Jump to content

TheBluegrassSkeptic

Regular Member
  • Content Count

    1,273
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    2

TheBluegrassSkeptic last won the day on January 22 2014

TheBluegrassSkeptic had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

560 Outstanding

About TheBluegrassSkeptic

  • Rank
    Mistress of Shenanigans
  • Birthday 05/26/1977

Contact Methods

  • Website URL
    http://www.ex-christian.net/blog/170-the-bluegrass-skeptic/#.VUFcXfCIlpM

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Female
  • Location
    Covington, Kentucky aka The Asshole Of America
  • Interests
    Conversation is great, but discussion is better. I thoroughly enjoy sharing ideas, discussing all manner of topics, and writing. I love, love, love, love, to write!
  • More About Me
    What to know about me. I was formerly Zomberina Contagion on this website, but she crumbled to dust on April 28th, 2015, around 11:32 a.m. Her job and the state she lives in just couldn't give her enough of an outlet, but not everyone likes zombies. " Did you see them repressing me? You saw them didn't you?" were her last words.

    Ironically, as her decayed creepiness fell away, the skeptic in her shriveled little brain wouldn't give up the fight. A mad scientist discovered it before it was too late and transplanted it into a new body.

    Ta da! Here I am. The Bluegrass Skeptic. Kentucky has me loving the field of science, the practice of reason, and its many varieties of bourbon. It's tough being an atheist in the South, but at least I have bourbon.

    In all seriousness, I'm a very real, down to earth, goofy, socially missing clues left and right, kind of person. My name is Kate Ashcraft. I work for the mail service, have a passion for writing, a huge lack of sleep, and I've discovered that living in Kentucky has some up and down sides. Mostly down in my opinion. Between crappy seasonal weather, Republican dominated politics, and God? This free thinker is screwed in all the wrong ways but the good one!

    My website TheBluegrassSkeptic.com, will be up and running May 15th 2015. You should check it out if you liked Zomberina's style. The only thing that has changed is things are more organized and centrally located. You might find there is more to see than you realize. Kind of like a flea market, there will be something for everybody.

Previous Fields

  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
    My massager......

