Adios mother fuckers

If trump is re-elected I am exploring moving to another country. Congratulations trump supporters, you succeeded in supporting the total and complete corruption of my birthplace. It is uninhabitable to persons who actually read and absorb facts, believe videos and scientists and value honesty and integrity. Fuck trump. Every lie he tells about Covid 19 is a death sentence for untold Americans. Every dictator he snuggles up to brings us closer to war. Every ally he offends brings us closer to a war without friends. Me, I am going to go relax somewhere they do not house alien kids in cages, believe in women’s right to choose and do not attempt inflame the populace and thus to purge judges, government administrators and opposition politicians, i.e.those considered enemies of the president. In other words I will not be moving to the Philippines or some such banana republic.
My family fled Russia for a reason. My parents raised me to hear the sound of injustice and fascism. And I needed no help to hear the sound of racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism and xenophobia.

Did I say Fuck trump? I am sorry. I meant to say, double fuck him. Did I mention he is a worthless twit void of ideology? I mean to. I need a gun because I live in the US. You do not need a gun everywhere but you do here. We are the best country? Drink that kool ade.

It is great that we have free access to so much information unlike a dictatorship. But what good is it if you limit yourself to Fox News and Breitbart and other propaganda used to prop up this Far right government. What good is access to information if you do not listen to the wealth of scientific information available or listen and then choose to exercise ignorance and ignore it.

What good are your rights as a citizen if you use your status to deprive anyone of affordable education or health care or housing. You think taxes are your money? Your taxes are a drop in the bucket of what it takes to support the country. You want to pay less taxes and get better infrastructure? You do not deserve the level of service you get for the amount you pay. You only got to enjoy much of your public services because others pay their share. But now fewer people and companies of wealth contribute so the country sinks economically and financially. And you grin and think you got over on the system like a fat rat in a cheese factory. The system got you. You did not get it.

A rich guy pissed on your head and told you it was raining and you believe it. Smelled like piss. Looked like piss. Expert analysis says it is piss, but trump said it was rain. Damn.

I been to Europe and Asia and never had a gun there and I yet I was safe. Guns do not make us safe. People make us safe. Guns make us safe from bad people with guns. I walked into neighborhoods in Asian and Europe that were rough. Poor! People of color! And no one bothered me and I did not need a gun. Want America great again. Be the example of the person who does not tolerate hate. Does not treat the stranger with hate and suspicion. Choose leaders that do not make me feel I need a gun because your leader praises white supremacists and mocks Jews, calls Mexicans rapists and protesters, terrorists. Oh, and advocate for an end to the unregulated firearms market and the demonization and incarceration of drug addicts. I did not day give up your guns but we should never again sell one of our guns to anyone who has not passed a verified minimal background check.

The whole point of claiming this was the best country was the perception that it was democratic, tolerant and helped the rest of a world in need. That shit went out the window while you cheered. Damn.

I could not burst your bubble about the US. You are not concerned that prisoners and immigrant detainees are held in private prisons. Kids in cages. I wish your Facebook pages were plastered with how upset you are that bbout 44 million people in this country have no health insurance, and another 38 million have inadequate health insurance. Fuck em. (Texas has not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As a result, Texas, has an estimated 761,000 residents ineligible for Medicaid and are also ineligible for premium subsidies to offset the cost of private coverage in the health care exchange.)

The greatest country? Best at what? Largest military budget. World military spending totaled more than $1.6 trillion in 2015. The U.S. accounted for 37 percent of the total. U.S. military expenditures are roughly the size of the next seven largest military budgets around the world, combined.

Highest murder rate? Highest cost of college education? Least amount of training time for law enforcement officers. (16-18 weeks versus 2-3 years)

You do not trust big government or the US government. You believe a deep state is undermining our democracy. If you mindlessly bought the story that we are the greatest and/or will be great again, how great can it be if there are FBI, Department of Justice lawyers, ex-presidents and the Democratic party all working to destroy our country? Wake the fuck up.

Man I have to watch news, read crap propaganda and listen to everyone’s opinion to get to the truth. You mock my conclusions. But you just wanna skim the Fox headlines, listen to Judge Jeanine and smile while they blow smoke up your ass. I’m working my ass off to preserve democracy and you are wallowing in the misinformation fed you because someone convinced you that everyone else is telling fake news. So you believe your country news media lies all the time? Great country. What the fuck.

You will thank God for all God has given you but who did he send to deliver it. His angels earn your scorn daily. Your fellow Christians show up looking for work and toil in the hot sun to harvest your food, cover your roofs and build your roads. Look as you go by on a hot summer day and see who is manning that road crew! What a shame. God sent you salvation from labor by giving you the hardest working, cheapest work force and you kick them, take their children and turn away as they beg for access to health care and education and citizenship.

