The Difference Between Sympathy and Facts

02/05/2014

Yesterday I wrote down my views on drugs and addiction to which I have received mixed feedback, some people agree with my views whilst some misunderstood them. I don’t have to defend what I say to anybody but today I will explain the reasoning behind my views. Firstly I will reiterate something I have said in the past, the overall aim of this blog is to share my thought provoking opinions in order to raise awareness towards the things happening in the world that receive very little attention. Will my thoughts please everyone? No. Do I claim that my thoughts and opinions are always right? No. And without sounding like an arrogant dick I don’t write for popularity and I don’t write to please anybody. I write about whatever I feel is an important issue at that particular moment in time and I write whatever comes to my head because this is my platform to share MY thoughts. I am just a man sharing his thoughts and I don’t pretend to be anything other than that.

The case of Peaches Geldof took a turn for me yesterday from the obsession of celebrities to the problem of drugs and addiction. I said how the whole incident has brought to the surface a pet hate of mine, that Peaches was a victim of the disease of addiction. I said  I saw one tweet that said addiction is not a lifestyle choice but a cruel disease. Then I said in my eyes this is completely incorrect, substance addiction comes as a result of your lifestyle CHOICES. I said I understand that addiction is a huge problem but like I saw somebody else say, you don’t get addicted to heroin out of the blue. Then I shared this passage from a previous post of mine:

“In recent weeks I have written about accountability with the focus being directed mainly at the police and other government institutions. Today I’m going to be shining the light on us and how in our cynical society it is becoming all too easy to just blame other people for things which we should be taking some personal responsibility for. This line of thought started for me this week when I read an article in The Guardian by Russell Brand which says Phillip Seymour Hoffman is another victim of extremely stupid drug laws. Wrong. Phillip Seymour Hoffman was the victim of his own choices and actions.

It doesn’t matter what laws are in force regarding any aspect of life the final consequence is always going to be as a result of the choices you make and the action you take. In the case of Mr Hoffman if you choose to be a drug user then prepare for the possibility you will self destruct. Russell’s argument in this case is that we don’t treat drug users correctly. I’m sure if Mr Hoffman wanted it all the help in the world would have been available to him. But we are going off topic, I’m not going to enter that debate of how to treat drug addicts today because it’s a whole different can of worms which I’m not really qualified to comment on. If you have read any of my previous articles or listened to any of my radio shows you will know I am as informed as anyone on the whole “War on Drugs” and the prison for profit business. I know people who have died from drug abuse, I’ve witnessed drug abuse with my own eyes but what I’m talking about today is personal responsibility.

I have very little sympathy for Phillip Seymour Hoffman, if it wasn’t for the fact he has left behind fatherless children I would have none at all. This may sound a little harsh but Mr Hoffman was successful at what he did, he had the world in the palm of his hand to do anything he wanted and he CHOSE heroin which he would have known leads to addiction. It was this choice that has led to his early demise and in the wise words from the film A Bronx Tale there is nothing more tragic in life than wasted talent.

There is a huge drug problem in this country and across the world, extending beyond illegal drugs to include prescription drugs. But with drugs it is all about personal choice, you would have to grow up under a rock to not know what lies at the end of the substance abuse road. Most people take drugs as a release, some people take them to purposely self destruct because their lives have just become so unbearable due to one personal tragedy to the next. But the bottom line always remains the same, people become addicted to drugs because they choose to take them. When I want release I will read a good book because I know the outcome of this activity will be constructive and not destructive. You don’t need laws to deal with book addictions do you, who was the last person to die because of stupid anti-book laws?”

A few people say these views are insensitive, they are not insensitive they are the truth. My views stem from a universal outlook and not the lower level of social groupthink. It is a FACT that people are responsible for their actions, therefore if they take substances that is known to destroy lives then they have brought upon themselves everything that comes their way. But before we continue let’s clear one thing up, I never commented on addiction itself because I am not qualified to do so. I talked about the choices and decisions that come before addiction. The choices are very simple with drugs, do them or don’t do them, say yes or say no. Yesterday I quoted Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five and today I am going to do it again:

“A million magic crystals, painted pure and white, a multi-million dollars almost overnight. Twice as sweet as sugar, twice as bitter as salt and if you get hooked baby it’s nobody else’s fault, so don’t do it!”

