Useless Thoughts Running Through My Head

various musings of a generation x kad

Archive for the ‘news’ Category

“Tyranny by ballot”

Posted by thoughtful1 on June 16, 2007

Boston Globe columnist Derrick Z. Jackson provides a rebuttal to same-sex marriage opponents who claim their right to vote on marriage was stolen.

Posted in BGLT rights, news, politics | Leave a Comment »

Make love, not war!

Posted by thoughtful1 on June 15, 2007

You have got to be frakking kidding me.  Our federal government has been overrun by idiots.  Read here for the latest on making a gay bomb.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Is this the new Manhattan Project?

Posted in news, oddities, silly thoughts | Leave a Comment »

A shout of joy and a sigh of relief

Posted by thoughtful1 on June 14, 2007

At approximately 1:30 PM today I simultaneously felt joy and relief. The proposed marriage amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman was defeated 😀

Posted in BGLT rights, happiness, news, politics, social action | Leave a Comment »

Discrimination Linked to Health Problems Among Minorities

Posted by thoughtful1 on June 7, 2007

Bummer.

The article written as well as I would have liked – it left some holes. For example, what is it about Chinese culture/history that would cause discrimination against Chinese Americans to be related to heart disease? Huh? I don’t follow… Or maybe I don’t get it because I am an incompetent Asian, raised by white people 😉

Posted in news, race, sociology | Leave a Comment »

Already the jackals are out

Posted by thoughtful1 on April 18, 2007

Already scam artists and crooks are exploiting the Virginia Tech tragedy to make money off well-meaning people.  Read here for the executive summary and a link to more detailed info.

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Cho showed even more signs of mental illness

Posted by thoughtful1 on April 18, 2007

Today we learned that Seung Cho showed more signs of mental illness and was even forced to undergo treatment after becoming suicidal.  And still he did not receive enough help.

But, listening to NPR I heard several mental health professionals says that they cannot reliably predict if someone will become violent.

That is really frightening.

Posted in news | 1 Comment »

Thoughts on Cho Seung-Hui

Posted by thoughtful1 on April 17, 2007

Last night I said I was processing things… I still am. But, last night I also didn’t know enough to move beyond the usual shock and pained bewilderment. Now I know more. We know more. But we still have questions. Which may never be answered.

The shooter, as most everyone knows by now, was a Korean immigrant and a Tech student. He was a loner. His creative writing was disturbing enough that his English professor referred him to counseling. She felt unsafe when she met with him. She reported him to the police, but there was little they could do unless he made explicit threats.

I cannot imagine how she feels right now. She must have felt ill – beyond ill – when she heard that he was the shooter. I wonder if she has spent today asking herself, “What if I had done more…?” over and over again. Or maybe she hasn’t. Maybe she is still numbed from the black pit in her stomach. Maybe she is too busy reassuring her students, her colleagues, her family. Or maybe she is sitting down at her kitchen table with a cup tea, and just… sitting…

Who knows? Who really knows how they, or anyone else, would react to this? And who really knows if anything more truly could have been done? Without turning us into a police state? Gone are the days when colleges and universities were in loco parentis. Someone woke up and asked, “If you are legally an adult at 18, then shouldn’t you be treated as one?” In response, colleges and universities began treating its 18 and older students as adults. So you cannot force an adult college student into counseling because he writes disturbing plays and everything about his manner screams, “I AM GOING TO SNAP!” You cannot force him to undergo for a psych eval because he has no friends and makes no eye contact. You cannot have the police monitor him just because your instincts tell you to fear him. You can’t even notify his parents that you think something is wrong, unless he signed some sort of a release form upon matriculation. And that’s assuming you even had a release form for him to sign.

The solution? I don’t know if this is it, and it is imperfect, but colleges and universities could require their studens to agree to a psych eval if a professor, fellow student, or staff member reports serious concerns about the student’s mental well-being. It could be similar to asking them to agree to not drink before 21, to not do illicit drugs, to not engage in physical violence. Oh, but there we go again – creating a police state on campus. But, how are physcial medical concerns handled? You can call 911 if your roommate is suddenly spouting nonsense and showing signs of a stroke. Why can’t we do something similar when a person’s mental health appears horribly damaged?

Did we, at uglier points in our history, use non-mental health issues parading as mental health issues to lock up people we didn’t like in asylums? I don’t know if that happened, but it would not surprise me if it did. After all, homosexuality used to be a mental disease. Maybe that’s the reason?

