Leave The Children Alone … Men, Be Good Men

Top secret

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/mar/14/obama-transparency-podesta-sunshine-week 

 My heart truly goes out to the countless goodhearted, wise, godly, Catholics  … angry and saddened … for fellow-Catholics who have been sexually abused by Catholic priests / nuns.  Another story in the news: victims of sexual abuse, perpetrated upon by Catholic priests, get a settlement (Seattle).

*”The Archdiocese of Seattle … to pay about $12.125 million to 30 men who alleged they were sexually abused as children and teens at two Seattle-area schools from the 1950s until 1984, their attorney said.” http://news.msn.com/us/seattle-archdiocese-to-pay-dollar12-million-to-settle-child-sex-abuse-claims-lawyer

“The agreement comes weeks after Pope Francis said the Roman Catholic Church had to take a stronger stand on a sexual abuse crisis that has disgraced it for more than two decades.”   (Same article:  http://news.msn.com/us/seattle-archdiocese-to-pay-dollar12-million-to-settle-child-sex-abuse-claims-lawyer

Those words from Pope Francis stir up many questions:

“(The Catholic Church should) … take a stronger stand on a sexual abuse crisis that has disgraced it for more than two decades.”

Pope Francis’ words came, according to the article, within the last several weeks. And sexual abuse has been happening since … the 1950’s (?) … but they have made a profound observation that there needs to be more action taken regarding the priests and nuns who are sex offenders.  Pope Francis’ words refer to the Catholic Church being “disgraced”.  Surely this does not suggest that the Catholic leadership is more concerned about how the Catholic Church is viewed, than the hearts / minds / souls of their victims of sexual abuse?  I wonder: if the sexual abuse was not exposed, would the Catholic Church still have been disgraced?

https://i0.wp.com/api.ning.com/files/O55D1Wr7*l9nXy8hPltdUzY5JITwIO-MlakVQAYMB8kbYXHpehDEoYtmDy1IM0Q9BN8LQ88-nmMjVA91LeFhHWWkuFb4bqw2/secrecy.jpg

http://wittenbergtrail.org/group/lutheransforliberty/forum/topics/liberty-quotes 

And if the Catholic Church had not been disgraced, then would their really be a problem in their eyes?  The words “Hush Money” have been used in articles / news referring to funds for victims of sexual abuse to be quiet about their abuse.  “Hush Money”, therefore, is for keeping the Catholic Church from disgrace.  Did the sexual abuse victims feel “disgraced” after they had been abused?  I think anyone would feel disgrace after being violated in a sexually abusive way.  Many victims kept silent for a long time.  Why?  Shame? Fear of reprisal?  Concern that no one would believe them? “Disgrace”?  And yet, the Catholic Church communicates their concern, more about the Catholic Church’s disgrace, than with the victims of the sexual abuse from Catholic priests.  For the cases that have been exposed, it was no longer “Hush Money” … but instead a pitiful rationalization, my paraphrase: “If we pay you this money, then its all settled.  You go your way, and we will continue to do what we do.”

The Church (globally) in America calls people to live with integrity, to be safe, to be honorable, to be virtuous.  At least, there is some good news: the “Hush Money” is exposed; the sex offender priests are being exposed; the numbers (settlements and victims) are being made known.  All of this as opposed to the secrets continuing.

  • Secrecy …
  • Is a predominant theme …
  • In the depravity / violence of …
  • Sex offenders …
  • And the fear / shame of …
  • Victims

When the secrets are told, the secrets lose power.

Here are some numbers, some of many, that are staggering.

*Roman Catholics spent $615 million on sex abuse cases in 2007, alone.
*$85 million in September of 2003 (just that month).
*$100 million in 2005, January.

“According to Donald Cozzens, ‘by the end of the mid 1990s, it was estimated that… more than half a billion dollars had been paid in jury awards, settlements and legal fees.’  This figure grew to about one billion dollars by 2002.”  http://en.wikipedia.or/wiki/Settlements_and_bankruptcies_in_Catholic_sex_abuse_cases

Between 1994 & 2009,there have been over 1,835 victims of sexual abuse.
Settlements / legal fees between 1994 & 2009?  $1.269 billion.

