Monthly Archives: April 2012

dear Sanford police department…

Hey guys.  Remember me?  I worked at your JoAnn’s superstore (with my boss who had so many “scabs” on his leg from doing “yard work on weekends” that he looked like a leper – and insisted on wearing shorts every day – and was so unpleasant that customers would overtly complain to me at the cash register about him and vow to never come back).  I have sped mightily on your highways, coming back from South Florida to see my mother.  I’ve been a patron of your mall for years upon years, since its opening in 1995 when I was, suitably enough, 13 years old.   I have enjoyed many a reunion evenings at the Ale House near said mall. I enjoyed buying Orange Blossom Pilsner at the convenience store near the little itty bitty Presbyterian church near 46 when I was in town.  My brother was born in your hospital, on the shores of Lake Monroe.  When I was a senior in high school, we did a lake clean-up on said lake and I pulled several tires out of that particular body of water.  I can’t think of any real havoc I’ve wreaked upon your city, and having never actually legally resided there myself, I really haven’t met with your kind.  So of course you don’t remember me.  But now it seems, the world will never forget you.  And it’s all your fault.

My mother worked for Volusia County law enforcement for years, just north of y’all.  (Yeah, I said y’all.  I’ve you’ve ever been to Volusia or Seminole county, you are aware that it fits.)  So between her stories and whatever cop shows/movies I’ve watched, it seems that police departments, aside from serving and protecting, have to cover their own asses.  A lot.  They have to defend the decisions they’ve made, and do a bit of damage control.  And that’s cool, man.  Teachers understand how that junk works.  I know you’ve been affected by budget cuts and that everything sucks being a public employee right now.

However, you see, while I do agree somewhat that the whole Trayvon Martin thing has gotten way out of hand.  (overheard by some educators: “I went up to a kid protesting in Miami one day, and said, ‘Did you know who Trayvon Martin was?’  Kid replied, ‘Who?’  I said, ‘Take that hoodie off, son!'”)

But I don’t blame Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton or the Huffington Post for that one.  I blame you.

In a five minute wikipedia search, I found the link to the Florida state senate law describing “stand your ground”, and while it does indeed offer immunity to suspects who use deadly force and feel threatened, there are specifics within the law.  It doesn’t just say, “Oh boy, did someone come up behind you and say ‘Boo!’  And you shot them?  Self-defense?  K, go back home.”

It says…(quoting the notable sections)

776.012 Use of force in defense of person.—A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:

(1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony; or
(2) Under those circumstances permitted pursuant to s. 776.013.
776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.—

(1) A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who was acting in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a law enforcement officer. As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant.
(2) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.

776.041 Use of force by aggressor.—The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who:

(2) Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself, unless:
(a) Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant;
[Check the whole text here before you pick a fight]
Surely I’m no legal scholar (else I would not be writing this blog, I hope).  But it seems like there’s a lot of room to squirm in here.  But nope.  It’s as simple as one dude being let off with miniscule investigation.  And it’s at very very very least something they should have looked over.  Perused.  Thought about.  Spent a few more minutes on.  Even a few more hours.
But alas.  You did not.  And now, you’ve got absolute hell to pay for it.  And you could have prevented it.
In an hour, a Florida state attorney will do the job you didn’t and press charges against George Zimmerman.  Which had you done your job, could have been over before March Madness swept the nation.   I won’t cry for you.  I know in my job, that my efforts to good faith report things and document the living hell out of things are at least worth it, because I know my position.  It’s just unfortunate that you didn’t do the same.
It’s not Sanford’s fault that Trayvon Martin died.  Stand Your Ground may be the law (and a shitty one at that), but it holds shooters immune from prosecution, not from investigation.  The absolute melee, media and otherwise, that has ensued, reaching all the way up to Attorney General Eric Holder?  That’s a different story.
Long story short: when it doubt, research it out.  Find ways to cover your ass before you try on a miniskirt.  And when uncertain, screw the NRA and their ridiculous backlash.  Do your job and arrest the dude.
Side note to individuals?  When you see something not quite right, speak up.  You can make a difference.  On so many levels.
I will be especially pissed if I can’t cry my way out of a speeding ticket the next time I’m crossing the St. John’s Bridge on I-4 the same way that some dude got away with murder by shouting a gun enthusiast slogan.
Yours Truly…


Filed under civil rights

30 by 30?

Okay, two in one day.  So be it.

So I spent my spring break going to doctors’ appointments.  I had not been in awhile, and much of my life as of late is about minimizing regret.  Therefore, if I have a horrible, non-communicable disease that I die of anytime soon, it won’t be for lack of trying to be healthy.  All of my reports from my doctors tell me, “You are a ‘well adult’.”  It’s so strange to use “well” as an adjective.