Or maybe our collective sense of shame and embarrassment over mental illness makes us treat mental health as a secondary concern. It’s not as important, or as critical, as our physical health. So we failed to build systems to handle cases like Cho’s.

I’m sure others will wonder if his race, ethnicity, and immigrant status played a role. I wondered it myself. But, before we go down that path, we must remind ourselves that there are plenty of immigrants, plenty of Asians, plenty of Koreans in this country who do not buy a gun and then methodically commit mass murder. But, while it is likely that American racism and xenophobia had some influence on Cho, as they do on any Asian immigrant in the US, his extreme actions indicate that something else in his life was terribly wrong.  After all, the US has done a troubling good job at creating white, American born mass shooters, and I haven’t heard anyone ask what it is about white culture that makes some try to shoot as many they can.

Posted in news, shock | Leave a Comment »

In case you were wondering…

Posted by thoughtful1 on April 16, 2007

… why I haven’t written anything about the Virginia Tech shooting:

I haven’t processed it yet. I don’t understand why people go on shooting rampages. Obviously, they are full of pain and anger and are horribly isolated, but how is it that other people don’t notice? Why does it seem that more and more people end up in such a state that they must annihilate as many people as they can?

I don’t understand.

Posted in news, shock | 2 Comments »

“Living In Color”

Posted by thoughtful1 on April 15, 2007

The Boston Globe Sunday magazine printed this column today:

http://www.boston.com/news/globe/magazine/articles/2007/04/15/living_in_color/

Its author, Calvin Hennick, is a white man married to a black woman. He writes about their experience living in Harlem. Sadly, while their marriage is legal throughout the entire US, unlike 40 years ago, before the Supreme Court ruled on Loving v. Virginia, interracial marriage is not universally accepted. But the experience helped Hennick understand better his wife’s life as a black woman in the US.

I cannot imagine a life where just running an errand with my boyfriend or husband would provoke harassment and violence – it is outside my experience. It’s sad that racism, a stupid social construct with real life implications, can cause people to view a couple, minding their own business, with such derision, and to make judgments on the white husband’s motivations for marrying his wife. On the one hand, I can see where they are coming from – history is full of relationships tainted with inequality caused by race. A white man with a non-white woman can trigger various thoughts. Is he with her because he has a sex fetish for Asians/blacks/etc.? Is she with him because she doesn’t like men of her own kind, and by extension, herself? But, the reality is, people are people, and while racism exerts an often unnoticed influence, men and women will still fall in love, and can you really choose the color of your spouse? And how can you so quickly pass judgment on a couple you see on the street, whom you don’t even know?

But perhaps this is all easy for me to say. I’m an Asian raised by white people. I’ve lived my entire life on the other side of the race line. I grew up seeing white people as whole people, not as people who have done nothing but beat me down. Nor have I been kept down by white people to the point that I cannot support myself and live a comfortable life. Yes, there were a few assholes along the way, but most people in my life have had either a neutral or positive influence. And I was raised without any family history of being racially oppressed. (For all I know, some 17th century ancestor stole land from a Native American tribe, so I could very well have family history of racially oppressing…)

I guess what I’m really getting at is that I cannot truly understand what is in the hearts of those who treated this couple with scorn because I have not lived the same life they have. But, it is a sad thing that racism is able to cause that kind of scorn.  Racisim drives a wedge between people and fractures society as a result.

Posted in news, race, sociology | Leave a Comment »

Help save the youth of America… Please!

Posted by thoughtful1 on April 7, 2007

Well, I am sure the parents of East Greenwich, RI were just thrilled to read these articles the other morning:

Teen violence, sex and drug use exposed
School officials, police say parents need to seize control

Holy cow. That is just disturbing on several levels. First, EW! Second, lovely attitude towards sex. I’m sure the parents of those involved must be so proud… not. Third, I hate to think of what this says about the boys’ attitudes towards girls and women, and the girls’ attitudes towards themselves.

‘Twould appear that someone could use the OWL program, a values-based relationship and sex ed program created by the UUs and Congregationalists.

[Btw, when putting this post together I found the urls to be goofy. There are actually three articles, but two seem to have the same url…! So I just linked to two urls. Not sure if the second url will consistently give the main article or the associated editorial.]

Posted in news, shock, unitarian universalism | Leave a Comment »