What is Going On?

The killing of 27 people is the latest in a long list of atrocities that people are doing against others.  We are hearing that it is because of taking God out of public usage or that it that guns are readily available; but is that really the causes?  I do not think so; the problem goes deeper and is more complex.

Our society has gotten more violent over the last decades.  This shows not only in the movies and TV programs we see now to how our government resorts to violence to solve political disputes overseas.  When I was a kid, you did not see cartoons where people were killing people or hurting them, you saw animals doing it, ie: wiley coyote, mighty mouse, heckle and jeckle.  Yes, Batman and other super heroes were around, but their foes were clearly bad guys. Our heroes back then were the guys who wore white hats; Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and others.  Today, our heroes are drug taking, dog beating athletes or music recorders who promote violence, not to drink milk.

Gang activity was left to the mafia for the most part when I was young, though there were some ethnic gangs in the big cities.  You never heard of gangs in small towns like in today’s world.

Our government has gone from diplomacy to buying friends and sending in bombs if another country disagrees with us too strongly.  While we used to be known as a good country willing to help others, now we are the international bully.

Kids in my generation might have guns at home to hunt with and had imitation guns to play cowboys and Indians or cops and robbers.  We were taught not to point a real gun at anyone.  Nowdays, though those toys are still available, many parents do not want their kids to have them, so kids are not learning about gun safety at home.

Our society has become such that the nuclear family is no more for the most part.  Spouses are disposable and having kids has become a way to obtain unconditional love for our teenagers.  Single parents, stretched to breaking points due to the high cost of living, no longer have time to teach kids the basics of societal living.  Furthermore, our society has become so dangerous that kids are not allowed to play outside, who is there to monitor them, mom and dad are working to try to afford houses and cars that they really do not need or can pay for.

Civility has gone out the window in today’s society.  If you do not agree with someone, you are stupid, ignorant, a liberal, radical, or just a jerk.  Flaming abounds on social networking sites as does pornographic photos and sayings where women are disrespected openly.  Even our politicians are not to be looked up too with safety; they are having affairs, taking bribes or promoting violence as a way to solve problems.  Strangely, people have become depersonalized to other people; they are an avatar on a website or just a line of text.

People with mental illnesses are given silver bullet pills and sent on their way do to budget cuts for mental health care.  People are not held to any sort of responsibility for their actions; oh poor Johnny, he had ADD so cannot control himself, give him a pill not give him a swat and make him mind.  When Johnny grows up, he is an out of control adult with some real mental health issues; no one cares until he picks up a gun and kills people.

Is it because God is not in the public any more or less than before?  Where are the parents and preachers who should be teaching kids at home and church the lessons about societal living found in the Bible or other religious works.  Are the preachers teaching love thy neighbor or kill those who do not believe the way they do.  Are parents so busy keeping up with the latest trends in goods that they cannot teach their kids to behave without calling in The Nanny then televising it as a reality show?

Finally, guns do not kill people people kill people.  Remove guns and other ways will be found to do carnage unless the underlying problem is solved.  The same day as the shootings in CT, in China, someone took a knife and stabbed 22 kids and one adult, no one died.  Pundits covering the CT shooting used this as a good thing to happen, because a gun was not used so, according to them, no one died; they could have.  Mcvey took down the Murry building in Oklahoma with fertilizer and diesel fuel, the 9/11 terrorists used planes and box cutters, the fire in Bengazi was started with a molitov cocktail it is thought.

If people want to kill other people, they will find a way.  What we need to do is correct the underlying problems to stop this type of thing from happening.  We need to start taking responsibility for our own actions and teach the youngsters we come in contact with to do the same.  We need to look at our kids and our family and friends objectively and watch for signs of possibility to do violence then intervene.  Furthermore, we need to force our government to start using diplomacy instead of bombs to correct political issues saving the bombs only to protect our own borders.

My thoughts and prayers go out to those who have lost children to violence…and to those poor souls who are so tormented that they take those precious lives.







Accumulative Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

By Sandy Long

Coming across I-72 westbound yesterday morning, I saw emergency vehicles on the eastbound side ahead.  When I got up next to them, there in the middle of the lanes was a sheet-covered body.   It was not a good way to start the day to see this in the dawn’s early light.

PTSD used to be called combat fatigue and came to be understood most in soldiers returning home during WWII and then Korea.  It is the residual from traumatic incidents or occurrences that one suffers such as battle, abuse, abject fear  or accidents where one feels out of control.  The easiest explained example of PTSD symptoms is someone being gun shy; one jumps or over reacts adversely to a loud noise after say, being shot at another time.  Physical symptoms are increased heartbeat, anxiety, nausea, sweats, flashbacks to what caused the PTSD in the first place, nightmares, high stress levels and depression.

PTSD may be caused by accumulative incidences; this is what affects truck drivers the most.  Added to the constant stress caused by traffic and tight schedules, seeing horrendous accidents or assisting as first on the scene to accidents or seeing the sheet covered bodies can cause accumulative PTSD.  Because of the isolation of the job, the trucker may not be able to talk about whatever it was they witnessed to work thru the emotions.   If truckers have been in a serious accident themselves, PTSD may kick in if they see a similar accident.

