Archives For fear

Prosecutors had accused the two officers, who approached Thomas near a bus depot in July 2011 to question him about reports of vandalized cars, of turning a routine police encounter into an unnecessary and savage beating that cost the unarmed homeless man his life.

Attorneys for Ramos and Cicinelli argued that Thomas was dangerous and that the officers responded according to their training. Defense lawyers also said Thomas suffered from a weakened heart brought on by drug abuse.

“These peace officers were doing their jobs, operating as they were trained,” said John Barnett, who represented Ramos. “There was no malice in their hearts that night.”

SOURCE:  Ex-California policemen acquitted in beating death of homeless man – Yahoo News.

I certainly don’t know all the facts about this incident but I do remember watching a few minutes of the video capturing it.  From that it seemed like the police officers were simply stomping and beating on someone who was just lying on the ground screaming for help.  Of course this is not the first time officers of the law have killed unarmed men. It seems to happen almost weekly.

For that reason, the first feeling that comes to my mind when I encounter a policeman is trepidation and maybe even fear. The main reason for that is because I can envision a time when I will be stopped by an officer who could shot me because I am deaf and couldn’t hear what he commanded me to do. I can remember another incident where someone was simply reaching in his pocket for a cell phone was shot seven times. These incidents scare me! I even remember an incident several years ago when a deaf man was severely assaulted by a police officer who was unaware of his hearing impairment.

I know a police officer has a right to defend him/herself when they feel they are in danger but I also fully realize that most officers have had very little if any training in encountering someone with hearing loss. I certainly deeply appreciate and respect what they go through on a daily basis to keep our streets safe but unfortunately that does not ameliorate my fear…

I Am Weird…..

November 14, 2013

FearI admit up front that for my generation It seems I am just weird. I am the first of the baby boomers and I am now officially a senior citizen. Being a senior citizen I am told by the media that:

  • I must fear change when in fact I embrace it.
  • I must fear the changing demographics when in fact I celebrate it.
  • I must fear immigrants when in fact I am more than happy to see them come.
  • I must fear the loss of morality when in fact I see much of that as someone else’ version of morality.
  • I must fear a lack of security when in fact I think our obsession for it causes more insecurity.

I guess I am just a weird person who doesn’t fit the mold society is trying to put me in. I continue to have at least some level of optimism about our ability to accept changes and to quit being so fearful about so much. 

About Fear & Hate….

February 14, 2013

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hateI want to add one further thought about fear while it is fresh on my mind.  There is another basic emotion that outweighs fear as being more destructive to any person or society and that is hate. What little hate I have been exposed to in my life truly scares me. It is a dark side of life that I don’t ever want to get to know on anything but a superficial level.

Every once in a while I will glance through my spam queue  on this blog to get a feeling of what the trollers are ranting about. Ninety percent of the time what they seem to say is based on fear or hatred at one level or another.  It seems that hatred is endemic in their lives.  I’m sure they expect me to hate them back for their mostly spiteful words they call me but in reality I try my best to do just the opposite. I pray that they find some peace in their lives and that their hatred does not consume them as it seems to do to so many.

It troubles me that so many people in this world seem consumed by fear, anger, and hatred. I believe that all three of these emotions are critically linked. Much of the feelings that probably start out as fear develop into anger and then finally caustically end up in hatred. I don’t believe that hatred is something that any of us are born with. Love and hate are choices that we make in our lives. Most chose some level of love but unfortunately some poor souls go the hate path instead.

It seems impossible to even begin to have a dialog with those who are driven by almost any level of hate. I just don’t want to be exposed to even the superficial level that I find in some anonymous comments.  If I thought there was even an iota of a change to ameliorate some of the hatred I sometimes see in that queue I might be tempted to begin a dialog with some of them but from past experiences I have found any attempt futile. That is why they automatically end up on the spam queue.

Fear and especially hate are such destructive emotions it is down right scary to be exposed to it. It is truly the dark side of life! I’m sure this post will bring out a few of those who are filled with hate. All I will say to you is that I love the person who is underneath that veil of hatred if only you would let him out once in a while you would see the world is not as dark or scary or evil as you are convinced it is.

