I was tired of hiding who I was for so long.  This stirred up a bit of shit with my mom and her husband Rick, little did they know I had came out to his parents a couple of years before.  They had no problem with it.  Rick unfriended me from Facebook my mom was in denial still thinking I was Agnostic, which I am I do not know if there is a god or not, I just do not believe there is a god.  This does not make me immoral I try to treat people the way I want to be treated do I always do so, No.  Am I perfect, there is no objective perfection, so No.  My Goal in life is to try to help make the world better, not perfect, for future generations.  To help bring peace through understanding of other cultures and religions.  I am not one of those Atheists who say all religions are bad.  Religions are neither bad nor good they are tools to help people.  It is how people use religion that matter.  Some Pray, Some go to Church, most just want to live their lives in peace.  There are those who would and have used religion to subjugate, torture and murder that use religion as a justification for these things.  Most of the people I have met be it Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu or Buddhist have been good people just trying to get by.  Who am I to say what they should or should not believe.  As long as they are not harming anyone who really cares.  Most people in America today hold on to religion as a tradition carried down through there families and will admit they are not sure there is a god or not.  Hell, I met an Evangelical Christian that feel the same way I do about the LGBTQ and Muslim communities.  That they should be able to live their lives the way they want to as long as they are not hurting anyone.  That shocked the shit out of me, I thought we would be battling it out.  He even accepted me which was really cool I thought.

My journey with religion has been long and hard, but it has not ended.  I will be learning more about other religions in the future and hopefully make some friends along the way.  I hope this may help some people understand me better and maybe themselves.  The next time you meet someone who is an Atheist try to remember we are not evil incarnate.  We are people just like you.  We love, we feel pain and we get lonely just like everyone else.  We are each individuals and should be treated as such.

Peace Be with You My Friends, Peace Be with You.

Am I A Racist?

This is one of the hardest posts I have written.  I worry about the backlash being the subject is so divisive, no matter what community you are apart of.  I mean no disrespect I am just trying to understand.

Am I racist?  This is a question I have been asking myself a lot lately.  I recently left a position where I was working because the atmosphere was toxic to me.  You see I despise the word “Nigger” or “Nigga” these are the same word just different accents, not language.  There are certain parts of the country that have a hard time saying er and instead use an A, the opposite is also true. I apologize for writing the word from this point on I will use “N” as a replacement for it as to not make myself vomit from writing it too much. I was at times stuck in a room with a bunch of people who constantly were using this word.  These were people of African American descent.  Does that change the meaning of the word?  In the 2 months I worked there I heard it used in both a friendly way about people they liked, and a derogatory way about people they disliked.

When I was young someone told me that N meant an ignorant person, though it had negative racial overtones.  This is why we do not use the word.  In the past 5 years I have been looking into the issue of race.  With all the unarmed shootings of Black citizens by police I wanted to get the real history of the issue.  I have seen countless documentaries on the subject, did my research project on the Islamic Empire and read through some slave narratives.  I do want to try and understand these issues more so I can be more helpful to the fight for equal rights.  The thing is I do not think I will ever understand the double standard of it is ok for an African American to say it and not a Anglo-saxon white person.

I am an egalitarian this means: I feel everyone should have the same rights as everyone else.  I would would not want a black person saying it anymore than a white person.  So, when I was working there it was a shock to my system every time I heard N, and I heard it a lot.  I am also a person who is for the first Amendment of the constitution.  Yet, in this story I start to try to control people from using this word.  I started off nicely, but as it was continually I was getting more belligerent about it.  To the point where I would start blacking out for a couple of seconds.  This has happened to me before but only when I was extremely drunk or was physically assaulted.  This is where I knew I had to leave that situation.  One I hate being a hypocrite and two I did not want to end up in a fight.  I worried if I heard it enough that I may accidentally use N out of sheer frustration.

During the 2016 election was when I was reading the Slave Narratives of Frederick Douglass and Linda Brent.  It was after the election of Trump that I realized how powerful that word really is.  I was doing homework the day after the March against Trump was happening here in Minneapolis, Minnesota, of which I was a part of, and I hear a pounding at my door.  It was a neighborhood kid I see when I am walking my dog.  The kid is mildly autistic and is normally a real good kid.  I went outside to see what was going on.  I had found out he had done something most white people here in America know not to call a African American.  He called one of them a N.  This caused him to be chased and almost got his ass kicked.  I talked to them all and tried to smooth things over with the group of kids and apologized for what he had said.  Then I shock one of their hands. Then went to his mother and told her the situation, using N as a quote.  I felt so dirty after I said it.

