Author Mel Maguire

Don’t Mess With The Narrative

On August 9, just a couple of weeks ago, Michael Brown was shot in the street by a Ferguson police officer.  Because Brown was an 18-year-old black male, naturally, and unarmed, he has become the newest cause in the vein of Trayvon Martin.

We didn’t even have all of the facts, and by the end of the day – the day he was killed – he was being immortalized as a “gentle giant” who had been shot by a racist white cop.  By the next day, protests had turned into riots.  The riots are continuing today, with everyone from the rioters to the governor of Missouri to the President calling for the officer, Darren Wilson, to be immediately and vigorously prosecuted. 

Who gives a damn what the facts are, right?  Michael Brown was a little angel who was innocently walking home and a cop randomly executed him because of his skin color.  Darren Wilson, if you’re buying the media’s story and that of the rioters, was a racist who committed cold-blooded murder and that’s all they need to know.

As is always the case, facts have come out since then that have shed a lot of light on what happened, but to see what’s still going on you’d never know it.  Last night two white protesters trying to defend the officer from the mob were violently chased until police put them in cruisers and physically drove them far from the scene.  Fully 57 rioters were arrested, yet only four of them were even from Ferguson – and of the 53 who were from out-of-town, another 16 were from other states.

Here’s what we have so far between the police and witnesses.

At 1201 local time, officer Darren Wilson was headed to a nearby convenience store that had been robbed when he spotted Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson walking down the middle of the street.  While still in his cruiser, he asked them to move to the sidewalk and out of the street; Brown and Johnson mocked the officer and refused to comply.  Wilson stopped, exited his cruiser, and again asked the pair to move out of the street.  Brown shoved Wilson back into his cruiser and began assaulting him, punching him with his fists and then struggling to take his gun from him.  At some point during the struggle, the gun went off, and Brown began to flee.  Wilson got out and leveled his weapon at Brown, commanding him to “freeze!”  Brown turned and said, “what are you gonna do, shoot me?”  Brown then rushed Wilson and Wilson fired several more shots until Brown finally fell dead in the street.

Some of this information has been disputed.  The original story was that Brown had his hands up and was surrendering, and the officer – out of spite or hatred – just decided to keep shooting.  A video was released, however, proving that to be false – a video of several witnesses in the neighborhood watching the crime scene and talking about what happened.  Then there’s the position of Brown’s body.  He was in the street, his head toward the cruiser, facedown.  Add that to the bullet trajectories, and the evidence shows that Brown was probably running when he was shot.  If he wasn’t running away from Wilson, that means Wilson is likely telling the truth.

Wilson was also badly injured.  We don’t know all of the details, but we know that he was taken to the hospital with severe facial bruising and swelling and it was discovered that he had an orbital socket blowout – meaning that the bone surrounding his eye had been shattered.  That takes a great deal of force to produce and normally requires surgery to repair. 

Then there’s statistics.  Those don’t lie.  According to the FBI, between 2003-2012 a total of 25 officers were killed with their own service pistols.  That means that the perps in these cases struggled with the officers, took their guns from them, and killed them.  That sort of situation is at the forefront of every officer’s mind.  If a man is willing to physically attack a uniformed and armed police officer, that officer is trained to assume that the perp has that very intention – now their life is in danger and they have no other option.  Since he had already struggled with Wilson once, I think we can assume that’s exactly what Brown had in mind.

But what about the robbery video, Mel?  If Wilson didn’t know about the robbery yet, why would they have released that video?  Well, let’s talk about that.  First of all, we don’t know if Wilson knew about the robbery; it is believed from several reports that he had heard about it and was heading toward the store that had been robbed, but we don’t know for sure.  Whether he knew about it or not, that video is evidence of something very important here, something I shouldn’t have to explain to anybody. 

Motive.

Do you think an 18-year-old boy is going to believe that a police officer asking him questions isn’t interested in him because of the crime he had literally just committed minutes before?  I promise that’s exactly what he thought.  Since he thought he was being contacted because of the robbery, I guarantee he felt like he had nothing to lose. 

Being unarmed does not mean he was innocent, nor does it mean that he posed no threat.  The fact that he was 18 doesn’t mean he was a boy; he was 6’5″ and weighed 250 lbs.  The fact that the officer might not have known about the robbery doesn’t mean that he didn’t have a reason to ask Brown and Johnson to move out of the street.  Brown’s parents should have taught him more effectively to respect the authorities in his life.

All of these people who are out in mobs rioting and demanding justice against an officer who is likely innocent are not making things better.  Rather than being violent and insisting on the outcome they want, they should be insisting that the truth come out – and be willing to live with whatever the search for truth comes up with.  If and when officer Wilson is vindicated, nobody currently screaming for his head is going to settle for that truth.  Governor Nixon won’t step forward to apologize.  Al Sharpton certainly won’t apologize.  Nobody is going to learn from this.  This incident isn’t about finding the truth…it’s about getting what they want, and what they want is to continue in their belief that the black community bears no responsibility for their current condition.  They want to believe that everything going on is someone else’s fault.  Until that mindset is challenged from their own leadership, nothing will change.

