Friday, December 2, 2022

Changed minds in the USA about same sex marriages? More smoke and mirrors...

     Here's photo credit shoutout to Anastasiia.             Mukhina and unsplash.

The idea that Americans have changed their minds on same sex marriage in the shadows of the Respect for Marriage Act likely passing into federal law is not exactly progress.  Why? This very well rounded and well done Yahoo 360 take on the topic screams of internalized heterocentrism (I did not use the word homophobia intentionally).  In summary, it is the law that protects same sex couples in the case of a supreme court reversal of a previously passed law... anticipatory in other words.   Here, I would say that the law to protect is a farce.  Prior abortions are not crimes since Roe was overturned.   Prior marriages are not going to become illegal after the fact either.  And here's a point that I think was missed in this Yahoo piece.... those who overturned Roe specifically indicated in their writings that this was not a precedent to be useful in same sex marriage being reversed by the court - as one example.   Fear mongering happens at all sides.   Plus this kind of morally charged, politically charged stuff distracts the citizenry from focussing on other things: people being able to pay their bills, why health insurance is not preventing medically related bankruptcies, why education is not free to people,  how come food insecurity is rampant,  why banks are thriving when most are living one check to the next and why the simplified tax code is now at 77,000 pages and growing.   I'm married and I'm protected.   I'm glad about that.   But largely this whole thing is a distracting idea that government is working for its people.   And it's not.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Thirteen Mass Shootings a Week in the USA

         PHOTO CREDIT: Collin Lloyd, Unsplash

600 mass shootings in the USA so far this year.   That number means at least 4 people at any of the 600 shootings were shot - excluding the shooter.   While this story focuses on an LGBTQ+ club,  in a largely progressive and what some might call a forward moving state - the one liner in this CNN story that is telling: "according to data from the Gun Violence Archive, there have been more than 600 mass shootings in the United States so far this year, defined as an incident in which at least four people are shot, excluding the shooter." Here is a bit of math to look at the numbers a bit more micro like.   
We are at 46 weeks of the year having past,  as of 11.20.22.  600 (mass shootings - and really it's more) divided by 46 weeks is 13(+) shootings.  
Look at that number: 13 mass shootings a week in the USA with 4 people shot each time,  excluding the shooter.  More micro centered math...
13 (weekly mass shootings so far this year) multiplied by 4 people each equals a bit more than 52 people a week shot (not counting the shooters).  
Today in the USA we have more than 52 people a week shot in mass shootings.
This number also does not include any other shootings.   And this number does not include how many lived and how many passed away.   And again,  it excludes the shooters themselves. 

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Lottos and Elections Break All-Time Records: Where's the Change?

                PHOTO CREDIT: JustMe!
Old news in how we act... but this time we broke two records with some old behaivors. It's worth a re-think though.  Americans buy lotto tickets with hope for themselves.  We broke a global record with PowerBall 2022 in just 3 months - 1.6 billion dollars in the pot!  2022 midterm elections spending broke a US all time record too - 16.7 billion dollars! The politicians have some hope for themselves it seems.  What if the voters went to the polls with hope, like they do the lotto?  And what if politicians raised money for the people the way they do for their elections?  Sure, the lotto is predictable - it's a government program that works as promised.  So the people go.  And political promises are predictable too - very few come true.  In history, and maybe more now than ever, most political promises get tied up in the courts: the Executive Branch, the Judicial Branch, and the Legislative Branch are locked in legal wrangling in 2022 potentially more than in prior times.  These 3 branches, ironically called "checks and balances", are dropping miilions and millions for maybe 6 plus years and running - where more dollars are just disappearing.  Here's an alternative thought about real "change": 1) Vote like you play the lotto (unless your conscience or your faith do not permit them), 2) Raise money for the people the way you do to run for office, 3) stop the duplicated court hearings and the re-appeals of the former appeals and settle your hate in your living rooms or your offices, 4) Put all of that wasted money into programs for people who need it and 5) If you can afford it and your moral code agrees buy a $2 chance at hope which seems to really work - get a friggin' powerball ticket.  PS (couldn't resist): Take note of the photo credit too (it kind of fits the topic you know?).

Prefer some snarky audio about this stuff?  Perfect!  Here's a podcast about the old news and world breaking records in duplicated patterns. And it's an alternative in some Random Thoughts From a Therapist!