People can show some strange behaviors that are caused by PTSD.  My late brother would tell me of seeing a horrendous wreck with dead bodies and then laugh.  He had PTSD for years after serving three tours in Viet Nam and being a trucker added to it.  Laughing after relating something terrible he had seen was his way of coping, it was a release for him, but if you did not know him, you would think him callous or hard hearted…he was not.  If he heard a helicopter too closely or a jet would go over too low, he would hit the dirt or go into defensive mode, classic examples of PTSD.

I was in a major wreck in 2000 where I was pinned in the sleeper for a couple of hours in the dark.  I still to this day do not know exactly what my position was when I pulled myself up, I could look down at my ex pinned behind the steering wheel.  When I am tired or stressed, if I think about that, my mind goes into a loop reliving that wreck…and I get scared all over again.

Some PTSD is normal after an incident where you are scared or feel out of control and normal PTSD will ease with a little time.  However, PTSD that stays around or shows up years after the event can be hard to deal with; but it can be dealt with.

Treating PTSD takes dealing with the emotions that you did not feel at the time, this might take seeing a professional.  Talk therapy is the most common form of treatment for PTSD, using anger management, depression strategies and coping techniques.  For truckers, the need to talk about what they see during the day that affects them adversely is very important, for instance, my writing about seeing the sheet covered body is a way for me to deal with seeing it so it does not build up in my mind and turn into PTSD.

PTSD is a very treatable mental illness and nothing to be ashamed of.  If you think that you might be suffering from it by having continued nightmares, anxiety, depression or stress when you see or remember bad things, then by all means do not hesitate to see someone to get some help with this disorder.  As with any mental illness, there is no shame in having it, only shame, in this day and age, if you do not get help with it.





Looking Back at a Bad Couple of Weeks…and the lessons learned

By Sandy Long (written in 2010)

The last couple of weeks have been strange to say the least…too much stuff going on…this happens with truckers though; bad things happen at home and we are hundreds of miles away scrambling trying to take care of whatever it is on the phone.

When you end up with several bad things going on at the same time or within the same couple of weeks; you end up feeling like you are juggling swords while doing that Russian dance….something ends up giving and you can become distracted; then all the swords fall and you end up on your arse.

I am going to share with you what has been going on this summer in my life…not for sympathy, but to show you newbees and wannabees the really hard part of trucking…juggling home and the road, and how a trucker can end up messin’ up.

I am single and live in a small truck friendly town.  My house that I am buying has another little house on the property…sounds fancy, it is not.  My 87 year old mom lives in the little house and I assist her when she needs it.  She is still fairly active and can take care of most of her business, but is starting to get a little fuzzy in her thoughts…not remembering everything precisely.

Last year, I bought the adjoining lot next to mine.  There is an old house on it and a garage.  This spring, my mom started yelling at kids cutting the corner across that property.  In April or May someone started stealing little stuff from my place; a wind chime, a milk crate, a rose trellis and other little stuff.  About 6 weeks ago, someone vandalized the garage…broke in and spray painted everything in it.  This week, someone took off the top to the old oil tank fill pipe on my house…tank is empty in basement, but still.  I am scared for my house now while I am on the road.

Some of you might know that mom was in a wreck and her car was totaled…not her fault, woman ran a stop sign and hit her.  So I have been dealing with insurance agents and adjustors.

Now add in that my car broke down, my computer died, we are running hard right now…3000-3500 miles in 5 days, my dog has been sick, and I have workmen in tearing down the old house on the property I bought…along with the normal things that we all deal with and to say that I am a little distracted is an understatement.  It is starting to show too, my head is not in the game of trucking right now.

Last week, I overslept and missed a pick up appointment by 30 minutes…it was ok, I still got loaded, but being late for a pick up or delivery unless for weather or break down is such a bad thing in my mind and such a rare occurrence for me, that I am still beating myself up for it…my boss wasn’t even mad, but surprised that it happened, it just isn’t like me to do that.

Sunday, I got talking on the phone to my brother’s widow who started talking a lot about him…got me distracted as I was leaving the truck stop after making a quick pit stop and I went west instead of east on the interstate…been in that truck stop a million times too.

Monday, I got lost twice by missing highways I wanted to turn on…now this happens to everyone, but usually not twice in the same day.

The last two weeks, I have been preplanning my trips badly making some bad fueling, for logbook purposes, decisions and stopping too soon to break out making me have to run to make a delivery instead of being there waiting…this causes log book problems as it eats up hours for the day.

This all culminated Thursday night when I was fueling while a relay driver waited on me to change out loads.  I was tired, rushed and stressed from trying to explain all the information from the insurance people to mom all day and from having to speak to the local police here at home about what has been going on here.  The nozzle on the driver side clicked off.  I went to the passenger side and lifted the nozzle a little bit to see if it was stopped yet…sometimes the lift thingy doesn’t click down when the fuel hits the nozzle in the tank.

