Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Letter 19 - The Burning of Baltimore


As I have watched the city of Baltimore burn over the past two days, once again displaying images of a savage and uncivilized United States across international media outlets across the globe, I decided that there are some issues here that are worthy of discussion for you.  It is quite evident as I write this that the United States is quite polarized concerning economic capital, political views and race, and the question often forms in my mind whether that polarization will continue to deepen, as it is at times obviously purposely incited by media and other outlets, or whether American society will develop methods, reform or reformations to relieve and deescalate polarization and better society by the time your children are born and raised.

The current rioting and destruction in Baltimore is loosely based on the death of a 25 year-old black American male named Freddy Gray.  While I do not place much stock in main stream American media, on April 21 2015 ABC reported a timeline of events pertaining to the arrest, and eventual death, of Freddy Gray:

“Sunday, April 12 8:39 a.m.: Police said officers were working in a West Baltimore area with a history of violence and drug deals, and a man, later identified as Gray, was seen at the corner of North Avenue and Mount Street.  The officers approached the man, who then fled on foot, but the reason for the approach remains a part of the ongoing police investigation, police said.  8:40 a.m.: A police officer was heard telling dispatch that officers had one person at 1700 Presbury Street, two blocks south of North and Mount, police said.  8:42 a.m.: A “wagon,” or van, was requested for transport, according to Baltimore police, and that Gray asked for an inhaler.  8:46 a.m.: The driver of the van believes Gray is acting “irate,” police say. An officer asks the van to stop so the paperwork can be completed, according to Baltimore police. At this point, Gray is taken out of the vehicle, placed in leg irons and then put back in the van, police said.  8:54 a.m.: The vehicle cleared Mount Street, heading toward central booking, police said.  8:59 a.m.: A request was made by the driver of the van for an additional "unit" to check on Gray, police say. There was some undisclosed communication with Gray at this point.  9:23 a.m.: Emergency medical services directed a technician to respond for an injured patient, as heard on a recording of the call that was publicly released.  9:24 a.m.: Police officers requested paramedics to the Western District to transport the man to an area hospital. In a subsequent charging document, police said, “During transport to Western District via wagon transport the Defendant suffered a medical emergency and was immediately transported to Shock Trauma."  9:37 a.m.: On-scene medical responders said Gray was not breathing, according to EMS reports. Thursday, April 16: Gray was said to be in a coma by his attorney.   Sunday, April 19:  7:00 a.m.: Gray died. A vigil has been scheduled for this evening and the six officers involved have all been placed on paid leave.” [1]

The first problem with this scenario is that the officers involved were suspended “with” pay.  If there was enough evidence to suspend an officer of law, then “with pay” should not have been an option.  It should never be an option when police break the law, when police commit sexual assault, or when police break the trust placed in them by the state and the people.  They are to serve the people, not oppress, extort, injure or take advantage of the people.  I understand the extremely difficult and dangerous situations that American police deal with on a daily basis and I respect the majority of them for it, as there are horrible elements of humanity in our society, but at the same time when a human is invested with the power to take a another’s freedom, has taken an oath to uphold law and justice and to protect the masses, and even hold the legal position take another person’s life (if the situation warrants it)….I believe that police officers should be held to the highest level of penalty for any unjust or illegal actions whether that is corruption or excessive brutality, any other infringement or civilized law or against basic universal human rights.  We have seen various cases of police brutality and outright police murder (Oscar Scott’s murder comes to mind) over the past decades, and we have also seen an increase in hostility and mistrust toward all police elements from vast percentages of minority communities in America, most specifically by the young and disenfranchised.  While there are indeed negative issues within police departments throughout the United States, there are also major social problems in the culture of the United States and we, as Americans, have yet to truly look in the mirror and assess our current condition with rationale, with realization of the negative trends we have developed, and react to improve ourselves.

