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A call for musicians to join the band “Abuse Nation”

abusenation

 

I am looking for musicians who would like to be part of a band called Abuse Nation. These musicians would preferably be abuse victims themselves but people sympathetic to abuse victims would be more than welcome. The songs would be about abuse. That could be a song about verbal or emotional abuse or about sexual abuse or human trafficking. While I write songs myself, I am hoping that the other members of the group will contribute songs, creating a variety of music.

Due to the that fact that it’s unlikely that all of the people interested  in a group like this will live in the same area, I expect this will be a virtual group. If engineering and mixdown is needed a kick-starter will be created to fund that.

The long term goal of this band is to be the symbol for a brand, also called Abuse Nation.  I have found that the majority of the non-abused population are unwilling to discuss abuse, blocking any substantial progress in strengthening laws and helping end abuse. I have settled on the idea of using music due to my feeling that people will listen to music about a controversial subject before they will take time to read a book or watch a movie or television show and they will do this without a lot of conscious thought. Perhaps it’s the fact that music seems to speak to listeners at a deeper level and passes the internal censors without trouble.  I am hoping to put this music on YouTube initially and eventually, have it played on the radio under the “Abuse Nation” brand. In the long run I expect that Abuse Nation will become a musical brand that is accepted by radio and internet listeners. What people become used to, they tend to accept.

The first contribution to this collection of music comes from me and can be found at:

http://www.neildouglasnewton.com/uploads/4/8/7/8/48782169/lamb.mp3

I can be reached at abusenation@gmail.com

Neil Newtonabusenation

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Is Lee McCullum’s death part of pattern of abuse in this country?

Neil Newton: Author of “The Railroad” on Amazon
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While I realize that I am not a star blogger and my reach may not be great, some of you who have read my blogs may notice a pattern; I call a lot of things abuse. I suppose that if I was looking in at me, the blogger, I might invoke the phrase “To a hammer, everything looks like a nail”.

LeeMcCullum1
To me abuse is what other people would call injustice. Or unconstitutional behavior. The link I see is between these various types of “abuse” is that all of these horrible phenomena, domestic violence, the killing of unarmed young black men, child abuse, etc. is that in each case, there is a psychopath or sociopath who is illegally pushing their agenda, destroying someone’s life, terrororizing men women and children, taking people’s choices away from them and really emulating dictators like Qadafi and Assad, even if they only control a household. Having these little fascist empires in our country, if you open your eyes to the reality, is enough to make any real American’s blood boil.
Understanding this I can only make a case that I think is important to make, both for people who consider the effects of injustice and also those who may be less concerned about protecting people at risk who are the victims of these psychopaths and sociopaths. Those who are less concerned, in my opinion, are having their society and economy destroyed by the collateral effects of social issues in our country that end up costing us in terms of social instability, crime, and a number of other problems that cost us money and promote the deterioration our society.
So what does Lee McCullum’s death have to do with abuse and your society and your pocket book? First, if you haven’t heard about the Chicagoland incident, McCullum was a young black man in Chicago who was featured in a CNN documentary. Involved in gang activity and homeless for quite a while, McCullum tried to turn his life around by throwing himself into his studies and his improving his grades. The result was the he was voted prom king and was accepted to a university that he never was able to attend.
The fact that Lee became a target because he wanted to change his life cuts right to basis of what Abuse is. I will ask you to imagine, as an example, a woman who is in a domestic abuse situation. She is subject to a situation that flies in the face of what we say our country is. She is not able to make her own decisions and she is subject to terror and threats of death if she exercises her constitutional rights. I bring this up because I know that most of you will accept this situation as an abusive situation. McCullum is weak in the face of enemies who are able to control his life and, in the end his death; it’s their decision, not his.

LeeMcCullum3
For some of you the idea that Lee McCullum is a black man in a violent city is the whole story and it ends there. I have to wonder if some people might see this as the outcome of already bad situation: a damaged city and damaged neighborhood that is pretty much standard for the inner city. In other words, people who are cursed by having the bad luck or bad sense to be part of a poor minority in a bad place. End of story. Not our problem and not something that we can be asked to worry about. It’s such a big entrenched problem, how could anyone possibly be asked to consider it a social issue that can effectively be addressed. Easier to attack problems like the deterioration of American Eagle Habitats; Eagles don’t have gangs and drugs.
I will continue to assert that our constitution and our culture does not allow for these “they asked for it” conclusions that seems to mass around abuse issues like flies. No one asks for these things to happen. And I they don’t, they deserve our support and protection. That it has become “institutionalized” in the form of a criminal society such as a gang, in this case, doesn’t justify it.