The nozzle somehow twisted under the strap that I have there to hold it in the tank securely and I got hit in the face with a huge blast of diesel fuel.  Luckily, I wear glasses so it missed my eyes, but the rest of my face and hair got it.

Of course, the first thing I did was to look around to see if anyone had seen what had happened, you don’t want anyone to notice when you do dumb crap ya know.  Wiped off my face best I could and finished fueling, got my receipt and tried with baby wipes to clean myself off; changed trailers with the other driver then got a shower.

I took 10 minutes and looked at why this stupid thing had happened…it was because I was distracted by other things than normal; I had too many swords in the air and they were coming tumbling down causing me to not pay enough attention to any one thing, especially my job….I was distracted.

The little talk I had with myself resulted in yesterday calling some friends to ask for ideas on how to deal with the messing with my house problem…one of them came up with the perfect solution and I will be implementing that in the next couple of weeks.  Mom got her money from the insurance company yesterday for her car and now only has to deal with that woman’s insurance company for doctor’s check ups…so that is pretty much taken care of.  I also called my younger brothers and asked them to step in to help me work with mom, they do not live here, but they can help by talking to her on the phone.

I do not have much planned for today and will take a nap later on…I went to bed early last night for me at least and didn’t set the alarm…got a full 8 hours in my own bed.  Of course, only being home today and tonight, I have the usual stuff to do when home, but am not going to do a lot else…it is time to rest.

Someone, someplace else, asked me why I thought trucking was a lifestyle and not just a job…the above is one reason.  Truckers have to learn to deal with life in unique ways because we are not home to take care of things.  We have to spread ourselves thinly at times and find creative ways to attend to problems both on the road and at home…especially when we are not married/partnered up or have family who lives near to assist us.

Cars don’t break down for us when we have time to deal with it. People vandalize our home because of some BS reason when we are gone, because we are gone and they can without being caught. Parents get elderly and need our help when we don’t have the time or energy to do so; but we still have to help; and sometimes life at home and on the road combine to make us drop the swords we juggle while dancing that Russian dance and we fall on our arses making stupid mistakes. Sometimes it takes a face full of diesel fuel to make us wake up to see we are overwhelmed and distracted.  It is all part of being a truck driver.


Freedom of the Road

For over 30 years, I have heard drivers speak of the freedom of the road and drivers likened to the old time cowboy.  Asking one of those drivers to tell me what he/she was talking about, I would hear, “it is about working in the wide open spaces” or “I don’t have anyone looking over my shoulder.”  I didn’t think too much about it, but never fully understood what they meant.

In 2008, while working out my two-week notice, I got talking to a driver for a company I was interested in.  When he asked me why I was leaving the company I was with, I told him I didn’t like being micromanaged.  I was an experienced driver and didn’t need dispatch holding my hand, and I just wanted to be told where to pick up the load, where and when to deliver it, and then be left alone to do my job.  He got a phone call and I had an epiphany, I finally understood.  The concept of freedom of the road means different things to different people depending on when they started trucking.

“Liberty is not merely a privilege to be conferred; it is a habit to be acquired.”
– David Lloyd George

To a driver who started in the industry in the last 15 years or so, freedom of the road means living with satellite communications, no daily phone call to dispatch and even on board computers that tell the driver when he/she needs to stop for the day.  The computer monitors their speed, their location, gives them their dispatch, routes them and tells them where to fuel and how many gallons to put on.  To these drivers, freedom of the road is freedom from having to really think about the run or do much more than get the load picked up and delivered safely and on time.

Old hand drivers have a very different concept of freedom of the road, and yes, some like me don’t really understand that freedom until we lose it.   Our freedom of the road consisted of being told where to pick up a load, where to take it and what time to be there, and then left alone other than a daily check call to dispatch and perhaps the broker.  We were treated like professionals who knew how to route ourselves, figure out for ourselves where to stop to fuel within the company policies, when we needed to stop to take a nap, and we got the job done without being constantly monitored.

Understanding the differences between the different concepts of freedom of the road helped me to understand why old time truckers have been likened to the old time cowboy.  The old time cowboy was told by his boss to go check fence or round up cattle, and then he went out and did it without being checked on to see if he actually did the job.  The cowboy’s boss just knew he would do the job and do it well; it was a point of cowboy honor.  They didn’t have to be monitored constantly just like truckers didn’t used to be monitored; it was a point of trucker‘s honor.

Is there one freedom of the road concept better than the other concept?  Perhaps not, but it depends on your perspective.  To me, with my more liberal concept of freedom of the road, trying to adapt into a company who monitors their drivers constantly makes me feel smothered and off balance, while to a newer driver they would feel protected and free.

“When an American says that he loves his country, he means not only that he loves the New England hills, the prairies glistening in the sun, the wide and rising plains, the great mountains, and the sea. He means that he loves an inner air, an inner light in which freedom lives and in which a man can draw a breath of self-respect.” –

Adlai Stevenson

Freedom of the road is how one perceives one’s self and how one looks at life.  To me, freedom of the road is how I do my job to the best of my ability without total supervision, and in that lays my self-respect and my downfall.  With the epiphany came the realization that I do not fit easily into the new concept of freedom of the road the newer drivers have and the companies now define.  In trying to do so, I lost my inner light where freedom lives, my self-respect and my joy in trucking became dim.

