Paula Dean and the Diversity Myth

The whole world seems to be looking at Paula Dean. Paula Dean’s problem is she was taken to task for what she said in private. The world is full of Paula Dean’s. They are made up of people of every race and color. In Paula’s case, someone wanted to punish her for their own reasons, and Paula Dean allowed herself to be vulnerable using her private language.

Too many of us have two separate vocabularies. One language we use when we are around people we feel safe with, and a second language we use when we are in public and strangers can overhear us. An example is attending a minority viewpoint political rally. You know the one some of us would like to attend but won’t because we know deep down it’s wrong?

Pretend you are going to one. Make it whatever cause you personally would not feel comfortable going to because of what the rally members stand for. The rhetoric you will hear is public rhetoric. Words strung together to show the world they are really good people who’s beliefs are not quite main stream.

What is heard publicly is not the language and raw expression used among the inner circle of the trusted ones. That other language is course, and demeaning in every respect. If these splinter groups thought they could do it, you would hear what they really think, but it won’t happen in public.

One people, one race

We make the world go ’round because we are one people trying to enjoy our individual lives.

Some time ago, I was asked by a little boy as his parents looked on in horror, “…if I was a, ‘real white man’. The little boy said he had never seen one close up before and did was not sure if I was a ‘real white man’, or not. His parents were of course were beyond embarrassed. It was obvious they used two sets of language, their private language, and their public language. The little boy of course, was not old enough to know the difference, and crossed a line his parents would have rather avoided.

While the rest of the world is blasting away at Paula Dean because her private language has been made public, take the time to look a little closer to home. Do you use or do you allow people in your life to speak two languages? A private language and a public language?

Paula Dean is an old semi racist woman who was found out. That is what she was raised to believe, and that is how she will probably die. Her time on earth is limited, and she and those like her will fade away over the next years. You and your friends on the other hand are young. Every day influencing and reinforcing your inner circle of friends and family with language and thought each and every day.

We must drop our behind closed door language and start speaking with respect to those not like us publicly and privately. Whether they are different because of their skin color, sexual, religious, or personal beliefs, they are us. We are a floating little blue marble in a huge ocean of nothingness. Yet we continue to think there are other choices than getting along without accepting each other.

Differences between people is good for us. We get bored with ourselves. We can’t compare ourselves to ourselves, we need someone else. Other people help make life fun, and interesting. Of course we have to be fun and interesting ourselves and we can’t be fun until we drop the pretense of being a different better.

Anyone who has a public and private set of words they use is really a pretty boring person. They are a one trick pony and can not see past their own nose. Their conversation is rarely spontaneous and very controlled. They can’t fool anyone for long about who they really are. Don’t be one of those boring people.

Caterpillar Stands Tall, bad news BSA

This is the best news I have read in some time! I am glad Caterpillar inc has taken a public stand. Until Boy Scouts of America changes their thinking they will be operating without any financial help from one company which is not afraid to take a stand.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Caterpillar Inc. is no longer giving money to the Boy Scouts because the organization discriminates against homosexuals, a spokeswoman for the Illinois-based heavy equipment manufacturer confirmed Thursday.

Thanks David Mercer, Associated Press, for getting this story out!

I can hardly wait for other companies to follow in these footsteps. It is well past the time we grow up. It is time the Boy Scouts of America and other discriminating organizations like them grow up too.

As a former Boy Scout myself, I find this otherwise excellent organization  lacking and concerned about issues that are not theirs to be concerned about. Does anyone really believe that until now, every  young man that joined Boy Scouts of America and prospered in the organization was a  ‘Straight’ All American Boy? We do live in the real world.

Every one has at least one family member or friend who is Gay. I am tired of seeing people who are different being treated as someone less than, when it makes no difference except between the ears of the person doing the perceiving what that difference is.

Homophobia is a baseless phobia based in fear. BSA and other groups should grow up and understand most differences between people are not contagious. Unless that is, this feared behavior is already present in the person doing the perceiving, hidden away from the reality of their everyday life.

Good call Cat!

