What is going on in Hawaii?

I was born and raised on the Big Island and it has always been pretty safe to live here, or so I thought. In the late 90’s I left and moved to upstate NY and back then, Kona was still laid-back and pretty quiet. Upstate NY was too. I was gone for 11 years when I came back to Kona in 2010, it had changed.The population had expanded and so had businesses. There were a lot more stores and a lot of other commercial enterprises. That is pretty typical with a population increase. What I hadn’t considered was the crime rate.

Maybe I just never noticed when I was younger, but it seems the crime rate has increased a great deal since then. Another thing that has gone up a lot is the Missing Persons rate. The factor that both of these have in common seem to be the solve ratio: a lot of the missing persons cases aren’t being solved, and the various crimes being committed don’t always seem to be getting taken care of either for whatever reason. At least that has been what I understand from what I’ve read in the newspaper. There’s a shortage of police officers, I hear. There is a need for another station in South Kona. A year ago there was an article in West Hawaii today about how the police officers’ role was no longer proactive but they are there to deal with the after-math only.

It appears sex crimes have gone up as well. I looked up the registered sex offenders within a 3 mile radius of where I live, and 28 (!) men came up, one whom I used to work with back in the 90’s. I had my own personal reasons for doing so, but this did not give me any sort of peace of mind. When you look these men up, you can view what their sentencing was, whether they did jail time, probation, if they pled guilty, no contest, etc. Most of these guys plea-bargained with the DA in order to get a lesser sentence or only probation. Is this the sort of message Hawaii is sending to possible offenders? Commit a sex crime and get off with probation? There was a man on the news just the other day, he was on probation after having been charged with 7 counts as a sex offender! He was allowed to violate his probation multiple times, have contact with a minor and fail to contact his probation officer before they hauled him into court, then they only sentenced him to jail for 10 years.  That is not what I call justice. Someone, or multiple someones, are suffering because of the choices that man made. Please go to our State Legislature’s Website here and ask for tougher sentences for sex offenders. This would mean a lot to me as I am a survivor.

Regarding the many missing persons here. The Big Island is small and rural compared to many places on the mainland. You can drive around it in a day if you’re ambitious. There are many small towns and two larger towns (Hilo and Kona). The bad news is there’s a lot of places where people who don’t want to be found can hide, and there are a lot of places where people can ‘hide’ people. The most rural areas are Kau, North & South Kohala, Pololuu Valley, Waimanu Valley, Waipio Valley, Puna & Volcano. In South Kona there are areas where a person can drop off the map, like below Kealakekua, Hookena, Kealia, Milolii… In the Kau District there’s Ocean View, there are a lot of places in Ocean View that are miles off the road that I would never venture onto.  There’s drugs, violence, you hear of criminals hiding out…  So basically, if someone is missing and they were taken or they were hiding for some reason, those would be the places to look, depending on where they disappeared from. And there have been a lot of people going missing, a lot without a trace or barely a trace, particularly in the last ten years. A friend of mine from High School went missing in 2011. There are some others from Kona, but there are a lot from Hilo side. A lot of those are from Puna. Someone remarked that a lot of the people who are missing are white, and yes for some reason that is true. Most are also women. That factor scares us women in Hawaii and we want answers that haven’t been forthcoming from the police or government. There’s also no ‘official’ missing persons website for our State or our island.  Please click here to write Mayor Billy Kenoi to change that. With regards to our State, well, I’ve written to Gov. Abercrombie, but have received no response and that is typical for him.