Guard your concept of freedom of the road; revel in it, enjoy it, love it, never let it go.  It is who you are and what you do.  It is the foundation of your career as a driver and a person; it is why you drive truck.

“Free people, remember this maxim: We may acquire liberty, but it is never recovered if it is once lost.”
– Jean Jacques Rousseau

Ya’ll be safe out there!

It is OK to Discriminate…

By Sandy Long

I can hear you now, “What?  Sandy Long, who preaches against bigotry and discrimination, is saying it is ok to discriminate now?  What’s up with that?”  NO, I personally do not agree with discrimination, but it appears that some people, including those in government,t do agree with it, in matter of fact, promotes it.  Yep, I can hear those wheels turning in your minds, “there are laws against discrimination, people do not discriminate too much these days, what in the world is she talking about.”

There are two areas that are fashionable to discriminate about against people; I am only going to talk about one of them, obesity.  Have you been paying attention to not only what is going on in the trucking industry, but throughout the business world?  Company after company is either not hiring people above a certain body weight or making them enter weight loss programs.  In trucking, companies are blatantly discriminating with saying if you are above a certain body weight; do not bother to fill out an application.  If they said outright, as they are about obese folk, if you are black or brown, gay, a Christian, then do not bother to apply, my gosh, they would be in court in a Minnesota second!  But they get away with it about obese folk.

The government is supporting mandatory sleep apnea testing, not for every driver, but for those over a body mass index of 35…so called obese folk.  This in the face that many people diagnosed with sleep apnea are of ‘normal’ body weight.  If the government said that it would require every black truck driver to be tested for sickle cell anemia, which is only found in darker skinned races, Jesse Jackson would be making a flight to DC and organizing a protest!

This discrimination against obese people goes further and for some reason promoted by the federal government.  From ObesityMyths.com, “It’s not just the official category of obesity that has been affected by numerical hocus-pocus.  Thirty-five million Americans went to sleep one night in 1998 at a government-approved weight (I never knew there were government ‘approved’ weights for people, when did that happen!–SL) and woke up “overweight” the next morning, thanks to a change in the government’s definition.  That group includes currently “overweight” celebrities like Will Smith and Pierce Brosnan, as well as NBA stars Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.  It even includes George W. Bush, considered the most fit president in U.S. history.  “Overweight” had previously been defined as a BMI of 27.8 for men and 27.3 for women; in 1998 it was lowered to a BMI of 25 for both genders.”

“The 1998 redefinition prompted a group of researchers to criticize the new threshold in The American Journal of Public Health. They wrote: “Current interpretations of the revised guidelines stigmatize too many people as overweight, fail to account for sex, race/ethnicity, age, and other differences; and ignore the serious health risks associated with low weight and efforts to maintain an unrealistically lean body mass.  This seeming rush to lower the standard for overweight to such a level that 55% of American adults find themselves being declared overweight or obese raises serious concerns.”

The discrimination against obese people started about 150 years ago when the only people who were fat were those rich enough to afford to eat regularly and who had sedentary jobs.  These ‘fat cats’ were considered to be dishonest and lazy.  (Three of our presidents were obese according to statistics, and many were considered overweight by today’s standards.)  Somehow, this perception of those rich folk was transferred to the common population, about the time that the diet and pharmaceutical industries got started in the late 1800’s.  This perception has increased to the extent that obese people are made articles of fun and are discriminated against routinely in the workplace these days.

While it is true that people have become increasingly overweight, perhaps that is more a symptom than what is really the ‘disease’.  In his article, ‘I Hate Fate People’ in MensHealth.com, Richard Conniff cites facts and figures about obesity and people’s perception of ‘fat’ people including the statement that he ‘hated fat people’.

As I was reading his article, getting more angrily frustrated the more I read, I was surprised to see, “So after all this, do I still hate fat people?  I don’t.  The world is already full of stupid bigotry, and what fat people endure is stupider than most. “Every fat person I know has a ‘mooing’ story,” says one fat activist. (That is, some jackass has mooed at them in a public place.)  Giving them a harder time than they already have is like being a grade school bully who zeroes in on the obvious target, sometimes with horrible consequences.  Adolescents who are teased for being overweight are two to three times more likely to have suicidal thoughts or behaviors, says psychologist Rebecca Puhl, Ph.D., the research director for Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.  And yet even health-care providers commonly—and mistakenly—believe that a strong dose of disapproval encourages people to lose weight.”

Conniff continued, “Instead, the social stigma just keeps fat people away from the doctor, out of the gym, and afraid to do anything other than stay home—and eat.  When a doctor sends a patient away with the vague admonition to lose weight, the advice often just discourages a return visit, in part because those words alone generally produce no results.  Ignoring the weight issue entirely might actually work better.  For instance, a program at the University of Nevada simply taught people how to handle the social stigma and distress that came with obesity.  Weight loss followed almost incidentally, perhaps because the program taught people coping mechanisms that didn’t involve food.  A focus on health rather than weight also seems to help.  Research suggests that when doctors issue “walking prescriptions,” patients are more likely to increase their activity levels. “Walk 1 mile. Take 6 days weekly. Increase dosage at will.”