Oh, and about Dorian Johnson…he currently has a warrant out for his arrest in St. Louis for giving a false report to a police officer.  Don’t make him out to be innocent.

As for officer Wilson, his life is over.  He will never be allowed to live in peace again, and that is a travesty that cannot be put to words.  I am sorry that the Brown family lost their son.  It appalls me, however, that they are so willing to allow that officer and his family to have everything they know and love taken from them by the rabble.

Cruel And Unusual

Yesterday, the State of Arizona executed double-murderer Joseph Rudolph Wood. Using a new two-drug combination, State doctors sedated Wood at 1352 and then administered the death drug. The names of the two drugs have not been released. He was pronounced dead at 1549.

The fact that it took nearly two hours for Wood to die has sparked new debate on the death penalty and whether it is “cruel and unusual” punishment. I have to ask, though, how do we define cruel and unusual? Let’s start with the individual words. According to Merriam-Webster, the standard definition of cruel is, “disposed to inflict pain or suffering : devoid of humane feelings : causing or helping to cause suffering : terrible and unfair.” It also says, “used to describe people who hurt others and do not feel sorry about it.” The standard definition of unusual is, “not normal or usual : different or strange in a way that attracts attention.”

The argument could be made that an execution is exactly that – different or strange in a way that attracts attention. It doesn’t attract attention for the cruelty, though. Put those two words together and it paints a much more accurate picture.

The word “cruel” brings to mind a psychopath – a person who sees the suffering of others as entertaining. That is how I would describe Joseph Wood.

Joseph Wood and Debra Deitz shared an apartment in Tucson in 1989. He was unemployed while she worked at her father’s auto shop. Wood’s bouts of rage and abuse often attracted attention; Debra frequently wore sunglasses to hide blackened eyes. Her father, Eugene Deitz, had attempted to accept Wood into the family at first; when he realized what Wood was doing to his daughter, Eugene made clear he disliked Wood. Wood let it be known that he didn’t like Eugene, even telling other people that “get him back” and that Eugene would “be sorry.” On June 30, 1989, a neighbor called police to report a very loud and violent fight coming from Wood’s apartment. The responding officer reported seeing cuts and bruises all over Debra’s body. Less than a week later, after yet another violent fight, Debra ended the relationship, took what she could carry, and moved back in with her parents. She took out an order of protection against Wood. That didn’t stop him from making more than twenty attempts to contact her at either her parents’ house or her father’s shop. On August 4, 1989, he left multiple messages on Debra’s answering machine, including one that ominously said, “Debbie, I’m sorry I have to do this. I hope someday somebody will understand when we’re not around no more. I do love you, babe. I’m gonna take you with me.”

The morning of August 7, 1989, Eugene and Debra went to the shop early in the morning. Wood called three times, each time being hung up on by either Debra or Eugene. The two left the shop for supplies; Wood called a fourth time and was told they would return shortly. At approximately 0850, a Tucson police officer noticed Wood driving “suspiciously” near the shop. The officer, a female, followed Wood’s vehicle. Wood parked at the shop and entered. After walking in the door he pulled out a .38 revolver. Many of the other six employees yelled at Wood to put the gun away. Instead, he walked up to Eugene at the front desk, raised the gun, shot him in the chest…and then smiled. The officer outside heard the gunshot and called for backup. Wood walked outside, saw the officer, and went back inside, pointing the gun at Eugene again. Eugene’s 70-year-old brother Donald tried to wrestle the gun away, but Wood shot him as well. Wood then made his way back into the shop and found Debra. He grabbed her by the throat and pressed the gun to her chest; Debra screamed, “no, Joe, don’t!” Wood yelled, “i have to kill you,” called her a bitch, and shot her twice in the chest. Police arrived and ordered him to drop his weapon. He did, but then picked it up and pointed it at officers. Officers opened fire, striking him several times. After being transported to U of A medical center, Wood survived, later to be tried and sentenced to death.

There has been so much to-do about Wood’s “botched” execution that you almost can’t find anything online about what he did to his victims. It absolutely disgusts me that the press is making so much noise about Wood gasping for air for an hour and a half that everyone has forgotten why he was being put to death in the first place. During his final words, Wood had the nerve to call on his “Christian conversion” – he said that he’d prayed for peace for everyone watching, and that G-d would forgive everyone present.

Those are not the words of a penitent man. In fact, they strike me as the words of a man who is still enjoying the pain he inflicted on an entire family 25 years ago. There is no Judeo-Christian scripture in creation that absolves one of the worldly consequences of one’s actions. In fact, according to scripture, even if G-d forgives you, you’re still culpable for anything you may have done. I fail to see why anyone administering the execution would need G-d’s forgiveness.

