7 Oct 2017 Let’s Stay Together (dream and song)

Hello to you. How are you? I hope your doing well. I had a fun dream last night of costume shopping. The parts I found, after opened kept being used or dirty. I just couldn’t find the right one. Then I remembered I could sing like Tina Turner and started singing one of my favorite songs she’s sung, “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green.

Let’s Stay Together Tina Turner (HD)

Let’s Stay Together

Al Green

I’m so in love with you Whatever you want to do Is all right with me ‘Cause you make me Feel so brand new And I want to spend My life with you

Since, since we’ve been together Loving you forever Is what I need Let me be the one you Come running to And I’ll never be untrue ooh baby

[Chorus] Let’s, let’s stay together Lovin’ you whether, whether Times are good or bad, Happy or sad Good or bad, happy or sad

Why, somebody tell me Why people break up? Turn around and make up I just can’t see You’d never do that to me Would you, baby? Staying around you is all I see Here’s what I want to do

[Chorus: x 2]

Songwriters: AL JACKSON JR, WILLIE MITCHELL, AL GREEN

© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group

For non-commercial use only.

Data from: LyricFind

This morning, after scanning some headlines, I see the tide has risen again for anti-gay sentiment around the world.  What I suspect is all of these petty and divisive tactics are just another distraction technique by the “powers that be” as they make arrangements for WWIII.  If we are divided and angry we will be more likely to be compliant to their plans.  The Rainbow Raids in Egypt just the latest overseas:

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/rainbow-raids-egypt-launches-its-widest-anti-gay-crackdown-yet/ar-AAsZZuj?OCID=ansmsnnews11

Rainbow raids: Egypt launches its widest anti-gay crackdown yet

Sarah Hegazy has been jailed, beaten by inmates, and could face a life sentence in an Egyptian prison if found guilty of “promoting sexual deviancy” and other charges tied to her alleged crime: waving a rainbow flag at a concert.

The 28-year-old denies waving the flag but is one of 57 people arrested so far in Egypt’s widest anti-gay crackdown yet, a swift zero-tolerance response to a rare show of public support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in the conservative Muslim country.

The crackdown comes as Egypt, a key Western ally in the Middle East, is under fire for its human rights record and the United States has withheld some of its $1.3 billion in annual military aid.

Hegazy, the only woman rounded up in the three-week-old campaign, says police goaded her cellmates to abuse her during her first night in prison, where she is being detained for 15 days and interrogated by special prosecutors who usually focus on Islamist militants.

“This is the game they (police) always play, especially since she is a girl. They incite the other detainees and say ‘this girl wants men and women to be gay’ so they harass her. I saw scratches on her shoulder, she looked very disheveled and exhausted. She was beaten,” said Hegazy’s lawyer Hoda Nasralla.

A security official would not comment on Hegazy’s case but denied that police incite prisoners against each other or otherwise mistreat them.

Lawyers for other detainees said their clients faced similar treatment. Suspected gay male detainees are subject to forced anal exams to determine if they have had homosexual sex, a procedure human rights groups say amounts to torture.

At least five such examinations have taken place, Amnesty International says. Judicial sources do not deny the examinations take place but say they are legally carried out and are not a form of abuse.

Egyptian authorities do not deny going after gays and an investigation report provided to Reuters by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) openly refers to the police’s campaign on homosexuals.

Police, state-aligned media, and the religious establishment all see it as a public duty to combat the spread of homosexuality.

Ten men have already gone on trial during the recent sweep and received jail sentences from one to six years.

MEDIA BACKLASH

On Sept. 22, at a concert packed with 30,000 people headlined by Mashrou’ Leila, a Lebanese alternative rock band whose lead singer is openly gay, a small group of concert goers raised a rainbow flag and, within hours, the image went viral.

Almost immediately local media, dominated by state-aligned television personalities, began a campaign against homosexuals, saying they were receiving foreign funding, and hosting callers who compared their threat to Islamic State.

Egypt’s media regulator then banned homosexuals from appearing in the media unless they were “repenting”, calling homosexuality a “shame and a disease that should be kept under wraps, not promoted” in order to protect public morality.

Al-Azhar, Egypt’s 1,000-year-old center of Islamic learning, said it would stand against gays in the way it stands against Islamist extremists. One church organized an anti-gay conference.

Public Prosecutor Nabil Sadek ordered the State Security Prosecution, which normally investigates terrorism and other national security threats, to investigate the flag incident.