Here is the last piece in the story that brings about great disruption and immeasurable sadness from the link, http://news.msn.com/us/seattle-archdiocese-to-pay-dollar12-million-to-settle-child-sex-abuse-claims-lawyer:

Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain said in a statement on Tuesday (6/24/14), according to the Seattle Times newspaper,

“Our hope is that this settlement will bring them closure and allow them to continue the process of healing.”

REALITY CHECK, people.  Let’s not be so naive as to think that there is going to be significant healing with all of these men and women who have been victimized.  For some, yes.  For some, no … for some there will be no healing.  And its possible that some individuals are hearing Sartain say (my paraphrase) …

“Hey, here’s the money; and its a lot of money; so, since we are paying out a lot of money, then we expect for there to be a lot of healing, and then we won’t feel so bad.  And we don’t want to hear anymore about this.  Now, get out of here.”

Now, I know; I know, I know, I know … that those were not the words from the archbishop from Seattle … but if I was a victim of sexual abuse from the Catholic Church, I might just think that way about what Sartain is saying.

The money …
d o e s   n o t    c h a n g e …
what happened.
The money …
d o e s   n o t    g u a r a n t e e  …
full healing.

Last question, maybe irrelevant:
Is there any correlation between victims of sexual abuse and suicide?

Those are just a few links to go to if you are interested.  All links are unanimous in their research: yes, there is a correlation between childhood sexual abuse and suicide. So, healing?  No, not for everyone.

 

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Non-Pirate Wilderman On The Move!

I am on the move …  True,  countless times I have sat in me ship on a calm sea,  no wind to push the sails.  But, I am still, indeed, on the move.  Mornings have emerged from merciless and endless, nights; I have had no desire to step out of my night, into my light.  Such a struggle, a mistresses of depression?  

(Bombardment of Algiers by Lord Exmouth in August 1816, Thomas Luny /http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piracy)

An intimate preoccupation with sleep? It is a false intimacy.    On such mornings I am reluctant to look up, fearful that I may see the Jolly Roger flying from the topmast.  As of yet, no such flag has flown.  Which leads me to a decent question: what kind of a flag am I flying, up above the ship?

(Capture of the Pirate Blackbeard, 1718 depicting the battle between Blackbeard and Lt. Maynard in Ocracoke Bay.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Capture-of-Blackbeard.jpg)

When I am sailing across the Seven Seas (which I’ve never done before, but is sounds good), seafaring men and women always take note of what flag I am flying.  

And I hope that they see that I am a good man, not afraid to fight for what is good, what is noble, what is honorable.  I hope they see that I am not a pirate; for I am a non-pirate.  If you were to hang out with pirates like Blackbeard, Thomas Tew, Henry Every, William Kidd …   you might hear such perspectives as:

  • I’m a pirate. I’m my own captain.
  • A friend can betray you, but an enemy will always stay the same.
  • Land was created to provide a place for boats to visit.
  • If ye can’t trust a pirate, ye damn well can’t trust a merchant either.
  • A pirate is for life, not just for Christmas.
  • Take what you can, give nothing back.

I am like a pirate in that I am a swashbuckling soul.  Adventure, which is at the core of “swashbuckling”, is profound: because adventure depends on what the adventure is about, and how the adventure is carried out.   Here are some contrasts, for me, when it comes to what a pirate is about, and what I am about:

  • A pirate, his own captain? That doesn’t work in a healthy marriage;
  • A “friend can betray you … an enemy will always stay the same”? I want to be a man who changes for the better … not stays the same; and friends? Yes, they will let you down; but you will let them down, as well;
  • “If ye can’t trust a pirate, ye damn well can’t trust a merchant either”?  Ahhh, the power of rationalization;
  • “A pirate is for life, not just for Christmas”?  It would get old living a life of violence, selfishness, greed, lying, thievery, doing the same thing over and over and over … always wondering who is going to betray you;
  • “Take what you can, give nothing back”? Bummer.  I guess that rules out being a good husband, a good father, and a good friend.

