A type of complaint

This past weekend, I encountered something that I really never expected outside of Marion County, Indiana (Indianapolis), from a police department. I was a judge at a fashion show being hosted in a small town in Southern Indiana. At the end, one of the roads wasn’t well marked and a model drove down the wrong way on a one way street and through an intersection – the oncoming traffic didn’t stop and collided with her car. She and her passenger are doing well – this isn’t about the lack of markings. It is about what happened after that.

The first person to arrive on the scene was a detective in an unmarked car (or that is how he identified himself). His name was on his uniform and it had an embroidered badge. Immediately, his first reaction was not to deal with the problem at hand or deal with the accident. Instead, he jumped on a photographer who was capturing images of the accident. His first question was “Are you an insurance adjuster?” and the photographer indicated that he was a photographer taking pictures for one of the victims. The officer asked him if he had been convicted of any felonies or other crimes and then demanded identification. I stepped in and asked if the photographer was under suspicion of committing a crime or if he was being charged with a crime. The officer replied that he only wanted to know who he was and that it was between him and the photographer. He told me that no, he wasn’t and that he was only inquiring who he was. I am sorry, when you see a civil rights violation like this, I can’t let it go. It was very clear that he wanted to arrest the photographer for something – anything – just because the photographer was taking pictures of the scene. The photographer said he was fine with this, and the detective took his identification and was in his car for about 20 minutes running checks on the photographer. While he was doing this, the photographer asked me not to cause any trouble because some of the law enforcement is very vindictive. He thanked me for stepping up to defend him, but that any resistance would make working in that town very difficult. When the officer returned, he apologized to the photographer. I asked another officer for the name of the Chief of Police, and to confirm the name of the detective. This other officer wanted to know what it was that I needed that information, and I indicated that I would be filing a civil rights violation complaint. Several other people who owned businesses were already there from the noise and commotion and almost all of them told me not to say anything or it would impact everyone downtown.

That is a scary situation – People are afraid of the repercussions from a police department. Worse, you have rights violations and outright lying from police officers to entrap people. Yes, I know that most police detectives do this to get confessions from known criminals. But from someone who is doing a favor for someone else and capturing images of the accident because they are being hauled away in an ambulance. Even better, this could have been handled so much better than this by that one detective. Instead, he has learned he will get away with just about anything he wants as a police officer. Obviously, this one officer doesn’t believe in the laws he was sworn to protect.

I also want to note that their were four other police officers who were on the scene, and two sheriff’s deputies. All of the other police officers and deputies were exemplary in their actions. Even the volunteer firefighter/paramedic who was there immediately was incredible, and when no ambulance arrived, was instrumental in getting an ambulance dispatched and the victims taken to the hospital. Just the one person.

And, it only takes one bad apple to ruin the bushel.

We are all alike

My wife and I volunteer time at a local downtown church to help out with summer camp and day care once a week. One of the programs is that they serve dinner to the children who are there at dinner time. The other volunteers who are there talk with each other. I find it a great opportunity to meet others in the community who are helping out. There are a broad selection of individuals from the community from all areas and walks around us.

As we talk at dinner time, we all mention things going on in our lives. From those talks, we all find out that it doesn’t matter where you live or who you are – we all encounter similar things in life and have all been in similar situations. Problems with our children are fairly universal. Problems with the neighborhoods is also similar. It doesn’t matter which sub-development or block you live — there are the same problems going on.

If we have similar problems and encounter them in a different order, why are we so distant? Why is it so hard to get up and introduce yourself to your neighbor? Why don’t you all get together as a community as a whole?

I don’t know the answers, but this last dinner talk was a very powerful one for me. It amazed me how similar we all were. How we all deal with theft, drugs, vandalism, and other issues in our separate locations, but not care to look beyond the normal borders. I find that amazing to me.

In our little area, we lost our Boston Terror, er, Terrier, on the Fourth of July from the fireworks going off. I canvased the neighborhood twice with fliers that she was lost. While doing this, I met many new neighbors and people who are around our neighborhood. I wish that we all took the time to walk around and talk with our neighbors more often. Why not go down a block and talk with them? There are many wonderful people to meet in the world.   You might be amazed at what you find.

Cure for Autism

A cure has been found for autism… no, not really, but from the headlines in the heath sites, you would think that they have. All it takes is a little rewiring of neurons in the brain. This scares me. Being someone diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a supposed mild form of autism, I have to wonder when they will force this “cure” on me. The communities I am part of are up in arms and it is just time before this happens. There isn’t even a cure right now.

