The State of Depression

19 Feb depression art

This article on http://www.weather.com was rather interesting until the last page.

The 10 Most Depressing States in the U.S.

To summarize, it lists (rather irresponsibly and), alphabetically, indicators of what makes these states possibly depressive to live in.  Things like poor economy, high unemployment rate, poor health statistics, etc.  I was rather intrigued by these statistics until I read the last page, listed for West Virginia:

The Mountain State is ranked last or next-to-last in every mental-health category on our list, including the average number of “mentally unhealthy” days residents have per month and the percentage of people who experience frequent mental distress (15%).

One reason may be that roughly two-thirds of West Virginians live in rural areas, where both steady jobs and access to mental health care can be hard to come by. A 2000 study found that while nearly 1 in 3 residents living in rural areas had “a high level” of depression symptoms, almost half had never been treated for the condition by any doctor, let alone a psychiatrist or mental-health specialist.

I think the most interesting sentence there is the one listing their supposition behind these markers for frequent mental distress: these people live in rural areas where almost half had never been treated for their conditions by any doctor, psychiatrist or mental-health specialist.

Doesn’t this seem a bit arrogant to you?

I can see one side of the coin, and probably how it was meant, that it is a largely agrarian, mining, and industrial society that has incredibly sparse access to the luxury of a mental health physician…but the other side of the coin?

Are they really implying that rural society must be depressed because they are rural?  That’s how this last page read to me.  Not to mention that it was incredibly irresponsible to make a LIST of the most depressing states for those states to see.  Gee, let’s just tell people how sick they are! (and watch the money roll in for the medical profession, I think?)

Look at that last sentence.  “1 in 3 residents living in rural areas had a ‘high level’ of depression symptoms“.  Where are the actual numbers stating that these people have depression?  I can sigh and have a bad day, but maybe I just stubbed my toe.  Does that mean I’m depressed?  Maybe I’m having trouble making my checkbook balance and my kid’s clothes weren’t completely dry before sending them off to school today so they might catch cold before the day’s out.  With winter storms like we’ve been having, every day being cloudy and rainy and snowy…YEAH, I’m going to look depressed, but that doesn’t mean I am clinically or chronically depressed to the point where I need help.  You can observe many points where I might look like I need medical attention, but I can look on Webmd.com all day long and find symptoms I’m sick with, too.  That doesn’t mean I’m really sick.  I can write an entire thesis on the supposed connection between strep throat carriers and autistic children, but it doesn’t mean it’s true.

My point is, the medical profession and their researchers are becoming increasingly arrogant to believe that just because they say something is so, we need to believe it and never question them.  I know this is one report and one article, but honestly, how many times do you read or see some kind of advertisement that wants you to try something new, simply because you “might” be expressing those symptoms?

THAT’S unhealthy, and something incredibly arrogant in the current pharmaceutical and medical professions.

I leave you with this:  Please don’t hesitate to question your doctors.  They are human and second opinions are well-respected.  Don’t fall for this claptrap that someone puts online about “depressing states”.  If you feel depressed, yes of course, get whatever help you need and I’m sure you (and especially West Virginia) have a medical professional or at least a counselor within at least 100 miles that can help.  Do not forget the power of friends and family, or if you’re religious, the higher power of your faith.

What have you seen recently that has been a solid representation of irresponsible medical advertising?

A Question of Ownership

17 Jan images

So, considering the previous post is about gun control, the question before us really should be: who do you want to have the guns?

Because there will be guns. No one’s getting rid of them. Do you want them? Do you want them to be in the hands of our military?  Do you want them in the hands of hired professionals?  Do you want them in the hands of criminals? (which the case will be if guns become illegal)

A gun is a tool of control and America knows how to use that tool. No one will be able to enforce a culture of millions of people to simply throw away every single one.

Why? Because there are other people outside our country who will come in with guns and feed the populace with them, regardless of legality. Then the good will become criminal in order to “protect”. It’s in our nature.

Survival of the fittest, call it what you will, but it is. We hit with the biggest rock to protect what is ours. Its that basic and for that reason alone, there will always be guns.

So, on that, decide. Who do you want to have them. Us? Them? You? It will never be NO ONE.

As I watch our freedom break…

17 Jan liberty

After reading this article and watching the news, I’m having difficulty coming to terms with how exactly to react to the newly proposed gun control measures.

