A Viking Funeral (Ode to Blair Walsh)

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Blair Walsh is presently the kicker for the Minnesota Vikings football team.  He recently missed a 27-yard field goal at the end of a playoff game.  The Vikings lost to the Seattle Seahawks 10-9.  Walsh had previously kicked field goals for every one of the Vikings nine points.

A light is lit

A smile revealed

The hope for a future still waiting concealed

Prayers and tears

Triumphs and defeats

Through them all kept going, kept moving my feets

As a part of a team

I have a job to do

And the others have jobs that they have to do too

Win or lose

Pain and gain

We bleed

We lead

Time and time again

And again and again

Glory and fame

Fighting the battles, securing our names

The work has been done

The journey well tread

The moment has come, the time it is set

Chance and luck

Fortune and fate

Best laid plans and intentions…

You step right up and do what you can

Your job, your best

But no matter the plan…

The hopes of a town

The goals of a team

Hearts broken, eyes watered

The death of a dream

In that dark time

The nothing comes out

To devour the hope, leaving hurt throughout

I could have done more

I should have played less

Fought harder, faithed stronger

Lived better, worked longer

Then things would be perfect

The dream would be true

Life would be fair

For both me and you

Cause things, they ain’t perfect

But dreams do still come true

Sometimes they just look funny

Like a cat wearing shoes

So never forget the work you have done

The person you are

An important someone

Deserving of love

Of peace

Happiness

You are that human

Who has lived through it all

Worked hard, had fun

Seen hardships, stood tall

Some things go right

Some things go wrong

But in every game

Always walk strong

Do the absolute best job you know you can do

And live the life you want you to do too

Succeed or fail

Light or dark

The nothing can’t kill

A smile in the heart

—-

I also encourage your to read this from Theodore Roosevelt on the difference between those who do…

The Man in the Arena

 It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

A $70,000 Reality Check

20130504_FBD002_0“We can ignore reality, but we cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.” ― Ayn Rand

Politics is about winning elections while economics is about reality.  Fantastical idealism vs. the real world.

A difference between politicians and economists is in the questions they ask an interested audience.  The politician will ask, “what is it that you want?” and seek to gain favorability by promising those desires.  An economist will ask, “what do you want more?”  Underlying this question is the basic comprehension of the concept of a trade-off that is all but irrelevant, and potentially perilous, in populist, partisan politics.

All elements of business, welfare, investment and taxation are interconnected by the over-arching economy of a nation.  As the world has grown closer, through technological achievement and innovation, the economies of other nations also play a role and affect our own.  Economics is not necessarily good or bad in the moralistic sense but seeks to study and predict the cause and effect of particular actions based upon given rules and understood truths of human nature.  However, the values underlying business practices will determine the destiny of a business.  And such economics are not prone to sympathy, they do not care about the subjective sense of what is right.  Economics deals with what is.  It is the business of reality.

Enter Dan Price, the CEO of Gravity Payments in Seattle, who decided a few months back that his “values-based” company would raise its minimum pay for employees to an annual $70,000.  This action was taken in the midst of other calls for an increase in the minimum wage so, predictably, Price was hailed as a hero of the working class.  This was a decision based on need, not fiscal responsibility or practical, financial, business motivations.

As Price told Time magazine back in April, “To me, once you know the right thing to do, and it’s the right thing for everybody involved and it’s going to be beneficial to everyone, it becomes a moral imperative to actually do it.”  This is undoubtedly a noble thought, on its face, but economic reality is not so forgiving.

To risk being the bearer of bad news: there is no such thing as “the right thing for everybody.”  There are only trade-offs and opportunity costs.  To spend anything, be it time or money, in one place, means that that same item cannot be used for anything else.  And with that, the economic reality of Price’s decision has now started to take effect.

Entry-level employees have seen their compensation double in some cases while those employees who worked their way up to beyond the baseline $70,000 have seen no benefit of this “moral imperative.”  Consequently, consternation and corporate conflict have now ensued.

