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Through the Looking Glass

PSTD IN THE PRESS:

The United States Census Bureau recorded the population number at 316.1 million as of 2013. Of more than 2.3 million veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, approximately 460,000, (20 percent), have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Findings from the National Vietnam Veterans’ Readjustment Study confirms one out of every five is the astonishing prevalence of PTSD in said military officials and troops.

Experiencing trauma doesn’t automatically give someone PTSD. In fact, more than half of the nation’s population will experience trauma at some point. Of the entirety of the US population, about seven to eight percent have or will have PTSD at some point in their lives, according to the National Center for PTSD.

Mass media and the consistent coverage of PTSD increased awareness in recent years, specifically with regards to war veterans. It is true, as found in the National Center for PTSD, that intentional traumas, including combat, are more likely to cause this disorder; however, it is imperative to remember the infinite intentional trauma scenarios, (i.e. kidnapping, domestic violence, childhood abuse, etc.), unrelated to war veterans in order to prevent further stigmatization of said population and to stop overlooking the individuals that make up more than 93% of the population of persons with PTSD.

LIFE BEFORE MY DISABILITY:

The first thing I ever remember was the jar of translucent, red marbles. Each piece of glass had an intricate shape, and clouds passing in the sky, watching them kept my undivided attention. My mom used this fascination as an opportunity to see just how much she could teach her tiny toddler about numbers and mathematics.

The marbles, used as a visual aid, each represented one of my friends, as my mom explained. After a few problems of addition and subtraction, I remember the moment I understood what my mother meant by “two times two.” In that sitting, the hunch that I was different from most children my age was confirmed by my mother’s face; it contorted with complete astonishment as I grasped the concept of multiplication and division at the ridiculous age of two.

I attended school a year early, skipped second grade, participated in the gifted programs, yet I still wasn’t being challenged enough as a child. As I neared age 10 in late 2001, already overwhelmed by my parents’ recent divorce, the immense boredom from lack of stimulation became too much to take any longer.

THE STORY OF MY TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCE:

My parents decided to find a school that would better accommodate my needs for my fifth grade year of elementary school. After a series of academic testing sessions, I was accepted to attend a private school designed specifically to educate individuals who are either gifted learners, or are simply unable to learn in a traditional classroom setting.

Accelerated Schools, located in Olathe, Kan., included grades four through nine in the same classroom. One of the students who rode the same bus as myself was named Tyler, and even though I was barely in the double digits, my age didn’t stop his 14-year-old mind from creating a delusion of a relationship between us. This delusion would start with vulgar harassment, and unfortunately resulted in my rape as an innocent child, as well as the diagnosis of PTSD more than four years later.

DEALING WITH MY DIAGNOSIS:

Although I happen to be one of the lucky 50 percent of the individuals who have this disorder to actually be diagnosed with it, I treated the symptoms the only way I knew how for a very long time–by masking them with medicine. During the past five years, I lost the presence of myself as an individual as prescription drugs and the side effects they had on my behavior replaced my identity one part at a a time.

It was a little more than a year ago when I came to the realization I needed to decide whether to allow this disability to take complete control over my existence, or to take back the reins on my own life. On December 1st, 2013, I quit smoking cigarettes, lost 40 lbs. by February 1st, 2014, trained my dog, Tootsie, last spring to be my service animal, and even moved into an apartment without an roommate for the first time.

The steps I took before Fall semester of this school year were undoubtedly positive; however, PTSD itself is not treated with medication, only the symptoms it causes are. Because of this, when the condition is left untreated, it greatly worsens over time. I felt my self as a whole slip through my fingers as I hit rock bottom early in August of this year. It took me until the beginning of October to see beyond my pride and into the hypocrisy of my behavior versus my beliefs.

PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH:

I’ve represented myself as an advocacy journalist throughout college and the two years and counting that I’ve had this website because I truly do love to tell the public informative stories that give something back to help others and the community overall. It was the moment I thought about my audience that I realized how phony I was being, not only to myself, but to every individual I claim to represent on this blog.

With my career, credibility, and conscience all hanging in the balance, I decided to make a change for the better, seek improvement through self-exposure treatment to the things I have been avoiding for so many years, and to document the struggle along my path to happiness for all friends, family, acquaintances and audiences to see. Additionally, I made the difficult decision to withdraw from almost all of my courses for the semester in order to fully dedicate myself to the healing process.

THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD:

Since I began progressing through treatment a little over two months ago, I’ve lowered my prescription medication dosages greatly, am returning to school next semester with about 15 credit hours left to graduate and have honestly accomplished improvements more vast than I could ever have imagined. However, the amount of work and struggle it took along the way were just as frequent.

Exposing myself to situations I would normally avoid is the most successful, long-term treatment, but in most all cases causes symptoms like flashbacks and anxiety attacks to become more likely and more extreme. Other than the uncomfortable symptoms that intensified from exposure treatment, the reduction of my medication, namely Xanax, had adverse physical consequences I can only be thankful didn’t hurt me.

