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Judy Atchinson's A Stubborn Woman
by Judy Atchinson

A Stubborn Woman

A Daily Gazette community blog
QUEST leader's wanderings and musings

On violence

I love this quote - no special reason, just because:

“I saw a fleet of fishing boats. I flew down, almost touching the craft and yelled at them, asking them if I was on the right road to Ireland. They just stared. Maybe, they didn’t hear me. Maybe I didn’t hear them. Or maybe they just thought I was a crazy fool.”
-- Charles Lindbergh

Read this and stand up and cheer for financial corporations with a conscience:

The World Bank and IMF (International Monetary Fund) are working together to meet twin goals of ending extreme poverty
1.) By cutting the in half by 2020.
2.) Boosting shared prosperity by 2030 for the bottom 40% of developing countries.
This two-pronged plan is slated to begin July 1, 2014 and work toward the aforesaid goals. And if that isn’t momentous I don’t know what is. It will be interesting to see if our nation will in any way be involved or isolationism will rear its ugly head. It seems to me, but who am I, that this would work in a much more complete and sophisticated way than wars everywhere. And no life lost, villages destroyed, and people of all ages on both sides scarred and maimed emotionally and physically.

Now let's talk about violence and street fighting in this city and beyond.

“He’s a pretty boy, when’s he going to learn to fight?” said by a 12-year-old girl to a staff member. “He doesn’t need to learn -- he’s going to go to college!” the staff member replied.

But do you see the real issue in the child’s statement? Growing up in the ghetto, which is rapidly expanding to engulf the city, the youth see the only way to survive is to fight. When they meet on the street complete with audience of peers and parents, they imagine themselves as the gladiators of the 21st century.

Though I am not sure they would actually know what a gladiator is, they see their fights as sporting events. And finally, they are the center of attention, and the drama in their lives are accelerated. The excitement is a high that nothing else can compete with and yes they are addicted. They fight for some of the same reasons athletes train -- endorphins. They and their friends idolize the street fighters, and now these children feel important. “People care about me,” is what they are thinking. And a life full of pain comes upon a logical conclusion, pain makes their family and friends proud of them. Their fighting announces to everyone that they can take it, that they are strong people and deserve “respect."

I know of one family who were so obsessed about their child being “jumped” that the adults in the family went to the home of the aggressors, forced their way in and beat up the adults in that group. “We’re from Brooklyn, and that’s the way we do things,” they bragged, and don’t you know the 12-year-old daughter was bragging about it the next day.

And then there was the 13-year-old boy remonstrating with another 12-year-old girl who stated that she stopped fighting when the police showed up and his comeback was, “So what, so what if you get arrested, you’re under age; what’s going to happen? NOTHING!”

And he does have a point. Because the parents and friends will lionize her. And nothing much will happen. In a sense she/he will be rewarded for being “BAD-ASS.”

And look here -- remember the story a week or so ago about the young teen who committed suicide (she jumped from a tall building)after relentlessly being bullied by two other teens. There is a video given to the press and the police showing the mom/stepmom beating all hell out of the children in her care. I saw the video, and the adult involved looked like a wild woman out of a horror movie punching and kicking several children at once. She has since lost the children to the state, but what a horrific story. And the bullying, learned at home, was over a boyfriend.

I have learned that these females take us right back to the 1930’s and 40’s. No women’s issues there. The boyfriend is dating someone else and instead of taking it to the male, these girls beat up the rival female. I have seen this shameful tidbit over and over and over. I’m sure you’ve all heard the phrase. “Oh she’s the mother of Jack/Jose/TyQuan’s, whomevers child. It’s always the fathers baby and the female is just along to care for and bring up the child.

It’s about possession, who owns the baby, who owns the female, who wins the male. And stalking and orders, and obeying play a prominent part in these relationships. They are all slaves to each other, to their families, to their friends, but most of all to the environment in which they live. Boyfriends will tell their significant others what to wear, who to talk to, and where they can and can not go. But when the boyfriend misbehaves, usually with another female in their immediate circle, it’s the girl who is stalked by the offended female, and the boy? He just sits back and enjoys the show.

