What If It Were YOUR Child??

I came across this article in my news feed on Facebook today–and while I generally try to keep my timeline politics-free—in this instance, I decided to break my rules and make an exception. The article, which you can read for yourself in its entirety HERE , shares a photograph a mother uploaded to social media of her 3-year-old daughter standing on the toilet seat in the family’s bathroom, and along with it, just an incredibly powerful, thought-provoking, eye-opening caption that literally had me in tears. This is that photograph and the caption (for those of you that aren’t click-happy):


Image  Credit: — Stacey Wehrman Feeley FACEBOOK–

“ I took this picture because initially I thought it was funny. I was going to send it to my husband to show what our mischievous little three-year-old was up to. However, The moment she told me what she was doing I broke down. She was practicing for a lockdown drill at her preschool and what you should do if you are stuck in a bathroom. At that moment all innocence of what I thought my three-year-old possessed was gone.

Politicians – take a look. This is your child, your children, your grandchildren, your great grand children and future generations to come. They will live their lives and grow up in this world based on your decisions. They are barely 3 and they will hide in bathroom stalls standing on top of toilet seats. I do not know what will be harder for them? Trying to remain quiet for an extended amount of time or trying to keep their balance without letting a foot slip below the stall door?

No one thinks gun control will be 100% crime control. But maybe, just maybe, it helps 1% or 2% or 50%? Who knows unless we try? Why on earth are there not universal background checks? Where is a universal registration database? Why are high capacity magazines ever permitted to be sold to anyone other than direct to the military? Is that really necessary to protect yourself or hunt for that matter? What about smart guns, where are they? C’mon techies! The 2nd Amendment is a beast to battle and wiping out the right to bear arms is not on the table. Does anyone really think that will be accomplished? Because it won’t. Amended to some extent? Maybe. But how many decades will that take? Where’s the evolution of our so called “living document” for this subject matter? A document that originally allowed slavery and prevented women from voting? NRA, are you even trying? Let’s talk mental health. Where is the $500 million that the Obama administration put into the budget for approval…did it go through? Is it being implemented or just sitting there? Where is the access to care for those struggling with mental illness? Politicians, I ask you…how can I help?

Banning together, signing petitions, rallying to get your voice heard is good, but is it actually doing anything or just making us feel better about the current situation? We need action. I applaud politicians like Senator Chris Murphy but so many of our elected politicians can’t manage to work together (maybe they shouldn’t be paid for a job they can’t do…just saying) or since they are in bed with all the wrong people, it is up to us if we want change. I want to know what new smart technology is being built for safer guns, advanced security in public places, databases, traveling care for the mentally ill…anything! Entrepreneurs, innovators, are you there? Can I help? Can I help you make a difference? I want to offer support. I cannot give you techie advice, expertise in healthcare, or financial backing, BUT maybe I can point you in the right direction? Maybe I know someone who knows someone who can help? Incubators, investors…if this issue concerns you, do what you do best and help make change. Can I help? Hold funding competitions, provide think tanks for these very things. Hollywood, the PSA’s are good, but not good enough. Eventually they disappear and are forgotten.

I am not pretending to have all the answers or even a shred of them, but unless you want your children standing on top of a toilet, we need to do something! Please share.”

‪#‎dosomething ‪#‎prayfororlando ‪#‎wecandobetter Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

— Stacey Wehrman Feeley (FACEBOOK) —


I don’t know about you all, but reading those words, seeing that picture…I was floored. I am sickened by the knowledge that this is the reality of today’s youth. That this is the world in which we live in—where 3-year-olds (they’re preschoolers for Christ sakes!) are participating in actual lockdown drills; being taught what to do if some bad guy comes into their school with a gun and they’re in the bathroom.

Come on, people! Am I not the only one to see that there is something seriously fucking wrong with that picture? How many people have to die before something gets done about this? Columbine. Virginia Tech. Aurora. Charleston. Sandy Hook. Orlando. How many more innocent lives are to be sacrificed needlessly and senselessly and in vain before these politicians stop catering to these super pacs like the NRA, get their heads out of their asses and start earning the positions they were elected into by—oh, I don’t know—maybe following through with the promises they made/make…or just doing SOMETHING, at least, about the problem.

