INTRODUCTION:

Welcome to BobKat's Lair ®

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A lair is a home; A castle; A burrow; A haven; a place where one should feel safe. To ensure our safety especially in one's lair, we have laws. And some laws cause more harm than good!

This is a good place. There's lots to see and do. It's apolitical while providing non-partisan news about politics, which we can't escape.

Check out my aquarium and feed the fish; check out my post(s), my favorite media list and the many links to websites that promote what I feel is important.

Time for the awakening...

That is what my goal is here... to present topics which highlight the plight of people. Why, 2000 years after Caesar Augustus, are we still a people being hurt? With all our advancements in technology, medicine, communications, why are we a people still being hurt? Human nature hasn't changed much, but that doesn't mean it isn't time now for that to happen, and it is undoubtedly happening - hard to see however. This blog is part of that change and a witness to it.

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My blog is dedicated to my family, friends, mentors, and all others whom I am grateful to, and love(d).

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NOTE: Nothing included in my Blog is intended to advocate behavior illicit in nature, or in violation of man-made laws where harm to a living person, animal or the environment is involved. Person's under 17 probably shouldn't be here, though there is far worse out there. Just saying.


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March 31, 2010

THE LONGEST ROAD - Part IX - A VIEW from BEHIND the MOP

John Miller had no idea what to expect! He was 21, going on 22.

He'd told his parents about his new job. His father laughed. His mother crumbled - " my son cleaning toilets", she cried, "what is wrong with you? What ARE you thinking?"

Elsewhere he got support... from friends - "that's cool, ya know".

John had worked for 3 years for a discount department store, part of a large chain of stores. His mother pleaded with him to become a store manager. John didn't completely discount the idea, but he really didn't like that place, that work. He didn't know why. The people working there were mostly okay... and he got to flirt and try his wings with a few of the women working there. Older women and those his age... one he actually got up the nerve to date... Angela, he recalled... slender, fit, and hot... and he'd gotten a date with her. A date he knew included sex...

Ironically, he chose the college park after dinner to pull over and make out with her. He was about to get to 2nd base when the police cruiser pulled up beside them, lights going - red lights! Angela had her shirt off - well, almost off. We pulled ourselves together quickly, as the officer knocked on our car window.

John rolled the window down... the officer asked questions, told them they need to leave. They left, and John never saw Angela again. He quit his job and went to work for the community college. How ironic he thought a year or so later. If he'd only gone with Angela in the hundred acre park, he'd have gotten to home. But he lived home then, and when he got the new job, he lived on the edge of the campus. A half a block from the arts building he'd be working at for the following three years. He often walked to the park at night, and not along the road, but through the dark woods.

John's mind was overloaded with information, new experiences, new revelations, knowledge and questions he didn't dare ask. Who could he ask. His father was generally cool and supportive, but he always seemed to hand him off to his mother... yeah, his mother. What happened between mother and son??? John really wanted to know. But it went so far back, and he was free to seek out a new life... for the first time he felt an overwhelming inspiration.

John wanted life! He wanted to be friends with women, and he felt that was taboo, which isn't surprising he often thought given the "general morality" in town, and how strictly his mother bought it. He wanted knowledge, he wanted to write. He wanted to solve mysteries, wanted to find the truth that had been strung in front of his nose his whole life... being told what was right, what was wrong, and there was little flexibility, in his opinion.

The first day on the job at the college his new boss, Frank, asked to see his hands. Nearby was his new co-worker, a man with bad teeth, a jutting lower jaw, but strong, and obviously he had a power of some kind. You could easily see in his dark eyes, the mischief within them. Half Italian, half a direct descendant from Apache Native Americans, Oats, it's what he was called, was a man that didn't take sit from anyone... he was exactly the kind of guy that John probably would not have chosen as a co-worker, had he the choice. Oats saw him as a hair-bag, a guy with longish hair - a hippie. He was right. But Oats turned out to be a better friend, than not. He would turn John upside-down at times. In a good way; though his pranks got John in minor trouble on a few occasions.

Frank, wasn't too impressed with John's hands. "The guy hasn't done a day of work in his life", he scoffed. Oats laughed. Frank handed him a partially cut-open white plastic bleach  bottle, and a toilet swab... "time to learn how to clean toilets", he told him.

And he learned...

After work that night - his shift ended at 11PM, John went home, rolled a joint and took a walk to the Hundred Acre park... mostly river and forest... he didn't go far, he just wanted to get out and walk in the darkness and the lights on campus; then get a feel for what was something he was familiar with during the day... when he'd walk along the paths in the woods. Funny how no matter how alone he was he felt paranoid, like a dozen police cruisers, helicopters would swarm in on him when he least expected it. Never happened... those years of paranoia were a waste. But John had to laugh... he would think, if pot makes a person paranoid, as he was told, then how was it he had a reason to be paranoid?

He'd been raised his whole life to strongly believe marijuana was a dangerous drug... a heinous drug, "the destroyer of youth..." Some destroyer... to John he'd begun to discover himself... and for the first time in John's life he realized he'd found a road that he liked. A road he felt good on.

In the middle of the dark woods John stood... he sparked up his Zippo lighter, and lit the joint. He inhaled deeply, held it in. The woods grew brighter, then darken and started closing in on him. The rush hit him a few seconds later, and the dark woods turned alive. Now he could see in the dark. He pushed back on any fear he felt. He told himself... believed, a dream had come true.

To be continued...

March 30, 2010

THE LONGEST ROAD - Part VIII - A Slippery Slope... *John Miller Fiction* by BobKat

Henry Miller, who is best known as the writer who wrote: Tropic of Cancer, 1934; Tropic of Capricorn, 1939 no relationship to our fictional John Miller, wrote "Remember to remember..." in one of his novels; it stuck for John. It became one of his mantras... remember to remember.

After a year and a half in community college studying electronics technology, he decided he wanted to be a writer. The fact was, he was terrified of the math, calculus he'd have to study. Electronics was a hobby he enjoyed, not something he felt he wanted to do for work. The first Apple computers were just coming out, and besides, in 9th grade he'd taken interest in a basic computer his HS was loaned, and he loved it... in his free-time that is where he would go. That was until the school decided to cut his computer privileges because algebra was more important and he wasn't doing well.

 It must have been around 1974 John made the decision. He still remembers his first writing class at the college... he was scared to death, nervous, sweating, from fear of failure. Sure he had written as a kid, but this was far different. He was actually studying writing!

He actually did pretty good in the class. He struggled with the answers... in many cases because there weren't any, in the traditional sense. It was a creative writing class. They also learned the rules of poetry, the different types of writing and he really enjoyed writing Haiku. His humble beginning was poetry.

The children are born, the children of change.
The children are free, the children can see.
You ask - "what can they see?"
The answer is simple, for all to see.
A web is before them, a web called "life". 
A spider is watching, for those who are not.
The spider is deadly, it'll get you, it must.
The children can see it, the people not.
1975


It was a couple more years before John was able to learn the truth about writing. The fact that in many ways questions were far more important than answers. A good answer required an excellent question. It was also a couple of years later that John was introduced to the writer Henry Miller, and the phrase that would become his mantra, and his unexpected burden.