While we are so busy talking “Day of the Woman” or girl we don’t really see or understand the reality of the situation. You can march and carry placards, and sing songs of sisterhood all you want but if you don’t know what's really going on, you are beating on a useless empty drum.

"Go back to where you came from,” he told me and be more careful when you walk around the city. Then as I began gathering up my bag and clipboard, he talked to me about the proper way to study people. “You shouldn't go around asking them silly-ass questions,” he said. “With people like us, you should hang out, get to know what they do, how they do it. No one is going to answer questions like that. You need to understand how young people live on the streets.”

Sudhir Venkatesh from his book, “Gang Leader For A Day- A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the streets” (with permission):

A book written by a young man getting an advanced degree in Chicago while attending the University of Chicago. And learning what really matters is gathering knowledge, not statistics. And what a book it is. All of us can learn from this book, most of all police and social service people. And oh yes, politicians and educators. That old saying really holds true here. “You don’t know what another person is going through until you walk a mile in their shoes.”

There has been a lot of publicity and petition writing about a young woman in Florida who was imprisoned after killing her abusive husband who forced his way into her home after she had filed an order of protection. He had beaten her many times in front of her children and she was fearful for her life and she shot him. (Whatever happened to the stand your ground law in this instance?) Free Marissa Now -- has gone viral and people all over the country (they have over 100,000 members) are marching and speaking out and demanding her release. She has been in prison 5 years already.

We have had a similar case right here in Schenectady. A young woman with an order of protection, badly beaten by her husband multiple times, just found guilty in our courts, (found guilty of killing the man) and given 15 years and up in prison.

And then there’s this little nugget from last weeks paper, "Brawl at local eatery." Zen, our nice new sushi bar and martini center right across the street from Proctors, had it’s own little violent drama, at 10:30 PM on a Friday night (a stabbing victim was rushed to the hospital).

Good, bad or indifferent we cannot expect that downtown is the Emerald City and that nothing bad will ever happen just because. The same week sweet little Tarus Restaurant was robbed at gunpoint while patrons were inside eating.

This is a violent city, it simply is sure crime rates have gone down but so has the rates in every single city in this state including Brooklyn. And ours are still higher than pretty much everybody else's.

Before the recent debate of street fighting in Mont Pleasant people were saying, directly in my face, mind you, that I was mistaken, our kids didn’t fight, the city was improving, and “what are you, lady, a troublemaker?” And maybe I am, if speaking out and speaking the truth makes me an instigator and a trouble maker or even “a snitch” then that’s who I am. But sweeping things under the rug in a clean and healthy home does not make pretending you don’t see your own nose on your face went out of fashion with the “Emperors New Clothes.”

When I was but a 7-year-old child I appeared in a drama on the old WRGB-channel 6 -- and I was a little person who proclaimed, “But the emperor has no clothes on.” And perhaps that made a lasting impression on me, who knows, because I’m still, to this very day willing to proclaim the reality that I see all around me and you too.

Bad things never go away if you ignore them they just multiply and become more evil. This city was settled by the Dutch; maybe we all need to put on our wooden shoes and clean the filth or our streets.

On Thursday last, MiSCI had a special children's day and lo we were invited. And we went. 9 children and 3 adults. And not our best behaved but our brightest kids. And they were wonderful. They had a grand good time. They were so interested in educational offerings it put to shame a school system who label them as unteachable. Their excitement was palpable and they raced from exhibit to exhibit. They were beautifully behaved, just saying over and over, “Oh look, oh can we go see that, oh i want to try,” even “do you want a turn.” And my heart swelled with pride and indeed it was a blessed afternoon. This best compliment to be made to the museum was no one wanted to leave. And the closing remarks were, “Can we go again? When?”

The reviews for the book "Gang Leader for a Day" by Sudhir Venkatesh are way over the top. Every major reviewer has raved over and I quote one here.

“A lot of writing about the poor tends to reduce living, breathing, joking, struggling, sensual moral human beings to dupes who are shoved about by invisible forces. This book shows day by day and dollar by dollar how the crack dealers, tenant leaders -- cops, and Venkatesh himself tried to construct a good life out of substandard materials.”
-- Stephen Dubner, author of "Freakanomics"

“The shortest answer is doing.”
-- George Herbert

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