This Is Not About Race


This week, I am going to address some of the logical fallacies with the issues at hand. One of the major problems with American Culture today is the sources by which we choose to receive our media coverage. Most of it is premised on logical fallacies and then unwittingly spread across social media networks with catchy titles that distract the reader from the truth and the real issues at hand.

Like the title says, everything we are seeing in Baltimore, and around the country, is not about race. The issue is the failure of the American Justice System to deliver fair and impartial justice to all the citizens of America. So to help me illustrate this point and bring light to some of the logical fallacies that are floating around, lets look at one of the more popular blog posts that has been floating around my news feed.

Have a look at this, and then lets continue:

The first fallacy in the above article is easy, a little bit of research reveals that this story is actually from 2012, a fact the author fails to address. However, this article is still relevant to the issue at hand but the way in which it is being delivered to us is under a false premise with the intent to spread bigotry.

The second fallacy is the title. The title on this one tries to turn the issue at hand into a race issue, but like I said before it is not a race issue. Therefore, the premise, where’s the outrage that a black cop shot a white civilian, is a false premise. The outrage is that lethal force was used on a civilian when it was unnecessary. This, believe it or not, is why they are protesting in Baltimore. The fact that officers continue to abuse their power, and court systems continue to justify their actions, puts police in a position of power that is above the law. While Conservative News attempts to paint the country as racist toward white people, this article actually speaks very loudly about Conservative News’ own position of racism.

While you may not want to support the black community, if you truly are outraged by the brutal use of excessive force on this white college student by this black cop you need to support what is going on in Baltimore. Because Baltimore is bringing light to the Issue of police corruption, excessive force, and the complete failure of the American Justice System.

In the end, this failure of the American Justice System is a problem that encompasses all of us. Our forefathers did not intend for us to have a militaristic state of martial law that policed this country. Our forefathers believe in truth, justice, and the pursuit of happiness, and it is my belief that if they were alive today they would be having a tea party in Boston right about now.

For those that don’t believe this problem concerns you I would like to close this blog with a famous poem by Pastor Martin:

First They Came

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me

There Is No Justice In Murder


When Dr. Barbra Williamson first gave me the letter of recommendation to work at the Meath School, a speech and language school in England, she said to me this, “It is extremely important that you eventually return to America.”

My response was, “With the way minorities are treated in America, why should a Mexican American like me be concerned with coming back.”

She looked at me sternly and very earnestly said, “Because this America needs Chicano writers like yourself. Strong, thoughtful, intelligent, Chicanos who are not afraid to speak their mind. It’s important that you come back.”

At the time, I shrugged it off and accepted my one-way ticket out of the country; however, in the wake of everything that is happening in America I now understand why my voice is so important. Because this is what the country needs, no, this is what the country was built on! Intelligent, thoughtful, outspoken Americans, and I’m one of the truest, bluest, mother-fucking Americans you will ever meet.

This is why I am choosing to write a political piece today instead of continuing to talk about my travels, because life just isn’t that beautiful.

Since I left America, all I have seen in the news is rampant use of excessive force from the Police Officers in America, and an absolute failure of the due processes of the American Justice System in order to address it. From Freddie Gray to Antonio Zambrano-Montes, the evidence of the abuse of power inflicted on the American citizen by its police force is blatantly obvious.

Now, what we are seeing is an increase of civil protests and civil disorder across the United States of America. Social Constructionists would say that when the goals of a society become unavailable to the masses of that society you will see an increase in deviant behavior across all social groups that reside within that society.

What we are experiencing in America is simple. It is the result of a social construct, the American Justice System, which has created a set of values that does not serve the social groups for which it presides over. Inevitable deviant behavior of social groups that are subject to these values will always be the outcome of such social constructs, such as the American Justice System.

C. Wright Mills reminds us to have a sociological imagination when considering these situations. It is easy to observe the actions of individuals and write off the problems of one particular social group as individual problems; however, when the problem persists on a large enough scale that it effects social groups in mass across one society, then the problem becomes an issue of the social constructs that preside over those social groups within their society.

The issue we are seeing is clear. Decades of persistent and blatant abuse of power from the social construct of the American Justice System toward minorities and lower class members of the American Society.