Richard Brown, Debra’s brother-in-law, was in the shop the day of the shooting. He spoke after the execution, only after a parade of reporters talked about how “disturbing” the execution was. He put it most succinctly when he said, “this man conducted a horrifying murder, and you guys are going, ‘oh, let’s worry about the drug and he felt!’…These people that do this, that are on death row, they deserve to suffer a little bit. This guy’s been here for 25 years getting medication, eating, roof, bed, clothes, shoes – where are they [the victims] at? Oh, that’s right, they’re dead. They’ve been dead for 25 years…I saw the life go out of my sister-in-law’s eyes right in front of me as he shot her to death. I’m so sick and tired of you guys blowing this drug stuff out of proportion, ’cause to me, that’s BS…all the witnesses that were there, friends of mine, still, friends of the family, still – it’s not just about him! It’s about other people that suffered, that are still suffering!…it’s about the victims. It ain’t about the guy that went to sleep and never woke up.”

Wise words. I wish the weak-hearted among us would listen closely.

Check Your Privilege

Sierra Mannie, a senior at the University of Mississippi, penned an op/ed for her school newspaper called “Dear White Gays: Stop Stealing Black Female Culture.” It was just re-run on TIME Magazine’s website. I’m not sure if it’s in the print version or not. Mannie is described as a “rising senior majoring in Classics and English” at UM.

The article is absolute crap.

First she goes on a rant about how evil and privileged white culture is in the US, then she bemoans how black culture is usurped by said privileged whites. She gripes about how black people don’t feel safe around law enforcement, can’t have their own schools, and can’t voice their opinions without their “race going on trial”. That alone makes her opinion null and void; first, I have plenty of black friends who feel perfectly safe around law enforcement, particularly those who ARE law enforcement. The reason so many don’t feel safe is because black-on-black crime is so rampant. Second, who says you can’t have your own schools? You have BET. I haven’t met many black people who really care about their own schools. And, really? Voicing your opinion without your race going on trial? The only reason your race goes on trial is because YOU keep bringing it up. I really don’t care what color your skin is. What matters to me is that you keep calling me a privileged racist just because I’m white.

Then she starts in on white gay men. Oh, you have no idea just how horrible it is to this woman that black female culture is being “pillaged” by white gay men. She writes, “when you thought this pillaging couldn’t get any worse, extracurricular black activities get snatched up, too: our music, our dances, our slang, our clothing, our hairstyles. All of these things are rounded up, whitewashed and repackaged for your consumption. But here’s the shade — the non-black people who get to enjoy all of the fun things about blackness will never have to experience the ugliness of the black experience, systemic racism and the dangers of simply living while black.”

This woman has absolutely no clue about what it’s like to be gay, even now. She obviously doesn’t give a damn.

Let me ask you, Ms. Mannie…how many times did your parents ask you, “have you ever tried NOT being black?” Did they ever tell you that they would never accept your partner? Did they ever tell you that, because you’re black, you’re living in sin and going to hell? Did your church ever kick you out because you’re black? Have you ever been shamed to be black?

Let’s take it a step further. Have you ever been spit on? Threatened? Called racial slurs? I daresay you probably haven’t. My family had a hard time accepting the fact that I’m gay when I came out ten years ago. My church? I don’t dare show my face there. A guy who used to be my friend once threatened to kill me because he thought I was staring at his girlfriend (for the record, she wasn’t attractive, and I don’t stare). I’ve had protesters spit on me as I passed by despite not being a counter-protester. I’ve had other gay people tell me to kill myself, start fights with me, and threaten me very publicly because I’m politically conservative. How often have YOU ever had to deal with genuine hate? How often have you felt relief upon finding refuge with the very few people in society who are like you? When I was a kid, you didn’t dare come out of the closet. There was no such thing as a “gay-straight alliance” club at school. I would have been severely beaten if I’d acknowledged that I liked girls. When have you ever experienced that level of hatred?

I’m not like lipstick lesbians. It’s very obvious that I’m gay. You say I can hide it – no, I can’t. I am who I am. I couldn’t hide it even if I wanted to. I know a lot of gay men who can’t hide it. I’ve watched some of them take a lot of harassment for being openly gay. There is no more debate in general society about whether black people are just as human as white people. Is there still racism? Of course. People aren’t perfect. Today, however, racism is no longer socially acceptable. In fact, if you voice racist opinions against minorities in this country, you’re publicly shamed. Three police officers and one fire chief have all been either fired or shamed into resignation after discovery of membership in the KKK in the past month or two. Where is your acknowledgement of that?

