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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The last dress

Saturday, October 22 started out just like any other Saturday for me. Ole Miss was playing Arkansas in Oxford at 11:21 AM. It was another SEC game in the middle of a terrible season for Ole Miss. I got up early and made my way to the stadium. A few hours later I made my way back home after seeing my team lose again. As terrible as we have played here lately that wasn't really shocking. I thought the rest of the day would be spent just watching football. As soon as we got home my dad told me the family was called in and my grandmother wasn't going to make it very much longer. I knew that she had not been doing very well but was very shocked about hearing this. I guess I should have known that it was coming, but you are never prepared for it when it happens. She had dementia for the longest time which to me is just another word for Alzheimer's. It was my mom's mother and she had made her way to the nursing home. At this point I just got completely quiet and didn't really know what to say. I wanted to go to the nursing home to be there for my mom but at the same time I didn't want to see my grandmother pass away. I believe a big part of that has to do with my accident. I was in the hospital for several months and it's been very hard for me to visit anybody in the same position. I have been to the hospital to visit with family of a friend of mine but I never went into the room. I had so many emotions going on that I felt that I need to write about this to get it out. At the top of my blog entry it says that I will give you a look inside my mind. This is something that will definitely give you a chance to do that.

One of the first immediate emotions that I had was regret. I had several opportunities to go visit my grandmother with my mom and decided not to because she was at the nursing home. She had not been doing too well and I just hate nursing homes. Which is absolutely no excuse. I do vividly remember one of the last times my grandmother came to see me at my house. For the longest time we had to yell everything that we said to her because her hearing had gotten very bad. She also had gotten to the point to where she couldn't see very well at all either. One of the things I remember her telling me was well I can't see you very well or hear you but I still love you. I told her that I loved her too and I could tell that it bothered her that I was paralyzed. Some people don't even have to tell me I can just sense it. At this time she was still living in her trailer in Pontotoc. I wasn't able to get into her house at that time. My regret was not the only emotion I was feeling at the time. I was upset that my grandmother had passed away. I also immediately started to think about my mom. It is very hard to imagine losing your mother, and how you will deal with it. Also at the same time her death also came with a sense of peace and relief for my grandmother. Her Alzheimer's had gotten so bad that she wasn't eating anymore, and her quality of life was very low. At that point, you just don't want to see somebody you love suffer anymore.

Another thing going through my mind was the fact that I no longer had any grandparents. My grandfather on my dad's side died before I was even born. My grandfather on my moms side had also passed away before I was born. My grandmother on my dad's side had moved to Statesboro Georgia which is very close to the East Coast. I was able to see her a few times when I had gotten older before she passed away several years ago. So my grandmother Mildred Duke was my last living grandparent. For most of my life she had lived in the Delta. She always came to visit us , because I really don't remember going to the Delta to visit. I've been trying to remember the name of the small-town that she was living in but can think of it. I remember when she was getting older and she didn't have anybody (family) living close to her in the Delta so she decided to move closer to Pontotoc. I'm not sure if she decided that or if my mom helped to talk her into moving closer to everyone. I remember making the trip to the Delta with my mom in a U-Haul truck to help her move. It is funny to think back on it now because it was almost like an episode of American pickers. We were trying to load as much of the bigger stuff that we could and trying to leave out some stuff that we did not think that she really needed. But some of the things we sometimes look at as junk are other people's treasures. My mom would try to tell me not to worry about something in particular,but my grandmother would come along behind her saying not to forget this ha ha. At the time I didn't respect that as much as I do now. You realize that some people collect stuff over the years and it's hard to get rid of it. But in no way am I saying she was anything compared to a hoarder. Now it is funny because my dad is the same way. I think I also inherited from him and my grandmother. I find myself not wanting to get rid of things because of sentimental value. But we finally got it loaded and the U-Haul was packed tight.

There's really not much to the Delta, but my grandmother loved it out there. Once you get to a certain point it is nothing but flat land and fields as for as you can see. Mosquitoes are big enough to carry you away out there as well ha ha. Now that I think about it she also loved to quilt. I'm guessing that is a great way to pass time in the Delta. We still have some of those that she made for us when we were younger. I wish that I would've been a lot older and been able to spend time with her in the Delta. I would have been more mature and a lot more patient. When you are a kid you always have your mind on so many other things. Which I believe I've always been mature for my age even when I was younger but you don't think about some serious stuff. Just looking back I didn't really get a chance to be as close to my grandmother as I would've liked. Time is really something we should all think about. What are we doing with all of our time? Sometimes in life we get so busy that we fail to spend some quality time with the people that we love the most. I know that someone is probably reading this thinking about how this is a lot of rambling. I just had so many different thoughts going through my head that I wanted to get them all out. I'm sure you've experienced a point whenever you want to write about something but your thoughts get mixed up. Then you have a hard time putting it all in order. I feel like that is the way that life goes sometimes. Every day you wake up with plans to make something happen and you get distracted. It reminds me of the saying life is what happens while you are making plans.

I believe that is the way my grandmother was a lot of her life. She never knew how certain things were going to work out but she just kept moving along. She made a place her home and was always on the move. My mother was born in Arkansas. But when they were younger they moved to Mobile Alabama. She lived there for a portion of her life until they moved to the Pontotoc area. Then my grandmother got remarried again and moved to the Delta. No matter where she lived she was always on the road. I remember her going on a few vacations with us to Florida. We would always stop in Mobile Alabama to visit my uncle William. I guess the main point I'm trying to get across she loved to travel. I just thought of something funny, while I was writing. I remember getting on to the Natchez trace to go somewhere one day and we passed my grandmother with her husband. I can't remember if she even had a cell phone back then or we somehow flagged her down. They had been coming from somewhere in the Delta. My mom asked well were you just going to pass through and not stop by to see anybody. They were headed somewhere to sell something they had been collecting and that's all they had on their mind ha ha. That was something I failed to mention earlier. My grandmother's husband passed away and she was living by herself in the Delta. That was another reason she needed to move closer to family. Once she moved here her health started to deteriorate over time. She had gotten to the point where she couldn't drive anymore. Her car was actually broken down and just sat in the driveway basically so anybody coming along thought there were somebody home. I truly believe when we get to a point to where we are no longer mobile it begins to take a toll. There is something really precious about independence. Especially with someone who was always getting out. In a way you could almost compare home to becoming a prison somewhat metaphorically. Except you're just not always confined their whenever you have someone to get you out. And you also get to a point where home is so familiar it is a safe place to be. My grandmother's vision had gotten bad but she was still able to make her way around her house because she was familiar with it. I truly believe there should be some type of study done to show quality of life after you're not able to drive anymore. You could focus on the different psychological effects. If you really think about it some time sitting around with nothing to do in your house can seem like an eternity. This really gives you something to think about when you're on the go and you may know someone that's not able to get out on their own anymore. I'm not at all trying to say that nobody took her anywhere or anything like that. It is just something really different about being at the mercy of other people to take you anywhere. Which I'm speaking of my situation as well so I understand what it's like. I even think a lot about having the ability to drive again, and how much more I could get out. That's something else I haven't thought about until now. Maybe my job as a police officer always being on the road was appealing to me because I inherited that from my grandmother.

