Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Disappearing of the "Troublemaker"

As I'm doing research yesterday, I come across quite an interesting tidbit. I was reading an interview done with Alejandro Morales, author of The Brick People. He was being asked how he approaches his writing? He was talking about how he tries to do research or simply just by talking to people, and hearing their stories, which in turn give him an idea that evolves into a story. He gives an example of a man he spoke to who said that he remembered that at one point Chicanos were disappearing. Morales asked him, what he meant? The man told him that he and his sons disappeared or better yet were made to disappear when they were placed in a hospital for a year under the pretense that they had a disease that required medical attention. The man said he later found out, that in reality they were keeping him and his sons there, because they were labeled radicals. I believe they were labor organizers, which apparently was radical. Morales said he was thinking of that scenario for a story, the interview was done back in 1998, so for all I know he already wrote that story, I haven't followed up. But what was really of interest for me was the disappearing of Xicanos who were being interned in hospitals for being politicized. I can't remember what decade this occurred in, but it wouldn't be surprising if it was in the 50's or 60's.

A few months back, I saw the film Changeling (based on a true story) starring Angelina Jolie, and directed by Clint Eastwood. Something similar occurs in that film. I'll try not to drop too many spoilers, but Jolie takes on the lapd, and ends up placed in a psych ward. Since the psych ward's director works in cahoots with the police department she is kept there without any questions asked. It's a film which is just as much about women's civil rights as it is about the abuse of power. I also saw something similar occur in season 2 of American Horror Story, wherein a reporter is looking to write an exposé on the inner workings of a psych ward. In order to prevent the reporter from publishing her article, the director (a nun) of the ward manages to have the reporter locked up in the ward, for being a lesbian.

It's one of those things upon reading that just sends shivers up your spine. It's not to say that I've been naive to this type governmental abuse of power, in order to shut down enemies of the state. It is to say that it could happen and no one would ever know, because it can be done with a pretense to "cure" a person of an illness, be it physical or mental. No one would know, no one would ask, and if they did know, they might become inadvertent pawns of the government's schemes.

What's worst is that at times this occurs without the need for different agencies to scheme with each other, sometimes the agencies work in cahoots with each other without it even being intended. A person is put in the system and can be labeled and all of a sudden everyone who encounters that person from the police department to any type of social service agency stands in judgement of that person and somehow traps that person in a web they can't get out of. Leading to the person being in a hopeless situation where they might feel like giving up on themselves, on the system, or on life.

A kid can be in school, gets into a fistfight, and is automatically suspended and labeled a "troublemaker." From there the kid gets sent to the office by the teacher for talking in class, because he sees as a "troublemaker" because the school suspended him for a fight. Therefore after "x" amount of offenses the "troublemaker," is expelled because the school has a zero tolerance for someone labeled a "troublemaker." The "troublemaker" has friends that are gang members, and because the city has a zero tolerance ordinance for gang membership or even if you have and hang out with friends in gangs, the police pick up the "troublemaker," for hanging out with his gang member friends. He goes to jail, gets a fine, gets out. Now as he walks down the street, the cops that cruise his neighborhood, remember him as the "troublemaker," see he was expelled from school, try to harass him into reacting so they can arrest or assault him. The "troublemaker" tries to apply for jobs, but has a hard time getting one, because his school and police department say he's a "troublemaker." The "troublemaker" finds some solace in reading circles that discuss Xicano ideology and literature. The "troublemaker" becomes more involved with some of the people that like to organize for the community. The police department just sees bleeding heart liberals, along with the town's/city's politicking machine, in they're point of view they're all just a bunch of "trouble making radicals." Next thing you know the "troublemaker" disappears along with a few of the other organizers. The "troublemaker" is told he has a disease that has infiltrated his brain, called the "Dontfuckwithus," so rare, yet so treatable is this disease that the only way to cure it is through anal probes that would make aliens blush. The "troublemaker," is worried about his mama, because he vanished, so he's sure she's worried to death. The "troublemaker" pleads with the hospital administrators to let him call his mama to at least let her know he's alive. The administration finds a new cure for his case of the "Dontfuckwithus" disease, they tell him he must sign a waiver pleading that he is in actuality suffering from a case of politicized dementia and must admit to being a "trouble making radical" for which he'll spend 6 months to 25 years of his life in a maximum security prison. All he has to do is sign the waiver, and he gets to call his mama, and then he gets cured of the "Dontfuckwithus," while in a prison cell. The "troublemaker," signs, tells his mother he's going to a super max prison, and that he'll be fine. The "troublemaker," realizes his whole life belongs to the system ever since that schoolyard fight, and was therefore labeled "troublemaker," he tries to be optimistic but realizes he has been thoroughly fucked his entire life. The "troublemaker" hangs himself in his cell. A few days later after his family hears about his death, his younger brother gets into a schoolyard fight, because the campus has a zero tolerance policy for fighting, he gets suspended and in his file, the word "troublemaker" is stamped in bold black ink.

 If I don't post next week, they made me disappear too.


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