Gay culture is usurped all the time. Will & Grace, The Fosters, Chicago Fire, Glee, The Real World, and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy have all exploited the gay culture (IMO, it started with The Real World). Next up we have GBF, or “Gay Best Friend”, coming out. Katy Perry launched herself into the spotlight with “I Kissed A Girl”. Hollywood and LA is forever trying to do little things in film, TV, and music to say, “look! We’re supportive! Don’t you love us?” Really? You think black female culture is the only culture that’s being repackaged and whitewashed for consumption in the general population? Please. Cry me a damned river.

You come off as angry, bitter, and racist yourself. I can buy a hack college paper printing this drivel, but TIME? For shame. You don’t have the faintest clue what it’s like to be gay. Get over yourself.

Two Sides to Every Story

Last month, Mack Worley posted a video he had taken of an incident involving the police in his hometown of Vancouver, WA. The video begins with Vancouver police officers asking him – with weapons drawn – to put his rifle on the ground. Worley first refuses, saying he doesn’t want to touch the rifle for fear he’ll be shot (indicating that the rifle is slung over his shoulder), then after a second command to put it down he does so.

Throughout the video he maintains he has committed no crime. He refuses to identify himself or give his ID to officers, and does so rather rudely – right before demanding the name and badge number of every officer on scene. In news footage, Worley claims he was merely on a public sidewalk. It sounds like a raw deal, right?

Well, as always, there’s two sides to the story, and Worley doesn’t tell you what led up to the video he posted. This is why I always tell people to give the police the benefit of the doubt when a supposed brutality video is released – there’s almost always more to the story.

According to police dispatch and witness reports, a Burgerville security guard asked Worley to leave because other patrons of the restaurant were afraid of his weapon. Worley refused to leave, causing an employee to call 911. At some point he did leave and went to a fireworks stand next door; the fireworks stand actually closed suddenly because they had a policy about only allowing concealed weapons inside and they didn’t want him coming in. Next, he went to the Big Al’s bowling alley that took up a majority of the property. They also asked him to leave, and he (again) refused. At least three 911 calls were placed before he decided to go on his merry way, and police found him as he was making his way down the sidewalk.

Worley’s claims that he committed no crime are false. He may not have realized it, but he did commit a crime. In Washington state, you are allowed to carry a rifle over your shoulder or a pistol in a holster in the open as long as you’re on public property. However, as soon as you enter private property – whether it’s a residence or a business – the owner or occupier of that property has the right to ask you to either leave your weapon in your car or leave. They set the rules in that situation. In all 50 states, if the owner or legal resident of any private property asks you to leave and you refuse, you are trespassing. In most, if you trespass with a weapon, it’s a more serious offense.

Before I go any further, I should probably voice my opinion that carrying an AR15 to dinner may not be the brightest idea. I am an ardent proponent of Second Amendment rights, however I also believe in tact. We are no longer living in the 1700′s. We now have the technology to carry very small, very powerful firearms concealed so that the sheep in our society don’t lose their minds when we walk through the door. I love AR15′s and plan to buy one as soon as I can afford it (thanks to the popularity and fears over bans, the price has skyrocketed and I’m not made of money). It is my considered opinion, however, that the AR should stay at home when you go out for some casual grub. Call me crazy. Much like your First Amendment right gives you the right to be a jackass and you should probably be wise with your words, you should definitely be wise with what you carry.

That said…Worley started this with his ignorance. It’s unfortunate, but it often takes an arrest to teach someone like him what the rules really are about carrying. If he’d done some research he wouldn’t be facing this now.

To make things even more complicated, Worley’s behavior after being contacted by officers was incredibly rude. Where I come from, if someone asks your name, you give it just to be polite. When you don’t it’s seen as confrontational. Worley, like many other in his brand of this movement, believes he is not required to give his name or his ID because of his Fourth Amendment rights. However, the Supreme Court ruled in Hiibel v Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada that neither the Fourth or Fifth Amendment are violated by a police officer who requires ID – or by a police officer who arrests you for refusing. It’s not an unlawful search or seizure of personal effects to know who you are and where you live.

There’s no reason to refuse to give officers your ID or even just your name.

What’s more is that he immediately insists that officers give their names and badge numbers. When they all point to their name tapes and give him guff, he has the nerve to complain that they’re being rude. He suffers from the mentality that he can be as rude and childish as he wants and officers still have to give him a smile. Sorry…it doesn’t work that way. If you’re going to be rude to others, those people will be rude in return, and you deserve it.

Worley doesn’t have much of an argument here. He claims that he’s on a “mission” to educate people about the Second Amendment. He says, “I want people to know that it’s not illegal to carry.” He says it’s not his fault that people are afraid. He is right about that last part. It isn’t his fault that people are afraid. It is his fault, though, that he trespassed on private property more than once.

To be fair, the police weren’t exactly being helpful when he was trying to get to his vehicle to leave. Rather than yelling at him on a loudspeaker to walk the other way they should have found out where his vehicle was and allowed him to get to it. That is on them, but the rest of this incident is largely on him.

