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   He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he gaze long into the abyss... only to find his own reflection.

News of the Abyss

In an article at The Nation, Rebecca Vallas writes about a scene in the Netflix drama "Orange is the New Black":

One of the very first scenes of the third season is a flashback to the character Pennsatucky’s childhood. We watch as her mother forces her to chug an entire two-liter bottle of Mountain Dew. Pan right to the sign showing us that they’re at the Social Security Administration office. Then we hear Mom say, with a young Pennsatucky now bouncing off the walls behind her, “So I understand, Supplemental Security Income benefits for kids like mine are $314 a month, is that right?”
The implication is clear: Mom is attempting to simulate the symptoms of ADHD in her child in order to fraudulently obtain SSI benefits.

‘Orange Is the New Black’ Is Dead Wrong About Disability

It's just a fictional drama. And it's just fiction.

And Vallas goes on to debunk many of the "loafers are living off of Government rather than working" bullshit in the media, spread by the likes of Ronald Reagan to the new "Know Nothing" pundits like Nick Kristof.

Pundits and lawmakers getting their knowledge of disabilities and how Social Security works by watching or hearing about TV shows is frightening. Or worse, damaging.

"I've never been a soldier," I say to the wide-eyed, lanky-limbed veteran sitting across from me. "Tell me about military life. What's it like?" He looks up as if the answer can be found in the blazing blue sky above, shoots me a sheepish grin, and then fixes his gaze on his feet. I let the silence wash over us and wait. He looks embarrassed. Perhaps it's for me.

Interviews sometimes devolve into such awkward, hushed moments. I've talked to hundreds of veterans over the years. Many have been reluctant to discuss their tours of duty for one reason or another. It's typical. But this wasn't the typical veteran -- at least not for me.

Osman put in three years of military service, some of it during wartime. He saw battle and knows the dull drudgery of a soldier's life. He had left the army just a month before I met him.

Osman is 15 years old.

The Child Veterans of South Sudan Want to Know
Will Americans Support Them?

By Nick Turse

A highly recommended book: Flashback by Penny Coleman.

"Memory makes us who we are."
-- Penny Coleman

I do not remember buying this book, but I certainly remember reading it.

It was several years ago, and I was still struggling to understand PTSD and my internal struggle with it (undiagnosed) all my life.

In the book were first person narratives by women who survived their military husband's suicides. And I am reading the stories of those men and I am balling my eyes out and saying to myself, "How can their stories be so like mine!"

Then it hit me: It's easy to traumatize a child.

"In the end he did not harm enyone but himself."
-- L. Robideau

One does not recover from trauma -- one lives with it, with it still inside you, deep inside. This is a quote from the essay, "Kicking The Pigeon", about a Chicago public housing resident's abuse at the hands of the "skullcap crew" -- five Chicago Police Officers.

The story also is a exposé of the so-called War on Drugs and how damaging it is on the majority of African Americans living in American cities and how they were, through over a hundred years of legislation and law, segregated and separate and decidedly unequal.

A traumatic experience indeed.

As I listened to her talk about her sense of exposure and helplessness, I was reminded of an image a friend once used to describe how people "recover" from traumatic violence. It is, she said, akin to the way the body responds to tuberculosis. One does not get over TB by excising it or expelling it from the body; rather, the body walls off the bacteria and contains them. Similarly, the victim of terrorizing violence rebuilds her world, containing but not erasing the virulence that has entered her life. In this sense, a traumatic event changes the underlying terms of existence. It remains present within one's nervous system and soul as a continuing vulnerability. Even when one has rebuilt one's life, the trauma may under certain circumstances be reawakened with the force and immediacy of the original assault. And so for Diane Bond, it appeared, her encounters with the skullcap crew had reopened the wounds of earlier violations. While the crew presumably wasn't aware of her history of sexual violence, it's not hard to imagine they had picked up the scent.
-- "Kicking The Pigeon" by Jamie Kalven

"You stare at the ceiling while the clock on the wall ticks away. You are totally alone, not a friendly soul in sight, surrounded by grim-faced men who are determined to kill you. Your heart pounds, your body feels electrified and every second seems like an eternity as a Kaleidoscope of wild thoughts crash around franticly in your compressed mind."
-- Death Row Inmate on waiting to die
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Writing Down the Pain
I'd like just once to fall asleep feeling good about myself. Just once. Drunken stupors do not count.