Recent Profile Visitors

7,868 profile views
  1. As an atheist, one of the key issues I had with religious belief was the idea for whatever we don't understand or have answers for, we can insert God. Also known as God of the Gaps thinking. I've had several religious friends over the years make it clear that they are still saying "I don't know" but they have confidence that God has things handled and that is good enough. No, you are not saying I don't know. You are still acting with some level of presumed certainty. This kind of thinking leaves us vulnerable to compartmentalized thought and cognitive dissonance. This kind of thinking makes it unacceptable to say, "I don't know." Not being able to say "I don't know" hampers finding solutions to very real issues. Funny enough, we suffer from our own "god of the gaps" thinking in many circles outside of religion, as well. Conspiracy theory is a glaring example of this reasoning that has shown itself time and time again throughout the centuries among our most illuminated peers out there. God of the gaps thinking is a method to express the frustration of our more primitive emotional self that can't handle not having certainty. This process heavily affects our supposedly logical thinking. Like it or not, we are emotional beings, and this isn't a detriment by any means, or we'd likely not have survived all the challenges our ancestors faced. Finding the balance in the application of our emotional self is vital. A point I would like to try and make with this bit of discussion is how our desire for certainty can go so far as to alienate and endanger others for the sake of helping our logical brain satisfy our emotional survival instincts. Take for example the divisiveness about masking in public to minimize further spreading of COVID by those who are asymptomatic. Masking is the new hotbed of debate. And it's a fierce arena that even I have taken a few swings. One side argues it's all about precaution and safety, while the other says it's the promotion of fear and baseless science. Both sides present the same argument though, which is highly ironic in my view, but nonetheless: Masking is good or Masking is bad because----health authorities don't know for sure how much effect it will have on COVID since transmission of the disease is still being sorted out. We know some of how it works, but not all of it. There isn't 100% certainty, and this makes some suspicious. The ONLY study that is recognized and used by the medical community regarding the efficacy of masking is here: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acsnano.0c03252 And by the way, it doesn't bring any certainty to the game for either side. Now, before you fire off in the comments below with certainty about masking, whether by your emotional side or what you believe is just your logical, understand I support masking. The reality is the study shows it helps to prevent some spread to others. I don't care if it's only a 20% reduction in spread; that is still worth it to me. So, ease your response, and keep reading. Also, read the study, because many of your cloth masks are absolute shit and you don't know it. It's a simple fix. My point is the certainty that data gives us, and how in our efforts to get that much-needed certainty, we drive away others. So, what happens when we already have suspicions against authority, to begin with? We see the economic impact the response to this virus has taken. For some, the logical response is that health authorities don't know what the hell they are doing and now we have gone over the edge and ruined ourselves. For others, safer than sorry outweighs the longterm economical ramifications because what good is a country if it is unable to get control of a virus? The economy will tank anyway. My point of view is that there are two sides to the debate on the world's response to COVID. One side can accept that this disease, while not completely new, has features to it we haven't dealt with before when it comes to transmission and illness. This side accepts that we have a lack of certainty on how to treat it, and we will have to go through a lot of trial and error to get it right but is willing to err on the side of caution at any cost. This side finds it offensive to not consider the well-being of others when deciding to not wear a mask and shares copious amounts of government and health org data to justify wearing one at all costs. For maskers, trusting these authorities to determine care makes logical sense since they are the only ones with the resources to study and determine treatment. Maskers are suspicious of organizations claiming authority that are not generally supported by authoritative sources and tear apart treatment information that directly contradicts organizations with a history of successful outcomes. Those who are against masking typically can't accept that this disease is anything new or as bad as claimed. Anti-maskers can't accept the uncertainty of how to treat it, or that we should be subjected to trial and error to figure it out. There is distrust towards larger organizational authorities because of the fluidity of the COVID pandemic and information on how to deal with the disease. Some on this side believe that nature should take its course based on past understandings of how similar diseases work. This side feels it is wrong to determine the personal freedom of others in the name of preventing a disease that health officials don't have certainty about. Some believe it's purposeful overreach into their lives to take away personal freedom. It's an almost a my body, my choice argument. Anti-maskers are keenly aware of the current impact on the economy, the overall health of the public due to being locked down and fear, and their emotional side can't justify the actions of authoritative organizations that adjust information constantly. So, they look elsewhere for what they believe is a consistent certainty on what the situation is and how to deal with it. This group wants a final answer on the COVID pandemic and doesn't accept not knowing. The majority of supporting resources they use involve discredited or partially true assumptions from outlier groups that go against the norm and who claim are victims of government censorship, bullying, and threats. So, let's talk about these latter groups of marginalized authorities aka "woke" scientists who peddle alternative theories. I hate to break it to you, but these folks are snake-oil salesmen playing on your uncertainty even more sinister than your government health offices. Conspiracy theories have an agenda that has nothing to do with public safety. Many times, conspiracy theories purposely breed mistrust to help undermine authority because history has shown that too much power leads to abuse. This sounds noble, doesn't it? Unfortunately, they also want a piece of that power pie to have enough weight in public and political circles to get money. Counter-culturism, anti-government philosophy, anti-intellectualism, and religion are all politically motivated and operate this way. Behind every plandemic or NWO documentary, you will find a think-tank that is funding it so that they can get more money to influence (lobby) government. What you believe to be a revolution in thinking that gives a solution to the gap in certainty you can't fill, is 9 times out of 10, a political hack job selling you cherry-picked information out of context. Anti-Masking is a prime example of this. When we have the answer we need served to us on a neat little plate without having to do any true scientific research, it isn't being lazy. We naturally want a leader to trust, but we have personal standards, and sometimes we prefer to choose a leader that aligns with our beliefs more than reality. When you choose an outlier group, a revolutionary group even, often their resources do come from the very government agencies we don't trust. These groups will even, at the same time, accuse government resources of being bought out, and we don't realize this paradox because we either don't check their data, don't have enough knowledge about the subject to verify the data, or don't have anyone else we can trust in that field to verify that data. This situation is a signal that it's time to step back and think: What the fuck am I thinking? Plandemic used CDC data, WHO data, governmental data--but they cherry-picked it to manipulate your understanding by lack of appropriate context. If you don't know what cherry-picking is, let me give you an example. Imagine you are eating a hotdog at a restaurant, and the waitress asks if you want some ketchup. You say, "No, I don't like ketchup on my hotdogs." The