The president of the United States is a whoremonger, admitted sexual predator and one of the most sued entities in the history of the country including judgments for cheating charities, students and contractors. He is presiding over the biggest kill off of our population in its history

How low can you go? Apparently there is no bottom. MAGA for the win? I suggest you get a good umbrella because trump is not done pissing on us.

reference

https://www.healthinsurance.org/texas-medicaid/

https://www.wbtv.com/2020/06/13/some-us-police-train-just-few-weeks-some-countries-they-train-years/

https://thelastweekends.org/?utm_source=tlw_patinkin

Throw the bums out.

When you listen to Rand Paul, Chuck Grassley, Chuck Schumer, et al in these hearings, you get an overwhelming sensation that we are long, long, long past the time for term limits. This men’s club is corrupt beyond measure. They are partisan, politically or financially corrupt and out of touch. I do not agree with everything Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says or supports, but clearly she is more plugged in to the reality of our everyday difficulties. Whether or not she has the solutions is unimportant because until you grasp the problem you cannot craft the solution. (Kinda like a pandemic)


I never feared a sole political leader in the past because I was raised with the notion of checks and balances. Now I have learned what can happen when the entire government capitulates to the president. Now we are seeing the complete surrender of obligations by the ruling party and how much it resembles foreign authoritarian governments. Especially where the “strong man” consistently and persistently derides the opposition and encourages violence against his own citizens who oppose his rule.

Time to revisit life in the USA. Politics in the USA and the allowance of bought and paid for politicians being allowed to rule over us for years on end. I am okay with the suppression of the political parties especially to the degree that governance returns to the governed. I favor rule by coalition allowing for more political parties. I do not believe in social engineering by legislation. I do not believe that items beyond the scope of national concern can be subject to the whims of the party in power. I abhor the drug laws which criminalize and demonize addiction. I support the right to choose but I believe we have never spent enough money and time curbing unwanted pregnancies.
I love my guns but I also support the right to life as pertains to the health safety and welfare of school children, concert-goers and worshippers. If I must compromise my gun rights, so be it if it will help make it more difficult for the mentally-ill and prohibited possessors in securing a firearm. And every fucking gun owner with half a brain knows that there is an open market in Texas and other states which allows free access to guns by persons who would not be allowed to purchase under federal law from any licensed seller.

So no one is going to compromise or bend in today’s environment of which trump remains the pivotal figure from both sides. So it is clearly time to start over with a government that works for both (many) sides. Many repel at the idea of compromise and cling to the illusion of God Given rights and obligations. I also repel at certain compromises such as caging children, even illegal children. I believe in the sanctity of school children and their right to be free from men with AR-15s who are set to slaughter them.

So I hope we can agree on just this one item. Term limits. Run out the rascals. Then we can sit at the table across from each other via young, smart partisan legislators who will be unable to legally take lobbyists dollars and will know how to craft legislation which addresses the needs of the greatest good.
The Congress was invented to find compromise in legislating. That concept has been abandoned. So I am good with the destruction of the republican party. I never would have advocated that before but recent events over the past 12 years have convinced me that our government is more fragile than I knew. I do not have to advocate the elimination of the democratic party, the republicans are already well on their way to that. But we must not let the victor have the spoils. Deprive both sides of a stranglehold/foothold over our government.

I am and always have been a citizen of the USA. I have and always will support the health, safety and welfare of our military, especially our combat veterans. I do not support rioting and looting but I absolutely support a transformation in policing. Change the training paradigm, the caliber of recruits and the policies around use of force especially as pertains to the mentally-ill.

Oh my I have gone on far too long. God bless the REAL America. Not this trump perpetrated hoax and pox upon us.

Vote for me and I will set you free!

I used the title in the hopes it would more likely get readers more than the title “This is who I am”

I am a long time advocate of civil liberties and gun rights. I disdain violence against animals or humans in all forms. In contrast I will not hesitate to react violently to an immediate threat.

My liberal friends generally agree with my values such as, I support all peaceful efforts to stop police violence. I support the efforts to help small business survive the pandemic. I support masks and social distance. I do not support any rioting or looting. I do not support the confederate or Nazi flag waving. I never support hate speech whether coming from a misguided/frustrated black man or a conniving rich white man in the White House.

I advocate term limits and the elimination from congress of its life long members, including Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Shumer. I advocate an end to Citizens United, the legal case which allows unlimited corporate cash into and to influence our elections. I would support efforts to eliminate corporate lobbyists influencing legislation.

I support Joe Biden. True he was not my choice and rather than suggesting that means he is not a good candidate, it means I am far more progressive than him. IT does not mean that I have any concern about his character or his ability to lead the country. It means that he is too far to the right, too conservative for my tastes. I am absolutely certain, he is no puppet of the far left, not going to take our guns, not mentally incapable of serving or that he will destroy the suburbs or allow our “white” women to be raped.
Joe Biden has more morality, empathy, compassion and intellect in his little finger than donald trump has in his entire body.

His choice to pick a moderate woman of color as a running mate is great. That it is Kamala Harris is great. While the right wishes to buy the idea that she is a dangerous, left wing demagogue, the reality is different. She has spent a good part of her career as an attorney general. She is conservative with a some moderate progressive views such as health care for all and police should be held accountable for unlawful violence. I admire her successes and I care not in the least that I would never have liked her law enforcement actions as a prosecutor because I never met a prosecutor I agreed with. (Well Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot would be an exception.)
Neither Biden or Kamala has ever been accused of being a devil worshiper and/or a destroyer of Christianity.

