Archive for February, 2008

Mr.Uhl

February 28, 2008

guard_tower_sketch.jpg     I remember the night I met the man who drew this picture. It was a warm night and I was sitting on an old church pew set up against the row of buildings that made up the downtown of Micanopy. I had only just arrived in town not much more then a week before-so I didn’t know hardly any of the towns residents, just a few faces,but most of them strangers.

I saw these two men walking up the middle of the street. It was around 10 at night and the town was virtually dead at that time. Micanopy is a very small town.

I could tell at the way they were walking that they were not in a good mood-and when they approached me the tall bald one grabbed me up out of my seat and proved they were angry and were going to take it out on me.

Somehow the other guy sensed I was being truthful, they were looking for someone else and it was not me-this through my tears because the tall bald one had me right scared as he held me by the collar of my shirt and when he socked me in the face as a warning not to cross his path in the future I agreed that that would never happen.

It did. I became his son in law after becoming pregnant with his daughter-who was still in high school…our second meeting went with out my being socked-I was supposed to break the news to him then but after seeing who it was I was going to tell I decided to think this out a little further but eventually we had a wedding.

We ended up living together in the large Herlong House in the center of town. The old mansion was large enough my wife and I stayed up on the second floor-her dad had a large room with a bath across from the kitchen on the ground floor. We had enough privacy to imagine our two sons into life there.

Mr.Uhl and I came to love one another one day when I drove up the drive from work. He was on his hands and knees in the lawn and looked almost like he did the night I met him. It turned out he was weeding a row of vegetables he had planted and on his finger was a ring that flew off into the lawn as he flung a wad of weeds. He had been looking for the ring a large part of the afternoon. I looked down and there it was.

It was pretty amazing-the way he hugged me and then realized who was he was hugging and stopped hugging me for a second and then looked at me to say his animosity for me was over without actually saying anything…except hugging me again.

The ring was special, more so then I ever thought. Mr. Uhl was special too. He was shot down over Germany and spent the remainder of the war in Stalag Luft One. He told me that was where he learned to grow vegatables from the small gardens they might have managed to grow. They had to  have been sparse-because he said they ate rats too.

My first marriage didn’t go over well because my wife and I were just kids-with kids. So we moved apart but it’s one of those things where we are still a part of each other. We always will be because our sons and us, her and I-always makes it so.

About six or seven years ago I saw Mr.Uhl for the last time at the VA hospital in Tampa. It took me a while to explain who I was-he was certainly very ill and a week later he died. I had not seen him in so many years his grandsons had grown up and were in the military themselves,so it had to have been sixteen years. The visit afterward was a blessing-a contrast from first meeting this man with his angry face in mine to this day where he was so weak…he was pleased that I came-he saluted me-a serious and sincere salute on the way out when I told him I had to leave.

Its a funny thing how things come to you. I heard Mr.Uhl tell his POW experience to me with ears that saw the film ‘The Great Escape’ and visioned his experience on the way  that story was told. Until yesterday I confess I never really considered how awful his experience truly was-as it was a blow softened by the miracle of film mixed with a 19 year old kid not paying that much attention.

I stopped and had coffee with my sons mother yesterday and she told me about this website her father was on. It was www.merkki.com .

I never realized who Mr.Uhl was until I saw the vast collection of photos and an amazing history of this camp-the size of it and the thousands it held. The camps on the movies always appeared so quaint-this was nothing quaint. This web site is an education-the art work and the ingenuity of the prisoners to secret cameras and keep the records that they did. It makes me ashamed that I didn’t take time to really listen to Mr.Uhl.

As I probed through the web site I found a section of the surviving art. I had absolutely no idea the craft Martin Uhl had-this drawing is his,the drawing above at the head of this sending of thoughts.

I felt honored that day by Mr.Uhl’s salute-it was kind of like that day I just looked down and spotted his ring. I did not fully realize until yesterday what an great honor it really was.

the bloodmobile

February 24, 2008

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The first time in my life today-I entered a bloodmobile.

It’s kind of a crazy funny sad sort of story.

Crazy funny? My son is like I was when driving trucks long distance-a stickler for keeping everything on his motor vehicles in order. Last night on his drive down to Florida he encountered a serious rain storm-the same thunderstorm that came through here last night,and something showed up on his ‘check engine’ signal on the dash…so,we ended up at a dealership.

They came by to get me earlier in the day-but the objective was to get the truck looked at to determine why the ‘check engine’ light was on. Crazy? Well…my son comes down from South Carolina-and we spend the day in a dealership! I’m in Florida. Being sincere-my son has a passion fo his vehicles…and I understand that. He gets it from me.