Here is a story from the New York Times of one employee:

“Maisey McMaster was also one of the believers [of the compensation plan]. Now 26, she joined the company five years ago and worked her way up to financial manager, putting in long hours that left little time for her husband and extended family. “There’s a special culture,” where people “work hard and play hard,” she said. “I love everyone there.”

“She helped calculate whether the firm could afford to gradually raise everyone’s salary to $70,000 over a three-year period, and was initially swept up in the excitement. But the more she thought about it, the more the details gnawed at her.

“He gave raises to people who have the least skills and are the least equipped to do the job, and the ones who were taking on the most didn’t get much of a bump,” she said. To her, a fairer proposal would have been to give smaller increases with the opportunity to earn a future raise with more experience.

“A couple of days after the announcement, she decided to talk to Mr. Price.

“He treated me as if I was being selfish and only thinking about myself,” she said. “That really hurt me. I was talking about not only me, but about everyone in my position.”

Predictably, Ms. McMaster is no longer an employee of Gravity Payments.

Need, charity, the greater good all sound great to the general populace because everyone assumes that they will personally benefit from such action.  The problem with this type of business plan is that plenary payments to employees in the form or equal compensation seek to equate the inequitable characteristics of humankind.  Namely, the inherent abilities of every individual.

People are not simply clones with identical skill sets driven by ambition and dedication.  Some work very hard but not very well, others seem to skate by while exuding very little effort.  A few work hard, and well, all their lives.  The fundamental purpose of compensation is to monetarily represent all of those intangible facets of human beings.  And the only way to successfully run a business is to compensate based upon a return on the investment made in an employee.

A business owner cannot pay an employee more than that employee generates for the business in financial returns without losing money and, subsequently, going out of business.  To compensate in order to correct perceived social inequalities will only result in further inequality and financial ruin.

That, for better or worse, is economic reality.

Love In America

heart-with-handsRacism, prejudice and discrimination exist.  People are sometimes still viewed and treated differently solely because of their superficial attributes without any consideration for the deeper identity of the individual, the content of character.  And it represents a great flaw of humanity that human beings will never be able to fully eradicate these feelings from any society.  Where there are people, there will be hatred and evil, just as there will be goodness and love.

While these feelings are ubiquitous, they are not pervasive, despite the endless calls of racism in the United States.  With the recent shooting in South Carolina comes the all too predictable claim that hate and prejudice rule in America.  On June 19, USA today ran with the headline “Hate in America,” recounting the events in Charleston, focusing on the aspect of racism and “lone wolf” attacks.

Also on Friday, the Denver Post led with the headline  “Racism likely factor” pointing out the investigation of this tragedy as a hate crime and using the President’s frustrations as a thinly veiled attempt to promote gun control.  The same article points to the President’s words, “at some point, we, as a country, will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries,”Obama said.  The people of Norway might have something to say about that and direct the president to educate himself on the 2011 attacks in that nation.

Meanwhile, the city of Chicago has seen 33 people (as of this writing) shot and killed in the month of June alone with 179 killed in 2015. The vast majority of these were the violent acts of black Americans on other black Americans.  And while not entirely illegal, the possession and use of firearms in the city of Chicago has some of the most stringent restrictions in the country.  I have yet to see the headline in the Denver Post or USA Today highlighting this violence, or the president make it a priority to end the violence in Chicago, his adopted home city.

This stubborn silence has a direct relation to the outcry of racism that has been splashed all over the news over the past few days.  One scenario provides ostensible support for an agenda, the other is a direct contradiction.  Meanwhile, people die.

The actions of killers in Chicago, South Carolina or Main Street, USA do not reflect the ideology of most Americans of any race.  Hate is not a fundamental belief system in the United States.  It used to be, but this nation has made great strides towards promoting equality of opportunity, based in a society of respect, justice and love.

