Thursday, September 18, 2014

Quote Thursday

The deep pain that is felt 
at the death of every friendly soul 
arises from the feeling 
that there is in every individual 
something which is inexpressible, 
peculiar to him alone, 
and is, therefore, 
absolutely and irretrievably lost.  
~Arthur Schopenhauer

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

um, yeah ... just crazy

So, my parents have put off fumigating the house for so long because they are fearful, and not unrealistically, about the house being broken into during the tenting. 

Though it is not unfounded -- fear should not rule our lives or push us into crazy actions.

Yet, it does.

There are ways to deal with this fear -- you could just rely on the fact that you have home owners insurance in case the worst happens; you can remove irreplaceable items; and you can proactively remove other items, though replaceable, that you don't want to fall into the hands of others.

We did all of those things... yet my parents' fear were not allayed.

So, I spent the night in my car next to the house as the guard.

Yes, I said that ... I did that.

I realized somewhere in between being exhausted and frustrated and stressed that the only armaments I had were my car alarm and teacher voice.

As I explained to a friend last night, my only plan was to keep the car fob near me - if I saw someone doing something illegal, such as breaking into the house, I would hit the panic button and call the police.

Failing that car alarm making any dent in a robber's intentions, all I could do is roll down the window and use my teacher voice to command him/her away from the house.

It is as ridiculous as it sounds.

I can report after night one (yes, I have do it for another night) that I did not have to use either of the two *weapons* in my limited arsenal.

And, sadly what pains me the most about this situation is that my parents neither called me last night or this morning to check in with me.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Catch Up...part 1

Technology and spaces with no internet along with the buckets full of work left me with no time to write while away.

But here are some pictures to give you a sense for what caught my eye... and what pictures were conjured as well.

These are the harvest moon on Tuesday night as I drove back from Camarillo (aka grief therapy).

It was so stunning, I pulled over to take pictures ... but all I had was my phone, so this is all I got.

I was headed back to get as much packed both for my trip and in preparation for the fumigation.

Since I am on that tack ... here is what the house looks like wrapped in bumble bee skin.


Finally to round out the California sights ... this is what I saw from the Pacific Coast Highway as I drove home from the airport.

There were these lines of boats on the water, though not lit up, when I left Oxnard on Wednesday morning.  But when I arrived back into LAX it was already quite late, dark and too hot to be coastal southern California in the summer...


As I drove through Santa Monica and then Malibu, I rolled my windows down to get the night air as it gradually cooled while I worked my way north.

The first smell that smacked me in the face was so fishy, I was picturing those whole schools of fish that washed up in Long Beach not too long ago.

The deeper I got into Malibu, approaching the Ventura County line, the smells shifted to the ones that recall all the days and nights spent at my uncle's "ranch."  When I catch a whiff of the fragrant chaparral, I feel and see the canyon where we fished for tadpoles and stalked around the trees, through the brush, pretending that no one could see us or hear us (despite the crunching of the oak leaves underfoot).  I picture Old Boney towering above and now, of course, I think of my sister and her resting place.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Quote Thursday

Suppressed grief suffocates,
it rages within the breast,
and is forced to multiply
its strength.
~Ovid

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

hoarders, oh my!

I learned the hard way many years ago to not own much more than you can carry because someday you will have to give it up.

The hardest for me to part with were the books. 

I still ache for the photo albums that I could not retrieve, but I guess I imagine that someday I can still get them back -- as unrealistic as that thought it.

For the past few days, I have been preparing my parents' home for fumigation ... it is does not require them to actually give up anything.  It is just that I have to pack up all the things that might be ingested.

One would think that though tedious, this should not be that onerous.

We have already had to ask for more than the standard number of bags than is usually given.

And we are going to ask for more...

And I have thrown away many, many things that carried "best if used by" years that number over 5 years go...

I threatened my mother to not pick through the trash as I assured her that everything I threw out is truly garbage.

I wonder if I will ever be able to talk them into not buying warehouse size things for themselves -- especially since they always *remember* what they like and buy it every time whether or not they have checked to see if they already have some... and then open each without finishing any -- and without being able to bring themselves to throw any out.

How many jars of KARO SYRUP can two old folks possibly need?  I guess as many as the number of cartons of ground cloves -- because those are the numbers we are working on ...

