What’s happened to us?

What’s happened to us?

I don’t know what’s happened to the human race over the past few decades. They don’t seem to have the ability to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. What has happened to the human capacity for compassion? Are we, as a species devolving? Are some of us losing some of our mental capacity to apply emotion to situations that don’t involve us personally?

Think about your last doctor’s appointment. Did your doctor tell you that you have to start doing anything differently? Did he tell you to start getting more exercise? To cut out salt or sugar from your diet? Did he tell you that you have to stop smoking and/or drinking? Did he change or prescribe medication to help treat health conditions you have? Are you able to pay for those medications? Have you ever looked into what a medication costs through your insurance company vs not having insurance? Could you afford them without insurance? Do you feel justified in judging someone for their inability to pay for prescribed medications? Are you willing to sentence them to death for the inability to afford prescribed medications?

Do you have any chronic illness that requires you to take regular medication? Asthma, heart disease, Diabetes? Have you ever become immune to the benefits of the medications you were prescribed and had to have the dose increased or the medication changed? Have you ever had a bad reaction to a medication? Have you ever had no improvement with a prescribed medication? Do you think people should be denied healthcare coverage for “not following doctor’s instructions?” How would you know if they didn’t? Is it even possible for you to know if you didn’t know that person personally? Would you want someone you didn’t know making that kind of decisions about your healthcare?

Have you ever lost a job? Have you ever worked a job that required special skills that eventually became obsolete? When utilizing said special skills, did it make your wages higher? When those skills became obsolete, did your pay plummet? Was the job outsourced? Or was that job eliminated through the use of automation machines? When you lost that job, did you receive unemployment benefits? Did your bills get behind? Did you struggle to put enough food on the table for your family? Would your kids have gone hungry without unemployment checks? Would you deny your neighbor that assistance if he or she were in the same situation? Would you refuse them for yourself and your family? Do you realize that unemployment benefits are among the entitlements you have supported being eliminated?

Have you ever been injured on the job? Did you have to be out of work for an extended period of time? While you were out, did your bills get behind? Did you struggle to put food on the table? Did you receive temporary disability during that time? In either of these situations, would you consider yourself and your family living beyond your means? Do you believe people should be punished for living beyond their means? Do you realize that these benefits are also considered entitlements?

The thing is, we as a species tend to judge by what we see and base it on personal experiences. The problem is that past experiences vary widely. So what you judge someone else for is not the same as your experience. You don’t know what they’ve been through any more than they know what you’ve been through. So no matter how you judge them, you do so unfairly because of your ignorance to what got them where they are. We all come from different places and different experiences and perceptions.

Bottom line is that we need to go back to live and let live. We need to fully educate our children in public schools, funding those schools fully with our tax dollars and providing all necessary tools and resources to do so. Then we need to trust that those who have been through that public educational system to have the knowledge and resources to make suitable decisions for their own lives and quit assuming they are either stupid or immoral. Because to make such assumptions says more about you than it does about them. And you know how you judge others. Try and imagine what they’d say about you. Do Unto others as you would have them do unto you.

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Slavery or States Rights?

It was all about Slavery
I am the most liberal person on the planet. Or so I’m told at least. In an attack by someone I thought was my friend, a friend with potential, perhaps not so much. The red flags were there. He set them on fire with that attack. That was only the beginning, but that’s another story.
The debate was initiated in that way followed by asking my opinion of the question of Confederate Memorials. It may or may not be a popular opinion, but my stance is that if it’s just honoring the dead, and was erected right after the war, there is no reason to bring them down. But if its celebrating the actions of a Traitor to the United States, it should come down and if it was erected as a protest against segregation and the civil rights movement, they should come down immediately. The motives behind putting it up should be a factor.
So the next assertion he threw at me was that the Civil War was not about slavery, that it was about States Rights. Wrong. It was about slavery. And that can be proven by reading the Cessation declarations of the Confederate states. These declarations can be found at http://www.ucs.louisiana.edu/~ras2777/amgov/secession.html . Note that the site is a Southern college. Each declaration from Georgia, Texas, Mississippi and South Carolina all mention the elimination of the fugitive slave laws and the nullification of their “property” because of the banning of slavery. So these primary states of the Confederacy all specifically name Slavery as one of the primary reasons for their leaving the Union. This solidly establishes slavery as one of the primary political issues that led to the Civil War.
The first argument of all conservatives in answer to such a response is that the source is not dependable so I offer another. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/csapage.asp also displays yet another exact copy of these declarations. Yale University and UCS Louisiana. The story is also backed up on https://www.civilwar.org/learn/primary-sources/declaration-causes-seceding-states and also https://www.tsl.texas.gov/ref/abouttx/secession/2feb1861.html . Note that’s a southern and a northern college and a historical organization and a government website and that they all agree. I’m sorry Mr and Ms Conservative, your argument is invalid.

