Tuesday, January 17, 2012

On the Tentacles of Leviathan...

I had an art professor tell me once that our harshest critics would be those closest to us. He was right, but it's not necessarily a bad thing. Those who truly love you will be honest with you, instead of bullshitting around. Anyhow, my last post was about when I first began to understand that the "system" we live in is major-leage FUBAR.

A friend of mine read it, and I'm still not exactly certain what he got out of it. His criticism appears to be that I "lack perspective", when dealing with issues regarding my childhood. I guess this is somewhat my fault, as reading that post did kinda seem as if I were blaming the public school system for things that happened in my youth.

While I would love to be able to honestly say "Yeah, they're the reason I'm all fucked up!", that's not really the case. Like any government program, they couldn't even do that if they tried.

Seriously though, I'll say this. I love my father dearly, and I honestly believe that the majority of those involved with my public-school education had my best interests at heart. That's not to say that I didn't have some of our "educators" who were some seriously sadistic malevolent pieces of excrement, but I digress. Right now, I'll repeat a favorite quote of my father, with "The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions".

So, what was the meaning of that post? Well, it wasn't to point out the misdeeds of our public school system. Any rational and reasonable person knows that public education is beyond fucked, period. It isn't necessary to point out its failures any more. It wasn't to dog out my dad, either. You cannot find guilt with a man who has honest intentions, as intent is one of the two elements of a "crime".

The point, of course, was merely to show that public school is a mechanism of conditioning. Consider it an annealing process that stock must go through, before it can be properly machined, formed, and used.

Occasionally, you get stock that happens to be abnormal. You heat it and cool it like normal stock, but it doesn't behave the same way. It's either going to become brittle and easily broken, or it becomes harder than a whore's heart. Some of us were broken, some of us pissed off the guy swinging the hammer when we dented his anvil.

Regardless, our public school system is a machine of The State. It is of The State, by The State, and for The State. The State exists solely by means of force, as it has no other possible recourse for dealing with those who do not consent to it. If it is evil to use force against someone in an aggressive manner, and such an action is the only manner in which The State may operate, The State can only be logically described as inherently evil. By extension, all mechanisms of The State can only logically be described as also being inherently evil.

Back to what I was saying, my experiences at Northside Elementary were just a brutal learning experience for me. I didn't understand what was happening. All I knew was that it sucked, because I was of abnormal stock and the machinists didn't know what to do with me. I was beaten, both literally and figuratively, but I would not be forged into the desired piece. The metallurgist grew weary of not being able to shape me, and he also grew angry over the way I marred his anvil. I became bent out of shape, my temper was lost, and I became cracked in a few places. Welds were made in some faults, others were left as they were. In these unrepaired faults, there were burrs that had a tendency to cut when handled without caution.

What will never be denied, however, is that I would could not be forged into the intended mold.

The State may swing its hammers a million times and succeed in forging their stock in the intended manner...but this will never change the fact that they did, in fact, use force to alter something that existed prior to the hammer's blow. The fact that a particular piece of stock did not become forged as intended does not change the fact that the stock existed prior to the hammer's blow, or that its resilience with regard to the hammer and anvil was not a defect in the stock.

It matters not what forge The State chose to initiate its attempt to mold the stock, nor what blacksmith attempted the forging. There are many hammers, many anvils, and many forges...but they are all owned by The State. Sometimes, the stock just will not bend the way The State desires it to bend.

The stock was deformed, twisted out of its initial shape, cut upon and beaten...but it would not be molded. You added coal and air, but it could not be properly annealed. You tried more heat, more pressure, but you still could not forge it into what you wished it to become.

The stock still has the markings and the hardness first given by the initial hammer and anvil. Some of us are just made of different stock, and we won't bend the way you want...but we didn't forget the first time you tried.

What saddens me the most is that those who swing the heaviest hammers often do not realize who or what they swing those hammers for. They do not understand the damage the anvils inflict upon the stock. No matter what forge the hammer is swung in, no matter what the anvil, there is but one desired outcome for The State.

