Learning From the Abuse and Death of Jaxon “Jax” Burnette

Jax Burnette

“If the sound of happy children is grating on your ears, I don’t think it’s the children who need to be adjusted.”
― Stefan Molyneux

They say a picture shows a thousand words and the picture below certainly does when it comes to the horrifying tragedy that is child abuse.

Jaxon “Jax” James Burnette

The death of Jaxon”Jax” Burnette was one of those horrid incidents that transcends much of the current political and cultural climate.  People really – and rightfully so – think child abuse is horrible.  People were worked up.  Groups were created dedicated to getting justice for Jax.  So to that that end Facebook groups, comment sections, and all the rest shrieked in anger.

After that it died out – with a few shrieks here and there.  So in this aftermath we need to do some serious adult talk time among ourselves and ask, “What have we learned?”

Probably not much.  In fact, we will probably see this same story again, people will express their noble outrage, and then it is back to the grind. (I understand, I have a life as well.)

If there’s anything I’ve realized over the last few years, it’s that the desire to burn someone at the stake or throw tomatoes at the criminal in stocks has never gone away – regardless of how educated, enlightened, or progressive we have gotten.

We have this ravenous unquenchable desire – almost on the level that fuels our sex, survival, and hunger drives – to be able to point at “villains” and in the process allow us to feel better about ourselves.

“At least I’m not like that guy!”

We need to shame, pass judgement, and feel above them.  Now in the case of Jaxon, those of us who aren’t abusing children are better than those who are not – at least on a moral level. However if we aren’t careful, we could easily be brought down low to their level.  Most people don’t like the idea of that, so they remain perched in their high moral ivory towers.

They writhe with righteous anger and indignation, call for the abusive parents to be taken out an shot, and spout about how shocked they are that something this terrible could happen.  Almost reminds you of how people change their Facebook profile to flag stripes of whatever country suffered yet another terrorist attack. Then they forget all about it.

It should make you question how much they actually care vs how much they wish to be perceived as people who do in their contrived sermons of indignation.  A dirty little secret is that most people don’t truly care.

 

The Mob Isn’t Really Interested in Preventing Child Abuse

The mob – righteous this time in their outrage – entirely missed the underlying factors which created the situations that led to the horrible tragedy that happened to Jax.  No one wants to attempt to understand what was happening to his parents because they fear it will be misconstrued as excusing their vile behavior.

Most of the tips, hotlines, and advice out there are for AFTER-THE-FACT instead of focusing on early stages. It’s similar on how always focus on “healing” the patient, but never on the preventative care to help avoid the injuries, diseases, or conditions in the first place.

Raising awareness about child abuse is useless if we aren’t doing “real talk” with people close to us who have young kids as well.  Because of the danger of social media shame mobs that could cost you your job and future prospects, no one who is about to snap from the pressure and lack of sleep will reach out for advice.

They don’t want to be shamed, nor admit that it’s much harder then they EVER thought it would be or that they had those horrid thoughts in moments of sleep deprived anguish.  If we can’t talk about it without the worry of someone reporting them to CPS, then many of these stories will repeat.

Something I’m now just finding out is that no matter what you do, kids still cry – especially infants and toddlers. If you’ve done everything possible, just let them be.  You aren’t a bad parent.   Instead of trying to be super hero parents, we need to encourage those around us to take a step back when stressed. If you have to put your screaming infant in a car seat in the bathroom for 15 minutes and turn the fan on, so be it.

That stepping back is key to stopping yourself from starting down the dark path to child abuse. Preventing yourself from getting to that path can’t be understated. Just like in Fargo, you can avoid that final woodchipper death by never getting in bed with devious criminals in the first place.

 

The Tragedies

When our second son Nehemiah was born, the hospital made us watch 3 videos about proper care for your infant before my wife could be released. One thing that came up was the case of Jaxon “Jax” Burnette

In conversation about it, a nurse told us that Missouri – where our second son was born when we lived there – had the most incidents of child abuse.  Sure enough in 2013 alone, there were over 61,000 reported cases in Missouri of which 31 died.  Most of the children were all under 4 years old – which is the stage where the most work, patience, and energy is required by parents.

(Note this is not a dig at “Fly-over country” or anyone from the South in particular.  The child abuse epidemic is widespread.) 

Dig back and harrowing stories pop up. Tons of other cases of shocking child abuse.  I’m not talking about spanking a tantrum raging 5 year old or a mother slapping a disrespectful teen, I’m referring to REAL child abuse. Story after story. Some of the ones listed below were the ones that stood out most to me.

  • A 10 year old girl down to 32 pounds, locked into a closet wallowing in her own excrement in a modern day vicious twist on Cinderella. In contrast,  her two sisters were well fed and cared for.
  • A mom beats her 17 month old girl to death and tries to pass it off as death from a spider bite. The terrible bruises around the neck, face, and the rest of the body would undermine her story to the point the police chief said it looked the girl had been in a car accident.
  • In Springfield MO – where me and my wife currently live – a 7 year old boy and 2 year old girl were starved, beaten, tied to chairs, and thrown down stairs. “The toddler was so malnourished, hair was falling out. She had scratches and cuts all over her body. Her feet swollen causing her toes to turn blue.”    How did it get that far?
  • A 37 year old woman sodomizes and rapes a two old boy, while having her boyfriend video tape it.  Obviously this goes way beyond physical child abuse.  The boy will be scarred deeply for life.
  • A 17 year old babysitter burned a 8 month old baby girl with a curling iron. Blisters were on her head, bottom of her feet, and all over her legs. To top it off, the babysitter then said the mom burned the baby girl further with the iron to shut her up.

What do all these cases have in common when you read through them?  How did they ever get to this point? 

“SCREW CHILDREN! That’s the mantra of the world. Instead of burying them with a national debt, shoving them in shitty schools, drugging them if they don’t comply, hitting them, yelling at them, indoctrinating them with religion and statism and patriotism and military worship, what if we just did what was right for them? The whole world is built on “screw children”, and if we changed that, this would be an alien planet to us.” – Stefan Molyneux

A lack of patience, self control, and selfishness.  

Unfortunately, the millennial generation in particular – of which I am a member – is often too busy or consider our futures to unpredictable and unstable to have kids. Some still end up remaining a burden, even after they grow out of their infant stage – an indictment of our selfish culture that excuses it’s loathing for children by contrived hysterics about not throwing more money into education.  (The home environment, not their school is where stability must be established.)