Yesterday I had quite a lengthy debate with a person who questioned my stance on this topic because it wasn’t sympathetic enough, that I over simplified the issue of choices. They countered that some people aren’t always able to make the “right” choices due to mental health issues, trauma, poverty, culture and lack of opportunities. They seemed to think that I don’t understand how circumstances dictate what choices people have, I understand that just as good as anybody else. I’m fully aware that bad environments often result in bad choices. But when somebody is offered a pill, a spliff, a line or a needle it is still down to that person to say yes or no, unless somebody has a gun to their head and is forcing them to take it.

Everybody has the opportunity to make the right choice, whether they do or don’t is up to that person.  Granted it is harder for some but it is never impossible. If I have over simplified the issue then in my eyes that is a good thing because when you break life down to its core elements it is actually very simple, it is ourselves that make life complicated. It is just as easy for somebody to get themselves to the library and better themselves than it is for them to shoot up and go down the path of oblivion. It is down to each individual to be a product of their environment or to be all they can be, it is very rare that a person comes from complete destitution and a place of absolutely no hope, people always have options regardless of circumstances.

In a futile attempt to try and belittle my side of the argument the person I was debating with said “It’s not that easy. It might be for you, but just because it was to you doesn’t mean it is the same for everyone.” This only validates my point that some laws are universal, people’s emotions or state of mind do not affect how they work. If you throw something up in the air, it is going to come back down because of the law of gravity. If you touch a fire you will get burnt because of the law of heat. It has been that easy for me to stay clear of drugs because I obey the universal law of cause and effect. If you read books you will become smart, if you take heroin you will become a junkie. I chose the path I took in life and, other than alcohol at the weekend, I have avoided drugs at all costs. Whilst I was out with my friends on the weekends they were spending their money on cocaine and my money was being saved for a trip around Europe that saw me visit Barcelona, Ibiza, Madrid, Bilbao, Lyon, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich, Milan, Verona, Venice, Naples, Cassino, Rome, Genoa and Turin as well as countless other towns and villages.

The argument of circumstances doesn’t work with me because I am no fortunate son born into privilege, I am from a council estate raised by a single mother. The place I am from is surrounded by drugs and the opportunities are none. Here is a headline from an incident that happened in a house on the street next to mine around ten years ago, this is the environment my views on life were formed: “Pair deny killing man found cut up” (http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/pair-deny-killing-man-found-1194209).

We all make mistakes, growing up I was a bit of a nuisance myself at times.  When I was 16 and still at school I was arrested for being drunk and disorderly after a Friday night of drinking on the streets with my friends. The mistake was made but I didn’t think I am going to become a helpless alcoholic who is always in trouble with the police, I thought last night I made a huge mistake and fucked up big time. My aim was to use my mistake as a lesson to learn from and to make sure it never happened again, which it didn’t.

If there is one thing the people of this country are addicted to then it is the victim mentality and the people who don’t like hearing this the most are the people who like to portray themselves as victims. If people want to argue against people being responsible for their actions then who do we blame? God? The Government? The weather? The alignment of the planets?

Sure the Government creates social conditions that can be very hard to overcome, especially if you are born at the bottom of the pile like I was. But you don’t sit back and wallow in your misery or self destruct at the first available opportunity, you fight twice as hard as everybody else to get to where you want to be in life. There is a distinct lack of personal responsibility in this country and when people aren’t responsible for their actions then chaos ensues. People know drugs destroy lives, we are taught about drugs at school, we see how drugs are portrayed on TV, in the centre of our cities we walk past homeless people with limbs missing from drug abuse, the damage that drugs do is everywhere to see and the simple fact of the matter is that people do them anyway. People don’t like me saying these things because it is a sign of strength which is the complete opposite of the weak victim mentality.

