What was behind Ranch Tehama Shooting?

Rancho Tehama Reserve is an unincorporated community in Tehama County California, United States. The population was 1,485 at the 2010 census. There is no reasonably priced internet service, nor TV service, cell phones do not work there, and landline phones are expensive. There is no bus service, or any form of public transportation anywhere. The closest cities are Red Bluff, which is twenty-five miles away, and Corning, which is twenty-three miles away. Both are down long curvy unlighted country roads.

For an amazing season of my life I was a social worker for Children Services in Tehama County. It took me a few months working in Tehama County before I was sent to Rancho Tehama to investigate a case of suspected child abuse. It was the middle of the day and, yet, I was surprised to observe many working-age-adults sitting on their front porches sharing bottles of alcohol. The smell of marijuana lofted up to my county car. When I arrived at the home, the young couple of parents were not happy with me being there, asking them questions. But, after some small talk I won the parent’s trust and was quickly assured that their children were safe with them. However, I thought I should get their insights into this strangely isolated community I had never know existed. They informed me that producing, selling and using meth was the main activities in Rancho. They also said that many people who were having a difficult time finding work, and paying bills, would move to this township due to the very affordable rent. However, soon after moving there a lot of people would have their cars break down, not being able to afford repairs, and thus have no way to get to work in the only places there were jobs in Corning, Chico or Red Bluff. Instead, they would turn to growing marijuana or producing meth. It was usually not long before meth use and addiction followed. They said the big joke about people who lived there was that most of them had lost their front teeth due to meth use.

I was able to leave those children with their parents. However, over the next few years I often had to go to Rancho Tehama and remove neglected or abused children, usually due to alcoholism and meth addiction.

I was blessed to become the Co-Chairperson of Tehama Counties’ Building Community Partnership Committee. We did many great small projects in Corning, where our branch Children Services office was. Then we took on the big apartment project where Children Services had the most investigations and removals in Corning. We worked with the apartment complex manager, the mayor, the police chief and the superintendent of schools, and even the fire chief. We rallied the people who lived there to put together a summer time free lunch program, all kinds of free classes weekdays in the summer. My son even volunteered to teach soccer classes three afternoons every week. We started in April and went until September. We had gotten official figures of how often police, fire-department, ambulance, Adult Services, and Children Services had been called out to this complex the six months previously. When we rechecked the figures, the numbers had fallen drastically during the first six months the program was in place. (The call-out figures actually usually increased in the summer months.)

We followed this success with using the same model in the apartment complex in the city of Red Bluff where Children Services had been called out most frequently in this area in the recent years. We did a one-year-program and the success was very measurable. It felt great. My friend and Co-Chairperson, Tomas Loarca, and I agreed to take on the counties foster child community Rancho Tehama. We agreed this area was a power keg of potential trouble waiting for the wrong match.

We got the county administrators permission – with some resistance – because it wasn’t an apartment complex, but a 1500 people town. We started organizing meetings. The response was great right away. Everyone was excited that the county was willing to do things for them. A wonderful retired couple, Lew and Marnie, stepped forward and became the community focus people. They were key people, because Tomas and I could only get there so often. Almost every class or event we offered was very successful and well attended. We formed a committee to research and make a proposal to the proper agencies to bring in a bus service. This committee worked very diligently and hard, but, unfortunately, this part of the program was not successful. It was going well in Rancho Tehama, yet, we knew this was a big challenge which would require much more work than any apartment complex. When Tomas was offered a better paying position closer to his home and pregnant wife, he departed as the county went through a budget cut, so it became more difficult for Building Community Partnership to obtain support supplies and moneys. Then my life changed, and I left my employment at Tehama County. Lew and Marnie did their best when I left to maintain the classes and events for Rancho Tehama that we had launched, but there was no longer any county support. I have kept in touch with them for over five years and am amazed at all they have done for Rancho Tehama.

