Know Your Rights

Author’s Note: You can agree to disagree with me, but I feel that what I am saying is completely valid and I make no apologies for it. These are MY feelings. You don’t have to share in them and I did not write this to argue, I wrote it because it’s my perspective. 

Rights in America change a little too frequently, so much so that it’s hard to keep up. The Founding Fathers are probably rolling over in their graves as they watch what has become of this nation.

Under normal circumstances I keep a lot of my personal beliefs to myself, but someone started an ignorant fight with me and it sparked the desire to write about it.

The very benign disagreement was deleted by the person who started it with her comment, so not only did I cease further communications with her, something I never do when I’ve known someone for 20+ years, but ultimately, I lost respect for her because she clearly knew what she was doing with her comments and I felt that was low. Don’t say something stupid and expect every single person to agree with you. This is not GroupThink.

Here’s what happened verbatim:

The first person (who, as I said, deleted the three comment disagreement) stated that she really wanted to go to the movies, but that she didn’t feel it was okay for the movie theater to “search through her purse”. She lives in the same state as I do, and I agree with her. It’s NOT okay. Her acquiescence in the same statement was “I guess that’s the world we live in now.” Um, NO, it’s not, and it’s irresponsible for you to say something so stupid.

People immediately chimed in with a plethora of anti-gun sentiments, so this quickly escalated into something it didn’t need to be.

I don’t think of guns and movie theaters in the same sentence. I truly don’t. I’m not ignorant, I know what happens and what has happened in this country, but to give that thought credence and act as though it will continue to happen because of responsible gun owners is not rational, intelligent thinking. Unfortunately, this was like like reading comments from a Million Mom March, as opposed to people with differing opinions sharing their views. I was the only person saying anything pro-gun, and believe me, I barely got started.

In regard to the statement that “this is the world we live in now”: It’s incidents of unlawfulness with malicious intent. However, it is not the entire globe. Anyone stating shit like that is utterly ignorant. I have NEVER, not once, gone to the movies and thought about harming someone. Neither has anyone else I know.

While many movie theaters are posting signs asking law abiding gun owners not to carry openly or concealed into their establishments, regardless of the fact that their state’s laws allow them to do so, others are simply going through women’s purses to confiscate candy, snacks, and bottled water, which isn’t about anyone’s safely, but ultimately about how much money you spend after purchasing a ticket. That has NOTHING to do with your personal safety or the safety of those with you. If they want you to be “safe”, if they are truly concerned about a potential shooting occurring in one of their theaters, then maybe they should have someone armed in every single theater as opposed to acting like going to the movies requires a TSA-type pat down.

Going to the movies is supposed to be fun, not stressful. If they want to prevent something from happening, they can’t make their audiences targets. After all, they weren’t searching any of the men, just women’s purses. Does that seem a little ass-backward? I don’t recall any females shooting up a movie theater, do you?

My response to this was “I would walk right out if they demanded to search through my purse without a warrant or probable cause. Know your rights.” And that’s precisely when some stupid bitch decided to turn that into more than it really is by saying “I guess your “rights” are more important to you than your safety.” I answered the lunatic by stating that she is ignorant, that a lawful citizen not only knows their rights but can protect themselves, their loves ones, and absolute strangers because they have passed a background check, have been fingerprinted to be able to carry concealed, taken a 40 hour class in firearms safety, among other things based on the individual state one resides in. Within an hour of my response, the entire interaction was deleted by the originator of said discussion, and I find that utterly cowardly. I do not abide by cowards.

