Monday, September 21, 2015

The Fall Of A Dynasty? Some Writers Have A Flair for the Dramatic

Okay, I kept this in for two days already and have been silently reading (and fuming) over the apparent lack of real homework done by any of the so-called sportswriters on a national level.  Three in particular - Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports, Dan Wolken of USA Today, and Matt Hayes of The Sporting News - are the ones that have really gotten me to question journalism at this point.  Is it really about being someone with credibility or do you now need to come up with stories worthy of the Enquirer to make sure people read your articles?  Are you guys really educated and capable of thinking a concise and clear thought, or do we all just want to jump on the bandwagon and hope that Alabama truly is headed for the ultimate, timely demise? 

Each of these three "reporters" are writing about Alabama's Dynasty coming to end.  It looks like the dynasty is over.  They're done.  We all saw it coming.  Guys, I have to ask - who 'anointed' this a dynasty in the first place?  It certainly wasn't Nick Saban or anyone in Tuscaloosa.  As a matter of fact, though there are some "extreme" fans, most of the Crimson Tide faithful were not eager to accept the moniker of 'dynasty'.  While many are hard-core and will defend their team to the bitter end, we know all too well that what is given can also be taken away.  Not all of us think there will be a National Championship every year, however (like many programs) we are always hopeful.  Still, to say this is a dynasty is a tad presumptuous as the program resides in the SEC West.  Things can change overnight, much less season to season.  Maybe.....just guys want to be the first to say the incredible run is over so that, should it truly happen, you can say, "See, I told you I was right."  Then again, if Alabama happens to ascend back to the top of the pile, you can always give an excuse why you were wrong and it won't look like such a big deal.  Funny, but I'm coming to think many of you are frustrated meteorologists - you don't have to be right OR wrong, you just have to state an opinion.  If you're right, you're a genius and great at your job.  If you're wrong, there are other factors involved that changed the situation.  No one ever seems to call you to task for your errors as long as there are readers.  Let's examine, though, some of your incredible insights. Shall we?

Let's start with Matt Hayes of The Sporting News.  The article that begins with, "Here we are, smack in the middle of we're better than you, and suddenly lost in where do we go from here?"  Seriously?  I watch the local and national news every day and NOT ONCE have I seen anyone on the Alabama team or staff say they are better than everyone else.  As a matter of fact, when members of THE PRESS began speaking about Middle Tennessee State and that Alabama was such a favorite, I believe it was Nick Saban that made sure you understood that he and the team were well aware that that opponent had put 700+ yards on their counterparts the previous week and they were being shown respect.  Thought it was lip service, did you?  Nick always preaches that the most important game is the NEXT game regardless of who it is.  Start thinking ahead and you get beat.  Then he goes on to talk about the uncertainty and raises the question of which all three of these fine gentlemen want to understand - why can't Alabama recruit a quarterback?  Well, guys, they have.  You seem to forget, while admitting that AJ McCarron was the starter for three years, that few of the other young men on the bench got a chance to play.  Blake Sims came in to clean things up in several games while AJ rested, but the others did not.  Ah, Blake Sims - I heard Pat Forde and others call him a 'stop gap' while Bama was trying to work the next QB into the rotation.  Did you guys happen to watch ANY football last year?  Did you happen to see Blake setting passing records while he was playing the role of 'stop gap' QB?  You remember that, right?  I've heard the question about the quarterback recruiting ad nauseum and I have to say, ANY program that has a QB that can play for multiple years will be more comfortable as time goes on.  Blake Barnett.  Remember the name.  You want to know why he can't recruit and you use your 'visionary' hindsight in questioning the crop of QB's on the roster, while I will go out on a limb and actually predict something (much like Pat Forde predicting Auburn would run the SEC West this year) like Blake Barnett orchestrating the resurgence of what you call a dynasty.  There it is - my prediction.

Hayes then goes on to say that the first mark in the fall of a champion is how they make excuses.  The exact words were, "There's no greater indicator of a lost dynasty, no more prominent a red flag, than ignoring the obvious: this is not the same Alabama program of years gone by."  Well, welcome to the real world, Mr Hayes.  Aren't you the astute one.  Problem is, you say that Saban and his players, while noting that they committed five turnovers and that a win cannot be expected when that happens, were making excuses.  It wasn't an excuse, it was an explanation.  You knew it, they knew it....hell, we ALL knew it.  Five turnovers, especially in the areas of the field where they were committed, would give any opponent an advantage.  Does that excuse it?  In no way, shape, or form.  It was not, however, an excuse.  While we're at it, you DID happen to see the final score, right?  43-37?  Six points?  One thing that the Alabama fans were certain of, and perhaps you might have noticed, was that there was no concession in this team.  Did Jake Coker throw an interception late?  He did.....while taking a brutal hit that caused his release to be ill-timed.  An excuse?  No.  An explanation.  I'm sure, though,, that you want to count this as another determining factor in the fall of a dynasty.  What you do not acknowledge, though, is that this team never gave up.  I've heard more than one person admit that this was, regardless of the outcome, one of the most exciting games played because Bama was never, ever out of it until the final series.  If you can honestly say you knew they'd lose any time before that, I say you're not truthful.  Until the last drive with four incomplete passes, they were not out of it.  Period.

What amazes me, too, is that on an annual basis we hear about the strength of schedule of most teams and how they, "schedule cupcakes on their way to another championship or the playoffs."  I heard (at least three times or more) this year that Alabama's schedule rated as the toughest, though that got little press as the season drew closer.  I guess the 'dynasty' teams are supposed to play tougher schedules so we have more parity, right?  Ohio State plays one ranked team all year and barely escapes Northern Illinois and no one says a word, yet Alabama plays Ole Miss and loses (again, by less than a touchdown) and the dynasty is over.  Stick a fork in them, they're done.  Really?   Yes, Michigan State and Ohio State rule the football world right now.  The beauty of this is that the season still has nine more weeks (or 75% remaining).  What say we wait until we get to the final two or three to see how they stack up.  Let's see how you guys feel when a Northern Illinois or Northern Iowa knocks off one of them.  Will we then hear how the might Buckeyes have fallen or will you find a way to, once again, show some anti-SEC bias.

