A Plea for Action

This is the letter I sent to Governor Polis, Senator Hickenlooper, and Congressman Neguse today. Hopefully, it will help them make some decisions.

Just like President Biden told us: No more prayers-time for some Action!

April 9, 2021

Dear Governor Polis,

I am writing you today because of the impact the shootings at the Table Mesa King Soopers in Boulder had on all of our lives. It is still hard for all of us to believe that this happened so close to home. I live in a small town just east of Boulder and know that area well. When I moved up from Colorado Springs many years ago, I attended school at the University of Colorado, and there were many times when I stopped in that store. I also worked for the City of Boulder at the City Attorney’s office and the Boulder Police Department.

I worked in law enforcement and government most of my life. In the law enforcement field, I was a patrol officer, a crime analyst, a paralegal, and a records clerk. Before working in Boulder, I was a crime analyst in Colorado Springs, and became an expert in my field as well as an expert profiler. My job was to identify the serious and habitual juvenile offenders who lived in the City in order to create an information tracking system to help solve crimes. We received grant funding and this was one of the first databases created on a computer to help track their crimes, and pass on the information to the prosecution and social services when intervention was necessary. The computer systems were limited at the time, and an analyst had to rely on all of those relationships developed for an inter-agency approach to not only help police, but also help these young offenders.

Violent juveniles or adults cannot be identified as a juvenile habitual offender or adult career criminal until after they commit many, many crimes. There is a threshold of crimes before they come “onto the radar” for police. These offenders have many predictors in the school system and the mental health field, but these reports are not easily accessible for police. Early intervention is not easily studied outside of the social services realm, and information is not often passed on to the police until it is too late. Spree killers don’t necessarily fit the profile of a career criminal because they don’t usually have a large number of arrests. It is not something police can easily make predictions and proactively solve the problem.

Although we weren’t highly publicized, Colorado Springs took great strides to prevent gun violence back in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Laws were enacted, and grant money became available for us to study the issues. Many of these laws went away in 1997, and as a result, this money dried up. Recently, money has become available through the CDC for mental health grants, but researchers are just now seeking out this money. To my knowledge, no money has been put into police efforts to help solve the myriad of problems to study and reduce gun violence since the 1990’s.

In Boulder, I worked in records and saw how the incomplete data led to many lapses in what had been collected over the years. Many reports were in a handwritten format, and there was no software to collect data from them, and they came into records in many different formats. As computer scanning became more prevalent, any changes in upgrading to new formats or changes to the systems caused data loss—because of how the data was collected. Additionally, the laws at the time prevented most data to be collected in a meaningful way. Each department differed in how they collected their information, and most records continued to be purged after ten years with few exceptions, such as unsolved homicides. As detectives and records personnel left and/or retired, the “brain trust” depleted.

According to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) from 2018 to 2019, there was a 19% decline in reported serious crimes, with 880,000 fewer people victimized in 2019. While the data that has been collected over the years shows a decrease in violent crimes, crimes using weapons are not being collected in a meaningful way. It is hard to know if this decrease is a realistic statistic.

To date, there is no national registry that links you to a firearm. The FBI, ATF, USPS, NSA, IRS, CIA, or Forest Service can’t just punch your name into a system and see what guns you own. A realistic figure of gun violence is speculative at best since the collection is incomplete.

The media’s coverage, and “rolling the footage” repeatedly—recapping the mass shootings, police making rash decisions, and unrest occurring after each incident—makes citizens become more disheartened, and believe that violent crimes have increased. Many have become more afraid, especially since the COVID-19 outbreak, and have great mistrust in the police and the System at large. Thus, the public makes rash decisions, and one of them is going out in huge numbers to buy weapons. A year of gun sales rising, and very limited gun safety education as well as background checks have put many people at risk in the future.

RAND has published studies in the past that has shown some promising results. Here are a few of their conclusions:

  • Available evidence supports the conclusion that child-access prevention laws, or safe storage laws, reduce self-inflicted fatal or nonfatal firearm injuries, including unintentional and intentional self-injuries, among youth.
  • There is supportive evidence that stand-your-ground laws are associated with increases in firearm homicides and moderate evidence that they increase the total number of homicides.
  • There is moderate evidence that state laws prohibiting gun ownership by individuals subject to domestic violence restraining orders decrease total and firearm-related intimate partner homicides.
  • There is moderate evidence that waiting periods reduce firearm suicides and total homicides and limited evidence that they reduce total suicides and firearm homicides.
  • No studies meeting the authors’ inclusion criteria have examined the effects of gun-free zones, laws allowing armed staff in kindergarten through grade 12 schools, or required reporting of lost or stolen firearms.

The RAND studies made recommendations for new policy. Here are a few of them:

  • States without child-access prevention laws should consider adopting them as a strategy to reduce firearm suicides and unintentional firearm injuries and deaths.
  • States with stand-your-ground laws should consider repealing them as a strategy for reducing firearm homicides.
  • States without laws prohibiting gun ownership while individuals are subject to domestic violence restraining orders should consider passing such laws as a strategy for reducing total and firearm-related intimate partner homicides.
  • States without waiting period laws should consider adopting them as a strategy for reducing suicides and homicides.

In addition, here were their recommendations for further research and policy from 2016:

  • To improve understanding of the real effects of gun policies, Congress should consider appropriating funds for a significant program of research on gun policy and gun violence reduction at levels comparable to the government’s current investment in other threats to public safety and health.
  • To improve understanding of outcomes of critical concern to many in gun policy debates, the U.S. government and private research sponsors should support research examining the effects of gun laws on a wider set of outcomes, including crime, defensive gun use, hunting and sport shooting, officer-involved shootings, and the gun industry.
  • To foster a more robust research program on gun policy, Congress should consider eliminating or loosening the restrictions, it has imposed on the use of gun trace data for research purposes.

The RAND Corporation launched the Gun Policy in America initiative in January 2016 with the goal of creating objective, factual resources for policymakers and the public on the effects of gun policies. Research in this area has often consisted of cross-sectional studies examining how firearm outcomes differ in a particular year across states with different policies. Many fewer studies have used more-powerful longitudinal research designs for evaluating the effects of gun laws, partly because longitudinal data on most state gun laws are not widely available and are difficult and time-consuming to construct. Therefore, as part of the Gun Policy in America initiative, RAND developed this longitudinal database of state firearm laws that is free to the public, including other researchers, to support improved analysis and understanding of the effects of various laws. RAND is making the RAND State Firearm Law Database available for use under the Open Data Commons Open Database License.

https://www.rand.org/pubs/tools/TLA243-2.html

Colorado has initiated more laws regarding gun purchases and background checks, but what about our surrounding States? Is it possible for you, as Governor, to encourage other Governors to pass similar legislation and work together to solve a growing problem? Without a workable federal database, law enforcement relies solely on the information they can gather locally or through their own contacts. If Governors in our surrounding states present these ideas to their legislatures, similar to what Colorado is trying to do, we could have a significant impact on gun violence in the western states.

