The Lessons of Tucson, Tunisia, Tampa and Egypt Applied


Stephanie DonaldPerhaps it’s a bad to stick my head up and perhaps it’s not but at this moment I really don’t care. I’m going to talk about myself and I’m not going to talk about anything else that applies to anything that’s happened that’s going to incite anyone beyond personal opinion to simply disagree.

I am, however, going to take a step outside just the normal universe of simply discussing things that apply to the narrow world of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people because the events that have unfolded in the past month are extraordinary in the extreme and they apply to everyone no matter who you are.

Just this morning a news article told the story of how several 16-17 year-old teenagers in a good neighborhood in Philadelphia kidnapped a 14 year-old teenager and hung him from a metal fence and filmed him in his agony and mental anguish. This isn’t normal “bullying” anymore: This is psychotic torturing.

On Friday afternoon the wife of a career Army officer and mother of two teenage children, a boy and a girl, in Tampa, Florida was taking her son to soccer practice. This ritual has become literally as normal as “momJulie Powers Schenecker and apple pie”. Before she got her son to the practice field she removed a .38 caliber revolver from her purse that she purchased quite easily five days before and pumped two rounds into the back of her son’s head for being “mouthy”. She then drove home and found her daughter on the computer and fired one round into her daughter’s face without warning. When the police arrived on the scene they were so traumatized by the woman’s image covered in blood sitting peacefully on the back porch and the sight of the boy’s body in the car and girl’s corpse in her room that all the officers on the scene had to be counseled by a crisis management team.

As you read this the entire world’s leaders are sitting on the edge of their collective chairs as Egypt has completely destabilized in the wake of a total civil war. Since Egypt has nuclear weapons and it remains unclear about the outcome of this civil war; if the wrong people get their hands on those weapons while all our troops are presently in the Middle East we could stand to lose the majority of American armed forces if total nuclear war breaks out there. In addition, if the economy of the Middle East destabilizes then the world economy destabilizes and worldwide civil war will break out including America in the wake of the collapse of our economy.

Earlier this month a fruit vendor was assaulted by a corrupt police officer in Tunisia (or at least that’s how the story has been leaked to the west so whether it’s true or not remains to be seen) and after finding no other course of action this vendor set himself on fire in front of the local Governor’s office and turned himself into a national symbol of unity to overthrow the corrupt governmental regime in Tunisia.

Earlier than that a lone and troubled man named Jarod Loughner armed with a 38 round clip for his 9 mm Glock came out of a Safeway supermarket in Tucson on a sunny day where Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was having one of her “Meet your Congressman on the corner” events and started turning the supermarket into a blood bath. He didn’t think about anyone else after he shot Giffords, who was his primary target, and in the process shot a 9 year-old girl who had come to meet Giffords and learn about our government.

Just before Christmas Spain nearly averted its own civil war when most of the government went on strike because of wage slashing and benefit gouging by the parliament.

The outcome of the Greek government is still unclear as their economy is in the tank and their people are always just this side of a major revolt.

The nation of Ireland basically declared bankruptcy this month and there was widespread rioting in the streets of Dublin and the Prime Minister and cabinet resigned. Ireland is seeking help to restructure its currency from the European Union which is in danger of falling apart at the seams.

And let’s not forget Iceland which was once considered the crown jewel of rising economies in the world. They had become a major player in the manufacturing, clean industry and real estate and banking markets. When the banking and real estate bubbles busted Iceland fell like a china cup from the Empire State building. Its entire economy was a house of cards and by the time the smoke cleared their currency literally wasn’t worth the paper it was written on. Iceland is now one of the poorest rich states in the world. They have beautiful buildings there but foreign banks own the government, the people and everything in that nation.

Shall we look at the United States?

91% of our National Debt is owned by foreign investors just like Iceland’s was. Of that 91%, approximately 82% of that is owned by China which we have a tenuous relationship with at best and who refuses to revalue their currency on the world markets making the dollar a prime candidate to devalue at an alarming rate within the next 2-3 years. We could be facing a dollar that’s worth about 10 cents in today’s value by 2015. The same thing happened to the Japanese Yen in the early 1990s. The Japanese never did fully recover their economy.

Yes, I did pay attention in economics class when I went to college back in the Stone Age, kids.

All of this is pretty much irrelevant should some nutcase get his hand on the launch codes for Egypt’s nuclear arsenal. Those missiles are targeting Israel, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

To put it bluntly: The whole shit-house is going to go up and all our troops and allies in the Middle East right along with it.

We presently have approximately 73% of our troops deployed (National Guard and regular armed forces included) in the Middle East. Even if they survived the “flash” of a direct nuclear hit the fallout and radiation will kill them within 5 days. I don’t care what science fiction or drama movie you’ve seen, kiddies; there is no miracle cure for radiation exposure beyond a certain exposure. I don’t care how cynical or right-wing you are and think that it’s about damned time after all these decades that we’ve had these weapons that we should use them: It’s a horror that you can’t possibly imagine and we won’t “mutate” into some sub-species that will survive like these video games or like in the movies. We will just be dead.

