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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Playing the "I feared for my life" Card!

A writer writes!

There have been a number of incidents over the past year with deadly results for African American males.  In each case an unarmed African American male was killed because the other person feared for their life.  Some of these incidents involved policemen, authorized to carry deadly weapons which they decided to use when they felt "fearful".

The question that came to my mind regarding those incidents is if the policemen were armed and the person they shot not armed, what were the policemen fearful of?  Were they afraid of being choked to death, beat up, or what?

In another incident a white male, who later was found guilty of manslaughter, claimed the reason he shot a young black male was because the white male was fearful of his life being threatened. Thankfully the court saw that there was an alternative to the man using deadly force.

The rationale that fearing for your life needs to be examined carefully in each individual case.  Yes, if someone has you trapped in a corner and is approaching you in a menacing manner, I would see a person being fearful for their life and taking the appropriate defensive/deadly action.  But if you are a policeman and someone is just approaching you without a weapon, I would question why would there be a need to shoot and kill an unarmed person.

Fear by itself is not the reason that defines that it's okay to kill another person.




Saturday, October 11, 2014

Form Letter Responses by Members of Congress

A writer writes!

Members of Congress allow their constituents to contact them regarding issues.  Based on the member of Congress being too busy, the response from the member of Congress is normally compiled by a staff member rather than the Congress member.  That response normally is a compilation of data and statistics and standard political double talk in the form of a form letter response to the inquiry.  That form letter may be signed via a machine rather than the Congress member's personal signature.

For the various category of issues, a staff member of Congress has already compiled a standard letter designed to fit the category that your question falls into.  There are standard responses to letters that cover Health Care, Gun Control, Terrorism, and many other topics you see in the  "choose from" column of your Congress members website.  It's obvious from standard form letter responses, that most Congress Members really don't care to really communicate with a constituent after they have received your vote.

Yes, it may be difficult to compile a personal letter to each letter from a constituent. But I would like to see the member of Congress try to spend more personal time to respond to a constituent.  You owe that person your time, especially if you took their time via a phone call or an in person conversation during your election campaign to then seek their vote.

The form letters I have received in response to a question often are global responses someone just dug out of a file and returned to me.  Then that staff member "checks the block" proudly, and feels good about having responded to the inquiry.  Well guess what, your standard form letter responses are insulting at best and show no real effort to respond to the constituent.

I challenge all Congress members to ensure each letter they received is personally responded to rather than responded to via a standard form letter.  Make sure the constituent's questions and concerns are responded to.  To casually send a standard form letter that is closest to answering the questions or concerns is a disservice to yourself  and your constituent.

Congress already has a bad reputation.  Sending form letters to respond to your constituents only adds to the bad reputation.  Show that you really care.  Send a response that is personal in nature and that really answers the questions raised by your constituents.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Ebola - The Easiest Terrorist Weapon

A writer writes!

To no one's surprise, Ebola has made it the the United States.  A man in Dallas who came to the country from Africa to visit, apparently contracted Ebola while there.  Maybe no one wants to say it publicly, but Ebola is a walking biological weapon available to terrorists.  It would be very easy for someone willing to give their life to interact with those who have Ebola, lie about having any contact with someone who had Ebola, and then catch a plane to a major population center in the United States before displaying Ebola symptoms.  That person then goes to an event that is well attended, football game, etc. and spreads Ebola to to others before getting too sick to walk around further.  You don't have to be a CIA analyst to figure that scenario out.

So, what is our government doing to prevent such an occurrence?  Who knows?  But, I think I will send my Congressman a quick note and ask her for the answer.

In the meantime, drug companies should start going into major production to manufacture the drug that is supposed to be helpful in combating Ebola.  Who knows, a pill that prevents you from contracting Ebola may become the most desired Christmas gift during the upcoming commercial holiday period!

The MCL Crowd

A writer writes!

Famished and fighting off an approaching lack-of-food armada headache, I stopped by my local MCL restaurant for a complete meal.  Having visited MCL for the first time in over 15 years a month ago, I knew that MCL wouldn't let me down.

My image of MCL was always that it was the place where older people went for a decent meal.  I have no idea what "MCL" stands for.  Obviously for those who frequent it, the name stands for good food at reasonable prices.  For anyone who knows the history of the naming of MCL, send me a note and I will send you my coupon for a slice of pie for the cost of 99 cents.

As I entered MCL to first wash my hands, cleanliness is next to Godliness, I saw 4-5 older people sitting in a lounge area.  They looked semi dressed up in sport coats for the men and dresses for the women.  I said to myself, maybe it is their big day out for the week.  Having someone to meet and bond with is always great, at any age,  I surveyed the people inside the restaurant and in line, and quickly surmised that in the event of any conflict breaking out, I could take any of them and even a group of them in one-on-one combat.

The line was slowed by an elderly woman who was having problems moving at a quick rate.  I could have shoved her aside, and feigned food hysteria but better manners prevailed.  MCL does a good job of lining up the food in an orderly fashion.  The food looks all fresh and colorful.  To the point that you may find your mouth drooling while in line, which isn't a pretty sight.  I ordered everything I had not had in the past few weeks, liver and onions, fresh backed rolls so soft they slide down your throat, summer squash, (is there a winter squash?) pumpkin pie for dessert, and several more items along with the classic sweet tea.  At the end of the line I pulled out my trusty coupon for a whole dollar off an entree!

I joined the other "older" people in the eating area.  Although I did see a family and a man who must have been in his late 30s or 40s, I came to the realization that I officially am a senior.  I was eating with the other older people.  I can see myself now putting on a sports coat and tie, and making my way to MCL to join my fellow seniors for a decent meal.  The workers busing the tables are very friendly and must be to handle some of the banter the senior crowd delivers.  I heard one older woman railing about how they should not have let the person who contracted Ebola into the country.  Her recommendation was that no one from Africa should be allowed back into the United States.  Her "visit Africa and stay there policy" might become very popular if an Ebola breakout occurs in Dallas, Texas based on one person so far being found to have contracted Ebola after coming to the city from Africa.

I figure that in future visits to MCL I will gain knowledge from conversations with other seniors or just by overhearing their conversations to others.  Maybe MCL will one day be a recruitment center for those looking to find mature people with definite opinions on a variety of topics.  Until then, save a piece of pecan pie for me!