I am taking a break from the hoarders to venture back to NM for a few days.

I may or may not have the energy to blog. 

That is all...

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

On Strength


We have all heard that old adage, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger."  And I am sure that many have either agreed wholeheartedly or disagreed so vehemently that punching the person delivering the nugget was the only appropriate response.

I am not in the mood to punch.

Actually, I disavow violence for the most part.

But, I disagree with the adage.

That is not to say that I don't believe in it as I am wont to do with many ideas, concepts and items (often to the chagrin of very concrete people who tell me, what do you mean you don't believe in umbrellas?  They are right here, umbrellas!)

I am sure that there are people for whom this adage is true, or that they believe it to be true.

As I have been considering the notions of strength, weakness and vulnerability (again), the "truth" of this statement for me has evolved.

What doesn't kills us certainly touches us, shapes us, moves us off course or onto another course.  It has an impact.

However for me, the outcome doesn't feel like "stronger."

It feels like that tenderness of a bruise.  It isn't the sting of the original injury.  It is more of a reminder of the hurting. 

You know that you have been through this rough road and it caused you pain.

This sense memory could be construed as a lesson, but I am not sure that what it teaches you is to be stronger.

I worry that my take away is to be wary.

My learning around this is acknowledging that hard times come and then they go.  It doesn't mean that I am stronger afterwards.  It also does not mean that I am broken by the troubles.

It is just that there are challenging situations, and I exist through them.  

I guess learning to expect that there will be pain could be understood as strength of a sort.  But what I feel more strongly is the normalization of the existence of those hard times -- they will come and they will go and I will not control them: I do not cause them to come or go.  And I am still right here whether they are.

This is getting more convoluted instead of more clear, so I will stop.  But these are the thoughts that occupy my time while I should be writing.

Monday, September 08, 2014

NRU more education, college edition


This is at once an ode to late bloomers and an eloquent example of how it takes more than a dream and dollars to get folks over the finish line.  In fact, the woman profiled here is still making her way through the course.  It is a beautiful read.  May Ms. Warren continue to shine in Technicolor.  Can't wait to hear about her continued success.

This article tackles a complex issue and hits almost every point on why there are still not more low-income students at elite colleges.  I would add to this careful appraisal two other cans of worms:  1) the kind of education that the students receive in their schools (this is different from the issue of how poverty affects the ways in which poor students/families approach the educational system) - we have still not gotten on board giving poor schools the best teachers or expecting all students to perform in ways that will prepare them for college; and 2) beyond the issue of exposure to elite schools, many poor students who are prepared and have been given scholarships still choose to stay close to home and go to the community college.  This last one is huge and continues to be an enigma.  It is not, in these cases, that they do not know that there are other schools out there.  It is not that they cannot afford them.  It is that these students are choosing not to go.  It happens every day ... and it is heartbreaking.  I wish someone would do some qualitative research on that issue.

I cannot let the passing of John Sperling go without notice here -- I have a complicated relationship to this man, his university and the legacy.  I only met John once, but as a friend says, he was akin to her Medici.  It is thanks to him that my friend's son was able to put himself through college.  But I feel that many of the tactics his university has used to get federal funding is unconscionable.  His life, his legacy, is marred by the corporate tactics, and it is a shame that is true because his rags to riches life story is remarkable.  It gets lost in the capitalist dream/nightmare that his success created.  I know John, through my friend, as a strong, caring and imaginative person.  I hope that his story will always include how he climbed out of poverty -- and provided a way for others to do so as well -- and not just the unbridled capitalism that it has come to embody.  Regardless, I wish John peace and his family solace. 

This NRU got pretty heavy and occasionally dark (after that lovely inspirational but still heavy story at the beginning), so this last one is much lighter, almost fun.  It is a photo retrospective of the first year of college for some students in New York.  Two pictures, one from September '13 and one from April '14 and a tiny blurb. Enjoy


Friday, September 05, 2014

NRU, StoryCorps & Youth Radio edition

One of the things that NPR gets so right is interviews and conversations.  The StoryCorps program is one of the highlights of my week even when it make me cry like a baby.  And that happens on a regular basis.  This is sort of the mom/dad and kid edition.

Youth Radio also frequently hits it out of the ballpark.