The Rights We’re Fighting For

The Rights We’re Fighting For Are Yours Too
The First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I have recently made a comment about a meme I saw in which it compared the women at the Million Woman March and sister marches all over the world to women in the military. It was belittling the women of the marches. It struck me as a complete fallacy and I pointed it out, to which the poster completely missed my point. She was one who doesn’t want to hear anything contrary to her own views and got defensive immediately. I wasn’t insulting her; I was merely stating that it was comparing apples to oranges. The reasons for the two groups marching are completely different. The soldiers are sworn to defend the Constitution, yes, but their marching is a part of the job they signed up for. The Million Woman March was about the rights our own government is trying to deny us under this new administration. So the only comparison I see is that they defend the very rights we are exercising. You would think they would feel good about the fact that we’re actually using the rights they defend instead of letting them lie dormant and unused. If we do that, we will most surely lose them. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.

I will state that no, I don’t understand conservative thought patterns any more than they understand liberal ones. I don’t understand how any woman could support donald trump when he has been very vocally anti-woman and has even bragged about committing sexual assault and getting away with it. Did you not learn at any point in life that sometimes a man just says what he thinks you want to hear to get you to do what he wants? To listen to what someone says and not pay attention to what he does is putting yourself in a vulnerable position to be taken unfair advantage of. And of course when that happens, you get the blame for putting yourself in that position. That is where rape culture was born. And chalking it up to “locker room talk” encourages the behavior because they got away with it, so they’ll continue to do it. And believing that something never happened because they told you so and ignoring that fact when someone shows you video proof is willful ignorance. You become the victim of gas-lighting when you do that because you’re buying into the illusion of innocence. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.

I see so much out there that is critical to the protesters in that they are being judged. Another commenter said that half the people out there didn’t even know why they were there. I was there and everyone there except perhaps the little ones knew exactly what they were doing there. Even some of the little ones did. Between signs, conversations, t-shirts, buttons and chants, everyone had a valid reason to address during that march. There were many, but all of them were born of the acidic vitriol that came out of the trump campaign. There is much fear and rage out there over the things that he promised his followers that put us all at risk. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.

To assume that the marchers were all out there for the same reason is to make an assumption with no facts. Try a Google search of the protest. There are literally hundreds of signs posted on Facebook alone that were at the actual protests that address a multitude of reasons for protest. All of those signs all boil down to one thing. The protesters fear that they’re losing rights under this administration. More than just reproductive rights. More than just equality. More than just one issue. I alone made signs for multiple reasons. All of our concerns should be addressed. All of our voices should be heard. Not just by the new administration but by the supporters of it as well. Pay attention. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too. You might think we’re fighting for something we already have but you’re not paying attention if you think there is no threat to them. The truth is, trump has threatened the first amendment multiple times already. If we allow him to attack a primary constitutional right specifically mentioned first in the Bill of Rights, they will slowly pick away at the others as well. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.

I know the first argument will be that his threat to the media is only those reporting lies, but the ones reporting lies are not the ones he’s attacking. He is attacking the respected media outlets that have earned their place as respectable reporting entities. He is attacking those who report anything he dislikes, even if there is documented proof of it. And 6 reporters have been arrested and charged with a felony for rioting because they were on protest sights reporting on those protests. We can’t allow this to happen. (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/25/business/media/journalists-arrested-trump-inauguration.html?_r=0) that’s the NEW YORK TIMES ladies and gentlemen, not just some fly by night organization that just popped up over the last few years. Not just some tabloid on tv organization. The New York Times….The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.

