Posts

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Will I Ever Have To Teach My Kids How To Drive?

A short video that explores the idea that in the near future, we may no longer have to teach our children how to drive.

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Introducing The Unhireable Project

Welcome to the ground floor of the ray.do network. Learn more about our new podcast, and how you can get involved here at Raymmar.com

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Why I’m Supporting A Gay Rights/Equality Event

If you had asked me a few years back to attend the Annual Harvey Milk Festival, I would have looked at you a little weird. I would have told you that I think homosexuality is unnatural and that I wouldn’t be attending because I did not agree with the lifestyle.

Watch a short video from the most recent Harvey Milk Festival. Courtesy of Sarasota Underground.

I might have referenced a gay person that I was somewhat familiar with and claimed to not have a problem with their sexual preference, but deep down, there was a piece of my brain that made me feel really uncomfortable with the idea of homosexuality. The part of me that society has trained to feel that way, the part that hates the thought of two members of the same sex finding happiness inside of an intimate relationship with one another.

But that part of me is dying fast. And I can’t tell you that it is gone completely or that it ever will, but I have a whole new perspective on many things in life. And the amount of fucks I give about how people decide to explore their sexuality is quickly fading.

And honestly, what kind of world are we living in, where the things that happen in the privacy of of our own bedrooms, among two consenting adults, is anyone’s business other than that of the people who are in the room doing it. And more importantly, who the hell am I to tell anyone, where, when or how they should play with their private parts.

“But homosexuality is immoral and wrong!” Said some religious reader somewhere!

Oh yeah, says who? The bible? Your church? Your government?

Related article: Is everything you know about religion wrong?

Who the heck are they? And why have we let them into the most intimate parts of our private lives? Are we so incapable of ruling ourselves that we have deferred every one of our decisions to the approval of others?

Are we not just people living inside of small communities? Are we not all human? Do we not still preserve the right to think and act on our own? Have we lost the ability to mind our own business? Have we stopped managing our own lives and shifted towards the idea of collectively managing the lives of others, and in turn, lost control of everything?

And what kind of world are we building for our children? One where we are still free to think and act on our own? Or one that is managed by mandate? A world where our decisions are dictated to us? One that leaves us always worried about the opinions of someone else. Always letting someone tell us what to do, what to say, and how to say it.

So you see, I may not support the entire LGBTQ movement, but I wholeheartedly support my gay friends. I support their right to believe in whatever they believe in. I support their right to gather, and celebrate and have sex with whoever they want… As long as it’s not with me.

Because what right do I have to claim free speech, if I am not willing to support those who speak freely?

What right do I have to talk about liberty if those are around me are not encouraged to live freely. And what right do I have to tell you, or anyone for that matter, how to live your life?

Because that is equality.

Because that is the level playing field that America was supposed to be. Not this doctored up version of democracy that is starting to feel more and more like fascism.

So I am supporting the Harvey Milk Festival and my friends who help pull it off every year. With my words and with my wallet, and I would ask you to consider doing the same. Mostly because they need it, but more importantly, because America needs more people who are willing to stand up for what they believe in, even if that means defending someone else’s right to do something you might not completely agree with.

 

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The Desire to Create

A metaphorical post intended to inspire the creator in all of us.

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I Had Dinner With A Murderer, And Didn’t Even Know It

This is a true story, based on actual events in Manatee County Florida.

Update: A year later, Avalos is facing another Murder charge for attempting to kill an inmate in prison.

Imagine you are at a dinner party. You are at your friends house but you only know a few of the more than thirty people that fill the room. Look to your right, now to your left. Three days from now, one of these faces is going to kill three people. Who will it be? Could it be you? Could it be me?

It’s like a scene out of a movie, something you’d never expect to experience in real life. You never image you’ll get a call telling you to turn on the news because one of the guys you were at dinner with a few nights before is accused of going on a murderous rampage.

It is not something you think about while sitting at dinner with friends and great food enjoying the camaraderie of a family birthday celebration. But this particular party would quickly be overshadowed by the actions of one young man.

He wasn’t a murderer at the time, but a few days later Andres Avalos Jr. would murder his wife, a neighbor, and the pastor of a local church they attended.