In front of the dealership was a bloodmobile. They always set up doing those promo’s with T-shirts or a free hot-dog,there was one here today-same deal,donate and we’ll give you a Tshirt and an over cooked dog.

I have to confess. I’ve had a few beers. I wish I was dead…but the beers will help,some. It just happens-today upset me,and I want to be numb.

I never donated blood in my life-nor have I been in one of those buses to see what they were like. Well…my life? No,that’s not exactly true-once,yes,in boot camp-we all donated blood…but what I mean is-never since!

So-we are all in the waiting room and the woman from the bloodmobile comes in-we were waiting for my sons truck to get checked over….so,there is a request for blood donations and my sons wife and I decide to do it.

There is an interview that takes place-I was not aware,but we went on with it-the young lady from the bloodmobile and I. Questions were asked-many that made sense.

Then the question about-had I been a victim of sexual assault?

Yes-I said yes!

The young lady giving the interview was taken aback by my honesty-but after she regained her composure-she said I was not able to donate blood. That was determined because my assailants were males-and I was raped ( penetration)….not female.

I believed the young lady-her sympathy. She seemed to tear up as she was rejecting me. Outside-as I re-entered the main section of the converted bus,the other ‘workers’ looked at me because my interview was a tad shorter then they expected…and I explained “I am sexual assault survivor”! One of the workers laughed out loud-the others chuckled….chuckles like back in barracks D….they did so until they realized the truth.

Funny damned thing…even being able to do something lifesaving,and I am denied!

I did nothing wrong…yet it still punishes me! Another thing stolen from me.

what it might have been

February 18, 2008

img0041.jpg  It is hard to say…”what if”? I’ve had too many people say that I dwell in the past too much-but I believe I’m like that because parts of me are stuck there and are trying to repair the damage or run preventative control-except fruitlessly. I really can’t explain that-except that I do know that at times my current behavior is in effect trying to grab and salvage some of the things I could have done-beginning back then, and have only started to realize that I actually could have done them.

It is kind of a confusion to have been told all those years ago the morning after my rapes in barracks D to “get used to it” and then be told years later that I should “let the past go” and “get over it”.

The other day I finally made it across the street and onto the University of Florida campus. The fear of a simple challenge-to staple hand bills (for the upcoming Survivors Art Exhibit-at the U of F campus student union gallery) )to bulletin boards kept me from being able to make a start the project . It reminded me of the many times I would try to find a job and would not be able to go in to fill out the application…at times I could not even open the car door to get out and go in. Jobs were so impossible in the earlier days-those who knew me thought I was worthless because I could never find a job or if I did-stick to it. They never knew the handicap it was-how disabled my mind was to to understand the pattern. Help wanted sign ?-they wanted you to come in! Plain as that, instead I’d drive around the block four or ten times trying to build up the nerve….continually telling myself “they don’t want me”!! My DD214 helped season that-which is another part of this story.

When I joined the Navy I thought I had the rest of my life in front of me-our first time of going out to sea was the most greatest of experiences. My time off I would go all the way up to the bow of the ship and watch as it cut through the water-an awesome sight. I ‘d lay my body right into the form of the bow and could look down as this huge vessel cut its way through the great ocean. I found out years later that all I had to do was go up and volunteer-and they’d let me hold the wheel and guide the ship.

The ships education officer had promised me his help in getting my high school diploma-those days it was a greatly needed document,now you need a degree from a college. The education officer assured me my test scores had proved I had what it took to achieve-and he would help me reach those goals…to get an education. He even talked about college-that the Navy had programs and I could be qualified to be an officer!

My brother Frank-we were stationed together on the ship, did all he could to tell me it was bull shit. It was a contrast in encouragement-the beginning lessons I suppose of self doubt and worthlessness ,and those were more improved at barracks D when combined with confusion and daily fear.

When I was a young teen I thought I was going to grow up and become an architect. Kids my age played ball and built model planes-me,I cut out pictures of houses-Frank Lloyd Wright was more more a hero to me then Mickey Mantle would have been. I had these note books with pictures of houses glued inside-floor plans glued next to them. Those dreams sort of filtered in with the Navy-but expanded into what I had hoped would become my entire life to be a Navy officer. All of this built up from the guidance of the education officer.

The mornings when I would wake up in barracks D to the sounds of the men stirring-the coughing and the shuffle of  noise you can intertwine with early morning (I can still hear the sounds of the zippo lighters clicking and the smell of the cigarettes) my mind would automatically react to the upcoming day-most of it spent with my arm twisted behind my back-being led to do what my bully wanted me to do , and to whom. You learned-“get used to it”-to ease the pain by being submissive to the whims and not to argue. To be told what to do and have to do it or be hurt. It doesn’t take much arm twisting to make that happen. I battled with that in my life ever since-my mental arm could be twisted to submission.

