Thursday, May 31, 2012

If you don't get it... You don't want to

As the Governor recall election looms, we the people of Wisconsin have a rare opportunity to save the dignity of our state.  It's not coupled to the rebuking of all public workers.  It's not reflected in the historic budget cuts to public education.  It's not based on the the idea that workers should pay more taxes while their new employer enjoys a two year hiatus from such expense.

It has nothing to do with the radical concepts championed by the resident Maniac in the Mansion.  It does; however, have everything to do with the integrity of the same guy, governor Scott Walker.  Politicians do not usually out and out lie.  We generally settle for their version of the truth.

According to the Tampa Bay Times Politifacts.com website, Walker reached Liar Liar Pants-on-Fire status for stating that the new reciprocity agreement with Minnesota actually makes college more affordable.  He earned PoF's for alleging that worker's unions would not bargain during the introduction of his Budget Repair Bill and that collective bargaining remained intact after its passage.  Walker rated another PoF for his multiple claims that Wisconsin is broke.

Combine those false claims with the fact that he continues to flaunt election laws by not listing complete donor information.  This might stem from his 4/23/12 disclosures showing that out-of-state money comprised 57% of his re-election funds or over 14 million dollars.  This total exemplifies his alignment to "the guys" as he suggested in a taped conversation with a caller who he thought was billionaire David Koch  I doubt that these contributors have yours or my best interest in mind. 

As more evidence appears from the ongoing John Doe investigation into corruption inside his offices, Walker may stand a better chance of being appointed Rod Blogojevitch's cellmate rather than some one's running mate.   I believe that most citizens who "Stand with Walker" have more honesty than this.  But, if they don't get it, they just don't want to.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Wannabe Mentality and Bad Laws

On any given day or night in America, an adult who possesses a concealed carry permit to hide a firearm on his body, volunteers as a block captain for his neighborhood watch program.  While driving in his SUV, he spots a person wearing a dark hoodie acting "suspicious."  He calls 9-1-1 and reports his sighting stating that his area has suffered several break-ins.  He heeds the dispatcher advice to wait for an officer and stop following him.  Police arrive and detain the "suspect" who is found to be a son of a resident in the community.  The caller is thanked for being observant, the officers are thanked for being prompt and the "suspect" is thanked for being patient during his short detention.  Ah, if only things worked the way they were designed.

Unless you have just returned from a recent jaunt in the Amazon, you know that on 2/26/12 near a gated community in Sanford FL, this scenario played to disastrous consequences.  An African-American male wearing a hoodie, Trayvon Martin lost his life.  A Hispanic descent male, George Zimmermann killed him.  What lead up to confrontation is documented by statement, witness and comm center audio.  The ten or twelve seconds that lead to Martin's death from the muzzle of Zimmermann's pistol remains the controversy. 

If you listen to the original call placed by Zimmermann, he does exactly what he is supposed to do as a Block Captain.  Be a witness and provide the reason and description of the person in question.  Then, he commits to a higher calling.  Disregarding the dispatcher's suggestion to wait for the uniform, he hangs up and continues following the "suspect" first mobile, then on foot. 

The person is Trayvon Martin, the seventeen year-old visiting his father. He is returning from a convenience store with his candy and soda.  He notices an SUV following him.  He possibly calls his girl friend to report being followed.  (His upbringing has not been illustrated enough to get a feel for what his reaction to this might be.)

I listened to a 9-1-1 call where the caller captured the shouting just before a gunshot is heard.  Zimmerman's camp maintains that it is Zimmermann who is yelling for help while the parents for Martin declare that it is their son who is in duress.  I cannot tell who makes a plea for assistance.  What is evident from the emergency calls is that there are alot of residents home because it is only 7:17 PM.

Crime scene processing can answer a few telling questions.  How close to Zimmerman's car was the struggle?  Photographs of Zimmerman's injuries?  The shot trajectory from weapon to impact and distance between?  Other questions that need just to be asked is:  What training does Zimmerman have as Block Captain and where did he get it from?  What firearms training does he have and who gave it to him.  He obviously is not a sworn police officer in training or recognition.  Has he ever applied for such a position and was turned down?  Somehow we learned that Martin was suspended from school from marijuana but what of Zimmerman?  From the facts of the case prior to the twelve seconds in limbo, we learn that Mr. Zimmermann was ill prepared to be following a "suspect" this night let alone possibly contacting him.