I, and many others, would appreciate it if you would do two things, Mr. Worley. First, make sure you know what the law says before you decide that it’s your job to teach other people anything. Second, learn to be nice.

If this were a genuine case of police violating your rights, I’d be all over it. You did yourself in, though. Time to man up and accept responsibility for your ignorant actions.

Uncle George, You’re Disappointing Me

George Takei, who makes me laugh uproariously every day with his hilarious facebook posts, has just joined the ranks of the misinformed activists. The Supreme Court recently ruled that employers should not be required by law to pay for birth control. The case, involving Hobby Lobby, had been argued because the new Affordable Care Act (which, by the way, has raised my premiums and stunted my benefits quite drastically) required all employers to offer health insurance that also covered all types of birth control 100%. Hobby Lobby had argued that because of the religious beliefs of the owners, they shouldn’t be required to pay for certain types of birth control.

Everyone is losing their minds over this. Today, Uncle George (as so many affectionately call him) took to his blog to condemn the decision. He wrote, “Hobby Lobby is not a church. It’s a business — and a big one at that. Businesses must and should be required to comply with neutrally crafted laws of general applicability. Your boss should not have a say over your healthcare. Once the law starts permitting exceptions based on ‘sincerely held religious beliefs’ there’s no end to the mischief and discrimination that will ensue.”

Oh my. That’s strong verbiage indeed. It’s also a little over the top.

What nobody is reporting is that the SCOTUS ruling only affects morning-after pills and IUDs, the latter of which tends to cause pulmonary embolism and stroke. Hobby Lobby is still offering insurance that covers 16 different types of birth control. Rather than talk about the specifics of the case, though, everyone would rather act as if it was a crushing blow that meant any employer could opt out of BC coverage and women will never be able to obtain it. Oh, the horror!

Calm down, kids. You’re basing your entire argument on a lie that has turned into hysteria. Discrimination? Please. Some forms of birth control are already incredibly cheap. I have diabetes. I have to take medication and check my blood sugar multiple times a day. My insurance covers birth control of all kinds, including the morning-after pill, at 100% – drugs that I will never use. I can’t opt out of it by saying, “hey, I’m a gold-star lesbian, I don’t need this stuff.” It only covers about half the cost of my diabetes medications, glucometer, and test strips, which I need to stay healthy and alive. THIS is what I call discrimination: not being allowed to opt out of birth control coverage because I am a woman, yet not getting the same kind of coverage for life-saving meds.

Where the hell are our priorities? Birth control is so important that the government wants to require insurance companies to cover it completely, but the drugs that help keep me alive have to be paid for out of my own pocket at rates that far outstrip the cost of BC before insurance pays a dime.

Whiskey tango foxtrot…?

To be fair, Uncle George is correct on a couple of things. Hobby Lobby does have 401(k) retirement plans that are invested in pharmaceutical companies that produce the morning-after pills. They also have a lot of products that are made in China, a country that places a strict cap on the number of children a family can have and forces abortions and sterilization once that limit is met. Is that hypocritical? Absolutely. Not exactly the best thought plan in the world.

The SCOTUS decision is hardly discriminatory, and to call it such is just this side of being a base lie. Nobody is saying that these companies can fire someone for taking BC. Nobody is saying that these companies can pry into an employee’s medical records to see if they are using BC. Nobody is saying that they can opt out of insurance that covers any and all forms of BC at all. There is absolutely nothing about the ruling that allows any business to impose the owners’ religious views on employees. What they are saying is that companies should not be required to provide insurance that covers abortifacient drugs. If I can afford my diabetes meds on my salary, you can afford the less expensive Plan B pills on yours (which I promise is higher – public safety doesn’t pay as much as you think).

I still haven’t figured out when our society decided that private businesses are subject to the government’s every wish and whim. I’m struggling to understand why people think the government should have such control over businesses that the people who own and manage them have absolutely no say in what the company will offer their employees or invest in. A free market does not take such rights away. This kind of attitude is exactly what is driving business to move overseas in the first place.

Uncle George, I still love you. I just wish you would have thought about this before you went off the deep end about it. I am a woman and I see absolutely nothing discriminatory about the decision. What I DO see is a society bent on chipping away at basic rights and freedoms. That needs to stop.

“Senseless Act of Terror”

Today the bodies of Israeli teenagers Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Frenkel were discovered in the village of Halhul in the West Bank. They had been bound and executed. They had been dead for some time, and investigators believe they were murdered shortly after they were kidnapped.

I have had to view many a homicide victim over the past six years. I have had to inform families – mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings, spouses – that their loved ones are never coming home. I have a good idea what the IDF soldiers are going through right now. I have never had that visit from my colleagues to tell me that a member of my family has died, so I can’t say that I know what they are dealing with. I know, however, that it is an indescribable pain. The sights and sounds of a family mourning a lost child is almost unbearable.

