What’s With All This Gun Violence?

Dear Readers,

In the Netherlands and New Zealand recently, there have been acts of gun violence, against Muslims, against white people, etc. There’s one thing Jacinta Ardor is doing about the gun violence: she’s banning assault and military style weapons. I say, good. But what about the United States?

There’s one thing we should do: disband the NRA. The NRA is perpetuating a culture where it’s okay to shoot our fellow human beings for any reason i.e. you’re fired from a job, you don’t like someone, or that someone’s religion or race is too much to handle for you. Well, that’s a bunch of sorry excuses to shoot people. Here are the solutions we should be employing to stop these senseless acts of gun violence:

First, start with bans on all assault rifles as Ms. Ardor did. Also, disband any lobbying group that allows for the advocacy of the use of such weapons in civilian society. The NRA should be held accountable for mass shootings because rifles, by their nature, are deadly. Only military and police should be using such weaponry, but the NRA validates their use by civilians. Should a civilian be allowed to buy a gun if they have homicidal thoughts? Of course not. Gun background checks should be completed for civilians who wish to purchase a low capacity shotgun, of course, and should said thing in question have been in place earlier, my ex’s brother would have been alive.

Secondly, let’s try diplomatic solutions to the underlying problems. So we take guns of high capacity away from civilians. Okay, then what? It starts with showing individuals of color or Muslims or whatever that they are welcome on this planet. PBS shows like the Puzzle Place showed diversity in thought, race, religion, etc., so why they were replaced with simply informative bullshit about animals and oversimplified messages is beyond me. We need to reboot shows like the Puzzle Place, where it’s okay to be yourself. There was a Chinese character, a Jewish girl, a black boy, many other characters. Of course, the cat and dog were there to add to the fun. If kids watch more shows like this, and less of the violent bullshit like … oh, whatever you find on the Internet, and if we keep kids away from violent video games too, maybe they’ll learn that solutions to dislike of someone can more easily be found without use of a gun. It’s not so easy to do, but the informative shows need to be given the back burner because we have a huge crisis on our hands.

If you don’t like someone, and you’re forced to work with them, stop and think, why don’t I like a person? Trenton is hardly the first person I met who was black, but there was a girl who hated me at first. Krista Waters did not get along with me at first, but because I regret not knowing what she could have offered, I did research on her people. I stumbled upon books about Martin Luther King Jr., and then felt like I did the wrong thing by not letting her into my life. A few years later, I found myself at the Zora Neale Hurston festival, looking at pictures and African American arts and culture. Food was a big thing, and I enjoyed the curried chicken and so on. If you do enough research on Muslims, you’ll probably get the same results.

I converted to Islam temporarily to avoid religious conflict with my ex. Deq was a Somali born man who went blind at eight. The one thing I took away from the Islam thing was this though: Islam must reform in order for women and especially those that are blind to be safe. Jordanian people seem to be the most progressive, but Somalis have fallen to lawlessness, but Deq’s beliefs I wasn’t comfortable with. Jihad and the treatment of women did have a role in why I left the community, but not as big as the ableist viewpoints of Muslim brothers. I wanted someone I trusted to be my husband, not a stranger from a bulletin board. That’s why I left.

In any case, doing my homework played a role. My experiences at a doctor’s office also played a role.

I don’t think a lot of churches understand the role that hate and violence plays in their ministries. While doing research on hate groups, I stumbled upon many groups disguise as churches. Things like Soldiers of Oden seemed more obvious, but there were weird titles such as the Church of Christ somethings and other. Churches must never preach hate and violence, or superiority of a race or whatever. In any case, violence and abstract thinking on hate and the abstract titles of hate groups don’t help matters.

Thank you all for the support of this blog. Please feel free to comment on this entry. Respect is appreciated and required for comments to be approved.

Beth

College Admissions Should Be Fair and Honest: Why the Rich and White Need Not Apply

Dear friends and students and parents too,

Danny Taurasi was eighteen years old. He applied for the University of Notre Dame, an elite Catholic private college in South Bend, Indiana. The result, in spite of his best efforts and being the son of a ND alum, was rejection. The school would not accept a home boy from FLorida without verifying he came from elite blood, had been the number one in his class, or even more so, Valedictorian.