LeeMcCullum2
Lee McCullum had dreams which, from the word go, should have caused us to jump on the bandwagon. This is not just about a disadvantaged black youth who tried to pull himself up by his bootstrap. This is a story about an American who wanted to get himself together and go to college. And, as little as some people would like to consider it, he wanted to live. Not jumping on that bandwagon and allowing this to happen over and over again is part of our path to ruin. It is tacit support of abuse and terrorism at its most fundamental level.
Do our bold words in the bill of rights serve as a nice talking point but become inconvenient when we are called to act on them? For those who really don’t care I will offer up these facts. Hundreds of domestic violence victims die at the hand of their abusers each year. This from the Huffington Post: “Black Americans are four times more likely to be murdered than the national average. What’s more, four out of five black homicide victims are killed with guns.” Adult survivors of sexual abuse run into more than 40 million in number in this country.

LeeMcCullum4
Really don’t care? The ACES study and other studies document a striking connection between even relatively mild negative childhood experiences with crime and incarceration. There have also been a surprising number of studies that deal with prison populations; these studies show a major connection between adult criminals being in prison and child abuse. So the behemoth prison population that we have in this country and we all pay an immense amount for, is likely driven by pointless abuse in childhood. While not as well documented, the depression, mental and physical problems that are part and parcel of the collateral damage of any form of abuse and neglect, costs us dearly in the form of disability payments, insurance, and decreased productivity in the job force. While not measurable, I can’t help but wonder what Einsteins and Teslas have been lost to us through this senseless destruction of human beings in abusive situations.
Back to Lee McCullum, who will never have a chance to make another choice about his life, I don’t see gang tats and videos. I see Lee’s parents depressed and helpless. I see children and adults walking scared in their own neighborhoods, a perfect manifestation of hopelessness filling their minds in the form of Lee’s death. I see his daughter growing up without him, knowing that power and terror won the day and ruined her life. I see that people will see that no one cares enough to intervene. Abuse won the day Lee and his girlfriend were killed and what makes it worse is that he knew it was coming, as unstoppable as an avalanche. Can you blame some people for not embracing the American dream and sharing your flag waving enthusiasm for the boot-strap theory, the Horatio Alger story?

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Suck it up: Blog Version 2

Neil Newton: Author of “The Railroad” on Amazon
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A while back I wrote a blog called Suck it up. The blog can be seen here.

Why would I revisit the same blog. As we write, we learn. The original blog was important for me in that it pitted me as a writer against the idea of weakness. As Americans, especially as males, we are taught to suck it up. It’s a fierce and indomitable force in male psychology.

But what is lost through abuse? It’s life. When you get beyond the original damage, damage that is not a choice but is a programmed reaction to certain experiences as infants and children, you get to the crime: the theft of the living of life on a level playing field. If life is difficult enough, wearing a yoke of stone that prevents you from seeing the world clearly simply makes the task of daily life much like treading water.

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For those of us who are the victims of abuse of any kind, there is always a temptation to find a way to muscle our way out of the demons that eat at our soul. “Muscle” is a perfect word because you are always supposed to be able to find a way to overcome your fears and the obstacles to living up to your full potential by punching your way out of the box you’re in; it’s part of our heritage to be “warriors”. The sad part is muscling is the last thing that you need to do. To understand what you are trying to “suck up” is really the key.

What the original blog discusses that is important, important for abuse victims and the purveyors of the “suck it up” mentality, is that we are not, by nature, glorious warriors who gird their loins and go into battle. As babies we are empty vessels who respond to a specific set of actions by adults. What that means is NOT that if you are genetically weak in some way that you will be adversely affected by less than optimal parenting. It means that the equipment you are given as an infant will create issues immediately and in later life if you are not nurtured correctly. This is not an issue of character or “good upbringing” but a biologically programmed reaction.

This will upset many people who would like to think of humans as the masters of our own destiny but it shouldn’t. In the long run, we are masters of our own destiny. But what happens in the case of children lacking decent care as babies is what is called “failure to thrive”. Babies don’t and can’t decide to have this happen in a fit of weakness; their perceptual abilities are not up to the task of making that kind of decision. And what occurs over time are symptoms such as a predilection for substance abuse, health issues, a tendency toward involvement in crime and recidivism. What is worst of all is that many of these horrors are based on an altered perception that comes with a failure to thrive. I’ve come to call this perception “shit colored glasses”.