If you are a conservative you should be quite content to vote for Joe and Kamala. Yes, you lose the abortion battle temporarily. You gained a lot of ground with trump, I know. But he is buying your Christian vote at the cost of your country’s soul with his autocratic leadership. Yes your super rich friends may pay more taxes. Yes your health insurance will probably be more expansive and cheaper. Yes, we will likely repair our historical alliances and rejoin the climate accords. But you will get another Republican president soon and he will swing us back to the Right but hopefully he/she will have a moral compass and a brain.


There is value in compromise and moderation. Abortion is murder to you and non-negotiable. I have my non-negotiables also and they also involve the sanctity of life including children are never to be caged. Suspects of color are not to be murdered by police officers. (Not saying cops should not protect themselves. Saying unlawful use of force resulting in death should be, must be punished.) The murder and dismemberment of journalists and opponents, such as practiced in Russia and Saudi Arabia is not to be rewarded with our countries friendship.

So will we negotiate unifying the country or will you dig in to the polarization of the country by being a stuck on your hatred for me. Yes, me. I am everything the Right hates. But I get calls every week from friends who forget my politics when they have a legal matter. It is the adage that you would never have someone like me for a neighbor but would never want anyone else to be your lawyer. (Yes, I am that good.)

You would never negotiate abortion and there are some on the Left who would never negotiate gun ownership. These issues will never be permanently resolved in your lifetime and the fight will continue. Let the middle rule. It is not the slippery slope you imagine. It is the way countries thrive and survive peacefully. (If it helps, I will say Merry Christmas more often, recite the Pledge of Allegiance and sing the national anthem at sporting events.)

It is time to return to the middle. I lose some, you lose some but ahhh, we both gain much, starting with the soul of our country, improved relations and respect with our historical European allies and the lessening of the heated/destructive exchanges between neighbors, family and friends over the direction of our America.
God bless the real America.

Transformation

So there is a story behind every transformation. Every Anglo who walks into a Buddhist temple is a possible even probable story of transformation. Not because entry to a Buddhist temple is required but because it usually signals seeking and dissatisfaction.

I have come to a spiritual awakening of sorts through significant dissatisfaction(s). It starts in 1982 with a dependence on cocaine to alleviate the emotional pain associated with a lost love interest. I twisted the age old adage that “time heals all wounds” and decided if I could use coke to numb my pain it would eventually pass. It was a flawed plan.

A year after I put that plan in motion I was ready to enter a treatment center for drug abuse. I spent 3 weeks there being introduced to 12 steps and the underlying foundation of a belief in a higher power. My initial reaction which I openly expressed went like this. “If it will take God to keep me clean, then I am hopeless.” But I decided to try the 12 step programs because I really didn’t have a better plan.

Putting myself into close proximity to the people in AA and Narcotics Anonymous made me want what they had. I found a willingness to pray just because it worked for them and I had nothing better. I spent the next 14 years in recovery and I practiced and eventually believed that there was a higher God-like power and it was helpful to pray to said power.

In the process I undertook tasks that had once seemed impossible. I started school, I went to sleep at regular hours and I exercised consistently. I, a high school dropout, got through law school. I, an incurable insomniac, began to sleep. And I became a regular in the gym and on the triathlon circuit.

But, complacency eventually became my constant companion. I got cocky and believed that I had molded myself into a normal guy. Time though has shown that I am not normal even at my most normal. I can mimic a community. If it is a criminal community, I’m in. Recovery? OK. PTA? I’m good. I won’t blend in but my behavior will comport to societal norms.

So subsequently I drank and then drugged again. If I missed doing a drug in the first go round, I got to it this time. I wouldn’t even try in this story to recount the horrors of my addiction. That is a book in and of itself. Nope this is about the spiritual transformation that then occurred over the next several years.

I went back to 12 step meetings. I sought mentors and sponsors. I inadvertently read books about transformation, starting with Eckhart Tolle. I taught myself to meditate. I sought a meditation teacher and wound up practicing with Ajahn Sarayut a Buddhist monk from Thailand. (ajahn means teacher in Thai)

I was teaching Ajahn how to navigate amongst Anglos and he taught me meditation and the practice of Buddhism. After 2 years spent constantly studying with each other, we undertook to open a new Buddhist temple in Tucson. I subsequently felt compelled to continue and deepen my practice by becoming ordained. To serve as a temporary Buddhist monk required the permission of my family, shaving off my head and facial hair and living exclusively in the temple and having no physical contact with females. I was allowed to eat the single meal of the day that monks eat, I wore only the saffron robes and I participated in twice daily chanting and meditation. I learned to chant in Pali. (The word Pali is used as a name for the language of the Theravadan Buddhist scriptures.)