Caterpillar no longer supports Boy Scouts of America

Caterpillar takes a social stand

Perception of Public Safety

I read you can no longer find a pressure cooker in the Boston area for sale. If this is not a case of over reaction, there has yet to be one. Modifying one of the old phrases from the NRA (I think), ‘Pressure cookers don’t kill people, people kill people.’

People who over react to situations need to realize that living is a risk. There is no legislating any of us are going to wake up tomorrow. There is no protecting ourselves from someone else is willing to risk everything to harm us.

Without going through the obvious facts of flu deaths each year, death from automobile accidents, falling off ladders, chairs, or down the stairs, there are so many ways to die each day it is mind boggling that so many of us make it through to the next day.

Where I grew up as a kid, we used to hunt and fish a lot. Hunting and fishing was a way of life. It put food on the table and stretched the family budget beyond the paychecks ability alone. People lived on fish and game. We also had some funny laws around hunting and fishing. Of course there were very creating ways around those laws. They were illegal, but the need to eat outweighed the legality for some people.

One law I found the funniest was hunting season for game birds. Generally one hunted game birds in the same areas others hunted deer. The only difference was the weapon used and the time of the year. First it was bird season, followed by a few weeks of no hunting, then came deer season.

During the bird hunting season, those that could not wait used illegal hard to detect methods to take deer. Some used their deer hunting rifles, and others used more creative approaches. Deer season did not apply to these people at all. They did what they wanted.

The Department of Fish and Game was sensitive during this two week no hunting period to any gun shots coming from the woods. People who were needing to eat, found creative way to take game boards with out a gun. They did what they wanted.

In the spring in the lakes and rivers, game fish schooled up to spawn. Fishing was illegal during this period, or it was illegal to fish for certain species of fish. For example, you could fish in the shallows of an area where the Bass were spawning for Northern Pike, but you could not fish for Bass because the season was not open yet. I have never seen species selective artificial lures, or live bait.

Snagging hooks were banned at all fishing waters. Yet most of the fisherman had at least one treble hook that would pass for a snagging hook in their tackle boxes. If you talked long enough or new each other well enough one learned of other ways to take fish other than legal methods.

If someone is determined, search the net for methods, or creative enough to come up with something new on their own, there are multiple ways to do almost anything. Self bans on pressure cookers in the Boston area, and probably most of America, does not make our streets safer. Each of us is still as likely to be killed each day by explosion as we were some months ago.

Legislating any activity or item does not ensure our safety. If someone wants to do something bad enough, they will find a way. Which brings me to my previous article on slingshots. Much to my surprise I discovered I was a law breaker as a kid growing up. On occasion I had my slingshot with me within city limits of a city where they were banned.

Today, I doubt there are any slingshots being carried by kids in that city. If kids are serious enough, they are carrying something more vicious than slingshots. Kids are probably carrying stolen guns hidden in their baggy clothes. If they do not have access to a gun, or can not afford one, and feel the need to protect themselves, they carry something else. Knives, baseball bats, or other hand weapons.

In a hurry or leaving?

We depend on each other for our safety

Look at the man in the picture. What is inside the black camera shoulder bag? How about the packages? Is that really an eye glass case in his top pocket? Is the bulge around his waste really belly fat? Why are his jeans and shirt a little baggy?

Do you know why people have their keys on the end of a lanyard? Maybe we should think about banning keys. Some do it because they see others do it. Others do it, because they have a perfectly legal, very serious weapon in their possession.

Does that dog owner have a pit bull because they love the breed, for personal protection, or is it a barely contained attack dog?

What about the person with that walking stick. Is there more to that walking sick or cane than meets the eye? It could be a gun, saber, or other weapon depending on the owners creativity and ability to disguise.

How about the driver of that car. Were they trying to hit you, or just not paying attention for an instant? We can only legislate individual safety so far. The rest is risk we have to accept as part of normal life.

Charity Has Limits

Homeless Horror is Human Being after all

From a distance of about 25 feet between two vehicles it was hard to decide whether her hair was a really bad dye job, or a really crappy wig. Her clothes were earth colored. And she looked scary like a very good Halloween Costume, only it wasn’t. A hesitant little girls voice emanated from where she stood. It was hard to believe it was her voice.