Yep.  Non-pirate.  That is the life for me!

Fears of Wildermen

Some men fear …

Not being known;

Being known;

Thus, some men desire to be known and …

at the same time … fear being known.

Men fear being ridiculed.

Men fear condescension.

Men fear isolation and … at the same time … desire isolation.

Men fear pain.

Men fear intimacy.

Men fear loss, and defeat; men fear being shamed; men fear being bullied; men fear being backed in a corner. Image below, from the movie “Braveheart” http://www.evanrichards.com.

Braveheart447

Men are called to deal with fear, with honor, with the right timing, the right strategy.
Image right, from the movie “Argo”, http://www.geckoandfly.com.  Men fear being betrayed.  Men fear their anger.  Men fear living … not dying. Men fear failure.  Men, at the same time do not fear failure.  Men fear insignificance. 

“Courage is not living without fear.  Courage is being scared to death and doing the right thing anyway.”  (Movie, “Argo”)

The Duke: Up Ahead On the Trail

“Talk low, talk slow and don’t say much.” 

John Wayne

https://i1.wp.com/www.talktherapybiz.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/john-wayne-true-grit.jpg
John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn, “True Grit

An image emerges: John Wayne and a young buck ride on their horses into “an unknown”.  John Wayne, also known as “The Duke”, keeps his eyes on the trail looking for what is ahead, while speaking to the younger one, who … in The Duke’s thinking, he is responsible for.  John Wayne, the mentor, wants to prepare the mentee for what is ahead … both in the immediate scenario and the long term journey.

Now, another image comes to mind of a dad, or a mentor, or both, walking with a younger one … a son, a mentee, a student … both attentive to each other: one teaching / modeling, and the other paying attention to what the younger knows is important, what will be remembered for the trails ahead.

I am immeasurably thankful for good men (the kind that are rare, who will always be remembered) who passed on some wisdom … not because they had to, but because they believed that this what needed to happen, and because I clearly needed to receive what they had to offer, for my own benefit.  And, in the name of tension, I remember … as well … the times where I struggled along the way, encountering the unknown, seemingly alone with no one there at the time to teach me, to guide me.

“Tomorrow hopes we have learned

something from yesterday.”

John Wayne 

My “young buck” status no longer applies, and I continue to grapple with what I call “ambivalence”.  My own definition of ambivalence goes something like this:

“Ambivalence: the existence of two mutually exclusive emotions, thoughts, or concepts.”

I’ve made mistakes.  And “the right thing to do” means: learning from those mistakes; choosing to live not in the past, but in the present with one eye on the future; and releasing any self contempt or bitterness about what has happened behind me.  I want to take care of my horse.  I want to listen well.  I want to “Talk low, talk slow and don’t say much …”, in the words of The Duke.

Writers: Ever Heard of Lou Blonger?

Not referring to spectacles, as I am wearing now, to see clearly, as in “I can see clearly now the rain has gone …” (Credence Clearwater Revival / John Fogerty).   No, I am referring to readers: books, articles, blogs.  Not only writers, but readers.  Stephen King, in his book on writing, said:

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.”On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Most of us are reading different things, these days.  I am oddly reminded of the importance of reading today.  I am visiting a little town two hours west of Denver, an hour outside Rocky Mountain National Park.  And I’ve always … always … always … been intrigued by the legends and stories of Mountain Men, Mountain Men Outlaws, and Mountain Men eccentrics. Front Cover One particular volume I’d like to throw out on the small table to the side of your infamous reading chair (maybe you have more than one reading chair): Outlaw Tales of Colorado by Jan Elizabeth Murphy.   Murphy covers one character in particular, who intrigues me: Lou Blonger, who came to Colorado in 1879.  