The cell phone video footage taken by a witness of the Freddy Gray arrest doesn’t seem to begin with the original ‘suspect’ apprehension point and there is a verbal mention of Gray being tasered prior to the beginning of the footage by the person filming the footage.  Either the footage started after the apprehension point or main stream media is misrepresenting the footage, in which I am unable to offer an opinion.

The information on how Gray’s neck was broken, ultimately causing his death, has not been officially released (and we may never know the truth of what happened).  He looked functional on the original entry into the arrest van during the film footage, but there is also mention in the ABC report of Gray being removed from the van after an act of being irate, having leg restraints applied and placed back into the van.  Could the broken neck have occurred at that point, possibly due to police throwing him back in, or at the original time of apprehension?  There is a possibility that those facts will never be known in truthful entirety.  Gray has a long list of arrests, some of which were typical under the private sector-profiting “war on drugs” while a few of the arrests show a negative trend toward self- and community destruction.

Gray Arrest Record:

“March 20, 2015: Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance.  March 13, 2015: Malicious destruction of property, second-degree assault.  January 20, 2015: Fourth-degree burglary, trespassing.  January 14, 2015: Possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute.  December 31, 2014: Possession of narcotics with intent to distribute.  December 14, 2014: Possession of a controlled dangerous substance.  August 31, 2014: Illegal gambling, trespassing.  January 25, 2014: Possession of marijuana.  September 28, 2013: Distribution of narcotics, unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance, second-degree assault, second-degree escape.  April 13, 2012: Possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute, unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance, violation of probation.  July 16, 2008: Possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession with intent to distribute.  March 28, 2008: Unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance.  March 14, 2008: Possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to manufacture and distribute.  February 11, 2008: Unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of a controlled dangerous substance.  August 29, 2007: Possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute, violation of probation.  August 28, 2007: Possession of marijuana.  August 23, 2007: False statement to a peace officer, unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance.  July 16, 2007: Possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute, unlawful possession of a controlled dangerous substance (2 counts).” [Maryland Department of Justice]

The Isolation Process and the War on Drugs:

Let’s analyze a few things concerning these reported arrests.  If Freddy Gray was 25 in 2015, that places him at approximately 17 at the time of his first reported arrest.  Was this another lower economic young man influenced by glamorized Hollywood images such as ‘The Wire’ or modern so-called Hip Hop?  We do not know, because we did not know him as an individual person, nor in reality would we probably want to due to his recorded history.  But there are some things we can study here.  I tell you now and from experience that drugs, whether one’s opinion on whether drugs are harmless or bad, are a sure shot way to closing opportunities for advancement in society, becoming isolated from advancement in society and an eventual destination inside the private prison system or the grave.  When the police make mention of ‘high drug areas’, they usually are referring to lower economic areas.  Yet, our young men in this country are foolish, uneducated and often influenced by the self-destructive so-called entertainment industry to think they can carry drugs in public or in automobiles at all hours of the night (which will eventually result in a random police stop and arrest).  It doesn’t matter what people think.  Drugs are illegal in this republic, and nothing good can come of being arrested for drug possession or distribution.  The largest misconception by young people in the United Sates is that they have been hoodwinked into thinking that they live in a free country.  There is no such thing, and certainly not in the United States.  Yes, you can make choices that people in other countries are not allowed to make, like will I work today or not, or will I go to the bar tonight or visit my kids, but you are not free as no society throughout history has ever been free of laws and structure.  How do drug arrests impact society and individuals of lower economic society?  You must study the so-called war on drugs that was implemented in the early 1980s.  This was a massive privatization scheme aimed to develop private prison systems on the stock market and has advanced over the past three decades into a massive laundering process of taxpayer’s money into private sector coffers.  The private sector prison system basically works as follows:  At some point during the late 1980s, individual states stopped building state owned prison systems and privately owned prison systems began to rapidly increase in number, while tougher drug law sentences were implemented across the United States.  As drug arrest incarcerations began to spike, the state prison systems could not house the inflow of inmates (under tougher drug sentences and a growing population) and individual states were required to house the increasing overflow of detainees in private prison facilities instead of overcrowded state facilities at maximum levels.  The state, using taxpayer dollars, were required to pay the private sector prison corporations for each inmate housed and fed in those private prisons (per day).  The so-called war on drugs and the private prison system in the United States is something that should be mercilessly taught to the children of lower economic communities and all American youth.  As the United States continues to compile an unrealistic amount of national debt (due to domestic policies of subsistence, excessive DOD spending, and two of the most expensive nation-building processes in history (Iraq and Afghanistan)), recent trends of incarcerating non-violent criminals for drug related charges have been drastically loosened because the individual states are unable to afford such high incarceration levels at private sector pricing under trickle down budget cuts.  One last point concerning the so-called war on drugs is that a high incarceration rate in the United States actually diminishes the true unemployment rate in the United States, as it is actually much higher than statistics show.  The prison industry itself creates jobs.