For starters, I am not a criminal and therefore if you do not have a warrant or a legitimate reason to search me, I do not have to submit to being searched, be it my person or personal property, without reasonable cause. Certainly NOT at a movie theater where I am paying hard-earned money to watch something I want to see. I don’t carry a gun in my purse. I don’t know anyone who does, so if that is how a movie theater is going to conduct themselves, they do not need my business. If they think they’re going to confiscate a gun from a law abiding woman by such means, they’re wrong. However, I’m also not a mental moron. Unless I am going to an airport to board a plane (in my state, you can be armed and be standing at baggage claim waiting for someone. If you’re approached by security or a police officer because, for some reason, you’re imprinting, all you have to do is show them your concealed carry permit and ID. They might be a little dramatic, but if you’re not aggressive, they won’t be either.), walking into the post office, walking into a government agency (I’ll use Social Security as an example since I had to replace my card a few years ago), or going into a courthouse, then searching through my bag is completely unacceptable. Would you let a restaurant do that before they seated you? No, you wouldn’t, because that’s not acceptable behavior, nor is it acceptable for anyone to do that at a fucking movie theater. Moreover, you have to check a weapon at the front door of any courthouse or lock the firearm in the trunk of your car, the choice is yours. Otherwise, you’re going through a metal detector, so it’s not like you can hide anything. How many women have had a wand used on them because they were wearing an underwire bra that had real wire in it? I have. It takes two seconds for them to say “I don’t mean to be nosey, but I have to ask. Are you wearing a push-up bra or any type of underwire bra? Oh, okay. It’s the bra. You can go, miss.” I have yet to cause anyone harm with a bra, though there are days those fuckers hurt and should be abolished.

I was once asked to leave a Kubaton attached to my keys behind with an armed guard. He held it for me until I left, no harm, no foul. He didn’t treat me like a fucking criminal for having a self-defense weapon in my possession because I have the legal right to do so. After all, this is still America, not Nazi Germany.

A TSA agent once checked my hair because the screening showed a piece of metal. She immediately saw it was my hairclip and that I did not have a bomb strapped to my head. That was the end of that. I very clearly didn’t require a cavity search.

Second, it is important to know your rights. When you don’t, you’ll allow stupid shit to be done to you and you’ll accept things you wouldn’t allow if you’d had the proper knowledge.

Many people turned the original comment into a war against guns. “Oh, everyone is so violent.” or they outright stated that “People who are mentally ill need to have guns taken away from them.” Categorically speaking, that would mean someone who suffers from OCD, has bouts of depression, PTSD, or anxiety could potentially have a concealed carry permit revoked because a bunch of assholes think that somehow impairs your judgment. Unless a person is paranoid and thinks the entire world is out to get them, the chances of that gun being used outside of a range are slim.

Would I tell an anxious rape victim that she had no right to a concealed carry permit to protect herself from future harm? No, I would NOT. Would I tell a single mother that she didn’t have the right to own a shotgun to protect herself and her children? No. Would I tell someone who has an order of protection that she needs to wait weeks, or months, to purchase a firearm for protection? NO. However, all these people cared about was causing an issue where there wasn’t one.

People will argue that guns can escalate a situation, and that may be true in the hands of the wrong person, but it’s not the truth in every situation known to man. Would I prefer to shoot someone or be raped? The former, always. Would I prefer to shoot to protect myself or be shot? The former, always. Every woman in this country has the right to defend herself however she sees fit, and for anyone to say she does not have the right and that she be allowed to be a victim in any situation disgusts me.

This country was built on the back of a horse and guns have always been used to defend and protect. We have the right to bear arms. We have freedom of speech and freedom of religion. And yet, Americans think we need to take rights away from ourselves every single day and they are 100% WRONG.

Two Americans disarmed a gunman on train and protected people a few months ago. http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/08/22/433742051/3-americans-hailed-as-heroes-for-subduing-train-gunman That is heroism.

Many Americans immigrate to Israel to join various factions of the IDF, to protect land that is, from North to South, slightly larger than the state of New Jersey.

Our military is taught to use force in combat if necessary, yet they are not allowed to defend themselves on U.S. soil, which is absolutely deplorable. You’re telling them to be victims when they could diffuse a situation with their experience.

I grew up with NYPD officers as next door neighbors. When one cop moved out, another would move in. You couldn’t have been safer. My Mom once had a roommate whose brother was a cop. Whenever he wanted to go out drinking, he needed to leave his service weapon someplace safe, as it wasn’t allowed to go off-duty with him at the time. Everyone else was afraid of guns, except for my Mom. He’d tell her where it was and she’d babysit the gun until he came back. I grew up with a healthy respect for firearms.

