Jen Baldo, also known as Mousie, was born in Indio, California on August 3, 1979. Mousie is the
Daughter of Denice O’Shane and David Baysinger, and sibling to half-sister Dawn. “Have you
ever heard the song, ‘The Wanderer’,” Mousie asked me. I nodded my head. “I like to consider
that to be like my life song,” she said. Mousie has been on the road nearly her whole life. She has
been all over the United States, living her life with a very practical set of rules in place, “Do not
lie, do not steal, do good, help out when you can, and do not take a handout, but if you do,
swallow your pride.” Mousie lived most of her early childhood in California before she moved in
with her grandparents in Arizona. She loved this time in her life; this was truly a period of
tranquility. Some of her favorite memories were shared with her grandparents. She said with a
smile, “I remember chopping wood with grandpa, and going outside to help grandma in the
garden.” I guess the simpler things in life truly can be enjoyable when we are doing them with
people we love. She stops me as I am writing, “Chopping wood was fun, but the most fun I had
was when I was fishing with family.” She proudly says, “I can bait, hook, throw the line, reel it
in, but not touch the damn fish.” Most of her youth was spent with her grandparents. “Oh man
they would spoil me so much,” she said and soon broke out into a loud laugh. She told me a story
about how her grandma would ask for her grandpa to spank Mousie; Mousie’s grandpa would
take her into a separate room and tell her to fake-cry and would take his belt and hit the wall.
Soon after Mousie moved to Arizona, Denice and Mouise’s stepdad moved out to join Mousie.
While staying with her grandparents, Mousie pursued an education and eventually got a degree
from a trade school in 1994. After very many long conversations with her mom and
grandparents, Mousie found out that her biological dad still lived in California. Mousie had been
lied to her whole life and was told that her stepdad was her biological dad. Feeling betrayed and
desperate, Mousie left Arizona for California in search of her real dad, she had just turned 16.
“It was the worst trip ever,” says Mousie. She had been told that her real dad was not a
very good person, but Mousie said her only goal was to form her own opinion of him. Sadly, her
grandparents and mother were right, he was not a very good person. So, after six months back in
California, she moved back to Arizona to be with her grandparents again. The timing could not
have been worse. When she got back to Arizona she discovered her mother had left, and her
grandparents getting ready to move as well. Being that Mousie had only completed trade school
and still needed to complete high school, her grandparents put her in Homebase Youth Services
before leaving. I asked her to describe her experience at Homebase Youth Services, her response,
“It was hell.” She goes on to say that people were very mean to her and did not treat her kindly.
She was only in the shelter for around a year, before deciding to leave to go and be with her Aunt
Debbie who lived in Buckeye, Arizona. Leaving the Homebase Youth Services was very good
for Mousie, she really felt like she had found a home with her aunt. However, soon the calm
waters of Mousie’s life would be disrupted. While staying with her aunt, Mousie was molested
by her Uncle Les, she was just 17.
What started out as a tranquil, peaceful place for Mousie, soon turned into a world of
darkness. Mousie desperately wanted to leave her aunt’s house, but with nowhere to go, she was
stuck. She told me that this time in her life was very hard for her, she resonated with the song
“Pretty Girl,” she quoted it saying, “There’s more to me then people know.” After staying with
her aunt for half a year, she left to live with her grandparents in Showlow, Arizona and moved in
with them. While living with her grandparents, she mainly worked around the house. Her
grandfather worked as an 18-wheeler driver and was gone for many days on end, and her
grandmother needed help around the house. She lived with her grandparents for about two years
before moving back to California. Following one of her rules for life, she moved back to
California to help her half-sister with her home. She said that her sister was falling on hard times
and needed some help taking care of the kids. She stayed there for one year before moving up to
Chugiak, Alaska in 2002 to help take care of her mother who had recently broken her wrist. I
asked Mousie to describe her stay in Alaska to which she said, “It was cold and boring.” Yet, she
was with her mom which was important to her. She ended up staying in Alaska for 9 years, her
longest time in one place since childhood. It seemed as though she had finally found herself a
home. Yet again, the calm waters would be disrupted, Mousie’s stepdad, Herb, started molesting
her. When I asked how old she was she said, “I have no idea, I do know that Santa Clause 2 had
just come out.”