It would also be logistically sound if the elected officials stop repeating the old adages to their constituents who are adamantly opposed to any gun laws. There are more people outside this group voice that believe some gun laws are necessary. They just don’t have as loud a voice. If leaders would be willing to step up and create legislation for law enforcement that is based on sound federal policy and laws, perhaps they could better protect the public from future mass shootings.

Currently, it is my understanding that based on the lack of legislative non-action, there is nothing in place requiring data to be collected in the long-term at the federal and state levels. If law enforcement is to be more effective in prevention, each law enforcement department needs to collect data, save it in a usable form and forward it to CBI who can then forward it to the ATF, and/or to Homeland, and the FBI. From what I could gather in researching this topic, current laws prohibit keeping background checks for more than 24 hours at the federal level. The purchase-waiting period is only three days at this point and in most states, including Colorado, the purchase can be made even without the background checks coming through in this time period.

There is no way that this is enough time to check on a person’s background and forward it to the persons in charge of the sale. While I realize that mental health records are private, and mistrust of police is rampant right now, there should be some way that law enforcement, particularly their analysts and records keeping people, can check these records before a sale goes through. I know we cannot prevent every shooting from happening, but if we could work with more data than what we have, we could make a difference. As cities grow bigger, we can no longer rely on the old paper and pencil method employed in the past. Having said that, however, computers can’t do everything. They are, for the most part, a massive numbers-crunching machine. They don’t have all the answers at your fingertips. Crime shows on television oversimplify how we analyze a situation. People do that, not computers. There still needs to be a coordinated and inter-departmental human involvement in creating a fair and knowledgeable profile on the individuals most at risk to commit violence. By having a complete profile, perhaps police and mental health workers can get them the help they need before a violent shooting goes down.

In the past, I worked with dozens of retired and senior citizen volunteers who helped me collect the data from all police and other agencies’ reports. They dedicated their time to serve the greater good. As a result, my profiles were complete using all of the facts that were collected with their help. I’m sure that there are many people like that out there today that would be willing to help with this process. These volunteers could help their police counterparts have reliable knowledge to prevent situations that might blow up.

It all boils down to providing help, training police and volunteers, building trust in each other, and investing in a System that works. Media coverage over thoughts of defunding the police is not the solution. Media and the public need to step away from that idea and move onto a more logical solution. Police cannot do all the work, especially with limited funding. Police and community can band together and help each other. However, there needs to be a state effort to provide funds that reinvest in education and training for police and community. Community Policing and Crime Prevention programs need to be re-instated, or receive more funds if they are still active. These programs work. I have seen it. People want to help make things better for their community. It bridges the gaps and creates trust in communities once again.

Finally, we do not need to display our weapons to the world. What Congresswoman Lauren Boebert did was disrespectful, disgraceful and unprofessional. I have no issue with people owning weapons, as long as they take the responsibility for them. Not all Coloradoans want to be known to the world as “gun-toting cowboys.” We need to divest from this blatant belief that weapons, and particularly assault rifles, are the answer to all of our problems. We need to help people understand that all guns are deadly weapons, and that we can only protect each other through education, communication, and reasonable gun laws. We can save cities and the people that live here.

I have lived in Colorado for a long time. My town was recognized many times as the one of the “Best Places to Live.” I would love to see every community thrive and become a part of the solution. Perhaps, with some legislative intervention, and more Community-Based Policing, trust will return between all citizens and police. Not all police are bad people. Police cannot always predict when a mass shooting will occur, but perhaps they can provide preemptive help for these shooters before they get to this state of mind and take action on the public if we as a community take a positive stand to help them.

Thank you for your time.                      

Sincerely,

Drusilla M. Tieben

Cc:       Senator John Hickenlooper

     Representative Joe Neguse

TAKE THE NEXT STEP

First, thank you all health care workers for everything you have done and continue to do. Thank you for staying in touch with your patients during this crazy time. I appreciate every one of you and everything you do for us!

In the 1950s, Eric Berne developed the psychological model of transactional analysis, using “transaction” to describe the fundamental unit of social intercourse, with “transactional analysis” being the study of social interactions between individuals. Dr. Stephen Karpman, MD, took it one-step further and published a book in 1967, and detailed the Karpman Drama Triangle as a social model of human interaction. The triangle maps a type of destructive interaction that can occur among people in conflict. The drama triangle model is a tool used in psychotherapy, specifically transactional analysis. The triangle of actors in the drama is persecutors, victims, and rescuers. He published his book about it at that time, updated it in 2008, and recently gave a TED talk about it. He updated his book and re-published it in 2020. The Karpman Drama Triangle models the connection between personal responsibility and power in conflicts, and the destructive and shifting roles people play (emphasis mine). His theory defined three roles in the conflict: Persecutor, Rescuer (the one up position) and Victim (one down position).

Karpman placed these three roles on an inverted triangle and referred to them as being the three aspects, or faces of drama.

The Victim: The Victim in this model is not intended to represent an actual victim, but rather someone feeling or acting like one. The Victim’s stance is “Poor me!” The Victim feels victimized, oppressed, helpless, hopeless, powerless, ashamed, and seems unable to make decisions, solve problems, take pleasure in life, or achieve insight. The Victim, if not being persecuted, will seek out a Persecutor and a Rescuer who will save the day but also perpetuate the Victim’s negative feelings.

The Rescuer: The rescuer’s line is “Let me help you.” A classic enabler, the Rescuer feels guilty if they don’t go to the rescue. Yet their rescuing has negative effects: It keeps the Victim dependent and doesn’t allow the Victim permission to fail and experience the consequences of their choices. The rewards derived from this rescue role are that the focus is taken off of the rescuer. When they focus their energy on someone else, it enables them to ignore their own anxiety and issues. This rescue role is also pivotal because their actual primary interest is really an avoidance of their own problems disguised as concern for the victim’s needs.