I sought training with other teachers as well. Jack Kornfield, Lila Wheeler, Eric Kolvig, Lama Marut and more. I crossed the country to spend days in lectures to attend silent meditation retreats.

I “unordained” and returned to my family a little after 4 months. Ajahn completed my training as a teacher of meditation and provided me with a letter of introduction to the Buddhist Center of Dallas when we subsequently relocated to Dallas TX. I have been teaching meditation at least 3 times weekly for the past 4 years in and around the area.

I have left behind my drugging and drinking. I have long left the world where I owned adult entertainment nightclubs and websites. I am an infrequent participant in the firearms world where I made a living for so many years.

Everyone American I meet in the Buddhist temples is a seeker. None of us were born into Buddhism. To arrive here we had to have dissatisfaction with whatever came before. Some will embrace Buddhism and others will simply develop a mindful meditation practice. We are driven consciously or unconsciously to seek answers to our discontent. Some find what they are looking for. Others do not. But the practice of mindful meditation will facilitate or perpetuate transformation to all who practice it.

I hate you and everything you stand for. Or I love you, go away.

How can we live together while we disagree about things that are so personal? I am pondering that maybe it is time to separate myself from social media civil discourse. It is way past ugly now. Many of my friends are staking out positions which do not allow for acceptance of differences. There is little effort to understand opposing viewpoints. Considerable effort seems to go into seeking memes to post to Facebook which seem to glorify, justify and promote our opinions.

The Buddha taught among many other things, Right Speech. “It is spoken at the right time. It is spoken in truth. It is spoken affectionately. It is spoken beneficially. It is spoken with a mind of good-will.”

I myself am losing perspective and have difficulty staying on the path. I find that the community I reside in influences me tremendously. I spend a great deal of time with recovering addicts and alcoholics and I remain free of intoxicating substances. I stay close to my spiritual community and that results in a concerted effort to practice spiritual principles. But here on Facebook I have many friends beyond those communities I hold you in great affection and even admiration. But since your instinct is to be “right” and you are closed to living civilly with those that think “wrong”, you create an ambiance of polarization and intolerance. Whether it be guns, religion, gay sex, or abortion et al. These are hot topics and engender strong personal beliefs.

Passion is not the enemy. Intolerance and lack of acceptance are the foes. We have not and will not force agreement so we are challenged to work spiritually and practically to live harmoniously. Alternatively, just dismiss this rant and seek out your next meme to launch your next attack. Sadly, many of the people we are attacking reside amongst us. The Buddha did not suggest that if the object of your ire lived in another country, we were free to speak harshly and self-righteously.

Do we really need enemies? Do you let others decide they are your enemies because we are so powerless that if a cult or sect or organization has extremists we define their members by the worst of them.

Buddha said “Speak only the speech that neither torments self nor does harm to others. That speech is truly well spoken. Speak only endearing speech, speech that is welcomed. Speech when it brings no evil to others is pleasant.” Trump scares me. I am often tempted to verbally crucify him. I did throw dirt at Ted Cruz and Greg Abbott recently. It came so easy. But while I do not like that propensity I have refrained from attacks on most of my social media community. I issue the challenge to all to dig spiritually to ascribe to and practice better behavior in speech and writings. Loving kindness towards all sounds silly in our Western civilization. But it is integral to spiritual practitioners everywhere. So if ever there was a moment of spiritual challenge, that moment may be now.

My first armed robbery, and last.

We were in an apartment on the south side of Chicago, in Hyde Park. “I don’t know man. I never done nothing like that. What do you want from me? I don’t know man. I don’t do that kind of stuff.” So began my conversation with Tiny. Tiny had gotten it in his mind to rob a meat packing plant at 58th and Elizabeth Street. Someone on the inside had told him about a safe they had and how easy it would be to walk in with guns and take the cash. I am not sure why Tiny was asking me to partner up with him. Maybe it was because I had a car, or guns or because I was a full time (non-violent) criminal. But this was an area I never intended to venture into. I tended to  stay away from crimes against persons. Burglary was my main criminal enterprise, and we burglars avoid people when working, because they are a source of detection and apprehension.

Whatever the reason, I was listening to this proposition. Tiny had been a mentor of mine in the underworld. He was a car thief and knew how to run a “chop shop” where they cut stolen cars up and sell the parts for more than the car would sell for whole. It was easier to avoid arrest if you were selling only the parts. I was about 18 and he had 10 years on me and seemed philosophically wise in the ways of the streets. He also was an imposing figure. He was 6’3, 350 pounds of black man. He was a product of the Chicago’s west side ghetto. So to my wayward mind he had experience and credibility and so I listened. He laughed profusely and joked and danced frequently. But when it came to crime he was all business.

The plan was to go to the area of the plant where we would park my car about a half block away. We were going to knock on the packing house door and ask to buy some meat. There was going to be 3-5 employees and we were gonna draw down on them and take the cash from the safe. We discussed it at length. I tried to persuade him away from the idea. But I never said everything I was really thinking. Cause then I would have told him the idea scared the hell out of me. He allayed all my spoken concerns and so the deal was sealed.

