Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Some Slaves Are Made By Their Own Actions . . .

This morning my husband mentioned that a particularly crooked local crew was getting into a bit of a jam, they’d been involved in shady business for years, but now a some folks were looking into their practices. What caught my attention, though, is what followed: he mentioned that two of the crew were at each other’s throats as well, one was accusing the other of cheating. I looked up from my coffee, grinned and commented, “What on earth did they think was going to happen,” then laughed and added, “One thing you can be sure of: Orcs always turn on each other.” Well, it is in their nature . . .

The fact that such an outcome is inevitable is the reason why one should not engage in malicious, dishonest and/or criminal activity. The tarnishing of one’s reputation, going to prison or even the wrath of God are all arguable outcomes that plenty of people are willing to risk - truth may stay hidden, a good lawyer might save you from prison and you could even convince yourself there is no God, but there is one thing that can never be avoided and that is the reality that dishonest associates can not be trusted!

In life we must work with like-minded people at some point, the alternative won’t get us far. It is a natural tendency to seek others like ourselves so if you choose to make your way through life by subterfuge you have sentenced yourself to a life where you cannot trust anyone close to you for fear they might betray you - it’s not a question of “will they” - it’s simply a matter of “when.” In the world of grifters and criminals the game is to get the timing just right so that they can work with and/or shack up with like-minded people as long as possible and then betray them before they are betrayed.

But what does that have to do with people who do not aspire to be grifters and/or criminals? Honesty and honor are incredibly powerful shields, but only so long as there is not one piece of that shield that has been damaged. Each chink bears the potential of harm - and we all have some chinks. But consider the fact that each of us is as vulnerable as we have compromised what we know is right . . . That right there is a reason to strive to do the right thing as much as humanly possible - our own self-preservation.

The most powerful weapon that criminally inclined people have against us is ourselves and the really dangerous ones know this. It is a common con-artist tactic to take good people, convince them that they are doing the right thing by compromising society’s laws just this one itty-bitty time - because this time it’s for a good reason (like stopping a “dangerous man” from hurting “innocent” people - sound familiar?) - and then, once the con-artist’s mark has done something wrong, to use that wrong action to own the person. Law enforcement agents framing a person to get him or her into custody because they have been led to believe by a skilled manipulator that the person they are framing is truly dangerous; through that one act of compromise they are then owned by the person they broke the rules to protect. If the person they tried to protect, thinking they were doing the right thing, should get picked up for anything, he or she has a “get out of jail free” card in the form of being able to roll over on crooked law enforcement agents. And so a slave is made of what was once a good man; his only hope to break the chains that now hold him is to come clean and accept the consequences of his actions, to expose the one who convinced him to betray his duty before that person can betray him. Few are strong enough to do that, even though is their only hope of getting free again - and so another relationship has devolved into a question of who can get whom first, another good man chooses to compound an initial mistake with worse mistakes trying to hide the first, and another slave is made.

Our associates mirror us and enhance what we have placed in our lives and if our choices have been to cheat and steal, to value only numero uno, and/or to betray those who trust us, then our relationships will be ones of dishonesty from that point forward - and that will be all that we can expect from those closest to us. We will be condemned to distrust everyone, to be forever looking over our shoulder; there is no greater prison or hell than that. And that - that right there - is the best reason to do the right thing. It is the only path to freedom; it is the only way up and out.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

THE ONES WITH THE BADGES ARE THE GOOD GUYS

That is what I knew when I was growing up; if I was ever lost or in trouble, just look for someone with a badge and go to that person. Add that bit of information to the fact that I come from an old Yankee family and you now know that I am white and old – gotta be. Such a strong certainty in the integrity of authority figures comes from before the 60s and anyone from that generation who was not a white American grew up with a completely different reality, to them men with badges were as likely to be harmful as helpful, but that was in the bad-old-days before the Civil Rights Act was passed, except . . . Those bad-old-days are still with us, they just exist for more people now.

What has changed is: there is less segregation between different ethnicities and cultures. White people like myself used to grow up never seeing a single soul who was black, brown or who spoke with an accent. When I was a child we picked who would be “it” on the school playground by cheerfully chanting, “Eeney, meeney, miney, mo – catch a nigger by the toe – if he hollers let him go – out goes Y – O – U,” and we didn’t even know what the word “nigger” meant because not one of us had ever seen anyone who wasn’t white. I grew up in the North; the only black person I’d ever seen was Nat King Cole on TV, the reason there was no apparent racism was because there was no diversity of race in our neighborhoods. For anyone who wasn’t white, those were dark times. For me, those times bore the illusion of innocence, and are now so far away I can barely remember. That’s why us older folk so love to go on about what things were like “back-in-the-day,” so you can know some history, of course, but also so that we don’t forget . . .