It's amazing how much you can learn about yourself while writing. I've started to realize some things that I've never really thought about before that I've gained from my family. I know by this point someone is questioning the title of this entry. Well let me get to that point. The day after my grandmother passed away my mom was very busy helping with the arrangements. Well one time before she left the house she said she had to go shopping for a dress. She was actually going to get the dress for my grandmother. I just really started to think about the emotions and the thoughts going through your mind while having to do this. Maybe with everything else going on the thought never crossed her mind. Really, the more I think about it the less significant it really becomes. But it is also very important to women on how you think they look. I remember shopping with my ex while she tried on dresses. She always came out and wanted to know what I thought about it. I never understood because I wasn't a fashion expert or anything. But it really did matter to her what my opinion was, regardless. I think the significance of the dress came through even more at the visitation. My grandmother was wearing a light-colored purple buttoned longsleeved dress coat. I realized that my mom also had on a purple dress shirt but not the same style. At that moment, I just began to think about how much my mom means to me. She has been by my side since the day of my accident. It also gave me an eerie feeling for a moment that I don't even want to talk further about. I could also write an entire blog about how special my mom is to me. I plan on doing that one day as well. I have always truly believed that the small things are sometimes the most important in your life. I guess that's why some of the smallest details stood out to me so much.

Once the funeral started they started to play a few songs. Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I think everyone knows that song even if they've never stepped foot in a church. I was sitting at the very front right beside my parents. I just stared at the casket with a million thoughts going through my mind. The casket was white with pink roses drawn in on certain parts of it. There was a beautiful set of pink roses on top of the casket. It almost felt like I was struggling for breath. They started to play an old Indian song without any words. I had almost forgotten that my grandmother was part Indian. If you ever met her it was very easy to tell because of her natural tan color that she had. It really stuck out in my mind because I had just seen my grandmother for the last time and she was very pale. It really makes you realize how much more there is to your body. When I was looking it was really not my grandmother but her body that she had left behind. Her soul and her spirit had already left a couple of days ago. She was experiencing something that our human mind has trouble comprehending. I'd like to imagine that she was driving again on her way home to a place that is so amazing and perfect knowing she never had to leave. On the way she could see and hear better than she ever had her entire life. And on the ride there were sites to see that were more beautiful than any sunset in any part of this world. Better than any change of the year whether spring or fall. Even greater than the tallest mountain or the most beautiful ocean view. I also hope that she knows that she has inspired me. I know that she always believed in me. I want to write more. I want to learn a lot more. I also want to prove to not just myself but everyone else there is a great reason that I'm still here today. I want to do everything possible that I can do so that when I see her again one day she can greet me with pride.

I know there was some rambling along the way and a lot of the writing is not in perfect order. But I hope that while you're reading this you're thinking about the people that you cherish in your life today. If you are having some problems within your family over something that is very petty get it fixed today. I am a living testament to the fact that life can be taken away in minutes because not everybody is as lucky as I was. I'm not saying I want you to start thinking about the end of your life or worry about dieng. I want you to think about what your life is like right now. Who is that person that you need to call and tell them you love them. And if your parents or grandparents have passed away then think about the good times that you had with them. You might also realize just how much similarities that you now have with them as well. Even though you always say you won't end up like your parents ha ha. And lastly, I appreciate you taking your time to read my blog entry about my grandmother. I also want to thank you in advance for any comments you may leave on the blog.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Necessity is the mother of invention.

I really believe in the ability to adapt and overcome to any type of situation. This is one of the reasons I love technology so much these days. A lot of things have allowed me to continue doing simple task that we all take for granted. I have mentioned before that I would like to write about some different forms of assistive technology. Well this is something that I have come across to actually allow people to keep up with me. I believe that you can define assistive technology as something that makes life easier for those around you and yourself. I am always researching little gadgets that can make my life a lot easier. One of my favorite websites to check out is the Christopher and Dana Reeve foundation, which is www.christopherreeve.org. While I was looking through their gift guide I came across this neat device that attaches to the back of your wheelchair to allow someone to roll along behind your wheelchair. One of the reasons why I wanted to share this with everyone is to help make it easier for someone that is following around a wheelchair all day. Being in a power wheelchair you will forget just how much walking around the other person is doing. Which some of us would say don't complain about being able to walk but we do have to remember that some of those people have to take care of you later that night. Especially after a long day of being out.

Well this is exactly what happened to one older couple. The lady that came up with this device explains the situation on the about us page of the website www.thecareeon.com. I will quickly paraphrase how she came up with the idea. She starts out by saying that her husband has used a motorized wheelchair for two decades. She goes on to say the longer he had the wheelchair, the faster he would go. That also allowed him to get back outside and travel around more. While he was getting around faster she was not able to keep up with him. She also had a history of foot and ankle problems. So one day after being at the mall for a long time her husband noticed she was in a lot of pain trying to keep up. They both discuss the problem, and she had a solution. She came up with a plate to attach to the wheelchair that wouldn't add any extra weight directly to the chair. After that they were able to do more stuff than even before. After several people started asking about it while they were out they decided to start making them for everyone.

If you know of anybody that's having problems keeping up with someone in a wheelchair then this is perfect for them. Once again you should check out the website www.thecareeon.com. They have a number that you can call and make sure the device will work with your chair. They also can paint the plate any color that you would like. I added the video below so you can watch one in action.




Friday, September 9, 2011

College football in Oxford, Mississippi!

My absolute favorite sport to watch is football. There is nothing better than spending a day in the south watching your favorite college football team. My favorite team has always been the Ole Miss Rebels. I have been an Ole Miss fan my entire life. Yes, even as a baby I was cheering on the rebels ha ha. The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) is also my alma mater. If you are into tailgating there is no greater place than the Grove in the center of campus. It has been ranked as one of the top places in the country to tailgate by several different sports publications. It is about a 10 acre area filled with oak and magnolia trees. It is also covered with pathways to walk. The football season has started once again. I have season tickets and made it to the game this past Saturday, September 3. I just want to go through my usual experience on fall Saturdays in Oxford, Mississippi.

I found a video that chronologically went through the day of the football game this past Saturday. When I saw that it made me want to write about my personal experience as a fan. The game was at 3:45 PM. I got up early that morning to head to the grove before noon. We ended up parking in the ADA lot which is a pretty good distance from the grove. They have a handicapped shuttle, which would be more convenient for my brother than myself, but we arrived before they started the service. So it was a long walk (roll) for me and my brother. We carried food along the way to add to the food awaiting us at the tent that was set up by one of my brothers friends family. We finally found them in a sea of red and white tents that were set up in the circle which is right across from the grove. They had a TV set up watching other SEC football games just as many other people do. We actually watched as Auburn struggled against Utah State. Everyone also socialized and talked to people that they had not seen for a long time. We discussed what we thought our team would be like this year after struggling last year. After eating a little something for breakfast I was finally getting hungry. I enjoyed some chicken tenders and several other finger foods that were delicious. By that time it was getting close for the team to walk through the grove on the way to the stadium.