waitress then says to everyone else in the diner that you don't like ketchup, and she then proceeds to tell them about how ketchup isn't healthy, that tomatoes are a carcinogen, that other diners who ate ketchup eventually got obese and had heart attacks, and so on. Well, it's not true you don't like ketchup. You just don't like ketchup with hotdogs. That waitress took your statement, cherry-picked it, and then pushed her own agenda. That is exactly what a lot of these faux documentaries do. But why did your waitress push this agenda? This question..the WHY behind the motivation is critical. Turns out, there's a mustard representative that has offered her a huge kickback for supporting their view that mustard is better on a hotdog than ketchup. BUT, she just thinks it's about the health effects of ketchup and she is thrilled someone finally supports her view. The mustard company doesn't tell her it's really just about selling more of their products. The people she is sharing her information with already had an underlying doubt about whether they LIKED ketchup or not, and now she just gave them even more reason to decide they didn't. We see this practiced on the political level in health, science, and even the food market every day. Now, I'm sure you're ready to counter my thoughts here, and please, again, stay your urge to type. Because, yes, the government does this to us too about a lot of things. When it comes to funding, influencing elections, and accepting standards of healthcare, we get manipulated a lot. We get manipulated by our favorite clothing brands, too. Our trusted news sources? Oh, you best believe it. My question is this: Is it all sinister intentions? Of course not. This is where we have to accept we aren't as advanced as a species as you would like to believe. Companies and governments have to make money to operate, have to have some level of compliance to be successful for whatever initiative (good or bad) that is being proposed. We are a herd of beasts influenced by the well-being of our families and communities. Just like when trying to herd chickens into a pen to get away from a nearby coyote, we too have to be controlled. Many times for our own good. This is where our need for certainty comes into play. Either we stay outside of the coop and face the threat we know minimal information about in smaller numbers with the wrong tools and solutions, and or we join the rest and work together in a bit more controlled environment and try to find some answers. We have this amazing disconnect between our individuality and our being a part of a hive. We are and always will be part of a hive. This is not an insult or a display of weakness. Our country wouldn't be what it is today if we operated solely as individuals all the time. I promise you that the liberty you fiercely claim to have wouldn't exist as you know it if we decided to operate independently of one another. We know how shitty we are as individuals, and we certainly wouldn't get everything done if we operated alone. I understand that some say that rogues helped to create change, but many of these so-called rogues weren't rogues though. They actively participated in society as a whole. The outliers like Mikovitz haven't accomplished fuck all because they have been dishonest to get ahead. They peddle their mustard while peddling fear. You don't need to fear your government, you need to be aware of what tyranny actually looks like and decide, is this really a sinister plot to control the masses further or is it the horrifying reality that we don't have the certainty necessary to treat COVID effectively? Is it a mix of both? Which is more likely? A conspiracy to control the masses that involves literally BILLIONS of people to pull it off? Or a disease we don't have the capabilities to quickly get control of because we aren't advanced enough of in science and medicine to deal with it effectively? Which is more likely? Occam's Razor is heavily at play here, and you need to apply this to your reasoning. Are you looking up the sources for your information through outlets that you can be sure isn't pushing an agenda that has nothing to do with your concern? Stacking data, especially information that is not scientifically accurate and isn't corrected for those inaccuracies, is a huge flag you have a bad source and need to re-evaluate your standards for certainty. If a scientist claims that ketchup causes heart attacks and is proven false, and changes his science to meet that finding, that's a good source to trust. There is a dedication to providing accurate information. When a scientist won't change their findings based on the new evidence and insist they are still right, you don't have a good source to trust. Christ, the bible says if you have two animals fuck in front of a stick painted with stripes that the offspring will come out striped. Science has proven this false. Would you still believe the Bible's claim for that subject? I would hope not. The same goes for Plandemic. Some information is cherry-picked to then justify a finding. That isn't how science works. You can claim Fauci has more authority than any world leader and personally drummed her out of her field. What's more likely? Fauci has the authority and influence of a world leader, has millions of scientists under his control, and they all conspired against her? Now Bill Gates is on to her trying to undermine his 5G chip implanting vaccination program that is funded by the NWO with millions of operatives worldwide. Or, she got greedy and thought she could use her reputation alone to push fraudulent work? What is more likely? The work she did is still available. All she had to do was go back, do her work over again and resubmit. She didn't do that. Instead, she found another way to make money and now gets paid by anti-vaxx firms. And yes, there's an actual money trail for that, and she states she's anti-vaxx on her personally controlled bio page. This is all easily found with any search platform, and you can view her own personal work for yourself. So, there you go. My point is, when we have uncertainty coupled with frustration, whether about government control or the healthcare industry, we lean towards what makes our emotional self - our instinctive self - feel secure. Our logical self then tries to rationalize it. We fill that gap of uncertainty because IT FEELS GOOD. This is our survival instinct at our most basic. I don't mean feels good like "let's go have beers and celebrate", I mean feels good as in gaining security and understanding how the world is operating around us. I don't know if you realize this, but the universe isn't predictable, and we barely understand our planet. With the age of information we are in, maybe step back and realize it isn't an age of information at all, but simply an age of communication. I would challenge that the 21st century is leading us to better understand how we reason, and so far, I'm very scared. I don't know what it takes for us to learn how to be comfortable being uncomfortable. I don't know what it will take for us to embrace uncertainty and accept that there are many things out of our control. We're new to the earth's ecosystem. Keep that in perspective. For the billions of years our planet has been here, we've existed for less than 4 million of them. Think how long we lived in caves, used leeches to bleed out demons, and believed the earth was flat. Think how recently we understood the earth is round, that disease isn't a fairy tale beast in our blood, and that the universe is expanding. We have a very steep learning curve, and as infants in this terrarium, we call home, we still barely understand how our bodies work and respond to mutations in our environment through toxins and disease. There are no sacred cows. Be skeptical, but don't make decisions blindly. I see the increase in suicides, people suffering heart attacks, and avoiding treatment out of the ironic fear of contracting COVID. Should we have been locked down this long? No. Could we trust each other to do the right thing? Probably not. There are too many blindsides to know with 100% certainty the right action to take, but at least we have resources that are willing to adapt with new findings and admit when something isn't working. To not be willing to adjust is biblical suicide. Relying on organizations peddling false information to justify your personal bias and actions is reckless too. We are better than this. We are in a catch 22 situation that will have long-term outcomes we can't even predict. There is only one certainty in this scenario: Hindsight is always 2020.
