Murder, gay rights and… scooters? Seriously?!

I don’t think I need to go any further on the “gay rights” part of the title than to mention a quick skim of previous blogs (here and here) will give you an explanation of the happenings in the Springfield, Missouri community.

So on to the “murder” part of the title.

Over the course of the past two months, six people have been murdered and two more shot within walking distance of my home (here, here, and here). Our local officials are split on whether public safety should be a priority, and if so how making it a priority should be carried out (here). The Police Department union has recently picketed outside City Hall (here) due to their disgust of city government.

You would think this would be enough to keep our City Council on their feet, busy, trying to find an extinguisher to put out whatever fire they can and as soon as possible.

So, imagine my surprise when I open the paper today and see two of our councilmen playing with matches.

Yep! Apparently the nanny state concept has once again popped it’s little head out in Springfield.

It seems we now need to discuss how to regulate scooters! Yes, as if our city officials didn’t have their hands full, we are now going to discuss whether or not we need to regulate scooters by telling their operators they need helmets, insurance, and can’t have more than one person on a scooter at a time.

I want to laugh and cry at the same time. What a joke!

Here’s an idea. Given the fact we have as many, if not more, bicycle riders on the road than we do scooters, and given bicycles go just as fast as scooters (30mph for bicycles, also stated as the top speed for a 50cc scooter in the News-Leader article linked above), and given many of the bicyclists I’ve come across think they have the right to ignore traffic laws (especially stop signs), let’s place the same rules on bike riders as we do scooter drivers. And if we don’t or aren’t willing to do the same, we have a false argument.

It’s about safety and needing to cover costs in accidents – so say the advocates. I would argue that at 30 miles per hour a bicycle would do damage to a car and also would have the same impact to a human head in an accident. So there is now a need to use police to babysit bike riders who don’t have helmets on… and they will need to “show their papers” when pulled over.

Further, we should tell all children to stop letting other children ride on pegs as passengers.

Honestly, I don’t even really know how else to argue such a ridiculous concept. Do we really need to have our city council deciding trash like this? Yes, this is trash.

My thought is all the people in favor of this… all ten of them… are people who simply get irked by scooters on the road. It’s about their pet peeves, not about any true concern for safety.

That’s what I submit to you.

While I write this, I do have a request to the city to get some stats on bicycle vs car accidents and also scooter vs car accidents.

I can’t wait for the results; if I was a betting man I would bet it will confirm to us all this is exactly what it sounds like: Trash!

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Sexual Deviants, Transgenders, Women’s Restrooms and the Media

One of the big issues with the Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity Bill being discussed in Springfield right now is the ability for men to use women’s restrooms. This has caused quite a stir and the media is giving much attention to the topic. In a recent KY3 interview, Mike Landis asked Springfield Citizens United spokesman Calvin Morrow to list any situations he knew of in which transgender men entered women’s restrooms for nefarious purposes. Mr. Morrow couldn’t list any off the top of his head, and Landis was sure to report that.

In response to that report, I emailed the following to more than 20 media outlets (including Mike Landis) this morning. We’ll see how well they ignore it… after all, they have their narrative and bias and that’s how they “roll”.

Anyhow – here it is:

Mike Landis Asks, Mike Landis Gets

In a recent story by KY3, Mike Landis asked Springfield Citizens United spokesman Calvin Morrow about examples of sexual deviants using transgender restroom laws insincerely and as a tool to prey. Spokesman Calvin Morrow didn’t have any examples off hand.

In response to that article, I thought I would share with you what I have found in about an hour of research since reading the article. 