Saturday, October 29, 2022

A sleeping State: when being right could be wrong

PHOTO CREDIT: Zulmaury Saavedra, Unsplash
"Hastings sought DNA testing in 2000 but at that time the DA's office denied the request. Hastings submitted a claim of innocence to the DA's Conviction Integrity Unit last year and DNA testing last June found that the semen was not his."
While this gentleman is not bitter and while he is not pointing fingers at anyone and while he only wants to enjoy the time he has with whatever life he gets to live - a very wholesome and healthy view for him to have - the DA's office in this story should be looked at very closely.   In 2000, 22 years ago,  when DNA could have freed this gentleman,  his request for it to be tested was denied.   This man has spent 38 years of his life in prison - innocent.
The justice system did not work in this case.  We have nothing to be proud of here.  That Mr. Hastings has peace in his thought and feeling about it all, that his prayers and long suffering were both answered and ended speaks to him,  his resilience, his mental health and his persistence in his goodwill - it however does not extend to the DA or the "justice system" - It failed - again. Had Mr. Hastings resigned in 1983 (let that year sink in for a moment) to what was indeed his 38 year destiny he would have depressingly, angrily and hopelessly never have made it to what, as of 10/22/22, is his freedom.
I remain convinced that winning and appearing right are what drives our legal system, political system,  educational system,  systems of faith, economic systems and many other "systems" (large and small). Winning and being right are driven by biases. Biases create a refusal to look at other options.  Here the DAs refusal to test DNA 22 years ago (already after Mr. Hastings was in prison for 20 years prior in 2000 when his legal team asked for it) is a tragedy.
Abandoning being right and winning, driven by a fear of being wrong (usually about how we judge others) shows insecurity, ego anxieties and a sleeping consciousness that would be counted as actual denial.
I love,  as a mental health professional particularly and as an author regarding the biases of life in PsychoBabbleJabble, that Mr. Hastings is literally and psychologically free.  His life offers much to learn from in regards to the 38 years in prison as a rapist and murderer, convicted and re-convicted and re-convicted - so free as he is and has been in persistence alone.
That the DAs office in this case is not under investigation for their mistakes,  that they are not being forced to dole out millions to Mr. Hastings, that they are not being considered as criminals themselves may too go back to Mr. Hastings, the gentleman and the man so free as he.

Friday, October 28, 2022

When hurting people is hurting people. Period.

          PHOTO CREDIT: Jair L├ízaro, Unsplash

This quote,  in reference to the hammer beating of the husband of Nancy Pelosi may provoke a "pause" to reflect, consider and then change something about a system so flawed as ours:

"There’s no room for violence anywhere, but we’re going to send her back to be with him in California.”

Those words are spoken on a campaign trail speech to voters by a person seeking a top re-election office.

I recall living in DC passing the National Cathedral where John McCain was lying in state and protesting signs were being held up as the motorcade drove by ... this where a spouse and child of their loved one would have to read or be exposed to damning words of their family member.

Police are killing citizens and citizens are killing police.

Lawyers are bringing down lawyers and dirty laundry is flying about everywhere.

Our country is so divided that even the lives of humans are sacrificial to supposed winning and losing causes.

When will the sides stop and the people become a we?
Have "we" ever really become a "we" in the US?
How is it that winning is the goal - almost only?
How is it that hating is justified - to counter hating?

Real people - hurting real people is hurting people.

These words, regardless of what side you're on or what race you're in or what top office you hold are not >the< problem - to be clear.  They are definitely wrong.

A moral judgment here?  Yes. Wrong, as I am calling it, is the right word, when the spouse of an attacked 82 year old spouse is flying home to a brain operated attack victim - and a governor wanna be simultaneously speaks about "...sending her home to be with him in California" in election jargon which was not endearing at all.

Not sure you agree? 

Read the Yahoo story and look at the context with which these words were spewed ... during a life and death kind of day for a married couple in the US.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Burnout or moral Injury?

A phenomenal read...burnout is not the only issue impacting mental healthcare.... here the concept of "moral injury" is addressed... not for patients,  but for providers.  A disconnect is noted between payors, administrators and providers - trickling down to patients.  This author highlights the micro and macro perspectives that intersect in both hope and change.... and mostly in change. 
PHOTO CREDIT: Jackson Simmer, Unsplash.

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Research discussing healthcare debt ...

Photo Credit: Towfiqu Barbhuiya, Unsplash

The healthcare and health insurance debate in America seems to overlook this very significant detail.    I've said it for years,  in my podcasts,  in my blog,  in my book,  in many posts for many many years the insurance debacle is making people sick.   Something must change.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Mental health and law enforcement - slowing down will be part I ...

       PHOTO CREDIT: Josh Couch, Unsplash

This story is an escalation if it's own - readers will jump in and pick sides....but the last 8 words of this one quote is worth a second take:

"De-escalation tactics are no longer suggested or preferred — they are mandatory prior to using force to effect an arrest unless it would be unreasonable to do so..."

Mental health professionals on the ground with crisis phone calls makes sense but this mental health and de-escalation campaign (and again, I'm all for it) must be grounded in the reality of science.   The brain takes over when death or the threat of death is real ... for all humans.   You cannot untrain an automatic trauma take over of the logical brain when adrenaline,  cortisol,  and norepinephrine take over during life threatening events.  This is not trainable.  What is trainable is slowing down.   I'll say that again ... what is trainable is slowing down.   

That slowing down thing is about all humans,  particularly in the US.  High stress is a disaster for everyone.   Now add unsafe careers to the mix of high stress.  Then add a 911 call for the police.   Next add a grab for a gun.  This is a horribly tragic tragic story.  And it saddens me immensely. 

To summarize this event,  by media,  political action and/or by race is only a few factors that,  to me,  makes this story even more depressing (to an already very depressed culture).  To call it a mental health only thing,  a de-escalation only thing is also yet another factor. 

In my own training of de-escalation to schools,  teachers,  to patients going back over a decade... this technique works where the safety (and the safety perception) is present. If someone, even a well trained de-escalation seasoned professional is unsafe - or perceives being imminently in harms way - deescalation techniques will fail as the literal (not fear or scared or uncertainty or even bias) biological hijack of fight/flight hormones splashes the logical brain making it largely - well - kind of dumb if you will.  

The only if I can see time and again in these kinds of stories is that ... IF EVERYONE COULD SLOW DOWN A BIT IN ALL HUMAN INTERACTIONS  this stress response will drop.  

Bias training will help.   De-escalation training will help.   Mental health will help.  

This is not an all or nothing thing.   And the saddest thing of all is that people are dying.