To Protect and Serve – When to thank and When to say no.

To Protect and Serve

It can be kind of discouraging to see so  many bad reports in the news about police officers. To be fair, if all of the police were bad, then it would no longer be ‘news’. Therefore, it must not be the rule (I hope) but rather the exception. We have fifty states with heaven knows how many cities, towns and counties. Some are better than others. We need to say thanks more often for the good and heroic service as well as objecting to the abuses.

Nonetheless, when I see the reaction of their fellow officers, their chiefs, and the rumored ‘thin blue line’, I get concerned. An unchallenged poor code of conduct is unlikely to change. This should not be ‘us against them’. We are the citizens that pay the salaries of these people. Unchecked, the attitude may spread and grow. It may even get worse, as people go from military (fighting ‘America’s enemies) to police (fighting civilian bad guys) they may label the wrong people and apparently, forget they are still in the US and subject to our Constitution.

Here are the areas these bad apple cops are falling short (in no particular order):

  • Ignorance of Dogs
    First off, I keep seeing dogs shot or attacked for just being dogs. This suggests an ignorance of both dog behavior and the law. Clearly they need some training in telling ‘attacking’ dog from ‘scared dog defending it’s turf’ and better ways to deal. Dogs are everywhere, one of our favorite two pets and it’s too easy to correct for this. Surely, a volunteer from an animal welfare group could come in and give a few tips?
  • Ignorance of Mental or Physical Illness
    This is understandable, but not acceptable. Yes, there are lots of bad guys. But if  in a crisis, the guy or gal who refuses orders might be mentally ill and literally be incapable of answering. Good grief, what if they are not on drugs or alcohol, but are diabetic, having a stroke, or having a bad reaction to honestly prescribed medicine? When they are full of bullets, tasered, or even dead, ‘oops’ is not an acceptable answer! Even if the 99 people before fit the ‘addict’ label, number 100 could leave a dead or injured victim for all the wrong reasons.
    That kid apparently staring at the police may be thinking anything, but that is not illegal. But they may also be autistic or something. Going tough guy on them will only aggravate the situation.
  • Ignorance of the Law.
    This is kind of ironic, given that police are supposed to be law enforcers. How can they do that if they break it themselves? Sadly, dogs are considered property, not family members. Still, killing an animals is at least, ‘stealing’ it from the owner. You cannot replace it if you find you made a mistake. Therefore, you are now no better than the guy you were pursuing to that family.
    Worse, things like attacking someone who you ‘suspect’ or demanding to use someone’s house as a base of operations and attacking him/her on refusal, mistreatment of prisoners and/or similar behavior is illegal. Period. No exceptions. As in, not ‘local’ illegal but ‘nationwide unconstitutional’.
  • Extreme Short Sightedness.
    People call the police now for things previous generations would’ve just sent kids to the principle’s office or called their parents.  A kid looks at the police a certain way and gets hassled for how they look at police. Then there is the officer that just opened fire and killed a bunch of kittens in front of little kids.
    These all have one thing in common. They fail to take into account how the kids or people involved will feel about the police and react to them in the future. The police are supposed to deal with criminals, not discipline a kid, who hasn’t yet matured enough to outgrow some stuff. The guy that shot the cats could easily have insisted the little  kids be taken elsewhere, or called for help moving them to a new location. (No, I don’t like that they were killed at all. But that’s really not the point.) The fact that he wasn’t even seen to try and find another solution has left an indelible memory on those little kids. Cop = animal murder. I don’t see them calling the cops when older, do you?

The question: why do we need petitions for this stuff, why don’t their fellow officers take a stand? I can hope they do without doing it publicly, but sometimes it needs to be public. After all, doesn’t the entire department suffer if a lawsuit is filed over it? Doesn’t the job of the other officers become harder, because those kids grow up fearing or hating cops?

