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H2O Man

H2O Man's Journal
H2O Man's Journal
February 24, 2023

Please Help

I would like to ask members of the DU community for a big favor. It has to do with a legal case in Unadilla, NY, where a man has violated an order of protection -- reportedly several times by phone and text, before engaging in a vicious assault on a young lady at her place of employment. He was attempting to stab her neck with a key, before a citizen intervened.

The person who asked me to examine this case is my cousin, who was shot with his son in 2014 by an intexicated, off-duty law enforcement officer. The son died, and my cousin continues to have issues from being shot. DUers contacted court officials when the thug was hoping for bail.


This coming Monday afternoon, my cousin and I will be attending the next court hearing for Jeff Bullis, the thug that attacked the young lady in Unadilla. I am catching up on more details than have been reported by the area media. One of the people I am in communication with is a local Justice of the Peace, who is very familiar with Bullis and this case. She has said it is important for citizens to contact the District Attorney's office, and request that Bullis is fully charged, tried, convicted, and incarcerated.

Bullis had no respect for the court's order of protection. His violations of that court order increased, up to his assaulting the young lady. It is my impression that if the legal system does not hold him fully accountable, he will continue to escalate the intensity of his violence. And there is really only one "next step."

The Otsego County District Attorney's office does not have a public e-mail address. Hence, I am hoping people will call D.A. John Muehl's office at 607-547-6464. Thank you for your consideration.


H2O Man

February 16, 2023

A Soft Parade

" Can you give me sanctuary
I must find a place to hide
A place for me to hide." -- Jim Morrison; The Soft Parade

In the early morning hours, I heard a newsman from Michigan say, "It can be said tha 'all school shootings are local'." An appropriate Tip of the hat to the late Speaker O'Neill, I suppose. Several students at the university had attended Oxford high school when there was the mass shooting there on November 30, 2021.

Other university students spoke to the media hours later, about running and looking for a place to hide while the gunman was shooting people. The descriptions of events was bizarre, almost impossible to imagine, far beyond Jim's walk along Sunset Boulevard. A soft parade that displays all that went wrong in the country I once knew.

This mass shooting was both like and distinct from the others that take place in centers of education. With some seventy-plus mass shootings thus far in 2023, it is no surprise that there are variations in the explosive, deadly hatred that wounds and kills innocent human beings on a daily basis. Let's look at two differences.

This murderer was about twice the age of the usual school shooter. He was not white. More, the legal system might have prevented him from legally being able to buy a gun, had he been properly prosecuted in 2019 for illegally carrying one. Despite his previous record, which showed he had no regard for the law, he got a plea deal for a reduced charge that did not prevent him from legally buying a gun. It is not enough to say he might still have gotten one illegally -- gun laws need to be firmly enforced.

How is he similar to other mass shooters? I've read where people say he should have been treated for mental illness before, even one comment blaming his father for not getting him "help" before. Thus far, I have heard nothing that suggests he had a major mental illness. I've heard that he had a job up until his mothe died two years ago. From what his father and sister are reported to have said, he had tended to be socially isolated up until his mother's death -- with her being the closest to him -- and became a hostile recluse after she died.

This would appear to put him in the same grouping as most school shooters ..... not mentally ill, but with severe personality disorders. Serious mental illnesses can surface after the loss of a loved one, but that is generally in one's teens or early twenties. They do not tend to appear in a male's 40s. More, personality disorders tend to become entrenched in the teens through early twenties -- by no coincidence, in the very years that the human brain has its final growth -- and become far harder to treat thereafter.

I am all for expanding the current gun laws. I live in rural, upstate New York, where there are far more republicans than Democrats. Most of the men that live near me hunt, and love their guns. In fact, most have been divorced at least once, but have never parted with one of their weapons, which I think illustrates their priorities. Most parrot some NRA lines. Yet, when I aask them if the favor keeping guns out of the hands of, say, school shooters, they all agree this is necessary. Thus, I think we need a focused message to counter the gun lobby.

Also, the current gun laws have to be expanded, and firmly enforced. Mass shootings aren't the only issue; on an average day, one hundred people are killed by someone with a gun. While in rare examples a person with a gun stops an attack by a gunman, the problem does not appear to be one of too few guns. There are currently 120 guns per one hundred Americans, which suggests that gun owners don't need to worry about them being taken away. Close to 90% of Americans support reasonable regulation of guns.