To finish this post, I'll quote the Metric/SAE/Fraction conversion chart given to my machine shop by a supplier, which reads "Every new machine tool was built on a rebuilt machine."

Something to think about...

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Red Pill

A substantial portion of my friends and family have "eaten the red pill". Those who haven't just don't really speak to me that much any more, for a variety of reasons. It's not that we're angry at each other, it's just that we really don't seem to have that much in common any more. Those of us who have done so simply find it much easier to speak with one another, as our eyes have been opened.

The "red pill" I refer to, of course, is a metaphor referencing a scene from the begining of the first installment of the "Matrix" trilogy of movies, in which the hero is offered a choice by his mentor, where both a red and blue pill are offered in outstretched hands. The blue pill is an invitation to go back to one's daily life, without any knowledge of what is wrong with "the system", while the red pill is a free ticket to knowledge...regardless of what that knowledge may be or bring about.

Back here in the real world, we have no special red pill to take in order to "wake up". I wish that were the case, I'd buy 'em by the truckload and start spiking the water cooler at work! Rather, it is a gradual awakening. It is a slippage into the previously unknown that we tend to drift further and further into, at an ever-increasing velocity.

I was young when I started my descent into the rabbit hole. I'd say it was most likely when I was in the 5th grade. Since I started public school, I was always "gifted, but troubled". My teachers always claimed I was incredibly intelligent, but labeled me as "lazy" because my lack of completed homework often led to failing grades and I did only the bare minimum necessary to not be held back at the end of the year. But anyhow, back to the point. I grew up in a little podunk town in SE Texas, with our school district's mascot being the "Wildcats". In the fifth grade, we students were introduced to two new phenomena. One, the notion of changing classes for different subjects, was new to us because we stayed in the same room in previous years. The other was completely new, as it was a form of a "points system" much like the driver's license points system we now live under here in Texas.

They called it the "Super Cat Folder". Pointless ridiculous lack of originality in naming aside, each child had their own sheet of paper inside this folder. On this sheet was a grid. Each day of the week ran one way, each academic class ran the other, creating a total of 25 squares. It was like a punitive football pot. If you committed any minor infraction in any class, you got a "mark" in your folder. Your teacher for that given class period would notate inside your folder for that given day of the week, what your specific infraction was. It could be any number of things. Not having proper supplies for class (such as your pencil, notebook paper, etc). Not doing your homework properly or at all. Asking to use the restroom during class, instead of pissing after lunch. Doing anything that might cause a teacher to arbitrarily say you were somehow "breaking a rule".

If you receive ten marks in a given week, it was an automatic trip to the principle's office. Instead of any sort of description of infraction when your teacher wrote up the dreaded Discipline Report that got you called into the office, the line dedicated to that purpose read only "10 Marks". On top of that, you had "study hall" for the remainder of the week while the rest of the kids went outside for recess, etc. You sat along the "wall of shame" with the other screwups and had to watch as assembly was called on Friday afternoon, while all of the "Super Cats" were treated to trinkets, pieces of candy, etc.

If you screwed up and forgot to bring that new package of notebook paper with you in the morning, that was half of your allowance of "marks" spent in a single day, as each of your teachers would cite you for it. Your pen is out of ink halfway through the day, and you don't have a spare to get you through Reading, Social Studies and English? Well, your tally is up to eight, and it's only Wednesday. Really need to piss, but you've got an hour until lunch? Well, it's Thursday morning, and you've got one mark in reserve, but you've got a little more than a day and a half until you're in the clear. Oh, damn! You forgot to do your vocabulary words! Down to the office, son.

I was referred to as "anti-authority" the entire time I was in school. Dad kept telling me, typically right after he finished whipping my ass for getting sent to the principle's office, that I was acting like my mother. It was the same old story. "I know you're not stupid. Why won't you just do what you're told?"

Well, sadly, when you're in the 5th grade, the offering of "Hey, I'm sorry. Shit happens." doesn't quite cut it...especially when you're talking to dad.