The first amendment gives us the right to free speech, free press, peaceful assembly and the right to petition the government for redress of grievances. All of these things are involved in our protests. To arrest people for exercising our first amendment rights is a violation of the Constitution of the United States. Yet there are states that have bills on their agenda trying to criminalize the right to peaceful assembly and petition the government for redress of grievances. (http://www.snopes.com/lawmakers-criminalize-peaceful-protest/) Yes, Snopes is a legitimate source. They are a fact checking organization. And the article does say they are definitely on the agenda, but that none have passed into law. These are the things we need to pay attention to. This is a FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHT they’re trying to criminalize. They’re trying to chip away at the foundation of the Constitution ladies and gentlemen. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.
Yes, we have a problem with the right trying to criminalize and ban abortion. You can’t legislate morality because morality is subject to individual interpretation and some of us believe it to be more moral to spare our offspring a short and extremely painful death than to force it to feel that pain. YOU DO NOT KNOW what leads a woman to the decision to have an abortion. You don’t even know when you see a pregnant woman going to a Planned Parenthood office if her fetus is even viable. A D & C is also performed at Planned Parenthood. This is done after a fetal demise, yet people who insist on judging these women stand outside of Planned Parenthood offices and brutalize these women for their decisions without knowing the first thing about them. Stop judging when you don’t know what’s going on. And stop supporting legislators who want to force these women to risk their lives to carry out a pregnancy without knowing the circumstances either. These decisions need to remain between a woman and her doctor, NOT her legislator. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.

Stop trying to force your beliefs on everyone else. Science is real. Scientists have made a career of studying their choice of scientific field. They have devoted their lives to it. Just because you don’t know the difference between a theory and a scientific theory does not give you the right to discredit their research and make assumptions about it, much less to allow lawmakers to make laws governing it. Science is responsible for every advance to improve human life. Open a book. Not just any book. Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly don’t know anything but their right wing propaganda. Open a book by A SCIENTIST. The rights we are fighting for are yours too.

Open a medical Journal. Learn about genetics. Explore how genetics works and learn that there are genetic variations that people might find to be odd but they recur in nature more commonly than you might think. Like genetic mutations that cause a human being to be born with more than one set of reproductive organs. If that can happen, then being born with a male identity in a female body and vice versa is also not only feasible but occurs often. Quit making assumptions and do some research. The rights we are fighting for are yours too.

Ask yourself this question. Look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself if you think everyone you meet sees you the same way you see yourself. If you have any critical thinking skills whatsoever, you know that they don’t. So do you want people that don’t know you making assumptions about you and condemning you for it and stripping you of your rights based on an assumption? That is exactly what is happening. Pay attention. The rights we are fighting for are yours too.

Stop assuming that because it gets cold, Global Warming is not real. ALL scientists agree it’s real. The only people that say it’s not are politicians. And if we let it go and continue in the direction we’re going, we will kill ourselves when we kill our planet. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.

Multiple species of animals are dying due to the actions of humans. This is not natural selection; this is human beings becoming the cancer that is killing the whole planet. We have to do the right thing for all of us, for our children and future generations. The Bible doesn’t defend your denying what’s happening. We’re supposed to be stewards of our planet. The rights we’re fighting for are yours too.
Start paying attention….before it’s too late.

EVOLVE.

“Far too many people out there think evolution is a bad thing, and they REFUSE to participate.”

