Subjective Diagnoses v. Compelling Evidence

Part 9 in multipartite post, The ‘Madwoman’ v. the Madness of the State.

My undergraduate identification card with the name of my father, son of Letha May Iverson Brubaker Dawdy and grandson of Lillie Belle Iverson née Bundy, and my ex-husband’s names:

university of utah id

My former Oregon driver’s license with my ex-husband’s name and address where we lived when one of your former students was a Deputy District Attorney for Umatilla County, coincidentally the same county that provides long-term residence to a guest of the state, Ward Weaver, III, son of a Vietnam veteran and convicted rapist/killer, and father of another alleged killer, at least three generations of antisocial behavior, coincidentally providing still further evidence for my theories on the social cost of multigenerational abuse in families. Oregon City police also did not believe the claims of one of his victims, one of two girls whose bodies he raped, eventually murdered, dismembered, and buried under a concrete slab in his backyard. The other victim was coincidentally born on the exact same date as my marriage to my first husband. Those crimes coincided with the kidnapping, rape, and captivity of Elizabeth Smart, coincident again with my move from Salt Lake City to Portland with my second husband, coincident still further with an overnight stopover in Boise where my electrical engineering brother-in-law sneered at one of your former students, freshly graduated and headed into the 2002–03 recession job market, “I wouldn’t get out of bed for less than $50 grand a year”:

oregon id

Because I was packing to leave my abusive family’s compound – I have yet to learn how the authorities assist victims of human trafficking, but my brother-in-law had informed me that I was trespassing after I supplied not just one, but three, names of therapists and phone numbers he could choose to call to mediate our conflict, but refused to perform still more household labor after he refused to provide access to basic hygiene, phone, and web host – both of these identification cards happened to be in my wallet, which was inventoried by staff at two Idaho psychiatric facilities, after I was forcibly detained by white, male police officers insecure in their masculinity and with unresolved difficulties in relation to their mothers projected onto potentially every woman they interview, stop, or arrest, let alone date, marry, or fornicate, their Oedipal complexes interfering with their ability to perform their taxpayer-funded jobs.

Instead of misusing psychiatric terms like “perseverating” or “loose associations” or “denial” to defend their own abusive behavior, Idaho’s Designated Examiners could have chosen to compare my identification on my person against the links in my email to Ms. Dalrymple. And Dr. Abbasi could have chosen to compare my identification against the hard copy printout of my email left in my backpack after Meridian Police Department shuffled through my possessions and plucked out only the portion of my story that the taxpayer-funded private security forces for white, male property owners wanted to hear.

My 2010 Look Book, or hard copy design portfolio, that Ada County Sheriff’s office decided was too dangerous for me to bring to court and the Ada County Mental Health Court judge likely would not have allowed me to submit as evidence anyway:


Within those pages, my ex-sister-in-law’s nine-piece wedding stationery for which I wrote the copy, illustrated the map for a J.R.R. Tolkien fan, designed, set the type by hand in lead, edited digital images from the textile design of the fabric she selected for the design/build of her own wedding gown, and sweated through triple-digit temperatures in humid Portland, Oregon, cranking out the edition on little countertop antique presses at the Independent Publishing Resource Center, a two-month design and full press production job disrupted by my ex-mother-in-law alternating days whirling around her usual wound narrative resulting in rage propelled by martyrdom, 200 quantity, no, 400, make that 200, no, wait, 400, before she finally sent out announcements with letterpress printed return address covered with tacky white Avery labels that she shoved through her desktop laser HP to cover her outmoded personal shame while disrespecting her chronologically adult daughter’s choice to live with her fiancé prior to their wedding:


Do I have to FOIA FBI personnel files from the mid-1970s, or do you think somebody at Oregon’s Department of Justice could simply poke her head into my ex-husband’s office and confirm for Idaho’s mental health professionals, yeah, sure enough, their Most Wanted poster for Patty Hearst hangs on the wall, double-matted and in an overbearing frame? (His mother’s choice.)

And if the souvenir of his father’s work history is not still there, does that prove that my autobiography is a “delusion”? Or merely that my ex-husband has decorated his new office differently from his previous position?

Are his certificates from your law school still matted in 100 percent cotton rag museum board and framed in contemporary black behind non-glare glass? That’s more of my unsalaried work too.

Should FBI personnel files disprove stories told by family members, does that mean 1) I’m delusional, 2) point to parents dishonest in their relationships with their children, or 3) that question posed by Dr. Olnes?

There are multiple perspectives to every story.

Here, you could say, is a sexist protecting the authority of a rapist – on my birthday that year, coincidentally – but I do not see it that way. As I tried to explain to Ms. Dalrymple before she obediently complied with my brother-in-law’s passive aggressive rage, I feel proud of my ex-husband. Ironically, in an almost maternal way. Despite all of our scorched-earth fights, he poetically described them once, with him responding to me as if I was his controlling mother, until I began to notice the pattern, the essence beneath whatever conflict lay on the surface:

“That’s not true,” whining.


“Don’t tell me what to do,” whining.

Abusive language accelerating along the spectrum of violence when he refused to hear my perspective: “I AM NOT YOUR MOTHERFUCKING MOTHER.”

Had he followed the career path his biological mother laid out for him, he would be making scads more money in patent law working for Big Pharma, but would that be meaningful work? Guess who encouraged him to pursue a career in your area of law instead?

I did.

I cannot speak for him, of course, but from my understanding of human psychology I suspect that he would not have had the courage to successfully argue in open court before his former boss and against his former mentor without my encouragement to also pursue his own psychotherapy, an indicator that he has reached the third stage of recovery, not as ho-ho-ho dismissed by Meridian Police Department, but as described by Dr. Herman, where survivors seek to help so other victims will not have to suffer at the hands of other abusers.

In your expert legal opinion, Professor McConnell, do I still have to say “alleged” when an accused perpetrator openly brags of his prowess on social media as part of his marketing plan to attract his intended audience to his new, private criminal defense practice?

dean gushwa

True, rape is a crime of communication. The crime victim’s history bears no relevance on the criminal’s behavior, however.

dean gushwa

Yes, psychologically speaking, a victim of earlier crimes is more readily abused by later predators. She is not, however, responsible for their criminal behavior.

dean gushwa

Having sex on your subordinate employees in a motel room paid for on a government credit card isn’t official misconduct anymore?

