About Me

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Kymberlie Ingalls is native to the Bay Area in California. She is a pioneer in blogging, having self-published online since 1997. Her style is loose, experimental, and a journey in stream of consciousness. Works include personal essay, prose, short fictional stories, and a memoir in progress. Thank you for taking a moment of your time to visit. Beware of the occasional falling opinions. For editing services: http://www.rainfallpress.com/

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Adam & Steve Walked In To A Bar...

and exclaimed, "Wow - that fig leaf Eve has on is simply fabulous!"

Do you see how they don't hate on Eve for having girl parts?  They embrace the differences between them.

 "but it's cool for Tom Green to hump a dead moose.  We ain't nothin’ but mammals.. Well, some of us cannibals who cut other people open like cantaloupes but if we can hump dead animals and antelopes then there's no reason that a man and another man can't elope."

This is a perfect example of where our priorities lie. Our American society rallies around the flag, tooting our horns about freedom and civil rights. And yet.. there seems to be this big to-do about letting only certain people marry. The last I checked, the technical definition of marriage is "the joining of two people in commitment." 

We really do glorify things such as obscene acts with animals, rolling around Hollywood in a drunken stupor, laughing in secret at the jokes we don't want our friends to know we think they're funny.  How about finding love and life ever after on a reality show?  Sell yourself on television for a rose and a ring, this is acceptable.  Two people in love who want to marry and commit themselves to each other - this is somehow going to ruin your life as you know it? 

Many view marriage as a religious ceremony, and traditionally it is. However, I thought we were supposed to have a separation of church and state. Why is it we haven't just made marriage a civil thing across the board; him and her, he and him, she and her. If you want to go off and have a religious something or other on top of that, have at it, much as we do now. But, everyone should have the right to marry, divorce or live in so-called sin.

For those who are afraid "gay" is contagious, grow up and get over your cootiephobia. It is ridiculous, and you are paranoid. If you truly think that homosexuality is hell-worthy, but in the next breath forgive those who rape, pillage, mutilate and murder others, perhaps your heart isn't as pure as you'd like to believe. Come on down from that pedestal - I'm here to tell you how lonely it can get up there.

 And refusing gay couples to adopt children? What will they pass on - Tolerance of the hate that surrounds them? Forgiveness in the face of judgment? Commitment? Unconditional love? Or maybe, just maybe, they will save a child from a life of loneliness, abandonment, and abuse.

 Do you really want to go through this life thinking someone like Marshall Mathers is more enlightened than you are?
You have every right to your opinion - that's me accepting this about you.  I just don't have to agree with you.  The problem that I have with some of the things I hear coming out of the mouths of religious babes ("hate the sin, not the sinner." "Science has nothing to do with it." "I don't care what they do, as long as I don't have to see it!") is that it hurts others.  And there seems to be little interest in rectifying that.  It's God's way or the highway.  The thing is, your God isn't everyone's.  But a surprising amount of gays do believe in a God who loves them unconditionally.
I invite you to have a seat at my table and break bread with my sister, my cousin, my cousin-in-law, and my friends. Start a discussion about why they don't deserve the same rights you do. That they are not worthy of the love that you have or have had in your life. Tell them all about how they've sinned. Make sure to look them in the eye as you pontificate, it helps get your point across that much stronger.

Then go home and look yourself in the eye in your own mirror. It's so much easier to preach to your intolerance, much harder to "save" the stone-thrower who stares back at you.

(c) Kymberlie Ingalls, 2010
Lyrics and Music:  The Real Slim Shady / Eminem

Monday, October 17, 2011

American Fight Song

I'm not always a fan of protests.  Living in the Bay Area it's been getting a little out of control here on the left coast.  People standing up for criminals who manage to shoot their own selves in their getaways, rallying because their own bad behavior of climbing to the top of commuter trains got their cell phones disabled - never mind the danger they constantly put others in. 

Like everyone else - but unlike everyone in big-time media - I've been intrigued about the idea of Occupy Wall Street since its inception.  I've been following somewhat closely to see where it's going to go, even though my husband has to explain the demands to me because frankly I'm not so smart when it comes to politics and money. 

My concern initially was that a lot of angry people were showing up for the wrong reasons.  I still do believe this to be the case after watching many of the videos coming out of various cities.  OWS has seriously got to be for Youtube what the iPod was for Apple.  Not to downgrade those who protest in sincerity, but I'm willing to bet that many are there and don't even know why.  They are there because they don't have lives, are pissed off at someone or are just generally very angry and demanding attention.  I'd also bet - and I'm not much of a gambler - that many people are looking to become the next reality TV star out of this. 


