Friday, October 4, 2013

Is It Truly In Us?

Over the last few days, I have been evaluating the information that I've gathered over a lifetime. I've reflected on my youth, my twenties, and my thirties. Each time looking to see if it was there. And you know what? It was. What is it that I searched for? Well, that would depend upon your perspective. But to put it mildly, it was that propensity for "evil". Now this world "evil" is all encompassing of negativity, whether it's thought or action. I found it in me. I am sure that if you look you will find it in you as well.

While evaluating this information, I came to realize that it's inside that the real battle happens. It takes place on both planes of existence, our conscious and unconscious minds. More often than not it manifests itself in our dreams, this "evil". We brush it off as bad dreams or nightmares, but it's the battle raging during our unconscious moments. Depriving us of the rest that we need and therefore weakening us before the next day's conscious battle begins.

In all honesty, I feel that my scale is relatively balanced. And I slowly try to deprive each and every negative thought the ability to see the light of consciousness. I have discovered that, at least, in my case, that once one negative thought enters my mind and entertained, it leads down a very gloomy road. Forcing me to feel all the anger and the pain that I have moved past. Makes me ache for times long past and people long gone from this earth. It's in these moments that I hunker down and prepare for a battle.

You see, I figured out that the only way to battle a thought is with a thought. Unfortunately for most, it oftentimes spills over into the "outside world", but that's another post. I like to see the world as a battlefield. It makes things easier. It helps me put things into perspective, gain allies, and recognize enemies. I know that in one moment I may be seeing someone who offers a helping hand, but sometimes help comes with "attachments" and those I don't need. So it's a skirmish to see what's what.

I've also learned that I have a vast arsenal of coping skills. I draw from any and everything to give me an edge against the "night". I wonder if other people have recognized this propensity. What do u do to cope?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Let's deal with this Violence in our Society.

CRIME SCENE DO NOT CROSS / @CSI?cafe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Ok. Last week I was appalled by the violence in the Navy yard in D.C. This is a subject that I am sick and tired of occupying the news cycles. So I am going to look at this from a slightly different stand point. This is a social issue, it's not something that can be legislated away. We have to make sure that we are not looking for solutions in the wrong areas. So let's start looking at the ways in which we should be focused on these violent tragic events.

First let's take a look at the mental aspect of this. It's apparent that there are some inherent mental problems in the perpetrators. Some experts believe that the people who commit these crimes are somewhat self loathing and are looking for someone to notice them. Anything that can bring them fame and notoriety. They have this huge ball of rage locked into the core of their being and it's a direct response to feeling lonely and abandoned. On the other hand, some studies suggest that it's poor decision making and impulse control that characterizes these individuals, these same effects, according to the study can be found in people with serious brain injuries.

So let's explore the first notion a little more. Below you will see a link to an article by a psychiatrist entitled, "The Psychology of Mass Shootings". It appeared on the opednews site in December, 2012. In it this author postulates that these people are locked in a maelstrom of negative emotions, despair, anger, frustration and rage and it's these emotions that are backed by a sense of powerlessness and that their only expression is negatively charged and destruction. He also theorizes that these people begin to reject all that is good within them and outwardly manifest an evil destructive life taking power.

What this means to me, is that these people are hurting. A deep seated pain that cannot be easily relieved. They are locked in a battle within, filled with outrage, and frustrated that they are not able to control their desire to become, in a word, evil. Filled with this animus, and according to Dr. Michaelson, they begin to obsess over guns and death.

Now as you can see. These factors are inherent in perpetrators of mass shootings. Dr. Michaelson believes that these people are incapable of self regulation. He suggests that the lack of self regulation causes these individuals to hold grudges and recycle negative emotions. Ladies and gentlemen, this cannot be changed by law. It can only be changed by becoming more socially conscious and reaching out to people who we may know are having a hard go of it. More on this later.

Now let's take a look at another study, Neurocognitive deficits related to poor decision-making in people behind bars. This study was quite interesting. It shows that impulse control is one of the key factors in the people who were incarcerated for assault/murder. The authors of this study suggests that people who are arrested for assault/murder are more likely to place value on recent outcomes versus past outcomes. This indicates that these people have a hard time integrating past and present information, and in planning ahead. These deficits are also shown in people who have had damage to the orbitofrontal area of the brain. This suggests an anomaly in the prefrontal cortex  of violent criminals. This, again, cannot be corrected through the penal system.