Lou Blonger was raising a great deal of hell, running con-rackets, a saloon, a gambling house.   What Murphy tells you about this ruffian is really wild.  Another “player” in the con-games in Denver, Soapy Smith, ” …was running the underworld (at the time) …  and his brother Bascomb were charged with the attempted murder of a saloon manager. Realizing he had lost control of the situation, Soapy left for the mining boomtown of Skagway, Alaska in 1897, relinquishing control of Denver’s underworld to Lou Blonger.”  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lou_Blonger

From that point on, when Soapy Smith left Denver (1897) Blonger ran the underworld in Denver.  Lou Blonger was known as: “The Fixer“; “The King of the Con Artists“; “The Overlord of the Underworld“.  All of that came to an end in 1923, when he went on trial, was found guilty, sentenced for 7 years, but died in 1924 at the age of 74.

See what you miss out on if you are not a reader? Be a better writer.  Be a reader.

Evil Thieves in Cleveland

There are different kinds of thieves.  Ariel Castro is one of the worst, most evil, kinds of thieves on the planet.  He stole ten years from three woman; Gina DeJesus, Amanda Berry, and Michele Knight.

Here is a random question: is there is a pattern between certain crimes with certain cities?  I consulted a website (you may all be familiar with), “Neighborhood Scout”.  This is what I learned there.

Cleveland’s Crime Index is “2”.  This means that Cleveland is safer than 2% of American cities.  The safest index would be “100”.  A resident of Cleveland has a 1 in 72 chance of being a victim of a crime.  Fortunately, the State of Ohio’s rate is much different: the chances of being a victim of crime 1 in 325. 

Here is a look at some numbers for Cleveland, Ohio:

Murder:  .19 per 1,000 / National Average: ..05
Rape:   .9 per 1,000     / National Average:    .27
Robbery:  8.03 per 1,000             /  National Average:  1:14
Assault:  4.68  per 1,000             / National Average  2.41
 Crimes Per Square Mile: 376    /  National Median 39.6

Here’s New York City, Crime Index is 47 (remember, the higher the number, the safer the city):

Murder:  .04 per 1,000 
Rape:  .14 per 1,000 
Robbery:  1.46 per 1,000 
Assault:  2.34 per 1,000 
 

I am crazy about stats, but I also cannot ignore that numbers can be helpful when it comes to data.  I cannot imagine the hell, the despair these three women went through, for ten years.  Some goons stole ten years away from these women.  Is there something wrong with this city, when it comes to keeping their people safe?    

Righteous Anger, Chase, Restoration

“The game is afoot.”   Sherlock Homes.

‘Not a game, far from it, on the other end of the spectrum.  Race, followed by chase …  a chase that may not be over.  Anger/rage, emotion(s),  have rattled my soul, and two pieces are apparent:   “Don’t mess with the children …”; (quote) “Beware the wrath … of a patient man.”  Unknown

“Connecting the dots”, I consider the good guys, going after the bad guys.  Our warriors balance anger with the methodical, effective, quick chase.  I review my own rough, general, sequence of events:

  1. Bad guys show up;
  2. They do something really, really, bad to hurt folks;
  3. A child dies, two adults die;
  4. Good guys start the process of finding the bad guys.

The process means that anger, rage, are not the point. Instead, it’s about “cause & affect”.

  1. “You did this;
  2. Now, the consequence;
  3. We are coming for you;
  4. We will find you.”

The chase may still be on.  But two bad guys are no longer on the loose.

Something happens (one of the laws of life).  We process what has happened.  We get angry.  We find hope.   And through all this, mourning takes place at different levels, in different ways.  We … figure out what we are supposed to do.  The chase takes place.  We find what and who we are looking for.  And then what?

I don’t know. One thing I do know: I am immeasurably thankful for the good guys,  determined to take care of business.

Life continues;  journey does not stop; story is still being written.  Growth happens; pain fades, peaks; there are good days, bad days; and restoration.  Restoration can be a long process.  Truly, the story is not finished, but still being written.