  2. School shootings bring out all kinds of reactions. Some folks immediately seek to speak on gun rights, and how guns don't kill people, people do. Some folks focus on the murderer(s). Why would they do this? Were they sick in the head? And some only speak on the victims and the lasting emotional/physical trauma that has been inflicted. About three weeks ago, there was another mass shooting in Kentucky at Marshall County high school. This shooting came up in my office break room. I just kind of walked in on the conversation and I agreed it is ridiculous we've already had (at that time) a little over 20 mass shootings since the beginning of the year. One co worker looked away, saying,"You need to double check your sources. They're actually counting shootings with just bb guns in those numbers." I tried to explain that I only use federal numbers, but she continued on the same tangent. Look, I get it. There's a lot of bullshit news in the world today. But, if you're going to make a claim that the numbers being cited by the news from governmental reports are bogus because they are using bb gun assaults in with mass shootings, maybe think for two seconds that you might want to check YOUR information since there are multiple sources out there who track their own data. This co worker has also called gun ownership a "god given right" on several occasions. So, this is confirmation bias at play, and I'll tell you how I know this. I looked up her fucking claim. The only source busted for padding mass shooting numbers is shootingtracker.com. Supposedly, according to this pro NRA website(http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2015/10/foghorn/shootingtracker-com-uses-pellet-guns-to-boost-mass-shooting-numbers/) that published the article she must be referring to, this shootingtracker.com site is "is maintained by a small group of rabid anti-gun activists". Okay, so much for unbiased reporting. With this allegation, I started looking for the articles that mainstream news agencies were "too lazy to do their own research, they have begun relying on advocacy websites like ShootingTracker.com". Not a single msm quoted shootingtracker.com. Her website source calling bullshit? Is full of bullshit. Well, more like pandering to ease-your-conscience-about-your-right-to-kill-others-if-threatened-over-a-parking-space-at-Walmart. With that said, I know there had to be a source out there that has been quoted and people didn't bother to double check the information. And there was. There was another site that stated that this past Wednesday's school shooting in Florida was the 18th school shooting of the year. Technically, that is correct....by their standards...which are clearly stated on the website. This organization is called Everytown for Gun Safety, and they have a clearly defined parameter for what they consider a school shooting: “any time a firearm discharges a live round inside a school building or on a school campus or grounds.” A death does not have to occur. An injury is not required. It is simply a firearm being discharged on school grounds. One cannot say they are misleading as they have their shooting parameters clearly stated on their site for all to see. It isn't their fault the average American is too lazy a shit to bother with reading the organization's process. And that last statement includes Bernie Sanders. What a moron. Something my coworker can't seem to get her head around is that it isn't bb guns making the statistics of mass shootings so hard to get a handle on. It's the ever changing definitions that Congress uses, which makes incidents seem even more frequent on a smaller scale. The government's meddling with definitions of what constitutes a mass shooting to manipulate numbers for their agendas is what contributes to our ever growing apathy and normalization of gun violence. How about we drop the word mass, and just evaluate gun violence as a whole in schools and other soft target venues? Instead of looking to nitpick at the count of "school shootings" or "mass shootings" this year, why not just look at how many shootings take place in schools. Does it matter if it is 24 dead at once or 24 dead over a one month period? To me, it doesn't. When did the body count in a single instance become the standard for concern? There have been a total of 30 mass shootings in the US this year. What's considered a mass shooting? Depends on the agency you go by. I go by the FBI's definition, which is: "FOUR or more shot and/or killed in a single event [incident], at the same general time and location, not including the shooter." This means of those thirty shootings, three of them were on school grounds if you bother to look up the locations where all the shootings have taken place so far. But this whole diatribe brings me back to that break room conversation. I let it ride, and didn't argue as I didn't feel it was appropriate to get political at work. I've only been there a few months now. I just assured her I check my resources, and let her feel like she had her victory of reason. Fast forward to this morning. She comes rushing into my office to apologize if she sounded dismissive the other day. I was in the midst of doing payables and was completely bewildered what she was going on about. She then starts to explain that, "With the shooting yesterday in Florida. I still think taking away guns isn't the answer. The system is broken. Mental health is neglected in this country. And I wish they would let veterans bet there as resource officers." She continued for a few minutes, very rushed and determined to shore up her earlier arguments from a few weeks ago that I hadn't given another thought. It's mind blowing. She couldn't take a moment to just speak on her feelings as a parent to how tragic it must be for the victims and their parents right now. She just wanted to get into debating the politics of it. I just assured her that whether he had a gun or knife, someone was going to die that day, but we have a major systemic failure where we do not put any money into our system for prevention. She seemed disappointed that I didn't agree with her assessment that a resource officer was the answer. More "good guys" with guns. I could have drudged up the reality that where there is a gun, the chances for an incident triple. I don't think I could have gotten her to understand our culture encourages an almost Hammurabi code. An eye for an eye. A life for a life. And in today's age, rejection for a life. Your life for someone's frustration in life. When you live in a society that glorifies a deity that supports this type of ideology, you breed this as a cultural norm until it hurts innocents. Then you scapegoat mental health issues. How much of this is mental health though? I find myself thinking if we didn't set unreal expectations on the behalf of a god like figure, and use threats of torment and failure to enforce this concept, could we have less of these incidents in our society? Our culture revolves around the idea that not only will you be punished for sin in the after life, but while you walk the earth, this god's followers are empowered to punish on his behalf. We live in a society where it is perfectly acceptable to shoot first simply for feeling your life is at stake, regardless if this is the reality of the situation. We have large groups of religious organizations who scream that an unborn child is a life and abortion is murder, but they will turn right around and support discriminating against that unborn child years later when they find out the child is gay. Even if it is their own. And it is all justified whether by scripture or their misinterpreted analysis of what the Constitution stands for. As long as it confirms what they believe, it passes as truth. On the other side of the table, I have been already approached with the latest school shooting being a false flag. The fact that people can say that a school filled with over 3000 students alone could pull off a fake shooting incident without anyone being the wiser...including the students involved...needs to go back under their rock of denial. Just no time for your nonsense. I'm sorry you feel the need to get your authority by dismissing the tragedy of others, but you have no real voice in the conversation unless you attend that school or have to pick up your child's body riddled with bullet wounds. America has a culture of retribution guised as consequences, cased in brass. No amount of mental health spending, gun restrictions, or increased number of armed "good guys" will be effective until we change how we place value on punishment over solution.