Gray’s arrest record, if accurate, shows an increase in criminal activity that begins with narcotics and ends in 2015 with alleged burglary and assault (not that the circumstances of those events are documented to my knowledge).  Perhaps this young man was one of the many socially and economically isolated young men in society with no technical skills, no education, and a criminal record and was facing hopeless circumstances.  Maybe he was simply an uncivilized thug.  The point of this letter is not to judge, but to discuss and learn from.  We have talked about the importance of technical skills and/or trade skills in previous conversations, and this is one of the most important forms of value for a person in society that possesses no capital.  Remember that in a capitalist society, one must have capital to generate capital….and a person with no capital only has his own labor to generate capital.  When considering education, it is not the degree or the systematic process that is important.  Self-education is a vital process to develop one’s understanding of society and sociology, history and current events, political systems and processes, capital, and many other areas which dictate a person’s thoughts, actions, goals and planning.  If a person only listens to self-destructive rap music or watches dancing with the Stars, that person’s thought process will be just as shallow or self-destructive as those things that he or she concentrates on.  Out of all areas within the United States, it is the lower economic communities that should be engaged in self-education and determination…as self-education not only improves oneself, but their children through the knowledge of the parent.  It is difficult to break a vicious cycle because when a parent is uneducated or uninvolved, a child is left vulnerable to the next negative cycle development.  Last, but not least, the arrest record.  All people, especially the young male or female in society, make mistakes and bad judgments in life under various circumstances, but continual degradation of situation and risk further isolates a person with each arrest until finally there is no possibility of a future left.

The Futility of Destruction and True Value:

