“Bucket List” The Rules…..I’m Doing Me Right Now
June 4, 2015

It was December 15, 2007 when the Hollywood blockbuster “Bucket List” starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman hit the world by storm.  The movie cost about $45 million to produce and brought in over $175 million dollars.  The primary plot centered around two terminally ill patients who with nothing to loose deciding to toss restraint to the wind and go out with a bang by doing anything and everything they had always wanted to do but had not yet completed.

Bucket list poster.jpg

Recently an American was on a safari through a lions park where signs in large print were posted warning those driving through the park to keep the vehicle windows up at all times.  For some strange reason according to tour guides in the park people will ignore the verbal and written cautions as if they have nothing to loose and are saying to the world around them “Bucket”.

ABC News recently posted the following regarding the lion incident:

The park where the mauling occurred allows lions to roam while tourists drive through the preserve. A park official said that although visitors are ordered to keep their windows closed, the woman was taking pictures through an open window when the lioness lunged. The vehicle’s driver, believed to be a local tour operator, was also injured and was hospitalized.

South African media have reported that an Australian tourist was bitten by a lion earlier this year while driving through the park with his windows open and a teenager who tried to cut through the park on a bicycle was attacked by a cheetah.

The park official said the lioness would not be killed, but was kept away from tourists after the attack.

Most recently near Jackson, Mississippi a family attending the high school graduation ceremony of a loved one made a decision to ignore the directives of the school district to wait until the end of the awarding of diplomas before cheering and applauding in order for all students to be able to not only hear their name called but to maintain a certain dignity for the commencement ceremony.  A family came to the decision to “Bucket” the schools request and live, celebrate and call out the name of their loved one as if this would be the final commencement they would every attend.


Boundaries, regulations, expectations and rules are often in place to protect not only an individual but also the specific institution or environment as well.  The Old Testament nation of Israel continually found themselves in danger and were constantly faced with grief and death because of their decision to “Bucket” many of Gods boundaries, regulations and expectations that were in place to keep them safe.

Deuteronomy 12:8 Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes.

At some point our country, our communities, our families and our churches must accept the reality that putting laws on a “Bucket List” will destroy the very fabric of this world as God intended.


Domestic Violence – It’s Clearly A Crime – Just Not Clearly Defined In Legal Circles
September 8, 2014

Intimate partner violence includes rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault by a current or former spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend. This report presents trends in intimate partner violence by sex, and examines intimate partner violence against women by the victim’s age, race and Hispanic origin, marital status, and household composition. Data are from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), which collects information on nonfatal crimes reported and not reported to the police from a nationally representative sample of U.S. households.

Take a look at this video and decide what type of crime is being committed?  Is it simple assault, attempted murder, a felony, or a misunderstanding?  Depending upon the officer, the prosecutor, who the person committing the action is or who the individual on the receiving end of the action is, determines how the incident is handled.


Females living in households comprised of one female adult with children experienced intimate partner violence at a rate more than 10 times higher than households with married adults with children and 6 times higher than households with one female only.

Females ages 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 generally experienced the highest rates of intimate partner violence.

From 1994 to 2010, about 4 in 5 victims of intimate partner violence were female.

According to The U.S. Department of Justice in a July 1996 National Institute of Justice report to Congress under the Violence Against Women Act:

Within the criminal justice system, data collection is complicated by the division of
responsibilities across many independent entities—law enforcement agencies,
prosecutors, courts, and corrections. Although some local jurisdictions have
established integrated criminal justice information systems, most criminal justice data
are fragmented along operational boundaries. The continued difficulties in obtaining
complete and accurate criminal history records were cited as one indicator of the
inability to track individuals as they move through the criminal justice system or
recidivate for subsequent crimes.

The U.S. Department of Justice 1996 report revealed another eyeopener:

Multi-jurisdictional—multiple State and local agencies
Because of victim and offender mobility, agencies increasingly must be able to share
information across State and local boundaries. There are several Federal and regional
efforts under way to either provide mechanisms to do this or to encourage the
development of these systems. Achieving this goal will take time, however, and many
technical and organizational obstacles will have to be overcome.
One situation where this has been identified as a serious problem is with court
protection orders because officials outside of the originating jurisdictions generally do
not have ready access to the information required for enforcement. In addition,
policies and standards for issuing court protection orders can vary from area to area, making enforcement across jurisdictional boundaries a complex issue for local authorities.

