The two policemen in Buffalo were fine

The Emergency Response Team has resigned.  There is no statement out yet, but it is presumably in protest that a couple of them were suspended after giving a light push to a citizen who then fell over because he has bad balance or something.  The guy fell and smashed his head on the pavement after scores of police were trying to clear a street, and he walked up to them and prevented the police from advancing, talking, doing something with his hand you can’t see on camera, and two cops both thought it was a good idea to shove him out of a third cop’s way.

Those two cops were doing nothing wrong. The guy got what you get when you impede police officers lawfully clearing an area and you go be a jackass at them.

That is all.

Thank You, An Open Letter from an Old Veteran’s Perspective

Dear healthcare worker,

If you haven’t already, hopefully you will soon notice an increase in the number of people who thank you for doing what you do every day. Some of you won’t know what to do with this newfound wave of gratitude from your neighbors, friends, and random strangers. As a veteran, I have an analogous perspective and I offer you my advice: Say “You’re welcome” and think of the following and try not to feel weird about it.

Veterans get this all the time. These days, when someone finds out they are talking to a veteran of military forces, it is almost universal that they’ll say “Thank you for your service.” It feels weird until the veteran finds the proper perspective. Here is some stranger that I never met, thanking me for something they don’t know what I did, in some cases before they were born. They don’t know if I put my “110%” into it, or if I was a dirtbag slacker. They don’t have a specific incident in mind for which they are grateful. They don’t even know when or where I served my country. But still they all express gratitude.

From the fresh veteran’s perspective: I did my duty, I did my time, maybe some bad things happened, maybe they didn’t, but I got out and I moved on with my life. Mostly moved on, anyway. It was ‘just this thing I did’ and now here is some stranger thanking me?

From the civilian’s perspective, I was sticking my neck out for them. The most horrible of things could have happened to me and mine, and this grateful stranger doesn’t know if they did – but they could have. They don’t know what hazards I endured, but they do know there was a term of years when I put myself at risk to defend them and everything they hold dear. It goes without saying that there were sacrifices involved, and these were on their behalf, so they are grateful.

I don’t know you. I never did something specifically for you. But I did something for a class of people that includes you. I did some things and you are grateful so “You’re welcome” is the polite response. Not many ask for details. It’s apparently enough that they know I did something for them.

Healthcare worker, in normal times your daily routine is fairly routine. You go to work, you do some stuff that is common for you. Patient (x) needs (x) amount of (x) therapy, sign the chart, swipe your badge and come back tomorrow. I’ve talked to some of you, and you are not inclined to think what you do is extraordinary. The people you treat every day, some of them are grateful on an individual basis for individual things you did for them. You can understand that. You saved Joe’s life, he’s grateful. You helped Mary’s arm feel better, she’s grateful. You gave somebody a scrip for medicine they think is going to help, hey they’re glad and grateful. You intubated someone and watched their sats like a hawk while it was touch-and-go, they’re grateful. That’s easy to understand.

But here is a stranger coming up to you and clapping, seriously? Yeah, seriously.

COVID-19 is a game changer for all of us. Usually you only help “other people”, a few patients; not all of us. This year, you are doing something for a class people that includes all of us. Maybe (hopefully) you never have to help me in particular, but you are helping some of us to deal with this new illness. Here I sit in the comfort of my “Stay at home/stay safe” couch, and you are not only going out to work your usual (sometimes long) shift. You are putting your health at risk. Not just like regular, where you always get a cold during the annual cold season. Not just like regular, where you might pull a muscle moving a patient. For the novel coronavirus, while you are doing your normal job someone can seriously injure or even kill you invisibly, in a moment, by accident.

We get that. You are putting yourself on the line in a way that could be harmful to you, to protect some of us, some of our parents, some of our grandparents. And you don’t quit. You keep going back day after day after day. Some of you are going to be losing record numbers of patients through no fault of your own, every day – and the next day you will go back. Because the patients need you, and it’s your thing you do. It’s who you are. You have a little packet of employee access cards on your lanyard and they all have your picture on them so you will go back again because that’s you.

You don’t have to. You could hang it up. You could zip up one more bag and say that’s enough forever and leave the rest of us wanting when our turn in hospital comes. But you’re going to be there tomorrow.

For us. We recognize your risk. We recognize your willingness to sacrifice for our sake.

For you, maybe it’s just ‘the thing you do’ but we see you fighting our invisible enemy for all of us. So thank you.

Sincerely,

John Q. Public

Psychic Trauma

I came to an important realization recently. People can get sick and not be aware they are ill.  Mentally.

