Archive for February, 2011

http://www.whnt.com/news/shoals/whnt-mentally-challenged-man-robbed-pistolwhipped-dumped-in-ditch-20110221,0,5972008.story

Here we go again, folks.

This is getting to the point where its becoming depressing as well as infuriating. Again I must implore upon the reader: WHY??

I’ve already shared with you a few examples of the disabled being mistreated and abused. Most of them because they were unable to defend themselves. This story here in the state of Alabama is not that much different. The victim here was a 46 year old man who has a mental disability. He had less of a chance to defend himself than any of my previous posts that I have written thus far.

In fact this man, who is affectionately known as “Peanut”, probably had no idea what was happening to him when he was being assaulted. Which makes it such a heartbreaking story.

The man who had done this to Peanut has been arrested and is now in jail. I am sure that the hands of justice are going to be found tightly wrapped around this guy’s neck as he proceeds through his court case for second degree assault. It is my personal hope that these same hands squeeze hard enough to make the rest of the body go soft.

How many times must this happen, to anyone? And particularly those who aren’t able to defend themselves. Its not making any damned sense to me whatsoever. What kind of gain can be found by committing such a crime?

People, we don’t need this. The world is hard enough for anyone with any kind of disability whether its physical, emotional, or mental.

I have a feeling that the man who is now in jail probably did it, then went on to brag about it to all of his buddies. But what he did not realize is that Peanut has friends.

From what I have been reading, Peanut may not understand a lot of what’s going on around him. He may not drive a fancy car or go to a fancy job. But he has friends. It is being said of Peanut that all he really knows how to do, is love. He is kind, caring, and smiles to everyone who passes him by. Which makes it all the more confusing as to why this punk did what he did to Peanut.

So with the fact that Peanut does have  friends, this guy probably bragged to the wrong crowd. The local police department received a flood of phone calls which led them to Peanut’s attacker to make an arrest.

Now there are stories of Peanut’s attacker getting a more harsh and swift brand of street justice on the inside as he awaits trial. And because of the arrest, Peanut will have his justice, his day in court will come and Peanut will be the one that comes out shiny on the other side.

There’s even a support page for Peanut on Facebook now as I understand it. People who don’t even actually know him are coming forward with their support. It is not elected as a private page so anyone can see what is being posted.

But with my own experience, the quadriplegic from Florida in 2008, and now Peanut. I’d really hate to ask “What’s Next?”. It truly is a scary thing to ponder.

And personally, it just makes me sick.

I think I am ready for my straight jacket now. My size is a 48 R. Thank you.

Check this video out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1k-wMFiYs8

Pretty disgusting, isn’t it? Several things do come to mind.

#1- I cannot be sure but I think I’ve seen this before.

#2- What the hell was the Hillsborough County Police Department thinking?

Naturally we have no audio of the video that brings the incident before our very eyes, but it is pretty brutal. I kept waiting and waiting on this video to share what the police department had said in its defense, but there was none.

Nonetheless, within a fraction of a second of watching this video footage I was seeing red. I felt that this was an injustice and was crying for their blood to be spilled in retribution of the poor treatment of this quadriplegic man. My mind boiled over as I shared this link on Facebook and within a few short minutes found that it had been re-posted over and over and over again.

Several dozen people had the same instant reaction that I had. But I was not going to stay and read each individual comment and I left for the evening. 

When I had returned home, I found that some people had done their homework over this incident.

Turns out that this happened in Tampa, Florida in 2008. And it wasn’t something that had happened recently in which I had originally thought. Which is why it was in the back of my mind that I might have seen this before. I was probably right the first time. (Did you notice the date in which the video was posted? Me neither!)

Suddenly my rage from a few hours before was gone. I was still not happy that it happened to begin with.

It did raise more questions.

#1- What happened to this man?

#2- Did these negligent people lose their jobs?

#3- Why couldn’t they (as well as other police departments) have handled this better?