When I was that same age, I filled out college applications, mostly to Florida State, but ended up going to community college first. After two years of isolation and inability to do things, I stumbled into FSU’s school of music, wholly unable to socialize due to the piles and piles of homework, coupled with accommodations to uphold. The university was not doing its part to see that I could play music at my level, instead giving me basic pieces that would not go to recital level. Senior recitals would be required if I should make it, but I changed majors because nobody thought I could excel in music, which was bunk.

Today, it was found that 33 sets of parents, including CEO’s, a lawyer, and actresses and fashion designers forced their sons and daughters to attend elite schools, and moreover by cheating the system and getting away with it due to their wealth and color. This makes it that much harder for a blind student to excel in college. What can be done to ensure the playing field is level?

1. Don’t charge for applicants to fill out applications. Most definitely, that $50 for an application fee would have to be saved up or go to a family bill. $50 fees or more ensures that the wealthy get in first. They oftentimes have no concept of money, and $50 doesn’t seem to be a big deal.

2. Don’t put barriers in front of students who are black or biracial. By not charging application fees to begin with, the barriers will be thrown out. But it should start with K-12. Black students are more likely to face discipline in school due to color, which is unfair and puts barriers in front of joining clubs and going to college.

3. Don’t put downright impossible conditions on scholarships. The National Federation of the Blind, for instance, requires you to attend convention in order to receive college scholarships for college. Requiring NFB indoctrination in order to receive the much needed scholarships proves that only white blind people can receive such things. Oftentimes, colored/African American families can’t afford even a plane ticket if convention is held out of state. Asking for an essay is reasonable, but not for scholarships that don’t deal with English composition. Admissions essays should be simple, five paragraph, limited word count. This way, the brain is asked to think about what you are writing.

4. Do not ask about race on college applications. Let people find out for themselves. Race blind admissions may put a stop to wealthy white and Asian folks getting a leg up.

5. Play your choice of sport in front of the coaches. This applies to athletic scholarships applicants. If you’re a student that plays a sport, you should submit stats on your team’s sport such as volleyball and tennis. Let’s face it, you can submit transcripts from high school, but the sport stats will help coaches place you better, and then you should invite coaches to your games. If scouts see you play well, even better.

6. Do not use sight reading as a requirement for music auditions. For instrumental musicians, this is impossible if you’re blind and in 80% of cases, don’t know how to read music Braille. Braille takes time to process, and auditions should be limited, but to add Braille to the mix would make the playing field uneven.

There are many reasons elite schools should be worried. Notre Dame should be worried about its admissions process. Danny would have had a better chance if certain bits of information were not present and if they would allow Danny’s transcripts to go through with a 4.0 average or 3.5 at best. I graduated with honors from high school, but so many others have been rejected due to race, class, or disability.

Beth

Letter to Cari

Dear Cari,

Recently, I’ve stood accused of writing nothing but negative posts on Twitter and Facebook. Well? What am I supposed to do? I’ve tried to explain myself to anyone, and all I get is the following: I don’t believe you, or I don’t want you to defend your case. Cari, if only I knew how you dealt with the pain of your illness so early in your life, so much so that you left this world too early for me to have contacted you. Cari, I need some sort of divine intervention because I’ve had enough of this world, of losing friends, of losing significant others, and my career never supported by anyone. A friend screamed into the phone, “Get a life” and was gone in an instant. She had a good guide dog, I remember her dog’s name, and here I sit sobbing on my bed because people don’t understand how I got here. I am literally hauling a weight so large that even a Simon won’t carry it. Yes, I may not go to church, but I still remember the story of Jesus’s crucifixion. He carried a cross so heavy, and was whipped horrendously by Roman soldiers, but even he had Simon to give him some help in carrying this heavy wooden cross, and then, between two thieves, he was nailed on it. Cari, if only we could switch places for a while, I want to know what your castle would look like up there.

Honestly, I was told over and over I could not be friends with anyone. Can you only imagine what would have happened if I only stayed at elementary school? Ten years old? Fourth grade?

I went to the neighborhood school, but then someone made a decision that wasn’t great. I personally can’t sit there and lose friends right and left, and they won’t let me defend my case. I. have been diagnosed with three different mental illnesses, and then sudden withdrawals from me occurred today. Why aren’t you staring at me with a smile, Cari? You might have been the most innocent of girls, victims of circumstance. But like anyone else, and everybody else in this world, you left. But unlike everybody else, you left too early.