It was a slippery slope for John, making the change near to the end of getting his AS degree... he was shy 15 or so credits, and changed his major to liberal arts. His parents didn't know yet, since he had moved out a couple of months earlier. He'd have to tell them eventually, wasn't sure what they'd say. He also realized he wanted to work at the college. What could he do?

He realized he could get a job as a custodian... maybe. He had his doubts, but he'd sit on the step to the Maintenance Department everyday if he had to to get the job. It was his way inside the realm of the scientists, a concept he'd picked up in a science-fiction story by Ray Bradbury. Three years he figured... if he could work in the college for 3 years as a custodian he'd be set... he would be ready to reach out farther and have time to find himself, an ideal that drove many a person those days. Just 3 years, that's all he asked for...

Next time... A View from Behind the Mop

March 28, 2010

NH Constitution, Article 83: Encouragement of Literature, Trades, Etc.


Established October 31, 1783 Effective June 2, 1784 As Subsequently Amended and in Force January 2007
[Article] 83. [Encouragement of Literature, etc.; Control of Corporations, Monopolies, etc.]

Knowledge and learning, generally diffused through a community, being essential to the preservation of a free government; and spreading the opportunities and advantages of education through the various parts of the country, being highly conducive to promote this end; it shall be the duty of the legislators and magistrates, in all future periods of this government, to cherish the interest of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries and public schools, to encourage private and public institutions, rewards, and immunities for the promotion of agriculture, arts, sciences, commerce, trades, manufactures, and natural history of the country; to countenance and inculcate the principles of humanity and general benevolence, public and private charity, industry and economy, honesty and punctuality, sincerity, sobriety, and all social affections, and generous sentiments, among the people: Provided, nevertheless, that no money raised by taxation shall ever be granted or applied for the use of the schools of institutions of any religious sect or denomination. Free and fair competition in the trades and industries is an inherent and essential right of t he people and should be protected against all monopolies and conspiracies which tend to hinder or destroy it. The size and functions of all corporations should be so limited and regulated as to prohibit fictitious capitalization and provision should be made for the supervision and government thereof. Therefore, all just power possessed by the state is hereby granted to the general court to enact laws to prevent the operations within the state of all persons and associations, and all trusts and corporations, foreign or domestic, and the officers thereof, who endeavor to raise the price of any article of commerce or to destroy free and fair competition in the trades and industries through combination, conspiracy, monopoly, or any other unfair means; to control and regulate the acts of all such persons, associations, corporations, trusts, and officials doing business within the state; to prevent fictitious capitalization; and to authorize civil and criminal proceedings in respect to all the wrongs herein declared against.
June 2, 1784
Amended 1877 prohibiting tax money from being applied to schools of religious denominations.
Amended 1903 permitting the general court to regulate trusts and monopolies restraining free trade.



Personal interpretation and how I feel it affects me:

I have the right to discuss, disseminate information deemed relevant to my truth, encourage discussion, inform, educate, and promote legalization of cannabis/ganja, aka marijuana for personal use including right to grow the plant and/or recreational and medicinal use. I am legally permitted to pursue this objective given 35 + years of personal experience and an educational background that provides me the critical skills to interpret my experiences and knowledge.

Further, any infringement on my rights herein, and beyond which attempt to violate my rights under the NH Constitution, are hereby seen as a direct violation my rights. These rights are similar to those enjoyed by credit card companies who use the laws of South Dakota to charge extravagant interest rates on credit cards issued by businesses involved in issuing credit based in that state.

I further maintain that provided my rights under NH, Art. 83, I propose I am technically exempt from state laws that in fact I suggest violate, said constitutional right to promote agriculture and education, to grow cannabis and use for educational purposes. Not that I am exercising those rights, but rather, I am simply stating for the record, that I should be able to exercise those rights.

Further, I claim, any future impositions or incidents involving NH law enforcement in which I'm expected to remember and regurgitate a stupid incident way back around 1985, involving an empty pipe, in a state other than my own, used to smoke ganja at a wedding, of which I paid my dues, with a $100 fine, is construed by me to be a violation of my state rights in that it's irrelevant   and a thing long past, it was a "learning experience".

Is it right to prosecute me and hold a moral "gun" to my head for the rest of my life because of something harmless that happened more than 25 years ogo??? Is it justified to consider me a "criminal"? Is it justified that potential employers can require me to disclose an incident that is virtually ludicrous, and unconstitutional, whose only place of disclosure would be an episode of "Saturday Night Live"? No, it's not.

My blog has made clear that any past use or suggestion of use of cannabis has been for educational purposes.

My message to NH Government Lynch is simple - Don't Tread On Me! And stop being a hypocrite! If you were really concerned about drug use in this state you would and should make tobacco and alcohol illegal in this state. That they are legal is contrary to your logic about recreational drugs, shows a lack of judgement and concern for the citizens of this state. Marijuana is safer. And you don't seem to recognize nor accept that basic fact, after nearly 70+ years of evidence and research. No one even remotely suggests legalizing cannabis for children, any more than they would propose legalizing alcohol, tobacco and gambling to those under an adult age.

Regarding the federal government and it's laws, status and regulations regarding cannabis... time to grow up and smell the roses. Federal laws prohibiting cannabis use and personal growing of are unconstitutional, as no direct harm or threat to civilian use or growing of cannabis has been even remotely confirmed.

The consequences of prohibition against cannabis has caused far more damage and cost to human life and freedom, than any actual threat. Alcohol and tobacco are far more addictive and dangerous than cannabis.

I demand redress of these laws from my government. I oppose any laws currently in effect that prohibit use or growing of cannabis. Any such laws violate my constitutional rights, and any punishments for use thereof are far in excess of any harm suggested, which in 99.999% of the cases no harm is committed.

Current laws also violate my constitutional rights to pursue benevolent research in societal benefits derived from cannabis commerce, research, growth and benefit from commercial and educational investment in cannabis culture, use, education and sale to promote economic growth of a potentially lucrative industry. Being thus limited by current laws I can state clearly and without hesitation that my current career and economic issues that I may have are in many ways a direct result of excessive, prejudicial and constitutional infringement of my rights under the Constitution of the state of NH where I have been a citizen for over 20 years.

Until said grievances are addressed by my state government, I declare, my rights under article 83 of the NH Constitution are violated.  Governor Lynch is hereby being informed by a citizen of NH that continued opposition to legalizing cannabis/ganja, aka marijuana is a violation of my rights, not only as a citizen of NH, but a citizen of the USA. If I'm subject to credit card regulations based on the laws and regulations of the state of SD, I'm certainly within my right, to invoke my protections granted under NH, Article 83; and other articles, amendments to the state constitution; and other basic human rights including my rights as an American Citizen.

Current laws and regulations with regards to cannabis create an environment in which millions of persons who would otherwise be law-abiding, productive citizens, are instead criminals. They are criminals whether or not they are discovered.

The year is 2010... our oceans have perhaps 100 years at most to survive, due to the imminent death of coral reefs around the world. Once the oceans become toxic cesspools, there won't be a world for us to call beautiful. This is because my government spends more tax dollars keeping people from using drugs like cannabis, than they do, to make this world a better place.

"Live Free or Die"

That is my truth...

Sincerely,

BobKat



March 25, 2010

DESIDERATA

It was the mid-1970's.