I am very aware that law enforcment people on the inside must definitely take every precaution when handling someone who is being processed for jail. For all they knew, it could have been someone who was “faking” a disability. (Although I really don’t know of any scumbags would want to do something hideous and deplorable like that.)

I understand the caution they must take because had this man been faking, it could have put a lot of people in jeopardy. Bottom line here was, that he was not faking. He is a quadriplegic, did I mention that ALREADY??

Dumping this man from his wheelchair was not the answer though! He sustained broken ribs on account of this encounter. Certainly there are better ways for police to handle people in their jails. As a person who lives with a physical disability and uses a wheelchair, if this had happened to me then you could be assured that Hell would have broken loose.

But it didn’t. And I still firmly stand in my beliefs that something like this should NEVER happen.

The facts are that this case seems to be in the rear view mirror of the Hillsborough County Police Department. As well as the man to which this had happened.

So I sit here, embarassed. Knowing that I had allowed my blood pressure to skyrocket and causing many others to react in the same way as I had. But what is done, is done.

If you want to know what was the end result of this case read the article below.

http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/aug/12/122250/9-present-former-deputies-found-negligent-handling/

 

The following story is true. No details have been changed. Names are not changed to protect the innocent nor the guilty. What follows may shock you, disgust you, and quite possibly change your perception on what you thought before.

I will first start off by setting up the story by telling you that at the apartment complex in which I live, is a lovely place. I have been told by so many people who have visited here that its scenary is totally breathtaking and serene. As for myself, I enjoy living in this place.

Only the physically disabled, retired, and elderly can apply. And since I am one of the physically disabled, I qualify to live here. I have grown to know my neighbors in a delightful sense of companionship and have spent many days and weeks including myself with them in their activities which happens to be on the calendar of events.

With that said, there is one day in which I fear. Food Pantry Day. It happens once a month for three hours on one day, and a full hour on another day. The bulk of the residents come to the community room to receive their food items on the day in which time is of the majority. That’s when I receive my items as well.

But it has been something of a disaster in recent months. It was only about two years ago that I had decided to volunteer to help in any way that I could, in order to keep chaos from happening. Clearly, things have gotten better but its definitely not a case that we’re out of the woods yet. To take a quote from the movie, “The Antichrist”…. “chaos reigns.”

Our usual system had a break down, probably about four months ago it was changed. It had been getting better since I decided to try and help. It became my task to call names from a list in which each resident would sign their name and their apartment number in order to keep a more accurate count in how many people were participating in receiving items from the Food Pantry.

Food Pantry items are actually picked up from a central food bank. The community donates food items and it gets distributed to those in need. I’m not 100% sure on how our complex qualifies to receive these items, but my money is on the fact that we are a non-profit. These donated food items comes to us, and they are distributed to the residents here, for free!

Sounds pretty good, right?

I will say personally that the Food Pantry has come in very useful for me when funds are low during the month. Having that extra collection of food to get me through whatever I need to before I am able to have some money to go to the store again. I cannot complain about the Food Pantry at all. But this is just my rambling. So I digress.

It has been turmoil these last couple of years. When that sign-up sheet gets put out into the community room at 12:30 PM each day of distribution, all hell breaks loose. I am not kidding. These people have pushed, shoved, stepped on (or over) other individuals in order to secure their place on that list as close to #1 as possible, even if that means someone with less mobility and speed gets shoved aside. I have personally witnessed a man getting up from his chair across the room, stepping over chairs and tables to get to the list. Brushing aside people in his path.

Again, let me remind you that this is donated food items from the community. This is nothing like steak, shrimp, glorious food items of luxury. We’re talking bread, canned goods, meat products at times, soups, pasta, and various other food suppliments. There is a nice display of desserts commonly on the table for their selection though. Mainly old doughnuts and other pastries.