You may be saying, “Wait a minute, this isn’t what they are saying.” But, there is already a separation between those who have autism (aspies and auties) and those who don’t (NT’s or neurotypicals). There are only 2-3 per 1000 people who have autism. From our perspective, we are normal people but are different. From the people who describe us, we are the ones who aren’t functional, and are the ones with something wrong. We are the ones who need behavior modification, special education, and therapies. We are often put on medications to sedate us. Just because you are different doesn’t make it bad or wrong. Many of the people who also have Asperger’s syndrome are some of the most intelligent people you will meet. We are people who live our lives just like you.

The next time you run into one of us, try to make allowances and be flexible. Things that you would find normal and fun may be infuriating. Words often are taken out of context because our experiences are different. We don’t see the world as you do. Some of the things to keep in mind are mentioned here.

Probably the biggest difference is that some of us have noticeable problems dealing with people in social situations. This is noticeable in children more than adults. They have difficulty initiating conversations, and even maintaining them. We often say things honestly and truthful, but don’t belong in the conversations. We are sensitive to lies, and tend to be honest to a fault (although some of us have learned we must lie in your world to survive). There may be things that are just not right – like not looking at who they talk or making eye contact or the reverse where they are locked on a person’s eyes who is talking. We often can’t read facial expressions or a person’s body language. This leads into another situation – repetitive behaviors.

Another thing that we have or do is repetitive behaviors that are often eclectic. For instance, we may eat our food in a specific order, put our clothes on, or do certain activities. Some of these may seem unusual for others, but to us, this is something normal. With this, as children, we may seem uncoordinated (although some adults have this problem, too). It is one of the reasons we see patterns around us before others notice them. Again, to us, this is normal. For us, it isn’t unusual to say the exact same thing to the same person when we are locked into a thought pattern.

You will also see that we tend to focus on a very narrow set of interests. There aren’t many things we do – we enjoy only a few things. When we do things, we are usually very focused on one thing. It encompasses our lives – we eat, live, and breath what we do. This leads us to being experts in that specific area. Outside these areas, we are like fish out of water.

Finally, we are often sensitive to loud noises and yelling. Don’t ever yell at us, or anyone else, for that matter. It just isn’t something that isn’t polite.

I hope this post makes you understand that there are two classes of people already, and that many of us are just people like you. We may be different, but it isn’t any different than race, colour, creed, sex, or any other way that people separate one another. With this cure, many of us who like who we are, and don’t want to be forced to change. We don’t think there is anything wrong with ourselves and we don’t pose a threat to anyone by not being “cured”. Keep this in mind when you run into one of us.

Previous Loves

To each of us, love is a different thing – it means and holds a different meaning. Some is the reflection from our parents. Some is our own experiences. Yet, it is an elusive beast that everyone searches and hopes they find. I have six loves in my life – three are permanently over because of the way we parted. One of the loves hasn’t a clue and I would like it to stay that way. The remaining two, I talk with all the time and provide support when I am able. As I said, I still love them all. Once in love, always in love. It never changes. I also love my daughter and her son, too, but they are out of the scope of this post.

While talking with one of the two that I talk, she commented that I am a really strange person. She had to point out that most people can only love one person at a time romantically. I can’t imagine only loving one person – that means falling in love and out of love with people. I can’t grasp what that is like. It was a revelation as to why marriages fail – obviously  people fall out of love or for someone else. It also explains the jealousy that people feel toward one another – something I don’t feel. The closest that I come to this is a loneliness – not feeling the presence of the other person – and I miss having that feeling when they aren’t around. But, it also makes life easier when I am around one of the two and they have their significant others. One of them was worried it would weird me out – but was amazed at my reaction (the reaction weirded her out instead). So far, I am a really good friends with her significant other. The other broke up and is looking for someone else. If I weren’t married, and closer to her, I would chase after her again and see where it goes. We both have wondered why we separated ways and did our own things. I really wonder how things would be different had we not, but both choose the course we took and both have lived with that decision. It is only later in life, as she is rediscovering who I am (and the intricacies) and I live with the feelings and emotions that have never changed for her. It is also more complicated, too. We both have children, and I insist that they always come first in her life. Mine always comes second in mine, although my wife would have you believe she comes in second instead of my daughter.

I think about those times with my previous loves, and I know that they will never be again. I remember the wonderful and loving times with each, and sometimes wish I could be back then and enjoying what I had. Those times have passed, but I still love and care for all of my previous loves. I hope that others may enjoy this permanence of love from their spouses and ex-girlfriends.

