Archive for October, 2013

Remembering The Answer: Allen Iverson

Posted in Sports with tags , , on October 31, 2013 by geniusscribbleink

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It was approximately 8 plus years ago when my wife and I decided take a few days off and head to what we deem as our “second home”, which is Philadelphia, PA. We have always been very fond of “Philly” because of its shopping, dining experiences and nightlife. There is one place in particular that we would often attend and it was a bar lounge named Bluezette. We would usually get a bite to eat and then head upstairs to the music lounge and kick back and absorb the ambiance and listen to some great music. On this particular night, the lounge area was not that crowded, so my wife and I took a seat not too far from the bar and waited for the night to pickup. As we were talking it up amongst ourselves, my wife was joking as a group of patrons walked in wearing attire that resembled one of my friends, claiming that they must be related to him. I turned around to see who she was referring to and I said to my wife “Do you know who that is?” And with saturated sarcasm she stated “Yeah, that’s your boy’s family members”. Then the octaves of my vocal chords became excitable and I retorted “Babe, that is Allen Iverson!” Of course the bantering of denial and “yes it is” were exchanged, as he came in and stood in the proximity of our seating. So I boldly said to her “I’m going to prove it, I’m going to say what’s up to him”. I turned towards his direction and I said “What up Allen!” And he in turn reaches over to give me pound. My wife sat there stunned and in utter disbelief. That whole night, both he and his entourage partied right next to us the whole time. He seemed like a regular person, nothing fancy and extremely approachable, as he engaged freely with other patrons. And as Allen Iverson has officially announced his retirement from the NBA, we can reflect on his unmatched basketball prowess, but most importantly we can reflect on the man with the “Only The Strong Survive” monicker tattooed on his left arm. He is the quintessential person that movies are made about. He is a success story, coming from a less than perfect upbringing with no father, to becoming a budding high school football and basketball star, to being incarcerated at 17 for allegedly inciting a brawl. Allen has endured hardships throughout his life, yet he was strong enough to survive and attend college at Georgetown University and eventually go on to become the No. 1 pick in the 1996 NBA Draft. With numerous achievements and accolades obtained during his NBA tenure, Allen Iverson is destined for the Hall of Fame. But what I remember and admired most about him was how he remained authentic and true to who he was throughout his career. In a time where endorsements and image seem to be at the forefront of an athlete’s mind, winning and leaving everything on the floor was more important to Allen Iverson. He was David facing not only the Goliath athletes on the court, but also the David who faced the Goliaths of criticism for not fitting the cooperate mould. The rules in the game of musical chairs states that once the music ends, you could be left standing with no seat. Well now that the music has whined down on the basketball career of Allen Iverson, one can best believe that if he is left standing, it will be so that his peers and fans abound can applaud and recognize his contributions to the great game of basketball and leave him awarded with a crowning achievement greater than any Larry O’Brien trophy. That achievement is: Respect. #the answer

