OUR CURRENT STATE OF EMERGENCY, AND IDEAS FOR ALLEVIATING IT LOCALLY
I believe it was Sunday, March 15th, that our President Trump declared that we are at an unprecedented time in our history, and declared a national day of prayer.
While we have not been immune from the coronavirus, and some Americans have lost their lives, it seems that the steps we have taken to minimize the impact of the virus have helped to mitigate it's impact so far.
I agree with President Trump, which is something I am sometimes able to do. We are at an unprecedented time in our history, globally. As we are locally and globally putting government, religious, non-profit, recreational, and commercial activities on hold to protect our shared health and safety, I hope we take this time to consider who we want to be on the other side of this.
Our nation and our local county have been suffering from failures of constitutional proportions for some time now. I do not believe the United States is alone in that. I believe we need to acknowledge what so many people have been warning us of for so long. Humanity is on the cusp of a global emergency that we could choose to avoid.
In a fairly recent google search, I learned that globally twice as many people are being born each day in comparison with the number of people who die each day. In my lifetime (I am 50 years old), I believe our global population has doubled.
While our population has doubled, our focus on “economic growth” and prolonging “conflicts” between us have caused the sacrifice of our woodlands, lands, orchards, waters, gardens, and pastures. Agriculture is not our heritage. Tending gardens, orchards, woodlands, pastures, and livestock throughout our history has been a responsibility we have shared, and it has also provided for our real needs.
Globally, we know that climate change happens. We occasionally find civilizations underground or under seas. We should not be sacrificing our good lands and waters for the develop of industries in order to generate dollars that do not meet our real needs. Our waters and air are polluted as a result of overtaxing them. That causes real challenges to our health and safety.
I honestly believe that as peoples, we are only piling stress upon stress on ourselves running around and using our resources to get to and from jobs that don't need to be done, hoping to earn dollars that might provide us with a measure of safety and security. Dollars won't do that. Bytes won't do that.
When we are managing ourselves to our true sustenance and health, the dollars and bytes may have a place. Neither will clean our waters, clean our airs, or feed our physical, emotional, or spiritual needs. Neither will in and of themselves improve our quality of life. We have known that for a long time.
Managing our families and our communities to our true sustenance could significantly reduce our overall stress in a short period of time, which could significantly reduce health problems over the longer term.
One of the positive things that came out of China's and Italy's attempts to minimize the impact of the coronavirus was the near alleviation of a notable pollution problem in a short period of time according to satellite pictures. It may be that here in America we will see the same thing as we suspend some of our less necessary activities and start putting our energy into activities that are more important to our shared health and safety.
Fruits, trees, vegetables, and grains require a certain amount of space to grow. Even vegetables and flowers grown hydroponically, such as at Disney, require a certain amount of space. Livestock do not only live to feed us. Animals and fish also require space, sustenance, and clean air or water to live healthy lives in their own seasons.
I am confident that we have more than enough buildings and basic infrastructure in place to support our real needs, locally and globally. We can refocus our energy, and the education of our children, towards actually improving the quality of our lives by better caring for ourselves, one another, and our shared portion of creation.
We could ensure that every one of us has access to clean water, clean air, healthy food, safe shelter, clean energy, appropriate clothing, and appropriate medical care. That includes developing our ability to sustain those basic needs as locally as we are able to, and with renewable energy, understanding that many of those basic needs can be challenged by natural disasters.
In Fairfax County, some of the places that I believe we could spring forward from include the infrastructure we have in place that had been established for our public and private school systems. Our churches might also to share their infrastructure. Churches often have their own kitchens, and churches have a long history of meeting food and clothing needs in the community.
While many schools are currently providing meals to children and families in need, the schools could also become epicenters for each school district to work towards providing basic needs for everyone in the district. For example, people with the expertise to test our water at the taps, and the air in our buildings, meet and train at local schools. Within each district, they could then test at each facility and residence. People with the expertise to make repairs when plumbing or air problems are found could do the same, as could people with the expertise to ensure safe power supplies.
Public schools typically have a nurses' office, which could handle routine and medical care for minor health problems within the school district.
School infrastructure could also become epicenters for working towards local sustainability within each district. People who have the expertise to grown and tend gardens, tend livestock, manage waterways, or manage wildlife, could teach members of the local community, including our children. From there decisions could be made within each district on how to re-establish our real needs locally. Schools could be epicenters for the distribution of local nut and fruit trees, seeds and seedlings, to reestablish agriculture in the local communities.