It was around  age 19-20.

I discovered the following 23 verses of a manuscript by an unknown author,  called the "Desiderata". 

To me this fit perfect as a beginning, to my philosophy, and my road-map in life.

I was looking back through one of many notebooks I used to write in and found it. Wow, what a blast from the past! Today, it's largely forgotten or lost. Too bad. Much about who I am, how I became the person I am, is here.

Welcome back, to the 1970's... 


DESIDERATA, circa 1692...

I.  Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
II. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
III. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
IV. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
V. If you compare yourself to others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
VI. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
VII. Keep interested in your career, however humble, it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
VIII. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
IX. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.
X. Be yourself.
XI. Especially do not feign affection.
XII. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is perennial as the grass.
XIII. Take kindly the counsel of years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
XIV. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
XV. But do not distress yourself with imaginings; many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
XVI. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
XVII. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here!
XVIII. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
XIX. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him/her to be.
XX. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul.
XXI. Not all is sham and drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a very beautiful world.
XXII. Be careful.
XXIII. Strive to be happy!

Manuscript found in old St. Paul’s church, Baltimore, dated 1692. Author unknown.

March 18, 2010

Personal Observations, Experiences RE: Recreational Drugs in the US

This post actually got it's start a few years ago when my (then) girlfriend and I were on vacation, camping for a week, metal detecting and exploring Vermont. It originates from a chance meeting with a young couple in their early 20's at an observation tower - one of those rustic wooden ones open to the public. This one was high up on top of a field in a small town over-looking what seemed like 100 miles in all directions. Very beautiful country.

We got to talking with the couple, the guy was especially keen on talking when he found out I'd "come of age in the 1970's"... he was envious. "You had it made," he said, "compared to what we have to put up with now". I knew what he meant... I still like to have my hair long, wear jeans to work, try and live a laid-back lifestyle. Our conversation was amiable and it was obvious all of us there on top of that tower, were cool. It truly felt like America, the Land of the Free.

A delusion sure... I may have had some beers in a cooler, and he may have had a joint. What I remember is we had a good time. And we talked, about things the way they were for me in the 70's, and things for him since he turned 18.

He told me what I pretty much already knew, that young people in their teens were watched and scrutinized to the point youth felt "stalked and spied upon..." his exact words. All he wished for was to be able to make his own decisions when it came to finding himself. His girlfriend, who didn't say much, moved her head in agreement.

A poignant moment in time...

I admit, I was legally able to consume and purchase alcohol products at age18 in 1972. Today it's 21.

I am both in agreement with that change in the law, yet not. Alcohol is a difficult drug to handle, and I personally saw that myself, many times. It's danger is seriously underestimated. Regulation is seriously lax... I say that given reasons I will get into shortly. The fact is when I was 16 we were going to bars, illegally. Unfortunately I always got sick after two drinks...

We used to have keg parties in abandoned areas of forest... we were never bothered. I always got sick after the 2nd beer... the reason is in an earlier post. My friends - usually 3, would go driving off, leaving me at the campsite, sick. They would drive drunk, go to areas where young women hung out, and pick them up for more drinking and sex. This was the norm. And it wasn't right.

So for that reason I do believe age 21 is best for use of alcohol. I also believe the amount of alcohol a person or group can purchase should be regulated... I've seen 21 year-old's buying grocery cart's full of booze... enough to intoxicate a whole bar! That's not regulation of a dangerous drug in my way of thinking, when you compare it to talk of marijuana decriminalization in quantities of less than an ounce. I even asked the manager at the state-owned liquor store if there wasn't a limit to the amount of alcohol a person or group could buy? Their answer - "They can buy out the whole store if they have the money".

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Based on the past 35 years I've learned the following about recreational drugs:

Wine, beer, booze is regulated. Loosely.

Does an 18 year old today have it worse or better than myself in 1974? No. The only recreational drug an 18 year old can use legally is tobacco. The worse drug possible. Enforcement of breaking the law with alcohol has increased many fold, while peer and adult attitudes have relaxed. Much of that is due to the fact that the current recreational drug laws prefer an enforcement approach, rather than a harm-reduction approach.

18 year olds can't use ganja, nor alcohol. But they can smoke cigarettes. And they can experiment with just about any chemical or pharmaceutical they can find. And they do.

Cannabis, in my opinion is the missing link in providing a safe way to grow old. In my media list is a book called "Marijuana is Safer, So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?" Please read it. Ganja is not addictive in the way tobacco or alcohol is. If tobacco, which seriously should be 25 or older to use, were given a competitor, those wishing to smoke something, and feel good, might try ganja over tobacco. A far wiser choice.

Here are some of my other suggestions:

K2... It was only a matter of time before some chemist came up with a synthetic form of THC. I'm not sure what this guy came up with but I'm not interested. What makes cannabis unique is the combination and level of two chemicals that occur naturally as the plant flowers - Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Pure THC is very depressing... any hype otherwise is nonsense. It is when it's combined with the cannabinoid that it becomes "friendly and euphoric". I expect the chemical that is K2 is okay, but what I don't trust are the chemist that make it for distribution. In addition, it gets mixed with an herbal blend...

I've studied herbs for 35 years. Back before Celestial Seasoning's herb teas were even thought about, I was espousing the virtues of many different herbs. As an alternative to smoking tobacco which I got hooked on quite young, I tried smoking some of the more promising herbs, not to get high, just to smoke and enjoy. I never found one that i enjoyed smoking, least of all tobacco. So why, even if K2 is legal still in most states would I want to smoke it when I can't think of any plant to mix it with?

Legal in most states... my suggestion, marijuana is safer!

Opium... rare these days, was somewhat more common during the 70's in the form of opiated hashish.  It's apparently mellow, but very addictive.

Cocaine... burns out your nose and doesn't give much in return. Avoid.

LSD: It's been said, that President Kennedy, AG Bobby Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe all used LSD before it became illegal in the 1960's. Allegedly created by the CIA to find out if it could be the ultimate truth drug, it leaked it's way out to the elite... along with Dr. Timothy Leary who you might want to look up on Wikipedia. When it became popular among 60's hippies, that caused the concern that made it illegal. Pure LSD is not generally harmful, the problem is it's often poorly made, or strychnine is used, a poison that causes deleterious and life-threatening consequences and lsd like hallucinations, and a swollen tongue, if you're lucky, maybe death. In the early 1970's "windowpane" was common... and it was generally quite pure, and relatively safe... then came blotter acid... named as such because it came in the form of tiny squares of blotter paper soaked in the LSD. This is where anything could be in it. It's not the 60's or 70's anymore... my suggestion... steer clear of acid.

Psilocybin aka Magic mushrooms ... interesting mushroom. Many new pharmacological uses being discovered all the time. But it's illegal.

Peyote... would love to try it someday. But illegal.

RE: meth, heroin, glue, many prescription drugs, choking games, stalking, hurting others... etc... NO! Please don't. You might want to check out the yellow pages for a psychologist... seriously, there is a limit to what people can endure.I mean coca leaf chewing is one thing, but injecting drugs, inhaling glues, come on. And don't accept strange pills sold as if they're speed or downers... they could be anything. Literally! Been there in the 70's... seen it all.