If only I could go back so many years, maybe go so far as to tell my family what I know now about their decision to send me to Catholic private school, waste their savings, and not support what I do. I’m a grown woman, sure, but I’m a broken and tattered one too. I’m broken, but some days I feel I’m broken beyond repair. I can’t sit here coping with the loss of friends who swear they’re supportive of me 100% but then they turn on me like tornadoes, destroying everything in their paths. We just had a blizzard, as you know, from way up there, and there are twisters in the south. I wonder what will happen at the end of the day. Let me explain what happened when we parted so many years ago.

After reaching the fifth grade, I had to go to a school that, later I would learn, lied profusely about sexuality and women. The big slogan or mantra of this school was, “No sex before marriage” and when would marriage work? When? Marriage would become a thing out of reach. Cari, you were only fifteen when you died, peacefully and with a family around you.

How will I go? When will I get the chance to fly? When will I? How will I ever begin to forgive myself?

I always wrote letters to you when I was having a terrible day. And honestly, it feels better sitting here at my keyboard and typing this out because I can’t talk to anyone. Not a single person can speak my name without uttering a painful disgraceful word. I wish this would go away. If only I had your energy, your purity, maybe even your belief in God. But God tossed me out to the wolves, and Jesus didn’t exactly do what the Romans wanted him to do. But still, Jesus had no fault in this.

Cari, if only I had a picture that would affirm what I should do. I have to take medications already for the destruction my family has brought upon me, and that medication is nothing but trouble. The doctor says I’m “hyper manic” and sure, I could use a second opinion. But the last thing I want to do is tell clinicians what my parents want to hear anymore. This is what happened when I left Catholic school:

I. had crushes on boys, for sure. I wanted someone with a nice smile, all the things girls want. But when I went to high school, oh my, the culture shock. It was amazing what the teenagers at that school got away with. Cussing, swearing, what else and oh, the drugs, sex, and rock ‘n roll. Well, not so much the rock ‘n roll, but one of my best friends, a girl in the ROTC group, said to me once, “There’s a lot of pregnant females on campus.” Not surprising, I thought, but I didn’t expect one of my friends, Emily Caldwell, to become pregnant with her then husband. Or should I say, then boyfriend.

I adore Emily, she’s one of the best bandmates a band member could have had. She now has two kids, a loving sweetheart (not the kids’ dad), and a lot of support. I never thought a marriage in the teen years was a good idea anyway.

Cari, if you only knew Emily’s baby, her son was so awesome. She gave him a name, she gave him love. If only people would see what Emily is capable of, and attaching to her child was the best thing for him as well.

I must say, though I sit crying as I write this, that I was isolated in the cradle. Why on earth my mother simply left me to rot in the confines of a ark room is beyond me. IF that was my baby, there’d be no way in Hell I’d leave him/her in a dark rocking crib or cradle at all, especially if she was under 2 years old. Cari, I don’t think my mother was attached enough to prevent what happened after.

She certainly wanted to cover up the way she handled the abusive nature of her dealing with blindisms, I know you’re familiar with those. Cari, now that you’ve passed on through to the next life, you probably are now able to see the colors, the things that. don’t see here on this planet. Who knows? I don’t know if spirits are always blind, but I do believe that there’s a rainbow up there. Rainbows are brilliant, for sure, but if only I could just see a rainbow of something. It doesn’t even have to be color.

Cari, I wanted to celebrate you at a Dance marathon, but the time came too quickly. I couldn’t find any information except the virtual “find a grave” thing with your name on it. Sweet Caroline, I never knew your name was Caroline. God, Cari, I have been spelling your name wrong while writing you all along, and I had forgotten how your name looked. Your voice, I forgot what it sounded like, I can barely remember what it all was. You had an infectious personality, I have felt it before, but it’s gone now. Gone are the days I can safely say I played beside you as a small child. Now, as a grown woman, I have to tackle so much of this stuff.

