Category: News


The Eye Experiment

In 1968 and again in 1969 and above in 1970, teacher Jane Elliott ran experiments on racism on her class using brown eyes and blue eyes to divide students into groups.  The original documentary and this one shows the effects of what happens when blue eyed children, the first to be treated well, are then treated in a manner consistent with racism to a simple degree.  The behavior of the children that have blue eyes is stunning.  They retreat into themselves, display anger, and often can be seen becoming sad or upset.  Their privilege is gone and now they are forced to be judged as they judged the brown eyes.  At the end of the experiment, on of the blue eyed boys spends a lot of time trying to rip the collar she made them wear so they could tell what color eyes the child had from a distance to simulate skin color reaction in people.  He spent a long time wrapping it around his hands and trying to tear it any way he could but it wouldn’t tear.  Watch this clip as often as you like as I’m not sure how long it’s going to be there for observation purposes.  Soak in the nuances of the blue eyed children’s behavior and notice how they react to their surroundings.

This is what is happening in white society today as whites become the minority in society.

There is discomfort behavior, where often the person reasons that white culture or white exclusivity is failing and needs to somehow be paid attention to such as with white awareness month or white college funds.  The discomfort ranges from frowning upon uncomfortable situations like making a decision if something is racist or not or if it even should qualify as racist.  What’s the big deal, I’m not racist.  Then the agitated behavior when someone is treated differently by a brown eyed person who doesn’t talk to them or treats them with some degree of standoffishness or indifference.  How dare they judge me, I’m not racist.  The agitated behavior also occurs when a brown eyed person is doing something he or she has always done but is now being credited for like going through drill cards faster or not forgetting his or her glasses.  Note especially the behavior that the blue eyed children respond with when compliments are no longer forthcoming and are turned around in an opposing direction, there is agitation and anger there masked with disappointment or unfairness.  Also pay special attention to the kids when they have to wear the collars now.  They are uncomfortable and often act as though it is heavy for them.   Their body language changes and the children actually start acting differently becoming defensive, quiet, plotting and often oversensitive.

I would imagine if the experiment were allowed to continue beyond a week or one day, the rationale of the blue eyed children would become very tense and very edgy or sharp.  “Politically Incorrect” if you will.  Brown eyed children would begin to be ostracized for succeeding and called out for activist roles even though there are pockets of blue eyed children that still believe they are the best there is and that they are the majority.  There would divisional lines drawn up on playgrounds where some brown eyed children would be asked to return to and not leave because it’s where they originally played in the playground.  There would be brown eyed children denied access to areas of the playground where blue eyed children loved to play the most even though those areas are big and their numbers are small.  I can see some blue eyed children that play with the brown eyed children being ostracized and dealt with like they had given up on their own group and have done the unthinkable.  As the children aged and went on to high school, things would become violent and certain behaviors expected out of brown eye children would be ignored in blue eyed children or at least excused.  Detention and suspension would ruin your whole life and someone would never recover from that stigma.  Blue eyed teenagers would begin to oppress the brown eyed students out of certain hallways and causeways, claiming them as their own.  Brown eyed teenagers would fight back by being defiant and loud, doing things they knew would irritate the blue eyed teenagers more.  Soon, things such as simple personal boundaries would be blown out of proportion and violations would be ridiculous and juvenile.  Name calling and finger pointing would occur and the teachers, the teachers would do nothing.  They are too busy trying to educate through this unholy mess using common core learning which teaches how to subtract one from one in a long over-complicated equation.  The government wouldn’t care because they are just kids and can’t vote yet.  The parents would be angry that this is what has been done to their precious children without receiving the lesson from the package.

This my friends, is exactly what is happening today.  Take a moment to check if your eyes are brown  or blue.

 

 

Extremists in the United States who express the need to hurt Americans who do not submit to their extremist ideals.   People leaving the United States to become part of an extremist army hell bent on destroying good Muslims with values that are right and good.  The destruction of New York City Twin Towers on September 11, 2001.  All at the hands of Islamic Extremists.  Repeatedly, for over thirteen years, Muslim American groups have spoken out against extremism; separating ourselves from these people with soft explanations, patience, caring and loving words, expressions and essays.  Still, many look to us to see what we say every time another attack happens and we repeat those same words and phrases for another time to make people understand I have no interest in killing anyone for their beliefs.  Whether you love America, freedom, Jesus, Israel. Palestine, Buddha, the pantheon of Hindu Gods and Goddesses, your right to bear arms, or whatever the latest Islamic extremist rant is about today.  I strongly believe and respect your right to believe in the God and/or Goddess of your choice or to NOT believe in anything at all.

