Army Staff Sgt Robert Bales
The drumbeat has already started and I want it to stop.
The moment the horrific news that a U.S. soldier had gone on a rouge killing spree in the far away province of Kandahar, Afghanistan – murdering 16 Afghan civilians, mostly women and children and then burning some of the bodies, America has been struggling to make sense of it. If the reports are true, what could have caused Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the married father of two, to commit such a heinous act of multiple murder?
In the days since we first heard the news I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve read or heard the sentiment that somehow the culture or conditions within our U.S. military made him do it. Or that the military “taught him to kill.” Nonsense.
Look, war is hell and since America has now endured more than a decade of non-stop wars maybe it should come as no surprise that this has been the [click to continue…]
Proving Who You Are to Get What You Want
Welcome to the 21st Century. In this day and age you can’t write a check, use a credit card, set up a bank account, get on an airplane, rent a hotel room or a car or even get a library card without first showing your photo identification – usually a driver’s license.
It is a pain, but we dig into our wallets and pull out the old ID card (with the photo we wish we could change) because, well… because that’s the way it is. Today, we have to prove who we are to get what we want.
So, why are some people so aghast at the idea that when we vote we should have to show a photo ID? [click to continue…]
Original 10 Most Wanted Captivated Me
In the unlikely event they make a movie of my life story a good place for the opening scene would be the post office in Albuquerque where my Mother used to take me as a child.
Scene one, act one, would be me leaving my mother in line and making a bee-line to the bulletin board displaying the FBI’s 10 most wanted list. The future crime writer transfixed.
“So that’s what a murderer looks like,” I always thought to myself, leaning in to the grainy black and white photos. I would peer deep into the eyes of the fugitive bank robber or kidnapper to try to find a clue as to what made these men turn so bad. (Back then, the list was all men) I admit it – I was a strange child.
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Equality For All People, Right?
I have never written a column about the state of North Dakota, a state from which my parents hailed and where I still have close relatives. The state’s motto is, “Liberty and Union Now and Forever, One and Inseparable.”
But that’s not necessarily so if you are a Black American.
North Dakota has no anti-bias or hate crimes on the books, no independent Human Rights Commission** (as most states do) and no easy, reliable system for those who feel they have been wronged to seek relief. The issue is important because minorities are pouring in to the state to work in the newly lucrative oil fields. The industry’s six-figure salaries have trickled down to create many more jobs in the housing, restaurant, hotel and home furnishings sectors and people of color are responding in droves. [click to continue…]