The Persecutor: (a.k.a. Villain) The Persecutor insists, “It’s all your fault.” The Persecutor is controlling, blaming, critical, oppressive, angry, authoritarian, rigid, and superior (Former President and his supporters).

“Initially, a drama triangle arises when a person takes on the role of a victim or persecutor. This person then feels the need to enlist other players into the conflict. As often happens, a rescuer is encouraged to enter the situation. These enlisted players take on roles of their own that are not static, and therefore various scenarios can occur. The victim might turn on the rescuer, for example, while the rescuer then switches to persecution.”

“The reason that the situation persists is that each participant has their (frequently unconscious) psychological wishes/needs met without having to acknowledge the broader dysfunction or harm done in the situation as a whole. Each participant is acting upon their own selfish needs, rather than acting in a genuinely responsible or altruistic manner (Emphasis Mine).”

The relationship between the victim and the rescuer may be one of codependency. The rescuer keeps the victim dependent by encouraging their victimhood. The victim gets their needs met by having the rescuer take care of them. (Again, does this sound familiar to you regarding the former president supporters?)

Participants generally tend to have a primary or habitual role (victim, rescuer, persecutor) when they enter into drama triangles. Participants first learn their habitual role in their family of origin. Even though participants each have a role, with which they most identify, once on the triangle, participants rotate through all the three positions.

Each triangle has a “payoff” for those playing it. The “antithesis” of a drama triangle lies in discovering how to deprive the actors of their payoff.

So what does this all mean regarding where we are today? Why do some of us take the hit, shake it off and go on with trying something new, moving on, while others get further depressed, wallow in self-pity and blame everyone else? Why do we focus on the persecutor/victim struggle and look for a rescuer (superhero) instead of looking into what we are doing to make our lives miserable?

While I acknowledge the pandemic has taken its toll on everyone, including me, and the crazies during and after the election didn’t help, now is the time to make change in your lives and move forward. It’s time to step up, take control of our own lives and look to the future for things and work to make the change. It’s time for the crazies (both persecutors and victims) to acknowledge their misdeeds and move on and become part of society’s rescue. They only fan hate and violence and it is not something that we need right now. We are going in the direction we need to go and it will take time, but they need to get on board.

We, as a society, have to learn patience, which is terribly hard for Americans to do. We are used to the attitude of selfishness – getting what we want when we want it, RIGHT NOW! Things are changing, slowly, but it will be a very long process before we get back to normal. We have to be safe first, stay home and wait a little bit longer to reap the rewards in the future. Part of that patience is to take control of your children (Spring Break craziness – people, why would you let them do that?) and understand that it will take our new leaders some time to dig out of the disaster of the last four years. We have to learn to trust the new administration to do the right thing. I understand that trust is hard to come by, but if we could just give it a little more time, I believe we will get through it. I am going with optimistic and keeping positive, even if only in my bubble of a world.

I also realize that the first part of that patience is being able to get people back to work. Part of getting back to work is to ask your new senators and representatives (and especially your Republican representatives!) to come together with the Democrats and create new jobs within new markets in the U.S. Again, I know long-term is not what we DO as Americans, but if we can just be a little patient, and keep the idea of new opportunities alive we can make it happen. How does this happen? We can start by communicating RATIONALLY, to the people that represent us. People could start a grassroots campaign in their towns to have jobs that are safe to come back to. We can ask local entrepreneurs and local representatives to come up with a way to create jobs that are challenging and purposeful for us and for future generations. We can write our Governors and respectfully request them to take some of the stimulus money and put into development of these new jobs. It is not a pie in the sky idea. It can be done.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has been working the late night circuit and he recently talked to Jimmy Kimmel about the future of our infrastructure. He is a breath of fresh air, funny, and takes a positive spin on what we can do now. He talked about change in how we travel and how we could think about ways to not only re-build the crumbling roads and bridges, but how we could improve how we get to and from places every day. He was asked about the status of Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) and he stated that companies like Tesla are working on a self-driving car. Although this isn’t the flying car of my childhood dreams, it is still a great idea. I ask you to think about this. We already have cars that pick us up when we don’t want to drive, so why can’t it be possible for us to embrace the idea of calling an AV company, get in and let it do the work? He did say it would take time to get the roadways ready, but just think of the jobs this alone would create. Maybe this would encourage people to shop in downtown areas that are hard to get to right now because of reduced bus routes and limited (and expensive) parking. Perhaps it would even reduce roadway traffic and we could finally get rid of those massive parking garages.

Secretary Buttigieg also spoke of the Public Transfer relief that is coming from the COVID relief package and that is to get the transit sector, e.g., Amtrak and buses running again to full capacity. Money was also included for Aerospace manufacturing that will provide new job opportunities for people as well as helping others in the industry get back to work.

All I know is that life as we know it is will continue to change and we have to embrace it. It’s hard, I know, but if we can brainstorm and envision new ways to accomplish our jobs after the pandemic, we will survive. Our lives are changing and new careers will open up if we open ourselves up to it. Think about it. Creating new fields of study and then putting it all to work in new careers will give all of us a fighting chance. Industry has to change, and embrace forward-thinking training and we have to allow that change. I am hopeful for the first time in years. So let us get through the past sadness together and move onto the future.

As Maya Angelou once said:

“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.”

In addition:

“As long as you’re breathing, it’s never too late to do some good.”

RISE UP

When you just want to give up with life, “Who ya’ gonna call?” Democrats!

I’ve never had power like the rich people have. I’ve never been rich. Nor have I ever been in office. But, I do believe that we can change the system if we have righteous elections like we did in 2020. Today, eighty-five percent, (85%) of Americans, both Democrats and Republicans believe in the power of the people and want the right to have a decent life. 85% of Americans approved the recent passing of the COVID relief bill. Not a single Republican voted for this bill. I repeat: NOT A SINGLE REPUBLICAN VOTED FOR THIS BILL. My mantra remains this: “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?” Are you so worried about losing your power? I believe that is exactly what is happening. By you continuing to vote what you believe the GOP should vote, denouncing everything that comes out of a Democrats’ mouth, you are making yourself look ridiculous in the eyes of your constituents (and all Democrats)!

Recently, one Congressman stated that the $2 trillion given to billionaires as tax cuts under the last administration would more than pay for what we are now giving to Americans for COVID relief today. There are currently 614 billionaires in the United States and their wealth (currently, a total of over $4.2 trillion) far exceeds the wealth of 50% of the entire American population. They continue to reap the benefits and the majority of them aren’t willing to help fix the situation, by say, putting more money back into their companies or creating new industry in the United States. Americans want to get back to work, and want to make a decent wage. They want to buy American products. I ask you: What is wrong with this picture? We hate to hear it, but the solution is simple: Fair Taxation.