evolution
[ev-uh-loo-shuh n or, esp. British, ee-vuh-]
• Synonyms
• Examples
• Word Origin
noun
1.
any process of formation or growth; development:
the evolution of a language; the evolution of the airplane.
2.
a product of such development; something evolved :
The exploration of space is the evolution of decades of research.
3.
Biology. change in the gene pool of a population from generation to generation by such processes as mutation, natural selection, and genetic drift.
4.
a process of gradual, peaceful, progressive change or development, as in social or economic structure or institutions.
5.
a motion incomplete in itself, but combining with coordinated motions to produce a single action, as in a machine.
6.
a pattern formed by or as if by a series of movements:
the evolutions of a figure skater.
7.
an evolving or giving off of gas, heat, etc.
I find that the more I speak publicly and the more blogging I do, the more people I find that just skim over and don’t really know what we’re saying when we speak. And more often than not, they jump to a response without fully thinking through what was said and what it means before deciding how to respond. I found that to be the case when I posted the comment about people refusing to participate in evolution. It spawned a long conversation on my Facebook wall that I let go on for a couple of days but finally called a halt on because I believed that any progress that could have been made had played out. I’m not sure anyone truly learned anything during the conversation either.

I knew when I posted it that someone would take offense to it not in that I was saying they refused to evolve which SHOULD be what they should consider an insult over what they got upset about. The person that did speak up reacted because he doesn’t ‘believe in evolution’. He automatically jumped to the creationism vs. evolution interpretation of the word. But the very wording of my comment should have clued him into which definition I was referring to. Throughout the conversation, he kept returning to his interpretation and essentially avoided addressing the interpretation I was referring to. And yes, I was frustrated with him. But this kind of thing is common. Evolution, as explained in its dictionary definition also means to adapt to change. His reaction, however, proved my point. While he vehemently held on to the old Evolution vs. Creationism argument, he was not moving forward to adaptation to change that was being alluded to in the conversation. He wanted to argue his religion and not the nature of human beings and whether or not they learn and grow and the fact that some refuse to learn and grow.

This is a lot of the problem we’re dealing with in politics today. We’re all talking, but we’re not necessarily communicating. There are those that have a well-developed grasp on and use of the language and those who simply don’t or perhaps are too lazy or just don’t fully think about what’s being said. Those who don’t tend to grasp and hold on tight to the definition they know and refuse to let go and try to understand that there are more meanings to what they believe to be exclusive. Unfortunately, there are politicians out there that recognize this trait and have bastardized the language so that it’s easier to manipulate these people into voting against their own best interests. It’s easier to convince people of a lie than to convince them they’ve been lied to. Tell them the evil activist is attacking your religion and they’ll vote against said activist’s cause every time. Speak certain key words and you lose them forever.

As a writer, this frustrates me deeply. I have tired and continue to try to open people’s eyes about this problem. Its wide spread, from my mom posting the dictionary definition of liberal and having family members saying it was the most ridiculous thing she’d ever seen because that’s not what a liberal is as she speaks this nonsense to a life-long liberal….. To a conservative family member who I asked to define the same word and she came up with the most absurd definition I ever heard and admits to having discussed it with her husband and that this was what they came up with. They weren’t even bothered with looking it up. She even went on to say that for the record, they do not believe that President Obama is liberal because he didn’t fit into their definition of the word. She was shocked when I informed her that my parents, sister and I all identify as liberal. She didn’t understand. She’s still at a loss. I gave up trying to help her understand because it didn’t matter what I said; she was not going to change her opinion of what the meaning of the term is.

So this is my mission. From here on out, I do not intend to let people get away with using words that mean one thing while defining them another way,” Pro-life” for instance. The prefix pro means for, so pro-life means “for life”. If you’re for life, you cannot support the death penalty; you cannot support war. If you’re “for life”, you have to be for quality of life, so you can’t be against programs that improve life such as food stamps, welfare, unemployment benefits, Medicare, Medicaid or SSI and disability benefits. You can’t be for forcing a child who has been raped and whose body is not physically ready to bear children to have the baby of her rapist when it will likely kill her. So if you are against these things, you no longer get to call yourself pro-life in my presence. If by the term, you mean against abortion, then you are anti-choice or a forced-birther. You are not pro-life.
Then there’s Tea Party Patriot. The original Tea Party Patriots were real patriots protesting taxes levied by a king that wasn’t even on American soil. They were protesting being ruled with an iron fist from a distance without regard to their ability to support themselves and their families and make a living, something we all should be protesting today and many of us are. But the problem begins at being divided by racial lines, gender lines, gender identity lines and party lines. ONE of these lines could be eliminated by communication and education. Which one, you ask? PARTY LINES. You are supporting self-identifying tea party republicans who are the very people in the pockets of the rich who are making a fortune off your backs. The actions they’re taking are to benefit the rich at your expense. And because they call themselves patriots and tell you what you want to hear regarding whose fault it is that you’re in the predicament you’re in, you support them and it only gets worse. Well guess what, they’re exactly the ones who are not only making the poor even more poor by cutting the very safety nets that were designed to help them get OUT of poverty, they’re ALSO putting YOU in the very same poverty lines. So today’s “Tea Party Patriots” are an oxymoron. They’re working against the very fabric of what made this nation great. So if you’re supporting candidates like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz and all the other Tea Party “patriots”, you don’t get to call yourself patriot and neither do they. Because they’re actions are not patriotic.