Over the past few days, violence has erupted in the city of Baltimore and buildings burned to the ground.  Indeed, the corporate advertisers have been extremely happy as the nation has tuned in to the national news networks to watch the destruction.  Similar to Ferguson and other areas that have erupted in violence, original peaceful protests were at some point aggravated into violence which began to channel and release deeply rooted anger, resentment and outrage over social, racial and economic conditions that exist in American cities.  Internet supporters of the Baltimore violence claim that the violence will get national attention that will bring needed change to these pent up issues, but I disagree with these sentiments.  Burning down buildings in a community only hurts that community, and many people in the American black community have openly voiced this common sense.  One problem that should be identified with this realization is that when the sentiment is stated that “the rioting and looting is only destroying black communities”, it hints at taking the destruction to other communities and that simply points to a much larger racial divide than may be in existence.  The size of the racial divide in the United States is a topic up for debate, and I will not engage it in this letter, but I often see a great promise in what the United States could someday be.  At the same time, I would be a liar if I said I have not come across statements of hatred from white Americans, as well as black Americans.  In any case, the destruction of community during rioting has many flaws and is not a form of power in my opinion.  First, when you burn businesses to the ground it takes services and jobs from the community.  In Baltimore, a CVS was burned to the ground.  The owners of the CVS were not “taught a lesson of power” by this destruction nor did it hurt the state establishment in any manner, as it is common sense that those businesses are fully insured.  The corporate owner will be paid in full through an insurance claim for that particular destroyed store and will probably choose not to re-open in that area, utilizing his capital to a better area of town.  What many American people do not realize is that when a lower economic community is riddled with drugs, violence and crime….these negative elements assist in capital flight (meaning a draining of remaining capital in that particular lower economic community).  Businesses close down and do not re-open, which results in job loss and less taxation to be reinvested into the community, streets, schools), and no intelligent business owner is going to open a new business and create jobs in a high crime area outside of liquor shops or pawn shops, and even those businesses that were possibly foreign owned have American insurance policies in case of destruction.  What else was senselessly destroyed in Baltimore?  A laundry mat was destroyed, which was probably pretty important in a lower economic community for those without a washing machine.  A senior center for old people was burned and destroyed (man, rioters, way to stick it to the man on that one!).  Apartment buildings were destroyed (in which the people who lived there now have no place to live any longer, but the building owners have insurance).  Lastly, there is the subject of looting and stealing from those destroyed stores and this lack of discipline is what separates the individualistic United States from states like Egypt, whose people united peacefully to remove a dictator from power during the original Arab Spring.  It seems that in America, no true cause can be undertaken by the people before a good majority of people begin looting and grappling for individual gain (like the animalistic images from the annual Black Friday at Wal-Mart).  What has been occurring in Baltimore is simply destruction and the sad part about it is that it is incited and carried out by those that have no true understanding of the destruction, no desire to improve society during times of calm, and no historical knowledge of Frederick Douglass, Benjamin Banneker , George Washington Carver, WEB DeBois, the evolution of Malcolm X after Mecca, the speeches of King, Harriet Jacobs, the various economic and political levels of American slavery and American segregation and the ramifications of those periods, or any of the other great peoples that changed history for the better by rising up and reforming the system with the goal of bettering society in a positive manner.  There are those that have recently made statements such as “people power”, but mass violence (the hurting of others) and the mass destruction of communities is not power.  Knowledge of self and knowledge of one’s surrounding systems will open avenues of power and positive reform within the system.  Self-education is true power and creates more value in self-determination than any materials that can be purchased from capital, or destroyed.

[1] Katherine Faulders.  2015.  Timeline of How Freddie Gray's Arrest Unfolded in Baltimore a Week Before His Death.  ABC News, April 21, 2015.  http://abcnews.go.com/US/timeline-freddie-grays-arrest-unfolded-baltimore-week-death/story?id=30479617

 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Letter 18 – Khadijah’s Fourth Birthday Message


Letter 18 – Khadijah’s Fourth Birthday Message

Khadijah, today our family had the privilege of watching you begin your fifth year in this world as you turned four years of age.  Feeling your excitement and happiness is something that no one can take from your mother and me, and your older sister and younger brother (even though he managed to get you and your mother kicked out of the movie theatre half way through the movie you went to see).  The few toys and gifts that you received will fade from your memory, only to be briefly revived later in life through a photo or two, but I wrote several specific words on your birthday card that I want to briefly discuss in this letter.

Family.  Do not ever forget to put your family first in this world.  The five of us will only be together for a limited time and each day we are together is a gift.  Yes, there will be times when you disagree and get frustrated with your brother and older sister, but in this world family is the one area of trust that you can never allow to become deteriorated regardless of the area.  Many families in this society break up and there are many cases of parents who put their individual wants and desires before their families.  This is a sad phenomenon.  Loyalty to family is vital, and loyalty to your children, to include any sacrifice, is a human responsibility that has, in many modern cases, been forgotten.  Your mother created you, carried you in her protecting and nourishing womb, taught you your earliest lessons in education and cared for you each day.   You owe it to her to care for her and protect her in her old age.  For my part, you owe your father the oath that you will always learn from and help your older sister and look after, provide advice and protect your little brother to the best of your ability.  There is no excuse for negligence in this matter.  I charge your brother and sister with the same oaths toward you.  There should never be a split between you three siblings no matter the miles or the differences at hand.

