// Decibel Magazine

In my last post I talked about having a dream of writing for Decibel magazine, a great publication covering most everything heavy in the music realm. I got a gig with the help of some friends. My story went live on the Deciblog yesterday at 3 p.m. I wanted to link to the story here. Please check it out:

Strength Beyond Strength

So many thanks to Decibel, and especially to Justin Norton, who helped get this thing going.

Follow Decibel on Twitter.
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I hope this article helps people out.

JHS

// Recent Madness

The following is something I wrote in response to our current state of crazy. I encourage anyone who might have mental issues to seek help. Read on.

“(Person), thanks for thinking of me as eloquent in any way. I appreciate that.

I do not mean to put you, or Morgan Freeman, down. I was fed up with much more than people sharing Mr. Freeman’s quote. I didn’t mean to offend. He said something that should be on our minds all the time. It’s not news to me. That’s the reason these kinds of things happen. It’s us. All of us. We’ve all grown more and more apathetic and desensitized to pretty much everything that once caused us—at least some of us—to cringe. I didn’t want to talk about CT for the simple fact that it has been talked about. It’s done. Kids are dead. Teachers are dead. It is horrible. We should talk about ways to fix broken people and a broken system. I was shot and paralyzed by a gun. A gun held by a disturbed and misguided kid. The gun didn’t shoot me. The young man did. Crazy is crazy, and it begins at birth. It can be inherited. Or it can be beaten, or raped, or mentally driven into a person. There’s usually a sign and it can be dealt with. Some people just need help.

Anyway, this is more than I was going to write. It is a general thing, too. Please don’t think it is aimed at you, (Person). Thanks for your response. Appreciate it.”

JHS

// Shot By A Black Guy: Am I Mad?

Racism and intolerance are rampant in America these days. It seems every time I turn on the television someone is bashing someone else, whether it be based on religion, sexual preference, race, gender, or just plain jealousy. It’s rather sickening.

I was shot in the neck—at point-blank range—by a couple of young black men in a predominantly white neighborhood. The shooter and his partner had chosen this particular street for a reason: a “perceived wealth” of its (mostly) white inhabitants. An incorrect notion (I didn’t live in the neighborhood; I was visiting a friend, and was by no means wealthy) that changed not only my life, but theirs as well (the two were later apprehended, tried and convicted to lengthy prison terms).

Does this mean I should hate all young black men? If the perpetrators of the crime had been a pair of young white men would it have made a difference? No, the outcome would be the same. I’d still be paralyzed from the chest down; a quadriplegic. Understandably, I could dwell on the fact that the duo was black and hate them for it, but why? In fact, I’m almost sorry they were black. It only serves to perpetuate the myth that all young black men are, indeed, thugs. This is far from the case. To condemn an entire race based on the actions of two misguided kids would be a tragedy… for me.

It’s easy to be against something. It’s easy to hate things (including people) we are not accustomed to. It’s easy to ignore major problems such as discrimination or flat-out racism. It’s hard, though, to face facts, rethink, open up and get involved with people that may not fit into our “normal” comfort zones. It’s hard to swallow our pride and allow change into our hearts and minds. It is, however, very important that we try to do just that. If not, understanding and acceptance can’t exist in this world we share. And we do share it, whether we like it or not. Maybe we will all get it right one day. I guess time will tell.

JHS

// Info Text from Poster Art Show, 2010

In the early morning hours of June 28, 2008, I was standing with my friend and bandmate, David Williams, having a beer. We had just played our first show as a band, and were waiting for some friends so that we could celebrate. We were approached by two young black men. We had a quick conversation regarding drugs. They asked if we wanted any, we declined. We offered them a beer. They accepted. After a few moments, they walked away. About five minutes passed; they were back.

A gun was pressed into my neck. Before I could say anything, he fired. I fell paralyzed. The bullet had passed through my neck and entered Dave’s neck. He hit the ground but was able to crawl over to me and grab my cell phone. He called 911. I suffered a spinal cord injury at my C-5/6 level. I am paralyzed from the chest down. Dave survived with a damaged vocal cord but is otherwise fine. I have limited use of my hands. That doesn’t stop me from producing art. Thank you for reading and having an interest. Please visit my booth.

JHS