Showing posts with label mental health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mental health. Show all posts

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Has killing become Job No. 1 for cops?

NOTE: This video shows a man being shot to death. Discretion is strongly advised.

Over on Rod Dreher's American Conservative blog, it took exactly nine comments before someone started throwing around the L-word to denigrate anyone expressing any doubt that St. Louis cops may have been too quick to turn a disturbed, steak-knife wielding individual into Swiss cheese.

Could there be any more telling example of the dangerous ideological warfare this country is engaged in? Someone had just watched a cell-phone video of a man being shot to death, and the first instinct after someone says "Whoa! Wait a minute!" was to politicize the entire thing. To start, without any evidence of anyone's actual political leanings, hurling the word "liberal" as an epithet.

The video above isn't the only tragedy we are witnessing here. It's also tragic that, in a world gripped by spiritual, cultural and social crises, the only thing Western civilization (or what is left of it)  has left is ideology. that’s the way we’re going to roll these days, I suppose it would be equally “fair” to throw out the F-word — fascist — to describe anyone who’d be so damned quick to politicize a tragic death from the get-go, taking a knee-jerk position that police were absolutely, positively right to gun down a guy with a steak knife and dismissing any questioning of the officers’ actions, period.

HERE'S a thought: A world without doubt is a breeding ground for genocidal maniacs.

Here’s another thought, this one specifically dealing with the "officer-involved shooting" of Kajieme Powell in St. Louis: There were people reasonably close to the officers’ line of fire. There were storefronts behind the guy that appeared to be in the line of fire. What if the cops had missed with a few rounds?

What if they’d missed and there was a ricochet off of a brick wall?

Most hunters know better than to pull the trigger when there’s a possibility you might hit something else if you miss your target. Many cops, it would seem, not so much.

FURTHERMORE, why not slowly back away to keep separation between you and the mentally-ill guy with a knife and buy a little time for other options? Why not put the door of the police SUV between you and the disturbed man?

Buy time. Try to engage. Make an effort to calm the guy down.

Why is deadly force seemingly the first and only option in such situations? And note that the officers’ guns were out the second they got out of their vehicle.

I can’t say for certain whether or not the shooting was justified but, as others in the media have said, this just doesn’t look right.

I THINK the St. Louis shooting -- not to mention the egregious police misbehavior during the Ferguson, Mo.protests -- raises numerous legitimate questions that require answers and not being derided as a “liberal” — a veritable enemy of “truth, justice and the American Way.”

I wouldn’t think twice if the St. Louis incident was the response of two infantrymen on the battlefield. But police officers aren’t infantrymen — or at least they used not to be. I think it raises a legitimate question of whether cops now are being trained as such and, if so, why?

But there’s no room for questions in Ideological America, where the “other side” is always the Other, and we’re always spoiling for a fight. As God is my witness, this will not end well.

Monday, August 11, 2014

For Robin

All we could see was the mask. All we wanted to see was the painted-on smile.

Behind our laughter, though, was the jester's unspeakable pain and, ultimately, despair. What hell on earth is this? What hell is this to believe to the depth of your soul that the world would be a better one without you?'ve probably had your moments; I know I have had mine. But what unspeakable hell is this to not be able to -- to, at the very end, not want to -- pull out of the nosedive of despair?

What is this hell depression?

What is this hopelessness suicide?

May the merciful God take Robin Williams into His arms and wipe away the tears. May He also dry ours as we contemplate the utter waste of it all . . . and the utter conditionality of our love.

Monday, July 07, 2014

They're livin' it up at the Hotel Cop-a-fornia

When a cop car slams his breaks on 50 feet down the street when you're getting gas, it gets your attention. Omaha's finest almost missed the turn to slide past the Village Inn and into the Econo Lodge parking lot Saturday evening.

Then there was another black and white going to the same place. And another. And another. Something like nine Omaha police cruisers all told.

Then the fire truck arrived on scene, followed by an Omaha Fire Department rescue squad. To tell you the truth, my first thought was that we had an armed standoff going at the budget motel.

The wife and I figured we should go see what was up. After all, she does work for the newspaper, and I had a digital SLR camera.

SHE WAS in the front office finding out the particulars while, outside, someone who appeared to be one of the proprietors was asking me "Why you take pictures here?"