As a corollary to the men in America series, NPR played this piece on a bi-racial man talking with his white dad about the time the younger man asked his father what it was like to be the white father of a biracial kid.  It kept me in my car and almost made me late for an appointment, tears streaming down my face.  Hope you like it, too.

This in another bi-racial family but this time it is mom and son talking about a heartbreaking tangle the son had with some racist police.

The resilience exhibited in these stories is remarkable.  There is heartbreak and there is physical or emotional pain, but they are telling the stories because they survived.

This mom and daughter open up the world of the homeless in unexpected but telling ways.

If only we knew more about the people we judge, wouldn't there be so much more built-in compassion?  Or am I just way too Pollyanna?  Whichever it is, I am holding on to that hope.

There are many, many wonderful stories on StoryCorps, take a look and listen.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Poetry Thursday, Rumi, again

If you want what visible reality
can give, you're an employee.
If you want the unseen world,
you're not living your truth.
Both wishes are foolish,
but you'll be forgiven for forgetting
that what you really want is
love's confusing joy.
-Rumi


Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Dark Chocolate Pretzels

I had a family-filled weekend including two large gatherings ... I don't know how many times each of us cried, or at least had eyes filled with tears, independently over the weekend.

Finally, Sunday night, my niece, my mom, nephew and I settled in to watch a movie -- and I suggested we watch The Book Thief.

Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow plant

My niece looked at me with apprehension -- is it going to be too sad -- her look screamed.

I told her it was like chocolate pretzels, partly salty and partly sweet.

As the movie progressed, my nephew abandoned us for his video games.   My mom flew the coup to watch a Cantinflas movie.  But my niece and I persevered. 

Sometime near the end of the movie, I amended my description -- adding "dark" to the chocolate to connote the slight bitterness also evoked by the movie.

This also describes our time together -- in so many ways.  But especially as we learn how to get together without my brother and sister.

This time around my younger sister decided to bring out a game. 

We have carefully survived long family gatherings without our usual board games since we lost them.  There is too much of them in all of our memories of playing these games.

But A. ventured into that game - calling out directly my sister's memory.  My niece excused herself for a minute, pretending to go play with the dog, but returned with tears in her eyes.

I know that we all were secretly savoring that bittersweet memory.

I think this is moving forward, but I still think that it is odd that we can't grieve their loss together... it's a process.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

NRU Education Edition


I couldn't bring myself to post this on Labor Day as it had been the traditional end of summer and call to school for children.  But, the day after Labor Day, formerly first day of school, seems appropriate, though many students have already been in school for two or three weeks at this point!  It seems like an unfortunate coincidence that school starts earlier in the summer just as the heating effects of global warming are hitting so many places that have no experience or equipment to deal with overheated children and teachers.  Alas…

I am not sure how to feel about this initiative to bring four year degrees to the community colleges.  That is not to say that I am exactly ambivalent (can anyone be exactly ambivalent or is that inherently an oxymoron?).  I have strong feelings about how our community college system functions – how it was intended to function, how it actually functions, and whether or not these functions are at odds.  I also see the community college as a frequent death blow to the college aspirations of many first in their family college goers.  Whatever the prevailing commentary may say, community college is not for the dabblers or uninitiated to college culture.  It is more like the tar pits where mastodons remain after getting stuck in the muck.  There is the additional nagging concern that putting four-year degrees here is intended to keep those children of color and first-in- right where the other people would like them to be.  Of course none of these issues are addressed in the article. It is just what comes up for me when they so leisurely mention only the intended consequences and supposed intentions of this kind of legislation.

I almost don't know what to say about this article -- the evaluations are in ... and yet they do not reveal the answer to low scores being as a result of teachers.  So, the critics decide the evaluation system must be wrong.  Ok ... as someone who has been evaluated by many principals, I agree that the old way of evaluating produced not very helpful reports.  But theoretically this is the reporting system the powers that be wanted, designed and negotiated with all the teachers except those in New York City.   But it does bring us around to the fact that the governor of California is appealing the ruling on teacher tenure.  This war on teachers is setting up to become another chapter in the war of teaching ... and we all know that war doesn't necessarily bring progress.   With so much attention on teachers, my proposed study is either super timely or utterly irrelevant... we'll see.