Be true to yourself. Try to keep to a minimum, those persons who cause you to be uncomfortable or that create disharmony. Only you can make the choices that become your future. Hard choices sometimes. Only you are responsible for your actions.

It can be the best of times, or the worst of times, after age 18... there's a lot to discover, a lot to learn, a lot to experience for the first time. Don't let it overwhelm you... just like everyone else, someday you will die. But don't use youth as an excuse to decide now is that time. It takes many years to eventually, to find out who you truly are... and no matter how alone or unusual you may think you are, there are going to be others in the world similar to yourself - doing the best they can too, and if not simply getting by, might actually feel pretty good.

Reality is subjective by nature, no matter how often we might be told there is only ONE WAY. If you take "the road less traveled, beware of wild animals, and especially do-gooders who may try to force you back on the main road. You never have just two choices in life, you always have at least three. Over, under, or progressively forwards...

March 15, 2010

THE LONGEST ROAD - Part VII - John Miller Fiction by BobKat

John Miller popped open a beer... he drank a lot it it these days. He was in his 50's, and on personal reflection, haunted by his past. He had a story, many stories in fact. But to tell them, ah, there was the problem. He reasoned if he was famous others would tell the difficult stories for him. But he wasn't famous. In fact, he knew few people anymore. He was an admitted recluse who went dutifully to his job, and back home when the day was done. On weekends he drank, as time went on he got less and less out into nature, a pastime he used to refer to as "his religion".

Over the years John realized he'd made a wish he now regretted. A wish that came true and though lasting for a few years, it disintegrated and eventually slipped through his fingers. It took many years for the dream to disappear, and the more he struggled to hold it the more it seemed to vanish, like a dream upon waking, though there was no awakening for John, who, having once experienced the fruition of his dreams, it might just as well have been sprayed with paraquat and agent orange.

It's a story he can't tell, yet he has no choice. He went from spinning his wheels in his early 20's to entombing himself in cement, alive, having no place else to go. In many ways John imagined himself a vampire, immortal, and alone among humankind... wishing to reach out, but knowing it's too late. They'd recognize him for what he was in an instant.

Oddly, John didn't live alone. He lived with his ex-girlfriend and her boyfriend. They lived in an old farmhouse raising their own chickens, hogs, a goat, and cats to keep the rats away. Hi girlfriend was the kind of woman he wished he'd met years earlier. She was attractive, well educated, down-to-earth and over-sexed. He hadn't been able to keep up, and it frustrated her to a rage sometimes. What they did have, and it was more a curse now to John than a blessing, was a close friendship. He'd been her man for 7 years, and then they knew it wouldn't work. Did he move out? No. They were friends and that meant a lot to John. John had actually become close friends with her new boyfriend too. He like John, was something of a recluse, although he was readily able to start up conversations with almost anyone.

John... he became a recluse so he wouldn't snap. The vampire in him had lived thousands of years. Some might call it his soul, saying "he had an old soul". But John didn't have that luxury... to accept that, though deep inside he found it soothing. But it started the mantra - what if...

What if he'd had the strength way back then to hold onto the success he'd achieved? What if he'd been able to hold onto all the work he'd done to realize a dream come true? What if the nights sleeping on his grandparents porch-swing, where he'd sung "Wish Upon a Star...", and fallen asleep, had lasted?

John is damned... a mother's curse... and John knows, that the only way to vanquish the curse is to expose it. It's not magic, these kinds of curses... they play on the mind, and witch-doctors long ago learned the tricks, that feed on people's minds. But just because one knows that a curse isn't real, doesn't mean they're not affected. We know the common cold of flu is a virus, and we get sick, and in a few days, a week, we get better. Curses, well, it depends upon where they come from. And it depends upon why the cursed was cursed?

You might want to study up on the term "reality" for John's truth. Apparently there are those gifted humans who know exactly what reality is. John learned about reality... along with many other interests, the question of reality was foremost, perhaps due in great part to the fact his parents were so different. The simplest explanation for reality is that it is largely subjective. There are solid facts... but in a big way they are connected together through one's own unique take on reality. On a practical level we view reality through our experiences and education. John grew up to question nothing... it was answers that he responded to. At home he was told want to do, at school, he was told to find the answers, and listen to the facts as his teachers told him.

At age 20 John finally rebelled, not in a violent rage, no, no... John realized what he wanted in life... he realized for the first time what "to work" really meant, if what he wanted was to be reached. His teenage years, his childhood, were behind him now. He had work ahead.

At age 20, something about the pot... it helped him focus, opened his mind to all sorts of possibilities, and he realized he had the potential to accomplish his dreams... He just had to learn, see, and believe.

The curse, as it happened was when John was turning 25... but what you're about to experience in the next few posts are John's early 20's. The 1970's... Pipe-dream or Paradise? In the meantime, you might want to brush up on what reality is...

WIKIPEDIA: LINK TO REALITY

To be continued...

March 14, 2010

THE LONGEST ROAD - Part VI - Interview with John Miller by BobKat

A continuation of my interview with John Miller, a fictional person from the 1970's...

BobKat: Last we spoke you'd mentioned getting a job as a custodian at a community college. You said it had a lot to do with a book you'd read at age 8. You smoked marijuana around age 19-20 and that book inspired you. You connected your decision to be a custodian with your use of marijuana and that book. You suggested that sexually you were very naive, that you were in college working towards a Associates degree in electronic technology, but things changed. So the question is, what changed and how?

John Miller: The morning after using marijuana I woke up, a criminal. I'd never been a "criminal" before. What was worse, I laid there in bed wondering why? I didn't have a hang-over, I didn't recall any violent behavior... I remembered laughing... how good it had felt. I woke up at home - still living with my parents. As the next couple of months progressed, as I smoked more marijuana, I began to be aware of myself as a person. It was an extraordinary experience...

BobKat: Okay... I'm beginning to see the dilemma here... what you're suggesting is, as far as you can remember, you woke up with the idea that you'd broken the law and began to experience what some might say were delusions... your delusions involved a sci-fi book you'd read at age 8. Until that time, you were growing up with very conservative values. You'd say right-wing conservative. Correct?

John: Yes

BobKat: You changed?

John: Oh, yeah I changed. By age 20 I'd moved out on my own. I wouldn't have otherwise. I got that room on the 2nd floor of the horse-barn rooming house at the edge of the college. I got the job as a custodian at the Fine Arts Center building. I starting writing again, got into photography, and because I was the evening custodian at the Arts center, I could stay after hours and use the darkroom. I also had free tuition... I took every course of interest to me.

BobKat: You were doing drugs... how do you see yourself as accomplishing anything of value? Playing devil's advocate here.

John: LOL's... for the first time in my life I was aware of myself... and I worked hard. I had a full-time job keeping a large building clean. And safe. I had the keys to every door in the building. I had people who needed help all the time, and I enjoyed helping them... this included getting into their car where they'd locked their keys inside. It was hard work... but what I really enjoyed was the freedom... as long as I got my work done, I could go to my office and write, or socialize. It was the mid 1970's... a time where people were reaching out, a time when men and women were accepting one another; a time of sexual exploration. And exploration of oneself.

BobKat: A lot there, but it sounds like you were where you wanted to be? Were there problems?