Looking, I'm sure, completely incredulously at her, I pointed toward the ambulance, the fire truck, the nine cop cars and a small army of Omaha cops and asked a question of my own.

"Why do you think?"

As it turned out, the folks in the motel office said a long-term guest had had some sort of psychotic break, trashed her room and wouldn't come out. This got her out . . . and presumably a trip to the hospital for a psych evaluation.

IN OTHER WORDS, nothing to see here -- except for the fire truck, the rescue squad, the nine cop cars and a small inland sea of blue. Move along.

Judging by the top picture, though, the dude in Room 214 got his entertainment for the day.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

No shelter at all

This was the view Friday of the homeless camp just off Omaha's Keystone Trail.

Sometimes, a crude shelter is no shelter at all -- no good against the cold and worthless in the snow. It looks like whoever was camped here is long gone . . . thankfully.

THE HIGH on Friday was 13. That was a big improvement over Thursday, which started out at 10 below.

If this is all the shelter you have, there's a word to describe you. That would be "dead."

Still, consider there are folks out there . . . in the cold. In rough camps not much better than this. It's what they call "home."

Ours is a society of cracks, through which "the least of these" fall, much like the snow through the gaps in this lean-to.

Lord, have mercy.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Disappearing in plain sight

This is the Keystone Trail, right in the middle of the middle of Omaha.

You'll find yuppies and bobos and DINKs and hipsters and bikers and joggers and slackers and workers and old folks up and down its paved pathway beside the Little Papillion Creek whenever the weather isn't totally unfortunate.

Sometimes, you'll find idiots like me there even when the weather is unreasonably unfortunate. Not today, however. Too much snow, too damned windy and cold.

Some things . . . some folks whom you might find there, you'd probably rather pretend aren't there -- there right under our reasonably affluent noses. But evidence is evidence.

Like this. Right under our noses.

IT'S QUITE easy today to routinely ignore what's right under our noses. In our society, we all live in our own little worlds, and we all live by those whose worlds are a lot like our own.

No longer are we forced to exist cheek and jowl with the great unwashed, so we don't.

And they become invisible, even when they're in plain sight. Or, as the case may be, tucked just into the tree line.

Would that all our failures were as out of sight and out of mind as the homeless, some of whom -- beset by mental illness, addiction or whatever -- never come in out of the cold. Even when it's snowy and 10 below, like it is this harsh February night in Omaha.

I hope whomever this encampment belongs to gave in to the siren song of central heating at a local shelter. A lean-to this crude can't keep out the snow, much less the subzero cold.

MAYBE WE fail to notice what's right under our noses -- or pretend we don't notice what's right under our noses -- because we're just overwhelmed. We are so overwhelmed by our own problems and clutter and, yes, demons that we figure we can't afford the luxury of contemplating or acknowledging those whose problems and clutter and demons have left them wandering through the Nebraska deep freeze.

As opposed to merely being distracted and stressed out.

Me, I don't know. I'm just spitballing here.

Whatever is the case, the evidence is clear that none are so blind as those who will not see. "Those," of course, being you. And you. And you.

And, by God, me.

Friday, November 23, 2012

People of Walmart do that thing they do

Look at this.

It must be Black Friday, and this must be the People of Walmart.
Yet Walmart management has a problem with its employees who demand a living wage, decent treatment and decent benefits to deal with the kind of mindless, consumerist barbarism the retail giant encourages every Black Friday. No, the retail giant hasn't cornered the market for this kind of mob mayhem, but there's a reason why you see so much of it at Walmart and other stores aspiring to Walmartishness.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., bloody well knows every single thing about its clientele, and management knows everything there is to know about the "downmarket" they target. Plenty of people at corporate know their sociology in addition to their retailing.

And management damned well knows what's likely to happen at "X" number of random locations on Black Friday, and I'd also wager it knows which "doorbusters"  are most likely to provoke the kind of mayhem you see here . . . and where.

NEVERTHELESS, the Bosses of Walmart are perfectly happy to send the Associates of Walmart into the violent maw of the People of Walmart, who were set off by the Marketing Strategy of Walmart . . . and pay them the Crappy Wages of Walmart for the dubious privilege. 
Oh but ain't that America for you and me
Ain't that America somethin' to see baby
Ain't that America home of the free. . . .