The team has a tradition of walking through the grove underneath an arch that says walk of champions a little over two hours prior to the game. The walk way is covered with fans on both sides for as far as you can see. I headed over toward the pathway to greet the players on their way to the stadium. I try my best to pump up the team on their way to the stadium ha ha. Usually when the weather is colder I don't make it to the games this early to make it in time when the players walked through. Actually this was my first time since I've been injured that I made it to the walk of champions. I noticed whenever we got closer that this was one of the largest crowds that I had seen gathered around the walkway. It extended much further than I can ever remember. I finally made it on down pretty far with everyone clearing a path for me. Then the team finally made it through lead by the head coach. So I did a little fist bump with the players and headed back to the grove.

After a little more socializing we finished up the Auburn game. Auburn was finally able to come back in the game to beat Utah State. Then I made my way over to the stadium. I always like to be there early and they were supposed to have some new videos up this year. The day was actually overcast and a little bit cooler but it was still very humid. I had drank several bottles of water before the game even started ha ha. My seats are in the south end zone at the top (which I bring my own seat to the games ha ha). We use the elevator to get up to the top and I always pull up to the rail to the right of the goalpost. The view is very high up but it's not too bad. I really enjoy the view of the entire stadium and the large screen that we have. The band finally makes it to the stadium and they have been moved close to our section in the south end zone. Before the game starts we had two Navy jets that did a flyover. We have had several of those over the years. It is a sight to see. Before the pregame clock hits zero there is always a celebrity that comes onto the screen. They always end up saying are you ready? This begins the hotty toddy cheer that we are famous for which we respond. Hell yeah! Damn right! Hotty Toddy gosh almighty who the hell are we? Flim flam Bim bam Ole Miss by damn! The celebrity for this week was Jack Black. He did a decent job.

I don't want to recap the whole game but we played tough until the end. We had some missed opportunities to win the game but was unable to pull it off. BYU ended up winning the game 14 to 13. By the end of the game the humidity had just about killed me. I definitely kept myself hydrated throughout the whole game or it would've been bad. Also a cheap little spray bottle with a fan that I bought from Wal-Mart made a world of difference ha ha. We made our way back to the parking lot where we sat in traffic for an hour just to get out of the parking lot. Luckily I only live about 45 minutes from Oxford so it's not a bad drive back home. No matter win or lose I still love my team. I'll be back out there tomorrow cheering them on again.

I could've went into so much more detail of the campus and the game day experience. I just really wanted to give you a picture of my experience, every week. I also want to set up the video. You will see the fans that start setting up their tents the night before the game. You will see the players walk through the large crowd surrounding the walk of champions all the way through the grove. Then you will see the stadium from this game until it's over. It is a great video and my words don't really do it any justice. So I hope you enjoy!

Game day in Oxford Mississippi from scottburtonphotography on Vimeo.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A simple test to enjoy

This is a nice little mini tour of the Ole Miss campus. I'm eventually going to write a couple of blogs about my alma mater. I'm really just using this as a test of my embedding skills from Vimeo. I hope everyone enjoys.

Ole Miss Mini Tour from UM Media Documentary Projects on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wonderful surprise!

If you haven't read my blog about the sip and puff gun mount then you should check it out before you read this to have a better understanding of how it works. It was very obvious that several people from the police department read my blog about it. Earlier this month, I was invited out to the firing range for a supposed law enforcement Association meeting. I had no idea what was really going on, until I got there. I just want to briefly explain my big surprise and thank everyone that made it happen.


One of my really good friends Zach White asked me if I wanted him to come pick me up and bring me to Oxford one day. I love going to Oxford any chance that I get so I was up for it. For those of you that don't know we both went through the academy together. Zach was also there when I had my accident, and rode with me in the ambulance to the hospital. I told him a while back that I hardly ever got the chance to just ride around Oxford and see everything that has changed. I also found out I was going to get my football season tickets to Ole Miss out at the range that day. I was really excited about picking up my tickets early.

So we make it over to Oxford and we rode around checking out all the new places on the west side of town. I used to work the west side of town so I was really anxious to see all the changes. While we were checking out new places I decided to check out a place called Kinnucan's. I had never been to one before, and the stop came in handy. It was a very hot and humid day at the beginning of August in Mississippi. I could hardly stand to be outside very long that day. So I bought a bandanna with a certain material that helps to keep you cool. By the time we were leaving it was getting time to head out to the range. They were having food and the Association were all there to eat. The firing range is way out in the middle of nowhere in the county ha ha. I kind of wondered why they were meeting up out there, but didn't give it much thought.

We started to pull up to the firing range and I notice a new Mustang pulling in just exactly like the one that Zach had just bought. I just saw it for the first time whenever he picked me up earlier that day. I said to him, who else has a car like yours. He just acted funny and said I don't know. Once we got to the training building I saw my parents getting out of the Mustang. Also, my red Chevrolet pickup that I drove before my injury was pulled in front of the building. My brother was opening the door and getting out of my truck whenever we pulled up. I knew something was up at that moment but I still wasn't sure exactly what it was.  It was a surreal moment seeing my truck parked in the front of the training building again. It brought back some good memories. I thought about being back in school and taking a firearms class one weekend. I also remember being in the classroom learning about our new Glocks after finally getting rid of our Sig 357's. Then we went out to qualify with them. What a smooth transition that turned out to be. If you were there before the transition then you should give another pat on the back to Chief Martin ha ha.

So whenever I made it inside there were several people there that I wasn't even expecting. Katherine Evans was out there, and she was supposed to meet me later to go out to eat in town. So I thought it was funny that she was there. Heather Samuels and her husband Matt were there with their new baby. I was surprised that they were there for just a law Association meeting. So things were adding up in my mind, but I had no idea what exactly was going to happen. Zach disappeared to the back after we got there. So I got something to eat, and my mom fed me. I just ate and didn't even ask what they were doing there. Finally after I finished eating Josh Ivy stood up and started talking. He started saying that everybody knew why we were here, except for me. He said after reading my blog that they did a fundraiser and raised money to purchase a sip and puff gun mount for me. Then Zach came from the back with Hildon and David Sabin (a couple of other good friends of mine that worked with me) with the gun mount. I just couldn't believe they had done that for me. It was the first time in a long time that I've been speechless ha ha. They also had my Glock that I carried on duty to put in the mount. I do have to admit that I started crying for a minute, because it was overwhelming. It just means a lot when you have a lot of people that care about you so much. This was something I wanted for a long time but it was just a little too expensive for me to justify buying it for a while. Like I said in my earlier post about the sip and puff gun mount I got to use one at the Shepherd Center. That really made me want one pretty bad.