Another issue I want to briefly touch upon: human trafficking. It is real and it happens on our islands, particularly on Maui and the Big Island. In 2010, the NY Times wrote an article shaming our State on its poor response to human trafficking; we had received an F on how we dealt with it. Farm owners bring foreign workers into the State with the promise of citizenship and freedom and it is all a lie, instead they endure forced labor and threats, even beatings, and they often can’t get away because the ‘owner’ has their documentation and money. The other kind of human trafficking is sex trafficking. These are young men who are out there targeting young girls, teenagers usually. They target them in places like malls. They act like they are these girls’ boyfriends, get to know everything about them, get the girls to trust them, then they bring the girls in to their boss. Once there, the girls are threatened, told their families will be harmed if they don’t cooperate, their identification held, their training started. When they are deemed “ready,” they are put out into the streets under careful watch and forced to work in the sex trade. Please inform your teenagers and younger relatives of this and to be very wary of this scheme, it is real and out there. Sexual predators aren’t just hiding in the bushes.

NY Times Article

Signs of Human Trafficking in Hawaii

Governor Abercrombie Signs Human Trafficking Laws

Understanding Human Trafficking in the Hawaiian Islands

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog.

My friend who is missing is Naomi Monica Shalom Sanders, maiden name Naomi Beshore.

You can click here for her vital statistics.

I want to mention that I have been following the missing women in Maui as well.

What’s going on there is very scary. I want to help find Charli & her baby Joshua, if you know anything, please click here to help.

If you can help bring Moreira Monsalve home to her Maui Ohana, click here.

 

 

 

Marijuana IS Harmful

Sorry to veer off topic from what I usually post. I wanted  to write this in response to all the attention marijuana is getting in the media lately due to the legalization of sales in Colorado and Washington as well as President Obama’s statement that it is not seriously harmful. I disagree. I have personally witnessed and had experiences within my own life to believe differently. I began smoking marijuana at age 13 and was quite the ‘pothead’ until age 17. It was the first drug I ever tried and led to my being exposed to kids who did other drugs and alcohol. While I never did get into other drugs really extensively, I became an alcoholic later in life. I had always been a high achiever in school but soon that changed as well. I would fall asleep in class and fall asleep while doing my homework. My comprehension of assignments was altered. I began missing my bus in the mornings and getting to school late. The crowd I hung with changed, I started to skip school and get high all day within a couple years of smoking pot. I realized too late what was happening with school and tried to go back into the swing of things but I just couldn’t do it. I stopped eating regularly because I was running away from home all the time to be with my boyfriend, and I would pass out while high. My doctors thought I was having seizures but later I found out I had a blood sugar problem. All the while, we were going to parties and binge drinking on the weekends. When I was still only 14, I drank so much liquor (while high) I had alcohol poisoning and could have died, but fortunately my mom took me to the hospital. I was sick for two weeks and couldn’t eat a thing.

At age 17, due to my fainting spells which we all thought were seizures I quit smoking pot. I still smoked cigarettes and drank, on occasion, but I was much more clear-headed for years until my drinking took over my life many years later. I now have 5 years sober and much more clarity.

I met a man who ran one of the NA meetings I used to attend when I first got sober. He was a marijuana addict who had gotten busted and it ruined his life. It had taken over his life- pot was everything to him and when he’d  hit bottom he’d lost everything. People who go to NA go there for every kind of drug, including pot.

Pot affects people who are mentally ill with negative consequences. I am talking about those who suffer from schizophrenia and schizo-effective disorder, to name a couple. They get addicted to it, self-medicate with it and when they do not have it or cannot get it, they can get very violent and or depressed. I have experienced this first hand and also know of others who have. To self-medicate doesn’t sound very bad until you consider the fact that doing so has negative consequences, such as the mentally ill person having a fit and beating someone up, then having to answer for it in a court of law and being put in jail or a mental hospital, or put on probation, where they then have to be medication compliant or they’ll land in prison or jail.

Marijuana is also very dangerous when someone smokes and drives. I never got behind the wheel. I know others who didn’t think twice and didn’t consider it dangerous at all. Any mind altering drug should be considered dangerous.

The very act of smoking this drug is bad for health. People get all worked up about people who smoke cigarettes, well, get worked up about marijuana because if smoked it can cause bad health too- ask any pulmonologist and they will tell you it is bad for your lungs. It may not have additives like cigarettes, but anything that is burned and inhaled is not good for you.

