The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Archive for the ‘mental health’ Category

ZIMMERMANIA

Just when we began to focus on serious issues like the intensification of Radical Islamic terrorist attacks on Western Civilization, who pops up his head once again but none other than George Zimmerman.  You remember him, don’t you?  He’s the guy who shot and killed Trayvon Martin in Florida, was brought to trial and was acquitted.  That judgment resulted in some minor protests (though absent the burnings and lootings which subsequently have become fashionable) and an explosion in the sales of hoodies – much to the pleasure of the manufacturers in China where they are made.

Whatever you thought of the Zimmerman verdict, it’s pretty difficult to argue that George’s subsequent behavior would not suggest a person who is rapidly speeding downhill.  His latest arrest, as I recall his third, suggests that he is not coping too well with reality – or has abdicated much commitment to it.  And while it might be expedient to shake our heads and tut tut his behavior – drawing whatever inferences befit our personal views of the man  – I am surprised that the liberal left press hasn’t gone on to offer us an explanation for it, one that would be consistent with their worldview of other shooting deaths which also involved blacks.

We know from viewing the mainstream media that anyone who is murdered, irrespective of the circumstances, is always the victim.  That is particularly true if that victim happens to be darkly complected, the activity in which he was engaged prior to his expiration being irrelevant.  Just because he was robbing a convenience store or breaking a law prohibiting the sale of loose cigarettes is inconsequential.  There is always an explanation about how society doomed that person to a life of petty crime – or even more serious infractions.  But if we take that “logic” to its inevitable conclusion, that leads us to a paradoxical conundrum.

If we accept that lawbreakers have no free will but are merely marionettes whose strings are pulled in a certain predetermined sequence beyond their control, it seems only reasonable to apply that same robotic condition not just to one segment of society but to everyone.  Therefore, we should not try to convert the racist from his views but rather, accept his view on race as being nothing more than the manifestation of a condition which his environment has imposed upon him.  He is no more guilty of anything than the person who finds that cancer has invaded his body.  It’s just one of those things – a sort of “Deus ex machina” syndrome or to put it in Calvinistic religious terms, nothing more than the earthly expression of predestination.

It is clear that what might be construed as random events do have implications for our lives.  Prior to his encounter with Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman seemed to be quite a decent person.  He was involved in mentoring children, many of whom were black and certainly didn’t exhibit any reported issues which would suggest that he would become a violent person.  If we accept his version of the events that night, confirmed in the jury verdict, he was merely concerned that Martin was a threat both to him and to his neighbors.  Apparently, the local constabulary and the local DA agreed with his explanation and were prepared to let the matter drop.  Enter the DOJ.

Because the Holder Department of Justice has made a six year career of looking for and, inevitably finding, racial motivations in every instance where a black individual is slain by a non-black person, they succeeded in reopening the case and forcing the now famous trial.  And, despite Zimmerman’s acquittal, his life (and that of his family) were forever changed as a result of the trial, irrespective of the outcome.

Zimmerman was once a person who was considered a likeable person and a good neighbor was regularly portrayed in the media as a racist vigilante.  He went into hiding having received death threats.  Perhaps from the stress which we would all feel as a result of being publicly cast as a pariah, his relationship with his wife suffered and they were divorced.  He was involved in several road rage and speeding incidents and now, most recently, was charged with throwing a wine bottle at his current (soon to be ex) girlfriend.  But is any of this Zimmerman’s fault?  Or is he merely a hapless victim, brought to his current condition through a set of circumstances which were beyond his control?

If we accept the premise that the liberal left espouses, we would have to conclude that in the same way that Trayvon Martin was a victim of circumstance, (remember that if he had not been suspended from school for the third time, he might not have gone to the grocery store which led to the fatal encounter), Zimmerman is little more than a marionette whose strings were pulled by the media’s attention to his trial and by the public’s reaction to the way in which he was depicted.  In that light, his recent brushes with the law and domestic violence are little more than expressions of his condition – one which we might describe as Zimmermania.

While it might be comforting on an emotional level to believe that whatever we do can be explained away through some sort of concocted justification, it precludes us from ever being virtuous by doing good at the same time that we can never be criticized for venal behavior.  And if we accept that premise, we are closing the book on life in a moral society and are opening a volume with the one word title, “Chaos.”

CHILDHOOD NIGHTMARES

One of our neighbors, Mr. O’Connor had passed away and my family got me dressed up in my best Sunday clothes to attend his funeral.  He was a warm and wonderful man who always went out of his way to make sure that he held the door for any of the residents who were entering the building.  He was a person whom we called a “gentleman.”

Mrs. O’Connor was similarly caring and always made sure to ask all the kids in the building how we were doing at school.  She was a retired teacher and was passionate about her life’s work.   I remember her telling my friend Timmy who was struggling with his spelling that she would be happy to help him if he wanted some extra assistance.