Rarely a day goes by that I don’t see a post on my Facebook feed, especially in light of recent events, from someone bitching about the big debate over gun control. Mostly, I feel like asking people if they even hear or read what they say…and if they realize how ridiculous they sound. Because they are. Being ridiculous, that is. They’re ranting and bitching about the 2nd Amendment and how it’s their god-given right to bear arms…and it’s just so fucking ridiculous. For starters, these rights we’re given aren’t really rights. They’re more like privileges…and we should respect that, rather than take it for granted…but most people don’t. Also, when your “rights” infringe upon the well-being and safety of another—it’s no longer your right…at least, it shouldn’t be. Either way, people have it all wrong. They don’t even know what they’re bitching about. Most activists lobbying for gun control aren’t looking to shred the 2nd Amendment altogether. No one is saying you don’t have the right to “bear arms”. You want to get a rifle or a shotgun and go hunting—go for it. You want a handgun to protect yourself and your family—again, by all means. But what the hell does the average citizen need with an automatic military and/or police-grade weapon when they are neither soldier or officer? There is no need for it. No need whatsoever. Those weapons are designed for one purpose and one purpose only—to kill. Granted, people kill people and the guns are merely tools, but why make those tools so easily accessible—why make it easy for the monsters and bad guys in the world to wreck their devastation and commit evil? Changing the policies on background checks for buying guns isn’t a punishment or a roadblock for constitutional rights as these gun-toting nuts try to claim. It’s a safety measure. A precaution. And I don’t know about you, but I’ll sleep a hell of a lot better knowing that the guy down the street with the documented history of mental health issues or who was once suspected of being a terrorist didn’t walk out of the gun store with that brand new AR-15 he was eyeing in the display case like a kid looking in the window of a candy store. Sure, his 2nd Amendment rights were trampled on a bit…but maybe lives were potentially saved. I think it’s worth it.

This is not the world I want for my nieces and nephews, or future children to have to live in—nor the millions of other children in this country. Pre-school should be about finger-painting and sing-alongs and laughter—not practicing lockdown and active shooter drills. What happened to children being children? What happened to protecting them and their innocence? Isn’t that what we should be doing? What we should be focusing on? Isn’t that what matters? It should.

I know I’m only one voice. But it’s on us, all of us. We have to come together, work together. Not for us. But for them. As their protectors and fighters, and as the ones that made the mistakes that led to this fear-filled reality they have unwittingly been thrust into…we owe them. We owe them this much.



Somehow, Someday… a poem

Somehow, Someday… a poem

Raindrops falling on the windowpane.

Steady; like nature’s own heartbeat.

So soothing is the sound in the light of day.

And I tell myself that it will be okay.

That I’ll forget you and the hurt will fade,

Somehow. Someday.

But that day is NOT today.

Today I’ll just let the tears fall where they may.

Watch them shatter as they hit the ground.

Take a seat and watch my world spin out and ‘round.

Perched so high in the sky, I’ll climb until I’m numb.

To where the air is thick and I’m delirious,

enough so to think I’ve actually won.

Until the dark seeps through and it takes away the sun.

One of the hardest lessons in life you’ll ever have to learn:

You’ll never know real pain until you’ve truly loved someone.

-JLR 6.5.2016-



Breaking My Silence … a poem

Breaking My Silence … a poem

Change the story, go back in time.

Wonder where I’d be today,

Had I not fallen for your smooth and practiced lines,

Had I not believed your well-constructed lies.

If I’d just said no that first time.

One decision.

The night of the 7th day of the month of May.

Just the first of many in your twisted little game

to break my fragile, naïve heart.

Your manipulative scheme to tear apart my life.

Damn you for even thinking that you had the right.

You’re the devil in the flesh; you’ve a heart as cold as ice.

You took all that was good, you sucked out all the life.

You blanketed me in darkness, took away the light.

Like a thief, you stole my will to fight.

So convincing I’ve become, so persuasive I can be;

You might think so, but not everything is what it seems.

It’s not okay.

I’m not alright.

I can’t right the wrongs,

Or undo what’s been done.

I can’t go back and change the past.

Or hold much longer onto these old, bittersweet memories. 

They’re fading fast.

They’re my only consolation.

My last saving grace.

So before I’m persuaded to stay, I slip away.

I escape to the place I call home,

Nine hundred miles away.

Letting go of all the hurt and the pain,

No longer afraid or ashamed.

There’s nothing left for me here to do or say.

I’m starting over with a nice clean slate.

But I still think of you sometimes;

And all those months you left me there to wait.

All those nights I begged you to stay.

But you just walked away.

All the tears that were cried, never yours and always mine.

The love I wasted; all that time.

And you’ve never apologized,

You’ve never even told me why.