Today all that has changed. My own family is made up of every possible skin color and now, thanks to a friend’s run-in with federal immigration, we’ve included someone with a strong accent as well – which means the idea that men with badges are not necessarily the good guys is very real to me now, but I grew up with a much different outlook and I miss it! Not only that, I know for a fact that there are people who have chosen a career in law enforcement because they believed the whole “good guys” concept just like I did (that is the way it’s supposed to be, ya know!) and I can’t help but feel concern for them. I wonder what all this institutional corruption that seems to be running unchecked must be like for those who dedicated their whole life to a career being one of the good guys – it’s gotta be a bit of a bubble-buster – too bad because those who have tried hard to live up to the trust that comes with that badge don’t deserve that.

What was supposed to be a shift forward to where more and more people could really live the American ideal of “liberty and justice for all,” which law enforcement officers are entrusted to protect, has turned instead into an expansion of fear of men with badges. I now watch TV crime shows to escape momentarily to a fantasy world where the ones with the badges are still the good guys – have to – don’t care to take drugs or drink enough to be satisfied with a convenient self-delusion. But by now shouldn’t we be able to live in a world where that fantasy is real?

Something seems to have gone terribly wrong. I live in a small, Northern New Hampshire town and here there are still a few police officers who would be completely trusted and welcomed if they arrived at my front door, but my experience with state and federal law enforcement while dealing with immigration issues has caused that list to grow very short. I used to trust someone with a badge unless I saw some reason not to, now I need to know the person behind the badge before I will believe anything that person; if they were to show up at my door they’d have to bring along one of those officers I trust before I’d even let them know I was home. So it’s come to that, has it – even Yankee grandmothers have grown paranoid and distrustful of people with badges – and this is progress?

As I watch the details of what happened to Trayvon Martin unfold I would like to be shocked, but it’s hard to be shocked at something that has become everyday reality. Law enforcement protecting dangerous aggressors and investigating victims – where is that unusual these days? “We’re following policy,” “We don’t have enough to arrest that person,” “We can’t make a case,” “The victim shouldn’t have _________ (been there, run, defended himself, fill-in-the-blank)” – this is what I’ve experienced over the last three years trying to save one immigrant neighbor who has wound up doing years of immigration detention (prison time) for no crime, and who is absolutely a victim in this country – I’ve come to the conclusion that that sort of response is in the federal law enforcement handbook on how to deal with pesky citizens who keep thinking they matter. It’s gotta be – what else would explain it?

If the feds are doing it, why wouldn’t it be used by local police as well? The police in the South wrote the book on how to deny justice to minorities, the feds have apparently studied it well and turned it into a fine art to be applied to all citizens; now it’s come full circle back to the police in the South (Actually, I suspect it never really left; we just stopped noticing). Now that a particularly bad case with a lot of evidence as to what really happened has become very public the feds are finally looking into it, though not terribly enthusiastically. Surprised that it took them so long? Ask anyone who has tried to get enforcement or protection from a federal agency and you will find that person is not at all surprised. More likely they are wondering if these things every get handled before someone is horribly murdered.

Progress goes forward, not backward. Today more people, not fewer, should be able to live in peace in the USA, secure in the knowledge that there are good guys with badges out there who have sworn an oath to protect all of us and who would not betray that oath, even if their very life depended on it. Why does such a concept have to be a fantasy reserved for TV and movies? Why can’t we make it a reality in this country? Our forefathers gave us a very good vision to reach for and an excellent road map to follow. They created a dream that the people in the rest of the world look to for encouragement in their own quest for civil and human rights for each and every human being. Here in the USA it is our heritage, our birthright. Why do we not reach for it ourselves?

It is possible. I absolutely know that it is possible! It can be done. We can have “liberty and justice for all” and the people with badges can be the good guys. It is possible to again be able to tell our children: “If you are ever lost or in trouble, just look for someone with a badge and go to that person,” but first we have got to get the direction we are moving in out of reverse. A good place to start: make those badges and the oath they stand for mean something again. Give the right to be proud back to our honest law enforcement officers and make sure the ones who would betray their badge leave law enforcement entirely. Hold those who would have the trust of society to a standard worthy of that trust. That . . . That right there would work wonders, but to get to that, we first have to expect and demand that only the good guys wear badges.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sooo . . . Whatchya Packin'?

