Depress ctrl and + keys together to increase text size; depress ctrl and – keys together to decrease
Kill em softly Kurt Wagner replied to yesterday’s a midsummer night’s dream – paying to taser Key West city officials to raise money for Boys and Girls Club, documented US Military personnel revolts during Vietnam War, Key West the Newspaper paints three homeless scenarios, and various other guided and misguided random acts of citizen counter terrorism post at www.goodmorningkeywest.com. The showing recipients were Key West city officials and KWPD officers.
To: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Fri, 13 Jun 2014 09:25:15 -0500
I really like Mike’s idea of tazing Cates and Yaniz to raise cash for the youth of Key West. But why stop there. Let’s taze other commissioners, Donnie Lee, and the 13 KW killers. I’d pay $100 each.
I replied to ALL:
Hi, Kurt –
When Mike first told me about his money-raising idea before he sent it to me in writing, I asked if he meant to include Police Chief Donnie Lee in the event? Mike said, no. Just Mayor Cates and Yaniz, because they have pushed hard for raising money for the kids. I think Yaniz has pushed the hardest. I didn’t ask Mike about the other city commissioners. Perhaps concentrating on just Cates and Tony Yaniz might be more effective initially; maybe later, after it catches on (goes viral), shanghai more taser targets.
Dig this email today from a Key West firefighter, whom I have known for some time.
Im in… im a certified Taser International Instructor.
Let ke know when you want to do an event. Ill be more than happy to Taser people for charity.
CAPT. Jarvis Nelson Osorio
L.E Firearms Instructor / FFL 07
Standard Operating Procedure 9
A different kind of tazing is a former Key West homeless man’s comments to the lead article in this week’s blue paper, which article can be reached by clicking on this link:
MIKE DOTTY JUNE 13, 2014 AT 10:02 AM
I moved to Key West in early November 1999. I was living in St.Paul, M.N. and had grown tired of their cold winters, so I was very ready for a change. My wife ( now ex ) and I had gone down there in early June that same year to get married. We loved it so much that upon returning home, we made the necessary arraignments to relocate their permanently, so that’s exactly what we did.
However there was an accident on the professional mover’s moving truck. A freak fire broke out and all 6 thousand pounds of life long, worldly possessions all perished in the fire…well the majority of it anyway. A few items did survive but not much.
Not the best way to start our new life together as newlyweds to say the very least, it was both tragic, and awful. The first month there my wife, and I, filled out paperwork for our Insurance Company, Farmers Insurance. They wanted to know everything we owned, a written description of each, and every, item lost. What it’s replacement value was, where we purchased it, etc. It was a nightmare.
I mean really, close your eyes for just a minute…humor me.
Now think about everything that you own, then make an itemized list including all the info listed above. Six months after completing this daunting task I would wake up during the middle of the night in cold sweats. I would remember a pair of rattlesnake skin cowboy boots, with sterling silver spurs, that I had neglected to include in my paperwork to the insurance company.
This went on for two plus years.
That’s roughly how long it took them to eventually get around to settling our case. We were eventually paid off in three settlement payments during all of that time. We had purchased a 40 thousand insurance policy with United Van Lines the moving company that caused all of this.
However those bastards refused to pay us. They had lawyers on retainer, I didn’t period. So they could drag the case on forever if they wanted. I consulted three different lawyers that all told me the same thing. That I would eventually win my case but any funds that I won would pretty much all go to the lawyers in fees etc. so basically it was not worth my time to pursue it legally.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, but after hearing that from three seperate attorney’s I realized that I was screwed with a Capitol “S”. Thankfully my wife had a homeowner policy that covered some of it. In the end though we didn’t even get enough funds to replace my heavy comic book collection, as I had like 39 long boxes plum full of silver age, to current, wonderful gems.
The collection was my life, pride, and joy.
I had every intention of selling it all one day and really cleaning up as I had been faithfully collecting for about thirty years at the time of that fire. My collection was appraised at just shy of six figures. Pretty much everything in as near to mint condition as humanly possible!!
Several years later my wife, and I, decided to end our marriage, and go our seperate ways.
Then a series of poor choices, increadably bad luck, and the Hurricane Season of 04, and 05, had destroyed my small business. I began drinking heavily, and almost always too excess, in a feeble effort to cope, and watched everything I owned, and had worked for, get flushed down the drain.
It was horrific to watch your life shatter, and go right down a sewer drain of life.
To make a very long story much shorter I suddenly found myself homeless. My girlfriend at the time did not appreciate all the heavy alcohol consumption, so she ended our relationship. Truly unfortunate for me because she was, and still is, the absolute love of my life. Even after all the elapsed time I still love her with all of my heart, and soul!!
But my poor decisions, and heavy drinking, caused the destruction of that relationship…I accept full responsibility. Her name was Ginger, and she was the reigning Fantasy Fest Queen in 2004. A pillar of the community, and without a doubt the finest human being that I know. I always knew that she really was too good for me to be with .