Then there’s the term Conservative. Just what is it you’re conserving? Not a damned thing. You are trying to preserve the traditions you think made this nation great. But the old ways that are outdated, like women and minorities not getting to vote are the opposite of what made this country great. You know what made this country great? EQUAL OPPORTUNITY. And with the Tea Party in charge, equal opportunity is going down the tubes. It’s doing so because they are giving the rich more power to control things….and people. If you work for one of these rich people, you now are affected by their religious beliefs regardless of your own. And until they overturn Citizens United, your rights will continue to be whittled away by law suits claiming suppression of some rich guy’s business’s religious freedom being denied by him being forced to be fair to you. I think the acronym GOP fits you better….standing for Grumpy Old Party; or perhaps Grumpy Old Prudes when it comes to women’s rights and equality.

Now I could go on and on about the language being used and how it’s not what it appears to be. Right to work states actually being right to work for less states since these states don’t make nearly as much as states where workers can unionize. Citizens United…..what citizens? Why the ones with the most money of course. Sure as hell wasn’t me and my peers. Religious Freedom Restoration Act…..restoring poor peoples and working peoples religious freedom to their slave owners….the ones that don’t pay them enough to survive but who they’re still dependent on.

Someone once said “when you stop learning, you start dying.” I am a firm believer in that. Because when you stop learning, you start being taken advantage of. You start being lied to, cheated, and taken advantage of. You get your food poisoned, your body poisoned with chemicals they call medicine made of synthetic materials that are causing more symptoms than they cure. They poison your water and air. They let working conditions get worse they let infrastructure get worse and people start dying in droves due to ‘accidents’ and ‘illnesses’.

Do yourself a favor. Start researching on your own. Don’t use google. Don’t use bing. Don’t use search engines and especially not Wikipedia. Use well known sources of information. Use college websites and law school websites. Use library websites. Use Meriam Webster. Learn what they’re really saying and doing out there. They’re cheating us all. Websites like factcheck.org and Politifact.org and Punditfact.org are trying to tell you when things that are said are lies or wrong or partial truths. Stop assuming because someone that tends to agree with you says don’t go there, they aren’t dependable, that they speak the truth. Look for yourself. Ask questions. COMMUNICATE. Don’t read the highlighted excerpts and titles and assume what the article says. It’s not always what it appears to be. Some of the politifact.org findings are more along the lines of “well it’s partly true but they left out certain important facts.” Turn the tv channel from Faux News Network to C-span.

Don’t assume all scientists are of the same opinion on Evolution. Ask as many scientists as you can find. Don’t assume liberals are what Rush Limbaugh tells you they are. Ask us. We’ll tell you how we feel about things. We’ll tell you what we think is needed. I guarantee you every liberal out there will tell you a big missing piece of the American puzzle is the absence of compassion. Talk to people. Really LISTEN to their answers. If you’re not sure what it is they’re saying, ask questions. Don’t assume they’re insulting you. Find out what they mean.

I’ve seen a lot of nastiness in conversation lately. I doubt people are that nasty to everyone all the time. But I think often it’s because they’re not really communicating. They’re jumping to conclusions and getting offended with one another. I’m not saying it’s just right wing voters. Both sides likely do it; so, to both sides, stop being so defensive. Keep the conversations civil and open and productive. Communicate. Help each other. And trust each other. Stop trusting politicians who will tell you anything to get a vote. They don’t care about you. They care about money. The only way things are going to get better is for people to stop letting themselves be divided by our own elected officials. We all have the same needs. We all can see what’s wrong in this country for the most part. But no middle ground can be reached if we don’t work together and truly communicate.

