Other Slaves? – Before, During, & After Slavery

In 21st Century America, we have extinguished open slavery of the centuries past.

It seems that ISIS still has slavery as part of their culture.  For a discussion of modern and historical slavery, go to  https://goo.gl/e5bNUz  .

New covert forms of slavery have arisen, including sex trafficking, and domestic servant trafficking.  We have not found a way to conquer cruelty and greed.

But what about those past centuries?  What about the entire world history of slavery?  Slavery, in various forms, was common and accepted in the most primitive of pre-historic cultures.  Most slaves were captured from defeated communities.  One of the intentions of war, was to capture people for religious sacrifice, unpaid labor, and involuntary sex.

 Read more about the history of slavery for perspective.  https://goo.gl/emJoUk

African slave traders sold captives from all sources, including those they kidnapped themselves.  Africa made itself the source of slaves for the known world for centuries.

Sometimes our news implies that America was the only home of the not-free.  Sometimes the descendants of slaves point to the progeny of slave owners and to people who came later and had no connection to slavery whatsoever, and accuse them of the crimes of the past.  Racism groups people by categories and treats everyone in that category as if they were homogenous, related, cohorts of prescribed mind and body.  I reject racism, as I reject slavery.  But, some see racism as a perpetuation of slavery.  I will not debate these ideas, but I will shed the light of history on slavery; especially the African slaves sent to the Western Hemisphere, in “slavers,” under the cruelest conditions.

slaversSlave ships were inhumanly cruel.  It was common for more than 15% to die en route.
sourcese of african slavesAfricans captured slaves from the darkened areas, and marched them to the ports to be sold.

With the discovery of the New World, the invading countries needed vast amounts of labor, well beyond the available indigenous people.  The slave traders shifted to the west, as this map shows.

african slaves

Look at the numbers and proportions of slave buying nations.  North America received 4.4% of the 12 million African slaves, while the Spanish, British, French, Dutch and Brazilians of South America and the West Indies received 95%. I wonder what happened to them?



Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – Dementia Comes Home


A friend for 30 years (I will use the name” Jason”) goes ballistic; Jason verbally attacks me, ranting and raving with scary yelling and gestures.  The trigger:  I have no opinions about the significance of the day after Halloween (All Saints’ Day).  The next day Jason calls like nothing happened; I remind him, he swears he does not remember; we have a normal, friendly talk, so,  I write the outburst off as several  “senior moments.”

The next week a group of mutual friends and I are at a weekly lunch meeting.  We are chatting about faux pas and embarrassing mistakes we have made.  One friend (let’s call him “Chad”) tells a humorous story about when he sent an email to his boss that was a passionate message to his wife.  We laugh and tease him, like guy friends always do.

Suddenly, Jason raises his voice and wags a finger at this “stupid screw-up.”  He rails and berates Chad until Chad gets up and walks out of the restaurant.  Then Jason follows Chad into the parking lot and beats on his window, still yelling.  Five minutes later, he comes back, smiles at everyone, and asks me if I can stay after lunch to talk about an idea he has for a photography business.  He was clear and pleasant the whole time; he was the friend I know again.

Jason’s problem becomes traumatically real to me.  Alzheimer’s, or bipolar, schizophrenia, mad cow disease, I am at a complete loss.  Does he have a brain tumor?  Has he taken some mood-altering drugs?  Is he still going to be the friend I have known all these years?  Is he some kind of hybrid being, who “identifies” differently some days, or hours?  Has old age stolen his mind?  I am confused, sad, and worried.  What should I do?

My nature is to research problems before I act.  I discover that his condition is probably medical.  Advancing age is fraught with declines, distortions, amplifications of who we are.  What people dread most, is not death; it is the loss of independence and identity.

My research yielded interesting, enlightening, conflicting, and vague ideas.  The mysteries of Alzheimer’s and Grumpy Old Man syndrome are beyond us now.  I am going to make the best suggestions I can to give Jason a chance to live independently, to retain his self-respect, and to let his friends know when he needs them.

Phase 1.  Find out what he can about what is happening to him.  Whatever it takes to know what he is dealing with.  Doctors, tests, interviews, and the lot of modern medicine.  Most likely, they will be semi-inconclusive.  Mood shifts, forgetting, risk taking, those are the symptoms.  Jason will have to choose a path, a theory, a diagnosis he can pursue.  He cannot do everything, but he can do some things.

Phase 2.  Implement the universal common denominators of healthy lifestyle.  All bids for health share wellness and mindfulness as crucial, non-pharmaceutical elements (although medication might be needed for some things).

  • Complete examination
  • Enough good:
    • Sleep
    • Hydration
    • Exercise
    • Nutrition
  • Stable daily routines
  • Thinking/learning/puzzles
  • Stress management/mindfulness
  • Social/spiritual support

Phase 3.  Comply with doctors’ orders.  Try everything long enough to be a fair trial.

  • Take all prescribed medications when and how the prescriptions direct.
  • Show up for appointments and tests
  • Give regular feedback on efficacy of treatments

Phase 4.  Accept your mortality.