They have overcome their own senses and thrown away all shame in order to be able to put their names on that list at the very top so that they are able to receive first choice at what is being offered to them.

I had been the one responsible to put that sign-up sheet on the table for a short time. Whenever I would do that, I would find myself literally surrounded by at least eight people at a time, on all sides of me to the point where I couldn’t even move my wheelchair to get out of the way. I would have to basically cry for help in order for someone to get out of the way so that I could move.

Suggesting that everyone step into an orderly fashion and form a line falls upon deaf ears (whether they are actually hearing impaired or not.) This system also has failed because one person would write the names of several people down before anyone else has a chance to grab a pen. So the first person in line would obviously be #1, but they are also writing down the names of their close friends and neighbors on lines #2-6. Thus, making the person who is actually second in line to be #7.

For sure, this has others in an outcry and they are suddenly calling for a lynching of those guilty. But don’t feel sorry for those who are being left out. Some of them had a strategy of getting into the community room as soon as it opened its doors in the morning and actually sat down and waited for that list to be brought out. So then comes the cries of “I was here first. I was here before this person so I should be before them!”. 

Umm no. That’s not how it works. Whenever your name is  written down on that list, that is your placement and that’s when you will be called. And another thing… if your name is called by me, and you are not in the room or can be found immediately? Your name goes to the bottom of the list. This is has been the structure of the rules and will remain as such.

Not fair? Well, “you gotta be present to win” so to speak.

This system was replaced four months ago. The new system was that each person would write down their apartment number (not their name) on a slip of paper and put it into the basket. Their number is drawn and whenever they are drawn, that is who is first in line, and the next and the next and so on.

It was tricky the first month as people were walking into the community room expecting one procedure and ended up with another. We all had to get used to it. By the second month, it began to show signs of weakness. The same group of people who were just so desperate to be the top of the list, were harassing me to draw their names first as I was the one who had volunteered to help out in the first place. I’ve stood my ground and given no favoritism. Clearly those who are greedy have not been too pleased with it or me. I just ignore them whenever they try to sweet talk me into drawing their number first.

Today though, was a very bold act of avarice and self-importance as I was drawing people’s names as they came out. Those who commonly harass me to draw their numbers first were right on cue. I had called a number out and had handed the slip of paper in so that there would be an accurate  count of who was there and who was not. Suddenly, behind me was someone totally different. Someone who had been bugging me since we had started at 1:04 PM. The four extra minutes was in fact, intentional.

The selfish party had claimed that the person’s name who had been called had given them permission to switch places but clearly they had not.

It was cruel act of selfishness as I understood that while I was handing in the slip of paper, the trading request took place. Yet the person who I had just called didn’t stand a chance in public in front of that many other residents to deny that request. Later I would find out that absolutely NO permission was given at all.

I do not understand the whole entire process of this. As hungry as we might be at this point in the month and eager to receive food items, to go through this is NOT a life or death struggle. Nobody here, including the complex staff will ever allow one of its residents to go hungry. Especially since so much food is being donated and brought in. Even if its something as simple as a few cans of green beans. They will not starve.

All I can honestly say about it all is DON’T MESS WITH THE ELDERLY! You may think they are quiet and frail and kind and sweet and loving. Some of them are. But to underestimate them is definitely foolish.

Express Yourself

Posted: February 15, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

Three words. Just three. Doesn’t seem like a lot, but those three little words are the most potent ones in our language today. They also have the potential to be the most poisonous, if used callously.

I personally refer to them as the “make it or break it phrase”. Of course, I am talking about the phrase, “I love you.” These thoughts have been on my mind for quite some time and I couldn’t find the most appropriate venue to discuss them, until now.

Yet I still find it a difficult subject to talk about as we all have our own different belief systems on what love is or isn’t. You may find that you totally agree or totally disagree with me. No matter which side of the fence you sit, it still is something we all face at one time in our lives.