It is my sincere hope that KY3 and Landis will be willing to publicly discuss these examples on account of the fact they asked for them. 
Here goes:
  1. March 2014, Toronto: A man claiming to be a woman is jailed after gaining access to a women’s shelter and prey on two women. 
  2. September 2006, Sydney: Government officials are made aware of a male sexual predator posing as a female to be imprisoned with women. He subsequently assaulted and impregnated at least one female inmate. Speaking of – has Sheriff Arnott been asked about how he feels knowing that if passed as/is, the potential for “inter-mingling” inmates?
  3. March 2012, Dallas: Paul Witherspoon, a registered sex offender, is ticketed for using a women’s restroom after becoming “Paula”, a transgender.
  4. 2010 and 2012, British Columbia: Being accused of sexually assaulting 60 girls, convicted felon and repeat sex offender Matthew Harks becomes a transgender in prison. If the SOGI Law is passed in Springfield, Mr/Ms Harks would not be prohibited from using a women’s restroom.
  5. April 2014, San Fransisco: Women’s Rights, Transgender Rights, Twitter engineer and transgender, Dana McCallum is charged with five felonies that include rape, false imprisonment, and is also charged with domestic violence.
  6. September 2013, Oklahoma City: Christopher T. Gard waits inside a women’s restroom until a young girl comes inside, he locks the door, and while the girls hear her screams while she is held at gunpoint and choked. Gard was wearing only a pair of women’s panties.
  7. August 2013, Marion County, AR: Sexual predator Carl Dahn is arrested after being dressed in women’s clothing and sexually soliciting himself to what he thought was an underage girl, but was instead an undercover police officer.
  8. May 2013, Detroit: Transgender Sean Gossman is charged with child pornography after federal police uncovered a thumb drive linked to him with incriminating evidence. 
While only some of the stories actually portray examples relating to Mike’s question, it would disingenuous to say that the other stories could not be inductively attached to the Springfield SOGI Bill. That is why I listed them. 
Alright, I’m a little tired so I’m going to wrap up. However, before I do, I have one more link. It has many of the same stories and more. It is a list of stories that should be discussed in the media given the “bathroom concern” is the talk of the town. 
Have a good one!
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Update: I found a new article. In May 2013, Palmdale, CA, a cross-dressing man was caught video taping women in a Macy’s dressing room.

After the single shot at Central High: To train or not to train

In October, I will have the opportunity to attend a certification program and will become what is called a “Peer Support Specialist”. This opportunity, afforded to me by the Veteran’s Administration and the Springfield Veteran’s Center, is essentially my chance to forward the knowledge and foresight I have gained through three years of better understanding some very difficult times in my life, how they have affected me, and how I can keep from allowing my experiences from interfering with my life in a negative capacity. In short, I have been told I’m far enough along in my “recovery” to help others who have been through many of the same experiences I have been through – namely war, but I may also have the opportunity to help with those who have dealt with chemical dependency, unexpected death, and other traumatic events that do in fact alter the way one views life. I have had a rough run in life, but hopefully my desire to better understand and deal with it will be able to benefit not only me, but others.

One of the benefits an organization has by using a Peer Support Specialist is that they are using people to counsel that have actually experienced traumatic events. These may be people that have become educated institutionally since (or before), but have in fact gone beyond the scholarly articles, research, and other academic instruction; they have walked the walk.

While I look forward to the opportunity, I do realize the difference in impact one can have when they have done the walk. With that as a backdrop, I want to share an experience that I don’t hide, however, it’s not something I share unless there is purpose.

On the night of September 16, 2005, I was serving as a Vehicle Commander for a US Marines Unit that was charged with convoy security in Iraq. On the mission I am going to discuss, I was a commander for the vehicle that carried our Corpsman (medic). Our mission on this particular night was to go from Fallujah to Al Asad – from one American Base to another – and pick up a few Marines in our unit that had been temporarily assigned to work with another unit.

This was our next to last month in Iraq, and after 40+ missions I had personally been on, we had come under fire about a dozen times. All of them were very quick occurrences and ones that there wasn’t too much time to think about what was going on until after the fact. As well, up and to this time, I had absolutely grown exhausted from training… training, training, training. I would think, “This is lame – we know what we’re doing and we will do it if and when the time comes.”

This particular September night the issue of “things happening fast” would change.

While on our way to Al Asad, we came into contact with an Army convoy that was going the opposite direction on the very narrow road we were on. Custom had it that we would make contact with them and discuss any threat or concern from where each of us had come from since we were going where they had been and vice versa.