It takes courage, and a lot of it, to stand up to peers.  Someone, preferably one of their own, needs to remind them they are not gods, not always right and always have something to learn. Everyone does. Pinning on the badge is supposed to show you are going to be strong for those who need you. It’s not a sign that you are not an ‘official bully in power’. It’s a hard job, and if it’s thankless, sometimes it’s because the few make the rest look bad. And it certainly can’t be easy on families. Switching between ‘strong and in charge’ to ‘compassionate’ and avoiding falling into the gaping hole of being a bully can’t be easy. And I’m sure the best way to do it is for the police to check  each other, rather than wait for public opinion to bash them over the head.

Cameras are even in phones and freedom of internet and press are part of our country.  Those colleagues and in charge should remember this. Instead of throwing up a wall, they should encourage education. Got someone who doesn’t deal with dogs, who shot the pet? Enforce a leave  involving some ‘dog’ education in animal behavior for alternatives to shooting. Got someone who has a furious parent because their autistic child was misconstrued as disobedient and got hurt? How about some education about that kind of illness. That way, we would see progress. I’m sure there are volunteers who would be happy to help. We’d only be calling for the heads of those who don’t care, who keep insisting on ignorant, bullying behavior, rather than the ones who made an honest but tragic mistake.

And for those who do stand up and do the right thing, for those who resist letting another officer get away with something that a regular citizen would be arrested for, Thank You! Thanks for saying no. We aren’t asking you to be a rat or a snitch. We are asking you to step in and stop that infection before it starts: give it an education and consider it another way to polish the badge.

Congratulations Police Academy Graduate Card
Congratulations Police Academy Graduate Card
Angel in Disguise Thank You Card
Angel in Disguise Thank You Card

 

 

 

 

 

References:

The Bad Ones: (I won’t even try and list them all!)

The Good:

Horses and the Slaughter Industry

There was a time when I believed the argument that it was better for the horse to be put down at slaughter then suffer neglect or abuse. Many still believe this.
But then facts struck me in the face. It’s evidence, not emotion, that rules on these issues, contrary to what the pro horse slaughter lobby claims. This is not just a bunch of bleeding heart horse lovers.

The reasons why American’s should ban horse slaughter are not just about caring about horses, it’s also in our own, best interest as well as the best interest of our neighbors.

Three prime reasons why American horse slaughter is dangerous to our welfare:

Our health: – between the hormones and the medicines equine athletes are given, American horse meat is unsafe for human consumption.

Our environment: – reports of communities near these plants include such horrible affects range from blood backing up the sewers to the smells of the plant cast offs contaminating the entire area.

Our ethics: – ‘humanemeans compassionate. And the word comes from human.
By denying the horse – or any other animal – a compassionate means to an end comes back and bites back by adding stress hormones to the meat, as well as possible virus and bacterial infections due to a stress weakened immune system.
By allowing the slaughter plant into the neighborhood, we are risking the safety of that neighborhood. Far from creating jobs, it will send quality jobs away because no-one wants their business in sight or smell of a slaughter plant.

Our economy: – In order to prevent cruel stress causing treatment during shipment and slaughter, we would have to fund inspections. We would have to enforce and prosecute those who use cruel transport and slaughter techniques to save a quick buck. We would have to be willing to pay for the clean up and enforce the environmental protection as well.

It may seem complicated or contradictory, but it does begin with ethics.  Ethics about both our own food safety and our neighbors. Ethics about the right way to treat any living thing, even one destined for slaughter.

Why are horses NOT food animals: Due to their anatomy and high spirited nature, horses are not killed as easily as cows.Here is the process:

The Sale: Maybe it’s a retired racehorse or outgrown pony. But it’s not always in poor health to begin with. The buyers want meat, not skin and bones. Also it has to be in good health, at the very least not obviously sick. Slaughter plants don’t want obviously sick animals. However, they can’t tell at auction if the animal has been given medication.

The Feed Lot:  The owner cares little for the animals health and the reports of treatment in these places is appalling.

The Transport: The horse is crammed into a truck with multiple other horses, if it resists it may be forcibly subdued and injured. Reports include mention of intentional maiming and use of electric cattle prods. They then face a horrible, pain filled journey to the plant.

Here is a big red flag. Due to European union guidelines, the slaughter plant isn’t going to just take obviously sick animals or those with no meat value. Some are actually TURNED BACK or TURNED LOOSE. To die on their own at the slaughter plant. This means the whole ‘overabundance of neglected, sick horses’ is moot. These are exactly the horses they don’t want.