I had a discussion with a coworker about this very proposal the other day and he cited that it was ridiculous for someone to want an assault rifle. He said, “Well, what if I want a tank in my front yard? A battleship in my backyard?” He was trying to be facetious and point out that it was something extraneous and unnecessary for the public to have access to these things, but my immediate reaction was: YOU CAN! If you have the resources, the space, and you’re not infringing on someone else’s rights, YOU CAN! You have the right to own these things, be they rifles, machinery, or whatever! (Of course, this is an extreme example and military surplus laws providing).

Freedom of Speech, Religion, freedom from oppression and the Right to KEEP and Bear Arms were so important to our foundation as a fledgling country, that they were the very first things they thought about when amending the Constitution. We have had many important things brought before our government and after much deliberation, they were listed as amendments to the Constitution, and very few as far reaching as the first two:

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Amendments

Proposal date

Enactment date

1st Protects freedom of speechfreedom of religion, and freedom of the press, as well as the right to assemble and petition the government September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791
2nd Protects an individual’s right to bear arms September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791
3rd Prohibits the forced quartering of soldiers during peacetime September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791
4th Prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and sets out requirements for search warrants based on probable cause September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791
5th Sets out rules for indictment by grand jury and eminent domain, protects the right to due process, and prohibits self-incrimination and double jeopardy September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791
6th Protects the right to a fair and speedy public trial by jury, including the rights to be notified of the accusations, to confront the accuser, to obtain witnessesand to retain counsel September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791
7th Provides for the right to trial by jury in certain civil cases, according to common law September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791
8th Prohibits excessive fines and excessive bail, as well as cruel and unusual punishment September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791
9th Protects rights not enumerated in the constitution. September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791
10th Limits the powers of the federal government to those delegated to it by the Constitution September 25, 1789 December 15, 1791
11th Immunity of states from suits from out-of-state citizens and foreigners not living within the state borders. Lays the foundation for sovereign immunity March 4, 1794 February 7, 1795
12th Revises presidential election procedures December 9, 1803 June 15, 1804
13th Abolishes slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime January 31, 1865 December 6, 1865
14th Defines citizenship, contains the Privileges or Immunities Clause, the Due Process Clause, the Equal Protection Clause, and deals with post-Civil War issues June 13, 1866 July 9, 1868
15th Prohibits the denial of suffrage based on race, color, or previous condition of servitude February 26, 1869 February 3, 1870
16th Allows the federal government to collect income tax July 12, 1909 February 3, 1913
17th Establishes the direct election of United States Senators by popular vote May 13, 1912 April 8, 1913
18th Establishes prohibition of alcohol (repealed by Twenty-first Amendment) December 18, 1917 January 16, 1919
19th Establishes women’s suffrage June 4, 1919 August 18, 1920
20th Fixes the dates of term commencements for Congress (January 3) and the President (January 20); known as the “lame duck amendment” March 2, 1932 January 23, 1933
21st Repeals the Eighteenth Amendment and prohibits violations of state laws regarding alcohol. February 20, 1933 December 5, 1933
22nd Limits the number of times that a person can be elected president. A person cannot be elected president more than twice. Additionally, a person who has served more than two years of a term to which someone else was elected cannot be elected more than once. March 24, 1947 February 27, 1951
23rd Provides for representation of Washington, D.C. in the Electoral College June 16, 1960 March 29, 1961
24th Prohibits the revocation of voting rights due to the non-payment of poll taxes September 14, 1962 January 23, 1964
25th Codifies the Tyler Precedent; defines the process of presidential succession July 6, 1965 February 10, 1967
26th Establishes the right to vote for those age 18 years or older. March 23, 1971 July 1, 1971
27th Prevents laws affecting Congressional salary from taking effect until the beginning of the next session of Congress September 25, 1789 May 7, 1992[1]

Interesting, right? What I find most intriguing is reading the 4th-9th Amendments. Especially the 9th, but I’ll get to that in a minute. The fourth through eighth amendments would – eventually – be directly affected by infringing on our rights so directly as this recent proposition attempts.

This is what we’re afraid of. It’s not so much that we want to be able to shoot anything in our path, or that we’re a particularly violent populace (there will always be evil and good co-habitant and humanity is incapable of being utopic) but we’re afraid that these basic respects and rights – that we feel are part of the very foundation of our country – will begin to crumble and fall with such a series of bans. These bans start reasonable, such as banning fully automatic weaponry, or magazines that hold more than ten bullets (I actually don’t agree with it, but we’re using it for example). These are things that most people can ‘let go’, as we don’t need them in a home and most untrained people are rather afraid of assault weaponry. Fine. What next? Banning silencers? Banning semi-automatic weaponry? That includes the Great American 1911.

