Tag Archives: Eric Garner

Choose Your Heroes Wisely!

As I am getting older, my hearing loss is beginning to worsen.  In my youth, I could hear a pin drop anywhere in the house.  Now that I am older, I would have difficulty hearing a bowling pin drop on my foot!  In addition, I realize that my sight is beginning to worsen.  It really sucks to go to the Dollar Store to buy those $1 ‘cheaters’ just to read the newspaper.

My next concern about getting older is that my mind and thought processes may begin to degrade in the same manner of my hearing and sight.  I find that I am continually doing ‘self-check’ exercises to find out if that is occurring.  Because Grandma P is on Facebook, I often look to see if there are any new postings relating to the grandkiddies, the nephews and nieces, and all of their children.    While looking for those pictures, one cannot miss all the self-evaluation tests available.  What state should you live in?  What classic painting would you be?  What percentage of evil are you?  These are all self-evaluation tests available on Facebook.  I must admit I have taken those tests.  What state do you live in? (Confusion!  Ok, I am lying.  It really said I should live in Louisiana, but I will never admit that to the Bayou Mauler!)  What classic painting would you be?  (Edvard Munch’s, The Scream)  And, my absolute favorite.  What percentage of evil are you? (80% – Which is disappointing as I was hoping for a perfect score!)

All in all, I think my mind is still good for a few more miles.  Do a service check, rotate the tires and change the oil every 5000 miles, and I should be good to go!

The one issue that is befuddling to me, however, is this……………who are today’s heroes?

As I was growing up, we had many heroes.  More importantly, it was not difficult to separate the heroes from the villains.  My favorite hero was Roy Rogers.  How could you not like Roy Rogers!  He had a beautiful palomino named Trigger.  He had a German Shepherd named Bullet.  And he had a girlfriend (in real life, his wife), Dale Evans.  He only shot to wound, if he had to shoot at all.  He always brought the bad men to justice.  He and Dale never kissed on air, and I don’t believe they ever had a show where they acted as if they were married.  Nowadays, they would have had to do an R-rated sex scene just to get on television!  But, I digress.  This was geared towards kids and it was done well.  He was my favorite onscreen hero.

There were plenty of other heroes.  Hopalong Cassidy was dressed in black.  Sergeant Preston was a Canadian Mountie.  Gene Autry was the singing cowboy.  In real life, he made more money singing ‘Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ and owning the California Angels than he did as a cowboy.  I always loved Superman, played by George Reeves.  If I could have been any of my heroes, I would have wanted to be Superman.  He was bulletproof, and he could fly.  Two qualities that would be very useful in today’s society.  More importantly, he was for….”Truth, Justice, and the American Way.”

We were brought up to respect the military and the people who served in the military.  This was not difficult, as we were baby boomers and were born right after the end of WWII.  In my hometown, you could not sling a cat without hitting a dozen veterans or a VFW.  I had five uncles, all of whom served in the military as did my father and grandfather.

Being from a small Midwestern town that was located in a small, rural county, we knew all the police.  That included our town cops, the county sheriff and his deputies, and the highway patrolmen.  They were all great guys, and they were our neighbors.  I personally witnessed a drunk stagger out of a local bar and the highway patrolman give him a ride home because he was too drunk to drive.  My…how things have changed!

Our local fire department was solely staffed by volunteers.  There were no full-time fire fighters.  When the very loud siren went off, these dedicated men would drop whatever they were doing and rush to the fire hall.  My father worked at a car dealership.  Two of the mechanics rushed out to the fire station when that siren sounded.  Many of the volunteers were local businessmen.  I recall seeing the owner of the local hardware store dashing out of the door while serving a customer when the siren sounded.  All of the fire equipment was serviced ‘after hours’ by the volunteers.   I did not appreciate until I was older, all the time these men spent training, maintaining equipment and fighting fires to help their neighbors.  It was not uncommon to have three fires in a day during a dry summer.  Grass fires would begin, threatening a house.  Those volunteers were always there.  This was quite a sacrifice on their part, considering there were less than 1,000 people in our town, but the fire department covered an area of about 300 square miles.

