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.

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

Fatigue

by Sandy Long

We are hearing more and more about driver fatigue as being epidemic in the trucking industry.  Sleep apnea is the disease de jour that is being blamed for our so-called fatigue and there is a current push to make more regulations addressing our health due to fatigue beyond the HOS.  This even though fatigue is not listed as causing accidents except in very rare cases.  Fatigue has many causes.

MedlinePlus Medical Dictionary defines fatigue as; “Fatigue is different from drowsiness. In general, drowsiness is feeling the need to sleep, while fatigue is a lack of energy and motivation. Drowsiness and apathy (a feeling of indifference or not caring about what happens) can be symptoms of fatigue.  Fatigue can be a normal and important response to physical exertion, emotional stress, boredom, or lack of sleep. However, it can also be a nonspecific sign of a more serious psychological or physical disorder.”

“Our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry, frustration and resentment.” Dale Carnegie (1888-1955).

Truck drivers are faced with great worry due to the dangerousness of our jobs, stress added from family, shippers, receivers, and traffic.  We are commonly frustrated by traffic jams, road construction, and unreasonable appointment times and hold ups due to weather.  We often resent not only all of the above fatigue causers, but also dispatchers and brokers, waiting unpaid at docks or for loads and because we are not home when we want to be.  Is it any wonder we are fatigued?

“Men weary as much of not doing the things they want to do as of doing the things they do not want to do.”  Eric Hoffer (1902-1983).

We might get fatigued from doing things we enjoy.  We all know the feeling of fatigue that we feel after a long day enjoying our favorite hobbies, sports or exercise.   We might be fatigued after these things, but it is a happy, contented fatigue.  On the other hand, we all also know the fatigue that we feel in doing our job.  Having to sit and wait for a call on the cb radio for a door assignment for hours and not being able to take a nap or leave the truck even to use the facilities if they are even provided where we are can lead to major fatigue.  Then the fatigue leaves a bad taste and we exhibit irritability or a ‘don’t give a dern’ attitude.

People in any job or situation can experience fatigue, not only truckers.  How often have you taken a trip with your family where the kids are cranky, the spouse/partner left something at the house and the traffic is heavy.  When you arrive where you are going, you are no longer fatigued if everyone calms down.  Those of you who are not drivers most likely experience fatigue after a long day at the office only to find renewed energy when you walk out the door. It is the same with truckers, after we get away from that slow shipper or out of rush hour traffic, we find our second wind and energy….usually.

Some diseases can cause fatigue.  Medline Medical Dictionary cites the following as causing fatigue:  There are many possible physical and psychological causes of fatigue. Some of the more common are:

An allergy that leads to hay fever or asthma

Anemia (including iron deficiency anemia)

Depression or grief

Persistent pain

Sleep disorders such as ongoing insomnia, obstructive sleep apnea, or narcolepsy

Underactive thyroid or overactive thyroid

Use of alcohol or illegal drugs like cocaine, especially with regular use

Fatigue can also accompany the following illnesses:

Addison’s disease

Anorexia or other eating disorders

Arthritis, including juvenile rheumatoid arthritis

Autoimmune diseases such as lupus

Cancer

Chronic liver or kidney disease

Congestive heart failure

Diabetes

Infection, especially one that takes a long time to recover from or treat such as

bacterial endocarditis (infection of the heart muscle or valves), parasitic infections, AIDS, tuberculosis, and mononucleosis

Malnutrition

Certain medications may also cause drowsiness or fatigue, including antihistamines for allergies, blood pressure medicines, sleeping pills, steroids, and diuretics.

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a condition that starts with flu-like symptoms and lasts for 6 months or more. All other possible causes of fatigue are eliminated before this diagnosis is made. Little relieves CFS, including rest.

If you are experiencing fatigue without knowing why, check with your doctor and get it checked out.  It may just be dealing with our day-to-day work situations, or it may be something that can be corrected.  Either way, fatigue is a big issue now in trucking.

Ya’ll be safe!

 

 

 

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!

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking Behind the Curtain to See the Wizard of Oz: The Brainwashing of American Truckers and Others

At carnivals, in seconds smooth talking agents convince someone that they can win that huge, expensive prize for $1.00 by pulling a string.  It is not that the mark is stupid; it is that the agent is a master at brainwashing even if it is only long enough to get the mark’s money.  Promises of great advantage or disadvantage are the hallmark of brainwashing.

In the trucking industry, about 35-40 years ago, the systematic destruction of the trucker’s image started.  People went in droves to see movies like Smokey and the Bandit (1977) and stayed home to watch B.J. and the Bear (1978-1981).  Both the movie and the T.V. show depicted truckers as outlaws who drank, drove crazily and fought the law.  This culminated during those years in ABC doing a 20/20 story called Killer Truck Drivers.  The reporters went out and interviewed truckers who were laid over for the weekend and partying, needless to say, it was an ugly report.

During the late 1970’s and 80’s continuing to today, study after study has blackened the truck driver’s image.  Driving while fatigued, wanting to hurt other drivers of cars, taking drugs, drinking while driving, excessive body mass, being a driver with disabilities, being unhealthy and being serial killers are attributed to truck drivers.  Of course, the American truck driver is very unsafe too.  Media reports rarely point out that it was a pickup truck that caused an accident, they use the generic ‘truck’ instead, misleading people into thinking it was a semi involved. 

The agencies who regulate trucking, and some associations, too are to blame for the destruction of trucker’s images and brainwashing the public.  The people at the agency who have little or no actual trucking experience and no understanding of the job, sit in their offices and listen to people who have been taught to be afraid of truckers then make unreasonable rules and regulations.  Or in the case of some associations, the association back rules and regulations which favor them to increase their bottom line.