You just accused and insulted and denied,

Used me ‘til you didn’t need me anymore,

And then tossed me aside.

Without so much as a goodbye.

Now it’s been so long,

Don’t you think that it’s time?

That you told me how–

That you told me why?

I gave you all that you asked,

Yet, you gave me nothing in return.

I gave you all of me, everything that I was.

Everything that I am.

From the very beginning,

all the way to the very end.

Now my world spins just a little bit quicker.

And it’s been so long that I can’t recall when life was simpler.

But truth be told,

I wouldn’t have it any other way;

I wouldn’t want it any different.

That other life, that other me.

I don’t miss her, I don’t miss it.

-JLR 6.4.2016-

Perpetuate vs. Revolutionize

I read something today—a friend’s status on Facebook–that really hit a nerve in me to the point where I felt (and still feel) it was necessary to speak up. And so I did. And now I’m saying it here as well. Why? Because I feel that it’s important; that it needs to be said. This was the offending status:

Screenshot_2016-06-01-15-57-10 me and alanEDIT

For starters, I want to point out that I’m a firm believer in the first amendment. I am. I believe that everyone is entitled to their opinions, and to voice those opinions in whatever manner they choose, including and especially on their own social media pages. Having said that, normally–I wouldn’t say anything. In fact, I make it a point to NOT get involved or comment for the fact that it—at least in my experience—usually tends to lead to conflict and drama that to be honest, I really have no interest in or patience for. After all, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that most people don’t appreciate being told they’re wrong…or that some people tend to take great offense to being called out and having their opinions and beliefs questioned and challenged–especially when that calling out takes place in a public setting such as Facebook or other social media. However– if we’re being technical–it should be pointed out that those offended individuals really have no leg to stand on, so to speak. I mean, yes—it is their opinion and their page and therefore they can do and say and post whatever they like—but they also have to be mindful of the fact that not everyone is going to like what they have to say or agree with them…and that some are going to be a little more vocal–insistent even–about it than others. As such, they really have no place to take offense—if they put it out there for people to see and respond to. If they didn’t want to be disagreed with or have their opinions challenged…then they probably shouldn’t have posted them on social media. That’s just simple logic.

So…no doubt, I’m sure we’ve all heard the story by now—how this past weekend Harambe, a silverback gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo, was killed by zoo officials when a 4-year-old boy breached the barriers and fell into the gorilla enclosure. You’d have to live in a cave to have not heard about it. It’s been trending all over social media for days. It’s the talk of the town, so to speak…internet-style. Everyone and their mother’s got something to say about it. No surprise there. And of course, people are split on the issue. There are those that stand behind the zoo officials’ decision to kill the gorilla…and then you have everyone else: the animal rights activists and the average citizen who—predictably and understandably—have voiced their disagreement with, contempt for, and pure outrage over the decision that was made. Now, I’m no expert on gorillas, nor was I there so it’s really not my place to say whether or not the right decision was made, but I can understand some of their talking points as far as the animal rights issue goes. However, given the seriousness and exigency of the situation, I think the zoo officials did what they felt they had to do in order to ensure that child’s safety–and I’m sure they didn’t make the decision lightly.

Personally, I can’t say that I’m leaning more towards one than the other. The video going around isn’t damning in any one particular way, in my opinion. Also, it doesn’t show the incident in its entirety, so you don’t have all the facts. Yes, it showed the gorilla not-so-gently dragging the little boy through the moat and tossing him around a bit. But overall–from what I saw–it didn’t look as though he was trying to hurt the little boy per se— it almost looks as though he was maybe trying to protect the little boy from the other gorillas in the enclosure and from all the people that were watching. At one point in the video the gorilla looks like he’s holding the boy’s hand and tries to pull is pants up. With a doubt though, it was still a dangerous situation that could have easily had a disastrous end. I do think that maybe if they’d gotten those screaming, iPhones out & video-taping people out of there, the gorilla might not have been as agitated as he so clearly was. But again, I’m not an expert and I wasn’t there, so I don’t know. I’m no hardcore, card-carrying PETA member or anything, but I do take issue with using animals for our entertainment (I was totally that weird kid who hated going to the zoo when I was little). It just feels wrong to me. We shouldn’t be capturing and keeping and ultimately breeding these animals in captivity just to draw in a crowd or make a few bucks. We should just let them be free, as nature intended.