At least four people, including Hegazy and 21-year-old Ahmed Alaa, were arrested for allegedly raising the flag although one man has since been released.

The overwhelming majority of those arrested are not involved in the flag case, however, and have simply been arrested over their perceived sexual orientation in the following days.

Police have raided homes, parties, and used online dating apps to lure gay men – a common tactic in Egypt – to arrest most of them, their lawyers say.

At a Cairo courthouse defendants stood in a cage, holding up newspapers and books to hide their faces to shield themselves from the stigma of homosexuality in Egyptian society.

WORST CRACKDOWN YET

Although homosexuality is not specifically outlawed in Egypt, it is a conservative society and discrimination is rife. Gay men are frequently arrested and typically charged with debauchery, immorality or blasphemy.

The last comparable crackdown on homosexuals in Egypt was in 2001, when police raided a floating disco called the Queen Boat. Fifty-two men were tried in the case, which drew widespread criticism from human rights groups and Western governments.

But the current wave has already surpassed that incident both in numbers and in state action, with defendants facing much faster trials than usual, said Dalia Abd Elhameed, EIPR’s gender and women’s rights officer.

No Western government has publicly condemned or commented on this crackdown, but Egypt is facing criticism from the United States, a major ally, over its human rights record.

Washington denied Egypt $95.7 million in aid and delayed a further $195 million because it failed to make progress on human rights and democracy, U.S. sources told Reuters in August.

Egypt has taken a leading role at the United Nations in opposing gay rights. It was one of 13 countries to vote last week against a U.N. resolution condemning the death penalty for having gay sex.

It led a dozen states in boycotting a session in January with the first U.N. expert on anti-gay violence and discrimination. It sent a letter last year on behalf of Muslim countries to the secretary-general that led to the exclusion of 22 gay and transgender rights groups from the U.N. General Assembly’s High Level Meeting on Ending Aids.

Gay men and rights activists say the LGBT community has been facing an aggressive crackdown since 2013, when President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as military chief ousted Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Mursi.

EIPR has documented 232 cases between October 2013 and March 2017 where people were arrested for allegedly being gay or transgender, Abd Elhameed said. Many of these cases went to court where the average sentence was around three years in jail, although in some cases it went up to 12.

Sisi has been criticized by the Brotherhood as being anti-Islam, and rights groups say tough treatment of the LGBT community is a way to counter that while diverting attention from the country’s tough economic conditions.

COMMUNITY IN FEAR

The crackdown has Egypt’s already underground LGBT community living in fear. Five gay men who all requested anonymity said they were avoiding gay-friendly spaces and deleting online dating profiles for fear of arrest.

Some are considering leaving the country.

But the recent developments underscore an existing reality for gay Egyptians: they are in constant physical danger.

“I don’t feel comfortable just being myself. We’re not talking about gay rights here, no one is calling for marriage equality, we face the possibility of jail and humiliation for merely existing,” said one 25-year-old gay man.

A 31-year-old gay man recounted how he was tied up and beaten at his Cairo flat last year by two men who threatened to kill him after meeting through the gay dating app Grindr.

They posed as police officers at some point, playing on a common fear for gay Egyptians, before stealing items from his flat. The man says he later felt going to the police was almost as traumatic as the incident itself.

Police records show officers create false dating profiles and set up dates only to arrest the men who show up. Sometimes they tell the men to bring condoms then use them as evidence, Abd Elhameed said.

“There are people in the Interior Ministry who take our money as taxpayers to engage in sex chatting with people then arrest them. It is as ridiculous as this; the evidence sheets include nude photos and erotic chat transcripts.”

(Reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein; editing by Giles Elgood)

___________________________________

A part of me understands it and a bigger part of me does not accept it as rational behavior to be hating anyone for trying to be who they are. To me targeting a vulnerable population like the gay population is the stuff schoolyard bullies do to make themselves feel better.  As an empathic person, I often find myself trying to understand why people think and act the way they do. Lately, it’s been trying to understand why it seems there is so much hate on the part of some white people, white men in particular, against anyone who is different than they are.