Well, I know that you all are saying, "Mike, man, what is the answer?" But before I get to that, let's explore one more thing. Police violence. Below you will find an article entitled, "Licensed to Kill: The Growing Phenomenon of Police Shooting Unarmed Citizens. All I am going to say about this is read the article and the one entitled, "Stop The Violence".  They are easy reads. Go on I will wait, then we can talk about what we need to do about our police force.
Police State 2- The Takeover
Police State 2- The Takeover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Okay, Welcome Back. There are volumes of psychological studies about power and uniforms. However, we are going to talk about the article linked below, "The Psychological Influence of Police Uniforms. This article states, "The police uniform serves to identify a person as one vested with the powers of the state to arrest and use force. The uniform also serves to establish order and conformity within the ranks of those who wear it by suppressing individuality. The psychological and physical impact of the police uniform should not be underestimated. Depending on the background of the citizen, the police uniform can elicit emotions ranging from pride and respect, to fear and anger." 

Now since we have established how uniforms are supposed to be viewed and I know that you have read the two articles that I asked you to read, let's get into it. WE DON'T DO ENOUGH PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTING ON POLICE OFFICERS. They are not conflict resolution competent. The shoot first and diffuse later. It seems to me that those mass shooters we talked about earlier are in the police department. That fraternity that has it's own rules and regulations that functions outside the law.

Mentally ill equipped, lawfully given a gun, badge, and uniform, we send these men and women
out among the population to "control" escalating situations and the first thing they can think of is use the gun that they were given. It doesn't matter if the person is armed, they were creating a disturbance. SHOOT THEM. Psychopaths and sociopaths with guns and badges. Madness. Now you can see why gun control is not an option. The ones with the guns are just as bad as the ones without.

So now the solution! Ladies and Gentlemen, we need a new mental health system. One that is not derived from the archaic idea that mental illness is a criminal issue. We need to do away with the insanity defense. We need a consciousness awareness model that shows how to deal with persons who are unstable. We need social programs geared toward raising awareness of depression and other mental illnesses. We need to move away from the idea of rugged individualism and toward one that creates a social consciousness that will allow us to reach those that are afflicted. We have to start speaking life into people and stop the negative attacks on people's psyche. Destroy the idea of a "hater" and replace it with the concept of "supporter". It's high time we really understand the concept of "it takes a village". The time has come to begin to build bridges to those who feel abandoned, to help heal those that are wounded, to provide light to those who only know darkness. The human condition demands that we are social creatures, yet we become more and more isolated. Tearing ourselves from the world around us because we are afraid to go outside, we are afraid to speak to strangers, we are afraid to travel to certain areas after dark. We caused this problem with our "laissez faire" attitudes. We caused this problem with our selfishness. We cause this problem with our easily bruised egos. Now ladies and gentlemen we must rise above this quagmire that we created by being so nonchalant. Right now we need to change our focus and work toward creating a better society for future generations. If we don't, this problem is going to get worse. We are going to see more and more of this type of crime if we don't work together as a society. Together we can do it. WE ARE AMERICA. WE ARE THE FUTURE.

OpEdNews - Article: The Psychology Behind Mass Shootings

OpEdNews - Article: The Psychology Behind Mass Shootings

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Picking up the Pieces

Continuing with Abuse. I want to take a minute to talk about picking up the pieces. I know that the process is difficult. I tried so very hard to do it all by myself. I fought the internal battles valiantly, but each one I lost. The war was over before I even took to the field. It's not something that one can do alone. The anger that's built up over the years is far stronger than one might imagine. For me it was planet sized. It was the only emotion that I have ever really knew. It was not only my worse enemy, but it was far closer to me than any friend, and definitely closer than family.

See this Anger was born from years of feeling unwanted and unloved. I've since come to find out that when the one person that you really want love and acceptance from withholds it, everyone else's is like a raindrop in the grand canyon. You are focused on that one person that refuses to give you what you need. It's like a drug. You crave it. You want it more than anything and when it's not given, the craving becomes a longing. It begins to consume you. It becomes your beacon, the only thing that you can see, the one thing that occupies your mind. The overwhelming thought, "what's wrong with me that I can't be loved?" And the power that thought has is so consuming. You try everything just to make yourself worthy of the love and affection of this one person. This one insignificant speck in the history of humanity. But this one blip in time, happens to be your father/mother/husband/wife. You happen to love them far more than you ever thought possible, but the feeling is obviously not mutual.

