The Darker Side of a Human Experience

I find many have questions about my personal issues. They want to know why I call myself a hermit. Some what to know how I became a hermit. Others ask why I feel a need to limit my contact with people, even as I profess to loving all of humanity and the wonders of uniqueness within all people. So, I will attempt to share the truth and whys of this aspect of my life.

There is a time in my past where I lost all faith in the decency of my fellow humans. It took some time for these feelings of fading faith and trust, to degrade to a point, where a single action pushed these issues straight over the edge, for yours truly.

I know I’ve seen more of the darker side of humanity, than most. I think that’s a good thing though. I think, most often, those on the darker side haven’t made an overt or conscious choice to get where they are. With circumstances often beyond youths control, youth as it ages in difficulty and stress, moves towards this, that I call the darker side of a human experience.

My first upset back then, was the effect of poverty. Even in a western culture, under our standards, poverty is a sad state of affairs. It wasn’t the struggle of the adults in poverty that was difficult. It was the suffering of the young whose parents were struggling. It was knowing that there was enough not to end the struggle of the parents but the suffering of the children.

Seeing how youth has changed, and not for the better, when something truly their own, was missing from their life. When others have had good summer vacations with family, but yours was trying to save some change for clean laundry. Knowing other families have leftovers from meals, when your experience is white bread and mayonnaise sandwiches, after scraping together enough change, at the month’s end, for a loaf of bread, isn’t the best place for youth to consider their future.

So I’ve watched what actions become more common and seemingly acceptable as these age groups progress in years. Knowing at the same time, because of various other experiences, that such a life for children doesn’t have to exist . That doesn’t stop the negative advancement. Knowing there’s an answer and having the powers that be take the decision that gives the answer motion are completely different.

My first hit to faith was the no action for the sake of children. My second hit to faith was the young themselves, and the ease at which their ethical actions push aside. But here, I don’t actually see any behaviors that other poor populace’s don’t espouse when impoverished themselves. Maybe I was wrong to hope for better.

These are small issues. The true move over the edge is seeing those youth who’ve become adults in this environment, who now have a real choice in life, as to their direction, choosing to advance their loss of moral and ethical values under the free will of adulthood.

These observations of a communities dynamic came from direct observation, while working at a crappy Convenience-Store. Granted, you do see the best and the worst of humanity in such a place. Honestly though, those best parts of humanity are very few and farther between, than one would hope.

The worst of humanity is what caused my personal change. My lack of trust and loss of faith in my fellow-man, is complete with this, the worst part. That part being those youths who’ve grown to adulthood and not changed their path but escalated their crimes.

I had a friend stop in my work after his work to grab his nightly 16 ounce beer and chat. I had a bunch of customers rushing to buy alcohol, and in queue. My friend said hello to a female customer, and all hell broke loose. My friend was then attacked, by the girls boyfriend, who was also a neighborhood gang member. While this happened others held me back, and seeing an opportunity the customers looted the store. Meanwhile while being held back, the gang members attempted the murder of my friend while I could only struggle and watch.

When it finished, after the looting beating ambulance and police, I cleaned up the puddles of blood my friend had left, and pulled blood spattered products off the shelves, and tried to clean the dried droplets from the windows, and finished my shift. I’ve never to return to the neighborhood let alone the store.

Several months later I testified against the three gang member, at trial. They were, convicted. I lost a friend too. I think that was destiny. I know I suffered guilt for so long, not being able to save a friend from such a fate. I’ve also even though I love humanity, I have no faith or trust in those whom I don’t know. This is why I choose the life of a hermit. These circumstances are why I stay close to home. You see it’s not for me I stay home, it’s for you. Protection is the concern. Protecting you from me. My lack of trust and faith in you, brings me to a full defensive state. A state of mind where the unknowns are a danger and those dangers might cause on my part the inappropriate actions, of which I complain. A loss of morals and ethics, as my body slips into survival mood.

I am kind loving stable and happy when holding down the hermit home front. I am a spring ready to snap, ready to give up my life for those I love, without question, on a seconds notice of perceived danger. I am a hermit, and see myself as an unaccounted for variable when spending time in public. As a hermit I care and I love, in public I’m a time bomb that searches for injustice and crime. I have what I’m told is a special look. Which has now and then served me well. The unknown for other is when that look comes, how close I am to dispensing my brand of vigilantly justice, with a special emphasis on adults who are lucky enough to have children, but choose to abuse them in public. Because the children are innocence, till the world of selfish uncaring inattentive abusive adults, destroys the children from within.