Ironically, I saw Dan Wolken point out the obvious, too - Ole Miss had two things that Alabama doesn't have - a solid field goal kicker and a QB.  Thank you, Captain Obvious, for taking a shot at the easiest target - the field goal kicker.  Dan, I'm not sure what game you watched or if you thought that was just something you could say and it rang true for every game Bama plays, but Adam Griffith was not the reason Alabama didn't win.  You can make the statement that their 'dynasty' is over because they don't have a solid kicker, but that just makes me wonder if you really watched the game or, honestly, have any knowledge whatsoever about football in general.  I mean, I'm not a coach but I am an avid student of the game and try to learn as much as I can.  I do not profess to knowing, in a detailed manner, about certain specifics of the game, however I can tell you that there were problems the other evening that some of you brilliant writers failed to even think of addressing.  What about the offensive line?  There were issues there that, had they been rectified, would've allowed both Coker and Bateman more time to make reads and increase their completion percentage.  Not one of you said a word.  Derrick Henry would've been able to increase his stats had he been able to hit a hole that was, well, actually there.  You guys seriously missed that part?  Oh, but you wanted to spout off about the defense and that they aren't anywhere near the standard of years gone by.  Did you see how many tipped or blocked passes there were?  Bama's defense is just fine.  I will concede, though, that you did mention the secondary.  Again, another easy target, in my opinion.  Since the departure of Jeremy Pruitt a few years ago, the secondary, as whole, has not been playing to the same standard.  Nick replaced the coach, brought in new talent to replace the NFL departures, and they are young.  You guys, however, expect these kids to jump into a new system and play to the highest level of college football immediately.  Again, not being a genius about this, I'm going to go out on a limb here - Nick Saban and staff will not 'dumb down' their proven methods to make it easier because, as a solid educator, he wants to teach them to do it right.  No shortcuts.  That, gentlemen, may take a tad longer than anyone would like, however they will be stronger for it in the end. 

There was one writer, though - Kevin McGuire of NBC Sports - who wrote a piece that was contradictory to what these three wrote and, ironically, mentioned these three people by name.  He pointed out, much as I have, that there observations were suspect at best.  He asked what I am asking - does this loss mean the mighty Alabama has fallen and things are over in Tuscaloosa?  His conclusion, much as mine, is no.  Things are not over.  Know why?  Alabama lost a game.  A GAME.  They lost a game last year, too.  Just for grins & giggles, I went back to the record books for a peek at the Bear's legacy.  You will NOT believe what I found.  In 1968, after several great years, his team was 8-3.  In 1969, it was 6-5 and in 1970, it was 6-5-1.  Do you believe it?  THE BEAR HAD 6WINS and 5 LOSSES!!!  Oh, as an aside, over the next 9 years, his worst record (once) was 9-3.  Every other year was 11-1 (6 times), 10-2 (once), and 12-0 (once).  Bear Bryant having two seasons that were 6-5 sort of blows your mind, right?  The point is, no team is going to stay at the pinnacle every season.  They just can't.  No one but you writers anointed Bama a dynasty, either.  Don't blame Saban, the quarterbacks, the kicker, or anything else - they simply lost a game.  I know you don't think it's that simple, but they were on the wrong side of the score.  To say that a deflected pass off a helmet that accounted for a touchdown means a dynasty has fallen is ludicrous.  To not acknowledge the lack of a call on the pass for a touchdown where a lineman was obviously downfield is garbage.  To think that the five turnovers accounted for nothing more than an excuse is ridiculous.

Yes, Alabama lost to Ole Miss.  If writing that the mighty have fallen helps get you readers, then so be it.  As n observer of this program, though, I have to tell you that the Alabama faithful are neither delusional nor worried.  We have, without question, what most consider to be the best coach in the game.  It has not passed him by, believe me.  His knowledge has no bearing on how many times a ball is turned over to the other team.  He and the staff are fine.  The players are fine.  We stand behind them and support them.  After all, they are the Crimson Tide and, while many might think we are simply kidding ourselves,  I will tell you that this team will be fine.  If they have a down year, so be it.  You counted them out last year, too, and they entered the Playoffs ranked #1.  Did they lose? the eventual National Champions.  You guys have heard the phrase, "Any given Saturday," right?  It happens.  Just ask Oklahoma State of a few years back.  Better yet, ask USC after this week.....or Oregon after their meeting with Ohio State.....or Florida State after......well, you get it.

I appreciate you guys writing your articles.  I truly do.  It made me feel as if I might jump into sports journalism at some point because, obviously, all you have to do is guess or state an opinion.  Trouble is, you need to let people know it's simply an opinion.  You state it as fact, much like Pat Forde did when predicting that Auburn thing.  You know, the SEC West Champs this year.  LSU is still laughing about that one.  Oh, and should anyone see the Coach or players, let them know we are firmly planted where we always are - right behind them in support.  ROLL TIDE!

Until next time..............

Sunday, September 13, 2015

An Open Letter To Alabama Fans and An Apology to Coach Saban and the Crimson Tide

To ALL Alabama Crimson Tide Football Fans:

With all due respect, what are you thinking?  Before anyone asks, "How dare you," or, "Who the hell are you," let me state that I am an avid, loyal, diehard fan of the Tide myself.  As the old joke goes, my daughter and my money go to the University of Alabama.  I am a resident of the state and my tax dollars are invested here.  I've earned the right to say what I am about to say and, again, I have to ask - What are you thinking??

I have followed the Crimson Tide since Coach Bryant was pacing the sidelines and I plan to do the same for many years to come.  I have been fortunate enough to sit in the stands watching these teams play in person for the past several years and, once Coach Saban got to Tuscaloosa, I was one of the first to be fortunate enough to shake his hand and welcome he and Ms Terry.  You remember that, right?  We had just endured another sad season under Mike Shula and this once proud program had been slipping since Gene Stalling last won the National Championship in 1992.  Then, against all odds and news reports, Mal Moore hopped on a plane and headed to Florida.  You remember that, right?  How he was so very determined to breathe life back into a program that meant so much to him and to us all.  He was, I believe I recall later seeing him say, not coming back without Coach Saban.

Then came the introduction - Coach Saban and Ms Terry arrived in Tuscaloosa and our collective prayers had been answered.  He has been here longer than any other previous stop in his coaching career and yet we still have to listen to the stories and reports that he will be leaving.  Another joke I've heard recently - If Nick Saban retires here after another 30 years, someone will still have the nerve to say, "See?  I told you he'd leave!"  Well, folks, after what I've been seeing, I don't want to hear any complaints or disparaging comments if he does.  Why would I say that?  Well, after yesterday's game against Middle Tennessee, I can give several reasons.

First, let me say that we've heard Nick Saban preaching about complacency after the team won three National Championships in four years.  A sense of entitlement had seeped into the program and, as I'm fairly certain he does every year, he made sure each new team understood that the current team could not rest on their laurels for they were not THEIR laurels (some of the players perhaps) but the accomplishments of the previous years' team.  Each new year brought the challenge of finding an identity of their own and gaining respect week after week for what they have done.  Case in point - we don't have Blake Sims roaming the field this year, do we?  No, once again the team is forced to find a starting quarterback and many of you forget that it took Blake four years before he was the starter, and AJ McCarron did his understudy work with Greg McElroy.  The point being that every new year is a new team so they cannot get complacent.  That same sense of entitlement, though, has seeped into the fan base and the expectations, while I agree they should be hopefully high, have led to some rather uncalled-for comments and unkind words.  

