Endangered Species

Watching the outrage on Facebook is often frustrating. It amazes me how many people make assumptions that are complete fallacies and they have no idea they’re doing it. They think they’re using logic. Fallacies however are not based in logic. They are a stretch at best.

The recent outrage over the death of Cecil the Lion has spawned a whole new wave of such assumptions and conclusions. On the one side, you have those who are outraged because a hunter took unfair advantage of an animal, depriving it of its life with a man-made weapon in a simple Peta-esque sort of way. On another side of it, those who are enraged that a man who by all appearances seems to think he’s entitled, killed an endangered species without regard to the fact that the species is dying out and contributing to that fact. On a third side, there are those who assume that those who are outraged over Cecil’s death are not outraged over the deaths of black women in police custody or black men being killed in the streets by cops for non-death penalty offenses or trumped up offenses.

The truth is that those of us outraged over Cecil’s death are also outraged over the deaths of black men and women who should not be dead. And while this fallacy was presented by one or more sources on Facebook, its comparison is not really that far of a stretch. It involves the fact that neither the people, nor the Lion did anything that warranted their deaths. And in this liberal’s humble opinion, both are endangered species of a sort.

Now don’t go assuming I just called black people animals. I have way more respect for human beings to do such a thing. The truth is, however, that black people are in danger at all times by the simple reason that they have dark skin. Sadly, this is true of being inside their homes as well as being out in public. They’re endangered by the system itself. People who have not lived as black or lived among them and witnessed it for themselves don’t fully grasp it, and most who HAVE lived among them don’t see it either. At least those incapable of empathy can’t see it, but when you watch a friend mistreated just because of the color of their skin, it tends to change you. It opens your mind to just how much they’re mistreated. You start seeing other ways that other people mistreat them.

I had a friend in Syracuse who was pulled over because she was black and in a nice new black SUV. The officer pulled a gun on her for taking the time to calm her very sick sister down before letting down her window. She even asked the officer nicely to please be patient as her sister was hysterical. He wasn’t listening. She survived the incident without being shot, but it could have gone much worse. This same girl was being abused by her white nurse coworkers and was told by the union she went to in order to seek help with the situation that it wouldn’t be worth fighting because they’d make her miserable until they pushed her into quitting. When is it enough? How far will they take it before they realize they’re contributing to the problem?
During the 4 years I lived in Syracuse, a black toddler was killed in the crossfire of competing drug gangs. The toddler was sleeping in his own bed, in his own room when a bullet penetrated the wall by his bed. As I said, not even safe inside their homes. And none of them are safe.

Our society has taught white people to be afraid of black people. They’ve done so through the use of the media. They report on black on black crime and racial tension events, ignoring the indiscretions, crimes and discrimination of white people toward black people. They create an illusion that black people are lesser people by using their success rates in life itself all while creating the roadblocks that contribute to their failures. And Heaven forbid a black man or woman be successful. It can’t be because they’re very intelligent and worked hard, it MUST be about the laws in place that force companies to hire equally, to admit to colleges equally, to treat black people equally to whites. Sorry to burst your bubble GOP, but some black people are just smart and work hard and break the stereotypes you’ve created and feed on a regular basis. The right wing insists on believing Affirmative Action is the only way black people can get into good schools and get good jobs and that their abilities have nothing to do with it. But it is just as common for there to be intelligent black people as intelligent white ones. And it’s just as common to have ignorant white people as black ones. The fact is, intelligence has nothing to do with race or gender. So the right wing has fabricated these ideals to appease their insecurity. And those not smart enough to create these stereotypes buy into them and parrot them; all to make themselves feel superior to people that don’t look like them.