It is no longer my job or responsibility to apologize for all Muslims and Islam every single time some nutjob does something incredibly nutjobby.  I am no longer going to explain that not all Muslims are like that, especially me, because I don’t feel that way, never felt that way, and am never going to feel that way.  If you haven’t learned that in the last thirteen years, my re-explanation is not going to help you understand that right now.  You are probably going to espouse that prejudicial point of view regardless of what I say when I say it every time something happens.

Also, what does this say that you think about me?  Do you think that I don’t love you enough to respect your right to life?  Do you think that I would hate my country, my friends, my family and my life enough that I would turn my back on them to become or support suicide bombing or Jihadi blasphemy?  Do you really think I would support the calculated murder of people who believe differently than I do?  Who love God differently than I do?  Who strive along the same lines as I do to love my fellows on this beautiful planet and bless them, pray for them, and help them when I can?  I wouldn’t.  I love my country, all my American brothers and sisters, and I believe that compassion solves more problems than words that are hurtful or hateful.  I believe that if you love someone, treat them with respect and kindness, and honor them that all will work out and be productive and prosperous.

My communication with God is a loving one, just like yours, and my communication with my fellows is a loving one just like yours.  I am no longer going to apologize for people I have no control over.  I am no longer going to say that these people are so wrong.  I don’t ask all Christians to constantly apologize to everyone for the workings of the blasphemous Westboro Baptist Church, don’t ask me to constantly apologize for every blasphemous Islamic nutjob, either.

Alcoholic Culture In America

So, on any given football game on television, there are at least ten advertisements for alcoholic beverages.   Going to chain restaurants like Applebee’s and the drink lists are in attractive booklets with colorful photos to entice the buyer.  Five star restaurants come complete with a wine list, suggested for matching with your meal.  Either way, America has an alcoholic culture bubbling under the surface that makes it hard for those of us who don’t drink or be around alcohol to go anywhere cool and fun to eat, hang out and watch football, or just enjoy that rugby game at the local sports pub with friends.

The alcohol culture of America saturates everything, ads on buses, subways, trains, and cabs.  The night lights of the city in neon lights on the bar windows advertising a brand colorfully.  I’m lucky I live in Pennsylvania, my state doesn’t have alcohol products in grocery and convenience stores where I am bombarded with prices and sales on six packs of cans and bottles or forty ounce bottles.  Liquor waiting for fun afternoons and shots of pirates and the Baquardi family woes ad to the issue that I think infects America worse than any other disease…alcoholism.

In just about every rehabilitation program out there, they expect the addict to admit that they are powerless over the addiction, name a higher power, and work a twelve-step program that just doesn’t work for everybody; and by everybody, I mean me.  I have a hard time with accepting weakness.  I refuse to accept weakness against my alcoholism.  I have the willpower and the power necessary to overcome the need to drink.  Not everyone has this.  Not everyone can work my program and the twelve-step program works for them, which is good for them.  What is true for you is true for you.  It doesn’t erase the fact that everywhere you go, there’s some alcohol staring you in the face with temptation and the inner struggle to not give in to the taste of that cold beer or that shot of Jack.

How serious is it?  Pretty serious considering that alcohol is everywhere and when is it a good idea for alcohol not to be somewhere?  When should we separate the alcohol culture from our lives?  When the alcohol becomes a problem.  DUIs are serious, so are drinking and going to work, so are drinking and beating your mate, so is drinking and forgetting where and what you did the night before.  That’s when the alcohol culture needs to change for you.  It has become a destructive point in your life.  So destructive, you stole a guy’s prosthetic leg.  That’s when your life needs to change and you can find that help here and here.

America has its alcohol culture and it’s not bad for everyone, there are people out there who do drink responsibly and are good to go.  They don’t have a problem and go the rest of their lives without one.   Those of us who have a problem are the ones who look at the ads, the lights, the bottles and fight that inner demon who wants to destroy us one drink at a time.  Get the help you need if you need it.  Drinking is deadly to some and even deadly to others in DUI cases.  You have the power to quit and the day to quit is today.

Death With Dignity

Death With Dignity Act of Oregon has been in the news because Brittany Maynard has chosen to end her life using this legal act in Oregon.  A flurry of blogspots have written why she shouldn’t end her life or why she should and the debate rages on the internet with the fire of religion bellowing it into an inferno.  What about God’s will?  What about the sin of suicide?  What about the beauty of the lesson of suffering?  What about the sanctity of life?

What about what Brittany wants?  Atheists countered.  What proof is there that God exists to punish someone for committing suicide?  Why would this be a sin, wouldn’t God want his precious creation to NOT suffer?  If he is the most compassionate, most merciful, giving this woman this kind of cancer isn’t compassionate or merciful is it?  If god is so loving, and love is what god is all about, how is this loving or even a gift of love?