John: I was exactly where I wanted to be, and yes, there were problems. The problem was my mother. The one person I'd grown up so dependent on. She freaked out! When she found out I was a custodian at the college she made it clear she was disgraced with me... that she had raised me for more than to clean toilets!!!

BobKat: John wants to stop there. He'll be back, but the problem is, what John did wasn't "cleaning toilets", though that was a part of his job. The issue is, the shame and guilt that came from his family when John took this job... a job that to John was exactly what he'd dreamed of. John also feels, a double-whammy, in that, the anti-cannabis supporters would leap on the band-wagon, and agree with John's mother - marijuana made John a failure in life.

Shame and guilt... next time, digging deeper into the life of a real, fictional person who liked and benefited from the use of marijuana.

John Miller's Fictional Autobiography as told by BobKat...

March 13, 2010

THE LONGEST ROAD - Part V - Interview with John Miller by BobKat

John Miller admitted to me, he was at an impasse. Even fictional characters have limits... so he asked me to interview him. Q&A.

BobKat: John will start this interview.

John: Thanks. ah... I was very fortunate growing up... I had challenges though, in speech, attention, and so on. My mother and father were the best. As a child I still remember my mother scratching my back, me in her lap. Things change - so much influences us everyday.

I was picked on a lot as a kid.It was the 1950's-60's, so that's not news. Fact is my parent did everything they could for me. During middle school especially, they had to intervene in problems with bullies at schools. At the time school counselors favored the "stand up to them and fight back", which would then get you into the principal's office, and maybe the nurse's office. The one jewel I found among all those years in MS and HS, is a statement my school counselor made to me one day... "it will end when you graduate, hang in there".

BobKat: So did you hang in there John?

John: I did. I graduated with a C average, a yearbook full of best wishes, and at least the idea that I was becoming an adult. I survived the bullying, algebra, band  and  puberty.

BobKat: Sorry, you said "puberty"?

John: Yeah...Yeah... except for a girl when I was in 8th grade, I didn't date.  I liked  girls, but couldn't bring myself to relate with them. I made a few attempts to get their attention, a date, The boys getting the dates were bulls - playing the game I knew nothing about. I was a nerd. I was too shy.

BobKat: You were that shy?

John:  I was shy; but I also knew nothing about sex; and second, my mother had advocated against contact with females. Mostly I excelled at solitary hobbies... reading, electronics and science, but marginal at best elsewhere. Although as a child I liked writing and drawing, by 14 that was history. By age 14 I'd abandoned my artistic interest, and went hunting and fishing instead. My parents sent me to "youth-camp" for three years... so around age 13 - 15, it was during the second year camping in our tent one early evening with a full moon outside, a fellow camper did a shadow scene of a man having sex with a woman on the tent wall for all to see. I found it to be repulsive, recall why would that happen?.

BobKat: A lot to put together here. From what I know about you then you were quite conservative, and didn't question authority or your view of reality?

John: Correct.

BobKat: So what changed? What happened that you have this story you feel is important to share?

John: What changed? I got high on marijuana.

BobKat: You did what's termed - "use of illegal drugs". Weren't you quite opposed to illegal drugs? Once you almost called the police because you found out your sister used drugs? Without going into the reason you did this, which you've already written about, in what way did this smoking pot change you?

John: After HS graduation I was expected to go to college. I understand that.  And I did... I majored in Electrical Technology... but avoided the math the first year and took two semesters of physics... biology, chemistry...  math was looming, and I'm bad at math. I was around 19 when I was with my two friends and we smoked pot for the first time. I already recounted how for the first time in my life I freely laughed. My mind became the universe, and I could see into it. Not an hallucination, but rather insight, self-awareness.

BobKat: That's great, your first year courses. Physics is a tough science.

John: yes. And thanks to a friend in class we spent hours on the phone doing our homework.

BobKat: Wow... were you aiming towards teaching or engineering?

John: Neither. I was going to college, like I was suppose to do.

BobKat: Oh.You don't think that you could have excelled in the electronic technology field?

John: No.

BobKat: You said your experience with marijuana changed things?

John: Yes. Within a few short weeks I realized I was an artist. I started writing, walking in the woods again, something I hadn't done for a few years. Only this time I wasn't hunting. I was communing with nature. I gained an interest in plants and medicinal properties. I became the early 1970's guru of herbs. This was well before Celestial Seasonings Herb Teas went on the market. And I was always writing.

I had the idea in my mind originating from a sci-fi book I'd read when I was 8, that I wanted a job among "the scientists". The only way to do that at age 19-20 was to get a job at the local college. After the effects of the cannabis settled in over a period of a few weeks, I got up the nerve to apply for a custodian position. I figured my odds of getting the job was next to nil. But it happened, as if by magic. What was the best part was that I got the job for the 3 - 11 shift at the Fine Arts Center building of the college.

To Be Continued...

March 10, 2010

NH HOUSE VOTES 214 TO 137 TO DECRIMINALIZE POSSESSION OF (less than 1/4 oz) MARIJUANA

Massachusetts has already decriminalized small amounts of cannabis, as a result of a landmark peoples vote. So far no problems, and I don't expect many. A few, yes, but not many. The question now is whether the NH Senate will vote rationally. Governor John Lynch doesn't want any of it - he's vowed to veto any bill legalizing cannabis. Why? His option, his principles... but I doubt he has cats, and if he does I doubt he gives them catnip now and then. Herb free cats and people, that's Gov. Lynch.

I'm very glad and content that I never voted for Gov. J. Lynch... I can't wait to vote against him if he runs again, which considering his general popularity now, he might want to simply resign. Maybe he'll look beyond his own shadows and see the light, one can only hope!

Ironically Gov. Lynch argues, decriminalizing marijuana undermines parents efforts to keep kids off drugs. While at the same time, the governor is pushing to expand availability of the drug - alcohol, and the lottery or "games of chance" and reap more financial gains from tobacco sales.

Well, my reply to Gov. Lynch is: this isn't about kids... this is about adults... and there are many brilliant people out here whose lives are derailed, not by their use of drugs like marijuana, but rather, because of the extraordinarily strict and crippling laws against it's use.

Progress on RDA - Rational Drug Awareness, is always welcome news. Too bad there are governors and other lawmakers who lack basic RDA skills.

214 to 137... Wow! My thank-you to the Representatives who voted Yes...

Get the story from the Concord (NH) Monitor Newspaper here at these links:

March 10, 2010 - "NH House Vote Decriminalizes Pot"

March 11, 2010 - "Marijuana Bill Secures Wide Margin"

March 08, 2010

Part Three: MARIJUANA AND PUBLIC SAFETY; OR IS IT - MARIJUANA AND THE PUBLIC GOOD? CONCLUSION.

Once again, I'm all for anarchy, in the movies! And I enjoy a good conspiracy theory now and then. It really only takes one person, to create a "conspiracy". Two is better, and the more is the merrier... but to believe the US Government is out to get us, well, fortunately, Wall Street is much closer, and more hostile at the moment... if for no other reason than I got a $50 bonus to the average $5000K bonus on Wall Street. They get bailed out with my tax dollars, and my credit card rates go up. Homeowners, faced with foreclosure are looking the devil in the eye, but me, I'm looking at several life terms to pay off my credit cards.

