Introduction by Dave Wallin
This is how Eleven Words began.
After the election in 2010, I was very disappointed that the incumbent Congressman who represents my district was re-elected. Randy said, "We have been interested in politics all our lives. Why don't you run against him in 2012? I'll run your campaign. When you get elected, you can make me your Chief of Staff." I have to admit, he can make a good argument for me to do it. He even has a strategy worked out that just might work. We're both retired, though not by choice, so he says, "We don't have anything better to do."
Randy also makes the argument that we come from the generation that stopped the war in Vietnam. He says we had ideas about making the world a better place, but we put them aside because life happened. What he means by that is we grew up, started families and careers. Then the rest of the world didn't matter as much. He's a dreamer, or as he refers to himself, "the nut from another universe." Sometimes that is the perfect description.
I said no to running for Congress. He said, "Okay, but I'll keep my plan ready for when you change your mind." That's how Randy thinks; it's one of the things I love about him. I said, "How about becoming victim advocates? We have the issues to represent." He agreed, but said, "I prefer activist ." His argument is that an advocate represents something, like a lobbyist does. He says, "An activist seeks to make change." I convinced him that we can make changes as advocates. That way we won't be ignored like the activists who formed the 99%. Whatever happened to them, anyway?
Our number one issue is something that has touched our lives so deeply: mental health. Not only because of the freak that killed my wife, Terry, or our friend Mike, who committed suicide, like his mother and then his father did before him. But also because of the people you see every day who need someone to help them along the way, but have been discarded by society.
We reasoned that by following the freak's (Richard Trenton Chase) life history, we can show how society and law failed. I want to show how, when we cut budgets for mental health and other social services, we are just throwing away lives. It's a social engineering policy that started long ago. I also want to focus on the policies and budgets of Ronald Reagan when he was governor here in California. I feel sure that they effected the freak's treatment as much as anything else.
This is where Randy comes in, not only as a friend, but also a partner. He was a senior accountant in his last job, and did a lot of research for the vice president of the corporation he worked for. Perfect for what we want to do. He is a stickler for details, and insists on having facts to back up any statement. His theory is, if we don't have the backup to support what we say, then it's just a bunch of bullshit, just like we get from politicians.
We feel strongly that when there is a budget cut, it has a ripple effect that no one ever talks about. So Randy set out to educate himself on how the California budget works, and what happens when a new law is passed. When all we hear are the words "budget cut," it doesn't explain what happens to people's lives. Randy's goal is to be able to explain it in terms that show how it affects all our lives. He thinks by doing it that way, maybe we can still try to change the world, and maybe lead me to something I have been searching for, for a very long time. How was that freak allowed to live freely, with no supervision? If you saw his mental health history, you'd ask that question, too.
Randy was 40 years old when he went to college and earned his degree in accounting. I was surprised he chose accounting. He'd been in construction all his life, and because of a knee injury, he'd had to change careers. I thought he would go for architecture, or some other type of design career, to