It’s just sad… Chicago, etc.

So, as I sit down and type, it is 8:28PM CST on Friday, March 11, 2016. Boyfriend and I browse the news online and see that the Trump rally in Chicago at UIC has been shutdown because Chicagoans don’t know how to act. From the few articles I browsed next, it appears that conflicts broke out among Trump supporters,  Bernie Sanders supporters, the Black Lives Matter group, and other groups of people in attendance. I next decide to look at the Chicago Sun-Times Website for local reports and see the news wire feed, which shows that four people were shot in a four-hour time span in four different neighborhoods, with one dead so far.

Reading this news, all of it, really annoys me. I am no longer a citizen of the Chicago area but I grew up there, lived there for most of my  life, and still have family and friends there. I still keep track of the major Chicago news and know that the state of Illinois, which couldn’t figure out how to pass a budget, is broke; that the Chicago Public School system is broke and will likely end up like Detroit, who will soon be unable to pay their teachers; and that the violence problem, which has risen to the murder rates likes of 1999 in the first 80-something days of 2016, will not be solved by protesting Donald Trump nor by inventing more gun laws.

I understand that there is a lot of anger going on right now, but violence is not the answer. Going to an even with the sole intention of starting sh*t with the other people at the event doesn’t solve anything. Chanting “Hail Satan”, which was reportedly heard by Bernie Sanders supports, doesn’t solve anything either – it just shows that you are evil or ignorant. And, I’m confused by the protestors with the flags from neighboring countries… how does that show that you want to be an American or considered an American?   I feel like everyone wants to blame someone and that no one really cares how to solve our problems at large, or even cares what is REALLY going on. I watched a video posted by Kelly Bauer  of DNAinfo.com/Chicago  with a guy dressed like the pope, and the man observantly states that people at the rally are accusing Donald Trump of hate but then turn around and stated that they hate him. RT America’s report include several pictures and video links regarding what took place. Everyone’s anger should be focused on why cities like Chicago are broke, why our politicians continue to lie while selling us a bill of goods, and why we are being manipulated to fight each other.

Every time I look at news involving Chicago I find negative news. I realize that negative news gets reported more often than positive news in general, but the Chicago news reads about the same regardless of the day, with only names changing. I don’t know that Trump is the answer to problems in the U.S., or  in Chicago for that matter, but I know that more violence is not. Oh, and by the way, two more people who shot in Chicago by the time I finished this post, at 9:30PM.

 

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Road trip!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Trains, Planes, and Automobiles.”

On my own to one destination across the country, I would likely opt for an airplane as I did for my recent NYC weekend trip. It made sense to keep the travel as concise as possible on a relatively short visit with my Brother and his girlfriend, especially with the real possibility of crazy rain or snow between New York and Texas. Also, for this reason, I fly nonstop, as I don’t which to be stranded at an in-between spot due to bad weather somewhere else.

However, I see the value of a road trip, especially with someone you love AND get along with. this very important when you are driving through the middle of nowhere confined to an enclosed space! Boyfriend and I have taken many road trips, some for fun but also for family reasons and moving to Texas.  Also, it is important to like driving because the trip will not enjoyable if driving is a chore. Taking periodic breaks helps.

Two of our road trips lasted about two weeks and involved multiple states. The Southern Road Trip took us to Louisville, KY;  Lynchburg, TN; Atlanta, GA, Hattiesburg, MS; New Orleans, LA; Houston, TX; San Antonio, TX; and Austin, TX before we headed home. That road trip taught me lessons about planning with friends you haven’t seen in years and involving them integral parts of your trips because this trip should have included Columbus, MS and didn’t because we left Hattiesburg unexpectedly and kept going. The details need a post of their own, enough said. The Mountain Time Zone Road Trip took us to Colorado State University/Fort Collins, CO; The Royal Gorge/Canon City, CO; Billy The Kid/Fort Sumner, NM; Santa Fe, NM; Moab, Arches National Park/ Moab, UT; Utah State University/Antelope Island/Salt Lake City/Ogden/Logan, UT; Bear lake and Idaho State University/Pocatello, ID; Grand Tetons National Park/Jackson, WY; and South Dakota State University/Brookings, SD. Whew!

Two months later, we took a short trip around the Midwest to Mankato, Minneapolis, and Duluth, MN and to Winona, WI. The Mountain Time Zone and the Midwest trips were taken to help Boyfriend and I determine to where we wanted to move but we chose the Great State of Texas over the rest for many reasons. If we had not driven to and around some of these destinations, we have missed out on some really cool things and also the things that would help factor into the decisions we made.

I like having a semi-structured plan on our road trips with room to add destinations we hear about or to re-route if needed, which is easier to do driving than it is with coordinating flights to multiple locations. Boyfriend is very good with a map and he has navigated us through a good portion of our American adventures.  In fact, we have only been lost using printed directions from MapQuest and Google. So much for technology!

We technically took a road time this past summer but it was just to the Chicago area and back to Texas due to Boyfriend’s mother’s death and for him to tie us loose ends. I only hope we can plan another fun road trip for summer 2016, but I know we plan to take a few short trips around Texas to state parks or to Fredericksburg.  We have only lived in Texas for a little more than two years and there is much left to explore!

How do you like to travel?

© 2015 blogdaysofchrell

The real tragedy… the Chicago Violence problem

I grew up in Chicago and lived there for most of my life until a little over two years ago. As I have written before, I was a Juvenile Case Manager that worked for seven years with clients living in many of the neighborhoods you hear about on the news or read about in the newspapers, including Englewood, Lawndale, Back of the Yards, Gresham, Fuller Park, Washington park, Kenwood, Little Village, Humboldt Park and Chicago Lawn, to name a few. My hometown reports shootings EVERYDAY!!! In fact, it reports multiple shootings almost EVERYDAY!!! I still check the news regularly because  I have family and friends there, living and working in some of those neighborhoods disrupted by crime and violence on a daily basis.

