Aug. 28th, 2017

Aran Moves

Aug. 28th, 2017 10:32 am
stevenpiziks: (Default)
While I was in Ireland, Aran texted me.  The Section 8 apartment complex in Ypsilanti had a vacancy and they'd approved him for a place to live.  He could move in the Friday after we got back.

Whoa.

Aran had applied for an apartment at this place--the same complex Sasha lives in--several weeks ago, and was told he had to go on the waiting list.  There were three people ahead of him, and the complex couldn't--wouldn't--estimate when they might have an opening.  I figured it would be months or even a year.  It turned out to be weeks.

This spot is ideal, really.  It's near Darwin's office and in the same complex as Sasha, so we have a clump of family all in the same area.  There's a Kroger Aran can transfer to so he can keep his job.  Aran already knows Ypsilanti, so he won't have to learn a new city.  Cool!

This touched off a flurry of . . . everything.  When we got home from Ireland, we had to prep.  Aran needed a number of things, of course.  Kala took Aran out to hunt for garage sale finds, and since Darwin and I had combined households, we had a bunch of stuff already that he could have.  Some stuff we'd have to buy, but we didn't want to buy very much, since anything we bought would have to be moved down to Ypsilanti.  Easier to move him in, and buy stuff down there.

Moving Day was complicated by the fact that Max was long scheduled to have his wisdom teeth removed the same day.  It was further complicated by the fact the Darwin and I both got bad colds and we felt awful.  Everything was happening at once!  Kala came up to take Max to the surgeon while I went with Aran to Ypsilanti. We loaded up both our cars with a lot of his stuff and drove down.

At the complex, Aran signed a barrage of paperwork, handed over a check, and was pleased to get his keys.  Ta da!  It turned out his apartment was two floors directly above Sasha's!  Sasha came down, and we all hauled stuff into Aran's place.  Then Aran and I went furniture shopping at Ikea.  We found him an inexpensive (if small) couch and a bedstead.  Aran and I put the couch together, and by now it was 4:30.  I was exhausted and sick, and I decided we needed to go back home.  Aran was also tired, so we did.

Back home, Max was recovering from the surgery (more on that later) and Darwin came home from work, feeling as crappy as I did.  Kala decided to spend the night at our place to help the next day.

Saturday, we loaded the rest of Aran's things into our cars.  This was tricky--he had a dresser and a desk--but the desk's legs telescoped, making it much shorter, and we had a furniture dolly for the dresser.  Everything finally got loaded and we headed down again.

It turned out we were missing a section of the bed, so Darwin and I popped up to Ikea to get it.  We also got a mattress for it.  Meanwhile, Kala helped Aran unpack most of his apartment.  (Max was well enough to stay home by himself.)  The bedstead, like most of these things from Ikea, was insanely complicated to assemble, and the thought of doing so made me shake, but Kala and Darwin, who are much better at these things than I am, volunteered to do it while I took Aran shopping for the final things he needed.  Win-win!

I took Aran to Target for a few more apartment things and then to Kroger for groceries.  This latter considerable time, since he needed =everything.=  But eventually we got it done and hauled many, many bags to his apartment, arriving just as Kala and Darwin were finishing the bedstead.  We all spent more time putting everything away.  In the end, there was nothing left but assembling electronics and ordering the strange odds and ends that really only the owner of the apartment can deal with.  It was time to go.

Kala and I were stalling.  We both knew it.  We didn't want to leave Aran there.  We're both worried about him.  Can he handle everything?  Will he be okay?  Even though I knew I'd be back to deal with various issues, including his job, I was worried and unhappy.  I know it's normal for parents to think about such things, but autism throws another dimension into them. 

But we said good-bye.  Aran, as usual, was perfunctory about it.  We left, and both Kala and I were teary-eyed as we walked toward the elevator.  Darwin stayed silent about it.

Moments after we left, we learned, Aran ran a Facebook Live session on his phone.  Like young people everywhere, he was happy to be in his own space and not the least bit bothered.
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Max's orthodontist recommended that he be evaluated for wisdom teeth extraction.  He's not even 16 yet, and this seemed young to me, but I took him to an oral surgeon, who said they should come out.  So we scheduled it to happen a couple weeks before school starts so he'd have time to recover.

In the interim, as I noted on my blog before, Aran was abruptly given clearance to move into an apartment on the same day as Max's surgery. 

We couldn't reschedule the apartment.  I didn't want to reschedule the surgery.  Chances were, we'd have to do it after school started, and that would be more complicated and difficult for everyone.  I called Kala and said she could either help Aran move or take Max to surgery.  Mysteriously, she chose the latter.  :)

Max was nervous about it all, but went in just fine.  Kala kept me updated with texts.  When we got back from Aran's apartment, he was already recovered from anesthesia and on pain meds.  He wouldn't keep ice on his face, though, and I predicted more swelling.

He got it.  The next day, his face was markedly rounder, though if you didn't know him, you wouldn't know.  You'd just think he had a round face.  The swelling has been steadily going away, and he takes the pain meds.  He seems to be doing just fine.

And now he doesn't have to have this done later!
stevenpiziks: (Default)
I see a lot of discussion about whether it's a good idea to use--or just be =ready= to use--violence against Nazis and other white supremacists.  Anti-violence people want to take the way of Gandhi: no violence ever.

Those who know me may be surprised to hear that I think it's foolish to avoid violence.  Violence works.

Violence is sometimes the best way to end a conflict, and the threat of violence can stop a conflict from beginning.  I know as a teacher I'm required to say that school children should avoid hitting bullies, but you know what?  Sometimes the fastest way to stop a bully is to punch one in the face. 