According to the timeline of events, Eyal, Gilad, and Naftali were on their way home from Yeshiva (Jewish seminary) when they were taken by force. One of the boys called the emergency line and was able to tell police that they had been kidnapped; the line then went dead. They weren’t heard from again. Millions of Jews and supporters the world over held vigil to pray and hope for their safe return. Today, that hope was shattered. Naftali Frenkel was a dual US-Israeli citizen.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looked genuinely exhausted and expressed a sadness that few politicians have ever conveyed when he spoke to the press about the news. He vowed to bring the killers to justice. Two Hamas operatives have been missing since the kidnapping. There has been no word on what action Israel will take.

President Obama said, “The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms this senseless act of terror against innocent youth.”

I am tired of hearing the word “senseless” used to describe terrorism. It isn’t senseless. This attack, like all the others before it carried out against innocent Israelis, was not meaningless. We know exactly what these attacks are about. It is about unbridled, uncontrolled hatred against Jews. What for? Jews no longer “know their place.” We refuse to be dhimmis anymore. We won’t stare at the ground out of respect when an Arab passes by. We won’t pay taxes for being the lowest of low infidels. Jews established a homeland in a region we’ve had a presence in for over three millennia and have the nerve to defend it.

There is nothing about this that isn’t simple to explain. To continue to refer to such acts as “senseless” is akin to burying one’s head in the sand. This was an act of pure hatred, one that is sadly familiar to Jews. I am sad to admit this, but even as I prayed desperately for the safe return of the three missing boys, I knew how it would end. It always ends the same way. Palestinian jihadists only know hatred and death.

Golda Meir said, “we will have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.” It is heartbreaking to wonder if she knew how things would turn in Israel’s history.

Police Brutality

People are often far too eager to claim police brutality. I’ve seen false claims happen right in front of me. What happened yesterday in Pittsburgh appears to be one of those instances – a young woman claiming police brutality to save face.

It helps her cause that she’s a lesbian who was taking part in Pridefest. Because homophobia.

During the gay pride celebration in Pittsburgh yesterday, several Christian groups were protesting within legal parameters. Ariel Lawther was engaged in a heated argument with 36-year-old protester Eric Moure. Lawther’s age has been reported at somewhere between 19 and 22 years of age. According to Moure, Lawther became physical, shoving him – that’s when rookie officer Souroth Chatterji intervened. Both Moure and Officer Chatterji told the same story: upon the officer’s intervention, Lawther turned on him, hitting him with her fists and kicking him in the groin.

That was when things got hairy. Only ten seconds of video was recorded by a bystander. That was of Officer Chatterji pulling Lawther out of the crowd by her hair and punching her in the abdomen.

The video really doesn’t tell us much. It was captured at the end of the altercation and shows nothing of what was going on between Lawther and Moure. Officer Chatterji says he had already admonished Lawther and her friends not to engage in an argument with the protesters as it would lead to a fight. Officer Chatterji also says he clearly heard her tell Moure, “I will f—ing kill you!”

First things first. The protesters.

I do not give a damn how angry you may be at any protesters. I don’t give a damn what they are saying. Christians are going to protest outside of gay pride parades and festivals. It’s going to happen. We all know what those protesters are going to say. It is nothing new to anybody. You need to let them do what they’ll do and say what they’ll say. The instant you talk smack, issue threats, or get violent, YOU are the one in the wrong – it matters none what they have said or done. You deserve to go to jail. You are wrong and should be ashamed of yourself. I grew up in Evangelical Christianity and I know perfectly well how unpleasant those protesters can be; know now that nothing they do or say can ever excuse your boorish behavior if you refuse to control yourself.

You need to walk away and leave them alone. If they put their hands on you, attract all the attention you can before you fight back. Unless they do intend to do physical harm, you have no business at all engaging in any argument with them. WALK AWAY. That is what adults in the real world do.

Second…the arrest.

She clearly assaulted a protester and needed to be arrested. According to her own statements to officers after her arrest, she knew she was being violent and that it was wrong. She apologized to the officer and told him, “I didn’t know you were a cop.” She admits to assaulting him in that phrase. If an officer is being assaulted, he has every right to use force to subdue his attacker. Period. The teenager (yes, she was 16 years old) who took the video with a cell phone (who can be heard screaming “what are you doing?!?”) claims that she didn’t see Lawther get violent with the officer; she’s probably telling the truth. She also probably didn’t see what precipitated the moment she filmed. There was a pretty good-sized crowd there and the video shows that crowd getting in the way just before the officer throws punches.

Incidents like these do not help the cause of gay rights. They only serve to thoroughly embarrass us. Young gay people are essentially being taught that self-restraint is a thing of the past – you should express yourself regardless of how negative your emotions are.