There are tons of more articles in the queue ... but no time to read and process just now. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

NRU -- NPR masculinity edition

I am not near a radio enough during the "drive home" since I am usually not driving home from somewhere during All Things Considered.  But... I heard this piece that was part of a series on masculinity.  Actually, I caught two more since then.

I thought I would go in and there would be a link to all the pieces from the series ... but I didn't find it. [OK...after looking for a few more, I did find a link to the series... why is it not included on all of the pieces?!]

So, I decided to share the links here.  You can listen as you have time, or you can just read the transcripts.  They are all pretty interesting.

I think Fridays might be a good day to link the audio and transcript from show pieces that kept me in the car and sent me looking for more online.

This is the first one I stumbled into ...  The title itself, The 3 Scariest Words a Boy Can Hear, is catchy and it puts out the premise for the series.  I am not sure when I heard it the first time that I really caught on to the series part.  I don't think I heard the whole thing but then the grief angle sucked me in.

I really enjoyed this piece on the shades of masculinity in the gay community.  I think it breaks open the ideas we have about men and women and gender in surprising ways. It is refreshing to hear men muse about gender, we don't often get to hear that perspective.

This is the latest piece I heard about being Black men in America. I wonder if they just figured it out after Ferguson blew up, or if they decided to hold it back because of it. 

Here are a few more that caught my eye, I vaguely remember hearing pieces of these.  I listened online and read the transcripts as I was deciding which to post ... there are many more!

Vegans and masculinity - it offers another refreshing perspective on a topic we have probably heard to much about -- angry rants from both sides, but mostly women.

The *new* American Father - this one covers a lot of ground but could have gone deeper on a few parts.  At first blush, as in reading the title, you might think it was about immigrants, but it is only tangentially about the different kinds of fathers in America.

Men and the military - from the perspective of father and son and their experiences with the military.  I wish they had thrown in one more family member that chose not to serve, just for fun.

This one caught my eye because I am still so intrigued by the school where they taped this edition.  It is an all male school run on a cattle farm in California in the middle of nowhere, not like in some glamorous part of California. This one is less interview and more essay, but super interesting, at least, to me.

An interesting aside is that it seems that it was always women doing the interviewing ... maybe by design for contrast or because they thought men would be more open with women as interviewers?  Not sure...

There is a lot of good stuff, so dig deep into the well and see which caught your ear (eye).

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Quote Thursday

Mom's garden, super dramatic cactus flower

Our lives are like a vapor, 
here for a while, 
and then gone.  
Every moment is important.  
Today I will spend no time 
on self-pity, self-criticism, frustration, or anger.  
I will live for the simple beauty 
of the present moment. 
~ Anonymous

My wish every day ... seldom accomplished, but always anticipated.  I am thinking I just need to put a little more work in that wishing...  uh, that sounded like a little self-criticism... just an idea!

Even weeds are beautiful ...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

pre-Thursday poetry?


There is a life-force
within your soul,
seek that life.
There is a gem in
the mountain of your body,
seek that mine. 
O traveler,
if you are in search of That
Don't look outside,
look inside yourself
and seek That.
-RUMI


Tuesday afternoons are hard.  Challenging.  Complicated?

I try to spend time with the mijo on Tuesdays – usually it is his time for the grief group and mine for therapy.

I love the mijo – sometimes more than I think is prudent … love is just such a thorny emotion.

Every time I look in his eyes, I remember that his mom can't anymore.  And it breaks my heart. 

So that joy that I have always derived from spending time with him is now always mixed with these bittersweet acknowledgements about what he has lost; what I have lost; what we have all lost.

I hold in my pain because I am not sure how to talk to him about the grief that either of us experiences in these moments.

Then I go to the grief therapy session and my lovely therapist encourages me to open up … to dig deeper, to look underneath my frustration, my pain, my overwhelm.

It seems we keep coming back to my self-inflicted pain getting heaped on top of all the rest.

We agreed, again, this time that I don't have to add the insult to injury.

As I suggested to a friend last week, at that moment, I could pivot.  

I could move my critical eye for a moment away from my own imperfection.  I could remember in that moment to apply some compassion, to give myself that coveted BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT that I so wish others would also give me.