There is also a tragic irony to the prejudice and ignorance that exists in the way that the progressive mentality views these situations.  Instead of treating people as the equals they are under the law, hate crime legislation separates identical acts based upon the motive of, well, hate.  As though the people being shot in Chicago were not shot out of some sort of hatred.  Murder and gun violence is a hateful act, by itself.  It does nothing but further segregate society to distinguish a crime based upon racism as something other than the delusional, violent actions of one individual.

It has been a sad few days in this nation but not because we are a hateful country.  The tragic actions of individuals have that effect, regardless of their color or their motivations.  But the feelings of this killer do not reflect yours or mine or the vast population of this country.  What we can do is promote love and tolerance in the face of that slim minority that still promotes hate.  We can also provide a level of self-defense for ourselves that is the foundation of the principle behind the second amendment.  We must also face the fact that hate exists and will always exist.  As will love.  And we can be one nation, unified in love.  As this Google search reveals, hatred is not in our creed.

Never allow those with predetermined ends to dictate the rules of the game.  Keep on in love for one another.  These words say it all:

“I forgive you,” Nadine Collier, the daughter of 70-year-old Ethel Lance (who was killed in the shooting) said at the hearing, her voice breaking with emotion. “You took something very precious from me. I will never talk to her again. I will never, ever hold her again. But I forgive you. And have mercy on your soul.”

Elementary Entrepreneurs in Regulationville, U.S.A.

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Just another day in Regulationville, USA, the red-tape capital of the world.  Where you can find a rule for every rule, a water-monitored one-quarter inch lawn at every house and an FDA approved chicken in every pot.  Where even the panhandlers have permits and little girls selling lemonade will be shut down on sight.

And so it went this week in the town of Overton, Texas where two sisters had hatched the nefarious plot to sell lemonade and popcorn in order to provide their dad with a fun Father’s Day at a water park.  They were promptly stopped by the righteous long arm of the law, just doing its civic duty.

Truth and justice prevail yet again.  Good on ya guv’ment!!

(You can read the news story here)

When ask for comment, news outlets were told, “We have to follow by the state health guidelines,” Overton Police Chief Clyde stated.  “They have to have a permit if they’re going to do the lemonade stands.”  And when they tried to get a permit they were told they’d need a license from the health department. A license to get a permit =(

What an age we live in.  The future truly is NOW.

This joke that isn’t presents the first of two fundamental issues that have become the prevailing norm of American society. (I have decided to limit my critique of this ridiculousness to two so as to maintain the brevity that is the foundation of good humor)

ISSUE THE FIRST

While this is sadly not the first, or surely the last, instance of an overbearing bureaucracy, and only one of many Untouchable-like raids upon a lemonade stand, circumstances such as this one expose the lack of clothing on the rampant statist element.

Most notably, there is no level of control by a given populace over the powers of this kind of state interference.  Again, there is no vote, no election, no recall or petition that can effectively limit this kind of insufferable, inscrutable threat to liberty.

Someone, somewhere thought that somehow the public needed to be protected from itself to such an extent that the kids on the corner need a permit to operate a lemonade stand.  Now, albeit, this was undoubtedly not the initial purpose of the regulation, but that makes it all the more grievous and unforgivable.

For there is a level of authority operating amongst us that does not comprehend the extent of its own actions and yet acts all the same, without any oversight or approval from the communities in which its actions will be enforced.  This is the epitome of the “We Must Do Something” and “If It Saves But One Life” mentality that permits rampant emotional appeal to trump legal limitations on government and personal freedom.  And it need not even be consistently implemented.  Which brings us to…

ISSUE THE SECOND

The girls from this story did find, as they were getting their crash course education in bureaucratic buffoonery, that if they were not SELLING the lemonade but GIVING it away, their stand could operate sans Johnny Law.  You see, due to what was described as a “loophole,” the girls may make the same lemonade and the same popcorn and give it to the same citizens of the same community, from the same table in the same corner spot, but ask for a donation instead of charging for the refreshments.  THAT is acceptable under the “law.”