The Real Breakout Kings

Posted in News with tags , on October 30, 2013 by geniusscribbleink

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A few years ago, one of my favorite television series to watch was A&E’s The Breakout Kings. Unfortunately the series was cancelled after a few seasons (highly disappointed) due to the fact that the writer of the show left to pursue a new endeavor (Chicago Fire); leaving fans of the show high and dry. The quick synopsis of the show is that the storyline centered around a special task force unit made up of U.S. Marshals and convicts that was assembled to hunt down and capture escaped convicts. Now on this show, the convicts who escaped prison, usually utilized a well executed plan worthy of Frank Morris praise. So one would think that in order to escape from a prison in our actual society, that it might require quite a bit of ingenuity and a perfect storm of chance and luck. Well, then again, maybe I’m drowning in the wonderland of theatrical Hollywood scripts and an overzealous imagination when thinking of an escape plan. In fact, convicts no longer need to search for the proverbial skeleton key needed to unlatch their prison cell doors. The only thing that the convicts have to wait for, is the lack of due diligence by the authorities in charge. Such was the case with the two Florida men (both serving life sentences) who were falsely released from prison due to forged paperwork stating that they had reduced sentences of 15 years. And to think that the Florida case was an anomaly would be a huge mistake, as we now have an incident at an Oklahoma correctional facility (Caddo County Jail), in which four inmates escaped prison by prying open a maintenance hatch in the shower, crawling through a crawl space that lead to a cement wall, in which they proceeded to knock out a couple of cement blocks in order to access an unlocked door leading out of the prison. Somewhere in this scenario, there is enough material to create a sequel to The Shawshank Redemption. Now I think we all could buy the prying open of the maintenance hatch, but the removal of cement blocks on the wall of a two year old prison screams collusion at best. How can four inmates stay unaccounted for, long enough to open a latch, crawl through a space, break away cement blocks and walk out the literal front door without being detected? To say that this is an inexcusable act would be an understatement, as this deplorable offense is termination worthy at best. Albeit we have only learned of one of the escaped convicts’ reason for imprisonment (drugs), the crimes of the other have yet to be revealed as of my writing of this blog entry. Irregardless, the fact remains that we have seen murders and drug dealers walk out of prison doors undetected, so we must be cognizant of the fact that rapists are amongst the prison population as well. What ramifications do the prison wardens face in these instances? Do the correctional officers keeps their jobs, knowing that they failed to perform the tasks associated with their job descriptions? Most important are the victims of the crimes committed by these men and the residual physiological effect it has on those believing they have obtained some sort of closure. This is extremely unacceptable and if I was a part of those communities I would be completely outraged. To know that this has occurred twice within a few month span, is disturbing and signifies a need for new fail safes to be implemented. It’s time to sound the alarm. #andy dufresne

Restaurant Review: Rockwell’s Bar and Grill (Smithtown N.Y.)

Posted in Dining with tags on October 28, 2013 by geniusscribbleink

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From the outside looking in is where most of our preconceptions are forged and formulated. It is not until we decide to venture into the unknown, that we actually begin to to see the reality of a situation. Nothing rings more true of this premise then Friday, October 25th of 2013. We went out to celebrate my niece’s 18th birthday at Rockwell’s Bar and Grill (Smithtown N.Y.) and as we approached the entrance, the first thing that came to mind was that it was probably more bar and less grilling going on inside their establishment. The walls are decorated with huge television screens broadcasting a plethora of sporting events. Accompanying the huge television screens are several smaller television monitors that are relaying the winning results for the New York State Lottery Quick Pick game. Yes, we were officially inside of a sports bar. We headed in to confirm our reservations with the host, only to find out that they did not have us (party of 12) in the books for our 7:30 reservation. And to make matters worse, their establishment had limited seating to accommodate us. So one would conclude that unavoidable disaster was on the clear horizon right? Not so fast, the night was still young and the best was yet to come. The manager came out to assess the issue and immediately went into solution mode. He assured us that it would be a short wait and he delivered on his word as promised. We were seated within ten minutes and the wait staff was extremely friendly and attentive. Their menu is pretty extensive and was fairly priced. I ordered the Home on The Range entree, which was a seared chicken breast, with mashed potatoes and string beans dressed with a pan au jus. To say that this dish was anything less than delicious is doing it a disservice. Other members of our party tried several different dishes such as BBQ Ribs, Buffalo Chicken Salad, Skirt Steak and Shrimp Tempura, all to which they swear as being one of the best things they have had the pleasure of eating. Now the wait time in the receiving of your meal if you a part of a big party was a bit slow, however, the meal in itself will make you realize that the wait is well worth it. Rockwell’s is not your typical bar food pub as it exhibits restaurant quality entrees that will satisfy the romancing hunger of your appetite. So if sports and great food appeal to your dining needs, head over to 60 Terry Road in Smithtown N.Y. Disappointment is not available on their menu. #Bon Appetite