Mister… Mister, can you spare some change? I hate it when this happens. I feel like there is a neon sign above me, announcing to the world this guy is a sucker. Hit ’em up, he is good for some change. I am usually selective about who I give money too, but it always feels like every panhandler in the area closes in on me.

There was a real need in her voice, something I couldn’t quite know for sure, but it was there all the same. I heard a real need in her little girl voice. Sounding as if she really needed money, and was not out panhandling for her next fix.

As I stepped closer I looked at her as if I was looking at her for the first time. What I thought I was looking at was something else. This was a woman who was destroyed by whatever life she had led. I imagined alcohol in massive quantities. I had never seen anyone still breathing look so bad.

Begging is all that’s left

This woman could have been in a horror movie without additional make up. It was a terrible thought that went through my head as I walked closer. I thought, ‘…this woman could never prostitute herself. No man would ever have sex with her. Begging is all she has left. She is so ugly scary looking’.

Her facial skin looked like it was made out of cracked clay. A trip to the beauty salon that was stopped after the facial was applied. The yellow stuff cracked apart as it dried out. It was a sickly shade of yellow. As I walked closer, I could see her hair was real, dyed and thin, looking like it would break off if touched.

Not only was the skin on her face yellow, her hands were also yellow, as were the whites of her eyes. It wasn’t skin die from some job she had once upon a time. Even her pupils were a darker shade of yellow, only a little darker than the rest of her.

I thought her clothes were layered as some homeless people are want to do. From a few feet away I could see what I thought was layered clothing was distended stomach. My God this is was the most jaundiced person I had ever seen who was still walking. For that matter, I never have seen anyone look that bad even in the hospital.

“Can you spare some money? I need a little money.” That jarred me back to reality. It wasn’t a monster, it was a real person, a woman, probably younger than I am. She is real sick, maybe a few days from dying I though. She stepped back slightly, standing in between two packed vehicles.

Horror Film doesn’t pay for actors

If there was ever a horror movie where the main character did not know it was a movie, this was it. We were less than two feet apart, and it took all I could do to not show emotion on my face. She was hideous looking. In that instant, if she had grown claws and fangs, and launched herself at my throat I would not have been surprised. In fact I was prepared for it…too much Walking Dead.

At a loss for words

I could only imagine the hellish life this woman had lived. It took a lot to remind myself she was a human being. I wanted to say, “Get away from me, you look more like something from a horror show than a person!”

Instead I mumbled something about helping her out, and took out my wallet. I gave her some cash, and mumbled again that this money should get her going. My God she was a wreck. It took a lot not ask what the hell she had down to herself, and how many days did she have left before she fell over. I wanted to stare, I wanted to look away, and I wanted to ask.

I fail the screen test

What I heard instead in that trembling child’s voice was, “God bless you”. I could not get my brain and my voice working. Here before me stood this walking nightmare, and maybe that is being generous, giving to me God’s blessing. The best I managed was mumbling, “Thank you.” This was six days ago.

I see in my minds eye, people getting scared and walking, even running away, dragging their children to safety. More people scared than people willing to spare some change. I would like to think otherwise, but we have our limits, and she passed those limits with ease.

Back in the Day

In earlier times, she would have been killed for looking so hideous. Probably killed for being a witch like the young woman, Kepari Leniata in Papua, New Guinea a few weeks back. No one who would want her around. She would have been chased, kicked, and had garbage and fecal matter thrown at her. Today, few are going to help her. She would be a problem at any homeless shelter. No hospital spends money on homeless dying people if they do not have to.

I was thinking about her blessing of me today. Her blessing prompted me to write this out. I gave her some money I did not need, and she gave me something which is beyond value. Whether it was was a practiced phrase of a long time panhandler, or genuine, I will never know. I choose to think it was genuine.

My Prayer for her

Homeless get Bus to Heaven

Dead and Homeless Bussed to Heaven?