This blog post is directed at those decent people who know about something that is wrong, but who aren’t speaking up out of fear. You know who you are . . . Now I have a question for you: What are you packin’ down there between your legs – metaphorically speaking, of course, as some of you are women. Are you going to allow your inaction to come to the aid of the bad guys (and yeah, there is such a thing as bad guys – it ain’t all shades of gray) or are you going to come forward and add your voice and your information to the choir of “Aw HELL NO!” and sing along? Just askin’ . . . Just wonderin’ if, when you reach down between your legs, those two round things right there are gonna be used or just left hangin’ . . .

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Goodbye to a Great Lady

Courage does not always enter with a great rush and flurry of giant wings dramatically coming to the rescue. Sometimes it tiptoes into the room and goes about its work quietly and efficiently – soothing the hurt and cleaning up the carnage that the more vocal and visible of us leave behind. My dad used to say that those were the true heroes, the ones who thanklessly did the ordinary things that need doing to make life livable; as usual, he was right.

We lost one of those heroes today. Mrs James Tinch, “Jimmie,” of Cartersville, GA, one of the greatest, most courageous women I have ever had the good fortune to meet in my life; a woman who even I, a hard-headed Yankee who bows to no man, would gladly address as “Maam” with the full respect that that title carries. My heart goes out to her family. She will be missed.

Jimmie has passed on, but her influence does and will continue. I was not able to be there with her in her final years, or with her daughter, my much loved friend, who has tended to the necessary tasks as dementia cruelly stole her mother’s independence, some of her mind, but never her dignity. It was my intention to spend more time in Georgia to help my friend care for her mother, but that was not possible. I was instead called to the front lines of the civil and human rights battle that is currently claiming an untold number of immigrant victims. Jimmie would understand. Jimmie knew what too many today have forgotten – that civil rights are bought and paid for with constant diligence and more than a little discomfort and sacrifice.

Jimmie Tinch set that example not with a lot of speeches or marching, but through simple daily action. She and her husband stood up for what they believed in by living their life with dignity and honor. After the Civil Rights Act was passed the South did not immediately turn into a warm and happily diverse community living in peace and harmony. Many whites resisted change, some still do to this day. In the 60s, black people who exercised their rights placed themselves in extreme danger and “race mixing” was not only frowned on, it could get you killed.

It was during those times that the Tinch family welcomed me into their home to live with them through part of the holidays. Their daughter attended school in New Hampshire on a scholarship, one of only three black students in the whole school, just enough for the school to be considered “integrated.” She and I had become good friends. I knew very little about bigotry and hatred, but like many whites at that time I thought I knew a great deal, prided myself on having a progressive and open attitude. It is easy to know much when one has experienced very little and, of course, I was a teenager and teenagers know everything.

I had no idea the danger I was walking into when I went to stay with that family. I don’t think that any of the Tinch children fully understood either, but I know Jimmie and James did. They knew having a teenage white girl in their house, especially with young, teenage black males around, was a bold and dangerous move, but they also knew real change was going to take many such moves done by many such families until the extraordinary became ordinary. Jimmie and James welcomed me, accepted me, put up with me and taught me. I would not be where I am today without their influence and I will be forever grateful to them, but there is a special place in my heart for Jimmie. She was amazing.

I stayed with the Tinchs as though it were the most natural thing in the world. Then it wasn’t, but today it is, not just because the Civil Rights Act was passed, not just because people marched and gave speeches and wrote and sang, but because quiet, brave people like Jimmie Tinch refused to submit to the ugliness that is hate. Jimmie treated me like one of her own, she was warm and understanding, she was an amazing cook and a gracious hostess. She did not have much, but she gave what she had with such generosity she made many a wealthy man seem destitute by comparison.

Jimmie took care of people as automatically and naturally as she breathed; she didn’t even think about it, she just did it. Everyone who knew Jimmie knew that about her, but not everyone knew all that Jimmie had done in her life; not everyone knew that that quiet, calm woman had courage equal to the fiercest warrior, that she was one of the many who steadily soldiered on through the height of the civil rights era doing the hard, unsung work that creates real change. They should know that. They should know a giant passed away today.

Maam, my hat is off to you. Rest in peace and thank you . . .

Monday, August 15, 2011

FYI

Did ya know that skunks give warnings before they spray if they possibly can? My dad worked with wild animals for a time and part of his job involved dealing with skunks. He taught me their habits, showed me how they would stamp their feet in warning, sometimes multiple times, before they would spray.