Personally though, I find myself going through great frustration when showing emotion or expressing feelings. I don’t know if it is a personal problem I have with the automatic response within a person or the immediate necessity for the building of walls to be built whenever the words are spoken/written.

I do know that there are several ways of “saying it without saying it”.

For example, “Love you!”. I think that in my personal experiences, this one is used the most. And it is the phrase that I have the most trouble with. WHO loves me? You? Your cat? Your creepy neighbor who doesn’t know how to iron a shirt? Tell me exactly, WHO loves me??

Then of course we have written form and not necessarily verbal.

Love U” or “Luv U“. Let’s face it, with the invention of the text message and electronic mail, it has greatly curtailed our ability to speak properly. And it has nothing to do with character limits. I find this to be a lazy away of showing your emotion and feelings towards another. Of course someone loves me, but again who???

So let’s go even further. Has anyone ever just typed “ILY” or even tried to be fancy and unique and written “143”? (Each number representing the number of letters in each word of the phrase.)

1= I

4= love

3= you

Seems like a neat trick, doesn’t it? I will admit that when it was first used with me, I thought it was probably the neatest thing in the world. Now that I have become used to it, and more or less immune, it’s not so cute any more.

Three words. Eight letters. One phrase.

I was once involved in a cyber relationship where the woman never really once told me that she loved me. I know that I had, but that was because I thought I was in love with her. But she never once repeated it back. Even when I realized that the relationship was not something that was healthy or in my best interest to continue with, I told her that she was loved. And when she finally got the hint that I was ending it, I received “Goodbye, God bless. 143“.

I now realized why she never said it. It is because she never felt it or meant it in the first place.

Now I am not going to go into the different types of love, because then this blog would take forever to write and forever for you to read. Besides, my blog entries are far from formal and wander off a lot in the first place.

So then why do we say it? Or don’t for that matter. And when its said to us, why is it such a massive undertaking to share that back with the person?

I know that there are people in the world that just have a very difficult time expressing themselves. They feel vulnerable and weak. Others are insecure about themselves and probably the case there is that they don’t love themselves and therefore do not feel worthy of receiving another person’s love. Much less hearing that they are loved.

One must believe in their words when they speak. That is my assertion.

I am the kind of person that once I become quite fond of another, that eventually I will tell them that they are loved. Many times I have been spurned for my words or actions but I was confident in what I was telling them. Just because I told them that I loved them, should not have been an automatic sign that I wanted to jump into bed with them. It was more of an expression of caring for them as an individual and a way to let them know how much they really mean to me, that they are in my life.

And that is probably why I have so much frustration and difficulty with others when they decide to shorten the phrase or not really bother to repeat it back. As I said earlier, I know that people are not exactly alike. I cannot expect them to respond with “yeah, I love you too!”. A life in that kind of world does not exist.

My own rule of thumb has been “Don’t say it, if you don’t mean it.” And that includes saying something that you perceive that the other person is wanting to hear. I’m not saying that I go out and tell every Tina, Dina, and Harriet that I love them. Or every Tom, Dick, and Harry for that matter. But if you’re hearing it from me, you need to know that I am caring about you. That I’m not just full of hormones and want to find a way to eventually bond flesh. But you are important enough in my life for me to express myself with those three words. “I LOVE YOU.”

SIX MINUTE CENTURY

ALBUM: TIME CAPSULES

YEAR: 2008

NIGHTMARE RECORDS

Chuck Williams-Vocals
Don LaFon-Guitar
Darren Davis-Drums
Michael Millsap-Bass

(current line-up) 

 

 

Six Minute Century is a prog/power metal band from Houston, Texas. The band was formed in 2004 playing locally in Houston. My introduction to the band was through MySpace. Their four full-length song demo is was got my attention. One song remains my all time favorite from that list. But since buying the CD, other tracks on the album tend to find their way to my ears repetitively. I do not want to spoil the entire CD for those who have had the greatest opportunity to hear it. So I will concentrate on a few tracks. I understand that this album was released in 2008, but this is the first time I have been able to hear all ten tracks of the CD because I only purchased it as of a few days ago.