It's easy for me to question intent - I find it difficult to understand how shaking your bare boobage on the streets of Manhattan supports a cry against Big Business.  It ridicules the cause.

"Do a split, do a yell!  Shake a tit for old Rydell!"

But then there are the claims of brutality.  Truthfully, I don't know what to make of this, and it's one of the reasons I've hesitated to post thus far on the topic.  It is frustrating that we catch a glimpse of a cop macing a deaf girl, or another one dragging someone who's been arrested across the ground - my first reaction is that of course, it's overkill.  But there's something in me too that knows better than to go on such little information, and we are seeing a lot of arrests and assaults but none of the before and after to support the claims of brutality.  This doesn't mean it isn't happening, but how much of it happens on a dare from someone who is begging to be arrested by way of their own actions?  And they are the ones who belittle the true injustices on the streets of Manhattan or anywhere else.

In this litigious society that we live in where just about anyone will spin the truth for a dollar, my skepticism is justified.  One reason I respect my friend Anthony as a minister of gospel is because he doesn't attack people with whatever random Biblical quote comes in handy, he teaches to always read what comes before it, and after, to get the whole story; to question, and to think. 

What turned me off in the beginning was Anonymous being behind it.  Faceless people with robotic voices crying out against injustice who turn around and hack websites and put the private information of innocent people to the public is cowardly.  Claiming to be victimized by Facebook and calling for a 'shutdown of the site' and thereby punishing those who (albeit begrudgingly) choose to agree to their terms of wiping any privacy from your life is wrong.  Speak out, yes.  Raise attention to your cause, yes.  Bully others to your way of thinking?  No.

What has surprised me is that I really thought this protest would burn out as the SF Bay Area BART protests have in a rather quickly dying flame, but just the opposite has happened.  Instead, as a wind pushes a raging fire further out of control, cities large and small are joining this movement.  A small suburb of the city that is known for its well-off residents held a protest in support of OWS last week, and I'd joked that I'd be shocked if more than ten people showed up - it would cut into shopping time for too many others.  Lo and behold, 300+ came out.  That's almost as inspirational as the Grinch spreading cheer through Whoville on Christmas Day. 

In the end, my support of Occupy Wall Street is conditional, much like the love a parent gives to a redheaded stepchild (I am one, so I can back up the claim).  I refuse to view the protesters as a whole, just as I refuse to judge the police as a whole.  People make their own choices, and it is those individual choices I'll put in my mind's line-up so I can seperate the power-trippers from the do-rights. 


Truly I believe that much of the mess we are rebelling in is of our own (as a whole) creation.  We have complacently agreed to let our credit score rule our lives, and the meek mice are now the roaring lions - something that usually never ends without senseless consequences of some kind on both sides of the battlefield. 

It's been a long time between civil wars - the blue of the police and the suits against the gray of anonymity are clearly drawn.

For now.

Gavin DeGraw - A Change Is Gonna Come

(c) Kymberlie Ingalls, October 17th, 2011

White Knuckle Dreams

         “Well, this ain’t no Sunday drive – got the tach red-lined and the throttle opened wide.  Gonna kill a lot of bugs, pass a lot of poles, no, this ain’t no Sunday drive…”
I have been attending races at the Antioch Speedway since before I was born.  Literally, my mom was pregnant when my dad was working the crew of my uncle’s stock car.  My brother was already a toddler wandering around in the mud of the pit.  Back then it was messy, dirty, sporty, fun, and the rules were.. there were no rules.  “You run what you brung” was the philosophy.  It’s always been something I can share with my dad and my brother, and while I still to this day know nothing of the inner mechanics of a car, I can admire the beauty of seeing one pushed to its limits and coming out victorious.
          Stock car racing is a rich part of American culture, and has its roots deep in our nation’s history.  It originated during the prohibition period of the 1920s, when runners of moonshine had to figure out a way to outrun the authorities, so they would modify their cars and engines to enable them to get the job done.  This eventually led to organized events by the time the 1930s came around, but there was a lack of consistency in the rules, prompting Bill France, Sr. to form NASCAR (The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) in 1948, allowing for unified rules across the independent tracks.  The term “stock cars” refers to cars that have not been modified from the factory originals, however the phrase is more general now, referring to the many classes of cars that race today.
          I have loved to drive fast for as long as I can remember.  I’ve driven at speeds as high as 115 mph, including taking the curves of the Santa Cruz mountains in excess of 90mph.  It was a challenge, late at night with no traffic around me, and the thrill of it was exhilarating.  Driving is my favorite danger.  It feeds my need to hover on that slight blur between what is real and what is not.
          Something about feeling one with the car - flesh and blood entangled, melded with steel into a streamline of speed.  A hundred and ten, and climbing.  To hear the hum and feel the shifting, the elevation.

