Friday, April 27, 2018

Meth: Tackling the Monster

The CBC held an open forum in Osborne Village to speak on the Meth situation in Winnipeg. The Talk included front line people from Main Street Project in Winnipeg, the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba, Parents of Meth addicted, a Meth Addict, the Chief of Police, various agencies, concerned and scared folks. At the event I noticed about five Indians. I always look for other Neechies. I know Meth is in our community and it is killing us. So it makes me sad, angry the Indigenous community did not show up to the forum.

Listening to the people speak about Meth and their views, involvement and their concerns, it is clear, Meth is a monster: a real live monster which will eventually kill. It devours everyone. We see it has no boundaries. The image you think of when you hear "Meth-head" can no longer be limited to the "dreads of society". Meth has become the nightmare for all folks. No one knows what to do about Meth users. The outlook is grim. The chance of getting free from Meth is around 17%.

It is clear from listening to the people in the forum that Meth is a monster: there are no treatment options available, the addict is not capable of making sound decisions, forced treatment is needed, fast entrance is needed, thinking beyond political motives needs to happen, empathy is needed.

Deth - Artist Jackie Traverse
The treatment programs are not suitable for Meth addiction. The programs have long waiting lists and admission requirements are barriers for addicts. The detox programs are difficult to get in and have short stay, 10 days. The hospital can't handle the intact of meth addictions. The police don't know where to take people high on Meth. So how to overcome these structural issues for Meth addiction? Family and front line addictions workers are calling for long term intervention. Families are crying out for help but have no real place to go. A group of Women have started a support group for parents of Meth addicts. It is newly formed and they hope to continue.

We need to use the existing resources to meet the crisis and it is a crisis. People are dying. Families are so afraid they would choose jail for their loved rather than have them free, just to get away from Meth.

Main Street Project is seeking to have a safe injection site and the provincial government has so far been afraid to help. While the government and its agencies continue to ignore the monster of Meth, people will continue to die. Parents will continue to seek help.

Native Addictions Council of Manitoba (Pritchard House) has a treatment program  and they have room for Meth users. The need for speedy access to treatment is needed everywhere. Treatment centers with spare room can be supportive of families, hospital, police and paramedics.

Its not a popular thought but I would gladly see forced entrance into the Military for young people. I think it would save lives. The development of discipline, routine and exercise could go a long way in helping prevent Meth use.
James Favel: Bear Clan Patrol 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

If We All Act Like Mosque Shooter Alexandre Bissonnette

"I had to do something": Mosque shooter said he acted to prevent terrorism.

Reading the various media reports on the shooter and murderer Alexandre Bissonnette, you see a story emerging of a "troubled" young man. Dealing with anxiety for a long period of time. This is what caused him to get an assault rifle, stalk out a place of worship, enter, shoot 48 times at people who were praying, walk over to those laying injured and shot them point blank in the head to ensure they were dead. That is something. No malice just worried and wanting to prevent a tragedy in the future. How can we blame this guy? He is a saviour and prevented mass killing.

At least this seems to be the narrative being played out. Quite the contrast between this crime and the crime that occurred in Ottawa 2014. Muslim shooter Michael Zehalf-Bibeau went and killed a solider and tried to kill others in Parliament. The media was quick to label it terror and gave us details of a brutal and violent attack.  Of course no one can defend the actions which took place. Obviously it was ugly, and it was a murderous attack. The terrorist killed a solider in cold blood as reported by CNN.  It just seems strange the descriptions of the shooters in the two murders are so different?

I do think Bissonnette's "reasoning" is quite interesting. He stopped future terrorism from happening by taking action now (at least that is his claim). I saw a movie like that with Tom Cruise and the actions called "pre-crime". It is not that far a stretch to think this is happening. We know the pre-crime thoughts are out there in government intelligence. You hear about it all the time with "pre-emptive" strikes or first strike scenarios discussed by various military and political pundits. The weird thinking also made me think about the "go back in time" exercises people play all the time. Like would you go back in time and kill Hitler? Would you stop someone before they commit the crimes they did?