It does something to you to have something dangled in front of you and be told that you can have it and not be able too-yet it was there for you to have! ( the old Donovan song from the 60’s…”once there was a mountain then there is no mountain-then there is?”)Defined this means the offer of an education and a future was what I wanted-they had their man,and I believe a simple case of jealousy (my brother’s) became the thing that destroyed it. There really is no other explanation why I ended up in the detention barracks in the first place. Was it to teach me-a lesson of a higher education? After all…I had done nothing! An error that was unintentional – an error of a storm put me in an AWOL position…but a few hours later that had been cleared up by a telephone call to the ship-so I was free to go and enjoy my holiday (it was New Years 1969-70). I have no way to explain the events that took place in my absence to cause the ship to send my brother to ‘arrest’ me. There were snippets of information from a few directions-one about how a sailor named Billy told my brother some things….but Billy was more of a gossip then source of truth. All I can say-from that day on my life turned in a direction that never quit. I still wake in the morning in fear-no,there are no more early morning sounds or smell of cigarettes or the click of zippos,but the memory is immediately there.

It is a kind of bitter sweet project for me-to cross the street and enter the campus to staple hand bills to the bulletin boards. It could have been me…a student,walking from class to study out on the lawn, to earn a degree and to understand the future of life, responsible and with a success that can be sowed with a purer less damaged mind and spirit.

I become depressed-a friend told me he can tell when it happens, he told me I become more concentrated on barracks D when I do. It isn’t hard-when each morning you wake to an echo from the past that says ‘worthless failure’ and your mind immediately rakes through and begins an inventory of all the events from the days of barracks D and the failure I was to the Navy. No,this is not exaggerated in any way-it is constant. My father died recently-to him I wanted to prove myself ,but today it is no longer possible,and that just increases the memory of it all….ads to it . And, so when I wake and feel the sense of barracks D – and go into failure mode and remember I am different now…and different always because of it.

The monkey in the photograph had a higher military career than I did. He served his country with honor-like I wanted to….honorably.

In the ‘piney woods’

February 16, 2008

316715483_27e325ceb4_m.jpg      I was out of my luck several years back-I had been involved with an outfit hauling cattle and things about the job were too dangerous and too erratic and after one of owners kept skipping around and forgetting to pay me-I quit.

Somehow I ended up working for a ‘garden nursery’ in charge of a kid 19 years old who knew a few things like making peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches and the origin of ‘Stone Garden’…a rock and roll band,and not much else. The term-dumber than a box of rocks-worked well with Charlie.

I’m not really sure how long I really went along with the program-it couldn’t have been long,it was just a job to fill space-and to keep eggs in the fridge. I do know it ended abruptly when the owner of the nursery came up to me and asked me if I was “comfortable using a rake”…hell yeah-I had just spent previous months hauling 250 head of cattle a trip from Florida to California in a Peterbilt truck with a 52 foot livestock trailer-double decks-capable of top speeds of 130 mph ,dangerous as can be….yes,I think I can manage a rake! But I didn’t stick around to  prove myself.

Up the highway was a timber company. I always swore if anything-I’d never haul logs. Today it looked more appealing than operating a rake. I walked in the huge garage and faced about ten guys with ‘chew’ in their jaws and doing various mechanic jobs on a few of the trucks-one of them told me if I was hunting a job to go see Pee Wee. No further instruction,but he seemed to know I was there hunting a job…I guess like a deer looking into headlights.

I found this guy Pee Wee-a huge beef of a guy wearing a cowboy hat that seemed to shade a half acre…and I asked him if they were hiring. He pointed out into the yard at a KW and said “take that one and go to Avery’s woods”…and that was it! I had no idea who Avery was-more less what ‘his woods’ were or where , so I asked for a little more detail-and was told to go out highway 121 for about 20 miles and I’d see the ribbons,those would be Avery’s woods.

I’m walking out of this guys office perplexed as can be about this new job. Usually to hire on as a truck driver someone takes you out on the highway and makes you drive around a few miles to see if you can handle the truck-this didn’t happen…nor the usual chat about how much the job pays-or where do you come from,or is your drivers license clean???…..just “take that KW to Avery’s woods”!

I didn’t want to look like a total idiot-not right then after being hired,so I asked for a little more detail from one of the mechanics..how do I find this guy Avery? The information I got was almost as vague-I did learn the ribbons I was hunting for were red and heading south they’d probrebly be on the right….but 121 is a long road-any other clues? The final word of advice as I walked out towards the yard was “make sure you don’t laugh at Avery”!! “He talks funny-don’t laugh at him”!!

That stuck in my mind the entire drive. It was easier than I thought to find Avery’s woods-the ribbons were long and bright day-glo red and there were a dozen or so hanging off a limb of tree on the side of the road,enough to jar your mind that these must be the ribbons! They guided you to a two track logging road heading into the woods.

