Media Drives Fear or Calm Outlook In Time of Crisis
May 20, 2015

Perception is the view embraced by others of events, people, behavior and outcome.  Have you noticed that the news stations aren’t looping over and over again the shootout that happened in Waco, Texas which left 9 people dead and dozens others injured?  I even saw one major news anchor on television this morning biking from Boston to New York with very little said in studio about the Waco blood bath.  When the events occurred in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland the media labeled the events as “CRISIS”.  The media made sure the camera’s kept rolling and interviewing people without knowledge of what happened and almost for entertainment purposes interviewed individuals who honestly were an embarrassment to the community.

About 170 members of rival motorcycle gangs were charged with engaging in organised crime after a shootout at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas, that killed nine people and wounded 18. The crowd of suspects was so large that authorities opened a convention center to hold them all before they were arrested, police said. McLennan County Justice of the Peace W.H. Peterson set bond at $1 million for each suspect. He defended the high amount, citing the violence that quickly unfolded in the shopping market that was busy with a lunchtime crowd.  McLennan County Sheriff’s office have distributed the booking mugshots of the people arrested… (BBC)

Koreans fearful as Ferguson riot escalates

The Baltimore Riots Cost an Estimated $9 Million in Damages according to Time Magazine

The focus in times of unrest is indeed to make the public aware of what has happened while at the same time reassuring the public that they are safe and the “Crisis” does not define the city, community or citizens in the area.

The manner in which both the media and police approached Waco is commendable.  It will be great when the media and police commit nationwide to taking the same approach of respect and reassurance of safety to everyone in each community in America?

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.  For there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God….Romans 13:1

 

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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.

http://www.tmz.com/videos/0_ekaflcqq

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.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
April 3, 2014

Gunshots, sirens, screams, fights, body bags, fear, anxiety, worry, drug abuse, inability to focus are contributing things normally linked to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).   Imagine being exposed to such an environment day in and day out for weeks, months and God forbid years.  According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders there are at least 5 Criterion that must be met in order to diagnose PTSD:

1a.  Symptoms follow exposure to an extreme traumatic stress inducing event where the individual directly was impacted or witnessed events involving death, critical injury, threat of physical harm or threat of death.

1b.  An individuals response to events such as those in Criterion 1a are of intense fear, helplessness or even horror and agitated or disorganized behavior in younger children.

2.  The intensity experienced in 1b of fear, helplessness, horror, agitation and disorganized behavior resulting from exposure to events must be a persistent re-exposure to the traumatic event(s).

3.  The over exertion of energy to avoid stimuli associated the the initial traumatic event and a numbing of general responsiveness

4.  There is an abnormal and persistent increased arousal in the here and now that is not in line with what is happening presently.

5.  The abnormal expression of 2 – 4 above must be manifested in a person for at least on month.

6.  The abnormal expressions of an individual must cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of daily functions. 

Surprisingly it is easier for individuals to determine that individuals who have gone off to war and returned might be acting differently than it is to make a similar determination of individuals in the general population.  I recall as a boy hearing my parents talk about men who had fought in World War 2 and Korea who weren’t the same as before going off to war.  The general term used to describe the changed behavior was “shell shocked”.  Men that I grew up with went to Viet Nam and some came back very agitated, anxious, paranoid, fearful and even addicted to drugs.  Over the past decade ten’s of thousand men and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan have been impacted by road side bombs, direct gun fights, rocket propelled grenades and suicide bombers.  War is an incubator for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and when our men and women return home they as well as family and friends truly hope everything will be as normal as it was before they were deployed.  The sad reality in far too many cases however is that war is an ongoing traumatic theater for the duration of one’s deployment.  