Just in our lifetime we have witnessed and are witnessing so much horror. We have leader in Russia who locks up his political opponents, bombs an apartment block to start military action, uses radiation to poison political foes and makes journalists disappear. We watched (only a little) the genocide taking place in Rwanda. In 100 days more than 800,000 Tutsi were killed by Hutu's. Serbia took part in "ethnic cleansing" (a nice sounding term which describes genocide) against the Bosnian's. Now in my grand-children's life time we witnessed the "Arab Spring" (western media term) of a complex series of events in the Middle East. As we watch on television and internet news feeds, we are seeing children being poisoned with different lethal gas attacks. Bashar al-Assad the President of Syria has denied the use of chemical weapons on Syrian citizens ( I don't say "his People"). These few examples make us think what could have been done if there was a pre-crime action? Could pre-crime action even really exist? With the benefit of history we see who the criminals are. We now know President George Bush and Vice-president Dick Cheney committed war crimes. I wonder how history will see the current President, Mr. Trump? Will someone think about pre-crime action today?

The absurdity of pre-crime action is exactly that, absurd. The actions of Bissonnette were criminal and an act of terrorism. The notion of him being nothing more than a "troubled, suicidal depressed man" is typical of a main stream media marketing and sales pitch. If the sales pitch continues you might actual have more pre-crime individuals out there trying the same excuse for their killing sprees.

The story the media tells seems to always give benefit of doubt to the main stream society (dominant) while many times portraying People of Color as bad, wrong or evil. As it plays out we have young white man who was depressed and worrisome. The underlying current is that he was not evil. His intent was to save his parents from evil. In some other world his actions could almost be justified.

The narrative is all too familiar. We see People of Color as haven't done something to cause their anguish despite the facts. In Detroit a retired Fire-fighter attempted to kill a 14-year old boy, an African American boy, a Black boy. His wife went into a frenzy as the boy rang their door-bell seeking directions. The Fire-fighter is getting bail and saying the "full-story" has not been told. Two Black men were sitting in a Philadelphia Starbucks waiting for a colleague when the staff called police on them. The staff apparently did not think two Black men could sit in a coffee house without causing some type of trouble. The police came and arrested the two for sitting in a coffee house. Police Chief said the arresting officers did not wrong. New York police shoot and kill a Black man for pointing a bathroom pipe. A man in the backyard of his Grandparents was shot multiple times in the back. The list of wrong doings seems endless.

It's like the attitude of Bissonnette is prevalent in society; police are fearing for their lives. Fire-fighters are fearing for their lives. Baristas fear for their lives. In many cases the determining factor is the "victim" is White, while the so called aggressor is Black or a Brown person.

"It's not wrong, what I did. Like I told you, people have been saved, my family has been saved." Alexandre Bissonnette, killer of six people who were sitting and praying. 

Alexandre Bissonette regrets not killing more people. 
Bissonnette is a killer, a terrorist and a monster. Paint him as a tortured soul but there are many tortured souls out there and they are not carefully planning to go a killing spree. 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

I Just Stood There. Did Nothing

I am the kind of person who will talk to anyone. I will also be willing to address an issue if I see it. Sometimes though I just stand there and do nothing.