He left his 6 children without a mother, 2 more wthout a father, a church without their pastor, friends without friends and family without family. And after confessing, he will probably spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Andres-Avalos-Jr-with tattoo

Image credit – Bradenton Herald – https://www.bradenton.com/2014/12/07/5517903_andres-avalos-jr-has-first-appearance.html?rh=1

At one point, he was trying to convince me that Mexican hip hop was better than American hip hop, but that argument was settled quickly as the crowd decided that the music coming from another friends phone was more worthy of being plugged into the small set of speakers that were sitting on the countertop in front of him.

He had a tattoo on his neck, coming up from underneath his shirt, something that looked like a cross with a name on it, but hey, lots of people have tattoos.

I never got a warm and fuzzy feeling while talking to Andres but I didn’t get a bad vibe from him either. He was just another guy in the room.

I could tell he was street savvy because of the way he talked and carried himself but I have a varied past myself so I try not to judge anyone based on first appearance.

Most of the nights conversations were centered around the home made Thai food that was being prepared in the kitchen and outside on the grill. It was delicious and there seemed to be so much love in the room.

I guess that’s what makes this all so hard to take in, what makes it all so difficult to comprehend. How can the same guy, who sat there talking to me about lettuce wraps and bad beer, be the same guy who just ripped the lives of three families to shreds?

I don’t know the guy other than the few hours we spent hanging out that night so I am not going to assume to know what was going through his head, but if you ask me it was not murder. Not that night, not in that moment.

So what causes a person to snap like that? What causes someone to gun down three people in cold blood? Could anyone else in that room have snapped like he did or was it his destiny to be a murderer? Was there something in the stars that said it was his time to go, or was this simply the hand of someone’s god?

Does that mean that I am capable of murder? Does this mean that we are all one missed step away from fatally falling apart?

How is it that we can seem so normal on the surface but be falling apart inside? Why are humans so good at hiding their pain? How come we wait until it’s too late before we let someone know that we are about to blow?

There have been no reports on a motive, but what motive can there be for a crime so heinous other than self hate? And if you have so much hate that you are willing to kill, then why not kill yourself instead? Why not end your own pain as opposed to spreading it like a plague by killing those you love?

I’m not one to advocate for suicide, but if it means saving the lives of innocent people, at the expense of assholes who can’t express anger, other than through the barrel of a gun, then I say go ahead and blow your fucking brains out.

Because no one’s life should ever be cut short by the actions of another man. That’s the one gift that no one should ever want to give. We have no ability to create life and should therefore think twice about taking it. Shit, you should think three, four, five or even more times about doing something so stupid. And once you think you’ve thought it through, then write about it and think about it some more. Tell a friend about it. Do something to get it out in the open and please, give someone a chance to stop you before it’s too late.

You might just learn to understand and love the dark parts of your soul. And you might just save someone’s life in the process. Maybe even your own!

By the way, this is a real story, and you can help support the families of those involved by clicking the link below and donating to their GoFundMe campaign.

 

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The Power of Words

Sticks and stones my ass. Words hurt like hell and they have the power to destroy. They can control you, drive you, push and pull you. Words are all things and words are nothing. Everything is a word, and according to Urban Dictionary, so is this but…

What exactly is a word?

If you Google the word “word,” you get this:

noun – 1. a single distinct meaningful element of speech or writing, used with others (or sometimes alone) to form a sentence and typically shown with a space on either side when written or printed.

And if you dig a little deeper, (all the way down to the next result) you find this definition:

: a sound or combination of sounds that has a meaning and is spoken or written

or

: a brief remark or conversation : something that a person says

Getting closer but words are stronger than that

Words are the foundation of everything we do; of everything we are. They are the mechanism by which you are currently reading my thoughts, and they are the core components of communication in any real sense.

There is no other way to describe in detail, the events of any particular moment in time, without diving into the words of some other individuals reality. And even if you could, how would you describe it without words?

Sure there are pictures and video, but the world captured inside of them must also rely upon words.

Words are the purpose of art.