I had a friend call to tell me about a date she’d been on. She freaked because the guy she was seeing was a cop and she had no idea that the entire time they were out together, he was carrying concealed. She went to hug him goodnight and jerked away the second she realized he was armed. I explained that he was off-duty, but her personal experience with guns was so negative that she never saw him again. She didn’t want to be around guns or have them in her life. I explained his side of things gently, and then I let it go because her feelings were based on trauma. That I understand. They were not coming from a place of ignorance or hatred, they were coming from a place of trauma and fear. She was never going to be able to get past that, and I told her that was okay.

No matter where you live in this world, guns can and will continue to get into the wrong hands. It’s a given, and it’s sad. However, those I know are pretty unexpected. I don’t expect a 65+ year old Grandmother to be walking around packing heat, but a great many do. To each their own. I have found that every male gun owner expects me to be dainty, dumb, and a Republican. I’m not dainty, I’m far from stupid, and I’m not a Republican, so I just let them talk themselves into a wall. All I hear is “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”

All that being said: School shootings are unacceptable. If you’re paying to send your child to a community college or a university, you’re sending your children off to public school, you have a very reasonable expectation for them to be safe and remain safe. If you’re going to ban guns from campus and not allow guards and security to be armed, then you’re 100% asking for trouble. There is always going to be some lunatic looking to martyr themselves onto the news. Healthy people don’t talk about Satan and they don’t shoot people based on their religion. But does that mean guns should be taken away from everyone? No.

The current President of the United States is using all of these tragedies as a way to further destroy this country. Our relations with some of our closest allies have been tarnished and/or strategically broken by this sorry excuse for a President. It is absolutely shameful.

Guns themselves do not kill people. It’s the person holding the gun who is responsible for any good or bad they commit. I could say that some writers should have all pens and all forms of technology taken from them due to horrible writing, but that would be dismissed because people don’t see words as ‘weapons’.

We’re not arguing for “knife control” when people are stabbed. We’re not arguing for a lot of things that involve our daily safety, but every other person has an opinion about “gun control”. Many of whom do not own guns and never have.

If you are an actor or actress with armed bodyguards, either for yourself or your family, then you have absolutely NO right to say that this country needs “gun control”. Especially when you make your money on television or in films that A) have violence in them and B) Use guns. If you’re from a country where guns are banned, take a good look at your military personnel. They are not going into battle unarmed. How do you think your freedoms are being protected? With stickers, candy, and handshakes?

Overall, this world is violent. I do not place blame on individuals, governments, or weapons for that. I place blame on how people think. It’s not normal to stampede over someone on Black Friday to save money on Christmas presents, yet it happens, people get hurt and some die, and yet, NO ONE says we need to better control those sales because there will always be a Black Friday. We care less and less about the human condition, but we’re all too ready to point fingers and spew uneducated words, or hate.

If you know nothing about firearms, educate yourself before you say something stupid. It’s crucial to know your rights, no matter where you live in this world. You don’t have to like what I’ve said, you don’t have to agree with it, but I think we can all safely agree that our rights shouldn’t be violated.

If you’re doing things lawfully, good for you, you’re responsible and educating yourself. Unfortunately, there will always be people who will illegally purchase a weapon of any kind, or make bombs in their homes, with the intent of harming others. Do you think terrorists care about your safety? Do you think they care about legally acquiring a weapon of any kind? They don’t. So before anyone tries lecturing me about my rights, they should do their fucking homework and know what they’re talking about first.

In all situations; know your rights.  

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

This Is One Of My Lines- Do Not Fucking Cross It

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I don’t write about religion often. Usually I mention it in passing, not as core subject matter. I believe that we are all entitled to our personal beliefs, so long as we aren’t hurting anyone. However, when I DO write about religion, it’s because something has pissed me off, which brings me to why I am writing this. There’s a reason.

Nine times out of ten when people meet me, the first words out of their mouth are “What part of Italy are your parents from?” or “What part of Puerto Rico are you from?” (My brother also gets pegged as 100% Italian or Puerto Rican, except he has olive skin and I can totally see it in him, especially when he’s tan.) I stare at them, dumbfounded. For the record, my Italian ancestry is from Rome and Venice and my Spanish ancestry is from Spain and Argentina. To read about additional aspects you can read more here Ancestry, or ask me. Not that I think it is important, it’s not.

