30 January 2013

Mo and Ron, and Morhonda

Let me introduce you to Mo and to Ron. 

We all know them. 

Mo and Ron are on the roads with us. Often, they are in company with their sister, Morhonda, and with their idiot cousin and twit uncle.

Mo-Ron always seem to party together all the time. 

If yours is the only car approaching an intersection, Mo will wait until you’re right on top of him to jump out and turn in front of you, making you slam on your brakes, send your packages flying, splashing your hot coffee all over you and your new suede jacket. 

Ron will follow close behind you, trying to drive up your tailpipe, and lay on his horn when you’re not going fast enough. 

Morhonda will be applying her makeup while texting or talking on the phone. She may even take time to notice the hot dude in the Mercedes in the next lane and try to seduce him, even at high speeds.

Sometimes, Mo will stop short in front of you. 

Often, Ron will turn left across two lanes, without signaling. 

Morhonda will, on occasion, knowingly cut you off or turn illegally in front of you, then flash a grin of idiocy and shrug in mock apology.

Mo and Ron and Morhonda have a death wish for you. 

Mo-Ron will come at you in full-on, nuclear road rage. 

Mo-Ron will cause accidents and abuse their victims as being at fault with many vulgar epithets calling your intelligence and driving skill into question. 

You will be too well-bred and polite to lay them out with the tire iron, and then will castigate yourself for your own impotence in the face of Mo-Ron’s gleeful abandon of all things reasonable and considerate. 

The concept of road etiquette is an alien concept to Mo-Ron. Morhonda thinks road etiquette is something she -- and she alone -- should benefit from.

And, to our secret shame, sometimes, our loved ones, and yes, sometimes -- all too often -- even we ourselves are Mo-Ron.

Worse yet, for our world, Mo, Ron, and Morhonda do not confine their lunatic idiocy to the roadways, inflicting it upon us everywhere, everyday – loudly and vociferously. Beware the impulse in us to be Mo, Ron, and/or Morhonda!

29 January 2013

Reasonable Folks

Okay. Here's what the gun issue needs: reasonable gun owners who speak out against unreasonable weapons. I know many people, very dear to me personally, who own guns. Guns for hunting, or protection. He never talks about it, but I'm certain my brother-in-law, a long-distance trucker, owns a hand gun that he carries with him on those long-hauls for necessary protection. Let's face it, it IS a dangerous world and some professions are more dangerous than others. Like-wise, my farmer brother-in-law owns guns for hunting and protection. Any farmer who’s ever had to deal with something after his livestock, or in the underbrush when he's clearing it out of the woods that stand next to his fields would find a gun necessary.

These, to me, are reasonable gun-owners. No one wants to take away their guns. They don't seem to believe anyone is trying to take away their guns. But, as with most politicized issues, the middle of the road, reasonable folks go unheard. Neither polarized side is interested in what they have to say.

Let's find these people. Not just for the gun-issue. Let's listen to them. Let's turn away from the extremes of every argument in today's headlines. If we do, we might finally achieve solutions out of those headlines.

25 January 2013

Editorial commentary: Abortions After Rape 'Tampering With Evidence?' Seriously?!

Okay, here's a link to the original article in question: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/24/new-mexico-abortion-bill_n_2541894.html

Rape victims who become pregnant by their attacker could face three years in prison for tampering with the evidence. The idea is that the baby is DNA evidence in a criminal investigation and prosecution.

Let's set aside the question of whether abortion is right or wrong. That's superfluous to issue. Abortions are not currently illegal. The logical question is: Isn't all the DNA to be found in the aborted fetus the identical DNA that would be found in a live birth infant? Wouldn't evidence actually be simpler and more expediently obtained from an aborted fetus? If that pregnancy should be the only definitive proof of the rapist's identity, would our legal system be permitted to incarcerate the perpetrator until that pregnancy had run to term? 

Our culture persists in stigmatizing victims of rape, making them feel they'll be blamed, and feel victimized all over again by the judicial process. Rape victims are more than 13 times more likely to attempt suicide (source: http://www.musc.edu/vawprevention/research/mentalimpact.shtml) Would rape victims who attempt or commit suicide also be guilty of tampering with the evidence? Or obstruction of justice? 

I was trying to present a reasoned commentary. I just can’t. This woman is a monster! This woman would take America into a new Dark Ages, would put us on a level with the Nazi or Serbian war criminals. Our soldiers fought and died to defeat those monsters. What will we say to the daughters of our fallen who died to stop the monsters?

From Wikipedia: Enforced pregnancy from rape in conflict
Forced pregnancy from rape has been used in war and armed conflict as a form of psychological warfare, to humiliate undermine the morale of the enemy. Pregnancy from rape is recognized under the Geneva Convention as crimes against humanity and war crimes.[28]
During the 1992–95 Bosnian war pregnancy from rape was used as a form of genocide. There were reports of deliberately created "rape camps" intended to make captive Muslim and Croatian women pregnant. Women were reported to have been kept in confinement until late in their pregnancy. In the context of a patrilineal society, in which children inherit their father's ethnicity, such camps would create a new generation of Serbian children. The women's group Tresnjevka claimed that more than 35,000 women and children were held in such Serb-run camps.[29][30][31] Estimates range from 20,000[32] to 50,000[33] victims.[34][35][36] Feryal Gharahi of Equality Now reported:
Families were separated, and women and children were kept in the gym, where all of the women and girls over ten years old were raped in the first few days.... There are rape camps all over the country. Thousands of women are being raped and killed. Thousands of women are pregnant as a result of rape. Over and over again, everywhere I went in Bosnia-Herzegovina and in Croatian refugee camps, women told me stories of abomination – of being kept in a room, raped repeatedly and told they would be held until they gave birth to Serbian children.[37]
Gita Sahgal of Amnesty International commented that, rather than being primarily about "spoils of war" or sexual gratification, rape is often used in ethnic conflicts as a way for attackers to perpetuate social control and redraw ethnic boundaries.[38]

This is an elected official, an attorney, and a woman. I shudder for my whole sex. I weep for our judicial and political system. 