          When I first met my husband, Roger, he was racing his Dodge Viper on various paved road courses throughout California, on the occasional weekend as a hobby.  Roger and I never saw a grown man cry so hard as when he had just run his week-old Viper into a wall, leaving it crumpled on the trackside, where no insurance was going to cover the damage.  I remember seeing that owner sit by his car, devastated, but it is a risk any driver takes.  It’s very easy to lose sight of being grateful for your own good luck of coming out in better shape than the car. 
          One day I took Roger to the local dirt track to watch a night of racing, and he decided that this would be more fun (not to mention less risk and expense), so he set about choosing his class – the dwarf cars.  As the name indicates, the dwarf car is very small compared to the other hulking cars that run on a dirt track.  They are 5/8 scale in size of the original coupe and sedan original stock cars dated between 1928 and 1948.  They have a reputation of being “cute,” but only until the green flag drops.  Then they can hit an average speed of 80 mph on the straightway of an oval track, and if they had more length can get to about 120 mph.  They use motorcycle engines to run. 
          Roger had some fun with the concept of his dwarf car, deciding to capitalize on his native Wisconsin, and dubbing himself “CheezRacer.”  We decorated the yellow car with cheese holes, created an animated likeness, and soon he was very popular among the kids who came with their parents each week to watch their favorites speed around in circles to the checkered flag. 
     A typical day at the track is very long, an average of 8-10 hours.  Once parked and the car is unloaded from the trailer, thus begins a long checkup of the motor, the body, and the safety equipment, usually in the heat of a very unforgiving sun.  Many do not realize that local independent tracks must adhere to the same safety rules as professional tracks.  A helmet and firesuit are required, as are fire extinguishers that are easily accessible by the officials in the event that your car does go up in flames, something I have seen happen often.
          I admit that I like to see the drivers take chances, push their talents, sometimes the result being a crash, a flip or a roll of the car.  I can say this because, while I have seen some brutal accidents, luckily serious injuries are very rare.  In fact, most injuries occur in the pits or the garages versus on the track, such as the time I was almost beheaded by a tire that had come off of a racing stock car, rolling up a double-banked hill several hundred feet at full speed and flying over the fence, right where I had stood seconds before Roger pulled me to safety. 

I have seen a few of my friends involved in some spectacular acrobatics, with their cars doing somersaults in the air, and have seen them walk away from it grinning, more upset at their race being cut short than any damage to themselves or the car.  One night, my friend Tony flipped his car in the air, a triple end over end, and he actually got back into it and finished in fourth place.
Two weeks ago, watching Roger drive head on into a concrete wall at 70 miles per hour in a racing incident, everyone kept asking if I was okay seeing that.  I suppose that’s how I know I’ve got a racer’s drive in me – it’s knowing that these are the risks that are taken, and it’s being able to remain calm in the face of twisted wreckage.

I’ve long had a love affair with the Antioch track.  So many memories.  I’ve also long had the dream of being out there on the dirt myself.  I’m not too confident in my abilities, however, in sliding around the muddy corners.  It’s a whole different concept from driving on a paved road.  And you need to have confidence to compete, while still keeping in mind that others depend on your skills and your smarts to prevent mistakes that can be quite costly.
My older brother now races, mainly at the Petaluma track north of the Bay Area, although we have also traveled to Marysville and Placerville as well.  He runs a dwarf car also.
Driving is something that can get into the blood, and it’s an infection that never really goes away.  Weaving in between the others – a high speed game of cat and mouse, sometimes with dire consequences.  It requires brain work and strategizing, before the race and while out on the track, not to mention muscle work to keep the car in your line when you find it.  The motto of oval track tracing:  “Drive fast, turn left, repeat…”
          And it’s not all about being behind the wheel yourself.  To watch the cars bob and dart and challenge each other, it’s rather fluid in its beauty.  Dancing on pavement, or sliding in the dirt.  The passion to feel the car, to tame this metal beast, and to find the heart behind the dented, painted, hard-driven vehicle – finding the brain beneath the motor.  But when you are moving with the wind rushing in at you, and when you realize that this mechanical Lolita has won you over, it is a defeat that will happily reap its rewards in the muddy grin of a champion.
          “It’s a white-knuckle ride, there’s only one thing on my mind – to be the first to cross that finish line.  If I don’t run out of gas and my tires will last, I’m gonna take that checkered flag…”

