September 23, 2016
What are the requirements for becoming a police officer? Do they change from state to state? According to my (admittedly cursory) interwebs research, you basically just need a high school diploma or GED, and a driver’s license. And to pass some exams. What if every community had a program or a nonprofit or something dedicated to helping people of all demographics complete these requirements and apply for the force? What if this prep included personal psychoemotional therapy, empathy training, and community involvement designed to place participants in environments that contrasted their personal upbringing and current community? What if every officer hopeful started out by recognizing the small scared animal within themselves, and learned to recognize the same in every other?
Imagine if we had a bunch of minorities as officers in every community; a bunch of old peeps as officers in every community; a rainbow swath of gender identifiers as officers in every community; and that all of them were supported according to their individual needs as humans as they went about their risky business.
I think we could make this happen.
We would also have to scrape the inveterate nasty old white boy racist sexist homophobic monoreligious fuckgum out from under the tabletops of the current institution; which we are hopefully working on as we speak. Hopefully. But imagine how colossal a difference could be made by empowering more types of people to become police officers, and teaching them how to pity the obese blue line and how to wedge it effectively out of its eyeswideshut logjam. We could give them the skills and support they need, up front and ongoing, to deal with the pandemic suck from the inside out. And by doing that, we would all push the community level criminal justice change that we want in the world.
I truly believe that even the grossest of white supremacist curbstompers inwardly longs for this change. Maybe that is just my damage, but I truly do. They just have to be brought to a place where they can see how it would benefit them. I can tell you right now that what you find by searching ‘psychological support for police officers oregon’ is grim. Unless I am a stupid google searcher (possible) there is not much out there and what is out there is not very…easy or welcoming to access, and not extremely adept at marketing to its target audience. Apparently also from everything I can find, in Oregon police are maybe required to have a psych evaluation once a year, and this is considered revolutionary. In most states officers just have to pass the initial psych test, nevermind what trauma they take on during their course of human events on the beat.
I have had zero success in finding any sort of volunteer programs that serve the humans on the police force in Portland. There are some that collaborate with police officers to help the community, which is awesome; but I feel like this is yet another excellent indication of the public’s general lack of thought regarding the actual personhood of the police force. Maybe it comes from the circled wagons, keep it on the inside, take care of our own sort of mindset that is rampant in gangs of humans, especially humans with stuff to hide and asses to cover – but it is sad all the same and I think it has to end. Police officers are not going to be able to protect and serve us as we would like until we are as much a part of their processes as they are of ours. Familiarity breeds communication. For the second blog post in a row I am going to advocate for villages. If it takes a village to raise a child, and to give a pet a birthday party, it certainly follows that it takes a village to produce and maintain an effective, healthy police officer. And from the look of it, not enough of them have one.
For the record, policeofficervillage.com is totally available. For 2.99. I will buy it, if I can think of a good use for it. Or if you can.
September 22, 2016
I was talking with a friend last night about her cat, and how it has a birthday party every year on its adoption date.
And I thought,
Goddammit why didn’t I think of that?
All the hours I have despaired over never knowing Lucky’s true age or star sign** (although apparently the latter is as open for debate as the former due to recent hubbub, regardless of the zodiac placement I assigned her carefully and after much deliberation over the ins-and-outs of her personality and habits)! All the time I could have saved by just calling her adoption date her birthday! As I think of it now though, I doubt it would have saved me any grief of mind. She just doesn’t strike me as a Gemini, and that construct would have given her the same sign as Luna. Not possible.
Also I thought,
Why don’t more pets have birthday parties?
There are several subthoughts behind this, as usual; for cohesion, today in a rare break from my general rambleblah form, I am saying it with bullets.
- Pets deserve birthday parties. They put up with our shit all the time, which I consider is more than generous in trade for our habit of cleaning up their shit. They are safe little outlets for all our little madnesses. They respond to our baby talk. They allow themselves to be snuggled whenever we suddenly feel it necessary. They listen to us speak Spanish to them all the time and only ever meow back encouragingly. They sometimes even wear outfits. Pets deserve birthday parties.
- People who have pets deserve friends that will come to their pet’s birthday party and bring a little gift, maybe a little tuna. It’s expensive taking care of a pet for their whole lives, and still somehow not seen as a respectable pastime. Having expensive kids is respectable, or having working animals that bring in the money is respectable, but having an animal that toileth not neither doth it spin and treating it to basic human rights and the occasional extra chew toy lacks that respectability, because it’s a luxury. You chose to have a pet animal, so you can’t whinge about the sacrifices it requires without people thinking you’re a crazy cat lady; but you also can’t throw it a birthday party without people thinking you’re a crazy cat lady. There’s no tribalism behind owning a pet. It does not take a village. I think it would be more fun if there was more of a village. A pet village.