She had always really been out of my league. I knew that from day one!!
Anyway, we broke up and I had no where to live. For a short while I was surfing on various friend’s couches and futons, basically where ever I could crash for the night, I did. As Pride always was one of my greatest sins I quickly grew tired of putting my friend’s out, and living like that. One day I stopped asking my friend’s for help, and simply moved out on to Simonton Beach to live.
It was kind of fun at first, living hand to mouth. I no longer had to worry about paying huge amounts in rent. Those days I only worried about food, alcohol, and cigarettes…and that was about it. I had a stashed blanket hidden for those occasional chilly nights, and lived on the street for about ten and a half months.
I quickly blew threw what little cash I had during the first six weeks of being homeless. So I had an old guy named “Popeye” take me under his wing. Charles aka Popeye was a Vietnam Vet, and an Alcoholic, with a generous nature and soul. He taught me that art of the pan handling game, and the cardinal rule while living homeless which was this…closed mouths don’t get fed.
What he meant was if you want something you have to learn how to ask for it.
Money for food, cigs, alcohol, whatever could be had by those willing, and aggressive enough to simply ask for it. I never got great at that, but did learn how to get by. Eventually each and every day I would make enough money to scrape by.
The police down there are down right abusive to the homeless, and basically treat them like third class citizen’s. I personally know from experience and in dealing with them. They really don’t like the homeless one bit. They run you all over town all day. Each and every time they come across you they always say “move it along”.
Except there is really no where to move it along to. That’s because they tell you to move, only to find you in another 20-30 minutes where they keep saying the same thing. They do this because they want you exhausted. They want you to go out by the jail during the evenings, and stay in their tent city out by the jail.
During the entire duration of time that I was homeless I never once stayed out in their shelter on a Stock Island. That’s because they had very strict rules out there, and no drinking was at the very top of their list. Well back then drinking was pretty much all that I had left. Or so I thought anyway.
Before any holiday where the island would get really busy like say Christmas, or Fantasy Fest, NewYears, etc. The police would always do a very intense “sweep” where they would look for just about any, and every, possible reason to lock you up when homeless.
I mean the very last thing that they wanted was for you to have any fun, and party.
It’s down right criminal that the police down there arrest homeless people for an open container charge. I was personally only arrested one time for this charge which usually carries with it a very steep punishment of 29 days in jail. On the day when I was arrested I could see at least 40 other tourists all with cups of alcohol in their hands, all doing the exact same thing that I was.
A tourist can walk right down Duval St with an alcohol beverage as long as it is poured into a plastic cup no one ever bothers you. However, if you are homeless then the double standard applies, and they toss you in jail for a month. That still bothers me even today. It’s wrong, and laws should be changed.
I was homeless for pretty much most of 2006.
I slept behind a commercial dumpster of a few businesses in the building directly across the street from LaConcha, The Local Holiday Inn in KeyWest located at 430 Duval St. Most of the people I knew, my friend’s, were all in the gay area, or the 800 block of Duval. So I went to the other end because I was embarrassed, and ashamed, of what I had become. I didn’t want to ever get recognized.
Basically for roughly seven years KeyWest had become my home. I frequently spoke with customers of mine back when I drove a Pink Taxicab for five 6?s, and use to say that I would never leave KeyWest. That I was very happy there, and wanted to spend the rest of my life there… Still do really even after everything that’s happened!!
Anyway for seven years it was my home. The citizens there my family, and I had been accepted, I was then one of them, or so I thought. To the police there I was just the newest eyesore that they really didn’t want to have to look at, or see. On more then one occasion I had cops tell me to leave town, as in forever, and not to return.
I said that Key West was my home, and had been for many years…that I was a citizen there, and not going anywhere. The police REALLY did not like hearing that. Several called me a liar, that because they had only recently began seeing me, that I must have just arrived. Such arrogance, it was palpable.
One night there was a robbery that took place at a jewelry store downtown. The next morning the police came out on to The Beach down at the very end of Simonton St. They wanted to know if anyone had seen, or heard, anything. Funny how very differently they treat you when they want something from you.
I don’t care if that robbery had taken place directly in front of me, there was absolutely no way in hell that I would help any of those jackasses that had treated me , or any of my friends so poorly. It was unbelievable to me the audacity of some of those guys.
They were not all bad though, there were a few good eggs there.
One noteworthy police officer was named Officer Eric DeFlippio. This guy took a real personal interest in me, and genuinely seemed to care. He even bought me a meal out of his own pocket on more then one occasion. He single handedly saved my life!! It was he that took the time to sit down and chat with me on several different occasions.
He eventually convinced me to rise above all of that crap and bullshit. To reach out to a family member, or friend…someone from my past for help, so that I could get out of the keys, and away from that life. He was tired of being a cop, and spoke about his desire to be something more.
He wanted to be an EMT along with his wife. I have very little doubt that he is somewhere even today having changed his profession. Somewhere in the US I firmly believe that he is helping others the same way that he helped me. I asked him once how he felt about persecution the homeless.