Still, despite various precautions babies happen planned or not.  Thing is they either are born to parents often just one parent these days who don’t really want them, don’t want to adapt their lifestyle for them, or can’t be bothered to have the patience that those first few years of a child’s life demand in high volumes.

So what do we do about it besides shrieking and going back to our normal lives later?

Step Out Of The Shadows

We need to encourage those who are struggling as first-time parents without support to come out of the shadows and to open up.  People will always judge, but plenty of us have or are still in the shoes of those who are new parents that are susceptible to “snapping”. Maybe part of it is pride holding them back from wanting to admit it to themselves.

New parents need to know that they can take a break for a moment.  Leave the room for 20 minutes. Hug each other.  Call a friend on the phone for support.  Maybe even leave the car seat, bassinet, or port-a-crib in the bathroom with the fan on for a bit.

Frustration and Anger are powerful emotions.

Even those of us with the best self-control need to realize we are human and we have to step back at those key moments where you honestly just want to punch the wall, throw the bassinet across the room, or curse the day your child was born.

Step back.  Realize what’s happening. Take a break. Yes, in case people try to misconstrue what I’m saying, child abuse is terrible and wrong. Let’s get to the root to help stop it before it bubbles to the surface.

I’ll give you a personal example from months back when my son was an infant.  I had this logical desire to “fix” the situation and rational methodology to do it.  Of course I forgot as I often do that babies sometimes will cry regardless of what we do.

It’s part of being a baby.  (Start letting them self-sooth from a young age or they might not be able to sleep with you rocking them to sleep!)

I can recall being in a frustrated and utterly exhausted state.  I shouted “Shut up!” at one of my boys. I’m pretty sure I threw an expletive in there.

Moments later after the frustration had been released, I’ll felt quite bad for yelling.  What was it going to do? What were the implications in the future if I was setting an example for them from their earliest years that yelling was how you dealt with frustration?

“They are only babies”, I’ll realize again for the umpteenth time moments later.   Just a few days before that,  I was so agonized by my three month old son Nehemiah loudly and incessantly crying that I simply picked him up, put him in our bed, propped him on some blankets, turned on the fan to drown out noise, closed the door, and went into the other room to get away from it.

Eventually he fell asleep.

Plenty of people will think admissions such as this make you a monster. They don’t.  If said people were honest themselves for once instead of trying to virtue signal some kind of moral high-ground to scold the rest of us from, they’d finally look in the mirror and see the truth for what it is.

None of this stuff comes from out of nowhere. It bubbles. It nags at you. It builds to the point where you are ready to explode.  Well, we need to slowly twist the cap off. Recognizing you have a problem – as they say – is the first step to leaving that stage of denial.

We’ve become a society who doesn’t want to admit weakness because there are plenty of people who only seek your demise or exposing your pain for the rest of the world to judge.

Seeking Support In The Right Places

I’m trying to avoid being political with this post, but I’ll mention one detail.  A close friend of mine mentions how Trump never apologizes for wrongdoing. I suppose he has a point.  However, considering the current cultural and political climate, would you apologize?

“Just apologize,” they say.  Why then does it seem an apology is never enough?  In today’s polarized social media climate, unlucky targets either have to resign from their job, close their business, or much worse.


Side notes:  Whatever you do – DONT post on social media the inner real thoughts you are having at the moment.  People will go after you, despite having similar thoughts themselves in the past. Also DO NOT go to social services.  I hate to say it but government employees and even hospital staff can’t be trusted.

You just never know if someone with a grudge will falsely accuse you or try to make your life hell.  If some bored pranksters on the internet can figure out where you live and send prostitutes and pizza to your house, people with access to your private record can wreck havoc.  Play it safe. 


People don’t seem to want an apology. They want mob justice and vengeance in order to signal their participation in the fervor.  Few things are deemed as bad as todays popular “ists” and isms”, but child abuse is one of them – as is the potential to become the one doing it.

Go seek the help, advice, aid, and support of people who really know you. Go talk to your close friends and family and tell them what’s going through your mind and how you feel like snapping sometimes. They’ve been through it and they can help guide you past it.

They actually care about you and you want you to become the best parent you can be.  Of course they care about your kids and want the best for them, just as you do.

So much of the terrible stories of child abuse we see today all over the news can be pre-empted early.   Let’s encourage people to realize and get the support they need earlier rather than later.

The tough early years of no sleep will pass.  Right now its already being replaced with a new challenge for me and my wife; the constant requirement to watch them as our oldest Julius runs fast and grabs anything he can, and our youngest Nehemiah crawls.

Now we have to be more aware. Just the other day my youngest was trying to eat the rather large crumbs and food – a choking hazard for an 8 month old – left behind moments before my oldest son.

In fact my oldest now knows what “No” means and he either throws himself, gets angry, hits you, or all of the above. Yes, there is a difference between discipline and punishment.We now undertake this new adventure.

Godspeed for all you parents out there.  Support and help is there.

 

 

Remember My Armenian Ancestors By Never Giving Up Your Weapons

Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians? – Adolf Hitler 

In 1911 The Turks passed a national gun registration law with no apparent malicious intentions  beyond increasing public safety – an argument we’ve heard before. When the  Armenian genocide began in 1915, these gun registration lists were used to disarm the Armenian and other Christian populations.  When they came to slaughter us, we were helpless.

“Turkish Army battalions cordoned off entire towns and villages and did gun sweeps. Once disarmed, the official state violence visited against the Armenians ratcheted up to murderous levels. Typically, on town-wide sweeps, all of the men and boys were taken away by the Turkish soldiers, never to be seen or heard from again.”

We have no Auschwitz. No memorial exists for us.  Mention of the genocide is illegal and can get you shot in Turkey who deny it took place. They back Armenia’s enemies throughout the region, ensuring it’s isolation is complete. Iran is neutral without any intention of backup. We remain a diaspora of survivors scattered through the world.

Even those of us who remain in our homelands of thousands of years that were conquered by the Ottoman and Seljuk Turks and now make up modern Turkey are at risk of losing everything again. Our Muslim neighbors will desire to finish their conquest.   It will never stop haunting us.

A few years ago, Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, threatened to “deport” the remaining Armenian citizens in Turkey. Last year, he called “allegations” that he had Armenian blood “ugly,” insisting he was a “purebred Turk.”

