The Outlook

This isn't for the sensitive

Priorities

I was alerted to a disturbing news story today.

A young mother in Atlanta was recently convicted of vehicular homicide in the death of one of her young children. The twist here is that she was not in, let alone driving, the vehicle that was used in this homicide.

(Read the AJC report here)

The prosecutor in her case determined that because she chose to walk her children across the street directly from the bus stop where she was let off instead of walking over a half-mile down the road with hungry and tired little ones so that she might use the crosswalk there (and walk that half-mile back up), she deserves to be in jail for up to 36 months.

The man who hit her son, who admitted that he had been drinking, and was on painkillers and legally blind in one eye and has previous arrests for drunk driving, will most likely serve less time in jail than she will since his charge of vehicular homicide was dropped. This is the part where I call bullshiggity.

Ok, ok. Fine. You want to go by the letter of the law and charge this mother with some crime, ok. That’s crap, but fine. But you want to charge the woman NOT driving with vehicular homicide AND drop the charges of the man who was ACTUALLY driving down to a “hit and run” (because after he plowed into the family, injuring 2 and killing one, he drove off, as he did in 97 when a similar thing happened)? Oh come the eff on.

Meanwhile, Casey Anthony is somewhere writing her memoirs preparing to make some major dough off her life story because they couldn’t manage to figure out how to convict her of SOME crime related to the disappearance and death of her daughter. Does anyone else see a problem?

Many of the blogs I’ve read on this story highlight class and race as an issue. (Read one of them here) They are. I wanted to avoid mentioning them (though one is obvious) because I think some people immediately discount what you say as soon as you bring issues of class and especially race to the surface. But come on already. Raquel Nelson, an African-American single mother, was convicted by a jury of middle class whites who probably never have had to deal with the issues of public transportation with kids in tow. There’s no way that if you’ve EVER had to use public transportation, you’d want to convict this lady of vehicular homicide.

Back in 2010 I was in an accident where the car I was driving struck (but did not kill or seriously injure) another individual. He was ticketed for crossing the street where he should not have. I felt bad for him as the officer wrote him a ticket while he was being loaded into the ambulance. I had not been drinking, was not otherwise distracted and the accident was his fault — but he was also mentally handicapped and THAT was why he ran out into a dark street without looking to see my car coming down the road. I mention this to say I really do empathize with both sides of this story and while I think it disgusting that this man was on the road with all his many ailments, I still can understand that it can be frustrating when people dart out into the road in areas where you’re not expecting them to.

But even with all that out on the table you can’t make me understand why this mother should get 36 months in jail while the jerk who hit her and her kids, killing one of them, won’t. You can’t make me understand why a bus stop is located so far from a crosswalk. You just can’t make me understand why we’re ALWAYS kicking the little guy when he’s down.

Advertisements

July 23, 2011 Posted by | Could we overreact any more?, News, Ok. That was stupid | Leave a comment

Congress and Scandal

A USA Today article discusses how Ted Stevens (R-AK) is not the only Congressman who’s campaign may be affected by scandal.

I say: surprise, surprise. We all know that for the big show Congress always puts on with tougher laws and cracking down, behind closed doors they’re breaking some of the same laws they helped create. It’s almost the nature of the beast. Powerful people attract manipulative people. You can look to any portion of anyone’s life and see that. Think back to something as simple as who was popular in high school. If they themselves weren’t manipulative, they were surrounded by manipulative people who wanted access to the power and privilege.

I don’t mean to suggest we should pardon lawmakers who think they are above the law. In fact, I think they should have separate, harsher, punishment. There is no reason to break the law “cause you can.” I think Ted Stevens shouldn’t be allowed to run for, let alone return to his Senate seat. In fact, I think that it’s absolutely absurd that he very well may be re-elected. It’s also causing me to wonder what the hell goes on in Alaska.

The real question is what can we the people do about it. The reality is that our democratic system isn’t all that democratic. Some of it is with purpose, some of it is, again, the nature of the beast. But we have all got to get educated on the facts. We have all got to understand where we stand on issues and then make it a point to know where our elected lawmakers stand. We do not vote people into office so that we can call them up and tell them what to do. It’s the other way around. They tell us what they want to do and based on that we send them to represent us. Too often people misconstrue “public servant” for something other than how it really manifests itself in our nation. Get to know who is representing you. In this day and age, you could find out what they did on the day they turned 5 — so the least you can do is make it your business to discover they’re opinions and stances and vote accordingly.