Take, for example, the second field goal missed by Adam Griffith yesterday.  I'm not sure how many people knew that it had been tipped and an opponent got a hand on the ball after it left his foot, but when it did not go through the uprights we actually heard.....'booing' from the crowd.  How dare you?  Oh, I know - he gets a scholarship to MAKE these field goals, not miss them, right?  Well, let me ask - when was the last time you had 101,821 people watching you at work AND you were perfect?  More importantly, how perfect were you when you were in your early 20's?  Ah, not so much, huh? I hope to never hear that again from anyone in that stadium.  Sadly, I have no control and many of you are still asking who I am to ask this of you.  I'm no one.  I'm just an 'Everyman' that enjoys the privilege and honor of watching one of, if not THE, most storied programs in all of college football every Saturday in the fall.  While we're at it, these players and coaches, as well as opponents, give up much to provide the entertainment you all desire on Saturday afternoons.  They sacrifice much to be on that field and they deserve to have people in the stands cheering them on.  It is our part of the equation and The Process - they promise to do their part, now we have to do our part.  Park your ass in the seat and stay for the entire game - they deserve that and though you might want to beat traffic and the crowds, they never get to leave early.  You wanted this and we have it - a championship-quality team every year.  Would you rather have a team on the same level as, say, Kentucky or Kansas?  They probably get to leave early from the stadium, too, but they're not always treated to the same level of accomplishment that we are.  STAY PUT FOR FOUR QUARTERS!

Many of you begin your sentences and posts on social media with, "I remember when Coach Bryant...." before trailing off into something that is, at best, a 30-year old thought.  Bear Bryant is dead and, though his legacy will be enduring, this school and fan base cannot continue to live on what he did over 30 years ago.  You...we...begged for someone to save this beloved program and Mal Moore went to Florida and delivered.  He brought back a coach that has provided more than enough winning ways to want to keep him forever.  For some, though, that's not good enough.  Let me ask another question - what other program can boast of the Championships that Alabama has?  None.  Nor has any program gone on to win the trophy year over year.  Let me throw this out to you - Alabama has the best recruiting class in the entire country FIVE years in a row - do you think that happens without Nick Saban?  Do you think they continue to win 10+ games each year without him and his staff?  Do you think we'd prefer to have a program run the way Nick Saban does or would you want to sell your souls to get someone like Jim Tressel, Brady Hoke, or Rich Rodriguez?  Think people....then quiet down.  Let me go back to the comments about Bear Bryant - would ANYONE dare have said the things about him that they do today?  No. Don't even try to tell me otherwise because I know better.  Bear's word was gospel and, by God, Nick Saban's is, too.  This is HIS program to run as he pleases and I'm damn glad of that fact.  He gets more out of these players than others would and I tend to think many of you forget what a 17-year drought feels like.  Let the man do his job and be grateful you have the privilege of seeing a quality, second-to-none program play every week.  If you can't do that, the Barn is probably looking for fans.  If you're a true Bama fan, you'll understand that.

To Coach Saban and the Crimson Tide players:

Please forgive us, the fans.  We appreciate you, the staff, and the players of this great program more than you know.  I realize you understand it's not everyone, however there are many of us that cannot forgive that portion of the fan base that acts in a manner that is not to the high standards to which you have elevated this program.  In a time when many asked....almost begged.....for someone that could provide the same high standards of years gone by, you have provided that and we should all be appreciative and grateful.  I'm not talking about winning championships, either.  You run a clean program that frowns upon breaking the rules.  You have a compliance department to ensure the university is not embroiled in scandal, nor does the program face NCAA penalties.  You have, in short, restored the Alabama Crimson Tide to the respected program it once was.  You help the personal & professional growth of young men that turn out to be both amazing athletes and, most importantly, amazing individuals.  Your work here is appreciated and respected and we, as a fan base, are more than grateful.  We sincerely hope that you, Ms Terry, and your entire family know that we will always consider you part of the family and fabric of the Tuscaloosa/UA community.  We hope, too, that you will understand that, while we appreciate what you've done, we want to show that appreciation for you and your family.  We want this to be 'home' until that dreaded day when you decide you no longer want to walk the sidelines.

As for the players that wear, and have worn, the Alabama football uniform, we'd like to thank you for everything you've given us.  The excitement and pride that a fan base feels when we are allowed to share in YOUR accomplishments.  You have the honor of being led by one of, if not THE, greatest coaches in the history of the game.  Your selfless sacrifice of your time and energy is appreciated and watching you play in Bryant-Denny Stadium is something that many appreciate more than you know.  We are your fans and wish you nothing but continued success.  I, along with many others, want to apologize for the thoughtless fans that have come to take your success as 'a given' and that harbor an unrealistic sense of entitlement.  They have no idea what it is like to don pads and a uniform and suffer in 100-degree heat while preparing for the coming year.  Some of us - many, as a matter of fact - appreciate the sacrifice and will watch you for the entire sixty minutes of the game.  We wait for this from January until August and I, personally, wouldn't miss a minute of it.  We want to continue to encourage you and be witness to your achievements, while enjoying the camaraderie of fellow Crimson Tide fans as we wait for the 'Walk of Champions' on a weekly basis.

Please accept this as a letter of apology for the behavior of some, as well as a letter of thanks from the majority of us. Be proud, continue to be part of The Process (as we will), and ROLL TIDE!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

It's Never Going to Get Better. I Don't Even Think There's An, "Unless," Here.

Race.  Better yet, race relations.  They are not going to get better, folks.  Immediately, you're thinking (I know I am), "Gee, what a pessimistic attitude."  Maybe...but let me tell you what sparked this post on a day when I swore I had many other things to do.  A picture was posted on social media showing a white female police officer in Ocala, FL sitting on a curb sharing a meal with a black homeless man.  The picture was taken, not as a publicity stunt but, rather, by a lady at a stop light who happened to notice the random act of kindness.  She posted it on the internet and it went viral somewhat quickly.  Obviously, the Ocala Police Department was notified, they identified the officer, and commended her for this act - To Serve & Protect.  Simple, right?  Something that, I think we can all agree (apparently not), was a simple kindness shown to someone down on their luck (for whatever reason).