If made legal, this drug should be classified as a schedule 2 controlled substance. Personally, I would never take it for pain; I would focus more on the pain instead of less. I don’t like any substance that makes me ‘high.’ I argue with my pain management doctor about putting me on things that are controlled. But for people who are cancer patients who are undergoing chemo and the like, I could see a use for it. I think in Hawaii it is over-prescribed, but that is my personal opinion and may not be true.

Do I ever miss it? Sure. Would I ever use it again? I doubt it.

I believe that it should be approached with extreme caution and no one should ever forget that first and foremost, natural or not, this is a drug. It can and will be abused by many. The addiction gene is out there among us and being an addict is not about choice necessarily but about whether or not that gene is triggered.  All it takes is for the right person to pick up a drug and become addicted. President Obama was irresponsible in saying this drug isn’t harmful because it can become much more than a bad habit. Just because it never became more than a ‘habit’ for him doesn’t mean it won’t for others. That is not to say that others will not be responsible and reasonable, but we have to look at risk management. I do not want my daughter, who is 13, to think that marijuana is ‘ok’ because Obama said it wasn’t harmful and because two of our states have legalized it. We can joke about this issue and poke fun about the Super “Bowl” all we want, but would you want your child to become a drug addict? I’ve been there. So has my son. No, definitely not FUN.

Introducing Jeff Dawson, author of Love’s True Second Chance

I would like to introduce my readers to Jeff Dawson, author of Love’s True Second Chance. He is an author I met via the Meet Our Authors forum on Amazon’s discussion boards.

I spent the last twenty-five years in the road construction industry. I have been married and divorced once with three grown children. I started writing years ago but never took it serious until I had back surgery in 2010. During the recovery process I looked at and analyzed my life. An article in the Dallas Morning News caught my eye about public speaking. “Hey, I can do this. But what would I write?” I reflected over my life and came up with the first work “Why did Everything Happen?” As turbulent as my life has been (bankruptcy, divorce, business failures and the death of my partner, my father and Debbie), there must be others who might benefit and be able to relate to my travels but were afraid to talk about much less write them down.

Loves True Second Chance is a continuation of the first work. I wrote about the woman I had loved for over thirty years. I wanted to let people know that Love is worth a second chance even if there is a possibility of a tragic end. We packed a lifetime of love in seven short months.

I am currently working on two novels One is a paranormal story occurring during WWII. The Germans might have conquered Poland but they have awoken an enemy they could never imagine except in their darkest nightmares; Occupation. The second novel is based on the largest battle in Eastern Europe during WWII which allowed the Normandy landings to be a stunning success.

I currently live in the DFW close to two of my grown children and three wonderful grand-daughters.


Excerpt from Love’s True Second Chance:

CHAPTER 1 THE END

July 20th, 2009 7:00am I held her hand and kissed her face with the arrival of a sunny beautiful morning, hoping for a miracle. The shift change for nurses and doctors was in full swing. Staff checking in, charts being reviewed, doctors and nurses exchanging information; vital signs being verified. Debbie’s breathing is very labored as it had been for the last twenty four hours. I never knew if each breath would be her last. The cancer was running its course through her beautiful body at a terrible pace. An aide came in to change the sheets and clean her up. She asked if I would like her to wash Debbie’s hair. I pondered the thought for a minute looking at the love of my live and replied in a hushed, choked tone, “She would like that. How long will it take you to change her bed and wash her hair?” She said about fifteen minutes. I stepped out of the room and called her friend Cathey to get an estimated time of arrival. She assured me she would be at the hospital within thirty minutes.

Debbie was in good hands with the aide.  I decided to get a little air, purchase a coke and have a cigarette. I went to the store with one thought running through my mind, Is there anything else I can do for her?  Had I done everything I could for the “love of my life”?  Would God sit by her side and let her live out her life on earth or whisper in her ear, take her hand, and guide her to heaven?  I had no control over what was happening to her.