So now this Anger is no longer focused externally, it now becomes intrinsic. It's number one purpose , destroy me. It's plan was an insidious one. Convince me that no one could possibly love me. "Hell your own father doesn't even love you. He could care less if you even exist. You are worthless, less than worthless. Nothing about you is worthy of anything other than the disdain of others." Somehow, this seemed to be the Truth. I had no friends. I was isolated. Withdrawn. Shut off in my own world battling for my life. Fighting hard not to let this destroy me before I really got a chance at life.

I am going to take a moment here and in the honor of full disclosure, tell you that the rest of my family are wonderful people. They gave me all of the love and affection that I could handle. Sometimes it seem to be far more than any child could need, but I think that they saw that darkness in me. You see, in my day and where I come from, I was considered to be tender-hearted. I was never more than just a reprimand away from tears.

The pressure of trying to be loved and accepted by my father was omnipresent. Any reprimand was THE reason why he didn't. I was convinced that it was me. I had to be the problem. In my mind there was no other explanation possible. Why else would I, the flesh of his flesh, the blood of his blood, be beneath his notice. There was something wrong with me. There had to be. I was unloved and unwanted by my Father. How could that be possible if it was some horrible defect within me. I remember watching The Omen and thinking that, I must be marked. I searched my body for it. I was so sure it was there.

At a certain point I became convince that this man that I was being told was my father was, in fact, not my father. It was just a man that my mom married. Since my Anger had virtually consumed me, I began to Hate him. I wanted him destroyed. I needed him out of my life. As far away from me as physically possible. I needed both time and distance. I needed to heal.

I believe I was around 12 or 13 before I began to plead with my mom to divorce this man. I told her that I would work at the body shop up the street picking up paper and cleaning up to help pay the bills. I told her that I would get a real job at 15, just get away. I guess my granddad could see how much I needed to be free of him, he offered to pay for the divorce. I was 17 before I was finally freed.

That's when my healing should have began, however, things got hard. But that's another tale. I was able to start to actually live. And live I shall continue until my last Breath.

Mike Ransom

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Legacy of Abuse

For a moment I am going to step away from our government and what it learned from prohibition and I am going to talk about abuse for a moment. So many times this problem is not only overlooked, but also misunderstood. I am no expert in this either. I will only speak from my perspective on this. But instead of dealing with it as an adult, for a moment I am going to give voice to that child that experienced it all those long years ago.

Let's start with one of my earliest memories. It was late one night, I really don't know what time it was, all I know is that I was awaken from my sleep by my mom screaming for help. I am only 4 or 5. I really can't do anything, but I have to try. I can see the fury filling his punches, hear the anger imbuing his words as they spilled from his mouth. Spittle spraying from his mouth as he tells her to shut up and the malice that glinted in his eyes. My heart falls to my feet. What's going on?" I think. And before I know it, my body is responding. I am hurling anything that I can get my hand on at him. Screaming at him to get off my mama. Finally, I connect with one of those platform shoes they wore in the '70s. It wasn't thrown with enough force to do any real damage, but it caught his attention. Before I knew it, he was charging toward me. After that, I remember very little. I can't really say what happened.

There were other instances, too many to detail here, and too many for any child to have to go through. And that brings me to this point. Growing up in a home rife with animosity, anger, hatred, malice, vengeance, rage, and fear is one of the most difficult things you can imagine. Don't get me wrong it wasn't all bad all the time, but when it was bad, it outweighed all the good. Because it came unbidden. All of a sudden you are caught in a maelstrom of what can only be described as bitter hatred. Fueled by thoughts only known by my drunken, philandering father. Spurred on by the demons of his subconsciousness. The viciousness and venom that spewed from him with every smack from his hand, belt, or switch. A foul aura seemed to envelop him and in that place, in the center of this malicious storm, I could see the joy that peeked out from behind the malice. He absolutely enjoyed it. And I am pretty sure that is why when he completed his most foul deeds, he would run off to see his whore.

Upon his inevitable return, never a word would be spoken. I was told to just do what he tells me and say nothing more and do nothing more. You see in my home, I was a prisoner and he the warden. For weeks the house would be silent. No one talking, everyone walking around on eggshells. My physical wounds healing. My world shrunken down to the room I shared with my sister until I was six. And when I finally got my own room, things were only moderately better, now I did not have to deal with her and her attitude when things were over. Now I didn't have to listen as I was blamed for everything that went wrong. When I had nothing to do with it.

