Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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For those of you who do not know what mansplaining is, you may be inadvertently doing it. You may also be a victim of it. Not all mansplaining is done by men, unfortunately. This powerful force in society is spreading like wildfire. The comedy of it is hilarious, but the reality is disconcerting. It plays out in the political campaign, naturally. It also plays out when any woman has interactions with the government. Our government has completely embraced the custom of condescending to citizens who want functional systems. We pay for everything these public “servants” do, but they live in a highly insular world where it is perfectly acceptable to sit around and mansplain to each other. The #squadgoals seem to be ignorance and sexist bliss.
If mansplaining does not work it is usually followed by some gaslighting. This is a practice of indicating that a woman must be out of her mind to be the way she is. This is a more sinister form of mansplain, just more extreme. Here in Tucson I reported the same egregious crimes to the Tucson Police Department for a decade, always being told that the crimes were not crimes at all, but civil matters. I persisted because the crimes seriously effect everyone in my neighborhood. Groups of neighbors, both male and female, petitioned to stop the crimes for years to no avail. The situation had been totally mansplained internally, so we could get no law enforcement help. Finally this year a cop came out in person to mansplain to me why the fake neighborhood watch to promote crime and willful blindness in our neighborhood was serving and protecting us. He informed me that he is the law, as if a person could be the law. When I did not accept this concept he came back the next day to gaslight me with the mental health division of the TPD. After passing my mental exam they just decided to pretend that I did not exist, which after all, is the goal of both mansplaining and gaslighting.
This disastrous plague needs to be exposed as well as eradicated. Everyone’s justice is compromised by this common practice. Have you had experience with mansplaining or gas lighting, gentle reader? Do tell.
I have been an enthusiastic fan of the local social network, Nextdoor, since it launched. I started one for our neighborhood right away, and have worked to increase participation because I believe it has potential to drastically improve communication between neighbors as well as between neighborhoods and law enforcement agencies. We have made a few gains, but I notice recently that many members do not understand how the system works. A neighbor recently asked me where to find instructions to use the site. This inspired me to find this tutorial and create this post with some simple suggestions.
One of the most common misunderstandings seems to be about who can see the posts. Some folks think that because our police department is a member, and does post useful information to the community using the system, they are monitoring Nextdoor full-time. The posts initiated by the police force are visible to the force. All other posts are private from any government agency. There is a private messaging system with which to privately contact any cop who is in the system. Some officers also publish their phone numbers or e-mail addresses. This is not an official channel to report crime. It is a way to dialog about community issues that may include crime. The goal of Nextdoor is to increase engagement, not enter the arena of law enforcement. We already have a police force working very hard on that. Increasing engagement may eventually improve our crime statistics just because more pertinent information is shared.
The calendar and the classified sections are excellent tools to promote events or let neighbors know about services offered. The classified section provides free advertising between local establishments and local residents. The reason to use these special designations is simple. The conversation that is known as a thread or stream will move on with time and be buried by newer posts and conversations. New members will not be likely to search the conversations held in the past. They might, however, check the classified section or the calendar, just as they might in a newspaper. These useful sections are underused where I live. If a member shows interest in an event on the calendar Nextdoor will send an e-mail reminder when the event is soon to occur. There is a new feature I have not used much myself that tags, and recommends businesses that are discussed in the thread.
If you do not have a Nextdoor site in your area, I urge you to start one. It is available as an app for the phone, which most people use now. If you have a site I encourage you to use it to get to know your neighbors. It is free. What is not to like?
The theories used to administer law enforcement agencies have changed with the times. The current political climate demands a thorough examination of the criminal justice system from top to bottom. The DOJ’s 21st Century Guidelines are a step in the right idealistic direction. Much thought has been put into the basic “pillars” of law enforcement best practices. The country seems to be more divided each day on the subject of police relationships with the public. Some paint the entire force as rotten based on the criminal behavior now available for broadcast to the world. Others advocate for support for the cops no matter what they are doing. The second group always refers to a few rotten apples, but they never mention the rest of the proverb…a few rotten apples spoil the whole barrel. Staying with the fruit analogy, I think it is the responsibility of the administrators of cities to responsibly go through the barrels on a regular basis to assure that the law enforcement culture is not rotten.