It occurs to me the conversation I had on the way home with my father-in-law after we went to the State Fair and the topic about the NFL kneeling issue came up. From my father-in-law and mother-in-law’s perspective, both of them upper middle class and white, the NFL is a business and no place for such protests. People watch football to escape such things. Well I came back to that with, “If you put yourself in the place of the these mostly black athletes who’s people are being treated the way they are….” The comeback from my father-in-law was swift. He said he felt that these guys were making millions of dollars, what do they know of oppression. I retorted that many of them come from the places the people they are kneeling for came from….it was there only way out. He didn’t agree with me, he said that as a white tax payer it’s not his doing that this is going on. I could tell the conversation was only going to escalate to an ugly place so I didn’t say anything else. I knew mentioning that his tax dollars are paying for some of the law enforcement who are shooting unarmed black men and paying for politicians who are constantly putting together legislation like banning immigrants, building walls and anti-tay bathroom bills wasn’t going to end well. In my estimation, something was lacking from my father-in-law in this conversation and it was empathy. In our short conversation, he just couldn’t and didn’t want to try and understand the people we were talking about.

My parents, also white, are much the same. I grew up with and am still surrounded by a great degree of intolerance, even hostility on the part of white people when it comes to anyone who is different…meaning not straight, not church-going, not white.

I love my family but have spent most of my life agreeing to disagree with them about issues such as this.

My dear Grandma Carol Becker and I – she was one of my Moms and is such a huge part of who I am today

So how did I end up the way I did? Being different, being bullied in school, being the “other.” When you go through hard times or are treated differently for being who you are, in my case as a child being overly sensitive and poor, you learn empathy almost as a self-defense mechanism!   I can remember walking home from grade school and having white male classmates hurling snow balls at me and calling me names.  I credit the greatest part of my empathic ability to having two people in my life, my Grandparents, especially my Grandma Becker, who fought for unity and equality for all people that “saved me” from ultimately becoming an angry, hostile, racist white bigot.

The emotion of fear can either motivate you to great empathy and love or it can also push you to hate, hostility and even violence.

A Soviet monument, “Arch of the Friendship of Nations”, painted with rainbow colours, in celebration of diversity ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest, is seen in central Kiev, Ukraine May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

A Soviet monument, “Arch of the Friendship of Nations”, painted with rainbow colours, in celebration of diversity ahead of the Eurovision Song Contest, is seen in central Kiev, Ukraine May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich – which remains incomplete because of it’s perceived pro-gay message: https://globalvoices.org/2017/05/12/diversity-interrupted-anti-gay-crusades-mar-ukraines-tolerant-facade/The incomplete monument serves as a conspicuous reminder of Ukraine’s unfinished battle against homophobia—a problem that has been accentuated by a recent spate of homophobic attacks.Diversity, Interrupted: Anti-Gay Crusades Mar Ukraine’s Tolerant Façade – “

So what is the definition of empathy?

em·pa·thy

ˈempəTHē/

noun

noun: empathy

the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

This article does a fantastic job of possibly explaining why empathy is lacking in many white males.  Fear seems to be at the core of anger….lack of empathy:

https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/angry-white-men-wcz/

The Good Men Project

Why Angry White Men are so Angry

December 20, 2015 by Jonathan Weaver 36 Comments

Instead of ignoring the anger, put it to a positive use.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Martin Luther King, Jr.”

There is something very wrong with (and for) many white men in America. They are so damned angry.

It is a phenomenon that is distinctly un-lovable, and yet love may be the most effective response.

As a member of that cohort, I get it: every rule we were taught growing up has changed, every promise that was made has been broken. How we interact with women, privilege and all that it manifested for our fathers, grandfathers and forefathers, and everything it meant in terms of being a man, a provider and protector…. Gone.

The problem is the role of virile alpha male provider/protector is hard-wired into our brain. It is our very definition of “manhood.” Faced with uncertainty and change, the response of circling up protection around what we “know” and responding aggressively against the unknown, is second nature.

The racism we see in America today is inseparable from the broken promise of a “birthright” and privilege, and the scaling back of hopes and expectations as wages decline.

Being AGAINST something focuses that energy like a laser, whereas being FOR something diffuses positive energy into an array of options. This is why right-wing talk radio works and attempts at liberal talk radio have failed miserably. Conservatives have bulleted talking points that are relentlessly AGAINST something. Even when they say they are “pro-life,” the focus is so narrow, that it comes down to being AGAINST abortion and nothing more. They’re AGAINST “Obamacare,” but press them for an alternative and you get a look of canine puzzlement. Progressives, meanwhile, want to include everybody and can’t seem to herd the cats. Applied to light, it is almost literally the difference between generating heat and illumination. Negativity feeds on its own energy.

The harder part is seeing what fuels the fire — fear — and responding with compassion and empathy.

