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Off the Record (February 3, 2021)

UKIAH POLICE OFFICER, Kevin Murray, presently in big trouble for a non-sanctioned interface with a sex worker in a Ukiah motel, is also the central figure in an excessive force case against his department, which is still working its way through the federal court: leagle.com/decision/infdco20200516k67

Kevin Murray

THE LONELIEST MAN in Ukiah has got to be Murray, the former sergeant with the Ukiah Police Department. Three months ago he was sailing along, having been promoted into a supervisory position. Apart from some rough domestic terrain on his home front, the twice-married policeman still had his wife and his small children. And he still had a good job and a good reputation, the good reputation marred only by a formal charge of excessive force still pending in federal court. In that one, the burly Murray charged up the stairs at a Ukiah man lingering in his doorway where Murray had told him not to linger, hospitalizing the man who still suffers from the encounter.

THEN, in late November, there was Murray's sordid encounter with a prostitute in a Ukiah motel. This episode is still alleged since it hasn't been sorted out in court, but Murray is charged with forcing the woman into a joyless sexual act on the authority of his badge and uniform, which also included a gun, presumably. Murray is also alleged to have brought a small quantity of methamphetamine to the motel with him which, as any tweeker will tell you, functions as an aphrodisiac. If Murray was under its influence his sexual impulses may have been rampaging, not that raging priapism is any excuse for what he's accused of doing. If he did it. Court testimony, if the matter finally gets before a judge, will be a second crime committed against the alleged sex worker because there's only one defense for Murray, and that is her character, which will be shredded for the record.

WE UNDERSTAND that the alleged victim identified Murray by describing his penis, an ID that could make for some interesting testimony if Murray's attorney subpoenas all the Ukiah Police Department penises for purposes of positive identification.

THE ACCUSATIONS against Murray seem to have brought out every cop hater on the Northcoast, none of whom are cutting him any slack although he's been fired, humiliated, doomed before anybody has heard his side of the story. Maybe he doesn't have a side. Maybe he's a thoroughly flawed individual, but along with the cop-hating comments there was a deluge of unsubstantiated claims by the on-line lynch mob about cops selling confiscated dope, cops beating people up recreationally, cops doing this, cops doing that. The Ukiah cops didn't waste much time firing Murray, and other cops in this area have been given the bounce just as summarily for lesser offenses. We don't have a problem in this county with disreputable police departments.

COPS these days have the hardest job there is, or one of them, especially as the society falls down around them and all of us. They're Johnny-With-His-Finger in the dam with the flood waters rising. In all my years on the Northcoast I've seen the police in all kinds of situations, and I'd testify any time that they've done a good job, in some cases even a saintly job. I think the Murray case is a sad one, not only for him but all the rest of the cops who go about their Sisyphean task in an impossible time without any of us noticing.

MURRAY'S a young guy with a young family. I hope he can somehow pick up the pieces of his self-induced misfortune and make a life for himself and his.

UKIAH POLICE CHIEF JUSTIN WYATT: “As many of you are aware, a Ukiah Police Sergeant has been charged with a number of serious criminal violations. Today (Friday) the internal investigation into this matter is concluded. Kevin Murray is no longer employed with the Ukiah Police Department. I may speak to this. So I want to take the opportunity to share with the community some of the details of how the department handled this. We first learned of this potential misconduct in late November and we reacted right away. We placed Murray on leave in accordance with our policy and with personnel law. We reached out to the District Attorney immediately and we asked for a criminal investigation into Murray's conduct the evening of November 25. 

The Department has remained fully transparent with the District Attorney within the limits of the law as both the criminal investigation and the formal internal investigation progressed. I am sharing this information with the community today because I want the community to know that we acted swiftly and it is because we took this matter seriously and the manner in which it was handled that Murray is now answering in the criminal court for his actions. Both the community and the Department look forward to a resolution within the criminal justice system that holds Murray accountable for his behavior. Let me reiterate, there is no question police conduct must be of the highest standards. We must have the confidence and trust of the community that we protect. The conduct in this case in no way reflects the standards of the city of Ukiah or the Ukiah Police Department. The law enforcement profession demands integrity so there is no room in public service and there must be no tolerance for the behavior that was portrayed that evening. As your police chief, let me say the department joins with the community in the rejection of this behavior and the shock and disappointment being felt about this. I would like to remind the community that this individual's actions are absolutely not a reflection of the hard-working men and women of the Ukiah Police Department. We remain committed to this community and to providing the highest level of law-enforcement services. Thank you.”