Visions of people getting whipped, tortured and raped flew into my head.  I did not realize the affect N had on me still.  I figured it was most likely caused by all the tension in America.  I did not really give it too much thought.  Then I took the position I had recently just quit.  I loved the job working on diversity calendar, being able to explore ideas that I have.  I just could not deal with being in a room with 10 to 15 people saying N so much, about once every 5 minutes or so.  it got to a point where my heart started racing, ears began to burn, it felt as if all my communication skills were drowned out by that one word.  In the beginning I let it go, but the more it was said the more angry I got.  I am having all these physical reactions to hearing N with the images of people being raped, tortured, and lynched.  I was in a U.S. History, if you know anything about U.S. History, you know it cannot be discussed without the racial element to it.  It was not just in the south either as many of us tend to think it happened in the north to.

Images like these:

Then I would not say the word again, I never had a desire to really say it.  But if you would not want a white person to say then why would a black person saying it.  This is the point I was trying to get across.  It seems like the Daily Show has the same Double standard now.  At least when it comes to President Obama for taking a $400,000 job from an industry he helped to prop up.  If you wouldn’t want a white president to do it then why would you want an African American president to do it.  Did he not run on Change.  Yes, I find both Clinton and Trump repulsive.  I had high hopes for Obama it turns out he is no better than the rest.  That is where I think people have differing opinions.  We expected him to be above the corruption.  Why should we give him a pass when we don’t give the others a pass?

I try to use the same criteria across the board this way I do not give a bias unless the it is based on facts, Like climate change.  I do not like being a hypocrite and if I realize it that I am becoming one I try to change it.  This is what it mean to be intellectually honest with oneself.  Realizing that we are all human and that if we are all works in progress.

If we are not working to be better humans then what are we doing with our lives.


These are a few stories I remember from working at the TSA.

Years ago I used to work for the TSA, I was what they called dual certified.  I could work in either the checkpoint or baggage.  I worked at a small airport, during the summer we had both international and domestic fights.  During the winter domestic flights only.  Despite what people say about the TSA the people I worked with were decent people.  There were a couple of bad seeds though.  There was one I remember who always rubbed me the wrong way.  I really don’t remember his name but for here I will call him Stevie, Dude looked just like Steven Segal.  He was an ex-cop from New York now this guy was a head case.  He was one of those had to look tough all the time guys.  We were waiting for a flight to head out in baggage.  He was telling these guys how he planted pot on this guy, because he knew the guy was a dealing though, Stevie could not prove it.  I asked him ” Isn’t that entrapment?”.  Stevie replied “No, because I knew the guy was a dealer.”

One of the flights I love working was Icelandair.  The people are friendly and agreeable. I used to try and say their names, when ticket checking.  They were a fun bunch.  I want to visit their so bad.  Though they did pack a lot of food products in their baggage.  Those bags were heavy.  These thing were filled with Turkeys, hams, fruit, lots of canned or boxed food as well.

I spent about 50% of my time in either area.  The times I like working out front were when I was dealing with people from another country.  Granted many of these people were from the United Kingdom.  I prefered the over crowded passenger check in compared to what you might find is some bags.  When I first started I saw a couple of huge 12 inch double sided dildo, with a ton of gay porn around it.  Oh yeah and they were still lubed up.  Thank goodness for gloves.  Then as I was doing that search was a big teddy bear.  “Damn it why did I have to get this one” I said to myself.


Many people may not know this but we got tested every year on our Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).  If we didn’t pass the test 3 times your were let go.  The whole time you are being shadowed to make sure you are doing things correctly.  We were constantly training on the SOP.  We did have training on the x ray machine simulator every month and were tested every year.  I do not know how many times I have seen the same learning modules.  Every 3 months we had to watch a video on Sikhism.  How they are culturally different from the Arab Muslims.  This video went into how they where their hair, and the ceremonial Kirpan (small dagger).  It also explained how it is one of the youngest religions being founded in 1500 ce.

What I am about to tell you turned me off from volunteering so much for overtime.  It was during the Earthquake in Haiti.  The schedule changed we started out with 2 12 hour shifts.  We did that for about 3 days.  Then we went to 3 eight hour shifts. for the next 3 weeks.  The Red Cross was there helping get people set up.

I remember when I heard about the Earthquake in Haiti.  I was in the Middle of getting a tattoo, when he called to let me know that I was going to start that next morning.  I was supposed to be off that weekend.  My ex-wife and her daughter were there with me I was getting a cover up.  I had what was a golden broken heart.  It looked like a yellow broken heart.  I got it after a break up years before.  Since, I was married and happy for a bit I thought I might cover it up.  The pitiful heart was changed into a  beautiful blue rose with my ex-wifes daughters name underneath.  I still have it do I want to change it? No, it is now a reminder to me to take things slow.  Stop rushing everything.