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And here is where the rubber definitely meets the road. If you have a synthetically produced perception of failure, persecution, paranoia, etc that follows you around and refuses to exit the premises, you will approach every situation, new and old, with all those monkey’s on you back. The horrible kicker is that, more often than not, these perception are not seen as “wrong” but normal. If reality is an internal trench war, then how can you see your way clear to “the light” that people speak so freely about? The deck is stacked against you and you aren’t fully aware it’s happening.

So why a second version of this blog? After all, I could have written a new one J. What has become obvious to me is that all types of abuse, and there are many of them, result in this same long term live in demons. Some people can get past this…to some extent, but there is always wrestling with damaged perception.

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What brought this to my attention and, perhaps a more critical reason to re-write this blog, is my particular form of abuse. Not having experienced one of the more sensationalistic forms of abuse, I had myself convinced that what I had experienced was not abuse, just perhaps some bad parenting that could be ignored with enough sucking it up. The problem is that my life has been characterized by a rather rabid desire to avoid just about anything positive that wasn’t absolutely necessary even if it meant a sub-standard life. No risks, no noticeable achievements, being trapped in dead end jobs, staying in toxic situations long after it was obvious it was time to go. A life controlled by fear and ruled by the hope that nothing threatening would happen to me, ever. All this was a trade off for a false sense of safety which became my holy grai. From certain points of view a silly, unworthy life.

And, more to the point, there has been a sort of odd “fog” that has characterized my perception since I was a child. The fog itself has helped block any sense of initiative or ambition and also has kept me anesthetized from a sort of a knee jerk anxiety that is always present. Lacing the fog is an insidious “fear” of getting shafted. The creepy thing about this fear is that, more often than not, there has always been a real-life manifestation of the “threat” actually appearing in the form of hostile or neglectful figures in my life. Over and over again.

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I don’t feel sorry for myself. But that last part is the creepiest part; I am not one for mysticism. And yet, like many people I have encountered the same “people” and “situations” over and over again with enough variation to initially convince me that history isn’t repeating itself, at least at the beginning. This underscores the power of the “shit-colored glasses” to do an incredibly effective job keeping you off balance and ruining your life.

The result of living this kind of life is a loss of life. At the age of 57 I can definitely attest to the fact that I have lost ground that I will never regain. And I mourn the losses that coming generation will experience; that is the reason to blog and to keep beating the drum, not matter what. As I often do, I dwell on the sadness of what is lost by quoting a poem that puts the experience into perspective. It’s the poem “Maud Muller” by John Greenleaf Whittier. The quote is as follows:

“Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, ‘It might have been.”

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Review of “The Olympus Project” by Ted Taylor

TheOlympusProject_TedTaylor

This book is unique; I have never read another like it. I will have to begin by saying that the book is entertaining, full of action and intriguing, so it passes the “good read” test that guides readers throughout the world. The reason that it is unique is that it combines several elements that normally don’t belong together in the standard book universe.

Taylor begins the book with the disturbing portrayal of a man on the edge of death. The expectation is that that the entire book will be filled with the cliff-hanger violence. The book surprises immediately in a rapid shift into a James Bond style upper crust avenger premise, complete with a secret society that functions under the radar. While it would be logical to think that this is where the plot would rest, we are surprised again; our protagonist, Colin Bailey, does not pit himself against an over the top mega villains who could never exist. Colin Baily is a an avenger in the true sense, part of a secret organization whose business is avenging and ridding the world of pure, real evil in the U.K.

Colin and his compatriots are trained researchers, interrogation experts, hackers, analysts and, as Colin is himself, assassins. The end game for the Olympus project, as the society is called, is the destruction of the highest level abuse and senseless violence. It seems to be more than a coincidence that the majority of Colin’s “direct action” assignments involve the dispatch of irredeemable sexual predators.

This book is the first in a series. I look forward to the next three (and one more is being written as this review is published) mostly because I know that, in addition to being a “good read”, there will a message and substance to the sequels. I will guess that the latter is something that must have occurred the Mr. Taylor when he wrote “The Olympus Project”.

For those of you who want a good read but also a bit more in your precious reading time, “The Olympus Project” is a major find.