The interesting thing is, it was my own father who taught me to question the system I was being punished under, even as he was a part of it. It was he, throughout my life, who had brought me up to understand the difference between right and wrong...and to know that arbitrary and idiotic rules did not change what was right and wrong.

While they tried and failed to indoctrinate me, they were doing a damned good job on my father. Keep in mind, my father is a man who once got his ass whipped at school for smoking in the parking lot (decades before this was actually against any law, and had only violated school policy) by a man who lit up his own tightleg right outside his office less than half an hour after the asswhipping was finished. Not long after graduation, my father saw this same man purchasing an air conditioner unit at a hardware store, and promptly told him to "kiss his ass" when this man asked for help bringing said air conditioner to his truck. I didn't hear this story for the first time until after almost a decade of being out of school, but it continues to reinforce the idea of my father being a personal hero of mine.

I guess dad was too busy working his ass off trying to support us, to really recognize what was going on. All he knew was "it's Tuesday evening, I just got home and have to be back at work in nine hours, and there's another pink slip in the mail.", and the constant bombardment of the idea that I was some sort of "behavioral issue".

I liken the idea of this bullshit "Supercat Folder" to the idea that if you get a dozen speeding tickets, you are every bit as morally and criminally guilty as the man who rapes and robs an old lady, even though you had not actually harmed anyone or any thing...namely, because that is essentially what it was attempting to teach us. Often, what separated the "innocent" from the "guilty" was nothing more than something as simple as needing to take a leak, or using the pencil sharpener more than twice in given class. Get nine marks? You're golden, it's Friday afternoon, have a nice day. Ten marks? You're in a world of shit.

If you were caught using that compass they made you buy every year for math class but actually used for ten whole minutes for a purpose such as etching your name into the desk, you got sent to the office and endured the same punishment as someone with their "ten marks". If you got caught beating the shit out of another kid on the playground, you got sent to the office and got the same punishment as someone who got their "ten marks".

By November of that year, it was very clear to everyone who that year's "chronic fuckups" were. I suppose I'm one of the lucky ones. Half of us ended up in prison, with most of these being before the age of 21. About a quarter of us ended up dead. As for me, I finished out the first and last years of my three junior high years in in-school suspension, with my 7th grade year in an "Alternative School" after being expelled for possession of a billy club I used to protect myself from a bully who was literally twice my size. High school wasn't much different.

What frightens me the most about it is the fact that half of us "fifth grade fuckups" were just straight-up fuck-ups from the word go, while the other half of us were people who just didn't fit into the structure being forced upon us...and that split stayed true amongst those of us who saw prison and the grave. Death and jail took a lot of friends away from me, and I haven't forgotten why.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Got into a discussion this evening...

About six cops who got shot by an alleged drug dealer during the serving of a search warrant. Well, like I said initially, serves 'em right. The US "War on Drugs" was started well before I was born, and I recently hit the ripe old age of 33 years. If you're on a SWAT team serving a search warrant, you likely aren't a 40 year old man. There's a good solid chance you are AT MOST my age, likely younger.

If you're that old, you know damned good and well that fighting the "dope wars" is gonna be part of your job, and you willingly accepted it.

I'm gonna clue you in on something. I really fucking hate most "drug dealers". Not because they happen to sell pharmaceuticals that our government says are illegal, but because the current legal status of the pharmaceuticals they sell has forced most ethical people from selling them.

Nowadays, who sells crack? Hood rats with their pants hanging off their asses, who would sell their wares to a twelve year old girl if she either has $20 or is willing to get her knees dirty. A hundred years ago, who sold cocaine? Your neighborhood pharmacist.

But no, our government said "Hey, you can't sell that! We'll lock you up for it!". So, instead of selling cocaine over the counter to adults at a relatively reasonable price, legit pharmacists stopped selling coke. The same thing happened to legit brewers and distillers during alcohol prohibition. Then, just as now, sales are left to those unsavory characters willing to break the law to make a profit.

