How can we use words differently?

February 28, 2014 2 comments

WarLord

Police State

Prince of Peace

Officer of the Law

Neighborhood Watch

Police Force

Protectors

Patrolman

The Peoples’ Pope

Neighborhood Patrol

Public Good

Cause for Entry

Guardians of Peace

Words are the most powerful force we can wield, excluding the use of physical weapons.

We communicate our needs, desires and dangers. We teach, comfort, love, plan, share, compare, learn, describe, explain, and create whole new worlds with words. Written words are equal to or greater than the spoken word, if for no other reason than it can be shared near and far, immediately or centuries from now, and analyzed without voice inflection and body language. Words provide a basis for history that started on boulders, canyon walls, and the walls of caves.

And like any force, words can be used to benefit or harm. For good or evil. Properly trained and thought out or spontaneously and dangerously implemented without planning.

An article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal brought on this blog post. It was an update on the Metro Police Department’s progress in implementing recommended reforms to their use-of-force policies. They’ve completed 56 of the 80 recommendations ordered by a review board, but still have a way to go. [If you're interested, find the article on-line here: http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/crime-courts/feds-las-vegas-police-shootings-decline-more-changes-needed]

When I moved here 10 years ago, I was told to go gently when confronted by the cops; they shoot first and ask questions later. I thought that in a city of crime and gangs, I would want any relative of mine to do the same if in danger. (My family has always had cops among their members.)

As the years went by and the deaths increased, it seemed Metro shot first and never asked questions. The phrase that clears them is “I feared for my life,” although in some cases there was no evidence of a dangerous weapon on scene other than theirs. Oops. I can immediately name three cases that changed my whole opinion of the police department and their management by oops. They also kill family dogs that get in their way. I’m sure they again claim they are fearing for their lives. Are family dogs ‘packing heat’ these days? I now warn any visitor to our city to be careful if stopped, keep your hands in sight at all times, and tell the officer what you are doing if you move them. (Unfortunately, it’s impossible to protect your dogs.)

My fear is that the review board is going about this the wrong way. I have had my adventures in my youth, made my mistakes. I’ve witnessed up front and personal the arrogant self-importance of some cops, both here and in other states. A self-importance they thought put them above the laws they swore to protect, honor and serve. They are also protected by a very powerful union contract and lobby.

We’ve had cop deaths from squad car accidents caused by arrogance and disdain of their own laws and rules, jeopardizing others on the road. For example, traveling over 100 miles per hour without lights or sirens, and ignoring their own seatbelts, all of which might have saved their lives. It has gotten to the point that even top management can’t hide these oops any more. There are apparently huge gaps in their training, requalification for duty, and management responsibility and follow-up. I fear in many cases, psych evals are necessary, possibly leading to dismissal.

But more than anything, I ask if the words used to describe their commitment, their contract, their obligation to the people they serve, are providing a proper basis to how they perceive themselves? To how their people perceive them? What are their requirements, duties, purpose and vocation? Are they authoritarians or disciplinarians? Are they dictators or servants of the people? Are they held to the same law as the people they serve and protect? Do they even understand that serving and protecting the people is their primary job? Or do they just take calls and handle cases. We are numbers on their clipboards. And their job involves force, life and death.

Words are very powerful tools as well as weapons. You can counsel, or you can bully. You can develop pride in your vocation, or you can steamroll through your job grabbing what you can. Sometimes you can hide behind words. You can choose to call yourself an EnFORCEr of the Law or a PROTECTor of the Peace. Hey! I’d even compromise on Peace Officer, if you act like one. Let me say here that there are some good cops out there. But living with the misfits and being labeled with words of force are tough to ignore. Wouldn’t you prefer a label of Peace?

So much needs to change if the world will ever live in Peace.

Categories: Life and Writing

Something missing in your education? Hint: It’s not always what you were taught!

January 31, 2014 1 comment

“No matter what he does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world.
And normally he doe
sn’t know it.” ~Paulo Coelho

History comes in all shapes and sizes

Those of us who’ve been out in the cold cruel world for a decade or so have a pretty good idea of what we can do – our strengths – and what we have trouble doing – our weaknesses. We sometimes think there’s a gap in our knowledge bank. Did that college math instructor zoom past the basics? Was our high school curriculum weak in grammar and verbal communication? Did I sleep through something? We try to figure out what courses we need to take, or re-take.

And boy, do we take courses! There are 6,358,652 people taking on-line courses from the Coursera partnering institutions alone (as of January 31, 2014). I found more data, breaking down 7,000 out of nearly 10,000 enrolled students who are taking at least one internet class. That was from one southwest university alone! K-12 classes are available on the internet to kids young and older that provide all the same testing and requirements as brick and mortar schools. Click here http://stories.k12.com/ and read some of these kids’ stories. Wow, wish I’d had that option.

But wait – what haven’t you learned? That’s the question, especially for those of us who have finished our basic formal education. I realized a long time ago that the experiences, events and people we are exposed to in our early lives, and in our parents’ and grandparents’ lives, teach us through observation as well as at a different level of instruction.

We observe greetings (from how-do-you-do to oh-my-God-I’ve-missed-you-so-much), and the different types of hugs, kisses, and handshakes that get exchanged. We hear polite conversation and questions, as well as shared stories, family history and tall stories. Our instructions may range from “just do what I do” to “you better not embarrass me in front of rich Uncle Patrick!” So much to be shared with siblings after the gathering, especially the off-color stuff!