Look at the wording and see how it can be used against us before agreeing to it outright. If one is banned, soon another will be, then another. Say semi-automatics are banned, what’s next? Handguns? We’ll be left with simple rifles and shotguns, probably with a special hunting license and only if we’re apart from a population of so-many people, or separated from the road by so-many hundred yards.

How fast do you think these things will happen? Very, if we allow one step, one inch, one small pebble to fall off this Freedom Cliff. It will avalanche until we have no rights left to protect ourselves.

Forgive me, but I have scenes from Orwell’s 1984 constantly running through my head as the avalanche continues, unchecked through all of our personal liberties.

Before I dissent into that, let’s take a logical look at what the fourth through eighth amendments stand for and how they can be affected by such a decline:

4th: Protection from unreasonable search and seizure.

What determines that which is unreasonable? The government does, not us. So when they come knocking on our doors to collect those newly banned weapons, is it with a warrant? Do they just demand we hand over our property?

5th: Protects the right of due process and protects us from self-incrimination.

Are we incriminating ourselves if we feel it is against our basic freedoms to keep that which we’ve owned for years? If a ban comes in place, have we automatically incriminated ourselves if we hand them over ‘too late’?

6th: The right to be notified of accusations.

What if someone looks particularly gun-happy? What if they have a passion for weaponry as a hobby? Will these things be snatched away without notification? Yes, it sounds extreme, but how far does this press? How far does the ban go? Will it be retroactive? Carried out by profiling? Will we have to register everything now? And as far as the new proposal for controlling gun trafficking, how quickly can that spiral out of control, if something of ours is stolen but we can’t prove it was stolen because we couldn’t claim we had it in the first place? Remember, self-incrimination.

7th: The basic right to a trial by jury.

Can you imagine how any of the above listed possibilities will now tie up, drain and FUND the judicial system? We’ll be in court for years trying to gain our BASIC freedoms back.

8th: Prohibits excessive fines or bail, also prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.

So, if we are defending ourselves, in our home, with a weapon that would (possibly soon) be considered contraband, how steep will that fine be? How will the police treat us? As terrorists? After all, we have banned weaponry. Will we then be beaten and our property taken from us?

Now, this brings us to the 9th amendment. Ah, yes, I particularly love this one. It has so much depth to it and I don’t think anyone has really looked at it. Especially the fourth article:

Article the fourth….. A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed

Did you catch that? It is ILLEGAL for the President, for Congress, for any member of government to actually infringe on our right to keep and bear arms. They are breaking the constitution by trying to do so.

Now, the other, very quickly-read part of that article is this: “Being necessary to the security of a free state”. Think about that. Some of you will argue that the security of that state is taken care of by the police and military. Is it? Really? These entities are reactionary, not protective entities. They enforce the laws, but cannot intervene (yet) unless a law has been broken. This article states that a well-regulated Militia is supposed to handle this, but we’ve not had a “militia” for over a century. What defines this Militia? Dictionaries refer to it as “A military force of civilians to supplement a regular army in an emergency.” Hmm. Emergency. What, then would they constitute an emergency? Is that defined Federally or Gubernatorially? The state is supposed to be able to function independently of the federal government, so perhaps the state makes this decision?  It is, however, protected Federally. So, the federal government would then protect the right of a standing militia? Do we have to sign up for this, or is it every able-bodied citizen over a certain age?

Interesting, isn’t it? That I have to sit here and try to define what it means to be able to protect my family, whether I have the right or if I’m to be denied based on my status as a civilian.

The United States of America is a country built on freedom from oppression. So very much of our own sacred symbolism reflects this. Look at the Statue of Liberty, a gift from France – a long standing ally. Think about the inscription on the tablet. It is literally the dates of the American and French Revolutions. These dates are so important that they are imprinted upon the first thing people think of when they think of Freedom. Now, let’s look at the poem on the base of this statue, by Emma Lazarus:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.” How amazing is this line? Her name “Mother of Exiles”. Liberty. For so very long, this is where people came in to this country, that is what they saw, this is what they read and that is how they felt. Why are we endangering this?

America is the land of freedom, the last true bastion and example of a government NOT infringing on a public’s rights. Some of you might say that I am exploding this out of proportion, that this is still extraneous, but we have the freedom of choice and ownership NOW.

What happens when that is taken away from us, or worse, we give up that freedom? What becomes of our personal liberties, then? That Liberty become weakened and the precipice of freedom we’re teetering on starts crumbling. This is why the American populace has become so passionate about such a proposition as this little amendment.