The racism we see in America today is inseparable from the broken promise of a “birthright” and privilege, and the scaling back of hopes and expectations as wages decline. As in pre-WWII Germany, racism whispers in the ears of white men, “It’s not your fault you can’t provide for your family, that you’re not going to do as well as your father did; it’s THEIR fault!” and it points it’s bony finger at women who’ve gone to work (“because if you were man enough, she wouldn’t HAVE to work, taking a job away from a man.”), Or at immigrants. Or anyone else who is “different.”

It’s easy to feel bowled over by the laser-focused blast of anger and negativity, or feel the need to match it in kind. The harder part is seeing what fuels the fire — fear — and responding with compassion and empathy.

I get it. Angry white guy is exhausting and distinctly unsympathetic. There is much to hate about hatred, but that can only yield more of the same. If we can bring ourselves to recognize bigotry, gun culture, misogyny and white male rage as merely the outward symptoms of a very real fear, we can meet fear with empathy, compassion and even love.

◊♦◊

The solution is found in realizing that our fathers’ definition of what is to be a man doesn’t work anymore and we haven’t filled that void. Packing a sidearm for a Starbucks run and curtailing the rights of others doesn’t make one a man, it makes one a frightened bully.

Few things are as dangerous as a person who has what he perceives to be a righteous anger and nothing to lose.

A man is someone who calls fear by its name and leans into it anyway. He is not owned or diminished by it. He realizes that evolution favors not the strongest, but the most adaptable. He realizes that complicated times demand agility. He applies his solution-finding skills in new and innovative ways, as his forefathers did before him.

Angry white men are in their final throes because they refuse to find a way to adapt and evolve. Few things are as dangerous as a person who has what he perceives to be a righteous anger and nothing to lose. That’s why we’re seeing terrorism, fascism and a spike in suicide among working class white males. It’s a fine line between offing oneself and making it a political statement by taking others with you.

Hurt people hurt others. We can stop the hurt if we can re-frame a masculine response to a very uncertain time. It may be that the most effective tool against angry white guy is the one weapon he doesn’t have in his arsenal: empathy.

Finally, I wanted to share an excerpt from a very insightful article I found in my quest to try and understand where the hate is coming from towards gays and minorities.  The part I’ve shared, is very resonant to what I have observed going on with young people as I’ve grown up.  I highly recommend reading the entire article.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/assault/roots/franklin.html

Inside the Mind of People Who Hate Gays by Karen Franklin

(A forensic psychologist, Karen Franklin’s dual interests in psychology and the law brought her to question the roots of anti-gay hate crimes. Her interviews with perpetrators and with San Francisco Bay Area college students provide badly needed empirical data on the nature and extent of negative reactions to gays.)

Social Powerlessness

In contemporary American society, young people–from the poor to the upper middle classes–are systematically neglected and devalued. Lacking access to meaningful, challenging experiences, and sensing a declining potential for success in today’s increasingly service-oriented economy, they are often frustrated, discouraged, and socially alienated . Young White males in particular face the contradiction of being taught to expect hegemonic masculine power while being denied any real access to it. This contradiction fosters “power- seeking, adventurist recreational activities at the expense of others who also lack power within the social order,” such as women, racial minorities, and homosexuals. Trapped in a temporal vortex between devalued adolescence and adult male privilege, teenage males are given tacit permission to engage in a certain degree of rowdiness and aggression, under the auspices of “boys will be boys.” This is particularly true for young men from more privileged strata, such as the fraternity boys discussed earlier, for whom peer group dynamics and thrill seeking often lead to exaggerated displays of masculinity regarding which society largely looks the other way.

However, if violence becomes a pervasive way of life and endures into adulthood, the scale tilts from socially excused to maladaptive. Eric’s aggression, which led to 3 years behind bars and cost him an education, is illustrative of a violent lifestyle that falls outside the ideals of hegemonic masculinity. Describing how he drank and fought his way through adolescence, Eric said, “I used to beat people up, just to beat them up. When I ran out of people I didn’t like, l’d beat up people my brother didn’t like.” Of his assault on the businessman, he commented, “I got satisfaction out of kicking the guy.”

Eric’s masculinity has the exaggerated quality of masculine protest , in which violence is employed as an overcompensation for perceived weakness. Connell (1995) views this protest masculinity as a social, rather than individual, practice. In what he labels marginalized masculinity, economically and socially disempowered men like Eric “claim the potency that European culture attaches to masculinity” through a facade of power when their actual circumstances provide “no real resources for power”. In other words, males who incorporate the gender-norm expectations of hegemonic masculinity yet cannot realize these expectations due to their economic or racial status may act out in extreme manners, often with homosexuals as their targets.

