Founding Father, Franklin
Following my recent column about racial tensions in America I got an e-mail from Gary L. Hoe, of Albuquerque, which made me re-think what our founding fathers had in mind when they established this country.
Hoe reminded me of a quote from Benjamin Franklin, attributed to the statesman as he left the secret confab which hammered out the U.S. Constitution. Asked by a woman what kind of government had been decided upon – a republic or a monarchy – Franklin replied, “A republic, Madam, if you can keep it.”
Somewhere in the 227 years since then many Americans have adopted the idea that we are a democracy not a republic. Nothing could be further from the intent expressed at that Constitutional Convention in 1787. [click to continue…]
Are We Really Independent Thinkers?
Another 4th of July holiday has come and gone and every year I try to think past the BBQ’s and beer and ponder the origin of Independence Day.
“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
That is, of course, the most famous line from the Declaration of Independence approved by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.
We learned that quote as school kids but these days it seems out of touch with where we are as a nation, doesn’t it? [click to continue…]
Time to Remember the Victims
As the coroner’s van took away one of the bodies, I walked toward the bloodied sidewalk outside Nicole Brown Simpson’s condo. I’ll never forget what I saw that day. Law enforcement had come and gone and left behind only some strips of yellow police tape.
It might have been 20 years ago, but I can still see the rivulets of blood between the pavers at the condo’s entryway. Later I would learn that the paw prints and feathery marks punctuating the bloodbath were made by Nicole’s dog. In his confused state, the Akita had obviously circled the bloody scene, its leash traversing through the red and leaving a swoosh of stain all the way down to the corner stop sign.
With the evidence gathering clearly over, I remember thinking, “Why didn’t someone wash away all this blood?” [click to continue…]
Should We Return to the Old Days?
It’s clearly time to bring back firing squads.
If we’re going to keep carrying out the death penalty in this country and if we are going to continue to grandly insist that they are “humane executions” then only a return to a firing squad will insure a speedy and relatively pain free death for the condemned.
You might think I’m kidding but I’m not. I say, line up six to eight sharp shooters, employ the old practice of giving one of them a blank instead of a bullet and instruct them to aim for the prisoner’s heart. I guarantee the convict will be dead before they drop to the ground. [click to continue…]
Newspaperman Charley Reese
Professionals of all types admire others in their field. Architects respect certain other architects, singers style themselves after singers who came before them, artists can find inspiration from someone else’s work.
As a columnist I have a favorite too. The best columns I ever read – and ones I remember for their common sense ideas, written in common-man language – were penned by veteran newspaperman Charley Reese.
I didn’t agree with everything he wrote but I cherished his style. Although I write about crime and justice and Reese wrote about politics and international issues for the most part, I admit I have tried to achieve his simple way of communicating ideas. [click to continue…]
Does Dept Make You Feel Secure?
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about our Department of Homeland Security lately. The DHS was formed after the September 11, 2001 attacks, of course, but since then it has grown to mammoth proportions. It now has more than 200,000 employees and it is the nation’s third largest Cabinet department after the Defense Department and Veterans Affairs.
The taxpayer’s bill for DHS is also enormous. If all goes as planned you and I will send $59 billion more of our hard earned dollars to the DHS this year to advance their mission to, “prevent attacks and protect Americans – on the land, in the sea and in the air.”
Here we are more than a dozen years after 9-11 – and hundreds of billions of dollars later – and we still have no foolproof way to sift through our own suspected terrorist watch list. [click to continue…]