When the agreed day arrived I drove us to the plant. We parked near by in a vacant lot, car facing towards the street so we would just have to jump in and drive right out. I had two handguns. One didn’t function at all. But we brought it for its persuasion value. Tiny had another handgun.

I convinced Tiny to stop at a corner tavern so we could get a drink. I wasn’t 21 yet but we never had trouble getting me liquor in ghetto bars. We had a drink. My hands were shaking and I was nauseous with fear. I suggested another drink but Tiny said no, we had to get going. He had gotten a call that day from someone on the inside that there was a lot of cash today and he was eager to get there. I glumly followed him down the street.

When we arrived at the plant, I got a worse feeling. The door had a peephole and when they answered the door they did in in such a way that I knew they clearly had been robbed before. The guy at the door didn’t want to open the door more than a crack. He ask “what do you want.”  Tiny was in front of me telling him “we needed a large order of meat for a church we work for”. The guy was not opening the door enough for us to enter. He was being cautious. But Tiny just kept talking as he pushed on the door and the door began to give way. Tiny’s size was not to be denied. As he pushed on the door, I saw his jacket rise up above his hips and his gun was clearly visible to me. I tried to pull down his jacket from where I stood behind him. He signaled me to follow him in.  As the door opened wider I could see that there were far more people inside than we had anticipated. Combine that with the fact that these people were obviously being cautious and it was probably because they had been robbed before.

I mean we were in a tough area. It was mixed zoning, inner city housing and commercial. When you had businesses in such close proximity to this many poor people, the stores usually got used to folks trying to rob them.

This wasn’t going the way I had envisioned it. I got even more scared if that were possible. So I went from trying to pull Tiny’s jacket over his gun to just pulling on his jacket in an attempt to prevent him from going in.

I said to Tiny, “screw them, they don’t want to sell us any meat. Let’s go somewhere else.” He looked back at me with daggers in his eyes.

I was being no more effective than the guy on the inside at deterring Tiny. I pulled harder and said loudly that we should just leave. I could see even more people walking around inside, everybody wearing white coats and white hard hats.  More people meant more probability of something going amiss. And this is heavy prison time stuff.

Tiny realized I wasn’t going in and so he retreated. But was he mad. He called me a punk for days. Weeks. He got some of our friends together another day and they did the job. They sat around spending money on drugs and alcohol, wouldn’t share with me because I was a punk. I remember visiting the apartment in Hyde Park that they were hold up in and partying. That had a big BBQ spread from the local bbq house. They were watching a new television. I came in and made small talk like any other time. “hey, let me have some ribs.” Tiny replied “Fuck you punk. We got this sticking up the plant. You didn’t do shit, you don’t get shit.” The hair on the back of my neck stood up. He was fronting me off in front of everyone. This would get ugly if I made a wrong move. I acted like it was no big deal, not hungry, don’t need your food. “Screw it, I’ll get my own ribs. I’m out. Later to this” With that I slinked away.

My rep definitely went down a notch or two. But it wasn’t too much longer when Tiny invited me to take a road across Illinois with my illegal M1 semi-auto rifle that I had bought on the streets. It was an ominous piece of work with a big 30 round banana magazine, a folding stock, flash suppressor, and telescopic sight. Tiny wanted to drive south and pull a series of armed robberies. His explanation was that with my rifle looking so intimidating, no one would challenge us and we could clean up. I was surprised he was asking me and I considered the good effect this would have in restoring my reputation. But I didn’t see any reason I wouldn’t be just as scared as I had been before. So I took a pass.

A postscript to this relationship is years later, Tiny got arrested and went to federal prison for a bank robbery. I had not become a lawyer yet so I couldn’t help him. Before he left I asked him if he was scared. Tiny asked “what would I be scared of?” He looked at me quizzically. I said if I had to go to prison I would be scared. Tiny started to laugh….”if I was as small as you I probably would be scared. Big as I am, ain’t nothing gonna happen to me in prison son, so don’t worry about me.” He passed up on giving up his co-conspirators. Even though they got away with the money and never sent him any, he stuck by the code, No snitching! He told me he thought he knew who ratted him out, a friend of ours from the hood.  But he said there wasn’t anything he could do about it now, and he had no proof.

He did come out of prison an older and more subdued man. Got a job as a janitor at the Chicago  Museum of Science and Industry. He died in his 50s of diabetes related causes. All that weight wore his body out. I was his lawyer in the end. We were suing the Chicago Transit Authority bus company for not securing him properly in his wheelchair during a visit to the doctor. When the bus stopped abruptly he fell and was injured when the stitches split on his recently amputated leg.

Some day I’ll write about Tiny’s first LSD trip. Or how he knocked Gene Rogers out at the University Church. Or how we tried to……..oh hell……. I feel like crying, I am out of here.

Is a Ghetto always to be a Ghetto?

Just returned from Chicago and I was reminded why I left. The traffic, the cost and the crime. I was there to work.