Learn now a very important lesson, kids. Self-restraint is very important in the real world. You are going to hear people say things that offend you or otherwise hurt your feelings. No amount of offense will ever excuse losing your temper, starting an argument, or becoming physically violent in any way, shape, or form. I have had members of the Phelps clan say things far worse than anything those protesters were saying to you in Pittsburgh. I never yelled, never spit, never shoved, and never hit. You need to learn to tolerate people you don’t like…just like you’re demanding of the extremist religious types you can’t stand.

Don’t get into those kinds of altercations and you won’t have to deal with the police.

Clueless

President Obama gave the commencement speech at West Point yesterday. The speech was a complete embarrassment, yet the graduating cadets remained as professional and respectful as ever.

I’m not sure I would have been able to be so classy.

CNN’s Jim Clancy described the President’s reception at West Point as “icy”. Charles Krauthammer called his speech “literally pointless”. Even the Washington Post reported that his speech reeked of a “takedown of Rand Paul”.

In short, the President picked the most inappropriate time and place possible to pontificate about his foreign policy.

Rather than laud the success of the cadets, rather than applaud their achievements in difficult times, rather than send an inspiring message about their futures as officers in the US Army, President Obama stumped about himself. He defended his beliefs (and so in a very broken, hard-to-follow fashion). This is what happens when we have a President who has no military experience or understanding of foreign policy: we get a guy who will use a revered tradition to tell his detractors to piss off.

It was like watching a train wreck, to be quite honest. After making a remark about the class of 2014 being the first to be less likely to go into combat since 9/11, he turned his commencement speech into a rant. He started chastising those who don’t believe that America is at her strongest, saying that we are engaging in partisan politics. He pitifully whittled the war debate down to those who want war and those who want diplomacy. Yet again, he compared himself to his predecessor – George W. Bush – in a thinly-veiled swipe at the man. Then, after saying in his first year in office that he didn’t believe in American exceptionalism, he suddenly changed tack and said he believed in it “with every fiber of my being.”

He also said in no uncertain terms that we really don’t need the military. He said we had the greatest military in the world, then said, “but just because we have the biggest hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail.” Huh? So his message is, “good job on graduating, but we don’t really need you”?

President Obama is as classless as he his clueless.

The First Lady is just as bad. She famously posed with a sign that bore the hashtag “bringbackourgirls”, making a cheap statement on Twitter about the Boko Haram terrorist group that kidnapped more than two hundred school girls and threatened to sell them into sexual slavery if the Nigerian government refused to release several imprisoned terrorists. I have to ask, what on Earth makes anyone think that a terrorist organization (one that our esteemed former Secretary of State vociferously defended) is going to respond to a social media campaign? The attempt to shame them into submission is incredibly juvenile and proves just how little President and First Lady Obama understand about foreign policy issues. I mean…Twitter? Really? Is this the new face of liberal politics?

Mrs. Obama’s school lunch program has also come under fire. Students who found lunches based on her new guidelines inedible started posting pictures of their new lunches on social media. Schools started losing money because students weren’t buying lunch. Why would they buy something that smells and tastes awful? My foster daughter tells me that her school lunches are so bad that even though she gets them for free, she won’t touch them – she says a kind of barbecue sandwich with no meat in it, imitation steak sandwiches and overcooked tater tots are the usual fare, and the salad bar is no better.

Congressional Republicans have been trying to pass a bill that would make it easier for schools to give the choice to parents and students on whether to follow the guidelines that limit the amount of fat, sodium, and sugar that kids are eating. The First Lady’s response? A temper tantrum. While her daughters attend an elite private school and get the best food money can buy, public school kids are turning to Chee-tos and candy bars to replace the disgusting alternatives now offered in their schools – and Mrs. Obama is pushing the fact that, as a mom, she cares. She openly attacked the attempt, ignoring the fact that even the School Nutrition Association thinks the guidelines are too strict and expensive, as “unacceptable.”

I’m sorry. I was unaware that she had been elected to any office.

I feel like we’re hearing Marie Antoinette ignorantly pan, “let them eat cake!” The First Family wants for nothing, and they have no idea how much it costs to eat the way they do. They are not interested in how this sort of thing affects the middle class or even the poor. I swear, the next thing we hear from her is going to be, “well, if you’re hungry enough, you’ll eat it!” The day she goes to my girl’s high school and eats what the students are expected to eat – and DOESN’T gag – I’ll believe she gives a damn.

Sociopath

Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were arrested for breaking into a van and stealing several computers during their junior year. They so impressed their probation officers (Harris in particular) with their good manners and apparent willingness to change that they were released from probation several months early. One year later, they took a pile of homemade bombs and three guns into Columbine High School and went on a rampage, killing 13 before committing suicide. Harris wore a plain white t-shirt that read “natural selection.”

After he made himself infamous with his final violent act, his journals were discovered. He wrote about the probation process and the adults involved. He ranted that the owner of the van was to blame for leaving his computers in plain sight, and he (Harris) had every right to take them because the victim was “a dumbass.” Most of his journal entries were along those lines. He railed about being superior; he believed that natural selection gave him every right to assert that superiority.