These last four posts have been emotionally draining for me so I am going to try to stay on the light side for a few days. God bless all my readers, even those who are currently filled with fear, anger, and hatred…..

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Fear 2This is my last post about fear at least for a little while. It has run its course in my mind. I want to finish up here with some personal thoughts about fear and the consequences of fear.  I will then close out with a fear that I just can’t seem to understand.

I must say that I am generally not a fearful person. That is I don’t rise each day being in fear for what it will bring. I don’t anticipate the bad things that could happen to me each day.  Don’t get me wrong, I know fear has its proper place in each of us. We must be aware of dangers around us.  Soon I will be getting in my car and heading out for one of me weekly volunteer times at a local soup kitchen and homeless shelter. When I get in the car I will not be going 100 mph down the State road between here and there.  Two kinds of fear will prevent that from happening. One is that I would likely get into an accident and the other is that I would probably get a reckless driving ticket.

I know I have to be aware that many in the shelter where I am going are felons and some are probably mentally unbalanced to one degree or another but that does not mean that I must avoid them or carry a gun to protect myself from them.  I have learned over the last nine years that these guys are pretty much like all of us except maybe they made a mistake that landed them in prison or caused them to falter under a drug addiction.  Many have tattoos that would intimidate some. Yes, I must be aware of possible danger but it will not prevent me from seeing them as friends and needing a little help in life. I will see them as children of God, just like me.

The type of fear that I really can’t understand is in the fourth definition in the first post on this series and that is the “Fear of God”.  Yes, I am very aware that God holds my fate in his hands from second to second. I know he is an awesome God with powers beyond my comprehension. But I also believe that he created me in his image and has an agape love for me.   Love for, not a fear of God, is the driving force in my life. Yes, I am in awe of God and all I can really do is to try to return some of that infinite love he has for me back to him by doing things that he told me to do and that primarily is to love Him and to love my fellow-man, all of them. Everything else I will leave to his grace. It will be up to God to decide what my state will be after I leave this earth but that does not strike fear in my heart.

Ok, that is it on the topic of fear for me. I hope you weren’t totally bored by my mini-dissertation…..

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FearThis is a continuation of the topic of fear and how it drives so much of our country and world.

I have been cruising some of the “gun rights” websites lately.  The reason I am paying attention to this group is to try to understand the thoughts and mentalities of the people in them and how fear appears to play such a strong part of their adamant refusal of any kind of gun regulation.

It appears that many from this group have a basic fear of their fellow citizens. They just don’t trust anyone they don’t know. They see bad guys around every corner. They think they need a lethal weapon to protect their families for the almost imminent invasion of their homes. In other words they are a paranoid group with a very negative view of mankind. They see the worst in everyone. They call those of us who are not driven by their overwhelming fear naive as to the real world. They say we just don’t “get” it.

Most of the other ninety-five percent of us outside these gun rights groups see all the damage done to this country by the preponderance of guns in our culture and we can’t understand why the gun rights groups can’t see what their almost idolatrous  attachment on guns have done to our country.  We see all the innocent people being shot down daily on our city streets. We mourn all the seemingly unending massacres happening today and mourn all the loss of so much innocent life. We see the unending supply of guns in this country purchased with drug money flooding across the border into Mexico making the drug cartels even more powerful than the police.

But I think one of the most basic differences between many of the gun folks and the rest of us is that at one level or another, we are more likely to help out a stranger than to point a gun at him.  Our first inclination is to give someone that seems down on his luck a helping hand. We just don’t have that underlying fear of the unknown or unseen that they seem to have.

We are a country that is currently divided into many different factions and many of these opposing groups are primarily driven by fear. They see everyone they don’t know as a possible attacker. How do we convince these fearful people of the damage their obsession with guns is doing to all of us?