In an article from the Othering and Belonging Institute at U.C. Berkeley, https://belonging.berkeley.edu/six-policies-reduce-economic-inequality

Author and Professor John A. Powell summarized six policies that would help reduce economic inequalities. This article was written in 2014, was published in Huffington Post, reiterated in articles published by them in both 2015 and 2017, and brought back up in 2021 by Senator Bernie Sanders when interviewed about the COVID-19 relief package. Here are the policies Professor Powell recommended:

1.         Increase the minimum wage. This would take over 5 million people out of poverty and will not retard economic growth.

2.         Expand the Earned Income Tax (which would increase the tax credit for children).

3.         Build assets for working families (such as higher savings rates, retirement plans, and fair and low-cost housing).

4.         Invest in childhood education (such as pre-K programs).

5.         Make the tax code more progressive (such as adjusting capital gains taxes).

6.         End residential segregation.

Amazing, isn’t it? While we have taken temporary steps to fix a few of these, we still have a long way to go. So many policies have been recommended for the betterment of all people, and yet, currently it seems that the (Republican) solution is desperately trying to keep your seat in Congress by suppressing voter’s rights in all of those states who voted for the other side. Your people are telling you they don’t want that. They want the opportunity to vote. Recently, the Iowa governor voted for more limited voting access, even though they are a predominantly Republican voting state and they had a better turn out – for Republicans no less – than past elections. That absolutely makes no sense. I hope the Republican party will rise up and come to their senses. I agree that we need a balance, but not at the expense of the people. We are the people! Georgia is now pursuing and getting the same laws in place. And, other states are doing the same. Power is an evil draw if you don’t do the best you can while you are in office. So, stop worrying about the next election, and do some good over these next four years. Step away from the funders who promote racist behavior and classim, and do the right thing. Support the normal people who voted for you. Make us believe that conditions can improve and move in a positive direction. No more doom and gloom!

For the first time in many, many years, we as a nation have an opportunity to make things right that have been wrong for a very long time. We have to stop thinking like our parents and grandparents and prepare for a world that can only get better and better, if we stop being afraid. We have to get out of our bubble and teach our children and grandchildren subjects like Writing, Civics and Economics. We have to teach our children civility and kindness and campaign (and pay!) for an education system that works better. We have to rise up and be a better nation. Superheroes aren’t always young, you know. Getting older doesn’t mean we can give up or stop living a life that is important. We have to stop thinking about that next vacation and do something good for others every day.

Colleges are producing more alcoholics coming out of them than ever before. Boulder recently had yet another riot on the Hill with way too many students partying. Is this a tradition now, even though it is more dangerous than ever before? Why is rebellion for rebellion’s sake important to us as teenagers and young adults? How can we, as parents and grandparents, teach them responsibility and humanity? Why can’t we help them understand that wild parties accomplish nothing? Why can’t we teach these children to see their future as something exciting, something that goes beyond the present moment? Going to a huge party like that, or taking spring break to go to these same type of parties, but at the beach, until we drop dead, is not a viable solution. (And, I mean, literally drop dead of alcoholism-or COVID-19). Wouldn’t it be better if parents and teachers encouraged their kids to do something meaningful with their lives throughout the break? There are so many opportunities out there to learn something new while helping others. Wouldn’t students be better off giving up this selfish me-centric party activity and go out and make a difference? Something to think about.

RECKONING

Dear People of Idaho:

As I have said many times before to many other people: “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?” We are never, never, never going to visit your state, and we don’t want you here where we do have mask rules in place. Your disregard for human life is appalling and the fact that you are teaching these lessons to your children makes me very, very sad, in knowing that they will grow up like you. One can only hope that your children escape you and move somewhere else when they grow up so they have the freedom to think for themselves. I left my home state and fled to the west in hopes of finding people like me who believe in humanity coming first above all these so-called make believe violations of your civil rights. We must face the music when it comes to disease and whatever we can do to lessen the flow to others. Mask wearing prevents the spread. Period. You may think this is a violation of your rights, but when you and your family members start dying, don’t blame the rest of the world who understand how this works. For once, go beyond your personal bubble and look at the rest of the world. Everyone deserves a chance to live without fear of you people. Enough said.

PEACEFUL CHALLENGE

Tonight, turn off the TV, phone and all electronic devices, go outside, and quiet your mind for a minute. Be satisfied with what you have right now. You are alive, you are warm, you have electricity, and you are safe. How do I know this? Because I see that you are reading this right now. Once you read this, stop thinking about tomorrow and count on your fingers what you are grateful for today. Don’t read Facebook or listen to the news for the rest of the week. Instead, work on your book, or pictures or crafts and make a fabulous dinner for you and your family. Next week is the time to worry once again and help those who in need.

I challenge each of you to learn something new for the next ten days. Then, go out and teach someone what you learned. It could be as simple as setting up an account on the computer, or helping someone learn how to create a budget and stick to it. Or, it could just be getting the clutter out of your mind and your house and passing that knowledge of how you did it to someone else.

We still have a lot of work to do to help everyone rise up. I pay my housekeeper more right now because she is fabulous and helps me so much. I couldn’t do the things I wanted to do without her. And, I give more money to EFAA (Emergency Family Assistance Association) out of Boulder, because they are a fantastic local agency that helps people so much and they have been around for over 100 years! I want to continue to do anything I can to make someone’s life easier.

We still have to be safe before we can hold hands or hug each other. But, for now, just breathe.

DEAR CEOs

 “In every community there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart there is the power to do it.”—Marianne Williamson [Emphasis mine]

“Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion.”—Buddha

It’s time to stop being mean to each other. (Yes, Congresswoman G., and Senator C., you know who I’m talking about.) It’s time to let the crazy go and move forward and accept everyone for who they are in the world and what they represent. Republicans need to step up as most of the Democrats have done and help the people they represent. They need to stop being bullies and stop the cult-like behavior for the good of the nation and for the good of the people.