With a mere scoop of your hand you can find our remains, bones, and skulls in the Der Zor desert.  For Armenians who make the journey, it’s a painful one.  To this day, most of us can’t trace our family histories.  The Turks destroyed our churches where we kept our records of marriages and family tree – usually the first step when you want to remove the history of a people from the earth.

“My heart is like shattered homes and broken pillars thrown asunder . . . Wild birds will nest in our ruins . . . Let me throw myself into the water and be food for the fish’s babies . . . White waves lap upon the black sea about us and do not mix . . . In this melancholic, bewildered state, what can my darkened heart do?”   Lyrics translated by Armen Babamian from “Homeless” (Andouni), composed by Gomidas Vartabed in honor of Armenians broken and exiled by the Genocide

IF you want to remember and learn from the Armenian Genocide, make sure you are never fooled into supporting gun control, no matter the excuse.  You might be a protected class today, but tomorrow could hold you a criminal.  There was no one to come to our aid during the genocide.  Reports and coverage were suppressed as much as possible by The Young Turks, thus most of our destruction had already been completed by the end of World War One.  It wouldn’t just be us.

It happened to the Greeks, the Assyrians, the Copts, and countless others in the Middle East and Anatolia.  Islam became a unifying factor in those who wished for our genocide. Promises of virgins for those who killed Armenians in the name of Allah were given.  A headline from 1915 shouted the following, “The caliphate wages jihad against Christians. Victims are beheaded, crucified, and burned alive. Christian girls are sold into slavery. Centuries-old monuments are destroyed by jihadis.”

Of all the peoples of Christendom, our suffering and slaughter may be the worst, though the Greeks, Copts, Assyrians, Syrian Orthodox, Chaldeans, Lebanese, and other peoples of the middle east and northern Mesopotamia have suffered over the centuries under Islamic rule.  Of course we haven’t forgotten how the people of Balkans fared under their Ottoman rulers.  Even the local Muslims of the area lent their hand to murdering the Christians around them:

  The degree of extermination and the brutality of the massacres indicate extreme pent-up hatred on the popular level. Christians, the so-called gawur [also giaour or ghiaour] infidels, were killed in almost all sorts of situations. They were collected at the local town hall, walking in the streets, fleeing on the roads, at harvest, in the villages, in the caves and tunnels, in the caravanserais [an inn with a central courtyard], in the prisons, under torture, on the river rafts, on road repair gangs, on the way to be put on trial. There was no specific and technological way of carrying out the murders like the Nazis’ extermination camps. A common feature was those killed were unarmed, tied up, or otherwise defenseless.

All possible methods of killing were used: shooting, stabbing, stoning, crushing, throat cutting, throwing off of roofs, drowning, decapitation. Witnesses talk of seeing collections of ears and noses and of brigands boasting of their collections of female body parts. The perpetrators not only killed but humiliated the victimsIn several instances, decapitated heads of well-known Christians, such as Hanne Safar of Midyat and Ibrahim the Syriac priest of Sa’irt were used as footballsIn Derike, the Syriac Catholic priest Ibrahim Qrom had his beard torn off and was then forced to crawl on all fours with a tormentor on his back, while others kicked him, stabbed him, and finally cut him to pieces.

Virtually every deportation caravan and village massacre was accompanied by serial mass rape of the women. Young girls were abducted as sex slaves and children as household servants. Even when they were not killed outright, the women were often stripped of their clothes. The homes of Christians were broken into, plundered, furniture smashed, windows, and doors removed, set on fire. Sometimes a survivor had little to return home to.


The number of perpetrators of the local massacres was staggering. Apparently the local officials….or the local politicians…had no difficulty in motivating the populace for extermination. The officials established death squads from middle-aged Muslim men. National Assembly deputies…agitated among the Kurdish tribes and even managed to get notorious outlaws…to cooperate in return for loot, adventure, and a promise of amnesty. On a few occasions, Muslim women were present, for instance…at the public humiliation of Christian dignitaries, but mostly the perpetrators were males. There were literally thousands of perpetrators, most of them locals.

 

Left to rot after being slaughtered

Most people never learn from history, if they know it at all.  Countless times governments, conquerors, and masters have taken away the weapons of a people. What usually followed was slaughter, massacres, and genocide with little resistance.   Still the buzzword sleazy calls for  “reasonable common sense gun control” rain down from incel politicians, CEOs, and elites with armed bodyguards who are clearly more important the rest of us.

If only they knew how it felt to be disarmed and defenseless. If it were their entire families being subjected to genocide, surely they wouldn’t make the usual excuses for gun control we hear from Elizabeth Warren, Al Franken, and many other progressive US politicians.

“It couldn’t happen here!”  Many a people have heard that before.

An attempt to tell this story was finally brought to the big screen this April via a movie called, “The Promise“. Of course detractors rose to 1 star the movie on a massive scale.  Upon the initial three screenings, 70k+ reviews – impossible when you consider the limitations of seating – were posted on IMDB.   The Turks still are gunning for us even online

“All I know is that we were in about a 900-seat house with a real ovation at the end, and then you see almost 100,000 people who claim the movie isn’t any good,”

How many more fucking people have to be slaughtered after being disarmed till we take the lesson to heart?  I am forced to consider those who support radical gun control measures – regardless of reason or excuse – with the same potential level of threat that the Turks behind the 1915 genocide wrought upon us.

 

 

My Armenian ancestors who were disarmed, disposed, and then sent into deserts to die when they weren’t slaughtered enmasse in their villages and on the way to death are yet again forgotten.  In fact, their slaughter is still a point of great contention and denial to the Turks and Azerbaijanis who stole our land, subjugated, and conquered us many times over just the last 500 years. (Note, Azerbaijan was even a country until 1918.)

The US is still afraid to press the issue as it won’t risk losing Turkey as a Nato ally. Yet again, our Armenian people catch the bad end of geographic diplomacy, not to mention an actual border war still being fought with Azerbaijan over land that has been ours for a thousand years. Again, we are isolated with no assured backup.

“Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s president, publicly vowed on Sunday to support Azerbaijan “to the end”. Turkey has no diplomatic relations with Armenia, a rift dating back to the mass killings of Armenians by Turks towards the close of the Ottoman period. Erdoğan is also at daggers drawn with Russia over its support for the Syrian regime and Turkey’s shooting down last autumn of a Russian combat plane but he is unlikely to intervene militarily.”