It is possible to end these systemic issues but it will take more than black people standing up and fighting for their rights. As a single black person, they put themselves in danger just suggesting their rights are being violated, which is what got many of these men and women who have died in police custody killed. There are those who suggest that #blacklivesmatter protests are just black people demanding more rights than others, but all they’re asking for is the very same rights so many white people take for granted. And they’re asking for justice that they’re not getting. And these protests are a people trying to stand up and say ENOUGH. They’re trying to be heard in a system that suppresses and oppresses their voices and their very existence. What it’s going to take is for people of all races to come together and say THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE. It’s going to take us voting together as one to eliminate those who feed these stereotypes and eliminate the laws that are designed to protect them, to remove those who refuse to enforce the laws that are still on the books evenly, fairly and correctly. It’s going to take white cops standing up to other white cops and saying “what you’re doing is wrong”. It’s going to take us standing together and saying we are all human and as such, all deserve to be treated fairly and equally. We can no longer remain silent and ‘not get involved’. To do so is to condone these behaviors that cost black lives. To do so is to allow cops to continue to murder people and cover it up by calling it justified despite video that says otherwise.

I’m not saying that as a white woman with only daughters that I understand what black mothers face when they have children. But I know that I would be devastated to lose one of my children and cannot imagine what it must be like to have to teach my children to just do as they’re told and to avoid any kind of confrontation with the law because their lives are at risk in any given situation. I can imagine what it’s like to worry about what the adults and adolescents in my own neighborhood are doing because their actions put my children at risk. I’ve lived among them and that part I fully understand. But I did not live with the fear that desperation would drive my children to join their ranks. I didn’t have to live with the fact that hormonal teenagers harbor resentment for that kind of life and that surviving with those resentments is a major hurtle for many of them. I can see why so many of them are so angry. They have every right to be. I’ve also lived among rednecks who are quick to say “they’ve never been slaves themselves so what are they angry about?” How can one be so sure of that? They may not be calling anyone master and they may not be living on a plantation. They may be getting paid when they do work, but that doesn’t make them less of a slave to the system. That’s not to say that none of the white working poor are any less of a slave to the system but it’s much more common among black communities. And the system feeds the poor white communities the idea that it’s in their hands to change their situation but that they’re poor because blacks or immigrants are taking their jobs when that’s simply not true. Good paying jobs are not being taken from poor whites and given to poor blacks or immigrants, they’re being outsourced. Yet these poor whites believe the lies they’re being told and continue to vote against the best interests of all the poor in this country because they’ve been force fed these lies and believe them because their education has been cut to the bare bones. They’ve been taught to pass tests instead of to question what they’re told and to think for themselves.

The only way to change is to come together as one and speak in once voice. The best way to do that is to vote. But it can also be done by participating in community events. We can stand, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American hand in hand and speak in one voice ENOUGH. We as a nation must stop fighting amongst ourselves and stand together to fight for all of us against a system controlled by Corporations. This is the only way revolution can happen. It’s the only true path to change. We must realize and accept our differences but to stand together in our similarities. We all want the same things; peace, fairness, opportunity, stability, and better for our children. And if we decide that animals are suffering and dying at the hands of the same people that humans are, we stand up for them too.



of, relating to, or characterized by empathy, the psychological identification with the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of others:
a sensitive, empathetic school counselor.

I am an empath. I feel not only my own emotions very deeply and act on them far too often, but I also feel others emotions. When I get overloaded, I seek commiseration. I reach out for my own empathy because I am overwhelmed by the emotions of others or my own or both. I learned the hard way not to do that on social media. In doing so, others took the opportunity to attack each other over similar incidences to the one I was seeking empathy about. It spiraled into empathic torture. It made it worse. An empath does NOT thrive on drama, but can be debilitated by it.

Being an empath, I see what’s going on in this country and in social media as a break down in the human social experiment. A failure has taken place among the human race. Man has created his own means to chip away at his own humanity. Man has utterly destroyed his own capacity for empathy and compassion. He has damaged his own ability to sense when he’s crossed the line into cruelty. He has lost his ability to put himself in someone else’s shoes.