As this happened a roadside bomb detonated. Immediately someone came on the radio frantic and needing assistance – medical assistance. I was better positioned to access the downed vehicle than was the other unit’s medic so we made it known we would be there as soon as possible.

Shortly after, we made contact with the downed vehicle. As I got out of the vehicle I noticed one soldier from the Army Unit holding another. I asked if they needed assistance and was told, “No, she’s just scared.” The Corpsman and I then made our way around to what was left of the downed vehicle… to the passenger side. What was in that Humvee was something I won’t describe, but let’s say it altered how I would look at life for the rest of my life. The sights and smells that actually exist can’t be fully understood until experienced.

The Corpsman began helping the individual in the vehicle, though the help would not bear fruit in the end. As he ordered me to do the small tasks that I could, the time came where the orders stopped and I realized I could be of better use helping another Sergeant mark the Landing Zone and land the Med-Evac (helicopter).  We did exactly that, loaded the injured Soldier on the bird (helicopter), and they left.

Now I want to back up and discuss a brief moment that seemed to be an eternity between the time I helped the Corpsman and helped with the landing zone.

I will never forget taking a gravitating mental note that while my unit was helping this Army Unit evacuate their wounded, setting perimeter security, making contact with the base closest to our position, and landing a helicopter in the middle of the dark desert, not a single Marine had to be told what their assignment was; because of the training I had always disliked, we were a fine group of United States Marines that didn’t have to be told what to do… not one of us. It was the most impressive moment I remember having as a Marine.

I never again complained about training.

Fast forward to 2014 – the location is Springfield, Missouri. In the August 31 edition of the Springfield News-Leader, an opinion was posted from a professor and member of the USA Today Board of Contributors. The title? Schools are safe: Nix the scary drills. In this article the professor, who I can only assume has never been in a school shooting or hostile situation where he was under fire, states that the drills in schools to train students how to react in a shooter situation are too scary and traumatizing. He says schools are safe and that we as a nation need to “nix” the drills.

Ironically, less than a week later at Central High School (again, Springfield, Missouri), a single shot rang out when one student was passing to another a backpack and the backpack was dropped; that backpack contained a gun that was loaded and obviously ready to fire.

Now, as I’m sure the rest of the community agrees, we are all very thankful and feel blessed that this wasn’t an actual school shooting – the type we have witnessed from afar and across the nation over the past many years. But what I want to concentrate on here is the reaction of the school staff.

There was never a lock down. At least one parent who called seven minutes after her child texted her was initially told by the school nurse that the nurse wasn’t aware of any shooting. The same mother called back and was told by another staff member, “Oh no, there has been no shooting, nothing has gone on here.”

There are two very big questions and the Springfield community should expect answers:

  1. Was school staff ordered to tell mistruths about what happened if/when parents called or was there was actually staff in the building who, seven minutes after the shot was fired, didn’t know there was a potential security hazard? Logically, one of those two have to be the answer.
  2. As a veteran, I submit as common knowledge that when shootings happen, they begin and end in a relatively short period of time. With that in mind, how long from the shot being fired was the command decision made that there was not a threat and that a school lockdown was not necessary? After all, seven minutes after the shot being fired two different staff members denied any knowledge of what had happened.

Beyond that, I am curious if the News-Leader Editorial Board who opted to publish the “nix the drills” article feels that our schools are as safe as they alluded to a week ago when they chose to publish the article.

Lastly, the article itself submits that by training our kids how to act in an emergency situation we are traumatizing them. As somebody who is not in to the academics and institutional aspect as much as I’m in to the reality of it, I would be curious if we are more comfortable with training our children to react automatically or having them actually traumatized if a situation like Columbine or Sandy Hook happens. Without preparing them they’re not trained, and if they make it out alive of a real shooting, they are truly traumatized because the lives that could have been saved were not due to our lack of desire “to hurt their feelings and sensitivities” by training them.

Maybe I’m a Marine in the minority, but I vote to hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and be real with our children about the threats that exist.