Art is the visual expression of the words inside of an artists head. The visual representation of emotion. Interpretations designed to spark thought. Thoughts that can drive words from your mind to your mouth. From pen to paper.

A writer must paint with no brush and shoot video with no camera. They must reach through the eyes of a reader using these silly arrangements of letters that we call words, and those words must appeal to intellect, as well as emotion. They must move the audience with substance, not simply with style.

Words are pictures that develop right in front of the readers eyes. A painting that is perpetually being painted. A writers canvas is the reader’s brain and his medium is the combined thoughts and ideas of each individual reader themselves. Impossible to be completely understood unless the message is received in context and in its entirety.

Writing is a form of art where each observer is required to participate actively in order for its true impact to be felt. The reader must give in and allow the author access to their brain. Leaving them completely exposed, if only briefly, to the mind of another man.

Words are the DNA of language. They are the root of commerce, the basis for human interaction, and most definitely the ruler of every religion.

Put words in an old enough book and they become history. A snapshot from another world, a moment captured in time and displayed for anyone to explore.

Words are the ultimate level playing field.

Words allow you to travel through time, and are entrusted with recording history. They are the sum knowledge of our entire species, and are a requisite to educate and inform societies. It is the responsibility of words to fill the pages on the scripts of life.

Words, or the lack thereof, are the root of every battle between good and evil.

Those who can use words to captivate audiences and project their visions clearly are the ones that get to shape the futures of the world we live in.

They are the visionaries and the entrepreneurs, the psychologists and the sociologists. Words are the engineers and architects, the designers and the developers, the you’s and the me’s. Words are everything and we should all have them as friends.

You should learn to play with them regularly. Because the more time you spend with words, the more power those words will give you in return.

You should learn to respect and revere them. Listen, read, and hear them. You should find a way to explore new things because each new experience leads to new words, which then become stories, that then become you.

But what do I know, after all, these are only words.

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Understanding Power: Why Being Stupid Is In Style

A harsh look at the ignorance that affects our society as a whole, and an explanation for why the powerful have no problem keeping you in the dark.

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum….”

― Noam Chomsky, The Common Good ―

We are all susceptible to the influence and power of others. We also crave to have it for ourselves.

We watch those who do, and all we do is hate. If we can’t have it, then neither should they. We are no longer taught to understand the power of the people so we forget what if feels like to have any power at all. Over time we start to believe that we have little or no power at all.

As a society, we have outsourced our intellect to a large group of social, political and financial oligarchs. We have given way to a new type of tyranny. Digital tyranny. A version that hides in plain sight and secretly wishes to take control of everything, including your behaviors.

We see some story on Twitter and take it at face value. We hear the satirical perspective from a social celebrity and let it shape our opinions and ideology, but rarely think to explore the topic deeper. We never read proposed legislation before it’s passed. Instead, we rely on those who wrote it to tell us how great this next new law is going to be. Instead we find ourselves fighting about left vs right, while both are nothing but wrong.

Most of us don’t know how governments are created, how they work, or how they are destroyed. Why then, would we notice that our own government is falling apart right in front of us? We pay little attention to other countries who are facing or have faced the same perils we face, so why would we pay any attention when it happens here at home?

It’s not that you are all stupid

After all, I have no Idea how smart any of you actually are. For all I know you are a 4.0 grade-getting, chess-club-running, pocket-protector-wearing, three-degree-having, bad motherfucker who knows a lot about something.

I’m just saying that in spite of all the things you know, you still have no clue as to what any of it actually means. And by any of “it,” I mean life in general.

Sure, you graduated high school, maybe went to college, got a job, got married, bought a house, had a kid, etc. But the question I want you to ask yourself is this; what do you really know about any of it? What is your purpose in life? Other than to exist that is?

“Men are more easily governed through their vices than through their virtues.”

― Napoleon ―

We’ve been trained to be idiots

You can use the word interchangeably if you’d like. Slaves, surfs, peasants, proletariat, or whatever popular label you’d like to put on the purposely oppressed people that have populated this planet over the years.

The powers that be have always controlled the people through the flow of information and we are all to happy to accept their projections as our realities. We are happy to have a place to lay our heads and we take for granted the responsibility of what it means to live in a free country.