Cari, you saved me from the wrath of several exes, but can you please piece together the friendships I could lose? Please, bless the friends who confronted me today about the social media analytics with the courage to say, “We’re sorry. We were way too hard on you.” Do they not realize who you were? You are an angel in the sky, so I am guessing you can fly anywhere you want. Colorado is the only other place I’d rather be, and Trenton is the best guy I’ve been with. Honestly, relieve us of this snow. Take it all away with one swift stroke. I don’t think we need this. And give Arizona some cooler weather in June, and please, give California less and less wildfires. I don’t want friends in either one of those places to have to suffer any more. If only I had power beyond the wildest imagination of the others in the human race. Hell, I’d stop wildfires, bring rain, bring more rain, and plant trees. There might be a few control burns here and there, but really, I feel like there’s nothing I can do now. Cari, show me the way. Show the others that whoever has traumatized me in any way will have afflictions beyond their imaginations. One day, my family will be somewhere they don’t want to be, and they will be in so much trouble for fraudulently stating that I have “severe emotional handicaps.” It is this kind of thing that keeps me holed up in a burrow, not able to come out. There has to be something good to look forward to, and I wanted nothing but good things to look forward to. But seriously, I’d like to tune in to scopes but every time they come on, I’m usually at choir practice. I can’t help that I’m a choir member here, and that choir practice is on Wednesdays, when the Catalyst scopes are on, when the HIdden Truth Revealed radio program is on. When I speak of others, I certainly don’t feel any sort of way toward them.

Cari, maybe you never had boyfriends in school. You couldn’t have. I never heard a guy’s name mentioned regarding you. Cari if I could just give Orien Henry the last of what is here. Maybe I should’ve taken him to my senior prom, and yet, I never went to my prom. Full inclusion in society is a bear to me. Nobody has any real respect for a lady who isn’t employed, has nothing more than SSI, and so on. But is there hope? Cari, help me. You are probably the last hope I have in this life and the life after that.

If I died tomorrow, how many friends would say, “Good, she’s dead, we all hate her guts.”? How many people are gonna throw an Irish party that celebrates a world without me? How many people, including my own fiancé, will not grieve my loss? Tell me, who is the last person to grieve my loss? Perhaps people should realize that certain things they say do hurt, really do hurt.

One friend encouraged me to step outside the box. Another friend encouraged me to look beyond. And then betrayal began. Look, just because I can’t get transportation to choir practice on Sundays doesn’t give anyone license to sit here and say that negativity is all I post about. I want something positive to post about on Twitter and Facebook, but Trenton is sleeping now as I begin to rap this up.

What things can I possibly be thankful for? In this place, in this space, how can I be thankful that people turn on me? This isn’t thankfulness. I’m thankful that I breathe, that I can type the words I am typing now, but please. Cari, if you see this in your heavenly place, come back and call on me. I may never get married, have children, or live a normal life. But then, what will my purpose be? It doesn’t make sense now. It just doesn’t. I should probably let you know our power’s out, and there isn’t a restoration time. Please, Cari, help me.

With love,

Your friend,

Beth

The Documentary that should Be Made

Dear readers,

While some people watched Leaving Neverland and Surviving R. Kelly, people everywhere are not watching what happens when female with disabilities are preyed upon by their families or fellow disabled adults. A docuseries exposing this phenomenon should be made, no doubt on behalf of the many who didn’t report their abuse. While Michael and Robert Kelly’s abuse stories are shaking up the entertainment industry, people are not giving two cents to females with disabilities, those of us who are blind, deaf, or in wheelchairs. Or can’t speak. Or who can’t breathe without a ventilator. There is a wide variety of disabling condition in the human experience that must be covered, and we must make a docuseries about females with disabilities and their abuse stories. You would never believe what the failure to report means for all of us. Such a docuseries should include but should not be limited to the way in which families view the abuse, the community, and the nation. We need to expose the able world for seeing us as not valued. In any case, I will be singing with choir and doing the things I must do to bring the message out that all lives matter.

Beth

My Triumph

Dear readers,

I’m sitting in my kitchen. Lights are on. I should turn them off. But I was having a camera practice session with a document with Seeing AI. It doesn’t do well in this building, and I could use the Danny Boy smartphone holder. Gosh, things hav become weird.