In the interest of this story, did you notice that I didn't even hint at the fact that this man might have been a junkie, alcoholic, or criminal?  Let's set the record straight for anyone that doesn't know me, too, that might be reading this - I'm white.  All I said, and all that was mentioned in the title of the original post, was, "Police Officer Shares Meal With Homeless Man."  If you want to read the actual article, it can be found here -  You'd think this would generate positive reactions, right?  One would think that, in light of all the recent events and stories in regard to policemen (and women), a story like this would make people feel better.  I did, anyway, and I appear to be extremely naive.  For it was after I read the article, then the comments, that I realized that race relations in this country are an absolute joke.  Now, before anyone chastises me for generalizing, I will admit that I am.  Too often, in light of these stories and prior to my reactions, I find myself prefacing my responses with, "I have black friends," or, "One of my partners with a previous company was black."  Why?  Why should any of us have to justify that we have friends of a different race to make our comments legitimate?  Honestly, if we are truly for civil rights for all, we should never have to make those statements or justifications.

So the article was posted on Facebook by Kandi Burruss (singer-songwriter and of, "Real Housewives of Atlanta," fame, among other  things).  I didn't see it originally but it was brought to my attention by the sweetheart in my life that happened to 'join the mess' and make a comment in response to the article.  Her comment, listed below, gives a glimpse into her beliefs and speaks volumes.

"The officer didn't do this knowing she was being photographed which shows it was a true RANDOM act of kindness. It hurts my heart to see so many people throwing around race comments rather than appreciating it for what human being showing compassion for another. Until we ALL realize we are part of one race...the HUMAN race...and stop labeling each other as white, black, Latino, oriental, Asian, etc we will never move forward. I don't care what color your skin is, your sexual orientation, democrat or republican, if you treat me with respect I will treat you with respect and kindness."

And there it is.  The HUMAN race.  We all bleed the same color.  We are all sitting on the same little orb in a big galaxy.....and none of us is getting out of here alive.  The comments made after reading the post above, though, are the reason I say we just don't get it.....and probably never will.  Yeah, yeah...I'm generalizing again.  Let me share some of what I read, though - "Cops did it as a publicity stunt because they are trying to take the attention off their recent actions in Ferguson, Baltimore and (fill in the blank with whatever story you want."  Then there was the classic, "She a bitch - shoulda brought him a whole meal," (one of my favorites, I think, because no one EVER does enough), or better still, "Now is not the time for empathy for  cops. I want to see posts and articles about cops being held accountable for their heinous actions against black citizens."

Honestly, I don't know why I am still amazed at some of the reactions.  Probably because I was raised in a time when our parents taught us to see past the color of someone's skin.  What amazes me the most, I think, is that I don't see the different skin colors until they are pointed out.  Do you want to know who continues to make the point of differentiating?  Do NOT say it's the whites.  Hell, at this point, most of us are too scared to point it out.  If anyone dares say the dreaded, "N-Word," we could lose our jobs and things we have worked many years to achieve.  Blacks, on the other hand, not only use it freely, but it permeates much of the music from black artists.  Watch a white artist put that word  in their song lyrics and you'll se a music contract.....and career....gone.  Oh, but it's okay because there are certain circumstances when blacks justify it and it is totally acceptable.  To that double standard, I call bullshit.  Until it stops coming from EVERYONE, things will not get better.

As I continue to write this, I'm going from feeling hopeless for race relations in our country, to seething.  I continue to hear that more needs to be done and the white man is holding the black man down, or simply killing them and getting away with it.  There is a pervasive sense of entitlement and, honestly, I'd like to ask from where that emanates.  Seriously, why do the blacks in the inner city and the ones making the most noise (think the Baltimore situation shown on CNN) think they are owed something?  Slavery?  Is that really the core issue?  I'm dead serious when I ask the question.  I ask it, too, because I look at situations like the minimum wage issue in Seattle, WA recently.  I'm sure it wasn't just blacks, however the people there screamed that they felt they were owed a minimum wage of $15.00/hour.  Well, they got their wish....and we are already seeing the fallout.  Apparently, someone should've stayed in school to take math classes because they now realize, with the increased wages, that they will no longer qualify for welfare.  My response is, "That's awesome - it worked!  We offered a hand-UP rather than a hand-OUT and they can do better now.  Work more hours and finally get themselves off welfare."  I'm an idiot.  Not only did they not see it that way, the workers are now asking for decreased hours so they can still continue to receive welfare.  I think that, in and of itself, speaks volumes.  How dare I speak to this?  Well, folks, because I am one of the people (as are all my friends and coworkers) that gets out of bed on a daily basis and goes to work so they can receive welfare.  I'm qualified to make the statements because I make sure that my taxes are paid so the HAND-UP is given, not the HAND-OUT.

Our country is more divided than ever, I think, in my lifetime.  That lifetime, ironically, includes the 60's and, while many will think that's not possible, I disagree.  Whites are not being asked to help, it's being demanded and we are being held hostage.  We have 'Race-baiters' like the criminal, Al Sharpton, or the Dr King-wannabe, Jesse Jackson.  They are prime examples of why they do NOT want civil rights for all - if it happens, they're out of a job and their voices are useless.  I firmly believe Dr King would've happily ridden off into the sunset had 'civil rights for all' been a reality.  It was, after all, his dream and with its' fulfillment, he would've believed his mission in life was a success.  Much like President Kennedy, I think Dr King, too, believed in the hand-up rather than hand-out.  It was a time when people were told to, "Ask not what your country can do for you, rather, ask what you can do for your country." (Close to the right quote - don't sue me)  Somehow, we've gotten to a place where we, "Don't bother doing anything for your country, just ask what someone else will do for you."  It is, by all accounts, sad and pathetic.

Here's the thing, people - going full circle to where this post began, we need more random acts of kindness.  We need to look at each other while being colorblind.  That's ALL of us.  If you want a better world, work for it.  Do not tell me black lives matter - ALL lives matter.  If you want the cops to stop shooting you, stop breaking the law (blacks, whites, hispanics, orientals).  Don't charge a cop and go after his gun, then expect he will not use deadly force.  You KNOW you'd do the same so stop making this an issue of race.  Are there bad cops?  Yes.  Are there bad 'anything'?  Yes.  Conversely, there are good cops, whites, blacks, hispanics, orientals - the 'Yin' always has a 'Yang'.  To think otherwise is ridiculous.  Night and day, summer and winter, good and bad.  If you want change, work for it.  Do it legally and responsibly.....and I will stand by your side working for that same change.  Until then, though, if you ain't part of the solution, you're part of the problem.  I hate to think of the world we are leaving for our kids.  Seriously, it's time for us to get our acts together.  Stop the hate.  It's not a difficult message and random acts of kindness are a lot easier to deal with than random killings.

Peace out......or, until next time..........