© Kymberlie Ingalls, August 18, 2010
“Sunday Drive” – Alabama
“White Knuckle Ride” – Lynyrd Skynyrd

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Weed Is Just A Weed

I love to cook.  Love to experiment with sauces, herbs and spices - greens like sage, basil, oregano and thyme.  Colors like mustard, paprika, saffron and coriander.  Natural ways to make a ho-hum chicken taste legendary.

Alice B. Toklas loved to cook as well. 
Toklas published her own literary memoir, a 1954 book that mixed reminiscences and recipes under the title The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook. The most famous recipe therein (actually contributed by her friend Brion Gysin) was called "Haschich Fudge," a mixture of fruit, nuts, spices, and "canibus [sic] sativa," or marijuana. Her name was later lent to the range of cannabis concoctions called Alice B. Toklas brownies. - Wikipedia
How is it that pharmaceutical companies can pump us slowly full of toxins, poisons and pills - with side effects to cause everything from blindness to a habit of walking funny - yet it somehow became illegal to  pluck a weed from the ground and take advantage of its homeopathic healing? 

Tobacco is a natural plant, and it's legal to smoke it.  Sage and thyme are plants, I'm allowed to cook with it.  Aloe is amazing in healing burns, and nobody goes to jail treating their sunburn. 

I am so.. soo.. tired of the government refusing to allow us to live off the land in a safe and affordable manner. 

  • Natural foods cost a fortune compared to the processed crap that food stamps allow us to buy.  
  • Prostitution allows men and women to become an entrepeneur, using a natural commodity.  They can rent out their fingers for hire to work with computers.  Their legs are for hire to stand on a sales floor all day.  Their backs are sold and sacrificed to stock warehouses at night.  But use your privates to make a buck and all bets are off.
  • Drugs are available with a prescription and are as abused as anything else.  Thanks to modern medicine, my mother-in-law has become addicted to a rainbow of narcotics and anti-depressants that she is likely never going to be free of.  Most of her problems would be solved with one simple herb.

One of the things about our current society that irritates me the most is those who live off of unemployment benefits, disability, assistance, and other means of government support who then turn around and work for cash, skipping around Uncle Sam like he's the bozo in the middle that doesn't have a clue.  Marijuana dealers rank the highest among this cult.  They peddle their wares illegally to the general public, and not a stoned cent is claimed as income, while the rest of us pay their share in taxes, all the while judging each other for wanting to indulge in the happy weed and forget about our troubles for a while.

The government wants more money to spend.  When I was a kid, I asked my parents for money to buy candy.  "How do you intend to earn it?"  they asked.

I wish I'd been smart enough to say "Off of the hard work of others."  I wish I'd wanted to be Government when I grew up. 

In case you're wondering, this is all coming from a woman who's never been high (illegally) a day in her life.  With the exception of the contact high from a Halloween party a few years back.  But I digress.

So, why do I support legalization of marijuana?  Because it is a trade, a commodity, just like anything else, and should be treated as such.  Reefer Madness has seen its day come and go.  We've made strides in racism, sexism, ageism and just about every other ism there ever was.  We've marched for civil rights, and for women's rights, and animal rights.  Why can't the potheads have rights too?

The statistics of deaths caused by drunken drivers in this country every single day is staggering.  Add to the mix of drivers on the road under the influence of prescription narcotics - the same narcotics that incite violent behavior in many.  When's the last time you saw a stoner attack anything more than a bag of Doritos? 

I'd never have qualified for the job of Government anyway.  Apparently I'm too smart.  I know where the cash cow is in this country, and happy cows do indeed live in California.  It's not the cheese - it's the grass.

(c) Kymberlie Ingalls, October 7th 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembrance Of Hope

There is something to be said for the open road on a quiet, starry night when the winds whisper and the radio serenades me. 