These last few days I wonder if I should have done more. We both knew in the moment there was nothing more I could do for her. She is on the last lap of her final race. She runs this lap alone. I offer up what for me passes for prayer – I pray her end is easy and peaceful. She wakes in a better place with people who love her surrounding her. May God bless her.

Hockey Sticks, Golf Clubs, Baseball Bats – TSA Ruling

Great news for Airline Passengers to fly without fear through domestic skies.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) declared each passenger on a domestic flight may soon carry on at least one the following for domestic flights:

  • 1 Hockey Stick 
  • 2 Golf CLubs
  • One small pen type knife with a small blade
  • Limited size baseball bats, less than 24 inches in length

Sounds like a protest uproar is being led by the Airlines. How about domestic Airline Passengers not in an uproar over terrorists bringing these items on board?

Think about this. If every domestic airline passenger brought one hockey stick or two golf clubs as carry on, what chance does any possible terrorist have?

A possible terrorist can wield one hockey stick. Say there are three or four terrorists. That is three or four combinations of hockey sticks or golf clubs.

Let’s pretend the flight has one hundred passengers, most being adults carrying their hockey stick or golf club to their seat.TSA Hockey Stick

I say bring it on!

No contest!

Round one, and any remaining rounds going to the now armed passengers.

Take advantage of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) ruling and protect yourself as you fly. We have guns at home, or on our person. We have mace in our purses or on our side. Some of us have golf clubs in our front seat next to us as we drive.

Get eighty plus percent of passengers on any given flight armed with a club of their choice, and I am confident there will be no trouble on any domestic flight.

 

 

 

Death by Vegetable

Be careful, your vegetables amy be killing you? Wow, I have heard some slanted news as I was a teenager in the late 1960’s when the Vietnam War was going strong. The media would report almost anything except the war news. War news would often only receive a brief one line mention right before commercial break.This media hype has all the stink of big money in the background making a big story about nothing. In the bigger picture death by vegetable poisoning is not even a blip on the radar screen.

Let’s look at some other sources and some other non vegetable facts. Here is the abstract from the Center For Disease Control’s findings which prompted the death by vegetable hype:

Each year, >9 million foodborne illnesses are estimated to be caused by major pathogens acquired in the United States. Preventing these illnesses is challenging because resources are limited and linking individual illnesses to a particular food is rarely possible except during an outbreak. We developed a method of attributing illnesses to food commodities that uses data from outbreaks associated with both simple and complex foods. Using data from outbreak-associated illnesses for 1998–2008, we estimated annual US foodborne illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths attributable to each of 17 food commodities. We attributed 46% of illnesses to produce and found that more deaths were attributed to poultry than to any other commodity. To the extent that these estimates reflect the commodities causing all foodborne illness, they indicate that efforts are particularly needed to prevent contamination of produce and poultry. Methods to incorporate data from other sources are needed to improve attribution estimates for some commodities and agents.

So a few hundred people died this year from food borne illness on vegetables. Let’s look at other health facts. Starting with the eating of red meat:

Per the Los Angeles Times, a pretty reputable news source, they had this to say back in March. It is also supported by the China Study.

All red meat is risky, a study finds

Eating any amount or type increased the chances of early death among adults tracked more than 20 years. …any amount and any type — appears to significantly increase the risk of premature death, according to a long-range study that examined the eating habits and health of more than 110,000 adults for more than 20 years.

For instance, adding just one 3-ounce serving of unprocessed red meat — picture a piece of steak no bigger than a deck of cards — to one’s daily diet was associated with a 13% greater chance of dying during the course of the study.

The London Telegraph ran this story this month:

The Department of Health was last night urged to review its guidance on red meat after a study found that eating almost half the daily recommended amount can significantly increase the risk of dying early from cancer and heart disease.

The Food Poisoning Bulletin wrote what foods were involved in 2012 food poisonings:

10 Largest Multi-State Food Poisoning Outbreaks Of 2012

Three of the foods: tuna, cheese and mangoes were imported.  Five of the food sources: cantaloupe, ground beef, spinach and spring mix, clover sprouts, and peanut butter, were produced domestically. (The specific food source for two of the outbreaks was not determined.)