Whilst lowering my prescription of the highly addictive, controlled substance called Xanax, I experienced withdrawal from my body’s built-up dependence to the drug, and actually went into convulsions whilst experiencing a seizure less than a month ago. Thankfully my boyfriend, Joel, was around at the time; it goes without saying that incident scared the hell out of the both of us.

ONE DAY AT A TIME:

The challenges I’ve faced were mental, emotional and physical… and they are by no means over. I may never be completely free of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but what’s important is the constant effort I make to become a healthier, happier and more helpful person.

Many people believe that we never truly stop growing as individuals. This milestone in my life’s journey taught me it is, in fact, true that we never stop growing if we try, but it’s also true that if we stop trying, we never grow.

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Letter to Kendall Jones from Conservative KU Journalist

 IMPORTANT NOTE: I have nothing against the hunting of animals as long it is legal. I support the Second Amendment. I am a proud Republican and advocacy journalist. This letter, and any other related, future information, serves to expose corruption surrounding and/or within non-profit organization(s).

(This is a well-supported presentation of my outlook on Texan student Kendall Jones’ actions. Will she respond? Or will she continue to ignore me and try to get this taken off of Facebook? I would hope the former, but my mind tells me the latter will probably occur.)

Dearest Kendall,

I don’t understand why you blocked me, but I would like to apologize. I understand I was a bit harsh, so I’d like to start over because I really would like to see your perspective and, as a journalism student, I’d like you to see mine as well. I hope that’s not asking too much from you.So, you recently posted 10 very valid reasons for and examples of conservation. The act of conservation hunting HAS DEFINITELY helped a lot of species to thrive….but the keywords here are: IN. NORTH. AMERICA! In the same post you also mentioned the specific animals in which conservation hunting has helped including: ducks, turkeys, pronghorns, elk and  whitetails.

Your argument for conservation hunting is completely infallible and correct… for those species in that continent. However, using statistics from North American animal conservation hunting and it’s success as a correlation between African endangered animal conservation hunting is one of the oldest and most common fallacies of rhetoric in existence. Deriving correlation from causation is not only statistically inaccurate, but, I’m sorry to say, it also shows a lack of credibility on your behalf.

 

As you seem to have the facts down about North American conservation hunting, allow me to enlighten you about the facts of legal and moral conservation hunting in Africa. First of all, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) announced in April that the import of elephants from both Tanzania and Zimbabwe will be suspended for the remainder of 2014. The decision was propelled by the fact that in these two countries, according to FWS, “additional killing of elephants…even if legal, is not sustainable.” THUS, your elephant trophies of conservation were actually adding to the endangerment of the species. Big, “Oops!” Huh?Moreover, you’re claiming to support a cause, and you, (or your father), rather, paid of dollars to help that cause. Well, let’s just see about how much money your dad invested in your selfless act to spread awareness, and what exactly it was you had to pay for, shall we?

We all know your favorite spot to hunt is Zimbabwe, as your father introduced you to the beauty of its plains at the sprite age of nine. African Sky Hunting, affiliated with Dallas, TX, (so I’m sure you’re familiar), offers all sorts of all-inclusive packages for hunts just like the ones you go on!

According to said well-known hunting operator in Zimbabwe, a 21-day lion, elephant & buffalo hunt costs $1,100 a day per person. A total upwards of $80,000. BUT that’s not including the price you pay for all of your fuzzy trophies! For each leopard, $15,000. Each lion, $22,000. Each elephant, $35,000. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Not including equipment, air fare, travel fare, transportation of trophy fees, and your ungodly amounts of bronzer, that’s a bit under $200,000.

Now, I understand that as a conservation hunter you are obligated to pay to hunt, and a portion of said payment goes to helping your cause. You recently posted about the lack of the “trickle-down effect” of money from national to local non-profit organizations…

If you support the idea that national non-profits should give back more locally, then how do you justify less than 1% of the money conservation hunters pay to kill these animals actually going to said cause? You simply cannot justify this because the two ideas completely contradict one another.

So, if your previous statements are truthful, then you undoubtedly know that it would make a more significant impact and help more animals if you directly donated money instead of hoping that one cent for every dollar spent will hopefully go to the cause you claim to believe in.

A donation of $200,000 directly to the cause would have made much more of an impact on this platform you “care so much” about. How many trips have you taken like this before? How many has your father taken? I guarantee the total cost of the animal deaths from all of the hunts combined is at least one million. But even with the $200,000, you could have actually made a long-term, positive change in the world for a species.

As I mentioned, (before you decided to block me for no reason), I am both a journalism student and the owner/manager of a website SPECIFICALLY dedicated to providing our community with news and information about non-profit organizations and advocacy in general.

For over two years now I have put my heart and soul into said website and into the overall spreading of non-profit awareness. I absolutely refuse to back down on this issue and your idiotic promotion of it. What’s more, I will not stop until a voice is heard for these animals who couldn’t speak for themselves.

Kendall Jones, I refuse to allow your success to be gained through exploitation of this cause, or any other for that matter.

Advocacy and awareness are vital to the future of our beautiful world. Manipulating causes for your own pleasure DOES NOT fall under the umbrella of advocacy or awareness. As a true proponent of this and other causes, and as a journalist, it is my ethical responsibility to inform the community of events and their surrounding facts.