LAST TUESDAY, Public Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren told the Supervisors that 11,000 adult Mendo residents, representing about 14% of the adult population, have been vaccinated, including 70% of school staff. Coren added that four local nursing homes (presumably patients and staff) have been vaccinated by pharmacy companies under their federal contracts. Coren also noted that in Mendocino County, only 308 of the approximately 3300 covid cases so far have occurred in people over 65, though most of the 36 deaths are among senior citizens. 

ASSISTANT PLANNING DIRECTOR Adrienne Thompson told Supervisors Tuesday that the County is “desperately trying to get our website caught-up and up-to-date. We’re trying to make the Covid section and vaccine tab more user-friendly, and adding buttons for the public so they can go straight to vaccines, or straight to the scheduled vaccination events.”

FOR YOUR BARBARIANS-AT-THE-GATE FILE: San Francisco's school board has voted 6-1 to rename schools honoring George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. The name changes follow a vote among school board members on Tuesday to rename 44 schools as Frisco's contribution to The Great A-Wokening. This kind of a-historical fascism would have been unthinkable back in the day, especially in San Francisco, a town synonymous with free speech.

CURT SCHILLING was a great pitcher. Now, he's a world-class crackpot of the extreme nutball Q-Anon type, but he sure as hell belongs in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Schilling is lashing out at “coward” baseball writers after his ninth Hall of Fame rejection, and now he's demanding to be removed from the ballot in 2022. Can't blame the guy. The baseball writers have obviously blackballed Schilling for his political views, not his unimpeachable baseball record.

HOW CAN ANYONE lose a check for $27,000? Ask Andrew Scully, an occasional contributor to this newspaper, who managed to lose one for that amount in the County offices on Low Gap. The county guy who found it called here wanting to know how to reach Mr. Scully, and Scully himself replied to us in an e-mail, “Well that's very interesting. I did indeed lose a check yesterday in a howling maelstrom of sleet and snow in the assessor's park.” Yo, Scully! Maybe a hundred bucks or so reward for the undoubted underpaid county guy?

PRETTY SURE the Adventists and Mendo County Health won't covid-test us using anal swabs, but the Chinese are doing their recent testing that way because they claim it's more accurate. “Swabs are inserted about an inch and rotated several times…" And we thought the nasal test was intrusive!

AMNESIA COUNTY has often been a refuge for the self-re-invented, but why go to the trouble when you've landed in a place where you are whatever you say you are and history starts all over again every morning. Take triple-dipper Fabian Lizarraga, a professional cop out of LA who picked up a few more retirement points by functioning as Fort Bragg's phantom interim chief, managing the town's law enforcement in between commutes to his home in Los Angeles. Fresh off his lucrative stint in Fort Bragg, and shaving a good hour off his weekend trips to LA, Lizarraga is now serving as interim chief in Willits, that position becoming available when another LA cop, Ms. Blaylock, didn't last two months in Willits and is now suing the broke ass “Gateway to the Redwoods” for undisclosed reasons but, it can be surmised, her legal beef probably has to do at least partly with her being black in a small department of white male cops in a town with few attractions for a single woman outta LA. Also, Willits' master criminals aren't nearly as challenging as LA's. Lizarraga's red squad backstory, incidentally, is movie material, and can be found on line at the ladailymirror.com website.

MIND YOUR MANNERS, YOU ANIMALS! Supervisor Williams writes: "Please be kind to the staff at the various clinics. The scarcity of supplies is creating frustration. Clinic staff, especially front desk workers, are doing their best to follow the vaccine allocation schedule. They are not responsible for the supply chain. Please do not yell at them."

FORT BRAGG AREA CUSTOMERS of the Arizona-based trash conglomerate Waste Management Inc. have yet another reason to be upset about the company lately. Not only did WM impose a retroactive rate increase which probably violates their contract with the county, and which presumably is the subject of a lawsuit about to be filed by former Fifth District Supervisor Norman de Vall, but now we are hearing that the branches and leaves and grass clippings that are placed in WMI’s "green waste" pickup bins by conscientious Coasties is being tossed into the trash with the plastic bags and used diapers. "We go to all the trouble to separate it and dispose of it in the expectation that it will be composted or otherwise safely disposed of," one resident told us this week. “And now we find out that they're treating it as ordinary garbage."