Still, we are resourceful people determined to survive. My great grandfather Tarpinian made his way to the US.  He began a family when he saw a picture of my great grandmother in an orphanage where she had been saved from rape and death by the Turks.  Upon seeing this picture he sent her letters and eventually a wedding dress.  They would be married with few possessions, but love and a determination to survive and live for those had been killed in the genocide.

My great grandmother actually came over illegally.  She entered the US via Buffalo, New York from Canada.   Four generations later, our family is all over the states and we are assimilated Americans who love our heritage and people, but are loyal to this country which gave us hope, safety, and a reason to live.

I am a 4th generation descendant. Half-Armenian and a mix of other European heritage.   If there’s anything I’ve learned from the history of both sides of my family, its that government can not be trusted to necessarily protect us, let alone slaughter us.  You never know when your enemy will take the reigns of power.

While the old government may have been neutral, if you have been disarmed of your rights and your weapons, you are at a great risk.  Never again. I will repeat it;  I am forced to consider those who support radical gun control measures with the same potential level of threat that the 1915 genocide wrought upon us.

Supporters of gun control mean well.  History however never does when it comes to the victims.  Don’t let yourself even become a potential victim. Learn from our genocide.  At the very least, targeted groups in the future will stand a chance of defending themselves and their family.  Just look at what insurgents have done in Iraq and Afghanistan have done with Ak-47s.

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Never Denounce Your Friends – Stand By Them

Friendship is like standing on wet cement. The longer you stay, the harder it’s to leave, and you can never go without leaving your footprints behind.” – Unknown

Beginning Your Quest

“Stand By Me” is what crosses my shitlord mind when I think about the ultimate meaning of the word “friend”.   Hopefully something of similar aspiration and brilliance crosses your mind as you agonize late into the night about your lack of instagram followers, likes, and retweets.

The 1986 classic is a tale of boys who bond while on the adventure of their lives – to find a dead body first. A dead body was the goal of their quest, but the story of their lives is related by how they got there.   Their story, retold by our venerable writer, is what we all desire deep down at our frothy cores.

Even more important, it makes their quest worthy of completion, instead of merely just beginning.  Think about the movie Sandlot and Scotty’s quest to make friends.  Their adventure expands and culminates in getting that baseball back.  Scotty didn’t know it yet, but the neighborhood kids became his family and the quest he began with became something grand – and a classic in American cinema.

Every man needs his quest. He might not know it yet, but ever man at his core has a quest in mind for his life.  Myth, legend, history, and memorable fiction is filed with the larger-than-life stories of Achilles, Caesar, Genghis, Harry Dresden, and Huck Finn for a reason.

Real friends” make that quest worth undertaking, as well as make the quest into what we never imagined. Experiences and encounters with friends shape the stories to be told to our grandchildren. Chunk was essential to the group in the Goonies just as Huck Finn was impossible without Tom Sawyer.

Tom and Huck

They also shape what our quests become and give you those “life is worth living” feelings that everyone want of us wants.   You may start off in the Shire, but the way to Mordor is packed with many different stops.

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Before I go any further, let me shout something at the rest of you, “STOP CARING WHAT OTHER PEOPLE WILL THINK!”   When you don’t shift with the wind and popular opinion and consensus to “fit in”, the friends you will attract will be a of a high caliber and more likely to be TRUE actual friends.

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Friends should be thicker than water. Crazy stunts on your bikes, nerding out laughing and gaming on xbox late into the night, and enjoying a pickup game of baseball created a bond that you didn’t easily forget.

I still haven’t forgotten me and my best friend Tim bingewatching anime late into the night while slamming mountain dew.  A decade later, we had switched to bud light.  Conversations late into the night about plans for the future were the norm.    (Think “Second-Hand Lions“)

Yea, I know, “Nerrrddssssss!”

Friendship was a bond between people that extended beyond the normal worries of life.  Bonds weren’t necessarily established because you both held up similar signs at a protest, but because  you had been through thick and thin together.

You legitimately had not just commonality, but a sense of enjoyment and purpose in the company of someone you considered a friend.   Speak friend, and enter.   (We all need our Sam, Frodo, and Gandalf in Moria.)

Unfriended

In these dark times, we force the term “friend” to also mean comrade, ally, etc.   Obviously, you can be a friend, but not necessarily an ally willing to hopscotch onto those landmines.  Well, this used to be the case.

That distinction matters because everyone assumes that you have the same exact views as your friend – or that you should. Become the hivemind.  You are identical symbiotic cells according to Facebook feeds.

The current political sphere entails that while you may be a gay Asian lesbian who voted Trump, you are still apparently a Nazi who hates humanity. You are either in the camp getting gassed, or you are the one’s laughing maniacally as you usher the Zyklon B into the shower vents.

Either a deplorable Nazi bastard, or a trans black disabled two-spirit.  This thinking has done wonders for those shallow people whose lives depend on political schadenfreude for purpose.

Believe it or not; Trump being the devil or the messiah, the ethics of trannies in the girls bathroom, and whether God exists are great conversations while in a drunken stupor that won’t be uploaded to Facebook.    When amongst friends, disagreement/agreement shouldn’t matter.

Why?

Agreement and disagreement aren’t what drives your friendship.  If they do, you have many like minded acquaintances, but likely no real friends who will stand by you.  A rather unsettling thought.   So what does a friend look like?

Do you know someone with  the history, proximity, life-goals, to some extent common-cause, and shared experiences/ stories that you want to tell your grandchildren?   How about that feeling of purpose, fulfillment, and sense of belonging?

Did you think to yourself, “I’d love to grow old with this guy?”  Were they always at your back in the thick of life with you? Did they stand by you in times of strife when everyone trashed you? Was there couch always available when you needed it and their ear open when life had you bent over?  If so,  that’s a real friend – and they don’t make em like they used to.

Friendly Heretics

Go back to the year 1000 and gaze upon a man who was excommunicated.  Modern self -loathing Christendom hate aside, the heretic was often avoided by the community and usually dead to his family.   At that time, it was essentially a death sentence.

Despite our scorn of those bigoted terrible Christians as we beat on our enlightened snobby chests about how awesome we are ,we’ve actually brought that same mentality back.  This time it only dooms you to bad jobs, little opportunity, and scorn from your elite educated betters who’ve studied long and hard for their liberal arts degree.