So I was the first one heading back out to the range to get set up for me to shoot. I was rolling along with Aric Stratton and I was going full speed ha ha.  I finally got on the new concrete and stopped to face my target while they started to set everything up. This was the first time I was back on the range to shoot since my accident happened over three years ago. Johnny Sneed helped to get everything set up. He actually used his truck to hook up to the battery cables to operate the gun mount. I think what made everything even better was being out on the range with all of the officers that I used to work with again. It was almost like I was qualifying to carry my gun again ha ha. It was finally set up and I went through one magazine. My first couple of shots were a little bit off but I got everything lined up and had a good group. it was just a great day overall. The weather was perfect while I was shooting. It had actually cooled off enough to be able to stand being outside. Everything just seemed to come together great.

My main purpose of this entry was to explain my experience. I also want to thank everyone that was involved with making this happen. If I left your name out it was not intentional. Over the next several days I started to think back about some things that happened. Josh Ivy had contacted me about a month earlier about doing a fundraiser for me. He told me that my blog had inspired just about everyone at the police department. He said that everyone wanted to do something for me. I thought about it for several days and finally told him I couldn't do it. I feel so blessed with everything that I have that I didn't feel like I needed anything else. I felt like everyone had done enough for me right after my injury. So that was one thing that made me cry whenever I got the mount. I was already blessed and I received something without asking for it. It was one of the reasons it was such a big surprise. It showed me how much everyone really thought of me. I also want to thank everyone for reading my blog. I haven't been writing as much lately, but I will try to make up for that. Enjoy the pictures from the day and a couple of videos of me getting to shoot again!

getting everything set up with Elizabeth and her boyfriend Josh in the background and my mom on the right

our temporary battery connection using Johnny's truck

ladies covering their ears already

close up of the jumper cables

lined up on my target

dry firing to test the trigger mechanism with Zach, Sabin, and my dad looking on

Stratton on the right waiting to watch


my good friend Hildon
Zach, Josh, Katherine

my spotter Johnny a.k.a. big sexy


the end result

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A shocking experience!


Electricity is a very wonderful thing that makes our lives so much easier. It can also be a very bad enemy. You have to be very careful, because of how dangerous it is. Everybody has at least experienced static electricity and just that little spark can hurt. Well someone came up with a clever device to use this electricity to help subdue somebody. I'm talking about a tazer. It is a great device for law enforcement. After I finished the Academy it was time for tazer class. We had a wonderful policy that stated, you have to be to tazed to be able to carry the tazer ha ha. So I signed myself up so I could carry one. So I wanted to talk about my experience and also found some great information to explain how the Tazer works directly from www.taser.com . At the end of the blog is the video from that experience. I know some people will laugh and others will hurt just watching. If you have ever been through the experience it is very hard to laugh at I promise.

* the next illustrations and information came directly from www.taser.com 








"Electricity is a flow of energy, or more specifically a flow of electric charge within a conductor. That conductor can be a copper wire, or it can be the human body. Much like water flows through a pipe, electronics flow-through a wider. When we measure electricity, there are two key measures- voltage, measured in volts, and current, measured in amperes.

Voltage, which is also called Electro-Motive Force, is similar to the pressure in a water hose. The voltage provides the pressure to push an electric current through the wire.

In our analogy to flowing water, voltage is like pressure, measured in pounds per square inch. Current is the flow rate, similar to gallons per second in our water analogy.

By way of analogy, let's compare a waterfall to rainfall.. The pressure or voltage behind each droplet of water in the waterfall is actually a lot less than for each raindrop- because the raindrop is falling from a much greater height. So, the voltage of this waterfall is much less than for rain. However, the rate of flow or current for the waterfall is much, much higher than for the rain, which falls in small droplets separated in space and time compared to the continuous flow of the waterfall. Standing under the waterfall would certainly be a very dangerous place to be- much more so than in the rain. Similarly, being exposed to a high current electrical current- like the one out of your wall outlet, can be very dangerous, even at moderate voltages like 110 volts. Exposure to high voltage, low current shocks- such as a static discharge on a dry day, is far less dangerous. Static shocks regularly exceed 30,000 volts, yet they deliver very low amounts of electric charge, and there has never been a reported injury directly from the affects of a static shock, although there have been some secondary injuries from people who were surprised and may have fallen, etc.

When we think about electricity, the first turn to come to mind is usually volts. This is because our electric power grid is a fixed voltage system, and is rated in volts.   

However, when we talk about electric safety, the current in amperes is much more critical than voltage. For example, a Taser ecd has about a tenth of the peak current of a static shock.

So, if voltage is not the key factor in making an electric stimulation effective, why does the Taser ecd have a high  peak voltage?

The rainfall analogy is a very good one for a Taser ECD discharge. The drops of rain are separated by time and space such that the actual current workflow of water down from the sky is quite small.

A TASER ECD works by mimicking and interfering with your brains communication with the muscles.
Talking on the phone and static interfering with your call, making you unable to communicate with the person on the other end. Once the static on telephone stops, communication resumes, and there's no damage to the phone.

So, this naturally begs the question- if the Taser ECD output current is so low, how can it be effective in stopping a violent subject?

The answer is because the Taser ECD current does not rely on brute force, or on sheer power. Instead, the Taser ECD pulses mimic the electrical signals used within the human body to communicate between the brain and the muscles. The Taser ECD simulates the pulsed communications used within the nerves, and interferes with communication- like static on the telephone lines within the body.

Sometimes people will ask isn't electricity dangerous? The answer is- well yes, it can be. But electricity is actually necessary for life- we literally cannot live without it.

Electrical pulses control every thought we have, every breath we take, every sensation we feel, every sight we see, every sound we hear- every complex life process depends on these electrical signals within our bodies that occur billions of times every second.
The brain is like an incredibly complex conductor, leading a string section of incomprehensible complexity. As the brain uses electrical pings to simulate the nerves in a complex and highly coordinated fashion, consciousness emerges and neuromuscular control becomes possible.

The probes deployed from a Taser ECD carry fine wires that connect to the target and deliver the Taser into his neural network. These pulses delivered by the Taser ECD overwhelm the normal nerve traffic, causing involuntary muscle contractions and impairment of motor skills."  
* great information from www.taser.com and actually gave me a better understanding of how it works.

Whenever you pull the trigger on the tazer it automatically starts a five second countdown as soon as the prongs enter your body. I can say, it seems like a lot longer than just five seconds ha ha. After you go through it then everybody wants to know how it felt. It is really an intense pain that is hard to describe. I would have to say it felt like someone stabbed knives in your back full of electricity that locks up your entire body. After reading through the information it basically paralyzes you and at the same time you feel an intense pain. It is not anything that you will ever want to feel again. The other question I get asked is if I ever got to use it on anybody. I actually never got to inflict that type of pain on anyone else myself. Which makes the experience that much worse ha ha. I also remember showing this video to my therapist at the Shepherd Center right after my accident. They said I was the first patient that had ever been tazed ha ha or shown them the video. Yes, I am a very unique character.