As we let go of the constrictions of managing our real needs to economies, we may well recognize that we have a lot of building infrastructure devoted to finances that could be repurposed, and a lot of good peoples who would rather be a part of improving our real quality of life rather than tending to our finances.
Each school district could make decisions about re-purposing buildings and lands to meet the real needs of the community. Our elected Fairfax County Board of Supervisors could be a touch point for community agreements, sharing successes, and managing real resources.
In Fairfax County, I believe it costs on average about $1,250 per pupil per month to educate our children in the public school. For my two children, it costs notably more to educate them in the public school than I earn as an auto parts courier.
On the flip side of that, I read in recent years that nationally our publicly schooled children are able to perform less well academically as the years go by. Suicide rates had risen enough for the Fairfax Times to publish an article of concern a couple years back, and the rates rose the older children grew in the public school setting.
That should not surprise us given a callousness to the prevention of child abuse and neglect by school staff (which I have personally witnessed), given that some teachers in public school sexually, mentally, or physically mistreat children (reported occasionally in the news), given a publicized increase in gun violence at schools nationwide over the years, given that people target children at our schools for the sale of illicit drugs, given that salesman target our schools for products and services that do not contribute to the health and safety of our children or our community, and given that schools will continue to discourage home instruction programs as they overcrowd public schools (which I have personally witnessed).
After 8 or more years of public school education, many children are graduating without the skills, values, and knowledge to be contributing members of our society, and without a sense of what their good purpose is. The same can be said of many college graduates. I reached out to a couple of universities years ago suggesting that they work towards becoming self-sustaining with clean water and healthy food on campus as part of their required curriculum. They could then be a strong force to do the same wherever they settled after university.
I believe our public school system has lost a meaningful role in the care, education, and upbringing of our children. Public school infrastructure could have a crucial role in meeting our children's, and our community's, real needs moving forward from this national and local emergency.
I had also reached out to a local gym before the the gym closures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Human energy is renewable. I did not get a response from them on partnering with the manufacturers of fitness equipment to harness that energy. People spend money to use exercise equipment at fitness facilities for their health and fitness. I am confident in Fairfax County we have the expertise between us to come up with solutions to also harness that energy for our power needs. People are already capturing solar power to batteries that can then be taken to other locations to provide a power source.
Some parents prefer to work, and want teachers to educate their children because a good teacher is much better at teaching than an average parent. We can still have good teachers who set up classes and care for our community's children, perhaps accommodating the actual schedules of working families. Classes could be designed to solve real life problems as students mature, and to provide courses in math, science, health, agriculture, and trade skills that are relevant to our real needs.
I believe it is critical, as a community of peoples, that we take this time to reflect on who we want to be and what our values are. I believe within all of our shared histories we remember many bold and principled people who have acted in good faith towards global safety and security within difficult, and often violent, circumstances.
I believe we all actually do understand that we are at our moment in history to step up to fulfill that good faith. Having seen the good we can do on the way to fulfilling good faith, I want to see the even more good we can do as peoples once it is fulfilled.
I believe our God is like good parents, who direct different words, disciplines, skills, and teachings to different children at different times in order to grow a healthy, strong, and loving family.
I believe when we set our collective will to do something, we can accomplish a lot in a short amount of time.
FAIRFAX COUNTY PARTICULARLY
Here in Fairfax County, budgets have been inflated over the years to create jobs that are not being done appropriately, that do not need to be done, or that would not need to be done in the absence of actually restraining domestic, family, and community violence. I am not just saying that. I have been on the other side of that.
I initiated a legal separation from my children's father because of domestic and family violence he committed against me and my children on 4/28/2011. With all of the resources we have to prevent domestic violence, and to prevent child abuse and neglect, the outcome of that separation has been heartbreaking. My children have been ordered to be raised unsupervised with him. I have not been able to spend a single day with my children since 11/3/2011, and only about 40 hours in person with them between 11/3/2011 and 12/17/2013. I was ordered not to have any contact with them on 9/29/2014, and my right to have information about them was taken on 6/16/16. I was a stay-at-home and homeschooling parent, working towards providing child care and education services in the community. I lost my home, my children, and my career.
While we are managing ourselves to dollars, professionals responsible for the prevention of violence can come up with a myriad of excuses not to do so, influencing judges to believe that violence must not have occurred if the “professionals” do not recognize it. Those professionals include mental health professionals, police officers, school administrators, school superintendents, social workers, call center personnel, clerks of the court, staff at domestic relations, deputy sheriffs, staff at non-profit organizations, private attorneys, public defenders, assistant Commonwealth attorneys, guardian ad litems, judges, justices, teachers, child care providers, providers of special education services, and staff members at government agencies. Actually preventing domestic, family, and community violence would be detrimental to their incomes and headcounts.