I know because a long time ago I was involved in training with Civil Defense and was certified in radiation sickness and what to expect in case we were ever attacked. Not the “duck and cover” bullshit they taught in school or the propaganda they spoon-fed the public once upon a time to make everyone feel better and not panic. Those of us who were trained to handle the CD shelters were told the truth about nuclear, biological and chemical warfare and what to expect should it ever happen and let me tell you that it would give any sane person nightmares and they only told us a very small tip of the iceberg, I’m sure. At one point I met a man who used to be involved in Top Secret Army NBC (Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical) Warfare and although he never told me everything he knew he told me even more than most people involved in Civil Defense knew. He gave me one piece of final advice:

“Bend over and kiss your ass goodbye!”

FalloutToday’s world has desensitized most young people to even worrying about the horrors of nuclear warfare. Games like “Fallout” paint a picture of an alternate 22nd century future where people fought the nuclear war in the 1950s or 1960s and survived but some people and animals mutated. Undoubtedly, some younger people (and perhaps some older people as well) play this game and think they could survive as well and the world would be the same as this game and “that isn’t so bad”.

Now suppose nuclear war does break out and let’s forget about radiation for a minute.

Let’s suppose that the world economy everywhere suddenly collapses. Your money is worthless and the United States military was all but wiped out in the nuclear war in the Middle East.

Suddenly there’s no point in going to work because your paycheck is meaningless. That means no food in the grocery store. No lights for your home. No internet, no TV cable and no gasoline. We’ve suddenly been plunged back into the Stone Age.

Gasoline becomes a commodity and people will start killing each other over it. The same can be said over food. Being rich or middle class is a thing of the past. The problems of your job and mortgage and car payments seem pretty small now, don’t they?

Think the police will help you? Hell no! They’re just people like the rest of us and they aren’t getting paid so why should they risk their lives for free?

Total anarchy.

And at the center of this nice little slow simmer we presently have a culture of hate and psychosis that’s waiting to get out. We see it every day on the news in every way it’s possible to see it but most people, unless it actually touches our lives in some personal and tangible way, either ignore it or refuse to become involved.

This issue spills over into LGBT civil rights in every conceivable way and over this past week it has been driven home with a hammer and I feel very naïve.

None of you want to stand up for your civil rights. You’re afraid and rightfully so. At any moment for standing up you can be shot, stabbed, fired, evicted from your home, dragged behind a car or pistol-whipped and tied to a fence post and left to freeze to death overnight or simply verbally whipped and then told by a hoard of people that you’re mistaken. It wasn’t gay-bashing at all. They were just practicing their right to free speech by calling you names and dragging you through the underbelly of the internet.

After all; there are tens of thousands of them and only one of you so they win and you lose, right?

They call it free speech and by doing so they force you to never speak any particulars of it again because they attack your website and threaten to take it down which makes you have to remove what you wrote because it threatens your webmaster’s other clients and therefore robs you of your freedom of speech.

After all; there are tens of thousands of them and only one of you so they win and you lose, so that makes it right, correct?

The point is that we’ve reached a critical mass where mob rule applies and if anything in this fragile world tips one way or the other then all of us are in danger.

Despite the end of the Cold War our world is even more unstable than it was during the time when the United States and Soviet Union existed. At least back then we had Détente and an uneasy but evening balance to our world. Now there is no such balance in the world and an unnatural and destabilizing heavy-handedness exists that in and of itself breeds war and revolution.

This heavy-handedness exists in the very fabric of our society down to the internet. It’s our own little fascist regime with the strong victimizing the weak and making the rules simply because they can. Their numbers are greater and they pick their leaders according to who can wreak the most havoc and who can victimize someone the most horribly.

Heaven help someone who makes a mistake and should that person belong to a minority, well, that just adds to the “fun” of the victimization, doesn’t it?

Accept some bad advice and the mob finds out: “Attack!”

Minority and the mob finds out: “Attack!”

The victim never stands a chance. How many people have fallen prey to this? I can name a few over this past few years.

How about Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers College student who jumped off the George Washington Bridge after his roommate put his gay sexual encounter on YouTube?Tyler Clementi

How about Raymond Chase, the Johnson and Wales sophomore who was bullied on Facebook and then the bullying turned real on campus and then he killed himself.

Or 19 year-old Aiyisha Hassan of Howard University who struggled with her sexuality and was called “dyke cunt” by her peers on her Facebook and to her face at school. She finally ended her life.

There are many more in this wall of remembrance. I almost became one myself but then that would have given those who hate me cause to celebrate so what’s the point in that?

I’d rather piss them off more by living.

The bigger point is that what’s it take to get people involved? Does someone have to die first because if they do then they really have cause to commit suicide. It really isn’t going to get better, at least not before they die.

Matthew ShepardIt took Matthew Shepard dying before someone passed a law to prevent hate crimes and even then in all the years since that law was passed there has been exactly one time it’s been invoked to prosecute someone. Heterosexuals are scared to death to use it. Now let someone paint a swastika on a Synagogue and they’ll invoke a hate crime in a New York minute! Let someone paint “Kill the Faggots!” on an LGBT center and they call it “vandalism”.

Freedom of Speech. There are tens of thousands of them and only one of us, right?

Go ahead and roll your eyes back in your head and think how horrible what I’m saying is but then look it up.

It’s right there on the internet news and in your local newspaper every day of your life.

By Stephanie Donald

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