Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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If we make it through this Thanksgiving week without a flood of car traffic invited to park outside our front door to donate to a charity scam it will be the first time since I have been in my home. Our HOA has forced the homeowners here to host a donation drop off in the fire lane of our private property for the entire time I have lived here, almost 15 years. Literally thousands of cars have passed by my front door to leave junk, or food, or volunteer hours preparing food for the public for a fake charity. The HOA board has a fiduciary (legal) responsibility to protect the property value of the corporation, but they see fit to use our property to show off their own fake philanthropy to the neighborhood. They operated these scams all year, and solicited donations in various ways. They used the US Postal service to solicit funds from the neighbors, which was incredible. Holidays were special times when we had non-stop cars drive through and park for hours to donate to the charity scams.
The most amazing feat they accomplished was to go to court and get a restraining order from a city court judge. They told him they were “giving back” and need to restrain the people who live here and own the driveway with the fire lane they occupy from stopping the charity scam donations or food prep. We tried for years to stop it through our official Tucson Police Department neighborhood watch, but the cop was in favor of both filling the fire lane with cars, and inviting the public to drive through this driveway we have to pay to pave in order to keep the white collar criminals happy. She did not even know them, but wanted, in general, to make this a shittier place to live. She encouraged the HOA board to trash the environment and break federal revenue law. It seems she was just untrained or not paying any attention. There was no way to know what she was thinking because she simply refused to respond when we reported the crime. She was able to influence the whole city government to refuse to enforce the fire lane law here for reasons known only to herself…or more likely to nobody, since it was a mindless clueless action. Cluelessness is contagious and soon the whole city government was too clueless to even collude with each other. They had manifested the ultimate willfully blind untrust. They unknowingly were the biggest promoters of obvious crime in front of all of us in the area. They stuck to their guns for more than a decade, and last night there were 4 cars in the fire lane and 1 in a neighbor’s driveway without permission. If a fire had broken out they had blocked people into their garages who would be trapped while the fire truck would be blocked. They don’t see any reason not to expose us to that kind of risk.
After being forced to live with this full time donation drop off site in my front yard for years, the neighbors and I petitioned the newly elected mayor, who is a lawyer. He refused to respond, and in fact since the first petition in 2013 he has not been willing to respond to the citizens here who petitioned his office to halt the charity scam activity that freaked the whole neighborhood out. His office thinks it has a right to remain silent while refusing to give us any law enforcement services for more than a decade. They are not trying to refuse to perform. This is the extent of the ability they have. They send out a cop to promote charity scamming and filling the fire lane of the property with as many cars as possible, and then refuse to respond when we ask for at least a clear fire lane. No can do. I have pointed out the total number of nights our fire lanes have been clear in the last 15 years. The number is stuck at 6 nights total. They passively aggressively pretend that this law enforcement task is impossible for them, so they can’t do anything to improve this situation. They manage to keep the fire lanes clear downtown. They do know how to write these expensive tickets. They prefer to ignore the issue. They have fully trashed our hood as well as trust in the police with their actions. I still can’t get them to repair the damage because it would include admission of an error. They are sticking with deeper clulusion. This is why we can’t have nice things.
There is an ethical ladder that ascends to the highest moral code. As children we should be taught how to climb that ladder by example. Unfortunately many children are witnesses to adult misbehavior that leads them to cling to a low rung on the ladder. As we go through life we respond to situations according to our ethical code. There is a sliding scale for moral fortitude, depending on the difficulty of the stand, or the popular opposition to the truth. It is obviously easier to go along with the crowd no matter what they do. People who stay down at that level just want to not make waves. They do not consider how they contribute to the morality of the entire world.
At the bottom of the ethical stairway is only one consideration:
If we mature we start to realize there could be more:
As educated adults participating in a community we may start to notice:
On which rung do you live most of your life, gentle reader? I encourage you to take the highest ground possible, not just for yourself, but for the entire world.