I do find an unusual amount of information being released for an ongoing criminal investigation.  I found a partial police report available to download, the aforementioned 9-1-1 calls and video depicting Zimmermann's conveyance from crime scene to the PD.  But this no usual case.  The race card dropped.  The parents demand an arrest. The Reverends' Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton descended upon the town turning a poorly conceived tragedy into yet another circus.

The Sanford FL politicians made a knee-jerk reaction to suspend the white police chief and fill his slot with an African-American captain from the same department.  A politician got kicked off the podium for wearing a hoodie to memorialize Martin.  Sports teams and big dollar athletes are taking pictures in hoodies.  We even have a "celebrity" that needed to tweet an information of a person involved... Oops, wrong address.  Even President Obama put his two cents in.

The bottom line is those same politicians championed concealed carry permits and wrote ill conceived laws like the "Hold your ground" and the "Castle Doctrine."  Issuing permits to people who have no training at all is reckless.  Check out my blog entitled "May the Deadly Force be with You" from September 2011 that will qualify my allegation.  Giving a blanket pardon to people to shoot other people without the ability to measure their actions will lead to more unneeded killings. 

A Huffington Post article compared this incident to a shooting that happened earlier this March in Slinger WI.  A white homeowner shot a shape coming at him on the home owner's back porch.  The shape belonged to another African-American male, an intoxicated underage drinker trying to elude the cops checking out the drinking party next door.  The prosecutor applied the self-defense standard with the Castle Doctrine in the bull pen to rule the homeowner would not be charged criminally.  You can bet a wrongful death civil suit emerges, however.

The Wisconsin Castle Doctrine clearly implies a positive immunity to this situation.  The Florida "Stand your Ground" version seems a little vague in application but extends the same protection.  Therefore, people cannot simply demand justice when the stars come out.  The politicians need to choose a more common sense rule of thumb to evaluate use of force altercations.  I extend my sympathy to the Martin family and the Morrison family.  No matter how old someone gets, they are still some one's baby in their heart and that loss is great.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Crown of Thorns?

The Hunger Games.  By media accounts, the book trilogy reflects the author's view of society gone amok similar to populating Arnold Schwarzenegger's movie, The Running Man with kids.  Other articles point out the explicit kid-on-kid violence and wonder how the theatrical production will preserve the story line with only a PG-13 rating.  I confess that I have neither read the books nor intend to view the movie.

Over the last few days leading up to the national premier, entertainment writers issued a question aimed at parents of tweens and younger children.  This inquiry sparked experts from various disciplines and notoriety to characterize responses as "tough decisions."  I hear the gears moving.  Supply cigarettes?  Provide birth control?  Allow a tattoo?  Not even close.  Get ready for it... "Should I let my child see the movie?"  Really?  Tough decision?

In the 80's and 90's, I was a DARE Officer that presented self-help topics to eleven and twelve year- olds.  One session examined worthwhile risk taking and overcoming fear.  I introduced the concept of fear by talking about scary films.  My classroom teacher never failed to exhibit the same terror when I polled the students by show-of-hands about what movies they have watched.  Without making a laundry list of teen sex / slasher flicks, I'll simply summarize my findings by stating that an R-rating held no weight in parental discretion.

Current headlines suggest that we already possess a hefty population of unfeeling, uncaring miscreants who enjoy inflicting physical pain and psychological harm, think cyber-bullying, on an unexpected victim.  These same wrong-doers have no problem insinuating that books, movies, music or voices guided their ill-fated conduct and they are not accountable.  Why?  Societal professionals feel a need to readily alibi this populace's actions with some kind of outside stimulus.

Parents should be the best source to evaluate their individual child's maturity level.  Some parents that I know have a clock ticking to rush their kids to grow up way too fast instead of letting them be kids.  Is this wrong?  I do not second guess parental styles.  However, if your fear is only wondering  how your offspring will look in the eyes of peers or said child guilt's you into letting them view it when  "everyone" in their whole universe saw it the first night of release, then listen up.

Hoist up the big boy pants.  Take a deep breath and calmly remind them that you are his / her / their parent and not his / her / their friend.   Your job is to protect them and make unpopular decisions based on what you know at the time of the decision.  Give him / her / them the opportunity to list their "Yeah, buts" but remain firm and patient.  Finally, remind them that you will always love them no matter what even though he / she / they just said that he / she / they hate you. 

Congratulations!  You earned the parental laurel this week.