So I am working a case of a police officer shooting and killing a 20 y.o man who I shall call Damon. The bullet entered in through Damon’s back. The young man was allegedly shooting at the plain-clothed police officer, but no gun was ever recovered. No debate that the officer fired 16 times at Damon. No debate it was his bullet which killed Damon. No doubt that at some point Damon was running away from the cop. He died about a half block from where the officer says Damon was shooting at the officer. But this post is not about Damon per se, but about where he lived.

My investigation took me into an area of Chicago which is depressed. It is called West Englewood. Up until the early 70s I believe it was a white community. Now it is 98% Black/African American.

Where my time was spent is an area of mostly single family homes. Some homes were so very well-kept. Many others were boarded up. I interviewed about 20 people or more. This is what struck me. Most of the residents have been in prison, which includes men and women. Most are jobless. Most know someone or themselves have been shot. Most would probably qualify as suffering from some level of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder based on experiencing or witnessing traumatic events.

This community and many others have been distressed a long time. It is brutally ugly to come face to face with. I ask, where are the governmental concerns, plans and objectives to improve the community. Why would Chicago news media not have constant stories about the task forces, resources and enhancements to the community? Why are the lake front and the North Side so gentrified and beautified and the South Side so bereft of assistance? When school gets out in Englewood, there are yellow- vested personnel everywhere who are part of Safe Passage. http://www.suntimes.com/news/education/19113214-418/cps-to-hire-more-safe-passage-patrols-to-watch-over-kids-going-to-different-schools.html#.VE7Q8_nF98E

The reason for these people is that as schools are closed and students transferred their lives are in jeopardy. So, these Safe Passage folks have to try and facilitate the safe transit of these children. A neighborhood so dangerous that people are hired to stand on the street and try to get the school kids home safely!!!

Well Chicagoans often can be heard bemoaning the prevalence of guns in Chicago. Those are not ghetto folks generally. You can’t hear the bemoaning emanating from the inner-city. It is drowned out by tears, poverty and violence. Where is your fucking indignation at the conditions that your fellow Chicagoans are living in? How can the mayor advocate for health, safety and welfare of his town without holding press conferences about the persistent, consistent and massive efforts to help those in poverty?

I see it this way. A prison record can hamper someone from getting a job. Lack of jobs requires resourcefulness. Drug dealers are resourceful. Drug dealers get busted and get prison records. Prisoners become ex-prisoners who can’t find jobs. Jobless people get hungry and are required to be resourceful. Resourceful people often become drug dealers. Drug dealers get busted.

Good houses must be boarded up as soon as they are vacant to prevent being sacked by thieves. Boarded homes are unattractive. Property values are not as high in unattractive communities. Lower property values in neighborhoods where local citizens can’t afford to buy property leads to predatory practices by outside landlords. Ex-cons without jobs sit on stoops drinking beer all day. Fathers are in prison. Children grow up without dad. Boys without dads often land up in prison. 4 generations later, boys have no relationship with Middle America. Their relationships, value system, and education are derived from their experience in prisons and streets. The prevailing social system in prison is gangs. Gang members return to the community and further blight the already depressed community. They prey upon other gangs and the innocent. The innocents move away or join gangs for protection. They adopt the values of the gangs. They are no longer innocents.

Stores have a higher cost of operation in the inner-city because of crime and poverty. So major stores abandon he area because of the difficulties associated with operating there. Instead, small convenience stores owned and run by daring immigrants become the primary providers of dry goods, prepared foods and restaurants. They charge more money because they have less buying power and more risk. The people in the community have less spending power, spend more for what they do get and have they fewer choices in products.

So the politicians convince the Haves that the Have Nots are a burden on society. They convince the Haves that the Have Nots are just sucking at the tit of society, parasitic and ungrateful to boot. The solutions is often to cut welfare as if then poor people will suddenly jump in their make believe cars, drive to the make believe jobs and bring home the make believe pay. Notwithstanding the lack of education, mobility and money, what could possibly be wrong with such a plan?

If we start right now, it will take generations to unravel the Gordian knot which is the inner-city. You can hate Blacks and other inner-city dwellers. You can cast aspersions on their ethics, values and lifestyles. But if you do not expend the resources to bring up the least of us the chickens will of necessity come home to roost. Inner-city dwellers have higher birth rates than others. They have a greater propensity for violence and crime. They run the drug trade at the street level. At some point you will be unable to gentrify them out of existence. They will not leave the city to become farmers nor will they relax and while away their remaining years on the porches of the new suburbs you push them to.

So if it were up to me, I would harness the best brains and capital and I would invest in these communities. I would empower the people to work and derive income in their communities. I would make it so attractive to businesses to relocate and hire the locals that someday, some day in the future, the mindset of the inner-city dweller would be very much like that of people not confined to the ghetto and gangs. In a future I may not live long enough to see, there would suddenly be born a generation that breaks the inclination towards incarceration. Someday, a new generation would adopt a value system and pride itself on education and production. Someday we would have a generation where gang kids are an aberration not a logical outcome of the environment.