My grandma died of cancer. While she was dying of cancer, she was given prescriptions for powerful and toxic narcotics. My grandma worked in hospitals for longer than I can remember, and both of her daughters were registered nurses. Needless to say, she knows a thing or two about the situation. Instead of eating toxic chemicals, she chose to smoke pot, knowing that it was far safer and far more effective.

At that time, in her particular location, it was a violation of the law to buy, sell, purchase, or consume marijuana. The potential sentence she would face for being caught with her medicine was, in her case, quite literally a life sentence. She was already dying, and didn't have that much time left. By the time they caught her recurring breast cancer, it had already metastasized to her vital organs.

The man she bought her pot from, on the other hand, wouldn't have been facing a simple misdemeanor possession charge. Where she lived, at that time, it was a felony offense to merely offer a person a hit off of your already-burning joint. God help you, if you sold a dying grandma a dime-bag. Such an offense would send you to the ass-rape factory for five to ten.

But enough about grandma, let's get back to the cops who got shot. Whose house were they raiding? Coulda been some guy selling weed to sick people. Coulda been some hood rat selling crack to 12 year old girls. The world may never know.

What we do know is that the same SWAT teams are used to take down both, because both the crack dealer and the pot dealer are both considered our "enemies" in the war on drugs.

Regardless, let's get to the main issue. If the government declares that it has the authority to determine what you may or may not put into your body, that government is declaring that it has authority over your body. In essence, that government is declaring ownership of your body, which in turn means that you are a slave to said government.

It makes no difference if you're talking about some college sophomore taking a bong hit at a frat party, or some Bowery bum shooting smack in a back alley. If the government claims ownership of you, it makes no difference what you're ingesting. If you own yourself, you have the right to smoke crack and worship Satan, should you so choose.

Does that mean a person has the right to steal a television or rob an old lady for that next hit of crack? Absolutely not, no more than a person has the right to steal a television for the purposes of watching the superbowl, or robbing an old lady to buy beer to drink while watching said superbowl.

Last time I checked, we were supposed to punish actions that harmed others, not actions that could potentially lead to harming others...and yet, the last time I checked, some of the biggest supporters of the "War on Some Drugs" are people who are so virulently anti gun control. That, in and of itself, makes absolutely no sense to me. I can quite literally and legally buy an AR15 rifle, a 420rd can of steel-tip military-grade ammunition for said rifle, and a 30 pack of Busch beer at Wal Mart...and do it all for less than a thousand dollars.

Ever seen a drunk man with an AR15, 14 loaded mags, and a raging case of drunken pissedoffedness? Well, aside from the loaded rifle, I have.

Now let's take a look at that same thousand dollars. Let's say the guy decided to forgo the ammo and the case of beer, and take that $200 to buy a quarter pound of reefer. In most states, that's a felony. Being in possession of the rifle, at the same time, is automatically a federal felony.

So there you have it, the idiocy of our laws. But hey, the cops who arrest people for these "crimes" are just doing their jobs, right? I mean, if people would just follow the law, they wouldn't have anything to worry about, right?

Well, unfortunately for the police, some just don't see it like that. Some say "Hey, I'm gonna engage in voluntary commerce...and if you run up into my house with guns, I'm gonna shoot back." That's pretty much what we had going on in the aforementioned situation, involving the seven wounded people in the course of the drug raid.

But let's take a look at the score card. A SWAT team of heavily-armed and heavily-armored cops busted into an alleged dope dealer's house with a warrant. Even though they were supposedly the best-trained the department had to offer, one "thug dope dealer" took down six of them, killing one. Yes, he was wounded in the gun battle...but unlike Jose Guerena, he was only wounded.

They may give him the needle when all is said and done, but let's look at the score card as it stands. One cop dead, five cops with gunshot wounds, one alleged dope dealer with gunshot wound(s). Even if they give the guy the needle, the cops still lost out on this one.

Gives 'em something to think about, don't it?