That is not to say I don’t think people who have made mistakes and are suffering from drug dependency should be castrated for their mistakes and be hung out to dry. Like I have admitted the treatment of drug addicts is something beyond my knowledge. If people are struggling and their life is blighted by addiction they should get all the help they can to become healthy again. The funny thing about the people who have disagreed with my outlook on drug abuse and say I am wrong is that they seem to fail to recognise the fact that I am a healthy and fully functioning productive member of society who is not dependent on any substances and takes zero medication. An old saying of the proof is in the pudding comes to mind.

This article is authored by Lee Cooper

Follow me on Twitter: @MCR_WAKE_UP

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Peaches Geldof and The Disappearance of Faux Grief

01/05/2014

Well, well, well what a difference an inquest and the word Heroin makes. The legion of broken hearted “fans” have soon changed their tune from just a few weeks ago when Peaches sadly passed away. The bleeding hearts have suddenly dried up and “Peaches gets no sympathy from me” is now the sentiment of the moment. She has gone from “best mother in the world” to a junkie who got high whilst being solely in charge of her two young children. So I was right in saying the grief the nation showed was faux, I was right because true grief comes from love and the loss of that love when someone you care for deeply leaves you. And the magic about love is that if you truly love someone then you do so no matter what mistakes they make.

The fact that Peaches died of a heroin overdose will have no impact on those truly grieving her loss. I noticed there was no national outpouring of grief for the teacher, wife and mother who was murdered in her classroom this week, a woman who clearly cherished life and spent 40 years teaching others. But of course her mother didn’t die of an overdose and we didn’t “know” her so it was only natural we did not mourn her like we do with “celebrities”.

Of course the media are loving it, they can continue the circus with the added bonus of “she died like her mum”. This whole incident has brought to the surface a little pet hate of mine, the idea that Peaches was a victim of the disease of addiction. I saw one tweet that said Addiction is not a lifestyle choice but a cruel disease. In my eyes this is completely incorrect, substance addiction comes as a result of your lifestyle CHOICE. Now don’t get me wrong here I understand that addiction is a huge problem but like I saw somebody say today, you don’t get addicted to heroin out of the blue. Earlier in the year I wrote this regarding my views on addiction:

“In recent weeks I have written about accountability with the focus being directed mainly at the police and other government institutions. Today I’m going to be shining the light on us and how in our cynical society it is becoming all too easy to just blame other people for things which we should be taking some personal responsibility for. This line of thought started for me this week when I read an article in The Guardian by Russell Brand which says Phillip Seymour Hoffman is another victim of extremely stupid drug laws. Wrong. Phillip Seymour Hoffman was the victim of his own choices and actions.

It doesn’t matter what laws are in force regarding any aspect of life the final consequence is always going to be as a result of the choices you make and the action you take. In the case of Mr Hoffman if you choose to be a drug user then prepare for the possibility you will self destruct. Russell’s argument in this case is that we don’t treat drug users correctly. I’m sure if Mr Hoffman wanted it all the help in the world would have been available to him. But we are going off topic, I’m not going to enter that debate of how to treat drug addicts today because it’s a whole different can of worms which I’m not really qualified to comment on. If you have read any of my previous articles or listened to any of my radio shows you will know I am as informed as anyone on the whole “War on Drugs” and the prison for profit business. I know people who have died from drug abuse, I’ve witnessed drug abuse with my own eyes but what I’m talking about today is personal responsibility.

I have very little sympathy for Phillip Seymour Hoffman, if it wasn’t for the fact he has left behind fatherless children I would have none at all. This may sound a little harsh but Mr Hoffman was successful at what he did, he had the world in the palm of his hand to do anything he wanted and he CHOSE heroin which he would have known leads to addiction. It was this choice that has led to his early demise and in the wise words from the film A Bronx Tale there is nothing more tragic in life than wasted talent.

There is a huge drug problem in this country and across the world, extending beyond illegal drugs to include prescription drugs. But with drugs it is all about personal choice, you would have to grow up under a rock to not know what lies at the end of the substance abuse road. Most people take drugs as a release, some people take them to purposely self destruct because their lives have just become so unbearable due to one personal tragedy to the next. But the bottom line always remains the same, people become addicted to drugs because they choose to take them. When I want release I will read a good book because I know the outcome of this activity will be constructive and not destructive. You don’t need laws to deal with book addictions do you, who was the last person to die because of stupid anti-book laws?”