So many people walk around thinking they know something about anything, but in reality, all they know are the things they think the know. And really, what kind of benchmark is that for understanding anything in life?

What would the world be like if all that we needed to do to flourish and to understand it was to sit around and watch? At what point are you going to admit to yourself that in order to accomplish anything, you have to go out and do something? You must learn to experience and influence the people and the world around you in order to truly elevate your intellect?

That’s the way the world works. Someone has an idea, then they do something about it and in the process of building, refining and distributing that idea, they convert it into a reality. Often creating something from nothing.

The problem is that inside of that growth comes power and with that power comes perversion.

As we begin to create and manipulate the methods of information distribution (governments, religions, businesses), power shifts to the individuals who control and manipulate the flow of that information. Often embracing the structure and benefit of power but repressing you, or anyone else from finding it for themselves. This is the problem that has lead us to where we are.

“If you are not open to the idea that everything you know might be wrong, then you are likely to be wrong about most things.”

― Raymmar Tirado ―

Think about the power that entities like Google, Facebook or the NSA have amassed recently.  All of the things we fear most about any of them are the invasions of our privacy as they manipulate the flow of our personal information.

We are seeing larger and larger power structures spring up around the flow of this precious information. As if information were becoming the ultimate and final currency. One that gives the bearer the power to control entire civilizations, regardless of their country of origin.

The first groups of man did it through grunts and chest-thumps, cave drawings, swords and story telling. Then came written languages and and eventually books. Now we have radio, television and the internet. All results of technological innovation. All brilliant in their own right, but all easily manipulated for power. All easily used to exert control over the narratives that then become the societies we live in.

Every time humanity meets a new invention that allows for the mass distribution of information we see these fluctuations in social behavior. We see new influencers emerge and old pockets of power fade. Superpowers are born, then they die or adapt to fit in with the new technology of the time.

Publishing houses, media companies, news organizations, revolutions, wars, and even new governments, all born from the desire of one man (or a group of men) to control another. The advantage always siding with whoever has the best information at the time of battle.

Winners write the history books…

So who is writing the books that are putting the thoughts inside of your head? Where did you get your understanding of life? What experiences have made you, you?

Did you get your information from the same place as everyone else or have you gone out to find it for yourself? Did you ever stop to wonder why some things stay the same while others are constantly evolving? Is it because stillness is the natural state of the universe or is it because man has intended those things to remain stagnant.

It seems to me that the universe and nature itself is always changing and evolving, always adapting to the most efficient version of itself. Why then, have we as a society stalled when it seems we should have everything we’ve ever needed to solve all of the problems we’ve ever had?

Why does it seem like humanity is sliding backwards?

Why does it feel like we are regressing as an entire species? Why can’t we make meaningful change, and how come there seems to be less-and-less on which to rest our hopes on as more-and-more changes take place around us?

How is it possible that we are still letting the same flaws that have hindered humanity since the beginning of time slow us down when everything around us seems to be speeding up?

Is it really so hard to believe that the people who would want to control you would also rather you remain ignorant. They prefer you that way. It makes the process of keeping you under their control easier. This is what we must resist.

This is the unrest we are starting to see all around us. We are watching as the established powers, fight to defend their existing control over the flow of information, while new methods of distribution pop up faster than they can be shut down.

You are seeing information fight to be free but these fights always end in ferocious battles. Sometimes in the courts but often in cold blood. And every once in a while, in grand scale with a global war.

Their power will be protected at all costs and we must no longer be willing to accept that as our reality. We must wage this war of ideas now in order to stop the oppressive war that waits for us at the end of inaction.

In what America was just-good ever good-enough?

In order to drive any meaningful change you must be willing to go hungry, to be bored. You must be willing to be uncomfortable, to do what is difficult and refuse what is easy.

It’s hard to let your intellect evolve. It’s hard to admit to yourself that you have been wrong about the things that have felt so right your entire life.

It’s almost impossible to make those changes alone. So for most of us things will stay the same, that is to say, until they’re not.

One of these days the changes will affect you. They will finally make an impact in your life and your reality as you know it will be revealed as ridiculous. You will be left running and screaming for help as if the sky were just starting to fall. But in that moment you will know that it is already too late.