So, Why am I a hermit? I am a hermit for you, so I can keep love in my heart for everyone.

Questions of Hope

Do others watch the world? Are there truly others, that care more for their fellow-man, than they care for themselves. When I’m healthy, a subjective state, housed and fed, my thoughts turn to others. Is that true, for any one of my fellows? Are we bent to greed, even the lowest classes, merely subsisting among us? What happened to “social responsibility”? Is it only reached for now, as a justification? Why has it changed from what it truly is, a physical act? Why do we now seek to belittle the act of “social responsibility”, with harsh buzz words like liberal and communist? What happened to love for ones fellow-man? Will we ever return from self-centered egotism? Will we ever understand our holier than thou nationalism, and our acceptance of old stereotypes, keeps us in a downward spiral of respect, on the international stage? Can we grow and change, while history moves on? Will we end up like all great empires, and simply fade into history?

Your guess as they say, is as good as mine. I hold hope in my heart, that we can return from this precipice. I know we can regain, our international respect. We can regain our moral and ethical standard as a nation. We can, if the will is there, truly change. With this change to ourselves, there will be a natural change to how we see our world. I look forward to that day.

Seasonal Insanity

Once again I am confused. It happens to me every Holiday season. In my life I can say, I’m not exactly what most would consider normal, as it deals with Material Culture. You see, I don’t worry about things like grease spots on a shirt, or water spots on silverware. In my life, situations like an overflowing toilet, are not what I consider a crisis. It won’t ruin my day, or cause some kind of Drama trauma. I also, in my reasoning, don’t hunger for the latest, in vogue, electronic gadget. These things have little importance to me on the grand scale.

Having these beliefs and ways, I come into conflict with the programmed consumerism, that’s exaggerated this time of year. It’s a sad spectacle for me, not understanding the drive. Black Friday participation, seems more like a programmed Borderline personality disorder of the consuming public, to me. In this manifestation, the retail businesses are simply the enablers. Businesses who put a small number of crazy low-priced goods, know what they are stimulating. They desire the feeding frenzy, of consumers driven temporarily insane. They need those who are  willing to stand in line, and wrestle around for overpriced plastic or electronic goods, to pump their bottom line for stock holders. Goods manufactured abroad. Products that have possible directly or indirectly taken the job of a friend neighbor or family member who’s struggling to find work or stay in their home.

The once a year manufactured buying frenzy, not only has caused a portion of  the previously mentioned jobs housing issue, but it has also caused a loss in perspective as to the true nature of such holidays. Here I’m not talking about the religious connections, but the connection of people, as they gather together in warmth and friendship, peace and love.

I hate to say this during the holidays, and considering difficult economic times with large unemployment figures and massive private debt, although that’s seems to be slowly being whittled away, but this massive  frenzied consumerism of foreign-made goods, with built-in planned obsolescence, is only taking the unemployed, under employed, and blue-collar union workers, whose jobs are being shipped overseas, is only serving to shoot those groups in the foot. Hobbling their own futures.

In this annual, traditional, manufactured insanity,  I believe the consumer forgets they have a vote here, within this insanity. Forgotten or unknown to shopper, is the ability to vote with their dollars. They forget this power, or simply ignore it to their detriment. You see in this craze, there are moral and ethical choices to be made. The chance to not buy from companies who utilize slave or child labor, is only one. To say with a purchase of one manufacture goods over another, that you approve of the higher standard of business ethics they keep over, above, and beyond their competitors, is another. I also don’t think basic workers rights, or the opportunity to buy goods manufactured in your own country, can be ignored either. And these are only a few ways to vote with money.

There is nothing wrong with being a consumer, we all are. There is an issue with being an ignorant consumer, that cuts their own future fiscal throat. The rights or wrongs are not mine to judge, I merely opine here on the present condition. I do think however ,that during the Seasonal Shopping Wars, that an ignorant consumer is tantamount to cannon balls, shot at our nations economy.  Economic traitor, who needs consumer re-education. So they too may realize their own folly,  in causing themselves economic damage.  I’ll add to that also, so they quit shooting those who are already educated, thinking shopper, in the damn foot. Hobbling to an extent, our own economies growth and job production.

