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Here we go again

June 28, 2015

Issue 7
Vol 4


I am not a big fan of OK GO but I do love their music videos. Specifically this one. It was so much fun.

Lets get this started.

A native son reading between the lines

I am not sure how to start this. I feel that the beginning isn’t the beginning. I can’t even point to a specific instance that would be a good example of what I want to talk about.

It happened in the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin case, Mike Brown and most recently with regards to Freddie Gray. Each time in the wake of all that happened I find myself unfriending people on Facebook because their statuses are one step, one beer, or one closed door away from saying “Nigger had it coming.” Or the obligatory mention of a soldier, sailor, airmen or marine who has recently fallen in combat asking why “This isn’t a story?!? Gang-banger dies and our heroes are ignored!” Or my favorite the circuitous arguments with half spoken assumptions about each man and widely accepted “truths” about black men in America.

After Trayvon was killed a had someone post a picture of this man…

And claim that “THIS is what Trayvon really looked like…”. I quickly responded and said that this wasn’t Trayvon but a rapper who is named Jayceon Terrell Taylor and goes by The Game. We spoke for a few minutes about the entire situation and her entire argument revolved around who the “media had failed and was trying to make Trayvon sympathetic”.

I am rambling and that’s all that I have left. I am tired and aimless talking is all I have left. On the first or second night of the riots in St. Louis I called my grandmother. I wanted to talk but I found myself rambling. Suddenly all of my mother’s fear about her young black son became real to me in a way that I had never anticipated. I watched as much as I could and read all I could stomach and did all I could while my city burned.

I never posted anything about these situations on Facebook because in my mind Facebook is for sharing pictures, wishing people a happy birthday or making people laugh. I just don’t feel comfortable talking about anything of real substance on Facebook. I never, until now, wrote about it on my blog because my single experiences really don’t matter. It always felt a little trite and narcissistic to post that on facebook, especially when I couldn’t get into any nuanced conversation about this subject. I cannot, and will not attempt, to tell the entire story of a people who have been systematically devalued and underrepresented in our society. I never feel totally educated enough to really articulate anything of worth, just the way I feel.

The narrative is what hurts me the most. The unspoken and accepted narrative that Black men are unintelligent, violent and oversexed. Those narratives are there when the criminal records of these men are shared and used as justification for their killings. It burns because I carry that stigma and in a few instances all I have had to do was open the door to be labeled “scarey and black”.

I am proud to be Black. I am proud to represent a culture and a people more diverse than is ever given credit for. My heart beats harder than it should and I am frustrated and afraid. Afraid because I don’t know when and where I will be treated like a human being first or a threat. I just keep wondering if I am ever going to be pulled over or interaction with a police officer and that interaction would lead to my death. And when they reported on me, and my name was shared with the world what picture would they use? What story would they tell? Which story would be the easiest to tell? Which one would the world believe?

Just Like the Movies

I heard once that a lot of what we “know” is based on what we have seen in movies. There is our day to day life and we are experts on what is normal in our lives. Movies tend to fill in the blanks however. There are several cultural myths about Police and what they have to admit to you, what lawyers can do and what is possible for a hacker to do.

I have been in the military, specifically the Navy for six years and while I would never claim to be an expert on the Navy I do know enough to be amused when my civilian friends say things about it. Most of the time I find it amusing to hear them use words and phrases. I don’t do lists often and I feel it is about time that I do one.

1) “I could never have someone tell me what to do.”

Someone said to me once and I was confused. Do civilian jobs not have a boss or hierarchy? Maybe I should smoke crack and get out of the military now. I think what they meant was they couldn’t live with someone shouting at them constantly. That seems reasonable. Neither could I. Even in at Great Mistakes I wasn’t yelled at all of the time. Almost no one says “I am ordering you…etc”. Most orders are understood and more often than not things are done without raising your voice.

Join me in an experiment. Try yelling everything you want all day and find out how quickly you get tired.

2) Officers = GOD

Most of my interactions with Officers have been then asking me questions and me answering questions. My role is to be a technical expert and they use me to make decisions. It’s more complicated than that but more often than not the working relationship is equal parts advisory and leadership. Most Junior Officers are very new to the Navy and want to, and need to, learn. A lot.

Rarely does an officer walk in and start shouting. I have seen it and it doesn’t end well for the JO.

3) Totally Dependent

The Military is not autonomous. We are a strange blend of a fascist-socialist-dictatorship that protects a Jeffersonian Democracy. The Military, as a whole, takes orders and direction from the legislative branch. The president is the Commander and Chief and is the top dog of the chain of command but when it comes to amount of money we are budgeted, the size of our pay checks and allowances, the number of people promoted in a given year, where we are deployed, the types of weapons we use, who we fight and HOW we fight are all decided by Congress.

Case in point. The US Army doesn’t really use Tanks any more and don’t ever expect to use them as much as we did in the past, ever again. But congress keeps ordering M1A1 Abrams Tanks because the factory that makes tanks is in a state that is represented by a congressman or senator who is trying to keep jobs in his district.

This is a point of contention for me. I have gotten blamed in the past for what the military did and I only rolled my eyes. If you have a bone to pick with the Armed forces that’s fine and if you want to brow beat a person with no power to change it, no matter what they think or do, that’s cool also. Next time you go in to a McDonald’s please do the same to the greasy 17-year-old about how unhealthy the food is because he has as much power as I do to change entrenched sexist, homophobic and racist attitudes in the Military.

I keeps it real.

I keeps it real.

Sorry that turned into a rant.

Resolution Round up: I’m getting to old for this shit

Roger Murtaugh: the patron saint of grumpy old black men.

Roger Murtaugh: the patron saint of grumpy old black men.

Waste less Money/Food – B

I eat out less and I throw away a lot less food but I haven’t actively tracked amounts in a long time. So its hard to gauge how well I am doing. Thanks to my fruit fly invasion I just have less fruit out in general.

I’m going to reduce the amount of fast food I eat to once every two weeks and I am going to go back to planning my meals again. When I did that I did really well with saving money and not being wasteful.

Watch less TV – A

I don’t even always get around to the stuff on my DVR before I delete it. I rarely watch mindless TV anymore. For a while I replaced mindless TV with Netflix binge watching but I don’t do that frequently either. I read, study and write more. I love it.

Workout 5/6 times a week – F

I need to do better. I am so out of shape. Recently I got the motivation to really get back into lifting and running again. I did recently run a 5k. I am not sure what changed but I’m feeling addicted to working out again.

Dark Fedora – Discontinued

I stopped working on this because I have to many plates spinning in the air right now. I started a professional blog talking about Cyber Security and I am planning to write about operation Dark Fedora there.

Until Next time!

~ Adam

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