The absence of a national definition of domestic violence causes irregularities in the
inclusion/exclusion of more informal relationships such as current or ex-boyfriends/
girlfriends, roommates, and cohabitants.  For example, Michigan and Kansas
have added a box on their crime incident report forms that officers must mark to
indicate whether an incident was domestic violence related. Other States (e.g.,
Connecticut, New York, and Wisconsin) have separate forms for reporting domestic
violence. The special domestic violence report form enables States to collect offense specific
information that may be more difficult to include in a general crime incident
report form. Use of a separate form, however, does carry the physical and
psychological burden of additional paperwork, which increases the likelihood that
officers will fail to complete or submit a report.

Because domestic and sexual violence victims can face possible reprisals by the
offenders, a heavy burden of embarrassment, and other repercussions, obtaining their
cooperation can be extremely difficult for law enforcement and other agencies. The
act of reporting domestic violence and some sexual violence incidents may be
considered by victims as a last resort or as a way to make an irreparable break in a
relationship. Consequently, the victims may perceive reporting as an admission of
personal failure that they cannot face or believe is avoidable.
Additionally, the problem of adequate training of personnel in handling these cases
often was cited in the project panel discussions and survey responses. As many
jurisdictions are recognizing the seriousness of these offenses, new laws and policies
are being adopted, which in turn may require time to train all relevant staff in new
procedures and to fully implement them.

For all the above reasons, under reporting of domestic and sexual violence can be
more of a problem than for other types of offenses. Although efforts can be made to
overcome some of the factors hindering accurate reporting, some barriers may never
be completely surmounted given the nature of these crimes and the social and
behavioral issues involved.

Because identifying domestic violence crimes may involve consideration of a criminal
act, the relationship between the victim and offender, and the offender’s motive for
committing the act, properly classifying cases can be more difficult than for other
types of offenses. For example, a crime incident that would normally be considered a
property crime (e.g., a burglary, motor vehicle theft, larceny, or vandalism) could be
classified as a domestic violence incident if the perpetrator’s intent is to harass or
intimidate the victim. This may require the investigating officers to go beyond the
facts initially presented for a complaint to its possible underlying circumstances.
An additional complication for data reporting is that some States have not mandated a
specific domestic violence offense with which to charge an offender. In these
instances, the offender is charged with another offense, but his case may be flagged as
a domestic violence case for reporting purposes. Other States have broader family
violence statutes that include domestic violence.

As early as 1930 the Uniform Crime Reporting System has been in existence and all states contribute data into it in one form or another.  The UCRS was not mandatory however.  In 1980 the FBI replaced the old 1930 UCRS with the National Incident Based Reporting System NIBRS.  The new NIBRS is not mandatory for states to enter data.  Whether it’s the old UCRS reporting or the newer NIBRS reporting system, neither system has a clearly defined category for Domestic Violence under Category A or Category B Crimes. 

Time has come for our communities, schools, churches, businesses and families to demand that individuals who commit domestic violence be held accountable for their behaviors.  Men are to honor women as vessels of high value.  Women are to esteem men as one who is her point man or one who is willing to go before her.  Behaviorally, whenever domestic violence presents itself, it is certain that someone is functioning below God’s expectations.  There is never a time when domestic violence should be accepted or explained away in a civilized society.

Basic Friendship Principles
September 7, 2011


How do you really chose your friends?  According to one study from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) students are more likely to select friends within their own racial group when schools are only moderately mixed.  The same study showed the more racially diverse a school is,  the higher the racial diversity of its students selection of friends.  This study can be found in the November 2011 American Journal of Sociology.  In one report from Yale University that studied 194 heart attack patients, those who had a solid emotional support system were more likely to be alive six months following their initial heart attack.  20 years ago most individuals had an average of 3 friends compared to in 2004 most individuals only had 2 friends according to the American Sociological Review.

Friends can often be classified as being reciprocal, desired and choice friendships.  Reciprocal friends are those that are friends who equally view each other as relational friends.  Desired friends are friends that are really are not ones true friends but because of necessary and sometimes coincidental interactions one would like for a friendship to exist.  Choice friendships are friends that one makes a conscience effort to have in the relationship for social, political, or other purposes.

The more similar students backgrounds the more probable they are to develop friendships according to James Moody Assistant Professor at Ohio State University.  Students can easily share a school environment for 12 years and remain for the most part in segregation racially, socially, and economically.  Moody also argued that schools with only two primary races more often than not develops an “us verses them” attitude.  It was also found that the greater the number of integrated extracurricular activities the higher the number of interracial and cross racial relationships.