Elliot Rodger, the UCSB shooter, sounds eerily like Eric Harris.

The Friday before he went on his killing spree, Rodger posted eight different videos to YouTube and sent a nearly 140-page diatribe to several sources, including the media. In one video, he says, “I’ll take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you. You will finally see that I am the superior one, the true alpha male.” He expresses frustration bordering on rage that girls have never taken an interest in him. In his final acts, he stabbed three roommates to death in his apartment, then went on a drive-by shooting spree that killed three more. He ran over four people in his expensive black BMW before getting into a shoot-out with police, then shot himself in the head.

There’s something more to this kid, though, that it seems everyone is missing. He was diagnosed with high-functioning Asperger’s syndrome and had difficulty making friends when he was in private schools. His parents reportedly sent him to the best schools available; he wanted for nothing, with Gucci and Prada being his favorite styles. An incident he describes himself in one of his videos is very telling, though. He talks about being at a party and being angry with women for not paying attention to him, so he tries to shove several girls off of a ledge. Several men at the party, angry with him for his actions, tossed him over the ledge instead, injuring his ankle. He leaves, discovers that he’s lost his Gucci sunglasses, and goes back to get them – only to find the same angry men waiting to beat the crap out of him. They did so, sending him home a mess.

I don’t give a damn who you are – if you try to shove women over a balcony, yeah, you deserve a first-rate beatdown. Had I been there, I would have done the same thing. I do not care what your motives are or how hurt you are. One does not alleviate their pain by inflicting pain on others. It doesn’t work that way.

Rodger’s own description of some of the things he’s done tells us quite a bit about him. He was an angry boy who always found the most inappropriate methods for expressing his anger. Then he simply couldn’t understand why nobody wanted to be around him. His parents were the liberal anti-gun sort, typical of the Hollywood types who teach their kids the “peace and love” mantra without ever teaching them chivalry, honor, and respect. He was probably never taught that the way to a girl’s heart is to first respect her and show interest in her (NOT of the sexual variety). It doesn’t take much. It had nothing to do with his race (as he angrily claimed). It had everything to do with the fact that he was a sociopath who believed himself superior to everyone else and was never taught to care about other people. All he cared about was himself – his feelings, his desires, his passions. When he discovered that the world was not going to give him what he wanted he pitched a hissy fit.

This had nothing to do with women, his unrequited sexual drive, or his loneliness. It sure as hell wasn’t about the NRA or the gun culture. Rodger used knives and his car along with his guns to kill and maim. This had everything to do with his selfish, sociopathic attitude and outlook on life. To blame it on anything else is shortsighted at best.

Article Of Faith

Hillary Clinton is either a moron or a liar.

While delivering a speech before the National Council for Behavioral Health Conference in Oxon Hill, MD yesterday, Miss “What Difference Does It Make” said the following:

“I think again we’re way out of balance. I think that we’ve got to rein in what has become an almost article of faith that anybody can have a gun anywhere, anytime. And I don’t believe that is in the best interest of the vast majority of people. And I think you can say that and still support the right of people to own guns.”

Anybody? Anywhere? Anytime? Oh, dear. Let’s have a talk.

Nobody is suggesting that just anyone should be allowed to have a gun. It is currently illegal for a convicted felon (or someone convicted of a misdemeanor involving violence) to purchase or possess a firearm. I have never disputed the fact that they should not be allowed to have guns, nor has the NRA. Second Amendment supporters believe that law is perfectly sound.

Anywhere? Well, we believe we should be allowed to carry our lawfully-owned guns to a lot of places that we’re not allowed to, but we still obey the law. We have always believed that gun-free zones are little more than massive targets for bad guys. Exactly one shooting that has taken place in the past two decades took place in an area that was NOT a gun-free zone, and the shooter was stopped by the very item that liberals like Clinton say should be banned: a high-capacity magazine (it jammed, something that well-trained gun owners know is always a problem). Yes, we should be allowed to carry our guns when we take our kids to school. Yes, we should be allowed to carry our guns to church. However, the law also says that if any establishment does not want its patrons bringing their steel, they can put up a sign and we have to leave them in the car.

Anytime? I think that was answered by my response to the “anywhere” remark.

Nobody is suggesting that guns be that easy to obtain. None of us ever have. What we’re saying is that you’re proposing too many rules, too many laws, and too many limits on our very clear freedoms. Most of the rules you’re trying to write into law are already in the law. You just don’t feel right unless you get a law passed after a tragedy.

My faith is that you actually, deep down, want what’s best for this country – even though you have a piss-poor way of showing it, Mrs. Clinton.

(Side note: can anyone tell me why Clinton was the one speaking at a conference on mental health? As I recall, her education is in legal matters. Unless they decided that her eight years in the White House dealing with Bill’s crap made her fully qualified, I really don’t understand why someone thought Hillary was the best choice for this summit.)

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