Imagine that, give people some tools to use to deal with their size other than eating and they lose weight, amazing concept!  Along with that, how about treating obese people like how you, who are so perfect, want to be treated.  As far as our government and companies promoting discrimination against obese people, well I imagine that will take a few lawsuits to change and they will happen.  There are now support groups for obese folk who will encourage them to sue for their rights under the Constitution.

While you may get a kick out of laughing at that obese person, just remember, there but for the grace of God go you…and you ain’t dead yet friend, who knows what your body changes may bring you as you age.  Remember that!








Truck Driver’s Therapist: Buck Black

By Sandy Long

There are certain segments in the work force that travel for a living, the military, construction workers and truck drivers.  Being away from home for long periods can cause mental health issues such as depression and relationship issues.  While the military has built in mental health services that they can access and construction workers are usually in a town long enough to find a mental health provider, truckers are rarely in a town two days in a row so cannot utilize such assistance.  This is no longer so, there is now TruckerTherapy.com.

Buck Black, founder of TruckerTherapy.com, knew he wanted to become a therapist when he was in fifth grade.  Buck says about how he got started, “I have always enjoyed helping people and talking with people.  The more I studied psychology, the more interested I became.  Once I started volunteering at a crisis hotline, I was hooked.”

Buck’s educational background includes a Master’s degree in Social Work (MSW) from Indiana University.  Buck adds, “I earned my Bachelor’s degree from Purdue University (Lafayette, Indiana campus), where I double majored in Psychology and Sociology with a minor in Computer Technology.  In addition, I have received training on a variety of clinical subjects including anger management, anxiety, couples counseling, codependency, personality disorders, PTSD and various types of sexual issues.  I continue to learn more about counseling and therapy by participating in anger management workshops and various trainings, as well as reading and lecturing about various topics related to counseling and online coaching.”

Most therapists only work with their clients face to face; Buck did too for a while.  Then he had several truckers as clients and quickly learned that with their erratic schedules, they missed many appointments.  Buck knew the importance of those truckers continuing with their therapy so came up with the idea of offering phone and Skype counseling.  It worked so well for those driver clients that Buck started TruckerTherapy.com to offer those services to more drivers.

There is a difference though between face-to-face counseling and phone or Skype work.  “Services are a bit different over Skype.  I think the biggest challenge is the client’s quality of equipment (mike, camera, computer, and internet connection stability/speed) and the occasional unavoidable technical glitches.  Therefore, that is something you usually do not have to deal with in an office setting.  I always give my clients my phone number and keep my phone next to my computer when doing a session.  If the connection fails, the phone is a good backup.”  Buck relates.

“The phone obviously cuts out the body language, but is still quite effective.”  He adds.  “I encourage my clients to stop me if they disagree with what I am saying.  Sometimes, there is a miscommunication; maybe the phone broke up or I used the wrong choice of words.  This cannot be addressed if the client does not speak up.  I believe there is a good sense of relationship between the client and me when using Skype or phone; however, the client must want to use Skype or phone.  If the client does not like the technology, then the relationship would be very difficult to form.  I do continue my in-office practice for those truckers who can make it to Lafayette Indiana and of course, my non trucking clients.”

Truck drivers are under a tremendous amount of stress from the job and from being away from home so much, this can lead to mental health issues.  This is such a common problem that the FMCSA Medical Review Board has suggested regulations be enacted so that doctors performing DOT physicals look for signs of depression.

Buck says, “if you are having issues that you are not dealing well with, contact me or another licensed therapist to help you.  If the person is in emergency crisis and is suicidal or homicidal, or has a chronic mental illness, distant services probably are not the best options.  I screen each client to ensure his or her goals are attainable over the phone or with Skype.  If I feel there may need to be a need for emergency services or a high level of care, then I refer the client to face-to-face therapy, but either way, I will try to assist in getting a driver the help he or she needs.”

Buck Black’s appointments can be adjusted to accommodate a truck driver’s schedule.  “I take “call ins,” like “walk-ins” for lack of a better term, Monday through Friday; however, I’m usually booked all day long, so I cannot accommodate this very often.  I am able to guarantee an appointment within two business days or it is free except for when my voicemail and website states I am on vacation.  I work until 10pm ET and I am usually able to be talked into a Sunday evening appointment.”  He laughs.

Though Buck does accept some insurance plans, most insurance companies will not pay for phone or Skype counseling.  However, the cost per session is not exorbitant, only $50.00, not a great amount to spend per session for a driver to get their lives back on track.  Furthermore, by working on a cash basis, the only person who will see a driver’s file is Buck himself, no reporting to insurance companies or the driver’s carrier.