I wonder why the entire State of Oregon could not dredge up victim support services to help the star witness in that case bridge the gap from victim to survivor to prepare her to testify in a court of law? I wonder who funds trauma recovery and victim support services in Oregon? (More research needed.) Is it anything like domestic violence victim support services in King County, Washington? (No further research needed.) And very similar again to Idaho’s statewide Skittles School? (Deep design research, done.) Far from worrying about dismissing criminal defendants, it sounds to me like the Umatilla County District Attorney’s office might be buried in a backlog of untried rape cases. I feel so happy now to remember then, nearly six years to the day earlier, after three days of prepping a Middle Eastern mezze table, I refused to serve dinner to my ex-husband’s former mentor, and insisted that he instead be responsible for his behavior and call and make whatever excuses he wanted to make or tell whatever white lies he felt comfortable telling if he was unable to honestly communicate to his more senior colleague the reason we were uninviting him and his then-wife to dinner was because he had been too shamed of his sexuality by his parents to feel comfortable introducing me as his wife to a young woman dressed in a sheer, handkerchief-hemmed miniskirt and animal print blouse while she was standing on the street corner outside the Working Girls Hotel. Instinct? Or coincidence?

That was the night we busted open the 1998 cabernet sauvignon that was supposed to be reserved for the ten-year anniversary of our wedding that Detectives Miller, Officer Root, Ms. Dalrymple, Dr. Abbasi, two Idaho Designated Examiners, and Judge ______ decided was a delusion with no attempt to research Salt Lake City and County marriage records, because by then we both realized that was never going to happen. As I recall, the Mondavi paired reasonably though not exceptionally well with dolmades, homemade flatbread, and hummus from dried chickpeas I hulled by hand.

Irreconcilable differences: I have two breasts and a vagina; that does not mean I want to be treated with disrespect by the human being with a penis, or other human beings with breasts and vaginas who value human beings with penises more than themselves.

How does that reconcile with your legal definition of irreconcilable differences?

Guess who taught me spatial note-taking skills, sketching positions and names of people around any given room so it is easier to recall their faces and who said what and when than linear note-taking alone?

You did.

Here my note-taking skills from a 26 August 2011 Seattle school board campaign strategy meeting outline the interconnections between the major players in education politics in the city that also houses global headquarters for national education policy mastermind and technology billionaire Bill Gates:

diagram seattle education politics

When my former client and the more senior of her dueling campaign managers showed up in small claims court with evidence that supported my claim (yes, you read that phrase correctly), I considered going forward even though I had improperly served notice.

Then I remembered your expert advice about never asking a question in open court that you do not already know the answer to.

After trying to listen to the King County District Court judge’s instructions that were disrupted by a last-minute psst-psst-psst conference behind my left shoulder wherein the brother of a Washington state legislator surprised me by showing up after he had previously failed to attend most strategy meetings at the height of elections season, communicating his utter disrespect for our judicial branch of government while seeming very concerned about an email in my possession, I wondered who had paid the salary of the campaign manager who seemed to me to be doing everything he could do to not raise funds to get his client elected. I still do not know the answer to that question, because his fee doesn’t show up on her campaign expense report. (More research needed.)

When teacher union leaders explained the unexpected overthrow of the corporate-backed incumbent to The Seattle Times, what they didn’t know enough about behind the scenes to say what happened from the perspective of the graphic designer actually working behind the behind-the-scenes was that the schoolhouse is only our house if we want our house run by a racist, retired math teacher who could neither balance her own campaign budget nor prioritize communications with voters ahead of her raging tirades sneering at me for my poverty while blatantly benefitting from my educated professional expertise, but did grow up in an upper middle-class household with servants ordered about by a mother so domineering that she later tried to resolve that difficulty by suffering through 17 years of marriage to a man she described, alternately, as “the love of my life” and a “sociopath” and still blames her own daughter for her own failure to protect her own child. And is now responsible for making executive-level decisions protecting all of Seattle school children jointly with the other dysfunctional members of Seattle School Board.

Assessed in an independent report requiring 70 pages, does that mean the school board members are manic? I guessed schizophrenic, if we must apply mental health labels to adult bad behaviors stemming from lack of nurturing in our early childhoods. The King County District Court judge got it right in her dismissal of my claim without prejudice, only she got it wrong in guessing which of the personalities did or did not appear in her courtroom that day. Of course I’m not clinically credentialed to make mental health diagnoses, but I may be uniquely qualified to say her behavior was worse than what I observed of many of the patients with the same diagnosis from mental health professionals at two separate psychiatric facilities simultaneously violating my constitutional rights because a traumatized state social worker kowtowed to the abusive patriarchal authority within my family’s compound and the local police detectives both refused to respect my educated expertise and could not be bothered to fact-check matters of public record.

While my contract form was much simpler than the thorough verbiage I’ve since downloaded from AIGA’s online and free resources, it was reviewed for me by a lawyer. It had worked perfectly well for me in accomplishing design work for lawyers. Naïvely, I omitted a confidentiality clause.

Never before had I witnessed a client so irrational in her executive decisions and impulsively contradictory setting priorities toward accomplishing her project goals, thus unwilling to maintain her terms of our contract.

The education reporters at neither the surprisingly conservative and relatively behemoth Times providing news for the so-called liberal city of Seattle nor the edgier weekly The Stranger seemed interested in following up on a story seeking systemic solutions to gendered violence on our campuses. Maybe because the schizophrenic old lady on Seattle School Board who engaged in human trafficking is a little less glamorous than that week’s homicide/suicide shooting rampage that began in the University District, spanned across multiple neighborhoods, and locked down the area schools?

Personnel at Meridian Police Department who dismissed my report of human trafficking with, “Nuh-uh, cuz you can always leave,” reminded me of one of my first semester design students at the University of Idaho when tasked with solving a similar design problem. A little hazy on his geography. Reading. ‘Riting. And ‘rithmetic.

Where, oh where, shall I go to reconnect with ordinary life in this era of global madness?

Parent teacher activists who in 2011 dog-piled into my inbox after behind-the-scenes raging over their Google Group or monthly meetings hijacked by paranoid delusional and self-described anarchists battling with themselves over the dichotomy of inclusion/exclusion to be dictated by group rules failed to accomplish their project goals, alternately ignoring or raging against my visually educated professional opinions, by 2014 have apparently decided they cannot communicate their message to their global audience without my professional design skills, albeit without offering or paying a professional design salary, or even asking for permission to reproduce my parody design work analyzing the brands profiting from the demolition of our democratic system of public education:


Here’s another page ripped from my job-seeking networking experiences, a conference attendee layout from the AIGA/Pepsico-sponsored 2012 Design for Good Summit, ostensibly focused on designing solutions for the problem identified by our National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded University of Washington researchers linking obesity with poverty:

diagram design for good attendees

Replicated in two other cities nationwide, our country’s best communication designers avoided brainstorming solutions to the problem, and, in the worst application of social science that I had up to that point ever witnessed, instead spent two days devising products that primarily emphasized 21st century technology and intended to appeal to middle-class consumers as “solutions” for our national epidemic of lack of nurturing. One aggressive narcissist in New York actually suggested a “fat tax,” replicating the problem of shaming the obese and further impoverishing the poor, while simultaneously illustrating how our sociological imaginations have been stunted: faced with a problem, even when that problem is already identified for us, we deny the real problem, and can envision no way of solving problems other than chasing after money, creating still more problems.