Skunks are actually very placid creatures. They just want to be left in peace and they have no wish to cause upset or injury to anyone. If they are able to give warning they will. They will give many warnings if necessary, will stamp their feet furiously in a dance-like manner trying to get what is causing them worry to cease doing what it is doing; their spray is a last resort. One can hardly blame the skunk for spraying after multiple warnings have gone unheeded by the one who is creating the threat – and yet we do so often blame the skunk.

There are people like that too, ya know. They don’t want to hurt anyone. They just want to go about their business and be left alone. They will put up with a great deal and give multiple warnings before doing anything harsh to anyone, even when others are causing them pain or doing them an injustice. But eventually they will stop giving warnings and just do what they have to do to handle the threat. Just sayin’ . . .



On another topic: As of this weekend I officially hit the 62 year mark. My youngest son will be 18 in a week and has grown to be a capable, independent and responsible young man. It has been my job for the last 42 years to raise my children and to see to it that they not only grew into competent adults who are an asset to their community, but also into adults who can stand on their own. I have done that. My children no longer need or even desire mothering. They take care of themselves and take responsibility for their actions and the results of those actions. They do not look to me for anything beyond advice from time to time and for friendship. That is how it should be.

I am hereby giving official notice that if my own grown children, the ones I gave birth to, can function without their mom still wiping their noses and fixing their booboos, then so can others. I have done my Mom job. There are only a few small details to tend to and those will be finished when my son graduates school and heads out on his own . . . Bottom line: If I didn’t give birth to you, I am not your mother. My own grown children don’t expect me to make things work for them now, so don’t you expect it when you are doing something you know damn well you shouldn’t be doing. You made your bed, now lie in it. Yes, I know that sounds very mom-like. Forty two years of raising kids will do that to a person, but don’t mistake sounding like somebody’s mom for willingness to be your mom.

As I remove my “Mom hat” for longer periods of time I have found myself wearing the hat of a human rights activist and a writer more often and I like wearing that hat. It fits well and it suits me. I’ve decided to keep it. It’s not as up-close-and-personal as “Mom” – it’s not “making a better world one growing child at a time.” But it has the same ups and downs, the same “making a better world” part and the same wonderful rewards when done successfully, so that’s me now. Just sayin’ . . .

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Personal Side of All This


I am currently in my third year of trying to free Audrius Kazenas from immigration detention; to keep him here where his two little girls for whom he was the primary caretaker for over eight years live and prevent him from being deported to a country where he has been brutally tortured before and where it appears he could be tortured, even killed, if he were to return. He has a great deal of support in our community and is greatly missed by many. His continued detention has created havoc in my and my family’s life in ways I could never have imagined. Injustice has consequences.

Through it all I have come to learn that the fact that those of us who want Audrius to stay are all citizens, most of us tracing back to the early days of the founding of this country, means nothing. I’ve also learned that documents mean nothing, honesty means nothing and laws mean nothing. I’ve learned that when law enforcement in this country has to make a choice between enforcing the law or protecting one of their own, too many of them say to hell with the law as well as the people they are charged to protect and look out for other law enforcement officers instead. I’ve learned that a criminal who knows how to play the system and who works within law enforcement carries far more weight that a victim or witness who trusts the system and who is not a member of law enforcement.

I have learned many things that I did not want to know and that should not be. I was raised being taught that if you know of a crime or injustice and you stay silent, then further crimes or injustices committed by the same person or group are partially on you - if you do not speak up, whether through fear or just a sense that it is not your problem, then you have chosen a future for yourself, your family and for us all that is less safe and less just. I was raised to believe that I am my brother’s keeper.

And so I have stayed in this fight and I will continue to stay in this fight. Those who I oppose have publicly suggested that I should be handled by being shot. Well yes, that is what it will take to remove me from this and those people might want to seriously make plans to do that because I have “hit the wall” on my tolerance. Today I finally broke - I can take no more.

This morning I took my 15 year old scruffy alley cat, Joey, into the vet and had him put down. It’s the fifth animal I’ve lost this year. I’ve done animal rescue off and on for over 40 years, so putting an animal down is not new to me, I’ve had to do it many times and though it makes me sad, I manage okay. But animals do not tend to die in my house, they frequently live long past a normal lifespan so that I have wound up with a large number of geriatric animals. My cats that died this year were all very old - most were over 20 - one died in my lap. We lost our English Setter, Simi, too, a sweet dog who was left with his dead owner for days before someone discovered what had happened. He was only ten when he died, but he had developed a twisted stomach and with the costs of having someone in detention mounting, I could not afford the money for surgery - he had to be put down.

