Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Denver, Houston, St. Louis, We Have a Problem


When did police start looking like this ?     In April, 2011, at Virginia Commonwealth University ,police used teargas on students at a game.  There were injuries of students who were simply present, by teargas.  Our family no longer attends anything there.


                    It would be unwise and inappropriate for me to comment specifically on the shooting of the eighteen year old man in Ferguson, Missouri.  It's always sad when the police shoot and kill anyone.  The investigation is simply beginning, and believe me, this particular case with its racial overtones will be exhaustively  investigated with a fine tooth comb.  The release of the officer's name prior to the conclusion of such an investigation now makes it unsafe for he and his family to work or live anywhere near that town, whether he acted improperly or not involved in a supposed altercation with a storekeeper during a robbery, I will comment that the release of this officer's name, and the release of the video showing the man who was shot, seem premature to me.   There will also be a federal investigation, and one can bet that the results will be massaged to benefit the present regime and its agenda. Who knows, perhaps they intend to take the firearms of police as well as our own.

                         In a few prior posts I have made the observation that in the US, in my lifetime, we have gone from police officers who predominantly saw themselves as public servants who were primarily focused on the motto, "to protect and to serve", and by golly, this is what they did, to a more militarized unit, with the dress, equipment and more of the procedures of a SWAT team or special forces unit. Dress an officer like an officer and he will conduct himself as one.   Dress him as an elite force soldier and he may well act like one too.  Two counties over from me, our local tactical shop which opened to provide weaponry to be shipped to their son's unit in Iraq,and others like it,  now sells upgraded tactical equipment and weaponry to county police from far and wide.  Apparently, local police are gunning up, and getting better equipment than is provided in their home counties. I don't begrudge a law enforcement officer having the best equipment.  However, we have now crossed over from our being citizens of the United States who pay taxes in order to be protected, to being viewed too many times, as enemy combatants.    Each year, there are cases of people who suffocate when the police sit on their chests or backs during an arrest.  There are people who are shot to death when they didn't have any type of weapon.  There are diabetics who died in a drunk tank when the officers were not trained well enough to realize that they were in trouble with regard to their diabetes.  There are people who are tazered and who die from a resultant disturbance in heart rhythm (arrhythmia).  There have been people who died of internal hemorrhage after several police officers beat them during an arrest, when they were already cuffed and could not protect their abdomens during a beating.
                    I would also like to say that I have many friends who work in different levels of law enforcement.  Some of them are my closest friends, and I know that they would never use force or lethal force unless warranted. Many of them decellerate dangerous situations with great skill.   The two sheriff's deputies who were first on scene when my youngest son died,  took over CPR for me, and performed admirably..  My DEA friends are law abiding decent family people.  There is exceptional police talent out there. There are also excellent police investigators who work tirelessly to solve crimes. We do however, seem to have some problems.

                    Most police officers are intelligent, well trained, calm and reasoned individuals who are very clear on how to decellerate a dangerous situation.  Most of them know how to decellerate a situation using a firearm as a last resort.    However, we do have a number of issues which seem to be creating some problems.    First, the training of police is changing.   The days of their being taught that 90% of people are good and would even aid an officer in trouble, are over.   They are now being taught that ten percent of people are good. Ten percent are very bad, and everyone else could go either way given the circumstances.  Some of them are quite jumpy and a bit paranoid.   Thus far I have not been stopped and treated like a criminal, however several of my friends with concealed weapons permits viewable on an onboard computer check when an officer pulls you over, have been.    My daughter has been pulled over a couple of times and asked questions which seemed inappropriate.   "Where are you going ?" during rush hour seems a little strange when she is dressed for work.   It turned out that someone they were watching had her model of car.
In a county nearer Richmond, where I no longer visit, there is probably a ticket quota.

                    Since President Kennedy's day, a number of mentally ill people were released from mental hospitals, and became homeless. Then, most of the mental hospitals in the US were closed "in order to give opportunities in the community for the mentally ill".   The reality is that if the patient was never taught to rent a room, obtain a job, hold one, manage money, then many of them can't do it, and they remain homeless and often unable to continue whatever medications allowed them to live safely.    A percentage of homeless people are, mentally ill.   When they encounter police they may not understand or respond as quickly to orders as you or I might. They are often extremely tired, as they may not be sleeping regular hours.   Sometimes, when a police officer barks an order, we might question or ask for clarification.  We might want to explain ourselves.  It's very important that police officers have excellent discernment skills.   They need to be able to detect mentally ill, intellectually impaired,demented,  drug impaired or sick people with at least as much skill as I do. Nurses manage this population of patients on first contact all the time, and if we do it without a firearm or tazer, then they certainly can do it skillfully with these items.