Monday, July 20, 2015

Are We Prepared To Let This Continue? Time To Hit the 'Reset' Button

I am not even going to go into the recap of the news - we've all heard it and listened in shock and horror. Five of America's finest - 4 Marines and one sailor - killed senselessly in Chattanooga by a Muslim that couldn't deal with drug and alcohol abuse, as well as depression.  Five service men lay dead and, as importantly, our President did and said little.  This was 'in cold blood', too - these men were not armed.  Why we cannot arm our servicemen, even in recruiting centers, is beyond me.  We trust them with weapons to protect us and keep us safe, yet they couldn't protect themselves here at home.  I have yet to hear a solid reason for why these men were unarmed.

The bigger issue, in my opinion, is the lack of leadership by OUR leadership.  The Commander-In-Chief.  He is, after all, the Commander of the Armed Forces.  Here's my struggle - a few weeks ago, Dylann Roof, a white man, walked into a church in South Carolina that had a black congregation.  He shot and killed nine black people and, as the investigation ensued, he was seen in pictures holding a Confederate flag.  That flag became the talking point, ad nauseum, and major focus of the story.  It represented racism and was a symbol of hate.  Let's remove it from the State House and government buildings.  Okay, I'm with you so far.  We are, after all, the United States of America and the only flag flying on government facilities and buildings should be that flag.  Got it.  We didn't let it go, though.  To end racism and show our total disdain for the hatred associated with this flag, we not only removed it from said buildings, but we also had retailers refusing to sell it and a television network refuse to air reruns of a program where it was prominently displayed.  I refer to this as the 'knee-jerk' reactionary phase.  I'm still with you, though, on the flag part.  Ridiculous, yes, but we allowed it to happen.  We watched as the funeral services were held and President Obama did what he does best - he spoke, in person, before leading the congregation in, "Amazing Grace," along with the choir.  The President told us, too, how, as a black man, blacks being killed in an overt show of racism 'hit close to home'.  He immediately called for tougher gun laws (yeah, none of us saw THAT coming, huh?), yet said nothing about mental illness.  Again, more knee-jerk reaction as we found out that we really don't need tougher gun laws - we need a system that works.  Had the appropriate information been entered into the computer, the shooter would have been unable to purchase the gun in the first place and this conversation, along with nine funerals, would not have taken place.  This was not on the guns, Mr President - this one fell squarely on the system designed to protect those nine people that died (along with the rest of us).

Fast forward to last Thursday.  Youssuf Abdulazeez, a Kuwaiti-born man, kills four Marines and one sailor and the response from the President was, "My main message right now is obviously the deepest sympathies of the American people to the four Marines that have been killed.  It is a heartbreaking circumstance for these individuals to be killed in this fashion."  Wait, what?  That's it?  Mr President, no disrespect, but I heard you say more, with more passion and anger, about the situation in Charleston than about the senseless, avoidable tragedy and deaths of some of America's finest.  Will you be flying to Chattanooga and speaking at the funerals while denouncing Muslim terrorists?  Let me guess - there's nothing to point to the fact that this was, in fact, terrorism, right?  Let me be the first (though I'm sure I'm not really) to point out that armed civilians are now valiantly guarding recruiting centers to protect our unarmed servicemen.  That's terrorism.  When we have to be concerned that ISIS and other Islamic jihadists may, in fact, kill us here in America, that qualifies as domestic terrorism.  Still, Mr President, since we're already on the subject of flags, let me ask - why were flags across our country not ordered to be flown at half-staff?  Not the Confederate flags, but the American flag that these young men swore to protect & defend.  I realize they swore an oath to protect & defend the Constitution of the United States, but what symbol more openly symbolizes our Constitution and country?  I just don't understand and, dare I say it, neither do the rest of the people I've spoken to.

While the family of this freak has already said he had a mental illness, do you think this time we could maybe, just maybe, start the conversation about mental health rather than guns?  From everything I've seen, and I'm just spit-ballin' here, guns really don't kill people, but people with mental health issues are pretty damn good lately at showing what they can do when armed with a gun.  Are we going to continue to blame the guns because it's such a 'hot-button' issue, or can we now focus on the real issue - mental health?

Lastly, Mr President, I need an explanation and some understanding.  When, in my lifetime, I watched planes that were hijacked by Islamic radicals fly into our World Trade Center, then see the growth of ISIS, followed by this singular attack on American soil, can you please explain to me why I need to be concerned with offending Muslims?  We can claim that whites that have the Confederate flag are racist because one idiot held a flag and believed our country would be better off without blacks, yet Muslims can kill thousands and we are not supposed to generalize and we hold their opinions in higher regard than the country's citizens?  I have a problem with that.  Big problem.  Huge, even.  Quite honestly, Mr President, I can tell you things are about to get worse if the country continues to be divided.  Here's a thought....and one that many people (ones that I know, anyway) will agree with - if the people of the Islamic faith do not like the way they are being treated here in the US, we are fine with them going home to their country.  The same country that beheads Americans and a place that is not safe for us at all - we're fine with their return.  Sadly, I do not want to generalize like this but it's difficult to feel otherwise.  Again, let me get this straight because I'm a bit shocked and appalled - we allow foreigners to move to our country, then we have to grant them more consideration than our own citizens?  That's what you're saying?  As a fed-up American, I can only offer this:  NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.

In closing, I'd like to offer a challenge.  A challenge that goes, not to the President, but to those that will read this that I know are staunch supporters of the President.  There are those that have adamantly supported him in the past few years that, oddly, have been quite silent recently.  I challenge anyone in that category to debate me (or anyone else that can keep it civil) about the President's actions over this past week.  You've gotten loud, at times, in your defense of him because you think he is doing an amazing job as our Commander-In-Chief so now I offer you the floor - let's debate.  Tell me how you justify his actions toward our military men....especially when some of you were in the military.  Tell me how you think you'd feel if it were your son or daughter that had been killed, yet our President was more outspoken on the Confederate flag and the notion of its racist past.  Tell me how you support his actions, yet he can barely utter more than a few sentences about our Marines, all while offering warm wishes to Muslims celebrating Eid-ul-Fitr.  Anyone?  Show of hands - anyone?  I didn't think so, but I will still be waiting.  A peaceful, open-minded, spirited debate.  That's all I want.  

Until next time.................

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Day We Lost Our Collective Minds

Yeah, yeah, I know.  Once again, it's been quite some time since I've posted anything.  Honestly, the priorities have been directed elsewhere and, as you'll read, I think I was overtaken by some of the same apathy that has gripped our country lately.  I'll explain shortly, but first let's get to the particular day that I mentioned in the title of this post.  The day we lost our minds was preceded by a very sad, horrible day.  By now, you know I mean the church shootings in Charleston, SC.  While I think it will always deserve mention, I'm not going to dwell on it.  Let's face it, we've all heard the horrid details over and over.  To me, the other important part of the story, and the basis for the title above, concerns the days after.  Many may disagree with what I am about to say or my reasoning, however I am leaning toward the fact that more will agree than disagree.