Right now my husband and I are somewhere on the edge of Nevada and Utah as we embark on a much-needed trip to the homeland of cheese curds and football fanatics.  It’s Grandma’s 90th birthday and it’ll be a fair family occasion.  Wisconsin is a beautiful change of scenery with its blue lakes and green woods. 

Many are asking why we elected to drive rather than fly.  One friend understood, lamenting that he loved the drive home to the south when he visits, but also likes the idea of arriving in one afternoon on a plane.  Thankfully, Roger and I share a love of road trips, so the decision was to drive even with the high price tag at the gas pump.  It’s an especially difficult task as business owners to take the extra time, but watching my husband enjoy himself behind the wheel of our truck tells me it was the right thing to do. 

That, and he flat out refused to fly with me.  I tend to get a little uptight around planes, and this wasn’t the weekend to be getting into skirmishes with airport security. 

Our nation is in a horrible place today with its politics and economy, but we are still free to drive our broke asses across the country and take in every touristy sight along the way.  We are free to speak out about the injustices around us, free to spend our money foolishly while complaining about our government doing the very same.  We are free to support or rally against our military that has been at war since the nightmare that attacked New York City ten years ago in September. 

Yes, it really has been ten years.  The Kennedy assassination of my generation.  Waking to the news that would alter our freewheeling ways forever.  As with the Japanese and the African American races before them, Middle-Easterners became the new enemy to the American public right here on our own land – their home.  Families were ripped apart by death and enlisting soldiers; flags and yellow ribbons splashed across our nation in a sudden patriotic rainbow. 

We all came together as a family that day for those who died, and for those who survived. As all families have their dysfunction, we are in such a state now.  Wishes of peace, and of war, have separated us into battle camps here at home.  This mess we’re in is destroying us – it’s like being on a speeding train that’s going to derail and we have no means to stop it in time.  Sometimes I hear the screeching of the wheels on the steel rails in my sleep. 

Everything we have worked for has slowly died or withered away.  “Don’t let them win!” has been the battle cry, because the message of the 9/11 attacks was to hurt us financially.  Just like a Texan does, Cowboy George came riding in whooping and hollering, dropping bombs and our money along with them.  As God Bless The USA faded on the radio, and the economy began to tank, we turned on each other.  Now that Osama has gone down, the black guy in charge is back to being Public Enemy #1.

Where is that American bond now?  Where is the brotherly love that gave others hope on that day, the day when our skies were dark and our streets were drowned in destruction?

As the white lines blur past us in the night, I’ll be reflecting on what was lost that morning at summer’s twilight – parents, sons and daughters, hopes and dreams.  I’ll take photos of the factories, the corn fields, the hills, mountains and lakes and mostly I’ll be thankful that I have the freedom to write these words.  I don’t support war, nor do I support our involvement in the affairs of other countries, but our men and women are there whether I agree with the reason or not.  They are far from home and deserve my gratitude. 

Yes, there is something to be said for the open road on a quiet, starry night.

Bruce Springsteen - You're Missing

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hot As Heaven

This is a piece written by Marisa Samuels, partly in tribute to the late columnist Art Hoppe, a mainstay of more than 50 years at the San Francisco Chronicle.

Hot as Heaven

“Lord, there is a woman on Earth who says she is hot.”

“Oh, Me, St Peter.  She is?  Well, maybe she lives in what they call the Midwest.  I’ve been having trouble keeping the weather comfortable there.  I don’t know, maybe you-know-who has been interfering with my work.”

“No, Lord.  She says she is hot for Your Son.”

“Hot for My Son?  Does she mean she is hot because of My Son?  That does not make sense.  My Son does not control the weather.  Apparently even I cannot do that, no matter how hard I try.”

“It is a different meaning of ‘hot,’ Lord.  I looked it up on Your computer.  It seems that someone called her ‘hot’ and her associates grumbled.  She then said she was ‘hot for Jesus Christ.’ The shouters in the crowd meant she was ‘hot,’ um, sexually.  That is when she disavowed their assessment.  She says she meant ‘hot’ in the sense of – uh, enthusiasm .  She is enthusiastic about Your Son.”

“Well, that is good.  I am glad I got that computer. I should look up definitions more often.  The computer is easier to use than rummaging through My divine thoughts.  But what kind of crowd would shout such a thing?”

“The woman, who is pretty, in Earth terms, is running for political office.” 

“What sort of political office?”

“President of the United States of America.”


