Tag Archives: Psychology

Why not a different approach?

Just read an article on 19 year old Justin Carter. Carter is being held on a half million dollar bond for essentially making a terroristic threat over the internet. The threat, not one to be taken lightly, was purportedly made following the end of an aggressive video game playing session. This young man has been held in jail since February, 2013. He’s been the subject of beatings and abuse by other inmates.

Here’s my question: In the face of research that indicates the human brain isn’t fully formed until the age of 25 or 26, couldn’t we find some other way to deal with Mr. Carter pretrial? Perhaps some psychological evaluations and treatment. Perhaps looking at whether he fits the psychological profile of someone who would shoot up a school. Determine whether he’s a hot-headed kid who needs treatment to manage his anger or impulse control.

Could the justice system find a way to sort through the threats to society rather than locking up everyone for indeterminate periods of time?

Wouldn’t it be cheaper in the long run to help the folks who can be helped instead of paying to house them and provide medical treatment for them? The current system perpetuates a cycle for those who could be helped but cannot access treatment from incarceration.

Will a jury even find him guilty?

The system needs to change.


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July 10, 2011, some news

A lobby for the unemployed? Incompetent Juveniles. A migrant’s journey. Mass market tomatoes. Big Pharma not willing to cooperate to aid the U.S. budget?

The forgotten. This article suggests, perhaps implies, that the unemployed should unite to form a lobby. They are the forgotten. Any thoughts on this?

Not totally forgotten, it seems. One state legislature is debating whether cutting off unemployment will extend the economic problems. Duh?

Juvenile Court Tactics, do they work? This article explores one the problems faced in juvenile courts everyday: whether a child is competent to stand trial and what if any services are available to restore (or obtain) competency. Managing the process is a challenge. “Mr. Mahoney said there was a “disconnect” between the court’s best intentions and achievable treatment goals.“The treatment plans can be really difficult to execute,” he added. “They’re often unrealistic in terms of the real world.”” In my experience the problem with reaching treatment goals is the lack of care, attention and investment of the parents in this process.

A migrant’s journey. If you’re interested, read about the journey to the U.S. by folks who don’t have visas or passports.

How’d that tomato get here? The story of the supermarket tomato: where it came from, how it’s different from home grown.

Corporations don’t want to help, including big pharma! As the debate over the budget and the debt ceiling continues, big pharmacy companies are lobbying to kill discounts to medications for folks on medicare. The reason those of us who don’t qualify for medicare should care? Corporations are happy to profit off of Americans but these companies refuse to contribute to recovery. I am all about capitalism but companies should make choices that benefit the country so the economy doesn’t completely tank and put EVERYONE out of business. Cost benefit analysis: take the cut to keep the economy limping along…otherwise there may be no money to buy your pills.





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The Art of Guacamole

As a Southerner, aspects of cooking flow naturally for me. Knowing how long to boil potatoes without using a timer, making brown gravy and spinning a thread with boiling sugar: these tasks are learned from years of compulsory kitchen assistance.

One day, I craved guacamole, that exotic green concoction graciously offered at Mexican restaurants and completely foreign to my Southern palate. The recipe however does not appear in Moma’s list of culinary delights.

Later, I found a recipe in Southern Living and feeling adventurous I made a go for it. Who knew the complication of finding an appropriate avocado? At the grocery store I found the prettiest green avocados and the other ingredients. Following the recipe, I peeled the avocados but that tough skin wouldn’t cut. Once peeled, I cut up the fruit. The mashing was almost impossible. The gurus at Southern Living said that a fork would do the trick. Really? I tried a fork, then a pastry blender, then finally the bottom of a clean glass. Ultimately, the avocado was chunky rather than smooth combined with the other ingredients tasted pretty good.

My adventurousness in the kitchen reflects a change in perspective. I spent most of my life struggling to meet everyone’s expectations. Perfection is impossible to attain. Following rules garnered rewards and accolades. As with the kitchen, if I did not know how to prepare a dish or know the rules for conducting a project, I eschewed those things opting for the known and structured world.

At no point did I ask myself what I truly wanted. From a very young age I understood that college would be a requirement. By the time I entered college graduate school became a necessity to get ahead in life. But what to do? Law. A nice fixed profession which everyone recognizes as successful. That degree will suffice to meet expectations and I can get a paycheck.

In culinary pursuits, my palate expanded but my cooking skills did not. With paycheck in hand, I could feed myself on food prepared by others. And as with the expectations of others, I simply accepted the constraints of the menus without questioning what I truly wanted.

My body disagreed. Foods that I have loved since childhood, staples of Southern life, make me ill now. Unexplained pain follows the eating of most fried foods. Ultimately, doctor after doctor reached similar conclusions-stress. Each explained that working in a high stress job makes the body respond dramatically sometimes.

My brain follows the rules but apparently my body does not have to? Resolving the immediate causing of my pain, that was easy. Quit the job, stop eating food that causes pain. That step did not address the most difficult part: getting my brain to abandon the rules.

As it turns out, I’m not the only person, or woman in particular, to leave the high stress job world for more fulfilling pursuits. I read that successful women tend to feel as though they have not earned their achievements to the extent that some wonder when they will be outed as an imposter. These women earned their positions and are at times forced to move further up the ladder because on their own they feel like they haven’t earned a promotion or a raise. Seriously? I’m not the only one who thought that the State Bar would show up out of the blue and take my license with the excuse that they made a mistake? Wow!

The problem really is in my head and my gender. My new jobs provide me with opportunities to help people. Oh, yeah, that’s why I wanted to be a lawyer to use the skills that I had been blessed with to help people. In my new job, clients thank me for talking to them, listening to them and helping them. Initially, I did not know what to do with this gratitude. Gradually, I appreciate being appreciated.

My old job: no one wanted help. Victims and witnesses dodged phone calls. Defendants did not thank me either. People dodged us like the plague. No one said thank you.

The people I work with now, at least at one job, want help. The other job, the children need help and so do the parents, sometimes. Using my skills to help people see what I see in them or their situation makes me feel better and strangely enough, useful. The skill of seeing other people’s situations and guiding or at least helping them see their way out is a useful skill. Who knew?

Useful. For the longest time, I claimed an inability to cook because I felt my skills deficient or defective. Moma is a great cook, she has no fear in the kitchen. How could I ever live up to that? But, I tried the guacamole again. Got advice from friends who make guacamole regularly. Avocados, although a beautiful green, are ripe when they are much darker almost brown. You want them to be firm but not hard like a potato or squishy like an overripe banana.

I’ve opened myself up to a world with no firm rules, not the rigid construct generated in my mind. I have no written recipe for guacamole-just combine avocados and salsa. I risk cooking new dishes for events without trying them ahead of time to insure perfection. Somehow, I should have learned these things in Moma’s kitchen. Nevertheless, I’ve learned some more about the art of life and guacamole.

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