Life isn’t fair.   It has nothing to do with lack of compassion, mercy or even love.  Sometimes things are put on our plate to deal with that are hard to deal with and question our very deepest morals and test our beliefs out of love and compassion.  This is what jihad really is, not a literal holy war between people that involves bombs and guns, but a spiritual war within ourselves that changes us on a new and deeper level with God and our spirit.  What is what good for us isn’t going to be good for Brittany.

Brittany doesn’t want to suffer and believes that suffering is wrong.  I don’t believe that God created us to suffer or that suffering somehow brings us closer to God and understanding God.  I feel God wants us to live lives that are happy, get through the bad times with joy, and if one cannot then another means must be found.  The type of death Brittany faces is terribly painful, horrible, and she will suffer.  She has chosen to be kind to herself and love herself enough to not want to put herself through that.  She has chosen a painful path to end her life, to end her journey of life with the man she loves and recently married, rather than die a death that would more than likely kill a part of her family and friends too who watch her progress through this.  This is her most holy choice and it isn’t up to us to feel compassion and mercy for her to do something she doesn’t want to do, it is our job to love her through her choice right to the end no matter what.  Unconditionally because she is our sister human and deserves this respect.

Let her have peace now so that her last days here are full of love and life, not overshadowed with death and suffering.  Let that fact of this thing fade to the back for the sake of compassion and mercy.

Jodi Arias Innocent?

Newly released on the website for supporters of Jodi Arias is a movie worth seeing.  It makes a few good points concerning the prosecutor’s abusive and bullying form in the courtroom and the highlight of domestic violence in the movie also seems well put together.  However, if one was objective, the nature of our judicial system both makes people very happy or very unhappy.  The trial of Casey Anthony angered many, but failed to highlight the backbone of any trial case: Burden of Proof.  The real problem is the Court of Public Opinion that is not judiciary or altogether faulty, it’s based on the snippets aired on HLN, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News that dispenses information about a trial that is not presented to the jury hearing the case.  Most of what is aired is never reviewed by the jury sequestered.  The opinion of the public directly matters little to any case.  What matters are the jurors who must decide the case without what the general public knows.  Things get thrown out of court that we hear on a news outlets which is never considered by the jury.  There are times when it seems that the jury and courts got it all wrong, like with Casey Anthony, but those jurors were working with the evidence provided in court.  It seems unfair, terrible, and like a injustice; but, the burden of proof is on the prosecutor and it didn’t hold out that well when the jury decided the case.  The prosecutor failed.

So, let’s step back for a moment and reflect.  I had a problem with my anger and vitriol to the point I was abusive to people both verbally and emotionally.  All those people who I unleashed my wrath upon still are in contact with me but have no desire to work with me after such terrible aggression.  Through Sufism, I learned that anger is the destroyer of good.  I learned that what I was doing was wrong and I took a path to correct that part of my person.  I know I can’t go back and smooth things over.  My new being must be presented to them for reevaluation.  I can’t say “I was angry and wrong”  I can say through my deeds and actions that “I am no longer the abuser that I used to be”.  I have to represent myself for their proof that I have changed.  The little and sneaky microagressions slip away from me now.  (A microagression is aggression that is like a liar and reactionary.  Sufism teaches action above reactions.)  I can’t wave the “I’m Sorry” flag and magically all that I used to do would be forgiven or accepted as my past.  Why?  Because that is not the way we see each other and things that happen.  It promotes judgement even when judgement is unnecessary.  In their eyes, I will appear as an abusive person until, by my actions, I prove to be different.  I have made a point to apologize to people I have hurt with this nasty side of me that doesn’t exist anymore.  I have followed that one day, maybe far into the future, that those I hurt see I am a new person by giving them my own burden of proof.  Until it is accepted, I will always be judged as being an abusive person.  That is how our society and culture chooses to identify me.  The burden of proof is on me.

I have passed my judgement too.  I think the prosecutor in the Arias trial was wicked with his attitude and anger.  He was like that with all he questioned.  His abusive behavior might lead most into judgement that it is unnecessary to put a picture of the victim in autopsy to remind a witness why everyone was in court that day.  I also find that his amusement with the gallery outside the courthouse by getting pictures taken with them made a mockery of our judicial system.  When the witnesses didn’t act or do as he wanted them to, he was sure to pull out aggression to make them react instead of react.  Jodi Arias knew well what she did, but he took his reactionary whip out and brought her to tears with an aggressive tongue.  I have learned that an aggressive tongue only whips reaction and not action.  Mr. Martinez, the prosecutor, belittled the witnesses that were not lined up for his burden of proof and used hyper aggressive language to assault all witnesses in one manner or another.  I know also that judgement is passed on his aggressive nature and that nature is not seen as being something terrible for the prosecution.  This kind of aggression hurts people, a lot of people, in ways that are deeply scarring and results in a confused reaction.  The interesting thing is that through it all, not many of the news agencies covering the trial mentioned much about the prosecutor’s conduct as being negative.  They chalk it up to aggression equaling a strong prosecutor that gets the convictions he wants.

