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Everything posted by TheBluegrassSkeptic

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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


      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


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

    3. Lost


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

  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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
  9. 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. :/
  10. 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.
  11. He is a charlatan making money on fear and escapism. Like much of the rest of the US pundits.
  12. 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.
  13. 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".
  14. I see the term "pan" be panned by a lot of the lgbtq community, so I'm hesitant to use it. I just leave it as I love who I love. I don't know completely how I feel about myself yet, but I definitely need to quit putting on a visual that I just don't like at all. Pronouns don't matter to me as much as others think it ought to. I don't have a problem being referred to in the feminine. It isn't a big deal to me. I would rather folks just call me by my name hahaha
  15. I tell you, my parents used to threaten to put me in front of the congregation all the time for whatever I did wrong. The thought of if was terrfiying. I'm sorry you had to experience this and have to censor who you are. Just isn't right.
  16. Welcome to the site! I love this place. I cannot stop coming back because the community here is very supportive and insightful. Hope you like us and become a regular!
  17. I have severely scaled back participation in Pride and LGBTQ community activism over the last year or so because I have reached a major crossroads in my life during this time. I openly have lived as a bi-sexual woman for approximately a decade. I have also added a slight addendum to that and expanded my bi-sexuality to include those who are also genderqueer, gender fluid, and trans, as I have really found I am attracted to pretty much anyone. I have come to realize I will love and be sexually attracted to just about anyone out there. There is no specific type that I look for. I do not know if this is being worded correctly, as trying to explain my emotions do not always come out as a clear message on paper or blog pages. With all this rehashed, this past year I have been trying to figure out how to describe a larger elephant in my closet that I have not truly addressed head on, nor have I even attempted to just kind of word salad it out in mildly veiled inquiry. Usually I like to crowd source my perceptions so others can help me verbalize better what I am thinking. I literally struggle with this. There are days I would describe my feelings as brown, or my attitude as a number. I can't make it translate into intelligible words when leaving my brain where others can actually understand what the hell is going on up there. I am kind of reaching a breaking point, and maybe I have the correct letters and punctuation to make it all present itself in an understandable dialog. Somehow, I doubt it, but here goes. For the first time today, I used the word dysphoria. This is a big deal for me. I have thought about this word for the past couple of years or so thanks to so many of my friends out there being able to put a word to what they are feeling when having trouble accepting their physical selves. This word they used gave me a starting point to discuss with my own therapist, and of course research it, in order to see if it somehow applied to my own emotional state about my personal self. There has been a lot of personal conflict and nights of quiet contemplation for hours on the subject of what I am. I use the word what, because I know who I am. I am Kate. I am funny, have a bit of dry with, a need to be right, an avid lover of all things robots and scifi, and I have goals in life for my later years where I will be so happy with my family that all the past years of struggle will be eclipsed by the few I will have left of joy. I know who I am. And this is where I might be using all the wrong language, so I am so very sorry if I offend anyone with my words to describe my journey to find the what of who I am. Little thing about me most don't know. I consider my gender the what of me. What are you? Male, female? Gender has always been a what for me. It has never been a part of the definition of me, as if I have always treated it as optional. I really do not know where I got this from. My parents never exposed me to the LGBTQ communities growing up. Some have said it is probably from me disassociating myself from childhood sexual abuse, and for awhile I bought into that a little since I had no other explanation. My therapist and I discussed this finally, and he seems to think my doubts are well founded and this has zero to do with the sexual abuse I went through as a child. We have looked back on my childhood, and I shared equal enjoyment in things that would be considered predominantly male and activities seen more as female related. The same was true of dress, hair style, and everything else you can think of. One thing is very clear. I never really latched on to the idea of gender roles at all, let alone worried about being perceived as male or female. I only worried if people got my name wrong. And I always corrected them and got offended if they insisted on not calling me correctly. On a side note, it still deeply hurts me today when people butcher my name, and keep on insisting on it. I have a boss that does this now, and while I actually love her dearly, it hurts she insists on calling me what she does despite my protest. Relationships. Public image versus my personal image. My