We believe we have the right to pursue our own happiness. We believe we have the right to freedom from oppressive rule. These are BASICS, stated in our very Declaration of Independence and Constitution, the founding documents of this country.

Now, I understand that there comes a point when we have to say “enough”. We have to interpret according to modern needs and clarify those rights based on such. The abolition of slavery and indentured servitude, as well as the basic ability to vote have been established thusly, but these are things that were defined by our very motto: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Do we have the right to interpret something that inhibits those rights instead of protecting them?

Take a look at the 18th and 21st amendments. Prohibition. This is a prime example of three things: Amendments can and will be repealed, that the American populace can work together to get this done (even over the course of decades), and that the American populace does not like infringement of their freedoms. Violence actually increased during this time of prohibition, when this law was set in place to reduce it.

The following are statistics detailing how much worse crime became:

  • Police funding: INCREASED $11.4 Million

  • Arrests for Prohibition Las Violations: INCREASED 102+%

  • Arrests for Drunkenness and Disorderly Conduct: INCREASED 41%

  • Arrests of Drunken Drivers: INCREASED 81%

  • Thefts and Burglaries: INCREASED 9%

  • Homicides, Assault, and Battery: INCREASED 13%

  • Number of Federal Convicts: INCREASED 561%

  • Federal Prison Population: INCREASED 366%

  • Total Federal Expenditures on Penal Institutions: INCREASED 1,000%

Huh. Wait a minute. The government set a law in place to put a ban on something that was considered the root of trouble for that time period (“The reign of tears is over. The slums will soon be a memory. We will turn our prisons into factories and our jails into storehouses and corncribs. Men will walk upright now, women will smile and children will laugh. Hell will be forever for rent.” -Reverend Billy Sunday), and 26 years later, that ban was repealed because it did not reduce crime, it increased it?

Really.  Huh.

Now, there’s something we take for granted during this time period: the simple act of purchasing and drinking alcohol. Yes, it can get out of control, and yes, some bad seeds abuse it, but on the whole…they found that banning this “root of evil” did not actually reduce criminal activity. It drove people to rise up and act in defiance of that law. Entire fortunes were made breaking this law, finding ways around it, creating little priest-holes of iniquity under their noses, but it in no way reduced crime related to alcohol.

Was it because we’re just that bad? Or did we chafe under so much of a yoke? I think it was the latter, that Americans felt they had no other way to show their disquiet than to “act up”, like an ignored and over-protected child. Honestly, if you take away such a right as our own protection (which this kind of ban is CLOSELY related to) then how else can we respond?

We do not take kindly to having our rights impeded and should this happen, we will find a way to fight it. This is who we are and we’ve proven it time and time again. Our country was founded on people sick of being downtrodden, corralled, ruled and beleaguered by the very governments they fled.

We have entire mixtures of populations all about this country, grown solely from political refugees. The majority of the American population started their families here in order to throw off the yoke of an oppressive world and start anew in the land of freedom.

And now, like the pre-World War II Austrians, our country is on the brink of economic disaster and someone offers us a shiny package of promise. Promise of change, of protection and happiness. Of progress. All we have to do is hand over our freedoms. Like they did, we will be willingly handing over our very protection and opening ourselves to a freefall towards dictatorship. We will become a conquered people, gladly and meekly.

What then? Who will come to our aid to defend our freedoms?

Do you think other countries will be happy to step in and liberate us from our prideful fall?

No. They will see that we did it to ourselves, and let us wallow in it. We’re the only country left in this world with the power, the position, the beliefs and the ability to stand up and help those in need…

If that fails, who will help us?

No one.

Because no one will be left.

Seriously. Think about those who would actually stand up and try to help us. Who would they talk to? Who would they advise? How would they go about it? Would they have the military and the money as well as the political stance within their own country to be able to step in and save us from a spiraling downfall like this?

No. They would talk with our government, and be appeased. Or if not, they would try to fund factions as a means of help, but then be fined by our own government for intervening or funding an illegal action. If I am right, that is also close kin to a war-crime, and our allies in the UN have long felt that we are too aggressive as a populace. Our government would also find their new-found welcome by less-aggressive countries to be appealing. This move would be beneficial to other countries, much more so than any conscience might mitigate otherwise. Cultural differences aside, I do not think there would be many countries at all that would even bother to give us a hand up. They would watch and wait to see who came out on top.

We are then left to fight our own fight. This is how I do it, how will you?

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