Anyways... I've lost track of the different "conspiracies" that have allegedly taken place during my life... at the moment, I can recall Watergate and Nixon.

What gets to me is that the government might be conspiring against us. In Iran, I'd believe it, and I know I'm not really free, but I'm freer than many countries to make my own choices. Fact is we elect our officials and they act independently - within reason, and in large part if you write to them, as frustrating as that may seem. They work for us.

Sure, if I was filming an episode of "24", by Fox Television, I could imagine all sorts of back-stabbing and espionage, but we're talking real-life. In real life what warrants a citizen like Mr. Bedell, to go to the Pentagon, armed and intending harm, to "shoot-out" over an idea of his that 9/11 was a government conspiracy?

He was "seriously addicted to marijuana"... according to the news... which may have fed his delusions. But to criminalize marijuana, because one person out of 990 estimated million worldwide users are delusional, is a bit far-fetched.

How many alcoholics have had a black-out while drinking? Add to that prescriptions for sleep, and you have quite the cocktail for trouble.

The question, is does marijuana use in private, constitute a public danger that warrants the current laws and regulations, and the impact on those who prefer it to other drugs? Legal ones - like alcohol? Or dangerous glues and aerosols? Or the newest craze - K2?

Are current laws prohibiting cannabis use and possession justified and a matter of "public safety", or are they a matter of "public good"? The latter being a moral issue, the former a genuine public concern?

Looking back at Prohibition of alcohol...

The 18th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States passed due to almost a hundred years of concern with regards to public safety problems with alcohol use. Alcohol has a tendency for contributing to violent behavior, and women especially were concerned. Almost overnight, passage of the 18th Amendment lost it's original purpose and became a moral issue. According to recently publicized accounts, alcohol consumption itself was never prohibited by the 18th amendment, but possession and distribution was.

In order to ensure and promote the federal government's laws and stance on alcohol, it literally poisoned, yes poisoned, known sources of alcohol being delivered to the public. Among federal law enforcement officials, the attitude in general was, it's illegal and therefore should anyone drink it they ask to suffer or even die; it's their own doing.

The story and following quote is from SLATE.COM - "The Chemist War" By Deborah Blum

"Frustrated that people continued to consume so much alcohol even after it was banned, federal officials had decided to try a different kind of enforcement. They ordered the poisoning of industrial alcohols manufactured in the United States, products regularly stolen by bootleggers and resold as drinkable spirits. The idea was to scare people into giving up illicit drinking. Instead, by the time Prohibition ended in 1933, the federal poisoning program, by some estimates, had killed at least 10,000 people."

Conclusion: Current laws prohibiting cannabis use by adults in this country are enforced, in my opinion, for the perceived public good, moral and special interests that have political and judiciary powers unwilling to understand a basic, essential condition that humans need - ESCAPE... whatever form it might take, as long as people aren't hurt.
To walk in a forest high on alcohol or cannabis, isn't a big deal. To drive is. Alcohol is regulated, cannabis is flat-out prohibited. Yet which is safer? You can refer to my list of my recommended reading for the book "Marijuana is Safer, So Why Are We Driving People to Drink" at the botom of my blog, for my media favorites.

I don't think this is at all a conspiracy, but I do believe the public has been largely misinformed, with regards to cannabis. The whole secret to legalized, regulated cannabis is the combination of two key chemicals in cannabis that create the high. The following links to the Wikipedia/ cannabis page. The key isn't THC... because, simply, pure THC isn't a fun ride! It's depressing... so IF THC levels are going up? What about the component of cannabis that makes it euphoric and pleasurable? It appears the following is the answer:



Cannabidiol (CBD), which has no psychotropic effects by itself [83] (although sometimes showing a small stimulant effect, similar to caffeine[citation needed]), attenuates, or reduces[84] the higher anxiety levels caused by THC alone.[85]

Fact of the matter is... cannabis/marijuana is much found by much research to be safer than alcohol use... 

People suffered and many died as a result of alcohol prohibition, and more are dying and suffering as a result of what I feel are unjust regulations and excessive prohibitive actions against personal use of cannabis/safer alternative, to our only choice - alcohol. It's really a no-brainer which is less dangerous... unless you want to consider the moral implications :
Genesis by BobKat
My own interprtation of Genesis... Eve ate of the apple, the fruit she was forbidden to eat as it would bring "enlightenment", knowledge of "good and evil; temptation, and ultimately sin. But the apple Eve found was too good to pass up, so tempting... 

After Eve ate of the apple, Adam stumbled by... by then Eve had become much aware of the world around her. It was so beautiful! So beautiful..

Adam, who had been drinking mosquito juice, asked her why she was acting so strangely? She handed him an apple from the tree... he accepted... now they were both seeing a world, a very beautiful world. Suddenly, they were cursed... just like that. Damn... 

And here we are today... all of us descendants. How about we accept our differences? Respect personal choice as long as we're mature about it? The world we inherited is not "black and white"... it's multi-colored. Our survival as a species depends upon our ability to adapt. Not sure we're doing very well... 

March 07, 2010

Part Two: MARIJUANA AND PUBLIC SAFETY; OR IS IT - MARIJUANA AND THE PUBLIC GOOD?

Why is it illegal to possess marijuana? Why was it  for millennia cannabis use was never once an issue? It's use is documented, though there is little recorded history verifying it's use. It's more the fact that it's extremely likely based upon what is recorded, that it was used for religious, spiritual and personal use. In an earlier post I believe I told the story of the mummy in China blonde hair and blue eyes buried with a substantial amount of what would have been highly psychotropic cannabis. Thousands of years ago. Not only was it odd that this fellow was found in China where his heritage indicates he not from there, but it also indicates that whoever buried him had respect for him, and buried him with what he wanted for the afterlife. Whether the man was seen as a shaman, or simply a great guy, obviously cannabis wasn't taboo. In fact, no historic records that I know of ever suggested a problem with cannabis use over the historic record of human existence... until 1937.

For the most part the US government has distanced itself from any regulations passed in 1937. I can get more into the details later, but essentially I believe it was Dr. Timothy Leary who took the Supreme Court to task over the constitutionality of the Marijuana Tax Act... that it was illegal to possess marijuana, so one could not buy a tax stamp as that would make an individual guilty of of crime. The Supreme Court agreed, and in place of the Tax Act new legislation was passed in the form of the:



Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 CDAPCA of 1970 - WIKIPEDIA 




This rewrote the laws and regulations for possession of "controlled substances".

The question is, what is the rationale behind the rewritten and current laws, as it applies to cannabis?

Having come of age in the mid-1970's it's my opinion the CDAPCA of 1970 was in response to the use of "drugs" in the 1960's, the governments growing concern that control of recreational substances was not only a potential safety issue, but a threat to it's control over what was acceptable with regards to recreational drugs; by all practical reasoning, there was one recreational drug that was acceptable - alcohol products. By revamping the outdated and in the case of cannabis, the clearly unconstitutional issues, regulations were redesigned for the most part to ensure "Public Safety". By the mid-1970's the question of public safety was at the forefront of many American's minds... it was the Boomer Generation that was questioning "authority" in a big way.