The drive back to where the camp was set up-the loaders and fuel tanks and such-was about eight miles back this logging trail,not much of a road. I eventually came up on the machines and a group of men huddled behind a truck. I learned later this was to avoid being hit by a flying wedge of tree-a chunk large enough to kill a man (in logging there is a machine that cuts the trees-called a ‘buncher’-and each time it cuts a tree a notch of wood hurtles off to points unknown). It appeared that every body who works in this outfit had a need to chew tobacco-my new work mates all seemed to have a full pack in their mouth. One of them mumbled something then pointed over to this large huge man with a bright red beard chest long-his arms were crossed and each the size of corner posts. My mind raced with fear…”do not laugh at the way he talks”,that’s what the mechanic instilled my mind for the long drive here-all I could think about. I was afraid that I would begin to laugh,and seeing this guy….I was just sure I would!

I walked up to him-his beard showed evidence of chew…his eyes fierce-you could barely see them his beard was so thick-red hair covered his arms thick as I had ever seen…this guy made Pee Wee look tiny and King Kong a cousin.

As I got close he spoke….”you-move dat twuck”!

“What”??

“you gib in dat twuck and you dant top it dare-you pup it ova dare!!”

I had no clue what he was saying-the other drivers told me I was in the way-move my truck.

Then Avery hollared over at me…”dit ova here du tupid ass”!

One of the drivers said “He wants you”!

So I go over towards this huge man who was inflicted with a cleft mouth which gave him a lisp and his voice totally took you to another place with this man-he was huge enough to break you in two,but to grow up talking a same dialect of words yet speaking much differently from the way all the others around  spoke-made him gentle.

Avery was as every other man in the piney woods…that’s what they call them here,the piney woods. He was rough-foul mouthed…and hard for working,every one individual that worked for this outfit-worked!

The mornings began before sunrise-the days ended at 8 or 9 at night,often longer. It was peaceful to me to leave here from the house at the wee hours of the morning and locate each days logging site. I’d back myself up to the loader and crank the  motor to heat it up for the operator-then I’d put a board between the seats of my truck for a bed and nap until the crew arrived some time around 6. I was always in good with the loader operator for him to show up with his rig warmed-the heater running.  Avery helped me figure these things out-how to get this clan of roughnecks to like me!

It was crazy work-how I end up in crazy jobs is unknown,but driving a log truck is a combination of four wheel driving in a tractor trailer and sitting in a line at the ‘log donut’ at the mill waiting to get unloaded-all with one scoop of a crane. In between the job was to get the truck to the mill upright. Upright means-rolling, as often one would pass another timber truck rolled over in a ditch-top heavy from the logs weight with a curve just right to pull it over. I never rolled one onto its side -but Avery said it was the test…because unless you were hurt the crew that up-righted you and reloaded the tossed logs would set you behind the seat and off you’d go…as if none of it happened,off to the mill to wait at the ‘log donut’.

I often times miss the piney woods-driving the huge semi down a narrow lane fit only for a jeep,going only into third gear in a truck that has twenty…just rolling with the flow of the fuel pump pulling the motor and rolling the rig…deer would be abundent as you’d drive through the woods that belonged to them-but were harvested by Georgia Pacific,but even so-the corporation was very strict about their woods and the job taught me that forestry was very controlled,as horrible as it may seem.

Every time we’d roll away Avery would say “teep hur upwite and detween da dubble whines-and top at all the top signs….neva twust anutho dwiver ( he really said ‘dwivel’ )and aw lays use da twurn siknal detwalse the twoople’s will top you if you don’t…and you don wanta geb uh ticket fum uh twoople !! (trooper ! )

the difference

February 15, 2008

2094617971_ee8d3c3aa0.jpgThe portrait you are looking at is titled ‘The Black Hand’. It is more than a portrait-it is a visual diary of a boys life until he reaches age eighteen. Unfortunately-the final section of the portrait is not visible-my camera just wouldn’t seem to comprehend I needed all of the painting in my view. There is enough to get the ‘picture’.

I was interviewed yesterday by the student newspaper at the University of Florida-the conversation was regarding a ‘male support group’ that specifically concentrates on males who are survivors of sexual assault. I had a part in the decision that recognized the need ,thus the interview.

The question came up as to why focus on just men-why not have a group for male and female survivors together,which I’m sure does happen-but in the case where a male has been sexually assaulted (lets just include rape in this) I explained that I did not feel socially we have come to terms with realizing that men have been victims too. The example is the community in which this group is going to form -a university city with one of the leading health care facilities in the country…it is 2008, and it is only now something to support male survivors is beginning.