Now we fast-forward to today and this is where I begin having difficulty separating the heroes from the villains.  Is it today’s society or is it my mind riding off into the sunset?  So help me out.

Who are today’s heroes?  If I were to believe the media, I would think the current heroes are Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, and Michael Sam.

Why would I think that?  Because the first four on the list, as a result of their untimely deaths, have provoked either rioting and looting or retribution on the police.  In some instances, their deaths have resulted in both.

Freddie Gray and Eric Garner both had impressive arrest records.  Without going into specifics, it has been determined that they each had over 30 arrests.  Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin did not have as impressive an arrest record as the other two, perhaps because they were both younger.  Make no mistake, they both had difficulties with the law, but much of their records were minimized because they were minors at the time.

These four individuals have been portrayed in the media, and by the highest levels of our government, as being victims.  The media implication has been that by resisting authorities and by being victims, they are heroes.  I can somewhat dismiss the media’s role in this ruse because of their desire to ‘sell the news.’  What I cannot dismiss is that the President of the United States, or his Attorney General, have either indirectly or directly gotten involved with each of these incidences – thereby lending credence to the notion that these four individuals were victims (and ultimately, heroes!)  (Remember…”If I had a son, he would be like Trayvon Martin.”)  More importantly, it has been implied by the media and the POTUS that the police are at fault for these deaths.

The police?  The police have come under fire (LITERALLY!) since these events have occurred.   The same people that feel justified to riot and loot now have been unofficially sanctioned by the media and by our government to declare war on the police.  Officers were shot at and killed immediately following the Eric Garner arrest in New York City.  Numerous officers were injured, some seriously, whilst trying to quell the riots and looting that were taking place in Ferguson and Baltimore.  Two officers were killed recently during a routine traffic stop in Mississippi.  The mayor of Baltimore, Mayor Stephanie Rawling-Blake, gave the order for the police to stand down…”Let them loot, it’s only property.”  What?  Are you kidding me?  The one detail she conveniently forgot to mention was her home address.  If those looters were coming down her street, do you think she might have changed her mind?

My confusion about who are villains and who are heroes gets amplified when it comes to Michael Sam.  Michael Sam was a former college football player that admitted he was gay just prior to the beginning of the NFL draft.  No big deal, right?  Well, it was such a big deal that, once more, the POTUS got involved by calling Michael personally to tell him how ‘brave’ he was to admit he was gay.  (Taya Kyle, Chris Kyle’s wife, did not receive a phone call after her husband’s untimely death.)

Brave?  When I was growing up, brave was running into a burning building to save a child.  Brave was serving your country and fighting in a war to defend that country, your family and God.  Brave was running into a burning car crash to pull unconscious victims from a fiery fate.  Bravery is a policeman trying to quell a riot while having rocks or Molotov cocktails thrown at him.  Bravery is a fireman trying to save property and lives under threat of incineration.   Compared to those deeds, I would say that Michael Sam coming out of the closet would post a negative number on the bravery scale!

As I have mentioned, I can give the media a partial pass because of their willingness to sell advertising.  I cannot give the POTUS a pass, however, because his actions are geared for only one thing…to garner more votes!  Specifically, black votes.  Either he is confused or I am confused about who the villains and heroes really are.

It amazes me that people willingly want to be military, law enforcement and firefighters, especially when they are vilified for trying to do their jobs.  Treat them well.   Honor them.  Thank them for their service.  After all………..if you dial 911 and no one answers, what would you do?  Choose your heroes wisely, for your life may depend on it!

P.S.  Last year, I declared the first week of June to be Corporation Appreciation Week.  American corporations are still paying the highest corporate tax rate in the world.  Be nice to them.  Contrary to what Hillary Clinton has said, they do create jobs.  Thank them for giving you a job, or paying their corporate taxes so the government can hire you.

Racial Baiting – An Ugly Situation Promoted by the Media

What came first?  The chicken or the egg?  That has always been a question that has intrigued us for generations.  If you know the definite answer, I would really like to hear it.