God.  I don’t think that it will be a secret to you that your father has studied organized religion and religious history in-depth and, due to the various historical discrepancies and hypocrisies, stands opposed to organized religion as it is a control mechanism for the fearful and uneducated.  At the same time, your father is a monotheist who believes in a higher power and a higher structure that from a human perspective is incomprehensible.  The wonders of the world are simply too magnificent to be a random reaction based off an explosion of matter or non-matter.  No man has died and returned to verify anything that organized religion teaches, and the authors of scripture are unknown (outside of the Quran which was memorized by early Muslims, but brings up another debatable discussion of New Testament teachings mixed into the teaching of early Islam).  You must choose your own ideology concerning God or religion during your path through life, but I encourage you to study and apply critical thought instead of sheepishly ingesting what is blindly told to you by so-called religious leaders.  Some of the greatest corruption on the planet occurs within organized religion, and some of the greatest devils in the world hide behind religion.   I give awe to God, as sometimes I think how if one minute factor had gone differently during certain events in my life, that you and your brother would not exist.  I am unable to even image a world without you, your sister and your brother.  And I give all thanks to God for you children and your mother.

Dedication.  Whatever goals develop within your life experience, you must dedicate yourself to them if you want to achieve them.  With dedication, anything is possible especially with someone that possesses your intelligence level.  Yes, you are only four…but I can see the intelligence level in your DNA and in your behavior.  I can also see stubbornness, which if channeled in a positive manner can become a very powerful characteristic.  Dedication will span almost everything in life, from dedication to your family to dedication to self, as well as your pursuits in life.  Many people make the mistake of taking this life as simple recreation instead of working hard to build great things and achieving positive accomplishments, regardless of the size of those positive accomplishments.  Do not wander idly through your years.

Goals.  Goals are vital, whether short-term or long-term.  Your short term goals will help you reach and surpass your long term goals.  I would advise you to develop the process of always keeping short-term goals in front of you while pursuing long-term goals.  At the time of this letter, you are still very young….but eventually you will begin to develop passions.  I will tell you from experience that you can become great at anything if you plan properly, set goals and dedicate yourself to accomplishing your planned goals.  When you look around within the pursuit fields of your selections and see those that are better, more educated, faster, stronger, more experienced or whatever….ask yourself “why not me”?  Keep in mind that capital will always play a part in your pursuits, as there will always be those with more capital that can invest more economically into pursuits than you might be able to….but dedication to your goals and consistent work ethics can counter that advantage.  Anything is possible for you and that is the honest truth.  It is not simply a cliche.  You can do anything that you set your mind and goals toward.

Ethics and Morals.  Ethics and morals are important, young princess.  The world you live in has continuously seen ethical and moral degradation in each decade since I was born.  Many people have no morals or ethics in dealing with each other, and many people in this nation have been indoctrinated to worship at the altar of greed, hatred, lust and ultra-individualism.  Stay detached from these idol-worshippers and their baseless dramas, as these devils will only detour you from positive advancement and you will become morally corrupted the longer you associate with them.  Deal honestly and respectfully with those that are honest and respectful to you, and keep your distance from those whose priorities are materialistic and individual in nature.  Do not be lazy or idol.  Work consistently and productively in order to become a woman that can be relied upon, but do not lower your ethics or morals on behalf of someone who is only concerned with regenerating profits or chasing individualism.  You must learn to be a student of the human element, and in this manner a person who becomes accurate in reading people’s true characters.  Remember, people are never going to show you who they really are upon meeting them.  You have to read them through their words and actions to decipher what type of person they truly are, and this process takes much longer than a few simple encounters.