Many will, and do, argue that your vote doesn’t matter. If you believe that, then it doesn’t. But if you get involved the best you can, you write to your representatives, you stay abreast of the issues and you stay on top of how it all effects you, you can make a difference. But step number one is that we can no longer accept the way things have been running. We have either got to start electing officials who will keep it honest or demand our current ones keep it straight. The trial of Ted Stevens (who has become the most recent poster child of corruption on Capitol Hill) only goes to show that the latter plan probably won’t work.

October 29, 2008 Posted by | News, Ok. That was stupid, What in sam hell is going on?! | Leave a comment

Teenagers are getting ridiculous

According to this article, a group of teenagers ranging in age from 14-17 beat up and killed a homeless man. They stole this guy’s headphones and music player and then basically beat the living crap out of him. For what? ‘Cause they could? The article offers no explanation and police seem as confused as I am, but this is a serious question.

It wasn’t that long ago that I was a teenager. Though in America you become an adult at 18, some places and people still consider 19-year-olds to be teeenagers (read an article about a 19 -year-old and notice that they will refer to said person as a “teenager” ) Anyway… like I said, it wasn’t that long ago, but I feel such a disconnect between myself and teenagers. Well, maybe not disconnect — but I look at them sometimes and think WTH?!

Take for example my morning commute earlier this week. At 7:45am, there’s little I can think to do other than be sleep or be mad that I’m awake. But, on the train along with me this particular morning were 3 teenaged girls who apparently thought different. It wasn’t so much that they were loud and obnoxious, because in this day and age of iPods and music phones, it’s easy to drown out what’s going on around you. Rather, they were rude and very inconsiderate. Every other word from their lips was a curse word. I’m not stupid, I know kids cuss — heck I was doing it trying to be cool when I was in 6th grade — but I never, and even as an adult wont, do it loudly and in public. My BFF gets excited/up in arms and will let an f-bomb drop loudly in public and it embarrasses me because I feel like it’s so inappropriate. There are people around who may not want to be privy to all of that language, save that for personal time.

But aside from the general respect issue at hand, what struck me most was that they did not care what others around them thought. I read their actions as almost self-empowering. That is, in some weird twisted way, they got off on knowing that a train car full of mostly adults were hearing them use curse word after curse word. They weren’t embarrassed or even reserved, it was like their conversation wasn’t at all about them talking and communicating with each other, it was about the rest of us hearing them.

I get that attention-seeking behavior, everyone exhibits it at some point, but the way they chose to get attention was what concerned me. I can remember being younger, 14 and 15 — just getting the freedom to go places without your parent(s). Wanting the world to know that you’re “grown” and being loud, seeking attention. I get that part. But never did I or my friends want to string a long-list of curse words together or rob and beat up a homeless man in order to get that attention. We wanted to seem older than we were, and we understood, unlike these teens, that there were specific ways to do that.

I want to work with at-risk teens and so I’m always watching teenagers. How they act with each other and the world around them. It fascinates me, but this behavior concerns me. What is going on in our society, our world, that is teaching these teens that violence and crassness is the way to find the attention we all want? At what point do they come to understand this as the way to get what they want? It’s nonsensical, it’s ridiculous and if we keep going down this path, what will be the state of our young people in 10 years?

June 27, 2008 Posted by | News, Ok. That was stupid | Leave a comment

T.I. and his Legal Woes

By now, most are aware of TI’s arrest on gun charges.

I like T.I. I won’t lie about that. I think he’s good at what he does, from what I can gather he’s not fake like a lot of rappers are (pretending to be from the hood, pretending to have had it rough growing up) and he seemed like a smart businessman. He was really doing his thing, moving in to acting (ATL, and American Gangster comes out Nov 2) and unlike a lot of rappers turned actors, he was doing good.

Then he goes and buys some machine guns. There are a few issues around this I want to address.

Firstly, he’s a father. He’s a father like 7 times over. I heard an interview with him where he comes down on parents who allow BET to raise their children. Fathers don’t go out and endanger their children purposefully. Buying machine guns? With silencers? Man. That’s dangerous.