After being molested by her stepdad, Mousie moved back to California. She moved in
with her Uncle Harvey, to whom she lovingly nicknamed ‘shithead’. She said that she had so
much fun getting to stay with her Uncle Harvey, had two kids named Sunshine and Angel. She
loved them very dearly and would play many games with them throughout the day. She recalled
her favorite game being, ‘monkey,’ which would entail the kids hanging on her arm and being
swung around. But, yet again, Mousie’s life would soon be disrupted. Aunt Debbie got in touch
with Mousie to inform her that she was dying. Mousie soon left her comfortable life in California
to move back to Arizona to take care of her dying aunt, forcing her to face the man who first
molested her. Mousie said that life back in Arizona was hard, Les and Mousie would take turns
every night checking Debbie’s blood pressure. Mousie said, shaking with rage, that just before
her aunt died she remembered Les stopping her and saying that if he stopped giving Debbie
insulin at night that no one would be able to prove it was his fault that she died. Mousie believed
that this was evidence enough to prove that Les killed her aunt by not giving her insulin. Debbie
died on January 5 th , 2015. Mousie soon bounced from place to place in Arizona for a couple
years before meeting Cristal, who is now her girlfriend. Cristal is eventually what led Mousie to
move down to the Bryan/College Station area. She now resides here and is hoping to make this
area her home.
I am so thankful that Mousie would trust me with her life story. She truly is a remarkable
light in the midst of a life surrounded by the darkest of events. Mousie has been through what so
many others already have. Millions of females around the world have been victims of sexual
assault and molestation just like Mousie. Yet, through all the pain, Mousie stands as a pillar of
hope. With a life consumed by desperation and sadness, Mousie pushes on throughout it all. She
truly is the epitome of selflessness, leaving comfortability and security to be there for family.
Constantly she showed love, when love wasn’t shown to her. Endlessly she offered grace, when
forgiveness was anything but easy to offer. Always she emanated happiness, even when
happiness seemed impossible to show. Mousie’s story has given hope to the hopeless, peace to
the peaceless, and joy to the joyless. To the women who are struggling, and to the victims who
are hurting, we hope you can read this story and know that you aren’t alone. But more that, that
you’re going to make it through. Latch onto those around you that make you feel full, and let go
of the pains that bring you to emptiness. Take the words from Mousie to heart, do good for
others and help when you can. But never forget that this life is worth living, and this struggle is
worth the pain. Because through it all, throughout all the brokeness, you can stand as a voice for
love and as a symbol of hope, in the same way that Mousie has done for us, and so many others.
Many influential world figures have openly discussed their experiences with psychedelic substances such as LSD. Aldous Huxley (author of Brave New World), Richard Feynman (Quantum mechanics Nobel prize winner), and Steve Jobs have used LSD and have expressed the positive impact it has had on their lives. During an interview, Steve Jobs remarked, “LSD reinforced my sense of what was important—creating great things instead of making money”. These credible figures’ view of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide is very opposite to that of the general public and federal government.
These brilliant minds all believed LSD had an extraordinary impact on their professional careers and personal lives. However, why would these intelligent world leaders advocate the consumption of a Schedule I drug? The FDA considers substances in this class to be more dangerous than Schedule II drugs such as Methamphetamine, Cocaine, and Fentanyl. The Controlled Substance Act of 1970, signed into law by Richard Nixon, created five classes for controlled substances. Drugs are categorized based on their potential for abuse, accepted medical uses, and the likelihood of dependence to the substance.
Schedule I substances, the most dangerous class of controlled substances, have a very high potential for abuse, no accepted medical applications, and a lack of safety under medical supervision. LSD is one of the drugs listed as a Schedule I substance, but the modern scientific understanding of Lysergic acid diethylamide may support the declassification of the drug.
A ‘high potential for abuse’ implies that LSD has a highly addictive nature. When discussing drug dependencies, it is important to acknowledge that physical addictions are very different than psychological addictions. Physical addictions are generally considered more dangerous because the drug “...changes your brain’s production of or response to neurotransmitters like dopamine...”, according to the American Addiction center. For this reason, addictions that develop from physical dependencies are much harder to shake than psychological addictions. According to Addiction Center website, “LSD is a non-addictive substance [but] people can become addicted to the sights, sounds, and revelations they experience”. The LSD experience itself can be psychologically addictive, probably because of the supposedly profound and impactful nature of the experience. In contrast, alcohol is considered an addictive substance, which means it has a physically dependent nature. In fact, most people know someone that suffers from alcoholism and it is considered a serious but common problem. A legal substance is more addictive than a Schedule I drug. This current classification is strikingly alarming.
It is widely agreed that pure Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) cannot cause fatal overdoses. Reported deaths using the drug result from the users actions while LSD is in their system, not the physiological effects of the drug itself. Alcohol may be the most abused psychoactive substance in the world but, in contrast, often results in fatal overdose. Despite the evident danger of alcohol, millions of people abuse it regularly and the federal government has not listed it as a controlled substance. LSD is in the most controlled class of drugs yet its physiological harm to the user is negligible when compared with alcohol.