Trying to manage ourselves to profits in dollars, or the creation of jobs, is a huge problem, and a huge burden on our society. The result compounds domestic and family violence with very forceful community violence.
Domestic, family, and community violence can be prevented and restrained with the resources and laws that we have in place, so that we can focus our attention on sharing the health, safety, and security that our constitutions were intended to provide us.
I am trying to get the local court to recognize that protective orders are a good place to start. Putting several layers of people between a victim or a witness to a crime and a judge who can enter an order to prevent it, can interfere with the judge having the information necessary to enter an effective order. The circuit court currently does not provide residents with the legal right to safely ask for a temporary protective order that can be served to violent individuals at the same time as notice to them of a more complete hearing. I am asking the Supreme Court of Virginia to compel the circuit court to provide for residents of Fairfax County to exercise that legal right provided to us by both law and constitution.
In recent years, I have witnessed law enforcement spend a lot of time doing tasks that are not necessary for our shared protection, to include frequently responding in groups to non-emergency situations. Once a protective order has been served, police officers and the judicial could pro-actively ensure the protective orders are effectively restraining violence. They could make sure that violent offenders are abiding by the terms of the order, and not committing further crimes against other members of our community. They could make sure the protected parties are staying safe within the orders.
When we are not able to protect ourselves from domestic, family, or community violence, we need to have access to the legal rights afforded to us by law to help us restrain that violence in the interest of our shared safety and security.
A person who is unwilling to restrain from violence within a protective order could then be referred to our criminal justice system. In my experience, that system is currently tolerating some unconstitutional treatment of charged, arrested, and incarcerated people. Our constitutional officers, including attorneys, clerks, and law enforcement can do a better job of protecting our constitutional values within the work they do.
More serious examples of managing ourselves to dollars can include unnecessary medical treatments or surgeries that can do harm, but ensure the economic feasibility of a medical practice. They can include fabricating problems in order to sell solutions. The lists go on and on when the dollars are the focus instead of a means to a good end.
After the birth of my daughter and a round of vaccinations, my son fell into some behavioral problems. I sought out advice for how to help him alleviate them, and implemented a “coin” system. Basically, when he did something that was good for himself or our family, he would get a plastic coin. If he did something opposed to that, he might lose a coin. The coins added up to real dollars at a certain point, which he could spend on things in the real world. If he behaved violently, he might lose all the coins he had collected.
Ultimately, I believe the “coin” system was important to get him to the point of doing more good things for himself and his family, as well as in his community. Once he saw the natural repercussions of doing good things for himself and his family and community, we were able to let go of the “coin” system altogether.
Health, safety, and happiness truly are their own rewards.
NATIONALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY
I believe it is also relevant here to note that human migration has happened for as long as there have been humans. Our winter is South America's summer, and our summer is South America's winter. We have enough history to recognize that human migration is often a good thing all around in season.
Constitutionally speaking, no State shall “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Human migration is a natural phenomena with the seasons. Here in the states, it is common for people to spend the winters up north, and travel south for the winter.
Creating jobs that commit community violence against our constitutional values is an example on the federal level of what me and my children have experienced in my family here in Fairfax County. It ultimately protects chronic violence by not recognizing and restraining the true source of it. We might remember that as we restrain actual domestic, family, and community violence more effectively.
The alternatives to putting our attention back on the basics, and restraining violence more reasonably and effectively, is avoidable. I believe we have enough of what we need as we are tending and sharing our resources in good faith, even in a season of climate change. The alternatives would likely include continuing to compete over resources rather than sharing them. I think we have enough shared history to recognize that we do not want more of the stress of that kind of competition, when we can simply be better caretakers of one another and of the good lands and waters we have to support our shared safety, security, sustenance, and joy.
Alternatives to fulfilling good faith, while we have doubled our population as humans, would probably also include more domestic, family, and community violence, more civil wars, and more world wars that might control our populations through violence against one another, and would also continue to sacrifice even more of the lands and waters we are graced to have for our sustenance and joy. I believe our state, our nation, and our globe have had enough experience of that to know that we don't want it anymore.
Let's fulfill the good faith that so many have encouraged, and suffered for, before us. Let's improve the overall quality of our lives, and teach our children the values, morals, skills, and proper use of our natural resources to maintain a higher quality of life moving forward.
I would like to see us wake up to the better world we could be a part of.
Kristin Lynn Burns