Traumatic events according to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders are not restricted to combat in the military.  Violent personal attacks such as sexual assaults, physical assaults, robbery, kidnapping, torture, imprisonment or even automobile accidents may also cause PTSD.  Children and adults in communities around the United States of America are experiencing PTSD and are many times dismissed as being socially maladjusted.  The communities where gunshots, murder, robbery, street violence exists daily, both young and old, black and white are living in exposure to the possibility of becoming victims of PTSD.  When such individuals leave the stress inducing environments of their upbringing, there is the misconception that they are able to function in a more stable work environment, a more stable community, a more stable church, a more stable marriage or more stable social settings free of the stress inducing traumatic pass.  Without any warning and regardless of where a person might find themselves,  something may trigger inside a person and they will actually experience anew the same emotions as what happened in the war zones of Iraq, Viet Nam, or even where one grew up. 

Children who were raped or constantly exposed to domestic violence and or neglect, or constantly lived in fear or witnessed chaos, might easily experience undiagnosed PTSD as an adult.  What happened at Fort Hood Texas on yesterday must be studied from the soldiers history not just based on his apparent state of mind on the day of the event, but what was his complete history from childhood, to marriage, to becoming a soldier, to the experience in Iraq and the impact of his most recent move to Texas.

Do you know individuals whose behaviors appear to be very unpredictable or agitated, suspicious of others in a manner that does not seem to bother most other individuals? 

 

Taking A Bribe Will Require A Lifetime To Pay
March 11, 2014

I have always been intrigued by the wisdom and sometimes the ignorance of older people.  As a child born to parents who were 54 and 43, I could never escape being around individuals who for the most part were the same age or even older than my parents.  By age 19 I landed a job working with W.R. Grace in downtown Memphis, Tennessee.  W.R. Grace back in the 1970’s and early 1980’s was one of the top 5 chemical companies in the entire world.  The world headquarters for the company was located in Manhattan, New York.  The Memphis offices was the major accounting center for the world operations and was located in the elite 100 North Main Building.  My office area was located on the 14th floor where the company comptroller, payroll and fixed assets employees were.  On floors 15 through 18 other operations were located included the Chief Operation Officer’s staff.  The main lobby was spotless and each morning the hallways were filled with professional and political people whose offices filled the 36 story building.  The fourth floor had a cafeteria and many shops that sold almost anything that a person might need.  There was a custom jewelery store owned and operated by Mr. Carlos.  In fact the name of the store was Carlos Jewelery.  Mr. Carlos would sometimes stand in the doorway of his very high end store and just smile and watch people throughout the lunch hours.  Numerous times I would stand and look at the many custom designed jewelery crafted by Mr. Carlos who always kept what I called a coal miners light on his head.  As time went by, Mr. Carlos took me into his store and began talking to me about how to look at diamonds and what was considered a great stone compared to just a typical stone with little or no clarity.  There were days when Mr. Carlos would point out various local Memphis politicians to me who had offices in the 100 North Main Building or they would be going to the offices of individuals for various purposes.  Mr. Carlos was affiliated with what appeared to be every organization of substance in the state of Tennessee.  Mr. Carlos was active in his Jewish religious order.  Mr. Carlos belonged to the Chamber of Commerce.  Mr. Carlos was well connected to every political power group in the entire state of Tennessee.

irs.jpg “In the name of earthly position one might forfeit their character”

One day a certain political figure whose office was in the 100 North Main Building walked by Mr. Carlos’ Jewelery store while he and I were talking.  This was a well known person in the African American business community that walked by.  This was a locally elected government official that walked by.  This was an individual that I had rode the elevator with and had only said good morning to that walked by Mr. Carlos’ store that day.  Mr. Carlos and I both said hello to the individual as he walked by, but it was what Mr. Carlos said to me afterwards that I never forgot.  Mr. Carlos said to me, “young man the person who just spoke to us will never be an effective politician and will never make it to the national political stage unless he does exactly what others tell him he can or can’t do.”  I was speechless and Mr. Carlos quickly explained why he said what he did to me.  In one sentence Mr. Carlos simply stated that the politician had “taken the hat”.