These are big and momentous agreements, acknowledgements, understandings. 

And they are tiny, small, infinitesimal movements, not large, graceful arabesques.

So, I am digging out my metta mantras and trying again.

When the demons (or gremlins) start to denigrate my being, call out all of my imperfections and human failings, I am going to try to remember to stop, breathe and say these to myself.

May I acknowledge abundance.
May I allow love to flow to and from me.
May I embrace my gifts and talents.
May I feel beautiful and strong.

And these revised mantras:
May I see myself with love and compassion.
May I love myself in failure and triumph.
May I express my tender, whimsical self.
May I open to all the love around me.

And I will work on developing others if these do not provide the balm or succor needed.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Baby Talk?

I guess parents of small children must experience crazy déjà vu or something when they hear crazy shit coming out of their children's mouths, only to realize these are remarks parroted directly from the source.  I find, also, with my niece, that I do not realize that I even say such things as "no, no" in that dismissive short click way.   

She has a way of cocking her head to the side when she is about to use one of my lines, or her mother's lines or her babysitter, Paula's, lines.  Her mom calls them Paula-isms… but we agreed there are plenty of other –isms in there.  A current favorite, however, is "Do you want to pee your pants?" delivered completely out of context as a joke.  It might as well be one of her knock knock or chicken cross the road jokes... that must be another post.

I am fascinated by the fact that little E. knows she is throwing one out there and how she waits for the reaction.  Little girls are crazy verbal.  Crazy. Verbal. And this one is also a budding comedian with pretty perfect timing.  Ouch, three going on thirteen or thirty sometimes...
It throws me right back to my first days teaching feeling ultra scrutinized when the students started throwing Ms.-C-isms back at me.  I modified my language because I love to curse … but I kept the curse place marker which, of course, my littlest ones LOVED.  All I could hear from them was, "Sheesh-kabob" and I would roll my eyes.   Please, stop mimicking me … you are going to get me in trouble. 

I guess turnabout is fair play since we have been having too good of a time saying E-isms for the past two years … "no, please" is no more, but we have her pronunciations to mimic with abandon at the moment:  "nuffin" and "woo-re" (for lure) and "yuv" (for love) and especially "sweep" (for sleep).  E. often proclaims at the height of her enjoyment of life, "I'm never going to be sweepy again!" That really should have been in full caps to capture her glee and enthusiasm.  I know that quickly we will have just regular sounding words… thankfully, she is full of other crazy things to keep us amused

Monday, August 25, 2014

NRU California Sights

Here is a piece on a little visited national park in California.  With the drought and all the wildfires, it is sometimes difficult to remember that we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world... yup, I said it. I am sure that all people feel that way about their corner of paradise.  But, I think it is something in our DNA we breathe in our surroundings and it becomes for us the embodiment of beauty.  That is not to say that we can't also find beautiful other places.  It is also not to say that we don't take it all for granted when we live it day in and day out...

It may seem like an odd piece to include in a California sights post, but Gloria Molina has been a huge part of my California experience ... I am happy she is going to get some down time ... though if this article is accurate, she is probably not very good at slowing down.  Hopefully retirement will bring her to activities she enjoys.  If I lived in LA I would certainly join this group!

It is a shame that the journalist who wrote this story didn't post more photos to go along with it.  It would be great to see what the murals looked like when first finished, how some survived and others didn't and how the restoration is going on the surviving murals.


This is an unlikely California sight post about a decaying resort area in northern California being overtaken by marijuana cultivators.  However, in this scenic but economically depressed area of California, it is, indeed, a part of the cultural and physical landscape for both the regular inhabitants and would be tourists.  I guess this is a bit of a counterbalance also to the lush posts about little known national/state parks that I have posted before.  You decide.


I am starting to feel like I only meant this "California sights" tag as ironic … but I swear I did not… I just keep reading articles that scream California Sight in an ironic tone.  Is it me or them?  I don't know.  But I did enjoy this article about the history of California in street signs.  Is it a sign of something?? But, again, did it cost extra to put more than one photo?  Or maybe I just don't understand how to access the photos??  It is bratty of me to be demanding … but newspapers have not figured out what I want out of online newspapers.  Just in case anyone is listening/reading/paying attention.  I want content – written – with visuals that are not too difficult to load in public spaces.  So, I don't want videos, and I HATE slideshows… no, no, no to the slideshows.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Chocolate, wine and spa day ...