Well, I know everyone has really been ready to watch the video at the bottom if you have even read the other parts of the blog ha ha. I just want to add a couple of notes to pay attention to in the video. If you watch it a couple of times you can tell immediately that even my feet locked up. Also, once I'm lying on the ground you can look closely to see the little electric spark on my back. They also were using alligator clips that connected back to the tazer so they can use it on several people for training. That allowed them to spread the clips further apart to have a better connection and it definitely worked. It also left little burn marks on my back for a very long time. Just pay attention to how my body locks up, and as soon as it's over I completely relax. I also just lay there on the ground after it's over for a little bit to recuperate ha ha. While it was going on, I thought it would be over as soon as they laid me to the ground but there was a couple of seconds left. That was the longest couple of seconds of my life. This video is from 2007 after I had gotten out of the Academy. So, I also noticed that I was looking pretty damn good if I say so myself ha ha. Anyways this is my shocking experience!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My dog Buddy!

giving buddy a ride shortly after getting home from the hospital
in my first wheelchair.
After being in the hospital for several months you are ready to get home. You want to be back in a familiar place again. You want to see all of your friends again. In my mind I was wondering how some people would react. Also, how is my little friend Buddy going to react. I know he is just a dog, but he is like part of the family. I was really afraid that he would be scared of my wheelchair. I also figured if I accidentally bumped him that he might not ever come around me again. Well, all of my fears were proven wrong. Unlike most people do, he still looked at me the same way that he always did. Which is usually him little telling me I'm hungry or I need to go out to the bathroom ha ha. Either way, I still love the little guy. So I decided to write a blog about him.

One of the first questions that you usually get about your pet is what kind of dog is it. I say he is a Cairn Terrier which usually gets that strange look on someone's face that they've never heard of that. I then say he is like Toto from the Wizard of Oz except he is blonde. I looked up some historical information about Cairn Terriers so that you can better understand their origin and some of their unique traits.      "Over 200 years ago, on the ancient isle of Skye, and in the Scottish Highlands the ancestors of today's Cairn Terrier earned their keep routing vermin from the rock piles (called cairns) commonly found on Scottish farmland. These early Terriers were highly prized and bred for their working ability not appearance. Such characteristics as courage, tenacity and intelligence, housed in a sturdy body clad in a weatherproof coat, armed with big teeth in strong jaws, were sought generation after generation. Gradually the breeds known as the Scottish Terrier, and the West Highland white evolved and were named. The cairn remain the closest to the original small working terrier, bolting the Fox, otter and weasel, sharing the meager fare of the crofters household. Today the cairn Terrier in America is a sensible, confident little dog, independent but friendly with everyone he meets. He may be found in an apartment, suburban home or on a farm. Alert, intelligent and long-lived, the cairn tends to remain active and playful well into his teen years, endearing him to children. True to his heritage, the breed still has very large teeth, large feet with pads  and strong nails (the better to dig with!), strong muscular shoulders and rears and a fearless tenacity that will lead him into trouble if his owners are irresponsible."-www.cairnterrier.org

We're not in Kansas buddy! You're a tan color, and in Mississippi ha ha.
  
I remember whenever we first got our little dog. My mom and brother came back from the flea market with a little furry creature. He was born on October 6, 2002. They got him around Christmas so he was only a couple of months old. Buddy was so little he could not even make it over the brick step coming into the house. As he started to grow he started to chew up everything. Once he got big enough to be able to jump to the couch he was like a little mountain goat. He would crawl up to the top of the couch and lay down. This also allowed him to chew up new things. I remember we had this little stand that ran along the arm of our love seat. I didn't think anything about leaving my new pair of Oakley sunglasses laying on top of this stand. I came home later in the day to find my new sunglasses chewed to pieces by my little furry friend. I was so furious, but I couldn't do anything to him. He just had that little puppy face going that melts your heart ha ha. He would've had no idea why I was whipping him if I had done that anyways. He was just going through this puppy phase. Luckily, his other love was just for socks ha ha. He eventually gave up his chewing addiction. Another addiction that he has is going for a ride. If you rattle keys then he will go crazy wanting to go somewhere. If you even mention the word go then he gets super excited.  Once you get him inside the car then he has to be in your lap so that he can look out the window. The one place that he does not want to go is the veterinarian office. He is an only child and he is not very good around other animals.  He starts to hyperventilate it seems as soon as you pull into the parking lot. My mom actually was given some puppy Valium for him to take whenever he goes to the vet ha ha.  But the majority of the time his riding experiences are great. My dad drives a diesel truck and he will let Buddy ride with them to eat. They leave the truck running, if it is too hot or cold.  He is a very spoiled dog. Another word that you can say to drive him crazy is bone. He has this specific treat that he loves that are called Greenies. They are supposed to be healthy for his teeth and they are shaped like a very small bone. It is like crack to him ha ha. It is a good way to get him to come back in the house sometimes when he isn't listening to anything you're saying.

I have talked about some of his favorite things, but now, I will focus on some things he dislikes. He cannot stand getting a bath. If you say the word bath around him he will tuck his tail between his legs and put his head down. Whenever he gets a bath he bolts out the bathroom and jumps on the couch to dry himself off. Then he goes to dry his head off on the rugs. He is super hyper the whole time. I have a video of it that I will put at the bottom of this blog entry. It is absolutely hilarious. He is not a big fan of water. We have put him in the pool before and he immediately swims to the steps to get out of the pool. He is also terrified of thunderstorms. He will follow my mom around every step that she makes. He just starts to shake. One time during a storm he actually got into the bathtub. He will also make his way to my dads room and get under his bed. Sometimes he wants to go out when it is raining and I will open the door for him. He will turn right back around and come back inside. If no one else is here when it is storming then he comes to sit next to me.

I used to come home from Oxford back to my parents house for the weekend after working 12 hours on a Thursday night. I did that so I could sleep all day Friday, and not worry about driving back. I could always hear Buddy barking whenever I pulled up. I would play around with him for a little bit before I got into bed. I would always just about start falling asleep when my door would pop open. I would look to see who it was real quick and I couldn't see anybody. It was Buddy coming into my room, wanting to play some more ha ha. He would come to the side of the bed and start scratching. He was ready to start the day, and I was ready to sleep ha ha. I used to get out and run with him until he would just about pass out. I would take off running and he would chase me around the yard ha ha. He has done some crazy things as well. My mom told me she was outside with him one time and he snuck up on a bird. He actually caught the bird and killed it. I know that is terrible. I was just amazed that he caught a bird. If he spots a lizard then he will do his best to catch it. He does not give up very easily. I have actually seen him catch one. But if he doesn't, he will look in that area for a long time. You just about have to drag him back inside. He has also killed spiders inside the house before. Then he rolls around on it after he kills it. Very strange habits, I know ha ha. But it explains some of the heritage of his breed. They were bred to kill small vermin. I bought him a toy duck from Wal-Mart that quacks like the real thing. He absolutely loves those to death. I will run over the duck with my chair and start dragging it. Buddy will chase me all around to get the duck from underneath my chair. Whenever he finally gets it he goes crazy. He starts swinging the duck around ferociously ha ha. It is hilarious to watch him. You can make the duck quack, and throw it to play with him until he wears out. Which he is getting older, and that doesn't take much these days ha ha. We have went through several of those ducks.
Buddy and his duck in the background.