From past experiences one thing you won’t hear from this group is an admittance that they are fearful. They will proudly say that guns eliminate their fears because now they can take out anyone who will surely be attacking them. Fear is such a powerful motivator for division and mistrust.

Am I putting all gun enthusiasts in the same basket? Absolutely not! I understand that there are many, if not most, who are willing to have things like universal background checks and some sensible gun regulations. But, like it or not, the leadership of the NRA is currently the face of all gun owners. Until the responsible owners come out from behind that group they will continue to be identified with that radical organization.

About Fear…. Its Causes??

February 11, 2013

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Fear is as engrained in us as any of our emotions. I guess it goes back to our caveman days of fearing for our lives in a very dangerous world. For some odd reason I have been thinking about fear lately and how it affects so many parts of our lives. So, I decided to spend three posts here talking about this subject.

Lets start of with the basic definition of fear:

1. a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid. 

2.  a specific instance of propensity for such a feeling: an abnormal fear of heights.

3.  concern or anxiety; solicitude: a fear for someone’s safety.

4.  reverential awe, especially toward God: the fear of God. 

In the first post I want to get into some recent history and current conditions that maybe foster this epidemic of fear that just seems so endemic in our lives now. I don’t even think it was as prominent in the Cold War days as it is now. What are a few of the possible causes of this increase in fear among us in the last decade or two:

fear 3The twenty-four hour news cycle – A big part of it is maybe the twenty-four hour news cycle that came about because of cable and satellite TV.  It seems in order to fill an entire channel with twenty-four hours of program many news channels almost try to incite a riot between different groups. They know that “if it bleeds, it leads” and the blood can be psychological as well as physical.  The other major contributing factor in this area is the birth of Fox News and MSNBC along with talk radio.  When people can get all their news with one particular slant and never be exposed to alternatives it breeds partisanship.

Our military standing in the world – When the Berlin Wall fell in the 1980s it led to the U.S. being the sole superpower in the world. Our decision to then become the “policemen of the world” has led antipathy among other countries. And all the recent drone attacks on different countries have stricken fear into their citizens thinking their family may be next just because some “bad guy” happens to be in the adjacent building. We now spend more on our military than the rest of the world combined and that also leads to ill will and corresponding terrorist threats and therefore fear.

The changing demographics of the country – It was recently reported that the majority of our citizens are no longer white Anglo-Saxon as has been the case throughout our history. We are truly becoming a diversified nation. The loss of majority power is a very threatening thing to some. To believe that they are no longer in control of their destiny makes some very fearful.

The near economy meltdown of 2007 – But maybe the start of this economic fear was in the 1980s when employees became liabilities to employers instead of assets as they were before that. The near meltdown in late 2007 and the corresponding rise in unemployment struck fear in many of us. We are no longer sure of our ability to keep a job, have a secure retirement, or have any form of economic security.

Any and all of these factors may have contributed to the apparent rise in fear among many different groups today. Next time I will try to give some examples of how fear has manifested itself to the detriment of our society.

Living Too Long….

May 31, 2012

I only fear that I may live too long. This would be a subject of dread to me –  Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson is not alone in this subject of dread.  I personally have already seen this too many times in my life and since I leave no heirs to care for me I dread that I too will live too long.  Those that I love sometimes have a very bitter end to their existence. They wither completely away before that last heart beat. They are a shell of what they once were before the Lord takes them. Then there are those who have died much too young in life. The first personal occurrence of this is when I lost a very good friend in the Vietnam war. He died much too young and for no purpose.

Too bad that we humans can’t have, like the milk we buy in the store, an expiration date stamped on us when we are born. At least then we would know what kind of life we might expect. If we are to die young then to heck with all that education stuff; lets just enjoy the time we have. If we are to die very old then we know to prepare ourselves for that eventuality. If we are to die in the normal course of things then we have the peace of knowing we will live a full life.