The jury didn’t see every piece of information that the viewing audience had either.  The viewing public heard Travis Alexander’s surviving family and friends painting Arias as insane and scary.  I agree that her crawling through the doggy door to sleep on his sofa is creepy.  I also agree that she may have been the one behind slashing his tires and his current girlfriend’s tires, but there is no evidence that that is true.  There were many times that those news agencies who wanted a good scoop aired every enemy Arias ever met, not really contacting any of her friends that think she’s cool.  They didn’t present a case of information but a case of sensation that fueled belief that this woman is guilty in the eyes of a viewing public.  Not much was said about the witnesses for Jodi getting death threats for taking the stand.  It also failed to mention that domestic violence is a problem in this country.  It’s so because the public deemed it so after passing judgement that she was guilty.  I am not saying that Jodi is not responsible for her actions or blacked out in anger against Travis.  That is the burden of proof.  However, I don’t think that Arias has gotten the help she needs either.  What she did was wrong and reactionary to a criminal degree, but the court of public opinion meant nothing to the jurors who were hearing her case deliberated.  It wasn’t the public that found her guilty and effectively put her in prison.  It was the jury and only the jury that could affect the verdict.

We are taught to love everyone, even the most terrible of sinners, and we are taught to guide their spirit to knowing forgiveness.  This teaching falls away when a juicy headline hits the news agencies and gets the public viewer fired up.  The next case will come along and viewers will pass judgement again and there will be surprise when a not guilty verdict is reached by those twelve people who have the power to judge the next time, without reflection that the court of public opinion is not what matters in deliberation.

Why Can’t The USA Mind Its Own Business?

First I would like to clear up the idea that the USA is not the big brother you can just call when there are bullies on the playground.  This concept that we have to “free the world” is obsolete and no longer works.  There are now more dead American Military in Afghanistan and Iraq has surpassed the amount of the dead in the September 11, 2001 attacks on American soil.  The idea that it was a winning idea to go to Afghanistan and rid them of the Taliban may have seemed like a good idea when the vengeful emotions after 9/11 burned fervently in American hearts and minds.  Twelve years later, our government continues the battle in Afghanistan and more of our stellar men and women in uniform as our representatives are dying for a needless war.  It is time for Iraq and Afghanistan to stand on their own two feet and make it or break it on their own.  Our big brother policy in Iraq fueled by the imagined issues of weapons of mass destruction has done nothing more for Iraq than to kindle the fires of issues between Shiite and Sunni struggles for power.  Now, Syria produces some images of biological weapons being used and suddenly we need to to get involved in the passionate civil war that has been raging there for a goodly amount of time.  As if somehow it is the USA’s number one issue to rid the world of biological weapons, weapons of mass destruction, and push freedom our style down the throats of people who are interested in only in establishing their own brand of freedom.

In Afghanistan, after the Taliban were removed from central governmental power, the Afghanistan tribal leaders held a loya jirga to decide if their King who has been in exile for decades would return to rule Afghanistan.  The King, in his infinite wisdom obviously knew that his people would make the decision on their own via loya jirga.  The administration of the USA government, who was President Bush Jr., said that they would not support monarchy rule in Afghanistan because, sadly, it was against the USA’s definition of democracy.  The meeting was held anyway and the King was not restored to power, but did mention that he respected loya jirga and it’s decisive direction in Pashtun culture.  At the same time, the Bush Administration alienated the number one homeless culture in the Middle East, the Kurds, by telling them that they could not gain control of Kirkuk, the ancient capital of Kurdistan.  The Kurds have a autonomous state in northern Iraq that the Bush Administration advised them to abandon in the name of USA bred “democracy”.  Of course, the Kurds did not follow that advise and is currently engaged in an agreement with a Bush company for trade of oil, which one could wonder, was the underbelly of the military action in Iraq.  Saddam Hussein did in fact gas many Kurds during his stint as Dictator.  I am unwilling to forget Halabja, where infants, babies, toddlers, mothers and fathers succumbed to a terrible attack via Al-Anfal campaign to repress Kurdish opposition.

It seems ill fitting that the USA would eagerly eye ending a civil war in Syria when there are others that could be helped.  I remember during “Where’s My Vote” protests in Iran against their leader recently elected by sham voting counts, many called to the Obama administration to help them with their problem.  As a result, the USA did not move to help them and consistently parades about thumping our chest over Iran’s need for nuclear power and the side benefit of nuclear weapons grade uranium to make them another nuclear power in the Middle East,  How tragic that we sacrifice a billion dollars to Pakistan, the number one producer of terrorists and terrorist sympathizers in the Middle East as madrassas grow like weeds there, but we are unwilling to help two of the major populations without homes or stability: Kurds and Palestinians.  The harboring of Osama Bin Laden and his wives in Pakistan was passed off with a very strategic strike of his compound and he was surgically “taken care of” by a Navy Seal team.  This military action caused Pakistan to save face by deporting his wives and killing the US informant via hanging to appease the American hating population.  If only the Palestinians sat on an oil reserve perhaps our view of the decades long war with Israel would be over and we would be enjoying “democratic” gas in our gas tanks.  Why can’t the USA mind its own business?  Because the government still believes that ancient idea of war being good for the economy trips us up at the door all the time.  When are you, as a USA citizen, going to say enough is enough?  Hopefully right after I do…enough is enough.