I mentioned earlier that I worried after getting home from the hospital that he might act funny with me being in a wheelchair. He just acted like he had not seen me for a long time. He was also very excited for my mom to be back home. He is a very big Momma's boy. She stayed with me in the hospital every day, and for the two months we were in Atlanta. One of the first things I wanted to do was to ride him around in my chair. He didn't mind it too much, but it wasn't long that he wanted down. Eventually my left arm got strong enough to be able to pet him again. Having him around has been so therapeutic for me. Whenever you have to depend on somebody for so much it's very nice to have him depending on me for some stuff. I had an automatic door opener installed in my new room. I hit a button on the side of my chair to open the door. It didn't take long for Buddy to realize I could let him out ha ha. He will come to my room and give me that look. Sometimes he will walk up to me and stand up on my feet, staring me in the eyes. I will pop the door open and head outside with him.I also still tried to get buddy to chase me around. I would take off in my wheelchair and he would chase after me just like he used to. It brought back some very good memories. The history lesson was correct whenever it mentioned cairn terriers having a fearless tenacity. Buddy will chase after anything no matter how much bigger the animal might be. I let him out not too long ago, and he went around to the front of the house. I rolled around and immediately noticed a very large black lab at the end of our driveway close to the highway. We have a very long driveway, and we live on a very busy road. I was hoping he would not see the dog, but he did. He took off in a full sprint after the dog. So I took off at full speed in my chair after him. It was a very funny site if anybody would have seen it. I went through the yard as fast as I could and was bumping all around in my wheelchair ha ha. I hopped up onto the gravel driveway over a little bit of a hump and I believe had a couple wheels in the air for a second. I finally got close enough to him and was yelling enough to get him to stop. I got in between him and the highway. He listened to me, and I got him back towards the house. He is a very funny character.  He has also never been around other animals, because he is an only child. There have been other people bring their small dogs around him inside the house. He cannot handle it at all. He starts to hyperventilate and act all crazy just like when it rains. He also acts like he is scared of the dogs which are usually smaller. He will come to my room and get behind my wheelchair as a barrier I guess ha ha. So its really weird how different he can be.

Well, just how I've mentioned that I watch out for my dog all the time. He has also watched out for me a few times. There have been a couple of times when I've woken up needing help and my first options were not working. I have yelled out help me buddy and he started barking which woke somebody up to come check on me. He always barks whenever somebody pulls up out here even if I don't hear them pull up. So I get an opportunity to check out who is here sometimes. So we really watch out for each other. I can usually tell if there is something wrong with him. I will check to make sure he has plenty of water. I always see if he has a tick on him or not. There are even some times that he acts funny and needs a bath. So I say go get in the tub and he will go jump in. I always try to save a piece of food for him to eat. He is so spoiled that he will not eat his dog food without some kind of real food on it. But that's not his fault because we are the ones that spoiled him ha ha.

I could talk all day about my little friend. He has really been a blessing to me. It's amazing how close you can get to your animals. If you are looking for a great dog I would highly suggest a cairn terrier. They are so much fun and loving dogs. If you have been injured they are not the best service dogs, but will make a great little companion. Having a pet can be so therapeutic that it's hard to even describe. He gives me a great excuse to get outside on days that I just felt like staying in all day. It's hard not to get cheered up looking at his little poor face that he makes looking up at you. Especially whenever you watch him running around outside. He is a big part of the family. I wouldn't trade him for anything else.

* I added some pictures of my little friend (which he is a little chunky and overweight ha ha). You will notice my feet in the pictures, because I took them with my phone.
* The video I mentioned in the blog is at the bottom. It is very hilarious. I highly recommend you take the time to watch it.



Back whenever it was cold we put him in a T-shirt  that I bought for him a while back. It is a Harley Davidson T-shirt. He is not very fond of wearing them.

Looking at my mom while I was trying to get a picture of him looking my way.
Finally there is that precious little face. Ha ha
Buddy laying out by the pool ha ha.
It was extremely hot and he keeps laying there. You can see he his tongue hanging out and every thing ha ha. His little chunky self can't take the heat very long.
just sitting there like a human being ha ha

he turned around to survey the backyard
he just comes and passes out in my room sometimes ha ha.
his little bed in the living room


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Can't never could!

I remember being younger and my dad was trying to teach me to do something new. I would try to give up very easily and tell him I can't do it. He always told me can't never could. Which he basically explained to me you can't have that type of attitude and expect to accomplish anything new. Somewhere in my profile I explained that I love assistive technology. One of the reasons I love it so much is because it allows you to do things that some people don't think you can do. It is a welcoming challenge for anyone to tell me I can't do something. I will try to do everything possible to prove them wrong. So as a former police officer one of my goals during therapy from the very beginning was to be able to shoot again. Now I know you're thinking how can someone with no hand movement and very little arm movement be able to shoot again. Well, luckily I'm not the only person in a wheelchair that would like to be able to shoot again. So I found out at the Shepherd Center that a company made a sip and puff wheelchair mount for a shot gun or pistol. The name of the company is be adaptive equipment, LLC. At this point I was still unable to move either one of my arms and it helped me believe in several possibilities that I could accomplish. I was amazed by the people that helped create this.

I only got to check out a pamphlet about it the first time I was at Shepherd Center back in the summer of 2008. I was extremely busy during my inpatient stay at the hospital that I ran out of time to try it out. Once I got home there were several other things I needed than a sip and puff gun. I did some research about it and they came out with a new pistol mount. I was able to go back to the Shepherd Center back in October of 2010 for outpatient rehab. Once again, I mentioned shooting. So it finally came time for me to shoot again. I met with a recreational therapist in the gym one day. He had a target set up and brought in the mount. I can't explain how excited I was at this moment. I got everything set up and used a high-powered pellet rifle. At that time it didn't matter to me that it was just a pellet rifle. I was staring down the sights to a target again.I got to shoot several times and had a nice little pattern. It was an escape for a moment. I felt like I was back out on the range with all of my fellow officers. I still haven't had the opportunity to purchase one yet. I'm hoping I can in the future. I just wanted to show people exactly what it looked like and explain how it worked. I have talked about it in conversations before, and I'm sure people are wondering what the heck it looks like ha ha.