Here is an easier question.  What came first?  The crime or the arrest?  Ahhhh, this one should be an easy answer, but that darn answer just seems to get in the way of our media when it comes to reporting.

Let me ask another, more delicate question.  Do you feel more or less racially biased since Barack Obama became POTUS?

I need to explain a little of my background before I go further.  I was raised in a household that was somewhat bigoted.  Not to the point of being zealots about the matter, but certainly there were some non-flattering things said about people of other racial extractions.  In many respects we were an equal opportunity household….we didn’t target one race or nationality, we pretty much targeted them all!  For example, my uncle fought in the Pacific during WWII.  His opponents were therefore Japs.  My grandfather fought in WWI.  Germans were Krauts.  We called native Americans, Indians.  (Why can Florida State be the Seminoles, but North Dakota could not be the Fighting Sioux?)  As you can imagine, we had more non-flattering names for people of other extractions.  Our family was not unique in this regard.  I believe it was pretty darn common.

While I was in late grade school, we had two or three black families that moved into our school district.  One of these black students was in my class.  One day, an incident occurred at the school.  There was a fight, and the fight got out of hand.  I became a witness to that fight after three black males were surrounded by about 50 older, bigger, white boys.  I didn’t see the start, but one of the black males had a folded knife hidden in his hand.  Not a switch blade or anything that exotic, but a work knife like many of us carried on the farm.  (Yes – many of us carried knives in our pockets to school.  No one thought a thing about it.  Especially when the teacher would ask, “does anyone have a knife I can borrow?”  There would be 8-10 available to choose from.)  It got very, very tense.  But luckily, the buses were leaving to take students home, and no one wanted to miss their bus, as many students lived 20 miles away.  The fight dissolved like a lump of sugar in coffee.  No hits, no runs, and luckily no errors.  That occurred in late spring right before summer vacation.  The next fall, all of the black families had moved out of our school area.  This did not happen in the deep south, this happened in the shallow Midwest.

I went to college and earned a commission as a lieutenant upon graduation in the Army.  The Army was the first organization to fully integrate in 1948.  The one thing that the Army did for me was to make me colorblind.  I knew that to reach a particular rank, regardless of race or sex, everyone had to obtain the same milestones.  One of the best sergeants I ever knew was a Hispanic by the name of CSM Mendoza.  He had the distinction of having fought in WWII, Korea and Viet Nam.  How many people can say that?  I had the opportunity of meeting fantastic, dedicated soldiers of many different ethnic backgrounds.  I also had the privilege of working with outstanding female officers and NCOs (non-commissioned officers).

Now I am retired.  What concerns me is the events that occurred in New York surrounding the death of Eric Garner (I can’t breathe), and the riots in Ferguson, Missouri following the grand jury decision not to prosecute Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Michael Brown.  I find the subsequent shooting of police officers in New York and elsewhere, and the destruction done by supposed ‘protesters’ in Ferguson to be appalling.

This gets back to one of my earlier questions, ‘what came first, the arrest or the crime?’

Did you know that Eric Garner had 34 arrests in the previous 30 years?  Some of these arrests were for assault and larceny.  He was on probation at the time of his ordered arrest.  Who ordered the arrest?  Why, it was ordered by the captain of the police precinct—the black captain of the police precinct!  Who supervised the arrest?  That would be the black female sergeant ordered to oversee the arrest.  Did you not hear those details during all that media coverage?  All that was seen and reported was the white guys wrestling with and strangling this innocent black guy.  An innocent black guy very much resisting arrest as he was already on probation!

Michael Brown is another enigma.  There is much discussion and debate about what type of person the 6’4″ Brown actually was, other than he was big.  But here it is.  Previous to his death, he just robbed a convenience store with his friend.  Once confronted, he pushed the clerk into a display case.  The clerk calls the police, and Darren Wilson responds to the call.  Brown is killed.  After deliberating for months, meticulously examining evidence and interviewing witnesses,  the grand jury decided not to pursue a court trial for Officer Wilson.  Then the fun begins.