Royalty Free Stock Photography: Glittery hat filled with money “Everything that glitters isn’t necessarily good for you”

Mr. Carlos explained that in almost every circle there are “money hats” designed to ensnare individuals.  Mr. Carlos told me that he cautioned this politician not to be enticed by “the hat”, but he took it anyway.  Sadly according to Mr. Carlos, once you take the hat with the hundreds of thousands of dollars you also have taken all the good and bad intents attached to those who put the money into the hat.  Mr. Carlos described the hat as being so sinister that much like Judas Iscariot, once you have it in your hand and discover all of the corruption attached, you can’t give it back even if you want to do so.  My elderly 54 and 43 year old parents by example instilled in me to owe no man anything except to say thank you.  As a person who is continuing to learn to walk by faith and not by the many promises and offers of people each believer should try the spirits of people before falling for the potential entanglements of what is in that hat.  Do not become enticed by what is offered that you give up the greater gift of what you currently possess as did Eve with Satan.  Do not sell your soul out for evil like Esau forfeited his birthright. Jesus put forth the challenge this way, “what does it profit a man to gain the entire world and lose his soul or what will a man give once he has lost his soul to get it back again?”

Have you ever considered selling your soul in order to gain popularity, wealth or fame?  How did that story end for you?

 

21st Century – Evil Is Called Good and Good Is Called Evil
February 13, 2014

In 2014 honor and value is being bestowed more and more upon individuals who appear to meet criteria that is in direct contradiction to what this country supposedly was founded upon.  Religious freedom without persecution was a major plank in the platform of America.  Today it is almost a crime for Christians to believe what Christians believed less than 400 years ago even in America.  I will talk about a few beliefs religiously that are frowned upon today and I will talk about a few beliefs religiously that some continue to try embracing which should be let go.

1.  In the 21st century Christians who hold to the belief that God is the creator are seen as being out of touch with “world religion”.

2.  In the 21st century Christians who disagree with same sex marriage are labeled as having some type phobia.

3.  In the 21st century Christians who believe that sex (intercourse) is restricted to the marriage bed are seen as living in an outdated and unrealistic dream world.

4.  In the 21st century Christians who believe that blacks and whites should be embraced in equality are seen as trying to create one nation under God that is undivided and offers justice for all.  Ironically that is exactly what we hold claim to in our nations Pledge of Allegiance.

5.  In the 21st century Christians who oppose the idea that only those with “wealth” have a rights are seen as supporting “a welfare nation”.  Welfare by any other name such as “bailouts”, “subsidy”, “grants”, “pork barrel”, “golden parachute”, “incentives”, etc. according to the wealthy is never to be defined as “a welfare nation”.

6.  In the 21st century Christians who oppose celebrity status to public officials, entertainers, business executives who get special positive recognition for ungodly, unethical, and immoral behavior are blackballed and made a public example to create fear in others,  as if to say the same will happen to you if you as a Christian speak out against us.

Jesus made a declaration over 2000 years ago that is as true now as it was when he made it.  “A house divided against itself will not stand”.  What does that declaration mean you might ask?  A home, a nation, an institution that fights its own purpose for existing will fall.  The tragic conclusion to the father of Christianities  over 2000 year old declaration is that the fall comes from self inflicted wounds by the people within not the nations outside.

 

 

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 ADHD
August 23, 2011

Here’s a strong case for funding public education and maintaining school psychological assessments services:  The majority of children receive their earliest diagnostic testing for ADHD and LD at school and not from the family pediatricians and mental health services before entering school.

The American Psychiatric Association DSM IV-TR reports that 3% to 7% of school age children have Attention Deficit Disorder.  This writer ascribes to genetics,environmental conditions, brain injury, premature delivery and low birth weight as potential causes of ADHD. Within a child’s social environment, this writer also believe that family environmental exposure filled with abuse and lack of structure, criminal behavior or socially inappropriate exposure are contributors to ADHD.