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Holy krispy kritters, Batman!

This woman is in trouble with the law in New Jersey.

If you ask me, that's the least of her troubles. That's the one thing I know.

What I don't know about this case is legion.

I don't know whether she feloniously dragged her daughter into a tanning booth with her, giving the kid a bad sunburn. I don't know what evidence the cops have apart from the iffy ramblings of a 5-year-old to a schoolteacher.

Just don't know. The courts will have to sort it out.

Anyway, here's the story from
The Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J.:
A Nutley woman pleaded not guilty in Superior Court in Newark this morning to child endangerment charges after authorities said she allowed her then-5-year-old daughter to burn in a tanning salon last month.

Patricia Krentcil, 44, who was charged April 24 after the girl showed up at her elementary school with burns, said her child instead tanned from a long day in the sun a few days before.


Following the brief court hearing, Krentcil’s lawyer, John Caruso, called his client a caring mother who would not risk endangering her child, who is now 6.
“Patricia is 150 percent innocent,” Caruso said. “That child was never in that tanning booth. She loves that child and she would never, ever allow her child to go inside a tanning booth.”

Krentcil, who is free after posting a $2,500 cash bond, is next scheduled to appear in court on June 4.

Although the state’s Division of Youth and Family Services is looking into the charges, the child is still living with her mother and father, Caruso said.

“She’s still a mom," Caruso said. "The child is still living a normal life with her mother."

Although he did not answer questions from the media, Krentcil, who is heavily tanned, did. One such question from a reporter asked if she tanned excessively, elicited a simple answer.

“Yes,” she said.
YA THINK? As I said before, I don't know whether the woman is guilty of anything or not. Neither do I know how she hasn't come down with melanoma. But I'll tell you what I do know.

That ain't a tan. That's getting way too close to a nuclear explosion.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

WWFD (What would Freud do?)

Dear Sigmund,

I hope you will forgive me for going all Jung on you here, but I think these Black Friday ads for the Target discount chain somehow are an expression of one facet of Western civilization's collective unconscious, which, I am happy to report to you, seems to be linked somehow to your observation of our death drive -- our Thanatos syndrome, as it were.

I say these are an expression of our collective unconscious -- again, apologies for the Jungian theorizing -- because they seemingly are presented quite unwittingly by Madison Avenue as an inducement to self-annihilation. Ironically, they urge us into mortal consumerist combat with one another by exposing to us our unified (violent?) subconscious (a super Id, perhaps?) under the guise of humor. Look at what I mean here.

THE ACTRESS in these television commercials urges us on toward consumerist combat -- literal combat, given the statistical probability based upon years of observational data -- thus bringing us closer psychically and physically to the obliteration we unconsciously crave, in the service of wholly materialist objectives which at best serve only as a temporary distraction to our collective sense of alienation and despair.

I sense this may somehow be related to the Oedipus complex, though I am unsure of this.

FINALLY, as the Target advertisements urge us on toward unfulfilling aggression and, re: Durkheim, anomie, the TV spots simultaneously transcend the primary function and become pure metaphor for what we are as a society and what the consumerist imperative demands even more intently of us.

What I am wondering, Sigmund, is this: Do you suppose it may be that Thanatos, as it were, is one and the same as Jung's collective unconscious? Has it always been thus, or is this a new evolutionary stage that inevitably leads to extinction -- one quite random and pointless as the dinosaurs' by asteroid impact?

Can this be true, Sigmund? Alternatively, could the apparent self-destructive goal of evolution be a means of making room for the emergence of yet-higher life forms?

Yours in inquiry,

M. Favog

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

When similes attack

When someone tells you someone is as batty as a bed bug, you'll now have some small frame of reference.

Is what I'm telling you.

Naturally, the following story from The Associated Press comes from the great, yet strangely odd, state of Iowa:

An Iowa hospital working to stop the spread of a bed bug infestation was forced to limit access to care in its psychiatric unit for three days after the insects were discovered in two patients’ rooms, hospital officials said.

Officials at Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines, a public hospital that serves Polk County, said workers discovered bed bugs in a room during a routine cleaning in early February.