Here comes the hype, led off by The Huffington Post:

Leafy Greens Leading Source Of Food Poisoning Illnesses, Study Shows

A big government study has fingered leafy greens like lettuce and spinach as the leading source of food poisoning, a perhaps uncomfortable conclusion for health officials who seem to not want us to eat our vegetables.

Now lets look at some other data presented as fact from the Center For Disease Control (CDC)

“Heart Disease Facts

  • About 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.1
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. More than half of the deaths due to heart disease in 2009 were in men.1
  • Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease, killing more than 385,000 people annually.1
  • Every year about 935,000 Americans have a heart attack. Of these, 610,000 are a first heart attack. 325,000 happen in people who have already had a heart attack.2
  • Coronary heart disease alone costs the United States $108.9 billion each year.3 This total includes the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity.”

Moving on to death by Drunk Driving. I found these numbers as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The figures are from 2010. The data compliments of The Century  Council.  I suppose these numbers are harder to come by than death by vegetable.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 32,885 people died in traffic crashes in 2010 in the United States (latest figures available), including an estimated 10,228 people who died in drunk driving crashes, accounting for 31% of all traffic deaths last year.

On smoking, the CDC weighs in with these numbers:

In the United States, smoking is responsible for about one in five deaths annually (i.e., about 443,000 deaths per year, and an estimated 49,000 of these smoking-related deaths are the result of secondhand smoke exposure) (Worldwide there are over an estimated 5,000,000 smoking related deaths a year as reported by the CDC.)

There have been about 600,000 deaths by Heart Attack in America each year, helped along by eating red meat per the CDC data. The CDC also reports that there were about 443,000 smoking deaths. World wide the same source estimates more than 5 million people die each year from smoking. Let’s not forget the 32,000 that died from drunk driving,  We had less than 500 deaths by vegetable poisoning in 2012 verses over a million deaths from eating red meat, smoking, and drunk driving.

From a 2008 harris poll as noted on wikipedia:

…found that “approximately 0.5%, or 1 million [Americans] are vegans…

I haven’t heard any Vegetarians whining about vegetable deaths, what gives? They should be up in arms, writing every government official they can, shouldn’t they? Perhaps Vegetarians realize they could be accidentally killed before they leave their home in the morning, and certainly before they make it back home for the night.

Yet there was the media hype on several major web pages about a few hundred deaths brought about by contaminated fruits and vegetables. Would you like some raw broccoli to go with your red meat, wine, and after dinner cigar or cigarette?

Disclaimer: I eat red meat, I eat white meat, I occasionally eat fish. I also eat a large amount of vegetables to go with my meat. I have nothing against meat eating. I am more than familiar with smoking as a number of family members died from the same smoking related illness. I have yet to hear of anyone I know die from vegetable poisoning. And I thought politics was full of biased information.

I am never sure if the media is that desperate for Shock Value, or it is manipulation by big money somewhere to change the focus of the average American onto something that is not important in the long run.

America is in fiscal crisis.  The War in the Middle East is not slowing down. Floods have devastated major areas of our coastline. Global Warming has not gone away. Yet there is a rash of hyped up articles about something that does not really have a major impact on America in light of other things we take into our bodies.

Quick, look at that!

Oh, you missed it….

 

New Years Worthwhile Resolutions

We are rolling along up to that date again. The date almost everyone pretends is not looming before us, now a few days away. The day the rubber meets the road. The day we can no longer limp along with crummy habits we want to get rid of.

Here is how it works for most of us. We waver back and forth on what we think we can do without, verses what we know we should change. We do not want to give up the things we know we should because they are satisfying. The things we can give up easily are things we embarrass ourselves telling others we are thinking of giving up for the new year.

When starting ‘Something’ involves some amount of physical effort, pain, or other discomfort. It too usually fails after a short run in the sun.

The sad fact is most of our New Years resolutions are forgotten either by convenience or neglect a few months down the road. We end up with another plate of guilt from yet another failure.