 

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The Railroad: A mystery novel with a twist: Available on Amazon

The Railroad on Amazon

The Railroad on Facebook

The Railroad

There are killers plaguing New York, taking the lives of children and their parents. At the scene of each murder the numbers 4-5-1 are written in the victim’s own blood. The killings become known as the Chapter and Verse murders. For Mike Dobbs these murders are nothing more than a few gory sound bytes on the evening news; his thoughts are elsewhere. After years as a successful player on Wall Street, Mike is caught underground in the subwayas the Twin Towers collapse above him. In a deep depression, Mike runs away to a lonely existence in upstate New York. Shortly after, he takes in Eileen and Megan Benoit, both running from Eileen’s sexually abusive husband; the three become an unlikely family. When Eileen is suddenly forced to run , Mike undertakes a dangerous journey to find her. What he finds is the shocking meaning of the Chapter and Verse murders.

The Railroad on Amazon

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Emotional neglect: the hidden form of abuse

Neil Newton: Blogger and author of the novel The Railroad” on Amazon.com.
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There are many stories about children, in Romania, in orphanages in post WWII Europe, where there was what is called failure to thrive. In the more extreme cases babies who received no physical contact suffered physical problems and in some cases did not live.
What does this tell us? That as children, as clean slates waiting to be filled with a self-image, a personality, we are machines that need certain stimuli to thrive physically and mentally. This is not a matter of weakness but of a science particular to human development. It’s not a choice but a set of responses hard wired into each child.
And what does it mean for older children who happen to survive this same neglect and become adults. If emotional absence of a parent can maim, even kill, an infant or toddler, what are the long term effects of this quiet but powerful mistreatment on an adult who’s life has been developed on this bleak and shaky foundation?
If you were to search for “emotional neglect” in a search engine, there is quite a bit of literature on the subject but usually in conjunction with more “spectacular” modes of abuse such as malnutrition and lack of medical care. Discussions of emotional neglect alone is often vague and often lacking precise descriptions of the nature of this neglect and its long term effects. There’s a reason for this: how can you define something as nebulous as a parent just not giving a damn. If the household that raises neglected children provides an environment that provides all the right elements except concern and support for a child, how can it be identified? If a child is well fed, attends school regularly, is given consistent medical care, where is the problem? Wouldn’t many people ask if such a child would be ungrateful to expect love and concern to be showered on them if there other needs were being met?
I have spent my life trying to identify my own type of poison. There is nothing overtly wrong with my life, nor was there when I was a child. And yet there is, and was, something wrong. I can give a name to it now: Emotional neglect.
My parents were very concerned about my physical needs. They encouraged me to eat “enough” at all times. They wanted me to do well in school. I would be taken to the doctor any time my health problems exceeded my parent’s ability to deal with them at home. I would certainly be given aspirin and have my temperature monitored if I had a fever. I was encouraged to join the cub scouts. We went on trips yearly.
At yet these was a gaping hole in my life, one not visible to anyone outside our family. It has taken a piece out of me. Scholarly and medical discussions of the formation of personality emphasize the original relationship we all experience: the mother-child bond. The same discussions emphasize that this relationship acts as a catalyst for the formation of personality and the development of confidence and a sense of security. An emotionally absent mother puts little or nothing into this process. The result is a warped development of personality and a void when it comes to relationships, intimacy and personal ambition.
Is this abuse? It is so unspectacular that it attracts no attention. Understandably, there are no groups like “children of parents who just didn’t really seem to care” or “Emotionally absent parents anonymous”. I have to guess there are millions of us who share the same malaise but couldn’t recognize each other well enough to organize ourselves.
I have to believe that if I told anyone about this they would say, “Suck it up!. Everyone has a lousy childhood”. Can you imagine an attempt to scientifically document this phenomenon and, worse yet, try to start a movement to prevent it? Imagine trying to encourage parents to bond with their children, to support them and interact with them.
These ideas seem to contradict the nature of humanity: all parents responsible for how their children develop. And if this is essentially an impossible goal…well it says some very disturbing things about humanity. Like any other type of neglect, this has long term consequences that carry a cost to society in terms of disability, insurance costs, criminal activity and other issues. Might this be the most insidious and widespread form of abuse?
Anyone out there?

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Abuse 101: A primer for those who feel abuse is someone else’s problem.