The hospital hired Ecolab, a pest control company, to eradicate the room of the tiny parasites that feed on human blood and spray two adjacent rooms as a precaution.

More bed bugs were later discovered in another room, and the hospital decided to shut down that hallway and several rooms for spraying and cleaning to stop the spread, said Vincent Mandracchia, Broadlawns’ chief medical officer.

“Bed bugs noted during treatment,” reads an invoice from Ecolab, one of four the hospital paid between Feb. 8 and Feb. 28 totaling $550 and released to the Associated Press. “All activity that was found was treated and inspected.”

The three-day process meant the hospital’s mental health and psychiatric center, which normally houses 26, was forced to stop admitting patients. On Feb. 21 and Feb. 22, the patient count dropped to a low of 16, rose to 18 on Feb. 23 and then went back up to capacity after all rooms were reopened, Mandracchia said.

REMEMBER, FOLKS, I don't make this stuff up. I just find it, have a good chuckle and pass it along.

Good night, sleep tight and don't . . . well, you know.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Satan goes by 'Anonymous'

Click on E-mails to read.

Satan never sleeps.

That's because he's too busy leaving anonymous comments on blogs and websites.

If you're one of those people inclined to doubt the existence of hell and the devil , look at these comments I got today on what I thought was a fairly whimsical post on the Sex Pistols and the state of the Establishment, circa January 1978.

IT'S A HELL of a thing, no?

Obviously, "Anonymous" is one disturbed individual, and an angry one, too. Obviously, this is why I moderate comments to Revolution 21's Blog for the People. Obviously, these got deleted.

And -- obviously -- I'm now making an example of them . . . and the sick soul who has nothing better to say than this.

Where does such rage come from? How do you explain such an all-consuming, intense hatred of all humanity? And can anyone deny this poor soul exists in some very real, albeit private (for now), manifestation of hell?

Mental illness or some manner of deviant socialization can get you most of the way to an explanation, but not all the way to one. It doesn't -- at least not in my opinion -- get you all the way to that degree of nihilism, that level of hatred of the human race itself. Mental illness or sociological deficits can explain the brokenness, but neither can explain the phenomenon of evil.

What we have here is evil -- and all sociology or psychology can shed light upon are the fissures that allow evil to penetrate the soul and do what it will. This is what Satan looks like when he thinks the cameras aren't rolling; this is what he sounds like when he's at a loss for words.

I SUPPOSE my disturbed correspondent is some sort of punk who -- again, obviously -- takes issue with the aforementioned post. He, she or it is a cautionary tale of what can happen when one takes this punk thing entirely too seriously.

Especially that "I am an antichrist" part in the Sex Pistols' "Anarchy in the U.K." Not the Antichrist, mind you, but an antichrist.

The real Antichrist will be a much better writer with a much larger vocabulary.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

All we are saying is give pizza chance

LSU's 459 Commons. Wednesday, 1:30 p.m.

A billion years ago, when I was a poor student, this kind of behavior was reserved for the student section at Tiger football games.
No, really. When I was a freshman in '79, a fight broke out and someone went flying past my head. Down the steps.


I blame the spread of this kind of bad behavior to campus dining facilities -- and note that the video contains many F-bombs . . . screamed, no less -- on Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and his budgetary broadax.



Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Come around and retweet me sometime

Robert Nelson, alas, is not "crushing it."

Neither has he been living his best life now.

Nor has the newspaper columnist been "livin' the life" . . . or "rockin' the town." And his personal branding has left something to be desired.

Today, when the totality of one's existence is reduced to "branding" -- and unabashed self-promotion is as much a part of "getting ahead" as continuing to breathe in and out (and suppressing one's inner Rip Torn) -- you explain a monthslong sabbatical as "an opportunity for personal growth" . . . or as "working on an exciting new project."

BUT YOU DON'T begin your first column since returning to the Omaha World-Herald this way:

You may or may not have noticed that this column hasn’t appeared in The World-Herald for quite a while.

For the last three months, I have been on a sabbatical.

Part of me would love to leave it at that. But the journalist, the part of me that seeks full disclosure from everyone else, feels I had better come clean with the reason behind my absence, no matter how embarrassing.

And besides, there are some interesting rumors out there that may or may not be as interesting as the truth.