When we first moved to Wherever with Aran, no one in school knew him.  He was a six-foot tall seventh grader who had odd mannerisms and speech patterns.  A kid on Aran's bus took it on himself to bully Aran about it.  (Why the hell anyone would bully someone who's more than a foot taller than they are, I don't know.)  The kid bugged Aran and bugged him and bugged him.  Nothing Aran said would stop him.  Finally, Aran hit his break point and smashed him in the face in full view of a bunch of other kids.  The kids stared.  The bully scrambled away.  No one ever bullied Aran again for the rest of his school career in Wherever.

This is the way bullies operate.  They go after people they think are smaller, weaker, or otherwise less powerful than they are.  They go after such people because they figure such people won't hurt them.  I can hit you all I want, and you won't do a damn thing.

Nazis and white supremacists are extreme bullies.  They go after minority groups they perceive as weak or ineffective.

You'll notice that under the Obama administration, Nazis and supremacists didn't say much.  They didn't march much.  But under bully Trump, they've become bolder.  They figure no one will hurt them.  They've started their shouting and demonstrating and the GOP in charge isn't saying anything against them, which makes them bolder.  This is how the Nazi party got going in Germany.

Words don't stop these people.  Words do nothing at all.  They see people who use words as weak, wimpy, and soft, people they can bulldoze right over.  And they have.  Trump has helped them.  Words won't get these people to change their minds, either.  By the time they're so hyped up that they're out on the street demonstrating, they're past the point of persuasion.

There's only one way to stop them.

The police use it.  When a demonstration gets out of hand, the police have no compunctions about breaking out the hoses, night sticks, and pepper spray.  Violence.  Though this didn't help poor Heather Meyer.

The kid who bullied Aran stopped because he knew if he continued, he'd get physical pain.  It was the only language he understood.  It's sad, but true.  Nazis and supremacists are exactly the same.  They understand violence.  They understand pain.  They want to dish it out, but when it comes to taking it, they'll flee.  Why?  Because, just like Aran's bully, Nazis and supremacists only pick on people they perceive as weak.  And for them, "weak" means "non-violent."  If they know a group will hit them, punch them, smash them, they'll slink away--or not even show up in the first place.  This is why the anti-Nazis and anti-supremacists should be perfectly willing to use their own methods against them.  It's a powerful method that works.

The anti-violencers have said that using violence only gives the alt-right protesters a grievance.  The alt-right will claim they've been unjustly hurt by those awful left-wingers and antifa people. 

This is a ridiculous argument.  The Nazis and supremacists ALREADY believe they're victims of the left.  They ALREADY think the left has been hitting them.  Just listen to Fox "News" for ten minutes.  The victim mentality of the right becomes apparent within seconds.  America has become anti-Christian, anti-white, anti-man, they moan.  We're going to disappear!  They're hurting us!  They're crushing us!  There's nothing the left, including the antifa, can do that will change this mentality.  Look at the scenarios this way:

1. NO VIOLENCE FROM THE LEFT: The right continue to bitch and moan about how they've been victimized by the left, and Nazis demonstrate in the street, unmolested.

2.  VIOLENCE FROM THE LEFT: The right continue to bitch and moan about how they've been victimized by the left, and Nazis think twice before demonstrating.

Which one is better?  The right will bitch no matter what.  At least with #2, we shut up the Nazis.

The anti-violencers like to say that violence drives the Nazis and supremacists underground.  We need to keep them out in the open, where we can see them and know who they are.

No.

Nazis who are out in the open, demonstrating in the streets, are automatically granted a certain legitimacy.  They're recognized as a movement.  People who are on the fence or who might keep quiet about their Nazi views are encouraged to open up about them, perhaps demonstrate themselves, swell the ranks.  The Nazis become BOLD.  They ACT instead of just demonstrate, as Heather Meyer tragically discovered.  An open movement receives support.  It expands and grows more easily.  How would Hitler and his new Nazis have taken over Germany if they had remained a small underground movement?  Answer: they would not have done it.  They would have faded away and died.

An underground movement is harder to find.  People who have vague feelings of sympathy for it don't know where to get to it or find like-minded people.  They have hunt for it, take risks to find it, rather than just walk down the street or turn on the news.  An underground group remains smaller, less powerful.  If you don't believe it, ask yourself how much you knew about American Nazis until two months ago.  The fact that you're reading this blog says quite a lot.

The gay community has benefited from coming out of the underground.  LGBT people demonstrated in the streets, held parades, gave interviews on the news as neighbors, family, and co-workers, and started showing up as characters in movies, television, and in books.  It happened more and more and more, and LGBT people have become more accepted as a result.  LGBT people who were in the closet felt more comfortable about coming out and swelling the public ranks.  Straight people discovered they had friends, family, and co-workers who were LGBT, and more of them supported the LGBT movement.  We have a long ways to go, but we've made enormous strides forward in the last 20 years.  And it all happened because of VISIBILITY.

This is a positive.  However, Nazis and white supremacists are now trying to use the same strategy.  Become more visible, swell the ranks, become more accepted.

How different would world history be if anti-Nazi supporters had used a little violence against Hitler and his ilk back when they were small and just getting started?  How different would the world be if a town had smacked up Mussolini back when he only had 100 supporters?  Gandhi may have gotten the British out of India--eventually--but his methods wouldn't have been able to stop World War II.

If Nazis and supremacists know they run the risk of having their signs shoved up their asses the moment they starting heiling Trump, they'll back off.  They'll stay underground. 

If the bullies know their target isn't weak, they'll slink away.  Aran's bully knew this.  And so do we.

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