I will not stop spreading awareness about yourself and your anti-advocacy actions until you stop feeding the flame for your infamy and your hopes for a stupid reality show.

I’d like to think that your father’s beliefs have simply been engrained in you deeply from a young age, but another part of me thinks that you truly know what you’re doing is wrong… But, with repetition of manipulated statistical facts, I’m sure you can sleep better at night.

I would truly enjoy a response from you, although I’m sure your publicist (ha!) had you block me BECAUSE I am a journalist. Specifically, an advocacy journalist. Your exploitation of organizations represents the non-profit corruption I fight to eliminate every, single day.
I may not be on Fox News or NBC. Hell, I still have a year before I graduate from the William Allen White School of Journalism at KU. But, that is the very reason I will not stop pursuing your response. I’m not any more educated, accredited or qualified than you are, Kendall. There’s less than two years between us. If you’ve been looking for a fair match in the media to defend your cause and respond to all of the backlash: you’ve found it.

I hope to hear from you soon. Until we speak again, happy shooting!

Be the change you wish to see in the world,

 

Terran Rae Smith

 IMPORTANT NOTE: I have nothing against the hunting of animals as long it is legal. I support the Second Amendment. I am a proud Republican and advocacy journalist. This letter, and any other related, future information, serves to expose corruption surrounding and/or within non-profit organization(s).
 STOPHER copy
SOURCES:
http://www.conservationforce.org/…/conservationoftheafr
http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/…/controversy…/
http://www.fws.gov/…/CITES-and-Elephant-Conservation.pdf
http://www.africanskyhunting.co.za/africanhuntingpackages
http://www.farrenglobaladventures.com/Safaris.htm
http://www.shakariconnection.com/african-hunt-pricing.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/…/hey-kendall-jones

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Non-profits and the trickle-down effect

Where are your donations really going?

We’ve all seen the Sarah McLachlan commercial for ASPCA with B-roll of helpless and homeless animals as her tear-jerking song, “In the arms of an angel,” plays in the background. I’ve personally seen grown men cry from this commercial, and it is notoriously known by anyone who watches television. The point here is–the advertisement works. It appeals to the audiences’ emotions and tears so hard at their heart strings, they want to give their money to the Humane Society of the United States.

Of course no one wants to see animals in pain and suffering, which makes the strong reaction to the commercial very sensible. But at what emotional cost will it take for the HSUS to reach their goal? The HSUS annual report of 2007 reported, “$120 million in revenue, including $5.4 million just from online donors.” This emotional solicitation is undoubtedly succeeding for the organization; however, the money donated to this national organization does not necessarily go where the donor may have intended.

HSUS does initiate puppy mill rescues; however, they profit in multiple ways from the process, and the puppies are taken to local shelters. HSUS benefits from ceasing puppy mills through publicity, which leads to donations. Not only is the organization simply moving helpless animals to local shelters, but they are also gaining donations in doing so. It is a harsh reality, but without this media coverage and consequential funding, HSUS wouldn’t be the organization, financially or publicly, it is today.

There is good and bad in these facts about HSUS. In large events such as hurricane Katrina, HSUS had the funds to help out significantly with the natural disaster that shook the lives of so many in New Orleans. In organizing this help; however, HSUS profited greatly from the mass amount of publicity. In the end, it’s positive that HSUS has the funding to help out in times of struggle, but it is definitely negative that the organization takes advantage of disaster situations to increase profit.

On top of the shady, to say the least, lobbying and campaigning HSUS funds, it is a common misunderstanding that there is a certain percentage of donations to the HSUS that trickle down to local shelters. However, local animal shelters see no profit or resources of any kind from the national organization. Once again, HSUS takes advantage of economic opportunity and allows the confusion to continue by failing to mention this bit of information to the audience. A strong economic tactic, certainly, but obviously not something one would anticipate from a non-profit organization.

The overall point here is not that HSUS is evil; it is simply a non-profit organization with a successful, profit-driven mentality. What’s important to understand is where your money is going when you donate to non-profit organizations. In all likelihood–donating five dollars to a local animal shelter would make a much bigger difference than donating to HSUS or another national organization.

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Non-profit News of the Week

  • The Nonprofit Quarterly explains the benefits of Twitter and non-profit networking. An article by Steve Boland,  discusses non-profits gaining the proper audience for the organizations, rather than focusing on the number of followers.
  • The Have Fun Do Good blog gives reasons to volunteer as a reading partner from first-hand experience. Britt Bravo writes in her most recent blog post why she decided to return to this service. She also provides resources for others with the same volunteer interest including: VolunteerMatch, Idealist, and Serv.gov.
  • FundraisingIP provides a fun and creative fundraising idea. The article Peace Sign Fundraiser explains the needed materials, project instructions and ideas for how to make the fundraiser profitable and successful.
  • Trei Dudley, named National Youth of the Year by the Boys and Girls Club last week, spoke about her life growing up in Lawrence. Lindsey Slater writes in the Lawrence Habitat for Humanity blog that Trei and her family actually live in a Lawrence Habitat home, and also includes a video of Trei and Denzel Washington from MSNBC.
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