- Because people who have pets and take good care of them are doing a great thing for our world. They are taking their biological imperative to reproduce and care for offspring, and extending that beyond their own family mathematics. I think loving a pet is a gateway drug to loving unfamiliar others. It teaches you how to look for the spirit and the communicativeness in every creature, and to try to learn to respond in kind. If you’ve ever contemplated what a cat is thinking, you can contemplate what a person who votes in diametric opposition to you is thinking. If you’ve learned to communicate within your pet’s personality and routines, you can learn to communicate with some drunk asshole who’s kicking over your garbage cans.
- And this is a great thing. This combination of taking in creatures who need someone, and creating that bond to them; and of learning to comprehend them and communicate effectively with them.* It takes a lot of patience and effort, something every single one of us could use more of every day of our lives. And in return it gives sweetness – something else that every single one of us could use more of every day of our lives.
- Therefore, pets should have birthday parties. You should bring a gift. You should also invite me over to hang with you and your pet, because your pet should have a village. I will bring cheezits because my cat and I like those a lot.
- Pardon the unorthodox use of bullets. Apparently I am less capable of truly straying from a rambling cascade style of communication than I thought I was.
- **I guess maybe not hours. But definitely several dozens of minutes.
- *minus ‘don’t scratch the couch.’ I have never yet apparently learned to adequately convey the meaning of ‘don’t scratch the couch.’
- More parties, more chips and cake.
- Petvillage.com is already taken.
September 21, 2016
We went to Denver recently and while that place is totally gorgeous in an open, vast sort of way (hills like blue upperlips) the greater share of my focus was dedicated to the crazy gypsy moth jubilee that was going on there, and questions about several finer details of Colorado bathrooms.
My first question to Colorado concerning its bathrooms is, why the hell are all your toilets so low? I never actually measured them except against my shin, where they came up only midway, but from the first unexpected extra fall to the last gingerly anticipated extra distance to cover, your toilets all walk away with participation prizes for the shortest toilet I have ever seen outside of Guatemala.
Secondly, I felt strangely certain but could not be factually sure that your toilet paper is shorter and fatter than ours. To prove I wasn’t crazy, I put a square of toilet paper in my book and took it home with me for side by side comparison. Could a madwoman have been so clever?
Behold, the results of the side by side comparison. I may be crazy but I know my dimensions.
It was fun, Colorado. Thanks for all the new information about life.
September 16, 2016
Rosa Parks has nothing on a cat who is determined not to share the blanket.
September 14, 2016
It was a discouraging sort of day.
A promising young sprout, bright and ripe and a general guard favorite, had chosen its parents and had dropped down to join them at their moment of fugacious bliss. It had not chosen well.
They’re young, said Halda, they make stupid choices.
It’s stupid that they’re the ones making the choices, then, snapped Hurth, who was feeling it the most. He had even had a secret sort of nickname for this sprout, and had had high hopes of a cush future somewhere with two parents and a stable full of horses.
The other guards rolled their eyes. This came up every time somebody lost a particularly sweet sprout to a particularly brutal progression.
If we could just do it for them now, Hurth said, everything would go so much better. We could get some nice, steady folks who are ready and actually want kids…
Shil laid her hand on his arm. But we can’t. You did everything you could for it. You did a good job.
Shil was always going around trying to make everyone feel better. The others found it annoying at times but as it was a generally accepted fact that this was her way of working out her own issues without causing sporadic bouts of structural damage to environment and fellow, they tolerated it pretty well. Like drops from a bottle, they told each other at trying times. Better she dole out a small stream of dreary baggage at a regular flow than blow the lid off and go over the waterfall.
Apparently forgetting all of this, Hurth glared at her, wrenching his arm away. Several others moved in quickly to settle any ruffled feathers. Hurth flung them all off and stalked to the edge.
It’s so unfair that we don’t get to help them choose, and we still have to watch them live it. If we could have one without the other…
The air around him took on a more philosophical edge. The others exchanged winding down glances, and began to think about cake. Acceptance was dawning now. Halda began to surreptitiously lay out the picnic cloth.
Hurth turned, shoulders sagging. He heaved a great sigh, and threw his hands in the air.
Well, let’s celebrate this little sucker anyhow.
September 13, 2016
Feeling old is when I’m watching a movie from 1983 and hear a sound and think first, that’s so homey and immediate second, I will never again hear that in its original element in real life ever.