Lack of trying though.  Lack of trying.

My mother, who for all intents and purposes is awesome, has finally decided that she really wants to lose weight.  She is turning an undisclosed decade older (as in age ending with zero) in June of 2013, and she wants to be down about 100 pounds by then.  She’s already down 14, with only about six weeks work, and just changing habits.

Granted, whatever health issues have accumulated over the years for her may be not fixable by losing weight now, she is making a genuine effort to prolong herself and her health.  I think that, despite even what fabulous writers such as Kate Harding say, there are health benefits that one reaps upon losing some amount of weight.

I won’t ever have to worry about having an eating disorder, especially when I’m married to someone who says on a Saturday morning, “We need to go to Publix, because I want to make tater tot casserole in the crock pot tomorrow.”  I have married friends who are similarly higher-BMI-than-they-used-to-have-and-happy, but there definitely are benefits.

So yeah.  In six months I’ll be 30 (or as my SVE kids say, “When the lonliness comes!”), and aside from my mother’s inspiration, my very close friend K told me that we were going to Vegas for our Joint 30th Birthday Celebration, and my husband was only invited if he was to be a chaperone.  (Note: T-storm is a terrible, terrible drunk girl chaperone.  My good buddy Ryan is much more adept at that job but I don’t know that he gets to come, either.)

K had two long term relationships, right out of high school, one much longer than the other but regardless, very very little self time after age 18.  About two years ago, after traveling like a maniac for her new job, she appeared at our housewarming party when we first moved in here, skinnier than she’d ever been, newly highlighted, having made delicious food, single, with a mongo bank account, and oh shit.  She had made the decision that she was doing to do her very best for herself, and damned if every single person around her didn’t take notice.

We have partied a good deal down here in SoFla, and at the very local gay clubs, although admittedly the partying has quieted down in the post-wedding phase, she informed me a few weeks ago that seeing that we turn 30 two weeks apart, she has frequent flier miles and her sister has the hotel/spa hook-up in Vegas.

She bought the Brazilian butt-challenge (wow, that sounds just…oh man) DVD, and wants to be as sexy as humanly possible by then.

I’m definitely hesitant when it comes to Vegas.  It makes me think less about Katy Perry and The Hangover and more of (mythical) goddesses being killed off in Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.  Or a barely surviveable weekend, as depicted in the movie Go.

However.  Her news, her goals, the trip, my mother, and my doctors’ appointments all made me realize.

a) It won’t kill me to and

b) it would make me physically feel better and

c) it would be a good goal to have to

lose 30 pounds by my 30th birthday.  Of course, this began as 25, but now I’ve got six months, so 30 is a good round number before that effervescent 30th birthday.  FUN RIGHT!?

I don’t want to make this into a “my weight loss journey” blog.  Because I’m probably too irreverent for that.  I don’t intend on inspiring anyone, at least not in this manner, and yeah.  I might not even succeed, seeing that the first mention of this tater tot casserole was yesterday, and I ate two full bowls of it today and oh dear lord in heaven.  My cholesterol is super duper low but I can feel my arteries clog as we speak.  (A few years ago, it was lower than my doctor’s.  My response?  “Eight years of veggie burgers For The Win!”)

Point being, if you write it down, it will keep you honest.  At least, that’s how it’s worked with me in the past.  Thus, I am writing it down.  And listening to I’m From Barcelona.  And maybe my hilarious stories of trying not to eat Reese’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream cups and running and being sweaty will and meeting strange grunting men on the fitness trail might help someone.  Or at least entertain them.

Leave a comment

Filed under health

productivity, contribution, and self worth

I guess it came with growing up relatively poor, or having good role models, that I don’t tie my self worth to having a fancy car or fancy clothes (although I do have a lot of clothes – many of them still secondhand) or how much money I make.

But how do people define their self-worth?  How much you mean to your friends?  How much you mean to your husband (wife/significant other/etc.)?  What a good mother you are?  How clean your house is?  How healthy you are?  How much you contribute to charity?  How much you know?  How educated you are?  How much your job, or your beyond job activity contributes to society as a whole?

The job thing and the education thing contributes a great deal to how I tend to feel about myself.  As an overachiever child, this plays out in bizarre ways in adulthood.

T-storm talked a lot awhile ago about Erikson’s theories of lifespan development.  I never considered a career as a psychologist, but of all the things he’s come home with from his counseling grad classes, this to me is the most interesting.  Hooray lifespan development!

(This is also kind of funny, as we re-watched Scott Pilgrim vs. the World last night, full of slow motion silhouettes indicating the vs. battles.  Now I’m going to think of things like shame & stagnation dissolving into a giant flurry of coins.)

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under advice, love