How to say it? I went off the deep end? A screw came loose? I was off my rocker?

Actually, in all seriousness, I’ve clearly been grinding through life for quite some time with what I now know are some significant mental-health issues.

It’s estimated that one in every four Americans struggles with some diagnosable form of mental-health problem. It’s somewhat comforting knowing there are so many of us out there — so many people who know what an uncomfortable journey it can be to feel right again.

Over the last year, I increasingly had found myself struggling with depression and, at times, anger and anxiety. Some of it was simple midlife-crisis stuff.

Some, as it turns out, was more serious.
NELSON GOES ON to describe a harrowing journey to the dark side of . . . himself. An editor talked him out of committing murder. The authorities were called. A shrink took charge.

Unless your name happens to be Andy Dick, there's not much "branding" gold to be mined here. And come to think of it, what's the last job Andy Dick has held down since News Radio? Making license plates?

Oh, Lord. What would
Gary Vaynerchuk do?

How do you "tweet" yourself into the national consciousness when your daily triumph is as simple -- and humble -- as "I didn't get sh*tfaced today." Or, "Taking my meds. So far, so good. No psychotic breaks! Yay!"

This is America, dammit! Half the country is broke, the other half is worried, and the third half is making out like a bandit and bragging about it all on Twitter, Facebook and Blogger.

A nation devoted to shameless self-promotion -- to style over substance, to personality cults for profit and success -- is a nation that increasingly doesn't add up.

This nation full of failure demands we construct sunny, self-serving narratives of our lives, then sell the world on our version of the Big Lie. This nation full of tragedies writ large and small doesn't want to hear about it.

BUT NO. Robert Nelson outed himself as a fallen, broken human being, one completely average in his brokenness. One utterly unremarkable in his misery.

You want to see the one unforgivable sin in America today? That's it -- honesty. How the hell do you "crush" that?

I'm sure some folk will applaud the columnist for opening a vein in the pages of the local rag. They'll say he's brave. They'll say he's showing other suffering souls that there's hope.


These people are called "activists." Their goal in life is to harsh your mellow, which might pull the plug on the power of your positive thinking and detract from your living "your best life today." I would tend to agree with these "activists."

Then again, I think Debbie Downer is a hottie. Mwah mwaaaaaaaaaah.

The rest of you, I am sure, are saying "I knew something was wrong with that Nelson boy." Like you're not f***ed up, too -- in your own special, morally superior way, of course.

Promote that brand via social media.

RT @Revolution_21 Robert Nelson's honesty about affliction making us think of our own. Not cool. No marketing in that.
MONDAY, the "career diva" of, Eve Tahmincioglu (please don't ask me to pronounce Tahmincioglu), asked via Twitter (of course), "have we all become a bunch of self-promoting whores?"

You know, I think we have. Mostly of the "two-bit" variety.

And if you'll excuse me, I need to tweet up this post. Facebook it, too. If I'm really lucky, maybe a couple hundred people will be blessed by my deep thoughts on this matter of great importance.

Please retweet!

Because I am a whore for the postmodern ages. It's what I do. Now, how do I take that and "crush it"?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Copper-plated coins denominated at .01 dollar
eminating from a paranormal entity of bliss

Your government wants you to know:

Economic turmoil (e.g., increased unemployment, foreclosures, loss of investments and other financial distress) can result in a whole host of negative health effects - both physical and mental. It can be particularly devastating to your emotional and mental well-being. Although each of us is affected differently by economic troubles, these problems can add tremendous stress, which in turn can substantially increase the risk for developing such problems as:

* Depression
* Anxiety
* Compulsive Behaviors (over-eating, excessive gambling, spending, etc.)
* Substance Abuse


Other Steps You Can Take

Acknowledge that economic downturns can be frightening to everyone, but that there are ways of getting through them - from engaging in healthy activities, positive thinking, supportive relationships, to seeking help when needed from health professionals.

Encourage community-based organizations and groups to provide increased levels of mental health treatment and support to those who are severely affected by the economy.

Work together to help all members of the community build their resiliency and successfully return to healthy and productive lives.

For further information on mental health or substance abuse issues please visit The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
PERSONALLY, I really prefer how Americans dealt with this kind of stuff in the 1930s (see video above).