This is a picture of the BE adaptive equipment model HQ 100. There is a mounting plate that slides underneath the cushion of your wheelchair with the receiver tube coming up from the plate. If you look closely, you can see the places to make adjustments for any gun. I wanted to show everyone what it looked like without the weapon to get the general idea of what it looked like when you first set it up.
This is a close-up picture of the sip and puff straw. It is the blue straw going into his mouth. You simply give it a little suction and it makes the trigger mechanism pullback to fire the shot. It is like drinking through a straw, except with a little bit different reaction. You can also see the three adjustment knobs to adjust the speed of the motor that moves the weapon.
This is a close-up of the chin control. You can use your chin to move the weapon left to right. The HQ 100 has a small motor to help move the weapon back and forth. From my experience, it is much easier to slightly move the weapon than to try to to move your wheelchair to focus in on the target.
This picture shows you what it looks like with the gun mounted. He has also used his chin to move the weapon to his left. You can also adjust the weapon up and down.
This is a close up of the trigger mechanism. You can move it if you need to so it will fit any weapon.

I just added this picture to show the trigger mechanism in action. It just pulls back for a nice quick steady trigger pull.
This last picture is of the HQPM which is the pistol mount that you can add to the HQ100. It allows you to fit any size pistol into this mount.



The last picture of the HQPM is most ideal for me. I would love to shoot my Glock 40 duty weapon again. This device shows me that no matter what the obstacle you can find a way to overcome it. This is very ideal for anybody that loved to hunt before their accident. I am not a hunter but I still love shooting weapons. One of these days I will shoot again. Like I said before, I love the challenge whenever people tell me I can't do something. I challenge everyone to overcome whatever obstacle is standing in your way keeping you from doing what you want to do. I hope to write about many more assistive

* I used these pictures directly from the be adaptive website. Check out www.beadaptive.com if you are thinking about purchasing this for yourself. The website also has videos that I could not upload to the blog. There are also other mounts for paraplegics with hand control. I just focused on the sip and puff model. There are several videos and they are very short. I recommend you check them out. The videos also show the flexibility of the mount by shooting several different weapons.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bluelight memories

If you have seen my pictures on my blog then it is obvious I was a police officer. I worked for the Oxford Police Department in Oxford, Mississippi. It is a college town, home to the University of Mississippi which is better known as Ole Miss. Ole Miss is especially known for the Grove which becomes tailgate central during football season. It is also a top party school in the country. Evidence of this can be seen on T-shirts that state we may not win every game but we never lose a party. So it is obvious being a police officer in a college town is going to involve dealing with a lot of alcohol-related problems. That is not the only issue that I had to deal with. Every day you go to work you were going to face something new.

I got to thinking about a particular night at the station. It was one of those really long nights when there were a million things going on and it finally slowed down.  Everybody was sitting around writing reports, and talking about what happened that night. I remember Officer Kimmons Gray telling me I should keep a journal throughout my career of stuff that happened to be able to remember it. He said after the years you will forget about a lot of stuff that you did. He is a great man. I really enjoyed working with him. So I wanted to give credit for the idea he gave me for my blog. I've decided to start writing about some things that I encountered while I was working. I'm going to try to fit them in between some of my other blogs.I really want people to enjoy these and also hope to show people that police officers have to do a little bit of everything.

I recently told this story so it is fresh on my mind. I was on patrol one night and got a call to go on an ambulance assist. We always went out with the ambulance to assist with finding the place and helping out in case they needed it. I believe it was called out over the radio as being an older gentleman that had fallen in the shower. I arrived at the address and turned my blue lights on. It was a neighborhood without any streetlights, and I wanted to make it easier for the ambulance to spot. As soon as I stepped into the driveway I was meet by this sweet older lady. She told me I could turn off my blue lights, because she didn't want to alarm the neighbors. I told her that an ambulance was on the way and I was making it easier for them to find her house. She said oh my word I didn't need an ambulance. She said I just told the girl I needed help. She said my husband is stuck in the bathtub. I've told him not to get a bath because he is too fat. So I went inside and helped the older gentleman out of the bathtub. The entire time she was scolding him and told me this had happened before. The man was really not overweight at all but she could not pick him up. It was very lighthearted and funny to hear her telling him that. You just have to picture this in your mind. I had him out of the tub whenever the ambulance showed up. I let them know what had happened. The lady then apologized to the EMTs that had arrived. She had already thanked me for showing up to help. It was always nice to help out people that were glad to see you. That wasn't always the case with the job.

I thought that was a funny little story to start out on with something I encountered on the job. There is a lot more to it than just writing tickets. We are actually there for people that need help for just about anything as you can see. Also you have to picture this sweet older lady in the story. I'll have some more of these stories, because it is true that over time you start to forget. I'm starting to forget about a lot of the stuff that happened, but you can relive some of my old adventures with me. It will help me remember for the future.

Monday, June 6, 2011

It's okay to be different!

What does the word different mean to you? The dictionary defines it as 1. Not alike in character or quality; differing; dissimilar:  2. Not identical; separate or distinct: 3. Various; several 4. Not ordinary; unusual. I truly believe by judging people that are different society likes to use the fourth option. Something that is different has to be unusual to them. It comes across very negative. I don't think that different is a bad word. I do believe that everyone is different, because otherwise life would be boring. The differences in people make everybody unique in their own way. I want this entry to focus on hatred that some people have towards some people because they view them as different. My main focus is going to be on the LGBT community. That stands for the lesbian gay bi transgender community.

I started watching Lady Gaga's performance at Madison Square Garden on HBO. She is seen as a very controversial woman. Everybody thinks she is very different. I really like her though. She is so unique and very intriguing to me. It doesn't hurt that I think she is hot too. Something really caught my attention before the performance started. She was playing in her hometown of New York City and behind-the-scenes it showed her crying. She stated that she always gets emotional before marquee shows and still remembers being seen as a loser in high school. She also said she still felt like that person at times. She was obviously very humble about how far she had made it. Also still very vividly remembering what she went through. Then she started getting ready for her performance and showed her strong side. She completely took control of the crowd. It just got me to thinking about the people that probably made fun of her. Can you imagine remembering treating someone that way and then seeing how successful they turned out? I realized that Lady Gaga has a very strong following from the gay community. She is very open about being bisexual. So this made me decide to look into bullying of people based on their sexual orientation. Some of the stuff that I found just made me sick at my stomach.