After a pause of silence, he looked down at his shoes for about a full minute, and remained quiet. He then replied “it’s not good Michael, I try not to treat you all like most do”. He actually understood exactly what I was talking about. He got it…which was of, and in itself, why he wanted out, wanted to change professions.
I always wanted to thank him for his acts of kindness, and for helping me personally. Unfortunately I learned that he is no longer with The Police Dept. down there in KeyWest. I keep looking for him on Facebook as well, but never find him. It’s truly unfortunate that many of the other cops out there don’t act like him. They would solve the homeless problem down there in a matter of months.
Obviously their current policies are discriminatory and desperately need change!!!
Between the recession, and current state of our economy, they are only going to keep seeing more, and more, homeless, it’s a fact, and simply a matter of time. The majority of them need a few classes on sensitivity, and learn how to stop treating the homeless down there like carriers of The Plague.
Currently that’s exactly what they do. Of you stop and pay attention to them they all carry those latex doctor gloves. The minute that they have to touch any homeless person for any reason, out, and on, go those gloves. There’s nothing wrong with them protecting themselves. However once they don their gloves, someone ALWAYS goes to jail.
And I do mean ALWAYS. Stop the next time you see this on the street down there and you will see exactly what I am talking about. The minute those gloves are put on it will only be no more then 3-4 minutes before someone gets arrested. Believe me, I watched it more times then I could count!!
Should anyone read this, and know Eric DeFlippio…please tell him to find me here on Facebook. I really need to thank him for saving my life, as that’s precisely what he did. I likely would have eventually drank myself to death down there on the beach had I stayed. That’s a fact!!
I had my last drink of alcohol on NewYears Eve in 2006.
Even though that’s my own personal accomplishment I highly doubt that ever would have happened had I never met Eric. So in a way I have him to thank for that as well. Very little in this life would give me more pleasure then getting to see, and thank him, for all that he did for me.
It really was a big deal and had a huge impact on me, and my life.
SLOAN BASHINSKY JUNE 13, 2014 AT 2:32 PM
Thank you, Michael. Thank you.
SLOAN BASHINSKY YOUR COMMENT IS AWAITING MODERATION.
JUNE 14, 2014 AT 4:34 AM
Looks like an Archangel, whose name you bear, took you under “his” wing, so to speak. I sometimes tell homeless people, who are under the influence, that they are of no use to God when they are drinking. I hope our city officials and police officers, and a lot more people, read your story, Michael, and of Eric DeFlippio.
In a parallel universe, a different view of and treatment of mental illness floated into my Facebook account yesterday from a Key West amiga.
A similar view to what I was taught by the angels who run me ragged, but I was not taught the treatment methods the African shaman describes in the article. Perhaps people dealing with “mentally ill” homeless people might consider what this shaman has to say. Still, I imagine any treatment, to have a chance of succeeding, starts with the “patient” not using booze or other narcotics.
What a Shaman Sees in A Mental Hospital
The Shamanic View of Mental Illness
In the shamanic view, mental illness signals “the birth of a healer,” explains Malidoma Patrice Somé. Thus, mental disorders are spiritual emergencies, spiritual crises, and need to be regarded as such to aid the healer in being born.
What those in the West view as mental illness, the Dagara people regard as “good news from the other world.” The person going through the crisis has been chosen as a medium for a message to the community that needs to be communicated from the spirit realm. “Mental disorder, behavioral disorder of all kinds, signal the fact that two obviously incompatible energies have merged into the same field,” says Dr. Somé. These disturbances result when the person does not get assistance in dealing with the presence of the energy from the spirit realm.
One of the things Dr. Somé encountered when he first came to the United States in 1980 for graduate study was how this country deals with mental illness. When a fellow student was sent to a mental institute due to “nervous depression,” Dr. Somé went to visit him.
“I was so shocked. That was the first time I was brought face to face with what is done here to people exhibiting the same symptoms I’ve seen in my village.” What struck Dr. Somé was that the attention given to such symptoms was based on pathology, on the idea that the condition is something that needs to stop. This was in complete opposition to the way his culture views such a situation. As he looked around the stark ward at the patients, some in straitjackets, some zoned out on medications, others screaming, he observed to himself, “So this is how the healers who are attempting to be born are treated in this culture. What a loss! What a loss that a person who is finally being aligned with a power from the other world is just being wasted.”
Another way to say this, which may make more sense to the Western mind, is that we in the West are not trained in how to deal or even taught to acknowledge the existence of psychic phenomena, the spiritual world. In fact, psychic abilities are denigrated. When energies from the spiritual world emerge in a Western psyche, that individual is completely unequipped to integrate them or even recognize what is happening. The result can be terrifying. Without the proper context for and assistance in dealing with the breakthrough from another level of reality, for all practical purposes, the person is insane. Heavy dosing with anti-psychotic drugs compounds the problem and prevents the integration that could lead to soul development and growth in the individual who has received these energies.