Mr. O’Connor’s was the first funeral that I attended.  His Requiem Mass was a solemn high celebration at St. Jean Baptiste Church, a wonderful, traditional building that inspired awe because of its massive size, its excellent stained glass windows and the many candles that flickered at all the side altars.  But the thing that I remembered most about that funeral was that I would no longer see Mr. O’Connor’s smile or hear his happy voice.  Ever.

Several nights later, mom came quickly into my room and sat on my bed.  Apparently I had been yelling in my sleep.  She asked me if I were alright – but I didn’t want to tell her the subject of  my nightmare.  After a few minutes I lay back down but the rest of the night my sleep was troubled.

From the time I was in third or fourth grade I realized that my interests were different from those of most of my classmates.  Different doesn’t imply better or worse – simply, different.  I would rather spend my free time reading or listening to classical music than playing hopscotch or jacks or softball.  While that didn’t involve me with my classmates in many of their pursuits, I was normally the person to whom they turned when they were stuck on a math problem.

In class I was usually one of the first to raise my hand and was typically one of the last to be selected for a team when we chose up sides.  So I was “different” but I had a voice and I wanted to sing with it.  And then came the nightmare.  I can only believe that the genesis for it was both Mr. O’Connor’s funeral and my childhood experience with my peers.  While I never shared the nightmare with my parents I remember it today as vividly as when I first had it.

I was in a glass coffin which had been buried in Times Square.  I could see through the sidewalk but apparently the passersby had no idea I was there since, despite my yells telling the pedestrians who walked directly over me that I was underneath their feet, no one took notice.  The nightmare was centered around this horrible sense of isolation and inability to communicate.

As I look at the country and the world today, I am honestly grateful that I lived most of my life at a time when there were people like my parents and Mr. and Mrs. O’Connor.  They were courteous and generous people – not unlike the vast majority of those whom I met on a daily basis.  Perhaps they have disappeared because we took their behavior and them for granted.

We have come to believe that the only proper use of the word “civil” is as a modifier for the noun “litigation.”  We talk incessantly and say very little that is meaningful.  We addict ourselves to media which celebrate the trivial, the mundane and the vulgar and wonder why there is so much rude behavior, violence  and mayhem in our society.

As a child, I realized that I was “different” and that caused me to have nightmares.  The only thing that has changed in that equation is that I have come to terms with my individuality and I sleep much better.   As I view the alternative option, I think I’m in a decent place and am firmly resolved to stay there.  And to those of you who, like me, miss the civility of former years and feel estranged in our new world, take heart.  We may be few in number – but we are not alone.

“The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.”
― Marcus Aurelius, “Meditations”

IS FAST FOOD BAD FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH?

How well I remember the wonderful smells of childhood.  The fresh air (even in New York City) after a spring rainfall; the refreshing scent of freshly-mown grass (the kind that covered the ground on lawns and in parks); but most of all, the marvelous aromas that came from the kitchen as Mom and Grandma worked to put out Thanksgiving dinner.

I remember the hours of anticipation as the smell of the Thanksgiving bird filled the apartment, heightened in intensity when the oven door was opened and Grandma lovingly basted it.  How my stomach would growl in anticipation and I could feel the saliva running in my mouth as I anticipated biting into this very special family dinner.

But at my hungriest, I never came near the intensity of the rant which occurred at a McDonald’s.  A friend was kind enough to forward this to me.  The link is to a potty-mouthed woman’s unbelievable outburst when she discovered that she could not get her fix for  Chicken McNuggets.  This video is rated MD – for mentally deranged:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=1412484778970143&set=vb.381641995257474&type=2&theater

Wow!  While I am not a trained psychotherapist, I suspect this woman definitely could benefit from some  mental health assistance – which may be available to her if she can only get on the Obamacre website.

But in all seriousness, we know that eating lead-based paint can lead to mental issues.  The “Mad Hatter” suffered from dementia, probably as a result of his profession since lead was used in the manufacture of hats.  Could there be some connection between this woman’s consumption of Chicken McNuggets and her frenzy at finding out she couldn’t get them when she went to her local McDonald’s?

We know that eating fast food regularly is not conducive to good health.  Physical health, that is.  But could there be some sort of long-term effects from consuming this stuff on a regular basis?  What actually goes into a Chicken McNugget?  The following video will give you an electron microscope’s view of this “food.”

Some of my friends and more of my acquaintances are, I suspect, convinced that some of my opinions are “around the bend.”  Since December 18, 2013 will be my 30th anniversary of being “McDonald’s free,” I guess that I cannot use eating their output as an affirmative defense against these accusations.

But I’m in luck.  I’ve discovered an amazing website, www.excuses.com which has an excuse for every occasion and circumstance.  And the value of this website is further validated by the fact that, on good authority I am told, the Obama administration makes frequent use of its services.

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