These previously juvenile scofflaws are able to give away the same presumably tainted, pestilent, putrid un-inspected lemonade for free and suddenly the laws meant to secure the safety of the unassuming patrons no longer apply.  Apparently, there is no longer any danger from products offered ‘gratis,’ and the sisters can go about their business.  Or lack thereof, as it were.

And with that, the undeniable truth has been set free: (stick with me)  for it follows that if a bureaucracy can create a regulation that is not meant to but does include lemonade stands run by little girls in its requirement to receive a permit, under the ostensible auspices of “safety,” but it doesn’t include those same requirements if there is no monetary exchange, the primary focus is not safety at all, but only money.

Safety is the Siren’s Song that tells us that something is being done, or most likely has already been done, by some guy (or gal, as I’m sure that red tape is gender blind) from room 6 of sub-level G at the regulatory bureau in Regulationville, for your own good.

Except it hasn’t.

The demonstrable proof is that these types of rules are created to limit your freedom and make you pay to get it back.  They keep us all under a permanent thumb. They know that virtually everyone, by the simple attribute of citizenship, is guilty of some regulation that they had no idea was in existence, couldn’t have known and now must pay for, literally.

And there are not going to be any exceptions.  These girls weren’t told that the rule would be revised, that the permit shouldn’t apply to lemonade stands and that the government was sorry for the inconvenience.  They were told to go to the bureau, get a permit and then a license to get the permit.  And they should be happy to live in a nation that protects its citizens from the surreptitious elements that exist on street corners, like elementary entrepreneurs working to pay for what they want.

They should have just made a cardboard sign instead and begged for money.  But then again, they’d need a permit for that.

Rights 101: The Individual in Indiana

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“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw

It is a sad testament to the lack of social progress to see so many cultural and political issues reemerge into the fleeting gaze of the public spotlight.  An issue appears, as quickly as a speck in your vision, and just as it becomes clear, it vanishes from view.  The public no wiser, the politicians no better, the country no stronger.

I have been writing these “articles” for just a little while and I already find that I have sufficient material to regurgitate topics from the archives.  Just add a dash of my patented snarky ketchup to the pre-prepared topic casserole du jour and, voila!.  What was once old becomes new!!

But that wouldn’t achieve one of the primary goals of The Last Best Hope: to expunge the detritus that settles between my ears.  So let’s take those leftovers and really whip up something divine!

A few months back I’d written about two gay guys who walked into a bakery.  (I made the same joke then too, as you can find here)  The gist is that they wanted the baker to make them a wedding cake and the baker said “no” due to his religious convictions.  The men pressed a lawsuit and said baker was compelled to make said cake, decorations and all.  My position on this was, and is, that government compulsion of behavior is an invalid role of the state and that everyone deserves the right to direct or withhold his or her own work.  There is little quite so demoralizing as a job you take no pride in doing.

Which, of course, brings me to the great state of Indiana.  The Hoosier State has become the new Cuba, with trade and travel restrictions accompanying a general disgust for its leader, Mike Pence, who apparently hates homosexuals so much that, along with the state legislature, just made it legal to discriminate against those of same-sex orientation.

Or not.

Despite the rampant criticisms of certain reporters, the mob mentality, and of course Al Sharpton (just know that if Sharpton is on your side then you’re doing it wrong.  And by it, I mean Life) Indiana did not pass a sweeping reform to bring back the gestapo in white hoods.  What Indiana lawmakers drafted, and what Governor Pence signed into law, (and has done an admirably atrocious job of explaining) is a protection of the limitations on government as articulated in the first amendment, because, as 19 other states have found sans protest, the federal protection does not extend to the states.

And, in the spirit of leftovers, this federal protection, known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), was signed into law in 1993 by that fastidiously fellatio-ed fellow, former President Bill Clinton.  It was supported by then senator Barack Obama in the Illinois legislature (although Indiana does not have the same legal discriminatory protections of Illinois), along with a 97-3 vote in the Senate and unanimous support in the House. (that’s right, EVERYONE)  Simply put, this was not a controversial bill and times have not changed that much.  Gay marriage is on the rise but not universal and religion is still a bedrock of American culture.  I have yet to find a town of any substance without a church of some kind…or a liquor store.