I know that everyone can go back and think about their memories of high school. This is a very critical point in everyone's life. Everyone knows that studies show that your brain is continuing to grow and gain a tremendous amount of knowledge. One of the other most important areas of growth during this time is your self confidence. You can almost just say your self-image. A lot of this is shaped by your peers. There's so much pressure to try to fit in that it is crazy. So it becomes very easy for you to just go along with other people making fun of somebody as long as it's not you. I know because I was the same way. Everybody knows that people that are LGBT are one of the biggest targets for this. The ugly truth is, it goes way beyond just making fun of people. I can remember sitting around in a group of people talking about hating someone so bad just because they were openly gay. I remember being this way myself at times. Just going along with the hatred with everyone else. I'm very ashamed to admit that but I would be lying if I said otherwise. Homophobia is a very serious problem. It's almost expected to be homophobic if you are a straight male. So as a straight male I feel very obligated to open up some eyes to this very big problem. If other strong guys (straight) step up to the plate and condemn some of this it could really make a difference. There is absolutely nothing wrong with standing up for somebody that is different.

Depression can have a very serious effect, especially on teenagers. Depression because of bullying can result in low self-esteem, anxiety, high rates of school absence and physical illness. While I was researching the subject I've learned a new term called bullycides. It refers to being bullied so much that it causes some teenagers to commit suicide. "Studies show that youth who were bullied are five times more likely to be depressed and to report suicidal thoughts. LGBT children and those who are perceived to be gay, lesbian or challenge traditional gender roles are among those most likely to be targeted by bullies", according to in the life website. Another study done by the GLSEN called from teasing to torment pointed out that students said the top three reasons for bullying were physical appearance, sexual orientation, and how masculine or feminine someone appeared according to their specific gender. So people are being tormented just for acting or looking different. They are not as masculine or feminine as they should be. I truly think that homophobia comes from fear of something people don't understand. It's the attitude of I can't understand it, so I will just hate it. When you think about this for a minute it makes absolutely no sense. This fear has also been fueled from society. People are afraid to stand up for what is right, because of the fear they might be categorized into the same group. They might be called fags or homo. Which are the very negative words that are used towards homosexuals. It's about time to look at some examples.

I highly recommend that you watch the videos I posted below. It is exactly the results of these negative attacks on individuals. The first video starts with parents talking about their son who committed suicide. For the last two months of his life he was constantly told to go home and shoot himself. They told him nobody would care anyways. He was a very skinny kid his whole life. Several of his peers told his parents about the constant torment he was put through after the tragic incident. He was called homo a lot for simply wearing pink shirts. His mother stated one of the shirts actually said that real men wear pink. On the day of the suicide he was once again told to go home and shoot itself. He then went home and actually shot himself. There is another story on the video of a young black boy that killed himself at age 11 because of the same anti-gay bullying. His mother tells a great story about him. It is very heartbreaking. After watching the videos, I decided to look up more incidents of anti-gay violence. I had heard of incidents of people being beaten to death because of their sexual orientation. I typed gay beaten to death on Google and the results were astounding. An 18-year-old openly gay man was beaten to death at a party by several different people. He actually thought that one of the guys was his friend. That same person ended up being involved in the beating. Some involved eventually admitted they were using anti-gay slurs while they were kicking and beating him. The group then took his body out into the street and left him for dead I saw another story of two teenagers that beat and robbed another openly gay man, who was 19 years old. They then tied him to a wooden post and left him for dead. He was found before he died but was placed on a ventilator in a coma. He died a few days later. I saw other stories of the exact same incident's happening not only in the United States but around the world. I could tell story after story of this happening. Every single one of them were very gruesome deaths. All of this just for being different.

It doesn't matter how you feel about LGBT this is very sad. There is really no excuse for this treatment toward anybody. The point that I'm trying to make is no matter what you believe about this subject you should realize there is a different approach that needs to happen. I'm not trying to get anyone to change their beliefs about anything. You may not agree with someone's personal decisions, but it gives nobody the right to verbally or physically abuse somebody. I'm trying to get you to see the tragic effect this is having on people. This abuse is affecting not only the individuals but it is a ripple effect. It is tearing families apart because of the harsh reaction of society. I have actually been nervous myself while writing this in fear of what people might think about me. Society has created that fear. I decided I am secure enough in my manhood that I could take the challenge. I also found in my research that there are other heterosexual males standing up against anti-gay bullying.

Ben Cohen is a world-class English rugby star and Hudson Taylor is a three-time college All-American wrestler. One is married with two children to his wife, and the other is engaged to his longtime girlfriend. Both started different organizations to try to end homophobia in sports. In a New York Times article recently it stated that the question that each one frequently gets is why are they involved in something that does not directly impact them. They stated, that is just the point. They said that their sexual orientation helps the message cross to broader audiences. I thought that was the best way to describe what I'm trying to do. Also recently in the news have been NBA players using gay slurs, and both were fined. One of the players was Kobe Bryant. The NBA has also helped with a new organization called think before you speak. Grant Hill and Jared Dudley of the Phoenix Suns made a public service announcement to stop gay slurs in sports. Just like many other discriminations it takes a lot of time to change people's ways. This has been a very big eye-opener to myself as well. One reason I'm writing this is because it is a big change that I need to work on in my life. I want people to look at the violence toward a certain group just for being different. I hope it makes you think before you speak.


A few extras that I didn't fit in to my writing.

*I wanted to try to fit in some lyrics from Lady Gaga's Born This Way. I'm not going to write out the whole song but take out some of the lyrics that fit this entry perfectly.

"There's nothing wrong with lovin who you are she said cause He made you perfect babe so hold your head up girl and you'll go far listen to me when I say. I'm beautiful in my way Cause God makes no mistakes I'm on the right track, baby I was born this way. Don't hide yourself in regret just love yourself and your set I'm on the right track, baby I was born this way.- Skip ahead- whether life's disabilities left you outcast, bullied or teased rejoice and love yourself today, cause baby you were born this way. No matter gay, straight or bi. Lesbian transgendered life I'm on the right track, baby I was born to survive."
(Actually didn't realize how perfectly this described what I talked about and the message it sends to those that are bullied)also notice the last line also has the word straight. She's talking to everybody here.

*I have to say my motivation for this was simply Lady Gaga.I got the idea simply from her talking about being bullied. But while I began to write this I also thought about a few friends from high school that I still talk to that are openly lesbian. It kind of made me wonder about the struggles they might have went through.I also thought about a friend of mine who constantly has his Facebook hacked into, and his status is always changed to I am gay. It has happened several times and seems to be getting a little old. It's also just not that funny to joke about.

*I also thought about the movie I now pronounce you Chuck and Larry while writing this. It is more of a lighthearted movie but does point out the same issue that I wrote about. I also like most of Adam Sandler's movies anyways.I also love the show Modern Family. The focus is on a family and the father's son is gay. The show is about the entire family, but does point out stuff that they deal with. It is also a comedy.

*GLSEN-stands for Gay lesbian straight education network

*One last note- I was having a conversation on Facebook and brought up the subject of anti-gay bullying as my next blog entry. One of the responses I got back was I hope this is not a rolling out of the closet event. Which basically proved my point as a heterosexual male to bring this topic to light. I'm just standing up for people in general, and denouncing violence. I'm man enough to do that. Just one of the few.