The vet said that my old alley cat probably had diabetes, that we could do something, but it would be costly, would mean many trips to the vet’s and Joey was 15 so there was that to consider. Joey was still full of life, but he’d stopped eating and without treatment he could not survive. Again I had to make the choice as, with Audrius still in detention, I neither had the money or the time to indulge my wish to save our beloved Joey. My son and I held him and pet him as he took his last breaths, and then I broke, the tears would not stop, I couldn’t stand straight, I felt that I just couldn’t go on anymore, that I just couldn’t take another hit - not a single hit more. I mentally quit, for a few hours I was not on the job - then I hired myself back.

Our vet and his assistant know what we have been going through these last few years, they have been following Audrius’ story closely. They have known me for a long time, we’ve worked on the same animal rescue cases before. They assured me that sometimes things happen this way - you go years without a death and all of a sudden you loose one after the other, but their assurances didn’t help. Our beloved Joey Kitters was dead and he could have had more time, maybe a year or two to take up two spaces on the couch, to follow me down the road as I walked the dogs loudly proclaiming that I should wait up for him and that he was a dog too. He didn’t have that chance because my finances and time have been stretched beyond the limits of both. He should have at least had a chance, but injustice has consequences - and most of those happen behind the scenes, a dead kitty or dog, a ruined Christmas, a child performing poorly, a young person knocked off onto the wrong path . . . life is made a little less every time that injustice prevails.

Simi Sim would have had a chance, would have had the surgery he needed to save his life if Audrius were not still sitting in detention. Joey Kitters would have had a chance too. They might not have made it anyway, but I could have afforded them a chance. This is wrong and I am tired beyond belief; tired of being patient and understanding and reasonable about all of what the powers-that-be feel I should be while they slowly twist and mangle what is left of our lives.

What does that mean? It means I am done making nice-nice with people who have done nothing but pervert our system of justice. It means the NH state correctional officer who publicly, in writing, suggested that I be handled with “justice at 1,000 yards” better get his ass in gear and do it - I’m giving him fair warning that that is what he will need to get the job done because he does not have the ability to handle me face-to-face without a gun. It means I quit being pushed around by supposed “law enforcement” who think their freakin‘ position gives them the right to roll right over the rest of us. Yup, I quit - which is another way of sayin‘ . . . I’m not gonna stop working to expose what has been done here as long as there is breath left in this body. Just sayin’ . . .

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Starving for Justice, First Fast, July 19, 2011

Today is the first day of fasting. This first fast for “Starving for Justice” will be for just one day. As I begin the day I am made aware of how much a meal provides a short respite from the hell my life has become. Today there will be no brief escape afforded by the consumption of food. Before our friend, Audrius Kazenas, was taken by ICE on November 26, 2008 and placed in detention where he sits to this day, I would frequently get so busy fixing a fence or clearing a space for a garden that I would not think to eat, but now I am looking forward to a day of no food and I am feeling the loss. My stomach is already protesting its lack of breakfast. It may be a very long day.

My focus this morning is on law enforcement. Audrius Kazenas was, for many years, part of law enforcement in his own country. In the years after the Soviets were thrown out of Eastern Europe he chose a career in military intelligence, working undercover to expose the connections in his country’s new government to gun runners and drug smugglers with allegiances to what had been the Soviet Union. He paid a heavy price for that choice when a man he was investigating attacked him and in the resulting struggle, died. Audrius landed in prison, was stripped naked, taped to a chair and shocked with live electrical wires while his breathing was cut off by a gas mask placed over his head. He was then thrown into the general population who were informed of who he was.

Audrius survived – that time – and when he was released he returned to his position as an officer in the military. Now, because he compromised his allegiance to the law believing that it was the right thing to do, thinking that he had to in order to protect his family, he himself has been compromised. The same siren’s call that enticed him to bend the law just a little to handle what he thought was an emergency; that convinced him that this one time bending the law was the right thing to do, has brought him to where he sits now. Meanwhile, the one who enticed him continues to entice others in law enforcement to do the same for the same reason, to bend the law just a little, because this time it is an emergency. The result to the rest of us for all this “law bending” has been a break down of Justice for when those charged with maintaining a system of Justice instead decide to twist it to suit them, that system is lost. Such actions are warranted only when the whole system is unjust.