             The problem is that not only does our military make gifts of military supplies to police stations when they are finished with them, but police training has changed.  The valued officer used to be the good communicator who inspired compliance by his communication.  He needed to appear human, and most importantly, he needed to see the public as neighbors, friends, cousins, or sons like his.   Now, the training of police is more likely to focus on physicality, basic training, militaristic assessment, detachment, and getting the qwelling of any potential threat completed in record time by taking control with a minimum of communication.
This is a dangerous turn for police training to have taken.  This change in police training  will result in the shootings and death of retarded adults, young adults with mental health issues which make self control difficult, diabetics with transient problems, and even those of us who carry concealed weapons completely legally.     A failure of the member of the public to be instantly compliant does not constitute a threat. It may require additional communication.  A deficit in communication with a police officer should not be a death sentence. Patrolmen also need to have a certain intellectual standard.  Most do, but sometimes, a few men and women get through who do not have the intellectual skills to do the job as safely for the public as they should.   Usually, these officers are weeded out, but there can be a death before this happens.  One young state police officer here in Virginia watched one driver after another drive an icy exit and crash.  It never occurred to her to close the exit. She had simply found a way to write a number of tickets that day, for one thing or another.

           We need to reexamine the manner in which we train police officers.  We need to reexamine police guidelines for when a SWAT team is called.  We need to reexamine police protocols for when and why a simple contact with the police accellerates to a lethal force conflict.  Our police need to know our rights under the Constitution better than anyone, because we are their brothers, sisters, children, wives, cousins, friends, and parents. We can't gloss over the rights of anyone and then expect them to apply to our own families !

           This is not really a racial issue.    African Americans are particularly sensitive to their relationship with police because historically, they have not always been treated well by them.  However, the deterioration of police training and the new value sets of what constitutes a great patrol officer now, threatens everyone.  This is a concern which needs to be addressed.  Without it, a coming police state will make gatherings for our children, schools, motor vehicle accidents, any gatherings of human beings much more dangerous for both police and citizens alike. This is a problem whether you are blonde, Asian, Finnish, Muslim, African American, Chinese, West African, German, or anything else !

          Lastly, police officers need not only to do the right thing, but they need to avoid the appearance or the perception of impropriety.    If a percentage of Americans cease to see them as "here to help" and they are seen as "predators who exist to write tickets" or to "harass the people in our neighborhoods" then we will avoid them, cease to communicate with them, and crimes will simply not be solved.  When the public no longer feels safe providing information to the police, then we have lost our country's ability to solve crime.  This will open the gates for vigilante justice and "justice by perception" which is exactly one of the things the US Constitution was written to avoid.   The police are already suspected of wrongdoing in some cities in our country.   We must examine why some groups of the public fear or suspect the police as quickly as possible.  Without this, we all lose.


My prior post on this and related subject:



Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Value of Diphenhydramine (in the US, Benadryl)

This is a generic packaging of adult dosed diphenhydramine.

           Other than aspirin, there are few drugs that are as valuable to us in preparedness,  as Diphenhydramine. This drug has existed as a prescription drug since 1943.    My very first encounter with Diphenhydramine came in the 1970s.  I developed a significant sunburn rather quickly on my back one day, and over a few days it developed into large blisters. The area was not only painful, but areas of the lesions itched intensely.  It was difficult to sleep and I was in great discomfort.   This became one of my few trips in my youth to a hospital emergency room. Given the severity of the burn, the physician ordered an oral antibiotic, some silver based cream which I wasn't able to easily apply to the worst regions, and a prescription for Diphenhydramine for the itching and discomfort.  In the 1970s, Diphenhydramine was a prescription drug.  According to drug references, Diphenhydramine became an over-the counter drug in 1985, but I had thought it became OTC in the early eighties.  (This article has  a listing of drugs which have made the transition in the US to OTC)    This can a powerful and effective drug when used within dosage guidelines, and has multiple uses.   In the United States, Canada, and South Africa, this drug is marketed most often under the name Benadryl.  Generic preparations, simply called diphenhydramine, are also available and are just as effective, and may well be less expensive. Physicians and nurses are also able to give injectable preparations of this drug, which is not available to you OTC at home.  The drug does burn on injection.
                My first use of this drug was for intense itching, and for this it is quite effective.  It leaves most people slightly drowsy, and extreme caution should be used before driving or operating machinery until you know exactly what Diphenhydramine will do to your awareness and sensorium.