general attitudes. Anyone that follows my public work, sees my secret group postings, or has dated me, will undoubtedly say,"You obviously do not have a problem with being female. You use your feminine wiles, you try to appear attractive as a female, and you certainly enjoy sex toys designed for females. So, obviously, you don't hate your vagina or breasts." I'm not saying any of this. Again, my female body is part of the what I am. And after being abused as a child, and trying to survive abusive relationships, one tends to use their body as a tool. It got me through some pretty tough times, and it has given me plenty of pleasure. What can I say, orgasms are amazing. I love sexual intimacy. Yes, some days, I adore my curves and the little button I was born with, and other days it disgusts me, and I wish I could trade out for other experiences. My body is a what. It's like a canvas that I get to decorate and find innovative ways to create fun visuals and sensations with. The past year I have come to realize that more often than not, the pretty images I share on profiles, the extra effort I put into looking nice on a podcast, it isn't for my benefit. It is something I've been in denial of for awhile, and I just need to admit this isn't me being too poor to afford taking care of my look. I have been in a steady, and rebellious, direction of no longer doing this to myself. It has been depressing me. No amount of make up will make me happy with who I am when it isn't a visual that I want to wear to begin with. This is my dysphoria. This is where my elephant in the closet comes bursting out. I have come to finally put the words together for something that has been in my everyday life for too long. I would say I am on the fluid spectrum of gender identity. I don't want to wear the pretty eyelashes, mascara, or any of that. Or at least, not for the reasons I have been doing so. The pressure to look appealing is hard enough, but to do it in a manner that doesn't fit what you are seems to make it worse. My clothing wardrobe is experiencing a similar deal. I had to go shopping for an outfit for an important job interview, and while I told my lover that the store just didn't have any complete suit sets available, the reality was that I was revolting against the idea I have to present myself in a strong, feminine, power outfit. I just didn't want to do it. I got overwhelmed walking around that store looking at all these clothes and thinking how I would rather have a nice shaved cut, some gel, and a flat chest with a fit shirt and slacks. Little touch of lipstick would be good, and just some foundation to even out my face. I didn't want to be feminine at all for my interview. And then there is a festival coming up and there is a sundress I would love to wear with a floppy hat and some sandals, and my painted toes to boot. Welcome to my struggle. Hopefully I can get this in a more understandable format at some point. If I could offer a plug into my head and you feel it all, I would gladly share. Anyway, thanks for reading. <3
  18. I too am super happy so many answered the rally cry. I posted the pay pal link and issue everywhere I could think of. I hit up a couple podcasting networks too. I hope they become regular sponsors.
  19. Over the last decade I have dreamed of being able to help students pursue education that helps them further important work needing to be tackled in separation of church and state issues and many fields in science. This can be accomplished if students decide to pursue political careers, community leadership positions, higher education teaching jobs, and so much more. With the onslaught of propaganda surrounding issues like keeping a god in school, governmental suppression on earth science, encouragement of people to remain ignorant about important social justice issues in the name of ideological purity, I decided I would come after your kids. I'm looking at you evangelical parents out there. I am coming for your children. To educate them, remove this naive idea that leveling the playing field for all communities to have authority is showing preference, and enable them to think logically about an issue and understand that sometimes, you just have to say,"I don't know" instead of filling in the gap with whatever unsupported reason one can find. And finally, I am coming for these kids to help sponsor their future careers in the areas I mentioned above. Well, at least one this year anyway. I'm excited to announce the creation of the Hillbilly Edumacashun Fund. This is a scholarship program that I am excited to launch this year on behalf of my podcast Unbuckling the Bible Belt. This year, starting 10/1/17 - 11/1/17, students ages 17 - 22 that are enrolled to start, or are currently attending college, can toss in their hat for the $500 award amount for an essay to be submitted that is judged the best for the topic of "Bad Ad Hoc Argumentation for Intelligent Design". Scholarship money will be awarded to one individual based on the best scoring in the grading scale listed below in the details section of this post. How could this get any better? Well, more money for entries next year! Part of my plan to start putting money towards next year's scholarship fund-in which we hope to raise $1500 to award to three students- will be a publication of all the entrants' submissions from this year in an eBook! All proceeds (minus processing fee by Amazon), will go directly to the Hillbilly Edumacashun Fund for 2018! We would really love to make this scholarship program larger and larger every year, so I hope this catches on. Our podcast celebrates youth and the future they are creating for the coming generations, and every little bit, even if just $500, will help them accomplish that endeavor. So, here is the official rules of the Hillbilly Edumacashun Fund Scholarship Event: Entrant Requirements: 1. Must be 17 - 22 years old, and identify as atheist, agnostic, humanist and/or secular. 