Friday, February 08, 2013

My Two Cents

"The post office has a great charm at one point of our lives. When you have lived to my age, you will begin to think letters are never worth going through the rain for."

~Jan Austen

It made me sad, when I heard the news the other day that the U.S. Postal service will be discontinuing Saturday letter deliveries late this year. The Saturday delivery is something taken for granted in my lifetime because it was one of those things, like banks being closed on Sundays, was just how stuff worked. But when I was a child, we didn't have postal carriers... going... well... "P*O*S*T*A*L" either! I can remember, when I was in first grade, postal carriers were one of those people we were told we could run to, if a policeman wasn't around, in the event a stranger was attempting to hurt or kidnap us. But in my lifetime there came the phenomenon known as the "going postal." A phrase that is associated with sudden, extreme workplace violence. The first case of which occurred in 1983. For the generation after mine, suddenly, the postman wasn't necessarily the adult to go.

But then when I was a child, we were told that the police were our friends. They could help us, if we were lost or in danger. But as I sit here writing this blog post, there is a manhunt for a former L.A. County police officer. It seems that 5 years ago he was fired from his job in the police department for allegedly lying about a fellow officer. Apparently the resentment from being fired, when he felt he had told the truth, has been simmering for most of the last 5 years, and now after having killed at least 3 people, he is heavily armed with different kinds of ammunition, including an assault weapon, and is threatening to kill police officers and their families. I guess this incident could be put down to "going postal" but somehow that seems way too simplistic.

Both services, both stressful working places, and no money to take care of the people who take care of us. The postman seeing pay freezes, hostile dogs, larger routes, pressure to deliver on time, low social support, the cuts in budget have resulted in sometimes mandatory overtime, and physical pain due to carpal tunnel and low back pain. And police officers face dangers from what the L.A. County police department is facing now with a former police officer experiencing a mental break, to the dangers of gang violence, and the over abundance of assault weapons on the street. And unless something is done soon, things will only continue to deteriorate.

Why is it America is exceptional again?

Between the time I was 6 and the time I was 26 I saw a lot of things change.

When you look back, I am sure you see it as well.

It makes me wonder why we haven't discussed national health reform before now.

It we hadn't become such a greedy nation. If we had put thought and resources into health reform and gun control, and making psychiatric services available, and not stigmatize those who sought help, would there be a manhunt tonight for a former policeman, going postal? I suppose we can't know for sure, but I would love to see some real change begin to happen and maybe check back in 20 years to see how the statistics move. If I lived in L.A. tonight I would be terrified. The man they are looking for is mainly threatening police officer's and their families, but he is characterized has highly intelligent weapon savvy, and I have a feeling, no one in southern California is safe.

America has changed a lot since I was 6 years old. I hope it will changed again soon... for the better. I would like to see us become a truly exceptional country, one leading the world in health and psychiatric care. One that leads the world in it's people putting each other above any materialistic object of mass destruction, such as the assault weapon, and large capacity ammunition. One that cares deeply for our children, and put nothing above their safety! When the Post Office was created by Benjamin Franklin I doubt he had any idea what would take place one day, likewise, I don't believe the writers of the consitution could look into the future and imagine assault weapons.

Would the Wright brothers have invented the airplane if they could have somehow known about the events of 9/11? We had to change the way we did things in America after that day, and I think since the shootings massacre at Sandyhook we need to change again. Will there be a peaceful ending to the manhunt in L.A.? I hope so, and will pray for that tonight. Will we somehow face an America that doesn't have a post office one day? Well, of all of the things I mentioned here, that is the one thing I think could be put back on track. It won't happen overnight. It might not happen in 20 years, but if we don't try then we might as well give up on it now.

The price for a First Class stamp rose to 6 cents on January 17th 1968.

~Mood: Discouraged/Quiet


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