Someone mentioned to me the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).  This is the germ which causes mononucleosis, which often amounts to a bad cold that teenagers often catch from what they thought were hidden romantic encounters.  I did a little research and found that very nearly everyone ends up testing positive for antibodies to EBV – which means that very nearly everyone has been infected and recovered.  But I found out that not everyone recovers fully.  This is a herpesvirus, which means that some unfortunate individuals will have the disease lie dormant in their bodies for years – and some will suffer symptoms that are difficult to explain, until it is found that the EBV has emerged and again become active in the patient’s body.  This led me to discover an analogy which is useful to me, and I share it in hopes it will be useful to you also:

When someone is in a car crash and their spine is fractured, we would not expect them to shake it off and keep living a normal life without medical care.  When someone played football in school and a knee was injured, we think very little of their complaints of a “bum knee” for the rest of their life, especially when the weather changes.  But psychic injuries generally are not thought of in the same way.  If someone lives through a traumatic event without physical hurt, for the most part they are expected to shake it off and keep on living life normally – and this is a great mistake.

The spirit of a man is as much a part of him as his body.  Just as a physical injury can cause emotional symptoms (e.g., getting depressed because you’re stuck in a wheelchair) so can psychic injuries cause physical symptoms (flu-like symptoms, panic attacks, etc).

If someone has a bad experience, it can leave them with an emotional “bum knee” for the rest of their life.  What a psychiatrist might call an emotional trigger is the equivalent of our former footballer’s weather change which brings the “old knee pains” back.  We expect our friend with the bum knee to show up to work, perhaps with a brace on the knee, even in bad weather.  What kind of brace can be put on the spirit which is reminded of bad times?  There’s nothing, really.  With no sign of physical injury to keep us from showing up to work, we have “no real excuse” for not being functional. But the brains are scrambled a little bit and the person is dysfunctional.  This is a disorder, caused by stress after a trauma. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  A freak-out, brought on by apparently nothing – but it isn’t from nothing.  It’s an old injury playing up again that nobody can relate to but the wounded, or maybe some of those who have been in like condition – or a trained professional.

If someone has the sniffles, they should take Sudafed. If someone has emotional sniffles, it’s not so easy. Some people meditate or do breathing or mindfulness exercises to relax. If someone has a broken ankle, they should go to a doctor. If someone has a broken spirit – they should also go to a doctor.  Check your insurance plan, it is probably covered as much as physical medical treatment.

********
It may be worth noting that this is a layman’s perspective and I might have used the wrong words. Psyche, mind, spirit, emotions, vital force, chi, whatever you want to call the non-physical aspect of a man is what I’m talking about here. If you can’t get past the question of terminology and see the point at which I am driving, feel free to get stuffed.

Hey, Did You Kill Anybody Over There?

On the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Japan and the resulting end of the war, it occurs to me that some people might not know why WWII (and modern) combat veterans were reluctant to share their experiences with their families when they came back home.  Maybe a sample of the kinds of letters that never got written may serve to illustrate the point.

********

Dear Mother,

Today was a good day.  I didn’t get killed.  Tom Johnson and Bill Rogers on my right, as well as Meriwether Stilson on my left, all got their heads shot off when they were looking over the wall of our trench to see if it was safe to get out.  It wasn’t but they never knew that.  Then the advance was sounded and we jumped over the side of the trench but it turned out to not be a trench.  It was a really steep hillside, and the slope was full of shell holes from enemy fire, plus it was muddy.  It rained the other day, plus we had been throwing our pots full of urine and liquid dysentery shit over the side of the trench, and we slid down in our own piss and liquid shit.  At the bottom there was this little valley that used to be a river.  It was three feet deep in corpses that were half blown-up and three-fourths decomposed and smelt worse than anything.  They were swimming in fat white maggots and covered up with flies that flew off when we fell into the river of dead guys.  Our legs sank down in the soft, rotten flesh that used to be our friends and enemies, and the maggots wormed up into our pants.  We tried not to vomit because we would just be trudging through that too – in addition to the infectious corpses, blood, urine, and liquid shit.  Then we advanced thirty five yards to a trench full of dead enemy soldiers we had just killed with fire bombs, and cleared the trench.  This meant throwing the blackened, stiff dead men out to the forward side of the trench.  It would have been easier to throw them back the way we had come, and tomorrow we will have to climb out over them but for tonight they will absorb at least a few bullets and that is alright by me.  But I didn’t get killed, so today was a good day.