The complexity of this is the difference in times. I was asked if I was offered counseling when I was raped?  No…I was laughed at with no sympathy at all-it was expressed that I ‘get used to it’-I cannot describe what or how my thoughts were doing trying to adjust to that response. There was no counseling-nor medical treatment for the bruises on my face and to clean the blood out of my nose. That only happened when a gentle inmate in this barracks guarded the shower so I could wash the stink of urine from my body and blood from my nose. I have to explain that I do not know what the differences would be had I received counseling then…I was told by authority to get used to it-that’s what I had to do! I believe things could have been a lot different had I gotten help. Instead I did what I could to get used to it-and to survive.

Sexual assault is the most wrongly defined crime. The sexual reference is out of place-there is nothing sexual ( if sex is supposed to be thought of as something comfortable and pleasurable) about a person taking another person by force or unwillingness to be a part of the others idea-they might call it ‘play’….but it is not what we might be thinking. There is nothing playful about being forced-by being punched and arms twisted in pain to satisfy the frenzy of some one else having power over your body.

This crime does not always happen by physical force alone. There is a mental avenue in it too-innocence being seduced by a clever adult with the vulnerable as a victim. But all of it happens to carry the same result. An assault. The vulnerable can be of any age-and any gender.

Every survivor has a different story to tell. Some that were assaulted did not survive to tell their story-in Florida a young girl was stolen from her room in the middle of the night,murdered after her assaults took place. A child under an assault where sexual thought could not even skim the outskirts of the fears that had to rampage through her mind-the final things that happened in her life before it was abruptly taken. Sexual thoughts? Play? No.

Living as a survivor is more different than one might think. Again-the word sexual combined with assault somehow softens the blow and gives it a less tragic appeal…one can conclude “it was only sex” but be thoroughly ignorant to the reality that it was not.

 In society we have been tradition tought to think this way-even yesterday February 14…the comments of sexual suggestion in the purchase of gifts for ones lover might make my point-how a gift from Frederics of Hollywood can open the doors for a sexy evening with your lover,more so than a box of heart shape candy….all of the ‘morning hosts’ on the radio shows laud these kind of things for laughs. And imply the female body is for sex…and there for the male as ‘eye candy’…as woman were repeatedly referred to.

So the sense of it is-the guffaws of radio hosts and humorous quips about sex, jokes about a place named after the breast size of woman’s ‘hooters’-all of these things to entice the funny nature of sexuality….and yet,are actually disturbing to those who have survived attack. For survivors those kind of humours are void to us-instead they assault our mind and memory and thoughts.

I could not answer questions like-is it different being a male survivor?

Each one of us have gone through our individual experience’s and our own lives-each has had different outcome-and income ,and abilities to heal….and to to come out it all upright and at the same time others are broken and the ability to heal has not yet been figured out and getting back up seems nearly impossible-if ever possible. How can I explain what it is like to be you?…or tell you how it was to be me?

I certainly can’t answer what it would be like to be a female survivor-except that it cannot be any less horrendous than what it has done to me….but yet it has been harder because the male victim has not been fully recognized and helped as such….and we walk with it in silence-kept inside.

a feeble mind expressed forcibly!

February 13, 2008

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I think my comments in my writing about feminist the other day were spoken out lack of intelligence-and understanding,and were forcibly spoken in my anger at the big system of news media-and because of my disgust at a little boy being raped I spat at an orginization that had no blame in what happened to this child…and I am really very sorry that I directed my anger in the direction that I did. My point of view was narrow and uneducated-and I apologize that my remarks were incorrect where I was asking feminist to answer to a problem that certainly is not thier fault.

I find that my remarks are most likely as bigoted as the remarks that were made to me by a veterans service officer…the remarks which inspired me to set up a computer and write about the wrong. And there is a wrong.

In my writing the other day about this boys rape I had ventured off to isolate my question to one group-and thankfully someone pointed this out to me and made me realize that I did . I definantly was speaking out of anger at a boy being raped-and in my anger without consideration to the broader picture….a feeble mind trying to express itself forcibly!

We are in an age where everybody is apologizing for everything they do…and it seems sometimes that the apology has no more real value-and I do not how to correct that. I do know that my lack of knowledge can be corrected-and I will strive to do that.

the dime,and the wings of eagles!

February 9, 2008

1048864839_b4a686cc7d.jpgTwo days ago I began my second year of my own personal therapy-walking the downtown posting handbills on the advert kiosks set up along the streets. That part is a breeze-this also involves going into stores and asking shop owners if they would allow me to tape one to a window by the door,this isn’t so easy. I usually end up sounding like someone who could use an interpreter,my voice flakes whenever I am confronted with needing to talk to a person in charge.

