Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:50 PM Permalink

…is the adage of old that has guided countless aspects of my life.

When I served as a law enforcement supervisor making an arrest there was no way possible for a suspect to provoke me to violence short of actually committing violent acts and never by words alone.

That was my moral grounding long before enlisting, I learned it as a child, it was part of my training after enlisting, it was a point of unspoken personal pride that I could not be provoked to violence by mere words, no matter the circumstances.

I would be too ashamed to belong to many, many L.E. organizations or police departments in today's world where all to often the first response to any real or imagined insult or even the slightest hesitancy to respond to an officer is the use of TASERs, often and repeatedly, upon the person doing so.

I saw news coverage of three or more officers approaching a baseball fan, from behind in a stadium almost half empty, who had gone down several rows to speak to others. The guy kept talking and I could see no sign that he had even heard the approaching officers when, shockingly (absolutely no pun intended), the officers began TASERing him over and over until they ultimately took the man into custody.

Neither the cops, nor anyone else, were in any apparent danger nor under threat of violence, the guy was simply talking to other fans and I reckon someone might have taken offense at something the laughing, garrulous fan said, but there appeared to be absolutely no cause to violate that man in such a barbaric manner.

Many of you may have seen the incident of a college student protesting the presence of Karl Rove with words alone. As he turned and saw the approaching officers and with despair in his voice quietly pleaded, "Oh, no. Please don't TASER me," which of course, is precisely what the three or four officers promptly did. The man quite obviously recognized the threat posed by the officers themselves whose conduct was itself, to my mind, a criminal assault and battery on the student.

Here in California a man was recently shot in the head and killed while laying on the ground, surrounded by several officers, the arresting officer, who clearly had the man under control with lots of backup and the subject clearly in control, discharged his service revolver and killed a man merely suspected of an offense.

When convicted of murder the officer, in his defense, alleged that he thought he had his TASER in hand, not his service weapon. Bullshit. Any officer unable to tell, blindfolded, whether he was holding a semi-automatic handgun or a TASER is either stupid beyond belief or lying. The jury got it right.

Why this reliance on torture, which is absolutely and without question what is happening when someone is TASED five, ten, fifteen times by several officers aiding and abetting the crime against uncharged persons?

Is there no longer any pride, training, and professionalism being taught in police academies? Is willingness to attack and torture non-responsive suspects now a prerequisite for becoming a law enforcement agent? Are they recruiting and retaining officers that are so cowardly or so ill-trained or so lacking in judgment that an officers FIRST action is to assault, batter, and torture rather than to protect, serve, and seek non-violent resolutions for any slight, real or imagined? Even if an incident leads to or calls for apprehension of a citizen do they so lack the skill and sense of pride and duty that those upon whom we rely to prevent violence are themselves now the instigators and executioners of unneeded and/or uncalled for violence?

I grieve for all the victims of this mentally deranged man and for all our citizens and our once great nation.

In my two previous rants, which is of course what they were, I myself used much profanity and vitriol in expressing my opinion. I do not regret using such language or expressing my opinion as I did. Nor will I apologize for those rants. They are my words, my opinion, the way I chose to use the words. If anyone was offended I recommend that you just not read my writings.

I have many times stated here that I am aware that I suffer from mental illness after suffering years, more than a decade + six years, of intractable, unrelenting 24/7/365 neurological pain from the full radical neck dissection (a medical term of art and beyond common understanding or interpretation of the plain words) required to remove two different Agent Orange caused cancers that well nigh killed me.

I suffered endlessly afterword from the nerve damage, but it wasn't until I realized that every night I fell asleep with tears of despair in my eyes and awakened each and every morning with tears in my eyes at the realization that I had to face yet another day of pain smothering all reason, all desire to live, the will to carry on that I knew I must seek help.

I am not now, nor have I ever been suicidal. I value life, love, family, and duty to ever take a life without cause and I was compelled to keep on going aided by the love of my Warrior Woman and beloved son, without either of whom I would surely have perished.

But I did recognize that I was, and still am, mentally ill and sought help from my doctors at the local VA clinic. I have another continuation of care appointment today as a matter of fact so I will be closing this post soon.

I have covered a lot of ground here on a meandering path that to me seems to be fairly straight. Many of our readers here will intuitively discern this. Others won't, but that's o.k., too. I am no longer in full control of my faculties, blocks of memory rotate in and out of view, some that have never returned, others remain or come and go that are crystal clear. I remain lost in time and space and can rarely tell anyone, even myself, what time, date, month, year, or decade in which I am living at any given point. I simply don't know. My vocabulary, ability to spell, handwriting, and sense of logic and expression have all been reduced to a small fraction from that I previously enjoyed, but I know it and live with it. To me this last horrific round of lunatics and gun happened…a week? Ten days? A month ago? I couldn't remember or figure out why this seemed so long ago; imagine my surprise when I found that this incident happened only two days ago. It isn't possible.

I have always had a memory bordering on the photographic since age four I got my first library card. I would check out 10 to 15 books, read fifty pages of one, fifty of another an so on until my mind was trained to be able to switch to any book and instantly recall everything, plot, characters, relationships, names, dates and times of events, etc.; it took less than a few months (In my third grade year testing showed my reading and comprehension levels exceeded those of a college graduate entering post graduate studies. That's also gone and affects me in very not-so-subtle ways as I lament the loss, the joy of reading, the challenges to memory that would prospectively ensure I became a firt class, very expensive to hire bounty hunter that worked on a "no locate, no pay basis" and that worked maybe four to six months a year (during winter) and then took the rest of the year off to spend on the beach with the love of my life. Now I am unable to work at all and, in fact, was told by the VA that I am now permanently medically retired and forbidden to work. Another loss. More stuff I can never do again. It hurts me but I retain jut enough commonsense to know they are right.

I had to stop riding very powerful, very fast motorcycles; my neck, shoulder, winged scapula, and constant pain deprived me of a lifelong love for riding to fly at 150 mph where safe. Now I must consume so much medicine that I no longer drive a car for fear of accidentally losing control and injuring someone or anyone. My Warrior Woman or my son drive me wherever I need or want to go. Yet another depressing loss of something I enjoyed doing and for which I had considerable skills, abilities. Gone now. But I made the choice to do this VOLUNTARILY, to ensure my conditions and maladies didn't lead to irresponsible behaviors and violations of law.

Everyone, please, if you see the signs of mental illness or incapacity within yourself, family, friends, or anyone else, try, then try again and don't stop trying to encourage them to seek professional help.

It really does help.



At 2:14 PM, Blogger nunya said...

I'm sorry for your pain and suffering. Kudos to you for doing what you can to deal with it responsibly. I know a few who have not :(

At 5:25 PM, Blogger Bill Arnett said...

Thank you. Perhaps it helps explain why I can be all over the map in my writings. (I knew you would be among those possessed of the innate intuition to look through the words of a person often trapped within their own minds and badly handicapped for it.)

Bless you, and please take care. Our country and our planet need more compassionate people like you.


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