If you are one of the lucky converts, you’ll be seen as a sinner who needs an extended time of penance in the mines of ally activism to repent for your sins of privilege. You filthy white devil you.  Prostrate and repent – but make sure to donate.  Forgiveness isn’t cheap.

Huh?

What the hell happened?

The culture wars in their meme and social media glory have fooled people into a shallow sense of friendship.   Sure, you both may like Bernie Sanders, spam his memes on Faceberg,  support #BlackLivesMatter, and denounce bigotry in the movies, but will Joe have your back when push comes to shove?

Will they stand by you? Surely he knows you are a good person at heart, just misunderstood in the shouts for your burning at the stake – but will he voice it in fear for his own hide? You better damn hope so Solo.

The casualties of heresy aren’t necessarily just the one’s you see on the front page of Drudge, but on your social feed as they defriend and block all trespassers of wrongthink.  Surely they can’t be seen to have such deplorable friends. After all, what would people think?

Peer pressure makes for likes on Facebook, but will any of those people drive out of their way to pick you up in the middle of nowhere? Will your “friend” have time for you when you actually need it? True friends are indeed rare.

Will he denounce you to the other virtue signal despondent deviants desperate for Faecbook likes and acceptance because you didn’t support #BlackLivesMatter loud enough, check your privilege, or didn’t prostrate yourself low enough for that offensive joke?

Stand By Me

Rest assured that if I call you a  friend, I’ll always have your back when the storms rage.  It’s exactly why I’ll never denounce men like Forney, Roosh, Aurini, Quintus, etc no matter how many people recoil in horror because they deem their perspectives deplorable.  Guilt by association is nonsense and anyone who appeals to it should be disregarded.

Even more so for the close friends I’ve known for the better part of my life.  When told that it makes me look like I share their reprehensible heresies, my response is simple and emphatic:“I don’t care.”

Be honest with yourself; the shrieking wolves of Twitter will always assume that friendship equates to a cult like hive mind of absolute agreement. Their goal is isolation of their targets.  When they’ve finished, they will still come for you next.

Consider closely who you want to be in this short life. You are never guaranteed tomorrow.  Sure, plan for the future, but exactly what future?  In fact what would your friends and family say around your gravestone?  Deep down, we want a future filled with people, family, and FRIENDS, which make it worth living.

Even if I don’t agree with someone or their supposed racist, sexist, misogynist bigoted uttering – of which I am accused of frequently –  they are still my friend no matter what they have or will say.

That’s what true friends do. Your friendship transcends the frequent winds of “change” on the “right side of history.” The right damn side of history is by their side, and they by you.

History won’t fondly remember the con artists who appeal to the moral authority of the majority to scold those who aren’t on the “right side of history” – if it remembers them at all.  Face it, history won’t remember virtually any of us, but good friends make our short lives worth getting up in the morning to go to that job we hate to feed our families.

My best friend may be very liberal, but he’s welcome in my home at any point, and I in his. The trust we’ve built over the last 20 years can’t be shaken.  Our kids will play together, and our wives worthy of defending regardless the reason.

A word of warning to those who think long-term friends can be replaced:  Those who throw their friends away – especially over politics – will be treated with contempt by their newfound like-minded revolutionary comrades, because none of us at heart will ever be truly radical enough.

“Betrayal” no matter how you want to dress it up is not invisible to new bedfellows.   Trust will never be built, and thus loyalty will never follow, as they assume you will do the same to them at some point.  So goes the common cause.

No matter how much faithful zeal you may have for social justice you will tire, even just slightly of being beaten for your privilege while living paycheck to paycheck – cis straight white males in particular.   It is then you will be chastised and exorcised for your lack of allyship.

Meanwhile your best hope is that the friends and family you shunned know well the parable of the prodigal son. You will know them to be true friends and family when they welcome you back with open arms and no demands to get on your knees and beg for sweet forgiveness.

That is what marks a true friend. Value them above all else.

Angry Conversation With a Stranger On A Train

It’s October of last year in the evening. I’ve made it to the train station just in time, half-walking and half-jogging.   My mood is somewhat relieved and I’m looking forward to listening to some music in the bliss of the ride home.

Hopping on the train at the Lake Forest stop, I grabbed a seat on the upper deck, put the other two down near me, and proceeded to lay down on them as a kind of makeshift bed.

Laying down, I glance up at my phone as I browsed through reddit and the newest stories of the perpetual outraged, headphones playing loud angry music in my ear.  Yes, I find Senses Fail to be quite relaxing.

Sounds.

Voiced sounds.

It looks like the guy across is talking to me.  His lips are moving.

Is he?

Yes, he is.

I take out my headphones and he wants to know if I’m okay,  as I was coughing while laying down.  He mentions that, “I’ve seen people die on this train.”

His tone of voice and his non-verbals are seeped in “hidden” distaste for me.  I ignore it, brush it off, and assure him I’m fine as I go back to Reddit.

15 minutes later I notice he is saying something again.

I take out my headphones to hear him.

By the way his mouth is moving and the look on his face, he doesn’t look happy.  This time he seemed VERY agitated about the way I was sitting. Apparently he thought I might be taking pictures of him with my phone, which I wasn’t.  I thought this odd considering how I was sitting and the direction I was facing.

He is now quite upset by the way I was laying down.

Again, he tells me that I am being rude.  How? My semi-open dangling legs were exposing my crotch to the Indian girl sitting several seats down and that was apparently very rude.

It was then that I realized I had been targeted.

He wasn’t going to let this go.  He was looking for a verbal confrontation and his cross-hairs had landed directly on me.

I sat up, took the initiative, and attempted to deflect and diffuse the verbal attacks.  I am a communications major after all.  Finally, perhaps I can see how well some of theories apply to real-world situations.

He’s in a half-rage mode; a strawman here and an angry passive-aggressive accusation there.  The anger and frustration in his voice is starting to build.   Conclusions and assumptions about me are landing left and right.

I’m taken back for a second. I was startled – almost confused.

What is this tumblr?  Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration.  

Picture courtsey of http://baptistnews.com/
Picture courtsey of http://baptistnews.com/

Apparently I was some punk ass-kid/student from Chicago coming down here to get off at Libertyville station stop and I didn’t give a fuck about the other people on the train.  Perhaps it’s my “hipster look” that planted the seeds of wrath.  I prefer to think of it instead as well-groomed and well-dressed for my stature. 