How did you do at the Bingo hall on Tuesday?
********

Combat was too different, from life in the real world.  It’s not the sort of thing you discuss over dinner with your gramma. It was bad*.  Read this, if you are not sure how to treat your combat veteran loved-ones.

*and he loved it, which is also hard to explain.

[deleted] Your Wedding.

You have a wedding planned here?  It’s been months in the works, family is flying out from the mainland?  Your heart was set on being married in such an idyllic location?  Well the President wants to play golf here.  Your wedding schedule can go [deleted] itself, he’s more important than you.

You stay classy, President Obama!  Hi five!

H/T: Instapundit

********

DW is shocked and disappointed in our POTUS for this.  I reminded her that his political philosophy STARTS at taking at gunpoint from those who are productive and giving to the slackers.  It doesn’t go uphill from there.

President Obama Cares the MOST!!!

…and just as soon as he learns on the news what he would have learned about at regularly scheduled briefings (had he deigned to attend said briefings) he gets really, really VISIBLY disturbed.  For like five minutes in front of the camera, then goes and plays some more golf*.

  • We had a Marine in jail in Mexico which is nothing really new
  • He has PTSD which is nothing new as well
  • He was in jail for driving around in Mexico with guns in his truck which is a huge no-no down there
  • But it was a legitimate ACCIDENT and there was no criminal intent on his part.

President Obama, the Boss of this Marine, has been content to let him rot down there and to say not word number one to Mexico about it.  It took the efforts of a retired politician to convince a Judge in Mexico to release our Marine on humanitarian grounds.  Kudos to Governor Richardson for leading the way, Congratulations and “Welcome Home!” to Sergeant Tahmooressi, and a big [deleted] you to President Obama for sucking a big fat one on this issue.

For shame, Mister President.

********
*200 rounds of golf, President B.H. Obama has played so far and he’s got 2 more years to go.  For the newbies and those who forgot: President G.W. Bush STOPPED playing golf when the democrats criticized him for taking play time on a for-the-rich sport during a hard time for the country . . . but I digress.

A Marine Joke

What is the relationship between you and everyone serving in the United States Marine Corps?  You are Cousins, unless you are Brothers.

********

We all have an Uncle Sam.  He has children.  They are allegedly (occasionally?) misguided.
Uncle
Sam’s
Misguided
Children

The son of your uncle is your Cousin.

However:

If you yourself are a Marine, then every other Marine who ever was in the Corps is your Brother.  And your Cousin.  Out of respect for the combat training my Uncle gave you and your brother/cousin, I will refrain from making the incest joke which logically follows. 🙂

However, the second: Don’t call a Marine your cousin until after he has accepted that this joke is funny coming from you.  In any case, they have already made out a check to you, payable in any amount up to and including their very lives, so the proper response when you meet someone and find out they are a Marine, or are (or were) a Sailor, Soldier, or Airman – the response is not “well hi, cousin!”  it is “Thanks for your service.”

Tough Morning, Chief?

I said a prayer, and I hope you will as well. Austin Police Chief Acevedo must have been having a rough morning early this morning.

First there was an officer-involved shooting. One of his men had to* chase down a fleeing suspect and ended up shooting the dude DRT when he went for the officer’s gun. Nelson Lender and his racist-hate-mongering finger pointing act swung into action immediately because the decedent was dark brown.

Then there was an officer-involved shooting. One of his men responded to drunk guy wandering around WalMart and the dude shot the cop in the neck, fatally wounding him. The murderer was caught on film and then caught, tackled, and disarmed by some heroic soon-to-be-ex WalMart employees. Nelson Lender probably just can’t find a microphone to talk about this incident. Or something.

And all this before the first pot of coffee. Yikes.

********

*Yes, he did too have to chase the sweet innocent choir boy down. We still don’t know why the traffic stop was initiated, but we do know that somebody in the car bolted. The sworn duty of a policeman is to enforce the law, right? That’s his job – somebody is breaking the law and an officer MUST go after him. Yes, that is the way. No, you can’t just let them run off. That’s how you have dead hostages, guns tossed into drainage culverts, drugs ditched, and stolen cars turning into more stolen cars. A cop HAS TO give chase. That’s his JOB. The report is that the cop tackled the fleeing suspect and his taser failed to deploy so there was another chase and another fight. Reaching for the gun of a uniformed policeman during a fight you initiated is the same thing as shooting your own silly brains out, as far as the cop being right or wrong goes.

You wouldn’t know it from the kneejerk reaction in public defense of the dead by Nelson Lender, but the APD actually has a record of shooting people to death much less than other cities the size of Austin.