Buck invites every driver who is having mental health issues to visit TruckerTherapy.com and check out the site for more information.  He will tell anyone that truckers give so much of themselves to do their job that he feels that he should assist them when he can.  It is a novel concept, someone wanting to help truck drivers; Buck Black has come up with a way to do so.



Sexually Oriented Businesses? Oh Yeah! Truck Driver’s Clinics? Heck No!

By Sandy Long

“Dec 09, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) — TravelCenters of America LLC (TravelCenters) has announced the opening of the first on-site Statcare medical clinic within the TA and Petro Stopping Centers branded travel center network.  The Statcare clinic, operated by Family Statcare of Northeast Ohio, LLC, is located at the TA travel center at 8834 Lake Rd., Seville, Ohio.”

That sounds great does it not.  It was great; a trucker’s clinic right in the middle of a major hub for trucking, but it did not last long though.  Shortly after the above press release, the Westfield Township zoning inspector visited the clinic and shut it down for not meeting the zoning code.  Come to find out, the area is zoned for eating places, motels, truck stops and repair shops, and even sexually oriented businesses, but not medical clinics!

Ken Filbert, the owner of Family Statcare, said that he met with a chiropractor who was located at the TA just before his clinic opened. When he asked the zonong inspector why the chiropractor was allowed to operate, but not the clinic, the zoning inspector informed him, “that he didn’t know the chiropractor was there, but we caught you.”

Filbert is well-intentioned concerning truckers, he says, “truckers do so much for this country, I wanted to start this clinic providing low cost, affordable, reachable medical services for the truckers in return, I wanted to give them something back. This clinic is close to home for my company, so we are in hopes of fine tuning it here, then expanding across the country to help truckers.”

Filbert reported that Westfield Township has not offered any quick solutions to the zoning issue.  “They did not offer a temporary zoning permit while we work in the paperwork, or to have a special session of the township to expedite the permit process, it will take three months or more to get the zoning changed once we get the paperwork done.”

Some of the services the clinic will offer are drug testing, DOT physicals, illness care, and minor wound care.  Filbert even arranged with a local pharmacy to deliver medications directly to the truck stop within an hour of calling the prescription in for truckers who needed them. “I understand both the difficulty of getting a 70 foot rig to a drug store and the problem of drivers getting home for doctor appointments with their own doctors so that many run out of medications.”  He said.

Tongue in cheek, Filbert quipped, “Here I am trying to help truckers and perhaps other travelers by providing fast access to healthcare, and rather than cooperation on the part of the city, I get closed down immediately. Yet, if I had opened adult video store or a strip club, Westfield Township would not mind a bit. Go figure!”

Filbert has a petition at the TA truck stop in Seville OH if you stop by there, or you can sign an online petition at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/re-open-the-truck-drivers-clinic/ .  By gathering signatures, Filbert hopes that Westfield Township will see how much people do care about trucker’s health and expedites the process or at least does something positive.  “This is the cold and flu season and trucker’s need medical care now!”  Filbert says, “We have to get this clinic open so we can provide those truckers that care.”


The Great White Fathers

By Sandy Long

When the United States first conquered the American Indians, they first used military tactics to do so, then they used ‘paternalism’ to totally subjugate them.  What is paternalism; freedictionary.com defines it as “the attitude or policy of a government or other authority that manages the affairs of a country, company, community, etc., in the manner of a father, especially in usurping individual responsibility and the liberty of choice.”

Using paternalistic tactics, the United States government herded the Indians into reservations, took away the Indian’s means of farming or hunting to provide for themselves, forced the children into government run schools to be Americanized and provided the food for the Indians on the reservations.  This demoralized the Indian people and made them completely dependent on the Great White Fathers in Washington to survive.  It was also the testing ground of tactics for the government to use against the rest of the American population if necessary to exert control over them.

Up to around 1870, America was still primarily an agricultural society, but with the technological age coming to the fore, people had more leisure time to become aware of what the government was doing thru increased media exposure, more and more people started to protest what the government was doing.  In addition, more people were living in cities where overcrowding, lack of jobs, racial tensions and political graft were prevalent leading to rioting.  The government, by the early 1900s had to do something; the nanny state was born.

The first real nanny law was enacted in 1920 when the Prohibition Act was put in force.  Banning the sale and use of alcohol was the focus of this law, but it was also thought to enhance morals.  During the length of this law until its repeal in 1933, the exact opposite occurred.  Many young women raised their skirt hems, cut their hair and became sexually active without the benefit of marriage.  Criminal activity increased substantially with the growth of liquor drinking, smuggling and manufacturing in secret; this led to the growth of gangster activity culminating during the depression when bank robbing increased exponentially. The Volstead Act was said by Herbert Hoover, “the great social and economic experiment, noble in motive and far reaching in purpose did not work.”

The government looked at how they had enacted the Volstead Act and learned from their mistakes.  If something were completely banned, people would actually increase their usage or finds ways to get around the ban.  The government realized that instead of banning a specific habit or action, for the supposed good of the population, it was better to indoctrinate people to the so-called risks of said habits or actions. The government started using false studies and sensationalism and then passed laws incrementally to change behavior to benefit the government and control the population, of course always saying that the government only has the best interests of the people in mind.