I pointed out to him that NO ONE has ever objected to the way I’ve laid down before.

In fact,  it had NEVER happened before.  He was the first damn one.  I’m starting get irritated now with him and how this has all started.

He insists its a matter of being respectful. My inner philosopher ignites and I assume that he will have a post-modern framework for his concept on “respect” and as to what constitutes as my previous “rude” behavior.   I begin my philosophical adventure.

I proceeded to question him on how he knew what was “Respectful.”  He appeals to the way he was raised.  Interesting.   Apparently us young punks know nothing about respect – I secretly agree with him.

Further in the conversation reveals that he is basing his view of the concept on experience, tradition, and essentially his parents.   This actually creates in me some respect for him and it causes me to pause in my planned verbal retaliation.

I started trying to think to myself about why he was giving me such a hard time. It was a serious, “Dude, wtf?” moment of thought.   Should I stand up for myself and not put up with this crap?  Perhaps I wasn’t giving him a reason to respect me.

We were now at a point where  I suspected that other people were going to become involved as his tone of voice kept getting louder.

Great.

I wasn’t in the mood for this to escalate and as much as I enjoy uncomfortable situations, this was lacking the humorous and adventurous side  to it.  Also, I was hoping the conductors weren’t going to get involved, though I was certain they’d side with me.

No, I was going to fight my own battles.  That’s what a man does – when he can.

It was here the conversation turned.

I pointed out to him I lived in Fox Lake, I also told him about how I thought his age had nothing to do with whether I respected his opinions or not.  Living in Fox Lake meant that I wasn’t some spoiled rich yuppie from Libertyville who thinks that the world is my trash dump.

I ask a few questions meant to flush out what was bugging him – what had caused the initial simmer of suppressed rage inside him.  I knew there was more here than meant the eye.  No one flies off the handle over something so small…

Conversations like these – maybe not as heated at first as this one was – are something I live for.  They break up the routine of my day. I made the most out of this one and I’m glad I did, because I learned something. 

This fellow’s name was Jim.

I plied Jim for more about himself and he told me his back-story.   He’s a 53 year old micro-biologist who works his ass off to put his two of his three daughters through college. His marriage leaves much to be desired and “support” isn’t something he’s experienced in a while. He’s struggling financially, but fishing with his buddies at least gives him some reprieve.   Put blankly, he feels unfulfilled, confused, and somewhat jaded through life – a state of almost mental and emotional exhaustion.

Even though, my situation isn’t even close to his, I felt a kind of kinship for Jim – as man to man.   It’s no accident that I feel as I’ve met people just like him before with similar frustrations with life.

I feel a sense of sympathy for him.

During the rest of the ride and our conversation, he would apologize several times to me. Throughout the conversations, he would continue this regarding the initial assumptions he had made about me, but I told him not to worry about it.

“The past is the past,” I told him.   For the most part, that is a motto I live by.

Jim you see is a classic example of a guy going on through life who needs a chance to vent every once in a while, but doesn’t.  I don’t know if he’s ever really been given the chance, but I suspect he’s had this bottled up in him for a while.

It was the small action of the way I laid that set him off.  I had experienced my own WW1 spark in interpersonal conflict.

Jim is a good guy, but he’s been through a lot more than I would have thought.  . He tells me stories about how he’s been attacked and beat up in Fox Lake outside of bars.  Drinking sometimes has a steeper price than a hangover.

He was starting to see crime, drug deals around the Fox Lake train station and even right outside the Thortons nearby.  The realization of the scuminess of my town and that of humanity was getting to him. He emphasized that no one cared about what had happened to him or what was happening around.

That was what got me. No one cared about what he had seen, heard, and experienced so he never bothered to vent about it.    No support, he just kept it tightly wrapped and wound up.

What happened to Jim – just one action- that magnifies to a great extent the rest of what he has been feeling and seeing can happen to myself.

I literally told him when we got off the train, “There’s only so much a man can handle before he explodes.”  I’ll never forget the look on his face. It was one of gratitude and of shock in that he realized I understood him – despite our difference in age and situations.

                                    In every story and conversation there is a lesson.

 

All men out there need a time and a chance to vent.   This isn’t toxic masculinity; it’s the necessary expression of rage and anger that we are forced to keep a lid on.

This of course doesn’t change the fact that most men keep this rage, frustration, depression, and anger pent up.   Some have found ways to manage – the gym, 1st person shooters, sports, ect, but is it enough?  I suppose  these methods won’t get your a way that won’t get you arrested, hated, and in constant fights with your wife, but there must be more.

We all need friends – real friends – as an outlet and as support to  get things off your chest that no one else will understand or be able to hear.   Your wife, girlfriend, or effeminate therapist wont’ be able to console you in the same way that other men will.  These male friends can provide you with the wisdom that is gained from the experience of life, as well as the understanding of the vast challenges that men face in today’s culture.

They won’t BS you, but they will hear you out, and offer the necessary – if rough – advice that others won’t.  Reddit might be one way to do this, but face-to-face with close male friends is the best.  This isn’t homosexual, it’s simply men getting close with another and bonding over the challenges and quest that is life.

Get it all off your chest.

We all have pent up rage that builds. It’s a matter of fact of life. The people who explode are some how seen as terrible, immature, ect but the reality of life is that this is just a natural part of humanity.

Let it go.

Don’t be afraid to tell your friends what’s really on your mind.  Be yourself and I’m not saying that in a BS “feel good” cultural way.  Find and make close male friends who are willing to help you out and offer you solid wise advice.

Before we parted ways at the station, Jim told me he was glad the conversation happened.

I was too.

It was a raw unfiltered and genuine conversation that should happen between men more often.

 

Weight Loss and Caring About Your Friends

How much do you care about your friends?
How much do you care about your friends?

A friend of mine has been struggling in the dating market – to put it simply.  She wants a guy that is attracted to her, and she wants to share in that same reciprocity.   We will call her Liz.  A Facebook status about it went up.

(Disclosure: Liz had a crush on me for a long time.  Her weight was the main reason I didn’t share the same feelings.  You can’t force attraction. ) 

Now Liz isn’t exactly the most attractive girl, and the fact that she is overweight doesn’t make it any easier for her to improve this.   Most of her friends posted things like, “Oh you are sooooo pretty,” and “Guys will and/or should like you for your personality.”