If we had an expiration date I suspect we would all live our lives more fruitfully. We would know exactly how much we needed to accumulate wealth and when to spend the last dime of it. :)

Source: Why U.S. politics devolves into good vs. evil –

It is so much easier to hate someone when you are able to put the “evil” label on them.  It makes everything they do wrong and everything you do somehow righteous. That seems to be what is happening so much around us today in so many categories. The most obvious of which is politics. The fringes of both political parties who seem to now control everything have come to  believe that their opponents are indeed evil and have only the country’s destruction as its goal! For those of us who still have some remaining sense of humanity we know that people for the most part are not evil but simply have different world views than we do.

It is sad to say but there are definitely many in the country who see things in totally black and white. To them anyone who does not buy into their views are the enemy and are evil.  Unfortunately the Conservative Evangelical community  as a whole has been dubbed with this stance. The group as a whole are labeled to see  President Obama as being in cohorts with the devil himself. To them the president’s purpose is to destroy the moral fiber of the country! They see him as simply evil and must be defeated at absolutely any cost.

How can people come to such a radical stand against someone else? This totally perplexes me.  It looks like Mr. Romney will be the president’s opponent this fall. To me that is a much better outcome than many of the other possibilities. At least we will have a rational choice in the presidential elections. I wonder how much of the “radical conservative” blanket Mr. Romney will now shed in order to get elected. Many independents, including myself, would never vote for him if he continues to maintain the views he was pushed into by his primary opponents. It will be interesting to see if he sheds himself of the black/white view of the radical base of his party.

Treating something as evil makes it easier to demonize it but that is not rational thought. I’m sure the super pacs will continue to put huge sums of money into a campaign to get people to fear the president. Fear and hate seem to go hand-in-hand during these times.  I will close with a saying of one of the sages of the time.

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. I sense much fear in you.” ~Yoda

But what do I know…

Driven By Fear….

June 2, 2011

Fear is a very strong emotion that should never rule our lives. When it does it pulls everything else out of whack. Let’s look at some of the different things that many people fear. Since this is a blog primarily about living in my senior years I will try to concentrate on that group.

  • Fear Investing wrong for retirement – Given all the stock market crashes in the last twenty years or so this is a biggie with some people. They come to the conclusion that if they do save for retirement that it will all just get wiped away at the next market crash. With that mentality many seniors fail to save even close to the amount they will need in their retirement years. Doing nothing in this area should not be an option.
  • Fear of being physically hurt by an event – Most of us who are seniors have aches and pains as we get older. Many fear that if they were to exercise it would just compound that pain. Therefore it is safer to just live a sedimentary life. Of course this usually leads to the opposite effect. I have often found that I feel much better when I leave the YMCA than before I got there.
  • Fear of being emotionally hurt  – This one really applies to many throughout their lives, I know it had a grip on me for some of my younger years, but is not uncommon among us seniors. We don’t want to commit to relationships with others for fear of being hurt at some time in the future. With that mentality we are doomed to a life of isolation and often despair. Yes, sometimes we will be hurt emotionally by others but that is just life. We are communal creatures; we were meant to interact with others. To live in isolation to its extreme is worse than not living at all!
  • Fear of not having enough security – When we fear for our security we often take irrational steps that we normally would not do.  One of this most mortal examples I can think of right now is buying a hand gun to protect ourselves. Statistics clearly show that the most often victim in these types of situations are is the gun owner, not the person they are confronting. Another example is hunkering down in our homes for fear of what might happen if we venture out into the world.

When we are driven by fear it causes us to make bad decisions and it often stifles our lives. It doesn’t allow us to see better alternatives and it causes us to pass up some truly fruitful  and rewarding opportunities.

One example of being driven by fear that, on a national level, seems to happen often in recent years is voting for someone who you would normally not vote for simply because they have put fear in you about voting for their opponent. This has been a common happening several times in my lifetime. One politician makes you believe that if you vote for his opponent the world, or at least the U.S. will cease to exist. Unfortunately given the closeness of many elections this inordinate fear is often just enough to gain a win for that person.

A certain amount of fear is a good thing as long as we keep it in perspective but when it causes irrational responses in us it is a dreadful thing.

And the journey goes on….