If the world’s second largest “food” product distributor is looking for product development ideas, then executives at Pepsico can act like grownups living in a capitalist era and pay a product design company for the critical thinking skills they lack, rather than relying on volunteer imaginative problem-solving labor.

Note: you do get what you pay for though.

Instead of patting themselves on the back for how noble they are charging attendance fees for conferences or running contests for volunteer labor for “good” causes, leadership at AIGA could step back from any design problem, think critically about how free labor solutions cause harm to their own industry by encouraging the public to think of graphic design as visual cosmetics to be powder-puffed atop market solutions, and instead offer the healthy communication explanation that critical design process solves problems, no matter how much nonprofit organizations might tug at our heartstrings with their victim narrative:

aiga atl human trafficking

Ask: does the nonprofit pay its CEO and other administrative salaries?

But they care so little about communicating with their external audience that work is outsourced as volunteer labor?

Are any of my readers still wondering why we’re still lacking solutions to global communication problems?

(Sorry I missed your deadline, AIGA. I was doing everything I could do to land a paying position prior to my slavemaster locking me in the state’s prison instead of granting me freedom after I completed everything he ordered me to do and still did not assuage his enormously fragile ego.)

Meanwhile, more taxpayer-funded researchers had already concurred with my hypothesis linking obesity with PTSD, that is to say trauma, or the presence of abuse, or the absence of nurturing as I discussed in my thesis research in 2008, and confirmed again from listening to multiple obese patients’ stories in two Idaho psychiatric hospitals in 2014. Yes, poverty alone can be a very traumatizing experience in our materialistic, power-mad culture. Add abusive or neglectful parents, high-fat, high-sugar profits of agribusiness, professionally designed marketing collateral, sedentary lifestyles planted before screen media or riding around in cars, and there you go. If you want to change the behavior that caused the problem, however, shaming the obese or blaming the poor only replicates the abusive behavior of their adverse childhoods and will accomplish exactly the opposite effect.

Will 21st century technology solve problems caused by our lack of human care?

Impoverished human beings do not have access to empathy robots.

If our culture could afford paychecks for caring human beings, then the robot designers could spend their lives performing meaningful work.

One of the attendees at that conference attracted my attention for his rapidity of speech, already familiar to me from listening to his presentation at the 2010 Designers Accord gathering. I did not know then to stigmatize rapid speech as a sign of mental illness; instead, I admired his advanced preparation and concentration, having never heard that machine gunfire rapidity outside rap or spoken word performances. If Idaho’s mental health professionals want to dope me up for talking rapidly, they’ll want to shove Joe Brewer into an isolation tank and poke him with needles through a heavily guarded porthole.

While standing in the next county.

If they cannot find a robot willing to tackle that job.

Joe did not stick around to participate in the two-day exercise in futility after sharing his high-speed verbal résumé, but he and his comrade Corbett Curfman did try, one last time, to again lasso my imaginative problem solving expertise and healthy communication skills for free. Little did they realize by then, after three years of trying, I had to give up finding colleagues in Seattle healthy enough to reciprocate my respect, deciding to trust that a former mentor and University of Idaho faculty member was far enough along on his journey of recovery from his childhood sexual abuse within a household performing rigidly divided gender roles, and ready to appreciate the skills that I uniquely brought to his project that we had been discussing for a year.

Synopsis of one protracted email conversation that Idaho mental health professionals, with no attempt to fact-check my biographical experiences, decided to diagnose those experiences as “grandiose delusions” while violating my constitutionally protected freedoms:

Moi: “Well possibly those dates could work for me to return to Seattle, join your conversation, and load up a moving van with the remainder of my design tools before returning to the other Washington…” After briefly explaining my last experience with unprofessionalism of so-called professional movers, I asked, “Maybe you could help me with that?” Further, “Do either of you have a guest room where I could stay?”

Corbett told me he could commute into downtown Seattle for open collaboration where design of the highest integrity is universally deployed to improve the lives of people everywhere, but: “I currently live on Bainbridge Island so it might be tough for you to stay here.”

My reply placed a boundary on their narcissism: “After vast experience traveling down one-way streets that lead to nowhere, what I look for are reciprocating relationships.”

To my surprise I remained on their email list, and the dynamic duo’s next marketing blast encouraged: “We do have a homework assignment to get you primed for the conversation. We ask you to think about design fail’s [sic] that personally have effected [sic] you.”

Always happy to give the feedback that I like to receive from others, I responded, “That homework is too easy; the last Seattle design event that I attended where both of you were also in attendance is one tiny example,” and again prompted for reciprocity.

Instead, still another marketing blast from folks too self-absorbed to update their bcc mail list of a whopping 20 faithful followers: “What will be needed for designers to build a sustainable civilization? [double space after a question mark] And what’s standing in our way?”

By then, with no substantial changes to make to our contract that he had flown me halfway across the country to negotiate, other than still trying to finagle a fee less than my base survival, my former mentor dissolved into fits of rage nearly identical in tone and subject to a Seattle School Board director’s earlier and my brother-in-law’s later rages, leaving me penniless and stranded when his car broke down, coincidentally near the interstate rest stop where authorities had finally captured the snipers that terrorized the DC area a decade earlier, further coincident with my second husband, on the opposite side of the nation, successfully plea bargaining a lengthy prison sentence for a mother so abusive her toddler died.

The neighborhood did not look to be much improved in the intervening years.

Vernacular graphic design posted on public restroom doors by Maryland State Police did nothing to deter visible criminal activity of drugs and prostitution.

Holed up in a cheap motel concentrating on my proposal to the nearest community which was coincidentally visibly desperate for my broad and deep range of skills across art, design, and technology, with me in dire need of healthy community, I hoped to end the marketing blasts from designers in high-tech Seattle consulting with technology billionaire Bill Gates when I tried to opt out from yet another of their monologue projects using the old school method that folks used before spam and online mail services became as sophisticated as they were in 2012:

“Unsubscribe,” in the subject line, anticipating the courtesy of no further reply and removal from their mail list.

To my astonishment, Joe emailed back the very next day.

Unrelated conversation through my Twitter feed, I had noticed Joe blogging for the Gates Foundation. From my earlier research identifying the source of the problems in education that doubled our national adolescent suicide rate for the first generation to grow up through No Child Left Behind, I did not resist leaving a tongue-in-cheek comment.