For clarity, let me set the stage for you: I am the palest white girl you might ever meet. My natural hair color is a dark brown that I call espresso (It is currently blue-black because I wanted a change.), and my eyes are hazel-green that are predominantly green. They change color depending on what I’m wearing and the mood I’m in. There is not a single thing about me that is distinctively any racial ethnicity over another, but I always get pegged for one of the two, and occasionally people assume I’m Irish (I think it’s my complexion.). I have no problem with any of that, but when I say “Actually, I’m Jewish and my ancestry is blended.”, people audibly gasp as if I just announced I am the reincarnation of Hitler and Stalin and I’m planning on world domination.

There is an awful lot of inter-religion racism that I find deplorable, and I discovered it within my family last year. While we might be related, however closely or distantly, we don’t all have the same facial features, for obvious reasons. I was talking to a cousin and her exact words were “No one thinks you’re Jewish because you don’t have the Jewish nose that walks into the room five minutes before you do, like mine.” My jaw was on the fucking floor at the disgust I heard in her voice. She openly admitted that she thinks it’s ugly, but that she doesn’t believe in spending the money on plastic surgery or she’d do something about it. All I could think was “There are things I don’t like about myself too, but I don’t look at my face that way.” I mentioned it to someone else and they told me “You don’t know what it’s like to go through life as an ugly person.” Again, I was floored. I have NO IDEA what they see that I do not.

I don’t possess that level of self-hatred for quirks of nature that make each of us unique. I treasure the fact that I inherited high cheekbones that both of my Grandmothers had, that I am the last of the hazel-green eyed women in my family (for now), and that I got my maternal Grandmother’s and mother’s full lips and widow’s peak. I am an amalgamation of three different generations of women, perhaps more, all with distinctive genetic blends. I don’t see myself as any one thing, but I do see myself as me.

But I digress.

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About ten days ago, a friend of a friend sent me a Facebook request. Unlike most people, I do not accept friend requests simply because A knows B. I decided to do a little research. It took less than a minute to learn that the woman who wanted to be my “friend” is a 27-year-old Filipino woman, friends with someone I’ve known for a long time, who is married to a 70+ year old British man who is 100% anti-Semitic. Strike One.

His Facebook wall is full of BDS posts, anti-Israel posts, and all kinds of hate messages against Israel. Apparently every Jew on this planet “needs to be eliminated immediately” because “they’re all terrorists”. WOW! I stared at the screen, utterly speechless. This is who a young, pretty girl is married to?! Surely she can do better. I mean really, she’s stunning and appears to be sane. What is wrong with her?

He posts this crap in England and she’s asking him, in the Philippines, if this stuff is “true”. (That’s right, they don’t live together. Does this sound familiar?) His answer is “YES!”, along with additional colorful hate speech. Strike Two.

Instead of educating herself (There is NO reason anyone in this world should be THAT uneducated so as to believe such vile hatred about a country or a religion. You don’t have to be a Ph.D. candidate, you simply have to have a brain you utilize daily and not be ignorant.), she doesn’t question it. It’s coming from her husband, so she believes it. Strike Three. And get this: He’s a philosophy professor. Any university I know would revoke his tenure and fire him for that shit.

I immediately deleted her “friend request”. It would have resulted in an epic fight and I do not have the time, patience, or the inclination to educate someone who should be shipping off to an old age home sometime soon, as opposed to newly married to someone old enough to be his daughter who is either way too good for him, or maybe way too stupid.

If you want to believe that “Israel is plotting terror.”, do your fucking homework. It’s a tiny democratic country in the Middle East, home to Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike, surrounded by countries that all want to wipe them off the map because Israel is the only country in the world that is Jewish land, given to the Jewish people, so decreed by God.