I believe the reason we go through this cycle of putting off resolutions, making resolutions, and letting our resolve slide into the late winter sunset is because they do not mean anything. Give up sweets, so what? Go to the gym to get in shape, so what?

After a few months negative reinforcement rears its ugly head, and we respond with positive re-enforcement which is going back to those things we pretended we were done with.

How about this year doing something different? Something that makes you happy and adds enrichment to your life? Do this: Make resolutions that are not self centered and self directed. Make resolutions that make a real difference, not some vague abstract accomplishment, but something concrete.

Make a resolution to do something over the next year for someone else. Who that person(s) is (or are) is completely up to you. What you can do to make a real difference in their life is also up to you. As long as you make a resolution and stick to it, it does not matter.

Here are some simple ideas that are also free. Over the next year, I am going to:

1. Open and hold doors for people just because I can.

2. Thank people meaning it, when they use good manners, or show an act of kindness for others.

3. Spend 10 minutes a week picking up litter on the street around my home.

4. Make or bake something for a neighbor, the one you like the least.

5. Everyday, look for something that needs doing that you can do for someone else.

6. Find something special or unique that someone is wearing and compliment them on it. Jewelry, perfume, hair style, and good taste in clothing,  are things people enjoy being complimented on.

Moving on, if you have extra cash there are good ways to use it too.

1. Pick up the check for someone in a cafe or coffee shop who looks like times are tough for them. Talk to your waitress/waiter quietly and tell them you want to buy the meal for the him/her dressed in ____ . They do not have to know it was you.

2. Go through your home and collect worthwhile items you are not using and donate them to a thrift shop, or put them out on the curb.

3. Buy some flowers, and give them to a stranger who looks like they could use something nice in their day/life.

4. Send some money off in an envelope to someone you have never met at an address where you would not want to live. Include a note suggesting they can:  Give or resend your money to another, add to your money and resend it, or use your money for their own use if they really need to.

5. Go buy some food you would like to eat and bring it to a homeless shelter. A few packages of cookies if there are children, toiletries you use yourself. New socks, underwear, etc. are all very appreciated.

6. Plant some flowers or a rose bush this spring in an empty space in your neighborhood where people walk, and take care of the flowers/bush over the summer.

I know, if you change your ho-hum New Year resolution(s) to resolutions along the lines I have suggested, your world will become a more vibrant, fun,  and thankful place. You will start living in awareness and gratefulness, and you will be happier and more fulfilled than ever before.

Your life can be richer and have more meaning. You can make a New Years Resolution you will be proud of and easily keep. Or you can give up cookies and start exercising more. Which type of resolution sounds better? You might even make new friends, or land a better job along the way!

Guns, Mass Murder, and Suicide; Acceptable Fear

The question is not who kills people, the question is who kills people with what? If guns are banned, another method will be used to kill innocent strangers such as were used in the mass murder via Sarin Gas in the Japan Subway System a few years back, and Jim Jones using cyanide in Kool Aid a few years before that.

Guns are only one device used for killing people and not really that effective in accomplishing mass murder. What guns have going for them is availability and simplicity.

The bigger question we should ask ourselves about these repetitive mass murders is what is the price we are willing to pay for our right of freedom? What price is acceptable, allowing deranged people to kill other people, and the killing is tolerated because eliminating guns would further erode our already greatly reduced personal freedoms?

One the extreme side of protectionism there are people who value personal safety above all else. They would be perfectly happy allowing camera and microphone monitoring into their homes 24 x 7 if it would guarantee their safety. They eat right, exercise on a regular basis, and never do anything that would be considered a risky behavior by an average adult.

On the other side, we have Gang Bangers, Red Letter Motorcycle Clubs, Drug Dealers, Prostitutes,  and Extreme Sports risk takers. Their values are quite different than the first group, and personal safety is not their highest priority. Most of the people in this group with the exception of extreme sports people, will use violent behavior to protect their way of life. Lifestyle of freedom reigns supreme and will be protected over an individual or group.