It is staggering that such inconsistencies are so easily found within the federal drug classification system. It should make us all question how things have gotten to this point. Maybe the influential advocates of LSD such as Steve Jobs had merit for their support of the drug. In the next article, a closer look at the origins of federal drug policies in America will shine more light on some reasons for these worrisome inconsistencies.
The most paramount of such questions is to first implement a standard: what is the purpose of government? Judgments of “good” or “bad” government can only exist if we have grounds for what is “good” or “bad”. At the very base level, what seems to be universally recognized is the notion that we are free beings and should be treated as such. Therefore, a government’s role is to ensure these individual freedoms and offer protection against the infringement of them. The rationale for anti-discrimination laws and punishments for murder derive from this simple recognition: that no individual is to have their rights to freedom removed from their being. With this, the government’s role is to ensure that an individual’s rights are to be protected to have self-autonomy, so as long as they are not acting in ways that endanger others’ rights (ex: murder, discrimmination). With this, we are able to form a basis for how to view governments. This standard is not only near-universal, but psychologically backed. Studies have shown that our assessments of how government should act is a credible and desirable one. The more freedom an individual has, the happier and more meaningful they will feel. This is commonsensical, as any would agree that the ability to control their own life leads to a greater purpose, meaning, and happiness. Therefore, what proves clear is that our government should exist to ensure freedom and protect it. Those on the left find themselves agreeing to this belief system as well, as their animosity towards U.S. imperialism and economic tyranny both stem from the inability of oppressed people to choose the way they want to conduct their lives and express autonomy over self.
History makes conspicuous how oppressed civilizations have sought the manifestation for individual freedoms in their very own societies. In Russia and China alike, rebellion was catalyzed from a desire to eradicate the oppression that had hindered their ability to act as free individuals. As cited by early Communists, civilians identified the existence of oppression as a result of unjust economic models that placed power in the hands of the few, and exploited the workers of the many. In other words, tyrannical structures removed the opportunity for millions to exercise the individual freedoms they so wished to possess. What followed was not a failure to seek a desirable goal, but a failure to understand how to achieve a desirable goal. Communism was simply put, a failed philosophical experiment. The minds of Communism recognized the evil and oppression prevalent in their societies and begged the question, why does this exist and how do we abolish it? The answer they arrived at, despite their noble attempts, was detrimental.
The leaders of these thinkers attributed oppression in society to the evil possessed by those in economic power. Therefore, in order to remove this evil, those in power had to be removed. The belief system was simple: oppression and evil will be eliminated if the oppressors are killed. This philosophy catalyzed two of the most heinous and horrid histories of modern humanity.
Since the development of these governments, both countries have seen catastrophic events occur in their respective territories. Historians estimate that Stalin’s rule led to the death of at least 20 to 60 million, while Mao’s reign led to the deaths of around 45 million. What seems blatantly obvious, is that the original revolutionaries goals of freedom, were not achieved. How could one be free to live if they are not able to live? The question to ask, is how did individuals with intents of freedom and a better life, produce an outcome antithesis to their objective?
In both cases, a congruent motivation and philosophy led to similar results. Throughout the 19th and early into the 20th century, China and Russia alike were overcome by oppression by the minority against the majority. Yet, in both countries, the majority pushed back, desiring to escape oppression for pursuits of their own freedom. Yet, a century later, it seems that the intended objective of the majority, is more lost now than before. But why?
The reason for such calamity and failure is not an issue of desire, but of philosophy. Both countries suffered from similar oppressive structures, in which the majority eventually pushed back against. Their shortcoming to upend such tyranny, derived from an inability to identify where the roots of it originate from. The ideology of communism failed to recognize universal desire for power and greed found in all of us, not just some of us. Instead, this logic pointed to the belief that certain negative traits, like greed and desire for power, existed only as a result of predisposed traits, genetic linkages. Essentially, because the opportunity for mobility was uncommon in these societies, the option to see otherwise was not offered. Thinkers of this time saw the existence of evil and oppression, but found their origin only in the powerful. Therefore, from this analysis, they attributed the rich or powerful to be the sources of evil, found in only them alone. In other words, the capacity for evil and oppression was not found in all beings, but only in the powerful, because they were the only individuals engaging in such behavior. In retrospect, it seems egregious to believe such logic was true, that only certain individuals were predisposed to wrongful behaviors simply from their economic or political conditions. However, such logic does not seem so far fetched, when the existence of oppression occurs only at the hands of the rich. Therefore, if their logic was correct, the action of killing the rich to end oppression and evil would be correct, if not more, noble. However, the necessary information to recognize, is that their logic, was far from correct.