So this began in a church with a lost soul harboring hate in his racist heart.  As the investigation began, pictures emerged of this psychotic individual holding, as we now know, a Confederate flag.  For all the issues that created, it might as well have been a green flag because, at that point, we were 'off to the races'.  This was our nation's starting point for, what I see anyway, as the beginning of the end.  Oh, we can argue that there have been different things that could be construed as that same starting point, but the way we have lost our minds after this episode marks it as a more defining moment.  Obviously, too, the initial 'knee-jerk' reaction by our leaders, namely our President, was to call for stricter gun laws.  He came on television and remarked in a stern voice that he has seen too many of these situations while in office and, as a black man, these are particularly offensive.  As we now know, and something that NEEDS to be pointed out, it wasn't that the laws weren't strict enough but, rather, the system failed.  Let that sink in for a minute as I did when I first heard it.  As the SC Governor did when she first heard it and remarked that, upon getting the news, she wanted to be sick. Yes, here we are in the midst of having to bury nine more Americans (not black, white, pink, purple, African, Italian or otherwise, but Americans) and, as our leaders further their own personal agendas, we find out that the system that is in place is, in fact, strict enough IF there are no 'glitches'.  I'm a big fan of analogies, so let's see if I can throw this out where it makes sense to these 'leaders' - a coach can draw up the most effective game plan ever and, if the team doesn't implement the plan, it fails.  No, Mr President, we DO NOT need tougher gun laws - they already exist.  What we need is a system that does not fail the people of this country that these laws were designed to protect.  You can have the best fire prevention system in the world but if the smoke detectors don't work or the batteries are dead, the house is going to be ash.  Period.  In other words....IF THE SYSTEM HAD WORKED AS IT WAS SUPPOSED TO, WE WOULD NOT BE HAVING THIS CONVERSATION.  Period.  Your system, Mr President.  Maybe that's unfair, but you're in the office and MUST own it.

What happened next is, again, something of which we are all aware.  Once the pictures emerged of this racist piece of trash (I'm being oh, so kind) holding a Confederate flag, the screams were almost immediate.  "Take down that flag - it's a symbol of racsim!"  Okay, regardless of what you think that flag stands for, I have to agree that it should NOT be on government buildings.  I would disagree, though, with the idiocy that has followed.  Again, I am being kind when I say idiocy.  In Birmingham, AL, there was a call for the removal of a civil war monument in a park because, well, it was a monument to a Confederate general.  It's a symbol of racism and, apparently, is hurtful to blacks.  Quite honestly, I'm not sure who has the time to be hurt by it (perhaps I am being naive and a monument honoring a general from 150 years is hurtful) because I see most of us, blacks and whites, so caught up in trying to feed our families that civil war monuments are more an afterthought than anything else.  Regardless, the proposition passed and the monument will be relocated.  I assume that means it will no longer hurt anyone - are we putting it in a closet?  It's about two stories high so I'm not certain how that works exactly.  In Memphis, TN, there was a proposition and movement to have another general and his wife, as I understand it, to be removed from their graves and relocated somewhere else because they were, well, Confederates and represented racism.  Do you see where I'm going with this?  Is the title beginning to make more sense now?  Many retailers removed anything with a Confederate flag from their shelves and a television network will no longer show reruns of, "The Dukes of Hazzard," because (yeah, this is particularly laughable) their car had a Confederate flag on the roof.  Seriously, I cannot be the only one to think we have gone off the really, really deep end, can I?

Regardless of what you think of that flag, there's one thing that we all NEED to see in the bigger picture - this is causing a greater division than unification of our country.  With this issue, it seems we have found the proverbial 'straw that broke the camel's back' as whites and, as a race, are feeling that we continue to be held hostage and responsible for the sins of our forefathers.  I can tell you that, going back at least five generations, I know for a fact my family never owned slaves.  I have yet to meet anyone, honestly, who can tell me they remember their families owning slaves or, conversely, anyone that was owned as a slave.  Some people will say, "Well, does that mean it didn't exist?"  No, we know it existed and you, understandably, want me to acknowledge it.  I get it.  We cannot, however, continue to have things both ways.  The Civil War, right or wrong, happened, folks.  There is a famous quote about ignoring history and being doomed to repeat it that is on your mind right now - let me help.  The actual quote is,

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Folks, we can pretend it didn't happen but that's all it will be - pretend.  It is a matter of fact and a very real part of our history.  It's a very ugly, horrid part of our history, but real nonetheless.  I grew up less than fifteen miles from Gettysburg, PA and I can honestly say that I want us to remember it because we should, in no way, be condemned to repeat that dark time in our country's history.  Sadly, that is where we are headed.  Some of you are thinking the same and agree with me.  How long can people be expected to simply accept riots in the streets and demands that whites pay, in any shape or form, for the acts of our forefathers.  Honestly, we are trying to rectify the situation as quickly as we can, however anything less than peaceful protests or changing things in the manner with which we are all expected to act will only result in that greater divide.  If you want change, work for it in the same manner we all must.  Do not demand simply because you feel you are owed something.  Let's be honest, we tell our children daily - "Life isn't fair and no one owes you anything."  The American way, or at least the way people of my generation knew it, was that you get up, you go to work, and you do everything you can to provide for your family and help make this country greater every day.  We've gotten to a point where that is no longer our goal.  We are, for all intents and purposes, a lost, rudderless ship at sea with no direction.

Lest I sound like an 'old guy', I want to say that I remember a time, not so long ago, where we stood in solidarity as a people.  I'll go back to THAT day - the one moment in time that our generation remembers as our, "I remember exactly where I was," moment.  September 11, 2001.  Even mentioning that day evokes feelings of loss, sadness, grief, despair, hate.....and lastly, hope.  When the planes flew into those towers, the Pentagon, and the field in PA, we felt all those feelings.  The hope came soon after.  American flags flew from houses in numbers we rarely, if ever, see.  We spoke a little more kindly, treated each other with a bit more respect, helped each other, cared for each other and, most importantly, loved each other.  We weren't African Americans, White Americans, Spanish Americans or Italian Americans.  We were, together, AMERICANS.  That was the point in time that, rather than think of the initial emotions, I choose to recall as a time of hope.  I felt like, if we could just make it last, there was hope for us to regain our stature in the world and be, once again, a nation that was greater than the sum of its parts.  Sadly, here we are today - more divided than I can ever recall, even more so than in the late 60's when Martin Luther King led a march across the bridge in Selma.