  3. It's funny when we discuss wounded soldiers coming home. My father was a Vietnam vet, decorated, suffered from occasional night terrors about his tours. He treated me like shit. It had little to do with his trauma from Vietnam, but mostly his own crap childhood that he chose to repeat with me. He knew better, even during his most upset moments when he would threaten to hurt himself, throw things in a wall, and scream and yell and shake me with frustration. That bastard knew he was in the wrong, and he opted to to not deal with it and hurt me. First ex-husband (married at age 16 so you know THAT wasn't going to work well). He went into the Airforce. He was traumatized after basic and was under a no firearm order due to his mental health, but they wouldn't let him loose from his contract either. He treated me like shit. Again, it had little to do with his trauma from military service, but mostly his own crap childhood that he chose to repeat with me. He also knew better, even during his most upset moments when he would superficially stab himself with knives in order to elicit compliance from me in whatever he wanted. That bastard knew he was in the wrong, and he opted to not deal with it and hurt me. Then came a boyfriend, I was dating him when he was finishing the last two years of his Army reserves contract. He'd been on at least two tours overseas to Iraq when we were starting to invade Afghanistan. He saw some shit. He too has PTSD. He treated me like shit. Again, when I got a clear picture of his life, his military trauma had little to do with his hurting me. He had a shit childhood. Women were devalued.He didn't like to not be superior to whomever he dated. He wasn't used to a woman that didn't do drugs, or trade cigarettes for sex. Military trauma had fuck all to do with his hurting me. The night that fist sunk into the side of my face and made me black out? He had been drinking, and he wasn't moaning about his military days, he was wishing the world was more like fucking Mayberry..like that ever existed. He knew what he did was wrong the instant he hit me because he then went in to panic mode and kept crying I was going to throw him in jail and he kept looking at his rifle in the corner of the living room. This was not military trauma. This was not a wounded vet. This was a man drunk and regretful for a line he crossed. I am not sure what Jennifer Smith's situation was like during the final moments, but I am damn sure I experienced some of it. I soothed my now ex-boyfriend. Told him it was my fault and he had nothing to worry about. How sorry I was for getting him so upset, and that I loved him so much and didn't mean anything I might have said. He eyed me so very quietly during those ten minutes. And he then immediately agreed it was my fault and not to ever cross him again. Tears were gone and he went on with his night like nothing had happened. He purposely scared me into thinking he was going to blow my head off. Worse, maybe he was seriously considering it just so he would avoid jail. He is terrified of that place. Fast forward 10 years. I kept the notion in my head for a long time it was the PTSD acting up that night, so though we never dated again a few months after the initial incident? I would still visit every now and then. Moved in for a short time to save up for a bigger place. Wouldn't you know, as soon as I wasn't giving him the attention he wanted ( a conversation of listening to him bitch all night about my daughter not being home at night (she's 22) and society and Mayberry), and I told him this wasn't something I wanted to hear. He was in my face in 10 seconds, fist drawn, and absolute mad dog murderous face ready to taste blood. That isn't military. That is a controlling piece of shit. He knows it is wrong what he does, but he still does it. I could go one, but I will just leave the picture I attached below from my last husband to say it all. This isn't just mental illness. This is cruel intentioned possessiveness. Like my last husband's messages he sent me when I left. I attached them to this blog . At the end of the day, I don't know what Jennifer's life was like with Scott, but if she filed for divorce, and he kills her shortly after filing, I think we can assume there were some very dark moments going on if her husband then felt it was necessary to kill her. He possessed her very essence. Took away her will. I can't gloss this over as just mental illness in a sympathetic manner. He was definitely ill, and he knew better. I have little doubt of that from his own activism in our communities.
  4. I agree one million percent about us not truly supporting our troops. I will remain cynical on his ptsd really being a key role in this though. There was a lot of pre meditation apparently, and I say apparently right now, and honestly, as someone who has dealt with death threats from an ex while trying to exit a relationship, I am really not buying it was his ptsd. More will be known at some point I am sure.
  5. Having a friend make headline news by becoming the embodiment of everything wrong in the world was not how I imagined my evening would begin. Scott Smith, one of the hosts of the Recovering From Religion podcast, top dog activist for Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers (MAAF ), father of three, and all around good guy, turned a very dark corner earlier today. He shot and killed his wife and then took his own life just as police arrived. Three school age girls are going home to relatives instead of their own bedrooms and welcoming arms of their parents. The footsteps of mom and dad in the hall to tuck them in are now permanently relegated to memory and dreams. The loving smile of dad is now a porcelain veneer of menace boiling beneath. Some might take offense to all this imagery, but the reality is whether mental illness was the primary cause or not (many say it was his losing to ptsd), he murdered his wife. He committed domestic violence. I feel that the constant woe of his ptsd being the cause removes some accountability from Scott's plate, and I am not going to have that. We can discuss this reality without eviscerating him. This was a man who was keenly aware of how ptsd affected him. His years in the military and then learning to live as a civilian activist out there to protect vets and bring further understanding to ptsd is important. He is not without his own weaknesses, and maybe the news of his wife's divorce pushed him to an edge he had never traversed before. This does not lessen or change the fact he committed domestic violence. He murdered his wife. He took an opportunity to control his life how he saw fit, and forced his soon to be ex-wife to follow. He even called the police and told them what he was doing. Once again, someone burned it all down because it wasn't going their way and they had to have absolute control. Does it really need to be said for the millionth time that mental health is a huge issue that is still taking baby steps to become a mature discussion in this country? And right now is the time in our community of freethinkers to seriously evaluate this issue in our own ranks. We cannot always see or know what is going on behind closed doors in our friends' lives, but we can consistently promote a very personal avenue of communication to find these dark moments in our impulses and try to diffuse them before they become tragedy. We can be active participants in our local communities to demand better crisis services without stigma. We can educate our communities that staying in the hospital for mental health reasons is not a thing to be embarrassed or ashamed of. Self-care must happen or we cannot take care of those we love. We will hurt them as we hurt ourselves. I have personally been to that dark edge and back, and luckily my family and I walked away intact. I didn't hide, but embraced help for once. But that was only after barely waking up from an intentional overdose because I couldn't process my guilt. Some might look back and say Scott was a good man who had his own demons that got the better of him. Some might look back and say he was a bad man, letting this murder define his legacy. What we should be looking back on is how we can help prevent more of these types of violent episodes from occurring due to any number of reasons, simply by being present and demanding we all take care of ourselves through proper programs and resources instead of the way Scott did it in the end. PTSD didn't kill his wife. He did. Let's prevent this from happening again.
  6. Scott Smith of the Recovering Religion Podcast murdered his wife earlier today and then committed suicide after calling the police and telling them what he would do. He and his wife left behind three beautiful young girls and a shattered community. I am so angry right now.