His blog reply comment obfuscated, so I posted a link to my own blogpost from six months earlier analyzing the problem of poverty that the Gates Foundation avoids solving on its own doorstep.

The passive aggressive personality lives in a state of perpetual denial. After weeks of avoiding owning the narcissistic behavior of his demands for help without reciprocating help, Joe tried the identical tactic employed by Meridian Police Department, blaming his bad behavior on my “feelings,” while still whining for my behind-the-scenes help for solving the problem of poverty for Bill Gates:

“Are you leaving this group based [sic] your frustration that I was published on the Gates Foundation blog yesterday? [double space after a question mark] If so, I hope you’ll reconsider because I completely agree with the sentiments you wrote about in your critique of Gates,” Joe wrote, “Also, taking your concerns very seriously I posted a comment response on the Gates Foundation site that supports your point…”

And further shared with me his paranoia or grandiose delusions, “…(that seems to have been removed, perhaps by people at Gates?).”

Yet still lacked the courage to leave that publicly supportive comment on my own blog?

Or narcissistically failed to notice that my critique had been published six months earlier?

These are two guys who wouldn’t help a lone woman load already packed boxes onto a moving van, or give me a roof overhead for a couple of nights, and yet they still wanted me to freely provide my educated professional expertise to benefit their self-aggrandizement-??

Adding qualitative data to support my theory that Facebook’s interface has been very carefully designed to elevate narcissism far beyond healthy levels, Joe further lacked the courage to support my critical analysis on his own myopic Facebook page, again reverting to the passive voice:


Two more exchanges, wherein Joe assumed I felt ashamed of my poverty while sharing with me his trauma narrative about his own socioeconomic suffering and that he provides content for the Gates Foundation as a work of love.

Two flies that I can spot in the ointment of Joe’s contradictory logic on psychopathy: 1) psychopaths already are suffering from PTSD or the trauma of their childhoods growing up in adverse family environments performing rigidly defined gender roles, lacking role models for healthy communication and building empathy skills, thus, far from being immune to PTSD, the severe passive aggressive personalities are 2) ill-equipped to act as medics on the battlefield or anywhere else without deep trauma recovery work healing the wounded self to rebuild a self-aware rather than merely self-absorbed, manipulative human being.

Much-belated answers to Joe’s long ago questions:

How will the 99 percent deal with the 70 million psychopaths worldwide? We’ll promote them to the corporate executive office. We’ll admire and emulate them. We’ll lie down on our backs and tell ourselves we’re doing it for love.

What will be needed for designers to build a sustainable civilization? Healthy communication skills. And what’s standing in our way? Our own narcissistic aggressions.

I speak from some considerable personal and professional expertise now. Unfortunately for the success of Joe’s design goals, he neglected the number one rule in teaching and psychotherapy readily applicable to business: first get to know your students, patients, and internal team of design professionals. Had Mr. Brewer been able get real, he could have richly informed his inchoate notions on psychopathy.

Compare the capitalist value of one of two remaining copies of a very limited edition likely snapped up at a sidewalk sale by a savvy Friend of Multnomah County Public Library:

amazon screen shot we look to the sky

Too bad for their fundraising efforts that my friends at the library didn’t know me well enough to meta tag the product of my labor with the name of my Cousin Ted, where his work still fetches handsome revenues. If you don’t mind attracting a particular market in a culture that idolizes abusive psychopaths and despises compassionate care.

Of course if the independent book sellers respected the work of independent publishers as much as corporate distributors respect the mass market of Hearst publications, they would have torn off the front cover and trashed their overstock instead of trying to keep their presses rolling by attempting to capture a resell market.

As I did with the remainder of that edition, producing the prettiest pile of recycling the Palouse had ever seen.

Question asked of a friend I met at the totem-carving site at the edge of Elliott Bay, “If the richest man in the world doesn’t have enough money to solve his problem, do you think the problem is a lack of money? Or a lack of imagination?”

With nothing more than a California tribal secondary school education and coming from a childhood home environment far more abusive than my own, still he did not hesitate more than a moment before responding, “Well, I’m going to say imagination.”

If the richest genius in the world can think of no other way of solving his pet problem other than chasing after still more money because he lacks my imaginative problem-solving and healthy communication skills, then he can act like a grownup trapped in our era of late capitalism and communicate his respect the only way that impoverished capitalists know how to communicate respect: by offering me some of his cold, hard cash in exchange for my publicly educated expertise.

After observing global branding and communications firms in action, make that lots of cash. Why flush so much of your hard-earned cash down the toilet?

Another of the Design for Good Summit attendees, a former Microsoft useability testing engineer not many years older than myself yet already semi-retired and comfortably cherry-picking independent consulting projects, attracted my attention first during the introductory session for her outspokenness about the public relations or communications problem plaguing the field of information technology, the white, male stereotype too arrogant to hear perspectives outside his own, a problem she hopes to solve by imbuing younger women with her confidence, asserting her experience working with women in urgent situations, offering mentoring services, and second because her print collateral business identity at that time wildly diverged from her online presence: here was an educated professional woman who needed my expertise and would be empathetic to the urgency of my situation, right?

Instead of doing the math to realize that my expertise would benefit her retiring career goals, she wasted a two-hour chunk of my brute survival time while I empathetically listened to an information technology expert reduced to trembling in fear, flinching, and covering her face when approached on the street outside Seattle’s sports arenas by a black woman wearing a shirt that looked like it had been shot through during some earlier incident, with three bloody holes renting its fabric, and begging for a dollar. But maybe my definition of an urgent situation simply differs from the past experiences of an English-accented engineer and mother commuting from suburban Bellevue:

gayna williams urgent email

Neglecting to ask about my wealth of professional experiences, or better yet, reviewing my LinkedIn profile that includes managing budgets for National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded research and construction projects in the multiple millions of dollars, so she could arrive at our 10 September 2012 meeting prepared to meet me on a level of mutual respect, Gayna belatedly emailed claiming not to understand the urgency of my situation prior to our meeting, offering to help me develop a “plan” for abject poverty by sending me to a rapidly Googled link that, on closer WHOIS search, appears to me to be (more research needed) a national slave trade operation based out of Florida.

That is what mentoring women in urgent situations looks like to a white, female, STEM-educated, property-owning Microsoft retiree?

At the design summit, I had listened while the financially successful engineer described an analogous situation where she turned back from a hike up Mt. Rainier due to nothing more than a little ol’ billy goat obstructing her path. In a business setting, her “confidence” could not persuade trauma psychologists at Joint Base Lewis-McChord to complete their project for a fraction of the cost they insisted on spending on still more technology that fails to alleviate our military and veteran suicide rate, nor return to Microsoft executives with my expertise that their founder’s business plan emphasizing STEM-isolated education is causing severe social and economic harm.