The Global Slave

Posted in News with tags , on October 23, 2013 by geniusscribbleink

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Former slave, historical figure and Long Island native Pyrrhus Concer’s tombstone reads: “Though born a slave, he possessed those virtues, without which, kings are but slaves”. It wasn’t until writing this quote that I finally began to grasp its true meaning and if I was to take my poetic license in interpreting this wondrous proclamation, I would say that only an individual’s virtues can separate him from the same conditions that can plague his counterpart. Such is the case of slave versus slave owner; both are bounded by the “control” associated with human harvesting, as it acts as a binding agent in cementing the dynamic dichotomy between the powerful and the submissive. The foundation of the “control” as it relates to human enslavement, is usually rooted in the lust for money and power. In fact the United States Civil War was forged out philosophical indifferences and the jockeying for power as it related to the free slave labored south versus the paid waged laborers of the north; in their exploratory race towards the development of America’s western territories. The enslavement of human beings as if they are mere cattle, is a barbaric premise at best. One would conclude that these practices or tactics, were instigated in a time more demonized than humanized. However, we would learn that the time capsuling door of enslavement was never closed nor was it buried for historical documentation. In fact, slavery is very much alive and is a provocative subject in our modern day era. Globally there is an estimated 30 million slaves on the planet today, with 14 million residing in India alone, according to the Global Slave Index. China is second on that list with 2.9 million, followed by Pakistan with 2.1 million. There are ten countries that account for three quarters of the slave population and they the following: Nigeria, Ethiopia, Russia, Thailand, Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar and Bangladesh. What should also be noted is the continuous, morphing definition of the term slavery. For centuries we have thought of slavery in the terms of humans being owned and utilized for free labor, however, slavery has expanded its tentacles into the realms of forced child marriages, female trafficking for prostitution and the use of migrant workers in exploitative working conditions. If not for Australian billionaire, philanthropist Andrew Forrest’s plight to stamp out global slavery, the data compiled in the Global Slave Index would not exist and the world’s leaders would be less aware of this demonic plague that continues its infestation of the impoverished and the disenfranchised. It is said that history often repeats itself, but in the case of slavery, it has never left the world in its entirety. I guess it’s not far fetched to assume that as long as greed exists, there will always be those who exploit others for financial or political gain. But the dehumanization of people in that process violates the more than laws of civil liberties, it also violates the laws of humanity. Where are our “virtues” when a valuable life is bartered for material assets? Maybe those virtues are lost in translation as most of those 30 million do not share our same dialect. Either way, awareness helps to conjure change and perhaps this blog starts it. We are said to be the leaders of the free world, too bad a portion of that world still remains chained. #shackled

The Zombie Addiction

Posted in News with tags , , , , on October 18, 2013 by geniusscribbleink

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Some subject matters when composing a blog, begin to write themselves long before the idea is actually conceptualized. Such is the case in this particular instance, as I will broach something that I’ve become extremely familiar with over the past few weeks and that is the AMC television show The Walking Dead. At the advise of a Facebook friend, I decided to watch the week long marathon recapping three epic seasons worth of the critically acclaimed series that would eventually lead up to the premiere of the fourth season. Now make no qualms about it, I have never been into the zombie culture, in fact, I begrudgingly tuned in expecting to not make it through one hours worth of the first season. And much like the swift transitions of life, what I believed would be one meaningless hour, turned into me deleting some of my other favorite television series from my DVR in order to create space so that I did not miss a single episode of the three season marathon. So in conclusion, I have become a zombie addict and a fan of the show. It behooves me to say that my new obsession, zombies, has turned from an addiction of 16.1 million television viewers, to an actual recreational addiction in the form of a drug called Krokodil (pronounced like crocodile). Krokodil is an injectable opioid that eats away at the flesh of its users, turning their skin black, green and scaly. Dr. Abhin Singla, an internist and addiction specialist at Joliet’s Presence St. Joseph Medical Center, stated: “It’s a zombie drug; it literally kills you from the inside out”. Krokodil is said to cause serious damage to the veins and soft tissue infections, rapidly followed by gangrene and necrosis. The soft tissue damage is said to happen around the injection site and there are claims that Krokodil also appears to clump in the veins because it fails to dissolve completely into the bloodstream. The D.E.A is unable to determine its widespread usage in the U.S., however, there were five reported cases in a hospital in a suburb of Chicago (Joliet) over this past weekend, in which patients exhibited symptoms mirroring the drug’s side effects. Dr. Abhin Singla declared: “If you want a way to die, this is a way to die”. Such was the case with a man in Duncan Oklahoma, who died last year after using Krokodil, as doctors professed that it ate him from the inside out. One has to ponder the addictive nature of society as a whole and ask: Are we really on the cusp of a zombie apocalypse in this country? Has life truly begin to mimic the art of the macabre? Will this be the new designer drug of choice? Will we find ourselves choosing the imprisonment of a prison in order to ward off this drug infestation? In season one of The Walking Dead, Rick proclaimed: “We don’t kill the living”. Well apparently Rick forgot to CC: Krokodil in the memo. #wwz?