The ultimate failure of communism spawns from an inability to recognize the universality of human nature. Instead, they possessed the belief that man’s desires differed by matters of hierarchy; if you’re rich and powerful, you are oppressive. Yet, this belief has proven to be irrational and incorrect through the evidence history has shown us. Stalin and Mao were not rich, but they came to become the most oppressive and ruthless of them all. After the communists killed, deported and imprisoned the so called “evil members of society”, the presence of evil did not subside within their countries. The truth that one need arrive at, is that it isn’t the rich who have the potential for evil or a certain type of individual, rather it is the potential of all of us.
With this, we are able to come back to our original question: how does a government ensure that freedoms are maintained for all individuals? What the communist misdiagnosed is a miscalculation we must not never forget. From their mistakes, we are able to learn something vital about us. It is not the rich that or bad or the traditionalists, it is the individual who has the ability to be, which is all of us. The communist were correct in their recognition of the evil of their rulers, but they failed to attribute the reason for why they were. They weren’t oppressive because they were rich, they were oppressive because they had the power to be. It is for this reason that Stalin and Mao were evil, because they had the power to be. The truth we are to take from this is of utmost importance. If our society is to achieve a society of freedom, of fairness, of morality, we must not allow for power to be unchecked. While the original communists did not recognize the universality of man, we now do. This case is not true in only Stalin and Mao, but in any monopoly and unrestrained institution. Businesses unmonitored commit fraud, unaccounted leaders cheat, and unregulated governments commit horrendous crime. Let the history of communism be an example; the potential for oppression will lead to reality of oppression. What we must do in our institutions going forward, is embrace this axiom. In the absence of regulation, the opportunity for freedom will be lost to us all.
As our technology has progressed since the turn of the century, we have witnessed evolving methods of interaction with external devices. Take your iPhone for example; we can control the phone using the touch of a finger on its screen, followed by voice control, and most recently, touch ID and facial recognition. It may seem that companies such as Apple have exhausted their options for device interaction. However, new technology may allow an entirely new mode of transmitting a device command to your iPhone, or to any external device for that matter.
Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are fully functional systems that translate an unspoken thought into a device command. These systems have become a very fascinating field opening endless possibilities for new innovative technology. Implementing this technology to solve real-world problems will have an unprecedented impact on medical device development, neural mapping technology, neuroprosthetics, and countless other developing innovations. BCI systems will have such a powerful influence on the world in many positive ways, but this technology has the potential to create monstrous world problems as well.
For example, Facebook Technologies has been working to develop a brain-computer interface that allows the user to send a text message by using nothing more than a thought. They are developing this technology to address the serious problem of texting while driving. Although this tech could provide a legitimate solution to this deadly problem, there are many implications for granting a phone company access to the direct information stream between the device and the user’s mind. Facebook’s track record has given the company prominent notoriety when it comes to privacy breaches. The fact that they are developing their own BCI’s capable of thought-texting is a very alarming concept. Imagine a future where thoughts and ideas have the potential to be monitored and stored without the consent of the user; this would be the most personal invasion of privacy.
In future submissions, we will look at some different applications of brain-computer interfaces and consider the concerns that should also be considered.
Make your bed and wash your feet
Study hard and never retreat
For the joys of life happen only if you succeed
So you do your best and you ace your test, sacrificing your friends out there in the street
But you wonder why you must oblige to the tales of the American Dream
School isn’t fun but it’s the money sure to come that’ll make you happy and glad to read
Yet you’re tired now with joy no safe and sound yet its worth the life that will be
So you move on strong to the place you belong to make it worth your attempts to compete
So you did and carried on, to the top of all the strong and will be arriving soon to victory
Now your pockets they are long and that house that is your home has the neighbors looking with envy
But you still wait for that pain that waits and remains, to dissipate yet you can run from what you can’t see
Now you did what you were after but it’s less than the latter, why are you hungry for more to be?
Oh but you’re wrong, that’s the matter, you’re not focused on your after, see you’re looking in the wrong periphery
So you settle on down, find a girl, married now, start a family, now the joy is soon to be
But the kids are growing now and it’s your chance to show them how to be happy in life and see
So you say kids come around and let me tell you what it’s about, you see it’s important to try and succeed
Yet you speak but lost in sound, for your eyes are distracted now for your sight has gone on retreat
The kids are chasing loud, playing games with no frowns, with joy tangible there in their teeth
But you listen to that sound from your voice speaking now to your children awaiting patiently
You see happiness doesn’t fool it’s not to a road you’re going to, it’s just your friends laughing their in the streets