My fellow Americans.....we need a leader.  Period.  I realize this is the point where some, those who support President Obama, may begin to bristle - let me finish before doing so please?  You see, these past few weeks and months, you'll almost certainly have to agree, has seen our leadership cause the greater divides of which I've already spoken.  True, these are only my thoughts and opinions, but have an open mind for a minute.  Our leader, the President, is supposed to unify and lead while being impartial.  His job is to lead ALL Americans, not select people.  He spoke out publicly to denounce the situations in Ferguson, MO and Baltimore, MD, then sent a delegation to investigate the death of a black man.  He did NOT, however, even make mention of a young white woman gunned down by an illegal immigrant who had been deported five times.  One can only assume this was because the situation involved policies that he supports.  Again, take responsibility - if it failed, admit it and fix it so that it doesn't happen again.  Instead he said......nothing.  His silence was louder than anything he could've said.  It was, in my opinion, deafening.  While we're on the subject of division, let's also talk about one of the other 'big' news stories of the day - gay marriage - and the reaction of the White House and our President.  To be clear and so those reading this understand my opinion, I have friends and family that are/were gay.  For them, the ruling of the Supreme Court was a great victory and, as it went through the court systems and is now law, I (as an American) will respect that.  It's how it is supposed to work.  Still, in my opinion, the White House caused a divide in the people of our country by showing they clearly supported it.  The multi-colored lights bathed 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue brightly in a show that was, clearly, divisive.  In short, it was wrong.  The President could've easily applauded the decision without blatantly throwing it in the face of the opposition.  He chose to divide rather than unify.

I want us, as a country, to be proud again.  I want us to be viewed all over the world as we once were - a leader and one that others look to for guidance and direction.  There was a man that once occupied the office that not only led, but inspired us to a greatness we haven't seen since.  Imagine.....there was once a man that said, "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what YOU can do for your country."  Rather than set an expectation of the government giving handouts, he found a way to put people to work.  He challenged us to give the best in science and math, to better ourselves, and we met that challenge.  Imagine.....someone that is going to give us little more than opportunity.  How would that be received today?  I think we can all agree that it would cause protests like we've never seen.  Yet, when this man was killed, the nation wept.  Our hope was gone and Camelot, along with JFK, died.  The last President that could even somewhat rally us as a country and provide opportunity was Ronald Reagan.  Okay, these are simply my opinions, however I venture to guess that many of you, if not all, lived a better life back then.  President Obama is not a great leader, he is a great orator.  I challenge anyone to show, with actual facts, how the past seven years have been beneficial to us as a whole.  That's usually the cue for the, "Well, that's because Bush..." retorts.  Ladies & gentlemen that, too, is a cop out and to that, I say, when a corporation has a CEO that fails, they replace him.  The replacement does not need to make an issue of the successes or failures of his predecessor.  He simply moves the corporation forward.  It's time for the Bush-blaming and race-baiting to stop from someone in the office of President.  We need real leadership and we need it now.  If not, I fear a Civil War is yet again on the horizon.  I think we all have heard, at least, how that worked the last time.

Until next time.............

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Do We Debate Yet Again.....Or Act?

The interval between these episodes seems, in my opinion, to becoming shorter and shorter.  They're beginning to become an almost-monthly occurrence.  Now, nine people are gone, another life ruined (presumably  to be ended after a trial, countless appeals, and any number of years on death row), and countless family members and friends of these people have yet another mark on the calendar that will forever haunt their memories.  I don't, however, have to go through the horrid details for you.  We've seen them on television for the past several days repeatedly.  Therein, my friends, lies a huge part of the problem.  Let me tell you why some of us, as white people, have a unique perspective on why this has happened.

As I sat watching yet another story covering this horrific tragedy, a black television host interviewing a black community leader, the question was posed again - "Why do we think this happened?"  Well, fellas, let me tell you that you're part of the problem, in my opinion.  How so?  This kid (okay, adult, but still a kid by my standards) made comments while standing over his victims about his feelings that, "You're raping our women, taking over our country.  You have to go."  Even after admitting he almost did not commit this act because the people in church were so nice to him, he still felt strongly compelled to take the lives of nine people.  To say he did it because of the color of their skin, I think, is oversimplifying the issue.  He didn't do it because they were black - he did it because they were black and his perception, based on what he has seen in the media (again, just my opinion), is that blacks are taking over the country and he didn't like it.  Oh, I'm sure there is far more to the hate he felt, and fairly certain his past is riddled with troubled situations, but let's be honest - the media has done nothing more than fan the flames of racism.

Now, we're going to remove the Confederate flag from the state house in South Carolina because that, finally, will eliminate racism.  Okay, I know you're going to say, "No, but the flag needs to go because of what it represents."  Fair enough.  What does it represent?  It represents a time in our past when southern states were determined to secede from the Union.  They wanted out and, by God, they were going to do it.  To them, the flag was no different than the flag the Union used - red, white, and blue with thirteen stars.  Just because this is now associated with 'southern rednecks and hillbillies, let's not make it something it isn't.....or wasn't.  Yes, I know - I have sufficiently be made aware of the fact that the south wanted to continue the practice of slave ownership.  When was the last time anyone owned a slave in the south?  If recollection serves, it's been more than 100 years, right?  Look, I'm not saying the flag should or should not stay where it is.  All I am asking is, in the whole scheme of things, what difference will it make?  Are we really saying that this kid killed nine people because of a flag??

No, my friends, he did it because he felt a growing hatred that continues to be perpetuated by the media.  For days we watched, all of us, the city of Baltimore as it teetered on the brink of anarchy.  We watched as fires were set to a local CVS pharmacy and, once the firemen arrived, knives boldly and brazenly taken to the hoses so the fires could not be extinguished.  Seriously, I watched one person, a cowardly black man with his face covered, walk up to a fire hose and slit the material twice.  I say cowardly because he would not show his face, yet let his own neighborhood burn intentionally.  This arrogance and stupidity was shown on national television, live, and was broadcast repeatedly.  Would any of you have wanted to walk those streets?  My guess is not and, as much as the Charleston killer's acts were hate crimes, the acts in Baltimore and other areas, those of civil disobedience, are something I would consider domestic terrorism.

Here's my point to the rant above - our compass and direction is so badly skewed that we can no longer focus on what the real issues are.  Did it truly escape everyone's attention that a 21-year old kid was filled with such hate that he opened fire in a church on unarmed people?  Are we seriously going to blame that on a flag?  Are we going to blame it on guns?  I own two handguns and have yet to shoot anyone.  Want to know why?  I respect the law...and life.  Unless I, or someone else is threatened with loss of life, it will not be used for that purpose.  So this kid had his picture taken with the Confederate flag and hated blacks, huh?  Well, certainly removing all the Confederate flags will stop this type of behavior.  Wal Mart, Target, eBay and others refusing to sell anything with this flag will go a long way toward....ending these killings?  No, it will go a long way toward stopping the sale of the flags.  Period. Ah, but that's a great start, right?  Yep.  A great start to ending freedom of speech and history lessons.  Most people accept that flag as representing slavery, eh?  Only if you're drunk or stoned or can't read a history book.