2. Must be currently accepted/enrolled in college pursuing a career course that helps you further a higher level of secular activism. 3. If you are still in high school, you will have to provide an admissions letter and set to start at a college in January of 2018 (Winter quarter). 4. A resident of the United States of America, including its territories. 5. Provide documentation of all of the above using a state identification card, Admission letter, and college program statement. 6. Short paragraph outlining your current secular activism and biographical information. 7. Be sure to give three options for communication: -Home address -Two phone numbers -Email address 8. Applicants of all races, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation are encouraged to apply. Entry Requirements: 1. The topic is "Bad Ad Hoc Argumentation for Intelligent Design". Have fun with this topic. If you are unsure what ad hoc argumentation is, please go here: https://www.thoughtco.com/ad-hoc-explanations-causes-and-rationalization-3968430, or if you learn better by seeing examples, this YouTube video about Jibbers Crabst really shows ad hoc fallacy at its best: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZ_BtZ-5O60 2. Entries will be accepted from 10/1/17 at 12:00 pm EST - 11/1/17 at 12:00 pm EST. If sending via postal service, entries must be postmarked 11/1/17. A winner will be chosen and announced Live via our YouTube channel on Black Friday, 11/24/2017 at 12:00 p.m. EST. Be sure to give three options for communication: -Home address -Two phone numbers -Email address 3. Entries must be an original work and not previously used for previous essay contests. We do check for plagiarism, so Don't Do It. 4. An essay between 800 - 1500 words, double spaced, typed, edited, and in pdf format. Where To Send Entries Via email unbucklingpodcast@gmail.com. Via postal service: Hillbilly Edumacashun Fund, c/o Amanda Ashcraft, PO Box 72394, Newport, KY, 41072. Fax is not available. How A Winner Is Selected 1. If any of the entry requirements above are not met, it will not be considered for the scholarship. 2. We will be expecting a properly formatted and proofread submission. 3. We will be only considering entries that stay on topic. If it is off topic, we will not consider it for the scholarship. 4. Podcast members will judge each entry and decide on a single winner. Scholarship Disbursement Scholarship money will be sent to the college listed on your Admission letter by January 2nd, 2018. Award will be earmarked for your account with the college that can be used towards the cost of any of the following: 1. Tuition (Current only, not for default amounts) 2. Textbooks, Computer Software, general class supplies purchased on campus only 3. Dorm costs 4. Campus Parking costs 5. THESE MONIES CANNOT BE REFUNDED FOR CASH NOR REPLACED IF YOU TRANSFER SCHOOLS AND ARE UNABLE TO TAKE THE REMAINING AMOUNT OF THE SCHOLARSHIP WITH YOU. Miscellaneous When submitting your essay to the Hillbilly Edumacashun Fund Scholarship program, you must agree to the following: 1. All works submitted to this event will be considered the property of Unbuckling the Bible Belt Podcast who will use the material submitted as they see fit without any compensation owed to the submitting party. 2. Unbuckling the Bible Belt Podcast will always credit the original author for composing the submitted work when used in advertisements, compilations, fund raisers, and other marketing options. 3. Winner will be required to do an interview with Unbuckling the Bible Belt by 2/1/2017. Because we're proud of ya! Oh, and if we think of something we might have forgotten...Yeah, we will update these rules at any time.
  20. I just wanted to add on to what everyone else has mentioned here. Feeling scared is normal. This kind of thinking goes against what you have been programmed to accept from a young age, so your psyche is throwing out all kinds of warning flags. Don't let this discourage you. Imagine your own child feeling the same way in 30 years! Not nice is it? Giving your child a genuine choice in the matter, with all sides of the arguments laid bare, is the way to go in order for her to never feel like you are right now. Accurate and valid information is huge in preventing her ever feeling scared one day. She should be worried about acceptance into major colleges down the road, not whether her life has been centered around a huge convoluted escapism. Most importantly, don't ever doubt yourself about sharing your feelings. Anxiety is a huge factor in many not leaving when they start to question, but once you start to question, it's really hard to ever go back to the land prophets, demons and thought crimes. Many stay on to some degree in order to not lose out on the social aspects of the faith community. Don't blame anyone a bit on that. I miss those potlucks! Welcome to the club of questioners, or possibly none and done like myself. <3
  21. I have many times. It's part of who I am, and not just a casual occurrence of not wanting to play a particular sport anymore. It's a life changing event. Period. I make it clear that trying to "win me back" will get them a ban. From my LIFE. Yes. When every time I want to discuss a problem, and I am told it's my fault because I am not right with Christ? Bye, Felicia. I deal with more than just pain, but more akin to being enraged. Enraged at a doctrine that causes such unnecessarily emotional stress on family members. Knowing some will cry and imagine me being tortured and they love me so much and don't want that to happen to me. Enraged at a doctrine that will always create a necessity for the lesser in order to be superior. Enraged that being a fuck up for Christ enables so much harmful escapist behavior.