 

UNDER THE MOONLIGHT: A song that almost immediately flows through my circulatory system with what I can only describe as a gothic-style of a pipe organ. The senses begin to relax and its easy to get lost into a beginning stage of meditation, just before lead guitarist Don LaFon comes in with a heavy, powerful sound that smashes your face in like your grandfather’s old 1950s Louisville Slugger. It bites down and doesn’t let go. A nightmare tale of a vampire.

 

APRIL 19, 1995: A song that deals with the story of the tragic story of the Oklahoma City Bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Lyrically, a chilling recollection of what happened that day, which was the worst act of terrorism on US soil (until 9/11/2001). I get the sense that lead vocalist, Chuck Williams, wrote this song to express his emotions and sadness and wanted to put it in the face of Timothy McVeigh as he sits in prison, awaiting his execution.

 

ZERO HOUR: This is my ultimate, all-time favorite track from Six Minute Century. It deals with the war in the Middle East. Again, lyrically, it paints such a vivid picture of realism that you can actually see the visions of war in your head. The phrase, “LET FREEDOM RING!” rings out and it just gets my blood pumping into over seven minutes of headbanging fury, pride, and good ole heavy metal music.

 

HEAVEN’S GATE: This track is clearly is about the cult in San Diego called “Heaven’s Gate”. Don’s crushing riffs starts it off to an absolute brute force. Including the incredible drumming coming from Darren Davis, pairing up with high velocity vocals. Its definitely becoming another favorite of mine.

 

Chuck Williams has a vocal range so strong and wide that I cannot even begin to think of who to compare it to. Listening to him gives me chills. I believe that Chuck is in a class of its own. Much like the guitar styles of Don La Fon. It just makes me want to throw the double horns up in the air. I cannot think of anyone who could be in comparison. My personal feeling is that I would not want to compare them to any one at all. But for those who do not know Six Minute Century, its difficult to pinpoint it exactly. I have read other reviews, and they continually mention other bands such as Dream Theater, Symphony X, Dio, Fates Warning, Kamelot, and TNT. And as headlining as these bands may be, I caution the move to push them side by side with Six Minute Century.

 

I have not seen them live on stage. But I have had the chance to e-mail them personally and talk about upcoming projects and events that the band may have in the works. They are in the recording studio, working on their second album. I have publicly expressed my support since I was introduced to them, which is probably around the time that TIME CAPSULES was released by Nightmare Records. From that point, I have expressed my desire to see them perform in person. From that point on, members of the band and other personal supporters have sent me the beginnings for a perfect collection for the avid Six Minute Century fan. To which I am extremely thankful. They have scratched my back and now I am scratching theirs. But keep in mind that this review would still be written without it. This is far from a professional music review, but it is my review nonetheless. And I do wish to share it with the rest of you.

Let’s hope at some point the day of fulfillment will come and I will be able to make it to one of their shows soon in the very near future.

Sledge hockey (known as sled hockey in the United States) is a sport that was designed to allow participants who have a physical disability to play the game of ice hockey. Ice sledge hockey was invented in the early 1960s in Stockholm, Sweden at a rehabilitation center. It is currently one of the most popular sports in the Paralympic Games.

Two men from Sweden designed the sledge for ice sledge hockey in the 1960s because they wanted to continue to play hockey despite their physical disability.

Essentially all of the regular ice hockey rules in able-bodied ice hockey leagues apply to ice sledge hockey. The only differences those necessitated by the ice sledge and the athlete. The first set of international rules was created in 1990 and was drafted from Canadian rules. It was introduced to the Paralympic Games in 1994, in Lillehammer.

Team USA brought home the GOLD in the 2010 Winter Paralympic Games in Vancouver.

