Banded Together The World CAN Stop It
My friend Nancy and I were talking the other day about the terrorist attacks in Paris. Nancy, you should know, is retired law enforcement and one of the most interesting thinkers I know. She has a way of cutting through all the bull to get right to the heart of an issue.
About the Muslim terrorists who commit atrocities in the name of Islam Nancy said, “They only speak and understand one language – violence.” We agreed that we should leave the actual war planning to the experts. Air strikes versus boots-on-the-ground? We defer to the Pentagon on that.
But then Nancy added, “If we don’t step up our response we’ll never stop this infestation.” [click to continue…]
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…]
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…]
What Would He Think of Black Lives Matter?
Martin Luther King must be rolling in his grave.
After employing peaceful yet determined tactics he and other activists brought about the historic 1962 Civil Rights Act and systemically changed the way blacks and whites interacted in America. When Blacks were being indiscriminately murdered and denied the right to vote, get an education or move into the neighborhood of their choice Dr. King and his followers banded together in positive determination to change things. And they succeeded.
Flash forward 50 years and what do we have? The rabble rousing group known as Black Lives Matter, borne from the disturbing rash of unarmed Black men dying at the hands of police officers. I’m betting that a majority of BLM members have never studied what brought about passage of the Civil Rights Act. That’s too bad. They could learn a lot. [click to continue…]
The Artist and her “Portrait Seen ‘Round the World” Courtesy Jane Rosenberg (not for duplication)
A word about courtroom artists, please.
In the wake of “Deflategate” or “Sketchgate” or whatever they’re calling the controversy surrounding New England quarterback Tom Brady these days, I think it’s time to speak up for court artists everywhere.
Disclosure: Jane Rosenberg, the artist at the center of the recent storm over her less-than-perfect depiction of the handsome quarterback, is a pal of mine. I have worked alongside her as the reporter covering a court proceeding, she the assigned artist. Rosenberg is a 35-year veteran and widely considered to be one of the best in her field. [click to continue…]
Julie Pendley Lost Her Cousin, Ben, And Found a Calling
Sometimes out of tragedy comes triumph. Such is the case for Julie Pendley of Fayetteville, Arkansas.
In May, her cousin Ben Baber and his best friend Cody Parrick went missing. The two 20-year-olds had driven from their homes in Okmulgee, Oklahoma to attend a concert in Pryor, about an hour-and-a-half away.
That was the last anyone heard from them. A devastating rainstorm had passed through the area about the same time the young men would have been driving home and it was feared that Ben, an inexperienced driver, might have had an accident. [click to continue…]
Vietnam Vets Returned to Scorn and Ridicule
Isn’t it ironic?
In the 70’s Vietnam veterans returned from an unpopular war to society’s scorn and cries of, “Baby killer!” Over the decades, we began to understand they had been brave and selfless and we learned to treat returning vets with understanding and support – wounded or not – as they transition back into society.
Ironically, we never went back to fully support the Vietnam-era vets who taught us the valuable lesson of honoring our warriors. [click to continue…]
The Veteran’s Administration – Long Mired in Delays
So, the U.S. government has finally decided to help some 2,000 Air Force personnel exposed to Agent Orange residue left over in airplanes used during the Vietnam War. They are now eligible for disability, medical and survivor benefits.
“Opening up eligibility for this deserving group of Air Force veterans and reservists is the right thing to do,” VA Secretary Bob McDonald announced.
Really? Then why didn’t the VA take this step long ago? These new recipients flew in Fairchild C-123 aircraft from 1969 to 1986. That’s between 46 and 29 years ago! [click to continue…]