Drugs are indeed a huge problem throughout the world, is was reported today on RT that Heroin production has hit record levels in Afghanistan. There is also a huge difference in how we treat drugs depending on social status, if Peaches Geldof was poor and uneducated then the calls of her being a “smack head” would be endless. Could you imagine if a Jeremy Kyle guest overdosed on Heroin whilst looking after her kids, the nation would be outraged. It was also announced today that Toronto Mayor has admitted he has a drug problem and will step down from his role as Mayor to seek help. If he was a poor person with no connections he would be sent to jail, it reminded me of the lyrics to the song Whitelines by Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five:

“A street kid gets arrested, gonna do some time, he got out three years from now just to commit more crime. A businessman is caught with 24 kilos, he’s out on bail and out of jail and that’s the way it goes.”

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 I guess the message of today’s blog is we need to stop being fickle and tackle these problems head on until they are problems no more. Just remember that everything in this world is all about money. Wars, Drugs, Prisoners, Newspapers that need a story to sell copies, these are all things with vested interests in the misery that is so predominant throughout our world. Instead of lapping up the constant bad news have a think about what you can do to help make a change for the better.

This article is authored by Lee Cooper

Follow me on Twitter: @MCR_WAKE_UP

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Dark Days

24/02/2014

To continue the theme from Saturday’s post of reviewing media today’s post is going to be about the documentary Dark Days which I watched last night. The story behind how the documentary came into existence is itself incredible, the film was made by a man called Marc Singer who as a lifestyle choice decided to spend some time with a community of homeless people living underground in the Freedom Tunnel which is part of the New York subway system. Despite having no previous experience or expertise he decided to make a documentary to help the homeless people financially after a conversation he had with some of  them one day, the film’s crew consisted of the homeless people themselves. They rigged up makeshift lighting and learned to use a 16mm camera with black-and-white Kodak film. The documentary was filmed between 1994 and 1997 but was not released until the year 2000 due to financial difficulties, Marc refused to sell the documentary because he wanted full creative control over the final product.

The documentary follows a few of the residents of a small community of around 100 people that lived in the tunnels in makeshift huts they built themselves. Some people had lived down there for over five years in some cases. Their little homes had access to electricity from the mains they had tapped into and some of them even had TV sets. In one scene one of the homeless people is telling the camera how he isn’t homeless to which his fellow homeless friend corrects him and says you’re not helpless but you are homeless and tells him that he needs to deal with that fact. The tunnels are dark apart from the lighting for the camera and are swarming with rats.

What I found remarkable about this documentary is that most of the people featured in the documentary are still sane, they have not completely lost their minds apart from one or two, there is one guy called Ronnie who describes to the camera how his shopping trolley full of junk is a van full of money, he has clearly lost his grip on reality. But as you would have no doubt guessed, to end up living in a train tunnel there is drug abuse involved, with the most common drug mentioned being crack cocaine.

The documentary shows two people named Clarence and Dee smoking crack. One of the people involved in the documentary tells us how he lost his wife and his family after he was in jail for 10 years during which time his daughter got raped. A little further on in the documentary Dee tells us how her two young children died in a house fire, she starts to cry as she talks about her failings as a mother and confesses she misses being a mother terribly, it then cuts to her smoking crack. I wrote last week how some people take drugs to purposely self destruct because their lives have just become so unbearable due to one personal tragedy to the next and I believe Dee is a good example of this, it is very difficult to watch because no matter how low she has fallen in life she clearly still has human emotions and a grief that she cannot escape.

To survive the people from the tunnel go rummaging through rubbish to find things to sell for a little bit of money or to find food to eat out of bins. It is quite sad to see this happening yet at the same time I kind of admired them because they still had the will to survive and carry on in life and they found ways to do so. One homeless man explains how he only has himself to blame for the situation he finds himself as a culmination of his actions, to me the life these people are living is what happens when you go over the edge that is mentioned in The Message by Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five. It is tragic.