This whole thing could have been avoided, that much is absolute fact. But it wasn’t and it happened. And now, it’s one huge, social-media-trending mess. Because of that, someone or something has to be at fault, to blame—but whom/what is that…? Personally, I think the blame should fall with both the zoo and the child’s parent. The Zoo—because they really should have better strategies in place for these kinds of incidents, including the use of non-fatal tactics that they can use to diffuse the situation and the animal without the loss of the animal’s life. Also, structurally, none of their exhibits or enclosures should even have barriers wide enough for a child–or anyone for that matter–to breach and get through. Why they’d design barriers that way in the first place is beyond me. Even so, the Zoo officials can only do so much. They are NOT babysitters. It’s not their job to watch out for every child that comes through its gates. That’s the parent’s job. Is that little boy’s mother partly to blame for what happened? Certainly, yes. She should have been doing a better job of watching her child and not have taken her eyes off the boy—especially when witnesses alleged the boy had been insisting on wanting to “swim in the water with the gorillas”. But from what the media is saying, she had other children to watch and likely was distracted. She probably only took her eyes off the little boy just for a minute. The problem is—and anyone with kids or is around kids on a regular basis knows this—that a minute is all it takes and more than enough time for a determined child on a mission to get themselves into trouble. There’s a lot of should’ve’s where the mother is concerned going around online. How she should’ve been watching her child. How she should’ve had him on one of those child leashes or something, or at the very least, have brought another adult to aid her in watching the other children she had with her, including the little boy. Had she done those things, she likely wouldn’t have been too distracted to notice her 4-year-old wandering off and falling into a gorilla enclosure. But…I’m not going to pass judgement on the woman or insult her or call into question her ability to parent her children as so many have done and continue to do so since the incident. It’s not my place—or anyone else’s place, for that matter—to do that. Accidents happen. Kids do wander off. Parents aren’t perfect. I don’t know her so I don’t know if she’s a good mother or not, but I don’t think it’s altogether right how some people are crucifying her and demanding she be charged with child neglect and prosecuted, sent to jail, or even to the extreme—have her children taken away from her. That’s a little much, don’t you think? I mean, I’m sure the woman didn’t intend for a trip to the Zoo with her kids to turn into a viral rage-fest literally overnight. And as far as her being a crappy parent–well, you don’t see a lot of “bad parents” taking the time to bring their kids to the Zoo, do you? Most ”bad parents” wouldn’t even be bothered.

Any one of those issues I can justify an association to this incident with. But to drag race into it and make loaded statements such as the one in the above status—is just plain wrong. And I told my friend so. I couldn’t help it. He’s a close friend and I love him dearly, but he is wrong in this. So wrong. What happened in that Zoo and the outrage it sparked in the animal rights’ community and across the nation had absolutely nothing to do with the little boy being black. Nothing at all. Not one person or media outlet has spoken a word about the color of that kid’s skin. Not one word. Not that I’ve heard anyhow. People are angry that a beloved, endangered animal was killed as a result of an incident that could have been prevented. No one is saying that little boy’s life didn’t matter or that it mattered less than the life of the gorilla. No one is saying that at all. I’m pretty sure all people were focused on when they were watching that video was that huge gorilla and that itty-bitty little boy between his legs—that child. Not that black child. Just that child. In fact, the first few times I watched it, I didn’t know the little boy was even black, not until I saw pictures on the news of close-ups of the boy. The footage was shot from a distance and other than recognizing that it was a small child, you could barely make it out.

I’m going to be blunt when I say this. I’m sick and tired of black people playing the race card. I’m sorry, but I am. It has got to stop. I think too many people of color have lost sight of the true meaning behind the Black Lives Matter movement…and now they’re just using it as a crutch and an excuse for anything even remotely involving someone who’s black. There’s so much hypocrisy. Black people are so quick to cry discrimination, and yet the Black Lives Matter movement has gained the ground it has, in great part, on the very basis of that discrimination against the Caucasian race. Black people discriminate against white people all the time, it just doesn’t always make national news or the front page. What really irks me though is when slavery gets brought into it. That’s throwing down the figurative gauntlet for me. I’m sorry but…hell no. That doesn’t fly with me at all. Slavery was abolished over 100 years ago. Which means the slaves and the people that owned them have long since passed on. I’m not saying you aren’t allowed to sympathize with the plight of generations that have come before you or to feel strongly on the issue, especially if you have ancestors that were slaves themselves. By all means, sympathize away. But DON’T hold accountable the present generation and white race in general for atrocities that were committed 1.) Well before you and this generation were even born and 2) Weren’t actually done to you personally. And for the record, it wasn’t just white people who owned slaves. Blacks owned slaves as well. But for some reason, but no one seems to care about that. We’ve all heard the saying, “the sins of the father”. How can we as a generation be responsible for things that were done over a hundred years ago? And how are we as a generation/society/race ever supposed to heal from those wounds if there are people out there looking to try to stir up that fire by adding fuel, and fan it’s flames instead of trying to put them out and move forward? The answer is that we can’t. It just keeps us stuck where we are, with nowhere to go and no way out.