Laytonville Vandal

AS I READ Jim Shield's account of the vandalism to the Laytonville water plant he manages, I thought what I've thought for years now, that our social ties, never wrapped all that tight to begin with, have irreparably snapped. Jim's a long-time journalo-colleague, providing savvy coverage of local government for years now via his essential weekly, The Mendocino County Observer. He manages to produce the Observer and oversee Laytonville's water system, both crucial functions tending to be taken for granted thanks to a guy as reliable as sun rise. So a couple of weeks ago when one of the many free range, drug-fueled transients careening around the county, and up and down Highway 101, broke into the Laytonville water plant looking for whatever the deranged think they can convert to cash, his search wrecked the place until it resembled the spiritual him, a person damaged beyond repair. 

Used to be a burglar might have broken in only to take something of tangible value, not spent his rage wrecking the entire community's resource. (Water quality was unaffected, fortunately, but not for lack of trying.) There's an army of the enraged out there wandering around. If you had a tape of their lives from birth you'd probably understand how they got to nihilism by the time they were ten, and by eighteen, look out. 

WHICH BRINGS US to Measure B, passed by a large majority of county voters to corral the damaged ones in a safe and maybe even rehabilitative place, but what is really only a matter of caring for people unable or unwilling to care for themselves, a community responsibility once assumed most places by a county farm, is, here in Mendocino County, immediately mired in confusion, so mired it will be a minor miracle if even a six-bed respite is ever created. 

THURSDAY ABOUT NOON, at the corner of Talmage and Big Box, Ukiah, a toothless woman raged at passing vehicles. She had all her stuff in a shopping cart and there she was, standing in the rain blasting out her incoherent pain, a woman created by horrors we'd rather not contemplate, but a perfect symbol of the kind of society we've become, right here in a lightly populated county with 31 lushly funded entities calling itself “The Continuum of Care.”

RECOMMENDED VIEWING, Elizabeth is Missing, a true Masterpiece Theater masterpiece in which Glenda Jackson plays Maud Horsham, an elderly English woman suffering from dementia. It's a memorably astounding performance by a great actress, and must viewing by anyone with an elderly relative or friend no longer in full possession.

IT LOOKS LIKE Governor Newsom will face a recall election, which he will win because it is impossible to unseat a Democrat in a statewide California election. If the blithely hypocritical Newsom were up for a vote in, say, Glenn County he'd be outta there for sure.

“SYSTEMIC RACISM” can be added to the big book of phrases-become-meaningless by over use by unserious people. Systemic racism won't be, can't be, meaningfully addressed by this system. It's tossed around as if the very real systemic racism characteristic of this system from the git can be eliminated short of a major reorganization of this economy, and the way this cookie is crumbling, there won't be much of a system left to eliminate its racism.

OXFAM'S report that the world's top ten multi-billionaires could vaccinate everyone in the world out of last year's profits, estimated at half a trillion dollars, even seemed to discombobulate the chuckle buddies of tv's evening news. “Gosh, here's a statistic…” Etc. 

STOCKING up on granola the other morning at the Ukiah Co-Op, a grocery store that just keeps on getting better, my oats and whey were handed to me in a bag inscribed, “We believe good food brings us together.” I don't get it. If good food brought us together then unity is simply a matter of t-bones for everyone. But I've never understood this constant refrain, always outta the libs, to “bring us together.” Can't we simply “Celebrate diversity”? Or at least tolerate it. 

ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON is one of the 44 schools to be renamed in San Francisco by the city's historically illiterate and just plain stupid school board. Robert Louis Stevenson. I don't know how many more boggles I can jam into my boggled mind, but I'll make room for this one.

CLOSER TO HOME, we understand that at least two Bipocs want to be appointed to the vacant seat on the Fort Bragg City Council. FB's Bipocs — “Black, Indigenous and other people of color” — are related to San Francisco's cancel culture in their zeal to convert America's vividly bloody history to an endless tale of unicorns and puppies. If you came in late to the Mendocino Coast's endless theater of the absurd, these Bipocs, most of whom are white, want to change Fort Bragg's name to erase what they see as the town's unrelievedly grim history. There's zero enthusiasm for a name change among most Fort Braggers, which is probably why the Bipocs don't gather signatures to put the name change to a vote. 