“And she speaks of the End Times.”

“How can she speak of the End Times?  I have not yet scheduled them.  Although, as they say down there, ‘Lord knows’ I have thought of setting a date now and again.  Incidentally, I thought there was a separation of Church and State in the United States.”

“Historically there has been that Separation.  But some seem to want to combine the two.”

“NOT a good idea.  I have seen this happen in other areas of Earth.  Then there are wars, which I try to prevent, but you know, St. Peter, that My creations have free will.”

“Are You tempted to interfere, Lord?”

“I am not tempted to do anything.  My creations are tempted; one hopes they will resist temptation.  Temptations.  If this woman is ‘hot,’ as you say, for My Son, let us hope she keeps her ‘hotness’ in check.”

“I am hot about your decision, and your hope, Lord.”

“St. Peter, PLEASE!”

In fond remembrance of Art Hoppe’s columns in the San Francisco Chronicle.

© Marisa Samuels, August 2011

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


This site has been nominated for a CBS-San Francisco's Most Valuable Blogger Award!  If you like what you've read here, please vote!  And spread the word!  One vote per day is allowed through Sept. 9th, 2011. 

I wouldn't be there if it weren't for every one of you, so thanks! 

You can click here, or copy/paste this link: http://sanfrancisco.blogger.cbslocal.com/most-valuable-blogger/vote/misc/, and just look for Neuroticy on the list.

Let's win this one together!

~ Kymberlie

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Pursuit Of Protest

Today I wanted to try something new - differing points of view.  In regards to the San Francisco protests in recent months, the constitutional right to freedom of speech has been up for debate.  Arguing both sides of the issue are myself, an avenging sort, and Roger Ingalls of Left Coast Voices - a radical thinker who rallies for revolution.  Feel free to chime in.

First Amendment, U.S. Constitution
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
I believe the U.S. is rapidly turning into a police state due to Homeland Security policies put in place during the Bush administration. Today's topic is the right to assemble. As can be seen above, the First Amendment is perfectly simple and direct.

Most people do agree that citizens have the right to assemble for various reasons. However, many people get upset if a protest causes an inconvenience. If a protest doesn't cause some type of grief for somebody than it has failed. An assembly for protest is usually arranged to affect change so it must, by nature, be somehow inconvenient.

Often, when there is a serious protest, the police with all their modern weaponry, night vision, communication devices and armed with civil rights violating Bush-isms, are out in force. Many protest today are against police brutality and government policies that create hardship. It makes sense that citizens should be allowed to use every legal and modern convenience to help them assemble and protest to at least be in the same techno-era as the police.

A new anti-protesting tact used by police and other government agencies is to shut down cellphone towers so the process of assembly for protest is disrupted. This is a violation of civil rights and, in the proper courtroom, in violation of the Constitution.

As countries like China and Egypt are slowly evolving into freer societies, the U.S. is retarding into totalitarianism. What's next, the inability to video tape or report on what appears to inappropriate police activities? Oh wait, maybe that is happening too. It's a slippery slope...wake up America!

- Roger Ingalls

Here’s the thing – I’m really pretty pissed right now and not feeling super-patriotic.  The constitution is supposed to be this great thing that gives us our freedoms and rights and basically says “we’re setting up this government, but unlike our English fathers, we don’t want a tyranny so here are the ground rules…”
Image DetailGreat.  Fantastic.  Only now here’s the problem:  like with anything else, people have taken this over the decades and destroyed any usefulness of a good protest.  Especially recently here in the Bay Area.  Protests have reared like a blazing stallion in an old spaghetti western, but for what cause?  Criminals, and harsh policies / decisions brought on by their own actions.  Who is to blame?  ‘The Man,’ of course.  Apparently Big Brother is supposed to take the ass-kicking that society has given and not return blows.

A police state is looming over us because – hold on to your imaginations, kids – we have become a rancid riotous nation.  And maybe I am a fascist because I tend to think that when you break a law, there are consequences.  It may not always have a rosy outcome like tying up the court system while taxpayers house you and feed you until you get off on a technicality and are free again to further your criminal career, but that’s a risk taken upon making a choice to do the wrong thing.

