Monthly Archives: August 2014

“He committed two felonies: he was black, and he was running.” – Racism and Law Enforcement

No, the quote in the title of this post isn’t about Michael Brown

A parent's nightmare

A parent’s nightmare

Although Michael Brown’s tragic story and the subsequent events in Ferguson, MO are the most recent manifestations of this pervasive and long-standing attitude among those in law enforcement. A couple months ago I (unfortunately) spent some time with a former deputy. This person related a story about the time they shot a black man while on duty. While telling the story this person was laughing and showed zero remorse, noting, “He committed two felonies: he was black, and he was running.” The person then went on to talk about cuffing a black inmate to a large drain in the floor of a jail cell and leaving him there for several hours, and how there were cameras in the jail but all the cops knew where the blind spots were so they could rough up inmates without getting caught.

Never trust law enforcement

Always be on your guard and record any encounters with police if you can, because if it’s your word against theirs you’ll lose every time. Think I’m being paranoid? Time and time again (and again, and again, and again [<- text is followed by graphic video showing man being tasered to death in police custody; don’t watch it unless you have a strong stomach]… ok I’ll stop now since the point should be clear) we’ve seen police assault or kill innocent people, often with no charges or consequences after the fact. Before anyone says, “Not all cops are bad,” I suggest that anyone who witnesses this sort of behavior and covers for it is a bad person. If individual cops wish to be considered good then they need to start actively working against those who are breaking the law, abusing the authority of their positions, and murdering unarmed citizens. I will start to believe good cops actually exist when they show up in Ferguson, MO from neighboring towns, counties, and states–in uniform–and stand against the barbaric, twisted fucks who are currently terrorizing an entire community in the name of “law enforcement”. Until then, film the police, document everything, and continue to demand they be held accountable for their actions.

Badges don’t grant extra rights.

Operation Arduous: Avoiding a cubicle at any cost

I haven’t updated this thing since last year. LAST YEAR. So much has happened since then. Each major life event should merit a post of its own, but my to-do list is long enough to be scary so I’m going to do the flash recap version.

In November 2013, I was involved in attempts to unionize my workplace. Those attempts failed, and I thought little of them until I was walked into an office on May 1, 2014 and fired without cause (May 1 also happens to be an international labor holiday, which I doubt was a coincidence). I had never been written up and had received nothing but positive feedback from customers. So far, unemployment has been . . . interesting. I got a bit of a severance (primarily consisting of my remaining paid time off), which I used to pay my rent ahead several months. Since that’s my biggest expense it has been great to not have to worry about it, but I’m still not entirely sure what I’ll do once I have to start dropping nearly a grand a month just to have a roof over my head. Maybe I’ll get a roommate, or maybe I’ll end up living in my car. Still paying for the car, so that’s another expense. So it goes, I suppose.

Speaking of the car, in June and July I took a 6,000 mile road trip to Ohio and back. It was amazing, and I got to see most of the friends I’ve missed since I moved to the west coast. It was nice to visit, but it really cemented my desire to never live there again. I am not sure if I’ll stay in Portland, but I know I’ll never move back to Columbus. Not to say it isn’t a great place, because it is, but I think there comes a time when you have to move on.

Let’s see… what else? I am dating an incredibly rad girl who’s a marine biologist and a talented artist. I’ll definitely be posting more about her in the future! I opened an Etsy store selling vintage stuffs, have done a few (and hope to do more) IT projects, plan to launch a few gigs soon on Fiverr, want to have some t-shirts for sale by the end of the month, am trying to get some music recorded and for sale, and of course I’m still selling books. (I published The New Jefferson Bible in July 2013, and it had the best month of sales so far during July 2014. That was neat!)

All told I’m working pretty damn hard for someone who’s out of a job, and the goal is to be self-employed for good once the dust settles. I call this Operation Arduous: Avoiding A Cubicle At Any Cost. Cubicles are life-sucking monstrosities, and I am done with them. I am tired of working for feckless middle managers who wouldn’t know integrity if it face-fucked them. Most importantly, I am done working for assholes (at least assholes that aren’t me). The one constant truth in my career has been that no company actually gives a shit about you as an individual. Oh, they’ll give you the standard corporate spiel about how they value work/life balance, are “people-centric”, and offer all sorts of ridiculous amenities (such as an in-house masseuse), but they will toss you out the same as the garbage the second it suits their bottom line or if you threaten the status quo in any way. At-will employment is a joke. An employer shouldn’t be allowed to get rid of you just because they don’t like you, and especially if they don’t like you because you tried to start a union and spoke out against their attempts to cut corners around the law.

So yeah, can you tell that I’m a bit burned out on working for other people? I’m sure it’s clear as I’ve made no effort to hide it. The short term goal of Operation Arduous is to avoid a cubicle for at least one year: May 1, 2014 to May 1, 2015. I’m about four months in, so 33% to my short term goal so far. The long term goal is to never again sit under the droning whine of a fluorescent lights, surrounded by carpeted walls, wondering if your unqualified manager is going to be in a bitchy mood again and find a way to take it out on you. Want to help out? Buy a book or some vintage swag for your domicile! Or you can donate some bitcoin (address: 1CDMbPHqhBGqhikuux4DxJFMEaAUs9G17f) if you’re into that kind of thing. I’m also open to suggestions on how to (legally and ethically) make money.