With a simple search of “Chicago shootings this weekend”, I found these three links that show the amount of violence in the past few months:

October 4, 2015

Ten Injured In Weekend Shootings Across Chicago

September 21, 2015

2nd worst weekend of 2015 for Chicago gun violence: 8 dead, 45 wounded

July 7, 2015

Report: 82 shot, 14 fatally, over holiday weekend in Chicago

Going back a year and a half, there’s this report from April 21, 2014, Report: 9 dead, 36 injured in Chicago weekend shootings

The list of stories of loss of life resulting from gun violence goes on, and on, and on, and on. I have two friends that were affected by gun violence in Chicago in the past year, losing relatives. I can assure you that most of the violence affecting my friends and the families you hear about on the news was not carried out by law-abiding, legal owners, it was carried out by criminals and street terrorists. I could tell you more stories of past clients who lost family members, friends, and neighbors to gun violence. Often, the violence is gang-related and drug-trade related.  We keep hearing about the need to strengthen gun control, but the problem is most often not caused by law-abiding legal gun owners. Criminals obtain guns through “straw purchases”, underground sales on the street, or by stealing guns from law-abiding legal gun owners, all of which are illegal on top of the crime for which the gun is used. Many times “straw purchasers” are not prosecuted. I have to say, though, that I disagree with someone not being able to pass a background check to purchase a gun for recreation or self-defense due to a minor charge many years again, which happens frequently. I’m talking about people who are seemingly upstanding people who may have made a mistake, though some people are denied gun ownership, and not told why.

So much is said and written about the Mass Shootings but Chicago’s violence problem has killed and touch more people, in my opinion which I believe is true, than all of the recent Mass shootings, not to say that they are not all tragedy. They are for sure, but I really bothers me that so many people are hurt and killed in one of America’s biggest cities every day and no one REALLY talks about the problem or the issues attached to the violence, including illegal immigration, Mexican drug cartels doing business in Chicago, and poor economic conditions that prevent business growth and promote high unemployment. Chicago has very high unemployment, especially in the Black community and also has a high rate of Black on Black crime/violence. These issues are talked about  individually but not together in an open and honest manner. A lot of the violence in Chicago is tied to gangs and drugs, which are connected to many things, including the Cartels, which are known to be active in Chicago.

With regard to the Mass Shootings, I believe that law-abiding citizens intervening in potentially violent situations would save lives. I believe that Gun-free zones prevent people from defending themselves and others if needed, and that Gun-free zones provide opportunities to criminals. I fully support law abiding citizens being armed and able to protect themselves, their loved ones and their neighborhoods. I wish the best for my hometown and for my country, and I hope people eventually see the true causes of violence in this country, a lot of which comes from pain (loss, violence, broken families, drug abuse, etc.) and desperation due to poor economic conditions, which leads to youth joining gangs, violence over drug sales and turf, and people resorting to criminal activity to survive. I know this from my work with youth and families who faced these circumstances. These youth and families were mostly good people who made bad choices but were looking better options, and attempted to utilize the opportunities available to them. It’s a big world, and helping the youth I worked with to see past their neighborhood hopefully allowed them to better themselves and their neighborhoods by helping them look to the future. Helping people to see that they are not their mistakes and that they can repair the damage helped them and their families heal.

All I ask is that we as Americans consider what is really going on before we take all the propaganda in the news on both sides as gospel and the answer to violence. People who want to commit crimes will, and laws don’t prevent people with bad intentions from following through with their actions. We need laws so society has order but more laws are not the answer.

© 2015 blogdaysofchrell

I’m still learning…

I was writing something a few nights ago about the violence in my hometown, Chicago, when I had a glitch. I had written what I wanted to say, saved the draft, decided to add a picture, and scrolled down to find half of my piece gone along with several links to articles supporting my point. God gave me the sense to put the computer down before I got really angry. I don’t know what happened. I am nearing a year of being on Word Press but I am learning, and there is a lot I don’t know.
So, I haven’t forgotten about my blog, I took a few days off to handle other things and to forgive my computer for the glitch. I will finish the post in the next few days and have up soon. Meanwhile, I have the possibility of an exciting opportunity… Stay tuned.

I’m here… Part II

I started my blog in November 2014, and I am proud to say that I am still here. I have been writing about different things that I notice or have affected me personally, covering topics from my family and Boyfriend’s family, hobbies, politics, my hometown Chicago and my new home Central Texas, and life in general.

I have written in various forms for most of my life – poems, journals, stories when I was younger, and news articles for the school paper. I did it because I liked it and it helped to get thoughts and feelings on paper. I wouldn’t say that my poetry was great but I enjoyed writing it, and it helped me process life in my own way. I haven’t written poetry in a long time, maybe 2-3x in the past eight years, which I have tied to working in social services. My jobs have entailed lots of people time, sometimes dealing with lots of stress, and I would gain satisfaction from helping others but also be left drained mentally and emotionally.

I really enjoy blogging- writing blog posts and reading blog posts. I wish I had given this a-go sooner than I did but I am glad I am  here. Kind of reminds me of the saying about Texas, “I wasn’t born in Texas, but I got here as soon as I could,” which also pertains to me. I hope to gain more comfort in sharing my thoughts publicly, though in a most anonymous manner, and I hope to develop skill at building different types of posts. I plan to continue writing about various topics, including family, life, politics, and other topics as they peak my interest.

Again, welcome to blogdaysofchrell!