Happily, Gayna has since been able to update her site with the help of the wife of a violent video game designer who plays at her computer screen in the evenings after her hubby returns home from work to relieve her of child care duties because graphic design is “fun,” that is, if you don’t mind a nearly illegible tagline of text saved as a .jpg, badly disorganized and text-heavy content riddled with some peculiar hard returns and that communicates nothing more than an ignorance of 45+ years of scholarship in the social sciences, while revising her business plan to limit her audience to wealthy young ladies soon to complete their academic STEM studies. Screen shot from my iPhone at a public library Windows machine after my electrical engineering brother-in-law made good on his threat to cut access to in-house wifi, and remained unresponsive to my trouble-shooting questions throughout February and March 2014, further hampering my job search:

if she can i can screenshot

But at least she gives me an hourly rate for the worth of my expert confidence.

That sounds comparable to the daily rate billed to the State of Idaho by Alan Miller’s pill dispensary.

Multiplied by six years of unemployment, that sounds like a reasonable starting offer to me. Would you also help me persuade the Department of Education to throw in full debt forgiveness? Each time Secretary Arne Duncan has opened his mouth in the four years that I have been paying attention to his systemic decisions causing me personal harm, his speech has cheapened the job market value of my visually educated expertise. The recent contest for identity and rebranding of Chicago Public Schools, Mr. Duncan’s and, as you know, his boss’s old stomping ground, is just one example of what happens when visually uneducated students attempt to perform the work of design professionals. Ditto with the nation’s major banks, and maybe they could also restore my credit to pre-2008 limits? Of course we also need to factor in the cost of the traumatic experience of being imprisoned without cause and force-fed brain-damaging pharmaceuticals by the State of Idaho.

And then there’s the retail price tag for one of my drawings that Alan Miller’s staff added to his corporate collection, refusing my bargain basement discounted, one-time offer of twenty bucks and instead exchanging my work for what I have come to think of as the hyena laughter of the social worker persona. A nervous, braying sound that indicates to me the mental health professional is at least educated enough to be aware of her bad behavior, while still unwilling to change it. Another privately contracted social worker visiting my brother-in-law’s compound responded with that same shrill laughter to his elderly mother’s plaintive description of breaking her hip as a result of the final fall that got her shipped off to a private “care” facility.

With my smartphone confiscated by more of Mr. Miller’s staffers, I could not document my work prior to its theft, but I can describe it.

Needless to say, my price has increased commensurate with my level of education, skills, and experience.

With that cash infusion, I will continue to seek community capable of treating me with respect. If I cannot find it, then I will design and build it:

visual art center design proposal

Response to 2013 RFP proposing Visual Art Center repurposing Seattle Center’s Fun Forest. Proposal includes concept, plan, identity design, multimedia, tee-shirt graphics, and proposal designed to 1920×1920 px online submittal specifications.

I will be looking to hire some employees. Creating (gasp!) jobs meaningful work. While I can do the work of an entire branding and communications team and design/build in the physical and virtual worlds, I cannot do all of these jobs all at the same time and all by myself. Nor should I have to offer an entire team of skills prior to getting a job in this country. Nor do I want to work alone. I seek healthy community.

If I cannot find potential employees capable of performing meaningful work, I may need to educate my own students. Following the current Governor’s plan, Idaho parents will want to send their Idaho children to out-of-state schools rather than paying Idaho tuition to attend Idaho institutions for those advanced degrees that offer no value on the job market even in Idaho, in an era when educated expertise is derided by undereducated Idaho state employees.

Lean in, as I explain something that even Sheryl Sandberg, while she is at least savvy enough to recognize the power of visual communications, has yet to figure out: the intersubjective communication problems in information technology or any other business, organization, or government have less to do with differences across gender, sex, race, ethnicity, religion, mental or physical ability, or class, than with our ability as individuals to hear the perspective of the other.

What that means is one more woman, traumatized by her personal experiences gaining access to corporate boardrooms or the hallowed halls of Congress, changes nothing for the rest of women everywhere. Or why recent police abuses in America’s heartland so resemble the civil rights abuses preceding the 1970s.

All you have to do is listen:

If you are in the position structurally more powerful than the person speaking to you, it is not only morally incumbent upon you to listen, it is also a mark of socially and fiscally responsible leadership.

Notable professional development during my sixth year of post-Great Recession job applications: I talked my way out of being sprayed by a skunk with back hackles already raised and tail twitching, inadvertently startled by my approach on a desert trail. Enjoyed a brief but reciprocating love affair with a fox comparable to the relationship described by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in his timeless philosophical classic, The Little Prince. And while the pot-gut white males who earn their paychecks as “physical therapists” at psychiatric facilities in Idaho either admired my physical well-being (“Ohh. You’re flexible.”) or ker-plopped their other patients in front of a television to watch an amateur audiovisual production of a white, male hunter feeding elk by hand, I guessed it would take me another 48 hours before I had the squirrels at State Hospital South actively producing that same response to my nurturing care in real life instead of passively consuming screen imagery about healthy behavior.

I was wrong.

As a healthy, ego-invested individual, I am perfectly comfortable with acknowledging when I am wrong.

It only took me 24 more hours.

Elk would not have been able to squeeze through the hospital’s black wrought iron fencing, so instead I formed caring relationships with free-range squirrels.

It will be my pleasure to redesign my life drawing curricula intended for girls or young women to be more applicable to lady engineers, politicians, or corporate vice presidents so they can learn the confidence needed to speak up instead of talk down:

Gentlemen also welcome.

If the United States military is desperately seeking effective method of trauma recovery, may I suggest building upon the same discipline and skills learned during weapons training and target practice, only re-envisioned for creation instead of destruction? A way of re-imagining military skills, repurposing our war machine, redesigning our world, to reference designer Bruce Mau, “to prepare for peace as exuberantly as we’ve prepared for war,” while coincidentally relieving our veterans of their “post” traumatic stress?

No, I do not mean making art or design objects with volunteer or contest labor to “build awareness” of the problem of suicide. I mean building a healthy, sustainable economy by funding trauma recovery and healthy communications instead of abusive communication and narcissistic aggression. Beginning by paying cultural laborers a living wage. I was taught how to shoot by the son of ex-FBI parents, an NRA-certified weapons safety instructor, a nationally ranked marksman who competed at West Point, and whose college coaches pestered me to join their women’s team. Shooting has a lot in common with life drawing, where you are looking at something way off there, while also focusing on something very well machined here, where in drawing the pristinely machined thing is your hand-eye coordination, your ability to learn to see things maybe in a whole new light. Or you could also say that my undergraduate painting professors taught me how to aim and fire:

Far from his own feelings of frustration that Joe projected onto me, when you prune down to walking out along the knife edge of death after completing a graduate level education in a nation that forswears that is enough to rise above your humble beginnings and you have done the very best job you know how to do to reconnect with what Dr. Herman describes as ordinary life and you have yet to find community of people healthy enough to reciprocate your respect because all you encounter at almost every turn is more of the same abuse that you experienced growing up within an adverse family environment, and you are a healthy, emotionally mature, spiritually aware human being, what you feel is calm acceptance: my best is good enough for my goddesses.