The handbills are the annual ‘call for artists’-the artists,survivors of  domestic violence,family violence,sexual abuse,child abuse-and other forms of interpersonal violence. (May 11-23,2008  ‘the gallery’ of the J.Wayne Reitz Union-University of Florida campus-opening reception May 16, 7-9 pm) (to show art-352.336.8414)

I have already gone to various shops-the ones that clearly looked open to having other forms of advert on their windows-admittedly,the task is fairly self operating,this is a university town and the street I am working is most frequented by the student population and the various shops reflect that traffic. The kiosks are really for me to get the energy up-to build up in my head that I am going to be doing this. It’s worse than this-it begins with me actually driving into the city,around the city and up the street I’m going be walking and then….I quit in fear-and begin the drive home (a long drive) and most of the drive I beat myself up for not going through with it-and the next day I do it again. It’s the first door that gets me going towards the next door-its just getting there that takes some hypnotic advance.

The campus is entirely a greater subject.

I fear large buildings from the moment the compression sound comes from the doors closing behind me. The more crowded the building,the worse-the voices and sounds create that violin sound that the writer clearly knew – who made the tone in the movie ‘Psycho’.

Yesterday I entered ‘Peabody Hall’…my first building on campus-also the easiest,it is where student counseling is located,but yet I still have to go through two sets of doors at the entrance and up two flights of stairs and through another door-one of those big glass ones that make that compression sound again…and usually in the row of chairs in front of the counter I have to approach are students or others,all enough to make me panic. But,in fact-nearly the only building where I have to approach somebody and explain my presence,the majority of campus buildings have open bulletin boards.

It was in this building,yesterday,that I found my dime! Now I know that’s not much to talk about,so it may seem-but a ‘dime’ to me is more than just a reference to a coin. It represents something significant to me…some years ago I was walking in the state forest behind my home and was troubled by something that was about to happen in  my life and the next morning I was supposed to meet a lawyer from Washington DC. We had never met-and I was apprehensive about meeting a stranger (in authority) and I was troubled about this  and was trying to think of a way to ‘break the ice’ with this man and my mind wondered off to my grandparents…they lived in the city (Washington DC) and my youth was pretty much spent there. When ever we got under my grandmothers skin she’d hand us a handful of dimes,the cost of a bus ride then was a dime (well,they had street cars too) and we’d get to spend the day in the museums and monuments…you could do that then,send kids off to the city with no fear.

Just when I was thinking of this meeting and my grandparents came to mind-out there in the wide open middle of nowhere was a dime…a brand new shiny dime. It was so amazing that the dime was there at that moment and at that thought and it connected-I picked up the dime and tossed it for good luck,it was.

Yesterdays dime was not a coin-it was a poster! I had hurriedly gone through my intro that I needed to do and back out the doors and the stairs and the next set of doors and in that foyer was a section where there once were two pay phones-the phones gone,and in their place were some various notes and announcements posted;and I was using the ‘desk’ part of the former phone booth to put my flyer’s and papers in order in my tote….and  looked up and there was a very attracting poster. I began to read what it was about-the photograph made one want too. It was about ‘male rape’ and said that ‘male rape’ was so quietly kept and hidden by the victim-and advised any victim to seek help,if at least by a proper mental health counselor (not that a victim is the reason and mental health the cause-it is to help the victim adjust to the fears to come,I’d hope).

This was my dime? Oh yeah,it was-as I haven’t mentioned that my dual task involved my also providing literature for the ‘Civic Media Center’ ( www.civicmediacenter.org) regarding information of a ‘male support group’ newly started by the ‘Alachua County Victim Services and Rape Crisis Center’ (1.866.252.5439) in Gainesville Florida.

It was the literature that I was getting organized to head off towards the Civic Media Center when I saw the poster-so there I pinned up a sheet with numbers to call to contact the Rape Crisis Center….but also gained a strength-the sign to ‘mount up with wings as eagles’ ( Isaiah 40:28-31).  As I headed off in the direction towards the Civic Media Center I spotted the Presbyterian Student Center,also in a large building-with doors that compress when you enter…and I went in and there I met David-he calculated our ages as ten years different,he was younger-but he provided this personality that allowed to me to flow the words so easily about the art exhibit,and more so about the ‘male survivors support group’. We spoke in depth for ten or fifteen minutes about the hidden victims-male survivors.

I left empowered by the time spent with this new friend and was charged with an energy that really originated with seeing that poster-and realizing it was very much a true ‘dime’. I walked up across University Avenue and into the Civic Media Center and spent more time speaking with Jim (I had met him the day before when I inquired about posting a handbill for the exhibit) there than I had with David just a few blocks before. I again saw the face of a person that said to me ‘say what ever you need and I will listen’ and he did-and his comments were confidential and yet he knew of someone who needed this very thing,a support group for male survivors of rape and sexual assault….and I HAD mounted up with wings as eagles.