The Psychology of Trauma and Earthquakes
August 23, 2011

From Georgia to Boston and more specific in Washington, D.C. where this blogger resides an earthquake measuring 5.9 not only shook buildings, homes, vehicles and people but also the internal emotions of people.  When emotions are shaken by events that creates a sense of security to ones personal safety and well being our bodies are experiencing trauma.  In the initial phase of trauma the experience of an incident occurs.  Trauma may be from an auto accident, a fall, an assault and in the most current case an earthquake.  The level of trauma must create a sense of fear for life or safety not necessarily the reality of lose.  Trauma also requires the individual to feel fear, horror and hopelessness.  Although I have experienced 4 earthquakes: Memphis, Arkansas, Pepperdine University and today, each quake created a level of anxiety within.

A natural response to such trauma is the attempt to avoid what one is actually feeling as a result of being traumatized.  Individuals who are accustomed to being in control might struggle with accepting the fact that even an earthquake cause fear or a threat to there personal safety.  Witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event has a much greater impact on a person compared to hearing about the event from someone else or reading about the event.  In the case of the earthquake today felt from Georgia to Boston, at some level every citizen “experienced” the traumatic event for themselves.  It has been reported that over 700 square miles of citizens were in the impact zone of the earthquake.  In the experience of trauma, everyone may have been eyewitness to it, yet not every experience or recollection will be exactly the same.

Briefly let me address what typically occurs following a major traumatic episode.  Specific to earthquakes typically a less intense aftershock will happen.  Although the aftershock is less intense, the aftershock will actually cause each individual to possible experience Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.  PTSD  or the elevated anxiety begins almost as soon as the initial event ends to a lesser degree following earthquakes.  The normal DSM timeline for PTSD  range from acute which typically have its onset within 3 months of the triggering event to chronic which presents 3 months beyond the event and delayed which do not begin showing symptoms until 6 months beyond the triggering event.

How can you determine if you are experiencing PTSD as a result of the 5.9 earthquake?  Below is a quick to follow guide provided by Johns Hopkins Medical about PTSD Symptoms:

Key Symptoms
There are 3 cardinal symptom categories; 1) re-experiencing the event, 2) avoidance and numbing, and 3) increased arousal. *

1. Re-experiencing the event (1 must be present)

  • Distressing recollections
  • Nightmares
  • Physiological reactions to triggers
  • Psychological reactions to triggers

2.  Avoidance/Numbing (3 must be present)

  • Avoid conversations, activities, places or people
  • Selective amnesia
  • Withdrawal, detachment, loss of interest or hopelessness

3.  Increased Arousal (2 must be present)

  • Decreased sleep
  • Irritability/anger
  • Loss of ability to concentrate
  • Hypervigilance
  • Startle

The Psychology of Bipolar Disorder
August 21, 2011

Imagine a seesaw and two people playing.  When the two individuals are at rest and completely balanced the right, left and center planes are in a straight line.  Now imagine the seesaw in motion where one person is elevated high in the air and the other person is touching the ground and exerts a lot of energy hoping to spring back if not to the elevated spot at least to center.  If only one person is moving from the left to the right and into the center position of the seesaw, this becomes a great illustration of individuals with bipolar disorder also known as manic depression.  According to The National Institute of Mental Health, bipolar disorder is defined as shifts in mood, activities and energy needed to carry out daily activities.

mood episodes

An episode is divided into two major components but sometimes possibly three.  Episodes of extreme excitement and overwhelming joy and energy with a sense almost of being invisible is the manic phase.  Episodes of  feeling despair, hopeless, and sad having little or no energy is the depressive phase.  Episodes of excitement and despair are experience together is called mixed episodes.  Life is filled with routine ups and downs but bipolar disorder is much more intense and impedes ones daily ability to function in school, family, work, and society sometimes leading to even suicide.

Bipolar disorder once diagnosed will last a life time but can be treated medically.  If not treated the symptoms will get progressively worse.   Although the root cause of bipolar disorder is not fully understood according to The National Institute of Health, what is known is that it runs in families.  Children who have a family member with bipolar disorder are four time more likely to have the disease than the general population according to Numberger and Foround, April 2000.

Scale of Severe Depression, Moderate Depression, and Mild Low Mood

The Psychology of Date Rape
August 20, 2011

Rape is defined as sexual acts performed by or on another without consent.  The acts may include vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse, or oral intercourse.  Rape may involve various parts of the physical body or other objects external to the body.  Rape involves threat or force and a failure of consent or the ability to give consent.  Failure to give consent may be because of age or one’s mental ability to consent.  For instance, a minor child cannot consent to sexual intercourse with a majority age person nor can a female who has been drugged consent to sexual intercourse even if she is of majority age.