CEOs also need to take heart and do the right thing. Although there are a few CEOs doing the right thing to help those less fortunate, there are still too many that make their stockholders richer. For example, instead of doing the right thing, on 2/4/21 Kroger closed two stores in Long Beach, CA instead of giving the workers hazardous pay ordered by the City Council, despite the fact that people stayed at the job during the worst of COVID and the company’s value increasing by 27%! Instead, they chose to give the profits to their shareholders, making them richer. It was a sad day for the little person

One good thing that came out of the pandemic was that CEOs and Board Members took up to 100% pay cuts to save their companies and keep employees in benefits, even though they had to furlough workers due to shut downs. Forty-Seven CEOs did step up last year. Here are a few examples:

  • The Walt Disney Company: The Walt Disney Company (DIS) announced that in response to the business challenges relating to COVID-19, each of the Company’s named executive officers agreed to receive a temporary reduction in their base salaries, effective with the payroll period commencing April 5, 2020. The Executive Chairman, and former Chief Executive Officer, of Walt Disney agreed to forego all of his compensation except a portion of his base salary.
  • Burlington Stores, Inc.: Burlington’s CEO, Michael O’Sullivan, will not take a salary, while the company’s Board of Directors will forfeit their cash compensation, and the Company’s executive leadership team has voluntarily agreed to decrease their salary by 50%.
  • Comcast Corporation: Comcast Chief Brian Roberts, NBC Universal CEO Jeff Shell and other division leaders at Comcast will donate their salaries to coronavirus-related relief efforts as the world grapples with the devastating pandemic.
  • Fiserv Inc.: Fiserv Inc.’s top executives are taking temporary base salary pay cuts to compensate employees, who experience financial hardship due to the COVID-19. The Company disclosed that its Chairman & CEO, Jeffery Yabuki, and President & Chief Operating Officer, Frank Bisignano, have each agreed to forgo 100% of their base salary.
  • Wells Fargo & Company, Arconic, Inc., The Walt Disney Company, The Kraft Heinz Company, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. have also implemented dividend cuts or changes due to COVID-19.

It’s a start, but we need to move forward. My question to these CEOs is this: Why don’t you re-invest your packaged deals back into the company, instead of running it into the ground and moving onto the next company? CEOs’ salaries are a fraction of their incentive packages. There needs to be some legislation or tax law that prohibits them from taking their gains out of the company and moving on to the next when their company fails. Employees will appreciate the effort company management puts into the company and will do a better job if they are paid more, or at least a livable wage.

On the positive side, COSTCO announced they would give employees $16.00 an hour to start. Their company is often cited as one of the world’s most ethical companies. It has been called a “testimony to ethical capitalism” in large part due to its company practices and treatment of employees. While Congress struggles with minimum wage issues, some companies are moving forward and giving their employees the money they need.

It is hard to say what will happen and what the future holds for our economy. How many companies will survive is unknown, but one this is certain in my humble opinion:

CEOs need to learn from the COSTCO model. They need to roll up their sleeves, re-invest their energy and time into their companies, and treat their employees so they have some dignity. They need to create and trust in their decisions to have a bigger picture, one where the employee feels better about the job. If employees feel better and safe in their jobs, they will more likely treat customers better, and more people will shop there.

I know we can make a change. We are a can-do nation now. We are slowly coming out of our cocoon and the new normal will emerge.

LONG TERM THINKING

Does your brain really start to go in your sixties? Or, in your seventies? I have been binge-watching Grace and Frankie on Netflix and I am loving it. An 80-year-old friend of told me a few years’ back to watch it and I was finally able to do so, now that I have time…. Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda are friends and in their 70s. Their husbands divorced them after being married for 40 years and then the husbands married each other! How these women cope with life, and each other, makes you ponder what it is like for women who have nothing left after their husbands divorce them or die. In Grace’s case (Jane Fonda), she had a career so I identify with her character more than with Frankie (Lily Tomlin) who is an old “hippie” extraordinaire! Grace retired and gave the company over to her daughter so that is another interesting dynamic. I am not at the last season yet, but I am now at the place where their kids start interfering with their lives, wanting “what’s best for them.” I told my family that I don’t want to be put in a “home,” especially in light of this pandemic and so many of those folks dying! Even if I need help, I’ve saved enough money to have someone come in and clean and cook for us and I still have the capability of driving! When I decide to give up driving, I can take the Flex Ride or Via bus. You call them and pay a little for a pass and they pick you up in your neighborhood and take you to the places you need to go, such as grocery shopping, the senior center, doctors, or even the recreation center! We have some good things for our seniors out here! Besides, just because our body starts to fail us, our minds can still be sharp, if we continue to learn, exercise and eat healthy.

One of the things that is certain this year is that locals in their neighborhoods have pulled together to help each other out when needed. They are embracing the attitude of “It’s the right thing to do.” Government can help by learning the lessons from all of the mistakes of the past, and fixing all the big infrastructure and financial issues while we as neighbors fix the daily issues. Nobody ever asks for help, we just have to be willing to step up and notice when people really and truly need help.

Learn from the past and hope for a better future each day. Be kind to one another and ignore the crazies!

THINGS ADULTS SHOULD KNOW

I have been listening to the local news a lot more now that the crazy is slowing down a little. All I have to say is “Wow!” Where is the irreverent David Sedaris when you need him? He puts everything in perspective when it comes to the most ridiculously obvious news broadcasts, and especially when it comes to the adults’ lack of knowledge regarding how to take care of themselves.

In 2012, I wrote and published a book called “Discover the Life You Want to Live” (still for sale on Amazon, by the way). I felt that the knowledge that helped me have a successful life might help those lost people that I see on the news.

Up until now, the 2000s were an age of discovery for people, and looking for that special “mentor” that would answer all of their questions was part of that discovery process. I proposed that you could become your own mentor, and thus help others. Of course, you have to do the “mental” work and then listen to the answers you give yourself.

As I re-visit my past, I would like to reiterate some of the most important things anyone can do to make their lives easier:

1.         Get your house in order.

In 2020, the world shutdown so we became shut-ins. In order to keep the crazy conversations in our head from happening, we completed a great many projects in the physical “category” (mechanical and construction projects, for example) that were needed on our houses.

We became adept at cleaning, and caulking and remodeling, as well as cooking and spelling and writing and juggling meetings with homework. However, our mental “category” or the work suffered. We mindlessly read posts, created weird TikTok videos and listened to the crazies on the news. We forgot to take time and create something that challenged us. We forgot how to think for ourselves. At least most kids are way ahead of us in this category. They are reading more, writing, creating and making things happen! They use examples from their past in better ways than we adults can fathom.