The people I interviewed were just lovely.  Most all had been convicted of crimes thus they were criminals by societal definition. But all were more likely to know their neighbors than any other community I have worked in. These persons who were generally kind to me, a stranger, were used to gunshots. They expressed fear of violence and theft. They shared a sense that cops were there to protect society from them not protect them from predators.

 I do not have the psychological mindset to face, as a lawyer, a system that lacks concern for the salvation of the lives brought before it. It is a system which emphasizes punishment at every turn versus rehabilitation and reformation. Hell, you should be very afraid of all the convicts and ex-cons who have been required to survive an environment where dog eats and rapes dog. Some of my clients deserved prison but most didn’t deserve to be sent to a hell which was controlled externally by the government. The crimes which loom largest are those of a government which makes laws which work to the advantage of criminal cartels and their bankers.

Oh well, I am tired and you have read stuff like this many times before. I didn’t write anything new. Just cannot understand how years and years go by without the recruitment of the best minds, (not political hacks) and a monumental commitment of financial and intellectual resources to solving the dilemma that is our entrenched acceptance of persons residing in poverty with its attendant assault on the mental, psychological and physical well-being.

Civil War in the United States

People who despise guns and wish to control access or ban them altogether have no idea what they are embarking on. The war over abortion and other divisive issues will be minor in contrast to the polarization of this country if you attempt to criminalize and further demonize gun owners. If you could succeed which I do not believe you can, you would lose. You would have a country that mirrors Chicago, where gun  specific courts overflow and the homicides rates are extremely high.

I marvel at how little I feel threatened in Dallas. There are areas to avoid but if I need to go there I take protection and I don’t need to get agitated that I am having to be there. I can enter communities which I could never safely enter in Chicago. There is very little graffiti here in contrast to Chicago. Poverty is always a threat to the stability of a community. Violence is always a companion of poverty it seems.

We allow people who have never had a felony convictions, who have not been convicted of a misdemeanor and who have no convictions for family violence, to carry a concealed gun here. They must pass a 10 hour class, take a shooting test and submit fingerprints to the state police. If they meet the requirements the state must issue the concealed carry license.

Blood does not run in the streets. Persons with CCWs do not randomly shoot people. They do not resolve disputes by pulling a gun on someone or shooting someone. They can defend themselves or third-persons from assaults when threatened with great bodily harm. Police officers who pull over a CCW holder, know instantly, more than they would ever know about someone who can only produce a driver’s license. A DL tells an officer that the bearer has a home address, and has passed a driver’s test. It does not speak to criminal history.

This path of criminalizing the possession of firearms will not succeed and what would be worse is if it did. If I could wave off those on this road, I surely would. If you think the people who own firearms are crazy now, wait till someone tries to disarm them.

Sadly, I am one of those who will resist if my government makes such an effort. Know who I am and where I live. It matters not. I wouldn’t be marched to an death camp given what I know about the Holocaust. I will not be disarmed even if it is mandatory and involuntary.And I am one of the nicer ones.

One more reason to be mad at me

Because I am likely a smug, self-righteous ass who practices righteous indignation at every opportunity. My thoughts that I am a generic ass rests on my actions and thoughts of the past 24 hours. Early yesterday I wrote that the tragedy in Conn. would start a fire and fuel the debate about gun control. That didn’t take much intelligence to predict. But 18 hours later the persistent posts about how this event was a gun issue troubles the heck out of me. It defies all empirical data and it shifts the debate from the public health arena where I feel it belongs and makes it a law enforcement debate. The same tactic has been utilized in the abortion and drug debate. There are those who believe the solution to drug abuse is to outlaw drugs. There are those who believe that since they are against abortion, everyone should be legally prohibited from getting an abortion. Gun control advocates believe they can limit crimes of violence by prohibiting the possession of guns. Or they believe in the alternative that their position is justified if the next murderer cannot kill as many people as quickly thus mitigating the carnage. Maybe all the prohibitionists are correct and I am wrong.

If you are what I call a progressive or lefty, then it seems you tend to view the right with derision for their short-sightedness  and their demands that we practice what they preach. But the conservatives arrived at those solutions the same way most of you got to the gun control answer. Ignoring facts, drawing conclusions based on feelings or religious convictions and the belief that a complex problem can be resolved through controls on human behaviour.  My personal belief is you, who believe that, are guilty of the same crime as the right-wingers that offer that if God were allowed in schools then criminals wouldn’t be found there. It just pains me to see people treating their perspective as truth and marching sharply and in unison behind their causes.

I do not know if guns are the answer to anything. I know what my personal experience is. I do not mistake that experience for even the truth of the moment as I experienced it. Example, I used to think I was a responsible drinker and drug abuser. Time has taught me that I was not responsible but I was an idiot. But I do not extrapolate from that insight that everyone who uses or even abuses drugs is having the same problem I had.  I do not presume that abstinence or 12 steps in the sole path to recovery. It is simply my path which I am on today. I take great comfort in the teachings of the Buddhists who emphasize personal responsibility over salvation through religion.