On the mental ward, Dr Somé saw a lot of “beings” hanging around the patients, “entities” that are invisible to most people but that shamans and psychics are able to see. “They were causing the crisis in these people,” he says. It appeared to him that these beings were trying to get the medications and their effects out of the bodies of the people the beings were trying to merge with, and were increasing the patients’ pain in the process. “The beings were acting almost like some kind of excavator in the energy field of people. They were really fierce about that. The people they were doing that to were just screaming and yelling,” he said. He couldn’t stay in that environment and had to leave.
In the Dagara tradition, the community helps the person reconcile the energies of both worlds–”the world of the spirit that he or she is merged with, and the village and community.” That person is able then to serve as a bridge between the worlds and help the living with information and healing they need. Thus, the spiritual crisis ends with the birth of another healer. “The other world’s relationship with our world is one of sponsorship,” Dr. Somé explains. “More often than not, the knowledge and skills that arise from this kind of merger are a knowledge or a skill that is provided directly from the other world.”
The beings who were increasing the pain of the inmates on the mental hospital ward were actually attempting to merge with the inmates in order to get messages through to this world. The people they had chosen to merge with were getting no assistance in learning how to be a bridge between the worlds and the beings’ attempts to merge were thwarted. The result was the sustaining of the initial disorder of energy and the aborting of the birth of a healer.
“The Western culture has consistently ignored the birth of the healer,” states Dr. Somé. “Consequently, there will be a tendency from the other world to keep trying as many people as possible in an attempt to get somebody’s attention. They have to try harder.” The spirits are drawn to people whose senses have not been anesthetized. “The sensitivity is pretty much read as an invitation to come in,” he notes.
Those who develop so-called mental disorders are those who are sensitive, which is viewed in Western culture as oversensitivity. Indigenous cultures don’t see it that way and, as a result, sensitive people don’t experience themselves as overly sensitive. In the West, “it is the overload of the culture they’re in that is just wrecking them,” observes Dr. Somé. The frenetic pace, the bombardment of the senses, and the violent energy that characterize Western culture can overwhelm sensitive people.
Schizophrenia and Foreign Energy
With schizophrenia, there is a special “receptivity to a flow of images and information, which cannot be controlled,” stated Dr. Somé. “When this kind of rush occurs at a time that is not personally chosen, and particularly when it comes with images that are scary and contradictory, the person goes into a frenzy.”
What is required in this situation is first to separate the person’s energy from the extraneous foreign energies, by using shamanic practice (what is known as a “sweep”) to clear the latter out of the individual’s aura. With the clearing of their energy field, the person no longer picks up a flood of information and so no longer has a reason to be scared and disturbed, explains Dr. Somé.
Then it is possible to help the person align with the energy of the spirit being attempting to come through from the other world and give birth to the healer. The blockage of that emergence is what creates problems. “The energy of the healer is a high-voltage energy,” he observes. “When it is blocked, it just burns up the person. It’s like a short-circuit. Fuses are blowing. This is why it can be really scary, and I understand why this culture prefers to confine these people. Here they are yelling and screaming, and they’re put into a straitjacket. That’s a sad image.” Again, the shamanic approach is to work on aligning the energies so there is no blockage, “fuses” aren’t blowing, and the person can become the healer they are meant to be.
It needs to be noted at this point, however, that not all of the spirit beings that enter a person’s energetic field are there for the purposes of promoting healing. There are negative energies as well, which are undesirable presences in the aura. In those cases, the shamanic approach is to remove them from the aura, rather than work to align the discordant energies
Alex: Crazy in the USA, Healer in Africa
To test his belief that the shamanic view of mental illness holds true in the Western world as well as in indigenous cultures, Dr. Somé took a mental patient back to Africa with him, to his village. “I was prompted by my own curiosity to find out whether there’s truth in the universality that mental illness could be connected with an alignment with a being from another world,” says Dr. Somé.
Alex was an 18-year-old American who had suffered a psychotic break when he was 14. He had hallucinations, was suicidal, and went through cycles of dangerously severe depression. He was in a mental hospital and had been given a lot of drugs, but nothing was helping. “The parents had done everything–unsuccessfully,” says Dr. Somé. “They didn’t know what else to do.”
With their permission, Dr. Somé took their son to Africa. “After eight months there, Alex had become quite normal, Dr. Somé reports. He was even able to participate with healers in the business of healing; sitting with them all day long and helping them, assisting them in what they were doing with their clients . . . . He spent about four years in my village.” Alex stayed by choice, not because he needed more healing. He felt, “much safer in the village than in America.”
To bring his energy and that of the being from the spiritual realm into alignment, Alex went through a shamanic ritual designed for that purpose, although it was slightly different from the one used with the Dagara people. “He wasn’t born in the village, so something else applied. But the result was similar, even though the ritual was not literally the same,” explains Dr. Somé. The fact that aligning the energy worked to heal Alex demonstrated to Dr. Somé that the connection between other beings and mental illness is indeed universal.