...needed for single moms!

I have a renewed and perhaps more accurate appreciation for women who spend all of their days with children as the parent.   

I have spent countless days with many children, sometimes numbering in over 30 at a time.  I know what it is to have your every move scrutinized and memorized by 60 very observant eyes.  I know what it is to have thoughts interrupted and having to redirect and answer questions and anticipate emotions.

I am working on a longer piece called the non-parent about my changed relationship with my nieces and nephews.   For now, I thought I should record some of my impressions on being with them for longer periods in a different context.  

Last week, I had my nephew full-time for five days while caring for my parents and hosting two dinner parties where I was the chief architect and cook.  This is nothing in comparison with a single mom who is also holding down a full time job ... for context and perspective.

I gave up teaching while I was going through the divorce, because this kind of life was too much for me.   I couldn't juggle all the emotions with being a good teacher.

I would like to say I was never the kind of teacher who sat at her desk and zoned out while students did busy work – but I remember with dread that first year of teaching before I had any training … and the mornings after nights out when I just didn't have it in me to stand on my head in front of the students.

I learned, though, over that year, that the more structured and patterned I was, the better control and the more learning I promoted.  I learned to be "on" constantly.  And then there were the last three years when I had no desk or classroom of my own, so sitting it out was not even a possibility. 

So, I had some context for having all those little eyes and minds churning in my midst, looking for me to provide direction, amusement, discipline, etc. etc. etc.

But being with kids in a daily routine, especially one that is not your own, is a different matter – not in that it is so different, but in that I had never truly experienced it.

Over the five days I had the Mijo full time, I finally realized that those routines and patterns I developed for my students were also necessary for children in daily family life… and though it is not my house or my kid or my life, apparently, I tried…

But, I sure did need that wine by the end of the fifth day … a whole bottle of it (or two).  And I realized what it would be to be a single mom … even of one child… 

Wow, single mom's you are the bomb… we all say that, I know, and even try to mean it. 

But WOW… single mom's I bow to you in deep admiration and compassion. 

And I would buy you all a bottle of wine if I had the cash … when I win the lottery, this is going to the top of my list.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Poetry Thursday, Neruda

Oda a la luz encantada

La luz bajo los árboles,
la luz del alto cielo.
La luz
verde
enramada
que fulgura
en la hoja
y cae como fresca
arena blanca.

Una cigarra eleva
su son de aserradero
sobre la transparencia.

Es una copa llena
de agua
el mundo.

~Pablo Neruda

In English, here



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Today...

...my head is too full of reading and writing and thinking and mulling to write much here.

I am low on drafts.

Am I just slowly depleting my stores of words?

I am not sure, but there is no real post for today... maybe Friday, maybe next week...


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

NRU grief and healing

 
Heartbreaking and beautiful piece on a family saying goodbye to their 19-year-old son in a coma.  It brings me right back to those horrible days in the hospital, hope dangling in front of us like an illusory carrot, but what did we have to do in order to merit a miracle?  Why did the hospital not level with all of us from the beginning and why have they still not told us the whole truth?  If I carry the anger, sometimes masking the grief, it is in no small part because of the way they did not allow us to wrap our heads around our tragedy. May this family long feel the love of these four days so lovingly memorialized here.

I almost put this piece in the California Sights NRU, but I think the healing aspect is more important to highlight.  I love the way the folks in this article are thinking about how to teach/inculcate restorative justice.  It is a concept that is hard on all sides ... change doesn't happen without learning new habits.  Habits are hard to "teach" but allowing folks to think and feel through all the emotions is a great way to get the point across.  I wonder what a workshop for the survivors would be.

I cannot bear to write about the Brown Family or the many other right now ... it is too hard.  But, I relished this piece on how the police in San Antonio have figured out a protocol (and services) to deal with the mentally ill.  After all the many pieces I have heard on the militarization of the police (and the many thoughts I have harbored as well on the issue), it was wonderful to hear how this works.  Just to hear the police officer, skeptical at first, extolls the benefits of the safety net system they have created brings me hope.  I have always felt that police officers should get more training on the psychological aspects of their job than new weaponry.