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Most important news first - Tactical Ninja

Sep. 2nd, 2014

09:05 am - Most important news first

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This morning I woke up to the "I'm still alive" email from Dr Wheel. Witness a great deal of bed-squeeing.

He lands in Wellington at 8am on Friday morning, which is exactly the same time I start work. This means I'll be fidgeting in my seat for a whole day, knowing he's *just over there* and that soon we will actually be in the same spatio-temporal zone.

Those of you who know Dr Wheel will understand my level of excitement.

This is actually taking me back to the time before we got together, which was the last time he went to Burning Man. He'd only recently moved to Wellington, after a couple of years of persuasion from all of us, and then he went to the US for several months. The day he got back was a Friday, and we were all at Fidels as is the habit of my friends, and I saw him coming up the street and was all *OMG GLOMP* because I was so happy to see him. Little did I know that 2 months later .. and then 6 years later...

.. it's nice to know I still get just as excited about seeing him. So I might be a bit incoherent for the next few days.

In other news, after 2 weeks of being very 'meh' about the whole doctor thing, I have an appointment today to 'discuss my options'. Which is shorthand for 'we've run out of ideas for the usual stuff'. Which is shorthand for 'prepare for the long haul'. ;-/ Hence my lack of enthusiasm for doing anything about it lately. But it's not like it's stopped hurting, so back we go again.

Yesterday, there was a shooting in Ashburton, in which a man walked into a WINZ (social welfare services) office and killed 2 people, badly injuring another. In New Zealand, this is national news because it is a rare occurrence. A suspect was apprehended last night - a homeless man who had been living in a local park. It has the makings of something that could end up being quite political (we have an election* in less than three weeks), but luckily apart from one ex-politician from the radical fringe, they've all managed to keep their capitalising to themselves. It's not like it hasn't crossed most people's minds, but grace periods and all. For me, the disappointment was the first bit of commentary I saw on it being someone saying that it was "Probably driven by addiction." What the fucking fuck?

* This is the first election I can remember where defacement of billboards and burning of effigies of the current government has been a thing. I hope this is a sign of just how pissed off the people are, and that it'll show in the polls.

Comments:

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From:meri_sielu
Date:September 1st, 2014 10:38 pm (UTC)
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You must be so excited to have him home, I can almost feel your excitement through your words and it's lovely! :) <3

That shooting sounds rough and awful! It's always shocking when things like this happen, especially in countries where you just never hear of it. I don't know, I always kind of expect it from America because guns are so freely available but not in places like New Zealand. :(
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From:tatjna
Date:September 1st, 2014 10:47 pm (UTC)
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It is very uncommon in New Zealand. And even when it does happen, it's not the same sort of deal. Partly because automatic weapons aren't really a thing here.
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From:siobhan63
Date:September 1st, 2014 11:24 pm (UTC)
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How did a homeless guy living in a park get his hands on a gun?
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From:tatjna
Date:September 1st, 2014 11:30 pm (UTC)
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Dunno. I know that a sawnoff shotgun ended up under the drivers' seat of my car without my knowledge once, so I'm gonna suggest that if you run into the right dodgy people...
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From:dreadbeard
Date:September 1st, 2014 11:33 pm (UTC)
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I think the defacement has always been a bit of a thing, just now we have embedded online social networks and de facto image sharing which have massively increased the visibility... now you don't have to be randomly passing that one sign, you can go to a tumblr of loads of them.

Having dealt with HNZ and WINZ for clients in various stages of homelessness, craziness and so on, I... probably shouldn't comment here, actually. Hmm.
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From:tatjna
Date:September 1st, 2014 11:35 pm (UTC)
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I have had my own moments with WINZ and other social services on my own behalf at a time when folks who claimed to love me were trying to convince me I was crazy, and I have some idea of the level of antagonism that generally colours such relationships.
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From:du_secondaire
Date:September 2nd, 2014 12:02 am (UTC)
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"Probably driven by addiction?"

What kind of broad, ableist shit is this? I like how they have no desire to actually find out why a homeless guy shot up the welfare office - nope, they're going to simply generalize him as "a crazy drug addict."

Also, coming from an American who lives in a city where people basically shoot each other for any reason at all, there are very few drugs that will make you so out of control that you'll just start shooting people. SMH.
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From:tatjna
Date:September 2nd, 2014 12:05 am (UTC)
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My academic field of expertise is drug policy, and I know that addiction is very rarely a driving factor in mass violence.

Violence related to the black market associated with illegal drugs? Hell yes. Addiction, no.

And when I see the way people jump to the 'must be on drugs' explanation for every little ill in society, it makes me spit tacks because it demonstrates just how deeply the unsubstantiated assumptions about drugs really go.
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From:du_secondaire
Date:September 2nd, 2014 12:12 am (UTC)
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Oh wow, that is really interesting. I can definitely see where you're coming from (my academic field of expertise is making drugs, so I know a little bit about how various drugs make people behave, ha)

Yes, it's the exact same way in the US - addiction is stigmatized and criminalized. It is not a "criminal activity" or a "character deficit" - it's an illness in your brain. Whenever people go on a rant about drug addiction being a "degeneracy" or whatever, I'm like "funny, you wouldn't say the same thing about bipolar disorder or Parkinson's disease."
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From:tatjna
Date:September 2nd, 2014 12:18 am (UTC)
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I have reservations about the medical model of addiction, as summarised in this post. I'm aware that misuse of some substances can produce changes in the brain that tend to lead to dependency (and I also understand redose compulsion), but this doesn't happen without a whole lotta context that can't be explained medically.

