Ferguson Part II

Once again, the Mike Brown case has regained momentum in social media, the legal world, and also in the actions of thousands who are protesting the most recent decision made in the case. There’s conflicting reports on what exactly happened but the truth of the matter is that Mike Brown should not be dead. From as young as I can remember, I was taught to respect authority figures. This included policeman. However, this teaching was also followed by positive contacts and interactions with policeman. We personally met and sang to our city’s chief of police. Our landlord was a former chief of police for the city and was a great person who went against the unspoken segregation rules of the city and rented a house to a black family on the white side of the train tracks. His sons were also active police officers who my siblings and I had the chance to interact with and ask questions about their jobs. As someone who fairly frequently has to call the police on someone or for someone, I can say that there are police personnel who do well at their jobs and those who do not. I absolutely believe that race does play an issue in the Mike Brown situation and other similar shootings that have happened in the last decade where innocent black men have been killed. With all the protests happening across the country and possible solutions to racial equality being submitted by many, I think that the value of respect played a role in this very unfortunate and tragic situation. Disrespect on both sides. I wonder if Mike Brown personally knew a lot of officers. If he had any prior positive interactions with law enforcement in a neutral environment. Lastly, I wonder if these positive interactions would have changed the outcome of the day. The truth of the matter is that if you’re being robbed, car-jacked, assaulted, or stalked, most likely you want the added presence of someone in law enforcement. Maybe part of the bigger solution to this whole mess and cycle of unnecessary deadly force is to push for accountability while also advocating for stronger community relationships between citizens and the local police force. No, it’s not going to be a cure all for all racial tensions but it just might ease it a bit.

The problem with thinking positive all the time

I must admit that this article made me especially happy. It confirmed my personal beliefs about the effectiveness of positive thinking. Plus, it’s written by a psychology professor. Anyway, the basic premise the article is that positive thinking may not be as good as people once thought. Positive thinking needs to be informed with something that we affectionately call reality. It’s great to look at the silver lining but you need to also consider hard truths. People who imagined their goals while thinking about both achieving them and also the challenges that they would face had a better change of realizing their goals.

Affordable Assumptions

It’s been said that the human brain remembers everything that has ever happened. While many times we may not consciously remember certain events, our brain can remember on a subconscious level. One thing that has always interested me is how certain things such as songs or smells can immediately made us think about an experience whether good or bad that we have associated with said song or smell. While this can bring back happy memories, for some it’s the start of a flashback of a traumatic event. In a similar way to how smells or songs bring back memories and transport our minds back to certain events, people can be a similar trigger. There are certain people who we are familiar with who we see again after a long period of time and instantly we remember our last interaction with them. The feelings and emotions surrounding that interaction also comes to the forefront of our mind–all from seeing the person or even seeing a picture of them. This experience can also affect our actions to those around us because we become caught up in our own memories to the point that it informs our present behavior. If it’s a pleasant memory, we may find ourselves responding more positively or genuinely to others who have had some part to play in the experience of the past. Many times, this can happen without a conscious thought because our brain hasn’t forgotten these moments. It’s in these moments where we sometimes create assumptions about someone that may or may not be true. These assumptions are rooted in our previous experiences with them even though it may have been years since we’ve seen them face to face. It’s my opinion that these assumptions can sometimes prove detrimental because we are operating off of previous memories, feelings, and emotions. One example of this is someone who takes back their ex-significant other because they remember all the good times they had and their selective memory blocks out the behaviors that made them leave him or her in the first place. The truth of the matter is that we can’t always afford to make these assumptions. While it’s indeed nice to associate a pleasant memory with a person we have to take into account that people change and also realize that we might have changed as well. Sometimes assumptions aren’t affordable because they leave us too exposed vulnerable to people who may not be exactly who we remember them to be. It’s a tough lesson to learn because it can be extremely hard to challenge the good memories you’ve had with someone with the new reality of who they are.

What do you do when you have a million and one thoughts running around in your head that need to be connected by reading them? You blog. And unfortunately, the randomness that may come as a part of this spontaneous blog post may violate the NUMBER ONE rule of blogging: “Only have one subject” or the number two rule: “Don’t be wordy.” Well this one may actually be wordy. For the sake of the people reading this, I think I’ll at least separate this non-subject blog into topics. Topic One: One thing that I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts is the amount of traveling that I’ve done in the past few months. Five weekend trips in six weekends has been no joke. Trying to keep up with schoolwork and managing a job without taking PTO has been a superhuman feat that (thankfully) is almost over. As someone who loves to travel, it has been great seeing the world outside of the little bubble of work and school that perpetually seems to overshadow my life. Topic Two: The whole idea of choices has really been in the forefront of my mind these last couple days. I’ve been able to benefit from a series of particular choices I made that began in March 2012. These choices involved being deliberate in certain actions that I knew would have an outcome. While I did not know what the outcome would be, I knew that it was preferable to making the opposite choice not to change my actions. These choices continued and more choices related to them were made with the full knowledge that all future choices needed to be in line with the ones previously made. As I began to build choices upon choices, I saw very small but also very pointed results. While the results were not always (and rarely are always) explicitly exactly what I want as far as long term, there are still results that come directly from those choices. I say all this to say that many times I think that people neglect to recognize and acknowledge how certain choices can not only change your life for the better or for the worse, but also that they lead to other choices in the similar track. An example of this are the drugs known as “gateway drugs”. Statistics tell use that people who use these specific drugs are more likely to try harder and more potent drugs. Choices lead to other choices and these choices ultimately shape our lives and who we are as people. We don’t always realize the impact of a particular choice and seldom take the time to view our lives as a series of choices that we made. People we chose to associate with or listen to. Things that we neglected or paid attention to. Opportunities for growth that we capitalized on or disregarded. I was reminded how making certain choices in my life served as the gateway to an environment or an experience that I didn’t “deserve” to have. But those consistent choices laid the ground work for a positive result.