Self-Reliance.  Self-Reliance is one of the most important areas for discussion.  Build yourself into a strong woman, with education and strong ethics, and a woman that does not have to rely on anyone, especially a husband or benefactor.  While I hope that you find a quality husband and father one day (in the far away future), remember what I stated previously in that society has degenerated each decade for almost a half-century now and there is no telling what society will resemble in two or three decades.  Every day on the news there are reports of abusive husbands beating their wives, emotionally weak husbands murdering their wives, girlfriends or entire families and then killing themselves.  There is more emotional instability behind men than might be assumed.  There are also many, many deadbeat men in this world that have no ethics, no vision and no plan for advancement, and when placed in an ultra-capitalistic society can easily become isolated from productivity.  By establishing yourself as a self-reliant woman, you will never find yourself dependent on anyone who might place you in a dangerous or a negative position, nor a destructive position.  Expect the best out of yourself and humanity, but always prepare yourself for worst case scenarios.  I wish you happiness and I truly hope you can find a husband and start a family with as much happiness, love and respect as your mother and I currently enjoy, but not everything in life is like the princess storybooks and you must become self-reliant in order to prevent dependence.  Being forced to depend on another person, regardless of who it is, limits your freedom of choices in life and your causes restraints on life options.  Ensure that when you engage in a relationship in this world that it is, and always remains, an equal partnership based on mutual respect and shared goals.  Television romances, without strong foundations, can only last so long and men that are overly individualistic are often victims of their base individual desires and fears, physically and emotionally.

Strength.  This is not a world for the weak.  Train yourself to be strong mentally, physically and emotionally.  Again, education and history will make you strong mentally and protect you from falsehoods and misconceptions.  My advice to you if that once you begin educating yourself that you never cease to continuously read and study faucets of history or current events, even if it is two pages a day.  I feel such shame when I witness people that remain engulfed in meaningless video games or reality television shows about meaningless foolery.  Physical strength will allow you to protect yourself, along with proper weapons training which I plan to provide you and your older sister with.  Too many women are attacked in this world by scoundrels or devils, and you must always watch your surroundings and be sociologically aware of your surroundings.  Of course, most sexual assaults are implemented by perpetrators that the victims know or are associated with.  I have warned your older sister multiple times that if she ever drinks alcohol when she is older, that she better stay away from hard liquor and drink moderately because for a female to drink and black out (pass out), she is leaving herself vulnerable to be raped or worse.  It is not an easy topic for discussion, but a topic that I would be a foolish father not to discuss.  You must also be strong and disciplined emotionally, which I believe you will certainly become.  This is not to say that you can’t have emotions, as human emotions are one of the incredible factors of humanity and the human element.  At the same time, in this society, you should not wear your emotions on your sleeve or on your face where they are easily readable, nor should you ever let emotions dictate your actions without first thinking heavily on the situation and rationally analyzing your options.  When your emotions are obvious to everyone, your enemy or competition will be able to see and understand when you are flustered or frustrated, sad or giddy.  It is sad to say this, but in a society filled with ultra-individualism and individual enslavement to base desires….it is highly recommended to guard yourself emotionally and keep others guessing your mindset and/or emotional state until those people have earned your trust.  Do not give others an advantage in taking advantage of you or your position.  Interestingly enough, in an ultra-individualist society…if you remain stoic while watching and listening, those around you will generally tell (or display to) you everything that you will need to know in order to understand whether that person is righteous, moral and genuine…or whether they are devilish or a mindless sheep.  You have natural strength and potential in all three areas, but your mother and I must properly train you in mastering your emotions.  Emotions placed in the proper context can be an extremely positive attribute that drives you to accomplish great things in your life, but they can also debilitate you or cause you to act irrationally.  If God wills it, you will be properly taught by your mother and me.  If not….this is why I began writing these letters in the first place, may they someday reach you.

Planning.  Plan properly in everything you do, whether this is economically, academically, professionally or socially.  There is much more of a percentage chance for success with a plan in place, which is coupled by the categories of goals and self-discipline, than simply winging your pursuits and hoping everything falls into place randomly.  A single random act might occur, but 11 random acts will more than likely not occur.  No great woman simply showed up at NASA or the WNBA, or became a university professor or a leader, who did not strategically plan her short term and long term goals and dedicate herself to those pursuits using strong work ethics.

