From #BethlehemBuffalo to Baltimore MD

During the month of December, 2014, I had a plan in place.  I was enrolled in a program which helped with financial aid to go back to college and finish my degree.  My appointment was on January 15th.  Life had never been better.

January 12th of 2015, I was in a severe car accident, which resulted in the temporary loss of my car.  As of today, my car is STILL in the repair shop.  Yes, that’s correct… One hundred and seven days without a vehicle, and counting.  Over the course of those 107 days, my life has been chaotic, and that’s putting it mildly.  From deaths in the family, to friends giving birth, new doctors, surgeons, lawyers, lawsuits, settlements, school, college, concerns for my son’s health, the ups and downs of a typical relationship…  In a nut shell, my life has been anything BUT quiet.

The one thing that has remained consistent over the course of these 107 days, is the nightly news.  Every night, there is at least one breaking news story aimed at defaming a police department, be it local or across the nation.  Having gone to college for criminal justice, I hope you can understand that this literally makes me sick.  Yes, writing is ONE passion of mine, but criminal justice has always been in the forefront.  It disgusts me to hear such things about our police officers, but what’s worse is that sometimes these nasty things are true.

A few days ago, my local police department was being slammed on social media for being a bunch of savage murderers with a license to kill.  What happened was, a herd of bison escaped from a farm a few counties away.  Those bison made their way from the farm, through a couple of counties, across the Hudson river, into our county.  The local and state police tracked the herd for 8 hours, making sure the public was safe.  These were wild bison, charging anyone or anything that got close to them.  Once the afternoon had begun, and the school was beginning to dismiss students, it was ultimately decided that the bison were a threat to public safety.  They were shot and killed.  Well, OMG!  Those bastards!!  Why couldn’t they coax a herd of 15 wild bison onto a heavy duty trailer and haul them to safety?  I’m sure if they knew there were cookies involved, these wild, angry, 1,100lb beasts would’ve fully complied.  Anyway… as I was scrolling through my newsfeed on Facebook, I couldn’t believe the names our officers were being called.  Instead of a “Thanks for keeping us all safe” there were way too many UNEDUCATED people criticizing the same organization that keeps them safe, day after day.  Now, had the police not acted when they did, the wild bison would have eventually killed a citizen and then they’d be bashed for NOT killing the animals right from the start.  Police officers have an extremely difficult job to do.  Add to that, the fact that they have to please numerous different opinionated people. I don’t envy police officers today…  They definitely don’t have it easy.

While attending community college, I learned that despite my good intentions (and those of every other individual interested in law enforcement), our criminal justice system is far too corrupt.  It’s been said that one person can make all the difference.  I don’t believe that’s true in this case.  My opinion?   It has to be a collaborate, nationwide effort involving colleges, police departments, correctional facilities, counselors, court systems and congress to name just a few. BUT… this is where I come in.  Someone has to get the ball rolling, correct?  Even if I’m not a part of the reconstruction process, I can certainly get the right people involved who can get things off the ground. We have to start somewhere!!  Education has to be a priority.  If Obama can mandate health insurance (with good intentions of course) why not mandate education?  Perhaps if that were the case, we wouldn’t have a city like Baltimore burning itself to the ground.  What exactly are they going to gain by destroying their city and killing off their police department?  Well, they haven’t thought that far ahead because they aren’t educated to do so!!  They’re angry, and maybe rightly so, but what the hell is all of this violence going to get them?  And although I haven’t read or heard the quote directly (yet), it certainly doesn’t help to have a mayor encouraging such ignorant, barbaric behavior!

I don’t know all the details/facts pertaining to Baltimore, but… did the officer(s) know that there was a history of mental illness, or health conditions?  Probably not.  So, let’s start by educating officers AND the general public. Once that’s established, why not actually TRY to reform and rehabilitate prisoners?  Why in this day and age is it so difficult to weed out the good from the bad?  Well, because everyone has rights.  If someone feels their rights have been violated, they file a lawsuit, clogging up our judicial systems even further.

I think Obama was absolutely right about one thing… It’s time for some serious change in this great nation.  Now we just have to start making those changes. Who’s game?

Future

Peace, love and happiness ALWAYS,

~Kate

My B.A.D. A Thought for Tuesday

I can’t deny it.  The death of Robin WIlliams has been on my mind all day.  Not because he’s a celebrity, and because it’s the newest juicy story, but rather because he was a human being.  I don’t know the lifestyle he lived.  I imagine, with his success, it was one of luxury, but some of us know that money isn’t everything.  It makes me sad to know how many people are walking around this earth, with the exact same feelings he was harboring.  No matter how famous you are, or how much money you have, depression sets in and you’re alone.  No one gets you.  No one understands.  You’re fighting a constant battle in your head that no one else can see.  You try to vocalize it; find words to explain the pain you’re in.  Imagine the answers Robin might have gotten from doctor’s. “You’re Robin Williams!  What could you possibly have to be depressed about?!”  Did no one hear his cries for help?  Thoughts of suicide don’t normally happen over night.  It’s a long road, with a big “Dead End” sign at the end.  Now, the world has lost an amazing artist, and for what?  Because we have lost our sense of compassion.  I cannot fault those closest to him, as he was an actor, and probably put up a good front for them, leaving them in the dark.  If only…  If only he opened up.  If only he volunteered for mental illness awareness as well as the food shelters.  Perhaps I’d have something different to write about today.  But it kills me…  How many people have to commit suicide before SOMEONE will start taking mental illness seriously?!  Continue reading

B.A.D. A Thought for Tuesday

Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value. –Albert Einstein

Often times we get so wrapped up in success, making more money so that we can buy nicer things, and let the world know WE are on top.  We lose sight of what’s truly important.  Let’s say you have all the money there I to possibly have.  This means you have all the material things you could possibly want.  Well, at least you have back up nest egg, just in case your taste changes and you want a new car every year, or you want a few vacation homes to choose from, depending on the time of year.  Now what?  Do you think THIS is success?  No…  You become successful when you have a goal and you reach it.  Is your goal being the richest person alive?  Sure it’d be nice, but not very realistic, yet we strive for this every month by saving, saving, saving.  What kind of life is that?  Obviously a reasonable nest egg is realistic, especially in today’s economy.  However, what ever happened to “Help thy neighbor?”