    1. Lost

      Lost

      Even though I read a little information about Scott Smith, I think that maybe he was kind of unstable after his deconversion. Maybe something was wrong that he couldn't share or was afraid to share with his friends from Recovering Religion. Maybe he was full of anger, because he couldn't completely rid of all memories that he kept from being in religion.

    2. TheBluegrassSkeptic

      TheBluegrassSkeptic

      Friends and family have come forward and made it clear he was controlling and possessive. I think that says it all.

    3. Lost

      Lost

      Whatever the reason is... it's an extremely sad story :/

  7. It was a timing much like other realized moments of accounting in my life. I sat at the red light. Chest tight, my eyes wet and slippery, the church on the opposite corner rang its bells. Its enormous clock had struck 7p while I was waiting at the intersection. Like a reverberant pang of regret, the tolling of the bells echoed the hollow sentiments that had gripped a of hold me. The deep pangs of grief I had begun wrestling with physically pulsed in my ears as every dark note rang out from that church tower. The red light seemed to last forever. Seconds like minutes. My thoughts becoming a monsoon of physical discomfort. And that red halo cast down onto the sliver hood of my car, also colored me with a shade of self loathing I hadn't experienced in years. A cold reality I had doggedly avoided for almost two years now, crept into my future planning quite painfully just a few minutes before I had reached that light. I sat there, seething with a raging disbelief that I had once again shown my penchant for using shitty enabling patterns for coping in life. I once again ripped my own heart to shreds. I knew I had willfully ignored the flags for months. I once again ignored the lack of results when expressing my own needs. I had straight up given away three years of dedication under a personally enforced blind eye - and now was being asked for potentially fifteen years more of the same. To continue a perpetual state of unsatisfying relationship roles. I sat at that red light and blistered with incredulous laughter, tears, and white-knuckled fingers on a steering wheel. Could I really be so angry at him for what I so plainly continued to enable? A friend in public, but spoken for in private. His holding back on communicating relationship issues with me under the guise of "looking out for my feelings". His absence in my everyday life. No. I wasn't going to lay all of this at his feet. He didn't make this the norm. I allowed it. I did this. My fear of demanding for myself that which makes my life enjoyable. My fear of admitting it isn't okay and it needs to change immediately. My lack of belief that I do deserve the good things with someone I care about. With every bell that tolled, I was mentally going through the checklist of what I needed, and not one box was marked off. A voice that was not just acknowledged, but respected and adhered to. Equal control of the relationship. Self-respect to demand and enforce what I need to be happy too. A fucking picture together. A good hump at least once a week. Yeah, three years - no pictures together. What was I thinking? The light turned green, the bells were silent. My mascara shown all over the back of my hands in that emerald hued spotlight as I made my turn. No goddamn picture. Still invisible to the public. So many flags and no check marks. This is the devastation many feel in life. Especially when you have all the dreams in place at the other's behest, but not a single step has been taken to make it a reality. It's devastating because you realize that you compromised yourself for a shiny, dangling piece of fancy that you eventually knew wouldn't take off - but you chased it anyway. Now three more years of my life are gone, and it isn't even a new lesson learned.
  8. Both are very good questions. The reality is that it is on the decline. See the BJS summary report here (https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/cv15_sum.pdf), it states that "From 1993 to 2015, the rate of violent crime declined from 79.8 to 18.6 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older." This is for violent crime in general, which includes rape and sexual assault too. This is a marvelous thing-- in general terms. When we get the actual break down? Here on page 2, you can see the rape/sexual assault numbers. This is from BJS so it is a safe pdf link( https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/cv15.pdf). The numbers show a more hard number of reported rape/sexual assault numbers: "Rape/sexual assault(b) 284,350 (2014) 1.1 431,840 (2015) ‡ 1.6 ‡" The devil is in the details , and I did a lot of looking into the little notation marks, because that is a huge increase from 2014 to 2015. When you take into account the notations: †Significant difference from comparison year at 95% confidence level. ‡Significant difference from comparison year at 90% confidence level, and then the fact the BJS adjusted their data collection in 2015... "(b) BJS has initiated projects examining collection methods for self-report data on rape and sexual assault. See NCVS measurement of rape and sexual assault in Methodology for more information." That is a very important tool. NCVS is the National Crime Victimization Survey, and you can read all about it on page 3. In a nutshell, this survey is pushed out I think at least once a year, to try and get a handle on the numbers of violent crime, like rape and sexual assault, not reported to police. This isn't just someone pushing 1 for rape or 2 for burglary on the phone. Actual face-to-face interviews are conducted, multiple times. I think this is an important tool to have, and I wish they would make the methods used for data collection, and the actual numbers at the end of the year, more publicly known. We have these highway signs all over my state that let us know how many traffic deaths so far for the year. Sometimes it even specifies alcohol related, motorcycle related, etc. It's a constant reminder every ten miles or so near the major cities of what the numbers are. It creates not just an awareness, but helps mentally focus drivers on the roads to use more caution. For me, I think the numbers on sexual assault and rape should be plastered regularly on television, within internet browsers, or somewhere we would be able to apply that reminder. Granted, BJS doesn't really cover harassment, but that is something we can still find a way to get out there. Now, to answer if the number drop is due to awareness? Absolutely. I think there has been a sharp accounting for perpetrators thanks to social media. Determent is preferable, but I think what we lack is empowerment of victims. Too many times so many folks hear about a pastor or famous Hollywood director and say, "Well, yeah. We all knew about their behavior, but what do you do? Report it and get excommunicated or fired?" There are no safe guards for victims. I understand that we cannot just allow flippant accusations of crimes against others. I agree the court of public opinion is damaging, and one never truly recovers once a reputation has been put in front of a national stage and found guilty based on a smirk captured in unrelated events. But the level of vitriol that accusers meet even from law enforcement and court officials is appalling. Objectivity does not mean discouraging one from ever coming forward, or making a victim feel it is wrong to speak up to begin with. Asking a question, making a statement of concern, or revealing one has been hurt by another, should not immediately draw skepticism. What ever happened to acknowledging a problem? Acknowledgement is not confirmation of the actual events, but it sure as hell isn't off putting or intimidating. Acknowledging someone's experience allows for discussion, investigation, and conversation. Why does this person believe s/he has been abused? What events happened to lead to this conclusion? Who was present, how did this person perceive his/her role in the event? I mean, this is every day investigative practice. You can hug a person and acknowledge his/her experiences without convicting anybody until all the facts are there. How hard of a concept is this? And why is it not in practice anymore? For me, all of this increased media attention to Weinstein, Weiner, and the assholes