Suicide as conscious, self-accepting, socioeconomic choice in a world of human beings incapable of reciprocating respect and care, where standing on the street waiting for a hypocritical Christian to rattle her bundle of keys opening the homeless women’s shelter on either side of our nation does not seem to me to be a meaningful existence.

If you are a critically thinking, spiritually attuned, emotionally mature human being, you begin to question whether that dichotomy between life and death is really something to be feared, or not just another threshold, another boundary, another border we all cross anyway?



Or sooner.

As I hypothesized from my interpersonal relationship experiences as well as my educated professional research on suicide, another patient I met at Idaho’s state hospital instantly concurred, “That’s it exactly” – suicide is a result of unresolved conflict, internally and externally. He was quick to add, “Only more than one conflict.” And further, despairingly, “And they are irresolvable.”

The son of a dean of a college at one of Idaho’s institutions of higher learning, his arms were covered in angry, scabbed-over red welts, evidence of his many attempts at self-harming. He had tried college, tried to follow in his father’s footsteps, majoring first in electrical engineering. When that didn’t suit his innate abilities, he changed his major to civil engineering, then to welding, before finally giving up on the administrative hurdles of formal education that interfered with rather than celebrated his natural kinetic learning style, and returned to mowing lawns, working outside in the physical world instead of confining himself to sedentary labor in our virtual realm. At the time we talked, that patient had resigned himself, as I am unable to do, to a life that seems even less meaningful to me than rooflessness, warehoused in an institution, coked full of drugs, too apathetic to care, kept nominally alive at the behest of the State, but in an aesthetically unappealing environment that is coincidentally both physically and psychologically harmful. And that’s no accident, but design decisions made by visually uneducated human beings.

First, there is coming to acceptance that some conflicts are irresolvable.

But, second, the only conflicts that cannot be resolved result from abusive communication from the structurally dominate party insisting on its “rightness” that deprives the less powerful of basic human agency.

So, third, what if we began teaching healthy communications in our families, in our communities, within our institutions, and learning to resolve our conflicts in healthy ways?

And of course, fourth, why do so many of the so-called experts on suicide continue to label unresolved conflicts as “mental illness,” making lists of symptoms for nonexistent or self-absorbed rather than attentive, caring family or friends to look out for, or producing badly designed “motivational” print or web collateral as a patronizing way of blaming the victim and avoiding conflict resolution? The community is not listening. The not-listening, the narcissistic monologue, is the illness. Semiotically speaking, the suicide is only the symptom, the ideal feminine in a dualistic culture where our masculine ideal – pushed to its outer limits – is the psychopath:

psychopathy suicide semiotic analysis

A society that describes itself as mankind demands man as the ideal and woman as deviation from the standard, or substandard.

If suicide is our feminine ideal, then explain the higher rate of male suicides, readers unwilling to surrender their rigidly dichotomous notions of gender and unprepared to follow along with the study of signs and sign systems might whine defensively. The failure of the social construction of opposing terms. Give me a more difficult question.

Do not underestimate the power of the so-called powerless, as my Cousin Ted reminds us right there on the Wikipedia page about him, “They are part of you … [the victim] becomes a part of you, and you [two] are forever one…”

Also note that the suicide, or hysteric, is the figure that stopped up the father of human psychology, pondering, What does woman want? And the suicide, further along that trajectory, confounds all humanity.

How much would that suicidal patient’s parents give for their son to want to live, to not be merely kept alive, but to want to reconnect to ordinary life, to become an actively engaged member of a society healed of its extraordinary narcissistic rage? Do parents want to heal their children badly enough to self-reflect on how parental role modeling and interactions leave their offspring severely limited in their behavioral decisions? What will it take for our culture to value that patient’s kinetic learning skills, and not just the administration of skills prized by 21st century technology? Better still, what unlimited possibilities might open with some combination of those skills as yet unimagined by the State that fears and despises its imagination experts?

What would another of your colleagues and his wife, Justice Jay and Dianna Bybee, give to spare other parents from the anguish of successful suicide? Would Judge Bybee be willing to acknowledge that being legally right he was morally wrong, that leaders interpreting law are responsible for the domino effect of policy administration of law? Are Mormon leaders able to expand their imaginations to hold two or more possible truths when their children’s truths differ from their own? In trying various treatments to heal the depth of their son’s sadness, did they consider art-making and family conflict resolution, or did medical and mental health professionals only refer them to the blame-the-victim solutions recognized by science? How many parents believe the heavily lobbied pharmaceutical industry without seeking alternative expert opinion? What would happen if we funded painting before instead of trying to scrub ourselves clean of dirt after war? What would happen if we placed the caterpillar in an environment safe to emerge as the brave, fragile creature freely fluttering like the tattoo on my dead grandmother’s thigh?

Was Ana Mladić suffering depression, or was her sadness merely a symptom of her inability to resolve the contradiction between a tender, loving father she may have known at home with the genocidal monster her father became in the public sphere?

What branded cocktail of sleeping and antidepressant pills, specifically, was Mark Madoff taking before taking his life, unable to resolve the conflict of his father’s actions?

Label me delusional, but I see mounting evidence that passive aggressive communication – stomping our feet insisting on the rightness of our personal opinions, aggressive behavior, and narcissistic greed – may not be the best evolutionary strategy, personally speaking. More of that systems thinking that the balding, white men and the traumatized white women in a suburban toilet community outside Boise, Idaho, only found worthy of their derision and fear.

Finally, a third sample of note-taking skills that you taught me, Professor McConnell, a page of a typical “counseling” group approved by the private facility contracted with the State of Idaho to provide mental health services offered more qualitative data supporting my hypothesis, where long ago I began observing a strong correlation between visual illiteracy, early childhood abuse, and ongoing adult bad behaviors. At Intermountain Hospital, the Comic Sans alone was enough to clue me into the abuses within Alan Miller’s profit-making venture, even without direct observation of the passive aggressive behavior of not all but most of the mental health professionals on staff:


Trauma unremediated through art-making becomes visually communicated via graphic design. And my theory scales from the micro level of form and counterform by which we design typography to the macro level of architecture and community planning. Beyond the mind/body interconnection of physical health and emotional well-being, I am finding strong correlation between the individual and our designed environments. Traumatized (abused) people will create for themselves abusive environments; badly designed environments lead to still more antisocial behavior. If we want to stop campus shootings, we need to redesign our communities around an economy of intercommunicative care instead of our present economy that rewards narcissistic aggression.