I’ll tell you what happened in my case.  I came into some money, and saw a couple of friends hurting.  One friend was without a vehicle.  I was in the process of trading mine in to get a more gas efficient car.  Instead of trading it in, I simply gave her my SUV.  I then paid the unexpected fees for her at motor vehicle because she didn’t have a means to pay them.  I got word that her and her husband were struggling to buy food, so I left some money in their camper early one morning and sent her text later on to let her know where she could find it.  A few months later they were trying to buy the house they lived in, and she came right out and asked me to borrow $300.  She said she’d put it in writing that she’d pay me back.  After this, we went months without talking.

While sitting in my nice new car, waiting for my boyfriend to come out for his lunch break I sent her a text.  I asked her if she would do me a favor.  She wrote back… Depends.  I wrote: Can we forget about the money you owe me?  I feel like you’re avoiding me because you can’t afford to pay me back, and I value our friendship much more than the money.  Of course she agreed, and was extremely grateful.  I’ve still yet to see her.  It’s been months.

It was during this same time that another good friend of mine got her Green Card.  She is from Peru, and moved tot he states about 5 years ago.  She met a man, fell in love got married and they had a baby.  The marriage turned very ugly, and she divorced him, but by not being married any more, there was no guarantee she’d be allowed to stay here.  Well, she got her Green Card, so she’s good for 10 years! (YAY) however, her family in Peru had never gotten a chance to meet her son who now almost 3.  One of my first purchases was a brand new laptop computer so she could Skype with her family and they could actually see and talk to their first grandson.

In my heart I knew I was doing the right thing.  This money was just going to sit in my account, and when I saw a friend in need, I was right there.  I’ve helped a few others along the way, but I’m noticing a pattern… everyone all of a sudden knows that I have money, so my “friends” are coming out of the woodwork.  It sickens me.  I only have a handful of friends. I wish I could help them all, but at the end of the day, I’ve got an 11-year-old that I have to take care of, and I’d like to be able to have him inherit a chunk of money once my number’s called.  So, I helped a few people and I got burned.  Big deal.  I know I did the right thing.  I can sleep with myself at night.  Those taking advantage are the ones who are going to have to face their own karma.  My Peruvian friend didn’t take advantage.  She never asked for a dime.  I did that all on my own.  If I knew she could bring her son out of the country, I would have bought her 2 plane tickets to Peru, but at the time, she was in the midst of a huge custody battle and there was no way I was going to pay that much for tickets on the off-chance she might be able to go.

My point?  Stop seeing dollar signs and wake up!!  There are people living in your neighborhood who are suffering.  Is a gift card tot he grocery store going to set you back that much?  And do it anonymously so they don’t come back looking for more.  I promise you it feels wonderful!!  Not to mention, that’s our purpose here… to help thy neighbor!!  So give it a try.  Leave an anonymous gift card (even if it’s as little as $10) to someone you know could use it, sit back and watch the results. Not only will you be helping someone else (quite possibly a complete stranger), but an action like this will bring you so much good karma in return.  Stop focusing on how much you’ve saved, and just once, help someone else.  I can almost guarantee that you’ll make a regular practice of it.  It feels so good!!

Even after being used repeatedly, I STILL make the effort to help those in need.  Strangers, and anonymously.  I can’t stand the thought of someone befriending me because they know I have money.  I also can’t stand to see the commercials on TV about children starving in other countries when we’ve got so many here with the same problem.  Look around.  Who can you help?  How can you make it anonymous?  It’s fun and it feels good.  I do hope you’ll all give it a try…

That is my thought for Tuesday.  Have a great day fellow bloggers!

Until next time…

~Kate

Awareness!!!!

My time is limited, so I have to think and type rather fast.  I realize my following right now is small (although much appreciated) but all I ask is that you re-blog my awareness posts (with the exception of this one because this is just my plan) on your blogs and ask that your followers do the same.  The more people who are aware, the more people who donate, the more likely a cure will be found.

Recently, I found out that a very close member of my family (hopefully my some day, soon to be sister in law) was diagnosed with Scleroderma.  I said “What?”  What the hell is that?!  Well, I’m in the initial research stage and all I can say with 100% certainty is that the disease is HORRIBLE.  My 11 year old son and I are going to launch a fundraiser over the summer in honor of her and the disease and hoping that I can get the word out through you, my fellow bloggers.  So, if you’re a take charge kind of person, an “I’d like to help” kind of person, or if you’re too busy but could re blog all the info I provide in the future, PLEASE let me know.  I love this woman.  She is like family to me.  I will do everything I can to help her get better, as well as anyone else with the disease.  YOUR help would be GREATLY appreciated!!

 

This is all I have for right now…

What is Scleroderma?

 

Thanks in advance,

~Kate