Reefer Madness the "killer of youth" horror flickolography from the 1930's, was a joke... everyone - or nearly everyone knew it. Yet they had to wonder - time and again, seeing friends busted for a joint, spending time in jail, the big "why"? Why was the federal and state governments still pretending that cannabis was the "killer of youth", when it obviously wasn't. Then, in 1977, President Jimmy Carter legalized cannabis/marijuana, as current law was far more severe and detrimental that actual use of that drug in his and the opinion of many notable scholars and scientists. It looked for a moment that common-sense and rationality in government was a real thing. He also legalized home-brewed beer and wine... which by a mistake had never been legalized when alcohol prohibition ended. As a result micro-brewers sprung up everywhere and infused the beer industry with much needed competition.

It was a short blur of a few days before an out-cry and clamp-down on cannabis legalization was issued from other powerful government entities. And Cannabis, unfortunately, was still illegal, and the whole notion of it being a "stepping-stone" to hard drugs, and restrictions on research began to take on a new life. The "War on Drugs" was born.

Then came the early 80's and 1ST Lady Nancy Reagan's famous mantra - "Just Say No", and the birth of D.A.R.E (Drug Awareness Resistance Education).

Society as a whole had no choice then but to embrace the "fact" that marijuana was bad, as bad if not worst that harder drugs. A common phrase sprang up that "we already have enough problems with alcohol" was heard to justify continued anti-drug actions.

Front stage a different show was being performed... use of prescription drugs veered into abuse, alcohol use continued to be the primary cause of vehicular deaths, domestic abuse and violence, and use of "alternative drugs" like glues, aerosols, choking games, etc. became more common.

My argument is that cannabis prohibition became more a regulation towards "PUBLIC GOOD", and less a public safety issue. The Emperor Wear's No Clothes the title of a book by Jack Herer, LINK HERE: JACK HERER - clearly underlines to likelihood that "government knows current laws targeting marijuana are quite excessive, yet to back down and admit it, correct the mistake, it would mean denouncing 60+ years of propaganda by the government. That's why President Jimmy Carter failed - his intentions were genuine, but he didn't see the forest through the trees.

Advance to 2010...

California citizens are at the forefront of a move to legalize cannabis. Already it is pretty apparent that the "liberal state" has a majority of citizens who favor legalization. It is however somewhat disappointing that bad economic times has brought people out of the closet regarding cannabis. Encouraging as they are willing to speak up. But to be truthful, it was pretty much the same when alcohol prohibition ended... bad economic times seems to encourage rethinking societal norms. And the 18th Amendment only made the whole alcohol problem that much worse. From the beginning, public safety issues regarding the unpleasant consequences of alcohol abuse and violence, led to "Prohibition". It had been brewing since the 1830's, this idea to outlaw alcohol use, and for good reason. It seemed to bring out the worst in people, spouses, etc., Alcohol use became synonymous to violet, stupid behavior.

In the end, the adoption of the 18th amendment was a matter more of Public Good, than Public Safety. Politically what was a public safety concern became a political concern, but in order to make such a revolutionary change to human behavior ultimately morphed into a PUBLIC GOOD campaign.

Cannabis use is also about the "public good", as it's pretty obvious cannabis use is not extremely or even generally harmful.

We do have experiences like in my last post under this title: I wrote about the "Pentagon Shooter", John Patrick Bedell. And John allegedly used a lot of marijuana. SOURCE: MSNBC

It's the scary stuff we'd expect... especially the caption to Bedell's picture at the link I provided: "A psychiatrist says John Patrick Bedell tried to self-medicate his bipolar illness with marijuana, inadvertently making his symptoms more pronounced." 




Bad apples grow on apple-trees... but that doesn't mean you chop down the tree because of one bad apple. 

Next ... the lengths to which government will go to enforce the ideal of PUBLIC GOOD... 





March 06, 2010

Part One: MARIJUANA AND PUBLIC SAFETY; OR IS IT - MARIJUANA AND THE PUBLIC GOOD?

I've discovered information that laws enabling marijuana prohibition may be related more towards manipulating "Public Good", rather than "Public Safety". There is a difference, and the difference comes down to the government protecting us or controlling our behavior. In my next two or three posts I will do my best to show the difference between the two, and how laws are enacted to enforce and protect.

I want to begin with recent news of "the Pentagon Shooter", John Patrick Bedell, a 36 year old man with long-term mental challenges; family and doctors allegedly  were concerned that John had serious marijuana addiction problems, in addition to all else going on in his life. The story, from MSNBC is here: PENTAGON SHOOTER - MSNBC

Before being killed by Pentagon security officers, the shooter shot and wounded two other officers, who are expected to recover. He apparently arrived at the Pentagon well dressed, and seemingly harmless. But according to the article noted previously, he have been acting strangely prior to the attack. What I find odd is a traffic stop noted in Amarillo TX, a few days prior, where the suspect was speeding and pulled over by a police officer. The suspect was described as "acting strangely", and the officer allegedly was compelled to call the mother of the 36 year old man on John's cell-phone. The mother allegedly told the officer her son was fine, and the officer is reported to have given John a warning, and let him go on his way.

Other events noted are a time when John P. Bedell was noticed "walking along a dirt road",,, by police, who stopped and questioned him.

Those two incidences are vastly different, and raise some concerns in my mind. In the first instance, why is a police officer using a citizen's cell-phone to call a 36 year old man's mother, to "check-up" on the man in any way? The man was speeding... seems to me the call to the parent was odd and unnecessary.  The speeder wasn't even in his home area when this happened. To me it was the officers responsibility to establish if the suspect had warranted a speeding violation, and if he was a menace to public safety. A call to a mother hardly seems appropriate in established a 36 year old man's psychological state of being. If the officer had doubts, there are professional ways to accomplish this task. If the officer searched the vehicle or the man is not known... so there's no information available as to whether the man had a gun, drugs, or other questionable objects of concern.

With regards to Mr. Bedell being questioned by officers while walking alone along a dirt road... guess I'll think twice about walking alone along a dirt road, which is what I happen to live on. If I am walking along a dirt road, generally it's to get some exercise and enjoy nature. And to think. To be detained by police officers and questioned during such a walk I would be quite annoyed. It is not against the law to walk along the road in such a case, and although officers apparently have the "right" to do so, I find it offensive and inappropriate. So in John Bedell's case, I'd need more information, but given what I've learned, it appears to be information both irrelevant and twisted to serve as a contrived example about how loners are questionable people, and subject to questioning.

As I said before... if I'm walking along a dirt road alone, it would be most intrusive to be stopped by law enforcement and questioned. In such a case, I literally would tell them "arrest me for walking on this road or go away". I have a right to privacy, even walking along a road - common sense, isn't it?

But John Bedell did have problems. And the one problem he allegedly had was an "addiction to marijuana". We'll never know whether marijuana played a part in John's ultimate confrontation at the Pentagon, but no doubt, if it's true John had a "severe addiction to marijuana", it was in his system, and with recent research indicating log-term use of marijuana can cause psychosis", one must question what role marijuana played in the planning and lead up to the shootings.