  22. The headline is colorful, chilling, and woefully short sighted about the issues of incest, pregnancy, and consent. I think it goes without much emphasis how quickly it hit all the wrong buttons that put me back to my youth being molested by my father. It made me immediately reflect on the moment I said yes when he asked if he could pretend I was my mother. That headline made me stand up and pace the room for a good three minutes, reminding myself how often incest happens: voluntarily - but with limited understanding of what it all means until the damage is done. Virginian delegate, Bob Marshall (R), is well known for his blatantly reckless, and often abhorrent, public airing of his reasoning regarding issues ranging from disabled children being nature's vengeance on mothers who have had abortions before, to making cursing in an email a misdemeanor offense if he had his way. When reading his rationale that there should not be an exception to an abortion ban in cases of incest because sometimes incest is "voluntary", one cannot help but wonder how many victims of incest, let alone those who became pregnant, has he ever been socially involved with. To take the attitude that because some victims were complicit in the demands of their abuser should automatically disallow abortion, even for those who were forcefully abused and impregnated, demonstrates how little this candidate is familiar with the dynamics of sexual abuse to begin with. My own experience of being molested by my father underscores the need for legislators like Marshall to understand that it is not black and white when it comes to abuse. My father was a verbally, physically, and emotionally abusive man. He pretty much left me walking on egg shells, anxious when working on projects with him, and never sure if I would become too annoying and he would find a way to punish me and make me go away for awhile to my room, or worse, take the belt to me. When my father approached me to come to his bed while my mother was nearly dying in the hospital from severe pancreatitis, and he was being gentle, caring, even conversational and patient, how could I at such a young age say no? I was completely ignorant on what sex was, or that his desire was inappropriate. My church never spoke on such things to children so young. All I knew is that dad wasn't acting like the normally recognizable monster that kept our home a nightmare of bipolar highs and lows, and I wasn't going to pass up on a chance to have a father that was calm and loving for once. Of course, I didn't realize he was hurting me until later on, and this is where Marshall's public opinion on "voluntary" incest is woefully misguided and lacking any real depth of the situation. It leaves out the reality that a lot of "voluntary" instances of incest and other forms of sex abuse are situations of "uninformed consent" -- which is assault..... It's been two years since Marshall made these statements, and sadly, he is in his 11th term of office, and even more politicians are taking the same attitude, but with different rationale. George Faught (R) state representative of Oklahoma, made it clear that except for genetic anomalies and Down Syndrome, that there shouldn't be an exception to an abortion ban. His attitude, like that of Rick Santorum and many other conservative congressional leaders, is that the suffering of one will "bring beauty from the ashes" in the form of the child that is forced to be carried to term, despite how it was conceived or the lingering psychological damage that the mother must recover from. Rape and incest, no exception, but genetic anomalies, kill it. The attitude that ultimately beauty comes from sexual abuse tells me they watch way too many Lifetime movies, or this demonstrates how much cognitive dissonance is at play in the policy making minds of many conservative congressmen in this country. The romanticizing of suffering, and the more personal an assault the better for such a process, is undeniable in the Bible. There have been many stories shared not just in religious studies, but in everyday life and story telling, of how a person is sexually violated, and the resulting child brings about a metamorphosis of recovery and strength to defeat all the odds against the victim. But as Faught seems to point out, a genetic deformity is not the same as sexual abuse. There wasn't an an act against one's will involved. There wasn't trauma. There wasn't a good enough story of a human life being shattered behind it. Worst of all, this type of romanticizing of suffering and humiliation of an individual creates an obligatory martyrdom that is then demanded to be shared publicly for all to gain a lesson from, which is atrocious and dehumanizing in my opinion. It takes away the right to process your pain in a manner that best suits you, and even encourages a suppression of hurt as there is an expectation to perform for the general public an astounding feat of an "overcoming the odds" underdog story of encouragement. It's pure selfishness on the part of these congressmen and ideologues pushing this line of rationalization to the general public. They are saying to victims,"We want a feel good story from your tragedy that reaffirms our faith values, Suzy, so you have to have that rape baby your daddy put in your belly. Don't worry, it's a blessing you can pay for, sweetheart." This is exploitation of the vulnerable to benefit the masses, and it must stop. Some might argue that it isn't about any of what I've just said, but actually a focus on the beauty of someone trying to survive and recover, and that the baby in the mix makes it all the more beautiful. But to whom? This refusal to offer exception for incest is not about the rare cases of sister and brother, or uncle and niece, who are of age, informed of the risks, and willingly in a desired relationship together. This is about the 15 year old, or 22 year old, who finds themselves pregnant after sexual abuse. They are feeling depressed, used, overwhelmed, and are struggling to survive. And you think that this notion that being in this predicament is benefiting them by showing others the strength and resilience of their desire to get through that mess? That in the long run, everything will end up like Queen Simonida of Serbia, and these abused souls will take solace in being the example for everyone else? That this constant recognition of pain and anguish will be a pep rally for their psyche to continue on and look back on their lives with a grateful attitude?
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