In the lifetime of females 1 out of three at some point either have experienced or will experience rape according to The National Institute of Health.  Even more tragic from 80% to 90% of all rapes are never reported.  Although men, women or children of all ages are candidates for rape, the majority of rape victims are 16 to 24 years of age and are female.  Because this is also a very fertile age for dating, females are more often in an environment where they may “feel” safe but are really a high profile target for Date Rape.

In Date Rape the rapist actually knows the individual and plans his attack.  The victim may know the rapist from school, study groups, social settings, neighborhoods or even church or shopping trips.  Over 50% of rapes take place in the victims home and access surprisingly is granted because the rapist was given access under false pretense of being a friend, needing help, etc.

Although behavioral changes vary from victim to victim, here are some of the more common traits found in victims of regular and date rape:

1.  A loss of emotional control and an appearance of being confused

2.  Unexplained crying and a feeling of being numb

3.  Being afraid, being angry, being very hostile suddenly toward others

4.  Abnormal anxiety and laughter that is not in line with the environment

5.  Disrupted sleep and eating habits

6.  Sudden isolation from friends and family

In any college year at least 35 students per 1,000 are raped annually.  The time of many rapes is reported to be after midnight by most college students.  Date rape is not unusual to occur by multiple attackers at the same time.

Be aware that rape victims may not seek medical attention for being raped directly but may show up at hospitals or with others complaining of headaches, insomnia, anxiety attacks, etc.

Be very alert and careful about being in an all alone environment with males.  It is not unusual for other females to set up the date rape for male friends.  Be equally cautious around females you really don’t know well and watch out for what is put into your drinks and food.  If for any reason you must leave a glass of beverage unattended, order a new one.  It is safer to spend $1.75 for a glass of soda than to spend the rest of your life struggling with rape.


Narcissistic People And You
August 16, 2011

Narcissistic People….More Common Than You Think

Have you encountered people who for unknown reasons must be the center of attention and demand in sometimes not so subtle ways the adoration of everyone?  Have you encountered people who are charming, entertaining, witty, and almost seductive only to find out later they have manipulated you into a relationship be it business, social and even sexual that you regret?  Have you encountered people who once you disagree with them and refuse to follow their lead they do demeaning acts toward you that are shameful and hurtful and even destructive to your character?  You have just been in the spell of a narcissistic person.

According to the staff of Mayo Clinic narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. Those with narcissistic personality disorder believe that they’re superior to others and have little regard for other people’s feelings. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem, vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

Mayo Clinic research has also found evidence that links the cause of narcissistic behaviors to a dysfunctional childhood, such as excessive pampering, extremely high expectations, abuse or neglect especially by parents as the most prevalent triggers. Other evidence points to genetics or psychobiology — the connection between the brain and behavior and thinking.

Narcissistic individuals will mostly only engage in environments where they are in control, superior to all others or receive false praise from others.

Risk factors for narcissistic personality disorder may include:

  • Parental disdain for fears and needs expressed during childhood
  • Lack of affection and praise during childhood
  • Neglect and emotional abuse in childhood
  • Unpredictable or unreliable caregiving from parents
  • Learning manipulative behaviors from parents

Children who learn from their parents that vulnerability is unacceptable may lose their ability to empathize with others’ needs. They may also mask their emotional needs with grandiose, egotistical behavior that’s calculated to make them seem emotionally “bulletproof.”

Finally, psychotherapy is recommended as a treatment modality but the “bulletproof” thinking of a narcissistic person will most likely stop the individual from seeking counseling.  The only fear of confronting a narcissistic sociopathic person is how they will attempt to destroy you.  Never worry about hurting their feelings because they are totally insulated from feeling for others or being impacted by what other say about them.

How do you interact with narcissistic people in your interactions?

The Psychology of Serious Mental Illness
August 15, 2011

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health defines sustained mental illness SMI as a mental, behavioral or emotional disorder that has been diagnosed within the prior year or currently.  This condition must also be void of developmental or substance use disorders.  SMI must also impede or impair routine functioning of ones routine daily events.  The SMI must also meet the criteria found in at least the earlier 4th edition of the DSM IV.

The graph below comes from National Institute of Health (NIH) and it’s division of The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). 

Serious Mental Illness is found in about 5% of the United States population.  Although the graph indicates a somewhat higher presence among whites and females which is accepted as factual for that population.

On the other hand are African Americans and males less likely to seek clinical help than other reported populations? Does this account for the lower percentages in the findings presented by NIH.