We came from the ‘children should be seen and not heard,’ unless-asked-a-direct-question, generation. I usually heard “you better be good” or “just don’t get in any trouble.” It surprised me that after my grandmother’s death, we also lost a whole group of ‘family.’ That was because my grandmother was outgoing; she loved and attracted people. Her daughter was very shy, self-conscious and introverted. I must have been a super challenge to her!

I also learned a lot about financial accountability from my father. The best example of that involves a young teenage girl begging for a fancy record player on which to play my 45s (de rigeur for my generation). I got it for my birthday. Nearly a year later, my dad took me to Sears. We went up to the offices, where there was a little window. I wasn’t paying much attention to what he was doing until he returned his curved wallet back to his pants pocket and handed me a very official-looking document.

“Here. You now own your record player,” he said to me. “I just made the last payment. Enjoy it.”

Reading that back to myself, it can sound almost mean. He didn’t say it in a mean way. He was proud he was able to buy and pay for that treasure. I never looked at large gifts exactly the same way again.

We stumbled along the way, missing some life lessons that were beyond our parents’ experiences and knowledge. But we were taught the value of hard work, education, good ‘work’ ethics and independence. All those people changed my history through subconscious education. I’m so glad they did.

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Putting Gratitude Out into the Universe for 2014

January 13, 2014 4 comments

I woke up with this post writing itself. I had to scramble to dig out a pad and pen to take notes. Yes, there was a Muse at Work this morning!harmony the earth

So many of my friends – both corporeal and digital – say you have to put ‘it’ out there. If you put your wishes, hopes, dreams and goals out into the universe, they will come back to you fully realized.

Well, I don’t need thanks to come back to me. I am fortunate to receive that regularly from those I care about. But I do want others to understand why I am grateful, and maybe send out a little of your own.

Being Ms. Independent has not always been easy. I’ve had my reasons. But the last couple of years I’ve put my art first, and by doing that, I’ve also fed my soul without realizing it. Miraculously and subconsciously, I have reached out for help and advice and it’s been there; and other people have offered help and advice without my asking at all.

Perfectionism is one of my weaknesses, though I know it does not exist for me. I’ve come to accept that. But I have learned to recognize improvement and small achievements. Those are accomplishments along our writer’s journey as well, perfect or not. This blog I’ve created is still not where I want it, but it’s a helluva lot closer now than it was a year ago. I don’t write great literature, I write category Romance. Plus, I’m a terrible teacher and I’m still studying the process of story writing myself, so how could I tell you how to do it? Finding my niche to write about has been slow going, but here it is:

What I am is a great student of life, and should share with others what little I have learned, both in my blog and my books. I know that life is messy and ever-expanding, and everywhere I look, there lies more to learn. I’m one of those crazies who can’t play with Wikipedia or the thesaurus or the dictionary, because I’ll lose the rest of the day. So expect me to share some great new words or events with you. Life truly is what you make it, and I will continue pursuing my art and knowledge (as well as this blog) with the hope I will encourage one other person to follow their heart, practice their art, whatever that may be, and fully live their own life without fear or regret or embarrassment.

So I sent my heartfelt gratitude out into the universe for all I’ve accomplished, both in my life and over this last year. More gratitude for all I’ve learned and for all the new goals I’ve set. And more for the new friends I have made. May it be returned ten-fold to anyone receiving this letter of thanks, especially if you took the time over the last 12 months to aid a student of the arts like me. You deserve the gold medal!

Finally, to anyone who reads this and decides I’m right: You’re starting tomorrow morning to achieve your dream! Just baby steps to start. But remember to celebrate each baby step, and remember to send it all out into the universe, along with your gratitude.

Then you pay it forward.

Categories: Life and Writing

50 Awesome Moments Only Writers Would Understand

January 8, 2014 2 comments

lasvegaslinny:

If you’re a writer and haven’t seen this … just read and nod your head. Awesome is right. Thank you Christina L. Rozelle!

Originally posted on Christina L. Rozelle:

old typewriter

50. That awesome writer moment when you type “The End.”

49. That awesome writer moment when you reread something you just wrote and it’s like reading something somebody else wrote, and you wonder where the hell it came from.

48. That thankful writer moment when you get the kids to bed and you FINALLY get to sit your ass down and write.

47. That sad writer moment when you discover that a character you’ve grown to really like/love . . . has to die.

46. That awesome writer moment when you realize that what you are writing is bigger than you, is coming from some place beyond you, and you are but a vestibule for the creative workings of the Universe to materialize. . . . When that Universal truth comes to you as a gift to be shared through your talent, humbly, a light for others to see themselves…

View original 1,023 more words

Categories: Uncategorized

Be Brave Redux

October 1, 2013 2 comments

Tricia Drammeh put her heart and soul into this post, and it’s one of the shorter writers’ posts I think I’ve ever seen!

I thought it was important enough, inspirational enough, to share with my readers, whatever they’re about to embark upon personally.

Thanks, Tricia! Sent and received on a day when I r-e-a-l-l-y needed it! Hope you all enjoy it as much as I did. Force yourself to watch the video. It’s worth it.

Be Brave.

Categories: Uncategorized
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