By the way, on a related note, I offer one more reason to hate me. I do not wave the American flag, I stand against religion in government and I do not believe in controlling human behaviour through legislation.

I do believe the suffering of families in the United States ranks right up there with those who lose children in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Gaza, all over Africa and elsewhere. It is fashionable to support our troops. Our president got a Nobel Peace Prize he didn’t deserve. I support keeping our troops out of harms way. I support every attempt at diplomatic solutions before sending a single soldier into the fray. My personal solution is to practice a form of personal responsibility and to practice loving-kindness for all living beings. My greatest contributions to society so far are my daughters who are vegetarian, practice recycling and will save the life of insects that find there way into our home.

Yep, that is what I am doing or not doing about the pointless death of people in Conn. I am trying to do what I can to take personal responsibility about how I behave. And I am trying hard not to self-righteously hold the rest of you in disdain. I am inclined to do that with people who do not agree with me, but with practice I can act my way into better thinking.

It a bonfire now.

It is raging as all can see from surfing the Internet. People are afraid and they want to feel safe. Some of feel safe by thinking we can defend ourselves with bullets. Others defend themselves with faith. And a bunch just want the threat to go away and outlawing guns sounds like the path. Growing up on the south side of Chicago, I was robbed or assaulted more times than I could ever recall. I have been assaulted with fists, knife, guns, and car antennas and yes by Sam D’Orlaque, with a broken golf club. I fear being the victim of a violent assault! I have found great comfort in knowing that my lack of size or agility or aggression could be overcome with a simple small handgun. I have successfully thwarted attacks against me by displaying a gun. I have also been deterred from committing acts of violence against persons who displayed a gun. I do not expect a single anti-gun person to understand how I feel. I am just making an observation which is my truth.

Kill or be killed?

I grew up strange. I despised violence and I reveled in it. I was beaten regularly but not severely by my father. My middle-class neighborhood turned less middle class at some point in my grade school days. Along came bullies meting out violence to the small and defenseless.

Why was I bullied. I was small, for my age and for my grade. I was 12 when I graduated grade school. I was a mouthy kid. I couldn’t fight physically, at all. But I never went down without a verbal barrage. I learned to manipulate the streets to accommodate my desire to live free or die. Others chose to get off the streets when it became unsafe. Go do homework.

Not me. With almost no friends or protection I sauntered to the local playground and watched from outside the fence. The tough kids and the athletes moving freely. I stood apart, locked in fear.

Maturity or something resembling that put my skills to work making pals. On every side of the fences. Gang kids, high school fraternity pals, Jews, Black, Ricans, but not Irish or Italian. The Catholics were bad news for me. Christ killer they said.

I learned to act tough. I learned to adapt. I learned to thrive on violence. I hung with criminals. I became a criminal. A burglar, a thief, a dealer. I threatened people and I was threatened. I was arrested. Repeatedly. And I prepped for prison. Simultaneously, I joined in the love, peace and drugs movement. I dropped LSD and grooved to Jefferson Airplane. I marched against the Vietnam War. I was called up to serve and I dodged the immoral war and refused to kill in the name of peace. The sergeant at the draft board took a look at me and said “we need tough guys like you in Nam”. The cop on the beat said I looked like a felon. Subsequently I was convicted of unlawfully carrying a handgun in Chicago.

Then I became a social worker specializing in street gangs. I buried about 13 kids in 3 years who were homicide victims and perpetrators.  Social worker to the very emotionally disturbed and I preached peace. I denied violence as a credible response to conditions. Then, I worked the next 2 years with kids enmeshed in a race war on the far south side of Chicago. I was attacked by both sides and took some physical licks to the head in the process. And I preached peace and preached against violence as a solution.

I became a drug counselor in Woodlawn. A hard-core inner-city community. I made home visits and prayed I wouldn’t get beaten or killed….again. A community infested with various black street gangs whose reputation for violence was well earned.

Then I became a criminal defense lawyer. Always in the streets with my clients. Always aware of the threat of violence being all around.

Eventually, I became a gun range owner and seller of firearms. I became real good with a gun. I taught the proper and legal use of deadly force. I taught the application of violence to certain conditions. And I preached peace and denied violence as a proper rsponse to conditions.

I am lost. I have violence and aggression permeating my thoughts. I have lived in acceptance of violence for years, even when I preached against it. I defended the users of violence when I was their social worker, lawyer and friend. I made friends with violence even as I chastized its application.

Now I am too old to protect myself physically. I have injuries. I have lost strength and muscle tone. I could not prevail against threats to my well-being. But with a gun, I can dominate situations that a weaker man would lose. I have the mind-set and the skill set to apply deadly force when I think it prudent. All the while unconvinced that it should ever be prudent if I were to mind my manners, stay out of conflicts, avoid making eye contact with aggressors and practice my Buddhist precepts and meditation.

Kill or be killed? I don’t know exactly how I got here nor how this will turn out. I accept that exposure to violence has left me damaged. I recognize I am eager to live by peaceful principles. I know I have to work at it.  I know I am a good teacher and a good pistolero. This battle has not been decided yet.