Being alone, made me question a lot of things. I want to know why me? What have I done to be the one that draws the ire of He On Most High? Why have I become the target of not only his wrath, but my sister's as well? All I wanted was a normal family. All I want is for my parents to get along and my sister to be just that, my sister. I don't t need any more enemies. I just want to be a kid. Enjoy playing outside with my friends. Ride my bike. You know kid stuff.

By the time I was actually able to do all of that stuff, the physical abuse had stopped. The emotional neglect began. (Now I know you all are asking where is my mother. She was there. She was a great mom, but I truly believe that only a man can teach a boy to be a man. And I had a piss poor example.) But in the meantime, my problems with anger really began. I would just be in a rage and it was almost a constant. Venting was not an option, that would result in a beating. So all of that was turned inward. The results of that are still with me as an adult.

Physical abuse is devastating. Emotional neglect is horrifying. As a child you do everything that you can to appease your parents and occasionally please them, but when you have one that nothing you do is ever good enough and that same one fails to recognize your existence, you are crushed. Burdened with the idea that you are not good enough to gain his attention. Even worse that you have done something terribly wrong and you are being punished. The latter makes you edgy, careful, and if you are lucky invisible, but being invisible is the exact opposite of what you want. You want to be seen, heard, loved, and held by that one person that refuses to give you anything that you need emotionally.

Now all these many years later, I struggle to maintain that fragile peace that I brokered with myself many years ago. And for those of you that don't know, peace comes at a price. For a long while, I was emotionally unavailable because I realized that it was emotion that caused all the turmoil I experienced. It was emotion that set him off. It was emotion that soothe him. I had no emotion but anger and that I had to keep buried. But it was and has been my constant companion. The price I had to pay, well that's between me and my Peacemaker, but I will tell you this, it's not such a bad price to pay. I can now sleep nights without the nightmares. But the anger, I keep on a tight leash. It's been flaring lately. I hate when it does, because it saps all of my energy. But I've come this far and I still have quite a ways to go. My journey has not ended.

Mike Ransom

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Prohibition and It's After Effects. What did our Government learn? (Origins)

Over the course of the last few years, marijuana has been becoming more accepted and legalized in many states for medicinal use and more recently for recreational use. Now I ran across a video about a 5 year old boy being given medicinal marijuana for a seizure disorder. And it sparked a thought. Why is marijuana really illegal? I've read several different accounts that speak of it being a way to control the Mexican population in the west to blacks in the south and east.

I think it was because our government learned a little something from Prohibition. Or should I say from the criticism of prohibition that made them start rubbing their greedy little hands together. So for the next few days I am going to present my case starting with the Prohibition of Alcohol that was implemented by the 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act in 1919.

And yes this will be a history lesson with my own little twist. So let's see how far down this rabbit hole you will follow. First we need to look at a small little minority of people in this country that formed the Anti-Saloon League. Here's a little of what Wikipedia had to say about them. And from what I remember from my history classes, this sounds about right. Now I ask, does it have a modern day equivalent?

The Anti-Saloon League was the leading organization lobbying for prohibition in the United States in the early 20th century. It was a key component of the Progressive Era, and was strongest in the South and rural North, drawing heavy support from pietistic Protestant ministers and their congregations, especially Methodists, Baptists, Disciples andCongregationalists.[1] It concentrated on legislation, and cared about how legislators voted, not whether they drank or not. Founded as a state society in Oberlin, Ohio in 1893, its influence spread rapidly. In 1895 it became a national organization and quickly rose to become the most powerful prohibition lobby in America, pushing aside its older competitors theWoman's Christian Temperance Union and the Prohibition Party. Its triumph was nationwide prohibition locked into the Constitution with passage of the 18th Amendment in 1920.

So lets explore that for a moment. Harken back to the '20s. You all have read or seen "The Great Gatsby". You've heard them referred to as the "Roaring '20s". Why do you think that was? Because of Mrs. O'leary's Cow?

No, it was because of the way people partied. You see when Eighteenth amendment was on the verge of being passed, the rich and powerful bought up all the alcohol in the country. You see, you can have it for private consumption, but when it was all gone, no more could ever be made. So they could hold these elaborate parties and serve alcohol. I can't be the only one to have seen "Auntie Mame". If they didn't have a private stash, they knew a man who new a man, if you know what I am saying. 

This was when one can say that the "caste" system can truly be viewed. You see, as long as you had it you could drink it. But you couldn't make any more and if you did, woe be onto you. You were arrested and sent to prison, unless you were able to get in on the black market. And this is where the fun begins. 

Part II Rise of the SPEAKEASIES. Coming soon.