I wanted to wait before I posted this primarily due to its sensitive subject for so many people either pro or con for George Zimmerman and his guilt or innocence.  I don’t want to inflame either side but I also think that Rachel Jeantel is being displayed in an ugly light by most media outlets.  Rachel was on the phone with Trayvon Martin and he said that a “crazy ass cracker” was following him.  She was uncomfortable on the stand and had a bristly attitude which most media outlets misunderstood to be detriment to Ms. Jeantel’s character.  She was asked to speak up, repeat what she said for clarification, and was clearly upset by lines of questioning that echoed in pauses of uneasy silence.  It is unfair that Ms. Jeantel was unfairly judged by media and possibly the jury because of her strong and brisk personality.  I understood every word she said, I felt her frustration and her intolerance of not being listened to.  That is the majority of the problem with prejudice; the inability to listen, understand, and ask questions that clarify meaning for the listener.  That isn’t what this post is about.  This post is about Ms. Jeantel’s strong nature, standing her ground, and losing patience with the attorneys directing and cross examining her testimony.  Both sides failed to truly listen to her and she may have taken the presence of a bad attitude.  For centuries that has happened to women over and over again; if you are a sharp, strong, unmovable force to be reckoned with, there will always be one or two idiots that dismiss you as being a “bitch”.  This is why Ms. Jeantel will never be a victim.  She would not tolerate treatment of herself by others that is grating, abusive, and unworthy of her attention.  Ms.  Jeantel is the woman that shake the foundations of societal judgments that women are to be meek, take what they are given, and feel lucky to have two peanuts and a roll of toilet paper as a reasonable salary.

It is my opinion that once some people are confronted by a strong, no nonsense, pretty woman that they expect some amount of stereotypical yielding toward men.  Sometimes there are some people who can’t deal with strong women at all and label them as a bitch because she is not bendable toward their will and not her own free will.  It is especially hurtful prejudice toward women of any ethnic background, religion, culture, and success level.  The strong, unwavering woman to some people is unattractive because her tolerance threshold for ridiculousness is very low.  When a strong woman gets placed in uncomfortable circumstances, she stands up for herself and clearly draws a line in the sand that says “No.  You don’t get to treat me poorly”.  This is what Ms. Jeantel presented to the jury, defense team, and prosecution team and pretty much every home in America who cared about the case.  The cultural differences aside, there are some that prefer the fainting Victorian lady on her lacy bed.  The worst part of all this is not only that she was a woman not tolerating any crap, but she was a black, curvy woman that defied the pressure of either attorney to hamper her personality.  She was firm.  She was clear on the facts.  She had no patience with word games or spin flung by either attorney.  The problem was three fold: Ms. Jeantel is African American and expected to react poorly as a stereotype of being both a woman and a black woman, she is a teenager who has had enough (pardon my language) bullshit to last her a lifetime, and because she did not fit into a file box as a “hood rat” or uppity negro that just plays the system for what it’s worth.  She is a teenager that obviously doesn’t tolerate bullying, inappropriate behavior, or treatment that she feels is unwarranted.  Ms. Jeantel had the presence of being outside her comfort zone and her wall of defense rose quickly.

Now, if we observe without any preconceived information Ms. Jeantel’s testimony, the young teenage woman seems prickly and intolerant of her circumstance and the arena to which it played.  This is why Ms.  Jeantel is not going to be a victim, a fainting maid on her Victorian bed, or a door mat for someone to use and abuse.  Oh no, not Ms.  Jeantel.  She isn’t going to tolerate any such behavior and given that she is a strong woman, it’s going to be relationship based on what she deserves and doesn’t deserve.  She isn’t going to let anyone dog her down, hurt her, or pull her apart.  This creates an air of Ms. Jeantel that tolerates very little, gives very much, and loves her friends and mourns a friend.  The stereotype of a woman, especially a young woman teenager, is that we are supposed to have predefined responses to emotions like crying or getting angry in a way that is “ladylike” and “sweet”.  As much as I dislike the observation, but woman have been presenting as stronger in environments that are hostile.  They have to be because predators are always sizing up their prey, which Ms. Jeantel will never be because of her strength, love, and dedication to herself, her self esteem and attitude.  I can only hope that as she matures, so does her strength.