This became standard procedure and perfected as seen in the smoking issue.  Tobacco use started in the Americas and spread throughout the world during the 1700s.  Tobacco farming was a staple in the Midwestern/central east coast agricultural economy for two hundred years.  In the late 1950’s, it was noticed that there was an increase in lung disease in people who smoked.  Other factors at the time were not considered and the government started out with a notice on cigarettes that they might be hazardous to one’s health.  Then the government started their anti-smoking campaign recognizing that revenue could be generated from smokers through increased taxes on the product.  Study after study was done, paid for by the government and special interest groups, and lawyers fought in court intensifying the sensationalistic attention given to the issue culminating in turning many people against people who smoke; this even to the extent that children turned against their parents over smoking.

The government now has their tactics down pat.  American citizens would fall for anything if promoted and sensationalized right.  Law after law has now been passed ‘for the good of the people’ when in actuality the people’s rights and freedoms have been eroded.  From the All American Blogger.com “Do you see how one law, written for our own good, can lead to others written for our own good that, instead of protecting our rights, infringe on our rights?  Again, going back to the comment from…, he shows how one law leads to another.  We already have seat belt laws, so why not have helmet laws?  We already have laws against trans-fat, so why not outlaw fried food?  We already have laws against pot, so why not alcohol?”

This quote found at AllAmericanBlogger.com says it all, “…when the law, by means of its necessary agent, force, imposes upon men a regulation of labor, a method or a subject of education, a religious faith or creed ”then the law is no longer negative; it acts positively upon people.  It substitutes the will of the legislators for their own wills, the initiative of the legislator for their own initiatives.  When this happens, the people no longer need to discuss, to compare, and to plan ahead, the law does all this for them.  Intelligence becomes a useless prop for the people; they cease to be men; they lose their personality, their liberty, their property…anonymous.”

Therein lays the rub, the removal of Americans’ liberty and freedom.  As the Indians found to their dismay, The Great White Fathers in Washington D.C. are abusive parents and do not have the people’s best interests at heart.  Instead, they only have their own agendas at heart, the removal of freedom and the control and of the American People.  The Great White Fathers speak with forked tongue.










Wanted: Oil for Squeaky Tin Man

One of the proudest moments in trucking history was when OOIDA members and thousands of other truckers voiced their opposition to the Mexican Border Pilot Program several years ago and brought it to a screeching halt.  Truckers jammed email inboxes, switchboards and mailboxes of senators and congressmen throughout Washington D.C.  While recent activity by the president and congress has allowed the program to restart, for that one glorious time, truckers came together and accomplished their goal. 

Before the above though, and sadly after, truckers seem not able to agree as a whole to anything, strikes are spoken of, but die due to lack of interest and of course the legal ramifications of striking are great.    Comment sections on proposed rule makings by the FMCSA remain thinly used other than by special interest groups and a few die-hard activists in the industry.  Truckers mainly do not think about how a new rule or regulation will affect their brother or sister drivers only about how it will affect them.  At OOIDA, who is the only lobbying association for American truck drivers, member numbers remain stagnant because people cannot see the bigger picture that OOIDA has and is working for and truckers remain divided by their niche in the industry and their personal opinions and agendas. 

Politicians depend on the diversity of truckers and their lack of cohesiveness to pass regulation after regulation to tamp down the ability of the American trucker to survive.  The politicians know that truckers for the most part go about their isolated lives and rarely do more than bitch and moan about a new rule or regulation.  The politicians both state and federal also know that more regulations means more money from the cash cow of trucking for their state or the federal coffers either by fines or by being able to grow the size of government and get more money from special interest groups.  Furthermore, by supporting special interest groups by regulating the trucking industry with their bad image, politicians gain favor in the public’s eyes that are taught to fear truckers and be re-elected to office.

There are roughly 3.5 million commercial drivers in America; the noise that they could make would wake the wicked witch of the west from the dead if they all spoke together against the injustice dealt them in overwhelming regulations and company policies that are unhealthy, unsafe, or detrimental to the driver.  The deck is stacked against a strike being allowed to happen and history shows strikes ineffective, but there are other ways to garner the attention of the powers that be.

Learn to look at any issue with an open mind and consider how it will affect all drivers, not just you.

Register to vote if you are not already and then vote.

Join OOIDA, the dues are only $25.00 for the first year and $45.00 after that.  With membership, you receive some good benefits; easily keep up with political issues that affect you as a driver and you can add your voice to others’ to be heard clearly in Washington D.C.  There is power in numbers.

Put in your comments to proposed rule making during the comments time.  The FMCSA does not make this easy, if you do not understand how to do this, OOIDA or any number of trucker activists can assist you.

Write, call, or email your representatives about any issue concerning trucking.  Be pleasant and civil, precise in your writing and clear in your position.  Always mention that you are a voter, include your full name, address and contact information.  (You do not have to be a published author to be effective in contacting you representatives, just talk to them as you would want them to talk to you and be clear.)