I decided to be more honest, though I made sure to cushion it, “It wouldn’t hurt to lose some weight.”

Sensible advice right? Weight loss is one of the most effective ways to make yourself more attractive, assuming you are overweight.  Your 20s are a time when you should be making the most out of your looks – regardless of how limited they may be.   It is when you are at your physical prime.

Heresy.  

Getting to a normal healthy weight?

Damnable fat shaming, body hate social media heresy.

One response involved something like, “Those people are shallow anyway, they should like you for who you are, and they wouldn’t be worth it if they don’t like you now.”

That’s flattering and to some extent is true, but it doesn’t nullify the fact that the potential dating pool of nice guys who may be interested in Liz for her personality and who she is are far and few between.   Then then throw in the percentage of “those”  nice guys who Liz is actually attracted to and the prospects are rather grim.

It is in fact a comfortable lie, but it ignores a fundamental truth; People are shallow. I’m shallow. Even those people who are not are very unlikely to give her a chance to reveal her inner beauty.

Instead of telling Liz the truth like real friends would, they continue to lie and tell her things she knows isn’t true.

As Andrew from TheRulesRevisited pointed out, in regards to a guy and his girlfriend,

“When you do these things, you are letting your girlfriend wallow in her mediocrity. If you tell your friend that she looks good when she doesn’t, she isn’t going to make an effort to look better next time”

You can boost her ego, but that won’t help her situation get any better. It also won’t promote REAL confidence.

Liz’s situation isn’t unique. It’s far more common then we realize and it means that there is a large group of people all seeking romance, but doing it with what is essentially a paper bag on their heads when compared to the more in shape parts of the population.

Basically there is an abundance of overweight people who don’t want fellow overweight people, but the slimmer more attractive folks they see in TV shows and film.   We all want a mate of the opposite sex who is more attractive then us.  (Excluding the 5% or lower of “other” sexual attractions.)

Don’t believe me?

A Large Nation-Wide Problem

 

Obesity and curse of being overweight have struck our society hard. Romance – or at least the possibility of finding it – is made even more difficult for a rather large percentage of the population:

  • Percent of adults age 20 years and over who are obese: 35.1% (2011-2012)
  • Percent of adults age 20 years and over who are overweight, including obesity: 69.0% (2011-2012)

Let’s not pull punches.  Being overweight and obesity has killed members on my dad’s side of the family because of things like heart disease, diabetes, and sleep apnea.   Thing is they already know about this and about how bad it is, but it’s so hard for them to lose the weight and there is a rather scary reason for it.

If we are perfectly honest, if you were overweight as a kid, it’s much harder to lose weight as an adult than it would be if you at a normal weight as a kid.

“The number of fat cells a person has is determined by late adolescence; although overweight and obese children can lose weight, they do not lose the extra fat”

What can we do with inconvenient truth?   Well, I could encourage her to “accept her body” and hope things get better.  Natural confidence right?  It won’t change the situation and it isn’t going to magically attract any “good-looking guys” to her,  but it should make her feel happy and proud about her body.

According to the body and fat acceptance crowd at Identities.Mic it will.

“The intersectional issues of size, health and weight loss are far more complicated than we’ve been led to believe, and this lack of understanding has led to weight-based discrimination becoming a serious problem across the world. Widespread anti-fat prejudice typically stems from misconceptions about health, weight and body positivity, and negatively affects millions of people every day.

People are allowed to make their own decisions regarding their own bodies, but we need to start treating people of all sizes with respect.”

Somehow, I don’t see how this is going to help these overweight people find the storybook romance they so desperately seek instead of the in-game WOW partner we are encouraging them to quest with.  Nor will it deal with the vicious health problems that will occur once you hit your 30s and later.  Note some damage is irreversible, and when that becomes the kind of body power/acceptance doesn’t seem very “feminist” to me.

Now, your life doesn’t exactly stop when you are overweight – nor should it,  but will you actually get the romance and love life you desire from the people you are attracted to?  The crew at RandolphRiot definitely seem to think so.

“Fat Fashion is all about women feeling comfortable in their own bodies no matter how big they are! This form of feminism is helping women feel empowered by their own bodies no matter how small or big the woman might be, and I believe that is an amazing accomplishment. This gives me hope!”

Hope.  It’s a big deal – for anyone. In fact without it, people have loss the will to live.  It can motivate you, but is the self-backlash worse if you realize the hope is false and/or misplaced?

“…Do you think this form of feminism can lead to the elimination of the perfect body image?”

No.

Because people are visual creatures, and because some kind of “preferrable” standard will always exist.   We can eliminate all the current media driven standards on beauty and any words used to describe them, but culture will simply form new ones.    Why?

People are shallow.

I’m shallow.

However, most people aren’t going to wade through the unattractive waters to see if anything desirable lies beneath. Liz won’t be given the chance.  Perhaps those guys who don’t give her the chance aren’t worth it, but the guys who will?   Chances are, she isn’t going to be attracted to any of them.   I’ve seen it happen many times already.   Is there still a chance for the magical and mystical quest that is Romance?  Some fat-acceptance advocates on Psychology Today seem to think so:

“Love, sex and romance did not stop for close to a hundred million people! Let’s face it—we live in a culture that shames fat. An entire diet industry is built around that shame

We also live in a culture that shame cigarette smokers, but I suppose that doesn’t count. Well, is it shameful to encourage people to be healthier?

“The message that is being delivered in great big heaping doses is pretty simple: if you lose the weight—you will find love, romance and sex. Thin equals happy and entitlement. Fat equals broken and not worthy. What they don’t tell you is that there are plenty of unhappy thin people too. Thin is simply not the magic bullet”

She actually is right, but it will greatly increase your chances. People might actually give you a second look on Tinder before they swipe.  They might be more likely to help you out in the store – happens to me alot.  Guys might actually look directly at you for a while before looking at your friends next to you.

Is this mean?

At this point in the social justice epidemic, I can’t be bothered to care anymore if I want to continue merely drawing breath; thanks Tumblr and feminist fat acceptance screeds.   However, boosting their self-esteem by lying to them isn’t going to land them any more success in the dating market.   It doesn’t mean that they should give up and stop trying, but things could be much easier.

In case you don’t know, I’m actually a hopeless romantic.