A friend of mine from Alderville First Nation is a blues musician. He spent a number of years in Winnipeg, Manitoba and gained a following at the local venues. He came back for a visit in Winnipeg and was booked at a local place, Times Changed Night Club. I missed him and wanted to go visit and listen to him play. I went and listen to his set. It was getting kind of late and I didn't get to talk with him. So I stood near the entrance of the club. Not right by the door but closer to the windows. I noticed a group of Neechies, about five of them at the door. The club owner went to the door and told them no. So they just went on their way. I was looking at I knew right there the owner refused them entrance because they were Indian. I was going to go and say something right there but hesitated. The moment had passed and I looked over at the my friend playing on stage. I decide to leave. I wonder to this day about my actions. Or rather my lack of actions. Its not like I haven't spoken up in other instances. This time I just stood there and did nothing. Was I thinking that I didn't want to upset the situation or what was it? No it wasn't be afraid to say something. I just stood there and didn't do nothing. I wonder if the owner knows he was seen being a racist? I mean does he even know my friend is a Neechie? I mean my friend and I don't look Neechie. Maybe  the owner doesn't know the Blues player, who has stood on his stage many many times is  Neechie? If he knew would he have treated the Neechies who came to his door differently? The Neechies who came to his door could be easily identified as Indian. Was that it? Those would be patrons looked like they were from the Reserve.

In any case it still bothers me to this day. There should be no time when I should just stand there and do nothing. At least I hope there shouldn't be.

I saw this video today and it was at a Starbucks in Philadelphia.  Two Black men were waiting for their friend and didn't order anything. I have done at many restaurants, just sat around waiting before ordering. The staff called the police, the police came and arrested the men. There was no being loud, no altercation of any kind, no threat to the public; just two men waiting for a meeting. The man they were waiting, a White man came just as the two were arrested. His arrival didn't change anything. The police had made up their minds to arrest. A Black officer was also there. It looks like he was a non-factor, he was insignificant in the situation. The arresting officers just arrested them, and the police Chief said they didn't do anything wrong. The Black officer was like me, he just stood there and did nothing.

There is a lot of that going, a lot of just standing there and doing nothing.

There is also many, many folks out there who are not just standing there and doing nothing. They are standing up, speaking up, making a difference. There are a lot of places, a lot of doors being closed on people, a lot of people being treated badly, a lot of bad things going on. We need more people like that, willing to stand there and do something.

Syria, - Palestine, - President Trump, - Amazon Forest, - Puerto Rico, -  Sexual Abuse, - World.

I am glad there are people who are standing up and doing something.

Thank you.  Kitchi Miigwetch. 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Humboldt BroncoTragedy and Nora Loreto

Horror, tragedy, grief, loss and anger has griped the community of Humboldt Saskatchewan. A semi-trailer and a bus full of young men crashed. The result is hard to imagine. Your child is gone. He is dead. The way he died is awful. As of today 16 people have died as a result of a vehicle crash. No word on how it happened. The early speculation points to the truck going through a flashing stop sign.

The accident has got world wide media attention. The loss is being felt everywhere and people have taken action to show support for the community and the families. A Go Fund page set up for the families of the accident has surpassed $10 million. Katie Dangerfield, writer with Global News and believes people can relate to the tragedy. Donations have come from over 65 countries. There is no doubt the tragedy is being felt by many and all over the world. The families and the community should have the support.

While Canada and the US (by way of the National Hockey League) are collectively showing support to the hockey players of Humboldt, some are questioning the support. They are not questioning that the support is needed or begrudging it, but wondering why only in this situation?

There have been other rallying cries of support. We are all Charlie was one of them. The world light up their cities in the colors of France in support. We see other situations  that become symbols where people share and support. There are of course many other events where people didn't empathize. The world didn't wear colors or pins to show support or care for the 276 girls kidnapped in Nigeria. Last week Syria's government poisoned their own people, many were children. The outcry to those incidents in comparison to Humboldt was the squeak of a mouse.

So why does Humboldt resonate so loudly with the world, while other tragedies are whimpers of media sound bites?

As mentioned in media articles it is the recognition and how people can relate. The anguish of loss. The sorrow we can imagine and feel empathy for the families. People can personalize the incident, the pain and imagine it as them. That is key, identifying as it can be you.

Which explains why the situation with Colten Boushie, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Leo Lechance, Marlene Bird, Neil Stonechild, Sammy Yatim, Shamattawa and Alan Kurdi are not part of the equation. Sure there are some who feel bad and can sympathize but that is where it stops. They are good-hearted people, like many people are, but they don't identify. Nora Loreto was trying to convey this to the Twitter world with her Tweet. Many people took offense to her comments.