This is by no means to imply that the majority of men from lower-class or racial minority backgrounds respond to poverty and oppression with hypermasculinity and violence, even in the most compelling of peer group situations. In most cases, a predisposition is engendered through childhood socialization involving not only poverty and social oppression but also violent victimization and exposure to violence . Eric, for example, experienced not only childhood violence but also parental abandonment, alcoholism, and death. And when Andrew was a child, his sadistic father routinely beat him with weapons while verbally deriding him. Andrew said it had taken him many years to learn to control the violent impulses engendered by this paternal abuse.

One of the hallmarks of the marginalized masculinity that may develop out of childhood poverty and violence is a preoccupation with a masculine front, or the protection of reputation and pride. Recall Eric’s explanation that his relative’s gay friend deserved punishment for disrespecting him. And although the businessmen whom Eric and his friends assaulted “didn’t even know it was coming,” among Eric’s peers the assault was far from surprising. For them, the men’s eye contact, laughing derision, and profanity were provocative challenges requiring physical response. Indeed, cognitive research has identified sets of norms, rules, and expectations that are shared within subcultures and lead to this type of predictable, even ritualized, social aggression.

Studying a group of economically and socially disenfranchised White youths similar to Eric’s peer group, Pinderhughes (1991) found perceived powerlessness and victimization to drive their ritualized social aggression against both homosexuals and African Americans, whom they perceived as “taking over”. In these situations, power and violence are in a sense opposites, for “where the one rules absolutely, the other is absent. Violence appears when power is in jeopardy” (Arendt, 1969, p. 56). Thus, whereas violence is often seen as an expression of power, in Eric’s case it can be alternatively conceptualized as a response to real or perceived powerlessness, wherein affluent, presumably gay men wearing expensive clothing symbolize undeserved “special rights” for minorities. …

 

 

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3 comments on “7 Oct 2017 Let’s Stay Together (dream and song)

  1. Thanks for writing this! To grow into a kind, loving, compassionate person, despite being bullied growing up and having people close to you with hostile beliefs, is a testament to your strength, the beauty of your spirit and the power of love! I can relate to this completely, my parents were very strict, religious and authoritarian. I grew up believing in things that I now believe to be complete lies now!

    If people don’t stay open and listen to their own hearts, make up their own minds, it is easy to slip into indoctrination, into believing falsehoods in your environment that continue the prejudice, racism and homophobia of the past.

    “Hurt people hurt others. We can stop the hurt if we can re-frame a masculine response to a very uncertain time. It may be that the most effective tool against angry white guy is the one weapon he doesn’t have in his arsenal: empathy.” It also shows how much real strength and real power comes from empathy, from being unafraid to open your heart to others and see them for what they are: fellow human beings. That takes real bravery, but the rewards are unfathomably better than hate.