After the ritual, Alex began to share the messages that the spirit being had for this world. Unfortunately, the people he was talking to didn’t speak English (Dr. Somé was away at that point). The whole experience led, however, to Alex’s going to college to study psychology. He returned to the United States after four years because “he discovered that all the things that he needed to do had been done, and he could then move on with his life.”
The last that Dr. Somé heard was that Alex was in graduate school in psychology at Harvard. No one had thought he would ever be able to complete undergraduate studies, much less get an advanced degree.
Dr. Somé sums up what Alex’s mental illness was all about: “He was reaching out. It was an emergency call. His job and his purpose was to be a healer. He said no one was paying attention to that.”
After seeing how well the shamanic approach worked for Alex, Dr. Somé concluded that spirit beings are just as much an issue in the West as in his community in Africa. “Yet the question still remains, the answer to this problem must be found here, instead of having to go all the way overseas to seek the answer. There has to be a way in which a little bit of attention beyond the pathology of this whole experience leads to the possibility of coming up with the proper ritual to help people.
Longing for Spiritual Connection
A common thread that Dr. Somé has noticed in “mental” disorders in the West is “a very ancient ancestral energy that has been placed in stasis, that finally is coming out in the person.” His job then is to trace it back, to go back in time to discover what that spirit is. In most cases, the spirit is connected to nature, especially with mountains or big rivers, he says.
In the case of mountains, as an example to explain the phenomenon, “it’s a spirit of the mountain that is walking side by side with the person and, as a result, creating a time-space distortion that is affecting the person caught in it.” What is needed is a merger or alignment of the two energies, “so the person and the mountain spirit become one.” Again, the shaman conducts a specific ritual to bring about this alignment.
Dr. Somé believes that he encounters this situation so often in the United States because “most of the fabric of this country is made up of the energy of the machine, and the result of that is the disconnection and the severing of the past. You can run from the past, but you can’t hide from it.” The ancestral spirit of the natural world comes visiting. “It’s not so much what the spirit wants as it is what the person wants,” he says. “The spirit sees in us a call for something grand, something that will make life meaningful, and so the spirit is responding to that.”
That call, which we don’t even know we are making, reflects “a strong longing for a profound connection, a connection that transcends materialism and possession of things and moves into a tangible cosmic dimension. Most of this longing is unconscious, but for spirits, conscious or unconscious doesn’t make any difference.” They respond to either.
As part of the ritual to merge the mountain and human energy, those who are receiving the “mountain energy” are sent to a mountain area of their choice, where they pick up a stone that calls to them. They bring that stone back for the rest of the ritual and then keep it as a companion; some even carry it around with them. “The presence of the stone does a lot in tuning the perceptive ability of the person,” notes Dr. Somé. “They receive all kinds of information that they can make use of, so it’s like they get some tangible guidance from the other world as to how to live their life.”
When it is the “river energy,” those being called go to the river and, after speaking to the river spirit, find a water stone to bring back for the same kind of ritual as with the mountain spirit.
“People think something extraordinary must be done in an extraordinary situation like this,” he says. That’s not usually the case. Sometimes it is as simple as carrying a stone.
A Sacred Ritual Approach to Mental Illness
One of the gifts a shaman can bring to the Western world is to help people rediscover ritual, which is so sadly lacking. “The abandonment of ritual can be devastating. From the spiritual view, ritual is inevitable and necessary if one is to live,” Dr. Somé writes in Ritual: Power, Healing, and Community. “To say that ritual is needed in the industrialized world is an understatement. We have seen in my own people that it is probably impossible to live a sane life without it.”
Dr. Somé did not feel that the rituals from his traditional village could simply be transferred to the West, so over his years of shamanic work here, he has designed rituals that meet the very different needs of this culture. Although the rituals change according to the individual or the group involved, he finds that there is a need for certain rituals in general.
One of these involves helping people discover that their distress is coming from the fact that they are “called by beings from the other world to cooperate with them in doing healing work.” Ritual allows them to move out of the distress and accept that calling.
Another ritual need relates to initiation. In indigenous cultures all over the world, young people are initiated into adulthood when they reach a certain age. The lack of such initiation in the West is part of the crisis that people are in here, says Dr. Somé. He urges communities to bring together “the creative juices of people who have had this kind of experience, in an attempt to come up with some kind of an alternative ritual that would at least begin to put a dent in this kind of crisis.”
Another ritual that repeatedly speaks to the needs of those coming to him for help entails making a bonfire, and then putting into the bonfire “items that are symbolic of issues carried inside the individuals . . . It might be the issues of anger and frustration against an ancestor who has left a legacy of murder and enslavement or anything, things that the descendant has to live with,” he explains. “If these are approached as things that are blocking the human imagination, the person’s life purpose, and even the person’s view of life as something that can improve, then it makes sense to begin thinking in terms of how to turn that blockage into a roadway that can lead to something more creative and more fulfilling.”