I realize people have always failed to recognize their own faults. I once believed that when pointed out, especially by someone they love, respect or value, they could think it through and realize where they too went wrong in a situation. That they could put themselves in the other person’s shoes. I have witnessed time and time again in the last several years that not only do people NOT do this, but they flat refuse to acknowledge their own faults. And when confronted, they immediately go to pointing out the faults in someone else; often pointing out the very faults they are guilty of. I have even noticed this in myself and am actively trying to amend my own behavior.

When I was a child, I attended church occasionally. It wasn’t by any means a regular occurrence. I didn’t understand why at the time but as an adult I see my parents’ disillusionment with religion. What I gleaned from these experiences is that Jesus was loving and accepting and patient and forgiving and that He expected all of humanity to follow His lead. We have strayed a LONG WAY from that. Far too many people have begun finding ways to justify hate using the bible. They use scripture as an excuse to be nasty to other people, completely ignoring Jesus’s instructions. They use mostly Old Testament scriptures to do it and still call themselves Christian while ignoring what Jesus taught.

I’m not saying all Christians are doing this. Occasionally I do run across those who still live by the core of Jesus’s teachings. Unfortunately though, those are few and far between. Or perhaps it’s just that they’re just not as vocal or as loud about it when being vocal. I’ve been appalled during many a conversation with acquaintances and family alike over how they now interpret Christianity.

We as creatures live and believe as we do based on experiences and perception. And we are on a steep downhill slide. With each confrontation, too many people are giving up on compassion in favor of what they perceive to be self-preservation. Unfortunately, it often is self-preservation. We remain forever vigilant in preparation for the next verbal, physical or emotional attack. As a result, people have shorter tempers and get nastier with every confrontation. They often react without thinking. These knee jerk reactions more often than not end in misunderstandings that lead to the destruction of relationships of all kinds, including family and close friends. Even when one makes a concerted effort to stay out of the arguments of others, we get dragged into them by someone either in the argument or on the fringes of it trying to show loyalty to one side by forcing us to choose a side, whether we want to or not. It’s gotten increasingly difficult to remain neutral on any topic which is extremely difficult for an empath.

We need another age of enlightenment in many ways. Not only do we need to start learning again and being more open to new information and exploring such information to learn of its validity, but we also need to be opened up to new perspectives on many levels. We need to relearn how to put ourselves into someone else’s shoes; to learn again how to see things as someone else sees them and to accept when someone is trying to point out the opposing prospective. This is not to say we have to accept someone else’s opinion of any given topic as truth, but to accept that they have valid feelings on the topic and have their own set of reasons why they believe as they do. For example, I can understand that my friend who cannot conceive though she desperately wants children is opposed to abortion because she would never consider it given her history. I just wish she could understand that forcing a woman to have a child she never wanted to have regardless of the circumstances of how she came to be pregnant, disregarding the possibility that she was put through physical pain and emotional torture has a certain level of cruel disregard to it. I wish she could see that the laws being proposed do not allow for child victims of rape and incest to be protected and that some of these children are not physically mature enough to carry a pregnancy to term safely and that their lives are put in danger with these laws. Is she okay with the death of one child for her chance at adopting the resulting child? One woman’s loss is her gain and she’s okay with that as long as she gains? And what of the rapist? His actions are okay as long as she gets a child out of it? Men will be men? I wish she could understand that the laws being proposed do not allow for naturally occurring anomalies that cause a fetus not to thrive to be dealt with in a way that is minimally damaging to the mother. And that these laws are criminalizing these anomalies by making the mother seem at fault for these naturally occurring circumstances. I wish she could understand that the term abortion not only applies to the ending of an unwanted pregnancy but also the ending of a wanted pregnancy that just isn’t medically possible.

I believe that this life is a test and many people are failing it despite their religions and their teachings. They have become oblivious to how their actions affect others and further, they don’t care. Too many people are using their bibles to make excuses for their hatred, for their cruel mistreatment of other people and for simply not caring what happens to their fellow man as long as they get what they want out of this life. For an empath, it’s painful to watch.