Lately, I have taken the time to relearn some of the most important lessons about mental health. I have taken a long road to get to the place I am today. I’ve had many highs and lows over the year. Instead of spiraling down the negative hole and letting the small stuff overwhelm me, I revisit the one day at a time attitude and go back to my Rory’s (Gilmore Girls) list. I make a list, prioritize this list from highest to lowest importance, and then check each completed job off as I get through the jobs. This allows me to see my acomplishments. I have about three lists going right now:

a.        Grocery and Dinner prep list

b.         Indoor Project list – includes physical projects and mental projects (for example, clean and mop the kitchen or pay bills and balance your checkbook)

c.         Outdoor Project list (for example, rake the sticks out of the garden and prep beds for planting in the spring!

 Recently on the news there was a bit about the IRS giving notice of taxes owed. They were so far behind on their deposits and many checks weren’t cashed until last week. One man told reporters that he had gotten the notice and he had already sent the check to them. He then found out that the IRS had tried to cash it last week and ‘Lo and Behold’ the check bounced. As a result, he told reports he has to come up with over $3,900.00 plus penalties. My question to him: “Why wouldn’t you have accounted for that check already and NOT SPENT THE MONEY?” Better yet, “Why didn’t you use the online application so it went directly to the IRS?” Finally, “Why would you think the money would magically reappear in your bank account?”  My point being is that you would know having prepared for this by balancing your checkbook.

2.         De-Clutter.

Are you feeling cramped at home because everyone is on top of you? One solution is to get rid of the clutter so you can create more space! We had started a remodel of the entire basement in 2019 and were able to finish up while we in quarantine last year. I was able to put together work and office spaces in three different rooms, one for each of us, so we weren’t all on top of each other. When we started, we carried out everything to the garage, sorted and gave or threw away a ton of items we didn’t need anymore. It freed up so much space and I was amazed at how big the house really was. With the virus in mind, we were also able to keep everything clean and tidy, and A.R.C. benefitted from all of our good items we gave away. In addition, now we can park both cars in the garage!

3.         Follow the COVID-19 Rules.

I know, I know, this is probably the hardest job we’ve ever had to do in our lifetime – staying at home is boring! We have to go beyond ourselves and think of the community and the harm we do. It is important to get through this without any more people dying!

Recently, the news reported a massive amount of people attended an event at the Grizzly Rose Bar. The owner stated he was out of town when he got a call from his workers asking what they should do with the two large lines of mostly maskless people who were waiting for them to open. The owner told them to let the people enter the building. In retrospect, he told reports that he “…May have made the wrong call” when he allowed a crowd into the bar. The bar was packed. There was no social distancing and very few had masks on. The owner told reporters that he decided to voluntarily shut down the bar after the incident and then the Health Department shut him down until further notice. My comment on this craziness is this: When you do stupid stuff because you are worrying about offending customers or not getting those customers back, you are only thinking about yourself. Ultimately, we have to change the way we do business and respect the fact that we are in the middle, NOT the end, of the pandemic. We have to brave the storm before we can all get back together safely. Moreover, to you people that packed the bar, all I can say is “Shame on you!” Sometimes you have to think of the greater good, not just yourselves.

I also learned that some friends of mine are already traveling since they got their shots. While I don’t think this is a great idea to travel yet, they said they had to get out of their house. While it might be safe to travel in the airplane, people don’t properly mask and you are in line with them and touching all of the surfaces that they are touching. And, the shots are about 95% effective, so that means that you can still get it and/or pass it onto your loved ones. The recommendation by the scientists and advisors is to stay at home if it is a non-essential trip. We just have to be patient! Something that I know is hard for all you travel junkies.

4.         Learn from History.

What happened to a sense of honor and integrity in leadership? With recent events at the Capitol building, I believe some of these Congressmen (and women) should be sent back to school for learning ethical leadership practices. In addition, they should apologize for their misbehavior. There is no room for me-centric behavior in government.

People must be held accountable for their actions. There is a code of conduct for each person who takes office and leaders should live by it. The only way to create change in a political environment that has been dysfunctional for the past 40 years is to create an ethical work culture. This means you have to respect others’ values. Each leader must engage in the appropriate conduct through respect for the rights and dignity of others. The five key principles of ethical leadership are:

a.         Honesty

b.         Justice

c.         Respect

d.         Community

e.         Integrity

To sum it up:

Be the example. Place the health of the organization above your personal needs. Finally, “Ethical leadership is a form of leadership in which individuals demonstrate conduct for the common good that is acceptable and appropriate in every area of their life.” Source: article titled “What is Ethical Leadership?” 2/18/20; website:

In my book, I note that we become dissatisfied with our lives because of Fear, Anger and Prejudice. Let’s not let these attitudes rule our lives. We can overcome these by embracing an ethical lifestyle and do more for others than we do for ourselves.

As a final note, all adults can learn from the younger generation. The pandemic brought back a quest for knowledge. Reading and learning using physical books became a thing once again (Good for us because I have lots of them). Records and record players are now back in our household. And, writing letters are popular once again. I enjoy my conversations with my older friends and waiting for a reply that could take weeks instead of minutes. I savor the letters even though it isn’t logical to some people.

To quote Spock from Start Trek:

“You may find that having is not so pleasing a thing as wanting. This is not logical, but it is often true.”Star Trek: The Original Series, “Amok Time”

“Spock’s statement about desire profoundly reminds us that many people can’t accept what they have and be happy. Instead, they seek out more; more money, more fame, and/or more power. We need to learn to be happy with our circumstances and not to want more simply for the sake of wanting more without any discernible improvement in the quality of our lives.” —from Steven Mintz, aka Ethics Sage, 3/10/15.

Be safe everyone and Happy Valentine’s Day.

WORST CASE SCENARIO

Having gotten that off my chest, I only have one more thing to say about the last post: “Without followers, evil cannot spread.” – SPOCK, from Star Trek: The Original Series, “And the Children Shall Lead.”

*****

This is what I have been pondering of late. I am completing research into what the future holds for my third book in the Caitlin Ferguson Mysteries, which starts out in the year 2031. (When I started this series, that was a long way away, but now it is only ten years away!)

TRANSPORTATION

What would readily available if civilization crashes as we know it? Would it be like what we see in the movies, lots of looting, lots of crazy shootings, roving gang-like packs, and many people running amok? Recently, RTD stated it doesn’t have enough money to expand the train lines up through Boulder, Longmont and Louisville. We voted and have been paying for this with our tax dollars since 2004! The fund has accumulated to about $243 million so where is that money? Boulder officials have asked of RTD about this and the responses have been vague. RTD officials are now saying it might be 2050 before we get this line. The Governor says he is looking into it. In addition, is that money still available for us, or have they been dipping into it for other projects? Working recently with my son who is learning to drive, and wondering if he will ever get through it to get his license, he may have to depend on buses and trains in the future to get to the University. This system is not as viable as they say it is and I would like to see changes before 2023 when he graduates.