Have you not known,have you not heard…the Everlasting God never faints and is never weary. God gives strength to the weak-and to the meek God gives might,There is no searching what God understands…but to those who place their trust on God shall renew their strength and mount up with wings of eagles! (and find a shining dime sometimes)

Okay,so I am preaching…but one has no idea of the fears I go through in public places and it is a spiritual strength that leads me (except in my human self I am too sorry at times to recieve and to trust) yet am always so amazed at the power in the spiritual leading that I do recieve despite me!

This Guy…

February 5, 2008

zimmerman.jpgThis is Al Zimmerman.

How depressing to have the beginnings of a ‘rogues gallery’ here on my pages…but these are important men.

Al Zimmerman was arrested in Tampa Florida last Friday-his charges are the solicitation of two teenage boys to preform sex acts in front of a camera. One boy lived in Orange County-the other in Hillsboro County…both were under the care of the Florida Department of Children and Family-Al Zimmerman was fired as their ‘press seceratary’ shortly after his arrest.

Last week I wrote about Corey Saunders-the deviant that raped a six year old boy in a public library-Saunders,homeless-broke…most likely uneducated-definitely a sick criminal….just like Al Zimmerman,except Al was being paid 76k by the State of Florida a year-for his access to the names and locations of children.

It seems the arrest has brought the bright idea to the tables of the higher officers of the Department of Children and Family services….the idea is ‘we need to do better background checks of our employees-perhaps even finger print them’ !

When Bob Butterworth was appointed to his job as head of this department,he said in his acceptance speech:

 “what better job is there to protect the people of the state,especially children”?

Obviously-that’s not going on.

Why are these important men-Al Zimmerman and the skinky gutter scrapings known as Corey Saunders? Because they are providing a pattern-evidence of males assaulting males….Corey Saunders is guilty of the assault on the six year old boy-he was previously in prison for the assault of another boy. Our Florida Department of Children and Family spokesperson…the former press secretary (now fired) Al Zimmerman gives evidence that this is an on going crime,a crime of no social barriers…Corey Saunders was a loser with no home and no income, Al Zimmerman lived a more higher life,and still he sought to sexually use -abuse – teenage males. A crime of no gender barriers!

I’m reminded that (no…this cannot be just a Florida problem) not more than a year ago Representative Mark Foley (R-Florida) resigned and admitted he was a fool for thinking he could write sexually suggestive e-mails to the page boys at the United States Capital-boys entrusted to serve the elected of our nation, entrusted by parents who could never believe someone so high in office could be so low as a snake….you too, Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho) because you know deep in your heart you too were guilty.

I once wrote the Tampa newspapers-my inquiry was regarding the trial of the Marion County (Florida) middle school teacher…a female (Debra LaFave-sexual predator) who was convicted of sexually assaulting two young boys in her charge,my question was….’how can we put this woman on trial when movies available in our public library can teach almost as much sexuallity as this teacher is accused of ‘ ??…and these movies are available to anyone with a library card, any one of any age. During the period of her trial I had found the films which the Sheen/Estavan brothers made about the ‘famous’ filmers of pornography-the brothers ( the Mitchell brothers) who challenged the Supreme Court of the United States for the freedom to produce their films…the same freedom that places their biography on public library shelves. Not only was this film ( oh…it is entitled ‘Rated X’ filmed 2002) available to any one of any age…also are films which depict heavy rape scenes-some with musical interlude to highlight the moment,even worse-comical interlude such as in the film about Richard Speck-(Speck:the Chicago Massacre filmed 2007) who raped and murdered eight nurses in Chicago in the early 1960’s…the actor who portrayed Speck had a moment of ‘sick humor’ after he was shown raping and killing each of his victims-the music tied in with the comic relief…comic relief? A child could watch this and think-this cannot be so bad.

I am told it is against the law for anyone to instruct a student in primary schools-public schools in Florida, that if a neighbor or a teacher or any adult in any place touches a child in inappropriate ways-that this is wrong! I understand it is classified as ‘sex education’….and yet as soon as school is out any of those children can go to any of the public libraries and check out the movie about Richard Speck and his Chicago rapes…and murders,or ‘X’…or a variety of other films once deemed inappropriate for viewers under the age of 17 when shown in the theatres, and now available to anyone at any age.

It is important for us to learn-despite the fact the lessons are hard,very very hard-that males are victims too. As I wrote the other day-we are not being told all the truths about sexual assault…whom all it does affect-male and female,man and woman…boy and girl. It is time that we begin to realize that the vulnerable are victims….there is no defining line,and obviously-from Corey Saunders to Mark Foley to Al Zimmerman, there are no social lines.

people-we need an answer!