PIT BULL ATTACK, a press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office:

On Jan. 28, 2021, at about 12:45 p.m., Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a residence on the 200 block of Myers Avenue in Myers Flat for the report of a dog attack.

According to the reporting party, the 35-year-old female victim had arrived at the residence to perform housekeeping services. Upon arrival, the victim was reportedly attacked by two pit bulls, which were pets that lived at the residence.

When deputies arrived on scene, the dogs had already been detained in a vehicle by their owner. Deputies located the victim with serious and extensive injuries related to the attack. Deputies performed life-saving efforts on the victim. The victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment and is expected to survive.

While investigating, deputies learned of a second victim who was being treated for bite-related injuries at a fire station nearby. Upon contacting the male victim, deputies learned that the man had stopped at the property to assist the female victim and dog owner. However, while attempting to assist, the man sustained moderate injuries from the dogs. The man left the property prior to deputy arrival to seek medical treatment.

Animal Control Officers took custody of the dogs and they were transported to the Humboldt County Animal Shelter where they are being held pursuant to Humboldt County Code § 542-13 and § 547-14.

RE THE MYERS FLAT WOMAN nearly killed by her neighbor's pit bulls, it seems time, wayyyyyy past time, to license the owners of these dogs along with some kind of special license for this breed and its off-shoot breeds. Every psycho in the country owns one or more of these things, and these owners all say the same thing: “It's not the dog, it's the owner.” It's both. Obviously. This incompetent in Myers Flat wasn't even able to flip his power breaker back on, said he didn't know how to do it, so he called this poor woman to do it for him and it cost her a foot. Shoot the dogs and put him in prison.

GEORGE DORNER WRITES: “While I served on the Grand Jury in 1990, one of the problems examined was this same problem of shortage of deputies in the county, and the difficulty of keeping them from transferring to better paying jobs once trained. Our conclusion then was that the county should exact a contracted term of service for a new deputy after their training.

Thirty years later, the problem remains unsolved. I have my own suggestion. Let’s replace the courthouse’s private security guards with deputies. Cancel the guard contract, and redirect the funds to hiring deputies. Hire any present guards that want to be deputies, subject to their eligibility. The sheriff’s department gains in deputy slots. Also, the courthouse posts could be used as light duty posts for ill or injured deputies, as well as training posts for rookie deputies. And given the lavish hand with which the BOS doles out its outside contracts, there’s an excellent chance MCSO may gain some funding in the process.”

LEE EDMUNDSON with an owl story: “I once had a barn owl bounce off my windshield on my way home from a show late at night. It stood on the road in my headlights for a bit, stunned (duh). When I got out of my truck to see if it was all right, it scurried off into the pygmy brush. I pulled over and parked. Put on my emergency flashers, got my flashlight, and spent the next 20 or so minutes searching for the fowl. Found it, it was still a bit stunned and dragged a wing. Cradled it in my jacket back to the truck and home, Boxed it, gave it water (oops?) and resolved if it was alive in the morning I would do something further about it. It was alive next morning so I called Ronnie James who told me of a veterinary clinic in Ukiah that treated wild animals. I phoned, them up, explained the situation and they told me to come on over with the bird. Which I did.

When waiting my turn with owl, there was a younger fellow with his dog, all wrapped up in bandages. He explained the fella was leashed in the back of his truck and had fallen out of the bed. Dragged him for about a block or so before he noticed the howls and pulled over. I first thought ‘stupid’. then recalled a line from Saint Exupery’s The Little Prince. “When you tame something, you are responsible for it.”

Clinicians diagnosed a broken wing. Said they call if they fixed it. They did, and brer owl was released back into the wild.

Happy Endings. There’s nothing like ’em.”

NOT THAT THE BOOK BURNERS would care, but some heavy hitting historians are criticizing the know-nothing chairman in charge of renaming San Francisco schools after it was revealed that he refused to consult with them during the consideration process, such as it was. Earlier this week, the San Francisco Board of Education voted 6-1 to change the names of 44 public schools honoring famous figures from American history. The vote came three years after a committee was formed to study whether such figures were “racist” and if the ignorati decided they were racists, which they did, their names should be stripped from Frisco's schools. Jeremiah Jeffries, himself raised in a family of Black Muslims, the infamous racist and anti-Semitic cult, chaired the committee. Jeffries ridiculed the idea of bringing in scholars to discuss the historical backgrounds of the figures in question, relying instead on Wikipedia articles for his information, some of it factually incorrect. The decision to rename the schools has caused widespread backlash.