  • We all exit this world, unexpectedly. Be gracious until then
  • We all get to choose our friends, revere who we love, and forgive our families
  • Acknowledge your family, friends, doctors
  • Add to that acknowledgement list
  • Do not hold back because you feel vulnerable or embarrassed

I do not think we can guess who will be our Jason, or to whom we will be a Jason.  Maybe these thoughts could help.


Five Myths About Five Myths About Gun Violence

How interesting, an article in the Washington Post entitled “Five myths about gun violence.”

What makes it interesting to me are the interpretations of the various data involved.  The authors are from a prestigious university, John Hopkins Center for Gun Policy.”  Sometimes they conflate gun violence with violent crime, which is not helpful, because violent crime includes rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, which may or may not involve a gun.

You can read the article at:  goo.gl/XHLuPj

First, my “Cliff” summary:

Myth 1.  Gun violence in the United States is at an all-time high.

 Analysis: Yes, kind of.  Murders up 2014- 2016; but nothing like the good old days of 1993

Discount:  No allowance for the advances in medicine that keep many shooting victims alive, and hence not “murdered.”  That factor alone made Viet Nam casualties lower than earlier wars.  Now we have the wounded to attend/forget/neglect like it has been after every armed conflict, ever.

Discount: Nationwide statistics smudge the hot spots, especially Chicago.  If Black Lives Matter, spend your time and money on the black-on-black genocide on the south side.  Gangstus/Drugs/Lack of response time/Corrupt, Ineffectual Mayor of bankrupt major metro.

Discount:  Strict gun laws?  Look at how laws on paper mean nothing, if the police and courts cannot or will not enforce them.

Discount:  White police handle microscopic share of killings of unarmed, young black men.  One bad move in the neighborhood will get you some lead.

Myth 2.  Background checks save lives.

What do they check?  A database of 17 million names, of which, 5 million are adjudicated mental health cases.

Active Records in the NICS Indices


Rank Prohibited Category Description Total
1 Illegal/Unlawful Alien (42.5%)          7,232,600
2 Adjudicated Mental Health (29.7%)          5,056,124
3 Crime >1yr  Misdemeanor >2yrs  (19.4%)          3,301,783
4 State Prohibits  (5.9%)              998,979
5 Domestic Violence  (.9%)              152,066
6 Indicted  (.5%)                91,665
7 Restraining Order  (.4%)                69,830
8 Renounced US Citizenship  (.2%)                41,676
9 Drugs  (.15%)                25,572
10 Dishonorable Discharge  (.07%)                11,285
11 Fugitive  (.004%)                      675
 Total  (100%)        16,982,255

Analysis: Not so much.  The top three categories, 92% of the people on the list, know better than to try to buy a weapon from a licensed dealer.  Those thwarted by ICE, mental health hospital stays, heinous crimes on their records do not stop looking for what they want.

Accolade:  the author acknowledges the weakness of government records systems.  But does allow for limited “success” in denying legal sales of guns.

Discount:  Have you ever seen the decades old computer systems the feds use?  It is pitiful.  Some people bring their own laptops to work, because smartphones are more powerful than the equipment they are assigned.

Discount:  The definition of mental illness is very strict.  A person must be committed to a psychiatric hospital, or found incompetent by a court to be added to the NICS database.  Not all states record or report mental health problems.    https://goo.gl/vKdh5N  Only 10 million of the 323 million Americans are in the NICS database, and 7 million illegal aliens.

Myth 3.  Mental illness is behind most gun violence against others.

The article asserts that, “Only an estimated 4 percent of violence against others is caused by the symptoms of serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.  Impulsivity, anger, traumatic life events such as job loss or divorce, and problematic alcohol use are all stronger risk factors for gun violence.”

Analysis:  40% of shootings involve people other than the shooter. 60+% of gun deaths are suicides. Gang and criminal shootings are the majority; family member shootings are a significant percentage too.

It may be true that most mentally ill people do not commit gun violence, but that is true of any large population or demographic, because gun-violence is rare: .8% of the general population, and 2.9% of the mentally ill.  That means that the mentally ill are 3 – 4 times more likely to commit gun violence.

The author cherry-picked the research, did not define mental illness broadly enough, and ignored the bigger picture.

Discount:  Most people would agree that murder-suicide is a mental health problem.

Discount:  The study cited was based on a study of Nordic and Australian people.  Americans are a bit different when it comes to guns.  https://goo.gl/KLV2wN

“Only one recent mass shooting — the 2011 attack at a Norwegian summer camp where 69 people died — was deadlier than the incident in Las Vegas.”

“New laws introduced after mass shootings in other countries addressed two main factors: gun types and mental health.  Comparing U.S. policy with similar rules in Germany, Australia and Britain illustrates the different approaches.”

Discount:  The same article cites a one-year study of people released from psychiatric hospitals after treatment for severe mental health issues and alcohol or drug abuse.  10%, committed violent acts.

Myth 4:  Right-to-carry laws decrease crime.

Analysis:  Statistical analysis tries to show that right-to-carry laws do not decrease crime using several statistical models that forecast what the crime rate would have been without the laws from 1978-2014.  They concluded that violent crime increased over their models in RTC states.