My wish only wish for the consumer portion of the holiday, is that there are more of us doing the right thing when it comes to Voting with our seasonal shopping dollar.

Returning to a Point, Before Fear

I have always loved people. People of all kinds. I don’t place rules on people. By that I mean, predetermine expectations that beliefs habit or culture must match my beliefs, or accept my ways as better and something to strive for.

For me, the present ways of the world are confusing. War and conflict, death and destruction, divide and conquer are the ways I speak of. With what seems to also be a struggle for resources, hidden behind the banner of American style democratization, hiding unspoken at the core of the present, confusing way. A phenomenon I see as the, I must get mine before you get yours, mind-set.

This phenomenon is caused, I feel, by a self-imposed fear. Not so much of the individuals fear, although it has affected that too, but a national fear. A fear that’s been easy to tap into, after The United States physical geography was compromised by attack. It was said at the time, “we can’t let a good crisis go to waste”.

I think this was the final huddle, for an agenda based in fear. Fear of a loss of influence, power, and control of a World Stage, as other more populous countries become stronger economic powers. The thinking and logic behind resource control, which is our foreign policy, allows for metering national economic advancements, in up and coming economic powers. The thinking here is, controlling  resources allow for the limitation of imports on those resources. Resources that could create large revenues for advancing economic powers.

This action has been pushed by China quietly gathering access to reserves of Rare Earth resources. The reason behind that being directly related to the underlying actions in our democratization, dare I say Crusade. A crusade that actually has little to do with the main stated purpose of Freedom and Democratization .

I’ve said all this not agreeing with the violence on the part of any nation. Violence which I believe to be somewhat caused by our example. Holding a policy position, while actions are taken that don’t  move towards that policy position, is a method of influence our leaders have used in the past many times. Now I expect everyone to utilize the same method, in achieving their goals.

I love my country. I would never accept someones physical control of our nations land. By that I can also understand those who don’t appreciate our occupation. So, I feel in moving our foreign policy forward ,while maintaining our place as a  world power, with a voice that’s listened to, requires a change in the implementation our foreign policy. I know and recognize there are powers within the United States, who will fight against any change of direction in our foreign policy, as it means monetary losses themselves and their friends.

Returning to a point where we had control of ourselves, requires that the public for a start,  recognizes that fear is being used as a method of quiet control here at home. Fear that guides the public into unquestioning acceptance of our nations actions abroad. Actions taken in all our name. Actions where war and conflict, death and destruction, divide and conquer are the method used for the implementation of our foreign policies. A policy, as I’ve stated of, “I must get mine before you get yours”, resource control, under the guise of spreading freedom and democracy.

Morals and ethics, even when they take effort and sacrifice to achieve, will serve you better when it comes to respect, than raw force and power.

Comments from the Projects – Now You Know Me

When I was young, I spent a goodly amount of time working in the projects. I have seen things no one should have to see. I have even turned my head to wrong. There are times, even now, when guilt from my lack of strength then, can haunt my nights sleep.

I got along with the street gangs. When you are the only employee working a grave yard shift, in a C-store in the projects, there is really no other choice. Using my nickname, made things easier as I settled in to the job. We, meaning some of my regular customers and myself, had made an agreement, that worked until the very last day of my employment.

C-stores worker seem to be close to the top of the list, of the most dangerous jobs in America. I can say that’s probably close to true. You see, I’ve been shot at, and held at gun point, more than once. I’ve been robbed. I’ve taken a gun from hands of an angry man, who was about to commit an act of violence from which there is no return. I have also provided first aid to victims of drive by shootings. Showing I can be strong. But, I have looked the other way while rock cocaine was sold, and at times while violence was committed on others. All this, at the time, to save my own worthless hide. Even though it compromised my own moral and ethics.

There are many memories from this time, I would give much to not think of anymore. The scenes in my mind’s eye, are too much even now. Watching someone punch through a car window, to drag the driver out through the shattered glass, for reasons unknown to me. This I won’t forget. Running down a thieves and fighting in the streets, were never actions I thought I’d be participating in. The job I had though, placed me in stores that were troubled, or where in a previous shift the clerk had been beaten stabbed or shot. That was the job I did for Southland corp.

