One of my students was shot and killed yesterday just standing on the corner with his friends. He was dedicated to turning his life around after making some bad choices as a very young man. Violence is a real problem in America. I believe education is the solution, but I’m open to other suggestions.
Archive for the 'crime' Category
I haven’t posted about the Arizona shootings because I wasn’t quite sure what to say. I have been grately affected emotionally by the tragedy, and considering I don’t personally know anyone involved, I’ve been trying to figure out WHY it bothered me so very much.
Blaming Sarah Palin seems easy, and as much as I dislike her, I don’t really think that she can be blamed. Her Crosshairs ad was certainly inflamatory, and many commented about the wording and the visual image. It does SEEM to promotre violence against members of the government, but more importantly, it makes a pretty strong statement about the nature of politics in America. “Eliminate the competition” seems to be the accepted solution to political tumoil for the Republican party.
Maybe this guy was influenced by extremist rhetoric. He was certainly insane. But we have to take a good look at the media and the extreme way politicians communicate when a mass shooting happens in Arizona and the general response is, “Well, something like this was bound to happen sooner or later”. Is that really where we are right now? Are we seriously at a place where we can’t blame an insane man for being crazy because the outside influences are so extremist and violent that it’s possible he might have been influenced by a game, a TV ad, a movie…. Is this the world we want to accept – a violent. extremist, society in which this very thing can happens and we shrug our shoulders and keep our heads down?
Partisanship has been a huge topic of discussion for the past few years, mosly because when Party A wants to get something done and Party B disagrees, Party A claims that they only disagree because of partisanship. They don’t stop to consider that what they want to do is financially irresponsible or morally wrong. The just think the other party is being obstinate, which is pretty insulting, but I digress. At some point during all of this Us vs. Them fighting, some of us started to realize that there ARE issues in which the parties are diametrically opposed, and agreeing to disagree just doesn’t fly when legislation is involved.
But we all have friends. And having made many of our friends before we were so partisan or found ourselves surrounded by politics, we sometimes find that our friends are of the opposite party. Family is one thing. You HAVE to love them, unless being around them is physically or emotionally damaging. But friends are a gray area. You want to believe that they are good people, despite their political beliefs, but then you have to ask yourself: Can you be a good person if you think it’s okay to deny someone a basic civil right? Can you be a good person if you don’t believe that everyone should have equal access to health care? Can you be a good person if you really believe that we’re doing the right thing in Iraq? Can you be a good person if you drive an SUV or a Hummer for fun? Can you be a good person if you continually ignore the fact that schools filled with minority students are vastly underfunded? Can you be a good person if you think automatic weapons are fine in the hands of criminals?
So the problem is this: They think they can be good people and believe all of those things, and I just don’t. If it divides our country, so be it. If it pits brother against brother and tears families apart, so be it. But no one, especially not in this country, should be forced to compromise on something they believe in with all of their heart simply to keep the peace. And they shouldn’t have to pretend that it’s something it’s not. It is NOT partisanship. It is the difference between RIGHT and WRONG. The Republicans are just WRONG.
I was watching the Democratic National Convention(which isn’t quite Democratic, or national) on Monday night and they cut to a picture of where the Democratic Nominee will be speaking from on Thursday. That’s when it dawned me. They’re going to kill him. It may not be on Thursday night, though a “plot” has already been disrupted, but I think there’s a reasonable chance that they’re going to kill him. Don’t ask me who “they” is. There are so many people who feel they have a reason to take his life that I’m sure the list is days long, but my guess it that we’ll never really know and the idea will have originated in the highest levels of the government. I’m going to guess that the attempt will be blamed on a “lone nut” racist who works in the stadium (noticed that the stage lends itself to triangulated crossfire) and has recently talked to someone about how much they hate the man. Blaming a national disaster on a terrorist has already been done.
Representative Barney Frank introduced legislation to decriminalize penalties for carrying up to 100 grams of marijuana. I have no doubt that it will be buried in committee like most of Barney Frank’s legislation. Of course, the White House and the DEA are against it, mostly because they’ve been spending years falsifying the research about medical marijuana and they can’t make themselves look bad now. The argument is that marijuana is not a harmful drug, certainly no more so than alcohol or tobacco, the benefits for those in pain or suffering from a variety of mental illnesses are great, and our prisons are seriously overcrowded with nonviolent offenders.
My stance is this: A lot of my students are convinced felons who shouldn’t be because they were carrying or smoking marijuana, which isn’t the case in the suburbs where just as much, if not more, is carried and smoked by young adults. My kids are guilty of smoking while black, as is the case with many people in jail for marijuana related “crimes”. Also, medical marijuana has a variety of uses for illnesses such as fibromialgia, depression, anxiety, glaucoma, the side effects related to cancer treatment, etc… It is inhumane to force people to suffer when an aide is readily available just because the drug companies and the government can’t figure out a way to make a huge profit on it.
I saw a segment on the Nightly News with Brian WIlliams about Iraq. John McCain was discussing an exit strategy, if you can call it that. He said something like we’ll be out of Iraq “by the end of my first term”. It didn’t seem like wishful thinking, and reeked of overconfidence, but what if it was something more? We’ve been talking about rigged elections for 8 years now. What makes us assume that since Bush can’t run again, the Republicans haven’t rigged the November elections already? It’s hard to believe that it was a Freudian slip when this Presidency has been plagued by deceit, corruption, and general stupidity.
I have to send a special shout out to Daniel on this one. Writing is a catharsis indeed, but we cannot forget to write what we should as well as what we can. All the posts on religion, education, and politics mean nothing if we DO nothing, and most importantly, we cannot forget that while we sit in front of our computers in cushy office chairs surrounded by air conditioning there are thousands of people suffering IN OUR NAME.
Our government is torturing and detaining people for indeterminate lengths of time without giving any reasoning, and they say they’re doing it to make us safer. What proof do we have? What can we point to as the reason for even arresting these men? We make excuses and we spout slogans, forgetting all the while that people are suffering, truly, deeply suffering – and for what?