In that moment you will know that your ignorance has finally failed you.

What do you think about ignorance and power? Let me know in the comments below.

Eric Liu: Why ordinary people need to understand power

A friend sent me this video as I was editing this article and it goes right along with my greater point so I thought I would share.


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Robin Williams Dead: Why I Don’t Care And Neither Should You

Beloved actor Robin Williams was found dead on Monday, police reported. He was 63. The apparent cause of death was suicide by asphyxiation Read more

So now you know, but should you care?

I did not know Robin Williams and I would venture to guess that many of you didn’t either. Not outside of his movies that is.

I did enjoy his work and he had a major impact on the entertainment industry to be sure but what difference did he make in your life for you to run around crying like you care for any reason other than a few more likes on your Facebook wall?

Of course his family and friends should mourn his loss. And honestly, if you want to light a candle or say a prayer for him and his family then by all means, go ahead. I just think that the attention we spend as a society focusing on issues like this are symptoms of a larger problem that we face as a people.

The questions you should be asking.

When will we start paying attention to what matters?

When will we stop glorifying the people who’s jobs it is to entertain us, while ignoring the major facts that underlie these viral explosions of grief. When have you cared about the fact that tens of thousands of people commit suicide each year or that depression affects more than just celebrities?

When will we stop ignoring the fact that entertainment and most media for that matter is designed to distract us from the bigger picture. That we have allowed pop-culture to fracture our society by enthralling us with stories about one or two individuals that we have never met as opposed to connecting with the people in our lives that really matter.

How many of you are reading this story while sitting next to someone who you call a friend? What if they died tomorrow? How would you feel about having spent this final moment with them on your phone as opposed to getting to know a little more about them?

When was the last time you spilled a tear for the death of a soldier?  A teacher or policeman? Aren’t those the political heart strings that are usually pulled in situations where the media is trying to make a point?

How many news organizations are flooding their front pages with this “breaking news” while burying the information about our pending economic collapse somewhere below the fold; in section E 12.

What does it say about us as a people that we are more interested in the death of a comedic celebrity than the death of a US Army General, a Death and Cover up of a US Ambassador, an IRS that is arbitrarily spying on its citizens or any other number of stories that might have you thinking you were reading a political fiction novel.

I do not mean to be insensitive, but give me a freaking break. My heart goes out to people who have had to or are dealing with any death, especially suicide. Having been close to the edge myself I know the thoughts that must be running through most peoples heads right now but please take a step back and think about why you really care.

If you can tell me that it is because you really loved him and it is breaking your heart then by all means, enjoy your grief. This is after all, still (for now) America.

I just think that most people are using this as an opportunity to suck up another moment in social media glory and to drive page views. Heck, that’s the only reason I am writing this article at 3:00 am instead of working on my book or sleeping, which is what I should be doing.

In closing

If I had my way, no one would care whether Rhianna and whoever she is currently sleeping with break up, or whether another comedian dies today or even tomorrow. Not in the grand scheme of things that is.

Maybe that makes me callous and cruel. Maybe that means that I will have a lonely funeral, but I think we should be spending our time and media resources caring about the health of our country because it is also dying.

We should be worried that our entire society is on life support.

We should care that we are completely incapable as an entire country of giving a shit about anything that doesn’t come with sparkles, sex or sporting equipment.

So, I will gladly pour one out for my fellow depression sufferers, but I will not sulk over this celebrities passing in any context other than that. And honestly, neither should you.

Did I get it wrong? Leave your comments below.

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Has Your Entire Life Been A Lie?

“We swallow greedily any lie that flatters us, but we sip only little by little at a truth we find bitter.”

Denis Diderot

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Why do we walk around pretending like the whole world is telling us the truth when most of the time, we won’t even tell ourselves the truth.

We accept lies every day. From the world, from the government, from the media, from our friends, from our family and mostly, from ourselves.

We tell ourselves that we will get-to-it-tomorrow, or maybe we’ll send that email later, let me just mark it as un-read real quick.