Abuse happens to other people. Abuse only happens in “those” families. In the evolutionary spectrum, people who become victims of abuse are Darwinian failures, part of a genetic line unlucky enough to have been stamped with the violence gene. Not the problem of upstanding people of good quality.

I understand well enough that if you are not exposed to it, abuse of any kind seems foreign and incomprehensible and there is very little to encourage someone to navigate the ugly waters of the dark underbelly of society if they don’t have to. Understanding abuse and what affect it has on you requires turning around for just a second and facing. It. No surprise that it’s something few of us want to do.

So I’ll open a small window into what abuse does to society and what it likely does to you regardless of how far away from its effects you feel you are. When I planned to write this blog, I knew what I would find. But I wasn’t prepared for the flood of information that met me on the internet.

Imagine the financial cost of dysfunction and how it manifests itself. Crime. Robbery, assault, identity theft, murder, drug use, drug sales, drug production. Begin with the cost of police protection, insurance rates going up, private and government recovery from vandalism, destruction and theft. Then consider the cost of maintaining a court system, legal aid, and lawyer’s fees.

Add the cost of injuries from crime in the form of insurance and disability. Add to that the loss of income and the loss of spending power due to those same injuries.

And finally consider the place where crime reaches a crossroads, becoming a multi-billion dollar monument to failures. Prison.

The following links show a direct connection between abuse and the process of becoming a convict. I find it telling that government agencies, not prone to going out on a limb, felt that a study was warranted by the correlation between abuse and criminal status. Please review the following links:

http://www.casaforchildren.org/site/c.mtJSJ7MPIsE/b.5525017/k.5115/Justice_Study_Prior_Abuse_Reported_by_Inmates.htm

https://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/police/community/abuse.html

http://justice.uaa.alaska.edu/forum/15/3fall1998/a_inmate.html

https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles/fs000204.pdf

 

According to a number of posts such as this one the prison population doubled in the 1980’s:

http://www.learnliberty.org/videos/why-is-the-us-prison-population-so-large/

Is the assumption that abuse is linked to crime and all of its associated evils a leap of faith or common sense? I consider the latter to be more realistic.

What this means to you, to me, to all of us is that part of the rotting foundation of our society begins and ends with abuse and horrific childhoods. Imagine that we start as clean slates, no pre-conceptions, no fears, no entrenched reactions to certain stimuli. Imagine a puppy. Give it love one day and kick it the next day. After a while you’ll have one confused angry puppy. The dog won’t evaluate the danger of anyone he meets; he’ll react as if the worst case scenario had occurred. He’ll bite and attack anyone he doesn’t know.

Imagine a child, brutalized sexually or physically. Imagine being in a pressure cooker where there is never anyone to turn to, where the fear never ends. Imagine enduring pain and horror for years and knowing that no one will come and save you. That the best you can do is save yourself, that you are the only one you can count on. That the world doesn’t care and that you owe the world nothing for what it’s put you through. Imagine the brain, in its cleaver convoluted way, that can make the most twisted view of reality true in your mind, reinforcing its lie as the atrocities visited up you  grow until there is no other truth.

Of course this is a child’s view of a harsh reality. But a child’s view gels and becomes a world view, unchangeable and never questioned. And eventually it isn’t a view at all. It’s an explosion waiting to happen, barely understood by the very person who explodes in anti-social rage. And it’s control of that rage in the end that becomes a remote concept, not worth considering or understanding.

Not all abused victims become this kind of nightmare; millions of them refuse to repeat the awful storm of confusion and pain that they experienced. For some, dysfunctional parents are a negative example that tells then, point for point, what not to do.

 

But not everyone has the resolve or the possible places of refuge to dodge the bullet of complete meltdown. In the end you will likely find these same people breaking into your house, or attacking you. And eventually, you’ll find them in the court system and eventually, in jail.

So when you are having a bitching session about the decline of society and the fact that the government is bleeding money at your expense, look towards the little child who lives next door to you who never says much and spends a lot of time out of school for mysterious ailments and injuries that no one can quite explain. Or the small boy who lives in the house where the cops keep showing up for domestic violence calls, the same house where screaming and the sounds of violence are a daily occurrence. Watching abuse can do as much damage as experiencing it.

Those children, and there will be millions of them, may end up costing you. Costing you tax money, costing you an increase in insurance premiums. Costing you your life.

And when you look at “those” people who have the lack of grace to be violent and twisted and you think that it has nothing to do with you or the society you live in, take another look.

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