The war on drugs has not only given us an opiate addicted society, but also great opportunity for the most common kinds of corruption to flourish. Arizona is a wild west state famous for “conservative” law enforcement, al estilo de Joe Arpaio. Indeed, Arizona has had some famous historical stand offs around law and order. The Gunfight at the OK Corral was exactly that. Doc and Wyatt are symbols of everything we love about Tombstone and the legends too tough to die. After the Earps and Doc shot the Clantons they high tailed it to Tucson, and the rest is history. The Arizona Rangers were founded in Tombstone during the Territory days, and still have a proud tradition, although today they are a volunteer organization. It is a serious challenge to maintain the proud traditions and, at the same time, be vigilant of corruption. It is not a black and white question.
How do you feel, gentle reader? Do you think there is a problem with individual cops, or with the leadership? Or do you feel everything is going well with the criminal justice system right now?
About two years ago some friends and I were gathered at my house to taste homemade bitters. Bitters making is kind of complicated, yet once you make a batch it becomes easier. Even though we only tested very small spoonfuls in fizzy water, the base for bitters is alcohol and some of us are pretty light weight when it comes to consumption of spirits. We started to joke around and laugh a bit more than usual as the tasting progressed. Our police chief at the time had been invited to the White House for lunch. I joked that there was no way he would have the nerve to come to lunch with us in our neighborhood. A few weeks after the bitters party Tucson Police Department joined our local Nextdoor private social media thread. The chief introduced himself to the city on Nextdoor. I could not resist the temptation to send him a direct message inviting him to come to lunch at my house and take a look at the evidence I had been trying to show TPD for years. It was no surprise that he did not respond. We knew he did not have the guts to come out here in person to face us or look at the evidence we wanted him to see.
We have a problem with response time here in our city. Most are concerned with the lack of response to 911 calls, but here we we just trying to get a response after years of working to get some rule of law in our area. We had been reporting the same crimes by the same people for years, but could not get any help stopping the crimes or the 24 traffic caused by the criminal operations. We petitioned the mayor because he is a lawyer. We thought he would recognize the need for law enforcement to stop traffic from crimes where we live. He never answered after a couple of different petitions were sent to his attention, two years in a row. It was disappointing to say the least. I was called by a detective who blew off the reports of crimes. The following year when we petitioned the mayor a Lieutenant on the force called to say inviting the public to drive through and donate to a charity scam is perfectly legal in a residential condo village, but I might be able to get some help from the IRS. I did file a report with the IRS, and followed up with more information when there was more activity, but I guess the case has not been pursued.
Finally after years of reporting this problem to the city in all different departments TPD dispatched a cop in person to assess the situation. Later a mental health team was dispatched last week to assess my wellness level for wanting and expecting rule of law in midtown Tucson. I passed the crazy test as a frustrated tax paying citizen who had been reporting the same crimes for years with no response from our city government. I hope they will be as interested in finding justice as they have been in obstructing it for years. Our neighborhood has been damaged by the constant flow of traffic.
Yesterday I met Canine Officer Evo of the Tucson Police Department. He and his human trainer were at the Cops and Rodders Car Show. This free annual event is sponsored by the Tucson Police Foundation. My partner Bob always brings his antique VW bug to be in the show and I always attend. This year was graced with perfect weather and some really artful vehicles of every kind. My favorite collection this year was old firetruck and cop car toys that a regular exhibitor brought just do try something different. It was also especially lucky because the restored firetruck that normally sits in the lobby at station one permanently happened to to out for some kind of repair, so the retired firefighter who works on this beauty drove it over to the park to be in the show. I love all the firetrucks. They are spectacular works of mechanical art. I was thrilled to have a chance to meet and ask questions of the retired firefighter who has done the body work on these antiques and is rightfully proud of his work.
The police are set up to meet the public and answer questions all day. They are divided into specialties according to training and equipment they use. The SWAT team is very popular because the robots interact with kids and pass a bottle of hand sanitizer, etc. They dress up in jumpsuits and stand next to their big vehicle. The helicopter lands and the crew hangs out all day. People love looking inside the cockpit and meeting the cops on our local beat, since they are usually flying over us shining big obtrusive lights around our hood. There is a booth with their heavy military artillery, a place with TPD recruiting information. At the end of the display I spotted a woman wearing a walking patrol uniform. I asked where she gets to do that, and the answer was downtown and 4th Avenue, a more urban part of town. The same officers do bike and walking patrols. We had a few in midtown and really wanted more on duty here, but they were canceled. Now we have no boots on the ground in midtown, which we regret because air support can only accomplish so much without a coalition on the ground to hold the territory. We have the helicopter on a very regular basis, but are not comforted by our relationship with it. It does not make any sense to us to cancel bike cops because the budget is too tight, and use the helicopter instead. There is such a thing as efficiency. I was feeling annoyed, as I often am, at the priorities (or total lack thereof) of government spending when I saw him, everything I have ever wanted in a police officer.