The federal bill has been used to protect native americans, Sikhs, Muslims, Christians, Jews and followers of Santeria.  The feds, and subsequently the states, like Indiana, have altered the way that courts approach cases where there are competing rights and possible governmental interests in the protection of those rights.  The laws are now “requiring a “compelling state interest” justifying a ban on religious practice, an action “narrowly tailored” to that interest, and the “least restrictive” means of pursuing it.”

The question now becomes (and has been) which rights are paramount and deserve protection?  Is a Jewish printer required to create recruiting pamphlets for the Aryan Brotherhood?  Should a devout Muslim photographer be compelled to shoot the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition?  Is a homosexual florist mandated to provide ornamentation for the opening of the new Westboro Baptist church?  And should an evangelical Christian be made to bake a cake for a ceremony that fundamentally violates her beliefs?  No, no, no and NO!

The abilities of every human being are the result of experience, dedication and hard work.  Religious beliefs provide a sacred foundation for how to live this life and prepare for the hereafter.  And sexual orientation is a basic component of all human beings.  But, when one person, couple, group, church, magazine or psycho-outfit demand that an individual act against his conscience, that individual deserves protection.

Yes, stores and restaurants are places of public accommodation and being that the owners of such establishments have opened their shops in such a legally-mandated climate, they are NOT allowed, under Senate bill 101 or any other, to openly discriminate.  The baker must still bake a cake for a gay customer.  But, the baker is not compelled to partake in any part of the wedding ceremony of two gay men.  There is a subtle and vital distinction.  It will be up to the courts to decide when to use which of the aforementioned rights to whom applies… etc. etc.

The First Amendment is the most basic of all protections against government that the citizens of this nation possess.  It protects the most endangered and discriminated group of all…the individual.

Some people have deplorable views based upon nothing more than a shallow upbringing, vapid stereotypes, and, in the absolute worst cases, unsubstantiate-able hate.  And some of those people own businesses.  Personally, I believe that much like one’s house, one’s business is one’s property and the owner should determine how to conduct business in said business.  Allow the free-market to determine who succeeds.  In most cases, as displayed by one aspect of the outcry in Indiana,  people support each other and will serve whomever walks in the door.  And those who don’t will suffer the wrath of fierce competition.  Let the creative destruction begin!

But no one should be compelled to act against his or her own will by government forces in violation of religious beliefs.  One person can never have a right to another’s time or ability.  That is not a right, that’s slavery.  Senate bill 101 will see some added language to specifically prohibit discrimination but such additions are catering to the wrong forces.

Don’t be like so many people, inclined to believe what is spoon-fed, flown into the hanger, when it fits comfortable, intellectually lazy preconceived ideas.  The mob is rarely right and never interested in truth.  It is the most base reaction to forces that, on most days, it can’t be bothered to attempt to understand.  Just check out voter turnout for the biggest elections.  Within the lifetime of anyone who might be reading this, the highest turnout among the voting age population was in 1960 at 62.8%.  In 2012 it was 54.9%.  That means that on the best of days only have of any of those people marching have any idea of what they protest.  The rest are acting on emotion alone, too busy chanting to be bothered with the details.

Learn and seek truth, not support for the opinions you already possess.  The world will open in ways that you can only now imagine.

“Buy the Truth…and sell it not.” – Proverbs 23:23

The Super Bowl, Electrolytes & Pontiff-ication

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As a long-time Broncos fan, the Super Bowl of 2014 left not merely a bad taste but something more along the lines of those cuts that occur on the top of your mouth and stay for days after you eat a regrettably delicious sandwich with rough, toasted bread, or a bowl of Captain Crunch.  To exacerbate the pain of this year’s championship, the defending champion goon squad Seattle Seahawks AND the antithesis nemesis of the AFC, the New England Patriots, both made it to the big game while our dependable treasure Peyton Manning strides ever further towards his inevitable twilight.