Washington In The Red(skins)

Posted in Sports with tags , , , , , on October 16, 2013 by geniusscribbleink

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Words have often been proven to be the most dangerous weapon perpetuated against mankind. They suppress and mould, anger and excite a plethora of emotions. Most important is the fact that words can also kill. It is said that the difference between life and death is in the power of the tongue, yet we often find that same life hanging in the balance way too often, due to the misguided usage of heinous, deplorable words. We categorize people by ethnical backgrounds, religious affiliation and gender, only to add stereotypical labels to further amass a crippling connotation of ignorance. “Nigger” comes to mind; “Spick” comes to mind; “Towel Head” comes to mind; “Wetback” comes to mind; however these things are never mentioned or fashionably displayed in public venues. They are the heathen laced epithets cowardly exchanged amongst the inferiority complexed individuals, who blame others for their downfall or demise in the privacy of their own homes or within the comfort of those who share similar views. It is safe to say that you will never see the Nebraska Niggers or the Wyoming Wetbacks, coming to a sporting venue near you. It is also safe to say, that they will not have accessories or paraphernalia made for purchase at the local arenas or online. So why do we have a team in the National Football League named the Redskins? Is it due to the fact that the Native American culture makes up only 0.09% of the American population, thus lessening the influential impact of their voiced opinion? Or is it the unwavering ego of billionaire owner Dan Snyder, who has gone to great lengths to justify the supposed legacy of his team and why the name is a keepsake. In a letter written to the Washington Redskins’ fan base, he would deliver a dissertation reliving out his childhood as a Redskin fan and detailing the histrionic origins of the franchise’s name. He would go on to claim that the Redskins name was like a “badge of honor”. I guess the real question that should arise is, a badge of honor for who? I’m not sure of Dan Snyder’s genetic code or hereditary lineage, but I do know that in order to speak for an ethnicity, you first have to belong to that ethnicity. The Oneida Indian Nation, is a part of that ethnicity group and have made it a point to campaign against the Washington Redskins organization, along with, the N.F.L., in an effort to push for a name change, as they find the term “redskin” to be both offensive and degrading. The owner of the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones, supports Snyder, stating that: “It would be a real mistake to think that Dan, in any way, has a lack of sensitivity regarding somebody’s feelings”. That’s a strong endorsement coming from another maverick owner who, much like Dan Snyder, thumbs his nose at those he deems as opposition to his own, personal ideologies. This support by Jerry Jones of Snyder as if he is a martyr in all this, is extremely irresponsible being that the Oneida Indian Nation’s feelings have been expressed and have also been ignored. They have been seeking contrition from an owner who could never empathize with their plight as a culture, yet continues to speak for them as if he is a part of their heritage. Is it not this same type of greedy arrogance that perpetuated the genocide of their culture in the first place? Maybe our sense of history has abandoned our recollection of the Native American plight. Perhaps Dan Snyder should read about the Pequot Massacre of the 1600’s. That would be true sensitivity training, that puts this debate into its proper perspective in depicting the difference between a logo and decimated legacy. Let us not forget, Plymouth Rock landed on them, in spite of Malcolm X’s claim. #change the name

In Review: Movie-Captain Phillips

Posted in Movies & Television with tags , , on October 13, 2013 by geniusscribbleink

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When the credits begin to scroll to signify that the movie is summarily over, it’s greatness can often be measured by your mental retention of the epic scenes and quotable lines, to the point where you find yourself reenacting them long after the cinema has closed. When it comes to the movie Captain Phillips, not only will you find yourself reenacting the movie, you will also find yourself whispering, “I would be shocked if someone did not win an Oscar for this one”. Yes, it is a safe bet to presume an Oscar with anything that Tom Hanks touches, however, you should begin to familiarize yourself with another actor who will probably receive strong consideration for an Oscar and just may be a star on the rise. His name: Barkhad Abdi.