The example of issues with an ancestors touches on rituals designed by Dr. Somé that address a serious dysfunction in Western society and in the process “trigger enlightenment” in participants. These are ancestral rituals, and the dysfunction they are aimed at is the mass turning-of-the-back on ancestors. Some of the spirits trying to come through, as described earlier, may be “ancestors who want to merge with a descendant in an attempt to heal what they weren’t able to do while in their physical body.”
“Unless the relationship between the living and the dead is in balance, chaos ensues,” he says. “The Dagara believe that, if such an imbalance exists, it is the duty of the living to heal their ancestors. If these ancestors are not healed, their sick energy will haunt the souls and psyches of those who are responsible for helping them.” The rituals focus on healing the relationship with our ancestors, both specific issues of an individual ancestor and the larger cultural issues contained in our past. Dr. Somé has seen extraordinary healing occur at these rituals.
Taking a sacred ritual approach to mental illness rather than regarding the person as a pathological case gives the person affected–and indeed the community at large–the opportunity to begin looking at it from that vantage point too, which leads to “a whole plethora of opportunities and ritual initiative that can be very, very beneficial to everyone present,” states. Dr. Somé.
In a parallel universe, Alex Symington’ rant in the current edition of Key West the blue paper - www.thebluepaper.com:
There is a fascinating trend in seemingly well educated liberal America that has common roots in less educated conservative America. That trend is mistrust and denial of science. The folks that feel faith based solutions are the answer to just about any problem facing our society have an unlikely ally in the upper middle class suburban crowd. Many of the latter have, in spite of overwhelming scientific data to the contrary, decided that vaccination against measles, mumps, rubella and polio is the cause of afflictions such as Autism and Attention Deficit Disorder. Thanks to the likes of the pulchritudinous (love that word) Jenny McCarthy and Michele “Jesus Wrote the Constitution” Bachmann, the anti-science, anti-vaccination crowd have a national voice. Add the interweb and it’s an ignorance fest extraordinaire.
Why are people so quick to latch on to minority “beliefs” and dismiss proven scientific data acknowledged by the overwhelming majority of experts in their given field? Up until now I thought this behavior was exclusive to religious extremists, snake handlers and flat-earthers, but the arugula munching crowd (equal opportunity dissing of left and right) have got on board the crazy train and are as vehement in their denial of science.
Of course when it comes to the health of our children, we get emotional and of course we would never intentionally harm them. That is the thing about science and scientific processing of data. It is fact/evidence based and emotion plays no part in it. Merriam-Webster defines “scientific method” as, “principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.”
My father’s generation was the last that had to deal with the terror of childhood polio in the United States. He told me stories of his mother sending him away for more than one summer to a safe place to avoid the disease after some children in the community contracted it. His own cousin was felled by polio and was confined to a wheel chair for the rest of his life. The disease killed and crippled children indiscriminately every summer until Dr Jonas Salk discovered the vaccine in 1952, tested and finally was able to distribute the life saving cure to the world in 1955. I think it is worth noting that he did not profit personally from his miraculous medicine, but gave it freely because it was the moral thing to do.
The other vaccine under attack is the MMR, Measles/Mumps/Rubella vaccine. There is no evidence (there’s that pesky word again) the MMR causes Autism as claimed by the torch and pitchfork folks. The timing of the onset of Autism and the vaccination are the “proof” that the MMR “causes” Autism. That is completely anecdotal and has zero validity as the two events are totally unrelated, but there is no convincing the true believers. That is not to say there is NO risk in the vaccine. There is always risk whenever one has any medical procedure. The CDC states, “Studies have shown a small increased risk of febrile seizures occurs among children who are younger than 7 years old approximately 8-14 days after vaccination for every 3,000-4,000 children vaccinated with MMR vaccine. This is compared to children not vaccinated during the preceding 30 days.”
Febrile seizures are a frightening thing for a parent to witness, but they are not life threatening. The same cannot be said for Measles, Mumps, and Rubella. The children of the fifties and sixties in the US have enjoyed a relatively healthy existence due to these amazing, life saving medicines and now their children are listening to backward claptrap by a few self-proclaimed spokespersons without any regard to scientific facts or the history of successful near eradication of these diseases. Because of this blind ignorance there is a serious risk that MMR could make a comeback. Sadly, perhaps the only way the troglodytes of denial will reconsider is witnessing an epidemic of birth defects and sterility.
I read that the rise in consumption of organically grown foods is on a parallel trajectory with the rise of Autism in children. Should we conclude, therefore, that organic food is responsible for Autism? If I seem angry and more sarcastic than usual it is because I am. The denial of science is symptomatic of the intellectual deterioration that is occurring in our culture. The dumbing down of America is ongoing and epidemic. I just wish there was a vaccine for THAT disease.
Alex lives with his wife, Anna in Key West, Florida. He enjoys writing poetry and prose and making the complacent uncomfortable.