Prevalence of Diagnosis and medication Treatment for ADHD Among Children Aged 4-17 Years - United States, 2003

The more general definition of ADHD centers around a persons inability to pay attention and maintain focus on one specific event.  It is not unusual for individuals with ADHD to act before thinking and in some instances to be overactive as well.  According to The Center for Disease Control there are at least three levels of ADHD:

  • Predominantly Inattentive Type: It is hard for the individual to organize or finish a task, to pay attention to details, or to follow instructions or conversations. The person is easily distracted or forgets details of daily routines.
  • Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type: The person fidgets and talks a lot. It is hard to sit still for long (e.g., for a meal or while doing homework). Smaller children may run, jump or climb constantly. The individual feels restless and has trouble with impulsivity. Someone who is impulsive may interrupt others a lot, grab things from people, or speak at inappropriate times. It is hard for the person to wait their turn or listen to directions. A person with impulsiveness may have more accidents and injuries than others.
  • Combined Type: Symptoms of the above two types are equally present in the person.
The reported rate of cases in low income homes throughout the United States on average is about 10% higher than homes of middle and upper income families according to the August 2011 Consumer Report News on Health.

Happiness
August 1, 2011

Happiness

How Many “Keys” Does It Take To Really Be Happy?

Over 3000 years ago the term happy was not utilized even remotely as it is today.  Volume upon volume of self-help books are available for purchase world wide that promise to provide the true key and often keys to true happiness.  Happiness nor the key(s) to it can be found through acquiring wealth, health, power, or any material item at least not in a positive sense.  Thieves are happy when they steal from other and often have no regret for taking from others.  Murders are often happy about taking the life of an innocent bystander who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Children are often happy when they can get whatever they want from a parent.  Adults are happy when others give them exactly what they ask for as well.   So how can an exact definition and guide be given to everyone to achieve happiness when it seem as if when one person is happy it is at the expense and often hurt of someone else?

Back to my opening sentence regarding happiness thousands of years ago.  Happiness was not determined by the situation nor who was getting their needs met or not getting their needs met.  Happiness was determined by the peace of mind of knowing the path that one was traveling was correct.  Each traveler had to possess a degree of confidence not only in the path chosen but also in the one leading them on their journey.  Happiness also required each traveler to have an idea of what is at the end of their journey’s path as they are lead by a trustworthy guide.  Once the travel or journey starts, it may have moments of tears, heartache, tiredness, frustration, hunger, loneliness, sickness and who knows what else.  The happiness is the fulfillment of knowing that regardless of what happens along the way, there is a inner knowledge and peace about why you are traveling, who is leading the journey and knowing the end of the journey is filled with the satisfaction of completion.

So how many keys are there to happiness?

I’ve Got That
July 31, 2011

                    I’ve Got That

                     Are You Seriously, Serious?

              By Bruce McClure, PhD, LCPC, NCC

 

How many times over the past few years have you attended events such as reunions, classes and other social outings where couples are asked, “How Many Years Have You Been Married?”  Sometimes prizes are even given to couples that have been married the longest and also to the couple most recently wedded.  In a gathering of ten couples, can you look around the room and with ease decide which couple has mastered the art of marriage?

It is not unusual for me to sit in on gatherings without revealing my profession as a professional clinical counselor and listen to the many statements made regarding how marriage has been perfected.  Old and young alike quietly and sometimes loudly proclaim, “I Got That”.  Maybe it is my presumption but such a declaration suggests that marriage has been mastered.  My only response is, “Are You Seriously Serious?”  During our 2012 Couples Seminar each couple will have an opportunity to reflect on the number of years they have been married while also discovering the many victories and obstacles that have been overcome and hopefully come to the realization that many opportunities for growth lie ahead.

If longevity equals perfection why are marriages falling apart after couples retire after 30 to 40 years of work?  Why do couples divorce due to infidelity when both individuals tease and promise one another nothing but sexual bliss once they are married all the while exclaiming, “I’ve Got That.”  Are you seriously, serious?  You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that a majority of couples go into marriage believing they have everything under control and are seriously, serious about being successful as husbands and wives.  Journey with couples from all over the east coast as each marriage becomes a real life “Reality Show” with every couple in attendance as the surprise guests.

If you have attended prior seminars forget about them.  If you have never attended you are in for the experience of a lifetime.  Never before in over 20 years of Marriage Seminars have anything happened like this upcoming experience.  Every attendee will be The Guest Speaker with a message worth sharing.  Save the dates of September 30th through October 2, 2011 and come expecting nothing but a blessing.  As always, children are NOT WELCOME.