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…]
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…]
The Many Faces of Rachel Dolezal
~ Is it criminal to change one’s race?
There was hesitation in writing this column. I mean, by now, you’ve likely read enough about the bizarre saga of Rachel Dolezal, the white woman who passed herself off as African-American for many years. Her deceit exploded on the world stage.
But in all the discussion many have missed the point.
It’s not about the perplexing Dolezal family schism that went so public – families often fracture. It’s not about her darkening complexion or her exotic hair – women often change their looks. And it’s not about Dolezal’s claim on the Today Show that she is “trans-racial” because her biological son and her adopted son (who was originally adopted years ago by her parents) are African-American and therefore she needs to be too… [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…]
We Are a Bundle of Contradictions
We live in a world of confounding contradictions.
We call ourselves a peace loving people yet we continue to engage in far flung wars. Domestically, gangs, guns and drug dealing proliferate. This is not a recipe for peace by any measure.
Nearly half of us say they are morally against the death penalty. Yet, a jury in Boston – a decidedly anti-capital punishment region of the country – sentenced to death the surviving Boston Marathon Bomber, 21-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnav. [click to continue…]
Say What You Want … But Reactions Will Vary
The right to freedom of speech in America gives every citizen almost absolute permission to say whatever they think about a given topic. Even if the comments are offensive to the majority citizens have a right to express their opinion.
So, go ahead – say what you want. But realize, the law does not necessarily protect you from others’ reactions to your comments. And sometimes what people say is so damnably stupid they deserve some blow back. [click to continue…]
Childhood Friends Celebrate Prom
Some of us need laws to keep our behavior in check. Others just know the right thing to do.
I do an awful lot of writing about the laws of this land and people who break them. This time I want to write about the lesson learned from an honorable 17-year-old who lives in Susquehanna Township, Pennsylvania. Only the law of innate good character was involved.
His name is Ben Moser and he’s the quarterback of his high school football team. His story tells you all you need to know about this young man. [click to continue…]
Invited to Appear … But
So wait just a darned minute. A committee of the United States Congress wants to schedule testimony from Hillary Clinton and she refuses the request, laying down certain conditions?
That’s not the way our system is supposed to work! If the Congress calls a citizen to the witness chair they are supposed to automatically comply. That’s how it would be for you or me. Why not for Hillary Clinton? [click to continue…]