At the slaughter plant:  The stun bolt used on cows doesn’t work, often neither does the gun. In Mexico, sometimes they use a knife which only paralyzes, but does not render the horse unconscious.Meanwhile all the horses in line behind hear and smell the panic of the horses before them.  This means that when killed you get the meat of a panicked, stressed out animal.

WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEOS

Horses and Stress: Obviously all these facts add up to one load of meat filled with stress hormones. Stress also weakens the immune system, and makes it more susceptible to disease and infection.

Important Facts about Stress Hormones
Think Antibiotics in your Meat is Bad?
Hormone Released by Stressed Chickens Could Be the Reason for Invasive Bacteria

Horses and Drugs
Horses are not considered food animals. Look in the medicine cabinet or trunk of you average horse barn and you’ll find proof. They are treated as athletes or companion animals.
The labels of bute and other medicines do warn against use in food animals. Bute is proven to cause liver failure and other issues when combined with standard house hold drugs in humans. This is only one medicine but I focus on this because it’s as common as aspirin.

In order to be assured the horse doesn’t have drugs in it’s system, you’d have to have a complete record of the horse’s life. You’d have to have drug testing done.

The Economy and Environment: Locally speaking, horse slaughter plants have been disastrous for the local economies. They leave a swath of environmental contamination behind them. No-one wants their town associated with a slaughter plant. It ruins the local tourist industry. Far from giving jobs to locals, they usually hire illegal immigrants and criminals. There are reports of the blood leaking into the sewage! Would you want this in your neighborhood? Let alone house?

Life in a Horse Slaughter Town
Horse Slaughter Plant Proposed
When Horses Slaughter Comes to Town – – Economic Grown and Community Image
When Horse Slaughter Comes to Town (another one)
Applications for Horse Slaughter Mosey into  USDA

And where exactly does horse meat go?
Americans in general do not eat horse meat. In some European countries it may be a delicacy. But even they don’t want our hormone and drug tainted horse meat. In fact, they are already embroiled in scandal as horse meat has found to have been illegally sold in place of beef in multiple countries and leading to recalls in such big companies as Nestle and Burger King. Everything from school lunches to prepackaged TV dinners has been affected.

Traces of Horse Drug Found in British Beef
Horse Meat Found in Beef at Schools
Horse Meat Found in Nestle Products

Horse Meat Found in Burger King Burgers

Now considering the health risks, do we really want this in America? Why should we pay our tax money on USDA inspections for foreign investors and a few fat cats to slaughter horses and sell the drug laden meat to foreign criminals to pass off as beef?

It won’t stop animal neglect or cruelty. That involves the human heart. And it won’t get rid of the already sick or neglected. Even if it did, selling sick animals for meat is unconscionable.

We can’t afford it financially. We can’t afford it morally. You want less horses? Stop over breeding. But we are not going to find the solution in a slaughter plant.

Horses and Therapy

It’s no secret to horse lover’s that horses make excellent therapists.

They have some of the essential skills built right in. To name a few:

  • They are excellent listeners.
  • They speak only with body language, which encourages awareness.
  • The movement of the horse helps the rider, particularly those who have physical difficulties. It stimulates the movement of the rider’s muscles.

These natural traits make a horse an ideal creature for helping the disabled, or those wounded physically or emotionally wounded. Learning to guide and ride the horse gives confidence. The rider has muscles that may otherwise not be stimulated working, and helps overcome atrophy, and or improve balance. They influence posture, for heads up and heels down isn’t just an old proverb. A horse isn’t truly or primarily controlled by reins, but by body shifts and leg pressure. So the posture matters.

Then there are the psychological benefits. Autistic children, people with various social challenges, and the just abused find that the gentle communication of the horse may be just what they need. The horse is totally nonjudgmental. Those who find trouble talking and sharing difficulties with a councilor may find talking to a horse a lot easier. Even the autistic have been known to respond to horse therapy, perhaps because in a way, the horse and they speak a similar ‘body language’. That is, for instance, people with autism may be very shy and have trouble staring people in the eye and be wary of new people. This is similar to horses behavior as ‘prey’ animals.