February 2, 2008

300h.jpgThis is Corey Saunders.

Corey Saunders was arrested last week in Boston  (Mass.) for the rape of a six year old boy-the rape occurred in a public library…the boys mother was busy on the library computers…this sick individual took the boy to the library rest room and there the assaults took place. I say ‘assaults’….because this little boy will suffer for the rest of his life-it is too simple to conclude there was only an assault.  www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2008/01/sex_offender_ch.html

I stumbled upon this story by accident this morning. Through the technology of this ‘blog’ one can see the various ‘search’ requests a reader has used to locate my ‘blog’…I like to see those requests out the interest of why someone is reading what I write. This morning I found a request titled ‘boy raped in library killed’….no,the boy was not killed-after I did my own search on the story I learned that the ‘killed’ part meant….DO NOT PRINT THIS STORY!! huh?? What??? Why not???? Is too touchy for others to know-or is it to protect the judge that released this sick individual from prison just a few months ago after notice from prison officials that said he was not ready for release and will offend again-however,since he did not offend in prison-why not? (try this: GOOGLE- ‘boy raped in library killed’…I believe you will find what I mean!)

This happened just this week. Has any one else seen the story? I figured it out I believe by mistake-someone sent an email to pull the plugs (the email ended up on the in the Internet) on this news-do not print, kill this story! Truthfully, those are the words that were used…what about the little boy-what about boys and young men across this country? Why do news medias keep these stories from us? (not that we really want them at all….but,this is real-and we are told of female rape)

I read a letter (written by F. MacColl) published in the Gainesville Sun (Florida) April 2007  that says “roughly half of our population (woman) are forced to adjust some aspect of their daily lives and live a life a little less “free” than their male counterparts simply because they are woman”…this was printed in a New York Times owned publication-and I am curious as to how she (the writer) came to conclude with a number that is inconclusive as “roughly half ” ? It is used again in the final paragraph of the letter-she goes on to say “rape is not a woman’s issue” she states it is a “mans issue”….and this was published-but the story of a little boy who is brutalized like this-look at this mans photograph…this little boy sees this face always from now on….and the newspaper will publish this tripe written by an angry woman who also writes “until enlightened men step up and take responsibility for their actions (or LACK OF) …she goes on to say-“this form of homeland terrorism will continue and half our population will continue to live in fear”…again the numbers are questionable?? Where did she come up with the determination that ‘half’ of our population will continue to live in fear?? And how can a newspaper print something so inaccurate?

What about this little boy? He is a number…he is a lone number-because the newspaper (a large university city newspaper) will print a letter like this from which I quote,and in fact has NO fact and yet will follow instructions to ‘kill’ the truth about a deviant who took everything from this child’s future-except his life itself. It did interest me to find in a Lakeland Florida (The Ledger) newspaper-another NY Times owned publication offers an article about (Mark Dean Schwab) a Florida death row inmate who within days of a previous release from prison for pedophile behaviour-followed up on a newspaper article (that he had read while in prison) about a young student in Lakeland and somehow managed to convince this young students parents to permit him to interview the boy (he convinced  the parents he was writing an article).

Well,he is now on death row-he raped and murdered this boy. The newspapers are carrying the story as to how the manner of execution in Florida is a cruel and unusual punishment…I wonder to think how cruel it must have felt to this mans victim-what horror did this child go through? The authorities are worried about hurting this deviant-and murderer…and the newspapers will print a story about the need to protect him from pain as they inflict what is supposed to be justice-but will send down the order to ‘kill’ the story of the tragic assault on this Boston child. Perhaps they need the space for more ‘super football’ coverage…who knows? My opinion is that these are things we are not ready to accept yet-and do something about changes to the way we think in regards to assaults of these horrific kind. I can hardly bring myself to say-sexual assault-it is not even remotely near accurate…not even rightly worded. Rape…devastation to the future of one person-one little boy…ONE! That , Gainesville Sun , is an an actual figure…not a supposed number as blind as “half our population” !

Christopher Barious murdered after being raped by a mother and father and a grown son and his friend….Christopher Barious equals one…and a male child. ONE,an actual number….not a supposed as “roughly half our population”…but a real actual number.

I am trying to say here-we have grown past the stage where  society is not being made aware-and actually intelligence says we need to open up to the fact that men and young men and boys become victims too….indeed, it can be claimed that it takes a penis to rape,but in fact-sexual assault comes in from many directions and manners of approach…and has no gender boundrys . Instead-we should be working towards opening up the eyes of this nation that these crimes are happening more often to males than we think-and are told,and in fact-society should be ashamed that the public is notified more each time a woman reports a rape…and we are not educated in the real facts.