Two years later…

One thing that I find very annoying is previous employers who didn’t respect you when you worked with them, and now that you are gone, they continue to harass you for information without paying you for your time. I left an employer on very bad terms – enough that they gave me five minutes to clean out my office of five years and was told that once I was escorted to my car, I would be prosecuted with trespass if I was ever found on the premises again. So, when people call me, I have no other recourse than to tell them I can’t help them with work related matters. If it is for them personally, I am able to help them. Besides, I have to wonder if any of these calls are attempts to trap me in some way for what ever reason.

As a previous IT worker, this seems to be standard practice. Why would you lay off or fire someone who has this information that is needed, even two years after they got rid of you? I haven’t a clue on this one. Obviously, they didn’t like paying me or they wouldn’t have let me go. As for the constant attempts to “help out” someone there with what I know, I am not sure if this means the people currently there can do their job or not. Why else would they be asking for help. Even more amazing to me is that the equipment I worked was on the bleeding edge of technology — you know, the kind that no one has experience and there are no manuals other than code that might have been written as OpenSource in creating the products. Two years later, most of that should be fairly established products and new ones taken those equipment’s places. On the other hand, maybe not.

If you are a manager at a company who lets their IT workers go for what ever reason, respect your decision and live with the consequences of your decision. Don’t keep having people go back and harass the people who you threatened and tortured already. Continuing to do it only aggravates them, and makes any hope of repairing the relationship with them more difficult. Live with your decision and let your staff know they aren’t to contact employees that you have axed for whatever reason at a previous time. Let them live their lives in peace.

There is Trouble in the Circle City…

Last night, the city of Indianapolis and its surrounding cities were rocked by this news story: Greenwood Teen Raped during Photo Session. You can see that no one was named as the accused in the broadcast. This isn’t the first and it won’t be the last.

I knew the photographer who is accused. This supposedly occurred in June. There has been a lot of discussion by both models and photographers about who this is, how sick the individual is, and how everyone is so different than this one individual. I know several of the models who the accused has worked has turned on him and stopped modeling.

The modeling industry is full of people who take people’s dreams and manipulate those individuals who have these dreams. They say they can do almost anything for them, and make promises that they can’t keep. This can be for modeling schools, fake agencies, photographers who want to manipulate models to do pornographic work, and the like. As in this situation, some do it to sleep with the models who they photograph and date them. This has always been a problem in the industry, but it has gone rampant since digital was invented. Most of this is because just anyone can be a photographer and after spending enough time practicing, they call themselves a photographer. All it takes is a digital camera and you, too, will be a photographer. Most people in the industry call these individuals GWCs or Guy/Gal with Camera. There are a lot of these people in the industry.

But what about those who are good at their photography? That was the situation with this rape case. A lot of people around the area knew that this photographer was a problem and how he worked. Everyone in the area knew of him and that he preys on young women who want to be professional models. Still, no one did anything to stop him. Why?

As someone who works with a lot of models in the Model to Model organization, I have heard all kinds of things from models working with “pros” and some have made me sick. Still, there is little that I can do to stop these individuals no matter what I am told. The police won’t do anything without proof – and someone who hears something second hand isn’t counted as anything. The law is clear on this. This means that the models who were taken advantage of have to step up and say something to someone in law enforcement. They don’t and won’t – they are embarrassed, ashamed, or honestly believe this is how the industry really works.

So, what can I do? I can help guide models with their modeling career and advise them on good and bad photographers. This doesn’t stop the models from working with people like this. Frequently when I have asked why they worked with someone who they knew were a problem photographer, the number one answer is “I didn’t think it would happen to me.” The second is the fear they have of someone who talks big about how they will ruin the models chances by black listing them and making sure that others know how horrible they are. In reality, they often don’t have that power and people will work with them no matter who black lists them. This is all bark and no bite, but the models fear this will end their dream.

If you know someone who is a model, talk with them. Know that their vocation is not an easy one. Also know that they have to put up with a lot. Some of the things I have heard happening to them includes telling models that they “have” to do nudes to be a model, that the photographer has done them a favour by shooting their images for free so they need to do them a sexual favour, that photographers insist on giving models a drink to take the edge off before a shoot or modeling show and take advantage of the models once they are influenced, photo shoots where the camera was left in the car when the model was tied up and forced to have sex or where the model was caned, and many others. This kind of behavior is tolerated by the models because they are scared, ashamed, and know they will be blamed for what happened. Understand this and realize they may have a lot to emotionally handle. Encourage them to talk with other models and form a support group. When they run into people who are bad, let others know and go to the police and report it.

Be understanding.