My brain on grief unless I write

hamster-wheelIt is emotionally draining to write some of these posts. I do revisit the emotions of losing my son to suicide all over again which hurts like the devil.

The truth is the stories run round and round in my head like a hamster wheel. When I am stubborn and refuse to write about it, my thoughts ...  read more

Be the change if you’re not seeing the change you want – #JRW16

Anne Moss Rogers, speaker presenter mental illness, suicide and social media
Melissa Scott Sinclair on the left, me on the right. By Lisa Mistry

Thank you Lisa Mistra for this illustration. Love it! Melissa Scott Sinclair was the moderator, a talented author and writer for Richmond magazine and Style Weekly and I am the presenter on the topic of personal branding.

If you are an aspiring author in Richmond, Virginia,  ...  read more

I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this any more

I love this scene. One of my favorites of all time from the memorable 70’s movie, Network. I have not seen a movie this good in years. It illustrates how frustrated I feel about the loss of so many lives of young people especially in the last few years

How many thousands more kids do we have ...  read more

Dear high and mighty parent

Having a bit of devilish fun with this post.
Having a bit of devilish fun with this post

How did you get such perfect kids? No wonder you are bursting with pride. You raised your children right!

Clearly those of us who are struggling with our children are at a loss for what to do. We didn’t spank them enough, hire enough tutors, take away enough or show them who is boss.

If ...  read more

Quotas are for salesmen not cops

Why should policemen have to meet a certain quota for arrests and traffic stops?

Not only is it fundamentally counterproductive for the purpose of “protect and defend,” it’s counterproductive to the balance of community. It creates an “us versus them” kind of culture.

Quotas are about generating revenue, not keeping peace

For the sake of cash, we are producing a society of lives broken by incarceration. We’ve gone so bat shit crazy, we’re charging teenagers with felonies for pranks we used to get a slap on the wrist for.

All in the name of meeting a quota with a little “tough on crime” thrown in there for good political sake.

So we put these policemen on the front line and charge them with the responsibility to arrest a certain number of people every shift. Under that kind of pressure, some officers feel forced to profile people to “find” trouble or go out on a limb for “probable cause” to make those arrests.

Their jobs depend on it.

And who gets locked up?  Mentally ill, intellectually challenged, the autistic, those with the illness of addiction, young male adults, the poor and people of color. Those who are mentally ill or autistic are targeted because they act differently and often attract suspicion.

Quotas tend to make younger cops very competitive and lose sight of the fact they deal with people and their lives. For example, they might pull people over for rolling stops for the real purpose of getting a drug bust.

A younger cop’s ambition in this scenario can result in a situation that escalates and gets way out of hand. We experienced this and it was the catalyst that started a downward spiral for Charles that ended in his suicide. I am not pinning blame on the police force for my son’s death but it was certainly in the mix of why he lost hope in the end.

Quotas have lead to police becoming victims

By making the police meet quotas, we have made them targets for angry citizens who see them as the enemy

You could argue they’ve become pawns in a judicial game that has become deadly.

We’ve not stopped the hemorrhaging of this broken system because it’s part of our economy now–Bail bondsmen, guards, lawyers, judges, clerks so on and so forth.

Decriminalizing drugs for example, would collapse a whole system that people depend on to make money. Lots of it. Counties depend on the income generated to fund whatever they fund.

In an economy so tied to job creation, threatening this tightly woven web of money making is unacceptable to those with the power. Quotas mean more people suffer the loss of employment by having to go to jail, more families lose a loved one to suicide in jail and more young adults lose future job prospects due to a possession charge at 19.

Is this for the greater good? Is it making us safer?

People are lashing out at the low hanging fruit–that’s the guys on the front line they can see. The ones cashing in most on the system are not the first responders.

I think that is why we are hearing about more deaths for simple traffic stops. More bullets being sprayed at those sworn to maintain order.

The sheer fact that so many wives and husbands of officers are now widows and kids left are left without a parent makes me ache. All that grief. And I do believe that the broken system plays a big part in this rash of violence against the police.

We’ve also made policemen execute the “war on drugs,” a war they’ll tell you is a dismal failure.

The people who are on the front lines seeing more kids overdose and kill themselves than ever are now getting targeted in a firestorm of hate.

Emptier jails and empty court rooms might be what normal people think is for the greater good. But will those making money off the judicial system agree? From what I have seen, empty jails seem to mean we need to fill them back up. Or build more!

Are we really that much less law abiding?

We need to make the change. Eliminate the quota because it has no business in police work.

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Crazy radical mobile phone rant

I remember when Charles got a mobile phone. He pressured us for years and didn’t get one until he was in 9th grade and was one of the last of his friends to be a mobile phone owner. We held out as long as we could. And this was just a flip phone, not the powerful mini handheld mini computers of today.

I remember the day, where he stood and the dread I felt. I remember thinking, “We are the parents that are setting the precedent. We know nothing about the effects these will have on our kids.” Texting had just been introduced.

I felt like it was too much freedom too soon for him especially. Before he was ready for it. And I think I was right.

For a lot of kids, it’s too much too soon

There is a lot that goes on behind our backs on those phones. Stuff we did that took multiple steps to execute, they can do impulsively with the push of a button. It’s too easy.

Bullying for instance has been going on since the beginning of time. This isn’t a new practice. What has not been going on since the beginning of time is the 24/7 nature of this harassment. And the ease with which a bullying attack can be executed.

I do think this is one of the many contributors to the drastic rise in suicide rates for girls.

The phone can make them victims who have a hard time not “checking”their phones obsessively. They can’t get away from it. And when someone does pull a mean “prank” it can humiliate someone so quickly and in front of so many people.

But there is one simple thing I have always wanted the cell phone companies or hardware companies to do and that’s give the account holder, the one who is paying, a master password.

So no matter what your kids type in as their password, you can override it with your master account holder password. It can’t be that hard for phone companies to do. That way kids can’t lock you out of “their” phone because technically, it isn’t theirs if they are not paying.

What if they don’t like it?

Fine, they can go out, get a job and pay for their own phone, that’s what.

But if I’m paying, I just don’t think that I should get locked out of their phone.

You could argue, “just don’t get them one”

Parents who are holding out suffer as do their kids. It’s a social status symbol. And not having one can also put your kids at a disadvantage, too.

I think it’s too late now to change our culture regarding kids getting mobile phones. They are already an extension of us.

But we can control the age kids are getting phones. It keeps getting younger way before they are emotionally equipped to handle such a powerful communication and access tool.

But for young kids, the devices are very sophisticated mini computers with access to the world. The parental features the phone companies offer now have multiple work arounds. They are a joke. Are you monitoring their texts? They can text through snapchat or some other app or send messages via messenger.

A master password would allow you to get in that phone when you need to and lock them out when you need to. It would give you the control you need at a time when a kid can go off the rails–adolescence which is a time of major change including onset of mental illness and addiction.

When Charles was 20, we did pay for his phone. And when he died, we couldn’t get into it. We would surely have discovered things we didn’t want to know. But there would have been things we did want. Like answers. Pictures. Memories.

This is a simple concept that would allow you to intervene when you needed to

Allow you to cut it off, for example, when they are supposed to be sleeping. Or forcing a break when they are being harassed.

It’s a small thing, but with suicide rates climbing every year and an addiction epidemic on our hands, this could be a prevention step that could help parents get back some control.

Radical rant over.