Discount: The Dept. of Justice figures show the following.  The US population increased 46.2%; violent crime decreased 26.6%.

Type of Violent Crime Change 1978-2014 Change per 100,000 pop
Rape -27.2% -4.6
Aggravated Assault +29.7% +29.6
Robbery -23.7% -94
Murder -27.3% -4.5
Total -26.6% -132.34
U.S. Population 46.2%

I cannot correlate RTC with the changes, but something is working, except in Chicago.

Myth 5.  Mass shootings are random.

Analysis:  This is a weird claim.  It is based on the definition of mass shootings used by the FBI:  4 or more people killed, other than the shooter.  This includes family murders (57%) and shootings in private residences (70%).

Public shootings often target specific groups, known to the shooter, like employers, professors, or classmates, at offices or schools.

Discount:  No one thinks mass shootings are all random in terms of targets.  Some might say that such shootings are random events in terms of predictability, but that is not a myth.

All-in-all, this Washington Post article does not fulfill its stated purpose.


The “Other” Domestic Violence – False Accusations “Kill” the Accused

As bad as domestic violence can be, false accusations are ruinous, and non-recourse punishment by our injustice system.

The law did not address domestic violence seriously, until recent decades.  Then state legislatures passed current domestic abuse laws in fits of passion without thinking of potential abuse by false accusation.  Now, vengeful women use these laws as weapons in child custody, and divorce cases, as well as for just plain spite.  There is no defense.

The police are required to come and arrest the accused and take him to jail, even if the accuser recants on the spot.  Then, the D.A. charges the accused, even if the accuser continues to recant, (the mean women pile on other wild accusations and get restraining orders.).

Meanwhile, the meter is running on legal bills, and in custody situations, the father cannot see his kids.

If he is found not guilty, he is still out thousands of dollars, may have lost his job, and his reputation.  On top of that, he has zero chance of filing charges against the accuser; they will not prosecute for fear that such charges”might discourage real victims from coming forth.”

My son-in-law is going through this right now.  The accuser claimed he bent her finger, hurt her ribs, and hit her.  She had no signs of damage, did not go to a doctor, and waited 10 days, until he was in back surgery, to call the police.  He was arrested, charged, and subject to a 90-day restraining order, which kept him from seeing his 18-month-old son.  His employer suspended him pending the trial (next February).  Legal fees are over $5,000 so far.

Then, she added more far-fetched accusations:  he tore her clothes off, chased her around the apartment, pulled out and administered a rape kit to test if she had cheated on him, then produced a polygraph machine and tested her for lying.  (She never mentioned the baby at all.)  Since then, she has thought up even more charges; and the D.A. just keeps on adding one ridiculous item after another.  Oh, did I mention she is crazy?

He is not alone, by a long shot.  Look online for stories of false accusation.  Sure, most of the time the charges have substance.  But in this case, I am sure this woman used these accusations to punish him and keep him from his son.

The only way to change this travesty, is to encourage/threaten your elected officials.  If there is clearly no obvious harm to the woman, AND she recants, and admits she did it out of spite/anger, the allegation should be investigated, not ruining the man’s life.

The accused should be treated as innocent until proven otherwise.  Until balance and due process are restored, men can always be guilty until proven innocent, and even then they lose.

Take Time Off from Politics – Flowers for Las Vegas Before Pointless Witch-hunts

Today, Stephen Paddock, a deluded, deranged, depressed, millionaire, from a small town in Nevada committed suicide in a Las Vegas hotel.  Tragically, beforehand, he tried to take 600 people with him.  He shot 586 outdoor concert-goers from his hotel window, before shooting himself.  He killed 59 people and wounded another 527 in the worst mass shooting in US history.  The grief and pain of the victims and thousands of loved ones is unthinkable, and indescribable.

President Trump showed true class in his address to the nation.  His speech held not one shred of politics, only honest compassion for the victims, their families, and friends.

Meanwhile, the political wolves began to howl partisan slogans, about gun control.

Gun control?  How about a CDC campaign against prescription hatred addiction and vitriol overdoses?

Hayley Geftman-Gold, CBS vice president and senior counsel, posted on Facebook: “I’m actually not even sympathetic [because] country music fans often are Republican gun toters,” and, “If they wouldn’t do anything when children were murdered I have no hope that Repugs will ever do the right thing.”

This is heartless, dispassionate, disregard, of death, pain & suffering, in Las Vegas.  She dismissed empathy for the victims and families of the tragedy.  This is a frightening manifestation of a widespread mental illness – ideological, borderline-personality, “left-supremacism.”

Here is a scary question: How many “friends” does she have on Facebook?  She must have felt safe posting her feelings to them.  Who would share, or be sympathetic to, such a soulless, sociopathic viewpoint?

CBS quickly disowned and fired her.  But she and her madness are not gone.  If anything, she now has more free time and a lot more anger, to power her rhetoric and spread the word.   I shudder to think that people with similar beliefs are kneeling next to me in church.  The harm their hatred does is pernicious, poison in the spiritual air we breathe.

She needs our prayers too, to heal herself and her “friends.” But not before we pray for the souls of the dead, and the hearts of the living who mourn them.