I messaged my friend and explained the situation. She’s “friends” with both of them and I didn’t want to step on any toes because I didn’t know how close the relationship was or wasn’t. I’d never intentionally disrespect someone else’s friends. She agreed that I did the right thing, that the husband is crazy and that his hate messages bother her too, and she said she doesn’t understand his hate or where it comes from. And yet, her answer to dealing with him is to hide his posts on her Facebook wall, as opposed to outright deleting them OR telling him he’s wrong. That’s way too passive for me.

If someone says something derogatory to me because of my religion (or anything else, really), I call them out on their shit immediately. I have freedom of speech and I know how to use it. If you’re going to hide behind a computer and say stupid shit, I dare you to say it to my face. That’s the thing; these cowards NEVER actually come out from hiding and say a word to your face.

Sadly, the most hatred I have faced in terms of direct anti-Semitism has been from  my own people. My own family, and other Jews. I suspect that a lot of that is because I “don’t look Jewish”. I have no idea what that even means, because it is a wholly racist comment. I wouldn’t tell a white woman that she “doesn’t look African”, despite the fact that she just told me that’s where she’s from, so why would I brand anyone else as not looking like an image someone else is putting in one’s mind? That is incredibly ignorant.

Would you tell Behati Prinsloo, wife to Adam Levine, that she doesn’t look like an African woman (She is Namibian. I do my homework.)? No, I didn’t think so. Because not only is she white and a supermodel, but the last time I checked her English is better than most people born in this country.

In my mind, I don’t see color. I see people. Everyone is different, everyone is unique. There are religious differences, yes. The difference in Judaism is that we do not believe in Jesus or that Jesus is the son of God. There are dietary laws and some other historical and biblical differences, but the differences aren’t so enormous that one needs to argue about it. I can argue the two different Bibles with you until the cows come home, but does that really matter? No. To each their own, so long as you aren’t hurting anyone.

However, any form of hatred hurts us all. Hatred is taught. We are not born knowing hate. I grew up surrounded by other religions and cultures, never once thinking anything of it. As I’ve gotten older, I realize how incredibly sheltered some people are, and that is scary and eye-opening to me.

I don’t often wear a symbol of faith because it feels redundant, but the other day a woman came running up to me to ask about my Triple Goddess pendant. I had it custom-made about five years ago. In between the three phases of the moon that represent Maiden, Mother, and Crone are two Stars of David and a very large gemstone in the center represents the full moon. It was my first time wearing it. That is precisely who and what I am. I believe in duality of God and Goddess (this is represented in Kabbalah, but is represented as male and feminine aspects of God as opposed to duality.), but I am also 100% Jewish. And as a Jewish woman, there is no room in my world, or the world on a whole, for anti-Semitism or hatred. Make an off-color, stupid, or rude remark to or in front of me and we’ll see if you’re sitting and/or eating tomorrow. I am supremely polite, I believe we all have the right to practice whatever we believe in so long as no harm is coming to anyone, but I will never be polite in the face of hatred or ignorance, nor will I tolerate it.

Tonight is the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. It marks the end of the year 5775 on the Jewish calendar and brings in 5776. It is one of the holiest holidays we celebrate. Many people have told me that this year, their temples have notified them of police presence and/or security for services, partly due to all of the anti-Semitism that has occurred all over the world over the past year. I think it’s smart, but it’s sad.

I, personally, don’t attend temple unless I am invited to something that calls for it. It has nothing to do with anything other than my attention span. Services are long, are almost predominantly in Hebrew or Ladino, and my brain can only listen for a certain amount of time before I space out and/or start to fall asleep, which is rude beyond words, so I prefer to pray throughout the year, light candles on my own, and take time to reflect and work on myself. It is emotionally heavy for me, so I feel it’s crucial to know my boundaries. Part of that is knowing myself. The holidays are tough on me, and going to temple isn’t going to ease that. I don’t have to be among other people to be what I was born, or to be what I believe. That makes sense for some people, but for me, it doesn’t help matters, so I tough it out.

Here’s hoping the new year will be prosperous and sweet. Let there be more understanding, more compassion, more concern for others, more helping people in need, because at the end of the day, there is no room for hate. It benefits nothing and no one.

L’Shana Tovah!

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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