Educate yourself about the facts of an issue, leave the sensationalism out and then help educate other drivers; stick to the facts and encourage the other drivers to become involved.

The rusty squeaky tin man got oiled, Dorothy conquered the wicked witch to reach the Wizard and went home, the lion roared and truckers can get things done to stop the madness of overwhelming regulations if they stick together and speak out clearly and loudly.  It worked once it can work again; truckers just have to squeak loudly enough.
















Fat and Lazy? Yeah, Right!

Starting back in the mid 1800’s, dieting, as we now know it started.  From Diet Blog.com:  “Historians trace the origins of a modern conception of dieting to two 19th century figures: Rev. Sylvester Graham (1795-1851), a New Jersey preacher, and William Banting (1797 – 1878), a London undertaker.

You may never have heard of Rev. Graham, but chances are that you’ll be familiar with his dieting invention: the Graham cracker. Perhaps the first diet food, the Graham cracker was made from flour that was unsifted and didn’t have additives (refined white bread was becoming popular with the middle-classes during the 19th century, who could afford to buy it). Graham saw white bread as nutritionally poor, and he and his followers, the Grahamites, eschewed it – again, we can see the roots of modern diet advice back in the 19th century.  Graham believed in a strict vegetarian and teetotal diet, and saw diet primarily as a means to control sexual urges.

William Banting, by contrast, was interested in diet for the same reason as most dieters today are: he wanted to lose weight. In 1863, he wrote a pamphlet, Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public. His diet plan, based on advice given to him by a doctor, featured:

Four meals a day, consisting of protein, greens, fruits, and dry wine.

Avoiding starch and sugars.

Milk, butter and meat were all permitted.”


Since then the diet industry has grown into a multi-billion dollar business.  Reports abound about the so-called USA’s obesity epidemic, one can follow the money trail.  From News Medical .com:  “ Xavier Pi-Sunyer, who has also received significant funding from the makers of anti-obesity drugs and is currently promoting anti-obesity drug Acomplia made by Sanofi, chaired a key National Institutes of Health obesity panel, which in 1998 instantly cast 30 million Americans into the “overweight” category by changing the government’s definition. That group includes presently “overweight” stars like Will Smith, Pierce Brosnan, Tom Brady, Kobe Bryant, and even (former)President Bush.”

It has become common for obese people to be stereotyped as lazy, lacking will, unhealthy and other slurs to their character.  In reality, there are many causes for obesity from genetic/heredity to other medical conditions such as stress and depression. 

From DrShop.com: “There does appear to be at least an association between heredity and obesity. In a well-known study regarding this issue, adults who were adopted as children were found to have body weights closer to those of their biological parents than their adoptive parents, suggesting that their genetic makeup had more influence on their body weight (and the incidence of obesity) compared to the environment in their adoptive family’s home.

A person’s risk of developing morbid obesity is often heavily influenced by psychological factors. Boredom, depression, anxiety, stress, trauma (whether as an adult or child), and feelings of low self-esteem are examples of psychological factors that could result in an individual’s overeating and under-exercising. Although the psychological aspect of morbid obesity can be difficult to overcome, it is not impossible. Merely identifying the psychological problems can help an individual greatly in his or her understanding of the basis of overeating.

Illnesses can also lead to morbid obesity. Some of these include hypothyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome, depression, and other neurological problems. The use of steroids and certain antidepressants can also lead to weight gain.”

Another aspect of the current trend to think of people as obese is the examples found in the media.  From Usatoday.com: “It’s not surprising that women want to be slender and beautiful, because as a society “we know more about women who look good than we know about women who do good,” says Audrey Brashich, a former teen model and author of All Made Up: A Girl’s Guide to Seeing Through Celebrity Hype and Celebrating Real Beauty…As a culture, we are on a first-name basis with women like Paris Hilton or Nicole Richie,” she says. “The most celebrated, recognizable women today are famous primarily for being thin and pretty, while women who are actually changing the world remain comparatively invisible. Most of us have a harder time naming women of other accomplishments.” The idolizing of models, stars and other celebrities is not going to change “until pop culture changes the women it celebrates and focuses on.”

As far as an obese person being thought lazy, this is patently a false assumption.  For example, look at the adult Amish women who work from dawn to dusk doing manual, physical chores.  Almost all of them are considered medically obese yet work hard. 

In relation to trucking, it is seen in the above that there are many job related factors such as boredom, stress, anxiety and low self-esteem that can enter into a driver not meeting the artificial insurance height weight charts.  Add in long hours, little support from friends and/or peers, constant worry about regulations that might unfairly affect them; a driver might tend to overeat or have a metabolism that promotes his/her body into turning even healthy food into fat.

In no way can any successful driver be thought of as lazy.  The average miles per year for a solo driver are over 125,000 miles a year and if a driver does not produce, they do not last long as a driver.   By stereotyping a driver, or anyone else for that matter, who may be overweight, as lazy, unhealthy or not having will power does not do anything but buy into the prevalent and sometimes erroneous media, governmental and diet industry propaganda.  It is not helping the actual obese person; it is hurting them by adding to their stress levels and perhaps low self-esteem.