Barkhad Abdi, may have reinvented and redefined the word menacing. His portrayal of the antagonist, Muse, puts him in a category very few actors belong in. That category is brilliance. You will find his polarizing performance so believable, that he seems to emulate what the real life Muse must be like. The pairing together of both Hanks and Abdi was pure genius, as this tale of survival that tests the will and intestinal fortitude of two men pitted against one another; will leave you on the edge of anticipation, as terror lurks with the crashing of every gripping wave of emotion. Based on a true story, Captain Phillips relays to its audience the atmospheric anxiety of what a hostile environment must feel like, as the adrenaline associated with fear, will invade each pulsating throb of blood curdling horror inside your veins. Captain Phillips is a must see. And remember, if you don’t like this movie, the microwave popcorn is on me. Contact us at the following: http://www.geniusscribbleink@aol.com.

Exclusive Interview: Hip Hop Artist-Capital LS

Posted in Music with tags , , , on October 11, 2013 by geniusscribbleink

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“I’m the one, that gets that deeper job done” is an excerpt from a musical soliloquy written by underground Hip Hop icon, Capital LS, during his collaboration with the 1993 group, Rumpletilskinz, on their debut album rhetorically entitled “What Is A Rumpletilskin?” Capital LS, also known as Joseph Clarke, was one of the featured lyricist throughout the album; as his trademark aggressive, grainy vocals would become the star attraction on an album that would see two singles, “Attitudes” and “Is It All Right?” both reach Number 24 on the Hot Rap Singles chart. The group would dismember after one album, however, Capital LS’s journey was just starting to begin. He would go on to collaborate with a few of Hip Hop’s greatest legends like Tupac Shakur, Notorious B.I.G and Snoop Dogg, as well as, underground Hip Hop artists like Greg Nice and Buckshot of Blackmoon fame. I had the honor and privilege of getting a chance to do a Q&A with the underground icon, to reflect on the past and future of Capital LS:

Q: State your stage name and its meaning.

A: Capital LS (Money and Lifestyles).

Q: “What is A Rumpletilskinz?” is an interesting album title. What exactly is Rumpletilskinz and who were the members?

A: Busta (Rhymes) named us (Sha-Now the Remedy Man, Jeranimo, and producer R.P.M.). Our beats were (rump) it wont stop (til) death and it is deeper then (skin).

Q: Who got you started in the music industry?

A: My natural ability to sing.

Q: Who were some of your musical influences?

A: Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Barry White etc. I’m a 70’s baby.

Q: Explain for those who are not in the know, the business side of the industry.

A: The business side is math and science; period!

Q: Where did you first perform in front of a live audience?

A: At a High school talent show.

Q: Were You Nervous or Excited?

A: Yes, (nervous) at first!

Q: What was it like to see yourself in a music video on television for the first time;

A: Exciting, unreal and surreal.

Q: The first video I saw you in was in the one for the song “Attitude”. I immediately bought the vinyl for that single and was excited to tell everyone I knew you personally. What was it like to see yourself on a shelf display?

A: Again it was a dream-like experience.

Q: You have obviously met other stars within the music industry, Greg Nice, Busta Rhymes and Leaders of The New School to name a few. How did it feel to collaborate with them on stage and in the studio?

A: I spent a lot of time watching these people on tv so at first I was nervous, but then I realized they are people like me and that was when the fun began.

Q: I read that you had a close, personal relationship with the Tupac Shakur and the Notorious BIG; elaborate on that for a moment.

A: Yes I knew B.I.G from working in the same studios. One day he came in my session and and asked “Who’s LS?”; ever since then we became friends. We did a song together. Greg Nice had Tupac call my crib to ask me to do a album with him. That was a crazy joke by Greg! We became very close after that. You can tell in our music how close we were.