    • I’m so glad we are sharing ideas back and forth MP! Getting some open dialogue about something that too many people just find it too hard to talk about without getting angry. I found this article before going to bed last night and thought of you and this post….there is hope!
      http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/the-%e2%80%98ironic%e2%80%99-friendship-that-convinced-a-former-neo-nazi-to-erase-his-swastika-tattoos/ar-AAt16ud
      The ‘ironic’ friendship that convinced a former neo-Nazi to erase his swastika tattoos
      Michael Kent’s dedication to a racist cause was spelled out in ink on his skin.
      The white supremacist symbol “1488” on the back of his neck.
      The swastikas drawn on his neck and chest.
      And the “WHITE PRIDE” banner stretching from shoulder to shoulder.
      Kent got the tattoos in prison, when he was still a neo-Nazi — earning each letter in “WHITE PRIDE” by, he said, “messing people up.”
      “I was a real piece of crap,” Kent told The Washington Post. “I regret a lot of stuff that I did. But I can’t take it back, and I’m glad because it made me who I am today.”
      Kent, 38, said he is now having his neo-Nazi tattoos covered up after making the decision to leave a life of hate behind him.
      That decision, he first told ABC News, grew slowly out of a surprising friendship with his probation officer — a black woman.
      “I told her if it wasn’t for her, I’d still be deep into this stuff,” he said.
      Tiffany Whittier, a probation officer in Pinal County, Ariz., was assigned to handle Kent’s case a decade ago.
      Kent, who had served time on drug and weapons charges, was released from prison in 2006; about a year later, his probation case was transferred to Whittier.
      Until then, he said, his probation officers had always visited him in pairs.
      Then Whittier got his file — which included pictures of his tattoos — and she visited him at his house alone.
      That earned her instant respect from Kent, who said he was emotionally moved by her boldness — by the fact that she didn’t fear him or what he represented.
      “She showed up, and I lost it,” he said.
      His house was cluttered with Nazi gear — including a decal reading “extreme hatred” over an image of Adolf Hitler, with a swastika and Nazi Germany’s iron cross. There were also German war flags.
      “She asked me why,” Kent said. “I told her, ‘This is me — take it or leave it.’ ”
      Whittier said it was not her job to judge Kent. She was simply there to make sure he did not violate his probation and wind up back in prison.
      Still, she did not stay silent.
      One Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Kent asked Whittier: “Why are you working on James Earl Ray Day?” She sternly told him his remarks were inappropriate.
      Another time, she half-jokingly told Kent that he should replace his Nazi symbols with smiley faces — and he did it. His nickname was Smiley, he explained, and it “made a lot of sense.” So he put posters of smiley faces where racism had once been on display.
      As time went on, Kent said he started leaning on Whittier for support.
      When his first child was born.
      When he and his girlfriend broke up — then got back together, eventually marrying.
      And then when they divorced.
      In the middle of it all, in 2010, Kent completed his probation.
      And, Whittier said, their professional relationship started to develop into an “ironic” friendship.
      As his life progressed, he said, so, too, did his views about race.
      “Michael did the work,” Whittier said. But, she said she is glad that she had “an impact on him.”
      Kent said it was the respect that Whittier showed that made him want to take down the Nazi symbols. He did so out of respect for her, he said.
      His neo-Nazi views, he said, evolved from racial encounters growing up in a mostly black neighborhood in Erie, Pa. He was bullied by black children, he said, and his mother was assaulted by a black man.
      He said a man broke into her window and climbed on top of her, but she drew a gun and started shooting at him.
      Kent was only 6 or 7 at the time, he said. He started to see black people in a negative way, and his hatred for them “started growing stronger and stronger and stronger” until he became a full-fledged “skinhead.”
      In the 1990s, he started to join demonstrations, including a neo-Nazi rally in Arizona to support the state’s controversial immigration bill, SB 1070.
      He said he “destroyed people’s lives” — both by recruiting others into his racist lifestyle, and by “putting boots to people” of other races.
      Over the years, Kent found himself in and out of prison.
      He said he doesn’t even remember why he went to jail the first time, when he was a young teen; but records show that in the early 2000s, he was put in prison for the first time for dangerous drug violations, theft, trafficking stolen property and promoting prison contraband — a charge he said stemmed from a stint in county jail in the late 1990s, when he brought drugs into the correctional system.
      He was later imprisoned on a weapons charge. Kent said he had attempted suicide with a gun — which, as a felon, he was not permitted to have in his possession.
      It was in prison, Kent said, that he got his Nazi tattoos; prisoners melted down chess pieces, hair grease and Styrofoam cups, mixed the soot with soap, and then injected it with sharp guitar strings.
      But eventually, Kent said, those symbols — and that lifestyle — were in his past, and he wanted to leave them there.
      He explained to Whittier that he had started to see people differently — learning not to judge, but to accept them.
      So Redemption Ink, a nonprofit whose website states that it gives free coverups to people with “marks of gangs, prejudice, and hate in the form of a tattoo,” connected Kent with a tattoo shop in Colorado, where he now lives.
      “We called him and said, ‘We’d like to be the next step in your journey,’” David Brown, co-owner of Fallen Heroes Tattoo in Colorado Springs, told The Post. “Michael was truly committed to this deal.”
      Kent has had some sessions and still has more to go — but, Brown said, he is on his way to closing “this chapter in his life.”
      Now, Kent said, he lives alone in Colorado, where he works 60 to 80 hours a week on a chicken farm — doing maintenance, managing heavy equipment and even making the feed for the chickens.
      He said it’s “hectic,” but he enjoys it.
      And Kent said he owes it all to a black probation officer who gave him a chance.
      “Because of her,” Kent said, “I am the man I am.”

  2. Pingback: 8 Oct 2017 The Living and the Dead (BBC) and positive story about how even the most extreme people are capable of change ( The ‘ironic’ friendship that convinced a former neo-Nazi to erase his swastika tattoos) | As I see it

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