Key West The Newspaper [The Blue Paper] encourages spirited, open debate in comments on our stories. We do ask that you refrain from profanity, personal attacks and remarks that are off point. Please join the conversation!
ONE COMMENT ON “GLOBAL WARMING IS A HOAX, WALL STREET HEDGE FUND MANAGERS HAVE SOULS AND JENNY MCCARTHY IS A SCIENTIST”
SLOAN BASHINSKY JUNE 13, 2014 AT 7:13 PM
Shucks, Alex, I’ve been under the impression that science is the cause of the part of global warming, which is not part of the planet’s natural warming and cooling cycles, which brought ice ages in the past, and then sent them away. Science, which invented engines, for example, which run on fossil fuels. Science, which invented power plants and heaters and such, which run on fossil fuels. And on nuclear fuels. Might be the only way to stop global warming caused by science is to get rid of science and its inventions altogether? I mean, human nature being what it is, creature comforts provided by science are a bit hard to let go of, once they become addicted to. Creature comforts like cars, trucks, motorcycles, mopeds, electricity, running water, sewerage collection, garbage pickup and hauling away. Well, maybe that’s too extreme, to imagine people will give up their science-provided creature comforts. Perhaps, instead, humanity simply is eradicated. I imagine that would take care of further aggravation of the non-planetary cycle part of global warming? Yeah, I’m being a bit sarcastic, and that’s because I don’t see any amount of howling and pounding table tops making much of a dent, if any dent, in the way humanity is treating this planet and its seas and forests and rivers and lakes and atmosphere, as well as its mineral deposits. It’s like maybe when God created Adam and Eve, the instruction manual for how to live on and get along with this planet was not provided. Dominion of was not explained correctly. If at all. Well, there is one other thing you raised, autism. It’s been my sense for over 20 years that it might be that autism might be, in many cases, the result of children being in violent home environments. Psychically violent, if not also physically violent. To protect itself, a child’s soul contracts, which contracts the cerebral plates in the skull. Autism ensues. I did not invent that “theory”. A fellow named John Upledger, under whom I trained in a prior life, he was a osteopath, discovered the theory and apparently had some success using that he called “crainosacral therapy” to treat autistic children, as well as children with ADD and hyperactivity. Pressure on their brain, the cerebral plates, atlas and upper neck vertebrae needed to be released. The emotional (trauma) components of the cause of the “diseases” also need to be released. John and people he trained treated all sorts of diseases medicine was not making much headway with. He wasn’t all that much into eating organic food. He liked drinking beer, too. He was into releasing from the unconscious what was bound up there and letting it run its course and transform into something else more agreeable to the patient. Of course, he didn’t fix everyone who came to him for help, but he did have many people come his way, who had given up on science, as it is known by modern medicine. Often got results, when that science had not gotten results. His clinic, The Upledger Institute, was located in West Palm Beach. I myself once was an organic food nut. Fanatic might be more accurate. It didn’t do much for me, though, but make people sometimes wish I was not around. Some of the diets I tried nearly killed me. Soul food works better for me, the kind I grew up eating in Alabama, and the kind the angels who run me ragged serve.
In yet even another parallel universe:
Political advertisement paid for and approved by Sloan Bashinsky, for Mayor of Key West, aka “southernmost the nut house”
P.S. There are other nut houses in the Florida Keys. Also in the current issue of www.thebluepaper.com
At any other time, it would probably have slipped quietly past us all. But timing and circumstances were such that members and sympathizers of the grassroots organizationDump the Pumps, Inc. (DTPI) were on high alert, watching for still more sneaky and generally dishonorable Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority (FKAA) activity.
For years, FKAA had residents of the Cudjoe Regional Wastewater System (CRWS) region believing the agency’s project to connect their homes to a centralized sewage treatment plant would consist primarily of a gravity fed system with only a minor amount of outliers, out of necessity and due to their remote location, slated to be connected via less reliable low-pressure grinder pump [LPS] systems. […full article]
~ OPINION ~
For almost a year and a half, I have been arguing that the planned, pressurized wastewater system, using grinder pumps, that is proposed for the Cudjoe Regional Wastewater System (CRWS) is uneconomic, unreliable, a burden on homeowners, and a potential environmental nightmare. Now we learn that the shallow injection well design (120’ deep well) at the treatment plant may be an environmental disaster as well and is probably illegal, if the DEP actually enforces its own regulations. How did we get to the point; where we are willing to install a system in the fragile environment of the Florida Keys, which may be worse than the septic systems we have now? The answer is MONEY!! In the 2006-11 timeframe, when the County and FKAA were being forced by the State and the EPA to move forward with a sewer system, there were no State funds, the 1% infrastructure tax was to expire in 2018, and estimates for a system serving about 9,000 homes was well over $ 200 million. […full article]
Reader comments to Walt Drabinski’s article:
PELICAN JUNE 13, 2014 AT 12:29 PM
Well said. An investigation into corruption is long overdue. The CRWS was supposed to be about protecting nearshore waters and instead has turned into a disaster waiting to happen. Putting a sewage treatment plant in a landfill where polluted leachate bleeds into Outstanding FL Waters after rainstorms should have deemed a fatal flaw. Instead, it’s the preferred location, a perfect place dig bore holes (injection wells) to make the problem worse. Where the heck has NOAA been hiding on this issue?????