I've been looking up this woman today and can find precious little of substance. On her Vote Smart biography, I did find a link to her voting record: http://votesmart.org/candidate/key-votes/110625/cathrynn-brown#.UQKUO0pU7Q8 and I looked at her Facebook page. Both offer scant information on her. According to Ballot Pedia, "Cathrynn Brown is a Republican member of the New Mexico House of Representatives, …District 55…elected in 2010. Brown is an attorney who practices transactional law. She has prior political experience as the Eddy County GOP chairwoman and a board member of the anti-abortion association Right to Life of Carlsbad."

Amendments to the measure have been made, but the bill is still being pushed forward. Here's a link to an article detailing Cathrynn Brown's recent activity on her infamous bill: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/bill-criminalizing-abortions-rape-victims-revised-article-1.1247726

17 January 2013

Being Momzilla and Trust

"I am Momzilla -- and proud to be." When my nine-year old isn't listening or is procrastinating, I remind him with that statement. I'm not letting it go; I'm not letting it slide. When you're supposed to practice your guitar, you WILL practice. When your supposed to do your homework, you WILL do your homework. When your chores need to be done, you WILL do them. You WILL be appropriately obedient. You WILL do what your told, when your told, the way your told, until it's done.

What does "appropriately obedient" mean? It means that he must always obey what is right. It means I will do my best to educate him morally and socially, as well as intellectually, so he can discern what is right. Even the Army teaches soldiers they are not to obey an illegal order. I also always keep my promise never to tell him to do anything that isn't right and proper. This includes never lying to my child about anything.

That, unfortunately, included Santa Claus. When I could no longer answer his questions without lying to him, I had to tell him the whole truth. I had never lied to him. I always told him that Santa is the Spirit of Christmas, that he embodies all that we should and want to be as people, all the time. That Santa teaches us to give selflessly, that we give gifts in rememberance of the gifts of the Magi to the infant Christ and in honor of the gift of Christ himself. I had always explained that Santa was Saint Nicholas and who he was.

But, it started with the question, "What does the Tooth Fairy have to do with Jesus." Well, I wouldn't lie. I said it had nothing to do with Him. That it was made up just for fun to take away some of the upset over a lost tooth. From there, he began asking very pointed questions about all those sweet childhood myths. So, just after his eighth Christmas, I told him the whole story.

Part of my reasons for shattering those myths was my own experience. When I was told all those stories, I had been asking questions for years. I had been lied to to maintain the illusions, partly, I think, to protect my three younger sisters' own illusions. What hurt me was not the loss of those sweet illusions or the supposed end of my childhood -- it was being lied to. I don't think I've ever trusted a thing my parents said since then.

I simply do not want my child to every have cause not to trust what I say to him about anything. And, I will always be ready to guide him, advise him, and lead by example to always act with honor, loyalty, and integrity in all things.

16 January 2013

Armed Teachers?

The NRA leadership, specifically Mr. LaPierre, has said we should put armed guards in schools and arm the teachers. I have a few questions.

“Where’s the money coming from for armed guards? Schools are eliminating programs. Teachers are underpaid. Class sizes are too big and getting bigger. All due to funding issues. Many schools can't provide current texts for all students. School bus routes are being reorganized to crowd more kids on the bus (3 to a seat instead of 2). What else would LaPierre cut from our children’s eduction to pay for armed teachers?

There's no good evidence guards prevent gun violence. How many banks are violently robbed in this country? Is there a bank WITHOUT armed guards? 

Did the guards, resource officers, school cops, etc. prevent tragedy?

How many big city precincts are within sight of violent crime being perpetrated? 

How much prison violence occurs in front of armed guards?

Will LaPierre pay for the arming the teachers? Will he pay for the weapons issued to those already income-depleted teachers cannot afford them? Where will he find these guards and teachers who will magically do what no other on campus responders have been able to prevent? The Secret Service could’t prevent the assassination of Lincoln or Kennedy. They couldn't prevent the shooting of Reagan and Brady. Will LaPierre’s armed guards and teachers succeed where the Secret Service cannot?

Does LaPierre even know any teenagers? Do we really want to put guns in the hands of people who teach the MOST obstructive, rude, impatient, aggressive, and annoying individuals? Has he ever met teenagers? These are fully-actualized people actively self-empowering more every day as they rightfully claim more independence in their exploration of their own personhood. But that comes with growing pains for the entire community. Individually, teens are every parent’s nightmare. Collectively, they’re more prone to mob mentality than any group I can think of. How many armed teachers will shoot a student before we’re in an uproar over teacher-on-student violence? 

How will we keep a clever, but disturbed kid from going on a shooting spree with the teacher’s conveniently on-site gun?