Q: The music has changed tremendously for me personally. I find myself never turning on the radio anymore. Is there anyone out there that you like or listen to?

A: No!

Q: Any advice for those who are trying to break thru into the industry?

A: Remain your own company and build your own fan base.

Q: Any chances we see you back in the music game in some capacity, assuming that you consider yourself retired of course?

A: Yes

Q: I understand you have transitioned into a business venture that has allowed you to reconnect with some of those familiar industry faces. Please let the readers know what you are doing now.

A: I cant speak to much about it now, but it involves the NBA. I hope that your readers enjoy our interview together. I thank you for your interest in my life and career my friend.

My interview with Capital LS, much like his journey towards success, remains unfinished. The “one, that gets that deeper job done”, was pressed for time, as his many business ventures (Silent Power Management Group being one) required his immediate attention at the time this interview occurred. I would like to thank him for being gracious enough to spend some time with an old friend. I know that success is embedded in his DNA and whether it’s the music industry, real estate or the NBA, he will exceed and achieve greatness. Good luck and many blessings. #Capital LS

Black In The Prime Time

Posted in Movies & Television with tags , , , on October 8, 2013 by geniusscribbleink

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In order to change perception, we must first begin by transmogrifying the stereotypical imagery that is continuously projected upon the masses as factual information. By no means is this restructuring an easy task, however, progress is a process for the diligent and not a mechanism for those who seek instantaneous gratification. You have to endure the laborious hardships that come with the territory of revolutionizing “change”, as wars are often fought in stages that result in the loss of innocent lives, the surrendering of territory and the losing of battles along the way. In fact, the validity of war will come into question at some point, however, it is not until the smallest of victories are achieved, that we find a reason to forge on and continue to live and fight for another day. “Change” is at the forefront of my writing. It is the very reason I continue to pursue this avenue of expression, with the hopeful intent that my elocution of words can somehow raise the collective awareness of those who chose to read my work. With this being said, creative consciousness is not alway at the forefront of entertainment. In fact I often credit Vince McMahon of WWE fame for being truthful with his product, as the images he parades in front of his million plus viewers weekly, truly reflect the stereotypical stigmas associated with race, religion and creed. Who we are in mainstream America, has everything to do with the images we are portrayed as in the arena of entertainment. For so long, we as black people, have been portrayed as a hustler, a gangster, a joker, a servant and most importantly as a buffoon. In fact, I can recall very few television shows that showed the black culture in prominent positions, with the exception of “The Jeffersons”. We saw the strength of a strong family structure with the 1970’s show “Goodtimes”, but would not see the same socially conscious material being replayed until the early 90’s in Charles S Dutton’s show “Roc”. Of course “The Cosby Show” would reflect a more pronounced version of prominence with having two professionals (lawyer & doctor) married and raising upstanding kids in the community, but for the most part, we have always been typecast. Even channels like BET, who are supposed to spearhead our image, have removed integrity and replaced it with entertainment. Shows like Teen Summit and news anchors like Ed Gordon, have long been removed and replaced by more music shows and mindless television series. Reality television as a whole, continues to fill households with belligerent characters that all but reinforce stereotypical black behavior. With that being said, I wanted to honor NBC, CBS, Fox Television & ABC, for helping in the fight to breakdown the walls of ignorance by placing African Americans in prominent roles that show us as moral citizens that are professionals and not the “A” typical molds we often find ourselves submerged in. And let it be told, these are great shows with an eclectic ethnic cast, so it’s even more of a good reason to support their work. I’ll list the actor/actress along with their shows and the networks they are on. The list is as follows: Blair Underwood (Ironside-NBC), Kerry Washington (Scandal-ABC), Nicole Beharie (Sleepy Hollow-Fox), Taraji P Henson (Person of Interest-CBS) and Russell Hornsby (Grimm-NBC). These types of roles are pertinent for our racial makeup and America at large in helping to combat ignorance and reconstruct a tainted image that continues to plague our communities. Please go and check your local listings and support these shows. Enjoy.