Case study of what happens when a community replaces Andrew Wyeth’s magic realism with “magic” pills marketed to its most vulnerable – impoverished citizens and its own children – only results in a badly designed community where nobody wants to be, even its own long-term residents:

hagerstown design analysis

Proposal to and design analysis of Hagerstown, MD, 2012, two-page spread.

From her personal experiences, true crime writer Ann Rule describes Ted Bundy as an empathetic and compassionate listener when they worked together answering Seattle’s suicide hotline.

In my experience calling 911 to get help for a man I came across while he was overdosing on the street at the end of my block in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood, the telephone operator impressed me as being arrogant and self-absorbed. He talked over and interrupted me as I calmly described the situation to better prepare emergency personnel for an appropriate response. His tone was impatient in his irrelevant queries for my location. And triumphantly sneering over me when GPS technologies answered those questions, as I assumed technology in the high-tech city of Seattle would be prepared to do. His poor listening skills left him ill-equipped to relay to EMTs the only information that 21st century devices cannot better communicate without our help: the human narrative. While another human being lay possibly dying, the 911 operator wasted many precious minutes sharing his high self-opinions about his own wayfinding abilities. Finally dispatching my call to the fire station up the block, the operator then mocked me for what he perceived as my fear of the flaccid human penis, narrative I intended as purely descriptive of the scene, with one man approaching death, with his pants unzipped, and another standing over him, inviting me to join him in beating an unconscious victim. Distrustful of my description, the operator wasted still more time demanding that I return a few blocks from my apartment to a scene potentially dangerous to the Good Samaritan who may (or may not) have helped save a stranger’s life that day.

Compare/contrast with the professionalism of the EMT, who got directly to the point: “Would you say he is closer to death, or closer to being alive?”

My succinct answer in response to trauma that finally brought sirens and professional assistance to the scene: “I would say he is at that space in between.”

The citizens calling 911 should not be calmer in the midst of traumatic situations than the operators paid to answer those calls. I shudder to think of the life-threatening miscommunications between Seattle’s hotline operators and citizens who did not complete their graduate research in critical theories of identity, trauma, and the taboo. As cultural barometer and hopefully wake up call, I would say Seattle’s 911 operators in 2011 were less empathetic than one of the most notorious serial killers of the 20th century.

In my spatial note-taking skills, I remain indebted to either you or another of your colleagues at the S.J. Quinney College of Law, teaching your students how to prep for voir dire. Professor Cassell may well be the only conservative in Utah who serves wine and beer at parties hosted in his home. Even that was not enough to get some of those die hard Federalists to unpucker, chill out, or lose enough of their inhibitions to ask the empathetic listening question:

What is it like arguing before the Supreme Court of the United States?

I did that.

When his expertise on our Miranda laws and victims’ rights challenged my previously held opinions, my ego did not feel at all threatened. I did not try stamping my foot and whining, “But I wannan A!” or insisting on the rightness of my perspective, by then educated though outside his field. Instead, I wondered why none of his own students seemed interested in learning from his experience that exceeds the limits of their knowledge. My courage to ask of an educated expert what seemed to me even way back then the obvious question gave his students otherwise awkwardly engaged in superficial party chitchat an opportunity to creep forward, one by one, and gather ’round until soon a great orator retold stories that he had not yet prioritized sharing in his own classroom.

A long overdue thank you for introducing my then-husband to the work of your colleague Catherine Mackinnon. He had been previously derisive and disinterested in learning, where I had been excited to share her ideas introduced to me in the course encouraged by Professor Appleby. Excited to share your ideas, he came home from your class one evening at last interested, if still a bit dismissive of her legal arguments.

I only flinched a little bit when he referred to Professor Mackinnon as “Kitty.”

“And how,” I can remember asking, “would your Professor McConnell like it if I called him Mick?”

Probably too many students have flowed in and out of your classrooms over the years for you to remember one returning to class to ask if that nickname was intended as professional disrespect or casual endearment?

I prompted that critical question.

That one tiny anecdote provides an excellent example to better examine the subtleties of communication, the challenges in teaching and learning, in hearing and being heard. Will the audience receive the speech as the speaker intends? Will their wives? With breakdown in communications that result in war and crimes of communication like rape at the far end of a spectrum of violence, and whispers of love or speechless caresses, not speaking, near the opposite end, although refraining from speech might also be abusive, as not speaking out against injustice, thus injustices recur, thus abusive behaviors repeat one generation after another, where would you situate that nickname, as friendly familiarity or diminutive that diminishes Catherine Mackinnon’s authority in the eyes of future generations of legal scholars? As I wrote in my thesis, when does the familiar become familial, the familial become strange?

spectrum of violence diagram

When does the truth become stranger than fiction? Or delusion? Whose truth?

If I could talk to Professor Cassell today, first I would compliment his business acumen seeking damages from child pornographers in the only language that abusers respect. And then the critical question I would ask would not be who prosecutes the prosecutors (I am already prepared to ask that question in open court), nor who judges the judges (I have a fairly good idea which higher powers will assume that responsibility), but does that mean the law enforcement investigators who passively review the images of kiddie porn are also culpable for causing harm?

Follow up question, and what are you going to do about the prosecutors, governors, educators, and law enforcement and medical health professionals actively producing imagery depicting girls as victim objects simply because they have access to 21st century production tools without paying for the expertise of visually educated professionals?

In first year foundations visual culture literacy, this is described as the theory of the gaze. The mise en scène of this amateur camp production opens with a laptop as its focal point. The camera’s gaze zooms from behind the central character, who faces away from her audience, a body as object to be consumed by the gaze:

wasden vid design analysis

The camera swoops closer to the oblivious young female body, clad in red, a visual element connoting in our culture danger, blood, bravery, seduction, love:

wasden vid2 design analysis

Finally, the camera zooms in for a face shot of the young female victim:

wasden vid3 design analysis

Is she drunk? Or offering, head demurely bowed, with pouty lip, a thickly lashed come hither look imitated from Hollywood movies, pages of magazines, and Internet media? She does not speak:

wasden vid4 design analysis

As the camera’s gaze again zooms out, the scene changes from the young girl’s bedroom to the dark hazards of a cityscape:

wasden vid5 design analysis

The camera lingers for long moments on the silent, helpless victim at her laptop. Brand placement correlated with child sex abusers might pose a conflict for the state’s Attorney General so recently joining the federal government in suit against Apple:

wasden vid6 design analysis

Aimlessly wandering the city at night, the young female victim remains an object for the camera’s gaze:

wasden vid7 design analysis

The camera follows its target as a stalker might:

wasden vid8 design analysis

A shot from below emphasizes budding breasts, offers a vulnerable throat:

wasden vid9 design analysis

An amorphous dark bogeyman never quite materializes, protecting the identity of sexual predators, blaming their behavior on their victim-objects:

wasden vid10 design analysis

Like every slasher film ever made only lacking Hollywood’s more sophisticated production value, the young woman victim never actively engages in her own life. The gaze is never from her point of view. The camera becomes the predator. The audience is the predator. Camp production visually communicates exactly the opposite that the Attorney General’s written site content hopes to accomplish, adding to our visual culture that reproduces girls as victim to the male gaze:

wasden vid11 design analysis

When, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), four-fifths of child abuse perpetrators are their own parents, which parents are the intended audience for this amateur visual production?