ERIC FONER, the distinguished Columbia historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, commented, “If you can only name schools after people who were perfect, you will have a lot of unnamed schools.” Professor Foner was seconded by Alexis Coe, the author of a best-selling biography on George Washington. “We're being confronted with all-or-nothing choices when it comes to our founding history, monuments, or school names. That's not how history works, or our lives work, or how anything works.” 

FROM AN MD. “Natural Medicine for Guys — Go up to a tree and take a leak. If your pee attracts ants, you got diabetes. If it dries too fast, your sodium is high. If it smells like meat, your cholesterol is high. If you forgot to unzip, it's Alzheimer's. If you missed the tree, it's Parkinson's. If you peed on your shoes, enlarged prostate. If you can't smell it, COVID-19.”

ON LINE COMMENTS OF THE WEEK

[1] “Working on a farm will be one way to make sure you get enough to eat”: Not necessarily. 

A small farm, say under 10 acres, worked using only hand tools, compost and animal manures with no weed and pest control chemicals may or may not feed more than a family or tribe of less than 10 people depending on the season. Of the 10, half will be savvy and strong enough to do the farming, the other half probably children and older people that will have plenty of chores to do, but won’t be producers per se.

I’m not talking of monocultures, a field of potatoes with nothing else. I have some experience with that too, but will leave it for another time. What I’ve been doing for years, and still know very little about, but more than most average joes, is sustainable farming. 10 acres that will provide a tribe with 3 meals a day year round plus some surplus to sell, store or barter. 

The first need for sustainability is diversity. Can’t bet it all on a good crop. You need seasonal and perennial crops, fast and slow crops, high and low shelf life crops. A mango season may be good, but prices will be down for a month, then the fruit is gone. Honey is also harvested seasonally, but has an extended shelf life (decades) without refrigeration. At the same time, salad greens will fetch a high price during mango season as they’re difficult to grow in the high summer. Hens also stop laying in the tropical heat, so there will be less eggs to eat or sell, but you can replace that protein by slaughtering a batch of the older hens. 

This is all delicate clockwork. Parceling the hours on the fields assigning each one the necessary task to ensure not just a good week but a good year too is the most difficult art. Everything needed be done years ago if you don’t have compost ready to spread on the fields, the fruit trees were not pruned and now are starting to bud, no forage has been planted for the rabbits, chickens and bees, and the beehives not inspected for months and are now full of mites and a loss. Those are the errors teach their harsh lesson. Those lessons are better learned in the fat years. The fat years are drawing to a close. 

Anything can go wrong at any time. And that is counting on the world as is today, without further complications. I categorically affirm, from knowledge and experience, that most people, even the starry eyed young people that muse about the romance of living and working in an organic farm cannot be farmers, not even agricultural workers or serfs. Mr K says farms will ALL be organic at some point out of necessity, as they used to be before we were 7+ billion. So you go figure. No energy inputs means a lot of elbow grease. And you need a brain, knowledge and discipline to farm, too, not just muscle.

I have had people seriously ask me if I was getting an app to do my farming remotely when the virus started. I have had young men pushing a broom and checking their phone in the shade while my 40-something wife ran the walk-behind rototiller (a TroyBilt as old as I am: 1971). I have had snowbird cretins from Michigan try to negotiate the price of my perfect, ripe, just harvested tomatoes because “they’re cheaper at walmart” (“you get what you pay for – maybe your walmart pharmacy bill would be smaller if you didn’t get your food there as well”) 

My point is, none of those idiots will eat from MY farm. Eating, creating the possibility of eating tomorrow, is intense hard focus and concentration, insane punishing work at all hours in all seasons, reading, learning, keeping statistics and logs, being miser with $ and chuck most luxuries and entertainments. At this point, very few have all that, the know-how, grit and accrued value of plots of land they know and have been improving for years. It is Mr. Kunstler’s hope, and mine, that this can change in a generation or two. But there will be trouble first. Big trouble.

A sweet potato, an egg, a thin bean and veggie soup, a piece of grilled rabbit or squirrel, some berries, a mint tea with honey per day. Per day. Best case scenario. Anyone who “works” for me and expects that better be good enough to earn it. With the right attitude, too.