at Mythicon, really highlights the systemic problems in reporting sexual abuse/assault/harassment. It shows that, yes, while the numbers may be coming down, how many actually understand or accept that what they have experienced was unacceptable? Especially if you ever bring up these experiences, people immediately do not acknowledge your experience, but outright question the validity, motive, and level of harm you experienced without ever investigating the actual events you are sharing? I know that the numbers are higher than what we see. Not just from under reporting, but lack of comprehension of what sexual assault/abuse/harassment constitutes. Many are taught to downplay these experiences from an early age. I didn't understand what my father did was wrong for many years. Not because I didn't know that it was wrong. I absolutely knew that sexual touching of my genitals, of my breasts, and penetration was wrong--- if a stranger did it. I had no idea that my dad could do those things to me. I did not have the concept that his doing it to me was the same thing as a stranger doing it. And I think that is where we need so much more education in our society on this matter. How many men/women accept the fact that sexual commentary is normal, and you just have to let it slide off? How many people feel like an absolute negative nancy when they have to put their foot down in these situations? And why do they feel guilty for saying no to people making sexual commentary that they are not comfortable with? Solution? It's education. We need more of it.
  9. If you haven't seen it yet, there is a hashtag floating around the past week that says simply #MeToo. This is in response to the growing fire storm in the media this past week about Harvey Weinstein's despicable behavior towards women he worked with. Many have come forward alleging instances of unwanted sexual advances, sexual touching, and even rape. Additionally, some other male actors have come under close scrutiny after being confronted about their own behaviors towards fellow female actresses in Hollywood. Much of what has always been acknowledged in the movie industry is now becoming a banner to rally under for the respectful treatment of female peers not just in the acting industry, but everywhere across the United States. But, as I posted my own recognition of this very important hashtag, it brought out a lot of deeper reflection on what this is all about. This is not just about women coming forward and sharing that they have been sexually harassed or abused in life so that others do not feel alone in their suffering. This is about male victims too. And it is a physical showing of hands on the national stage. It is a movement that is putting a sea of faces out there for all to see and measure. It is showing the grim reality that it isn't a rare occurrence at home, work, school, or public bar scene. Turns out that sexual harassment and assault are more common place in our communities than most want to admit or ever realized. This is mostly in part due to under reporting to appropriate authorities. Under reporting is a tell tale symptom of the lack of support we have in our nation for those who suffer sex crimes. As a victim, I can appreciate this feeling of lack of support. In my case, police officers had my father's own admission, and they still insisted I go back home later that night after everything was brought out in the open. This is the cruel reality for many sexual abuse victims. An even crueler reality? There is a growing awareness in this country of what is happening, but it stops there and isn't blossoming into a larger community outreach to fix this problem. Case in point. Friend of mine and I were discussing my own sexual abuse and assault experiences, and he made a comment along the lines of this kind of thing is all too common a story among the women he knows. He then recounted how one previous girl friend had been raped by an ex that broke into her home one night, another by her father growing up. Another close friend of his had been molested by family members growing up. Then he recalled his own half sister having been raped repeatedly by his estranged father. He found out about this from his half sister some years ago. Even worse, her mother knew about it, and even watched and yelled at her during the event because it was considered a just punishment. All of this he found out years later from his half sister, and at that point he pretty much decided he would avoid his dad from then on. But our conversation didn't stop there. He then realized he knew at least two men who had been sexually abused in their youth. And then of course his own experience of being fondled by a Boy Scout troop leader when he was young. He often down plays this experience though, as he doesn't see how it has affected him other than it being awkward, and never went further than fondling. Nonetheless, our conversation really made him put into words what many are realizing this week: The majority of people he knows have been sexually abused, molest, assaulted, etc. What does this awareness accomplish after this moment? What do we do with this shared knowledge and perspective once we have it? Does it mean he is now more sensitive to trauma? Possibly. Is he going to call up his local city leaders and state level officials to start putting money into programs to help victims report the abuse? Maybe push for a counseling initiative? Or insist we get comprehensive sexual education in schools? Probably not. What do we do once we get others aware of the epidemic that is sexual abuse? Not everyone can be the activist that is beating down the doors of legislators to get funding in place. The reality is that this is where the local community has to step in and find their own initiatives to develop solutions to under reporting, lack of education on sexual consent, and poorly funded crisis counseling. It could be something as simple as volunteers getting schools on board to do two week elective classes on sex ed and consent. Or volunteering at crisis centers to man the phones and be that rock for victims to cling to at 2 a.m. in the morning after being hurt by someone they trusted. Awareness is a key part of the problem, but it is not enough. We cannot just leave it as sexually abusive behavior happens everywhere to everyone. If you cannot contribute money to funded education or crisis programs, consider contributing your time. Or at the very least, sit down and have that conversation with your kids, your parents, your neighbors, or a teen that you know is possibly struggling with these issues. Have the conversation and get them help immediately. Don't just be a visible reminder of the trauma, help fight it any way you think you can. #MeToo
  10. We've all got a country song or two in us, and this is one song I refuse to hear on repeat by people in my community who are role models in the atheist movement. :/
  11. I'm just going to say it. I have had it up to fucking here with the Atheist Role Model Who Is Causing A Lot Of Drama In My Personal Circle bullshit. This is utter BULLSHIT. I have had the opportunity to interact with him for a three years or so now. Granted, it was usually one sided, and when he wanted something, but I have been privy to a lot of background discussion he authors. Ever having a shoulder and ear that many of us mutually shared to let him vent his woes. In all honestly? I'd known him approximately 6 months, and tried to shake off my red flag warnings. But goddamn, once again, I should have listened to my inner voice. He is a dishonest person, and while we can't be perfect, repeat behavior like this is a problem. A little background as to why I am so vehemently stepping out here. As many of you know, I'd dealt with a dishonest man for 17 years. Prior to that? Well, let's just say my ex-husband didn't fall far from the tree on the standard mistake of men I have a penchant for. He was father of the year in the streets, a selfish bastard in the sheets. He would always tell me to communicate with him what I wanted, and I'll be damned if he would ever acquiesce. All the way down to coitus. He would ask my advice, if he didn't agree, he treated me as if I were infantile, and then of course, if he would use my advice? Declare he had come up with the chosen action all on his own. I was never considered a contributor, unless he was showing off his family. Relationship