The canine unit has only 10 dogs. Not all of them are social, and therefore would not be brought out to meet and greet the pubic. Evo, however, is a total party animal. I had no idea they were loving, or that they even were allowed to party with the public. Imagine my surprise and delight when I came down to his level to say hi to him and was given big fat kisses all over my face. He just would not stop with the kissing while he showed me his tummy. We played for a minute and I fell deeply in love with him while his other fans waited to meet him. From little kids to adults, he charmed the humans as no other cop there had the power to do. His trainer opened the back of his car so his fans could see how he rides and answered the millions of questions we had. A very loud and aggressive lemonade vendor came by shouting out his wares. He meant no harm, but his shouting voice was out of place. Officer Evo did not bark to react like a pet dog might, but you should have seen him come to attention. His ears went shooting up and he left his PR job completely to focus on the risk the lemonade guy might pose. At that moment he displayed situational awareness the humans just can’t achieve. He had been there winning hearts and minds since 7:30 am when I met him about 2 in the afternoon. He showed infinite patience and stamina. Of course he is much younger than the human cops. He is only 4.
I learned a lot yesterday even though I just went to see the vehicles. I came away with the following impressions:
I would like to see more paws and boots on the ground in midtown. Can I get an Amen?? If you don’t live in Tucson, gentle reader, then this may not seem to apply to you. Your city may also do inappropriate law enforcement stuff rather than more effective stuff just because they can. If they don’t, you are fortunate.
Our neighborhood has started to use Nextdoor.com to reach people in our vicinity. I am very impressed with the results after trying it for just a couple of months. We have 61 members, or 5% of the homes in our neighborhood participating. The San Diego Police Department has joined Nextdoor and is using it to inform citizens and get tips. In Tucson we are not yet so lucky as to have communication from or to the cops, but I believe in time all police departments will see the value in sharing information with the community. In San Diego it was very helpful for informing the public about the recent wildfire problems. The crime and safety features are excellent, but beyond that people are connecting about common interests such as pets (lost and found), gardening, and yard sales. There have been some really good offers of free construction materials and plants.
I believe this start up has the potential to improve quality of life in ways we have not yet discovered. I immediately started a garden club, but am not sure what it will do. I am sure it will not hold flower shows like my mother’s garden club did. We have met each other and exchanged some plants to break the ice. Water is precious and expensive around here, so gardeners sharing knowledge and plants could turn out to be very helpful. I don’t care what kind of garden club we become. I simply love to know others around me who have some common interests. I have met some of my long distance contacts on social media, but it required travel and some expense. Meeting my own neighbors is a bit of a cheap thrill in comparison. It is very fun for me.
As with all things digital the balance between privacy and safety must be considered. In order to join one must verify that one lives in the neighborhood. This becomes tricky because some people don’t want to publish their addresses. I have just now experienced someone joining with a fake ID that is not known at the address he used. I can’t imagine what a hacker/prowler would want with our lost cat information, but then again I am not a hacker/prowler. This issue may be a little sticky, but the benefits outweigh the demerits in my opinion. Also, the CEO of the company is in a spat about a driving incident in San Mateo which could prove to be a drag for the company’s future. This case will be handled in California courts, and it does not make me love our Nextdoor site any less. It is my very strong opinion that Nextdoor.com is not only the wave of the future for law enforcement but for an elevated standard of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Oakland, CA, Pittsburgh,PA, and other cities have partnered with the site. If you are interested in starting a site for your neighborhood you only need 10 people to join to qualify for your free website. Nextdoor will send out free postcards to let your neighbors know about it. After you invite more people and the membership reaches about 50 it grows organically. I enthusiastically urge you to give it a try. If you start a new site and use my code: nextdoor.com/amazon/?r=awrupt we will both receive a $25 Amazon gift card. What is not to like about that?