Visibly evident in child abuse statistics not reported to HHS for 2012, Idaho’s Department of Health and Welfare struggles to communicate with the federal agency above as much as it struggles to communicate with its clients below:


Is it a software problem? Do Idaho personnel need better technology training? Or does the state have a communications problem, and state employees need better education in healthy communications?

If Department of Health and Welfare employees are simply recoding child abuse statistics as “mental illness,” has the state actually solved its adverse family environment problem? Or merely checked an alternative check box?

During the month that the State of Idaho violated my constitutional freedoms, the only two pieces of snail mail that arrived at my family’s housing compound addressed to me were from Intermountain Hospital and the Department of Health and Welfare, the two organizations responsible for my involuntary incarceration that prevented me from receiving mail in the outside world.

“This is how we communicate here,” one astute staff member observed wryly.

“Next time, you want me to set that in lead and letterpress print it for you?” I responded without missing a beat, suggesting a method for further delaying the state’s communications, having regained my sense of humor even while suffering the state’s abuses.

Because once you lose your sense of humor, take my expert word for it, you’ve got nothing besides your health.

In the visually uneducated world of Idaho’s mental health professionals confused about the differences between Edvard Munch and Vincent Van Gogh, my “creativity” or the calibre of my work, a result of my education and hard work to find work, came to be used as “proof” of my “mental illness.” Just wait until they get a load of Francis Bacon’s work. That should send Idaho’s mental health professionals into a manic tizzy of psychotropic prescription writing.

Personally, as an educated artist, designer, and writer, I despise the term cre8tive, or, as I explained to one undereducated young lady who nevertheless earns a paycheck from Intermountain Hospital as an “activities therapist” condescending to her clients by ker-plopping a bucket of dirty crayons onto a table, yet was only vaguely familiar with the names of Sigmund Freud or his famous Dora case (“It’s not Dora the Explorer?”) from which he derived his theories on hysteria, later renamed shell shock to accommodate soldiers returning from the front during World War I. and exhibiting similar symptoms, or evidence of the trauma they suffered, today more popularly described as PTSD, and seduction, which Freud later abandoned to accommodate pressure from the white, male, property-owning and check-writing fathers of his female clients, real creatives do not describe ourselves as “creative.”

Typical of the ladies who seem inextricably drawn to the field of social work and strongly in evidence at Intermountain and Idaho’s State Hospital South, this particular twenty-something young woman responded in that sing-songy little-girl voice. Hear a Valley Girl accent with extra hiccups tossed between syllables: “Oh. What do you call yourself?”

“Visually educated.”

Hitching the team to my metaphorical wagon in 2009 and moving from the tiny hamlet of Palouse, where there is a blinking red light at the busy intersection, seeking work as generations of peasants before me, in the mid-sized city of Seattle, Washington, I had never before seen a double-length city bus with an accordion-folded mid-section to accommodate turning corners, so I can empathize with Ms. Dalrymple’s struggle to believe my professional experiences. Three years later, Seattle seemed to me like a very small, incestuous town, long overdue for an injection of new deoxyribonucleic acid into its community pool.

But maybe I just didn’t meet the “right” people?

Maybe I got in with the “wrong” crowd?

Of schoolteachers and lawmakers and policy leaders-?

While I can empathize with Ms. Dalrymple’s perspective, I cannot condone the abuse of her power invested in mental health and law enforcement professionals by the State of Idaho.

If Governor Otter’s Department of Health and Welfare does not employ anyone capable of teaching his mental health professionals the unlimited possibilities of healthy communication when responding to a destitute client whose cv includes work for the Gates Foundation, Stanford University Graduate School of Business, and a sitting member of Seattle School Board, as well as, long ago, a temporary data entry clerk job inputting the child abuse statistics to bring the State of Utah current in its backlog of cases for the class action lawsuit that began under the leadership of its former Governor Mike Leavitt and spanned 14 years of legal costs before it was finally dismissed, but not without prejudice – uncountable billions or trillions in lost human productivity generation after generation after generation – then, if I may quote the publisher of a regional daily newspaper where, even before grad school and moving to Idaho the first time, I was the second designer to resign in as many months by explaining that the reason his paper is not designed well enough to attract a larger audience is because it is art directed by screaming, visually illiterate sales staff, maybe it is time to, “clean house”-?

A few examples of healthy communication responses that Ms. Dalrymple might have tried during her house visit:

  1. “And you graduated with flying colors from our state’s flagship institution? We’re happy to have you back. Tell me some more about your experiences so I can figure out how best to help you network into a salaried position,” or
  2. “It sounds like you’re exactly the talent that our governor is looking for in lowering prison costs or working toward resolving our state’s dependency on federal dollars for education. Let me talk to my boss about helping you network into a salaried position,” or
  3. “I work in the trenches and see on a daily basis the cost of child abuse and other domestic violence crimes. We could really use someone with your education and experience to find systemic solutions for these social problems. How may I help you network into a salaried position?”

At a bare minimum:

4. “It sounds like your family may benefit from conflict resolution and healthy communication skills. May we schedule a mediation session with my supervisor?”

Compare/contrast with Ms. Dalrymple’s mentally unhealthy, passive aggressive, surly, whining, blame-the-victim snarl: “Then why are you on food stamps?”

A question better posed to the individuals and institutions in the structurally more powerful position than me: a sitting member of Seattle School Board, the administrations of Stanford University and the University of Idaho, or Bill Gates, to name a few.

[10 January 2015. Page updated with link to Oregon Department of Justice investigation of failings in that state’s mental health services. Stet text “more research needed.” Gauging from the article published in The Oregonian, it sounds like more education in human psychology and trauma recovery needed. Let’s hope the U.S. Attorney is interviewing more mental health professionals than merely a spokesperson from NAMI. Or at least taking a peek at their quarterly reports to recognize the conflict of interest. (Daniel, please remember I am not your mother, and not stalking your career. Just trying to find, first of all a job, and second, justice in a nation gone mad.)]



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