Modesty.  There is nothing attractive about an immodest woman, but todays so-called entertainment industry has succeeded in mass marketing and producing glamorous images of so-called feminism that have women all across the nation walking around half-naked, calling each other bitches, fighting like savage animals other nothing, and twerking their asses for chump change.  Modesty is a quality that is irreplaceable in a woman, a daughter, a sister and a mother.  I can only reflect back to the category of self-reliance, known as self-worth, when I speak on modesty.  Women who rely solely on their bodies, physical looks or sex appeal will eventually get old and wither.  Beautiful flowers are beautiful for only so long before the everlasting circle of life occurs, so develop great qualities within yourself that will substantiate your mind, soul and body for an entire life.  A human Barbie doll with no knowledge and the inability to thinking critically is a horrible thing after beauty fades, and the skin hardens and the body sags.  There is nothing more pathetic than a hollow-minded man or woman…..nothing.  Build your knowledge every day and establish yourself as a great woman of value, both in your young beautiful days and later in your final decades, to those around you and your future family (if God will it).  By building your mind, you will never allow yourself to just be valued for your flesh.

Confidence. Be confident, young lady.  There is no reason to ever under-estimate yourself.  Will you be perfect in this world?  Not even close.  You will stumbled, fall and fail on more than one occasion.  It is what you do in those periods of challenge that will evolve you into the woman that you will become.  Again, do not wear your emotions on your sleeve.  Should people attack you verbally or socially, remain tacit and attack back sharper with a confidence of invulnerability.  While their shots may hurt, never show it and retaliate in like manner.  Ultra-individualists are often the most insecure people there are, and you will most often see them in packs because they fear standing on their own.  I have watched your older sister walk into volleyball gyms across the United States with no fear on her face, while other players (trying to hide their fear and insecurities) travel in packs.  I give her respect for that, and you should talk to her about that someday because it took her time and effort to develop her confidence to a point where she no longer cared what others thought.  It was not an easy road, and it will never be an easy road….but once you understand exactly how strong you are, and who you are, and you develop self-confidence, negative and base individuals will never be able to infiltrate your mindset or fluster your pursuits.  In the United States, while anti-bullying seems to be the current trend, there will also be females that will attempt to resort to social attacks and even violence (most of the time in packs, because they are too insecure to come at you one on one).  Your father doesn’t not support meaningless violence, but like Malcolm X….I support violence under self-defense against anyone who attempts to endanger your person or your family.  May you never find yourself in such a position, and may you always be able to deal directly with others in a civilized manner, but prepare yourself in the case that you do.  Carry yourself with humility, modesty and confidence.  When you fail or make mistakes, learn from them and enhance your confidence with those experiences for the future.

Respect.  It is proper to always treat people with respect, and to disassociate yourself from those who do not give you the respect you deserve.  Remember that respect is an earned commodity, never given.  When it comes to family, you will always respect your family.  I do not ever want to ever hear about you disrespecting your mother or raising a hand against her.  It is your responsibility to give respect to your mother and siblings, and conduct yourself in such strong manner in this world that people have no choice but to show you respect.

Education.  I will only talk briefly on education here, because I touched on it briefly in a previous paragraph.  Whether formal or informal, it is most beneficial to be engaged in continuous learning throughout your life.  If someday you have children, you must be educated enough to pass knowledge to them as I am trying to do for you, your sister and your brother.  Education, whether formal or informal, enhances a person’s mental and social capabilities, and strengthens their substance as a civilized human being.

Understanding.  Understand where you came from, who you are and what is truly important.  Understand where your mother and father came from.  Never forget the paths that have led you to where you currently stand in life.  I am confident that you will be a thinker, as I see your thinking and rationalizing at your current young age.  May God protect you and guide you.  I will hold you, and play with you, and let you climb on me for as long as I can before you grow into a woman and engage in this beautiful, amazing, but brutal world.