When I debate this point with my peers I often receive the same responses in defense of the officers that commit the atrocities. It is either that their job is dangerous and I need to put myself in their shoes to understand, or the victim deserved it for trying to run from police.

However, The problem with this argument is simple. While I respect that jobs are dangerous, it is never the job of the officer to execute the citizens it has been charged to protect. American Justice can only be served through the Due Process of the American Justice System. Even if the person the officer killed turns out to be a criminal, it is not the Officers duty to pass judgment and sentence on that individual.

In what world do we live in that any criminal can be brought to justice through the execution of that criminal on sight? These are the atrocities that our forefathers hoped to avoid, and true justice can only be served through a judge and a jury. Only once due process has been given should execution ever be considered. In the end there is only one statement that we must always hold true and undeniable when considering the pursuit of justice in America. And that is this…

There is no justice in murder.

Rome, The Colosseum: Are You Not Entertained!


My first day off the plane and it was a downpour. Thankfully, my skate shoes were triple stitched on a single seem so they kept the water out quite nicely. I booked at Alessandro Hostel, which was about 2 blocks from the Termini train station. This was a luxury I decided to grant myself after getting marooned by my driver in Greece who didn’t want to travel through the austerity protest. Either way, I memorized my maps, as usual, and was prepared for the worst. This time around it was weather.

DSC_0066Didn’t bother me too much. My feet were staying dry, so my biggest concern was figuring out how I was going to use my camera in this monsoon of a rainstorm we were having. I threw Saturday to the way side and left my camera in a locker. Decided getting my bearings and finding my favorite panino spot was far more important. There is a Turkish spot outside of Termini that I highly recommend. 3 Euro durums, or paninos, gyros, what ever you want to call them. Basically flat bread with meat, veg, and french-fries inside, and the Turkish spot had the cheapest, biggest, and the best tasting ones. Needless to say, I visited their shop everyday. They knew me by name by the end of the week.

DSC_0039By Monday the weather cleared up and the rest of the week would be nice, but Easter Sunday was cold and wet. In Rome, the first Sunday of every month all the sights are free. I highly suggest planning your trips around this fact if you are trying to save a little cash. I decided to get out with my camera and take advantage of the situation. I ended up buying an umbrella off of a street vendor to help keep the camera dry. Here’s a little tip for bartering in Rome. First, find out what they want. Second, offer them half of what they stated. Third, walk away when they say no. They will follow you offering you lower prices. Fourth, pull out the money you want to spend and show it to them. If this doesn’t work just keep walking away, rinse, and repeat. I rarely met a street vendor that would pass up any offer.

DSC_0060So I had my umbrella and a plan, and it just so happened that I ran into a fellow traveller on the same mission. A nice fellow from India named Jagat. He asked me for directions, and once we realized we were on the same quest, it was only proper to join forces for the rest of the day. We set our sights on the infamous Colosseum. Despite the rain, the line was still tremendously long, and it took about 20 minutes to get inside. I image the line would have easily been an hour on a nice day. Still, I wouldn’t suggest paying for the “skip the line” tours that the street vendors are selling.

DSC_0029Walking up on the Colosseum is pretty awe-inspiring. It’s one of those iconic buildings that I’ve read about in books and seen in movies. Been fantasizing about the Colosseum ever sense I was a child, and finally, I was standing in front of it. It wasn’t hard to imagine what it must have felt like gathering for one of the many contests that were held here.

DSC_0031The inside, however, was a bit disappointing. Here’s why. Now the history of the Colosseum is amazing, and being able to see the inner workings of the structure and how it functioned was great. However, the Vatican removed the really impressive features. So any bronze statues including the Colossus were all melted down for the bronze. The marble was all removed. They used it when building the Vatican. So there are no marble seats or thrones. But even still, it was nice to walk through and imagine myself as a citizen of Ancient Rome.


Despite the weather, I enjoyed checking this off my bucket list. I returned later in the week to shoot some fair weather photos, but didn’t bother taking another tour of the interior. It really is a magnificent piece of architecture, especially when you consider the history. The amount of blood and wine that must have been spilt in the very place I was standing. Truly a must see for anyone visiting Roma!

If you enjoyed this post, please follow my blog, thanks!