I’ll stop rambling here for now, but surely will come back to this most welcome post, as food and farming are the one subject I may have 2¢ to share with this group of thinkers.

[2] Saw a photo of several Indian farmers sitting/standing in a paddie harvesting rice. Nothing unusual for third world, from Vietnam to China. Anyone here ever sit in muddy water collecting food? Walk a mile with a gallon or so of water in a rusty bucket on your head? To think even 30 million have the physical stamina to last ONE week, without Tylenol, hot baths, cheeseburger cheeseburger, is laughable. Has anyone here exercised 4/5 days weekly for years? Walk 10,000 steps outside in all weather? Yet some of you think 30 million will survive a societal breakdown necessitating a degree of physicality most gym rats do not evidence. I personally do not see near future events slingshotting our obese, weak (physical from mental), unfocused society into a situation that will cull this diseased herd, but nothing is impossible.

For anyone who wishes to physically improve: Above all else – how much, what equipment, how hard – identify a daily exercise timeframe and make it sacred.

[3] The remedy for bad speech is more speech, not censorship. Some say the Holocaust never happened. I know it happened, because my elders were fighters in that war and told me of the things they saw. I cannot change their minds. I know what I know, and I’ll put that on the arena, but have no right censor anyone.

I think many of the commenters here are a bit like me: right wing, supposing that means anything anymore, but not fascist. Aware of evident problems and allergic to pc bullshit, but not judging a person by his color or religion. Proud of their Western culture and heritage, fully aware that culture is under attack and disappearing, and clamoring for the right to be proud, just like everybody else. Cranky as hell.

But that’s all on the cultural and political fronts. The real important thing that the author has done is build a body of work about the horrific waste and missing soul of our society, about how resources are running out and we just can’t seem to wake up and realize where we’re going.

When you have free speech, you’ll have someone claiming aliens are running things, others saying different more or less interesting or useful things, and you have to make the call, decide what’s worth the effort. I’m sorry I can’t explain all this any better, but if I considered this primarily a nazi forum, I wouldn’t be here. A couple nazis, a couple marxists, yeah… but most posters have something of value to bring to the table, and are neither.

[4] Maybe it was thousands of Trump supporters, egged on by Trump, that headed to the Capitol to protest. Then an aggressive subset of them stormed the grounds, and an even more violent subset of them invaded the building itself, some with obvious murderous intent. #notalltrumpers, but some of them, certainly. Could there have been some antifa in among them? Possible of course. Just like there were alt-right creating havoc among BLM protests. However I’ve noticed that Antifa protesters are smart enough to wear masks when getting their pictures taken, and there wasn’t a lot of those sorts of smarts going around on 1/6. It’s natural to not want to believe there are bad people among those who share your beliefs. I supported the thousands who came out in support of BLM and hated to see their efforts undermined by a few dipshits throwing things at cops and vandalizing fed buildings. I’d like to believe they were not connected. But I’m not going to weave fantasies for myself to believe in instead. Most of the time, this time included, the obvious is true: Some few deranged Trumpers thought they were going to kill Pelosi and kill Pence and were going to disrupt the count — and thought they had Trump’s blessing to do so. Also: Biden’s doing his job, a little stammery while he’s doing it, but look at news sources not intent on taking him down and you’ll see he’s doing what his supporters elected him to do. Also: That election was certified in 50 states after dems who blew their chance in ‘16 were hell bent on getting rid of Trump this time came out (or stayed in an voted by mail like myself) in droves. And it was upheld in over 50 court cases. Fantasy is comforting and simple, reality is boring and complicated. Choose reality. 

[5] I’m 64, and I believe, from what you’ve stated elsewhere, that you’re older. We’ve both, then, experienced hundreds, and probably thousands, of encounters with elderly people. their fears, their desires, their defenses. Many times, we have, also, to read between the lines. Brave, self-flattering fronts. “Hey, I just want to be happy and slide into my grave sideways instead of fading away!” Then you find out that they freak out about non-organic food or (currently) shoppers without masks.