People outside of the industry have eaten up this sensationalistic nonsense and have become brainwashed to the realities.  Sadly, many people who have entered the industry in the last 20 years or so too have listened to and read the stories, bought into the sensationalism and have become brainwashed.  Both truckers and non-truckers support more and more regulations concerning the trucking industry because they will not be affected, they think, so they back the regulation to get those ‘bad truckers’ off of the road.

The latest shot across the bow of truck drivers was the NTSB’s suggestion that cell phone use in any fashion while driving be banned.  While at this time, this is just a suggestion, the second one since 2006, with the current trend to punish all truckers for the actions of a very small minority, and the director of the DOT Ray LaHood supporting the ban of distracted driving for truckers, the FMCSA will most likely act upon it.  Even though the study done at the bequest of the DOT by Virginia Tech shows that cell phone use is not the risk it is made out to be, many people including truckers are all for supporting the ban.

The same scenario played out during the flack over body mass index.  People have been brainwashed by decades of diet industry propaganda into thinking that heavy people are lazy, unhealthy and should be thin like models shown in newspapers and other media.  Playing on this brainwashing, and funding from the diet industry and the medical manufacturing sector, people supported forced dieting, sleep studies and even not allowing truckers to drive without using a machine that may or may not be necessary…and then there are the companies who chose to use BMI as a reason not to hire someone.

The types of brainwashing cited above are not as innocuous as the opening paragraph where a mark is only taken for his/her money at a carnival.  The latter examples are insidious and border on bigotry by artificially dividing people for obscure or governmental reasons and causing hate for others only to further restrict another person.  These tactics are a form of control and used to dominate a population eventually; Hitler used brainwashing to great effect, as do others such as communist countries.

Are you brainwashed?  Everyone is to some extent; one buys a certain soap because of an advertisement or asks a doctor for some specific medicine because of being told it will cure what ails them.  Are you brainwashed to the extent of believing exactly what you read or hear and using what you supposedly have learned to take away rights for others who have done nothing illegal?  If so, remember Pastor Niemoller and what he had to say after WWII…

“THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

THEN THEY CAME for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

At some point, something will come up that WILL affect you directly; you had better hope that someone stands up for you who is not brainwashed against you and who believes in the rights of others.

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overcoming the Past

Many of us ladies entering or who are in the trucking industry didn’t start out at 21 as truckers. Most of us come from another career, marriages and relationships both good and bad, poverty situations and some even have suffered abuse from parents, spouses and partners. A lot of us have grown children and have had to overcome family objections to us becoming truckers, some of the objections strenuous, from our kids, parents, spouses and friends. Many of us carry a lot of internal emotional baggage with us on the road. Overcoming it can be a real chore, but is necessary to succeed.

Women who carry emotional baggage tend to get stuck in what I call ‘victim mode’. These are the women who have survived abuses or tremendously bad situations. Some may have self esteem issues due to their size or looks and cannot see their own inner beauty so because they may have had bad experiences with other’s comments, actions and attitudes, they tend to think that everyone will treat them the same way…badly.

These perpetual victims are easy to spot, they are the women who walk with their heads down, and slump shouldered, who won’t even reply when someone says ‘good morning’. They tend to dress poorly, park in isolated places and hesitate to ask for help even if they really need it.

Little do they know that they are making themselves a bigger target for more bad things to happen to them. Criminals look for these types because it is obvious that they will most likely not defend themselves and because of never looking around, they are not aware of their surroundings. Men who use women go after these types also, knowing that most of these women are desperate for love and a little affection even though it may not appear that way to a non using type of man.

Being a perpetual victim is bad for your work too. You might find it hard to accept responsibility when you do something wrong, instead blaming everyone and everything else for it. Also, because you expect everyone to treat you badly, you might allow your supervisors and clerks to take advantage of you by expecting you to run illegally, or not get you home when you ask. It may be hard for you to take pride in doing the job well.

Overcoming the baggage that we carry is hard. First you have to admit to carrying the baggage. We tend to bury those bad experiences and don’t admit there is a problem from them. It takes a lot of courage to look at one’s self honestly and objectively, but necessary. One way to do this is by making lists of all of your good points then going over it with a best friend, you will find that you have missed a lot of the good points you have. Then make a list of your bad points and again, go over it honestly with your best friend, you may find that you have fewer than you thought.

These lists will assist you in identifying areas that you need to work on…such as attitude, bad habits, choosing a partner, work ethics etc. Sounds easy does it not? It is, if you are totally honest with yourself. The lists will assist you in building some self esteem too. You will see that you are not the terrible person that some might have told you that you were and as you work on your bad points, your good point list will grow. Of course you have to accept that you will never be perfect…but you sure can improve to near it.

If we carry too much baggage and cram too much ‘stuff’ into our emotional suitcases, we put ourselves at risk of that suitcase popping open at some time. This can lead to our over stressing while doing our stressful jobs, or becoming too emotional in dealing with everyday problems. It can lead to health related issues such as heart attack, high blood pressure and diabetes along with mental health issues…none of which is going to be good for you or your career as a driver.

Dealing with what has happened in the past can jump up and distract you in those wee hours of the day when you have too much time to think. Instead of keeping those incidences packed away, deal with them when you are sitting still and can feel the emotions that you have not allowed yourself to feel, accept responsibility for your part of whatever is bothering you, assign the rest to whomever else was involved, forgive yourself and them if you can, and let it go. Otherwise you will continue to be a victim and have overburdened suitcases to deal with when you least want to.

Furthermore, remember; you have chosen trucking as a career. YOU made the decision. That took courage and determination. Somewhere inside, you have strengths that may be hidden in plain site. Use that strength to overcome the past and make your whole life better, take pride in being a lady driver and know that not every woman has what it takes to do the job…that makes you special and unique.

Ya’ll be safe out there!