We have all heard the excuses, “This is the last cigarette. I promise…” or “I haven’t had that many drinks, I’m good to drive.”

The truth is that we lie to ourselves every day. Shit, many of our memories are lies. Our brains are notoriously inefficient at creating accurate records of our life experiences. Sometimes we just fill in the blanks for ourselves.

Over time our imagination can even shift our reality. We start interjecting our own opinions and begin to mold our own memories while re-writing the past. Eventually our new version becomes the truth.

We lie to ourselves about past lovers and romanticize the experiences. We dwell on that someone we just broke up with, someone we couldn’t live with, yet somehow, can’t seem to let go.

We know it’s over. It probably should have been over a long time ago but we can’t bring ourselves to pull away. We live the lie of love, and love to live the lie.

We use lies to protect us from ourselves and to soften the blows from reality. We allow lies to excuse our behaviors. “Just this once…” because, “You know me, I never really do things like this!”

I’m not saying it’s right to lie, and I’m not saying it’s necessarily always wrong, I’m simply saying that it is. It’s hard wired into each of our brains and it is something we all do. No matter how much you want to pretend not to.

We don’t need to be taught how to lie, we just do it. We’ve known how to lie ever since the fist time we fucked up. From the first moment your mom looked at you with that face. The face that till this very day means only one thing. Brace for impact!

“I don’t know what happened…” or “it was the dog! I swear! Cross my fingers hope to die, stick a needle through my eye!”

Anything to deflect the truth. Anything to save face. But at the end of the day, we know what is right and what is wrong.

We all know what we should have done or how we should have done it. More likely than not we even knew how we should have done it, while we were doing it, but we still made the wrong decision.

Sometimes we even pretend to know what is best for our friends while we can’t even figure out what is right for ourselves. Something called the “Solomon Paradox” Instead of pushing ourselves to be the best, we’ve become ok with just “fitting in” with the rest.

We then shower praise upon the people who live inside of the very screens that stream the majority of these lies directly into our lines-of-sight. The actors and athletes, the affluent and the elites.

Forget working hard, just become famous. That’s what the cool kids are doing. Just do something silly, have sex in the street. Sell your soul to the devil and maybe you can get a spot on the next hot reality show.

We set our eyes on the spoils of those who have and instantly think of ourselves as the have-nots. We accept the lie of a level playing field and then lie to ourselves about why we can’t succeed on it.

We deserve our share after all! We want what they have and we would have it if only things were a little different. If only life wasn’t so hard and the world wasn’t out to get us! Poor, poor us. Whatever will we do.

Life is made up of these little lies. Things that you get to discover as you go. We love lies, fairy tales and falsehoods. We all pass them on, like a bad plague, from generation to generation.

We allow ourselves to be shackled by lies. Controlled by the system in which we live. For god’s sake, our entire monetary system is a complete lie. Digital ledgers of ones and zeros that for some reason we continue to believe in.

We lie to ourselves about why we can’t get a new job or why we can’t lose those last few pounds. Why we don’t have enough time to get it all done, or… wait, what was I saying? Hang on a sec, while I have some more fun.

The problem with lies is that they become complicated. One day you look back and you’ve wasted your youth, all of a sudden you don’t know which part of your life is a lie and which part is truth.

The world was flat, and then it wasn’t.

The sun revolved around the earth, and then it didn’t.

We knew each of those things to be true for hundreds of years before they were commonly accepted as fact, yet at the time, many still believed otherwise.

Like many before us, we have allowed lies to tear through our entire society like rust. Slowly eating through all of the structural components and now, finally out onto the surface. Leaving the entire structure weak and ready for collapse.

The truth is that our whole lives have been lies, and we are supposed to remain stupid. We have been played and will continue to be played until we decide to create the change we seek. Pawns in this game called life.

And sometimes those distortions lead to something good. Because well intentioned shifts in thought based on deeper understandings and new information, can often lead to great innovation; but sometimes it get’s out of control.

Sometimes that distorted reality can bring down an entire society.

Sometimes that house of cards collapses and brings everyone else crashing down with it. And you’d be believing another lie if you thought it was not happening again. Right now, and all around you.

And that right there, is nothing but the cold hard truth.

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