Personally speaking however, as of the 2010-11 season, I have entered my third season in playing this sport. I fell in love with it the moment I got inside of sledge and was placed on the ice. It most certainly has become a passion of mine. And I have made it my personal goal to become good enough, strong enough, to try-out for the National Team and play with honor and valor for my country and win the gold.

Within my second year, I had improved my game to the next level. Earning nicknames like “Assassin“, “The Laser“, “The Arm“, and others similar based on my powerful shot. These given by the coaching staff of my team. I was honored this season to be named Assistant Captain of the team.

I believe that my most shining moment in sledge hockey was the opportunity to play in front of over 6,000 hockey fans in a team exhibition on the 13th of March, 2010.

My first goal was against Dallas on the 7th of March, 2010. A memory that I will have with me forever. (Even if we did lose 2-1.)

Our team however, does not “require” a person to have a disability to join. We have both male and female team members, young and old. If you are interested, please check out our Facebook fan page, “Austin Blades”. Leave a comment/question below.

I recently attended a local hockey game. Needless to say, I did enjoy myself. Up until the part where I was accosted by a female.

Here is what went down. During one the intermissions, I went down to the nearest concession stand and bought a drink and some nachos. Expensive but what the heck, I don’t get out too much. So I was attempting to juggle my snack and my drink on my lap and navigate a wheelchair through crowds who are either drunk or not paying attention. Contrary to popular belief, I am a safe driver. No matter how many times I’ve received nicknames of speed in a wheelchair.

I get to the door to where I need to go and a cheerleader comes up to me and gets in my way. She proceeds to turn the knob up to 11 with her charm and flirtation by asking, “Aww, did you buy those for me, sweetie?”.

What the hell…


First of all, I’m having enough trouble trying not to spill anything. Plus I had about another 40 feet and one elevator ride full of people to go. And this cheerleader just jumps in front of me to the point where I had to some how, slow myself down, not spill anything, and then not run into her or anybody else.

Secondly, “sweetie”? Excuse me, but I don’t waking up with you next to me this morning.

As attractive as this girl was, it was ME who was being offended by vocabulary and terminology where it could have been defined as sexual harrassment.

Terms of endearment are in this day and age, slathered in people’s every day conversation like mayonnaise in a sandwich for a 400 lb. man.

I know several women who use terms of endearment when they speak to me. And I don’t mind that too much at all. Waitresses do it all of the time. But they are not paid very well and yes, they are trying to earn themselves a higher tip.

But what profitable gain do cheerleaders receive to do it? None!!

I was once told that cheerleaders appear to be snobs because they get hit on all of the time. Plus in my personal experience of being around cheerleaders, to be one, it was all part of a popularity contest.

Think about that though for a moment, “Cheerleaders appear to be snobs because they get hit on all of the time.” Hmm, trying to rationalize that to where the cheerleader doesn’t look or appear to be so negative gives me about as much indigestion as those nachos did from the other night.

This cheerleader came up and attempted her charms on me and it did not work well at all. We’ll call it a FAIL. I looked at her. Smiled graciously. And responded back with, “If I gave you some of these nachos, then I’d have to share with the rest of the crowd. And there’s thousands of fans here, and I don’t have that kind of money.”

Cheerleaders get hit on because at sporting events, beer is sold. Man drinks beer. Man gets drunk. Man sees woman, and loses his dignity, self-control, and hits on them. But cheerleaders also get hit on, because they fire the first bullet of flirtation, which causes a man to suddenly enter into this realm thinking that its okay to fire back. So when the man gets spurned, cheerleaders suddenly equal… BITCH.

They used to be there in order to get the crowd all excited so that they make noise in support of their team. But nowadays, they are exciting people in other ways but there is no real support for the team that makes it worth the teams participating in their event. And from what was exposed that I could see on most of them the other night, they could honestly use a few rounds of nachos. GO TEAM!!!!!