Secondly, he’s a role model. I’m so sick and tired of rappers refusing the title of role model. Look — you got 13 year olds who know your lyrics better than you do. Better than they know their ABCs. You are a role model. There are consequences and repercussions to everything; being a role model is one of them in this case. Do better.

Thirdly, I don’t like stupid people and on this one, TI was stupid. What in the world did he need assault rifles for? What war is he starting and who’s army is he leading? Let’s get it together.

Finally… his bodyguard snitched him out. I’m not big on the “Stop Snitching” campaign, but you know what? If your boss asks you to do something illegal for him and you don’t want to, quit. I mean now that TI’s been arrested, he’s out of a job ANYWAY. I hope this man is ready for what’s gonna happen, now. Snitches get stitches, and as wrong as that phrasing is, it’s all too true these days.

October 17, 2007 Posted by | Ok. That was stupid, What in sam hell is going on?! | Leave a comment

Myspace costs judge his job

Oh boy. Another case of Big Brother overreacting. A Las Vegas substitute judge has lost his ability to do such things because of his myspace.

He wrote on his myspace that among his interests were breaking his foot off in prosecutor’s asses. Not very professional, but a prosecutor saw the myspace and requested that his ability to substitue judge be taken away.

His 9-5 job is as a defense attorney and so it makes sense (as he argues) that it was an overstatement made as a defense attorney to make a point. The point obviously being that he likes to win. I seem to be in the minority in believing that he shouldn’t have lost his privileges. He acted in an unprofessional manner and brings question to his character (which is important to a judge), but he should have been reprimanded not fired.

What’s with the overreacting? Myspace and facebook, grantedly, are not adding to our society in the most positive and uplifting of ways and so professional people who choose to have such profiles ought to have better judgment on what they put on it. SO… he was in the wrong, but to fire him excuse him of his duties is excessive. C’mon people… it’s his private profile/blog.

Allow me to reiterate that the man should have done a better job of judging (pun intended) what he put on his profile, I just think that once again the people in charge took it to a whole other level.

August 13, 2007 Posted by | Could we overreact any more?, News, Ok. That was stupid | Leave a comment

Church cancels memorial for gay Navy man

Got an e-mail with this article from USA Today about a church that canceled a memorial service for a gay Navy man.

I won’t debate whether or not I think homosexuality is wrong. Homosexuality is not a lifestyle I lead; however, I’m also a big believer in what’s right for me may not be right for you so I don’t judge people who are. (Here’s the part where I’m supposed to add that I have homosexual friends, but I hate when white people say “I”m not racist, I have black friends” so I never say “I’m not homophobic, I have gay friends” — having black friends doesn’t make you not racist just like having homosexual friends doesn’t make you not a homophobe. I’m not homophobic, but saying I have homosexual friends doesn’t prove it.) I guess the point I’m getting at is that I have my views you can have yours and some I’m willing to debate, homosexuality and my personal outlook on it, isn’t one of those.

According to the article, the church offered to do a memorial service, even after learning the man was gay; however, his family listed his partner as a surviving relative and so the church backed out.

The church was wrong. Dead wrong. Homosexuality is a big issue in the church, today (you can read some of my thoughts on it here.) and that’s fine and dandy, but for a church to offer to do a memorial service, knowing full and well at the time the orientation of this man’s sexuality and then backing out last minute because his partner is listed in the obituary is ridiculous. If they intended to pretend like he wasn’t gay, then they shouldn’t have ever offered to do it in the first place.

I take issue when people like Rosie O’Donnell get up on national TV and say that being gay is like being black. That really sets me on fire, but I know that members of the gay community who are open about it and comfortable with it value what part of their life them being gay plays into, the same way I value being black and what that means for me and my life. So, if a church offered to do my memorial and then backed out last minute because my obituary said something about me being black, I’d think that was pretty stupid, too.

I think that our society needs to cut it out with the PC stuff, and own up to what we believe. If you believe homosexuality is wrong, then don’t pretend like you don’t care about it to appease someone else. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and as long as your opinions aren’t impeding on my life and how I live it, then you go right ahead.

This church was wrong — they were wrong for offering to do his memorial service knowing that his lifestyle was something they take issue with and they were even more wrong for backing out last minute because they were no longer able to avoid the issue.

For pete’s sake, people!

August 11, 2007 Posted by | Oh the ignorance of the world, Ok. That was stupid, Ramblings, Uncategorized | Leave a comment