At the same time, we need to recognize that extreme personality pathology does not respond well to treatment after a person is 40 years old. In fact, it can be very difficult by the time one is in their later teens. This is especially true when society places the majority of the responsibility on schools, or expects police alone to deal with it. Add to that the reality of multi-generational families lacking both resources and parenting skills. We have to recognize, for example, the impact that having addiction and violence in a household has. Putting one or more parents behind bars may resolve one problem, no matter how temporary, but it frequently plants the seeds of future problems.

This country is experiencing a crisis that involves guns. It is overwhelmingly a male problem. And mass shootings associated with schools is overwhelmingly a young white male problem. I know that many people, especially republicans, do not want to fund programs for "those people." I've heard them say that for decades. But perhaps they can come to understand that as a society, we owe it to those others in school or college. And it is essential to start early, or we risk more 6 year olds bringing a gun to school, and many more white male teenagers.

February 6, 2023

A Merman

" Oh say, can you see it's really such a mess
Every inch of Earth is a fighting nest
Giant pencil and lipstick tube shaped things,
Continue to rain and cause screaming pain
And the arctic stains from silver blue to bloody red"
-- Jimi Hendrix; 1983 (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)

A couple of evenings ago, I had a phone call from a lady taking a survey on a wide variety of domestic and international issues. Some questions were easy to answer, such as "do you identify as a Democrat, republican, or independent?" Others were not so simple, such as "do you have a positive or negative opinion of Congress?" I said "both," but that was not an option.

Other questions focused on economic and military threats to the United States. I found the question regarding what country poses the greatest threat to the US the easiest to answer: the United States. What did I consider the biggest problem in our country? Hatred. For not all wars are fought with the weapons that Jimi Hendrix described in his haunting song.

Certainly, with the number of mass shootings here being greater than the number of days in 2023, one could say that there is a real problem with weapons. The levels of individual murders, as well as of domestic violence, are also unsettling. I remember Gandhi saying that poverty is the worst form of violence. And I know that there are forms of poverty beyond economics. Indeed, in just watching the news, I am reminded of what my late friend Rubin called the poverty of spirit that threatened the United States: the poverty of human decency, the poverty of truth, the poverty of kindness. Or, as I said, hatred.

"But you and I know that this war will not have any real victors and that, once it is over, we shall have to go on living together forever on the same soil." -- Albert Camus

An example of those forms of poverty were provided to the public when the republican House members voted to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee. Now, I recognize that, as Rep. Omar is among my favorite politicians, I am unlikely to be 100% objective. Yet I am easily able to recognize that she has said some offensive things, and has been called out for it by Democratic leaders. But if that is the measure for removing someone, how about those who campaign for the support of the people who carry torches and chant, "Jews will not replace us"?

Unlike some House republicans, Rep Omar has not threatened other House members. She hasn't posted a video of her killing another House member, or called for any politician's execution. She doesn't talk about carrying a gun on the House floor. She's never attempted a coup.As for the "hating America" bullshit, listen to their leader, Trump, and tell me who hates America.

My daughter and I were talking about this ..... how she is treated a bit differently. I said that because I am a white man in conservative rural upstate New York, I get to listen to a lot of white guys. In fact, I've listened to them all my life. (As a kid forced to go to church, I recognized that as a form of purgatory.) I know that the conservative guys have a limited concept of women's roles in the family, community, and country. And there isn't anything more confusing and un-nerving for them as an intelligent young woman of color in a position of power.

That's not to say that other women of any age in lanes outside of their narrow minds aren't upsetting for them. Or, some one like President Obama. For that matter, a growing number of non-white families in their communities, including non-white kids on their school's sports teams. One might notice a pattern here. These guys believe they are entitled to a society where white men rule.

Hours after Rep. Omar was removed from the Foreign Affairs Committee, I saw a republican House member commenting on the news. He said that the Democrats "try to make everything about race." I can't remember his name, but his face and words were the same as those I've listened to over the years in rural upstate New York. As a Democrat, I'll say that "race" -- while an issue -- wasn't the only issue, and that it is the Democratic Party that is willing and ready to put all of the other issues on the table for discussion. And the republicans are going to have to learn to live with it.

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