Actions speak louder than words. I referenced TV ad execs who get paid big bucks by instilling fear into viewers that they need to buy x product to avoid y disease, or to look younger, which, symbolically transparent, is just a wish to avoid aging (death). 97% of North American households have at least one TV. They aren’t sitting in the living room corner, unused, because they’re aesthetically beautiful. Despite the invention and — 20 or so years ago — widespread use of the internet, TV watching has increased from the late 1980s to the present from 3.5 hours per day to 4 hours per day. (I include netflix and related sites in the mix.) Without going into chicken and egg questions — do ads initiate viewers’ behavior, or do they just tune into already existing fears? (I believe the latter) — there’s no dispute that they work. 

There’s also no dispute that our ontological assessments and conclusions, as a species, have been transformed drastically over the past few centuries, so much so that it’s altered our basic concept of death. As already stated, death was simply acknowledged as a reality to take in, like any other. There wasn’t the fear, distaste, wishing to alter its arrival. If I were to indulge in filling in more space, I could’ve provided many more examples. Then there’s the even-now holdover attitudes towards death we see in non-Western countries that accept death on its own terms: burning ghats, rituals of death meditation, and so on.

But I’m talking about spiritual attitudes. What does it matter if we live to be 150, if we do so in defiance and, yes, fear of our collective fate?

Worm food! (Or if cremated, a smudge of ash.)

[6] Say it aint so, please....say it aint so, not Lake County! If someone poses the question, “Where or which county would a stolen house be found?” DUH. On the next occasion a house is missing or damn near anything is missing, I dare say, start the search in Lake County.

[7] Why do we need a vaccine for such a benign disease? Over 99% survive it. Even if you are over 80 your chance of surviving it is 97%. My daughter has it right now and all she suffers is a stuffy nose, a slight cough, and a complete loss of her sense of smell and taste. She is a little more tired than usual, but no fever, no headaches, no aches and pains, and she’s no spring chicken, she’s nearly 40 and a smoker. She works at home, and she doesn’t find herself ill enough to stop working. She’s starting to recover. We’ve only seen a fraction of the 50 to 100 million dead suffered during the Spanish flu, when the world’s population was only about a billion. The current hysteria appears to be unwarranted. Covid, and the deaths attributable to it, appears to have subsumed the seasonal flu entirely, The statistics of deaths from all causes in 2020 is actually slightly improved from 2019–closer to 2018, which is surprising, given we’re in the middle of a deadly pandemic. .

[8] “Why do we need a vaccine for such a benign disease?”

If a man of 50 (men account for 70% of the dead) with kids of 12 and 14 dies of it, it’s not terribly helpful to his wife to know that he was an outlier and the vast majority of people in his demographic were hunky dory.

Flu is much less infectious than Covid and we have flu vaccines, albeit never perfect.

You don’t want either? Don’t take them.

Doctors and nurses have died; teachers have died; bus drivers have died; care home workers have died; shop workers have died. Not all of these people get death-in-service benefits for their families or can afford life insurance. And by definition they’re not 80. So they may choose to get a vaccination, despite social shaming of the kind that goes on here. 

Nobody is making you take it, even while people can’t get medical treatment they need because their hospital is full of Covid patients.

I hope nobody will make you take it – directly or indirectly.

[9] HOW NOT TO BE HOME-INVADED: Their” M.O. is a widely discussed play out of the criminal play book because it is usually more often than not successful. Since all the hardened criminals know the play, it’s probably best all you normal folks know how it usually goes down too. Just keeping your doors locked deters most of these P.O.S. They come early in the morning when there’s just enough light to see and not need a flashlight. There are few people awake in the hills or cops on duty at 7a.m. They walk right in through an unlocked door and before you know what’s going on, you’re already getting pistol whipped in the face and arms bound. They then grab one of your own pillow cases and put over your head. Getting caught off guard while you’re in bed makes it incredibly difficult to identify the suspects. Once they have control, it’s amazing how much stuff they can steal in 15 minutes. They usually steal your vehicle so they can load more of your stolen shit into it and it’s an easy car to ditch if a high speed chase ensues. It also takes away your possibility of chasing them down if you’re feeling like rambo. They will take your cell phones and chuck them out the window as they drive down the road so you can’t call for help, giving them more time to escape. Keeping your doors/windows locked takes away the key component of surprise away from these home invaders. If they force entry, it at least gives you time to call a neighbor or the cops or take a defensive/offensive position. I bet 99% of the time, if all entry points are locked, they will probably leave and go look for an easier target. Forcing entry dramatically increases the risk for these guys and they know that. Stay safe everyone, hope this helps someone.

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