America In Distress

I was told that somewhere down that great, great, great…grandmother line, I am related to Betsy Ross.  So be assured that I would never do anything to our flag that was disrespectful or anti-patriotic.  Today, I am flying my flag with the union side down because under

THE UNITED STATES FLAG CODE, Title 4, Chapter 1§ 8(a)

The flag should never be displayed with the union down,

except as a signal of dire (serious or urgent) distress.


Distress is defined as: 1. great pain, anxiety, or sorrow; acute physical or mental suffering; affliction; trouble.  2. the state of a ship or airplane requiring immediate assistance. 3. that which causes pain, suffering, trouble, danger, etc. 5. liability or exposure to pain, suffering, trouble, etc.; danger.   America is in distress as the war against health and happiness escalates behind closed doors

We all need to fly our flags upside down. 

America is in dire distress from Adverse Childhood Experiences that cause negative physical and mental health outcomes for more that 60% of our population.

For generations, Americans didn’t have to care about what was happening next door.  Words like domestic violence and child abuse slipped in one ear and out the other.   Americans relied on severely under-reported, meaningless government statistics, to lull us into complacency while the epidemic of violence within our families grew. 

The dire distress cannot be contained behind the government statistics anymore.  In 1998,  a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Kaiser Permanente clearly documented the factors that determine negative physical and mental health outcomes for an individual from infancy to adulthood (2014, American Academy of Pediatrics). 

The CDC/Kaiser Study discovered specific Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) that are extremely common and can cause profound immediate and long-term psychological distress and functional impairment to affected children (2012, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry).  These ACEs include all chronic abuse, and/or neglect, living with a mentally ill parent, witnessing domestic violence, divorce, substance abuse and criminal activity.

The most severe ACEs, are perpetuated by a parent or primary caregiver and without regard for a child’s vulnerable developmental periods.   Any child who is exposed to ACEs in the absence of other adults to help them cope, will experience neuro-chemical, anatomical, and physiological harm from toxic stress.  If the literature differentiates abuse and violence by the presence of physical harm, then there is no abuse, it is all child violence because toxic stress changes a child’s brain and disrupts normal development.

Within the last 10 years, psychological maltreatment or emotional abuse and neglect were shown to be the most prevalent and destructive ACE as it stands alone, however when it is combined with other ACEs, this type of violence strongly exacerbates the negative outcomes.

America has one of the worst records for child abuse compared to other industrial countries.  The U.S. loses an average of 5 children each day because of child abuse.  It is surprising that it isn't higher because a child is abused or neglected every 47 seconds and Infants and toddlers are most likely to be the victims.

In 2014, Americans reported 3.6 million cases of child abuse and neglect, involving 6.6 million children.  However, these numbers are grossly underreported.  For example, child psychological abuse and neglect is known to be vastly more prevalent than physical or sexual abuse but the government statistics place it at the least likely type of abuse to occur.  It is the least likely type of abuse to be investigated or interrupted, but it is far more common than most people think.

 In America, teachers can’t teach and children can’t learn because the children have toxic levels of stress hormones in their systems from being abused and neglected at home.  Many children are being misdiagnosed and prescribed psychotropic medications.  While, older children may be turning to substance abuse to relieve the psychological pain.

Psychological (emotional abuse and neglect) has turned out to be the sleeping dragon, and we are woefully underprepared to do battle.   Psychological maltreatment (emotional abuse and neglect) is as damaging if not more so than physical or sexual “abuse.”

Child abuse and neglect cost the U.S. $80.3 billion each year in direct costs and lost productivity and we are watching it grow.   Our children are our country and the American flag represents their lives and our future.   Things are not all right for American children.

Can you respect and honor a country that does not address the violence against their children or do you think it is time to send out the signal that….

America is in Distress?