The thing is the outrage expressed by the public didn't balance with the view expressed by Loreto. There were calls for her to be fired from her job. There were vile, poisonous, venomous hate sent to her by email, telephone and social media.  Many of the comments were meant to demean, insult and even to threaten. People want her to die from Cancer. Andrienne Batra Editor of the Toronto Sun, wrote an editorial criticizing the tweet of Nora Loreto. It was a timely piece. Timely in that Batra is cashing in on the anger aimed directly at Loreto. What you see playing out is the real grief and anger people feel for the families of Humboldt Bronco's hockey team. The deaths and injuries are awful. So the reaction of hurt and anger is understandable. The vile personal attacks are not understandable. Batra although she was tame in her editorial, was playing to the audience who have unreasonable temperament. She shameless cashed in on the ugly sentiment played out on social media.

There are those who see the views of others as an opportunity; an opportunity to spew hate. It is a hypocrisy. On one hand there is the empathy, sympathy and genuine understanding of the accident/tragedy and then there is the visceral contempt for others. The statement by Loreto may have been ill-timed but it was far from malice or intended to hurt or diminish the horror. She pointed out there are differences in responses to tragedies.

Maybe if we looked at the tragedies and humanized all those different faces, we could all care like Humboldt. Until then we are all Charlie but not anymore than that.

The families who lost their sons, daughter and fathers will find no comfort for a long time, if ever.
Everyone can master a grief,
But he that has it.
William Shakespeare      

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Now That I Think About It...

Now that I think about it I am not sure.

I remember when I went for my colonoscopy. I was filled with apprehension and excitement. It was my first time. I have never been much for hospitals. So that night I drank the liquid. It is PEG, polyethylene glycol. I drank a gallon of the liquid. It was pineapple flavor. I dislike pineapple. The liquid also tasted like oil. The effects are immediate. You empty your bowels. the liquid is hard to drink it makes you want to bring it up. I am one of those people who when they drink, I slurp rather than gulp. It means I take in a lot of air when I drink. So the result is I drink slowly. The liquid is not pleasant to drink at all. It was very difficult for me to drink the gallon of PEG. PEG does work quickly and I must say effectively.

The next morning my wife, my best friend, my moral compass drove me to the hospital. The plan was to drop me off and pick me up later on in the day. I think I was to be finished by one o'clock. So as my wife took me to the drop-off point I was pretty excited. I stood at the entrance and I waved enthusiastically at my wife as she was ready to drive away. It was one of those moments like when you were a kid at your first day at school, happy but nervous as you look back and wave for reassurance. My wife with her beautiful smile pulling away from the hospital.

Now that I think about it, she was laughing?

Now that I think about it some old Women have wicked sense of humor.

My friend was telling me about his Mom and the things she use to say to him. When he would come back to the Reserve and visit at her home, she would say to him "kittinaydopatic".  He always wondered what it meant. He knew it was Ojibwe word. He knew the first part of the word was "Kit-ti-nae" which is a word to describe the vagina but he couldn't firgure out the second word. She said the word kittinaydopatic as one word. It was a long while before he was finally told or found out the second word was not "do-pa-tic" but actually "dope - addict".  My friend was a dope addict. Another time he was telling me of her disgust with a girl friend of his that was being cruel to him. You have to remember his Mom was in her late 70's at this time. She was so upset with the girl for treating her boy badly that she told him "if she comes here, I'm going to kick her in the cunt and cripple her".
He laughed because he knew she was teasing him.

Now that I think about it, maybe she wasn't kidding?

Cherokee Fiddle, cause Good Whiskey Never Let Him Lose His Place

 Urban Cowboy is a 1980 movie with a soundtrack steeped in western songs that had great Redneck lines like, "single bars and good time ...