Egads!!!  What is a football-lover/ political satirist, cynicist and realist to do?!?!  Well, find the social commentary in those beloved commercials and take issue with things that others can simply take at face value and enjoy, of course.

Allow me to go back a couple months.

I have recently begun running on a “professional” level, meaning I have shown up with other folks to collectively engage in an activity that I enjoy for the solitude it provides.  Thus far I have run two half marathons and, despite my love of independence, they are incredibly rewarding.  What you also find at these events are all manner of gadgets, trinkets, edibles, wearables and readables that encompass the world of running.  During the pre-race accompanying expo, I was listening to a nutritionist speak on the necessity of fueling during long runs.  It was here that I was reminded of the oblivious nature that encapsulates the otherwise careful creature that is the human being.

This nutritionist specifically mentioned needing electrolytes while running and was met with nods of agreement, murmurs of affirmation.  I looked left, right and all-ways only to realize: no one here, outside of the specialist on stage, knows what an electrolyte is.  I laughed at the reminder of the short attention span, fear of looking foolish and overall willingness to accept what is given, without critical thought, when people are in the presence of knowledge, experience and expertise.

Now, back to the now.

Over the weeks leading up to the final game of the 2014-15 NFL season naught a discussion was heard without mention of Deflate-Gate, the suspicious under inflated footballs provided by the Patriots during the AFC Championship game.  Now that the team has won yet another championship, I believe that the love of a champion will outweigh the foggy memory of air pressure.  Ball deflation and video-taping are rather opaque methods of breaking only a few of the conglomerate of NFL rules.  The football-loving public doesn’t grasp, or really care to grasp the significance of this type of cheating. The public does however, adore winners and a dynasty, even if they occasionally cheat, always scowl and wear fluffy boots.

And outside of the contrarily to tradition, incredibly entertaining game and half-time show, the commercials were as engaging and perplexing as ever, offering intriguing glimpses into the nature of humanity:

The indelibly enduring friendship of Budweiser’s horse and pup pulls the heart strings and reminds us: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Danny Trejo-Brady and Steve Buscemi-Brady partook in random, nostalgic hilarity.  Sometimes it’s just funny cause it’s funny.

-Hopefully Jurassic World will transform the doubt in those who feel that they should have stopped making movies after the first one.

Then there were the ones that tried to send a message:

The anti-domestic violence pizza delivery 911 call was incredibly effective and much more genuine than the crying celebrities from the same organization running ads throughout the season.

McDonald’s is offering free meals with acts of love.  Not sure how this will be equally distributed among all colors and creeds.  What happens when the man and wife are asked to kiss but the wife and wife are asked to pay in dollars?  I think this is simply a ploy to keep McDonald’s relevant in a world turned Chipotle.

-Did anyone catch the hypocritical irony of the “run like a girl” PSA juxtaposed to the Sarah Siverman wireless ad where she says “sorry, it’s a boy?”  Sometimes it’s funny cause the progressive comedian says so.

And then there’s the pope.

While I don’t recall any pro-catechism PSA, he is certainly inserting his two-cents into the coffers of global political debate.  I am all for a more pro-active pontiff but in this case I am reminded to be careful what I wish for.  While more accepting of the modern realities that govern domestic relationships, i.e. homosexual partnerships as well as divorce, God’s messenger on Earth has spoken on the benefits of social justice economics and the destruction of the environment by human beings.  To help the environment, encourage charity and clean living are noble and righteous acts in which the pope is almost obligated to engage.  But to express naivety towards free market economics, denigrating a system that has created more wealth for the world and the church than any other, is dangerous sophistry.  To encourage the cesspool of corruption that is the United Nations, not recognizing the evil such an organization fosters is nothing short of willful ignorance.  The world needs active church leaders but it needs them to support the good that humanity can offer, not further condemn the actions of prosperity that provide hope to the millions living in the insufferable third world.