Audrius has infinite faith in law enforcement and the importance of a clean system of Justice and he has maintained that faith even while uncovering instances of corruption within the system, even while being tortured and abandoned to survive or die. He still has faith in the system despite the fact that it has failed him yet again, but his faith, so far has not come to his rescue this time. His faith could well bring him right back to the circumstances he endured once before and this time he might not escape with his life intact. In post-Soviet Eastern Europe it is understandable that they would struggle with corruption within their law enforcement community. But Audrius is not sitting in an Eastern European prison; he sits in an American prison now, and has done so for nearly three years. His faith is undeterred. He still maintains a belief in a system of just laws. I, however, am charged with the task of working within that system to try to free him. My sole connection with law enforcement has been through friends and organizing a neighborhood watch so my faith in our Justice system is less subjective. With what I have experienced trying to rescue Audrius, my faith in our system has been shaken almost beyond the point of repair.

Just as law enforcement, after dealing with criminal mentalities day-in and day-out, develop a tendency to automatically suspect everyone until they have proven that they are not criminals; struggling to keep standing under this load day-in and day-out has taken its toll on me. Knowing that the loss of the last two-plus years of my life was mostly caused by a few members of law enforcement who have used their position to give them an advantage has caused me to develop a tendency to automatically suspect law enforcement officers until they have proven that they are not seeking to use and abuse their position for their or their family and friend’s gain. In the end the larger loss is to law enforcement officers as they can not do their job as effectively if they are not trusted. But trust, once betrayed, is very hard to restore.

A law enforcement system that has lost the trust of the people can not function in a civilized society. Our symbol of Justice is blind for good reason. A system of Justice that can look to see who is before it can tip the scales in favor of those who are part of the system, thus creating a them-against-us mentality where law enforcement officers take care of their own first and the law second. From the public’s point of view they then are no longer representing the law and the public will no longer inform them what is going on around their area. They then become the blind ones as the people they are supposed to serve will no longer trust them to handle the needs of society.

The results of this are seldom huge, but they can end in massive destruction made possible through cumulative small losses of public trust and cooperation. An example of this would be our “War on Terror.” Before Audrius was taken I would not have placed those words in quotes, but by now I have lost a lot of faith. How does one measure what the results of lost faith are? There is no way to judge where one citizen’s altered trust will result in a loss of data that could lead to tragic results. A year or so ago, when some jewelers I know asked me to sit in on a meeting with a horsewoman who was making them a proposition, I said nothing to DHS about the very suspicious activity that was revealed in that meeting by that woman. This woman made claims that only a person with knowledge of certain Arab Horse bloodlines and the practices of Arab Horse breeders would spot as suspect. I used to breed horses from those exact lines, a fact that, when she discovered it, made her exceedingly nervous to where she exited the meeting prematurely and a deal was never struck. At best, the people who had asked me to sit in avoided being taken in by a likely scam; at worst, a woman funneling funds to Saudi Arabia for less than honorable purposes escaped detection.

Before my recent experience trying to help prevent my friend, Audrius Kazenas,’ deportation to a country where he has been tortured already I would have called DHS and reported what I had learned in that meeting, but I did not. I feel that this agency has betrayed me unjustly, that they are not interested in protecting common citizens such as myself and that they have chosen instead to support the criminal element in our society that preys upon us. I did not come to this conclusion without evidence. I have in my possession a paper filed with a court of law where an agent of DHS states that known terrorists with links to Al Qaeda are simply fighting for freedom from Russia and are of no concern. Other statements on that same paper lead me to believe that DHS agent is assisting at least one person engaged in unlawful activity to escape detection. These statements were filed with the court to pursue the deportation of Audrius despite his twice being granted relief from deportation under the Convention Against Torture by an Immigration Judge, so how can I think anything other than “This agent is dirty?” How can I trust an agency that apparently considers some terrorists to be freedom fighters and feels that laws are fair game for manipulation to benefit family and friends? I can’t! And so DHS never got a report from me on suspicious activity that only a person who has bred one select line of Arabian Horses would have ever spotted. That activity was probably nothing, perhaps just a petty con artist plying her trade. I certainly hope that is the case, but lost faith in law enforcement, multiplied, will eventually take its toll on the ability of law enforcement to do their job. That, right there, is why it is absolutely mandatory that the people who enforce our system of justice must be held to a higher standard of conduct from the rest of us, not to a lower standard as some that I am encountering are now being held. Justice itself depends upon it and when it is not done, Justice is lost. In Audrius’ case, to date, Justice has been abandoned, and so today I choose to fast as an overt expression of what it is to be starving for Justice.