Everyone threw a fit in San Francisco when Kenneth Harding was ‘killed over a $2 bus fare!’ – my mind was in a tailspin because all I saw was that a parolee wanted for questioning in the murder of a pregnant woman in Seattle was mostly likely about to be detained for that very thing, so he took his chances and bolted.  The community immediately turned it into a race thing because the boy happened to be black, and raised the roof that officers shot at him, denying that it was return fire on their part.  Didn’t matter, the authorities were in the wrong.  Being well-schooled in the concept of irony, I shouldn’t have laughed to myself upon learning that the man who lay bleeding to death in the street while his supporters rallied around him had actually been killed by his own bullet – but I did. 

When Charles Blair Hill took his intoxicated self to the BART train platform and stumbled around uncontrollably, wielding a knife and smashing glass all over the concrete, it was his situation – nobody else put him there.  I wonder who would have protested had he knocked an innocent passenger down the steep stairs or off the platform and onto the electric rail?  Then it would have been “BART sucks because they did nothing to prevent the problem!”  

I don’t just read the news stories about these incidents, I read the comments beneath them.  This is where the realism runs like an icy river throughout our society.  People speak the truth in their minds under false names with a false bravado that disappears under identification.  More people were glad these men are no longer amongst us than are protesting their violent deaths. 

People like yourself are fed up with gun-toting gangsters killing our children and pimping them out like farm animals.  We’re tired of our jacked up justice system letting too many career criminals back out on the streets they have sullied.  So much money has been wasted on the War On Drugs that true victims of rape, beatings and murders go uninvestigated, leading to more civil unrest and anger that bleeds amongst us all in a seething rage that is now showing up in these mobs that are protesting I think just to make some noise.  I wonder if you were to question these loud, angry people if they could tell us what the real cause was or if they just want to be heard by anyone?

We can be angry.  We have a right to be angry – just look around and that’s obvious.  But as Judge Judy always says:  “Be mad all you want to, but that doesn’t give you the right to break the law or to put your hands on anyone.”  And it’s not even that others don’t want to be involved, it’s that they don’t support the cause. 

Last week, BART officials made a monumental decision to disable cell phone service inside their stations when rumblings came around that the latest protest against the train service would be perpetuated by cell communication.  They did this knowing that there were emergency phones on the platforms for passengers, should the need arise. 

Given that at the last ‘peaceful protest’ at the Civic Center station got so out of control, people were climbing on top of the trains in order to stop the service, pushing, shoving, and screaming in the faces of officers was all prevalent it is understandable why they want to avoid another such situation.  The BART spokespeople have repeatedly stated that protesters are welcome anywhere but on the platforms, which makes sense if you’ve ever been on one. They are very open and the stairwells are extremely steep, the electric train rails are just one misstep away.  It is not safe for anyone to be in a mob scene there.  But these groups aren’t satisfied with following the rules. 

Those that showed up to protest Harding’s death threw tear gas down into the Muni train station entrances, vandalized the police substations, and stopped traffic everywhere they went. 

So, I feel that BART officials made the right decision, despite that they are a government agency who has to follow the constitutional amendments, in looking after their passengers safety.  If I were on that train, that’s exactly what I’d expect them to do, and I’m mad as hell just thinking of all of those people trying to get where they need to be and being held captive by these loud-mouthed, angry-at-the-world troublemakers. 

(photos - KGO-San Francisco)

Now there’s a group of cyber-thugs who call themselves “Anonymous” who hacked into a third party BART companion website and, among other tactics, exposed the names and personal info of its users, all the while protesting their right to free speech. 

Anonymous (used as a mass noun) is a group initiating active civil disobedience and spread through the Internet while staying hidden, originating in 2003, representing the concept of many online community users simultaneously existing as an anarchic, digitized global brain. It is also generally considered to be a blanket term for members of certain Internet subcultures, a way to refer to the actions of people in an environment where their actual identities are not known
I’d like to know how they figure that trumps others’ right to privacy.  There is an irony in there somewhere that is too great for even Alanis to capture in a song.   ‘Anonymous’ called for a rally today in the City against BART’s curtailing of ‘free speech’ in last week’s protest event. The end result, of course, was that several stations were closed due to the mob mentality sparking once again and a rowdiness that ultimately made it unsafe for the passengers to exit the trains by trying to jam the doors and stop the service altogether.  When they were herded to the street because they didn’t follow the parameters laid out to them, they then stopped traffic several times rather than staying on the sidewalk where their pontifications would have drawn more support had they simply shouted their message from the sidewalks, not smeared it in the  faces of everyone trying to get home at the end of a long day.