                 It can be extremely useful following everything from a beesting, a spider bite, a contact dermatitis, or swelling.
                Those who have severe reactions,such as anaphylaxis.   These are rapid and severe allergic reactions which manifest in wheezing and can move on to swelling so severe as to cause respiratory arrest and death.  Patients who have had severe reactions which include severe swelling, asthma or wheezing in response to a sting or allergen should see their physician in order to get an an emergency epinephrine injection device.
                Those of us who are not known for anaphylaxis reactions, can probably take diphenhydramine within dosage guidelines in order to avoid the worst symptoms from beestings, poison ivy, other contact allergens, spider bites, etc.

             .   Another common use for Diphenhydramine is as an antihistamine. Many people can bypass not only their allergic symptoms by using this drug, but bypass the bulk of the drowsiness by taking it at bedtime. For a percentage of patients, one dose daily will go a long way to limiting nasal, sinus, eye, and skin allergies, especially if they are generally transient or seasonal.

                 In hospitals sometimes, we need to give someone a sleeping pill, and especially with an elderly person, some of the newer medications may make them drowsy and a little confused the following day.  Sometimes, a 12.5 mg liquid dose, or a 25 mg. dose is enough to induce sleep for that person, without risking the use of a more dangerous drug.  This can also be true of those of us living at home who don't have an only rarely used sleeping pill.

                In an absolute disaster or emergency when a person becomes hysterical, and one has nothing else. Once the person has been evacuated from the immediate danger and is not needed to hike or escape from a dangerous area, one dose of diphenhydramine can be used to calm a person in such an emergency.

               There are cautions I need to give you, which was a large part of my writing this post.
In the 1980s, a few pediatricians were advocating very tiny doses of liquid diphenhydramine, that they calculated for you, in order to reverse "wake sleep disturbance of infancy."  A healthy newborn who has his days and nights confused can be given a teeny syringe measured dose of diphenhydramine three nights in a row at bedtime, and the majority of them will then sleep through the night, and be awake (as much as newborns generally are) during the day.  The practice worked well, but is now frowned upon as a percentage of parents did not adhere to the strict dosage guidelines provided by the pediatrician, and overdose injuries did occur.   This practice should not be done without dosage oversight by your pediatrician and a good reason for doing so.
             Secondly, a woman in Virginia, who apparently really needed her young son to sleep gave him liquid diphenhydramine which exceeded dosage guidelines, and accidentally killed him.  She is serving a prison sentence now
            Diphenhydramine is an effective drug for a multitude of emergency uses, but as anything with powerful positive effects, inattention to dose details, sloppiness, the repetition of doses without physician or pharmacist guidelines can cause complications, or death.  It should therefore be administered with extreme care and with great attention paid to dose guidelines.  I also recommend that the liquid drug be used with children, and the dose drawn up from the bottle using a (needleless) oral syringe, available from your pharmacy.    The drug is also a bit caustic and so it should be diluted a little using juice, for children.

This is an example of the liquid preparation which can be used for children or elderly adults.

           As a family interested in preparedness, you should have a suitable diphenhydramine preparation available for each age range within your family.  Young children should have diphenhydramine liquid and an oral syringe in a kit bagged together for allergic emergencies. Children aged 10-12 may use diphenhydramine chewable tablets. Each tablet is usually 12.5 mg.  Adults can use capsules or tablets which are 25 mg. per tab.  A small adult may take one tablet every four to six hours.  Larger adults may take two 25 mg. tablets every four to six hours.  If the drug piles up and the patient is excessively drowsy, then decrease the dose the next time the drug is due.  Follow guidelines carefully.

           This drug may also be used for other reasons.  It can be used in mentally ill patients.  It is sometimes used to decrease vomiting.  (Although should not be used in pregnant women without a specific order from her physician.)  It also has some benefit for motion sickness. It has been used to potentiate the effects of narcotics.  (It can lengthen the time a patient benefits from narcotic pain relief in the hospital setting, etc.)

