Life as a Military Vet in America?
Now that the parades are over, now that we’ve thanked military service members for their sacrifices let’s drill down to take a look at what its really like to be a military veteran in the United States.
According to experts there are more than 23 million veterans in America. Thanks to a recent two-pronged push by corporations and the government the unemployment rate for vets is down to 3.9%. That’s a 7-year low and that is a rare bit of good news for this group.
Among the bad news: [click to continue…]
Why Are We So Entertained by Violence?
Violence permeates civilization worldwide. So many violent condition exist across the Middle East and Africa that millions of people have been forced to, literally, walk their way out of countries like Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Eritrea to find a safer life. The result is one of the most profound and perilous migration of refugees in world history.
But here in America we embrace the genre of violence as one of our biggest sources of entertainment. The most successful prime time TV shows and movies are those with violent, bloody plot lines. This is no call for a return to all romantic comedies or coming-of-age films. I just wonder why we are so fascinated by violence. [click to continue…]
Tarantino Declares Cops Are “Murderers”
Note to Quentin Tarantino: Shut up.
I don’t ask my house painter to do my taxes. I don’t want my dentist involved in redesigning my bathroom and I certainly don’t ask my car mechanic to run my website. Everyone has their strengths in life, Mr. Tarantino, and while you may be a successful director of violent Hollywood films you are, by no means, an expert on our nation’s police force.
As I recall, your 1992 film, “Reservoir Dogs,” featured a terrifying scene in which a cop is tortured so we already know where you stand. A little research digs up information showing that you’ve been arrested for shoplifting, done jail time after ignoring $7,000 worth of parking tickets and, more recently, sued for assaulting a Hollywood producer. So, really, spare us your pontificating about the state of law and order in America. [click to continue…]
At Ashford Castle in County Mayo, Ireland
After a glorious vacation abroad I return this week to admit I came home embarrassed for my country.
My husband and I were in Ireland when word of America’s latest mass shooting hit the European media and the story was the lead item on every news program.
Sky News, the BBC, Good Morning Ireland each featured American reporters in Roseburg, Oregon for the latest on the shooting. Then they brought in panels of pundits to talk about it.
“When there are 24 campus shootings in one year in America we need to realize there is something profound happening in America,” said Zoe Williams, a columnist for the Guardian newspaper. “It doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world.” [click to continue…]
Survivors of the Murdered – How Do They Cope?
You know how when you trip and fall and no matter how badly you are hurt your first inclination is to jump up and declare that you are okay? You automatically gather up all your strength, hop up and say, “I’m fine. Really. Thanks.” The next day the pain seeps in to let you know you’re not okay.
In my klutz-prone world this is the scenario I think of when watching the parents of gun violence victims.
The media pesters them for comment and they bravely face the cameras. They instinctively declare they are fine and determined to wage a campaign for better control of the massive gun stash we have in this country. As the interviews go on for a few days we come to realize these survivors cannot possibly be fine. [click to continue…]
~ It is the movie Hollywood doesn’t want you to see ~
Hollywood Ring Preys on Young Actors
This is not your typical Hollywood film. It’s a documentary called “An Open Secret” and it pulls the ugly scab off Hollywood to reveal what has happened to some vulnerable young boys who have tried to break in to the entertainment industry.
I got a special screening and I hope throngs of people go to see it.
The “secret” referenced in the title is how so many of these youngsters have so easily fallen prey to pedophilic agents, acting coaches, photographers and public relations people. [click to continue…]
Suddenly, Agreement – But Have They Thought Things Through?
Seems like Washington is enjoying a rare political Kumbayah moment these days. Both Democrats and Republicans now agree that our justice system ran off the rails with overly burdensome, mandatory sentencing for non-violent drug offenders.
Convicts like Antwon Rogers of Cleveland Ohio who was sentenced to life in prison for conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine — less than 5 ounces of the drug. But because Rogers had two previous drug convictions the mandatory federal three-strikes law kicked in and, at the age of 22, he was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison. He’s been there more than 20 years.
Francis Hayden of Loretto, Kentucky also got life after his conviction for possessing more than 1,000 marijuana plants, growing on a farm he managed. Hayden also had two previous drug convictions and that third one sealed his fate.
If space permitted I could cite thousands of these over-sentenced, non-violent drug cases. [click to continue…]
Tom Sullivan (Center) Lost Son, Alex, to Theater Killer
For those of us who have never lost a child to a violent crime we cannot possibly know a grieving parent’s pain. But we know that out of pain can come a convoluted way of thinking.
It isn’t easy to question the motives of a heart-broken parent who decides they hold the key to stop future tragedies. It isn’t popular to ask them whether they are acting out of grief or common sense when they point the finger of blame and demand change. But that’s exactly what I’m doing.
There is a campaign called NoNoteriety – advanced most energetically by the devastated parents of Alex Teves, 24, one of a dozen people who lost their lives during the 2012 mass shooting inside an Aurora, Colorado movie theater. Another 70 were wounded. [click to continue…]
Ubiquitous Threats, Some Are Criminal
What if you got a message on your Facebook account from someone you knew was angry with you that read, “There’s one way to love ya but a thousand ways to kill ya.” You might be a bit worried, right?
What if that person continued to write things like, “I’m not going to rest until your body is a mess, soaked in blood and dying from all the little cuts.” And they followed up with musings about putting your “head on a stick,” and making a name for themselves with “the most heinous school shooting ever imagined.”
Would the phrase, “Hell hath no fury like a crazy man in a kindergarten class,” prompt you to pick up the phone and alert the police? I sure hope so. [click to continue…]