Fri. July 12, 2019 – community involvement, you need it

82F and 88%RH and I believe it. Last night was like a wet blanket when I let the dog out. The radar clearly shows rotating storm in the gulf. Last night it was round, today it looks a bit squashed, but still clear rotation. New Orleans looks like it is still getting the brunt of the storm, although I haven’t gone looking for pictures or reports.

Community. Sometimes used in the sense of ‘a group of people that share similar interests and concerns’ (which is us by the way) and sometimes used in the sense of ‘the area we live in, and the people around us, who share some common needs or concerns based on our colocation’, the word and ideas are increasingly showing up in discussions about surviving what’s coming.

For years I lived here but didn’t engage at ALL with the community. Then we had kids in school. As the kids went out into the world, so my awareness and involvement expanded. Meatspace. Another idea, related, but a bit more brutal when distinguishing between our communities of interest, our voluntary communities, and the real world around us. (Meatspace baby, being the admonition to get out and engage that world around you, with the added idea that it will be very important soon (from WRSA)).

I took the admonition to heart and started engaging. I went to the PTA meetings, the school festivals (and volunteered for them and with the kids in the classrooms.) I went to the community meetings for our Capital Improvement Plan to learn what TPTB had in mind for our area physically. I went to the community meetings about crime, and the Positive Interaction Program with HPD where they shared some of the threats in our neighborhood and what they were doing about them. I talked with our City Councilwoman, listened to the Mayor, the city engineers, our local cops. I took the classes offered by our local police, first the Constable’s Office, and now the Houston PD. I learned to listen to the scanner to get more information (more accurately ‘data’) about what police ops were going on around me. And last night, I had a continuing education class with HPD specifically because of my previous classes (they are learning about you during those classes too.)

Since engaging with the community, I’ve learned a LOT more about the true state of my surroundings. I’ve learned about how our local politicians will be spending money in our area, about how much they care about US vs others. I’ve learned about some heinous crimes against children not two miles from home from our Councilwoman. I’ve learned from the scanner about major drug dealing in the surrounding area, about a known drug house in our neighborhood, and about the sort of people living in and around our neighborhood, specifically down to apartment complexes.

I’ve learned a bit about how the people policing our area think, what techniques and equipment they can use, what works for them and what doesn’t, and about their politics and loyalties. I’ve got personal contact info from some, and carry several business cards that might give someone going through my wallet on the roadside pause. I’ve got official ID, identifying me as a CERT member (an actual thing in our EMgmt structure) which puts me into an official chain of command. I’ve got ID from two of our main police forces, and while it clearly says I’m a civilian, it also says I’m a friendly, and supportive, and have been investigated/vetted/cleared. That opened up more opportunities to learn and participate in things not available to the general public.

Last night I learned a lot more about one of the scourges that plague mankind since, well, forever- slavery. It’s alive and well, still generating misery and money, and it’s happening in normal looking houses less than 3 miles from my home. I can almost guarantee it’s happening within 10 miles of where YOU live, whether it’s a worker in an ethnic restaurant, a massage parlor, or a truck stop, or a no tell motel near the freeway, or that apartment complex down the street. It’s being done by the same cast of characters as the illicit drug trade, and is expanding along with the illegal alien invasion. The organized cartels can move people or things, as long as they get paid (and can sample the goods) they don’t care what or who they move.

These are the people who you are stuck with when the sh!t gets real- the people already around you. And in the mean time, these are the people who will determine if you get new streets, increased policing, beautification projects, or any of the other benefits of civilization. They determine how the kids get educated. The other side, these are the people who will be looking at your stuff, deciding what to take- and that includes your wife and kids. These are the people who occupy the same space as us but whose worlds rarely intersect ours. Most of the time, that intersection won’t be to your benefit.

Get to know what is really going on around you. NOTICE things. Who are the homeless in your area? Where do they hang out? Any changes in that population? What areas around you are notorious with law enforcement? What are active nuisances? Who is just hanging out on a corner, minding his own business (the most dangerous thing in america- SOCMOB – almost always where they were just before getting shot and going to the ER.) Where are the murders? The prostitutes? Fights and drunkenness? Areas of lawlessness aren’t going to get BETTER as things around us get worse.

Meatspace baby. It’s where you LIVE and it needs more attention than you are probably giving it.