wise? Oh, we were monogamous, but he would serial cheat, telling the other women either that he was single, or in an open relationship. Of course he would insist I pleasure him on demand whether I wanted to or not (god forbid he went more than 3 days), and blame me for everything that ever went wrong. If the world wasn't in agreement with him, then surely something was wrong with the world. So, when dealing with a certain atheist super hero of the South, I began to feel an odd atmosphere of deja vu. I tried to shake it, but then the drama with a particular non profit erupted. And seeing and hearing his own testimony, behind private group doors, on what was going on versus what they said, I took a grain a salt from both parties. Worse, I let slide the fact this atheist "role model" only approached me if he wanted "crowd sourcing" ideas, wanted to be sure whose side I was on when I was reading through past posts of the non profit mess, or shared a thumbs up if recent pictures of my tits looked amazing. In all honesty, I could give two shits less if he didn't stay with the non profit, I just didn't want a good service disappearing due to drama that BOTH parties should have taken to arbitration. I know damn well if he were in the right, that non profit would have been on the hook for the arbitration bill, and vice versa. I now am faced with what I suspected he would do to a friend mine, who is also a former girlfriend of his, coming into reality. Trash and burn. And frankly, I understand that it is his relationship and none of my damn business, except... He violated consent. Not once, but at least three times. With his now ex-wife. With my friend. And now another friend. And I don't mean he sexually assaulted anyone, but he took sexual advantage. He changed the rules without consent. Cheating is a serious consent issue if you didn't know. If I am in a monogamous relationship, and I decide I want to sleep with other people and not clear this with my partner, or the other partner I am sleeping with, I am taking away their consent to the relationship because I have changed the dynamic of the relationship. Yes, if you sleep with a different partner, and the other does not know, a little bit of advice: DO NOT FUCK YOUR ORIGINAL PARTNER AGAIN UNTIL YOU TALK ABOUT IT. More partners mean more risks. Health wise, emotionally, and financially. I used to take a very different attitude about cheating. My standard rule of thumb has been if someone cheats, just move on, let it go, and treat it as another lesson learned. I no longer take it so lightly because of the earlier mentioned reasons. I've been a victim of disease being brought to my bed. I've been a victim of the emotional toll of desperately trying to save a relationship I was told was still monogamous-despite his cheating. And I have been a financial victim because I had to move almost immediately as my ex-husband couldn't stand me living in the home if I wasn't going to be in a relationship any longer, or wouldn't at least still fuck him in the mean time till I moved. And I have walked the fine line of cheating, more like disappointing future expectations, but still came clean before engaging my partner again. I gave him the option to stay or walk, and he walked. Deservedly so. I gave him the choice to continue. I gave him a voice. I didn't lie. I didn't hide my actions. I didn't seek to possess him on terms that would have been against his will. So, I do not take this continuation of behavior as just a "life lesson" that this role model continues to repeat. Does he really need consent explained? I highly doubt it. In fact, I think he needs to be honest about who he really is, and what he wants in a relationship. Quit being a coward. If he wants an open relationship, then go into a relationship that is open. Do not promise whatever the lover wants to hear in order to have this person in your life, making you feel special and wanted. That person is not there for you only, and selfish desire is never a good reason to manipulate someone to get what you want. If this person isn't open to being open, then you can't lie and violate them like that. No, means no. You will just have to live with the rejection and move on. FWIW, my ex-husband got 17 years of my life. 17 years of constant lying, possessiveness, secrets, disease, narcissistic torture, and violation of my consent to the terms of the relationship. He never once said to me,"Kate,I cannot be in a monogamous relationship." He never gave me the opportunity, or even show the respect to allow me to participate in our relationship. No, he used me. He abused my role as mother and caregiver. He also stood on the backs of countless other women in order to fill his starving ego and insecurities, and he also used them to punish me, and further his career that took him out of town for weeks at a time. This role model for secular and exiting religious alike, is violating consent on every level. It is disgusting and below him, especially when writing "“We are a sex positive community if we are nothing else. Personally, I’m proud of that fact, because as a former Southern Baptist I am so very done with the body shame and antiquated approach to sexual relationships that I inherited. But people also use the freedom this affords to exploit others and take advantage of them." What he is doing isn't just a small matter of cheating. If what is said is to be trusted, he outright abandoned a family he created, and then proceeded to wreck another. So why am I acting like I have any part of his circus? His behavior has had a negative effect on my own social life within certain secular circles. I passed up on what he refers to as a "fight club" get-together last year because I knew he would be there. You know, some of these gatherings are a very intimate settings, and the idea of even shaking his hand, or worse hugging him, made me sick to my stomach. I skipped out on two conventions because I knew he would be there, and there was no way I was going to stand by with a happy shit smile. And the fact I am passing up on events to avoid him, and the drama attached, is bullshit. Who is he to have this effect over me? I will tell you. He is a trigger zone of red flags for me. I know his fan club will be jumping all over me, and so be it. Unlike the majority of them, I have dealt with him on a much more intimate level. I've seen and read enough from his fingertips to be justified in my scorn. To be clear, my scorn isn't for him to personally answer to. He owes me nothing, and this word salad might seem unnecessary to many, but it's my rally cry for him, and others like him, to get help. This role model is burning out fast, and I don't know if he can see it. So let me hold up that mirror for him, and let him decide. He can claim that this is me projecting past bad relationships on to him, but it isn't. His own actions have triggered my own warning flags to stay away and avoid. Please do better, oh Southern Secular power house. Your own kids could be your next victims simply because of the example you have set. ****Special Entry Update**** I have screenshots from the accusers, and am not going to retract one iota of what I have penned here now that I have read it all. I am glad they are working together to not only share their experience and eventually put the screens out there, but are keeping a stiff upper lip with the absolute hatred they are receiving in the fall out. There have been some who question the use of words and phrases like "sexually violated", "sexually assaulted", etc. I leave that up to the discretion of the accuser, as I am not in her shoes. I will say a violation of consent is most definitely an issue here, and I stand by my assessment that the women involved were most definitely sexually taken advantage of by this spokesperson I am blogging about here. Don't like it? See my field of fucks, and that it is barren.
  12. He is a charlatan making money on fear and escapism. Like much of the rest of the US pundits.
  13. Not as bad as our friend's experience here on this blog. I, at least, mostly just dealt with threats. I couldn't imagine having to face down an entire community of church members.
  14. I'm working on it. Part of me is still reserved on the whole thing. Like, my heart says this is where I am heading, but my brain is like "out for more analysis".
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.