The Death of Compassion

I’ve never really been much of a Church goer. Yes, I believe in God. Sometimes I just see something very different in a person than what they seem to be. It’s hard to sit in a building and be “taught” how I’m supposed to live when I feel like something is wrong in the church that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Not to mention the attitudes toward women in many of today’s churches. I did attend a few churches growing up and the lessons I learned that remained most prominent in my memory were the ones that taught that Jesus didn’t treat the poor, the sick nor women as lesser human beings and he taught that we shouldn’t either.


It always bothered me to hear one of the church members I knew pretty well talking about how one of the church elders she thought was a God fearing righteous kind of Christian. Hard, because I could feel that there was just something not quite right about that man. I never did find out just what it was, but I avoided him until I left that church. I’ve always been uncomfortable with people who seemed like something other than what they wanted to appear to be.


Over the last ten years or so, people have come out of their shells, so to speak. That’s not to say they don’t pretend to be good Christians. They still do that. They just keep finding ways to justify the way they treat people. And they’re using their bibles to do it. I was told quite unceremoniously that the lazy man didn’t’ deserve the blessings that a good hard working Christian did. Not in so many words, mind you, but in such a way that I felt the speaker, who is a good 17 years younger than me, thought me naïve and thought herself justified in being against welfare and food stamps. If I had felt it would do any good to argue with her, I’d have asked her how you can look at someone and know if they’re Christian or just lazy?
There was no point in arguing with her because her mind was made up based on what she sees with her own eyes. She simply was not going to hear that just because she could see a person walking around, driving to the store in a decent car and having painted nails and a smart phone, that the person she saw as an able bodied but lazy person that cheats the system. I acknowledge that I could not convince her otherwise.


I lived that life for a while. I was in my 30s with a husband who was pretending to be self-employed while I busted my hump supporting us, including my two kids and his three kids and occasionally other members of his family. For a short period of time, his ex and her fiancée and their baby lived with us as well. They eventually married, but neither of them should have ever been my responsibility to support. But support them I did, to keep them out of worse circumstances. There were times we donated plasma for grocery money because my paycheck ran out before payday. I made decent money but not enough to support that many people.


When tax time comes round in that environment, you want to get something nice for a change. And yes, I earned that money I got back, every penny of it. Why shouldn’t I get something nice for it for a change? Living that way as long as I did made me see the world differently. It made me appreciate what I have. I lived among the salt of the earth. They didn’t get that way because they’re lazy. They got that way for many reasons. Perhaps many of you would benefit from some of their stories. Or maybe mine will suffice. More people struggle WITH jobs than just live off the system. Minimum wage jobs are all there are in many areas and you just can’t support a family on those jobs. So they need help. Their children don’t get their first jobs to save up for a car. They get them to buy their own school clothes so their mom can put more toward the younger kids that couldn’t work yet. They contribute to the household because Mom doesn’t make enough or Dad doesn’t, and in some cases, both combined still don’t make ends meet.


The reality is that it doesn’t matter how many stories one hears, what matters to them is their own perception based on their own experiences. Man’s capacity for compassion for his fellow man has died. Too many people cannot see, or maybe more accurately refuse to see the struggles others face. And even when they find themselves in the position to need the very services that they support eliminating for others, they can’t make the connection. They think, “Well my situation is different.” Sadly, it’s not. What got you to the unemployment line could very well be exactly how the man you called lazy got there. Your D & C could be for the very same reasons that poor young woman needs one at Planned Parenthood. For that matter, your trip to the hospital for that routine mammogram is exactly the same as a divorcee’s trip to Planned Parenthood.


The fact is that YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT BROUGHT ANYONE TO THEIR TIME OF NEED!


Jesus said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
(Matthew 7:1-3)
If you are truly a Christian, why are you ignoring the very lessons Christ taught and instead looking to the Old Testament to justify hate and cruelty?