I was working one evening with some undercover officers. They had taken a position with a line of sight into my store. I had a walkie-talkie, so we could communicate. That night there was a fight in my parking lot. I stepped out of my store, and walked right into the SH*T. By the time the officers arrived, I had been in a fight with a man who I didn’t get the better of. I found out later from the officers, he was a “gang-banger” from Chicago. The bad part of it all, was when I went to court. They had a man there to stand for the charges, but not the right man. I’ve had this feeling since then, in regards to that precinct, that any black man they could put up to stand for the charges, was good enough for them.

Another late night work experience I’ve had, was on weekday. It was at the 2am mark. In this state, at 2am, alcohol sales stop for 4 hours. Resuming sales at 6am. There were two men on my beer aisle this day. They had an altercation, but I’ve never been certain as to what. Both, making no purchases, headed out of the store. One of the men was walking briskly up the street. The other had gone to his car. When he got to his car, he pulled out a gun and turned to aim it at the back of the man walking up the street. My gut turned and I hit the double doors. I was out in the lot now, with the angered gunman. I yelled to get his attention as he had already pointed the gun. With balls I didn’t know I had, I walked up on him and took the gun from his hand. I dropped the clip, cleared the chambered bullet, and striped it down into pieces, before I handed his gun back to him.

I’ve only put down a few experiences so far, but now I want to tell about the last day I worked the job.

It was a Friday night, and my friend was in the store after his shift. Standing in line to buy his usual. I single 16 oz. can of beer. He always stopped on his way home. Many times we had time to talk, but that was only when my business was slow. He was the head waiter at a restaurant called “The Blue Max”. This night though, my store was packed with a mix of folks. Even a few gang members who were known to me, were in the store too. My friend was standing in line and said hello, that’s all just a simple hello, to a female customer who was also in line, waiting to make a purchase. I didn’t know the female shopper was one of the SSL members girlfriend. On the hello, all hell broke loose, and the riot and looting began.

My friend was attacked and beaten by the gang, while other members held me back. They poured the boiling chilli and cheese on him. They tossed him into a display of Budweiser 12 packs.

Held back, I watched my store clear of people and goods. The only people left in the store were my self, my friend, and 2 gang members. They corralled him, working up and down the isles. He made it to the last aisle. He was almost free and through the door. Then the real violence started. One of the gang members had taken a glass jar of Taster Choice decaf off the shelf. With one person left between my friend and the door, the coffee holder ran up behind and broke the glass jar over his head. My friends head was split right open, in a long and wide gash.

There was only myself and my friend left in the store. I gave what first aid I could. He was transported to trauma center for care. I was to later find out it had taken 56 stitches to seal the wound. After the police and medics left I cleaned the store. Mopping began by smearing the red blood all over the floor. I pulled the damaged, bloody products, from the shelf.

I never went back to that store or the company after that night. I testified on tape, and 3 went to jail. One for attempted murder, I was told back then. The truth after all is said and done is, I’ve not been the same man, since that day.

I am jaded and effected each day. Small things, a word, a smell, a look, and I am back in the hood. Seeing all the things no one should see, even those who live in the hood. The anger and hurt are with me, it never leaves. I judge myself. I am guilty of not doing all I could to change these outcomes. But know, you all bear some responsiblity too.

Remember we live in this world together, and have made life as it is over time. We’ve gone about doing this by exactly method I judge myself for. We turn away, closing our eyes not wanting to see the truth. We say it’s someone elses concern, when it’s not. It’s all of our concern. As we live our comfy lives, in our nice homes. Seemingly, in safe neighborhoods. Blinded to the real world.

Know this. It isn’t better than it was, it’s worse. Gangs and violence haven’t gone away. It morphs and grows. It’s coming for us, because we choose to turn our heads. It’s coming for us, because we believe it’s someone elses problem.

I don’t want you to end up like me. Heed my advice, acknowledge this issue. Don’t stick your head in the sand. I want you to do what I no longer can, I want you to be able to sleep at night. Be well. Do what you can to change yourself, change the situation, and change your world.

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