I, being a person of common sense, am having the most difficult time of my life equating how the tragic death of a robber of a convenience store justifies pillaging, looting and vandalism.

I am also equally appalled that the unfortunate death of a habitual law-breaker justifies opening a hunting season on law enforcement officers.

In a prior blog, I discussed our available news sources while Grandma P and I were cruising.  I pointed out that our only two news sources, while on ship, were FOX and the BBC.  We were sailing around the Caribbean when the Ferguson, Missouri riots erupted.  I witnessed something on one of those news sources that I had assumed to be common knowledge.  It was funny and appalling at the same time, if that is possible.  Someone had made a video of one of the ‘protesters’ lighting a Molotov cocktail.  I assumed everyone in the US had seen this, but apparently not.  A Molotov cocktail is a bottle filled with gasoline, that once lighted, was going to be thrown at the police line that was seen in the distance.  This is a simple weapon designed to kill, in this case, the police.  The funny part is that this video showed this moron lighting his arm on fire!  Yup, Mr. Smart ‘protester’ apparently got some gasoline on the sleeve of his jacket.  When he lit the wick on the bomb, he lit his arm as well.  Unfortunately, the video did not show how this ended.  It did show Mr. Smart ‘protester’ attempting to stamp out his flaming sleeve while he was still holding the lit Molotov cocktail.  This brings up another question.  What comes first, extinguishing the sleeve or the ‘boom?’

How many of you saw this video?  When does a ‘protester’ become a terrorist?  This ‘protester’ was deliberately trying to kill the police!

I blame the media and selected individuals that would do anything to be in the forefront of the media,for all of the violence.

The media will deliberately leave out information to sell their services or papers.  They do not need to lie, they just don’t need to tell all the facts.  I have given examples in the paragraphs preceding.  Riots cause a media frenzy – which results in media dollars.

The Reverend Al Sharpton comes to mind as one who craves media attention.  He is the self-proclaimed advisor to our POTUS on racial affairs.  Really?  You have a black President and a black Attorney General and you need the guy that said, ” Who defines terrorists?  Today’s terrorist is tomorrow’s friend,” as your advisor?  What does that say about the quality of the advisor?  What does it say about the quality of the people that selected the advisor?

The Reverend Al Sharpton is a Baptist minister.  Aren’t ministers purportedly men of peace and men of God?  Then why is this racial baiter getting all this media attention while practically sanctioning violence caused by the black community.  This guy does nothing but stirs the black community into doing stupid, destructive behavior.  He comes into a town, ie Ferguson, Missouri; Sanford, Florida (Trayvon Martin), Wappinger Falls, NY (Tawana Brawley), and NY, NY (Eric Garner), throws a racial grenade into an already racially charged crowd, and then sets himself up as the black savior.  He has done more harm for the black race than good.  He never stays in one place long enough to see the full effect of his racial baiting.  He appears to be on the brink of being a bigoted racial terrorist with all the dissention he has created, but is yet welcomed into the White House.

I blame the White House for racial baiting, also.  The POTUS, or his Attorney General have either injected themselves or their opinions in most of the same situations as the Reverend Sharpton.  They were in Sanford, Ferguson and New York.  Rather than defending the court system, or praising our law enforcement for the dangerous jobs they are required to perform, they, through indecisiveness and lack of clarity and direction have unwittingly sanctioned the illegal activity of the black community.  Never mind the fact that laws were broken.

So back to my original question.  Do you feel more or less rationally biased since Barack Obama, the ‘unification president,’ took office?  Its a tough question.  I know my racial tachometer is wavering.  My tachometer for intolerance of law breakers and terrorists has not wavered.  It is still pegged out!

Afterthought:  All of the families of the slain black men were contacted by the White House expressing condolences for their deaths.  The widow of Chris Kyle, Taya Kyle, was never contacted by the White House.  He was a Navy Seal that served four tours of duty in Iraq in the defense of his country.  He was the author and inspiration for the book and movie titled, American Sniper.  He was shot by a Marine he was attempting to help.  He was a true hero.