Which group would we identify with, when our personal safety is at risk? Do we want to be safe. Do we want to live without fear. What price are we willing to pay? Is our personal safety worth everything or is complete freedom worth more?

Is taking away freedom to provide more safety the right thing to do? Is it correct to legislate which weapons are acceptable in America and which weapons are not? To a large extent this is already been decided. The average American does not legally own any weapon outside what would be considered a hunting or sporting weapon. I do not own legally or otherwise any weaponry typically associated with the military in a war type environment.

Everyday we pay other people to take total control their daily life. Individuals and businesses take over our individual safety needs. Our insurance agents, Bus and Taxi Cab Drivers, the local Police and Fire Department, our Doctor. They all take charge of our personal health and welfare. Our children are taken care of by their Teachers, and School Bus Drivers. Maybe a Family Member, Sitter, or Day Care Center takes responsibility for our children’s safety after school and before us.

Up until a century ago, it a given that an individual living on one end of America could not pack up a few belongings, and travel across country without facing a large amount of personal risk. This is still true today if one chose to hitch their way meandering across the country. It is not a normal part of a safe life style to wander about in any inner city. Travel into some other countries, and one is likely to disappear without a trace.

There is no answer to the mass killings we see today except to compare them to almost any time and anywhere before the 1900’s. A time when one undertook great personal risk to travel too far away from home. Far being as little as a few miles in some circumstances. In those days public protection afforded strangers today did not exist as we know it today.

More regulation or more gun control will not make us safer. Nor will restricting certain types of weapons, and sizes of ammunition clips. Safety can only be legislated so far. After that it is up to us individually. At present, the only thing that will halt mass murder in America is time.

Eventually we will be sickened by people being murdered to change our cultural mores, ethics, and thinking. We should not feel the need to have one or more assault rifles next to our bedside, and pistols under our pillows. We will not need the false comfort of having multiple weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition about us. We will as a people grow tired of living in fear, and start living in life instead.

America is entrenched in groundless fear of fear itself. We are drenched in fear daily by the media, and indirectly by our own government. We fear our neighbors. We fear teen age boys who dress and act differently than we think they should. We fear strangers. We fear anyone who is not us. We fear murky, unnamed heads of unnamed states trying to impose their way of life on us by force. We fear those things we can not see. We fear the stranger in the black car, or the brown van. We fear dogs.

We fear the boogie man. We fear the Devil. We fear ourselves. Until we decide to tame and manage our totally irrational fear, mass killings and suicides will be a part of the network news. We live in the most peaceful and safe time the world has seen in our known history, and we still choose to cling to fear.

What for? Are we happier living in fear? Is fear the control method of our modern life? Do you enjoy being afraid?

Can We End Afro American Affairs in America?

I listened to a morning radio talk show about current events this morning. The topic of discussion was an event happening this week. The Event was, “The Current State of Afro-American Affairs in New Mexico”. I hope I have the title right. If I do not it is close to what I typed. I also read there is a nationwide event(s) of the same type.

When the Civil Rights movement of the sixties came along, it was overdue. Like the oppressed state of Women and Children in America before 1900. It was well past time for White America to be forced to integrate. Integration was what some of White America did not want to do. I thought optimistically by the seventies, certainly by the eighties, Whites and Blacks were about as integrated as we were going to get.

We were mostly going to the same schools, mixing together in churches, parks, and other activities. Intermarriage between Whites and Blacks though not welcomed with open arms, was happening; increasing in numbers each year. I thought we had at long last accomplished what should have happened one-hundred years earlier.

Now it is 2012 and the world is going to end in a few months – if you believe some accounts. The global economy, and by default the U.S. economy is circling around the toilet bowl, ready to disappear down the drain, never to recover. Some people think the world, if it does not end, is about to fall apart. Feudalism and/or anarchy will return to replace current political systems.

It is the end of times as we know it, and here we are still discussing the state of Black America and what yet needs to be done. This is almost mind boggling to me. Here we are connecting the world through computers, shrinking the world, and tying our country economies to one big global economy. One people on a small blue marble we call Earth. We have not yet allowed Black America to be responsible for itself, or join mainstream America. Something still keeps us apart.