In any case, I would like to announce that I’m in the Denver Women’s chorus. The women’s chorus part I’m singing is second soprano, which is fine. There is one other blind woman in the chorus, which is good. I was able to pair everything back up with this new phone I’m typing on. I will be telling the story of the DWC from my perspective. I must admit the director is cool, but dues. Dues, dues, dues. What the hell would I do if I had to give up grocery money? And without a smartphone like my iPhone, I would not be able to read documents properly. I’m trying to hold steady and take pics with it too, and the depth in the front shooter is stunning, but I can’t set up Face ID in lighting so poor in this stupid building. So, well, I better talk about it. It’s embarrassing to admit that as a blind person, with no family support and adequate care in mental health circles, I have to shell out thirty bucks. A month. I”m not complaining here, but that same amount has to finance something that can help me. Some blind people may view this as a stupid thing, purchasing a new phone, but it’s what it is because the overpriced phone is the only type that will support Seeing AI, and the iPhone 8 will have Voiceover bugs on it, something a friend of mine reported and Apple refused to document.

Well, I’m sitting here with an XR beside me. I’m at this point triumphant that I am in chorus, but I must have a chat with the treasurer about dues, and I’d be willing to use some prize money for financing things I need because needs come at you like a drop of a hat. That old phone I had was on its last legs, and I didn’t get much for the trade in without having to add a whole other voice line. I missed it so I can’t get that promo. It sucks that people just don’t want to tell me these things.

Well, my social profiles are on Chorus Connections, and I want everybody to know that everybody in th DWC has so ar been nice and cool. I can’t wait to meet other women with other occupations related to music, maybe someone will take me under her wing. As for working at clubs, I will have to juggle thand schedule everything chorus related and Soar, and then there’s the moneymaker. Thank you all for following me, and I look forward to showing you my vantage point.

And of course, I’ll talk progressive issues and informative stuff on current events as well.

Beth

Notes from a Choir Audition

Dear readers,

I’m super happy to report that my audition is done. I’m really happy but a bit nervous about whether I should be selected for choir. I’m super excited about the possibilities, the open opportunities to do things. I’m also excited about blogging, yes, about choir matters, about solo tryouts, notes from a DWC singer. LEt’s just see what Mark’s email reveals! I won’t screenshot it since a lot of you on Twitter are blind, and a lot of friends on Facebook are blind. But I’m thoroughly looking forward to working with Mark and Alison and Gloria. Even more, Amy was sweet, but I’m going to have to make sure she can drive me, even after I may be moving to the new apartment. I don’t want to be thirty minutes away from my fiance or husband. That would scare me, and certain friends are probably hoping I don’t make the choir. The big problem here is that if certain friends don’t want me to join the choir, they’re hindering my dreams, hindering my life, and altogether hindering everything I want to do for the sake of traditional jobs that don’t exist. As a blind person, I have an 80% chance of not being hired in a mainstream position, and with bipolar and border line personality written all over my profile, and we’re not talking Facebook here, but we’re talking med charts here, but with all that there, nobody’s going to hire me in a blindness org position. CCB as we’ve seen only hires insiders and NFB top brass, which sucks because there are many people who like me want to be better, teach, or learn. Art wanted to teach Braille, but age and lack of NFB brass officer status wouldn’t allow him to continue. Art would have been underemployed. CCB isn’t my first choice of place to go, but worse, I don’t think working with blind orgs is my calling. Music has been a lifesaver for me, and to top it off, I just hope the email goes through, but I studied music in college and did well at it in high school. Oh well. Mr. Davis, my former choral director, would never want me to excel in music and accompany the choir. He discriminated against me for being blind, and only cared for his image at competitions, but that’s Brevard County Floridians for you. They will deny they’ve done wrong for a long time, then the truth comes out. For example, the case of Dawn Blanchert’s baby and the unsafe conditions at her group facility. Robert Blanchert clearly got mad in a USA Today article because of the way his daughter was used. Females with disabilities could be used and abused in Florida a lot more than any other state, and it is a small wonder that guardianship abuse is rampant. People with disabilities must fight for their right to exist in that space they desire, not be denigrated, the right not to be segregated to disability orgs that cut them down, judge them or skills and abilities. Worse, I could be judged for mental capacity by the National Federation of the Blind. THey refuse to help with the guardianship case and think that I have the capacity of a damn three-year-old. Wrongo!

This is why I auditioned and worked hard to come out of my shell, and I auditioned for the DWC. Please, I hope I make it.