             This drug has some sweeping potential positive benefits and strong effects against some serious problems.  However, I have always been a little surprised that it was made over-the-counter in the US.  This is a powerful but not an innocuous drug.   In Zambia for example, this is a controlled drug and one should not bring this drug into the country.   Potential side effects can include dizziness, excessive drowsiness, disruption in heart rhythm (aggravation of undiagnosed long qt syndrome, which can lead to sudden death),  tremors, seizures, difficulty in establishing a urinary stream, stomach pain, and sometimes there are people who become euphoric or hyperactive on it. If you have lost a relative to a sudden arrhythmic death (SADS) or a child to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) then I would use this drug, particularly in babies or children, only with extreme caution, and when clearly needed.

            I am not saying that we should not use this drug.  I am saying that it should be available in your home for emergency indications in its various dosages for age and weight, and that it can be used when extreme attention is paid to dosage guidelines.  It should be locked up or well secured in order to avoid accidental poisoning of children or adults with dementia.

For most people, particularly when dosing guidelines are strictly followed, the drug is quite safe and its use may be safer than allowing an evolving or chronic allergic reaction to continue unbridled.

            Delaware Pediatrics has provided an excellent page on weight and dosage guidelines for children.

Dosage chart including pediatric doses  

Dosage guidelines, particularly for pediatrics patients

Other great references on Diphenhydramine:


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Foreign News Sources Announce the Death of a Priest in Spain from Ebola

Reverend Miguel Pajares.   May he rest in peace.

      Early this morning,  while I was listening to Korean News, they announced that a 75 year old priest had died in a hospital in Madrid.  He had tested positive for Ebola virus.  Rev. Miguel Pajares had been in Liberia until he was evacuated home to Spain.  When he became ill, he was housed in a specialized isolation unit of King Carlos III Hospital in Madrid.   Although it had been planned to administer Z-Mapp, the experimental treatment for Ebola, the hospital has not yet said whether the reverend received it before his death or not.  Reverend Pajares died early this morning of respiratory failure, the result of Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever.  His remains have been cremated as a strategy in order to contain the virus.
               We send condolences to the family of Reverend Pajares.



Thoughts on the Loss of Robin Williams

Robin Williams once said,  "You are only given a little spark of madness. You Mustn't lose it".

        I have never met Robin Williams.  I was a child when he became so wildly successful in the television series, Mork and Mindy.   So many fine films followed.   He wasn't just a stand-up comedian with energy to burn. He was a brilliant comedic actor with fine timing, and a fine dramatic actor who understood poignancy and vulnerability in his acting.

                    I have no doubt that in life Robin Williams was a strange bird.  His mental quickness alone would have challenged most anyone, and he was highly intelligent.  He also had a lovely way of making fun of himself which made the rest of us feel that our own flaws might make us funny and perhaps special also.  Do you recall his making fun of himself for excessive chest hairiness ?   His routine was hysterical.

                    Even listening to interviews and Tonight Show appearances, one could get the idea that Robin Williams might well be classically bipolar.    When he was "on", he was "on".   I remember Katie Couric, in one interview, simply unable to process all he said in such rapid succession.  I can remember thinking after one such performance that highs that high would probably lead to lows pretty low, and hoping that he would be getting some treatment.     Sometimes, he would be interviewed and he could come across as a sad clown in need of a hug.

                    Robin Williams knew multiple marriages, fatherhood, great friendships, wealth, fine homes including a Napa Valley vineyard, and great success and fame in something he loved to do.  He received recognition for his work from far and wide.   And yet, yesterday, he is said to have taken his own life at only 63.

                   He was a very charitable soul.  Although comments to the contrary do exist, he did pay portions of medical bills to the University of Virginia when close friend Chris Reeve was paralyzed in the mid-nineteen nineties. 

                   He left a legacy of love and entertainment to many, and will be remembered fondly.

He did leave something though, he did not intend.   If someone classically bipolar with success, money, children, a loving spouse, and great recognition in his chosen profession cannot endure the depressions which come with bipolar disorder, and chooses to take his own life, then other people ravaged by disorders within the bipolar disorder continuum may think the same.