Mr. Bedell also was convinced of a "conspiracy" by the US government for the 9/11 attack that killed 3000 persons in the twin towers, NYC. It's not an uncommon idea, this conspiracy theory, but as much as I can stretch my imagination to see it, I don't. Makes for great fiction, I suppose, but the problem is the government is not a fixed entity, nor is it omnipotent body with unlimited powers. Sure, it's not perfect, and it most definitely should be smaller in it's scope, and there are scandals and irrational regulations that come out of our governments, but all in all, they are people WE the People elect, and not only do they have current affairs to consider, but also past affairs. Conspiracy theories are to be expected, I think, and some are probably true, but many we have no idea whether they're true or not, like the Kennedy assasinations, both JFK and his brother Bobby.

It's a fact that the Roman Emperor Caesar was murdered as part of a conspiracy; that President Nixon was caught lying and Watergate happened... fact is a conspiracy can involve one person, or many. And our government is composed of many people, so the likelihood of there being "conspiracies" is quite believable.

The question is, should average citizens believe in gov't conspiracies to the point where they take matters into their own hands, and cause potential harm to the government?

No.

Should we voice our opinions online and to others - most definitely. In many recent cases of violence investigators found online activity and posts referring to distrust of the government, conspiracy theories, anger and hostility to other persons or groups. This should not come as a surprise... nor should it deter individuals from expressing themselves and their ideas. If it meant so, then I should remove my blog and move to the North Pole. We do have a right to free speech - to question authority. We have the right to seek out others like ourselves, and to take advantage of the power of numbers. We do not have the moral or legal right to hurt others, however. And that is the boundary between free speech and expression and actions.

Whether or not John Bedell's "addiction" to marijuana played a part in the shootings at the Pentagon, is relatively easy to estimate, given that John crossed the moral line to hurt others, for a cause he felt justified, is, does boil down to his use of force. His use of force in this and many other cases is unjustified. He meant to harm others to push his cause... that is morally wrong.

That marijuana was involved, is mostly one fact, considering a recent news article suggested that 198 million people use or have used marijuana in the past. If that number were correct, and marijuana psychosis related crimes were identified as a primary cause of crimes that directly cause harm to other human beings, that would be a serious issue. But the fact is, very few marijuana related violations relating to human suffering and death are documented. More violent crimes occur under the influence of alcohol. And many preventable deaths occur due to tobacco use.

Marijuana is not a perfect drug, it is not devoid of consequences. But compare to harder drugs, alcohol and tobacco included, or even person's who do not use drugs, the majority of crimes resulting in human suffering and death do not include use of cannabis. Plenty of statistics support this fact - and if you insist I'm provide them.

John  Patrick Bedell did have reported psychological problems... and he most likely would have benefited from therapy, or more intensive care. To suggest the idea that his marijuana use played an important part in his acts, the attack on the Pentagon, is unsubstantiated and if not considered within as only part of the whole picture, inflammatory. That John could have benefited from enhanced psychology, is probably the most apparent factor. But there is a stigma attached to that kind of help... and many avoid it at all cost.

To a person like myself it's not an issue. My parents, naturally believed only "sick people" got counselling, went to a mental health professional. Both my parents would have benefited from the reality that therapy doesn't mean "you're a sick person".

After I was employed by a college, and counselling was a benefit, I walked right in. It was the 70's remember, and many self-help books and new age organizations were popping up all over. Seemed like everyone had a therapist, so it was a big deal using my benefit to talk with the college counselor... ... talking about my issues, and I had plenty - I believe I was around age 20. The experience then and over the years was always the same... it was confidential, it helped me understand myself, and it helped me decide on issues in my life that were causing considerable distress. The ironic part is how I would often go to my therapy sessions believing I was deeply flawed, only to discover once again that, I was okay, that outside events happen all the time; conspiracy theories come and go, that reality is subjective and therefor one needs to understander that one's reality is unique, and self-conceptualized.

John Bedell drove thousands of miles to the Pentagon, open fire on staff for reasons of his own. What influenced him were unlimited past events, use of marijuana being one of those influences.  We will never know what exactly was going on in his mind, what we do know is his reality lacked one basic moral: "Do Not Hurt Others".

It may be that people today are less likely to seek out mental health help. The stigma of those seeking therapy still has it's hooks... and in a conservation era, no one wants hooks. To me, that would be a sad thing. Therapy with a psychologist or psychiatrist is not an admittance of sickness, nor of a crime.  I personally saw a therapist for almost 30 years - different ones, and eventually I learned enough about myself that I was able to understand the reality and myself in a way that i felt I have control of who I am.

As a result I am able to help myself weather the storms, take advantage of the good days, and let the bad days go. I'm able to chose my battles, to understand feelings that may seem unfair, accept my own uniqueness, as well as the uniqueness of others... I have accomplished my goal set many years ago... to be my own agent.

The economy is discouraging, the jobs market more so. Feeling like a victim is easy... but being an agent I realize doing nothing and keeping my current full-time job is the prudent thing to do. It's not easy... but the future will change, and I will change with it.

To get back to the title of this post, "marijuana and public safety..." I read recently there are 198 million marijuana users in the world... that includes one time users and regular users. I have to laugh at that number. Over the years I was fortunate to have jobs in colleges and public schools where I was known as the guy you could trust, and you could. I came to know so many people... four out of 10 used pot every week or every day. Another two of ten used occasionally. Finally, four out of ten may have tried it once, but never again. Of the 6 out of ten that used it more than once, one out of ten would never, ever admit it. There are friends I know that won't follow my blog because I have a simulated marijuana leaf in my introduction. So if we add to the 198 million the people who would never admit it, we have 990,000,000 people who use it around the world.

In my next post, how current prohibition against cannabis is more an effort at enforcing Public Good, rather than Public Safety.

March 03, 2010

THE LONGEST ROAD - PART IV - ORIGIN

The origin of the title... a short post.

John was home one night, in his early 50's, when he got a unexpected call from his mother.

John was in the middle of an online Texas Hold'em game - which he lost as he was dutifully bound, after all these years to talk to his mother, so lost his concentration, and there is no such thing as "I'll call you back in a few...".

The conversation was going along okay, until his mother made the statement that any problems he had were his own doing... he "took the long road in life". John argued that he "took the road less traveled", but then his mother knew nothing about that. Essentially, she made it clear she had tried to help him take the "short road", the "only road", in life. The road to marriage, a house, a good job, and zero risk, so to speak. Yes... John had screwed himself not taking the ONLY ROAD in life! The fool that he was... he took the Long road.

"The road less traveled..."

So much for education and learning, John thought.

And imaginative thinking. Come to think about it... given the constant news from gov't reformists, the marijuana John had smoked for years obviously created a psychosis... that John was someone, when it was clear, taking the "long road" made him a loser. It didn't matter his experiences, his job-skills, his knowledge...

All John could think about was a famous quote by Henry Miller, the author of "Tropic of Cancer"... banned until the early 60's and traded and sold in brown paper bags. Miller vs. (some gov't entity)... he won, but John lost. The quote: "Guilty Your Honor"... of living, being lawful in all ways other than use of marijuana. Take my brain, put it in a blender, and show that I suffered serious brain damage.

John, took the "Longest Road".

A caution to all the rest of you Bohemian types out there... change your ways before it's too late. And "never go straight, please, go progressively forwards".