When in Rome: The Pantheon


So despite Air France canceling all my flights home, I managed to make it back to England last week. If I’m being honest, I wasn’t too upset about having to spend some extra time in Rome while they figured it out. While I was a little bit frustrated at first, I am one of those types that just rolls with the flow. Besides what better excuse to miss a little work then no flights out of Rome because of an air traffic controller strike. Unfortunately Air France would inevitably buy me a ticket with another airline, and I made it back late last Friday.

DSC_0142My apologies for not getting the first post up sooner but 5 days of recovery was most definitely needed. I was putting in about 15 miles a day on foot while drinking 2 bottles of red and smoking hand rolled Italian cigars. It really is a wonder I didn’t die of dehydration, and there was a few moments where I simply collapsed in the parks and passed out until I was sober enough to continue. But thats part of the beauty of Rome, The city itself is an adventure and one that will surely quench your wanderlust.

DSC_0145So obviously, I have an obsession with Western Civilization History. Which I think is pretty common among Americans. We often like to think of ourselves as similar to the Romans and the Greeks, as our democratic roots and systems of government were largely borrowed from concepts they created. Though it isn’t just Western Civ in the city of Rome, there is also a lot of religious history to which I am not as knowledgable. Still, I will try my best.

DSC_0150My favorite building in all of Rome was by far The Pantheon. The Pantheon was built around 25 A.D. and then rebuilt around 125 A.D. by Emperor Hadrian. Hadrian was largely responsible for the reconstruction of several ancient buildings in both Greece and Rome. Currently the Catholic church uses the Pantheon as a place of worship for their religion. The Pantheon  even houses the tombs of the First and the Second Kings of Italy. Kings of Italy not Emperors, so these tombs are only a few hundred years old, 1800’s I believe.

DSC_0147Though the Pantheon wasn’t always a Catholic Church. In fact, if you know your Roman history it was Emperor Constantine that handed over the Roman Empire to the Christian Religion in order to better control the masses of Rome. Around 600 A.D. the followers of Christianity were much larger then the followers of the Empire, and so by merging the Religion with the Empire, Constantine effectively saved the Empire of Rome.

DSC_0147But that was in 600 A.D. and the Pantheon was built in 25 A.D. so what was the pantheon used for before this? Well Pantheon is a Greek word that literally translates to “All the gods of the people”. It is likely that this was a common place of worship for all the citizens of Rome regardless of their preferred deity, which would have most likely been one of the Greek gods such as Zeus or Poseidon. The Pantheon is one of the oldest and most awe inspiring buildings in all of Rome and a must see for anyone planning on visiting.

If you enjoyed this post please follow my blog, thanks!

DSC_0141 DSC_0280

Holiday in Athens: The Monument of the Muses


If you are coming down the Southside of the Acropolis you are bound to spot Philopappos Hill close by. The hill is covered in beautiful Greek pine trees, which are a bit squattier and bushier then the Evergreen pines that I’m use to in Washington. Also Perched atop the Philopappos Hill is a lonely monument with a great view of Athens.


I never make plans before I travel, and so I found myself standing atop the Acropolis on day one mapping out my week. I could literally see everything from the Acropolis and I figured I would pick my favorites and head out. I could see the Panatheniac Stadium, the Temple of Zeus, The Temple of Hephaistos, but sitting on top the Philopappos hill was a monument I didn’t readily recognize. My curiosity was sparked and so I made my way south.


I didn’t know it then, but this was the Monument of the Muses. Now if you are not keen on the history I highly suggest reading the plaques and billboards that are set up around the different monuments, quite a lot of great information on them. Philopappos Hill was thought to be inhabited by nine muses, and ancient Athenians would come here to leave offerings.


Philopappos Hill had a beautiful view, and the Monument of the Muses was spectacular. My Western Civilization professor once pointed out that all the muses, furies, and fates, are all females. A reflection on my own history with women would only further confirm that, muses, furies, and fates, would probably all be female. I wonder if a female wrote this mythology if there would have been any variation in the sexes of the gods.


I’m an artist at heart, and so I am not surprise that I was drawn here. A new adventure was beginning for me, and it was only proper I begin it like any great adventure should. I would pay homage to Zeus, Poseidon and, Athena at their temples, and I would give offerings to the Muses that they might impart their wisdoms on me.

If you enjoyed this post, please follow my blog. Thanks!