So what are the transportation options in 2031? Still limping along like now? That is only ten years from now. When I started my book series, this seemed like a long way out, but now the reality is here. The pandemic reduced commuter traffic enormously because people weren’t going to jobs. They hunkered down. Moreover, pollution went away! Couldn’t the railroad system be a better option than crazy, crazy traffic and pollution?

In the book, my assumption is that the trains are still available, and my characters had a means to flee into the foothills and mountains using rail or bus transportation, as well as any vehicles that they had or could get their hands on. Gas would still be available, but with no new supplies coming in it would be a matter of time before the characters would have to use other means of transportation. Would individuals still commute to Denver on the highways? Would the highways still be viable? With the collapse of the HWY 36 Bridge in 2019, how can we know that this won’t happen again? What would be alternative roads that we would use and how quickly would they deteriorate in my book time frame?

DEATH TOLL

The pandemic death toll is now at 442,000 (2/2/21) in the USA, 2.2 million worldwide. We have begun to slow down the number for the first iteration of COVID-19, but the variants keep coming and the vaccines are slow in coming. In the book, I factor in a tear or rift opening up in the sky, and beings pouring through, thus decimating more of the population. So, unless we can get a handle on the virus, how can we get a handle some future threat? There will continue to be fewer people at fewer jobs unless we make sacrifices and dramatic and creative changes in how we do business with people and the planet. Civilization will continue to change during present day, and will deteriorate to become something so foreign in the future, if we don’t pay attention. How we embrace those changes and make something better will make a difference for our children and grandchildren in the future. New leadership will make a difference, but we have to put aside petty grievances for the greater good.

Taking all of this into account for the new book, realistically how many people are left in the area where my characters live? I have been guessing about one-half of the population, but it may be more depending on the direction I go with outside events factored in with the pandemic (which I have!) and how is this sparse population dealing with new illness and deaths?

FOOD and FOOD DISTRIBUTION

When the pandemic struck, the food and household items’ distribution system broke down. And, boy oh boy did we react! How crazy was that to have so many people looking for essentials, especially in the big cities? Too many places closed, and too many people lost jobs. It took months of shut down before anyone starting seeing relief. Toilet paper became the new Holy Grail quest. Grocery stores were stripped bare. Online shopping sites couldn’t keep up with demand, and workers got sick in mass numbers. Restaurants had to change their way of thinking, having more takeout than ever before. Ghost kitchens showed up and food delivery systems such as Uber got on board to deliver food. So many businesses closed because of their narrow margins.

Schools and individuals created a massive campaign to distribute care packages, organize food drives and simply handing out large cash amounts for those in need. The people came together in a commitment to help others. Throughout all the denials and no government intervention, (until the new administration stepped in!) we did something as a People. Without government support, the nation’s citizens helped each other in ways we hadn’t thought of in years. We had more connections with the world thanks to technology, thus we pulled together as communities with a can do spirit similar to the Great War and WWII days, and made it possible for others to make it through the first of the pandemic.

In the future people will suffer, and shortages in supplies will be a reality, unless we make more changes today. Society could deteriorate and there will be more and more food deserts. One of the best things I saw on TV recently was a school getting money for hydroponic gardens to grow fresh vegetables in the food desert community. I found a site that gives information on grants for projects to help schools (and other agencies) build gardens and greenhouses to grow their own fresh vegetables:

And, this is only a start. If we don’t continue this effort to make changes, in the future, people will have to go back to hunter/gatherer societies, moving around and growing what they can. Cities will have to evolve and many will slowly deteriorate. Smaller village-type communities might thrive if they can get the bare essentials, but it will take more work to get those resources.

EDUCATION

In 2020, schools shut down because people started getting sick. The world as we know it as parents drastically changed. We had to learn how to learn and teach subjects we hadn’t visited in years. We had to rely on the internet and computers. So many people had nothing to prepare them for this type of learning. Teachers had to create pod-type learning units and they had to learn to teach surly middle school and high school teenagers, as well as keep the attention of elementary school students. Staying at home sometimes felt like being in prison. We didn’t know what to do with each other at first. We had never been this close all the time. On the other hand, it did not kill us. We learned all kinds of new things, even though we weren’t teachers, and most of us worked out how we communicate with each other.  

In reality, we don’t like to think about it but changes are happening and more changes will have to occur from the ground up. Parents have to participate and teachers have to accept that participation. Teachers have to learn a new way of teaching, a hybrid style that is different from anything we’ve ever seen. Teachers have to reach the kids in the middle, those who aren’t the top of the class, and those who aren’t the lowest in the class. We must create an atmosphere of value for teachers and compensate them in real world and realistic amounts. Changes must be made in schools, both for the teachers as well as to the buildings to make it a safe environment to learn. These are hard changes and federal and state governments will need to intervene. Of course, every change comes with a price. Yes, we will be taxed in increasing amounts, as we always have been through our property taxes. However, school boards will have to vote to loosen the money strings and let the districts use that tax money in ways that are more creative. Funds will have to be reduced for superintendents’ salaries and massive athletic programs in order to give more to the teachers and to the crumbling buildings.

STEM programs will have to evolve and be pushed into all schools within each district. Districts will need to push for apprenticeship-based learning for all schools. Moreover, apprenticeships should be expanded into a broader career base such as finance, environment, tech, and health care fields, not just for construction and manufacturing trades. Unions need to expand to help those areas create a similar model. Public and business misconceptions need to be cleared up about what an apprenticeship is, and the learning environment has to change for young people in all schools. In an article (dated 1/27/21) titled “Apprenticeships are an overlooked solution for creating more access to quality jobs,” authors Annelies Goger and Chenoah Sinclair out of the Brookings Institute, outline excellent ideas on how to reform apprenticeships. The article goes on to state that the 1937 National Apprenticeship Act needs to be updated and misconceptions need to be cleared up on regarding the benefits of this type of learning. It also stated that “In 2017, Harvard researchers estimated that apprenticeships could be expanded from 27 to 74 occupations and that we could fill more than eight times the number of job openings…up to roughly 3.2 million jobs.” To further this idea of “earn and learn” Brookings is publishing a series of briefs on policy issues. Check out: “Brookings’s Blueprints for American Renewal & Prosperity.”