The New (Old) Face of Racism

In the wake of the trial of George Zimmerman, who was brought up for second degree murder charge in Stanford Florida for the killing of a young, African American Trayvon Martin, was found not guilty by a jury of six women.  Boiling over, the New and yet Old Face of Racism raises its ugly head across the country.  This is a new face of racism that holds old modus operandi that has plagued America for countless generations all they way back to the formation of the US and its exercised slavery that continued  even after the eloquence of the Declaration of Independence saying all men were created equal…except for my slaves, they don’t get rights. This is the echo through America’s history of racism, prejudice, and cruelty to those that are found to be lacking the “right” color.  The N word, which has been an insult since the beginning of the United States, is still used today not only by insulting racists, but also the African American culture to perhaps soften the blow of such a terrible word.  The fact that people still use this word in 2013 is telling to the stagnation of equality for the different oppressed races that live here in America in areas where the population is supremely racist calls to mind that the search for fairness will always be blind and grappling for stale arguments for racism.  In the 1940’s after Japanese war planes attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawai’i, Japanese Americans who had a love for the US, were interred in camps because of their race and the ignorance that plagues US history.  African Americans had to go to the back of the bus, different bathrooms, drink from different water fountains and be seated in the “black only” sections of eateries.  The “black only” schools, the “black only stores and white proms and “black proms” still exist today.  There are still places in Florida and other Southern states that have a sign saying:  Nigger don’t be here when night comes.  I have seen them.  African Americans suffered under the yoke of racism, so have many others.

African Americans have been oppressed heavily all over the US.  Native Americans, who were here before anyone else, were given blankets infected with smallpox to remedy the problem that white people wanted their land.  Gypsies in America are treated poorly because they are considered “dirty and disgusting” in many places in America.  In some areas, African Americans were ostracized by everyone had they chosen a white spouse.  Worst than that, African Americans, Native Americans, and other races are still fighting for their God given rights where pockets of racism live and flourish.  Just see how the Native Americans and African Americans and other oppressed people live in abject poverty because of racism.  To her dying day, my own mother used the word “gook” and “kike”  to Americans with “slanty eyes” or American Jews.  It seems that the undercurrent of cultural fear exists in America for anyone that might be a terrorist wearing hijab, or the Sikh head covering turban, and if your name doesn’t sound American you are the new Muslim enemy.  But it doesn’t stop there.  The fear of change and the ability to learn the truth about people who desire change are very different people.  The fact that white American racist fears what it cannot understand has become an excuse to be violent, angry, and hateful to people that may be different. This treatment hurts them, especially when people like former President Bush the son moves to have affirmative action equality found defunct because there is no prejudice against them.  The people have a tendency get emotional and distrustful of others because you spin the wheel of racism every time one meets someone new.  They have a tendency to get mad when they need FEMA help after Hurricane Katrina and don’t ever benefit from it.  Homes still stand wrecked.  In New Jersey, after Hurricane Sandy, Governor Christie fought to get help after the devastated areas appealed to him.  They got what they needed and wanted.  I could go on and on, listing how unfairly African Americans, Latinos, and other different looking races are oppressed here.

Its okay to feel wounded by decades of poor and nasty treatment.  I once worked as a warehouse manager for a small garden bench company.  My guys, who were all African Americans, were struggling to get the line moving because of some bad materials.  I left my office in my nice clothes, put on a apron, and dove in to help them out.  My boss, who was a white man, told me and I quote: “Don’t help them niggers, let them do the hard work.”  I was appalled.  I went to his boss and told him what my boss said and he,. being a white man, shrugged and answered “whatever the work that needs to be done, let the niggers do it”.  Three seconds after that I went to the NAACP, AFL-CIO and made complaints about this boss problem.  It was not long after that that the company fired me and closed it’s doors.  I know an African American family that changed their last name from White to Whyte to separate themselves from the last name of their defunct owner after the Emancipation Proclamation.  It has been centuries and that same view this wonderful family attracts from white people is still rude, prejudice and hateful.  Somewhere, sometime, perhaps now, is the time to draw the line of our tolerance level for racism as an American citizen and stick to it.  We need to say, “I’m not taking this anymore”.  Of course, the people have a right to be angry.  How many generations of KKK members have carried the torch of hatred?  Aryan Nation, too.  It’s the time to stand by our brothers and sisters and say “I am not going to settle for this kind of treatment by anyone toward anyone.

It’s time for America to grow up and put her big girl panties on.