In a co-dependent relationship each side wants the other to be different. One striking example today is the relationship between the public and the cops. Police departments across the country are found to be engaging in all kinds of costly and illegal practices that are not in the best interest of the taxpayers. One such practice is the use of public safety disability systems to pay off and retire problem (and criminal) cops. We foot the bill for all the retirement and disability payments retired cops are given, whether they are valid or not. Obviously we want to protect, heal and compensate those who are legitimate victims of on the job injuries. To do otherwise would be irresponsible and thoughtless.
Since this system is so easily deceived by bogus medical claims it only makes sense to examine the system for fraud. Tucson has unreasonably high disability figures compared to the national average for cops, which drains our coffers in an unsustainable way. Either we are really doing something that injures our employees more than other cities, or we are being taken for a ride much more than other cities. I sense that it may be a little of each. If they do nothing to take care of themselves they will not be healthy as they go through their careers. Obesity, drug addiction, depression, mental health issues, and low back problems would naturally arise from a work life sitting in a patrol car all day or wearing a bullet proof vest to compress the spine. There are significant risks to health besides getting shot or killed. I think this problem needs to be addressed. They have direct exposure to the worst of general public all day, every day. None of us could do that without experiencing a loss of optimism and bliss. PTSD is as real for the cops as it is for the people who go to war.
In Tucson our police department is drastically understaffed by the city council. They loose more to retirement and atrophy then they can replace by training because they are so far behind in the process. The lack of personnel leads to highly impaired service. I hear people say they can’t get through to 911 after holding for 5 minutes to report gun shots next to their home. I don’t try to call 911 because I have never had a response, and am not expecting that situation to improve by itself. I do report and send in pictures of suspicious activity and crime I see on a phone app. This is a way for me to contribute to better law enforcement without wasting my own time. I think most of the crime in my neighborhood goes unreported. People have no faith that there will be a response or a solution.
To provide protection under the law for our city Tucson needs:
America has major authority issues. If we look at law enforcement as a human body with a single anatomy we see ailing, weak systems. Eric Holder is the lame duck head of the brain of the body. He will leave office without prosecuting bankers who drove the country over the financial edge with gambling and mendacity. The next US Attorney General will serve for a couple of years and then we presume another will be appointed by the next president. The brain function at a national level seems fuzzy if not corrupt. Balance is impaired as a result. The core strength seems very weak and lacking integrity. The voice is breaking as it speaks. We do not trust people in authority to tell the truth or follow a code of ethics. We rely on the institutions of law enforcement and justice, but do not believe they are functional. This is a highly unsustainable situation. I live in the state of Arizona, famous for making our own immigration laws. We are also famous for Joe Arpaio, the Maricopa County Sheriff who loves to defy the Feds. The Tucson sector of the US border, named for my home city, is responsible for a high volume of traffic in smuggling of drugs and people. This has been true traditionally for many reasons. The geography here favors the smuggler, and Mexico does not lack tunnel engineers or builders. Cartel power trumps Mexican law enforcement to the point that it is dangerous to expose or oppose the profitable business of smuggling on the other side. It would be crazy to believe that there is not some corruption in the US that smoothes the way for contraband to flow through Arizona. This is a very complex economy that existed long before the border wall or the concept known as “Homeland Security”. Economic security in Arizona had long depended on a whole lot of unreported income and undocumented workers to stay afloat. To reverse this trend is a very difficult task. How can we restore trust and build integrity within our law enforcement institutions now? I do not accept the idea that crime and injustice must continue to blight the nation. I believe all of us, in and out of authority positions, have been complacent and apathetic. If we view the crisis in law enforcement as a Missouri thing, with no impact on our daily lives, we will perpetuate our current problems. I am not optimistic about change, but feel strongly that we must attempt it. Do you trust the police where you live, gentle reader? Do you feel protected by the courts? Does America feel like the land of the free and the home of the brave to you?