SLOAN BASHINSKY YOUR COMMENT IS AWAITING MODERATION.
JUNE 14, 2014 AT 4:52 AM
During a NOAA meeting in the Marathon Government Center last fall, I tried to get NOAA interested in Cudjoe Regional. They didn’t seem in the least interested. The meeting seemed co-chaired by Billy Causey, Regional Director of NOAA, and the South Florida District Director of Florida Department of Environmental Protection, whose name now escapes me. I also tried to get them interested in the chemical runoff coming off of South Florida into Florida Bay, then making its way down to the Keys and killing the reef even further. Causey vigorously shook his head, NO. Later, I attended a meeting hosted by Last Stand and Everglades Law Center at NOAA in Key West, and Billy Causey put forth what appeared to me to be really bad science. I had an intense conversation with Billy right after that meeting ended, and later by email, which caused me to give up on NOAA.
SLOAN BASHINSKY JUNE 13, 2014 AT 6:47 PM
I came to view this situation in a simple-minded way. When Walt Drabinski told Monroe County, no way to grinder pumps where he lived, and he filed a lawsuit to back up his words, the County Commission converted to using gravity lines wherever feasible in Walt’s locale, Lower Sugarloaf Key. If, as the County Commission, let principally by County Commissioner George Neugent, a self-proclaimed pump expert, had truly believed, as George, and the county’s engineer, Kevin Wilson, who’d never had prior experience with installing sewer systems, kept saying; if the grinder pump systems where cheaper than and as environmentally sound as gravity sewer systems, then what the County Commission would have done was convert Walt’s Lower Sugarloaf Key area entirely to grinder pumps, and the County Commission, so illuminated, then would have converted the rest of Cudjoe Regional Sewer System to grinder pumps. The only gravity lines probably would have been the sewer mains on US 1. If you saw some of the emails George wrote to lower Keys home owners, who had written to him about their concerns with grinder pumps, you would have wondered if George had lost his mind, or his soul. Cudjoe Regional lies in his voting district. He is their county commissioner. He is running for reelection this year, after saying when he ran in 2010, that he would not run again, if he was reelected His campaign slogan in 2010 was “Promises Made, Promises Kept.” George beat Danny Coll in the Republican primary, then he beat me, an Independent, in the general election. Danny is running against George again, this year. Danny doesn’t like grinder pumps. He told me so himself. He invited me to speak at his Rotary Club on Big Pine Key about grinder pumps. I did that, having no dog in the fight, since I lived in Key West and had sold my place on Little Torch Key last August. I told the Rotary that grinder pumps in this locale, a saltwater table, Hurricane Wilma-ish tidal surges and power outages, which knock out grinder pumps; grinder pump pressure line leaks, which cannot be detected, thus cannot be repaired; all was a disaster waiting to happen. The entire point of Tallahassee requiring the Keys to be taken off of septic systems and cess pits was to protect the land and the water and the reef from further sewer pollution degradation. That’s what the money Tallahassee gave to Monroe County to sewer the Keys was for. That’s what the infrastructure sales tax was for. To protect the Keys fragile environment. The Florida Keys Aqueduct Authority and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection aligned with Monroe County, knowing grinder pumps were the least desired way to sewer the Keys. All three agencies became masters of spin, deception, and outright lying, which forced Dump the Pumps to go the legal route, as Walt Drabinski had done before. Alas, instead of giving Dump the Pumps what they had given Walt Drabinski’s locale, the County Commission ignored what they had given Walt’s locale. Kevin Wilson said at an FKAA meeting in Key West, that it would be unconscionable not to allow the County Commission to spend the infrastructure tax on other things than sewering the Keys, because the Cudjoe Regional Sewer System already was fully funded by the infrastructure tax. It was a robust sewers system, Kevin told the FKAA Board of Directors, whom Governor Scott had appointed. Bob Dean, Chairman of the Board, then looked right past Kevin, to the packed audience of lower Keys residents, and said, “FKAA prefers gravity and will install it if the County Commission provides the funding.” Then, instead of telling FKAA to stop installing the inferior grinder pump system and to wait on the County Commission to fund gravity systems wherever feasible, which I had asked during citizen comments that the Board do, the Board and FKAA allowed the contractor it had hired to do Cudjoe Regional, to continue installing grinder pumps. Then, FKAA was spinning, deceiving and outright lying even more, even as Dump the Pumps showed them and DEP the permits issued by DEP did not meet DEP’s own requirements, it is alleged in Dump the Pumps’ legal action. When something gets this screwed up, when something makes no sense, I figure it’s rigged in some way; somebody’s getting paid off. The devil is in getting to the bottom of it.