If I were part of Black America, I think I would renew the words, “Let My People Go”. Let my people join fully into the American way of life and remain a part of American life. Let my people rise and fall under the same rules White America lives under. Let my people find their own way through their lives on the same terms as the rest of America does. Let my people become masters of our destiny. Let the rest of America be relieved of the burden of caring for and coddling Black America.

We needed the civil rights act. We needed other bills and laws that were passed so Black America could become part of America, and not remain a separate but equal people. Each day, we have people from all over the world coming to America, and becoming part of the American Dream. Isn’t it about time we allow and encourage Black America the do the same?

Maybe it is too simplistic to think that all Americans are equal. Driving from one side of the city to the other side of the city supports this thought. We are not all equal in every respect. If we substitute the world for the city, it is even more obvious there is a huge disparity in the quality of life around the world.

This disparity may never be erased around the world, but it can be here in America. Isn’t it time for America to insist all her citizens have the same opportunity to be one people instead of a group of people sharing a lopsided ownership with their brothers and sisters of a different skin color?

When we have children and our children grow up, we cut the apron strings so to speak. We do this to help our children to join and take their place in adult society. Don’t we have the same obligation to another group of Americans?

Most of us live up or down to the expectations others have of us. These conferences on the state of Afro-American affairs makes me wonder why Black Americans are not able to compete on equal footing with the rest of America, and need to be taken care of. This is not a thought that feels natural, nor is it formed easily.

It is time to let this thought go, and get on with being American in America. Being American should be special enough. It is for all the people who risk their life to get here illegally. It is for all the people who immigrate here legally. Why isn’t it enough for those of us that already live here?

Excuse Me, I’m Sorry

Excuse me, and I’m sorry have to be two of the most overworked phrases I hear when out and about around town. For example, I was walking towards a door yesterday and a Mother and her Teen Daughter where also approaching the door.

Of course the Mom, being a responsible Mom had taught her daughter manners. We arrived at the door an door almost together and the Teen Girl started to open the door and enter ahead of me. She remember her manners and stepped back saying, “I’m sorry”.

As I went to open the door the Teen stepped in front of it again as if to walk through. When the door opened she remembered her manners again and said, “Excuse me”. She then stepped back and we both allowed her Mother to go through the door first.

As we both meandered the aisles, I ran into the mom and daughter three more times. Three more times I heard the phrases, “I’m sorry, Excuse me”. After the third time, I thought that was a lot of sorry excuses jammed into ten or so minutes.

I know the young woman was trying to be polite, but it seems to me the words, Excuse me, and I’m Sorry are  a little more import an than words to be uttered in awkward social situations. Over use of these phrases to me is like the little boy who cried wolf. If your sorry and asking to be excused too many times in one day, when do those phrases carry any weight or meaning?

There seemed to be an excessive amount of I’m sorry, and excuse me’s this week as I found myself thinking about it as I brushed my teeth last night. Whatever happened to, Pardon me, after you, please go first, or some other kindly comment as it applies to the situation. Pardon me, is a lot more empowering and meaningful than excuse me.

Today I watched ‘Real Sports’, which is the only sports show I ever watch. They did a story about fan violence. A comment was made that 7,000 fans were removed form their seats and expelled from the stadium last year. Millions of fans attended the games however. All 350 NFL games, which works out to about 20 fans per game.

Twenty fans per game sounds like a real small number which it when the seating capacity of a stadium is tens of thousands of fans. What caught my ear was this was the number of fans asked to leave the stadium for bad behavior.

The segment on fan behavior added balance to my thinking about the over sorry, excused young woman. At her age, there is so much going on in her life as she is going through the transformation of child to adult. She has a lot of outside pressure on her, her Mom is probably not even aware of, let alone a complete stranger at a doorway, or being passed in the aisle.

After watching the clip on fan behavior and realizing how rude and inappropriate we have become as a society, I am happy the young woman is overly concerned with good manners even is she overuses the wrong phrases. One action producing an opposite reaction? Maybe.