Whilst the documentary was being filmed the people of the tunnel were evicted by Amtrak, the rail operator and tunnel owner. When they are evicted the general consensus among the tunnel community is that they have lost their freedom, despite them living in such terrible conditions they see themselves as free because they are not part of the “system”, this is the sentiment despite the fact they are re-housed into real accommodation. At the end of the documentary one of the former homeless people called Tito, the one person in the documentary whose mind seems to be the most intact, says the following:

“Now it feels like I never went down there, that was the saddest part of my journey through life, they were dark days, real dark. But during the time it didn’t bother me at all but once I sit back and think about it I ask myself damn how could I have done that? Let myself go like that. You don’t realise until you get out of it and then you look back every now and then and you think damn I used to do that? That used to be me? Yeah it used to be me, it definitely used to be me.”

I found that little bit of speech to be sad because it just shows that all anybody ever needs is a little help, a shoulder to lean on when times get rough because when you don’t have that the most terrible things can happen. Things that could be prevented. I feel that’s where we’re at in life, we’re at a point where we let governments and corporations run out of control and cause situations and problems that are so easily preventable. In a way our society is going through its own dark days.

This article is authored by Lee Cooper

Follow me on Twitter: @MCR_WAKE_UP

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“It’s Not My Fault”-Personal Responsibility

13/02/2014

In recent weeks I have written about accountability with the focus being directed mainly at the police and other government institutions. Today I’m going to be shining the light on us and how in our cynical society it is becoming all too easy to just blame other people for things which we should be taking some personal responsibility for. This line of thought started for me this week when I read an article in The Guardian by Russell Brand which says Phillip Seymour Hoffman is another victim of extremely stupid drug laws. Wrong. Phillip Seymour Hoffman was the victim of his own choices and actions.

It doesn’t matter what laws are in force regarding any aspect of life the final consequence is always going to be as a result of the choices you make and the action you take. In the case of Mr Hoffman if you choose to be a drug user then prepare for the possibility you will self destruct. Russell’s argument in this case is that we don’t treat drug users correctly. I’m sure if Mr Hoffman wanted it all the help in the world would have been available to him. But we are going off topic, I’m not going to enter that debate of how to treat drug addicts today because it’s a whole different can of worms which I’m not really qualified to comment on. If you have read any of my previous articles or listened to any of my radio shows you will know I am as informed as anyone on the whole “War on Drugs” and the prison for profit business. I know people who have died from drug abuse, I’ve witnessed drug abuse with my own eyes but what I’m talking about today is personal responsibility.

I have very little sympathy for Phillip Seymour Hoffman, if it wasn’t for the fact he has left behind fatherless children I would have none at all. This may sound a little harsh but Mr Hoffman was successful at what he did, he had the world in the palm of his hand to do anything he wanted and he CHOSE heroin which he would have known leads to addiction. It was this choice that has led to his early demise and in the wise words from the film A Bronx Tale there is nothing more tragic in life than wasted talent.

There is a huge drug problem in this country and across the world, extending beyond illegal drugs to include prescription drugs. But with drugs it is all about personal choice, you would have to grow up under a rock to not know what lies at the end of the substance abuse road. Most people take drugs as a release, some people take them to purposely self destruct because their lives have just become so unbearable due to one personal tragedy to the next. But the bottom line always remains the same, people become addicted to drugs because they choose to take them. When I want release I will read a good book because I know the outcome of this activity will be constructive and not destructive. You don’t need laws to deal with book addictions do you, who was the last person to die because of stupid anti-book laws?

Today’s piece is only brief, the thought for today is that no matter how oppressed you may be the way you deal with this is always under your control, the choices you make are ultimately your own. I’m not saying there aren’t a lot of things trying to influence our choices and decisions, life is hard and we all know the odds are deliberately stacked against us. The pitfalls of drugs and addiction are placed there on purpose, we are supposed to fall down them because an addict is a useless member of society, they are one less person to worry about because they are under firm control.

If you want to rise up against oppression then you need to rise up and fight back. This can only be achieved through smart and informed choices. Think. Research. Observe. Listen. Watch. Look for the pitfalls you are supposed to fall down and avoid them, how can people rise up when they are constantly falling down?

This article is authored by Lee Cooper

Follow me on Twitter: @MCR_WAKE_UP

Follow me on YouTube: www.youtube.com/wakeuppromotions