In my book scenario, most public school systems have broken down. Survival has taken precedence. The children learn about how to survive on the land. Reading and ‘riting and ‘rithmetic occurs only in the little communities that still hold their value and have been populated by people who continue to read and learn. Tech is still surviving, because of funding for the space program, but as for all of the other areas of study, only those parents who created a literary base (with real books!) know enough to teach the next generation.

JOBS

In 2020, we had to learn how to work in a new environment – from home – if we still had jobs. Small businesses and jobs went away in mere months. However, jobs such as in the medical field thrived because people were being hospitalized or dying. Other job areas such as in the tech industry thrived because they could embrace the new hybrid-working environment. Most of the employees in tech already had computers and internet connections, so they could transition and embrace this job change easier than those who had nothing at home. Zoom meetings abounded and even became tedious. We realized how many unproductive meetings we had and learned to streamline what was really necessary in our conversations.

Manufacturing has suffered over the past 20 years and especially in the last 4 years. In an article by ITIF (Information Technology & Innovation Foundation), experts stated that only 11.39% is the total manufacturing output in the economy in the U.S. Manufacturing employs only 8.51% of the workforce. Outsourcing for products is the new norm, and has been so since the recession in 2008, and manufacturing has grown only 1.6% since 2010. Outsourcing and tax relief for the owners given to move manufacturing overseas has been even more prevalent in the past four years. During COVID, Companies shut down as workers who worked in unsafe conditions got sick and had to go home, with no benefits or compensation relief. Many died during the pandemic so manufacturing slowed down or shut down completely. Many companies suffered during the pandemic because their sources for these supplies come from overseas, sources that were hit the hardest. When you cannot get the supplies to manufacture goods in the US, demand was high and shortages occurred.

Many studies and policy suggestions in 2020 were submitted to the new administration, suggesting ways to improve and increase education and job placement. It will take years to sort out what we can do as a nation after COVID goes away. In a NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) paper dated 12/16/20, author Mark Schmit notes that manufacturing has to prepare for success in the long-term. Risk was what the panel discussed. Weak links in supply chains have made the industry realize the benefit of physically close relationships with suppliers and customers. Innovation is the key to keep manufacturing and unfortunately this means more automation and less people, except workers with advanced degrees. People will suffer unless they have more education in these fields.

In the book future, most outsourcing has become obsolete. In the area where my characters live, travel and imports have been decimated. Everything is locally produced, and the shift has been to aerospace technologies. There are fewer people and even fewer jobs in anything but tech and aerospace. The children who survived the invasion got their education via STEM programs and apprenticeships. In the future, these children are the parents. They provide survival skills and basic needs are mostly met. The America they knew changed dramatically in the late 2000s and is still changing. The remaining population hopes for rescue to the colonies but limited space is available. Climate change becomes more prevalent and forces the population to move to the middle of the states and Colorado has become a haven for the last of civilization.

WEAPONS

This is the last topic I want to touch on, a rather touchy subject for all to contemplate. Currently, law enforcement is our first line of defense. Conservatives have a different view on how the populace should protect itself. Images of gun-totin’ men and women appear on media more frequently than those of people who want more peaceful resolutions. They usually just wind up looking ridiculous, but they are out there and the implication is this image is what is right, no matter the consequences.

Reform is necessary at all levels. Instead of funding for more deadly weapons, we need to fund better programs that train our officers, create and fund more police social worker positions, and pair them up with patrol officers on all shifts. Policy must be created and adopted by local agencies with a strong premise that all officers hold life precious and will make every effort to protect themselves in non-violent ways, but also protect the citizens they encounter, including suspects and arrestees. There needs to be a resolution and policy for all agencies that includes language stating there will be no more bloodshed of people who express their differences and that consequences must be given to those who disobey these policies. Everyone is allowed to protect themselves, but not at the expense of innocents. Police, especially, have to be held accountable and decision-making skills should be honed. Gun education needs to be funded both for law enforcement and for the public, and it should be mandatory for all gun purchases. Funding for education should be a priority in every budget and community resource.

If a civilization breaks down as I propose in my new book, police and government has deteriorated. Weapons are necessary for survival and for defense of humankind. People will hoard weapons to fight the things that are killing them. The logistics of what will be available and how to protect each other in the future will be vastly different that today. Weapons production will die out and people will have what they can scrounge.

All this is the tip of the iceberg I know, but we have to start somewhere in changing our way of thinking. “Change is the essential process of all existence.”SPOCK, from Star Trek: The Original Series, “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield.”

In 2020, there was a lot of blaming, and name-calling, with no one looking at what is true. There was blatant prejudice rearing its ugly head. Many horrifying incidents occurred, and people were killed for no reason except for the color of their skin. Fear drove this. Reactions boiled over and many people woke up. In addition, the last administration let it all happen, inciting the worst in the people who supported them. 

While I would like to think that we as a nation will always pull together and help alleviate future incidents and threats, I have no illusions about the majority of the people going back to their old and selfish ways if we don’t continue to have new and strong leadership. It is my hope that a larger percentage of the younger generation is as involved as they are now and will continue to learn, as well as support their neighbors and friends.

FOR THE GREATER GOOD

“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try. As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest form of appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” —John F. Kennedy

Dear Representative G. (you know who you are!),

As a public employee (retired) for over 30 years, I am appalled at your behavior. You are a disgrace to women who have fought so hard to have their voice in government and who worked hard to commit to the greater good – those who have created a work environment where they can contribute great ideas for the greater good. You do not express the views and values of all women and you have taken to heart values that are not true and are damaging to everyone. Who generated these values, these conspiracy theories? You supported the people who applied psychological manipulative language to their website. The result was a creation of a hate-generating thought process, an experiment that went awry and created behavior that turned into a cult.

My roots are in Georgia, but I have been gone a long time. I cannot believe that all native Georgians are bad people. I know there is still a lot of hate and prejudice out there, BUT there are also really good people and fantastic minds that you should pay attention to. “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few,” SPOCK said in The Wrath of Khan.Or the one,” Kirk answered. Your constituency is more than the hate mongers in your District. They are the few to the great many who live in the rest of the USA. The rest of the world asks you to take a long look at yourself and ask pointed questions on why you are this way. You have the power to make positive changes in the world. Make use of that power in a good way. Enough said.