It was a Facebook posting by Lew on Wednesday the 15th Facebook that inspired me to write this blog posting. This is what he wrote: “I normally respond to each and every birthday wish and eventually will get to them all, but today may be an exception. It has been a crazy twenty-four hours. We will be busy with community healing today (Google Rancho Tehama if you don’t know why). The healing must begin. Thank you all for your well wishes, comments, support and for reaching out to insure we were safe and well.”

Then when I sent Lew this piece he wrote.”

I feel terrible for the shootings and killings in Rancho Tehama and wish healing to everyone there. But, I also think it is important for us all to be aware how many people and communities in the USA and the world exist in poverty, substance abuse, and isolation. As individuals and a society, we need to make time and efforts to help more and change things, to get to the root of the problems in places as Tehama. This is the only way to get to a place where acts like the sad shooting in Tehama stop occurring.

How Do I Write a Really Meaningful Magical Book?

Since high school I have wanted and worked to be a good, widely read, writer of materials that change lives. Now at sixty-four I still struggle with this same challenge. I have written and published three books and literally many hundred articles. But, what matters most to write is always my question? I love life, the planet Earth, and to be human. I savor the feel of the wind on my cheek, the smell of leaves in the fall, the taste of good food, the sweet sound of music, and I love the sights of nature and cities alike.

I love my children, and the fact that they are two of my very best friends at twenty-eight and twenty-nine thrills me to no end. I am so blessed to have married a goddess and to enjoy life with her each day. Our love is divine.

I am looking forward to my next thirty, or forty years, to enjoy every moment of being alive and all the accomplishments and adventures those years will bring.

At this season in my life, I am drawn to write a book of living magically. I hate preachy books, I have a hard time with many New Age books, I can’t stand holier- than-thou spiritual teachers, and I certainly don’t care for people who feel their beliefs and ways of living are the only right ones. Yet, I dare to think I could bring together a book about how my wife Sofia and I have lived magically, and that this book might be different than all that. Not to show the way, not to make others feel this is what they must or should do. But rather, just for the sake of sharing works for us and how we have evolved with it, and tell fun stories of our lives along the way.

I live in the real world fairly well. I am a good business man and have built million-dollar businesses. But my main passions have since my earliest memories been spirituality, magic, the occult, the mysteries and forbidden areas of life. Why? Did I bring these passions into this life from a another one?  I saw ghosts when I was young. I studied with the Laurie Cabot, witches in Salem, Massachusetts, with Starhawk and the witches of San Francisco. I spent many months on many trips in Latin America studying and sharing ceremonies and rituals with many shamans. I founded and published an edge cutting New Age magazine named Magical Blend, for 27 years and after a ten year break find myself publishing a magazine again. My wife has called me bombastic. I do admit to being a bit arrogant, full of myself and a bragger.

None of that matters, other than that it helps me tell good stories. What matters for me is how I view life, how I live life and if I am evolving and inspiring others. I believe in most everything. I believe in magic, in Bigfoot, in many gods and goddesses, in ghosts, ghouls, demons, the Anunnaki, UFO’s, extraterrestrials, other dimensions, elves, fairies, forest folks, vampires, Tantric sex … you name it. I believe in it – if it feels fun, possible and real to me.

I believe that how we think, and what we focus on and expect in our lives is the most powerful creative force in our lives. A good friend of mine and great author Frank DeMarco teaches people how to listen to their inner guidance and how to talk to the dead. I call what he uses the “what if approach.” Say you want to talk to your dead grandmother. What if you sat down alone and began making believe you were talking to her? What if you did this until you started hearing things come out of your mouth you could not know or would not ever say?

I have always used something like this approach with almost everything. What if I could find a perfect lover? What would that be like? What if I could live the life of my dreams, what would that be like? I feel I have achieved both of these. So I continue to ask what if…

What if I could make the time, energy and conjure up the burning motivation to write and publish a book that would inspire those who read it to live more magical, fulfilling, joyous lives? How would I do this best? What would that feel like? What would I write? Many people seem to read my blog these days any suggestions from any of you are welcomed. What if?