Let me make sure I have this message right:  Your lives are unimportant compared to offenses that we weren’t even victims of.  Oh, and our cause is so important we’re going to hide like little whiney babies behind masks so that our lives are not disrupted by the pesky cops looking for us for illegal hacking and victimizing all of those people!

As the world crumbles around us like a burning building, it is people such as these who would trample over the kids and the animals to make sure that the arsonist got to safety. 

"Grand Pappy told my Pappy 'Back in my day, son, a man had to answer for the wicked that he done...'"

~ Kymberlie Ingalls

Monday, July 18, 2011

Dangerous Minds

There is something wrong with us.  Something wrong that we cannot look away from a person who lies dying in the street. 
“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” – Andy Warhol
(warning: *GRAPHIC*)

I’m no exception.  I watched the video.  I knew what it contained and watched it anyway,  and my first thought was – at least no bystanders were killed, and that’s one less criminal on the street.  

Good grief, I could swear that was Nancy Grace reflected back at me in my monitor just now – judge and jury all in one. 

The 19-year-old suspect of a shooting in San Francisco on July 16th, 2011, Kenneth Harding, was fleeing the scene when detained over not paying for his Muni train fare.  Harding turned and reportedly opened fire on the police, who returned shots and fatally wounded him.  He was a ‘person of interest’ in the killing of a 19-year-old pregnant woman and the wounding of three others in Seattle – all innocent victims of being in the wrong place at the wrong time during a shooting.  He was also recently paroled for the sexual assault of a child.

This is who thousands of people are defending, raging against the police for shooting.  This is the ‘victim.’ 

There are two kinds of anger that are raging across our nation these days, and it seems reminiscent to me of an earlier time:  those on the side of the police, despite their fallacies, and those feeling suppressed by authority, despite their own wrongdoings.  A civil war is afoot, and the blood that should bond us is rapidly thinning as it is shed all over the streets. 

As per usual in our current climate, the blood of this incident was literally captured on video by many witnesses.  The subsequent hate that has spread across the internet like a raging fire in a windstorm is quite disturbing to me.  In a Google search, these are ‘headlines’ that came up:

‘SFPD Shoots Innocent Victim Five Times For Not Paying Bus Fare!’
‘San Francisco Police Shoot And Kill Teenager Over $2 Bus Fare’
San Fran Police Shoot Un-Armed Man Five Times – It Starts A Riot!’
And this is the problem with ‘journalism’ today.  Everyone thinks that their perception of the truth is just that – the almighty Truth.  It’s not.  Nobody knows the difference between opinion and fact anymore despite our cameras that have become extensions of our hands, and we are so bent on creating our own truths that we’ve become quite the distorted society. 
As someone who has a criminal past (albeit never a violent one), has been convicted of a her crimes, who has been poorer than poor, homeless, and angry at the world, there comes a time that everyone faces – time to make a choice.  Spin the wheels of being the victim, or learn, and better ourselves.  I’ve walked in the shoes of both sides, and made my choices. 

Sitting back and watching the many who perpetuate the love for the criminally minded pisses me off.  How about the respect for those who slap on a badge, and in the middle of a routine transit-fare-violation citing are suddenly chasing down an armed suspect and being shot at? 

If the bullets were speeding at you, would you draw your weapon, or stand still while your fellow officers went down?  If it were your loved ones waiting for you to come home that day, their faces in the back of your eyes, what would you do?

Tell yourself all the lies you want to if it will help you sleep better, but my truth is that my life is my priority.  Furthermore, too many officers being shot at actually do take the public’s safety into consideration.  Everyone thanks the soldiers overseas for doing their job to protect us and others, and rightfully so, but nobody wants to thank an officer fighting for our homeland.  Fighting the war that wages on our own streets.

At the end of the day, the loss of a life is a sad affair.  That the priority of people on the scene was to scream at authority and grasp at their 15 minutes of fame with their videos deeply bothers me.  That people refuse to see what is bleeding before them bothers me. 

Everyone else is to blame – never ourselves.  Never those who’ve done wrong.  When street justice takes someone’s life, it’s okay.  Add a badge to the mix and it’s a sudden outcry of injustice. 

A civil war has begun, alright.  Here in our diverse Bay Area, it’s not the blue versus the gray, it’s black and blue all over.  Bruises that discolor the sky over the glorious Golden Gate. 

Tell your truth now – did you watch the video?  And what were your real thoughts as you did?

© Kymberlie Ingalls, July 18, 2011


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