In addition there is the just, plain fact that stroking or petting an animal eases stress. And therefore a horse has ‘plenty’ of fur to stroke.

Some horses – miniature horses – are even being trained as seeing eye horses. Yes, that’s right, seeing eye horses. The virtue of horses aside from dogs is that, for one thing, someone may be allergic to dogs.

Riding a horse requires ‘in the moment’ awareness. This is an automatic relief from those burdened with worries, cares or fears.  The ride of the horse itself requires there attention. And there is something in the brisk rhythm of the walk or the power of the canter that seems to clear the body and mind of stress and obstacles, leaving a clean tired feeling and giving room for the energy to face the challenges of life.

Not just any horse can be a therapy horse. It’s temperament that matters the most. They may be any shape and size, from that miniature ‘seeing eye’ horse to the big draft horse that carries that big rider with PTSD. They may be no special breed at all.  But they are special: they heal hearts and lives.

I Love Pony Power Kids T-shirt
I Love Pony Power Kids T-shirt
Aspergers Dare 2 Think Different Winged Horse Shirt
Aspergers Dare 2 Think Different Winged Horse Shirt
Aspergers is a mild form of autism.

Interesting Reference Links

http://blogs.psychcentral.com/equine-therapy/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Therapeutic_horseback_riding

http://www.equine-therapy-programs.com/aspergers.html

http://www.wayofthehorse.org/Essays/equine-fac-learning.html

Teddy Bears, Frivolous?

Are Teddy Bears and other Hobbies Frivolous?

Frivolous.  Dictionary definition: carefree and not serious. It’s antonym is considered: serious or important.

Today, I came to the ironic realization the other day that ‘frivolity’ is actually extremely important. And this is how it came about:

I was scrolling through teddy bear images, just to brighten a gray day. And I came upon the headline about the Boyd’s Bear store in Pennsylvania closing. More people out of work and darn it, I’ll never get to visit. But it was the comments that really drew my eye.

There were comments calling teddy bears and teddy bear stores frivolous. The attitude was that teddy bears were a waste of time. After all, they are a toy or collector item. They usually just sit and look cute. This got me to thinking. Are they ‘pointless’ in today’s society? And suddenly I was indignant. I thought of people jumping up and down in war paint at football games. I thought about those same people turning up their nose at those of us who are science fiction and fantasy fans and convention. I thought of people who hunt for sport. And what about people who chase a little white ball around a golf course as a hobby.  I suddenly wondered who is one person to claim another’s hobby is frivolous.

In this modern world we fret about war, about gun control and paying the bills. We may have a roof over our heads and food, but that doesn’t mean we have all we need. True, we have more than many. But we have a spiritual and emotional needs too. And all that stress takes it’s tole on our well being, on our emotions and even our physical health.  Without frivolity, without laughter and smiles, we would self destruct.

Nearly all hobbies have one thing in common: the ability to get us to relax. Most have another feature as well, they improve our skills in some area. Maybe it’s hand and eye coordination, or creativity, problem solving or physical education. But they are all ‘play’ for the one who loves to do them.

I can’t imagine that anything that keeps us from self destructing, calms our tattered, overworked nerves and keeps us healthy is truly unimportant.  So I’ll keep my teddy bears, thank you. And when I can’t buy, I’ll look and draw. Because it relaxes me. And that is anything but frivolous.

Teddy in the Lillies
Teddy Bear in the Lilies with Scripture Verse about Stress.

Full Size Available as Wallpaper – FREE

References:

The Effects of Stress:

Stress Management and the Effects of Stress

Health Benefits of Teddy Bears:

Teddy Bears Why We Need Them

Teddy Bears Make You Friendlier and Maybe Healthier

Teddy Bears: How Stuffed Animals Can Relieve Stress

Family Teddy Bears Shares Benefits of Bear Hugs

Four Psychological Powers of Teddy Bears

Sleeping with Your Teddy Bear, Habits for Grown Ups