Honestly–I really wish people would just shut up about race altogether. And while they’re at it–put an end to this whole Black Lives Matter movement. I mean, what has it really accomplished? Because as far as I can tell, all it’s done is perpetuate the hate and the animosity and the prejudice. I’m not saying that racism is a non-issue or that it doesn’t exist in some factions of society. Because it does. I know it does. I’ve seen it. I’ve watched people discriminate and judge others because of the color of their skin. I know it happens. But it’s not as one-sided as the movement seems and likes to purport. So often people of color allege discrimination and point out the stereotyping by the white race against their race …but they don’t seem to realize that they’re doing the exact same thing to white people with all their nonsense and their casting of unjustifiable, slanderous accusations of discrimination. Not every white person is racist. Just as not every black person is a thug or a criminal. Not everything bad that happens to or involves someone that’s black needs to be made a federal case of. Or vice versa. And not everything has to be made a platform of for the Black Lives Matter movement. By throwing the race-card into this particular incident as well, is exactly what that’s doing–it’s intending to start trouble and stir up animosity where there doesn’t need to be any. It’s like some people of color are just trying to start a fight and/or to get people to march and protest and riot in the streets. It’s keeping the conversation going instead of changing it, like we should be doing. It’s inciting discord and conflict between our two races instead of uniting us equals–and isn’t that what #BlackLivesMatter is all about? Or what it was supposed to be about. I mean, you’d think people would be sick of dealing with and hearing about racism. Hell, I know I am. It’s 2016, people!! We have all these rights and liberties and opportunities for greatness that people–both white and black–never would have dreamed of having 100 years ago. So then why do some people have to keep harping on the past and blaming generations for transgressions made well  before their time? Are they really that clueless? Do they really not see or get it–that this hate and pointing fingers and casting blame and unjustly accusing people of being prejudiced–how is it any different from the hate the KKK and white supremacist groups perpetuated and spread (and continue to spread)? The answer is that they apparently do not. But it’s not any different. And if someone of color wants to take offense to that, well so be it. In fact, I hope he/she does. Because at least then I know that it’s being heard and (hopefully) it ruminates. Racism and discrimination and prejudice…it’s a two-way street. Both sides share blame. And both sides need to work together to change the conversation…if the nation has any hope of obliterating racism once and for all.

When I started working with my friend on “3 Blind Boys” and with Moving4ward (his production company), I actually thought the movement meant something. I believed in both the movement’s message and in what he was trying to convey in his project…and the fundamental values the company stands for. It’s been such a rewarding experience…but it’s also been a challenge. With the exceptions of some of our interns and myself—my friend, the team and anyone that’s been involved in any of our projects is black. And that’s deliberate on my friend’s part. His entire vision for the company is wrapped around the empowerment of individuals of color, which is an incredibly respectable vision, but conceptually and financially-wise–it’s very limiting. Not to mention, it makes the few of us that are white feel ganged up on—whether it’s intentional or not. It’s not a good feeling, and it makes it hard to believe in a project—to be in it 100 percent—when your heart just isn’t in it. I’m hoping my friend will come around eventually—that he’ll start to broaden some and stop limiting himself and the company with the paranoia that all white people are out to make black people feel inferior. I honestly do think it’s the only way he and his company are going to be a success…if he appeals to the whole audience, and not just a section of it…and if he stops just expecting discrimination just on the basis of him being black. He’s deeply religious and big on faith, yet for the most part, it’s as though he has little or no faith in any race other than his own. That’s not only unfair those of us that don’t give a damn about the color of a person’s skin, but it’s also very, very sad. I’d hate for him to remain so cynical…and to circumvent his own success–both on a personal and professional level because of it. He’s better than that. I know he is.

To conclude and to reiterate, not all white people are racists. We’re not the enemy out to get you. Some of us really DON’T give a damn about the color of your skin. We’re not The Boogeyman. So stop making us out to be. Please.


‘Til next time.


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