Sadly, the complexities of the issue are the very thing that make it too hard to get people to understand - it can't be summarised easily for mass consumption.

[edit] I should add that I think the medical model is a big improvement on the criminal/deviant/moral degenerate one in terms of the way people see folks who are dependent on drugs.



Edited at 2014-09-02 12:20 am (UTC)
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From:du_secondaire
Date:September 2nd, 2014 12:30 am (UTC)
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True - But like many diseases, it may be a phenotype (a combination of genetics, something internal plus environment) - sort of like cancer; you may have something in your genes that makes you more prone to cancer, but if you are in a certain environment/occupation/engage in certain behaviors your risk may be raised. These things are always complicated.

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From:tatjna
Date:September 2nd, 2014 12:35 am (UTC)
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It's possible, true. Do you know if anyone's researching it? I haven't come across any in my travels.

And yes to the level of complexity - it's basically 'mights' and 'maybes' all the way down.
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From:du_secondaire
Date:September 2nd, 2014 12:42 am (UTC)
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I do not know. Other people in my group research the biochemical underpinnings of drug dependency but that is not my field of expertise. If I come across anything, I'll certainly send it your way! :D

I think some people believe that alcoholism may have a genetic component, but I do not know much about that either. My sister's fiance's father was an alcoholic, and his father in turn was also an alcoholic, and his family tree is just filled with stories of alcoholism: one does not know if this is biological, cultural, learned behavior, socio-political...all science, biochemical, social, and otherwise, is "mights" and "maybes" :)
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From:warriorsavant
Date:September 2nd, 2014 12:25 am (UTC)
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For those of us who are new to this neighbourhood, Dr Wheel is your significant other? And why is he called that?
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From:tatjna
Date:September 2nd, 2014 12:27 am (UTC)
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Yep. And his LJ name is ferrouswheel. When he successfully defended his PhD, there were a lot of Doctor jokes, and Dr Wheel just kind of stuck. ;-)

He's been away since mid-July having adventures in the US, which included HopeX, a trans-US train trip with bonus random FBI search, and Burning Man.
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From:meathiel
Date:September 2nd, 2014 05:31 am (UTC)
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Can you leave work early(-ish) on Friday? ;-)
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From:tatjna
Date:September 2nd, 2014 05:38 am (UTC)
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Sadly, not really. I might get away with half an hour or so but my leave is all booked up already, so there's none to spare for early escapes.
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From:elven_ranger
Date:September 2nd, 2014 03:16 pm (UTC)

where defacement of billboards and burning of effigies of the current government has been a thing

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I wish the British would wake up like that.
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From:tatjna
Date:September 2nd, 2014 08:30 pm (UTC)

Re: where defacement of billboards and burning of effigies of the current government has been a thin

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I think it's partly because it's been simmering for 6 years, as the government becomes more and more blatant in its disdain not only for accountability, but for the people it serves (unless they are rich white men). Egalitarianism is a delusion that kiwis love to nurture in our culture, so if anything will make us angry it's the idea that someone who has power thinks they're better than anyone else.
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From:pundigrion
Date:September 5th, 2014 08:18 pm (UTC)

Re: where defacement of billboards and burning of effigies of the current government has been a thin

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Canada is similar in this regard....and yet. We have had the same people in power since 2006, muzzling scientists, ignoring scientists, burning books (!), dismantling social aid systems, and so on...
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From:tatjna
Date:September 5th, 2014 09:19 pm (UTC)

Re: where defacement of billboards and burning of effigies of the current government has been a thin

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This government has been in since 2008, and I am really hoping there'll be a change this time round. They just got exposed quite badly (for NZ) for corruption in a book called Dirty Politics, and I'm hoping that'll tip the balance.
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From:pundigrion
Date:September 8th, 2014 03:57 pm (UTC)

Re: where defacement of billboards and burning of effigies of the current government has been a thin

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Oh, we've been through the corruption scandals, yet somehow the Prime Minister himself manages to stay clean while the senators he appoints have scandal after scandal!
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From:tatjna
Date:September 8th, 2014 09:10 pm (UTC)

Re: where defacement of billboards and burning of effigies of the current government has been a thin

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This one's quite interesting, because it also provides evidence of machinations in the PM's office that were specifically designed to ensure that PM looked squeaky-clean while all the dirty stuff was going on.

The Minister of (in)Justice has already resigned, and the polls have definitely changed. Dunno if it'll be enough to change the balance of power, but I have everything crossed that it'll tap into a groundswell of resentment in the populace for the contempt this government appears to hold us in.
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From:wildilocks
Date:September 3rd, 2014 10:54 am (UTC)
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I had to re-read that last paragraph, because I wasn't really paying attention and I thought "wot, if someone has been burning effigies of Tony Abbott I am sure I would have heard about it already...."

Then I realised with surprise, oh yes, there might be another politician people might be moved to symbolically light on fire, and we don't have an election coming anywhere near soon enough =p
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From:plantgirl
Date:September 3rd, 2014 10:10 pm (UTC)
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Have you seen a urologist about your bed-squeeing? Because it sounds serious.

;p
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