Deep down, I want everyone to find someone to live that idea Notebook life with – that includes social justice warriors and ardent radical feminists.  I want them to experience love, romance, and that good old life that I myself desire.

Something else the manosphere has got wrong is its reaction to the fat acceptance movement and this whole “fat shaming” theory that is raging in the feminist blogosphere.   I’m not shocked that overweight obese feminists want to abort beauty standards, “cultural norms” of what is attractive, and the ideal body weight.  You would too if the men you were interested in were getting snagged by more attractive and fitter competition.

However, Fat Shaming” isn’t the answer.    If I’m brutally honest, I found ROK’s #fatshamingweek to be hysterical with some of their tweets.  Yes, I still find dark morbid jokes that deal with obesity to be funny.  (All or nothing when it comes to my take on comedy and what the limits are.)

https://twitter.com/PlayDangerously/status/389951326534111233

As Mike has later realized, this does nothing to actually help, besides generating outrage, which it did very successfully.  None of that however is going to convince people to lose weight.  They already know they are overweight, and they know it is affecting them.    The hope you can provide support to the people you value in continuing to help them lose weight, exercise, and even diet.

What Can You Do?

If you really care about someone, you present them the cold harsh truth, but you are supportive in how you do it.  You are essentially giving a friendly critique, rather then a trolling criticism designed to make them feel more shitty.

Here’s a personal story that relates to my family:

My dad who was about 5 foot 7 inches and weighed over 360 pounds struggled to be able to do any exercise.   He started to rapidly gain weight when he hit about 23 and the weight just kept adding up.   Around 48, he started experiencing nausea, dizziness, feeling light-headed, and he was drinking an excess of water as he felt constantly thirsty.  He was was exhausted and never felt rested; his sleep apnea made this even worse.

A similar weight, lack of exercise, and bad diet had killed my dad’s father at only 54.  I was worried about his weight and so were my mom’s parents in particular.

What woke my dad up was finding out that he had the signs of type two diabetes.   From this point, he did everything he could to try to improve and change his diet.  He started to eat only whole foods, and avoided processed foods.  When he ate meat, it was grass-fed.  He would switch to actual raw milk.

Upon reading “Forks Over Knives” and doing a lot of his own research, he would become a Vegan for dietary reasons.  Fast forward just about two years and my dad has lost over 120 pounds.  He reversed the type 2 diabetes, has lower blood pressure than me, and has no signs of heart disease.

Just over a year into his Veganism, he started to be able to finally exercise, play floor hockey, and feel refreshed and full of energy.   (Note, I’m not a Vegan.)

That support is key.   Once you hit a certain threshold, it becomes VERY difficult to lose weight, like it was for my dad.  Often people’s jobs actively hinder exercise and our American time centered culture usually entails to many people frequently eating terribly on the run.

Often, I see many people in the fat acceptance movement promote the same kinds of lifestyles that killed my Grandpa so early as something to be embraced. It is isn’t and it rather angers and disturbs me that the movement is lying to people in the way it is.

However, that won’t blind me from the fact that it really is hard to lose weight, my dad being the anecdotal evidence.   My dad’s life didn’t come to a stop just because of his weight issues, but they were a profound barrier and hindrance to him living well, active, and actually enjoying each day.

People in the Fat Acceptance/Body Acceptance movement will stand by it, but sometimes it’s critics – myself included – overlook the efforts they put in to trying to live healthy lifestyle, being active, exercising,  losing weight, and trying to get healthier. (Diet may be the easiest approach at first.)  Instead of trashing them, we should be encouraging them.

Take for example a somewhat better known fat acceptance advocate by the name of Ragen Chastain who runs the advocacy site, “Dances With Fat”.   While we may facetiously chuckle at the title, Ragen is on the frontlines fighting the fat fight – but doing at least some of it in a healthy way.   She teaches a dance class, does some dancing herself, as well as from what I can tell some form of exercising.

Dancing is very good exercise.

She of course is a social justice advocate, member of the “fatosphere”, an ardent feminist, and she brings awareness to tumblrisms like, “Thin privilege,” in her fight against “cultural beauty norms”.  It perturbs and saddens me.  She lists more about her ideas:

As a plus-sized professional athlete, I practice Health at Every Size and as a human being I am an unwavering advocate for Size Acceptance – the civil rights truth that every body deserves respect and that the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are inalienable, not contingent on size, health, or dis/ability.

Wait what?

The civil rights truth that everyone deserves respect…  Well,  with ideological opponents, you often have to agree to disagree.

She also promotes health at every size.   What exactly is that?  Well according to her it is:

 

  1. Accepting and respecting the diversity of body shapes and sizes

  2. Recognizing that health and well-being are multi-dimensional and that they include physical, social, spiritual, occupational, emotional, and intellectual aspects

  3. Promoting all aspects of health and well-being for people of all sizes

  4. Promoting eating in a manner which balances individual nutritional needs, hunger, satiety, appetite, and pleasure

  5. Promoting individually appropriate, enjoyable, life-enhancing physical activity, rather than exercise that is focused on a goal of weight loss

Well there is plenty there that I and others would point out is wrong, but instead let’s focus on what she said that she get’s right which I’ve underlined and bolded.   At least she is trying to do better and get others who struggle with weight to engage in things like, “Life-enhancing activity.”    In fact, she does actually have some decent diet and activity ideas worth checking out.

(She actually finished a 26 mile marathon in Seattle about two years ago.  For her size and weight, that’s pretty damn impressive. I haven’t even attempted a marathon that long.) 

Good for her.

Hopefully, she lives a well-fulfilled life and enjoys every moment of it to the max.  I do however suspect that if she lost some weight, her beauty wouldn’t be as obscured.  Like it or not, people are more respectful, are friendlier, and more partial to those they regard as beautiful.

Insisting that everyone is “beautiful” at every size isn’t going to magically make it so.     Reducing the word so that it means essentially nothing won’t change that either.   It will just be replaced by words like, “preference”.

That is the point.  

If you want to widen your net to include more attractive dating partners, you will have to make an effort to do the same.   This may be shallow, but it’s something that will never change – regardless of how many times social justice warriors insist that it just merely another cultural norm that must be eliminated.

Encourage your friends to widen their nets by losing weight.  Yes, you can be happy and still be overweight, but you could be so much more.

Speak up.  

 

Don’t be afraid.

 

Tell the truth.

 

Support them.