All this is to say that people love entertainment to escape the rigors of life and work.  They want a break from their thoughts.  And it is in those moments that they can be most manipulated.  Whether in sports, fitness or religion, distractions abound.  Instant gratification in simplistic explanation is easy but often invalid.  When it comes to justice, get a lawyer and trust that the truth will win out.  Search through the panoply to find the fitness products that work for you.  And if you wanna alleviate your sins, seek out a priest; for climate change, read the very-much-alive ongoing debate.

Trust but verify.  Simply because a holy man is in charge does not mean he is infallible.  Just because a coach and quarterback are already winners does not mean they will not sacrifice integrity to win again.  Electrolytes may be as good for you as cobra venom, learn before you take either.  And sometimes the only way that people can raise themselves up is to hold others down.  Human beings are a wonder of this world.  We help each other, we deserve unadulterated fun and we require constant vigilance in order to stay within the confines of reality and not be dazzled away from justice and common sense.

Ferguson Cont’d

demonstrators-defy-curfew-fergusonTo riot or not to riot? That is the question…

The pending grand jury decision in the Ferguson case of Officer Darren Wilson where teenager Michael Brown was shot and killed, has politicians pleading for peace. The president has assured us all that race relations are much better than they were fifty years ago. Is anyone sensing a disconnect between the pleas of our executive and the preparations of the local leaders?

The governors, mayors and police chiefs are prepped and ready for pandemonium in the streets but, if we are as evolved in our acceptance of one another as we have been told then, *hehem*, why are such preparations necessary? Our country has transformed from the era of Jim Crow to see the two-time election of a black president. And yet Dyson, Sharpton and Jackson contend that the “system” is still rigged to protect the oppressive white majority that supports the killing of innocent, defenseless, unarmed black teens by white police officers.

These race hustlers espouse that the deaths of young black men by white police officers is an epidemic that must be protested and rioted against on the streets while being officially countered by the Department of Justice, which is (or rather was) headed by a black attorney general. Except (more confusion)… there is no epidemic. The simple narrative in this case is that a police officer, responding to a call concerning a strong-arm robbery (which was caught on video, and yep, it was Michael Brown) was then confronted by the same person (who turns out to be Michael Brown) who committed the robbery. The police officer was attacked and opened fire on his attacker. The social debate over why Michael Brown acted as he did or if there are enough police officers of color in Ferguson can occur, but the fact is, for those interested, that whether white, black, brown or whatever shade of the Technicolor Dreamcoat you choose, the ILLEGAL and DANGEROUS ACTIONS of Michael Brown himself led to his own death. Not his skin color. The actions of the police officer, under current law (which treats all officers of any color equally) were justified. His skin color is just as irrelevant.

SIDE NOTE: Where skin color does become relevant is in the statistics regarding overall homicides of black Americans. Over 90% of black people murdered die at the hands of another black person. Not a white police officer. Google “Chicago” and “shooting” at any time and fresh news stories will appear describing the relentless mayhem tormenting the Windy City. But no protesters riot. No visits by Sharpton or Jackson. No criticism by Michael Eric Dyson against that violence. Their interest only piques when denunciations of white privilege permit them to victimize black Americans, which inevitably leads to delusions of grandeur and shameless self promotion.

All Americans should take notice when a protector of the peace kills an unarmed civilian. Grand juries must convene to investigate and hold our societal officials accountable for their actions. In some cases, even when no wrongdoing has occurred, it may be impossible for these people to return to their jobs and engage in business as usual. The tragedy can be too great. I believe all of this will happen to Officer Darren Wilson. He was tragically forced to make a decision in response to the dangerous actions of a kid. Officer Wilson used his gun to shoot a teenager. And I believe his actions will be found to have been legal because he acted, not out of hate or racism, but in defense of himself and out of the possibility that others could be harmed as well. In this case, the system worked as it should. A teenager is dead and that’s a tragedy. A law-abiding police officer will likely never work again and that is a shame.

But let’s not forget that unlike those race hustlers who cling to hate as a means to support their own existence, there are Americans who, while still seeing race, can apply the principles of justice to anyone and everyone. And that is a dream come true.