As you probably know,  Jodi Arias’ jury was unable to come up with a unanimous vote on life or death.  The jury was split 8 to 4 for the death penalty.  Arizona law, as far as I can easily research, will only accept a unanimous jury ruling of life or death punishments.  Several of the jurists who were disbanded after being unable to unanimously decide on a sentence have discussed at length on media outlets telling why they couldn’t come up with a unanimous decision and just how difficult it was to manage in the jury room.  The problem that remains is a new jury must be picked and a very abridged version of the evidence and testimony.  It is highly doubtful that this brief version of the trial, as both sides do not call witnesses to the stand.  In Arizona, the finding of Arias in the verdict stage remains upheld and so does the intentionally cruel finding.  The only thing the next jury is going to have to decide on is if she should get the death penalty or life in prison with or without the option of parole.  On July 18th, the new jury will begin to be selected and it will be by their vote that Arias’ sentence is, but is that fair and can they be sure to get jurors who have never heard of Jodi Arias, Travis Alexander’s brutal murder at her hands, and the string of experts paraded to the stand to uphold the defense’s and prosecution’s proof of Arias’ alleged abuse.  That’s not the real question though that looms in anyone’s mind.  It is the delivery of the death penalty that has taken its toll on the jury, even though they were asked to sign a paper and prepare to vote for the death penalty.

All of this begs the question:  If you were on a jury, hearing the same amount of truth, expert testimony and a grueling 18 days long testimony of the perpetrator of the crime, and autopsy photos were put up on a large screen at a time in the trial where remembering the victim was important, would you be able to dole out the death penalty after all of that?  The testimony that took five months and five years to happen paraded the sexual lives of two people, listening and watching Jodi Arias lie on the stand, and after seeing her breakdown multiple times gave the four in the jury a sense that Jodi is a living, breathing, human woman who made the worst decision in her life and brutally murdered someone that she said she loved.  There was an enormous amount of evidence linking her to the crime, the fact that she admitted that she did it after telling two falsehoods to media outlets because she was defending herself are all a part of what those 12 people are going to decide is worthy of giving her a sentence that spares her life for prison or does not support her continuance and she gets sentenced to death.  There are three women on death row in Arizona one of whom was put there by prosecutor Juan Martinez.  If you were a juror, given the extensive parade of fact, fiction, and expert testimony, could you look into Jodi’s eyes and say: “This woman deserves the death penalty.  Could you do it?

There are things to take into consideration though.  First, Jodi did take the stand and tell her story which to a jury makes her human and personable to the extent that she made an terrible error and a fatal lapse of moralistic actions.  Remember, the jury that was hung did not hear the same things we heard about Jodi on every single news station and HLN.  We know more behind the scenes issues that the jury didn’t have access to.  Second, Jodi clearly has some issues that are psychotic in nature but that also is not enough to convince four jurors to give her the death penalty.  Finally, the jury was not sequestered and essentially had to follow that admonition the Judge Stephens relayed to them every day.  There are four people, who even upon signing an agreement that they could give the death penalty in the sentencing phase, chose not to do so.  The query now is, could you decide on death or life in prison with or without parole with a clear conscious?  I don’t believe that anyone knows really what they would do in such a circumstance unless they were actively in that place.  After watching every grueling day of the hearings, I am unsure I could give the death penalty.  I would not want to be responsible for the death of any one person, no matter how terrible the crime.  I also strongly believe that Jodi hasn’t ever learned that violence against another human being is wrong.  Jealousy is an evil, treacherous emotion that when unchecked can be horrifically manifest in ugly ways that are not productive.  I honestly also believe that Jodi has a serious mental illness that is characterized with a flat affect and an inability to properly grasp psychologically healthy relationships primarily because she has issues with acceptance of it.  Jodi was very good and hitting all of Travis Alexander’s buttons in order to create a unhealthy and unstable hold on him because she was the one who deflowered him and introduced him to sexual behavior that is not vanilla.  I would not be comfortable sending anyone to death, but I would have never made the jury cut because I couldn’t say that I would sentence her to death or life in prison with or without parole.  I also disagree with people who say she deserves what she gets primarily because I do not believe that incarceration helps anyone who may have a dangerous mental illness.  That illness needs to be treated and an adequate amount of therapy may make a change in her life, but as I have learned, violent offenders very rarely ever rehabilitate.  I think that is mostly because we don’t know enough about the brain and its inner workings to properly treat and rehabilitate violent offenders.

So on the 18th of July of 2013, Jodi Arias’ new jury will be constructed and the question of her sentence will become clear hopefully for her sake and the sake of the Alexander family who have suffered terribly waiting for this closure that they need to move on.  Forgiveness is not simple and it is a journey taken by the brave and courageous.