We need to get our collective acts together and focus on making sure we help each other.  We need to be 'color blind' and see people as....well, people.  Lest anyone think this isn't a 'two way street', though, let's also point out that others have to stop acting barbaric and with a sense of lawlessness.  If you want to protest, do it without civil disobedience.  Take notes from Dr King, not the rantings of Al Sharpton.  Seriously, we all....ALL....have to stop acting like fools and being discriminatory.  Let's help each other.  Let's be kind to each other.  In the end, as simplistic as this approach sounds, we're all we have, gang. Make an effort to care about black, white, green, yellow pink, and purple. Do your best to just be everyone.  We're making it harder than it has to be and focusing on the wrong things.....and, ultimately, we all made a promise (or should have) - we all promised to, and have the responsibility to, make this world a better place for our kids.  Do we want to leave them with the world the way it is?  Let's change it now.....with one kind word at a time.

Until next time.................

Monday, April 27, 2015

What Did You Think Would Happen? Sharpton, Jackson, and Entitlement

Unbelievable. I'm sitting here watching the news and Baltimore looks like a scene from a movie....and it's not a good one.  So here, finally, is my open letter to Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and anyone else that thinks they are 'leaders' in the black community.  This is for all of you that want to disgrace the name of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr and act as if you have the same ideals. What I am seeing is pathetic and disgraceful. If this isn't the End of Days, I don't know what is.

So, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton - where are you? I would like to think you are standing in your offices or homes, wringing your hands, wondering how to bring this situation under control. I'd like to think you are in contact with the Mayor of Baltimore asking what you can do to help. I'd like to think you want to come to Baltimore and, with bullhorns and the voice of authority and leadership, appeal to the greater senses of the neighborhoods to stop these travesties. I'd like to think all these things, but somehow I cannot escape the image of you both sitting at home, your neckties loose and sleeves rolled up, drinking a nice scotch with some of your cronies with feet propped up as you watch Baltimore burn. I envision you holding the glass and pointing at the television, saying things like, "Damn, look at the arm on that kid throwing that rock 30 yards at that cop," as you smile at the unrest and destruction. Seriously, that is the image I have of you both. Why is that the idea running through my mind?  Simple - neither of you ever shows up for anything bordering on true civil unrest unless it is a call to arms for what you perceive as blacks being slighted.

Black lives matter? I absolutely agree, HOWEVER.....what makes a black life worth more than ANY other life? Before you tell me that police officers have killed blacks and you don't feel that justice was served (think Ferguson, Freddie Gray, fill-in-the-blank), let me just reiterate one thing that MIGHT just have avoided these situations - When a police officer tells you to stop, you stop. You obey them. I know that sounds like I am oversimplifying things, but that's the case. It really is that simple. Oh, I know you will now say that, especially with Freddie Gray, the cops were dirty or racist or just wanted to kill him. I grant you that there are some bad cops. I'll also say it's a small percentage and, like anything else, this will always be the case. So let's work to weed them out and eliminate them from the police force. Tell me how you are any different than the dirty cops when 15 other officers, in an attempt to restore order, are injured by rioters. Tell me how burning a CVS pharmacy or looting a 7-11 helps the cause. Better yet, when the fire department shows up to extinguish the fire, tell me how you are helping anything in your neighborhoods when someone blatantly walks up and cuts the fire hose....on national television!

Let's be clear - this is a riot, not a protest. Martin Luther King and his followers held protests and marches. They peacefully moved their agenda forward - WITH SUCCESS! If you don't believe me, let's pull out the history books for a lesson, shall we? Blacks couldn't use public restrooms or drink from the same fountains as whites. Blacks did not have the same opportunities as whites in the workforce. And lastly, and most importantly - there's a black man as outré President! What more can we do to show you that civil rights have advanced??

Ah, but that's not it at all, is it? None of this is because people don't think black lives matter or civil rights need to be advanced, is it? There's a different reason for all of this, yet no one wants to discuss it. In the name of civil rights or because blacks were once enslaved, there is a deep underlying sense of.....entitlement. There's a sense of being owed something. It's because, dare I say it, you really do want a hand-out rather than hand-up. It's because someone, somewhere, mistakenly used the word 'entitlements' when it came to providing help. No one is 'entitled' to anything, period, in life. Yet here we are watching looters walking into drug stores and a mall, taking whatever they choose, and simply walking out. Tell me how this shows me that black lives matter. This shows that blacks are thieves, common criminals, and thugs. Let me say, too, that before that labels me a 'racist', I have yet to see one white person walking out with their arms filled with property that is not theirs. You don't want me to generalize? Then how about you change the behavior by getting involved and making this stop. No, it's not your job....though neither was inciting them to behave this way.

I am so utterly disgusted right now that my thoughts...all of them in this post....are scattered and seemingly random. All I can think is that, in your efforts to advance civil rights, you have set the movement BACK many years. What makes me say that? Well, for starters, I can envision the authorities preparing to do what they should have earlier - turning the fire hoses on the rioters and doing whatever is needed to disrupt them. Remember those days? Almost 50 years ago, actually, and what I think might be effective tonight. Sadly, though, the crowds are probably better armed than the police and firemen.....and, as we've seen far too often, not afraid to use their weapons AGAINST the police. The officers today, in an effort to ensure the don't further fan the flames of protest, didn't even assert themselves when under attack and aggression as these thugs were stoning them. The police officers retreated. This, more than anything, makes me fear for our collective safety. If the police are more concerned with perception, then what purpose do they serve? If they cannot perform their duties for fear of your riots, then what will we do to preserve order? Right. There will be no order.

I don't know what to say. This is a random post and I cannot even articulate my thoughts. I'm appalled, shocked, concerned.......and disgusted. I'm pissed off. Sharpton & Jackson, here's my request to you - Go earn our collective respect and get your asses out there. Make this madness stop. You want to be a 'leader', then go lead. Right now you are both a bunch of self-righteous cowards and I, just another concerned citizen, am calling you out. 

Now, I'm going back to the news. There is a black Vietnam veteran speaking some sense. "These kids should be at home, studying. I'm not black, I'm American." Finally, a voice of reason. So, let's see how bad this gets.....and make sure these thugs get what they deserve. An until someone goes out there and does something to help restore order, don't you DARE say one thing about black lives matter or the cops are wrong. You want justice? work for peace.

Until next time..................