               Please, suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.   Life can be pretty difficult, at intervals, for most everyone.  When we end our lives, or even play at ending our lives, we ensure that our lives on Earth will never get better again.  We will never see the great highs and happiness again, if we end our earthly existences while we still dwell on the bottom.

             If you, or someone you love is scraping the bottom of life right now, please get help.     There are better treatments for bipolar disorder than there have been before.   Most people can find a middle ground with the illness which allows their independent thought and creativity to continue to emerge, without allowing the unbridled  crashes which episodically occur with this disorder.

               Robin Williams was said to have been downsizing before his passing.    Keep a close eye on your bipolar loved ones when they start shedding things they love, or begin giving them away.  

               Suicide adversely impacts families now, but also for a couple of generations afterward.   The negative lessons of someone who chose to leave you, while sane or otherwise, hangs over families and interferes with their ability to raise their own families, often for as long as another lifetime.

                There are many ways to survive, and to ensure that your family does, as well.    Suicide is not one of these.    I once knew someone who thought that his family was better off without him.    They weren't. but of course, he is not here to see that now.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

What Is Known About Selenium and Ebola ?


Vets often give bovine selenium injections to alpacas.

            As early as 1995, there was a study which postulated that outbreaks and virulence of the then Zaire strain of Ebola virus depended heavily on the presence of selenium deficiency. The theory exists that the deficiency state of selenium allows the virus to get a foothold and to replicate more readily.

             This theory is particularly interesting because there are very low levels of selenium in the soil in all of the places in which Ebola outbreaks have occurred.  When selenium soil levels are low, then the food people harvest and eat from their region, are also low in selenium, leaving people more vulnerable to HIV-AIDS, herpetiform viruses, Coxsackie-B virus (which can cause both Type I diabetes, and a particular type of heart enlargement),  a broad range of other viral illnesses, and also the pathogenic in humans varieties of Ebola virus.

         It is broadly recognized by veterinarians that keeping a good deal of farm animals healthy depends on the occasional selenium injection, but we hear a good deal less about selenium oral supplementation in human beings.

           Selenium is simply a trace mineral which can be bought in the US in most pharmacies and online for about five to ten dollars for a hundred tablets with the 200 mcg. dosage.   Since it causes stomach upset in a few, you should take it after a meal.  If you don't have any, then egg yolks are a good source of selenium. People who eat whole eggs regularly are less likely to be selenium deficient.

            Other available articles have furthur postulated that a combination of supplemental selenium and vitamin C provide the best overall circumstance in addition to careful hygiene generally, in avoiding the spread of Ebola virus and other viral agents.

            This is no panacea, but if selenium deficiency is a chink in the armor that allows this disease to spread more easily, then it is a safe supplement for most people, along with vitamin C.

        Selenium in the amount of 200mcg. daily would probably be a safe supplement for most people.  I take Vitamin C in the amount of 1000 mg. daily.  (Yes, selenium comes in micrograms and Vitamin C is dispensed in milligrams.)  You should run past your doctor any new supplements you wish to take, as all supplements have the ability to interact with medications you are taking and do sometimes have a negative effect with regard to another disease process you might already be enduring.

           Still, this is an important issue that on the eve of a potential US outbreak, people should know about.


From the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine

From Dr. Passwater

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Peculiar Happenings at an Apparently Unoccupied Prison Facility

            I saw this originally on The Daily Smug.     Take a look.  What do you think ?
Why would apparently plentiful correctional officers to an empty prison be so concerned, and why would they think they could behave this way without repercussions ?    What exactly is this former correctional facility being retained and staffed for ?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Introducing "The Journal: Cracked Earth"


               I have been lucky enough to have known Deborah for years.   I consider her a good friend and an absolute expert in all aspects of family preparedness and varietal regional disaster management.
   The Journal did not begin as a novel but as a teaching tool in a group we attend in order to acquire mental preparedness and as an aid to excellent preparedness planning.  The result of the exercise in Deborah's hands, was not just a superb teaching tool, but an entertaining book as well. 
              In this book, Deborah unfolds the story of a rural region's challenges following a significant earthquake.  There are many lessons to be learned as she takes us through the survival of her own family and loved ones.

               The Journal: Cracked Earth represents the beginning of a fictional series, which should not be missed.

To buy for Kindle

To buy via Ebooks

To buy as Paperback book