 

NRA: Put Armed People In Schools

Another assault rifle was used to gun down 28 people in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, USA a week and one day ago.  Now, looking toward the NRA for a solution, they announce that people with guns should be in schools to protect from more people being killed in schools.  However, in a speech to the press, the NRA mouthpiece went on to say that gun owners were “demonized” in the press as an activist held up a sign in front of his face.   I posted about gun legislation way back when the “Joker” shot and killed people in a theater in Colorado, USA.  Please note, that the gunner in Colorado used tear gas to prevent those who were armed from shooting him in preparation for gun owners in the theater who might want to shoot back.  It would be reasonable to assume, should the same tactics be used in a school shooting, that those armed to protect the students and staff would be easily and successfully made irrelevant should the goal be to kill as many as possible.  The solution, which could have been addressed after Colorado, was not and surprisingly another shooting happened.  And what is sad is that the fact remains the exact same:  if someone who is mentally unstable cannot find a gun as his or her own, he or she will seek out where to get one and do what he or she desires with it regardless of how many checks we use to filter through people who should or should not own a .223 assault rifle.

So again, the question remains:  Are you going to use that assault rifle to hunt deer or just keep it in your home behind lock and key?

The answer is yes.  They are going to do whatever they want with an assault rifle because they can.  The people who are willing to use the assault rifle for nefarious deeds are going to use the rifle as well.  The only real point of the .223 rifle used in the Sandy Hook school is to kill humans, not grass eating, bounding deer in the forest during hunting season.  It was not created to be a shiny piece for someone’s collection, to show off behind glass, and to proudly retain because of the Second Amendment.  No, it wasn’t.  It was created and designed to be a killer of men, women and children.  It was meant to be an instrument of war, a reliable one so much more effective than our military arms currently being employed in Afghanistan, to kill and to maim a perceived enemy effectively and easily.  This is not a target weapon.  This is not a weapon that is pretty, sleek, or something to take on nice hunting trip with Uncle Willie.  This is a object of war, an object of the destruction of lives, a widower or widow maker, a device that kills.  Its owner, who has fervently passed all the checks necessary, puts it away for a collection piece.  A killer looks at it as a device to his or her means, the truest nature of the device–killing.

So, let’s just say, that we put people with guns in schools in order to protect the youth within.  Let’s just also say that these people are trained to relieve a threat to the school easily with the permission to discharge their weapon in the event of such a crime.  Do you want your children going to a school that permits the use of deadly force to protect them?  Do you want your son or daughter learning that the best way to protect themselves is via a gun, bullets, and permission to kill?  Is that a message you want to give to your children, that the only way they can be safe is to carry a thirty ought six and extra ammunition in their backpack?  Is it something you want your  children to see, every single day, in their school, patrolling the halls, waiting for that person that wants to mow down the innocent and himself or herself?  Is that what you want?  A lot of people don’t see anything wrong with that, a lot of people are standing behind the NRA’s great and intelligently contrived (they did have a week to come up with something and this is the best they could do) solution of arming school hall monitors with guns meant to kill.  Doesn’t anyone see the irony?

The NRA’s solution does not address the .223 in the hands of a person clearly not psychologically healthy.  It does not address the fact the last shooter killed his mother and obtained the .223 rifle and ammunition.  It doesn’t address that checks on someone’s psychiatric history isn’t working to keep guns from the wrong hands.  The waiting period just keeps the honest gun owners in a holding pattern.  It does nothing to accept responsibility that the weapon is available to the public en masse at your local gun store.  It doesn’t address that this weapon is out there and that taking particular precautions to easily foil a protector of lives is accessible to anyone doing a search for tear gas, flash grenades, and proper sight that would pinpoint the protectors and pick them off like flies.  No, that is not addressed because the best way to deal with the horse that got away is to batten down the stables and put a horse in charge.  That makes as much sense as, now that the damage has been done by a rifle which is solely used for death and destruction, arming people in schools to defend themselves from the item we desire to do nothing about.  One person, a responsible gun owner, can own that weapon and never use it or fire it.  He or she has that right under the second amendment.  I applaud that they are responsible really I do.  There is a chance that his neighbor is concocting a plan to obtain the gun and ammunition and visit his local mall.  If there is a will, there is a way.

What is the solution?  This gun doesn’t need to be on the market.  That’s one view.  Another would be that the gun should be owned by people with an extra security check and be locked with a gun lock at all times.  That’s a solution too.  How about this solution:  the gun isn’t for hunting deer and it certainly isn’t for showmanship at the local rod and gun club.  It doesn’t need to be available to be purchased by the average Joe Q. Public until the military is completely armed in such a matter that they don’t have to worry about muzzle heat up and particular bursts to prevent gun damage.  This gun is for military purposes, not at home amusement or collections, it is designed to kill.  Annoyingly enough, that will never happen because bulk is so much more important than quality weapons that are necessary for such a military function.  Now, let’s say that a whole bunch of owners get together with the .223 rifles they own and form a militia bent on protection, they begin to hang around schools and they begin to take matters into their own hands.  Well, my friends, that right is afforded to them by the Constitution and there isn’t anything really we can do about it.

Except homeschool my child, if I had one, and prevent him or her from thinking that the only way he or she can properly defend themselves is with 9 mm handgun.