Mental (Illness) In America

Posted in News with tags , on October 7, 2013 by geniusscribbleink

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“Welcome to my breakdown; I hope I didn’t scare you. That’s just the way we are when we come down”-Alice Cooper (Welcome To My Nightmare)

When your mind betrays you, what is left of cognizant thought? Often we take our ability to be rational thinkers for granted, as the societal criteria for normalcy, is often embedded within us from day one. We are conditioned to adhere to an established, systematic precedent of acceptable and unacceptable behavior, to which most of the laws and regulatory rules of our country are derived from. Those who operate outside these normal realms, often find themselves removed from the masses at large. They are labeled as outcasts, sociopaths, criminals and derelicts; however, are those labels truly accurate? According to Webster’s Dictionary, we have all exhibited episodes of insanity, as we are all guilty of continuously doing the same thing and expecting different results. So why are we all not removed from the confines of society? How often have you talked to yourself or declared “I think I’m losing my mind” due to a situation that may have taken you outside the comfort zones of your stability? We often find ourselves staring outside of normalcy, yet we will not afford others the same benefit of the doubt when they appear to be suffering from unconventional behavior. Now, let me not be an unrealistic, Holy, martyr here and emphatically state that there are some crazy people walking around that we truly need to be in fear of. Those individuals are the criminally insane, whose only contribution to society will be as a behavioral case study at Quantico. I’m trying to bring an awareness regarding those individuals who are suffering from mental illnesses that are treatable, but somehow fall through the cracks and never receive the proper help. We can start by revisiting the past several weeks.

The spotlight of the world has been shined upon Washington D.C, as the debate about ObamaCare has become the defining face of the United States capital. Oddly enough, health care is the proper segue into another face that has also defined the area and that is the issue of mental health. Three individuals of African American decent (I will explain the reference to ethnicity in a bit), were the subject of horrific acts that resulted in their own demise and in one case, several other lives as well. Aaron Alexis (Naval Yard Massacre), Miriam Carey (shot and killed by D.C Police for erratic behavior near White House) and an Unknown male who poured gasoline on himself and lit himself on fire at the National Mall (he would die not long after being taken to the hospital), all went from virtual unknowns to household names of infamy overnight. Both Aaron and Miriam were confirmed as having some form of mental illness and it is suffice to say that anyone who would douse himself with gasoline and strike a match, is also suffering from some form of mental illness as well. An estimated 26% of Americans (Age 18 and older) suffer from a diagnosable mental illness in a given year. That percentage is equivalent to approximately 57 million people. An estimated 45% of those who claim to have not received treatment for their illnesses, cite money as their main deterrent. Even those individuals with coverage, estimate out of pocket costs ranging between $100.00 to $5,000.00, due to limitations within their health plans. Amazing that an illness that can cause homelessness, incarceration, violence, victimization and suicides when not treated, is not receiving the same type of heightened concern as those who are suffering from other diseases like Cancer and A.I.D.S. The profound impact that untreated mental illness has on a societal structure alone, is reason enough to raise awareness and to search for an affordable solution in treating the disease. If the past several weeks does not bring attention to this ongoing problem, then I’m not sure if it will ever have the voice required for change. It’s time to prioritize.

I mentioned African American in describing the individuals for a reason and here’s why. It is often taboo in my culture to seek psychological help or counseling, as it believed to not be for “us”. Well here’s a reason it is for us. Over the span of fifteen years, black suicides rates have increased a staggering 233%, as well as, blacks make up 40% of the homeless population while occupying only 12% of the U.S. population as a race. As I mentioned beforehand, untreated mental illness results in suicides and homelessness, so you can make the connection for yourself. The premise of this blog is to bring awareness to a silent disease that is often passed off as casual craziness. When your mind betrays you, what happens to cognizant thought? Well the answer is that disappears and results in detrimental behavior that can destroy lives and create havoc in the streets. We continue to see the Sandy Hooks and the Naval Yard Massacres and concentrate strictly on gun laws, but spend less time on the mental makeup of the assailants. Horrific results is a product of a sequence of processes or events that have gone wrong and not the product of instantaneous combustion. Duct tape is still a temporary fix, as we will ultimately need to go back and repair what is broken. If you know of anyone who is suffering from mental illness, talk to a professional and try to get them help. #awareness